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Posts Tagged ‘spirit’

Following Inspiration

Posted by Amanda Gray on October 4, 2012

I spent nearly 3 months this past summer at the Living Miracles Monastery in Utah, USA.  Since my arrival, in May, I haven’t been inspired to blog.  An early lesson at the monastery taught me that I had been attempting to use writing to separate ‘true’ thoughts from ‘untrue’ thoughts.  A Course in Miracles teaches that an illusion is an illusion, full stop.  Therefore, no thought is true.

Spirit moves via inspiration, not thinking.  So, while I haven’t been inspired to write, and make lengthy stories out of a lot of blah blah blah, I have been inspired to make short videos.  Below is a link to my most recent creation – a music video – that, we might say, somewhat encapsulates my experiences at the monastery.  If you’re particularly keen, you may also notice other videos on my AnagramDay channel that were created while I was at the monastery.  Mostly, they’re videos of our ‘project days’ in which we prepared for the Strawberry Fields Forever Music Festival and Enlightenment Retreat at the end of July.  Enjoy!

 

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From Dust to Dust

Posted by Amanda Gray on December 29, 2011

Recently, I met several men who suddenly, and without any provocation on my part, expressed an attraction to me.  I considered it extremely odd because they’d just met me.  We hadn’t even had an entire conversation.  They had looked at me for less than 30 seconds, and this, somehow, gave them a reason for attraction.  I couldn’t understand it.  What, exactly, were they attracted to?

At first, I thought, “Is this guy SEEING me at all?”  Is he blind to my fat tummy and my blemished skin?  What’s wrong with him?  What is he seeing that I don’t see?

Then, this morning, as I sat down with A Course in Miracles, the understanding arose.

I spent a great part of my life trying to discourage men from being physically attracted to me.  I never wanted men to see my body at all.   I wanted to hide my body from them.  This is exactly why I became fat, as a defence mechanism.  I’m saying, “Stay away from me.  I’m not attractive.  I’m ugly.  You don’t want this.”  Yet, why then, am I suddenly meeting men who are blatantly attracted to me in this way?  There must be something that I want to recognize from this experience.  Perhaps I DO want them to see my body.  Perhaps I DO want them to be attracted to my body.  Why do I want that – when I don’t THINK I want it?

It’s because I have BELIEVED that if they see my body, if they’re attracted to my body, and they embrace me and have sex with me, then I’ll be OK.  It will mean that I’m acceptable and worthy.  It will mean that I’m LOVED.  But I’ve been entirely mistaken.  Just as mistaken as these men are when they invite me to see them as a body.

As an alternative to getting men to approve of me through physical intimacy, I tried to learn to love myself, my body.  But today I realize that I can’t love my body, a body, any body.  A body is just DUST.  About the body, Jesus said, “From dust and to dust returneth.”  Mother Teresa called the body a “distressed disguise.”  A person doesn’t have to have leprosy to be in a “distressed disguise” – we are ALL in distressed disguises!  The body is distressed because we project all our hatred onto it.  We make it fat and stinky and deformed because we believe we have DEFILED ourselves.  We can’t accept the defilement, so we put it into something outside of ourselves, as if that way, we can separate it off and be free of it.  Yet, this is another mistake – an illusion.  We never defiled anything.  And the body isn’t REAL.  It’s a DISGUISE.  We gussie it up, flatter it and promote it, trying to make it into something meaningful – trying to get others to recognize the meaning we invest there – but it’s nothing.  It’s DUST.  Dust that simply disguises what we TRULY ARE.

We can’t LOVE the body, because somehow, deep inside, we know it’s a lie.  We keep trying, we keep pretending, because we don’t understand, or accept, the truth.  Two bodies bump up against each other in a strange act of pleasurable pain, and we think it’s the closest intimacy we can achieve together.  Yet, the bodies always part with feelings of sadness and disappointment.  We thought we could get what we wanted in that intimate act of bodies, but then… we didn’t.  We tried again, and again, but it always ended the same way.  We never got what we wanted.  Why?

It’s because SPIRIT is what we truly are – ONE spirit, without any separation into this body, or that body – and it’s this spirit that we LOVE.  The spirit is EASY to LOVE.  It’s really, really difficult to love a body.  We can accept a body, and even, perhaps, extend love to a body, but it can’t be what we truly, unconditionally, and without any reservation, LOVE. 

Spirit is what we really WANT.  That and ONLY that.

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How do I Live an Authentic Life?

Posted by Amanda Gray on July 6, 2011

A Course in Miracles, Text, page 550:

Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping up to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do. But it is hard indeed to wander off, alone and miserable, down a road that leads to nothing and that has no purpose.

The past ten years of my life has been primarily characterized by a single goal of enlightenment, and it’s ‘process’ of separating the meaningful from the meaningless, the truth from illusion. I live for this work. I love this work. In the quote above: Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping up to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do. That’s how I feel when I’m meditating, or when I’m contemplating/praying about a stressful event from my day, or when I’m at a spiritual group meeting, or when I’m attending a retreat. Essentially, when I feel closest to spirit. The second part of the quote has characterized, pretty much, the rest of my life: But it is hard indeed to wander off, alone and miserable, down a road that leads to nothing and that has no purpose. Certainly, I’ve lived enough for three lifetimes, but it’s been, almost entirely, dissatisfying! I’ve done everything I can think of to do. Do, do, do. Learn, learn, learn. For what? I’m in the same place. I never ‘went’ anywhere. I never ‘got’ anything.

While the ego does an amazing job of substitution, it’s incapable of real and lasting love, peace or joy. Its selfishness, greed, hatred, and destruction are its only foundations, built entirely on shaky ground, but while these qualities are cherished, they can block the truth of the underlying Self. I have chased egoic illusions in the world, thinking that I could find the truth in the ‘right’ job, or the ‘right’ teaching, live in the ‘right’ place, or that the ‘right’ person could give me the ‘right’ answer. There has been no purpose to these wanderings and they have always ended painfully, just to shift again to a new, but similarly unsatisfactory situation. Will I continue to believe there’s someone out there who can tell me how to BE? That’s crazy!

I will not go one more step forward in the world to mis-create more suffering for myself and others. I will stop now and do the consciousness work that must be done. I feel that I’m at a major juncture and the choices I make now are crucial. I can continue with meaninglessness – taking ‘safe’ jobs and barely scraping by in poverty, mediocrity, and apathy – or I can, for the first time in ten years, define what is meaningful to me. If I’m ever going to take the risk of being myself, now is a very good time. If I set a true, meaningful goal now, then I can move forward with complete certainty. I’ll be able to disregard all thoughts of ‘getting’ something from the world and from others, and focus instead on what I have to give to them. I’m asking: what is my gift of true giving? How do I live an authentic life? How may I serve?

Adyashanti often asks his students, “What do you know that you don’t really want to know?” Right now, I would answer that I suspect I’ll go back on stage. I’m afraid of it, though, and when I think about performing, I feel a kind of ‘evil temptation’ with it. A mischievous smile will play at the corner of my lips, and it’s somehow associated with ‘acting’ and with ‘lies’.The Compassionate Samurai

I’ve been reading the book, The Compassionate Samurai by Brian Klemmer.

This stood out on page 83:

A person may become accustomed to telling people what he thinks they want to hear. When he does this, he’s really hiding. He’s not only hiding the total truth, but he’s also hiding a piece of himself that he really doesn’t want others to know.

Yes, that’s what comes from that ‘actor’ self – the ‘evil temptation’ to lie about myself – yet another part of me must have been aware of the lie and allowed it. If my higher self never stepped in to ‘save me’, it’s only because I never invited it to. Anyway, whatever’s being held back, it’s something that’s ‘bigger’ than the little egoic me, bigger than I’m comfortable with.

I quit acting ten years ago because I didn’t want to play a part anymore. I wanted to be myself. This time, I won’t go on stage hiding behind a role, promoting a fantasy, or speaking the words of another, I’ll be my Self and I’ll share the true gifts of my unique being. How? I don’t know. It’s not challenging to come up with ideas, I have a million, but what’s challenging is to pick one and stick to it. I often lose the motivation for an idea when I think about how much work is involved. Or how much I’d have to do by myself. Or how much it’ll cost. Sometimes I just hit this wall of “I can’t”. It’s almost like, if it’s something I really want… I can’t. Why can’t I? What am I so inspired by that I won’t lose motivation or energy for it overnight? What’s truly worth doing?

I recognize that, recently, my desire for spirit – to know myself, truth and God – has made me neglect and eschew my practical responsibilities. I’ve attempted to separate spirit from the world, but, yeah, I know it’s a mistake. Although I might wish it to be, enlightenment is not an ‘escape’ from the world. It’s true that in spiritual work, it’s necessary to surrender attachments and desires, but it’s also necessary to surrender resistances, and as long as I’m resisting mundane worldly experience – the action of love in the world – I’m missing half of the story. I’m missing “the forest for the trees.” I’ve been obtusely fixated on finding the ‘right’ tree (job). What qualities would make a ‘right’ tree anyway? The type of tree, or the shape of its boughs, or the colour of its foliage? Will the ‘right’ tree make me perfectly happy? No, I just set myself up for failure as I immediately focus on what’s wrong with each tree. Darting from tree to tree, I’m confused by the content of myriad details, and I miss the context of the fantastic forest around me – of wildlife, plants, flowers, insects, and rainbows. I put undue pressure on myself to find the ‘right’ tree, when I might just need to lean against a tree that’s right, for right now, and enjoy the moment in the woods.

I also see that I’ve got to quit trying to be perfect all the time. This is probably why I’ve been regularly haunted by a feeling of ‘impending doom’ at work. The doom is when everyone finds out that I’m a fake, that I’m not perfect, and that I’m pretending to be interested what I’m doing. I’ve taken work for the past ten years, almost solely on the basis of it being ‘safe’. Well, that’s over, I can’t choose that way anymore. I can’t force interest anymore. I’m no longer motivated by money, or position, or by being liked; I’m only motivated by something within me that says, “Yeah, this looks like fun. I want to participate in this game with these people.”

On page 71 of The Compassionate Samurai, Brian says:

When you live with death in mind, you’re not trying to preserve your life and simply survive, because you know it’s a lost cause. You play full-out because you don’t have anything to lose.

That’s a massive paradigm shift for me! Yes, I have merely tried to preserve my life, doing as little as I can, playing it safe. I used death as an excuse: if I’m only going to die anyway, why bother doing anything? But Brian clearly explains that death doesn’t have to be an excuse for a living death, it can be the reason for a full, passionate life.

Fascinating. These have all been awesome lessons.

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The Truth in Dribs and Drabs

Posted by Amanda Gray on June 12, 2011

I have been so deceived. And what a mighty deception it has been. Truly, a whopper. I honestly thought I was here in the world to do something. I had successfully turned away from the illusion that I was here to buy something, but it has been many, many years that I have been held in the sway of this other false premise – to DO.

I have seen people, like Yo-yo Ma, for example, who seem to have something to do in the world. He gets up every day and plays the cello. He doesn’t change his mind about playing the cello. He doesn’t wake up suddenly one day and decide to play the flute instead. He’s put a lot of time, effort and commitment into this ONE thing. As far as I can see, he really wants to play the cello, all the time! He plays, and many other people enjoy his talent and his passion for music. It seems to be his singular great calling. I have seen other people who decide to become doctors. They complete numerous years of schooling, many more years of internship, and years and years after that of their own practice – and they never seem to change their minds about it. That doctor is purely committed to that ONE thing. So it seems reasonable to think that I, also, should have ONE thing that is purely my thing – my calling – to do in this world.

I have looked for that thing, high and low. Looked and looked, but nothing seemed quite right. I have never felt able to make a solid commitment – to any type of career, or to any particular way of life, or to any one person. Perhaps, it’s more accurate to say that I’ve been commitment phobic. I change my mind regularly, and make frequent psycho switches into vastly contrary fields of work. I have never married or had children. Yes, exactly – those would be FAR too great a commitment! What have I been truly interested in? Spirituality. So, perhaps, I should be a great teacher, or a healer, or a poet, or… well, there must be something God wants me to DO here.

Over the past few days, I’ve been watching a number of David Hoffmeister videos on YouTube. In one, he talks about how the Course in Miracles describes the world. He says that the world was made as an “attack on God.” Yes, I’ve read this in the Course too, but I didn’t believe it. Even a few posts ago, in Whisper the Words I Don’t Want to Tell, I wrote about the Course lesson to “give up the world,” and I expressed that I couldn’t quite believe that one either. David goes on to say, in this video, that it’s the ego’s job to keep us thinking that we’re in the world to DO something. Do, do, do – and maybe someday I’ll DO enough to be worthy. Someday, I’ll be like Yo-yo Ma. Someday, I’ll be like Mother Teresa. Sure, I’ve tried. I’ve tried, at least, 3 billion times. Yet, you know that deep feeling, the one that we all seem to have, but tend to ignore and repress, that there’s something’s fishy going on here? THAT feeling is the one that’s TRUE! Just like George Harrison sings in a song called “Fish on the Sand.” YES, YES, YES, it’s TRUE! Don’t ignore that feeling! David corroborates it in his video: YES, we ARE fish on the sand! God did NOT send me here to DO something. God didn’t SEND me here at ALL. Remember what I wrote in my last post, A Night at the Improv? I DID IT TO MYSELF. I have suffered in this world because I thought there was something I wanted here. I WAS WRONG.

There is, truly, NOTHING in this illusion that I want. I can stop searching now. I can stop endlessly DOing. I don’t have to do something to make myself worthy. I’m worthy of love/truth/God NOW. I don’t have to be a better person, or more self-less, or flagellate myself with guilt. Truth is already whole and I don’t need to make the ego good enough to get it. The ego can’t get it at all, in fact. It would try to possess something that can’t be possessed. Even what I was reading in the Course yesterday was about how the ego keeps trying to find truth in the illusion – but it will always fail. And that’s exactly what my experience of the world has always been: that I’m a failure. Yet, in truth, I’ve failed at NOTHING. I never wanted anything in the illusion anyway.

It’s taken a very long time for this truth to sink in. Like a butterfly, I’ve lightly landed upon these thoughts, only to float away with a breeze of forgetfulness again. This time, maybe, I really got it. Perhaps this time, I fully understand why I can’t commit to anything in the world. It’s because deep down, I KNOW that what I want isn’t out there. I know that if I commit to something in the illusion, I’ll only LOSE everything I really want.

ALL I WANT IS THE TRUTH. Not truth in dribs and drabs. Not inspiration like it’s being squeezed out of a toothpaste tube. I want ALL of truth. The truth that can’t be broken into degrees. Do I want 10% of truth? 50% of truth? I clearly don’t want anything more of the illusion, where everything is a matter of degree. How often have I wanted more time? In that desire, I put truth on hold, and have lost the truth of infinite time. How often have I wanted more square footage? With that desire, I lost the truth of infinite space. How often have I desired peace and freedom, looking first to the world to find them? I suspended real peace and freedom while I searched for them in the wrong place! How often have I desired to DO something within this illusion and so lost the infinity of my true BEING?

Thus, my interest in the world has waned, and then waned some more. It’s been a gradual decline… first, I stopped wanting to go to work and to go out to big social events. Now I’ve stopped wanting to go out for walks in nature, or read my spiritual books, or watch TV. So, I’m losing interest even in enjoyable activity. Some might say I’m becoming depressed or agoraphobic. I’ve been clinically depressed, so I know it’s not that. I doubt it’s agoraphobia. I think I’m just getting what I’ve actually always wanted. All my worldly desires are being packed up and shipped to Never Never Land. I’m about to be totally and perfectly successful! Whew!  Finally!!  Mine eye is single, upon one thing only: TRUTH.

So mote it be. Amen.

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A Night at the Improv

Posted by Amanda Gray on June 8, 2011

Act I

I’ve been on retreat as much as possible this week. On Monday, June 6, I experienced a lot of generalized anxiety throughout the day, although it abated in meditation. As I got into bed that night, I addressed the anxiety. I asked it:

What are you afraid of?

It answered:

I’m afraid of myself.

Hmmm… that didn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps I heard wrong, or asked the wrong question. I tried asking different questions, but I was only getting confused, so I gave up and went to sleep. Around two in the morning, I woke suddenly with the thought:

…because I did it to myself.

Then I understood (speaking as the fear/ego):

I’m afraid of myself because I did this to myself – but I don’t know how I did it and I don’t know how to stop doing it.

I got up, wrote in my diary for a while, and went back to bed.

Act II

In the morning, I woke from a significant dream:

  1. It’s afternoon, and I’m visiting the Varscona Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta. I meet The Improviser Guy and we chat for a bit. Suddenly, he has a big idea and asks if he could use me in his improv skit that evening. I agree. He says that we need a third person, and runs off. He returns shortly with another talented actor, I’ll call him ‘George’, who asks me why we chose him to work with. I tell him enthusiastically, “You were hand picked, baby!”
  2. It’s evening and the actors are gathering at the theatre for the Improv show. I meet The Improv Guy downstairs and sit next to him at a long table. I whisper something in his ear. His wife suddenly comes around the corner. She lunges in, sits down almost on top of me, and asks jealously, “Do you even know who his two favourite teachers from school were?” I genuinely want to assure her that I have no designs, whatsoever, on her husband. I reply, “No, I have no idea. Really, I never listened to a word he said when we went out.” The Improv Guy is completely unconcerned with the interaction between his wife and I.
  3. It’s time for the show, and the actors line up backstage in order of their skits. I stand anxiously with The Improv Guy. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any improv and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it. I ask The Improv Guy how he wants to start. He says, “Just go onstage and walk around. Walk like you’ve been walking forever. Then I’ll come out.”
  4. There’s a family of guinea pigs backstage. They’re more like guinea ‘teddy bears’. The mom is taking care of her babies, licking them. I pet the mom guinea.

Interpretation:

  1. I’m at the improv. This means that I’m surrendering the idea that I should have some sort of script for my waking life and I’m willing to get involved in the moment-to-moment ‘improvisation’ of the journey again. ‘George’ is someone I did improv with, once upon a time. I had difficulty working with him, and I found myself regularly blocking his suggestions onstage. It was this experience, partially, at least, that led to a loss of confidence in my improv abilities. Ohhh… wait, I remember now… I was also angry with this guy for making me uncomfortable to attend the improv as an audience member. I haven’t attended a Theatre sports show since. So, it’s a forgiveness issue, and that’s why he was ‘hand picked’ for the ‘dream team’. (Sigh… letting that go now.)
  2. I understand that The Improv Guy character represents the ‘Holy Spirit’. The ‘me’ character in the dream is willing to work with him, so it means I’m interested and willing to work with the HS in my waking life. I understand that the wife character represents my ‘Shadow’ or ‘ego’ side. The ‘me’ character doesn’t have any meaningful relationship to the wife, so it indicates that, while I’m not preoccupied with the shadow-ego of my consciousness, I’m still sensitive to its various difficulties. The attitude shown here is one of compassion. In my experience, a dream shadow is usually annoying to the dream ‘me’ character, so it’s curious that this wasn’t the case in this dream. The shadow-wife thinks she loves the HS-husband, but really, she just wants to own and control him. She’s totally terrified of losing him and she immediately jumps to conclusions and projects guilt. It’s my understanding that a dream shadow character generally shows up to indicate aspects of self that have been repressed. So, I gather that there’s a desire to possess the HS and use it for selfish/narcissistic ends – or fears that it could happen. The dream puts the shadow-ego and the HS in a married relationship, which indicates a move in consciousness toward whole being. (The wife asks about ‘teachers’, but I’m not getting any specific understanding about that bit.)
  3. So, here’s the ‘me’, about to go onstage with The Improv Guy-Holy Spirit. I’m completely willing to go forward, even though he’s giving me very little guidance, I’m facing the complete unknown, and I’m worried that I’m not as capable as he thinks I am. I’m willing to face my fear and do it anyway! Gung HO! I’m also willing to play the ‘straight’ role, allowing the HS to swoop in, land all the punch lines, and get all the glory (indeed, as it should be). I’m told to ‘walk like I’ve been walking forever’. Well, that pretty much sums up most of my existence to this point, now, doesn’t it? Ha ha. Funny guy.
  4. About that guinea family… well, it was later discovered to be prophetic. During my day, I visited a pet store and, completely unexpectedly, got to pet some guinea pigs (one that was the exact colour of the one in the dream – reddish-brown) as well as petting a mom cat and her brand new litter of kittens. Awe! (Dreams have a tendency to moosh things together in weird ways.) But, see, that’s the thing with prophetic dreams, at least the ones I have – I don’t know they’re prophetic until the event plays out, and it’s usually rather meaningless anyway. So what’s the point of them? Hmmm… perhaps that’s a good question to pose to spirit.

So that’s an example of the way in which dreams can provide information into the development of conscious awareness. I didn’t make any effort to remember the dream, or to analyze it intellectually, I simply asked the HS to show the meaning to me. I sincerely love the truth and anytime I’m allowed to glimpse it, in whatever way, I’m extremely grateful and happy.

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Turning Japanese

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 29, 2011

I think learning to communicate with spirit is a lot like learning Japanese. Out of all the societies in the world, for the western mind, Japanese is probably the most alien to us. We’re drawn to it, fascinated; rebuffed by it, mystified.

The film, Lost in Translation, exemplifies this cultural dichotomy perfectly. The main characters, Lost In Translation (Widescreen)Americans, Charlotte and Bob, are both guests in a luxury Tokyo hotel. They have very little, or no, work to do, they are free from all financial concern, and they both have an excess of leisure time. As they encounter alienation from the cultural surroundings, and inadequate communication with their hosts, they claim comfort in the growing relationship between them.

What I love most about this film, is its innocence. Bob is a worldly, middle-aged man. Charlotte, a woman in her early 20’s. Right there, a modern audience expects sex and corruption. Yet, writer/director, Sofia Coppola, makes brave, authentic choices, and doesn’t opt out for gaudy drama at the cost of character integrity. The journey of a very real relationship is what gives this film its timeless resonance. Without being ‘spiritual’ at all, this film is deeply spiritual.

And so, spirit too, is ‘lost in translation’, as it communicates in ways that bypass the mind. Like a Zen monastery: spare, minimalist; and like Kanji or Kana writing: elegant, graceful; and like harajuku fashion: salty-sweet, playful. Where the western mind is habitually rigid and staid, like a straight line drawn on paper, spirit flows like warm, summer water and crisp, winter breeze, no beginning or end, a circle. I can’t opt out for gaudy drama when I negotiate a relationship with spirit, because it can only develop in the fresh, open atmosphere of truth.

So, I must be gentle with myself. I can’t expect learning, and turning, spirit-Japanese will be easy. Even as I take small, practical steps in content – learning a word or two, or a basic custom – there’s still a vast, subliminal context that I can’t yet grasp. The two ends of my stiff mind are taken up and tangled into a pretzel, like a cat’s cradle of string. Spirit plays with its four hands to form delicate, spider web patterns, and then, finally, I’m made whole again as a perfect circle.

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The Dreaming Riddle

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 26, 2011

Dream:

I’m in a gigantic bakery kitchen.  Thin slabs of chocolate roulade (thin cake baked in a flat pan, often used to roll with filling) are cooling on the work tables.  I approach one slab of roulade, thinking it was one I baked for myself earlier.  I cut a square chunk, but as I lift it to my lips for a bite, a man approaches me from behind, “No, no, no!”  He tells me that the other baker, Candace, baked that slab.  I see Candace, dressed in a white cooks uniform, across the room with her back to me.  I’m sorry for my mistake and I express to him that I hope I haven’t ruined her yield.

Enlightened teachers rarely talk about dreams, except to say that we need to wake up from the one we dream when we think we’re awake.  Personally, since my night-time dreams have been such a robust part of my daily experience, I’ve frequently used them to gain insight into the activity of my unconscious mind.

When I was a child, I imagined two black, cartoon ants that had an old film projector and a white screen on a stand.  One ant would ask, “What film are we going to show tonight?” and the other would turn on the projector, “How about this one.”  On the screen, I’d see the grainy countdown appear: 3, 2, 1, and, poof, I’d be asleep.

I’ve always loved to dream.  My dreams are rich, colourful, and entertaining.  I usually dream when I’m close to consciousness in the morning, so with very little effort, I can remember many vivid details.  When I started to make a concerted study of my dreams, around the year 2000, I would consider every storyline, character, and location.  I poured through dream interpretation dictionaries to understand every symbol and nuance.  It was extremely time-consuming, but it was also fun, a lot like solving a riddle.

I don’t know how my theory stacks up with the great dream philosophers of our time: Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, etc., but I divide my dreams into two kinds.  One kind is indicative of the ego keeping itself active and entertained.  These are often busy dreams, with lots of characters, locations and plot lines.  They’re difficult to interpret because there are many symbols, but rarely ones that really ‘jump out’.  The other kind of dream is short, sometimes simply one image, like a photograph.  It’s vivid and remembered easily, because, I think, it’s important to remember.  I’ve decided, through my experience with them over the years, that those are the images spirit is using to communicate with me.  It’s an elegant form of communication, and much like an ‘instantaneous download’ of knowledge.  I’ll find that one image will have many subtle, but meaningful, details.  I’ve also learned to pay attention to anything white.  A symbol in white, particularly if it’s a neon bright white, is always, for me, an important message from spirit.

The shadow elements of a dream, such as night scenes or dark basements, tell me that there’s something I’m trying to hide from my conscious mind.  The split of the unconscious from the conscious mind segregates experiences or traumas that we don’t want to acknowledge.  In my experience, dream shadows rarely give up crucial information, they’re really only helpful to know there’s still something to root out of hiding.  If my greater intention is unity, any smaller intention to hide in dark corners must, eventually, be brought to the light of consciousness.

I recommend two dream books that have been invaluable to me over the years.  My, hands down, favourite is:

Cloud Nine

My second favourite is:

Little Giant Encyclopedia: Dream Symbols

When selecting a dream book, ensure that it doesn’t offer nonsense of future predictions, such as, “dreaming of an itchy right hand means the dreamer will receive money”.  I’ve heard that some people have dreams that effectively predict the future, but, even then, I doubt they would get much value from those future symbol books.  Although I had an occasional prophetic dream in my early life, it was often only discovered after the event played out and was always so inconsequential, I stopped paying attention to them, and they went away.  To me, dreams are far more relevant as insight into myself, the symbols as placeholders for deep-seated belief systems and patterns of thought.

Dream dictionaries are like regular dictionaries, organized in alphabetical order.  To use one, I simply look up the words that best describe the dream image.  For example, for the dream I described at the top of this post, I would look up: bakery, room, kitchen, table, clean, cook, food, sweets, black, square, man, back, woman, and white.  The descriptions in the dream book are merely starting points.  After reading them, I would then consider which interpretations resonated the most for me, and then think further about how the symbols fit specifically into my life experience.

Without referring to my dream books, I knew what my bakery dream was about.  In 1991-92, after a year of cooking school, hosted at Jasper Park Lodge in Jasper, Alberta, I continued working over the summer in the pastry department.  One day, I arrived for my evening shift and had two tasks on my work list: mix and bake chocolate Devils Food cakes and ‘Etruscan Torte’ cakes.  I had made both of these cakes before and felt confident in my skills.  I started with the Devils Food cakes.  I assembled the ingredients, mixed the batter in the giant Hobart mixer, and filled the cake rings.  I don’t remember if I was particularly distracted that day, or what I was worried about, but I put the cakes into the oven and totally forgot about them.  When I finally remembered, they were cremated beyond repair.  I was thoroughly disgusted and furious with myself as I cut black chunks of charcoal from the baking rings and disposed of all ten cakes in the garbage.  Since I’d already started work on the Etruscan Tortes, I despondently continued with that.  I cut vanilla roulade to fit inside the cake rings for the top and bottom layers, and filled the middle with a gelatine-meringue mixture.  I thought they were to bake for 45 minutes and I put them into the oven….  Well, if you’ve done any baking, you may already have recognized my mistake.  Gelatine isn’t baked, it’s refrigerated.  In 45 minutes, I asked my sous chef how I should test for doneness.  He corrected me, but it was already too late.  The gelatine mixture had melted and leaked out of the cake rings onto the pans in a big slushy mess.  Ten more cakes, ruined!  I was horrified and devastated.  How could I be such a complete loser?  Within a few weeks of the incident, I concocted a number of excuses, and quit the job.

My dream pointed to this entire scenario in a few symbols.  By incorporating the character of Candace, a co-worker from a current job, it also links the past with the present.  It tells me that I made a past mistake that I never truly forgave myself for, and that I’m still holding onto guilty fears that I could make work mistakes again.  Through the dream, I discovered a limitation that has been affecting my experience, and I can now surrender it – forgive myself.

Although, I also understand why teachers of enlightenment wouldn’t recommend dream analysis.  The mind loves to examine itself, and as long as I’m rooting around in its house of mirrors, I won’t make the essential decision to abandon all mind games – lock, stock and barrel.  Yes, perhaps I have delayed myself extraneously, and thus, I’ve given up dreaming riddles, for the most part.  If I have a dream that I remember, fine, and if there’s some symbolism that jumps out at me, fine, and if an interpretation reveals itself without effort, that’s fine too.

Dreams are a fantastic mystery.  A form of riddle that may never be completely solved, but we can look, and ask, and wonder.

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Kundalini Risin’

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 21, 2011

Holy backlash, Batman!  I expected to write yesterday, but I was kept horizontal by a massive headache.  It started immediately after I finished my last post and continued, at peak, for about 36 hours.

I suspected that the pain was ego backlash.  Getting too close to the ‘fire’ of truth again.  Since I’ve experienced headaches and migraines (headache accompanied by nausea and vomiting) for most of my life, I followed the usual routine for relief, including painkillers, hot showers, tiger balm, massage, and bed rest.  I prayed to spirit for help and asked various questions: Pain, what are you trying to tell me?  What am I resisting so vehemently?  My Course in Miracles lesson (140) for the day was:

Only salvation can be said to cure.

I didn’t eat any dinner last night.  On an empty stomach, I took two more painkillers, put a Dr. David R. Hawkins CD in my player, and curled back under the covers to gently cradle my head in my hands and lie as still as possible.

The CD that I picked, casually, off the shelf, included a question that I had asked Dr. Hawkins in person that day.  The Doc had reminded me that I was strong and courageous, and that I could take my spiritual work lightly.  I listened to the whole CD, then a few restless hours went by.  I was lightly snoozing when a thought spontaneously arose:

Who is it that thinks it can resist?

My brain softened, melted into liquid, and in a download, I knew that the resistance was, entirely, an illusion.  In the same moment, I also knew that it had been beneficial to skip dinner, that indulgence with food had been another method I’d been using to defend against truth.  I sat up on the edge of my bed.  The clock read 10:30 pm.  Kundalini energy flowed, like exquisite tendrils of warm electric smoke, around my whole body.  The heart centre was aflame, like a flat, 10-inch disc under the thin crust of my ribcage.  I knew it was the kundalini energy that was restricted at the neck and causing the headache.  Oh, right.  It had happened before.  I paced around my bedroom, crying with profound joy and gratitude.  Using some previous Dr. Hawkins advice, I tried to ‘breath the energy up’ through the blockage and into my head.  It didn’t seem to make much difference, but by then, the pain was already greatly diminished, and I went back to bed to sleep peacefully through the rest of the night.

As I write, I’m experiencing warm kundalini flowing across my back.  It’s lovely.  My neck is twinging and weak, like it’s not properly attached at the ends, but, otherwise, I feel better.   Just toasted a little at the edges.

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No One Can Fail Who Seeks to Reach the Truth

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 11, 2011

Today I seek and find all that I want.  My single purpose offers it to me.  No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.
A Course in Miracles, Lesson131, Pg. 240

Last night, I listened to a recording by spiritual teacher, Adyashanti.  His teaching, like the Course in Miracles, is very direct.  It brought up some intriguing questions and inspiration:

  • If I’m waiting for the mind or my feelings to still, I’ll wait forever.  No waiting is necessary.  The truth – on every level of being (physical/spiritual) – is available immediately.
  • How is my apathy (anger, fear, etc.) seeing the world?  What would it say?  My apathy says, I don’t want to be here.
  • Then: Is it true? (That I don’t want to be here.)
  • Then, an inspiration: When did I first decide not to BE… HERE?  (Here, in the Self.)
  • Then: When did I first choose to hide my Self?

I’ve been working with this riddle of ‘hiding my Self’ since it first came up in a dream about a month ago.  Several of my consciously developed friends pointed it out as well, and I make it a policy never to ignore advice that’s corroborated by a couple or more sources.  I agree that it’s an important area to examine, but, so far, I’m not getting anything.  So, alas, it’s still percolating.  Perhaps the more direct questions, as above, will help further.

Adyashanti also said that the ‘instantaneous downloads’ of knowledge I’ve experienced on occasion, are natural to the Self, and that it’s actually natural to get them all the time.  Adya called it PRAJNA.  Yes, please, I’d like to have more prajna.  Continuous prajna.  That’d be awesome!

Also, after some further thought about the Course lesson from yesterday – about surrendering all value I’ve placed in the world – I remember that, yes, that is how it goes.  I had forgotten.  Of course, I can continue to play in the world, keep seeking endlessly for useless trinkets, and delay myself for eons, even, if I really want to.  But do I want that?  NOOOOO!!!  Because I really want the ONLY useful, meaningful thing there is: the Self.  I want to rest in the source, the ground, of my being.  It is, absolutely, the most important thing to me, but sometimes, it seems I forget, and then I have to re-focus and re-establish my intention. Adya suggested that it’s painful to leave the Self – and yes, I think that perhaps I’m conscious of that when I’m wandering and getting wrapped up in goofy worldly distractions.  Perhaps it’s related to a particular anxiety I’ve experienced lately too.  Perhaps seeking out in the world has truly become anathema to me now.  Well, that, or I’ve become agoraphobic.  So, really, I don’t know.  I’m just guessing.  Is it appropriate for me to relinquish the world at this time?  Is it natural to have lost most of my interest in it?  I want to take care that I’m not creating aversions, or rejecting it, or hiding from it, but it’s true that I see very little point in most worldly activities – and I don’t think it sees much point in me either, frankly.  That sounds funny, but it does seem to be letting go of me, just as much as I’m letting go of it.  So, it’s a mutual relinquishment.

Like my Course lesson says, I can’t fail.  Whew.  Good.  I’m really sick of being a total failure.  The spiritual path is sometimes difficult, and it’s certainly strange, but there’s nothing else for me to do.  Spirit has it’s own energy now and I simply need to follow… or I’ll be dragged.  Yeah, I think I prefer to follow willingly.

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