Moving from Punishment to Compassion

Throughout my long journey of healing from depression, I have been learning about the things I need to change within myself. It’s been a challenging, immeasurably rewarding and highly educational experience. It has been a process that has taught me more about myself and about humanity than I could have learned in any other way. I have always been drawn to and moved by Philosophy (the love of wisdom) so this process is feeding a very deep need in me and I’m always wanting to learn more. I know without a doubt that this is where I was meant to be, on this path of learning, and it took depression to ultimately lead me here.

One of the reasons why it’s so challenging to learn about the things that I need to change is that I, like many others, have to contend with an inner (and sometimes outer) kneejerk defensive reaction that wants to protect myself from any kind of accusation of wrong doing. If something needs to change, there needs to be an understanding of what that is and why it needs to change. This is often where the defense mechanism kicks in and this defensive reaction has everything to do with having been immersed in a punishment oriented world for so long – one that breeds this defensiveness in so many of us. The defense is a means of avoiding punishment (a sort of survival instinct). Whether it’s physical, disciplinary punishment (my parents were big softies when it came to this actually) or more of a constant series of responses that indicate how underserving a person is who has ‘done wrong’, it’s a pattern underlying typical social behaviour in our world beginning from early childhood. It is both formal in some instances (reprimands/discipline of children or legal action/jail for adults) and informal in others (social shaming, exclusion and an endless nuanced form of passive aggression). It’s a pervasive pattern that becomes internalized. The continued internal self-punishment and admonishment supports the ongoing external version – that which we apply to others – often in the form of judgement.

On a personal level, when you disparage someone else in your own mind for doing something that considered to be wrong, you are reinforcing that tendency to punish. This strengthens the punishment reaction so that it becomes alive and well in the mind. Unfortunately, this inner tendency towards punishment is most often directed at yourself because you are the person you live with 24hrs a day. This is really what’s behind the old standing piece of wisdom: ‘When you hurt others, you’re only hurting yourself’. As it turns out, this has merit.

Punishment is a deterrent to personal growth and most importantly to unconditional self-love, which is an imperative for wellbeing. Because of the anticipation of punishment, defensiveness is justified as ‘self-protection’. This act of self-protection can be mistaken for an act of self-love. It’s not. The defense itself is actually based on a false assumption that we can only be loved or be worthy of love if/when we don’t ‘do wrong’ or that if we ‘do wrong things’, we’re not entitled to or deserving of love – even if temporarily. It’s such an old, familiar and damaging paradigm and tearing this down can be extremely liberating. It can be both a beginning and an end: the beginning of compassion and an end to suffering.

It has been a mandatory part of my healing and growth to exercise compassion with myself and with others. Compassion is something that I have learned to nurture within. At times it’s utterly inspired and I am at peace. At others, it takes an effort and I have to remind myself of the wisdom of this approach and of its constant rewards. The rewards of compassion are very clear. If I create an atmosphere in my mind of compassion, I give myself more opportunities to grow and change for the better. In an atmosphere of compassion, I have every incentive to do this because I’m no longer wasting energy on defending myself and living in fear of punishment. If I’m treating myself and others with compassion and benefiting from it, I am cultivating an atmosphere of compassion all around me. This is the real revolution. Moving away from punishment and towards compassion is a revolutionary act. In fact, it might be more appropriate to term it an evolutionary act. I believe that we are growing out of this punishment phase of humanity.

Despite popular belief, punishment doesn’t work – not even formally. There have been numerous studies to support this and overwhelming evidence. Incarceration and corporal punishment has not reduced crime. In fact crime has only increased steadily and incarceration facilities are growing. Punishment is not effective in bringing about positive change because it only motivates people to avoid punishment rather than to consider for themselves why deep personal change might be necessary and how it might benefit them.

My path of intentional, personal growth began with Shamanism, an ancient practice of healing which for me has involved using many tools & medicines including Ayahuasca and always guided by a higher form of consciousness. There are many ways to access a higher form of consciousness. Some do this through meditation. For me, Shamanism has involved a form of meditation that we call journeying. Whatever name we put on it, this experience can be very liberating. I needed to be liberated from my way of thinking and this has been instrumental in my healing. One of the main concepts introduced early in my Shamanic practice was the idea of ‘self service’. If I was to heal and grow, I needed to make changes. This meant dropping behaviour that ‘no longer served me’. In this phrase you may detect a distinct lack of judgement. There’s not the heaviness of ‘wrong doing’ associated with behaviour. It’s quite simply not in my best interest to do these things and therefore it makes sense that I stop doing them. Our judgemental attachment to so-called ‘wrong doing’ is what leads to so much more ‘wrong doing’, which is really just illness – hence the constant reference in Shamanism to ‘healing’ and ‘medicine’.

My experience of healing has helped me to see myself and to approach my life and the world in a very different way. I continue to learn about what it means to be ill by learning and experiencing what it means to be well. When I have had difficulties of my own or with others, it helps to see these difficulties are part of an illness that can be treated rather than an evil or bad behaviour. Once there is judgement, a heaviness is attached, and it becomes much more difficult for me to extricate myself from it. If I’m able to see it as illness, compassion is my response rather than judgement and this changes everything. Would we punish someone for being ill? Even formally, we have laws to protect the mentally ill from punishment. However, I think it’s time that we change the way that we define and perceive mental illness. A favourite quote comes to mind:

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”

Jiddu Krishnamurti

The wellness and mindfulness movement is an indicator of this need for change and our desire to move forward in a different way. Those of us who have been forced to focus on wellness have discovered that this is not a quick fix. True wellness requires big changes in the ways that we think about and act towards ourselves and towards others. It requires effort and it requires compassion.

Once you begin to see the results of compassion, a form of love, you marvel at the power of it and how freeing it is. Mostly, you marvel at how good it feels and then you understand that there is an alternative to suffering. We have a choice in this and moving from punishment to compassion is a choice and a powerful step towards ending suffering.

The Story of Our Keys: Ayahuasca Wisdom on Personal Power

During my ceremonies with Ayahuasca, like so many others, I had a dialogue with a higher form of consciousness that we call Ayahuasca. When I returned from the jungle, the dialogue continued. During one ceremony, Ayahuasca asked me to put pencil to paper and when I did, the following metaphorical story emerged about the nature of our personal power and how we may use it either to build barriers or to create a new world:

Your Keys

You carry a key inside of you, and that key opens the doors of the world that you create. You are creating new worlds all the time and using your key to enter those worlds. The key must remain with you so that you may have access to these new worlds. If you give that key away you lose access.

Giving Your Key Away

Given the importance of this key, it must remain within you. If you give away your key, you give away access to those new worlds–new possibilities. Once the key leaves you, the ability to enter those new worlds resides outside of you. If you put that key into someone else’s hands you have given that person your own access to these new worlds and possibilities. Once this happens your dependency on that person begins. This dependency often breeds resentment. This resentment is the foundation of structures called barriers. We build these structures that encompass our fears of using our own keys. Our focus shifts from these new possibilities to the keeper of the keys.

The Keeper of the Keys

This keeper is now in possession of the key to these new possibilities. This possession is never permanent. It is an illusion supported by the owners of the keys. This illusion becomes more powerful as the focus on the keeper grows. The keepers of the keys are now reviled by the owners because the keepers are restricting access or building worlds that the owners don’t like. This creates conflict.

The Key Owner’s Dilemma

Being convinced that the keepers now own the keys, the owners feel powerless. Every time the owner begins to build a new world this same owner destroys it in the name of the keeper always placing the responsibility for this destruction solely on the shoulders of the keeper. The owner’s frustration builds. How can the owner be expected to create a new world when the keeper stands in the way?

The New Owner’s Thoughts

Now that the keys have no real home having been discarded by the owners and never truly residing with the keeper, the keys constitute an immense unused power. This power is needed and desired by every owner and yet remains unused. The keys are illuminated every time someone breaks out this trap. Those who break free not only see the keys at everyone’s disposal, they also see the multitude of keys to the endless new worlds that they may build.

These are not only the new owners but the true owners as they acknowledge where the true power lies. The new owners see not only the possibilities but the endless struggle of those who deny ownership of their keys. This is a dilemma indeed. How can they help the other owners and keepers to see the reality of the natural and true state of the keys? They must show this by using their own keys to build new worlds in hopes that others will be inspired to claim ownership of their own keys. This is the path to freedom.

 

This is only an excerpt of the story that continues to unfold. I wrote this story but Ayahuasca is the author. I learned a great deal from this story and continue to learn more each time I read it and as I continue to write. It is becoming a book that will be published and made available at no charge. This is a huge undertaking that Ayahuasca has tasked me with and I’m reaching out to find partners/supporters/fellow co-creators in this undertaking. I am looking for a very special editor to advise me on certain aspects of this project. I will self-publish if necessary, but I would like to find a publisher who would be inspired in taking this on. It would be a very unusual thing, I know for a publisher to do this but I have begun to see that our world is filled with unusual and inspiring things if we’re willing to see them and most importantly, to create them.

A Lesson From My Father

My life has changed so much since I’ve become involved in shamanism. One of the most important aspects of shamanism is what we can learn from it. I’m guided through most aspects of my life now and my dreams have become vehicles for messages and lessons. This is a lesson I received in a dream in the form of a eulogy a few months before my father died. It was telling me that my father’s time on this earth was ending. My dad passed on April 27th, 2018 and I gave this dream inspired eulogy (everything after the first paragraph) at his funeral. The lesson included in my father’s eulogy is an important and universal one.

My dad helped his kids move. All 5 of us and we moved a lot. I remember him suggesting that we consider buying inflatable furniture. My dad had a good sense of humour. He gave his time and energy to people in need. He volunteered at the Out of the Cold program at St. Mike’s hospital in downtown Toronto. They took in homeless people overnight during the winter. My mom told me recently that one day, during this time, he mentioned that he had to bring one of the men in the program to the emergency room because his foot was really bad. My mom asked how he discovered this and he told her that he was doing this man’s toe nails.

He did perform selfless acts but that was not what made my dad special. He was special because of who he was. Those of us who knew him, have a sense of that unique quality that was Joe Hayden. We can use descriptive words like kind, gentle, funny and all of these words are true. But there are other kind, gentle, funny people who are not my dad. He was one of a kind. A unique being that we had the honour to know. We know this now, without any doubt, this essence that was my dad that made him so valuable. Unfortunately, he didn’t know this.

My father experienced an inner battle, one that caused him to feel what people describe as depression. At times, this made it an exquisite effort to do things that others might do effortlessly. We all have an inner life that others may not be aware of. I have experienced this inner battle and it was at it’s worst after my son was born. I know that sometimes, just dropping your child off to their lessons can be a courageous act when the battle is raging.

My dad, this unique and truly lovable person we all knew him to be, didn’t realize that just being who he was, was enough. I think if he did, the battle would have been won long ago. Many of us have trouble with this and I wonder if as a tribute to my dad, we may all start to realize the truth of it. Something we know without a doubt about my father is also true about each and every one of us. The greatest gift my dad gave us was the gift of himself. His unique, irreplaceable, lovely self. We all give that gift every day. Knowing this can make a huge difference in our lives and in the world. This is the final lesson my dad taught me, his final gift that I’m passing onto you.

 

Life After Ayahuasca.. An Integration Workshop on November 25th

After the phenomenal experience that is Ayahuasca, many of us are left wondering how to carry this experience into our everyday lives. Many of us pursued the medicine to improve our lives and our relationships. In this workshop, we will focus on the most important relationship you have in this life: your relationship with yourself. You’ll discover the ways in which you may improve this relationship by exploring the decisions you make in your life and the considerations surrounding these decisions. You’ll discover the agreements that are in place in your life and the beliefs that support them. Most importantly, you’ll recognize the immense opportunities for change that exist in these discoveries.

The entire presentation has been inspired by the guided and integrative experiences I’ve had with Ayahuasca. In ceremony, Ayahuasca asked me to ‘put pencil to paper’ and this is the result: http://offthedeepend.ca/blog/category/ayahuascawisdom/ The workshop was created in this way and will be devoted to applied Ayahuasca wisdom with the central focus being self-love. Ayahuasca continually reinforces the idea that we create our own reality. If we create from a position of love, our lives will be a healthy reflection of this love. Ayahuasca is often an introduction to ‘the work’ and how we apply what we learn is the work-in-progress that is our daily lives. For me, it’s a labour of love and I look forward to sharing it with you.

 

Please email rebecca.hayden@gmail.com to register!

Hypnotic Ayahuasca

Is it possible to experience Ayahuasca with hypnosis?

Yes.

Rebecca Hayden (Ayahuasca Talks Radio Show) and Albert Nerenberg (Hypnotist from TEDX, IdeaCity, The Hypnotic Bar) will present an experience of Hypnotic Ayahuasca in Toronto on the evening of July 8th. A limited number of places are available.

There are no actual substances involved and all states are achieved naturally through trance, shared ritual and deep relaxation. In deep trance, people are able to have Ayahuasca experiences that may help them with integration. Recommended for those who have already experienced Ayahuasca.

Hypnotic Ayahuasca is an opportunity to work with the medicine in a unique way. With the help of hypnotic techniques we can re-enter the Ayahuasca state. This can be an extraordinary integrative tool. Having re-established this connection to Ayahuasca through hypnosis, we can use intentions and hypnotic suggestion to integrate the experience into our daily lives.

Testimonials:

“I was able to journey back to my time in ceremony in Peru, and I even had a new heart opening while I was there”  “I’m pleased it helped play a role in my integration work.”

“Through Hypnotic Aya, we have the opportunity to delve into a deeper level of consciousness where we can ask the questions and allow the answers to come. Your gentle and compassionate presence made it safe for me to trust, not only in the process but in myself and my natural ability to access that state of Aya that is in all of us.”

“I immediately connected to Mother Aya, and had remembered my lessons learned in Peru before. I had a lot of grief and upon reconnecting I found forgiveness and unconditional love. I highly recommend this session for everyone, it gently reminded me of how I have to keep honoring this sacred plant’s teachings and that she will always be with me on my journey in life.”

“Going into the Hypnosis Ayahuasca evening was exciting and a little nerve-wracking for me. That’s how I knew it was definitely the right decision! A group of us with varied stages in personal growth and life experience got together and were led through a series of hypnosis- based ‘journeys’ that allowed us to explore and enjoy working with our unconscious minds. We came out of the whole experience feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and for me specifically – I definitely feel more aligned with my inner Love Warrior! If you’re thinking about joining the group – or participating in a session, I say – do it! There is no one that will be able to tell you exactly the experience you will have, and if you keep yourself open to self-love, and acceptance and just allow yourself to be taken on the journey, your unconscious mind will uncover exactly what you need it to.”

“Although there were candles and trance music, this was not a hippie-style hangout. Facilitators Albert Nerenberg and Rebecca Hayden are both professional and warm. And they are genuinely knowledgeable about the subjects of Ayahuasca and hypnotism. Ceremony and ritual are integral to the Ayahuasca experience. These are things people need. Native people know it but the rest of us have largely forgotten. Unfortunately, a lot of people caught up in the micro aggressions of modern life will dismiss this kind of experience as so much superstition and self-indulgent time wasting. I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still afraid of trusting people, of letting go and looking foolish. But this was a sublime opportunity for experiential learning and I found it very valuable. It’s the kind of learning that is largely unconscious. It’s hard to rationalize listening to trance music in the dark; sharing stories of our mental experiences with people who care; letting go of self-control even though it is a source of stress and depression. It’s hard to verbalize but I can feel the learning and the benefits of this experience in my bones.”

 

Please contact me via email to register: rebecca.hayden@gmail.com

Workshops Coming Soon!

Plant medicine experiences are often deeply profound experiences that inspire us to examine our lives and to live in a healthier way. This opportunity for change is a gift but it can be challenging to continue to make the kinds of changes in our lives that honour these experiences once we get back to our daily lives.

My own Ayahuasca experiences involved a dialogue that continued long after ceremony and continues to this day. I have been experiencing a guided form of integration for years now and have begun to produce written work that is entirely inspired by this continuing dialogue. http://offthedeepend.ca/blog/category/ayahuascawisdom/

I’m now in the process of creating workshops under this same guidance that will be designed to help people to pursue their own path of personal development in keeping with the wisdom of plant medicines.

Please email rebecca.hayden@gmail.com to get onto the contact list so that you will be informed of the dates and times of upcoming workshops!

Ayahuasca Talks!

This is a talk I gave at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto on November 30th, 2016. This is the back up video and lighting challenges made it necessary to film in a close up fashion but hopefully, the message will outweigh the video quality. 😉

A huge thanks to Yvonne Erlichman for filming this talk and my unending thanks to the Temple of the Way of Light for not only providing some of the photos for this talk (of the vine itself and of the Shipibo Maestra/Shaman) but for the extraordinary time I spent there in the jungle where I first discovered Ayahuasca.

How do you expend your mental energy?

One of the lessons I’ve received and continue to receive when needed is about how I expend my mental energy. When I find myself carried away with thoughts about a frustrating experience I had, I am reminded that it’s over and it’s time to be present. Even when I am present and dealing with say a customer service dilemma, this is an opportunity to learn. There seem to be plenty of these opportunities in today’s climate and on one such occasion, while I felt my frustration begin to build, I was taken through various outcomes in my mind and realized that under no circumstances would getting angry serve me or help to improve the situation. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t encouraged to be persistent when it was appropriate, I just didn’t expend the kind of intense energy on the matter that I might have previously and in the end, things always worked out better for me. The outcome was always measured by how I felt, not what transpired. However, soon I began to notice that I not only felt better but the overall outcomes improved considerably. I made better choices because I was in a better frame of mind to do so.

The energy of the mind is something that is worth our attention. It is an environment that needs to be taken care of just as our physical environment needs tending. The thoughts we entertain send signals to our body and out into the world around us. Both our bodies and the world responds. When I invest in fear, worry and doubt, I end up feeling tired and experience a loss of energy. This state is reflected outward to others around me and they respond accordingly. There may be superficial activities and responses that seem to ignore this inner state but on a deeper level, this is what we’re all responding to all of the time and this is the level at which real change is possible.

We are sending out signals all the time with our energy and when we choose to engage in those highly charged negative emotional exchanges, we’re sending out the kind of signals that invite that same negative charge in whatever form it may take. Understanding this helped me to begin to take an active role in what I allowed to fill my mind because it was my engagement with certain kinds of thoughts that ultimately sparked this negative energy. We all have a choice in this. Our thoughts are not who we are but they affect how we feel and behave and that affects everything else. I began to actively refuse to entertain thoughts that I realized were continually intruding and causing harm. I used visualization techniques that seemed strange to me at the time but I soon realized that the method isn’t what matters, it’s the results that matter and the results were and still are consistently good. I began to treat negative thoughts as though they were people intruding in a harmful way and I would no longer engage with them.

This is a powerful exercise. It taught me that by using my will to cast out these intrusive and negative thoughts, I was beginning to take control of my life. I soon began to do this gently but firmly with some people in my life too. It became a ripple effect showing me clearly how my state of mind reflected outwards. By clearing out negative space inside of me and around me, I began to invite the more positive experiences and the kind of community that I had been craving. It has been the most liberating experience of my life and it all happened because I began to pay attention to what was going on in my mind and to actively participate in changing it in a positive way. We all have the power to do this and if we are willing, it can change everything.

 

 

Everything You Need is Inside of You… Trite and True..

One of the first messages that ever came to me was one that I’m sure I had read on a plaque with a picturesque photo somewhere before or heard in an uninspiring speech at one time or another – probably many times. The message was: “Everything you need is inside of you.” If it had been any other time under any other circumstances I might have laughed – probably bitterly. But I had been suffering from a deep depression for 4 years at this point and having exhausted all conventional forms of treatment, I had moved beyond the point where I cared where the help I needed came from. If there was some profound truth to be found in this overused statement I was determined to discover it. I had begun to work with energy not long before this, which led me to explore shamanism (the origins of energy work my research revealed). All of my preconceived notions about life had long since fallen away and I was surprisingly open as a result. I was single-mindedly determined to end my depression. This seemingly trite message came in response to my request for help after making what was deemed a connection with my spiritual helper in a shamanic workshop. The message was delivered into my mind in such a powerfully direct way that I was compelled to respond with “How do I access what I need?” “Show me how”. The answer to this is the guided work I’m doing today.

At the time that I received this message I was ‘sick’. I now realize that it was actually a healing. I had been severely congested for years. I had lung issues after the birth of my son and although I had an operation, my lungs continued to be sluggish and my sedentary lifestyle didn’t help. Being exhausted all of the time (and depressed) didn’t lend itself to an active lifestyle. This ‘sickness’ came in the form of pneumonia and I had a temperature of 104 degrees at times. I recovered fully and after evacuating much of the mucus that had been weighing me down for so long I took the first long and deep breath I had taken in years. Things were beginning to change for me. Not long after this I came across information on an obscure African plant medicine called “Iboga” which was renowned for addressing issues like depression among many other things.

My involvement with plant medicines changed everything for me and I still work with them today. These particular healing tools are not for everyone but many of us who have been lucky enough to be called to experience them know why they’re called ‘teacher plants’. The lessons that come out of these experiences often have to do with changing things about ourselves. If we heed these lessons, they can change our lives for the better. Having emerged from depression I’m now learning about the many other things inside I must emerge from to achieve my goals. Through some intensive work, I’ve begun to navigate this inner world that contains the key to my well-being. Previously, I had been heavily focusing on external factors when really, I needed to understand what was happening inside of me. Inner work is not visible or easily recognized by the outside world but the results definitely are. It can be a solitary endeavour at times but that is by necessity to avoid the kinds of distractions that can reinforce all of the things I’m working to change within me.

This is why altered states are so important to this kind of learning for me. It takes me beyond this world of distractions and set perceptions to one where messages and lessons can be delivered in a more effective way. Dream work can be like this too and although there are times when things are very murky indeed, there are other times when messages come through my dreams with startling directness and clarity. We all go into an altered state every night and it is integral to our health to do so. It is an optimum time for healing and not only physical healing. I think it’s important to explore the extraordinary healing that’s possible during the many hours we spend in this altered state every night.

All of the work I have done and continue to do is based on my agreement or intention to engage in it. All of it begins with this small exertion of free will. It can be a very powerful thing. None of this was possible for me until I was willing to entertain the possibility of it. Just doing this can open the door to life changing experiences that defy description at times. I have learned more about myself in this way than I could have from any other source. It’s an important endeavour that I had neglected for most of my life. Now it’s transforming my life in a way that for the first time in a long time, reflects who I really am.

Becoming the custodian of the landscape of my mind…

I remember people always remarking to me that I was ‘in my head’ a lot and this statement carried with it some negative connotations. I understood this at the time because it meant that I wasn’t engaging with those around me and that created a sort of distance. Who knew that ultimately, this would become a strength that would help me engage so much better with those around me?  I have been working with plant medicines (Iboga, Ayahusca, Peyote & more) for some time now and although the immediate results of taking these medicines is pronounced and inspiring, I know that it’s just the beginning of the work that needs to be done to bring about lasting change. All of the healing work I’ve done has required me to engage with my mind in new ways. One of the things I learned to do was to take note of the nature of thoughts that occupied my mind. One by one I became aware of different kinds of harmful intrusions. One was ‘The Bully’ which was something I needed to address head on so that it no longer imposed upon my thoughts and ultimately affected my outlook. The word ‘outlook’ pretty much says it all in terms of how these kinds of thoughts affect your reality. The outlook is the lens through which you see the world and getting rid of intrusions in your mind can improve your life enormously.

Another form of intrusion I dealt with was an invasive form of panic. It’s not like an all out panic attack. I had those in the past and they are long gone. I think that the panic attacks happened to let me know that there was a lot of deeper work I needed to do to become healthy. It was a messenger and instead of receiving the message, I did what a lot of people do. I treated the message as a disease in itself rather than the symptom of a greater issue I needed to address. Ultimately, I had to endure a long and painful depression to bring me to a place where I was able to face the many issues that had been making themselves known to me in various ways (illnesses and other physical and psychological conditions). Now I have the tools to address these issues and the work is intensive. When I feel an emotional or physical discomfort, I know that it’s a message and that I have to take time out to discover what’s behind it. Not long ago it was a slight but persistent panic. It was very subtle so I had been diligently ignoring it in favour of getting other daily tasks done. This is a long standing habit – to ignore pain or discomfort whether it’s physical or emotional. Most of us do this and it’s understandable. I had to acknowledge this slightly panicked state, which was brought to my attention, and then make time to deal with it. When you realize the degree to which something like this impacts your daily experience and know that there’s a chance to address it, you have all the incentive you need.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, sometimes film is used to illustrate lessons and provide me with messages. This time, it was used to show me the many experiences I’ve had in my life that helped to construct this state of fear and panic. The sense of panic had a charge – a potency – and to release it, I had to acknowledge its origins. Sometimes this can be difficult to do but the stories that accompany this healing have the power to reach right inside of me and expose something deeply ingrained. Once I acknowledge this deeper reality and release the charge it has, sometimes through some tears, I’m able to then let it go. This panic had become a fixture in my mind no longer attached to old events and I would attach it to just about everything. In this way it became a constant part of my reality and I expended a great deal of energy to support it. Given that this was my everyday experience, I became so used to it that I didn’t even realize it was happening but felt the impact of it constantly. Once this was brought to my attention and I agreed to deal with it, the process of healing commenced. It takes time and commitment to do this but it’s well worth the investment. I often question this while it’s underway, while I’m watching movies thinking: “Can this possibly be good for me?” “Does this really constitute work?” I do this time and again despite the consistently positive results I’ve been getting from exactly this type of work. This questioning mind of mine is also constantly at work. But I have managed to not engage too much with this questioning side so that the other important work can continue.

Sometimes I think I allow the questioning to continue so that I can still remain connected to those who find this extraordinary work baffling. There are times I find it baffling too but I move on from this baffled state into a state of wonder.. a much more enjoyable state indeed. I’m still very attached to the world of thinking which can be helpful to a point but then it can become a barrier of intellectualizing. Perhaps it’s a unique form of intrusion in itself. I’ve found myself moving beyond the questioning so many times to a sensing, which leads to a deeper place of knowing – a much more peaceful place. It’s a profound state that needs no justification. It doesn’t pay homage to the endless struggle of the mind – the intellectual callisthenics we often think necessary to achieve knowledge. I’m now taking action within the mind itself and ordering it according to what serves me. It seems to me now that much of this intellectual wrangling is for its own sake. It wants to be acknowledged for the act itself – the thinking rather than the result – the result in this case being the evidence of thinking. This impressive tail chasing is a familiar scenario. When the result of these efforts of the mind is a knowing that can’t be evidenced by logic but by reality – by a healthy and peaceful state of being that can be experienced – I think it’s pretty clear which one will better serve me. It makes sense!