I observe perhaps the greatest challenge to finding true inner peace, and connecting with the natural flow of life, is realising the true nature of the self. Not just at a mind level, but realising it experientially within. That's a big part of the work on Openhand events. That's what we're getting into right now on the La Palma retreat.

Asking the question "who are you?" is incredibly paradoxical. Those who've touched the enlightened state, often speak of the 'Void of Presence'. It's a placeless place of infinite potential that lies within. The paradox is that it is a non experience - which you could interpret through mind and feelings as 'awesome okayness'.

You have to penetrate through plenty of layers of identity and attachment to come into the Void. There will be plenty of resistances and even fear to touching that state - it can feel like a death, and even the complete loss of self. Various subtle layers of ego will resist and try to hold on. What's required is complete surrender through these layers of tightness. Ultimately it leads to "samadhi" - you're in infinite potential, pure presence before actualisation. It literally feels within as if no one is there. And you know you've come home to the ultimate truth of life.

That's not the end of the story though! Because from this state, energy of the soul flows - the unmanifest comes into the manifest and experience happens. The enlightened state is to be able to be in the experience and to hold it, whilst at the same time, be coming from this place of presence. 

There's the challenge, because as soon as the soul flows, until there is full self-realisation, it will likely attach in some way to the external drama - this pulls you out of the state of presence - the state of grace. 

The key is to recognise and accept that this (bouncing in and out of presence) might be happening to you, and that it has a huge impact on your life and what creates in it. Therefore working to find the inner balance and harmony, will manifest that externally in your life. So accept that attachments happen and that these cause discomfort and pain, but rather than trying to placate the discomfort by overriding it with something pleasurable (for example), it's better to work into the tightness and unwind it by realising the attachment doesn't serve - let go of the need for things to be a certain way, and instead accept the flow of life.

An example is being unwell - having a debilitating fever, as a friend of mine is currently experiencing. The mind often wants to cure and heal it, to get out of that unpleasantness and pain. But within it, there is much to be gained and learned about oneself. Pain in the body actually brings consciousness into your very cells, assuming you surrender into the experience. It's about becoming acutely aware of exactly what is going on but without judging the experience... "it's just and experience that is like 'this'". The discomfort can actually become pleasurable because it leads to a state of grace. When you can soften into the experience in this way, not only do you learn and integrate masses, but healing will happen fastest. Harmony restores the imbalance.

As you accept the flow of life, then you're coming back again to the mainstream of your soul, which progressively delivers you back into the state of presence - the state of grace. 

I find that when you can recognise the state of inner presence - the awesome okayness - then it helps greatly to always have a part of your attention turned inwardly toward it. A part of your soul becomes a lens by which to 'see' the state of non-experience, of infinite potential. Then you find yourself resting in this samadhi, from which the soul flows. You're fully engaging with life, but not attached to it.

In this state of "samadhi", you can experience both profound joy, and grief, but the experiences flow without defining you by them. Paradoxically, by letting go of the need for something to be a particular way, means you get MORE out of the experience not less - because you're constantly allowing yourself to come ever deeper into the experience.

That's what we're working with on the retreat today. I felt to share the video with you below, that conveys a sense of what I'm taking about and invite your own inner inquiry. Where are you at in relation to it?