Memory and Tradition on the Spiritual Quest

This is another of my posts from earlier blogs—This one from a year and a half ago, updated for inclusion here…

Honor Yesterday Without Hanging On

One of the first roadblocks you encounter as you embark on a serious Spiritual Path is the accumulated mental, emotional and physical baggage of your own past. There’s some nasty stuff lurking in that baggage, and Memory is the key that unlocks most of it. In the course of even the most seemingly benign life, huge amounts of emotional detritus, mental garbage, as well as physical angst and imbalance, are packed away to sneak up on you at the most inopportune times. Harboring the past can and does effect every aspect of life—it can keep you from happiness and contentment, cause mental or physical illness, and stop you from achieving your goals. So why do we hang on to these Memories? It is ingrained in us from birth. We get emotionally or intellectually involved in every minute detail of our life, and we don’t Let Go when the moment has passed. Instead, we judge others and ourselves, regret actions, feel guilt or try to impose it on those we think have “hurt” us. And hold on to it all till the bitter end.

It’s not just things we think of as bad or traumatic that we cling to either. Be it a feeling, a sensation or physical gratification, we seek not only to repeat the experience but to maintain it in memory. So, if ice cream is good occasionally…eat it every day. If that magical feeling of falling in love is your panacea…enter into a series of shallow and ultimately unfulfilling relationships to keep experiencing it. The list of things we do to feed our memory banks is endless. Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll! We are a race of sensation seekers.

Just as Memory is the minefield of Spiritual attainment, it can also serve as a valuable Tool. When a very powerful memory (you know the ones—complete with cinematic soundtrack and in Technicolor) arises to bring forth the set of negative or even positive emotions associated with it, the Seeker has the opportunity to look closely at it. It is important to discover what is at the roots of these strong feelings.When you do so, it is a chance to work all of the way through this emotional gestalt and to return the Energy you have tied up in this recall to the people, place and time it belongs in. Sounds simple! And yes, the principle is really that straightforward. It just isn’t always easy. However, if we Intend to progress on our Path, and to let go of the encumbrances of the past, it will occur.

Remember

While this process (I call it Clearing) may seem complete to you at some point, usually after a period of intense Self examination (I call it the roller coaster ride through Hell; it has also been likened to peeling the layers of an onion), it is really a lifelong commitment. We can get better and better at not clinging, but the very nature of material existence lets things get by us. 

Forget

Memories Without Anchors

You may wonder if I am saying dump all of your precious memories. Not at all. But if you undertake the process of Clearing the nature of Memory will change drastically. When the attached emotions and feelings are stripped away, the accumulated bits of your past do lose their vibrancy and film-like quality. They become more like paging through an album of still photos, flat and not imbued with lives of their own, but pleasant to visit once in a while and a shared foundation for interpersonal relationships. Also, these memories are potentially useful in healing work with those you share past associations with. What comes up often points out imbalances or conflicts that need to be addressed.  You may discover as well, that one or more persons who have shared what should be the same experiences, may remember them very differently, or not at all. Our continuity is a fragile thing. We do, whether we are aware or not, rewrite our history in subtle, or not so subtle ways, on an ongoing basis. 

Forgive

Tradition can be a way of maintaining continuity and connection with both the past and other people. However, it should be treated like our Memories, as something to be maintained only if and as long as it serves us. It should not be treated as a rigid or slavish adherence to forms that have lost meaning in our present situation, but as an organic Celebration of the important passages in life. I quite enjoy our traditional family celebrations. I am not a Christian, though my antecedents and some of my contemporaries were, and some still are, but I honor Christianity and many of its traditions and trappings. I love Christmas and Easter, and celebrate them with my less than traditional, in many cases, family. Our family traditions continue to change and evolve with time and circumstance though, and that is as it should be.

I think that when we begin treating Memory and Tradition like helium balloons—buoyant and ephemeral— rather than as anchors, trapping us in the thrall of the past, we begin to experience real freedom. We find ourselves greeting each moment and celebration as a new experience rather than as a chore or obligation.

Tradition

Wabi-Sabi

Reflecting on memory and tradition brought me back to another concept that I have been exploring just recently. It is the traditional Japanese aesthetic called Wabi-Sabi. I first encountered the concept while following up on some Trend forecasts. Being an Etsy online merchant and active through my shop and blogs on various Social Media, it behooves me to keep an eye on what is catching the mass consciousness attention. From a passing fascination with the contemporary expression of this very old idea, I found a much deeper interest in researching its origins and traditional meanings. 

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, Wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From Wikipedia

The concept derives from the Buddhist teaching regarding the Three Marks of Existence— Impermanence, Suffering and Emptiness (absence of Self-Nature). So, in essence, wabi-sabi can be described as beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. The root words, Wabi and Sabi have apparently evolved over time. Wabi’s original meaning referred to the loneliness of living alone in nature, remote from society. Sabi meant lean or withered. More recent connotations for Wabi involve quiet, freshness and a rustic simplicity— Sabi is the beauty and serenity that comes with age; patina, wear and visible repair.

While for many centuries Wabi-Sabi incorporated artistic and Buddhist influences from China, over time it settled into a very distinctly Japanese ideal. Though the original influence of Wabi-Sabi was toward understanding emptiness and imperfection in regard to taking the first steps toward Enlightenment, in present day Japan, it is more often condensed into “wisdom in natural simplicity” or “flawed beauty”. To sum it up: Wabi-sabi is intuitive appreciation of the transient beauty in the physical world reflecting the irreversible flow of life in the spiritual world. It is an aesthetic sensibility that finds melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things. ( Some information excerpted From: WABI-SABI and UNDERSTANDING JAPAN)

Abandoning Perfection

I find myself fascinated with the entire concept, both its traditional roots and its contemporary interpretation. Maybe a bit strange for a self-proclaimed perfectionist. However, If I have learned nothing else these past few years, it is that I have to Let Go. While I may dream of being the woman who can have it all—business, home, family, hobbies— shiny and perfect, the Truth is I can only do so much. I can try to have a magazine worthy home, but I have come to accept that this glossy perfection seldom extends far beyond the camera frame, and that it takes an enormous amount of time and energy to achieve. I’ve quit kicking myself for not Living up to my own unrealistic goals. Let Go and Let God is my philosophy these days. The more attuned I become with my Spiritual Being and my Higher Self Guidance, the less I worry about these transient things.

 Besides, I think I have reached a stage in life where I might very well be considered Wabi-Sabi! Blessings to All…

PinMe 🙂 

Memory and Tradition

Emotional Healing—Following the Path of Heart

Roads Less Traveled

“For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length–and there I travel looking, looking breathlessly.” 
― Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

Paths that have Heart

Coping with Life as an Empath…

Part 2

In the late 1980s the Spiritual Path I had meandered down for several years went into overdrive. A number of obviously not random events in my life sent me careening through an Awakening that no amount of previous information or knowledge could have prepared me for. During that period, I met, worked alongside and became best friends with two women who were drawn to and had experienced, as I had, events of an esoteric and metaphysical nature. I realize now that it was our combined energy that began attracting even more of these experiences. Around this same time, I was standing in line at a convenience store one day when a woman I didn’t know walked up to me and told me I needed to go to a  place called Angels and Dolphins. The name meant nothing to me, but at that time I was quite open to both serendipity and adventure. It turned out to be a Metaphysical book shop and center, located in a quirky beach-side neighborhood. I don’t think I had actually been to a shop of that sort before. Most of my previous reading material, from philosophy to near death experience to channeling, came from my local library shelves.

I was immediately entranced by Angels and Dolphins—savoring the smell of salt air and incense, the shelves with their array of fascinating books, crystals everywhere, tarot cards and magical tools in glass cases. It was Nirvana for a seeker like myself. I was equally taken by the lovely, tranquil lady who was proprietor of this retail treasure trove. Chris was calm, very kind, intuitive and insightful. All traits I wanted very much for myself. When I found out there were classes, I immediately signed up.

One of the two best friends I mentioned before attended with me. The other woman in our little trio was a young mother with a husband who objected strongly to her spiritual pursuits. Actually, all of us had husbands that disapproved, but we weren’t that easily discouraged. That little shop, and the Healing Classes I subsequently attended, changed my life. Our teacher, a Psychic Healer and Chiropractor freshly relocated to Florida became a mentor and good friend. There was no one I met at those gatherings that didn’t influence my life and direction in one way or another. Through those classes, I became a friend to the man who would ultimately become a spiritual teacher, husband, father of two of my children, and finally Partner on this Path of Service we both chose. 

That period of my life was a testament to just how quickly and completely things can change. The year or so that followed was the hardest, saddest and most profound I have ever experienced. It was also the most joyous, amazing, miraculous interlude to that point. The woman I had been, or at least thought I had been, was stripped away completely—leaving me reeling but cleansed and renewed. It was during that time that I first read Carlos Castaneda’s books detailing his years with the Yaqui Nagual Don Juan. The quote I use on my front page, and opened this post with, touched me like few words ever have, and remains the model for the life I choose to lead.

Becoming an Empathic Healer

By the time I began functioning as an Empathic Healer, I already had a number of years of Service under my belt. I was finished with my Shamanic Initiation, had served as a teacher, guide and channel in numerous situations and for quite a number of individuals, and felt myself to be fairly adept in many energetic realms. I was not prepared for the experience of the Empath as Healer though. It is one thing to be an Empath, to learn to deal with the sensitivity and challenges it daily presents. It is quite another to link energetically (and voluntarily) with another person, and share their Emotional (and in some cases intersecting with and including the Physical and Mental) Body. It is gut-wrenchingly intimate—often confusing in the extreme.

Since this particular brand of healing involves actually establishing an energetic bond with the subject of the Healing  you become, in effect, a Mirror to that person. You feel what they feel, and very often this contact becomes so Personal that it is impossible to tell where you end and this other individual begins within your own psyche. This kind of healing entails sifting through the emotional deitrus of another soul, finding the key to the blockage that needs released and working through it. Working through it means fully expressing whatever deep emotional wound has caused this person to require healing. I have been taught to literally express and re-qualify whatever energy body blockage I find and return it to its source. Now, this may sound very altruistic and noble, but in reality it is excruciating.  People are full of emotional garbage that you do not want to Feel or See. And yet, that is exactly how it works.

Healing

There have been so many times when I have been in the midst of these Healings that I have wanted to quit, to make all of the pain and the suffering stop. The truth however, is that it is my Gift, that this kind of healing is something that I can do that very few others can. It is also a fact that when you do this sort of healing—when you know a person’s feelings so intimately— you have to suspend judgement and ultimately accept them and love them for all that they are. This healing is the place where Unconditional Love lives.

Until I reach that point where I can love the individual being healed without any reservation or condition, the healing can’t be completed. It is very easy to fall into the trap of judging these emotional gestalts harshly. And in the case of an Empathic Healer this results in self-hate and self-loathing. That’s when, as a healer, it is required to delve even deeper, to find what lies at the root of the perceived negative. Always, that is Fear or Pain. I am yet to encounter anyone that I could not find that spark of Love in and for, though sometimes it is a wrenching and extraordinarily painful search.

Another weird offshoot to Empathic Healing is that the subject I am healing most often comes to Love me at some juncture, and this has caused any number of misunderstandings and complications over the years.  When shown a Mirror of what would appear to be their own souls, many see exactly what they want to see in me. They do not know why they feel this love, and more often than not, when the healing reaches a critical (and unpleasant) point, they want nothing more than to distance themselves from me.  It can be quite confusing, and at times very isolating.

Alone is Not Lonely

For me, isolation is sometimes preferable. It is infinitely easier to do this healing with someone you are not in constant contact with. However, there do seem to be certain distance constraints, though I am not consciously aware of what these may be. I only know that the subject of the healing usually lives in my vicinity. I have often participated in longer distance healings during times of mass tragedy or disaster (September 11, 2001 and December 26th, 2004 come to mind as the most difficult) but in these situations I was only part of some larger group consciousness or matrix.

The Healing work is easier in many ways these days. At first, I could only form this sort of healing bond with one or two individuals at a time, and must focus on them singly. Now I am capable of healing groups, and more often than not, I am not in very close proximity to them or even particularly aware of the specific individuals. If that were not the case, I am not certain I would still be up to this task. It is hurtful, unhappy work, and I only seldom get to see much in the way of concrete results. At times, when I do see more tangible evidence of the healing, the subject is very often trying to put as much distance between themselves and me as possible. People don’t as a practice usually wear the type of emotional baggage I deal with on their sleeves. More than once I have seen recipients of this healing eventually, after the initial elation of being freed from these imbalances wears off, resume exactly the same patterns that got them into dire straits to begin with. There is no great sense of fulfillment with this work, but that does not mean that I don’t consider it very important.

I will also note here that I do not choose, at least consciously, who is to be healed in this manner. Spirit chooses, out of whatever esoteric criterion is necessary, I suppose. I only know that there is a plan, and that there are ones who need to be healed in order to do their part of it. I am at times allowed to intercede for people I already know and love at times, but this is a special dispensation, not the norm. At this point, I can live with this ability and the emotions that accompany it. I do not spare it a lot of thought at most times. It helps too, that I have expanded my healing practice and repertoire. I have taken the first level of Reiki training and will soon do the second.

What I have often wondered during these past years though. is if anything I Feel is genuine, or if I even generate my own emotional content. Do Empaths have an Emotional Body that functions like most others, or are we the opposite end of the Spectrum from Autistics and others who lack the ability to empathize at all? If I, as an individual, feels for so many others, is there room left to feel for myself? It is a question that has yet to be answered for me, though I can get ready answers to so many others. And another question—am I better off  without my own feelings? Perhaps I am more able to experience the Heart and Higher Consciousness without them.

It seems to me that the world is entering into another Spiritual upswelling like it has experienced on occasion during the past few decades , that yet another Cycle of expanded consciousness is at its beginning. The Earth is in the process of a Quickening that will lift her into yet another dimension ultimately, and the Call that has been going out for the past half century is awakening still another generation. Technology will play a vital role in this next cycle. These new Light-Workers are connected by networks not available just a short while ago, and have readily available to them a wealth of information both accurate and not.

My advice to them is to focus on clearing their Energy Bodies, of not letting emotional baggage, whether their own or that of others, keep them in the dark. True feeling comes from the Heart, not from those lower Centers where jealousy, possessiveness, guilt, grief, anger, resentment and hate originate. Whether you are an Empath or not, feel it and let it go. Holding on causes blockages and ultimately, disease.

Learn to Let Go

I welcome questions or comments. I will answer any that I am able. Blessings to you all. Till next time…