The Soul’s Journey -25 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Was Young.

November 15, 2018

Recently I was invited to participate on a senior’s panel for a class of students studying psychology. It was an extremely interesting and enjoyable experience sharing reflections on the gifts and the challenges of aging and being asked all kinds of interesting questions.

One question has stayed with me, “what would you like to have shared with your younger self?” At the time I quipped, “I doubted my younger self would have listened”. However the question has been haunting me since then. I realized that there are so many things that could have helped me on the journey. Two of us on the panel deeply regretted having no sage mentors to offer such counsel. So here is some of mine.

I am not sure which of these I could have heard at the time however now they all make much great sense. Here they are – in no particular order.

1) This too shall pass – the wise reminder that everything – the good, bad and indifferent will change.

2) Do not make assumptions and do not take it personally. (Two of Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements.)

3) Know thyself – inscribed in the Temple to Apollo in Delphi. To understand who we are and why we react the way we do is priceless and has become a twenty-year passion of mine.

4) You are better looking and more interesting than you realize. (I was terribly challenged by lack of self-esteem and shyness.)

5) Be curious about everything that happens in your life.

6) When a door closes always look around for the door that may be opening rather than batter on the one that is closed.

7) The other two agreements – do your best and be impeccable to your word.

8) Meditate every day – I did not start until I was 50 and wished I had begun earlier.

9) Read poetry, it speaks to a deeper part of who we are.

10) Find music that touches you deeply and listen to it often,

11) Accept that in life you will win and lose – do both gracefully.

12) Learn to recognize that there is a gap between the stimulus and the reaction. (Steven Covey)

13) Don’t drink so much; you are not as funny as you think; it is an escape.

14) Learn the difference between being alone and feeling lonely – you don’t have to go out on a Saturday night.

15) Always remember the four immeasurables (from Buddha) – Compassion, Loving Kindness, Equanimity and Sympathetic Joy. (Enjoying the success of others)

16) Attachment is not necessarily bad but it will eventually end in suffering. (Buddha)

17) When someone upsets you look inside before you react outwards. A psychological truism is that “it is never about what it is about.”

18) You don’t have to be religious to acknowledge the wonderful principles of the great wisdom traditions. How can you argue with “Love One Another”?

19) Our close attractions are normally projections of some part of ourselves that is unfulfilled or unrealized. We project our inner gold on other people and need to reclaim it. (Robert Johnson)

20) Your parents did the best they could – forgive them.

21) Look for patterns in your life they come to teach you something.

22) We wake up each morning with two gremlins at the end of our bed – they are fear and lethargy. (James Hollis)

23) Pay close attention when you develop an instant dislike to someone, they normally represent something we don’t like in ourselves. (We all have shadow and light)

24) Anxiety is a nebulous free flowing child state, when you are anxious try to ascertain what the underlying fear is, it will reduce its power over you. (Sometimes anxiety is unconscious and shows up as mindless diversions and distractions.)

25) Forgiveness is about the self not the other however to forgive you do not have to condone.

I am sure more will come to me but this seems like a good starting point.

 

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The Soul’s Journey – Nothing Can Be Made Without Knocking Over What is Old.

November 6, 2018

Prepare to feel surprised and disappointed at once. Disappointment is the pile of bricks stacked and never used. Surprise is when you knock them over. Nothing can be made without knocking over what’s old.” Julie Levitt

Recently while reading Living An Examined Life by eminent Jungian analyst James Hollis I came across these words. “There are only answers that make sense to you at this moment in your life and they will fail you tomorrow. What is seemingly true today will be outgrown when life or our Soul brings us a larger frame through which to view them.” It was as though he was preparing me for the seismic event I was currently undergoing.

For twenty-years I had been guided by what I considered to be a simple truth expounded by Catholic theologian and mystic Theillard de Jardin: “You are not a human being having a spiritual experience, you are a spiritual being having a human experience.”

This insight had been presented to me after I had a psychic love affair that shook the foundation of my worldview and led to me seek counselling to help me comprehend how two people could possibly connect mind to mind over time and space. (For more on that see “The Event That Rocked My World.”)

This belief that life was part of a much greater reality became the foundation initially in a quest for enlightenment but once I determined I was not an enlightenment kind of guy, it led to a twenty-year passion to search for meaning and to understand my psychology, theology and spirituality. This foundation eventually led to who I am today – a dream teacher and spiritual coach.

There had been a number of shifts on my journey but underlying it all was the conviction that I was a spiritual being having a human experience with an immortal Soul that would survive the body.

Suddenly this perspective did not fit anymore. It felt like a coat I had outgrown. In his chapter on achieving a mature spirituality Hollis suggests any belief must have personal resonance and mine no longer did.

This discomfort began during the reading of Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. It is a deeply disturbing book about our evolution as a species from Africa 100,000 years ago. He describes the brutal, self-serving, competitive and relentless story of conquest and domination by humans over others. I found myself asking the question, “Where is the evidence of Soul on which I have based on my life? Can I really accept we are spiritual beings?”

As I write I am reminded of Carl Sagan’s words many years ago in Cosmos: “Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.”

Like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces, my worldview no longer resonated. I felt troubled. Who was I without my belief? What was left once I surrendered my faith in a worldview that had been the catalyst for my personal journey of exploration for the past twenty-two years?

I took a long solitary walk asking myself the question, “what remains if I give up the belief in being a spiritual being with an eternal Soul?” To my surprise I felt an unexpected sense of reassurance; I still had my belief in the unconscious, also in a tutelary or guiding inner spirit, and I still felt committed to seeking meaning in this Mystery of which I am part.

Yet something had changed. Suddenly the focus on the preciousness of this one life seemed so much more important. If I am not eternal and nothing of me other than perhaps some released energy remains when I die then suddenly what I do while I am here is even more critical than ever.

I have noticed that in these times of polarization, political reversals, and the rise of fundamentalism I have found it easy to slip into a place of hopelessness wondering whether we shouldn’t just let this human experiment fail and collapse into the abyss.  I am reminded of Nietzsche’s quote,“Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman–a rope over an abyss.” It may feel like we are on that rope but we need to reach the other side.

Recently I read President Obama’s inspiring speech at the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual lecture. https://www.npr.org/2018/07/17/629862434/transcript-obamas-speech-at-the-2018-nelson-mandela-annual-lecture.

Despite being totally realistic about the negative forces at play in the world today he observes, “Things may go backwards for a while, but ultimately, right makes might, not the other way around”.

My commitment begins with sustaining hope and today this beautiful poem appeared in my mail; it seems a perfect affirmation.

Sometimes

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen to you

Sheenagh Pugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Explore The Magical, Mysterious Amazing World of Dreams – Nov 25th

October 30, 2018

Nathalie EmmanuelWhy did Missandei from Game of Thrones (aka Nathalie Emmanuel) show up in a recent dream? I knew my unconscious had selected her for a good reason. Our unconscious is profoundly brilliant at selecting precisely the right image – our challenge is to find out why? In a symbolic dream each symbol or figure will represent archetypal significance. This particular dream illustrated a profound continuing journey with the divine feminine.

Dreams tap directly into our unconscious. Learning to work with dreams can prove to be a source of guidance, inspiration and insight. Dreams come in many sizes, shapes and configurations. Not all dreams are created equal. This workshop will help you discern the different types of dreams, identify the dreams that are most significant, explore why some people and symbols show up and provide tools and a process to explore their meaning. We can view dreams on different levels.Only the dreamer can truly know the meaning of their dreams and a dream unexplored is a letter not opened. (The Talmud)

Workshop Outline

• Learning to differentiate types of dreams and discern which are likely to be meaningful.

• How to facilitate remembering dreams and keeping track.

• To explore the principles of dream analysis and how to tend a dream.

• Exploration of the relationship between the imagination and dreams and how symbols are created in dreams

• Introduction to dream partnering

• Looking at the dream in the context of your life..

• An exploration of energy, feelings and consciousness in dreams.

• Learning to understand archetypes and their influence on dreams.Location and Timing

Kitsilano, Vancouver Sunday November 25th 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Contact trevor@soulclarity.com if you have any interest. Maximum 8 People

Fee by Donation

What Others Have Said

Thank you SO much for such an interesting, inspiring and fun evening! You are such a relaxed, organized and passionate teacher so WELL DONE!

Janie Brown

“I found the sessions I was able to attend to be simply excellent. I loved the opening meditations, your flow in bringing the content into application, and your style in honouring of individual input. Thank you for showing us a craft that you have obviously invested time and energy in mastering.” Joyce Gwilliam

Trevor Simpson is a Spiritual Coach, author of Life’s Little Book for Big Decisions and has worked with dreams since 1998. He and Indrus Piche have been dream partners since 2002 and have developed a Dream Partnering process to support others interested in dream interpretation. (www.soulclarity.com)


The Soul’s Journey – Reading the Body’s Signs and Symptoms

May 19, 2018

I am standing at the top of my stairs when my throat began to close up. I am puzzled. Is this an allergic reaction, a virus or something more metaphysical? I stood for a moment and the words “it’s hard to swallow” popped into my head. I laughed. I knew exactly the meaning of this symptom. Within minutes my throat had eased.

 Mind/Body/Soul?

My interest in the mind/body/soul relationship was developed by medical intuitive Mona Lisa Schultz’s remarkable book Awakening Intuition.This was expanded by metaphysical teacher and author Louise Hay’s work particularly Heal Your Body which has become a superlative reference book when I sense my body is trying to tell me something. More recently there is the Jungian perspective that suffering is a device the Soul may use to get our attention. Eminent author and Jungian Analyst James Hollis suggests we lose life force if our lives are not consistent with our deeper Soul desires. I am by no means an absolutist in terms of the body/Soul connection and certainly do not suggest that all our ailments are connected to a Soul issue. However I do believe we owe it to ourselves to at least consider the possibility when we get symptoms

Too Hard to Swallow?

I have had too much personal evidence that my body is part of my intuitive system to ignore it. The message from my throat closing up was that an interview I had completed earlier for a story I was planning to write for the Centre for Integrated Healing was just too hard to swallow and I should not write it. On another occasion I had a persistent chest cold but before heading to the doctor, I asked myself what inner work this may represent. The response came loud and clear “you have something to get off your chest”. I connected the dots to recall an encounter with a friend that remained unresolved and was getting in the way of our friendship. I got it off my chest and both the cold and the friendship were healed.

Following the Clues

However it is even more affirming when I encounter this principle when working with a client. Recently one arrived who was clearly feeling very good. In response to my enquiry he said that so much had turned around since our last session. He was on top of his job, his financial state was finally reflecting all the work he had been doing and best of all his painful back was better. I asked if he saw any connection with his back healing and his improved state. I recalled that last session we had looked up L5 pain in my Heal Your Body book. The first suggested cause was security. “It’s interesting” I observed, “that your back improved at the same time your security concerns diminished – are you interested in exploring the connection?” A couple of months ago when he was feeling financially insecure, I had suggested prebilling and was curious if he had followed through. He shook his head and said that he really enjoyed the lump sums flowing in when the project was completed. “Any other reason?’ I queried. There was a pause then he exclaimed, “that isn’t exactly true, I don’t pre-bill because it causes me to feel an obligation to the project. “But aren’t you already committed once you accept the project?” I enquired.  At this point I reflected on the sequence of events: “you felt financially insecure, you chose not to improve things, you got an L5 problem that Louise Hay suggests is about insecurity. This healed once the cash flow improved.” It seemed quite convincing and I wondered out loud whether he thought he could have avoided the back problem if he had taken steps to address the insecurity earlier. Then it was like the roulette ball falling into the desired slot. The voice dissuading him from the appropriate measure to increase cash flow was the reaction of an old child complex around avoiding responsibility. Perhaps the Soul gift was to remember if this happened again to renegotiate from the perspective of the adult who knew the commitment came from accepting the project not by asking for a pre-payment.

Another amazing example that the Soul knows the way even when the ego doesn’t and that sometimes we need to pay attention to the body to get the message.


The Soul Journey – Reflections on Fate

May 8, 2018
Trevor:Cameron

Conventional and Unconventional

In April this year my friend Cameron Stewart unexpectedly died. We had been extremely close in the late sixties when as twenty-three years olds we shared an apartment in Toronto. Now he was gone. As one ages we have to get used to losses and the vagaries of fate and the imponderable question of why him and not me and the realization that this is one aspect of the mystery we can never know.

How Different Could Two Friends Be?

As I reflected on these days long gone, I remembered what a vibrant, charismatic, unconventional young man Cameron had been. He was always the life and soul of the party; he could play the guitar; he wrote songs: he was gregarious; he was amusing and quick witted, and he was a chick-magnet. Everyone wanted to be his friend and I think I was always a little bemused that he chose me.

I was his opposite – conventional, square, responsible, organized, disciplined and had a solid job. I was also shy, likely depressed; I still blushed when embarrassed which was frequently, had low self-esteem and zero self-confidence with women. We were complete opposites. He was everything I wanted to be.

He did help me come out of myself after I broke my square dependable horn rimmed glasses in a car accident, he encouraged the acquisition of a pair of blue tinted circular frames similar to those worn by John Lennon. Little did I realize how much my life would change.

“That Which We do not Bring to Consciousness Appears in Our Lives as Fate”

It had never occurred to me that Cameron represented something that was disowned in my own consciousness. Jungian analyst Robert Johnson referred to this as the projection of our inner gold on another person. However my shift in image from the new glasses and growing my hair gradually helped me reclaim some of that gold.  However it did seem my fate was to live a very unconventional life changing countries (living in England, Canada and Australia), changing jobs, changing relationships, a dramatic mid-life crisis resulting in me leaving wife, job and country to travel around the world with my girl friend for eighteen months at the age of 48. Devoting myself to spiritual enquiry at the age of 50 and never working full time again.

That Which You Resist Persists

Tucked away in my unconscious was the desire to be as unconventional as him. However my conditioning, as a child and young adult, both at home and at the boarding school that I was sent to, (where such behavior would not have been acceptable) had resulted in the unconventional self to be unacceptable. So fate stepped in. As I reflect I can see now that I was never really felt in control of my life. It had been my fate to be unconventional without really intending to be. Cameron although never losing his spark of unconventionality stayed married to the same woman for 48 years, brought up three children, and was mostly consistently employed in a secure job.

Time To Change?

Perhaps it is time to become deliberately unconventional and reduce the power of fate – perhaps the gold earing and the tattoo I have sometimes admired in others. On the other hand fate seems to have dealt kindly with me so perhaps I shall just leave things alone.

Thank you for journeying together dear friend, may your sweet soul rest joyfully in the mystery.

 


The Soul’s Journey – Reflections on God

April 18, 2018

This morning I finished reading an article in Presence Magazine (The journal of Spiritual Directors International) on pilgrimage and spiritual direction by Valerie Brown. In closing she writes, “for spiritual directors there is one central question ‘where is God?’

I realized that answering that question will be influenced by the personal lens I adopt which creates my perspective of God.

I grew up in household dedicated to evangelical Baptist beliefs that offered salvation through blood or a trip to hell. I was a true believer until about 14 years old when I was given an essay to write titled, “Why God is a good God and not a comic sadist” Somewhat courageously I changed the title to “Why God is a comic sadist and not a good God.” It became my coming out paper and began a period of atheism that lasted 30 plus years.

It was after I turned forty that I realized my atheism was actually a rejection of my “father’s God” rather than an absolute state of disbelief and I began an inquiry that continues to this day into what God means to me. It has embraced many shifts in concepts and a continual letting go of old certainties. At times I have clung to old views reluctant to move into the unknown. Mystery to me encompasses the vast cosmic energies of the universe that embraces all things and that we are one insignificant aspect.

It seems an irresistible and dangerous desire of human beings to claim they know God. Somehow ignoring the fact that each vision can only be viewed from a very limited perspective – that of our humanity. This suggests a good reason that in certain Jewish teachings God is referred to as the one who can’t be named. Yet vast tracts of humanity cling to the belief that their face of God is the only one and waging war on those who may feel differently.

Frankly I like C.G Jung’s perspective – “God is the name by which I designate all things that crossed my willful path violently and recklessly, all things that upset my subjective views, plans and intentions and change the course of my life for better or for worse.”

This is a reflection on some of the quotes, poems and insights that have shaped the way I see something that could be called God but I prefer to describe as Mystery.

Reflections on God 2


The Soul’s Journey – Reflections on Soul

April 16, 2018

Half a day lost staring out of this window.

I wanted to know just one true thing about the Soul

But I left thinking for thought and two inches of snow have fallen over the meadow.

Where did I go? How long was I out looking for you who would never leave me?

My witness, my here.

 Kate Knapp-Johnson

How is it with your Soul?

This reflection originated after reading an article on the origin of the Methodist movement in the 1700. This was the greeting of original members of what was called the “Holy Club” founded by John Wesley. Methodism was a derisory term used by their critics due to very strict methodology that the Holy Club followed.  John Wesley who was leader of the club turned table on the mockers and adopted the name.

Concepts of Soul

I found a helpful web site BeliefNet that had asked teachers from different faiths their perspectives on Soul and the body. There are common elements around the spiritual nature of Soul but also many differences. Eminent Jungian analyst and author James Hollis talks about psyche the Greek word for Soul as representing inner energies related more to the unconscious than the conscious. Hollis suggests five questions in his book What Matters Most: Do I have a Soul? What does it mean to me? What does it ask of me? What does it mean to show up? Am I willing to engage with it and serve it? I worked with a group and asked them to draw whatever emerged when I asked “How Is It with Your Soul?” No one struggled to form an image and I felt that all images represented something deeper than the ego state.

Personal Concepts of Soul

I think that each of us must answer Hollis’s five questions and determine our own relationship with the idea of Soul. I have found that once we bring conscious attention to Soul, it will meet us in many different ways. My enquiry over the years has led to my reflection below as well as my own personal “ten commandments” to help me fulfill my soul’s desire for expression through me.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 11.00.42 AM

My ten commandments