Awakening Our Gifts Part 4: Listening to the Silence
There is splendour behind the illusion
It is all around us and wherever we look
It is unfortunate that it gets lost in the looking
There is mystery in the seeking,
A game of hide and seek with ourselves
We will poke and prod and see what we discover,
Until it’s time to step aside
So that the hidden can speak
And silence the hunger
That keeps us from being
The subtle touch is unyielding
And a quiet refrain for the distracted
It hides in the echo behind a joker’s grin
And dares the willing to unmask
The conversation has been wonderful as reconnecting with an old friend and talking about something that I love with them is indeed a pleasure. Late in the conversation my friend mentions someone, and though she had mentioned others, the mention of this person stirred something. I am moving as we speak, phone in hand, and looking at where I am going.
As we speak, I feel the urge to look in the accustomed places, to let my eyes follow their normal course action: focus on one detail, then move to another and then back to the object of attention, which in this case is where I am walking and watching the phone cord so it does not get caught on something and I do not trip on it. Instead, I stop walking, ignore the phone in my hand and allow my attention to slip off, not towards anything in particular, rather to follow a muse. It is not an idle one, for I can feel something other than the urge, an urge that is more a matter of momentum that attention.
Instead my eyes focus on no-thing as I find myself gazing blankly. I work to silence my minds chatter, for there, hidden in plain view, lays the feeling that is the source of my muse, one that comes with no urge. It is ever present and patient and comes from a place that is familiar. Sometimes I feel it wears a smile, at least one often moves across my face when I allow the energy to be there, when I nurture it like the first flickers of flame of a much needed fire, one lit by the last match.
Allowing the energy to be and setting other thoughts aside gives the feeling the chance to express itself. I do not resist the way the energy of that feeling moves me. My shoulders go up a little, my eyes narrow, my head tilts and I feel my lips draw tighter. As my actions were triggered by the energy I felt, I share what I am doing with my friend and get confirmation that my mannerisms are those of the person that had caught my attention. And there is that smile!
Noticing didn’t come with fanfare or a big “oh wow” moment. It was a sharing that only helped make our conversation fuller, more meaningful and I felt more connected to my friend and her family. This is the kind of “enlightenment” I referred to in the previous part where I stated:
“Being enlightened does not mean one knows “the truth” or the actual nature of our reality and existence; nor does it mean one is some kind of mystic or seer or is a great teacher of “truths”. It means that we are in harmony with ourselves in this lifetime; it means we are not led by mistaken notions and poor mental programming and that our minds are clear and in tune with our true nature so our inner light shines forward. ” (1)
This may not be a typical interaction, yet it is a good example of what often happens. I do not generally share what I pick up in this fashion, as it is often just a knowing that helps me be more in tune with what is going on around me, and to me as well. I try to simply allow it to be, not react to or question it for the challenge is to not get in its way and simply allow it to be.
When we are children we do not hesitate to trust what comes from within. At that age we have not defined the world enough to be caught up in framing our experiences in terms of what we have experienced. This is what adults do. The mind of a child has not yet been developed so there is far less pre-processing of perception before they are conscious of it. Also, our ego is only partially developed so it is less involved and as a result appearances mean little. Essentially, at that age our mind is still being built by our experiences, so it does not block it out or couch it in something more palatable. Unless there is some factor involved that is frightening, children will simply speak what they are conscious of be it their thoughts or their expression of the feelings they perceive.
Two factors are in play, the first is the mind of a child blocks less and second it does not try to interpret or analyze what they get. Children have not completed building or rather defining the world. It is this definition that builds and locks us into our puzzle box (2). I touched on this in the previous part, with the quote:
“Everyone has their own reality. Each one of us "owns" our perspective - our view of the world. That is the point - "you" and me and everyone else owns their own perspective and that is constructed by a belief system.” ~ Colleen Critchley Rodriguez
We create this reality by how we react to experiences. If you have been following these essays, you understand that our reactions to experiences manifest thoughts and our thoughts combine, in a manner of speaking, to form our mind. Now, either we are conscious of non-physical perceptions or we are not. At the same time, I emphasize the word conscious for we all have the perceptions, we just are not generally aware of then. Even the person who disavows such things would have to admit that they have experienced knowing things that cannot be explained, but which were verified. They may chalk them up to coincidence, luck or merely write it off in some other fashion, but they experience it nonetheless.
We can awaken our gifts and develop greater conscious awareness though it does take some effort of the mental rather than the physical variety. One goes about it just as one goes does to develop a physical skill. You identify the skill you need, you set up a practice regime to develop the skills and then you set about following it. In the first part of this series we looked at the skill set required, the 10 areas we need to develop. We have already looked at six of them, the ones that pertain to how we integrate experiences (attention, no assumptions, no judgment etc.) and those related to what we have already integrated (thoughts, beliefs and so on). The last piece is redefining our mind from one that is isolated to one that is not.
Isolation is part of the illusion. I see me, I see you and my physical senses suggest we are separate. While a knowing is every bit as real as the perception of a car, it does not necessarily come with the kind of sensual component we are accustomed to noticing. It is easily lost amid the noise our minds create not only by our thinking too much, but also by our minds continual pre-processing of information and the many thoughts that lie just below the conscious level.
We are all naturally empathic, though we may not be conscious of it. Do you know someone who always knows the right things to say to cheer you up? It could even be a stranger who says or does the right thing at exactly the right time. How do they do this? They do this by their allowing rather than ignoring the perceptions they get of others.
It is important to note that they may not be consciously aware of how they knew what to do or say, that is if they thought about it at all. They may have simply felt the desire, for lack of a better word, to speak or do something to help another, and just did it. What occurs is they have sensed the other person’s energy, and based on past experiences, their mind has translated it into thoughts at the conscious level. They can do so because they want to, through how their mind has developed, or because the desire to act in that fashion is natural for them. In my opinion, there is no worthier goal than wanting to “cooperate” with “the Cosmos” in this fashion.
On the other side of the coin, consider how some have a way of getting under another’s skin. Setting aside a discussion of the reasons people have for doing this, the person doing it would have a thought about getting at the person. Often people like this have enabled this ability by wanted to be able to do so. The mind is not an arbitrator or judge, if that’s what you set it up to do that is what it will do. Any restraints on wants must be developed, learned through experience. Just as in the previous example, the person may not be conscious of the mechanism that enabled them to know just what button to push.
Of course, while we are free to do such things, whether consciously or otherwise, there are consequences to our choices. In both the above cases, the degree of the consequences is proportional to the act itself as well as the level of one’s conscious awareness of what they are doing. This is at the heart of the saying “You reap what you sow”, though it is important that what you attract back will not be based on what you did, rather it will be one the thoughts that led you to the choice.
In the previous two parts of this series we have seen how the way we integrate experiences affects our mind and the blocks to our conscious awareness that they create. We have looked at how we can clear blocks in our minds by being aware of how we created them (non-superficial observation, avoiding erroneous reasoning and so forth) and resolving the poor programming, in part by understanding why we manifested them. Making the conscious choice to develop our minds establishes a new "program". Putting our intent behind it creates a new directive and our mind will start to reveal what was kept hidden.
See your mind as an incredibly complex crystal. When the mind is clouded, or occluded by poor programming, little light can pass through the crystal, either from outside in or inside out. Clear up the blockage and the light can pass through far more readily. What we want to do is learn to tune into the light that already exists. When we have cleared some of the programming and worked on how we interpret our experiences, the main block to our sensitivity is no longer primarily due to the programming of our minds, which in this analogy it is the structure of the crystal. It is due to the nature of the crystal, or the mind itself. That is to say the building blocks of the crystal (our mind) are not aligned with the nature of Cosmos itself. Without aligning our minds with the nature of the Cosmos the light may be able to get through but it is scattered.
We should continue to work on what I have mentioned as our minds are vast and there is plenty that needs work; however, by doing these things, the new challenge I alluded to opens up, one that is overcome less by hard work and more by guiding our desire to towards that of the Cosmos. Only thoughts that bring us closer to the underlying nature of things will align the aspects of the crystal, which is synonymous with our mind. So, to expand our awareness, the last piece of the puzzle is opening up to the world around us. Not in terms of our energy per se, but in our thoughts, our feelings and even our being.
At this point, two questions may or perhaps should come to mind. One could be “Why do we need to open up to the world around us?” and the other is “How do you do that?” The first question is answered by considering that the while we are unique incarnate individuals, we all come from same “one source” and though we perceive of ourselves as separate it is an illusion. We are no more separate from the Cosmos of which we are a part than a cell in your hand is separate from you, or as Esther Wood, a friend of mine stated:
"...we could even say that we are like cells within cells within the living universe." Esther Wood
The force behind everything is evolution. The Cosmos is built on movement, and movement essentially results in evolution as movements interact. There are local movements, such as what we do, and then there are the universal movements, those that have become permanent by virtue of having come full circle in the Cosmos. There are also degrees in between as each phase of evolution introduces new forces, ones that will interact and react until all possible combinations and permutations have been tried.
Each new movement contains aspects of those that have come before, so the countless aspects of the Cosmos do not evolve separately, they evolve as a whole. They are interconnected and interdependent and though we may not yet perceive the connectedness it is there. We appear to live separate lives but we do not and so long as we believe this to be the case we continue isolate ourselves. By opening up we break down the illusion of separateness.
Of course one must be ready to open up to the greater whole that we are part of, to do so too soon carries risks. When we are not ready, for instance when we retain judgments, past hurts guilt and blame, we are vulnerable. If any significant amount of the illusion of separateness remains, we can be overwhelmed by the enormity of it. It may also be that we are not yet strong enough to deal with others who remain mired in the illusion such that we find ourselves unprepared to accept and deal with their ignorance. However, if we are trying to be in the moment, without pressing it or letting wants steer us, we will experience what we need to, when we need to and not before.
We make ourselves ready to realign the aspects of our crystal, which is our mind, by working on the first six areas we covered. If we have been doing these things then we have reduced our judgments and developed greater strength of character. I listed the last pieces of the process in the first part of this series (3), and they are as follows:
- Lack of sensitivity to the subtle vibrations
- The illusion of “I” created by our ego
- Seeing oneself as being separate from others and the world around us
- Underdeveloped compassion, devotion and love for ALL
A key element of developing our awareness is improving our sensitivity to subtle vibrations. If we have been worked on the other six areas, our minds will be spending less time pre-processing our perceptions. This increases our opportunity to be aware of subtle vibrations.
At this stage you will have already started to notice that you are more aware of other people’s feelings and perhaps even their thoughts or get glimpses of the their past, even they future. We may not acknowledge them yet or make use of what we find ourselves knowing, but we are starting to see more clearly.
The two best ways to develop sensitivity, outside of working directly with a teacher who perceives energy and can guide you, are through meditation and using active awareness, by this I meaning trying to be in the moment as you go about your day. We can work on limiting our thoughts in meditation, through various means, to reduce the amount of chatter and thereby start to feelwithout pre-processing or certainly far less, or conscious thinking. We can explore the vibrations we perceive, however we perceive them. I say this as, unlike physical objects that we perceive in a very narrow band (the visible spectrum), energy occupies many sub-planes so we may be viewing it from above or below, like peering into water; further, we view it with our own constructs.
Let us say several people are able to perceive the same energy. One person might perceive it as a tone, though if asked they probably would admit they didn’t hear it with their ears, another might see it as swirling colours and yet another could just know it without words or visualizations. This is because even though we all interact with the stimuli or experience in the same way, each of us has our own unique constructs by which we react to it (which is our initial perception).
The energies one might perceive in such a meditation would be the following:
- Our own energies (the energies stirred by our thoughts)
- Energy of the objects around us
- Energy of any nearby plants, animals or people
- Energy we or others may have discarded in the area around us
- Natural energies that flow around us
- Natural energies that flow through our chakras
- Radiant energy of the sun, moon and other celestial bodies
We needn’t be able to identify the energies we perceive. That takes time and often corroboration by another to affirm the perception, and is not as important as the act of starting to perceive them. Above, I mentioned two methods of increasing our awareness, one being meditation and the other being more perceptive on an ongoing basis. The reality is that most of us spend far too much time with our attention focused on the physical aspects of our existence.
Learning to be more actively aware, or perhaps more aptly "unlearning" our tendency to focus on our physicality and relying on our thinking abilities, almost demands we step outside our normal comfort zones. We look for reasons to do things and explanations for everything. The problem with this approach is that our minds are limited and there are not always discernible reasons for everything. We all get intuitions on a regular basis, though we miss noticing or paying attention. There are many reasons for this, some of the common ones being our intuitions run contrary to plans we have made, inconvenience or we might feel silly, dumb, and weird or any one of a number of other reasons.
One time I was walking along the sidewalk downtown just as the daily rush of cars and pedestrians was slowing down. As I walked a though surfaced that I should just stop right where I was and wait. With it came the thought of not just stopping but sitting down right there in the middle of the sidewalk. I did not have a particular destination in mind, however, I had some plans and the sidewalk was fairly busy so the idea of simply sitting down was odd and part of me thought it silly to do so. After all, what would people think if I just sat right there?
I resisted the urge for a few moments but the feeling remained and so I stopped. Once stopped I again thought about how silly it would look for me to simply sit down right in the flow of pedestrian traffic; however, I had learned that while intuitions don’t always make sense they had always benefited me when I listened. So, I went with it. I do remember that feeling of silliness and thoughts about appearances remained, but I cast them aside and decided that if people judged me that was their problem.
So there I was, sitting down as people walked about, most of who gave me strange looks, yet the discomfort was overtaken by a sense of contentment that it was the right thing to do even though I had no idea why I was doing it. I remained seated for about five minutes waffling between calmness and uncertainty. I had no idea how long I needed to sit or if I should be doing something while I did, and then the need to be seated suddenly lifted and I found myself rising up to my feet. I shrugged and then turned around to resume my previous course and right there before me was a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, one I’d thought about recently and whom I missed.
I found out my friend had similar thoughts a few minutes before and then saw someone sitting on the sidewalk. There was something familiar about the person they saw and when curiosity got the better of him he wandered down to take a look. Low and behold it was me. We shared a chuckle, for doing odd things was not unusual for me and we got a chance to connect once more. It turned out to be important as I found out he was moving back east. It is likely I never would have seen him again if I had not allowed my intuition to override what my mind had me wanting to do.
Our non-rational awareness, that part of us not based on thoughts, is not idle. Just as water flows downhill so too does our inner awareness seek ways to break through the iron clad control our thinking mind exerts. Sometimes our intuition is helpful and at other times it just wants to see if we are paying attention. It is not insistent, or demanding so we have a tendency to miss it, to ignore it.
This is one example of where practising active awareness can be of benefit. We can “practice” active awareness (which is just a term) if we take the time. Next time you walk into a corner store, rather than just go directly to where ever the items you want are just take a few steps aside and pause. Take a moment to ground with a couple of deep breaths. You might want to ground yourself, as it is calming, by drawing energy up from the ground as you inhale through visualizing it and then exhale back down the same way (4).
Look around, but do not think about what you see, try to simply observe. Do not stare, instead glance or gaze at the people as they go about their business. Do not presuppose anything; focus on simply perceiving without valuing. If you set your ego aside you will not be judge or appraise them as much. This will lead to your getting impressions from them, such as they are open, closed, happy, impatient or concerned and so on. There may even be multiple impressions. Whatever you do, do not try to analyze them. You may even get an opportunity to confirm the impressions you get should you have the opportunity to say something to them or simply through further observation of them
Our intuitions get drowned out by the noise in our minds. To re-open closed doors we have to want to hear and be willing to allow what we get without analyzing it to the nth degree. We can enhance the power of the impressions by having thoughts such as “I feel the energy between me and everything around me”, “We are not separate” or “I feel you”. Continuing with the last example, if in observing others you find feelings of discomfort with these types of thoughts then you are not yet ready and have more work to do on the six earlier points.
It is important that we are honest with ourselves about this; at the same time we should not see this as a negative. Our discomfort is a direct result of thoughts that are out of alignment and even though we are not yet ready, we can certainly change this by working on them. The thoughts would be those built by our reaction to an experience, one we misinterpreted or which may have been somewhat relevant at the time but is no longer so. I say this because as adults, we are in no danger of being harmed by another through our vulnerabilities, especially if we are solid and confident in whom we are.
“As challenging as this can be, little can be done with energy if one is not sensitive to or aware of it. This is made more difficult by our having become accustomed to only thinking of our awareness in terms of words and things. An intuition does not start as words it starts as a vibration that our mind then translates. If we are distracted or worried about outcomes the intuitive thought will be lost in our waffling thoughts and subsequent emotions. As I mentioned, all other thoughts must be secondary and in the case of an intuitive impulse I must only be concerned about allowing the impulse and not questioning, doubting or denying it.” (5)
We are opening up our senses, not our energy field. People can make the outer shell of their aura strong and resistant, yet the energy of the outer aspect emanates so that we can perceive it and within it are the reasons or thoughts that gave rise to it. So we can know a great deal about people even if their energy field is closed, and can do so without opening up our energy to them.
It is the illusion of “I” (our ego) that creates the separateness between us and the world around us. Working on reducing the ego is important whether one is working on personal growth or spiritual development; however, it is arguably the essential ingredient for spiritual growth. The ego is the clothes our “spirit” builds and wears in given lifetime. As our mind develops we tend to build into it the idea or belief that we are separate and distinct entities.
In one sense this is true; however, this perspective keeps us from growing as it isolates us from everything. The “I” tries to preserve itself and it does so by excluding others from the equation. It is also our ego that defines everything relative to us with the result that we see ourselves as the center of the universe. Everything revolves around us and our thoughts about things. It is hard to be sensitive to others and the Cosmos if we have an ego-centric perspective.
Of course we do need an ego but we need to be in conscious control of it and not the other way around as it is for most of us. Our efforts to observe objectively and to not accept notions simply because they appeal to us based on how our minds have been programmed so far are an essential part of the process of awakening our gifts. If we always let our minds pre-process our perceptions as they have done we cannot open up to what we have been ignoring for so long, or at least it is extremely difficult to do so.
Everything I have covered so far leads us to the last two areas in the list, two areas that are strongly correlated. They are:
- Seeing oneself as being separate from others and the world around us
- Underdeveloped compassion, devotion and love for ALL
To do them justice we will need to consider and examine them, look at their relationship to our awareness and gifts and how we can go about developing the qualities they speak to in some detail. And I will do so in the next part of this series.
End of Part 4
==> Continue to Part 5: The One and the All
Last edited June 1, 2016
© 2012 Allan Beveridge
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