The awakened heart is a broken heart

by Martyn Webber

There’s grief in awakening. Grief at the loss of autonomy, grief at the loss of purpose and meaning. Grief at the loss of knowing and certainty, however deluded they were. There’s grief over losing one’s power, and one’s familiar identity.

There’s so much loss in awakening. When it dawns that there’s nothing we can keep, nothing can be retained beyond its prescribed time, and all that we know and love must pass, then a natural grief for all of it can come. And since this knowledge of loss is for all of it, for all time, then that ache of grief is an ever-present refrain, a broken heart, amidst the delight at the miracle and mystery of life.

We know this poignancy, this pathos, because it’s familiar, it’s part of us, and it’s not wrong. It’s not something to be avoided or excised. We must comfort ourselves and each other tenderly, as we struggle to find the inevitable ground of acceptance.

More on GRIEF on this website — this is a favorite collection What if grief is the natural order of things, a way of loving life anyway?

 

martynMartyn Webber is a spiritual teacher, philosopher, mystic and writer who helps people discover and embody their true nature and essential freedom as boundless, ever-present awareness. To read more from Martyn or learn about his work go to martynwebber.com

Being human…

By: Imogen Sita Webber

The only way forward and through this life is to embrace our humanity, not run from it. It’s no good hiding in “nothing is effecting me” and “I am beyond it all.” While true on an absolute level, it doesn’t account for the lived, embodied experience of being human. To be beyond it all is to accept it all. You can’t hide from it, you can’t run from it, you have to lean into it, breath into it and feel it all, right from your fingers to your toes.

What does it mean to embrace our humanity? It means to accept all and reject none. It means that even in the midst of messy, ugly, complicated life that you embrace all of it as part of you. Does a tree reject its gnarly root?

What are we afraid of? What is it in our humanness that we don’t want to look at, don’t want to accept? There’s a darkness in all of us. A devil, a serial killer, a narcissist, a hateful, arrogant, egotistical bad boy or girl waiting to show itself and most people can’t, don’t or won’t see this. It’s those people who see this, accept this and learn to not be afraid of those aspects of themselves, they find themselves living in freedom.

I am not perfect by any stretch. I’m not just saying that either, I know it, I know my deep dark crevasses, I’ve gotten intimate with them. I’ve learned to honour and love them, embrace them. I’ve brought light to them. Not that happy-shiny-blissful looking concept of ‘light’, just ordinary awareness light. I’ve brought a lamp into the dark corners of my experience, I know they’re there, they’re not hidden.

The less you avoid, the more freedom you have. Can you release yourself from bondage, can you embrace even those hard to reach depths of your humanness and still somewhere in there, embrace them.

This is love.

It’s easy to love your friend, it’s a different story to love your enemy.

So what is your enemy within yourself? What is that part of yourself that you’ve gone to war with? Which part of yourself do you want to cut out and never see again?

We have to go looking for these parts and learn to at the very least accept them, know they exist. [Continued in the comments…]

Because if you can’t accept them in yourself, who can you accept them in? And if you can’t accept them in anyone or anything then are you going to spend your entire life in perpetual avoidance, at perpetual war with what is?

Embracing our own humanity is embracing all others as well. It’s having compassion for what it is to be human. It’s having compassion for the internal struggle of full acceptance that we all go through.

Embracing our humanity is to put down the internal war that you have with yourself, to wave the white flag and find some harmony in which all of your experience can finally be accepted.

***

Editor: More posts on this site with BEING HUMAN as part of the title. Yes, it’s a bit of a theme on this site…this being human….is a guest house (RUMI) – my favorite! 

43199580_495754227605388_7940031127295623168_nImogen is a spiritual mentor and teacher who works with individuals to facilitate their abiding awakening. She also specialises in the post-awakening integration process. To read more of Imogen’s writings or to find out more about her and her offerings go to beyondimogen.com

***

How in-charge are we really?

by Judy Cohen

Ready?

Fall in love. Right now.

Make yourself like a food you hate.

Intentionally send those panic attacks and depressions packing. Yes, you’ve probably tried to control feelings a few zillion times before, but surely this time will be the charm.

No?

Ok then, bring up ideas, answers and solutions to whatever issues are happening, right now. Make creativity happen.

Or, try not having thoughts. (For those lovely readers who think they don’t have thoughts anymore, read this sentence again, slowly. Unless you’re in a coma, in which case you get a pass.)

Or, make enlightenment come. Don’t dilly-dally; do it now. I mean, it does seem to come when it pleases, or not at all, or even to those, maybe even especially to those, who have never done any meditation, inquiry or satsang.

But still, go for it.

Or, make life come, whether it wants to or not.

Or eat kale, work out, don’t smoke, and cross fingers that death doesn’t feel like dropping by anyway.

See just how in-charge you really are.

Oh, humans. Such adorably arrogant little things.

So certain that health won’t be gained, jobs won’t be scored, money won’t come, enlightenment won’t show up, unless we take charge and make it all happen.

So certain that consequences are a result of our actions.

So certain of our power.

Never mind the complete lack of evidence of said power.

Because when we pay attention to what actually happens vs. what we want to happen, it becomes pretty clear…

That everything comes out of the blue.

Preferences come out of the blue, solutions come out of the blue, love comes out of the blue, life and death come out of the blue.

Thank goodness.

Because if we’re depending on ourselves and these minds to run things, well…
Look what we’re counting on to make things right, or to make things better.
I mean what are the odds that the mind… scared, mean, lying, doom-predicting mind… knows how, or even wants, to do that?

In fact, right about now it might even be alarmed or irritated by this particular Tickle-topic.

No worries though, mind; it’s OK. You’re OK. Plan and meditate and take action to your heart’s content.

Why not?

After all, the idea to Do Something! comes from out of the blue too.

It’s just that there’s a lot of peace in seeing that there is a bigger-than-us Blue.

And that it’s got ideas, it’s got solutions, it’s got, “Wow who could have seen THAT coming?”s.

Way more than we have.

Which means maybe we can take a break from the great big job of trying to run existence.

Who knows? We might discover that even on driver’s-seat vacay, things get done, feelings come and go, pounds come off. Anyway.

Though of course there’s no problem if we do continue to oppose existence and try to impose our will and direction on it.

After all, The Blue doesn’t need us to step aside or yield power. It does its thing whether we fight it or not.

Y’know, being the true boss and all.

Besides, we can’t control the belief that we have control, either.

It’s just that delusions of control actually control… nothing.

And feel simply awful.

So maybe we’ve had enough.

Or not.

Even that’s not up to us.

And does or doesn’t come, on its own time and direction,

From out of the blue.

Mind Ticklers have been showing up in your friends’ email boxes since 2016. Have you been missing out? Click here to fix that right now.

“All practices are like
Painting a rose so that
It will smell better.”
–wu’hsin

Related on this site: Choice and emotion: a short essay with some musing

IMG_1947Judy Cohen crawled (rather than rose) phoenix-like through depression and anxiety, by finding irreverent, untraditional and sometimes heretical ways to experience the greater-than-self-story. Nowadays she helps other folks find the same relief and expansion.

Find out more at  Irreverent Mind, sign up for Judy’s Mind Tickler and listen to Judy at Buddha at the Gas Pump

Speed kills…

Reflections on social media

By Paul Woodward

When Evan Williams created Blogger and triggered the social media revolution of push-button publishing, an unquestioned presupposition underpinning the creation of the platform was that there was inherent value in reducing the temporal distance between authorship and publication.

Supposedly, if anyone, anywhere, could broadcast their words to the world without any barriers standing in the way, this would represent the greatest leap forward in communication since Gutenberg.

That turns out to have been a false presupposition for several reasons.

What from one perspective might look like communication barriers, turn out more often to function as de facto forms of quality control.

Back in the 1400s, when Johannes Gutenberg created movable type, he opened the door to mass communication in a way that the handwritten manuscript would never allow, but this still involved filtered access. The time, effort, and cost required in typesetting and printing necessitated the application of some notion of what was worthy for print and what text might retain its value as durably as its binding.

Social media has not only removed the barriers to mass communication; just as significantly, it has removed or corroded many of the internal filters that would otherwise inhibit the public expression of private experiences. At the same time as expanding the spheres of communication, it has helped dump into those spheres a landfill of babble and vitriol.

Social media has fueled a contagious desire for being heard and seen, creating a rush onto a public stage where presence takes on more importance than performance.

Worst of all, the pathological effect of narrowing the gap between thought and expression is that belief, through its effortless immediacy, is erasing the willingness to engage in the quiet and sometimes arduous work of reflection.

Arguably, people have always found it easier to believe than to think. What is new, is that communities of opinion are now emerging in which incoherent amalgams of beliefs can be bound together and sustained in echo chambers that give succor to feeble minds oblivious to the mishmash.

In the strange terrain of social media it’s possible to believe in a flat earth and climate change; to marvel at DNA while rejecting evolution; and to construct the perverse ideology of an “anti-imperialist eco-fascist.”

Thus out of the swamps of online bigotry there emerges with increasing frequency the likes of Brenton Tarrant, the Christchurch gunman.

Today, the social media giants are once again in damage control, issuing statements about doing everything in their power to prevent the promotion of hatred even when acts of violence have been conceived and carried out as social media events.

At this point, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are sounding increasingly like Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds — purveyors of products that their makers insist don’t harm most users. How many massacres will be too many?

In the libertarian world of social media, freedom is another name for lack of accountability. From boardrooms down to individual users, there is a deficit of social responsibility — corporate responsibility and personal responsibility.

The reluctance of the social media corporations to confront the monster they have created hinges on a single fact: any measure that diminishes the volume and speed of online interactions will diminish advertising revenue.

Social media capitalizes on maximizing the reactivity of its users.

But suppose that the pursuit of profit was not the sole guiding principle in the operations of Facebook et al. There is one very simple technical measure that would serve these platforms well (and also could have applications in other digital environments, such as automated stock market trading): continuous forced delays.

Instead of insisting that speed has inherent value, we need to recognize that there are countless situations where there is greater value in having to wait.

Having to wait, opens a space for second thoughts and second thoughts often have more depth than their impulsive precursors.

Suppose that each time you hit share/tweet/send/publish, you then had to wait 60 seconds for anything to happen.

Which of these online communications is actually so urgent that it cannot bear the strain of behind withheld just for a minute?

Wait a minute is a well-worn phrase for good reason: it encapsulates a timeless truth. Life needs to be punctuated with pauses.

Were we all forced to wait a minute and during that interval have the opportunity to retract our own words, how much venom, bile, and vacuous chatter might be aborted before it got inflicted on friends and strangers through social media?

The times online when we must speak now or forever hold our peace are almost non-existent. (With the rare exceptions where seconds do count – like sharing a tsunami warning – a temporary technical override on the one-minute delay wouldn’t be difficult to implement.)

If everyone’s speech was being tethered in the same way, no one would be disadvantaged.

The cultural ramifications for this paradigm shift in the way we are conditioned to value time — recognizing that in so many ways, slower can be better than faster — could (there’s a small chance) begin to break the spell of technical innovation.

For so long, commerce has insisted that speed improves, extends, and expands life, even while experience consistently points in the opposite direction.

Slowing down may be the only way we can start to reclaim life and no longer remain enslaved to fictitious technological imperatives.

52313841_593792227751633_8107229544089387008_nPaul Woodward authors Attention to the Unseen: Observations and reflections on life and the world

More of Paul’s pieces here on Everything Matters

 

 

***

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page or scroll down the homepage for more recent postings.

Support Everything Matters: Beyond Meds. Make a donation with PayPal orEnter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to. Thank you!

Remembering my sanity

By Jen Peer Rich

For me, waking up to who I am on a deeper level of wholeness is not a spiritual experience. At least not how we in the western mind typically define spiritual. It is much more of a psychological experience where I am being taught in presence by nature, by inquiring into the deepest parts of my psyche. It is about remembering my sanity. I have a general sanity that is the core of who I am. This basic sanity is my birthright as a human animal. For most of my life I forgot sanity. I forgot myself as a natural being. I suffered tremendously from my own mind and beliefs about myself. And waking up was all about learning to reconnect with who I am beyond that suffering.

I don’t relate to the need to make our basic sanity into a spiritual belief system. To me, being sane is quite the opposite of spiritual beliefs, because it’s about being attuned to the wildness of what is directly here. This wildness can’t be contained in any system, it’s too feral. But we can live it. We are living it. It, is the ground of being and here we are sane. No need to believe in anything in particular– here on the ground of life, sane as my own skinless being, knowing that no matter what is happening, I am informed by and grounded as sanity.

***

More by Jen Peer Rich on Everything Matters

***

Jen Peer Rich is a friend in presence. She lives in Atlanta with 5 rescue dogs and is married to her best friend, Iris. Jen has a MA in Transpersonal Ecopsychology from Naropa jenUniversity and is presently working on a PhD in Transformative Studies from California Institute of Integral Studies. Her research centers on self-awareness and reclaiming ecological consciousness. She has two books about Nonduality available for free download at Friends in Presence or on amazon kindle. You can find Jen writing and collaborating in the Facebook hive, she’s always open to making new friends there.

***

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page or scroll down the homepage for more recent postings. 

Support Everything Matters: Beyond Meds. Make a donation with PayPal or  Enter Amazon via a link from this blog  and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to. Thank you!

 

A tale about the inside: violent human rights violations from a typical stay in an American psych ward

Editor’s note (Monica Cassani): oddly enough, I too had a brief stay in Ridgeview 15 years ago in which much the same abuse played out. I also entered voluntarily and 5 hours later I asked to leave and they wouldn’t let me go at which point it became a forced incarceration, just like it did for Chris. I too talked about being a professional and they denied me my real life experience while mocking me. I was not placed in solitary confinement during that stay but have had that happen to me in the past as well. Solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment for criminals…and it is for those with psych labels too. Sadly, these sorts of heinous and traumatic abuses are the norm. People don’t know that this sort of stuff goes down all over the United States every day of the year in every city.

Thank you Chris Cole for bravely sharing your story.

By Chris Cole

To Whom It May Concern:

I was a voluntary admit for an acute grief response and PTSD flashback—and was refused treatment by hospital staff—because the entire hospital administration wouldn’t acknowledge my PTSD, in favor of a clinical bias toward bipolar disorder. Every time I talked, they told me I was “hyper verbal,” even when I took five breaths between words. They kept me against my will for five whole days. Case manager Brooke even told me not to meditate, which is very helpful for my long-time stabilized bipolar management.

Medical technician Greg, on the evening of December 29th, ordered forced psychiatric meds in solitary confinement, because I asked to leave my bed for water. This was after he told me I couldn’t leave my bed to urinate. He also gave me a towel and suggested I masturbate.

Once in solitary confinement, without giving me water, medical technician JerMichael told me that “once a medical technician orders meds, the nurses have to administer meds,” which is factually incorrect—only nurses have power to administer medication, not medical techs. Later, when I told JerMichael I had two kids, he said, “Quit lying to me man. You can’t hustle a hustler.”

He was an undercover cop in New Orleans—obviously not a good one. Clinically, this is called “crazymaking,” or also, gaslighting, whereby an abuser attempts to convince a victim that they are experiencing an altered version of reality.

Once the nurses arrived, I was extremely uncomfortable and dysregulated, which is called “traumatized,” so the nurses were oblivious to what Greg and JerMichael had orchestrated.

Additionally, my case manager Brooke didn’t believe I was an interning psychotherapist all the way up until discharge, saying I was having “grandiose delusions” the very day I was discharged—January 2.

I was a voluntary admit and she authorized—along with my psychiatrist and nursing staff—holding me without case management for five days, having never looking at my chart or meeting with me to check her inaccurate and racist “countertransference.” She even kicked me out of group for pointing out the racist comment by one of the white patients, who said about a Black nurse named Ms. Bunmi, “I’m going to rip her black hair out.”

Dr. Mahaveer Vakharia even accused me of having “grandiose thought delusions” for simply telling him I was a vajrayana yogi (I am a long time student at Naropa University). He even said this in front of his nurse practitioner on my last day there.

This was in violation of all Georgia State and Federal Statutes protecting patients under the Disability Act. There are patients being violently abused right now in this facility.

I honestly cannot believe this place is still in business. They should have a class-action lawsuit filed against them. I’m considering filing a police report, but I’m concerned of being retraumatized.

Sincerely,
Chris Cole
Author of “The Body of Chris: A Memoir of Obsession, Addiction, and Madness

More related:

***

Chris Cole hosts the Waking Up Bipolar podcast and is the author of The Body of Chris: A Memoir of Obsession, Addiction, and Madness. He offers life coaching for any number of mental health conditions, specializing in bipolar disorder and spiritual emergence. Learn more about Chris at colecoaching.com.

***

Reclaiming myself on the ground of myself

by Jen Peer Rich

There are messengers and teachers busy defining what we imagine an ideal spiritual life looks like, me included. These ideals are very popular, we humans tend to like maps of territory that is mostly uncertain. Even if those maps lead us astray.

Don’t listen to me, anyone else or a teaching as much listening to and trusting your own direct experience. Receive information deeply and hold the value of it gently within, rather than projecting any value externally to the source of information.

What I am talking about is the autonomy of psyche. What I mean by this is a completely independent way of reclaiming who I am as a mind, body and spirit. I come to know this autonomous sense of myself by trusting myself.

I learn to trust my own inner being and interbeing over external maps. Being is fluidity in motion. Being is unfixed and my mind organizes this fluidity with an inquiry within that is explosive, shredding again and again into new perspectives and subtle bits of passing information, all of which dissipate into ever changing new perspectives and bits of information- my psyche is like a kaleidoscope inside, yes- a cylindrical space I am peering through made of ever-changing mirrors, loose interpretations, colorful objects, sand, pearls, rocks and glass.

But I am not the person mapped out by others, I am this being I am.

And why is this important?

Because until I let go of everything I trust and depend on externally, I am beholden others interpretations of what has value and what does not. But as I look deeper inside, when I am intimate within myself, I see a pathway to the locations and limitations of my conditioning and these pathways are what I am interested in getting into, so that I can explode again, so that I keep blowing my own mind.

Only then am I devastated. Only then may I see myself as I am.

Maps of myself made in the minds of others lead me away from my own direct experience.

My experience is born from a sea of uncertainties and inquires but all of it is authentically verifiable, for me, to me, as me. This heart is mine. I am whole within myself and here, I am OK.

What is deeply radical about this moment is reclaiming myself on the ground of myself rather than through the eyes of anyone else.

There is autonomy here, confident yet uncertain on my own terms, there isn’t a map that could possibly lead me now to myself.

***

More by Jen Peer Rich on Everything Matters

***

Jen Peer Rich is a friend in presence. She lives in Atlanta with 5 rescue dogs and is married to her best friend, Iris. Jen has a MA in Transpersonal Ecopsychology from Naropa jenUniversity and is presently working on a PhD in Transformative Studies from California Institute of Integral Studies. Her research centers on self-awareness and reclaiming ecological consciousness. She has two books about Nonduality available for free download at Friends in Presence or on amazon kindle. You can find Jen writing and collaborating in the Facebook hive, she’s always open to making new friends there.

***

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page or scroll down the homepage for more recent postings. 

Support Everything Matters: Beyond Meds. Make a donation with PayPal or  Enter Amazon via a link from this blog  and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to. Thank you!