Aashiq ka Janaaza Hai…

Breaking_waves,_Sète_cf03.jpg

Aashiq ka Janaaza Hai…

Words fail me as silence engulfed me

What can I say that encapsulates the ocean

Knowing this futility what I am I to do

All words are redundant

Destined to fail

Yet appearing redundantly

Yet serving a purpose

How do I go past this

How do I sing this song

Why is my throat constricted

Why am I caged

Why has the ocean chosen to be a drop

What wisdom is there in the lunacy of separation

What is that word that will bring solace to my heart

And calm my yearning

As this agitation consumes me

As emotions rises

As ideas fail

Thoughts are calmed

Emotions pass

Feelings dissipate

The wave returns to the ocean

The ‘me’ is no more

Who could have witnessed this

Who could even be aware of the silence

Who could commit this sin of two

And who is there to even know this…

The Power of Incremental Acceptance

Accepting

Much has been said about the idea of accepting who we truly are.  We are told “accept who you are and things will change, accept this moment even if its horrible and watch it change”, and even though we know all of this theoretically to be true, so few of us truly accept who we are and see through this idea of seeking. 

Why do we do this? Continue to seek even though a simple acceptance could change everything.  Could it be that what we see as a simple acceptance is too much for the mind to accept and instead it throws up a myriad of reasons to not accept.  Remember the mind is purposeful, not logical and as such it’s duty is to keep you safe based on the programs running in your mind, whether they are logical or not. 

zosia-korcz-679302-unsplash_cropped.jpg

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it”

Rumi

Barriers Against Love

As the quote by Rumi highlights it is not to seek for love but instead seek the barriers. These stories that are in place that prevent seeing.  Sufis talk of constant remembrance in order to cleanse the dust from the mirror of the heart and in this constant cleansing, this constant letting go, we see more and more of what we truly are.

This cleansing and its resulting acceptance helps us to see what we are.  By becoming aware of our stories and predominant emotional states we can take small steps towards accepting more and more of what we are and letting go more and more of what we are not.  Similar to those who having multiple awakenings, each time the mind comes back until eventually it doesn’t and is replaced by a constant seeing.  This is from a constant meeting of ourselves and seeing that what we took to be true isn’t necessarily so.  By taking small incremental acceptances in whatever comes up we can minimise the minds excuse of not wanting to accept.

 The reason I propose this as a way to let go of seeking is due to a recent participant at one of my intensives.  The idea of acceptance and loving themselves was abhorrent, even though they were sincere in their seeking.  The mind had thrown up many excuses ranging from “I am stupid”, “I am not worthy” and “I can’t love myself, I hate myself”. 

Gradual Process

I noticed by asking them to simply accept. it was provoking a very negative reaction and instead was creating a confrontational and hostile situation.  It was when I asked if they could accept just a little bit and love themselves just a little bit that the mind was calmed and they were able to answer in the affirmative.  This incremental acceptance mushroomed and over the coming sessions I witnessed them accept themselves and love themselves more.  The process had started and they commented that they felt a process had begun and more and more was being let go of naturally. 

The power of Incremental acceptance is that it allows us to bypass the mental chatter and fears that come up as a knee jerk reaction when we want to simply accept or let go.  By continually visiting the issue in the here and now, slowly but surely making incremental movements, we can watch results mushroom and then letting go and accepting happen naturally, allowing us to see what we truly are. 

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”

St Francis of Assisi

Managing Change

A theme that arises constantly in my talks is about Managing Change.

Change can be difficult or easy depending on how you approach it and in this article I want to focus on two areas one needs to concentrate on in order to make sure change is permanent and long lasting.

Firstly, have patience with the process of change and with those around you. It is easy when setting out to change to be over enthusiastic and want change to happen instantly. Invariably there is failure going down this route, for as soon as we start rocking the boat to much the subconscious mind will sabotage any efforts which threaten our safety. Remember its primary purpose is to keep us safe so anything going against that is rejected.

kaizen

A better strategy is to change incrementally. The Japanese management theory of Kaizen, (meaning continuous change) advises us to make small almost minute changes but consistently. This has the effect of tricking the subconscious mind as well as making it easier to accept new programming. It also is in alignment with habit creation. As the saying goes,

“Motivation gets you started, habit keeps you going”

By taking an incremental but continuous movement to change we also encourage longer term thinking and again patience in the whole process.

Another aspect of patience is patience with those around us. In growing, you do challenge those around you whether you are aware of it or not. This can lead to friendships ending and conflict as your very changing upsets the current paradigm. Be aware of this and exercise more compassion and more care for those around you. It can be frightening watching a partner change and this can lead to conflict which has in many cases stopped growth in people as they feel they don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices involved with change as short term turbulence has convinced them to abandon the long term benefits of change. Instead focus on what brings you together and grow together.

Secondly, cultivate an awareness of yourself and your environment. Realise what change is doing to you and again realise when you need to stop and rest. Sometimes taking a ‘gung ho’ attitude and going in all guns blazing really doesn’t serve us and is in fact a subtle self sabotage. Instead focus on how you feel and the sensations you may feel in your body or the thoughts or emotions that may be arising. This will also show you that your limits as to what you are, aren’t real and provide encouragement that you do have the necessary strength to keep changing.

Develop also an awareness of those around you. Your growing and changing will trigger those around you, be aware of that and don’t take any comments or attacks that come your way personally. Your growth will impact those around you, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively, become aware of this and stay the course. If you ride this phase out you may find others adjust to you and help you grow further. To quote Gandhi

“First they ignore you
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win”

So just a few pointers to help you manage growth. Try them as and how they feel right for you and as you change you may find you see more and more who you truly are.

Memories of Bosnia

There were several themes that came up during my time in Bosnia, the two that stood out for me the most were acceptance and effortlessness.  An acceptance of what is and a letting go of trying to make anything happen and instead seeing how effortless it can all be.  This was commented on by many at the talks as we moved from effort into effortlessness.  I was reminded of an interview I did with the website “Never Not Here” many years ago.  During our second interview, Richard commented once he had uploaded the interview,

 “Two people soften and fallen in sync.  Does one mirror the other? Is it just a sign of the times? 

Take a closer look for yourself”

It was this falling into sync that I felt we all experienced as a group, as the initial expectations and roles were let go, over the coming days we naturally dropped into effortlessness and acceptance and questions dissipated and we sat together in what truly is, this beautiful symphony called life showing and experiencing itself in a multitude of ways. 

Since returning I have been unable to really capture what happened over these couple of days as when I find myself trying to tell friends about my time in Bosnia I am unable to articulate exactly why it was so amazing.  I am reminded of my time with the Sufis when I was told I could read all I wanted about Sufism, I could hear all I wanted about Sufism and see all I wanted about Sufism but nothing would hold a candle to taking the journey myself.  TO EXPERIENCE…

In that sense Bosnia was not a talk or a weekend intensive but an experience in which friends met, memories were created and when all was said and done, we parted with the hope that life being as it is would one day reunite us all.  A tale of family, love and honour, a story that has no beginning nor end.  This story with its twists and turns is Bosnia and it will no doubt travel with me wherever I go revealing more and more to me over the coming months and years.  To the participants of this story I offer a heartfelt thanks.  To Di Ana, Milos, Tanja, Janet, Aleks, Biljana, Sasa, Mladen, Dragana, Nena, Ranka and Snezjana.  Each of you in your own way contributed to this story and I am grateful for our meeting and I for one eagerly look forward to our meeting again.  Thank you…

 

Meeting Yourself...

A theme I am exploring more and more in my talks is that of how our stories and our general conditioning impacts how we think, act and behave.  I have recently become more aware of how my story has impacted how I speak and teach and although uncomfortable at times I have also found that paying attention to my story has been incredibly freeing.  I now know why I do what I do and further insights are constantly changing my ideas of what it means to be me.  It is a generally accepted wisdom, which many are not questioning that it is best to drop the story and let go of thoughts, feelings and emotions, to almost in a sense become this non thinking, non feeling unemotional automaton and yet in doing this we miss a massive opportunity on our journey which can be used to wake us up to our true nature. 

Consider, why do you do what you do and how has it impacted your life, relationships and even this journey of realisation.  What you will find is this incredible tapestry of thoughts, feelings and emotions offers us an invitation and a clue to our true self that can lead us to finally let our seeking go.  And this opportunity to know thyself is happening in every instant of our existence.  By choosing to ignore our story we miss a huge chance to end the search.  

Taking this further our thoughts, feelings and emotions allow us to feel and interact with the intelligence we are.  When we come from this place of wholeness, life becomes vibrant and alive.  We are empowered and able to find our own solutions to our problems, instead of looking outwards and seeking.  This seeking for something outside us causes the agitations and dramas so many are experiencing in this day and age.  Our thoughts and feelings are when we observe them and turn into them nothing more then an invitation for enquiry into our true nature.

This helps us realise that there is no outside to the experience of life that is happening and what we see as outside ourselves is in fact our perception of it.  This perception also serves as a clue to the seeker as to who they really are and again asks us to enquire as opposed to just accepting the status quo of our conditioning which while serving as an invitation inwards also serves to reinforce a separate self.  When realising our true nature we see we can either change or accept the current situation.  The power truly is in our hands. This wholeness shows us more and more of what we are and each emotion, each thought, each feeling provides us with further clues on the path to deepen our knowing of ourselves, of who we are.  This intelligence that we interact with is seen as us and yet for the purpose of existence it can just as easily seen as outside ourselves and taking the form of a deity or god. Everything is accepted.  The freedom of being able to see life from as many different lenses as possible means that each moment is alive and full of possibility.  Seeing the fullness of the void is an intelligence and maturity on the path and it is seen that life is indeed that gift that keeps on giving, that hidden treasure that wished to be known and its wondrous beauty to quote Rumi is stared at with a thousand eyes.  And all that is required to realise this is an acceptance of whatever life brings up, warts and all.  This acceptance changes everything and there is just life. Pristine, perfect, whole and clear.  This is our natural way of being. This is our true nature