When I Know What I Am

When I know what I am there is deep stillness and quiet. There may be thoughts, and emotions, but they are infused with silence. They are like echoes in the infinite, like the sound of a gong as it drifts into space Or like ripples on an immense deep ocean   I don’t forget any more, there is no longer any confusion, or doubt. There is just the shifting from background to foreground, to no ground. Sometimes the stillness takes over and infuses everything with its glow, Sometimes, it remains as an underlying quiet, like a secret lover waiting. Other times life is very loud and the silence is a soft voice that could be missed, but I don’t, because it is what I am.   It doesn’t matter what the thoughts say, or how strong the emotions get, they don’t fool me any more, I know they are innocent and don’t mean any harm. I can even play along with them, sometimes that feels right, and other times I ignore them until they dissolve like the imaginary phantoms they are. The silence is always there, it always has been, just now I know it is what I am.  ... read more

What Can I Control?

Life and death? The thoughts in my mind? The emotions in my heart? Who I love? If I get sick? When I fall asleep? When I wake up? Who dies next? Who’s born next? What I dream?   I thought I was in control When life went well I took credit for it When life was painful I felt guilty, or resentful How silly, if I created my life I created the lives of everyone around me I realized I was not in control, I was terrified I felt untethered, in free fall, cut loose, the world did not revolve around me I was not the creator   What is going on here? What am I? All is in constant motion and change And I am not in control of any of it Yet I am aware of all of it   What is aware of it all? It is not the mind, The mind is seen by me It is not the emotions I know about those as well What about this body It is aging and dying And I see this also   There is something unchanging Something immovable Something in which awareness itself resides All this appears within this boundless field   I must be this, there is nothing that sees this, All is known within this, yet can’t know this When I rest as this there is deep peace, Aliveness beyond all knowing Love fills the universe   All of creation comes from this As this mind, heart and body fall open To this boundless wonder I know this is what I am I am... read more

Who AM I

I didn’t create these thoughts I like some but would never choose others I didn’t create these emotions Some are enjoyable and others are unpleasant I didn’t create this body I would have done a better job   These thoughts appear and move on These emotions arise and dissolve This body was born and grows old with time   Are they mine, are they me Where do they come from? Who am I, What am I   These thoughts are creations thoughts They are life’s expression These emotions are the world’s emotions They are life’s response to itself This body is life’s body It is the flow of time   Who am I to judge them? To reject them To be ashamed of them To love them To believe in them   Just other thoughts that show up But some come with such suffering   Am I a thought? Who is thinking me? Feeling me Living me   Only the unchanging, emptiness Only the love that holds the universe Only the joy in which babies are born Only the peace that fills the suffering   To see through the mind To the infinite To see through the emotions To the boundless To see through the body To the spaciousness   This is the end of suffering The end of questions   This is Freedom Beyond what any words can say You are this – The Same One as Me      ... read more

There’s Something Wrong

I hear this so much. It is the lament of the separate person, the ego, or the personality. No matter how clear and loving, or free we become, as long as we believe we are separate human beings, we will feel like there is something wrong. If we know what we truly are but are not living it, it will still feel like there is something wrong, and we will view the world through that lens. The story around this feeling may get simpler and the feeling may get subtler, but there will be a sense of something not quite right deep inside, we will feel incomplete. This can be confusing when we have tasted the truth. If we have had moments of being the boundless emptiness, but re-identify with our human expression we are living as separate. Believing there is something wrong with our humanness, taking emotions and thoughts personally, is what causes identification. If we are free, we are free to be fully human. When the sensation that there is something not quite right is very subtle it is even more important than ever to be honest with ourselves. There was a time when I pretended to myself that I no longer had this feeling, that I was fine with everything; I couldn’t admit that there was still a feeling of separation and not being right. I couldn’t look at it, or relax around it until I could admit that it was there. Several years ago I had a few experiences that showed me what I am, I saw that I was nothing, and then I saw... read more

Letting go of beliefs

There is a distinction between beliefs, preferences, and thoughts. Thoughts flow through the mind unencumbered when we don’t resist them, they don’t disturb us, and they don’t leave a mark.We only resist them when we have a belief about them. Preferences are lightly held desires or opinions, they are released when they are satisfied, or put aside when they are unattainable, they don’t leave a residue. Beliefs come with tension, limitations, separation and suffering. We accept them as true; we justify them with other beliefs, and use them to distinguish ourselves from others. We build our identity with our beliefs, and then defend and protect it. Beliefs are sticky, and dense, and they do leave a mark.As I sit here my head feels open, thoughts are flowing, I hardly notice most of them, they are not sticking, the ones I write are released through my fingers, then they are gone. As I write about beliefs my attention begins looking through the mind, searching for something that feels more solid, dense, tight. I can’t find anything. This doesn’t mean that I won’t find more beliefs at another time, but for now the mind is empty. I know beliefs feel solid, dense and tight, because I have had so many, and have worked hard at releasing many of them, others I have watched dissolve, and others I only noticed in retrospect when they were gone.When I was younger I had the belief that I was not very smart. The result was that I pretended to be smart, and felt ashamed, self-conscious, and like a fraud. I had to get a PhD... read more

Thoughts About Emotions

We are raised in this culture with beliefs about certain emotions. The beliefs vary some from family to family; but there is general agreement that the goal is to feel good and happy as much as possible. This implies a sub-goal of not feeling negative emotions. Anger, fear, and sadness are generally banned from most families. What if this is not the goal, what if the goal is to feel all the emotions, or maybe there is no goal.  If we had no goal the emotions would just flow through undisturbed. They wouldn’t be resisted, judged, or denied. As a child I was fairly quiet, introspective,  sensitive, and somewhat moody. Which means that I felt a wide range of emotions. In my family anger and sadness were not allowed. I learned to keep sadness to myself, but anger would burst forth no matter how hard I tried to repress or deny it. I was judged so harshly just for being angry, that expressing anger carried a dark taboo. Since I couldn’t seem to get rid of it, I felt tremendous shame. It felt like anger had a life of its own. It was my fault that it was inside me, and it was my job to keep it from exposing itself; but I just couldn’t stop it from spurting out of my mouth. With much work on myself, psychologically and spiritually I began to accept anger as a natural expression. I learned to make room for it without judgment. Interestingly the more I relaxed around it, the more energy I had, and I began to feel less anger, as... read more

Intrigued by Fear

I wrote about fear the other day, but I really didn’t give it justice, so I’m going to try again. I’m going to focus on fear but this is true for all emotions, the ones we like as well as the ones we think of as bad or dark or negative. (You may want to check out the Fear blog from a few days ago) As humans we are wired to have all the emotions, we are also wired to become aware of ourselves as boundless. What does that mean? When we know ourselves as boundless there are no boundaries or limits to our sense of self. If we feel into or look for where we end and where what seems to be outside of us begins, we can’t find the membrane that separates. There is no border, no edge between the self and the world. So how is fear experienced from this perspective? For me fear is experienced without a container, as if it is on the inside and outside at the same time. More accurately, it is as if there is no inside or outside. There is also no label for it. Fear is a movement of energy arising in an uncontained field. I only know this because I was able to give fear room to take over, without resisting, controlling, judging, or rejecting. When an emotion can be felt completely, totally, without holding back, and yet with full awareness, it transcends the limited labels within which it has been packaged. That is what labels do; they put things in boxes, contain and limit them. Once this... read more

Fear

When I first thought about writing about fear, I thought, I really can’t because I don’t know fear that well. Not as well as sadness, shame, even anger. But as I reflected I realized that I do know fear. What makes us afraid? Certainly our deepest fear as humans is death. Mostly we don’t let ourselves feel that fear, we allow ourselves to feel lesser fears. But ultimately all fears with stories attached are about the future. Since we cannot know the future we make up stories about it and then scare ourselves with these stories. I didn’t think I felt fear much because I am wired to feel other emotions more intensely; sadness, shame, guilt, anger, and of course joy, peace and happiness. But fear is not one the main ones. I don’t make up stories about danger, or possible physical threats. Many people whose primary emotion is fear make up stories that start off with, what if that happened, or what would happen if, or because this happened that will happen next. Someone might break into the house, there could be an earthquake, not eating organic food will lead to cancer, a virus might take over the world, etc. These thoughts become things to dwell upon and for which to make plans. Because I generally don’t think like that I didn’t see at first that I am just as familiar with fear. My kind of fear has been to worry about having said the wrong thing, hurt someones’ feelings, or been uncaring in some way. The story that got spun, was that I would be rejected, not... read more

What is Self-Love?

In our culture self love and self image often go hand in hand. And it is common for most people to believe that it is important to love yourself and to have a positive self-image. But what does this mean? What does it mean to love yourself? In order for this to be an issue we have to have feelings and thoughts of not being loved, or loveable. We may even have feelings of self-hatred, which comes with thoughts and stories about how awful we are. The thoughts and stories feed the emotions and vice-versa, creating an agonizing internal environment. We are told in order to counteract these bad feelings we should tell ourselves positive stories. To make this seem authentic we remind ourselves about all of our good or exceptional qualities. This has the unconscious, unintentional affect of making loving ourselves conditional. Once love is conditional it becomes fragile and impermanent. One wrong move and it is taken away, and there is the self-loathing again. So we work on never doing the things we see as bad and wrong so that we can love ourselves more.  This is such a trap, and a vicious circle. Love has been such an important part of my healing and my spiritual journey. I never really thought about needing to love myself, but I did feel self-hatred and shame. I did all the things I mentioned above. I tried to focus on the aspects of my personality that I thought were redeeming. I cultivated them, exaggerated them, and believed in them; which ultimately made them inauthentic and fake. There were specific behaviors... read more

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a theme that comes up for most of us. I know it has for me. I dealt with it as self-forgiveness and other-forgiveness, and I have worked with people on and around this dilemma for many years. Why is this so important and so complicated? The issue of forgiveness comes up when we feel the pain of blame and understand that to be free of blame we have to forgive.  We blame someone when we perceive that they hurt us. This is painful in so many ways. We believe what they did caused life to go in a way that we don’t like, and that if life went our way we would be happy. Nestled in the feeling of blame is the belief that they had a choice and could have acted differently. This gives them power over our life, and creates a sense of me against them; a very painful separation. Many of us have a story about our life that explains why we are the way we are. In the story there are people to blame, usually our parents, and things that happened that caused our suffering, and justified our reactions and behavior. As our life unfolds we can accumulate other people and events to blame. When we first begin to work on ourselves we don’t think of our life as a story, we see it as a true description of what happened to us. I call this process of describing the events of our lives a story because it is usually not just factual, it tends to include interpretations, beliefs, emotional responses and reactions,... read more

The Truth About Fixation

Before I begin, I would like to make clear that all I can say can only point at the truth and cannot actually be the truth. There is only one thing going on and therefore only one truth, so any attempt to break down the human experience into different types, levels of functioning, or consciousness is simply an illusion. Yet it will seem like that is exactly what I will be doing. In this blog I will try to describe our True nature, which is unchanging, constant, empty and full, nothing and everything, and which is indescribable. I will also try to explain the difference between Enneatype and fixation. Briefly I think of Enneatype as the basic energetic pattern of human expression before it gets fixated. Fixation is the result of feeling incomplete not enough, this causes longing, searching, and all inauthentic or unnatural good and bad behaviors. The Enneatype is the empty shell of human expression free of longing and searching. The Enneatype can be described as the larger context, which holds within it the potential to fixate or to be completely free. It is kind of the imaginary membrane between fixation and freedom. Since our True nature is free, and indescribable, it also cannot be understood with the mind. Therefore this article is intended to be experienced, not just read and thought about. So as you read the words, let your mind be as open as possible, let your body be as relaxed as possible. See if each word can start with eyes and mind, gently resonate in the body and lightly allow a free fall beyond... read more

What is Transpersonal Psychotherapy?

A Journey from the Personal to the Boundless Before I can talk about what Transpersonal Psychotherapy is I have to take you on a bit of my own journey. When I began my work as a psychotherapist about 30 years ago, my approach was psychodynamic and insight oriented; as I grew my work evolved and I began to call what I did Transpersonal. Very simply Transpersonal Psychotherapy ranges from resolving personally neurotic dynamics to the exploration of what is beyond the personal. I have had three loves my whole life, spirituality, psychology, and art, which included dance when I was younger. Spirituality and Psychology have been my personal search and art has been my self expression. My work as a psychotherapist has always paralleled my own psychological and spiritual exploration, which all began when I was a teenager. Like many adolescents I was unhappy, confused and trying to understand life. As I began to question the beliefs with which I was raised, I ran into psychology and meditation, and I dove in. My work in both areas began from a very personal perspective. I wanted to be enlightened, and I wanted to resolve my emotional issues so that I could be happy. I began to explore the dynamics of my childhood; my relationship with my mother and father, and the beliefs I held about myself and the world. Meanwhile I meditated and looked into the teachings of various spiritual teachers and my work with people very much reflected what felt useful to me; object relations, in-depth psychology, hypnosis, inner child work, etc. At the beginning my spiritual perspective was... read more

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