For the past couple of weeks I have been feeling to start a thread to share some of my journey and explorations. I'm not sure what may unfold, yet it feels good to take a risk and open the space...
Meet my edge and soften
Soften enough to let go and to be
Soften enough so when the time comes
I can take a step forward
To meet a new edge and soften into that place.
I read your words and feel myself melting.
I honour you sharing here and look forward to softening with you.
Over the past couple of days I've been receiving powerful synchronistic messages from a most unlikely power animal - the snail!
It speaks to me of a number of things
~ Snail carries it's home on it's back and so is at home wherever it is - home is where the heart is.
~ The snail leaves a trail behind him, so too in life how we are and how we move through the world has an impact, sometimes as we are moving forward or the impact is energetic and unseen and we may remain unaware of how we have influenced the whole. This highlights for me the importance of aligning with the flow, expressing authentically and trusting.
~ The snail signifies new beginnings and is one of the first animals to emerge in the Spring. In particular at this time it affirms for me a transition from the shadows into the light.
~ Snail makes slow but steady pace. It may appear to be making little progress, yet can cover much ground. It speaks to me of presence, focus and persistence.
~ The shell also represents the ancient spiral symbol - more growth and new beginnings.
I'm grateful to snail for playing so magically with me these past couple of days
How awesome! Snails have always felt very elemental/geological to me, and I always feel a deep connection to the earth when I connect with snails.
Thank you for this Fiona
I just read soften - and indeed, as Trinity has noted, softening, melting takes place.
What a gift you are.
Yes, softening and letting go and then everything is back to being perfectly divine.
Your reflections on our messenger friends, the snails, resonate strongly with me and are so timely and reassuring as I continue to practice the day-to-day self-realization process, making progress bit by bit. I'm feeling like I'm at a snail's pace these days and that's okay. Thank you! x Catherine
Yep, often feels like snail's pace here too, one step at a time, sometimes even what appears like the occasional step backwards. Though even with the slip back there is something experienced and learned.
I love the idea that the snail leaves a trail behind it and it reminds me that we often have no idea of the impact we have just by being who we are and following our path, the little things that we do that leave a silver thread, like an authentic word or smile may have a magical influence that we remain unaware of.
What a lovely reminder, Fiona, about the silver threads we leave behind just like our snail friends. I'm often deeply touched, energized, and encouraged by the smallest acts of kindness and compassion although the givers may not be aware of this. It feels uplifting, indeed, to reflect on how we might magically influence others by the smallest gestures of kindness. x Catherine
Yes, indeed Catherine. And not only is it gestures of kindness that touch, energize and encourage, also other authentic expressions of beingness and times when we stand in our truth and power! Thanks for the returning rose
Like many people -- and especially women -- I had strong conditioning around "disappearing" to please others. I'm chipping away at this density day by day. Thanks for the reminder that standing in one's truth and power is ultimately an act of great kindness, although it may not always be perceived that way. While walking along the beach yesterday, I came across a basset hound who was standing her ground so perfectly, woofing away, her head held high. It's time to dig my feet more deeply into the sand, I thought, and "woof woof" away. x Catherine
I'm misquoting Trinity here, but she once shared something like this that touched me very deeply.
"How can I best serve the world? - By being true to me"
I can see the article she wrote in my mind's eye, though wasn't able to locate it on the website just now. Thanks Trin, it has stayed with me!
Much love, Fiona
This morning I danced
I moved my feet, arms and spine, though I am not my body
I felt my sadness, grief and joy, though these are not who I am
I felt my body ache and it's pain, again this is not me
Beneath all this I felt a deep expanse of nothingness
This is who I am and everything "I am" arises from and through this place
Thank you for the dance
Beyond time and space
Beyond location and movement
There is a place
Of everything and nothing
The place from hence I came
And to which I long to return
When I go there
My breathe deepens
My body softens
My head forgets
My heart melts
After posting "Beyond..." above, I realized (again!), that this life is not about escaping to a void, the place beyond. Rather it is about finding ways in which I can integrate, what Openhand might call the 5th dimensional experience, into my everyday life as I engage with the physicality and challenges of this world. I can simultaneously be grounded in the physical yet experiencing the "Beyond" - how divine.
I am reminded of the following quote
"Peace, it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." (unkonwn)
With peaceful blessings, Fiona
Fiona, it's wonderful when we catch ourselves - but if we don't express in the first place we won't see those subtle little 'slips'. There is, for me, nothing more attractive and appealing than honesty. It really is the best policy.
Yes! It's so powerful to share as it puts extra weight behind what we think, feel and then express, and often helps things to become clearer or provides new insights.
How often I have shared and expressed only to gain deeper insights afterwards. I think of these as Wham! flashes of illumination, the light shining through the darkness. I love your quote on being calm amidst the storms of life, Fiona, and appreciate your comments about communicating honestly, Cynthia. Very inspiring all around. Thank you, wonderful ladies. xxx Catherine
And not to forget that your 'Beyond' post is simply divine too.
It's real; and to melt into it does necessarily come from escape. In fact if we are escaping we can't ever really touch the 'beyond'.
When we can let go with every cell of your being the whole world falls away and beyond happens.
And yes true serenity is found in the storm - ha - beyond.
I agree, Trinity. Fiona's post "Beyond" is truly divine. I've experienced the intellectual "false love and light" bubble where one denies and represses and "fakes" it, which is very different, indeed, from releasing and transcending distortions and going beyond the beyond. One can be in the storm and above and beyond it at the same time! I don't always get there, but I keep practicing day by day. xxx Catherine
Thanks Catherine and Trinity,
Yes, the Beyond is truly divine and it only becomes an escape if we become attached to it and try to grasp for it and then how can we ever get there? I love your line Trinity -
"When we can let go with every cell of your being the whole world falls away and beyond happens."
Indeed Catherine, it is a daily practice, one I certainly haven't mastered yet, though can see how I have progressed somewhat over time.
Much love and gratitude, Fiona
Last night I went to a story telling event for a better nation here in Scotland.
One aspect of a story particularly resonated, when the unlikely hero was waiting for the monster to awaken, it was said that he needed to have the courage to find and maintain his peace within.
This struck me as very powerful as so often in challenging situations we/I become distracted or full of fear when the really courageous thing to do, would be to maintain focus, centredness and peace of mind.
"When the really courageous thing to do, would be to maintain focus, centredness and peace of mind."
A very timely posting - thank you.
After a bit of reflection, I realized that for me it is the heart that suffers and the heart that requires peace. Then I feel focused, centered, deep, strong and free. Of course, I do use the term 'peace of mind', but am thinking I might like to let that saying go....
Hi Fiona and Cynthia,
After I read your comments, I felt to share this with you. I recently completed three sessions of a Body/Mind/Spirit workshop with Garth, my shamanic healer/chiropractor. During the last session, we focused on observing the thoughts and feelings without judgment, just allowing them to come and go. The day prior to the last session, my neck and upper back seized up in pain. During the workshop, I was able to identify the conditioned habit pattern behind the physical symptoms: an unconscious 'fight or flight' posture that I've carried in my upper body from childhood in this lifetime and in many other lifetimes, me thinks. I observed myself as I went into my fear, recalling incidents from my childhood -- recognizing that I needed to feel safe and that this need created my experiences of feeling unsafe. Garth encouraged me to breathe my spirit light body through my neck and upper back contractions and expand the light in all directions. The tension began to unwind as I surrendered and let go. The pain lessened. I relaxed and felt peace in my heart. Then I observed myself wanting to feel more peaceful. I attached to getting THERE and said out loud, "I feel peaceful," to hasten the process. My body wasn't fooled by my 'thoughts create reality' strategy, as Garth pointed out, and it tightened its grip on my 'fight or flight' DNA programming. At that point I observed myself saying in so many words, "I failed." Garth suggested that I wasn't accepting that it might take time to re-wire all that circuitry in my body formed over eons of time. I agreed and felt comforted by this. So I just learned, once again, that feeling peaceful is not always as easy as it might seem. With Garth's encouragement, I left the workshop repeating and feeling, "I know nothing." Because that's what it's going to take to release my conditioning. Unity of Body/Mind/Spirit. Becoming as nothing in it all, the inviolable One, so that I don't need any situations to go away, as Open and Trinity would say. The One needs nothing at all. There is nothing to achieve and no place to get to in Absolute Presence. On to more practice. Hot damn! This is hard. I'm struggling to learn not to struggle. Life, aye!!
This is great Catherine - it's a fundamental part of the Openhand Way and how we get into the facilitation approach....
Behind every negative thought, is some subconscious pain. The Facilitators learn to watch for words that 'spike' in the field when a client says them. We then play them back and get people to feel into them. Very quickly you can get people into layers of pain which they're carrying. This is how true healing really happens. We'll be getting into this next week in Path between Worlds.
Hi Cynthia, Catherine, Open and all,
Interesting what you say about "peace of mind" Cynthia, it is not a phrase I use much these days and so I'm not sure why I used it here. I do recall deliberating before I wrote it. I agree that there is more than peace of mind relevant here and perhaps "peace of being" would be a better phrase. I suggest that our beingness can be at peace even when our mind is restless and our heart is suffering.
Thanks for sharing your inspiring experience Catherine and as you say "There is nothing to achieve and no place to get to in Absolute Presence." and yes it can be hard!!! Thanks Open for the reminder to look deep into the pain. By going deep into the pain, we can find the freedom beyond it. The only way out is through, and yes, I say it again, it can be hard.
Peace of Being - YES!!
Yesterday, I had a beautiful reminder of the importance of acceptance in all aspects of life and whatever we are experiencing.
I was working with releasing some attachment and relationship ties that no longer serve me. As I worked with it I could see the ties attached to me, a deep root was going into my chest and heart area. I knew that it wasn't possible to pull it out and cutting it didn't seem like the way to go. Then I remembered the importance of accepting that it was there, as I did this and felt into it, almost immediately the connection and thick root began to dissolve all by itself.
Hurrah for acceptance
That's a great reminder for all of us Fiona - thank you for sharing. It reminds me of a dream I had in which I was being chased. No matter where I hid 'they' found me and the chase got harder every time. By the end they were chasing me with 2 x 4's with huge long nails in them and I realized that there was no place to go. I gave up, stopped and faced them. They dissolved. You've reminded me of that and of the importance of simply being with whatever is.
I'm grateful - thank Fiona - this is very timely for me.
Beautiful sharing Fionna & Catherine.... After reading Fionna's sharing Something in me softened.. and Catherine how wonderful to say " I know nothing" for unwiring the conditioned patterns and be comfortable with it. Thank you for all your beautiful sharings..
That's a great dream Cynthia, thanks for sharing.
Padma, lovely to hear from you, thank you for sharing. Ahhh, the continual process of softening, nice to have you mirror to me.
Go well, Fiona
Thanks for the inspiring reminder that we need to accept our distortions as they are before we can release them. Lovely to read about how you were able to let go of relationship ties.
I'm enjoying reading your shares. I learn so much from everyone here. Thanks for the reminder to soften. I am not always present to this. I'm happy the phrase "I know nothing" resonates with you. It helps me to feel into a space of openness and acceptance of what is and where the flow wants to go. Wishing you well on your journey.
I have arrived at another major transition point in my life, where I don't know what's next... I surrender and trust in the flow, excited to watch the possibilities unfold in front of me. I came across this quote that inspired me -
“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road
and nothing more;
Wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing behind one sees the path"
Blessings on those who follow their heart and soul one step at a time, particularly here at Openhand, thank you for inspiring me to stay true.
With love and gratitude, Fiona
With much love...
Perfect landing. Splendid quote to inspire one to stay open to what wants to flow. Thanks, Fiona.
This morning I had a great exploration around my personal boundaries at a 5 rhythms dance class.
At different points during the class we were invited to take partners. The first partner I had came really close to me and it felt very uncomfortable, like she was invading my personal space. When I attempted to move away, it felt like she followed me, initially I wanted to leave the room to get away from the intensity of being so close to a stranger. Then I saw that I could soften and explore the discomfort.
Later I had another dance partner and it felt magical. Initially we danced far away from one another. As we got to know one another and our dance, we were able to move close with ease and had a beautiful connection. It felt very attuned and respectful.
This experience showed me a number of things, firstly the importance for me of having my own personal space (particularly as an empath), secondly the importance of tuning into the energy between other people and respecting where it is at and finally how in order to find the balance with aspects of life sometimes it's okay to go over the edge and into the discomfort in order to explore where our boundaries lie.
With love, Fiona
That's great Fiona! I love how you always see the message through every event in your life =). I have wanted to try a 5 Rhythms class here but haven't found one nearby so I mainly free dance in my house by myself or Kim and I go out and clear the dance floor with our versions of soul dancing hahah.
Thanks for sharing Fiona!!
It feels like this exploration was a continuation of the previous days conversation with you around balance with eating/drinking. It feels quite similar in some ways.
I love 5 rhythms and have practised it for quite a number of years, at one point in my life about 7 years ago, when I was working in the matrix and out of alignment, it helped me enormously. Now it's mostly for fun, releasing energy and explorations like the one I shared above. It's great to dance the rhythms, particularly for me to shake it all out during Chaos and I love coming to stillness when all is complete
Happy dancing, love Fiona
Hey there Fiona =)!
Yes it really does have a similar theme... Perhaps it's often about this...feeling where there is a barrier and working to feel through whilst still honoring our boundaries. This is a common one for me ... To find that sweet spot of challenging and softening into any tightness and not just allowing an "anything goes" way of being. It's definitely a dance and one best engaged with sensitivity. Much love to you, Jen
Your words are perfect.
This morning I have been contemplating trust. I've had a trust analogy arise around being on the edge of a lake and feeling to get to a boat in the middle of the water. I could skirt around the edge of the lake for some time, which to a point could be useful as it may help me to assess the situation and gain insight as to the best way forward. After a while it's time to move and waiting on the edge no longer serves. Then there's the question of whether to dive straight in or tread in at a slower pace. The answer to this depends on the exact situation and our unique configuration and again there is probably a balance to be gained between the two approaches. Yet too much deliberation and the boat may be gone. As you say Jen, "definitely a dance and one best engaged with sensitivity."
I also get a sense of enjoying the process of discovery as I go. I can sense the thrill of being knee deep in the water and engaging with whatever wants to happen next... Hurrah!
This has given me more to contemplate - thank you!
Good morning Fiona! I really like that analogy. To use your imagery I have been feeling invited into the water for a while now... I sensed inside that all preparation is complete and it's time to just take the plunge. In the circumstance I am working with it's not helping to dip in slowly...in a way actually it may appear I am dipping in slowly but energetically there is full commitment, there is strength behind the action that although the action appears gentle on the surface is propelled by a strong force below the surface that is busting through what feels like a force field around the perimeter of the lake. I have bumped into this force field over and over and backed off because of it. I am coming to see that this field is some stuck energy...for me it's of an emotional nature... Some unmet childhood needs. I am feeling like I can shatter it now that I see what it is... That I can feel it so strongly that it shatters. The image that comes to mind is of a crystal glass and when the note is struck... At just the right frequency it shatters into a million pieces. See you in the boat Fiona! thank you for the inspiration! Jen x
Great that you're feeling ready to take the plunge Jen
Yes, appearances can be deceptive, sometimes there is great strength and power in doing what appears like very little or even nothing on the surface. Holding and subtly working with the energy can take a lot of courage and commitment. I see you diving in and like the crystal glass, powerfully breaking the surface of the water.
A few posts up you shared
"I love how you always see the message through every event in your life."
I clearly recognise this in you and wanted to mirror it right back at ya!
See you on board, love Fiona
This morning I was feeling the pain of the damage we humans cause to animals and all sentient life. I'm on the beautiful island of Iona, where a fantastic conservation project has been implemented to support the red listed corncrake. In the last twenty years the population on this tiny island has increased from two birds to over 50 pairs. This is really inspiring and it is delightful to hear the male corncrakes that are hiding in the long grass. I'm struck by the contrast of how cruelly chickens are treated and how even organic free range eggs come at the cost of male baby chicks being mercilessly killed shortly after birth.
Another example of this irony happened when a woman I am staying with commented on the bone plated knives saying that she hoped they weren't ivory as she felt sad about the hunting of elephants. Yet for me the use of bone is equally sad as either way an animal needlessly died for use. The beef and dairy is one of the biggest contributors to the destruction of the planet at this time. Yet the majority continue to fuel this industry.
I do not want to judge others, that is not my purpose in sharing. I respect and value conscious choice. However I do feel much sadness at how we treat the majestic creatures with whom we share the planet. I am also aware in the examples above of how there is light and darkness in both and there feels to be a rightness about that.
With gratitude and respect for all sentient life and those who take care of them.
Today , i experienced something magical with the animal kingdom . I was just walking towards a shop and suddenly as my attention is brought towards the tarmac , i see a bumble bee unusually lying down there . I immediately & spontaneously felt to bend down and take her into my hand . I started talking to her in the most kinder way possible as i was starting to walk again . It felt that maybe she was recovering from a heavy duty or being a bit home sick . I felt right to bring her into her home habitat (a park nearby) and carefully dropped her gently next to a brave beautiful tree . There was a sense of deep unity between us and heavenly love .A truly soul stirring experience . It felt magical , all the while people around wouldn't have noticed anything . I wished the bumble bee to recover well and went on with the sense of " Mission accomplished with love and care " . It can't get any better when i truly feel engaged with what the moment asks and allow the Soul to take the pilot seat . This could have looked random for many people while for me it was the most important way of being at that moment . Love it
Hi Jean Michel,
What a lovely, magical experience. Thank you for sharing and for caring. Bees are truly amazing, they speak to me of being
With love and blessings, fiona
A couple of years back someone in a group asked me what I meant when I used the term "holding the space". Being asked the question was a real eye opener for me, as it had been something I took for granted, I knew what it meant - or did I? In finding the answer to her question I understood more deeply what "holding the space" means to me. It highlighted the value of questioning everything, particularly things that we take for granted and are part of our common usage And so now another valuable question is arising...
What does it mean to "be present"?
This question came when I realized that I could be observing myself though simultaneously not be present. Previously I had equated presence with being the observer. I noticed myself in situations where I was aware and watching, though part of me remained elsewhere, it was like I was present with my own disengagement or absentness! Other times I can be "away" in another reality and also be quite present, sometimes I seem to be present only to find myself a few moments later lost in thought.
And so I have been exploring the spectrum of presentness, how I can be present to varying degrees and how it can have different qualities.
I wrote the paragraphs above and took my question on a blackberry picking expedition. What I realized is that being present involves active engagement with the moment, even if I am sitting still watching my breath I can do so with connected, active attention. It doesn't feel like this exploration is complete, though I thought to share where I am at...
I want to add that active engagement by itself is not the full picture regarding being present. I can be actively engaged in something, yet be totally lost in it and unaware.
So how about being engaged in the moment, while maintaining conscious awareness on what is happening or on what my attention is drawn to?
I may be getting closer...
Interesting explorations Fiona!
It reminds me of when Open talks about Light/Seer getting lost in the darkness to unravel the distortion. Maybe its not a question of not getting lost, but of finding yoruself when you are?
Also how does being 'present' relate to 'emobdiment'? to you?
Your question, "What does it mean to be present?" is one that I have been exploring more deeply, of late. You and I touched base about this recently with regard to your post on Facebook, "If not now, when?"
This morning as I was meditating and transcending to the Light beyond, I was pulled repeatedly back by intrusive thoughts. So as I write this, I am still feeling hugely frustrated as in "Arrrrgggghhhhh!" Intrusive thoughts are what seem to take me out of being present to the moment. My thoughts boil down to, "You're not doing enough. Do more. You're not going fast enough. Go faster!" Then I lose presence, speed up, and get ahead of the flow. I'm feeling that the rage I felt this morning while meditating relates back to OC genetic manipulation and the downgrade of original humans when we lost our natural ability to align with universal flow.
I'm exploring more deeply why I separate myself from alignment with the universal flow and the One Absolute Presence. In the revised 5 Gateways book, I'm reading the part where Open talks about shadow identities. I relate to several of these shadow identities, but I relate in particular, at present, to the controller which Open describes as not fully trusting in the natural flow of the universe and that Right Action will ultimately happen, so there develops a covert, over-energized manifestation of events. Images wash over me at times of past life experiences that led me to lose trust in the natural flow of the Universe. This lack of trust is being mirrored back to me now by others when I am being asked if I have done this or that or whether I have finished this or that. I overreact and tighten up incredibly in these scenarios and feel angry, overburdened, and like I am failing and not doing enough. It feels like a longstanding pattern and very karmic.
So I've been feeling into all of this in reference to your question about what being present means. While meditating this morning, I was aware of being attached to transcending into the Light beyond and I was frustrated about losing that feeling. Whenever I am attached to anything, I'm not being truly present, since I'm trying to manipulate and control outcomes. True presence is free of all attachments and identities. I felt that my meditation was a complete bust because it didn't flow the way I wanted it to flow. Attachment to outcomes and identities and efforting to control the flow separate me from true Presence. At least, that's what I'm aware of, at present!
If we continue to self-realize through whatever we're feeling and experiencing in each and every moment, we will gradually re-align with the universal flow and right action and become who we truly are. If we are contracted and tight in our bodymind and feel frustrated, angry, sad etc., and if we follow the 9 steps that Open outlines in 5 Gateways -- confront, feel into, become as one with, then unleash the soul through it -- we will fall back into the void of the One Absolute Presence.
Ultimately, if we continue to self-realize through all of our experiences, we come home to who we truly are: the One Absolute Presence in all experiences, identified with none of them. As Open says, we're here to self-realize. There's nothing else going on! So I best get back to processing all that anger and frustration I've been feeling.
Thanks Ben, interesting questions. Yes to find myself when lost, then there will be times to explore what happened to cause the lostness and find the distortion to work with.
I'm not clear yet about the relationship between being present and embodiment. I can see how being aware of breath or physical sensations within the body can enhance presence and help me to be more grounded and centred in the present. There is great value in that. Though there may also be times, for example when I explore a karmic memory or expand to feel as one with everything (pure presence?) when my body ceases to matter or be a focus of awareness. It's probably like most things in life, there is no definitive answer, it depends on the situation and what is being invited at that time.
Catherine, thank you for your valuable contribution. I love how you share with such honesty and have great insight into your own process. I really resonated with the following: "Whenever I am attached to anything, I'm not being truly present, since I'm trying to manipulate and control outcomes. True presence is free of all attachments and identities."
It has just occurred to me that being present also involves acceptance, so maybe one could be present with one's attachments and frustrations, noticing how they make you feel, simply being aware of them without getting lost in the drama of them or needing it to be any different?
I agree that It's a key part of the self-realization process to accept what is being invited at the time, as you say, whether it's about feeling dissatisfied or confused about not feeling fully present for whatever reason, or feeling frustrated about attaching to outcomes and losing the universal flow, or about getting lost in the drama. Or whatever one is feeling! I definitely do get lost in the drama, at times, such as today while meditating when I felt totally fed up and resisted accepting what I was experiencing. I did decide to hold the space for going deeper into my feelings later on. Commenting on your post about what presence means was an important part of the unwinding process for me. When I write, I go deeper into my feelings and unwind. Writing on the forum is often a crucial vehicle for me since I don't have anyone around me that I can talk to about the self-realization process. I feel okay about being angry and frustrated and getting lost in the drama. I accept that's where I'm at. So that's a start to letting go.
I feel more fully embodied, at times, and sometimes disembodied, at times, as you describe. I'm back to regularly doing the breathing techniques that I learned in the Openhand workshops. They really help me to infuse the light of my soul through my bodymind and to relax and unwind, although I do get distracted with intrusive thoughts sometimes during these breathing techniques. OC really knows my weaknesses and how to play me! I know the key is to accept OC and whatever else arises. Onwards.
I appreciate the opportunity to explore this topic with you, Fiona. Thank you!
This is a great exploration everyone
Please allow me to chip in...
What is presence and how do we attain it?
The key is you can't attain true presence if you're aiming for it. Because you've immediately created separation from it inside yourself. And there has to be no separation at all from reality - there has to be a complete merging with reality.
Many people think they're in presence, but what they're really in, is a subtle bubble of unity consciousness - often because there's been some taste of the profound peace of presence, so now there's a subtle desire to dissociate from the harshness and sometimes pain of reality to always be in peace, or joy or love.
But what you can do is work to align with your soul. Your soul of course is the streaming flow of experience from the Source, 'down' through the dimensions - inside yourself. Touching the Source, is touching presence.
What happens, is that when you ride the flow of the soul, you centre in this streaming wave of experience, which in itself, will ultimately carry you into presence - into the source.
Which is why here at Openhand, so much of the work is spent helping people identity and break into the soul, in every moment: it's that sense of 'rightness'...
So if you don't try to avoid this pain of existence, in other words, as you begin to accept the moment truly as it is without needing to distract from it, then you can soften into this pain, like sliding tentatively into a bath that's too hot. But nevertheless, it's time to surrender. So you sink gently into it, with each feeling, each emotion, each thought: whether it be boredom, worthlessness, guilt, sense of lovelessness, resentment, sense of isolation, or disconnection. Be in that feeling until you're so at-one with it, that progressively, you're no longer defined by it - you simply don't need it to go away. At that point, begin to feel through - to breakthrough - the moment into the sense of soul: felt as lightness; a vibration through and around you; timelessness; joy and love; or the big one - a simple sense of 'rightness'.
Let this new sense begin to take over, more and more. As it comes through, pay attention to it. It will be subtle in the beginning, but the more you can catch it with your awareness, the stronger it grows. After a while, you realise it has many different qualities, so don't fall into the trap of expecting it always to be the same - like peace for example. Sometimes it will be willful, strong, and committed to change.
If you keep centering in this growing experience of the soul, by confronting, breaking into and breaking through the inner tightness of the moment (of the ego), then increasingly you learn to ride the wave of the soul more and more. As this happens, there will effortlessly arise moments of intense lucidity. Suddenly 3 hrs have gone by in a flash. There's crystal clear clarity with no identity - it feels like there's been 'no one here' - just an infinite space of emptiness from which things spontaneously arise. But it's not disconnected from the moment - quite the reverse. It's an intense aliveness to the moment, because there are no veiling barriers to it. You are alive, here and now, totally immersed in the moment, totally connected, without resistance, distance or hesitation. "Jump!" - you've already done it.
It's totally awesome - so awesome that the ego will try to own it and create something from it (like love and light for example, or peace). So now, once again it disappears behind a veil of expectation, need, desire or resistance. Or else the experience of presence is at first terrifying, because you recognise 'YOU' and everything you thought 'YOU' were, is an illusion, one which is about to be mercilessly unraveled - obliterated - by the void of presence. And so another veil of resistance will arise: how can you possibly be this free? What does such freedom mean to all your relationships? (for example). In the beginning, the ego cannot handle such liberation, where all justification for its existence is suddenly called into question.
But progressively, depending on your will to surrender into and through this resistance, you confront the attachments inside yourself. You reach a point where you realise there's just no longer any reason to hang on. You immerse yourself in it, at whatever apparent cost to the personality. And even if such freedom, and the choices made from it, were to result in your death, nevertheless you persist, because you realise all else is illusion. And you've grown hopelessly tired of the illusion. How can even death hold you back? And if death can no longer hold you, then neither can any experience of life.
It's when you've reached this point that presence can happen. But don't expect to see anything of presence. It just 'is'. It's there in the background. In the beginning, the sense of it will be extraordinary, superlative, mind blowing even. But progressively, you just accept it as a background state of "isness". You come to know it as 'who you really are'. And there's no longer any point being anywhere else. So the commitment arises to always expand through the contraction of the moment - always to breakthrough with the soul, always to settle back into the void of presence.
You'll know it when you've tasted it. There's simply nothing else to compare.
PS: the exploration of presence is what inspired this video...
This is a great exploration, and really mirrors what is going on for me right now. Thank you Fiona, Catherine, Ben and Open. Little bits have jumped out at me from each of your writings and given me exactly what I need.
What really jumped out at me was this connection of being present and being attached. I feel that often I am actually attached to being present, insofar as, I experience a moment of complete lucidity,which feels amazing and I try to hold onto it.
And what Ben said about the Seer getting lost in the distortion in order to unravel it has really been like a key opening a door for me that I felt I was running against like a fly trying to fly through a window. So thank you!
Open, what you said is just gold! The whole thing. I especially relate to the part about being overwhelmed by pure presence because I feel like I am being 'obliterated'. Sometimes when I am truely expanding and experiencing these moment I feel completely weak at the knees and overpowered. Perhaps it's also the new energies coming through. When I'm really totally surrendering they feel quite strong.
Beautiful sharings..articulately crafted. Do you find presence to be of certain vibration. To me it is like a low vibratory medium upon which other higher or lower frequencies played out in emotions, reactions or just experiences in daily life meld with. (A Pin impression toy that molds the hand came to mind)
In solitude of travels I fall into beingness. The melody of life sings its song, I, an instrument within the symphony of all/nothing. In relations with others, although there is no intention to struggle, a recurring happening is when people convey a message that is authentic to them their words pierce to crack the superficial barrier that obscures their veil. Each perception a clue yet if I see that in their perception is that then a reflection of where I can then learn as well? or am I to reflect that back in some way...
I find looking into another's eyes, hearing their spoken words that I often feel their words transform to sound to vibrations with an undercurrent or tone that has the potential to illicit a more ego driven response or reaction. I allow the message to move through to feel the effects in my physical form..maybe my heart rate increases, my breathing changes. I remain aware, the soul recognizes the patterns. Each exchange generates a pattern of unique vibrations that I am absolutely free within each moment. This is a part of my experience with what I believe you call presence.
Greetings - your presence is always welcome here
I feel I can see what you're saying. To me, what you're describing feels more like a very fine layer of unity consciousness - a vibration very close to the source, but not the source itself. I've experienced it's one of the finest layers to breakthrough before the fully enlightened state.
To me, presence is the absence of all things, of all vibration. But then vibration emerges out of it. When you're actually 'looking for it', it's nigh on impossible to see. But then it just happens. And you know. There it was. There it is. Except it's not an 'it' at all.
I can recall - within Chris' experience - when this fine bubble burst and presence simply happened. So I would say keep exploring, keep aligning with soul, keep challenging any identification that fixes you to some reference point in the universe. Then, if I'm being accurate in my understanding of what you're describing, I know even this experience will burst wide open.
Wow, what a fantastic exploration.
I have learned a lot and am very grateful for everyone's sharing. As Richard says Open your post is pure gold Thank you Catherine, onwards indeed!
I realize that I was confusing being present with being the observer, when what we are talking about here is being Presence or being the Seer.
Interesting to hear that Presence can be easily confused with a bubble of Unity Consciousness. I can appreciate the difference.
This line stood out for me "So the commitment arises to always expand through the contraction of the moment - always to breakthrough with the soul, always to settle back into the void of presence." What a gem
With gratitude and love, Fiona
I am currently reading the 5 Gateways, second edition and have just began reading the overview of Gateway 4, which begins with a description of the change from being identified with the false self to becoming the Seer - how perfect!
And reading it has answered another question that had arisen for me, thank you Open and Openhand.
Open, separation consciousness really feels like excruciating torture when you describe the wondrous and total awesomeness of being the non-identified Seer while saying that we can't aim for it ha!
I loved seeing your amazing video again, "WHO ARE YOU and how to be that?" What I especially love is the passion, love, and unbridled commitment, joy, and enthusiasm that emanate from you. You da man. Soul man, that is!
Highlights for me from your comments in the video: You can't aim for Presence but you can align with your soul, with authentic feeling and being. You become the blank canvass in the background and get the sense that there's no-one here. "That's what being open means." It takes being nothing to open to everything, to be in all things, and yet not identified with anything.
Open, some of your comments in this thread that stand out for me: Feeling a sense of rightness when we break through our pain into the sense of soul. I have felt this sense of rightness so strongly, at times, that I knew in the depths of my being that absolutely nothing could deter me from going with it. It felt like being totally immersed in the divine flow of rightness.
Another highlight: And it feels like a crystal clear clarity with the sense of no-one here. But it's not disconnected from the moment. It's an intense aliveness to the moment. I have felt this aliveness to the degree that it felt like "I" had disappeared.
And another: "You reach a point where you realise there's just no longer any reason to hang on. You immerse yourself in it, at whatever apparent cost to the personality. And even if such freedom, and the choices made from it, were to result in your death, nevertheless you persist, because you realise all else is illusion. And you've grown hopelessly tired of the illusion." I relate to feeling shades of this for many months after attending "The Path Between Worlds" Openhand workshop.
And finally: Let this sense of aligning with your soul take over more and more. Pay attention to it. "If you keep centering in this growing experience of the soul, by confronting, breaking into and breaking through the inner tightness of the moment (of the ego), then increasingly you learn to ride the wave of the soul more and more."
We can't aim for Presence, but we can self-realize through our inner tightness of the moment and ride the wave of the soul. I rode one of those this morning.
Ben, thank you for your insightful comments about losing ourselves to find ourselves. I relate strongly to that experience. I am reminded of the "Lost and Found" box we had at school. Thanks to Fiona for raising this topic and for your insights, and thanks to Richard and Erica for your perspectives. I am continually amazed at the unique expressions of the divine that we all are.
Gracias, Open. All I can say is effing awesome!
It's been a "wierd week" and I thought to share here - it's been a while It began with a questioning of all that is, what is life about? What is real? How do I know anything?
Then after a couple of days of lightly holding the questions my perception began to change, I started to see the world in a different way. I could sense the energy all around me, in the breeze, in people, in birdsong... I was perceiving energy and the field at a deeper level, beyond the physical form. This state of awareness reminded me of this clip from the movie Peaceful warrior. There is never nothing going on...
How synchronstic that the previous posts here have been about Presence!
Of course! There is never nothing going on!
Big hugs Fiona!
Just felt to share my delight in gathering nettles, wild garlic and dandelion this week and creating a pesto with a real vibrancy. It felt so alive.
What a joyful experience from being in the Gorge, connecting and choosing the nettles as the refreshing rain begins to fall, then later back home creating the pesto and wow, the taste - a real buzz and lightness from it! And then to share it with friends
It's the simple pleasures...
You had me at nettles!
On my menu this week too
I love how you bring such a touch of lightness and joy to even those little moments. yes foraging feels special to me to - there's something about connecting with plants and picking them (with their permission!) in their natural/chosen environments.
That dip was radiant indeed, even a tiny taste!
Fiona, you manage to convey a sense of the mystical when you write. I feel as though I was there with you experiencing the connection and inter-connectedness of vibrancy of and intimacy with Gorge, nettles, rain and pesto.
I totally vibe with this entire adventure...sounds like a day so very well enjoyed. Thank you for sharing it with us...would love to join you sometime! With love, Jen
Thanks for the comments, lovely to share the journey with you all
I wonder what will be in season when you are here Jen, maybe bilberries - yummy!
Yesterday, I started a hundred mile hike into the beautiful Scottish Highlands. I've been sharing my journey on facebook and felt to sshare it here too. It has been a spectacular first 14 miles. There was some emotion in the morning as I set off, I felt vulnerable and small at the prospect of the unknown ahead (a bit like life sometimes), though that was soon replaced by an awesome feeling of rightness, beauty and connection with the earth beneath my feet. A sense of being at ease! In the afternoon I saw a salmon swimming upstream, it was splashing and floundering as it climbed a small waterfall. What a remarkable journey they make, they put so much energy into returning against the water flow to lay their eggs. The salmon (for me) represents knowledge, wisdom and Irish culture. Tonight there is a storm warning, so not sure how that will impact on tomorrows walking - time will tell....
Day 2 of the West Highland Way has been invigorating! There were storm warnings and winds of over 40mph, so conditions were tough and exhilarating. Synchronistically my morning reading was from Breakthrough by Open relating to finding your passion and expressing it. I certainly felt my souls joy and passion for walking in the wilderness today my dad has a phrase that he likes to exclaim with gusto in such circumstances and I could hear his voice stating "I'm alive, I'm fine, I feel fanTASTIC" and a mehaphorical fist punching the air. The weather didn't stop me appreciating my first glimpses of Loch lommond and the spectacular views. Met a friendly robin enroute, for me the bird of joy, who didn't appear to mind the wind ruffling it's feathers. I had a magical moment of flow as I began the day - the initial few hundred metres were along roadside, as I walked along in the rain I felt a pull to explore a path to the side, within seconds of leaving the road edge a lorry passed splashing water which would have soaked me had I not momentarily diverted from the road edge. A lovely omen to begin a lovely day, feeling happily tired and achy this evening and looking forward to tomorrow
Apologies for any typos, as writing on phone
With love, fiona
What a brave lass. An adventure and a half!
A big cheer and loads of love from me Fiona.
Fiona - what a fantastic inspiration you are to everyone. Stepping out on your own in that absolute space of vulnerability where literally anything can happen. It's what brings us alive.
Have a truly amazing time, let the vibe of your soul sing through you and inspire a new expansion - a new evolution.
Huge etheric hug heading your way.
Fiona - absolutely fabulous! How wonderful and so encouraging for the rest of us to step out.....I must confess to a bit of gypsy envy!!
I can feel the rain washing and the wind blowing through, clearing, cleaning - fresh and brisk - invigorating. Alive!!
Thank you for sharing your journey.
Fiona! What an amazing hike you're undertaking in the Scottish Highlands all by yourself! Wow! What courage and trust! So incredibly inspiring. Makes me stand a little taller! Fist pumping in the air for you! Woohoo! You go, girl!
Fiona, As the miles go by the smiles get bigger. the feet get sorer,the pack straps cut in more, but the heart soars and the spirit flies higher!!! Feeling you through the ether!!! Much love and a little envy of your journey!! Hug a tree for me!!!
Hi Fiona - if you're picking this up whilst out hiking - perhaps at the end of the day? - I thought you might appreciate this video. And for anyone else who needs some inspiration to step out and change your life....
Wow, Fiona, what an amazing adventure to be on! Just last night you came into my thoughts and I wondered what you were up to...:-)
May your heart continue to spread her wings.
Wow guys, thanks for the beautiful messages and comments. I'm very touched! Well, I've completed day 5 and am at the half way point!
Day 4 was tough, my mind was busy and I recognised some attachments that it was time to let go off. I saw two wrens, their busyness and apparent inability to stay still reflected my inner state. I kept reminding myself to be in the moment. I had a magical experience where I stated with some energy "I am coming back to me" and at that very moment there was a burst of birdsong and a strong breeze, I just had to laugh. Last night's reading from Breakthrough was aptly the sword and the rose chapter, relating to Chris's army experience yomping in the mountains, the perfect reflection to give me inspiration, it appears I have it very easy
This quote particularly resonated
"You were discovering the art of harmonising the sword and the rose - the warrior energy provides the impetus to do something, but once that purpose has been initiated, what is necessary to ensure successful completion is absolute surrender into the moment."
It feels like such surrender was what was being invited and reflected in the discovery of a dead upside down surrendered vole.
This morning it was raining "cats and dogs". Normally under such conditions, I wouldn't even consider going outside, yet there was a feeling of excitement as I began the day in the rain. It was quite a contrast to the previous day, even though I was walking twice the distance, I felt much more positive and upbeat. It illustrates the importance of attitude and seeing the positive in what is presenting in front of me. It feels like I was in touch with a much more soulful place.
The nature has been truly stunning. I have left the lake side and am surrounded by glorious mountains. One of the benefits of all the rain is gushing and vibrant waterfalls, as well as more interesting stepping stone adventures!
Wild life today included some wild goats, a tiny brown frog, buzzards and of course my robin friends. There were a couple of beautiful rainbows also.
Thanks for all the love guys and the wonderful inspiring video,
Sending out glorious rainbows, bird song and gushing waters through the ether,fiona
Sounds like you're having a wonderfully enlightening and healing time Fiona. Inspirational to all!
"inspirational to all" - YES - absolutely!! Walking in the rain the other day - I ended up soaked because I hadn't taken a rain coat - I thought of you and lifted my face up into the stinging rain and felt vibrantly alive - a full and rich 'bring it on' feeling.
Thank you Fiona - without your journey and your sharing I might have hunched over, cursed the rain and been totally miserable - a shrinking 'make it go away' thinking.
My attitude wasn't changing the event, but it sure made a difference in how I felt through the experience.
Yes, a truly enlightening and healing time, Open. It's been wonderful to have your "Breakthrough" book as a companion, providing just the right reflections and inspirations enroute. What a gift it is
Awww, Cynthia, thank you! The rain and winds are full on here again this morning, so hand in hand I'll be walking head high with you
I've been watching my own and other people's reactions to the weather forecasts. Some people become almost fearful of the weather possibilities and others dismissive and carry on regardless. What strikes me is the value of giving due respect to the forecast, though not to be governed by it, rather taking it into consideration, then feel what is right inside of you. Remain aware that conditions can and do change and the forecast isn't always that accurate. This could be applied to many areas of life where we receive information from our external world, we can bring that information inside and notice how we feel in relation to it...
I have been reading your blog about your journey and feel so inspired! It's amazing the difference between the idea of doing something (like your adventure or any other pursuit) and what that brings up inside and actually stepping out and doing it. I love knowing that whatever we think may be, whatever we fear may be, whatvere our minds can conjure up about the step we are making, can never compare to what actually is and the bounteous and unexpected gifts we uncover along the way.
I love how you find inspiration through every single moment. every encounter, every experience.
Sending you lots of love and big warm hug!
Thank you Jen, yes, yes I agree! I've been noticing how anticipating something can bring up fear or anxiety, though when I am in the experience I can just soften and enjoy it - like rain or wind, or high hills for example! I have also noticed that somethings that I anticipate don't even happen as something else presents on the path, so what is the point in stressing about what may happen - it's so liberating to let it all go and simply be in the moment! A big hug to you Jen
Weather Update - related to the previous paragraph, I want to ammend what I said earlier about the weather, I reckon you can ignore the forecast, I’ve learned from experience over the past few days to just go with what you feel inside! Wind and rain can be exhilerating and enriching. It’s rarely as bad as the forecast suggests and if it is or becomes unsafe you can just turn around.
I met a man yesterday who was running from John O Groats to Lands End, the full length of the UK and had run 27 marathons in 27 days in Malawi earlier this year to raise money for a charity. What an amazing and inspiring character he was. I met many other wonderful people this past week and noticed how we all have our own pace and journey, each unique in how we walk the way
Today’s walk through Glen Coe and the mountains was utterly breathtaking. I climbed the “Devil’s staircase” to be surrounded 360 degrees by glorious mountains, some near and others off in the distance, I think “Stairway to heaven” would be a more apt name for it. I was moved to tears a couple of times at the sheer beauty and magnificence of it all. The sun even shone for most of my walking time, which meant I could take a more leisurely pace without getting wet or cold!
I’m finishing my hike a day earlier than scheduled. A couple of months ago I felt drawn to a week’s volunteer work at Anam Cara in the north of Scotland, to work with trees. I emailed them and received a lovely reply that unfortunately the Autumns working week was fully booked. However the pull was strong and like Open states in Breakthrough “Never take no for an answer!”, so I emailed them again on Wednesday and then this morning a space became available, there is such a sense of rightness about me being there. I’m delighted I followed the pull to send the additional email and excited to see what the week will bring working with the trees!
Perhaps I’ll return next week to walk the final 16 miles of the West Highland Way, who knows…
Thank you for the love and support this week, it’s been awesome, I leave you as I overlook the loch and mountains with the sun setting on one adventure and tomorrow another begins.
Yesterday I could feel a lot of dense and heavy energy in my field particularly in my head. I sat meditating in a beautiful spot in nature and asked the Universe the renowned Openhand phrase "Show me!". I opened my eyes and almost immediately below me there was a gecko, which seemed to represent lower vibration, it then proceeds to eat tiny white flowers. It felt like the white flowers represented joy and purity.
The experience spoke to me of the possibility of lower energies interfering, even destroying my joy and vitality (if I allow it). However, I was above looking down on the experience, with the higher perspective I could be the observer and not get identified with it all. I could still feel the heaviness, though not get lost in it.
Some breathwork helped to further clear the energy and bring me back towards centre. I found that bringing the breath down in to my heart and lower body assisted and brought about some emotional release (which I continue to work with today). I find that bringing the breath down into the body helps me to ground, being in nature is another wonderful remedy.
This experience was timely, as I have had a number ask me about working with heavy energies recently, whether they be picked up through others or energies in the field. I also found this article of Opens helpful - http://www.openhandweb.org/9_methods_for_dealing_with_Psychic_Energy_Att...
A continual journey of exploration...