My spiritual update


May I share this with you few friends who pause here to read Simply Here?  Have been reviewing my spiritual journey and putting it into words in my mind–and need to write it down.  Perhaps you’ll be able to glean something helpful for yourself, as well.

In 1987 I unexpectedly “woke up” to a part of my being through the Native American way.  The third eye opened and life was suddenly filled with dreaming, amazing synchronicities and deep connectedness.  A thought manifested on so many levels.  The unified field of awareness revealed itself.

I zinged in joy and bliss for years.  (In retrospect, this isn’t entirely true, as deep-seated patterns continued to vie for attention, but the general mood for 15-16 years was delight.)

At times it felt like the top of my head would blow off due to the intense energy swirling.  The synchronicities vibrated and increased.  I would dream of a tornado and one would touch down.  I would imagine a spiritual teacher announcing the gift of $2,000 and it would arrive.  Everything was alive and spoke its metaphysical language.

White feather on sand

In 2003 the deep inner spirit announced a different tact.  I was to meditate.  OK, sounded good to me.  I began to breathe, to be present, to inhabit the body.

It wasn’t fun; it wasn’t joyful.  The bliss disappeared.  The dreaming and synchronicities mostly disappeared.  The higher realms seemed inaccessible.  Instead, there was the weight of the body, the boredom of the physical reality, the tedious incomprehensible pattern of the breath.

I didn’t get it.  Why would Spirit take me to the heights and then make me re-inhabit this one-dimensional physical world?

Still, I trusted.  If meditation was required, so it should be.

In 2008 or 2009 (calendar not handy) I finally experienced an “awakening” from the body level of experience on my birthday.  What awoke was not Kathy.  It was Spirit itself, alive, moving, incredibly interested in manifestation, amazingly without personality.

This lasted on and off for about three weeks before Kathy’s patterns re-grouped and dug in with desperate ferocity.

This. Here. Now.

The last three to four years have been a gathering of energy, a deepening of breath, a movement into patterns.  In some ways it proved a Dark Night of the Soul.  Only my light-hearted blogging on Lake Superior Spirit helped balance the frustrated energy of not being able to completely live in the awakeness previously glimpsed.

In the past six to nine months finally-finally!–a shift has ensued.  In the spring my awareness was finally able to penetrate the deep pattern of “fear of emptiness”.  Oh what relief!  I was able to perceive that I had never, ever, been completely comfortable in this body, on this earth.  A lack of trust revealed itself.

In this clearer seeing, a relaxation began to spread in the moments of emptiness.   Instead of retreating and moving toward the outer world to fill my fear, I began to relax in emptiness.  It revealed itself as infinitely kind and expansive.

In spring, 2011, I did the ten-week Presence Process by Michael Brown.  It was extremely helpful in allowing me to feel more deeply.  I would have always called myself a deep feeling individual, completely attune with my emotions and feelings.

The Presence Process revealed that untruth. Yes, I felt emotions intensely.  Yes, I was alive as a feeling individual.  But much of this was on the surface of personality–with a story attached. In other words, the feeling was filtered through a story like coffee flows through a filter.
I did not really know how to stay present with a feeling without a story.  My friend, Marianne, and I started the Presence Process this fall again.  I had conveniently forgotten the benefits gleaned from the first experience–and suddenly remembered the importance of feeling.  Although I did not finish the Process (choosing instead to follow my inner guidance once the process kick-started the feelings) it has been an amazing few weeks.

The center of awareness is starting to shift into the center of feeling.  Thoughts still arise, but feeling sits more securely at the center.  Being able to feel emotional pain all the way to the roots has been penetrating pattern after pattern.

Please don’t assume this means I have awakened fully in my feeling center.  This is a process like peeling an onion.  More and more is revealed daily, hourly, by the minute.

Twenty years ago I would have never imagined how deeply ingrained personality patterns are.  I thought that understanding was enough.  That the mental knowing would dissolve the patterns.  That has not proved the case–although perhaps it has for some people.

Being raw and open and vulnerable and here with feeling has opened so many black holes in the psyche.  Holes where Essence was abandoned as personality formed.

I am so grateful for even small emotional pain these days.  Each revelation allows a penetration of awareness which encompasses the inner hole to reveal emptiness.  If you stay with the emptiness, you discover space.  If you stay with the space, you begin to reclaim your lost Essence.

Thank you for listening.  Love, Kathy


28 thoughts on “My spiritual update

  1. I’ll be following you and Marianne soon. I bought the book (Presence Process), but have put it off due to all the travel I’ve been doing. I should be settling in soon.

    Hugs & love to you, Kathy. 🙂

  2. Kathy:
    Thanks for sharing your journey with meditation and presense. There are many twists and turns; ups and downs, glories and questions. Your honesty is encouraging to me as I move through my own experiences. Audrey

    • Audrey, I am glad that this encouraged and resonated with you. Honesty feels so important–there are so many masks we’ve learned to wear with our personalities. We’re all in this together and I do wish you well in your spiritual journey.

    • Barbara, I tried to be as open and honest as possible. I think sometimes we get an idea that people “awaken” and they “arrive” and it’s all done. I see this as an unfolding journey through the woods of life with many ravines, smooth-sailing lakes and treacherous mountains. Many blessings to you and your journey.

  3. Thank you with all my heart for taking me along on YOUR “unfolding journey through the woods of life with many ravines, smooth-sailing lakes and treacherous mountains.” It seems like my own journey, too, so that I am not along with you, but you are along with me, and then that distinction dissolves.

    And then reforms as I feel so blessed to know you with your courage, and willingness to share, from your particularity of the Emptiness! Bleh. Words….

    • The distinction dissolves…yes. Every day more of that… It brings me to tears right now, the knowing that you are part of me, that we are not really separate.

  4. “If you stay with the emptiness, you discover space. If you stay with the space, you begin to reclaim your lost Essence.”

    Kathy – two years ago at a class in Chicago the instructor said, “…for it is within space that we find our direction.” Since that time I have found more and more that emptiness – space – is my internal compass.

  5. I have to agree this is very good and helpful Kath. The twist and turns on the “apparent” path can really churn up the thoughts and feelings. Going into the feelings was not my first inclination either. I went through the Presence Process as well. I needed it just to approach feeling and emptiness. In fact, I would say real intimacy and vulnerability were impossible for me.

    Today, I would say I am such a babe in the woods of intimacy and vulnerability and yet nothing captures me more. There is nothing I want to be than totally transparent naked before it all of it.

    And yes, the fear of emptiness is the greatest fear here once I could go into feelings. Conditioned we are to be about the interpretation business. Figuring things out. Making stories out of feelings etc. Lots of resonance there.

    I have even gotten to the point lately where I can’t stand to read or spend much time in analysis. Makes it tough at work having an analytical job. But, it’s good. Freedom or Death? or both? Sure, all of it.

    The space moves me if I am honest. Thought sure doesn’t want to trust that. But it doesn’t want to after the idea of it appears. Too late. It’s here calling.

    It is also true that thought doesn’t know what it will think 2 minutes from now. So, who is the thinker?… really. So a seeing through thought can happen. A kind of empty or spacious intelligence is at work. What you point to which is an actual yearning (here) for the emptiness is at the root. Most afraid of what I want the most. Too much intimacy? More.

    Nice timing indeedy.

    I would like to add that our culture if not the world is very yang energetically. Openness, receptivity and the willingness to be penetrated by the emptiness opens the quiet joy and sweet tender bliss covered by the veil of conceptual thought, beliefs, and feeling. It is so subtle… maybe wholeness or a beyond sensory sense of unity is a better descriptor? Don’t know that’s for sure. It is layers of an onion just as you write. There is no end to it and yet it’s not that there is no end. It’s the thought that seeking leads to one. Oh for there to be and end to it. I am willing. Rip me apart. I see what is happening. I can”t resist. Don’t want to anymore. Vulnerability beyond what I think I can stand.

    You wrote…
    “Twenty years ago I would have never imagined how deeply ingrained personality patterns are. I thought that understanding was enough. That the mental knowing would dissolve the patterns. That has not proved the case although perhaps it has for some people.”

    Right, thought and mental figuring out is set up to fail. Until it does, I couldn’t see through it… at all. Now some, and there is no standard.

    The personality patterns certainly are ingrained, and I don’t think that is a problem at all. Some of mine are real nice and some of them a real mess. Oh yeah, and there is judgment. Great! Have your way with me messiness and all. Couldn’t make it on my own. I wanted to see myself, love myself in you anyway so we could hold hands and walk the path together. That’s the beauty and just as we are.

    My greatest dream ever was of absolutely nothing one night. And, I didn’t know this nothingness until a black bird flew across the dreamless screen and cawed. It was at this moment awareness and consciousness knew itself. It needed that bird, object, thought, feeling to allow unconditionally. Real love in all its visceral sensory intimacy surfaces in allowing all and not.

    Everything is included. Also, the mental knowing, seeing the conditioning as it is happening helps me along with feeling the feelings. Letting the whole shooting match slay me daily, by the minute it seems sometimes.

    Opening to the yin energy willing to be penetrated,
    walking barefoot in the grass
    Resting on nothing at all.
    Take Me As I Am.
    Hold My Hand.
    We’re already
    Just Seeing One Another
    I See You!
    It is all I ever wanted,
    to love my self.

    Deep Bow for the beautiful post!

    • I love what you said, Ben, about now wanting to be totally transparent naked before it all…so beautiful. As for “who is the thinker?” yes, it’s very clear that what we are is so beyond the thinker, but who-I-think-I-am can still get hooked by thoughts and feelings.

      You may be right about the personality not being the problem. That’s what those who clearly identify with space so often say, and I can see it from the level of space. Yet not moving into the feelings was a “problem” from this angle because it kept the space contracted and the energy moving away from this moment.

      Everything included. Not one thing left out. I sit in awe of that sometimes. Yesterday, in meditation breath and awareness really were seen as one in a much deeper way than before.

      But I still do not think I’m able to maintain steady awakeness. Yet awakeness is steadier in this awareness than it was before.

      We are One, truly, in awareness and love, we are. Thank you, brother, for emerging.

  6. The labels and the feelings and the thinking in pictures that mean one to me and one to another stick to me like saran wrap. I can see all of what you typed. I can also see, why does it matter, at all. I do not know if the words come to me as if to say that everything holds only the thing that caused it, a sort of blame, rather than to adore the flaming red of the tulip just as it is in the eye of which it is seen. Does my eye in one moment, make a thing any different than my eye in another, beyond how my words try to paint what the eye and the brain try to ‘show’ the speech center that writes? Does the eye see anything more or less, if it does not notice nor comprehend what ‘seeing’ is?
    And does knowing or pondering this make any difference beyond allowing me to feel as if I’m doing something?–and for some reason something of importance. (thinking aloud and having discussion)

    • In reading your comment, Elisa, I can understand some parts of it but not where you’re coming from in other parts. So I’ll just think out loud here, too, and you can feel if anything resonates. When something sticks to me like saran wrap or feels yucky, I’ve been going deeper and deeper into the yucky feeling. Making it bigger than life–without a story. If I go into the yucky feeling with a story, I make it bigger. Without a story it’s just raw emotion that sometimes has felt like it’s going to kill me. But the relief is that the emotion doesn’t kill, it opens to shakiness and emptiness. If I still accelerate that feeling, it suddenly dissolves into wide open space. If I stay in wide open space it feels like my very being starts to flow easier. I am happier with myself, and myself becomes effortlessly larger, rather than limited. I want to penetrate the yuckiness because blame and guilt and anger seem to hold something else very precious within them.

      If you wonder why the spiritual update matters–it probably doesn’t. It makes me happy to plot it, but that’s a happiness from the level of personality. It’s my business manager part liking to put things into some kind of order, a map of where you’ve been.

      • Based on my own experiences, I’d say what they hold that is precious, is the preciousness, the infinite preciousness, of having been created at all, of existing at all:
        Re: blame and guilt and anger seem to hold something else very precious within them.

  7. This has been a real inspirational blog entry. It has been ripe for clarity on this end. Thank you so much!

    Also, it is a very tricky topic.

    When we talk or write about anything it will most often be from our life experiences, knowledge, emotions, thoughts, patterns, assumptions, education, etc. Basically, our interacting. You can see this in the presidential debates, at work, and certainly in discussions about spiritual paths. We aren’t really connecting. We are conditionings interacting. Many an argument and debate on Gaia was from the perspective of individual conditioning clashing regarding spirituality. It isn’t that there was a right or wrong answer. After all, they seem to be tailor fit to the person. It was that conditioned selves were clashing with other conditioned selves and that is going on every day. I didn’t see it then.

    So, let’s do something fresh. Let’s assume I don’t know what you are talking about and you don’t know what I am talking about.

    So, I really don’t know what you mean truly when you say identifying with space. I am sure you know what you mean. I am not sure. So, let me ask. What is identifying with space? We can have a real conversation if I ask rather than assume I know what you mean. Your conditioning and your path have similarities and differences with mine, so I am best off asking.

    On my end identifying with space associates in thought and experience with identifying with emptiness. I have not only identified with emptiness. I have attached to it. What I mean is that I attempted to clear my mind by mentally ignoring thought and keeping my attention on emptiness. I did that for a real long time and it was a very dry place. My failure to maintain this state was a great teaching. My thoughts were trying to grasp emptiness and make it a reality. It totally failed. I will await your reply on identifying with space to better understand if I can relate or not.

    Here, I had to throw out spiritual paths. I had to admit they failed… or I had failed to find what I was looking for. What was I looking for? I wanted to be at peace, love everyone, and feel elated and transcendant all the time. Nothing wrong with all of that except I was depending on appearances to deliver some nebulous idea of lasting happiness based on a state not the untarnished true nature that is always here. After decades of spiritual study, I had to admit, it hadn’t delivered the goods despite great dedication, discipline and study. What a blessing that failure was. I actually spoke to Adyashanti briefly about it at a Satsang. I have the mp3 file if you want to listen to the exchange it is rather humorous.

    When I gave up on the spiritual path, I had to concede I didn’t know what being awake really was or is. I knew what I thought it was and how sages had written about it, but I just couldn’t connect any way other than tossing all those intellectualizations over board including the practices. That is what happened here. Could be totally meaningless for you.

    The truth is that when openings seemed to happen they were so totally beyond what I expected and thought that they would have been I had to admit there was no real way to measure progress. All I can say is openings occur and the meaning was\is beyond adequate measurement or interpretation I posses. You may have a good way to know, so if you do please share. I may find it expanding.

    So even if I had a path I couldn’t honestly tell you where I was on it. I could make an estimate based on the writings and resonances with writing of sages, but not knowing what I don’t know, I wouldn’t have any real appreciation for what was ahead.

    As a friend said, when you awake or open, it’s too late because by the time you realize it, it is too late because it is already here… always.

    When I say invite it all in I am saying that set me free from the conditioning and yet still seeing it when the conditioning happens so I am not constantly rubbing against a self imposed measuring stick that can’t measure what isn’t measurable. Seeking could be real suffering here. I can just be me that both conditioned human and undefinable mystery and it is perfectly fine without having to be anywhere else at all.

    Deep Bow!

    • Half a dozen sentences before you mentioned Adyashanti’s name, I was thinking Hey this guy should hear what Adya says about this, now where should I tell him to look? So you saved me the trouble, LOL!!! I enjoyed hearing your wordings!

      “Allowing EVERYTHING to be as it is” pretty well sums up the matter for me. As I’m sure you know, Ben, it is far far more radical than it first appears as a statement. In fact it pretty well demolishes every approach to spirituality which most of us have explored. Except that we let them be as they are, too, LOL! It’s so infinitely recursive. It includes allowing not-allowing!!

      Kathy, I have been exploring this matter, and would love to hear if you can say more:

      You said

      breath and awareness really were seen as one in a much deeper way than before.

  8. Excellent! Thank you OM! Yeah, crazy isn’t it. Even allowing not allowing. Clear and totally blind.. It really does include all opposites. It is unconditional the way I experience it here. Perfectly written… if I am connecting. LOL!.

    I don’t have to fix a thing even though the conditional seeking seems to want to very much.

    Recently, it all looped around here back to the first reading about the Tao Te Ching. The great mother that can’t be named… the mystery. The 10,000 things… appearances. The wihirling Yin Yang symbol where the two look separate but function as one…. emptiness and appearances.

    This friend of mine says Ben you now understand that it required great effort to realize that it requires no effort. LOL! That was so true in my case. For others it may be an easy ride, and that is the beauty of diversity. So, I write it as our self or true self (the open mystery) loving itself in all these unique ways (diverse appearances). It is just so beautiful that we are diverse and don’t have the same exact conditionings. That is totally different from what I used to think and believe.

    To fight that diversity. Oh My Goodness! What a losing battle that was here followed by the most beautiful failure. The failure lead to humility which provided enough openness so something new could enter. Never been one to take the easy way. LOL! Of course, didn’t really have a choice based on how I was raised, genetics, and life experiences. Grew up in a tough area fighting on multiple levels, so I had to lose the fight. That this mystery would tailor fit itself to bring clarity to the most dedicated fighter really was the most amazing and loving thing as I choose to interpret it, and such a pain in the arse. But, I am smiling.

    Took decades to see the above clearly, and you know what? Nothing I did helped. It opened spontaneously. Carlos Boisselle said it came down to a question of freedom or death for him. I had to throw down a similar gauntlet. I am amazed and so Thankful when that is not true for everyone.

    I like the question you ask as well. Questions invite exchange and the possibility of expansion. It means I am willing to go outside my conditioning.

    A co-worker that I thought was a real analytical pain in the asp based on my projections and conditioning of his intent totally changed in view to me recently. He was really nit picking a communication. So, I started asking questions about what he was seeing and discovered that what looked like analytical behavior to my conditioning was his intuition and feeling side trying to break down the analytics to provide a wider possibility of engaging with the communication. I was really surprised and so glad to see how wrong my interpretations have been. It is amazing every time something new even got through.

    Thank you!

  9. Dear Ben, OM, Elisa, thank you for your conversations and feelings and thoughts. Ben, you shared a heart-full so beautifully. My favorite sentence is this: now understand that it required great effort to realize that it requires no effort. I so believe that!

    I wish I could answer and explore more right now, but am just sitting with all your sharing and smiling. Sometimes words just dry up… Love to all of you! Thank you for your Presence here and that Spirit shines so beautifully through all of you. Kathy

    • Perhaps we all take turns reminding one another of that, Lunar. I am going to turn off the computer soon because–right now–the words are larger than the void.

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