Our hurt becomes a door into a different kind of reality

Even though it may seem paradoxical, the truth is that if we are anxious, tense about something, fantasizing into the future, if we are obsessing, it is still possible to be easy with that experience, to just notice it and breathe.

One of the fundamental understandings of this work, of the process itself, is that a clean, non-evaluative observation is far more transformative than an insight. To observe the relationship between body and thought, not to do anything about it except offer it the conscious space of attention, allows an organic movement to take place which couldn’t if we were looking for the insight or for some way to change.

Part of the reason why we close our eyes during the dialogues and the talks is to create an environment which is conducive to compassionate self-observation. It is, however, easy to lose the distinction between an observation and a comment. They aren’t the same at all. An observation is a direct participatory entry of the attention into a particular event. A comment or an insight involves a conceptual frame which cuts off the movement and arrests organic growth.

It is vital, as we sit with ourselves, to let the attention be with the body, because it is far easier to notice the body in a non-evaluative way than it is to notice the mind’s formulations. We just stay with the body and attend to the breath.

As we enter into the process, it is crucial to experience the breathing sensuously and not mechanically. Even if the breathing is tight, we attend to it. If we are in pain, or are having some other so-called emotional difficulty, we simply locate that experience physically and breathe.

The world of thought, of commentary and descriptions is a limited fragment of what is available to us. Coming to the body opens another possibility, a deeper sense of things. We begin to discover what is outside the fragment that we are currently identifying with. Such a discovery can not be made through manipulation or the pressure to change. It can only happen when we are open to what is.

We come to the body. We breathe. And in doing so we may notice some vulnerability, some tightness, some pain or even a sense of spaciousness, love. We stay with whatever we encounter. There is a definite distinction between what is occurring in the body and what we are saying about it from up above.

The body is not conflicted. It doesn’t comment or describe. The body has no issues because it doesn’t carry the past in the way the mind does. There is something occurring in the body, almost like a longing or a core that is seeking to expand and explode. Our relationship with this expanding, exploding force is often ambiguous. We have mixed interpretations about what it is and what it is for. Sometimes we try to push it away or press it into oblivion.

If we stay very quiet, however, and allow ourselves to explore on the subtlest level, we can find that all personal difficulties bear some relationship to this exploding force. Something within us is always trying to get beyond the confines we have created for ourselves. We don’t want to be trapped.

Unfortunately, the sense that we don’t want to be trapped is often dealt with by trying to get peaceful. But the radical notion we present as part of this process is that seeking peace in the face of discomfort is not the deeper purpose of the human journey. A spirituality which represents itself as a way to peace, where everything is calm, misses a beautiful and abundant possibility — that of coming into contact with what is making us restless and dissatisfied, coming to our energy.

Getting in touch with our restlessness, with the way life seems so limited, so bound and isolated — to ride it, feel it, move with it and not know what it means — is a great service to ourselves. It is an act of self-respect. But it is challenging because we have built up a fantasized scenario about what causes the restlessness and why it’s there at all.

Each of us is a matrix of moving energies, both subtle and gross. These energies are naturally seeking to expand. They are constantly in process, never still. Sometimes they are experienced as a drive, a wanting, a problem, and sometimes they seem vaguer than that. There are times when we seem numb to them, make them flat.

There is great value in coming directly to our energies and in not merely seeking to find comfort or peace. Real movement develops when we can discover the body’s energetic force aesthetically. We offer our attention to what is actually occurring and we wait.

As human beings we are in ferment, in process all the time. We often describe this ferment in perplexing and conflicted ways. Those descriptions are not necessarily the truth about what that ferment really is.

The spirituality that we move towards in this work is an activity of the attention in which the ferment of life, the movement, the perpetual urge to expand, is fully respected. But what is not respected, in this sense, is the way we have condemned and trivialized that urge, the way we have tried to put it away and make it wrong.

So much of the time we perceive ourselves as being caught inside the bodily frame, alone. We may notice that we perceive ourselves as encapsulated. As long as our perception of who we are is related to that encapsulation, there are going to be painful symptoms. And as long as thought is allowed to be the dominating influence on our perception, the symptoms of that perceived encapsulation are going to be interpreted in self-defeating ways.

We have a yearning to be free, to get out of the tight spot we seem to be caught in. This yearning is marvelous. It speaks highly of us as spiritual beings. We are yearning for freedom and love. An experience of the innocence of this yearning, its creative force, can arise only as a result of becoming conscious of the restlessness, the dissatisfaction, in a way that is free of repeated patterns of belief and thought.

That’s great. Let’s sit directly across from each other. Relax the body, close the eyes and be easy. I want to gently move through the rudiments of this process as we talk. I m going to ask for your affirmation that what we are doing together is understandable and that you can actually do it.

When I say to you, for instance, bring your attention to the front of the body, is that natural and easy to do?

And when you bring your attention to the front of the body, is there an experience there? Is something going on?

Can you notice that? Can you be aware in a simple way of your heart pounding?

Let’s notice the aesthetic experience of your heart pounding, not making anything of it at all. Is your breathing stopped as you sit?

As you allow your attention to move beyond the pounding of your heart, are there other experiences in the front of your body?

You experience that as a physical tightness, yes?

It is very important in speaking with someone during a subtle communication like this to recognize that, without a reeducation, most of us assume that tension is a feeling. Of course, its felt. But in the process that we are unfolding here, a distinction is drawn between tension and feeling. You can say I feel the tension, meaning I am conscious of it. But a feeling is something else.

It is also important to recognize that we are being given a beautiful opportunity when a person is able to identify fairly clearly what the tension feels like, what its depth and direction are. Expressing the experience of tension in an artistic way offers a different view of it than our expression of it as a kind of cliche.

There is nothing wrong with having tension. It should not be treated like a problem. We want to fully participate in it instead of trying to force it away. We let the attention be with the tension.

Is that fairly easy, Kathy?

In a sense you don’t want to go near it like this.

Let me ask you this: When you don’t want to experience tension, how do you try to avoid it? What is the internal method for stopping tension?

You either seek distraction or you seek sleep.

In the experience you are having right now with the tension and the restlessness, are they different or are they the same?

Which is on top of which in a physical sense? Is the tension on top of the restlessness or the other way around?

Is the restlessness more pervasive than the tension? Does it take up more of your body?

The tension is localized and the restlessness is less so.

What is it about the restlessness that you don’t like? What is it that makes the restlessness an experience you would rather not have?

Now I’m going to make a more general comment. Please bear with me. We are speaking about the body and we are asking someone to describe aesthetically or artistically their bodily experience. It’s important for the listener not to accept words that don’t mean anything. There are words we all gravitate toward when expressing our experience. They aren’t truthful even though they are commonly accepted as understandable truths.

Kathy said, “I feel uncomfortable.” My next question would be, “What does uncomfortable mean?” Kathy began to answer that question when she said, “It feels like there is never going to be a resolution.” An indistinct urge is permeating her body and it never finds resolution.

At this fundamental level, where a person is describing their body experience — their relationship to life current — we are well below the common metaphorical level.

The issues as they present themselves on the inside or the outside, in terms of content, are nothing more than metaphorical expressions of relationship to Eros, life current. While it may be useful and interesting to explore those metaphors, it is more fascinating and compelling to find the levels which are underneath.

Once we understand that Kathy is describing her relationship to life current and nothing else — the way in which her evolutionary process is unfolding and the way in which her full participation is being blocked — a real sense of dignity is restored. On the level of incidents, life events, we can easily feel humiliated by what seems to be going on.

At the energetic level, it doesn’t have the same personal tone. It s part of a much greater process which encompasses far more than the simple dilemmas of one person’s life.

Kathy is describing her particular relationship to life current as it tries to pour through her body. In understanding this, the spiritual or so-called psychological work simply offers the working tools for getting underneath the constraint of thought which is holding the life current back. The psychological symptoms are merely behavioral or metaphorical expressions of a subtle physiological event.

When you say, Kathy, that the restlessness never seems to resolve itself, you have given an important signal regarding your interpretation about the human experience. The question of when will it stop, when will everything finally be in place, is actually a demand which the mind makes on life. It is an impossible demand. Nothing will ever resolve itself. Nothing ever stops moving. Nothing will ever cease to be in a state of transition. That is the nature of life. The mind seeks resolutions, frames and organized pictures of what things will look like when this segment ends.

What you describe as the restlessness is a powerful movement within you, along with an attempt to stop it. Here is where we find ourselves as we speak. You feel restless. Energy is moving and it is being blocked, caged in. The habit pattern of mind is causing part of the block and is also trying to explain it. From this interplay arises an amorphous suffering, a hope lessness which I think you are familiar with.

Let’s go back to the body. Offer your attention to the body. Has there been any kind of shift or does it remain the same?

Is it only the chair? What would you do and where would you go?

It’s driving you?

Is there anything about the restlessness that you can say in an expressive or descriptive way that you haven’t said as yet? Is there somewhere, for instance, where it’s more intense?

How does the restlessness relate to what we might call anxiety? Is it surrounded by an anxiety or is it what you would call an anxiety in and of itself?

The outer wrap is similar, but the inside is different.

But the restlessness is different from the tightness. It’s underneath it?

Can you offer your attention more substantially to the restlessness or do you have to offer your attention to the heaviness equally?

Without offering your attention to the tightness, it would be difficult to breathe.

Let’s breathe together. In this experience, the mind makes comments. Is one of the comments something like, “It’s hopeless. There is no way out?”

The thought that it’s hopeless, with no way out, is a thread that runs through your life.

Is it possible, as you sit here, to recognize that the thought about hopelessness is an overlay? It isn’t inherent to the restlessness or the tension.

When you feel yourself at the edge of something, does that come from the body? Do you know that in a deep way?

But when you are calling it hopeless, there’s a shouting, angry quality to the voice. It’s like saying, “I don’t like you. Get away.” The frustration, the sense of being at the edge of something and the hopelessness, the defeat, are coming from two different directions. One is a clamp-down in an extreme form and the other is a sensing of an impending explosion.

Let’s go to this. But let me paint the picture with a broader stroke. Kathy is describing her relationship to an energy which is coming to or through the body. That energy is being prevented from doing what it apparently needs to do.

There are times when vital energy gets caught in webs of interpretive thought and we perceive it to be a foe. There are certainly times when we allow it to be a friend. When it’s a foe, it feels like it wants to do something to us, to take over in a way that we can’t trust. This same quality has a tremendous fascination for us on the other side. A part of us would really like to have it take over, to give up to it.

On the one side, our struggle seems to be with a force that wants to own us, to take over. It wants our submission. On the other side, we would like to do nothing more than give ourselves up to it. So much depends on the meaning we apply to what is going on. This is a spiritual experience. You are grappling with the question of autonomy and surrender, Eros and structure. You are struggling on an energetic level with creativity and form. When this is really known, experienced and understood in an organic way, it gives dignity and purpose to something which, right now, you would rather have go away.

We are sitting together facing into something that seems to want you. We are looking at the way you are trying to pressure that something into the mold of your beliefs and assumptions about life, to keep it under control. We are also exploring a force which seems outside of your control and a counter-force which also seems to be beyond your grasp.

When we look at our so-called internal life, it often appears to be taking place on its own. Sometimes it looks like a movement of forces over which we have no jurisdiction. There is a holdback and a moving force. You are watching. You are helpless in the face of it.

Rarely, if ever, can we deal with the issues and difficulties of life with the kind of free choice that we think is ours. Forces are operating through us which are not under our conscious and willful control. They threaten the notion that we are somebody in a separate, private way, that we have a cohesive and identifiable personal life. Just look at your thoughts. They come and go on their own. They are nearly impossible to subdue. The same is true of the life force, Eros. It works on its own. The illusion always is that this life is ours. It isn’t. It is part of a great evolutionary process that we can resist or participate in, but never own or control.

Most self-help techniques arise from a picture of the human being which gives credence to the reality of free choice regarding the energetic movement within and around us. They are not based on an understanding which suggests that this life is only personal on one tiny edge. The rest of it consists of great evolutionary forces which we can only observe and attend to in certain ways.

We don’t have the choice we think we have. We can’t suddenly get over the ferment or the movement. There is not stillness on the level of form. There is a great stillness, but we can’t come to it by trying to fight with movement.

Stay with the body. Just be with it in an easy way. Has there been a slight shift, Kathy?

You feel a little different?

We can literally follow the shifts another person is going through by being deeply attentive to our own body. I just felt a kind of attraction to Kathy. I could feel it as a more open, shared space. I could feel the relationship. Something new entered the domain ot our exchange.

Whereas at the beginning, I could feel a hole or a gap between us and we were trying to reach across that hole, offering descriptions to each other. Now that hole feels less vacant, less empty. I feel you in a different way. Do you know what I mean?

Let’s stay with the body and with each other. Do you feel more space than you did a little while ago?

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that your struggle has gone away or that it’s not there in the background. It’s just that a certain spaciousness has arisen which wasn’t there before. It is less definable.

When we are talking about health or neurosis, we are talking about relationship to space. By space, I don’t mean vacancy. I mean presence or depth. When we are living in a way that might be described as healthy or balanced, we are living in a sense of space which is more expanded than the space that is squeezed by issues of thought and belief.

We stay with it. It’s a bodily experience. It’s just there. Do you feel any easiness in your heart?

The rest of it is tight?

Do you think that it would be possible for us to go to the tightness together, to allow our attention to be with it as one?

When you say that you are afraid to do it, does that mean there is a specific outcome that you fear? Are you frightened about something that you think will happen?

Do you feel pressured or cornered by me?

You mean that you don t quite know how to defend yourself against my presence?

Isn’t there a combination of deep attraction to this encounter and also a fear, even a repulsion? You want and don’t want it at the same time.

Our relationship with intimacy is exactly the same as our relationship with life current. There is no distinction. The way we fight with Eros as it pours into this bodily frame is exactly the same way we are going to struggle with someone else in an intimate encounter.

What you and I are experiencing here is another effect of your own internal relationship to energy, but it is being expressed through our relationship. You are guarding yourself against this deeper meeting in the same way you guard against a full participation in the movement of life. At the same time you are enormously pulled to it. You are cautious, but not rigidly stopped.

Can you feel the desire to be loved?

Somewhere down underneath there is an underlying statement or frame which suggests that an encounter such as this has a certain danger to it. And you react as if that danger is real and right at hand.

Because ot our prior relationship and the trust we have developed, it is difficult for the mind to conceive of me as being really dangerous.

It’s hard to find a story line which indicates that I am dangerous. But you partly respond to this dialogue as if I want something from you that you don’t want to give. Even though there is no evidence, you respond as if there might be a real danger here.

Stay with the body. Do you notice some place where you are tight, but not tight in the sense of tension, but rather where you feel separate or removed from the body’s core?

Here is such a beautiful opportunity. Just feel the misalignment in the body. Stay with it. You are familiar with this experience of being moved off to one side. Isn’t this a reaction to relationship? You are trying to shift your body away so that you do not get exposed — almost as if by distorting your body in a certain way you’ll avoid contact.

And you can see that this is all taking place without any noticeable physical movement. You know that the intimacy is not about how close I am to you in gross physical terms, but it’s about the way in which something is longing in each of us to melt together in a subtle, invisible way. The body is involved, but the intimacy is actually taking place in the living space between us. It has no distinguishable point of location. It’s between us, in us and around us. But it is felt in the front of the body. In order to avoid intimacy, you must distort the frontal membrane.

You are trying to rubber-band your way out and you can feel that. It’s a kind of squirming because you think that you are pinned. We are engaged in an important discipline because we are, by staying conscious of it all, not acting out the impulse to get up and run away.

Isn’t it true that your response to our interaction is outside of conscious and willful control? You don’t want to suffer in this way. It’s just happening.

In the same way the intimacy is just happening. Have you disappeared in a way?

Where do you go?

That something which you identify as “I” uses the body as a defensive wall.

So when you disappear, you’re not really in your body in that sense. You are not using the body as an instrument of relationship, but rather as a defense.

You are responding as if intimacy were an assault. You need to protect yourself from it.

The body is locked into a habit. This habit operates outside of our conscious control. That unique spaciousness which I call individuality, that which surrounds and fills the body, can actually dislocate from the body. The body is pushed forward like a wall and this presence, this hollow space, is held at bay. Using the body seems to protect you against the aggressive appearance of intimacy.

Can you observe this without making it wrong or bad?

You’re in it right now.

Can you just look at this for a little while?

Here is the possibility of an observation which can be helpful. You find yourself in a particular relationship to the body. It hurts. You want something else on a conscious level. But that something else is not available through conscious and deliberate choice. We can’t get away from how it is at this moment. Your only choice is to struggle or just to be here with it as it is.

Just be with that. In the background, isn’t there a desire to beat it, punch it or get through it in some way? There’s a rage.

The delicacy comes from the sense that the whole wall is being threatened?

Let’s just sit together in silence for a while. I am allowing my attention to be with you through the front of my body. I don’t lose myself in this, but I am completely with you.

Is there less pain?

You feel more available again. You seem more here.

Your reaction to me was as if I were an aggressor. It seemed as if you were protecting yourself against an attack. You dislocated.

I understand that. But isn’t there something else which seems to be forcing you away from that safety?

Are you able to articulate the nature of the danger?

Stay with the body. I’m going to allow my attention to be with you as you allow your attention to be with the front of your body.

Your struggle on this level is about spaciousness. Is it safe to allow your own presence to be available in a general way? You tend to squeeze it back.

Let’s go with the sinking. Let it happen. We are interweaving a communication about subtle energetic experiences while offering complete permission to have an experience without the veil of conceptual, personalized meaning.

Participating like this reveals, in a direct and unsentimental way, a pattern of relationship that has been with you for a long time. Here is the entire movement, step by step, of your relationship to relationship.

What we are looking at today goes on in the background during the normal course of your life. Surface content dominates and a clear picture of this phenomenon is lost. The struggle appears to be occurring as a result of what somebody else does to you or against you. It doesn’t look like it’s happening at subtle levels in your body. The actual location switches from your own body to a relationship with someone else. It gets vague.

Our process here is a temporary entry into an unusual relationship with external reality. We are giving ourselves the chance to witness our internal life at a level deeper than the symbolic content we usually create to distract ourselves.

Unlike most of our common experiences, patience is paramount. Usually, patience is sacrificed to the symbol, to what is happening on the outside.

Our work here requires patience for all involved — to be with you as you come and go, to listen to descriptions of subtle body movements, to expect nothing. We ordinarily don’t give each other such permission.

The healer, listener, friend — whatever term we want to use — is responsible for maintaining a space, upholding a space that makes it possible for all organic changes to occur.

What is your experience now, Kathy?

Is that familiar?

Is that a bodily experience?

Now if we were in relationship on the outside, wouldn’t you assume that you were bored with me.

You are bored with the level of encounter that you are willing to come to. Do you know what I’m saying? You are keeping yourself at a point which is just distant enough for it to lose fascination.

It’s important to see that. When you combine boredom with the restless desire to get away, it is very easy to say, “This relationship is over. The things that used to fascinate me about you are gone.”

Can you see that your struggle with this, your hatred of it, are not aimed at releasing you from it? The struggle has the opposite effect.

One of the major understandings of this work is that when we are in a struggle with an aspect of ourselves, we are actually giving it the strength to remain. The hate keeps it alive.

The way out, if you will, is a melt. It involves a de-structuring. The only movement available to us as human beings is melting movement. Mechanical movement is an illusion, a kind of theatrics which doesn’t relate to organic process. All resistance is structural and mechanical.

Self-hatred, disliking and not wanting something about ourselves, maintains structure. Compassionate observation is real self-care. It doesn’t manipulate change; it simply provides the opening for it to happen.

Today you can see an internal mechanism which seems to function with a great deal of autonomy. It includes hiding, running, tensing, distracting, dislocating, getting bored, etc.

You mean that your body feels vacant again?

Do you feel an urgency to get over it?

You can hear how being removed even affects your voice. It has less power, less resonance. I am experiencing a longing for you. At the mind’s level, if we were in a different kind of relationship, I would feel hurt at this point. This is the point at which someone else’s pattern gets set off, especially if it’s related to abandonment. I wouldn’t be sure whether you are judging me or not, whether you really cared.

This is interesting because the reason someone might start clinging to you at this point is because they’ve tasted you, touched you and found you in a genuine way, and then you left. They want you back, but they don’t know how to find you.

In the ordinary stream of events, the other person might also get angry because they are protecting their own hurt and because anger itself offers some possibility of opening you up again. To hurt you may break down the wall. Emotional hurt can bring a person back to the body.

Someone might say, “Kathy, I love you but I don’t know what to do with you.”

And then you tease them.

In ordinary relationship your disappearances, the hiding, could easily be interpreted as betrayal. I’ve loved you and loved you and now you have gone away.

It’s a pressure, an assault. But when he actually does go away from you, you start longing for him again.

It’s a conditioned mechanism responding to a variety of forces. Most of the content is fantasy. The mechanism doesn’t bear any particular relationship to what is happening in the present. It was formed in some other space and time. But when that was, and what circumstances actually caused this reflex to begin coming into play, is irrelevant. Insights like that don’t heal.

Only the space of self-acceptance does.

This is a mechanism of self-protection. You are responding to whoever is with you in the present as if the whole event were taking place somewhere else, in some other frame.

One of the earmarks of the kind of hiding that you engage in is a repulsion for the person you assume is pursuing you. Suddenly all their characteristics, even the ones that had once fascinated you, become ugly.

Come back to the body. The whole mechanism that you are facing right now might be called a tendency. It isn’t related to you in a personal way even though it has personal overtones. It is like an independent drive. The tendency constitutes the way in which we manufacture reality on this planet. It is the blinders we wear that give us a particular angle on what is going on here.

Something is going on in this world, but it’s not the same as the reality frame in which you live. All of us make up the same relationships over and over again. And interestingly enough, we always seem to find a person who is willing to cooperate with us in an exquisitely matched way. It’s so mysterious, almost uncanny.

We could say that until we have melted out of the tendency, transcended it through love, the other people in our lives don’t exist as independent entities. They are just a part of our fantasy — and vice versa. We don’t know who they are.

We were attracted at first by a moment with them in which the tendency had not yet come into play. They seemed so interesting and fresh. Soon after that, the myth takes over and it takes a lot of work to come back.

Where do you find yourself, Kathy?

Come to the body again and feel, allow. Do you feel something in your body, Kathy?

Let’s come to the heart together. Allow your attention to be open to me through the body. It’s there again, isn’t it?

There is something else now between us, an aliveness, a softness that we can both feel. It’s not that there are no boundaries, but just that the boundaries are out farther than they were before.

Your boundaries remain but there is also another dimension of silence, of space, that we have passed into. It’s now hard to distinguish between my feeling you, your feeling me and feeling ourselves. A melt has begun to happen. Do you feel that?

It’s like there is one space now. And while I remain who I am in some background way, I am clearly not different from you. When I say that I love you, do you know what I mean? Something is beautifully alive which has nothing to do with the constrained limits of personality and belief. I love you because we are together, because we have found the common space.

Do you feel afraid?

When you had the thoughts about caution, could you notice that there was a different spatial relationship to these thoughts from what there usually is? They didn’t seem quite as oppressive as they ordinarily do.

One of the aspects of the squeezed position in life, when thought dominates and the body is used as an instrument of defense, is that thoughts seem to take up most of our available space. There isn’t any room for a more expansive awareness of self. In this deeper modality, thoughts are there but they aren’t taking all the available space. They don’t trap us in the same way. This changes all our relationships.

Once again, lets go to the body and open the attention through the body to each other. Can you feel that?

I understand.

I wonder if there is anyone else who would like to enter into this dialogue with a question or an expression of feeling?

I think I hear the question. When someone withdraws and we feel hurt, the question is not about the person who withdrew, but rather about our relationship to hurt. Otherwise, the question becomes how can I get my partner to come back to me or to behave in a way that doesn’t make me hurt?

The question isn’t about your wife. The question comes back to mother in a solid way. This is not a psychological theory which suggests that your wife has become a symbol of your mother. It is rather how to bring the mothering process to yourself, now that the wound has been exposed.

The hurt that you are experiencing, the wound, was not created by your wife’s withdrawal. It was there. When she behaves in a certain way toward you, the wanting in the wound seems to go away. But when she withdraws her attention from you, the wanting in the wound comes raging back.

All this comes right down to the question of how you can offer to yourself that which your wife seemed to be offering before. What are the skills or approaches necessary to attend and care for yourself? This is one of the most intense challenges we can ever face. It’s like riding a wild horse because something inside is insisting that the pain is about someone else. And that something has the glow of reality to it. We have been in partnership with that voice for so long that when it says, “Who are you kidding? This is about my wife and I have to get her to see it my way,” you believe it. That belief manufactures a reality myth which is based on one particular viewpoint.

There is another side to this which is based on the understanding that you must get through the myth that this is about Elizabeth, and come to the feeling openly even though part of you aches to make it about her.

You certainly are alone in the paradigm that is creating the problem. The paradigm of separateness forces us into peculiar dependencies on each other. It manufactures a reality frame which is oriented to complete isolation. The desire for intimacy seems unclean and unclear. We have to strategize and manipulate to get what we are longing for.

We turn toward our pain and enter into our woundedness directly. We just stay with it and breathe. Through this we discover that the wound is a raw and injured passageway that we have been taught to demean and negate. As we keep opening to it, that wound becomes a place where we can find someone in a way that we have never done before. We begin to transcend the separateness through this deep and immediate self-care.

The only way that our wounds can be healed is by bringing mother love to ourselves, by bringing the nurturing force to our own being. This means attending to it. Attending to the hurt is different from loving it. We can’t decide to love something. Love is not part of conscious choice. We attend to the wound and love unfolds from the place that once hurt — from the body and not from thought.

Attending to hurt involves breathing with it, staying with it, lifting off our ideas about it and releasing all the pressure to get rid of it, to change it, to get to the other side. The hurt becomes a door into a different reality, a different paradigm.

You are having an infant response to mother. All our relationships to hurt are reflective of primal exchanges at various points in our development here, there and elsewhere. The response of needing someone to stroke us when we hurt is entirely appropriate at one point in time and then is less appropriate at another point in time.

Learning how to open into mother, into the nurturing essence which is around us and within us is the next step in the evolutionary process. It is spiritual. That hurt, that wound, is a prayer because instead of relying on the infant need for physical mother, we turn our longing toward the universe itself. We turn toward something greater than what we conceive ourselves to be. We do this through self-respect, by treating the wound as a sacred passageway.

We begin by turning our attention to the hurt as a prayer. We allow the body to pray. Our hurts and wounds are entry points into a different and deeper dimension. In that dimension we encounter forces, intelligences which can communicate to us or through us on a feeling level.

The pain and the hurt are a doorway into a different kind of space, a different terrain. We rarely enter that terrain because we don’t allow ourselves to discover the passageway that the hurt represents.

Please take this at whatever level you want to or don’t take it at all. I am not interested in creating a belief structure or a philosophical demand.

The perceptual paradigm which has been indoctrinated into us is one of tight aloneness inside the physical body. We experience this life as if we were caught inside a material frame, looking out, fearing death and change. From this paradigm, we can’t know whether there is any interactive relationship between ourselves, for instance, and the stars in the sky. We assume that we must struggle this life out pretty much alone.

To the one caught inside the body there are comforts, discomforts, pleasures and pains. We perceive ourselves as dwelling in a very limited cage.

One of the things that we intuitively sense, even when we are in this tight relationship to life, is that there is more to it than what we currently know. And we long for that. We know inside that there is something more to this life experience than simply waiting it out for seventy years.

We also sense sometimes, when we are quiet and open, that we are not as separate from each other as it seems. Just beyond the edge, there is another possibility. It has been suggested for millenniums, in many spiritual traditions, that intelligent presences, conscious presences, guide and work with the evolution of humanity. One could call these intelligences forces, beings, guides or any other metaphor that makes sense.

It is clear even in a so-called rational framework that different levels of reality function differently and have different forces working through them. There are forces which work on or stimulate evolution. The responsibility, the task of being on this earth, is to work with these forces, these guiding energies, by disbanding the whole system of belief which blocks us from the connection.

Invisible intelligences can communicate to us in just the way we communicate with each other — through the frontal membrane. These communications are energetic exchanges which are received and given through the body’s subtle membrane. What we tend to do, as a result of the way we are glued to the present paradigm, is fix personal and often trivial meanings onto these deep communications as if they were our emotions, our weaknesses, etc.

The goal is to cease applying personal, superficial meanings to our communications with energetic realms outside, and to begin discovering what is really there. We enter into the feeling because it is a wisdom-bearer. We listen to what it says.

This universe is not a linear, orderly system of appearances. It is rather a whole, a multi-dimensional curve of possibilities taking place on different levels. Within this curve, there are greater and lesser forms of intelligence. Different forms of intelligence are involved at different levels of evolution. Some of those intelligences, in their compassion, turn toward the human being, and assist in a non-intrusive way. Interestingly enough, the way to turn toward them is through the prayer of acceptance and self-respect.

The kind of compassion, for instance, which is being offered to you by the universe is a very different, less personal compassion than I could offer to you. It keeps ribbing you, riding you and forcing you to face into something that you would rather not face into.

Life does not follow the moral structure that we would like it to. Its purpose is obviously not the comfort of any particular person. Its compassion, if you see it this way, is merciless.

It keeps coming at us. It doesn’t stop. The compassion is the fact that it doesn’t give up on us or coddle us in a sentimental way. It has no respect for our personal judgments or evaluations.

These intelligences are compassionate because they radiate an endless love, but they are not compassionate in the sense of saying, “Let’s not give Arthur a hard time today. Let’s be nice to him.” You can’t attach a human judgment.

Individuals open to these forces according to their individual, evolutionary gift. The most public examples are the Mozarts, Shakespeares and Blakes. But each of us has the same kind of access as a potential, but the expression is likely to be different.

What’s interesting about those individuals who have come to the earth bearing gifts of that magnitude is that often the access is limited to one particular channel. It isn’t integrated into the whole life. There can be great confusion in the personal life because of those forces. Very few geniuses have spoken of their gift as coming from them. They knew that they had broken through a certain door so that something poured through them, even against their conscious will sometimes.

It is possible to enter into a very deep relationship with these forces in an integrated way and not just through certain doors.

Yes, but without negating what you just said. There is a need to be acknowledged, to feel someone else and also there is something well beyond that. When someone acknowledges us or we acknowledge someone else, we are bringing certain forces into play through our appreciation. We are a messenger for forces greater than ourselves.

Kathy’s struggle, for instance, is taking place on many different levels. Her struggle with the meaning of womanhood, her struggle with the past, her struggle with male/female intimacy, are all real, but it is vital to see that these psychological struggles are taking place at one end of the spectrum. They represent evolutionary movements that are actually occurring on a deeper, energetic level.

Personalizing, to a certain extent, is inevitable and appropriate. This body is a unique configuration of energetic impulses. The person, which is our conventional sense of self, is a contraction — an inverted globe of memory, belief, conditioning and thought. The true individuality is a pulsation of energy in a specific configuration. But the individuality itself, in a real sense, is a contraction of some greater presence — something more universal. Each aspect of the human being, as we descend from universality to personality, is a narrower passageway.

The creative process is a balanced interplay between vast energies and ever-narrowing passageways. Great energies move into the wide end of a horn and are funneled intensely through it toward the narrow end where they emerge as form — whether that form be an idea, a vision, a warmth in the heart or some concrete act or service.

It is part of our purpose as human beings to individualize cosmic energies, so we must personalize them to some extent. That’s part of the fun.

The question becomes whether the individualizing and the personalizing create a loss of relationship to the greater sphere — whether they end up separated from the whole and therefore evoking fear.

Loneliness comes from the perceptual illusion that the personal end of the great horn has an existence which is independent of the wide end of the horn and of the energies that pour through it.

It is because of a perceptual break with ecological interdependence, with the great weave of life, that so much of our suffering begins to arise. This life is a marvelous interplay between form and formlessness, creative energy and narrow passageways, between density and desire.

When you experience the aloneness, it needs to be acknowledged as a bedrock experience. It’s important to see that it has been with you for a long time and that you have understandably avoided being with it directly. You would rather do any number of things other than encounter the aloneness. One way of avoiding that encounter is to let the needs of relationship become a substitute for it.

We go to our aloneness without calling it any name at all. We locate it physically, transcending the mind’s absorption with metaphorical stories. We go to it and live with it instead of living against it.

Such an entry into our own experience is a form of self-respect. We don’t need any other reason for doing it even though there are many. The moment we think that there is something about us which is foreign or wrong, something we have to get over, then we are not respecting the whole being. We are caught in the fragment.

Loneliness is more than a psycho-physical experience. It is a kind of door. It is a kind of prayer, an opening to something that we have longed for across an entire life. Through hurt or loneliness we can make the passage to what we want. By standing back we can’t.

Entering into any feeling experience without the structural demand of thought allows us to know the way in which energy, the Presence, is touching our body. Therefore all feeling experiences must be treated as sacred. We approach them respectfully. We breathe with them. We allow and listen.

The blaming is an attempt to shift our attention away from pain and toward what we assume to be the cause of that pain. It is always a distraction from a true entry into the greater life.

On the other side of this, though, it is vital to know that if we are blaming someone for our pain, for what we think they have done to us, we can’t just jump that place with the idea that there is something greater. We can’t skip the stages.

Blaming may be a stage. This must be accepted. We have to be able to look at it and maybe even say “yes” to it. Otherwise we become consumed by moral commandments and abstractions.

Beliefs are not substitutes for actual passages. If we believe, for instance, that it is better not to blame, and we use that belief as a pressure, then it becomes difficult to enter into the open space. It is through working with ourselves in a spirit of complete acceptance that we learn to move through an ordeal such as the obsession of blame.

That’s right. The movement doesn’t come through fantasy. We can make images, carry beliefs, repeat phrases, but these things don’t really shift the perception from isolation to relatedness.

Yes, the wound has a psychological component, a physical component, a subtle physical component, and a vast spiritual component. It is guidance. It is intelligent communication. It is a message to the one who will listen, and listening means treating the wound as a sacred possibility. Our pain is the congestion, inflammation, rawness in a passageway between dense physical reality and the current of life itself.

The healing that we speak about here is an opening into vulnerability at every step. The body’s passageways must open. Only through the body being open in a delicate and vulnerable way can we experience the transcendent light, the love. Our striving is never to get over something, but to get into something.