Thanks to Eckhart Tolle for the word “aliveness”, it gave me a label for an inner awareness I had been attending to for several years. After my first “workshop” experience where I noticed feeling very alert, very sensitive, very in touch with my feelings and very clear such that decision making happened with relative ease, I knew aliveness without naming it. As time would pass, I would notice this state of being decrease. At times it seemed to give way to confusion, feeling heavy, a lack of sensitivity and almost feeling sleepy. Once I noticed the change, I would begin looking for a step to take towards more aliveness. Sometimes exercise would do it, other times consistently meditating, and generally I had my attention looking for a “workshop”. Thus “aliveness” lead me to several of the experiences I’ll share as this blog continues.
Early on when I first became aware I was aware, I thought having a spiritual experience meant having a vision, like seeing Jesus, Buddha or an angelic being. These thoughts came from my conditioning as a Catholic and some of the reading I did like Autobiography of a Yogi. Nothing like that happened for me until I passed out during a dyad process in a workshop, (I was screaming, this was not the assignment, I had gone rogue). What happened though wasn’t a vision of someone, just the dark became light. When I woke up and spoke I said, “I’m okay,” and for the first time since I was a child, I meant it deeply. Several years and many experiences later I read E. Tolle’s words and realized a vision was not necessary to have a spiritual experience, I am having one now, meaning life always and only happens now and I’m feeling it happening with Life/Spirit sourcing the experience. That’s a very wordy way of saying Spirit is the life I feel.
Recently I realized I had narrowed “aliveness” down to the good “stuff” as a way of feeling connection with Life enlivening me. What seems so as I write this, is all feelings and all sensations are avenues of feeling connection with the Life Force, to borrow someone’s label. This makes biological sense as our bodies use pain to communicate with us and get our attention. Certainly depression, confusion, tiredness can also be communications from Life. I realize I’m opening up a big discussion here. My wife and I go back and forth about this point of view. For her, when somethings not okay body-wise and it persists, going to an outside source for help makes the most sense for her. I give a go to be quiet and listen carefully and feel into what’s being communicated through my body. If I go for help, it’s taking myself to group support to dive deeper within and share what comes up to share. This movement so far works…although I am getting older and well, the body seems slower to respond these days. Yet it does respond to positive, quiet attention. Aches and pains may not go away immediately, sometimes insights occur, eventually though, I can feel a flow of energy restored in me that leads to feeling good.
More about the body communicating comes up for me since my Dad had his appendix out last week. He’s very good at handling pain, he walked miles on knees that were completely worn out, he did this daily. Finally when it hurt so much he couldn’t move, he had his knees replaced. I’m not sure if he had felt pain from his appendix which he tolerated, I do know he drove himself to two doctor visits and the hospital with a ruptured appendix. My Dad is 89. This approach is not the “inner” approach to pain I’m writing about in the paragraph above, I’m describing what feels like a preventative approach more than a fixing-something-broken approach. Being sensitive to the bodies communications in each moment and responding with intuition and knowledge would be a better explanation of my approach. Certainly, extreme pain requires more action than turning ones attention within and breathing into it….although the breathe can certainly help with that process as well. This takes me to being present when my children were born and assisting my wife with her breathing. She seemed to experience waves of pain she would breathe through and we have two beautiful daughters now. Two amazing, life changing experiences, full of sensations and feeling.
More about feelings and sensations next blog….