The Journey of the Heart part 3

May 19, 2010

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you, don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want, don’t go back to sleep.” Rumi

During a recent conversation with a client she had wondered about the diversions that prevented her from focusing on a specific objective in her life. I mentioned the possibility of resistance, that implacable unconscious force that emerges unnoticed, like a cloud crossing the sun, to sap our intention. Later that day during a walk along the ocean, I was reflecting and began to compose a blog about Diversions and Resistance. I contemplated the difference between mindful versus mindless diversions. Mindful diversions have consequence for example: an emergency, an unexpected drama, an unexpected call, while mindless diversions seem to take on a life of their own. Sometimes I get caught up following links on the internet and an hour can fly by. It occurred to me that I had engaged in too many mindless diversions recently and I wondered if I was in resistance to something or other. I came to no conclusion and soon the natural beauty of my surroundings caused this musing to float away, like a dream in the morning light, and was gone.

Later that afternoon I am considering a bike ride but feel slightly off centre. Somewhat inadvertently I check my pulse and notice a wave of anxiety at what I observe. It seems erratic, missing the occasional beat, almost too slow. I take my blood pressure: 130/62 with a pulse of 60. I sit for a moment feeling fear and anxiety wondering what I should do. The responses range from – go to emergency, call a friend, or call the nurse line however I decided first to explore the meta-physical. Previously when I had suffered such concerns, conventional checks had showed all was normal and the answer had been in my journey of the heart. ( My first resort was to throw the I Ching. The hexagram that I create is 24 Returning. On the surface it seems positive – emergence, return to source, retrace paths but the one change line catches my attention like a rabbit in the head lights. “Delusion – you are returning to an old delusion, deception, the way is closed.” How interesting? Then my train of thought is interrupted by the memory of my earlier musing, “What am I in resisting?”

I decide to meditate on this and ask for guidance. I sit in my darkened room, light a candle, put some readings of Rumi on the CD, and sit open-eyed on my meditation cushion. I remember the two earlier occasions when I had medical concerns that had proved conventionally groundless but had proved meaningful. Each had occurred to remind me that I was to establish a heart focused meditation. I reflect on my recent attempts and suspect I may have lost some focus. I engage in a brief dialogue with my deeper self. “Is this what this is about? Your reaction seems a bit over the top. Surely it’s not that big a deal?” “Neither are your symptoms” comes the reply. I smile as I realize that my soul is only responding to my daily affirmation “May my soul fulfill its highest expression.” “What do you require of me” I ask. “Only half an hour a day – is that too much to ask?” Ruefully I realize I spend at least that much time a day chasing links on the web. I pick up my book of Rumi and read the first poem that catches my eye. “Stop the words now. Open up the centre of your chest and let the spirits fly in and out. How synchronicitous is that? I read the next poem, drawn like a magnet to the words “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you, don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want, don’t go back to sleep.” I sit in awe at the amazing response from the cosmos. I feel clear about what I am to do.

That evening there is another piece. I am working with a client who had started a practice that really worked for him. “Are you still doing it”? I inquired. He looked puzzled for a moment and said that he had stopped but really did not know why. “It just got interrupted” he said “And I never started again.” It was only when writing up my notes later that I realized that I have the same pattern. My heart focused practice was interrupted by Christmas, a vacation in Mexico, a visit from my niece and the Olympics and had never got started again.

Later I pick up the journal that I had used to record my heart-focused meditations. To my surprise I read that I had clearly identified the objective of the practice. To feed my heart through poetry, music, compassion, love, peace, joy, gratitude, wonder, awe, chanting, dance, mindfulness, presence and light. Feeling a little chagrin, I realize how far I have deviated from that goal during the past few months as slowly but surely I had undermined the essence of the practice. Another wake-up call. I hope I do better this time.

Note: My curiosity caused me to check references for arrhythmia. They are irregular heart beats that can occur with a normal heart rate, or with heart rates that are slow (called bradyarrhythmias — less than 60 beats per minute). They seem no big deal for someone whose heart has been checked out a number of times recently.

Feelings Are Rarely Logical

May 17, 2010

“Hi Trevor! I have been thinking that I need to connect with you! I DID book my trip and will be heading out there on the 26th. My friend is going to meet me on the Sunday and we’re going to camp in Tofino for the week which I am very excited about. But I’m hoping you will be around so we can have a some tea and a good catch up. Will you? And would it be ok if I stayed with you for a few days?”

As I read the above message I notice an unexpected feeling. It is complex; about as welcome as the whine of a mosquito in my ear; there is a subtle sense that I don’t want her to come; I sit with it a while longer; I am feeling taken for granted, an outsider to her planning. How weird! This is so illogical; I have always encouraged her to stay with me whenever she wants to; to make my place a base for other activities; why on earth are these inconvenient feelings arising now? As I sit and allow myself to explore the emotion connected with this e-mail I realize that there is familiarity.  Then I connect the dots and recall I had this same feeling when she came to stay last November. At the time I had not expressed how I felt; it seemed too petty and insignificant yet the very fact it has reoccurred suggests that there is some exploration yet to be completed.

My first step is to find the old journal where I may have recorded in more detail what is currently just a fuzzy memory. Success – here it is. November 1st “I had a bit of a weird time. She seems more reactive than I remember – part of finding her voice I presume. She was very vague about her plans and was late for an engagement we had made for tea. I did not see much of her at all; in fact it felt like I was the hotelier neither considered nor appreciated. Then she spent her last evening and night at her friend’s place whereas I think I had assumed we would have dinner together. Then there was a last minute exchange where I quipped about the amount of her luggage and that she was one of those passengers I would hate to sit next to.” I shudder as I read this and see what in hindsight is a classic example of passive-aggressive behaviour. I had disguised a jab with humour but in reality it was an unconscious reaction from hurt feelings. Her actions were entirely logical and of course not designed to wound me but I had taken it personally. At the time I had thought about exploring the meaning then life got in the way and all memory of the incident dissipated. I had seen her over Christmas and noticed no residual energy around it yet here I was again. It obviously was not complete.

I liken one of these inquiries to a jigsaw puzzle. I have to keep unearthing pieces until I see a picture. I looked at my own behaviour in this situation. Why do I make my place so available without conditions? Am I using it as a way to encourage her to spend time with me then feel disappointed if I am excluded? How unreasonable it seems in hindsight to have expectations with out mentioning them. Do I offer my place to ensure I see someone who I am fearful won’t make time for me otherwise? I feel myself recoil from this image of using my beautiful home as an enticement. Wow, talk about the complexity that precedes the simplicity.

Recently I have been reading James Hollis again and his words still resonated, “activating these charged clusters of energy transfers the experiences of other times and places to the present, undermining our capacity for conscious choice and holding us hostage to the past.” Likely the answer lies in the past but I could not relate this to any previous childhood trauma. I never had anything to use as an enticement as a child. Our family was poor and I recall dealing with challenges of being perceived as mean as a child at boarding school because I could not bring myself to share when I had so little. This had influenced my adult self toovercompensate to avoid that label ever again. I have no recollection of how I would try and get people to like me or spend time with me as a child. I draw a rune to guide me. “Separation – paths divide, old skins are shed. How skillful the means that free you to become more truly who you are” It talks to letting go of outmoded relationships, and of submission and retreat. It suggests letting go of attachments to society, work or even beliefs.

Later, I shared this with my niece who is a coach and she asked me what kind of relationship I would like with my friend. I respond that I want to hang out with her occasionally when she visits. She said if she has a friend to stay they agree to set aside a defined time for them as part of the visit. Is this what I need to ask for? As I write these words I feel some resistance. This challenge in asking for what I want; this seems like an old pattern; I have often wanted my needs to be met intuitively as I feel vulnerable about stating needs or expectations. What childhood episode would have helped create that particular “charged cluster of energy”? There are lots of pieces but no picture. I realize it is time to let it go for a while. I have awareness and an intention to find the answer perhaps it is time to wait on the  universe to respond. I decide to enjoy a ride on my bike in the beautiful Vancouver Spring day.

A series of images emerge into my consciousness on my bike ride. One is of a nine-year old clinging to the under side of the bed, as his father attempts to dislodge him to face punishment. His sin was to not want to go to church. The second was of an eleven-year old sobbing for hours at the news that he was to be sent away to boarding school. The third of a seventeen-year old lying on the kitchen floor; his mother crying in the background; he had been floored by a left hook from his furious father because he refused to tell him he had been to a movie on a Sunday. Things begin to fall in=to place. No wonder I still have trouble asking for my needs to be met. I feel tears of compassion for that disempowered child combined with a sense of relief like a spring unwinding. It seems clear to me that I need to ask my friend to schedule some time for us to hang out together when she visits. I draw another rune to ask whether this is complete. The answer seems encouraging. Harvest “A rune of beneficial outcomes, Harvest encourages and supports any activity or endeavour to which you are committed. Be aware that no quick results can be expected.” Ah it is not the end but perhaps as Winston Churchill once observed “it is the end of the beginning”.

A few days later I call my friend to confirm she is welcome to stay; I have only positive feelings to the idea; it is amazing how much energy has shifted by doing this work; I suggest we take some time for a hike while she is here. Her response is an enthusiastic affirmative. The picture seems complete.