Sep

30

 

 ‘The heavens cannot contain me, or the void, or winged exalted intelligences and souls: Yet, I am contained, as a guest, in the heart of the true believer.’

When, as a boy, Rumi was forced to flee his homeland, Afghanistan, soon to be ruthlessly ransacked by Genghis Khan’s mongol hordes, he went with his father on a pilgrimage to Mecca, stopping en route at Nishapur.  It was here that he met another great Sufi poet, Attar, author of The Conference of the Birds.

The boy never forgot his meeting with the master, who predicted ‘this boy will open a gate in the heart of Love’. Continued…

Sep

4

Global Teleseminar with relationship experts hosted by Angelique Tsang

When a relationship summit has a title like ‘Let Love Come To You’ I know it is on the right track and I am delighted to have been invited as a guest speaker.

Let Love Come to You relationship telesummit

For love is not something we order, not another commodity to be bought and sold in the market place, not something we can get something out of – though many of us have tried.   Continued…

May

28

‘Those tender words we said to one another are stored in the secret heart of heaven. One day, like the rain, they will fall and spread, and their mystery will grow green over the world.’ Rumi

The mystery that lies within the hidden heart of the human being, and is also the secret heart of heaven, takes us right to the core of creation and the dark wholeness that births what indigenous cultures call the ten thousand things.

‘In the whole of the universe there are only two, the lover and the Beloved.’ And for some, for the mystics of the world, the divine is not father nor mother, but the sweetest, most ecstatic lover that seizes our heart in the most passionate affair of our life. Continued…

May

27

‘How long will we fill our pockets like children with dirt and stones. Let the world go. Holding it, we never know ourselves, never are airborne.’ Rumi

There is a wild, sweet fierceness, both tough and tender that whispers awake a burning in the heart that will one day flame out and tear away the veil that parts us from who we truly are..

We are here for one thing, one thing alone, but distracted by so many others – what the Toltecs called the mitote in the mind – that whisper is lost in what the late poet John O’Donohue called ‘neon culture’.

Rumi again: ‘There is one thing in the world that you must never forget. If you were to forget everything else and remember this, then you would have nothing at all to worry about; but if you were to remember everything else and forget this, you would have done nothing with your life.’ Continued…

Dec

5

Tina Turner, that gravel-voiced, Ike-battered, comeback kid said this: ‘I didn’t have anybody, no foundation in life…so I had to discover my mission in life.’

It’s a plain enough statement: without support she had to cut out on her own, uncover her path, focus hard to push through the neglect that birthed her talent. It speaks to the victimised child in us all, galvanising the hero to action.

Yet it also says something else, something other and reveals a truth that sprang straight from the author’s unconscious without either her awareness or her consent. If you listen to people carefully, with what I call an eye for initiation, often something quite different is going on.

If you ask the right questions more is revealed. Continued…

Jun

13

‘The human being has to be born twice, once from his or her mother, and then out of his or her own body and of his own existence. This body is like an egg, the essence of man must become in this egg a bird, thanks to the heat of love. And then he will escape this body, into the eternal world of the soul, beyond space.’
Sultan Walad

The tiny circumference of the world into which we are born is a gross assault on the grandness of the soul. Concepts, ideas and belief systems soon enclose us, blinding us to our vital essence, rendering us forgetful of our greater purpose. But the soul is bigger than you in the same way the baby is larger than the tunnel through which it is born. It is as if everything has to be squeezed into life, shrink-wrapped to take its place, a small egoic self suitable for the universe of time and space.

That works for a while, for many it works for a lifetime and beyond, but for all, finally, the soul, long forgotten and contained within the confines of family and culture, must emerge Continued…

Apr

14

‘What places us in the dark? Letting go of those illusions of the mind that keep us from seeing clearly – hope, motivation, interpretation. Always we avoid the dark by rushing on to the next imagined source of life, the next hope or ambition. Never do we settle down and stay quietly in the dark.’

Peter Kingsley

For how long do we gestate?

In these quickening times of speeding energies, a precedence of light flooding the planet, the clear polarisation of light and dark and global transformation, slowing down may seem like a grievous error. Everything seems to call us on board The Starlight Express. Much of humanity has its collective bag packed and is ready to depart the station for new colonies of endeavour.

But the wise man – or woman – is like the ripest of fruit, is pakka as they say in India. Ever mindful of the signs, he knows that the key to success is a ripening that allows him to fall from the tree of life only when he is in perfect readiness for his next initiatory move.

He knows he is not the mover nor the doer but merely and beautifully the embodiment of life’s aliveness. He lives and dies in complete alignment with divine timing and neither tries to separate himself from what is nor attempts to run the show. He has little interest in escaping pain or profiteering in the world.

He came into life to heal the pain he saw from afar, drawing exactly the right experiences into his body to make his contribution to the current collective healing. In all likelihood, painful episodes began early as the longheld patterns he carried within his psyche rose up for their final cleansing.

He also understands and holds the essential paradox in this Kali Yuga: the closer we are to the light, the closer we are to the dark, and knows the light is challenged and driven by forces both within and without. One augments the other in fact, in a duel that propels us all further into the light.

‘The childish individual wants someone to save him, the adolescent wants to fulfil himself absolutely and independently, the true man simply serves good company and surrenders to Truth, the Living God.’ (Adi Da)

This seedling waits with eternal patience its time of service. This knowledge is innate, pre-conscious and, of course, mindless. There is no mind to interfere with its sacred duty, no personal desire.

It does not engage in the drama of the search for oneness, now preoccupying most of us, because two-ness is anathema. In a person, it expresses itself warmly and openly and straight up; and in that way it can see and feel the kinks and perversities in the responses of others, those whose wounds remain out front. In that way, he acts as a perfect mirror for those who care to see.

Staying within the earth and in the dark, in the unmanifest, his presence as nothing upholds everything and those within his energy field are healed.

How do we become as little children once more and recover paradise?

We sink deep roots into the unconscious and always keep the bulk of us, quietly, patiently in the unmanifest, our true home.

Mar

3

‘If you attend to yourself and seek to come into your own presence, you will find exactly the right rhythm for your life.’

John O’Donohue

Simple words from a now deceased poet and priest. Attend to yourself…..attend to yourself. If you repeat them and listen you will no doubt slow down enough to catch a glimpse of your own beauty or, if not, the beginnings of a steady self worth.

Perhaps there is no greater art, no task more worthy of a dedicated and gentle pursuit, than attending to oneself and seeking to come into one’s own presence. Nothing we ever do is more important than this and, for many of us, nothing is more difficult. Many, grown on a hand-me-down diet of deprivation stare blankly when confronted with the injunction ‘love thyself’.

‘What does it mean? What can they mean? I don’t even know what they are talking about.’ These are common responses in a culture where material wealth often comes at the expense of emotional nurturance. How different in more ‘primitive’ societies where people attend to themselves, including their inner lives, as a matter of course.

O’Donohue again: ‘Inner friendship embraces nature, divinity, underworld and human world as one. For our sore and tormented separation, the possibility of this imaginative and unifying friendship is the Celtic gift’.

Inner friendship? How many in modern western culture have even heard of such a thing? To discover the cadences, rhythms and quirks of one’s own nature could no doubt be seen as self indulgent but so often such criticisms are merely a conditioned response and defence against spending time with one’s own scary but ultimately sublime interiority.

It is not that such critics might not buy a self-help book, but that such vessels are often co-opted by an ego intent on self-improvement and enforced change rather than the art of inner friendship. It is so easy to jump on that particular bandwagon and fail to see that you may be going to war on yourself once more in the guise of personal progress. The books themselves often sprout from the same fixed mindset.

What we are talking of here is something subtly but entirely different in both emphasis and attitude. It is the ability to take for oneself, to draw into oneself what one needs in the moment. It is indeed self love, a love that comes naturally to those who have been well nurtured as children but has to be discovered by the majority and can feel as alien as living under water.

A mother who has not been well loved herself will not be able to reach back into her own babyhood and childhood to empathise with her child. She may well spend a lot of time with her child, but most often will not be present, her mind wandering as she tries to avoid being pulled backwards into the dark pain of her own early past.

She will want to avoid the squawking baby inside her and will be pained by the reminder prompted by her own child. What she is confronted with is the screaming baby within that was not attended to adequately in a cycle of deprivation most likely going back generations.

This later morphs into addiction, narcissism and selfishness as well as possible hospitalisation and collapse. By giving too much to her own child because she thinks this is the right thing and does not know what else to do, she will feel resentful and inadequate as the child exhibits all the feelings she has repressed.

‘God, all the things I do for you and you repay me like this.’ How many of us have heard poor, desperate and misguided parents deplete themselves in their well-meaning but misguided attempts to love? How many of us have been or are such parents?

So often we have been conditioned to believe that taking for ourselves is wrong when quite the reverse is true: if we cannot take for ourselves we have nothing to give to others. This is when things fall apart.

A friend reminded me recently to remember to dialogue with myself, to talk to the child within, to soothe and nurture. I believe focusing on how we talk with ourselves is a critical component of self love – an art to be cultivated like growing a seed. If this does not come naturally then we have to work at it.

But this work can be a joy and unfold a map to an interior landscape that may hold pain but also the green shoots of new beginnings and undiscovered gardens of unrivalled beauty. If we have become addicted to the external we will be haunted by what awaits our attention within.

The baby will always continue to squawk, ever more urgently until we admit it into our hearts.

‘Why do you think that what you do, what you have, what you get or don’t get are more important than just being here,’ writes AH Almaas, ‘We are the pleasure, we are the joy, we are the most profound significance and the highest value.’

In other words, we don’t have to go out there and improve ourselves, rather we have to learn to enjoy our own presence, our beingness, then self care can come naturally as loving ourselves flows out from our own centre.

Just as winter is finally turning to spring.

Sep

15

The most important things in life are hard to comprehend and often hidden from view. The usual way of conceiving the world is that that which appears is real and life is a straightforward game of winning and losing, success and failure. Our standard image of the hero is the man or woman who takes on the manifest world and achieves victory. It all seems so straightforward: grab the bull by the horns and get on. It is what we are taught from the earliest age, to make mummy and daddy proud, be the best, beat the odds, achieve victory.

It sounds so logical, so plausible, so appealing and seems to take us on a journey away from death and into life. We don’t see that what we are really doing is the opposite and that the manifest world, the world of form and appearance, is a pale reflection of another world, a world of unconditional joy and love and freedom. Even the fact that our journey ends in death isn’t enough to wake us up and tell us that none of it is real despite the fact that death is staring at us down the barrel of a gun called time.

The world of appearances is not the real world despite everything that is said. What drives us on this journey called life is the mind’s absolute terror of nothingness, of standing still, of being, of annihilation. Even those of us who call ourselves spiritual cannot let go our need of hope, goals and a future. Who would I be without the next thing? This thing I always wanted and now have is not enough. Our eyes are always on the horizon. Even if the horizon has shifted from a material one to a spiritual one we are still only as good as our next story, as they say in the newspaper trade.

I almost laughed out loud the other night when a young man was being told by an excited, encouraging audience to follow his dream. It sounded so real, what we have all been taught, that we don’t see what’s right there in front of us: the need to live in a dream. We are all living in this dream of individuality and we have been living it so well now and for so long we have no idea that we have inverted the natural order and have a fantasy world confused with the real world.

Almost everybody is caught in their own version of the same dream. And the dream has one purpose and one purpose only when we boil it down, and that is to stop us facing the death of ego that would have to occur if we just stayed where we were without dream, hope, goal, motivation or interpretation. The last thing we want to hear is the truth and the truth is that despite appearances and our story, we are nothing. And in being nothing we are everything. When the dream of individuality dies what we are left with, if we can face our fear and allow this dissolution of everything we have known, is that we are not human but immortal, on a par with the gods.

This knowledge has been hidden from mankind in the west for thousands of years, but it is finally making a return. Like all truths that have been cynically and foolishly buried from view by those who write history, those who would choose power over love, eventually, at the right time they resurface and once more take their place in the culture where this time perhaps they may be realised and lived rather than unrecognised and rejected.

The shaman’s journey, that which lives prior to religion and concept, has been evinced in different cultures around the world. People have been communing with the divine in similar ways globally since the dawn of time and before. The hero’s journey is not up into the light, living on the surface, but down into the depths, the underworld, where the opposites meet, where the sun went each night at the appropriate time and rose from each day. The underworld is the meeting place of opposites and the hero’s journey takes us right through it and out the other side.

On this hero’s journey there is no gathering of laurels and accomplishments, wealth and titles, but rather the shedding of all we have known, the loss of all self concept. Small wonder it has been largely written out of history. The journey is both terrifying and deeply unappealing. According to scholar Peter Kingsley, who has done so much to reawaken us to the truth of the origins of western philosophy, Plato and Aristotle are the culprits, the rewriters of Truth who turned philosophy from a deeply practical love and knowledge of wisdom into an intellectual debate, a way of being that has seeped through all aspects of our culture. The old ways involving the body and the divine feminine out, the new involving heady intellectual men in. We can call it patriarchy but it doesn’t really matter, what matters is the loss of the real for an unreal world seductively masquerading as real.

Of course, if we could get through the pain of the journey to the real world we would see that all our paltry dreams of a successful me are nonsense, a pale and passing reflection of something so magnificent that if we tasted it for just a second we would see that giving up everything we know was an infinitely small price to pay. The Greek hero or kouros was a childlike initiate, embraced by a teacher of initiation, a lineage and a family so intimate that he was surrounded by the love required to make the journey. What dies is an idea. What lives as you is Everything and Nothing.

Jesus said that unless we become as little children we cannot enter the kingdom and we only enter the kingdom through death, the death of the idea of me. What propels us on our journey is our longing, the emptiness that lies at the core of each human being. If we let that longing direct us further into life we strengthen the ego and move further away from what we truly want, always chasing the next dream.

But if we can see what is really happening, see that each dream is what it says it is, merely a fleeting apparition, we can see that true wisdom hides in death and that almost everybody is headed in the wrong direction. It is the cosmic joke, the funniest of crimes and causes all the chaos there is. And the mystic learns to face his own nothingness, takes the road less travelled and experiences ‘The Disappearance Of The Universe’.

Everything we need to know lies within, all we need do is turn and face it.

Copyright Simon Heathcote 2010

May

21

‘There is no force in the world but love.’

Rilke

At the core of all longing, striving and struggle languishes the bloodied, tender heart, with all movement either taking us further into the heart wound and the possibility of wholeness or into contraction: the recoil that cuts us off from life and love. The heart is either opening or closing.

In the first flush of romance the heart blossoms like a spring flower but, drawn to rekindle the wounds of childhood, the heart’s eye knows just the right partner to select: those who will frustrate and deny fulfilment just as mum or dad did way back when. Is this some cruel trick of fate that renders love powerless, or is it instead precisely this lighting of love’s flame in this particular person that offers an opportunity to transcend all that is loveless and unloving and return us to the most profound healing?

Relationship as spiritual path has a hard time of it nowadays and it is easy to give up on human love, but for some the journey of learning to love another and allowing oneself to be loved offers the ultimate redemption. Does it not make sense that if a man is wounded by mother and a woman by father then in loving and forgiving and being loved and forgiven by the beloved a person can experience a sense of homecoming like no other?

But why do so few find the healing balm they seek, instead foundering on the rocks that lay in the treacherous waters just outside the honeymoon isle? How can redemption be found when thrashing around for power? As Nietzche said, where there is the will to power then love is absent.

The key battle for most couples centres around the two-year-old self’s struggle for both attachment and autonomy. If you have not had sufficient attachment needs met at that and later developmental stages the psyche will keep seeking closeness and merging. If you’ve not been given sufficient autonomy and independence then the movement is away from relationship to satisfy that particular need.

Few of us had our early need for both attachment and autonomy handled well, setting up the later push-pull of adult connection. We want love, we fear being smothered. We could call this the love addict and the avoidant or the fuser and the isolater.

In truth, both poles are usually operating in both people, although one partner will invariably tend toward one position, polarizing the other partner. Yet the truth is both people have exactly the same need, to love and be loved, with both operating their individual set of defences to protect the wound of the heart.

What compounds the problem to the power of ten is the shame of not just having needs but of having those needs exposed. If someone disdainfully calls you needy you can bet your life they are needy and ashamed of that need.

The childhood need for love and affection is so powerful that when it is denied we contract against our own need like a circuit breaker. Some move so far away from that need they no longer know it is even there. Such people are truly lost and often cannot be reached. Throw in abuse and brutality and you get the Hitlers and Stalins of the world.

One of the most helpful things we can do is make friends with our own needs and neediness and do the same with our partners. It is probably wise to move away from those who act tough and needless and refuse to change and the current crop of seekers who are doing a spiritual bypass and residing in a need-free nirvana, having made a sudden evolutionary leap into A Course In Miracles.

But unfinished business does not just come from childhood, it comes from past-life connections with our partner too. I believe that most, if not all, of our more serious relationships are with those we know from other incarnations.

We are drawn towards those on our path on many different levels and will rehash the same old battles until we learn to love one another. I find current theory on relationships limited and primitive in one way or another and certainly using addiction models to treat relationship issues is a mixed blessing, healing some and reinforcing early experience of shaming and harshness in others.

The most complete and hopeful work comes from the pioneering psychiatrist Harville Hendrix who seems to have put all the component parts of relationship together and made sense of them.

In a nutshell: we are drawn to people who share positive and negative traits of our parents to win an old childhood struggle for love; to change brings up our fear of wholeness, which was not allowed as children; we are so fearful of our own wholeness we fear we are going to die if we change – hence most relationships fail during the power struggle; we have to confront and contain the life force (eros) within us that has been trapped since childhood; in finding a container for our feelings and needs with the help of our partners we begin to feel safe enough to heal and, most wonderfully; in dedicating ourselves to meeting our partner’s needs we restore ourselves to wholeness.

The last part is paradoxical but true. If the partner our heart’s eye selected contains all the qualities that we have repressed in ourselves, which we are first drawn to and later detest, then in loving them we are really loving parts of ourselves.
When partners become allies and not enemies dedicated to healing the childhood wounds in each other, with loving turning outward towards the beloved in reciprocity, a circle of love is formed which is deeply satisfying to both parties.

Love, always cleverer than the self-serving ego, only finds itself through acts of unconditional generosity and giving.

Finally, restored to wholeness not just through their partner’s love but critically through the act of loving itself, a couple can bring love and healing balm to all those around them.

Apr

23

FaceWhat has struck me over the years with increasing urgency is the necessity of and importance of blessing in each life.

I have noticed it particularly through its absence, both in my own life and that of the clients and staff I have worked with as addictions therapist in different rehabs these past 14 years. By blessing, I mean the profound and unsurpassable gift one human being bestows on his brother in that moment of shared presence, of really seeing another’s unique beauty, not with the eyes but in and through the heart.

The effects of such an occurrence can be nothing short of miraculous. But such moments are rare and often missed. The grandness and intent of the soul, its need to be seen and honoured, are most often unmet when behaviour is readily labelled ‘narcissistic’ or ‘disordered’ and patients too easily condemned for ‘acting out’. Modern rehab too often fails those it seeks to serve by neglecting and misunderstanding behaviour within the narrow confines of theories that bypass the notion of soul altogether.

Again and again I have seen clients failed through lack of understanding, their essence and beauty missed just as it was in childhood by quasi-parents not in touch with their own soul and again only offering the same old carrot and stick. Finally, they are snidely put down for thinking they are ‘special and different’ as if it is some new disease rather than the soul calling for the blessing it never received way back when. What I wanted then was to find ways of working that focused on honouring the individual’s intuition of a grander destiny rather than beating him or her into an enforced humility, as is so often the case.

Drawing on the wisdom of soul-based theory, including karmic astrology, Jungian Roger Woolger’s Deep Memory Process (a form of past-life regression), mythology, re-birthing techniques and some ritual as well as meditation I have found that conventional theory, psychodynamics for instance, finds its proper place. Clients are no longer simply pathologised and judged for failing the theory’s demands, tyrannised by an imposed structure, but understood and accepted in a much wider context.