sharing the journey of Relationship, Embodiment, and Awakened Living
Humanity's current crisis may not, at its root, be an economic crisis or an environmental crisis. It may well be a crisis of consciousness, a crisis in how see ourselves and the world around us... Many of the ways in which we mistreat and abuse the environment stem from our seeing the world as separate from ourselves. We may take fairly good care of what is inside the skin, but we don't care nearly so well for what is outside the skin.
We need to make the shift from this... "me versus the world" attitude... the skin-encapsulated model of the self... to experiencing a greater oneness with the world outside.
Peter Russell, The Global Brain
Five hundred years ago, Copernicus suggested that the earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around. It took two hundred years for his theory to be accepted as fact. It’s a far greater revolution that we are facing now.
Both personal and planetary healing come from realizing that we are not separate individuals. To be truly self-centered is to care about everyone. It’s time to find “the real center,” the core of who we really are. And we’re lucky if we have two hundred years in which to do it.
We say “sharing the journey” for the same reason we call ourselves a “center,” not just a “school.” We are an organization aimed at establishing a network of gathering places, not a single hierarchical institution. Our flagship project, The Healing Temple, is designed to empower people to be healers and teachers themselves. Healing, after all, means “wholeness,” which means everyone is important. Ultimately, what we’re building is community.
What part of life is not about relationship?
The word “relationship” to most people suggests how we relate to others. But at least half of what determines our experience is how we relate to ourselves. When we have a problem with a relationship, we often think it’s out there in the other person, or at best, between us and them. Yet most of the time, the real issue lies in our own unconscious beliefs and emotional patterns.
Intimacy means being yourself with others. But being yourself starts with knowing yourself and healing yourself: finding your own voice and reaching your full potential. Our relationship to ourselves, then, determines our capacity to be truly intimate, i.e., our sexuality. Our relationship to the world, on the other hand, i.e., whether we believe the universe to be a supportive place or an uncaring place, determines our spirituality. Ultimately, the two are the same: when you love living, you open yourself to life and the world becomes your lover.
Together, then, we can learn to say “yes” to life. We can seek enlightenment through enlivenment, that is, through engagement with the world, not entertainment nor escape. By increasing our vulnerability, we build connection by deepening trust. By discovering, embracing, and thereby dissolving our own obstacles to intimacy, we integrate our spirituality and our sexuality. Our very life force grows as we become more vibrant and whole.
Basically what we teach is being real. By “being real,” we mean being authentic and realistic. Being authentic means seeing and presenting yourself not how you’d like to be or how you’d like people to see you, but as you really are. Of course you can change, but real change starts with accepting where you’re really at. Being real also means being realistic about your situation: striving to see the world not how you’d like it to be, but as it really is.
Being real starts with being in your body. That’s what we mean by “embodiment.” When you’re in your body, you’re not just in your head. You don’t just think; you feel. And to feel what is real is the way to heal.
The more we feel our feelings, the more passionate and compassionate we become. We naturally experience both the simple joy of being alive and our profound connection to others. We find that the key to fulfilling relationships and ending violence is empathy: the ability to feel what’s going on for ourselves and others. When you’re heartful, it’s hard to be hurtful because hurting hurts.
Being real by practicing empathy brings transformation — healing and growth for everyone. You may realize that until now, you’ve been pushing yourself and others around and/or ransacking the earth, all in an endless search for safety. Safe from what? Facing reality means realizing that the only thing you’ve ever struggled to avoid, the only thing we are ever afraid of, is to feel our feelings.
When we stop running from reality, from feeling our feelings, life can finally be more about sharing pleasure than avoiding pain. Fear gives way to anticipation. More than anything, there’s a profound sense of contentment, of finally being at home, wherever we are. We see that our joy does not depend on circumstances: whatever happens, we can be happy. This is freedom, and for the world, peace.
If you... see yourself as outside and against the things around you...if this attitude is your estimate of your relationship to nature, and you have advanced technology, your likelihood of survival will be that of a snowball in hell. You will die either of the toxic byproducts of your own hate, or simply of over-population and over-grazing...
If I'm right, the whole of our thinking of what we are, what other people are, has got to be restructured. The most important task today is to learn to think in a new way.
Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind
Although most of what we have to learn is internal, the reason we do it is not just for ourselves. We are going through a collective, cultural transformation: no less than the evolution of the species to a new level. Either we change what we’re doing to the planet — and we do that very soon — or we all die.
But no pressure! That’s why it’s a “journey,” not a “duty.” Ideally, life should be an adventure: a thrilling enterprise driven not by obligation or compulsion but by curiosity and wonder.
Together, let’s make life more wonder-full, for ourselves and others, for the fun and joy of it. Please joy’n us...