You have to do it by yourself,
but you don’t have to do it alone.

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Heart nestThere is a common fallacy in the spiritual world that we should always approach others with a loving heart and be open to them no matter how they are. After all others are divine in nature are they not?

There is a half-truth to this.

All individuals are non-physical in their true nature but at the same time they possess a personality through which they relate to us. This personality is formed around social conditioning and painful experiences. In many ways the personality is formed as a buffer or a defense against overwhelming experiences that they have encountered in others in the past. It is reactive in nature i.e. and when people interact with others and encounter a situation that resembles the past pain they can unconsciously act out of that pain and inflict injury on others.

Out of their hurt they hurt others.

So if we are always loving and open to only seeing the divine in others we may avoid seeing the potential dangers of interacting with injurious people. Porcupines may seem cute but you don’t want to touch them.

There are some important skills to navigate this.

Conscious Openess Versus Innocent Openness

We need to cultivate awareness in our interactions with others. This means using our intuition when meeting others, particularly those people who say they are of higher consciousness. They may actually be very good at putting on a spiritual personality and be actually using it to manipulate us. Many behaviours can be faked, even compassion and authenticity.

I hate to say this but I have seen my share of sociopaths in the spiritual world. They are everywhere wearing white cotton clothing, smiling sweetly and speaking peacefully.

An essential skill is to practice on a daily basis is choosing to extend your awareness on others and noting in your body what you feel. We must learn to rely on our gut feelings: “Is this person safe?” “How do I feel about their interaction?” “Do I feel they are straight with me or hiding other intentions?” and then respond accordingly.

Choosing to be Closed

Some of us can be perpetually open, thinking this is more spiritual and find it difficult to be shut down.
Actually it is just as spiritual to be closed, especially to dangerous people.

This is a skill that can be developed.


A great meditation is to practice opening up to an object (say a piece of fruit) noting what that feels like and then closing down to it and noting what that feels like. As you do this over and over you will develop the ability to be open or closed by choice rather than by chance.

This ability you can use in all your relationships. Sometimes it will improve your relationships with others to notice when you are closed and choose to be open. Sometimes it will improve your relationship with yourself to close down to others when you are open to a situation that is abusive.

Aware Armour

Sometimes we may find ourselves in situations from which we cannot extract ourselves. In these cases we need to develop psychic armor that prevents another’s disruptive energy from affecting us.

Practice feeling a shell of protective energy around yourself and then dissolving it. Do this over and over again until  you can do this consciously in any situation.

These are a few of the strategies to create safety for ourselves. It is true that our conscious expands on the spiritual path as the result of our interaction with others.

I call this co-evolution.

But this interaction must be safe for us to evolve. Even though individuals may be divine in nature they have personalities that may act out in harmful ways. Human history is replete with examples of professed holy people doing ungodly horrors.

We need to interact with others by conscious choice rather than innocent openness.

This is part of the path of becoming a conscious seeker that I expand on in my book Awakening the Guru in You.

There are lots of porcupines on the spiritual path dressed up like teddy bears. You would not want to hug them.

Russell Scott

If you like this article you might like:

The Co-evolutionary U-n-I-verse

The Coming Home Retreat

 

 

apologizing 3

Everyone wants to meet Mr/Ms Right and when we do we are in heaven.

There is a rainbow in every dark cloud and beauty in every sullen face we see. All that we see is the beloved’s visage and we feel their presence as a constant wave of bliss in our hearts. The romance phase is glorious.

Yet at some time in the relationship, a break in that wonderful state occurs. It’s inevitable in any relationship.

Maybe we are in a group of friends and our loved one innocently says a demeaning remark to us and we are hurt. We talk to them later and suddenly Mr/Ms Right turns into Mr/Ms Needs to be Right.

The Pseudo-Apology

They have a hard time apologizing and actually seeing our hurt. They may say the words “I am sorry” but it is often accompanied with an explanation or a justification of why they made the remark or a long involved story of what influenced them to say what they said.

Or they confess innocence or even blame us for being too sensitive. No matter how much you tell them of your hurt they just get more entrenched in their story. They may even argue with you to defend themselves. You can present your pain to them for hours and they still won’t see what they did.

It’s a shock to you and you wonder where Mr/Ms Right went.

What Happened to Mr/Ms Right?

I have observed this personality in my relationships, friendships and at work. And often the reason Mr/Ms Needs to Be Right takes over is because they are triggered by earlier experiences of being shamed humiliated or made wrong and stupid by parents or friends when they have spontaneously shared an opinion or innocently made a mistake.

It’s a painful trauma to them.

They don’t want to admit a wrong because those old feelings flood into their consciousness and you remind them of that pain. They do what they had to do back then:

Dig in their heels and defend themselves. To admit a wrong is akin to annihilation to them. Its death.

For Mr/Ms Needs to Be Right they look at being presented with their error as a threat and instead of using this as an opportunity to resolve an issue and get closer to you they see it as a conflict to win.

To be in a working, friendship or intimate relationship with such a personality eventually becomes very difficult. You are trying to work on resolving the issue thinking they are on the same page but they have a different agenda which is to be right and win. Discussions become heated arguments.

The conflict can go on for hours.

Crazy-Making

apologizing2Eventually there is an apology but it’s only a pseudo- apology as above. It’s just an explanation. The problem only gets half-resolved.

And because it only gets half-resolved it comes up later and Mr/Ms Needs to Be Right will offer a new rationalization of the incident that takes away the former apology.

You start to feel crazy because you are caught between a truth and a non-truth. Whenever there is an issue to be resolved they start off as the Mr/Ms Right you fell in love with. It appears that they are trying to resolve a problem but when presented with their mistake they become Mr/Ms Needs to Be Right and go into defense and win mode and the apology is not real.

Eventually you begin to shut down around that person. They may then even blame you for not being loving enough or becoming distant.

Self-Recrimination

The unsolved issues create a tension in the relationship and you may in an attempt to reduce that tension take on excessive blame, often apologizing for your personality or creating the circumstances in which the person made an error. It becomes self-demeaning.

“I am sorry I was in the way when you dropped that rock on my head”.

But this never works as your inner strength, self-image, inner peace erodes, and over time sometimes leads to mental health issues like depression. A push-pull dynamic often happens as your loved often presents the Mr/Ms Right you fell in love with and then without warning becomes Mr/Ms Needs to Be Right.

This kind of relationship can often become extremely painful and toxic.

I have seen very damaging break-ups where husbands and wives are using money, in-laws, lawyers and even the kids to get even with one another. Both people in the couple get reactive and lash out in unhealthy ways. Often Mr/Ms Needs to Be Right, wins in the end but it’s a “Pyrrhic Victory” .The emotional and mental damage to everyone is so devastating that it takes years to heal.

There’s an old saying about relationships: “You can either be happy or be right”.

It’s so very sad to see the damage that is caused by people who used to deeply love each other when Mr/Ms Needs to Be Right shows up, when the solution could have been an easy self-reflective moment of self-responsibility with a simple brief apology.

It’s a deep tragedy.

Russell Scott

Some of us have one or more troublesome inner voices that frequently put us down in our daily grind.

masksIt’s like we have a negative commentator in the audience in the theater of our lives: “You’ll never succeed”, “Who do you think you are thinking so highly of yourself?” “You’re an idiot” “Control yourself” “Just settle for less”. The commentaries are like little vortices going endlessly round and round in the mind gradually drilling deeper and deeper into our self-image and eroding our confidence.

Sometimes these voices are the internalized voices of our parents, peers or other caregivers when we were young. Sometimes they are our own voices echoing erroneous conclusions we have made about ourselves from experiences we have had with others that we didn’t quite understand. Their behaviour was confusing so we decided something about ourselves was wrong: “I’m no good”, “I’m not loveable”, “I’m to blame” etc.

Sometimes these voices yell so loud that we rarely notice that we are really good at heart with the best intentions for most people.

What can we do about these voices?

Well the worst thing we can do is tell them to shut up...that just makes them go into a temper tantrum and scream louder.

In my experience the best thing, (which might seem counter-productive), is to listen to them.

  • Listen to the voice and then allow yourself to experience the state it puts you in. The state can be your emotions, body sensations and posture, your thoughts or all of them put together.
  • Go into that state and then ask yourself what character this voice would need to be coming from to say what it is saying. It could be the Inner Critic, Controller, Victim, Saboteur, Rebel, etc.
  • When you name the character an interesting shift happens. You start to realize that it is a just persona, a mask you are wearing. Its just your ego, not the real you. You will feel some freedom from the ego as you de-identify with it. You are you and the real you is just wearing a mask. You are not the mask.
  • Then you can ask that personality what its deeper positive purpose is. The message might be: “I’m here to protect you” “I’m here to offer correction and advice” or “I’m here to guide you” etc
  • When you get the real message you make a deal with that persona: “Well Inner Critic here’s the deal if you stop yelling at me, I’ll listen to you but only if you’ll give me your direction when I really need it, not all the time. Then we can live together in peace” When that deal is in place a wonderous thing can help.

Your ego becomes your ally.

It stops upstaging you and becomes part of your supporting cast of characters. Its opposing force turns around, joins with your energy and empowers you more fully to achieve the success and fulfillment you desire.

If you can resonate with what I have said here and you would like to explore this process (and others) to let go of your internal barriers and to make friends with your ego then check out the one day workshop Becoming Your Own Best Friend.

Imagine what can happen if you spend a full day working through this process?

What big shift can happen in your life?

Check it out here: BECOMING YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND
or the the other series of Bright Life Workshops.

 

money 5One of the biggest things that influences our prosperity is our beliefs about money.

To show you the truth of this, I'd invite you to do a little experiment.

Just for a moment, entertain the belief that all grey upholstered chairs are very bad for your health. Really take this on...Then imagine yourself sitting in one for an extended period of time. How would you feel in the chair with that belief?

You probably would feel nervous about sitting on it, maybe even somewhat ill. You would not want to sit on it for very long.

lost unsureI don’t know about you but there have been many times in the past when I just didn’t know what choice to make. I would second guess myself after I made a choice and then go back on it. Or I would decide on something and become fearful that I’d made the wrong decision.

It got to the point where I’d get so anxious I just decided to go along with whatever anybody else wanted. I had lost my capacity to choose.

Sometimes this problem is related to

light in darknessThere are times on the path of Awakening
that the difficulties of life just get too overwhelming
and no matter what we try it’s just too bloody hard.

The daily affirmation is just too shallow.
The angel card message is too trite.
The ascended master prayer is not answered.
The divine light meditation did not soothe us.

We thought that the spiritual path was supposed
to be all happiness and bliss.
That’s what the smiling gurus seem to say.

What’s wrong?

Maybe the light has shone into the darkness in us
so the real spiritual work can begin:
the transformation of our suffering and pain...
all the human yucky stuff.

Maybe the darkness is causing us to reach out
for the embrace and listening ear of another
instead of the half-read self-help book.

Maybe when we see another in their darkness
we can reach out to them and offer our compassion
and deep understanding without offering a trite solution
like “it’s just your karma” or "this too shall pass".

The real caring human contact with another is far more transformational than anything else on the path...

and it’s the hardest thing to ask for or offer.

Yet it can melt our frozen fears and
get us through the darkness, because ...
maybe the real spiritual path is walking the distance
between ourselves and another
and hearing the true story of the way it really is for them
not just ascending into to some higher fiction.

Maybe we are all fallen angels
and we learn to fly again
with the love of each other under our broken wings....or

Maybe the next saviour that
we’ve all been waiting for
to descend to the earth...
is us.

Russell Scott
www.awakentheguruinyou.com

alone sad photos 22 thumbOne of the things that independent seekers face on the spiritual path is loneliness.It’s inevitable if we are committed to avoid taking on other’s belief systems and yearn to experience what is true for ourselves.

In fact, succumbing to loneliness and trying to relieve it is sometimes the reason people become blind followers. They would rather trade in the comfort of being in the crowd of religious homogeneity than the insecurity of the solitary quest. There is a certain value of joining a sanga or community but when we give up our own discernment of what is true and not true to avoid loneliness we can become a perpetual student of dogma rather than the source of our own realization. Its often a requirement of the committed spiritual seeker to leave the pack for awhile to achieve this.

Even if we are not on a spiritual path, the experience of loneliness is part of the fabric of life. It can happen when we move to a different city, lose a job, experience the loss of a loved one, leave a relationship and break-up with a friend. In the grief a part of ourselves can go with that person, location or job and we can feel like that piece is missing. Or we can judge an aspect of ourselves harshly and push it aside and then feel an emptiness inside.

Years ago when my daughter was young, she liked to watch a children’s TV show on CBC called: The X. The show was famous for the weird, creative antics of the childhood stars. One month, in the late fall they organized an outdoor concert and show in Toronto. The main event was cooking the world’s largest batch of Poutine.

There are times in life when things can get tough.

We can lose a job or a family member. An investment can go down the tube or we can get in an accident that can affect us physically. We never know when we can fall on hard times.

This happened to me in 2010. My wife and I decided mutually to seperate and I lost my marriage and a beautful rural property that I'd spent many years building up. A good friend of mine gave me a room in his house to stay in for a while. I began a new relationship and then moved into a smaller rental house with other roomates. It was rough because I was country boy, used to a lot of land and trees and a river flowing by.

The other day a client of mine after a one-to-one self-inquiry session asked me a very important question: "What do you think is the one thing that stops people from having a better life?"I paused for a moment to consider this and let my mind flip though the filing cabinet of memories of working with  people over the years. A commonality came up and I said,

"Fear".

Testimonials

"It happened just like Russell said, I was eating breakfast on Saturday morning, and like the snap of the finger, I was awake, the light came on, I knew who I was. Every thing was new, like I had never seen it before, and it was exquisite. I was born again, free to experience life with the knowing that I would never die. The body might go but I would live on." 

—Roger Groulx - Procurement Officer for DND, Ottawa, Ontario

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