Writing a Healing Journal

Writing meditation is an exercise that I have used, and today some 20+ years later I still carry a notebook.

The purpose of this is to help direct our mind to understand and then change our behavior, by understanding the causality of that behaviour. This created for me a place to start.

The way I have understood this is that any challenge we have undergone, in the past or even a current challenge is often not understood at a feeling level – because we are face to face with it, we cannot understand the entirety of the experience.

Find your ideal outdoor space and start to write

Hence by writing we can forge a connection between the conscious mind and that part of our mind that houses feelings. Now do correct me if I am wrong but feelings are placed in the mammalian part of the brain, referred to as the Limbic system … it’s where emotions and feelings are, it also where all decisions are made … so I have found by writing every day we gradually form a link between the feeling part of the mind and the rational mind … over time we create a perspective as we convert the feelings into something we can understand … a cause .. we have to do this as the Limbic system does not have language hence, we have to understand its messages another way …. gradual and regular journal writing did that for me, perhaps it can do it for you?

Gradually over time, we form a link between the parts of the brain and will understand that a frustration we might be feeling may be something like a past regret, a depression or some level of anxiousness about something in the future …the quickest way to start to understand this is to say …. if you are feeling guilt, depression or shameful then the event you are thinking about occurred in the past. If you are feeling fearful or anxious then the event you are concerned you might expect to occur in the future.

Many of the common feelings come from fear … control comes from fear, aggression comes from fear … even conformity is based on control which mostly comes from fear, there can also be fear that non-conformity will hinder us in attaining their goals or being accepted … Governments love it, but conformity is a pipe dream as it is quite unattainable – that is where Government use fear, blaming minorities, scarcity and alleged external threats to control us, to subdue us. The only real threat to most countries comes from within, from the egoes of those in power, the politicians themselves.

This whole experience is about how you and I relate to what makes up our personal world, for we are in a relationship with everything, what is our relationship to its various parts.

For this reason, once you discover what your concerns are, divide them into two groups, what you can do something about, like change your attitude to a past personal event or forgive those concerned (this brings freedom as well) and the second group … those things we can do nothing about … the actions of Government and bureaucracy … something that individually we can do little about … the reason we split the triggers, the categories for concern, is that we need to empower ourselves and trying to make sense of or understand a Government / Bureaucratic action is difficult, implausible … but detaching from it, we are no longer a victim, we can understand what is going on within.

To start, take a few minutes a day (most days if you can) … find a quiet place, then just start writing … it doesn’t even have to make sense, just seeing on paper is the beginning. For me I would go down to the local park, take my shoes and socks off, ground myself in the grass or the soil and begin.

I have found that after about a week of being quiet and writing, you will find yourself becoming more in tune with your feelings, you will become calmer … this can help with your day to day relationships —- My experience is that the changes in your understanding and behaviour will take place without any conscious effort, no matter how old, or what has happened in the past in the normal course of your life, writing a journal will literally calm and begin to bring a greater understanding to your life in just a matter of a few weeks.

A good thing about writing is that we can go back and look at it gain in the future, in my case this allowed me to look at what I had learnt aand how I had changed. When an event no longer confronted me, I would remove the pages and burn them …. for some reason those issues would only very rarely return.

Though this experience behind this post is many years old, and speaks to an experience even older, I thought it may have value to someone.

This is not the only way, do what works for you, as I have said before my articles are simply my perspective and they are offered in the spirit of discovery and empowerment – take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

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A Process of facing fears and personal transformation

Though this post is many years old, and speaks to an experience even older, I thought perhaps some of it may have value to someone.

I had been aware for some time of my limiting thoughts, emotional blocks and unconscious behaviours – these are basically hangovers from our past, our previous learned responses which had outlived their usefulness to the person we might wish to be …. for me they were stopping me taking a leap … however the strange part is that I had the answer within me .. what I needed to do was repeat a process which I had carried out once before – for when you think about it, everything in life is a process, in this case to confront these behaviours which were now irrelevant to my life and renew myself … in a way to renounce who and what I was, and allow myself the freedom to introduce myself to what next evolution of me … the same process is available for everyone, from that awareness, we eventually come to the Acceptance that action is needed … then when we are ready we do take action.

 

Thank you to the unknown photographers.

Twenty five years ago, I went through a period of intense personal change – looking back now, the process was based quite loosely on the 12 step program .. a proven program, which has been going since 1935 … in my case I am not driven by the need to stop drinking, but by the need to use the Transformational 12 steps program to help bring around personal change … to change the way I react without thinking – so that basically I don’t .. in fact to change my default response to pause and reflection before I respond – giving me that time to consider the impact of my words and deeds on others, but also our own evolution … in other words to respond from strength, instead of reacting from weakness – for me the outcome helped made me whole – after the completion of the program, I am content from within me … however the work doesn’t stop there, for now on it is also a continual process of self assessment, the development of your internal witness – on this occasion , I knew it was time, I was committed to change, in fact, I had been looking for a way to make it happen for months … and just before this time, I felt I was in darkness, always feeling my way forward, metaphorically falling over stuff .. this stuff was my past, my beliefs, my history, my limitations.

Note before starting … you need to be committed to this course of action without any reservation … if you are not committed, it won’t work .. you can’t fake it … it’s a process – I needed to follow the 12 steps, some are not easy because they can be a very confronting process – have the courage and belief in the process to follow where they lead, for if you want your future to be different from your today … it is journey to take .. you might use the analogy that the process, is almost a low level reformat of the way we look at life … it is equivalent to a process of clean up and clean out — for me it was worth it, let me assure you.

I went to a local AA meeting, just to feel the atmosphere .. to meet and talk to the people who had successfully come through the program .. a true strength, a compassion, but an overall humbleness from those (old timers) who had completed the program was all I felt … I went ahead with the steps in order, going through each until I was absolutely happy that I was totally committed to it – for me, as I was so committed to change and my previous experience with the program, it was not as difficult as I imagined, for I had been ready for such a process since before 2000.

You have to want to do it .. I might add it doesn’t magically rid your personality of these reactions to stimulus, again its a process, what it does is that it makes you very aware of your personal triggers that create reactions and behaviours, it allows you to confront them and once you have, there is no fear, there is just a growing contentment, happiness, love and a strength – a wish to help others – remember we all have fears and reactive demons at sometime on our path, our journey.

I believed I needed to become less reactive to stimulus .. to be mindful, present in the moment, to forgive and forget the past hurts and failures .. to bring into the present only the learning, my goal was to live life mindfully, part of which means we need to stay present .. for that is the only place where anything is created, the only time when things are real and can be done … this also means letting go of expectations (investing in them anyway), whatever they are, to be open to the Universe through love and abundance. I came to the realisation that when we invest in expectations we are by the very nature, creating illusions as these events are in the future, they haven’t happened yet, as Buddha said attachments bring suffering, so if the expectations are unrealistic we are in fact setting ourselves up for disappointment and perhaps pain.

If you feel the need, from the awareness of self, look at the process, if you need any help … please write … I will help how I can.

Since this, I have had some realizations that came from unblocking my limitations, incredible clarity has come … all this was like breaking through the shell if you like that had enclosed my understanding … now I guess I am within a bigger shell … one day I will push through those limitations as well.

It took me a while to write about this … personal transformation is something we can only do for ourselves and mostly by ourselves … the change comes from within in fact everything does … it brought me strength, forgiveness, a commitment to love, to the self, and to my future self …. Good Luck!

This is not the only way, do what works for you, as I have said before my articles are simply my perspective and they are offered in the spirit of discovery and empowerment – take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

Why you might not want to Visit India.

I understand why you might not want to visit India …. It is a most confronting experience; the contrast is so evident between the rich and the poor who have literally nothing …. with little of no opportunity to improve their lives … India over time makes you question everything you thought was human, equitable and caring and truly makes you wonder about how this can be … but for me it also stripped away my own past and the connection to all that was there – all these learning experiences .. become integrated and distant from your present moment .. they make you more present and understanding, because we have to be, continual awareness of your surroundings is critical … the effect was that it felt like the past was being pushed further and further away from the present … so for that I am thankful – now those past difficult times are absent from my mind … any hurt no longer exists – it is but a past memory without emotive attachment.

There are no social programs to catch the poor … human life seems to have little value … strangely it was a surprise for me to remember after I arrived in India that it truly is a third world country, I guess I had little concept of what that actually meant …. It reminded me of another country when I was a child of about 10 when Dad moved us to the Solomon Islands … (the nature of roads, buildings and infrastructure) but the Polynesian peoples are a much more open and sharing culture, or at least they were then …. The reasons why India is a third world country were everywhere around us …. Workmen trying to cut thick rebar (reinforcing iron) with a chisel and a small sledge hammer rather than a grinder or saw – taking forever – bamboo scafolding reaching high on construction sites … wages are low and safety procedures seem lax … for instance power cables running along what passes for a footpath at waist height – unterminated power cables open on the street ,,,, no way was I going to find out if they were live, by touching them …Beggars … the real ones … (those who aren’t working for someone else in an enterprise) some will accost you as you come out of shops, restaurants and tut-tuts …. Then on the human side you have the lone mother with her baby … this visage breaks your heart … you can feel it … a beautiful child just starting out in life … and it hits you like a brick that this child, whose mother loves more than life itself most likely has little chance of living a long life …. You just give what you can – they will accept what you give them, as little as 10 rupees (about USD$0.15)… for that much will buy a meal in the street stalls … The medical system is poor, some say abysmal…. I have been told that people can collapse in the street and people will walk over them … but won’t help them. When I was ill I went to the local private hospital … where I was treated by a Western Educated specialist Doctor – blood was taken … the other tests — all appeared online via a private link later the same day. The whole experience, the visit to Doctor, Tests and pharmaceuticals cost less than USD$25.00.

So Yes I understand totally why you don’t want to go to India as a tourist …. I know I would not go again unless I went with someone … someone to have my back – I had thought that if I went again, I would go to Goa … the former Portuguese colony on the West coast, south on Mumbai …. Much more familiar and accepting to western eyes and values … I am told.

Many of these observations are from the aspect of a remote observer – a tourist if you will … but when you live in one place as a base for months … the Indian people reveal their caring side, and their humanity … it’s just different from mine … they are a different culture, hence have a different perspective on life. I still receive emails from people I met there …. They like us are living day to day and trying to live and make sense of the present moment .. unlike us … the biggest aspect of their culture is that lack of caring for others, relevant education and hence opportunity …. It seems for many to be their ambition is to have a full time job in the totally bloated Bureaucracy – But perhaps that will change over time … I hope for the sake of the 160 million “Untouchables” that something does … for they are condemned by their birth in the most part, to a life we could not even conceive of.

As I said on one of my blogs … if you go to India …. (1) Only drink bottled water … never drink tap water (2) Before you drink the bottled water, make sure that the cap seal is in place as some sellers will refill water bottles with tap water – don’t drink this, for you will get ill. (3) Take toilet paper with you everywhere … true!

E.M. Forster said “When you go to India, you come face to face with yourself” – I couldn’t agree more!

Meditation – a first look

Let’s look at an overview of meditation itself.

For me, I believe we don’t meditate to find peace. We meditate to be at peace with what we find – in Mindfulness meditation we develop the ability to accept the emotions and feelings that occur during the meditation.

For meditation, we need to develop the ability to stay present. What I mean by that is to stay in the moment, without reliving the past or having expectations about the future.

Imagine yourself meditating half way down a long hallway in a house, from the front door to the back door. The thoughts come in the front door, you note them and accept them (for they are you) … then you lightly move on, without engaging in the thought itself, (it will go, once you don’t validate it) the thought then moves on down the hallway and out the back door, it may come back, each time it does follow the same process, it will lose its urgency – its .. “you need to engage with me.”

The thought may be about the past (depression, regret or shame perhaps) or about the future, such as anxiety or fear about a forthcoming event, or perhaps the fear of loss. We cannot invest or follow the thought (no matter how important or urgent it seems), for the moment we do, we drop out of meditation, because we are no longer present, so we can no longer be mindful.

Once we regularly meditate, we develop mindfulness, in part it allows us to understand what we can change, and what we can’t – to detach from things we cannot control, for instance, other people’s action (or any influence outside of us) that effects us. I find now, that mindfulness itself is not difficult, but what can be difficult is to remember to be mindful in our day to day lives.

Note; Mediation is not something to be achieved, it is something we have to be the person to properly meditate – it can be a slow process of becoming, but take heart, even sitting on a mat for 30 seconds with a clear mind, is worth celebrating, remember little steps forward – often. Each day if you truly wish it, it will get better it – but it does takes time – remember nothing worth having is a easy fix.

Remember also that Sleep – is the great restorer

Once I regularly meditated, it affected my whole life. Sleep, became deep and restorative. Sleep, especially uninterrupted sleep can be elusive, yet mindfulness meditation assisted me in getting more restorative regular sleep, without medication.

Mindfulness meditation can allow us to gradually develop greater control over our emotions, which leads to clarity of thought in difficult situations. For me the revelation was that once I realised that everything changes, nothing seems to be that imperative in the moment, remember it’s not the situation that is causing you pain, it is your thoughts about the situation.

India – a happenstance, an inspiration

I have had many challenges in my time in India, culturally, emotionally, physically and health wise, they have dramatically changed me, to in my view, prepare me for what is to come.

More than anything they have changed how I look at large groups of people, the herd of humanity so to speak, it enabled me to change, to assume nothing, to project nothing, when we can do this we can push through the surface and to see them for who they are as individuals. People in India are little different to us, except in that they are a product of their culture, their community, their environment and beliefs, and this can manifest in many ways, one maybe an emotional repression, but remember they all want what we want at the end of the day … their life like ours is a reflection of the personality, for most of humanity this is the ego mind which creates our life individually and on a wider view, collectively for all of us.

This experience came as I hobbled across the road yesterday in Dehradun. A young man, without legs … sitting on a kind of board with wheels came up to me … it truly breaks your heart, but a big smile on his face changes the impact, changes everything – it hit me as it always does, that it is truly in our attitudes where we create our lives.

In the West we may have some expectations of life, he had none, there is no safety net for him here, no social programs … but he was smiling .. a lesson and inspiration for all of us.

It reinforced in me a way to live .. from humble gratitude, staying present, accept, flow and help who you can, how you can, when you can.

When you go to India, you come face to face with yourself

I couldn’t agree more with the quote – “When you go to India, you come face to face with yourself” – E.M. Forster

 

My personal experience in India involved both my physical and spiritual aspects ….. you may remember that I was sick for over 5 weeks, now as I look back on this, I see it as a renewal, and an incredible experience, it affected not only my physical body but my spiritual self including my access to and conversations with my soul, I am not the same person I was …. what I am in transition to, I have no idea.

In hindsight, together with the feelings that came when I first arrived (total confrontation with India – I was way outside my comfort zone), I feel the experience has shaped me and changed me for that moment onwards, a process that stripped away the person I was, the past, relationships, ambitions, perspectives, expectations – I felt I was like a block of moist clay that once I was over the sickness itself, I was shaped anew, as my soul said, “to prepare you for what is to come”.

Change is the only constant, and how we respond to it shapes our lives – I leave India in about a month, to travel to the Mediterranean – firstly, to Cyprus, actually to Paphos on the coast of the far west of the island country I am looking forward to this, to learn more about the history of the country, the archaeology. the culture, the values and beliefs, but most of all meeting and engaging with people.

Where I go from there, I have no idea, I will play it by ear and accept and flow with what life brings,

I chose to learn Spanish, truly I am not sure why, but I know I would like to explore Spain, to start with Barcelona, as well and I have an invitation from a friend to go to Madrid, time is limited because as it is part of the Eurozone, and hence as an Australian, I have only 3 months per visit to the whole of the Eurozone.

Part of this constant change is sometimes accelerated, one cannot expect anything here in India, and assumptions are dangerous, for a start, Cars seem to go where they wish, on the wrong side of the road, even once with me on the footpath, they park in the road, and then get out of their car … mayhem abounds, electricity is unreliable, every day there is at least one power failure, mind you I suppose that is something you can rely on, whether the reason is the lack of capacity, poor distribution, faults, or conscious load shedding is unknown. The balance is covered in previous blog posts.

The landscape in India is beautiful, here in Dehradun, we are in the foothills of the Himalayas, however there are large quantities of discarded packaging from our consumerism in many places, basically rubbish. I have also observed that in the Dehradun there are no rubbish bins on the streets, perhaps that may be part of the reason for this large amount of mainly plastic (packaging) and household refuse.

I am thinking of returning to India, as there is so much more to see, to learn and experience.

Enlightenment and the journey beyond.

You may, or there may others with a yearning to seek what is not in the physical world – to understand the path to consciousness, enlightenment and beyond – perhaps this is old news for you or others, but this is an attempt to empower and bring awareness to some of the transcendental path that awaits us all, once we enter the portal of enlightenment, our birth if you will.

In case there is any who have this desire to evolve, who’s destiny is in this life to attain enlightenment or to make progress., I would suggest a book you may not yet have seen …the book was given to me by my teacher on my first visit to India – it was written by Robert S. de Ropp, and is called The Master Game, Pathways to Higher consciousness (1968), it is available on Amazon.

Background for the author – from Wikipedia

Another book which I found very helpful recently is “The Wisdom Of The Overself” by Paul Brunton … WIkipedia Article for the author is here

 

There are infinite paths to enlightenment, of which no two are the same, it matters not if you are religious, or not … life alone and the severe life challenges that it can bring to some can take you there, for it is open to all … all paths can lead us to this point, for there is no right way, there is no wrong way … but once we agree to and go through this portal, we are still on a journey, for it is not an ending, but a new beginning – now the path for all becomes one – from enlightenment also is a process to the levels within it, there is a path to higher consciousness which has plateaus, dead ends, challenges to be overcome, incredible transcendental experiences personal to you (one has to be careful here lest we become lost in this ambrosia, this personal illusory Shangri-La) and then we are unable to return to the physical world, this will also stop further spiritual evolution in this life) … from enlightenment onwards we truly need a guide a teacher.

Part of enlightenment (in my case anyway) is consciousness, for different levels of consciousness (energy and vibrations) make up the Universe, from those of us who are asleep and exist solely in the material world, to those who do the best they can by living with intent within the material world, will at their time, transition to consciousness … when conscious we feel every life form, from the smallest ant to the largest.

Like dropping a pebble in a pond, our consciousness moves as a wave, ever outwards through the Universe … like these ripples on a pond we can at will feel life, all life, for we are no longer separate from it, it is within us … at this point comparison, competition, judgement of others and projecting of these perspectives onto others, become impossible, because one cannot judge … because that involves separation from the other, which it not possible for we are all one … all we can try to do is empathise to understand, then let go and move on.

I write for one reason that if you or another of your family has a yearning or is ready, or may at some point be ready, just imagine once taught, how he or she can guide and lift the consciousness level of your children and perhaps your entire family … it is my belief that all children are born enlightened … the dogma of whatever environment they are within builds walls between who they are (their essence) and the environmental acceptable version of themselves, this the the norm, we are all destined to evolve in our own time, perhaps one amongst you is at that point, or maybe, they or you will know, for me this seeking came via a yearning in my chest.

As I mentioned, once you have gone through the enlightened portal … a new journey begins .. A journey where we need a Teacher … because the path is narrow and can be fraught with misdirection and dead ends and more mind created illusions … all courtesy of our personality if you will, the ego mind .. Part of this journey is freeing your self from the control of the ego mind, freeing yourself from fear and from the past – Remember the old adage, when the student is ready a teacher will appear, it is true, for that is why I am in India.

Remember, the past is only to learn from … rarely if ever to be re-visited … if you find you are … as your own witness at this point, don’t engage with the mind when it brings it back in whatever form… the more you don’t engage with the fears, demons and illusions, the more you will begin to control your own mind and be free of the ego (some ego is necessary to operate in the material world, but under the control of your essence, our true self, not a law unto itself) – your essence (the book may help the person in question here) will become dominate … it will mean, your authentic self will become the master of your life … to be free by forgiving and letting go the past, for you are no longer the person you were at some time in the past, we all change and evolve, yet the ego mind seeks to control us, to separate us .. through fear, its weapons also include addictions (in its many forms), dependencies, depression, shame, guilt etc … it is the greatest creator of illusions.

God or if you prefer the Divine Creator and your own soul knows the challenges you have all witnessed and been part of … you are loved relentlessly and forever … judgement free … the physical world is about learning, for it is only through pain and the learning that comes from it, does our soul evolve …. We evolve by living in earth school, as humanity as a whole evolves slowly to a higher consciousness.

To begin …. someone asked this question of Ramana Maharshi ..

“What is the way to God-realisation?” and Maharshi said: “Vichara, asking yourself the ‘Who am I?’ enquiry into the nature of your Self.

Don’t be concerned if there is no empathy with these worlds, or any yearning by you or others to spiritually evolve, as a member of the human race it is my understanding that we will all awaken, in this life or in another.

David Sanders
Dehradun, India