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Exploring Essence: Collective Wisdom and Group Experience
© 2003 David La Chapelle

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Essential Field
Tuning the Mind and Body
The Heart
Locus of Identity
Working with Difficulties
The Breath of the Heart
Signature of the Soul
The Dance of Men and Women

Man has no Body distinct from his Soul;
for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses,
the chief inlets of the Soul in this age.

Energy is the only life,
and is from the Body;
and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.

Energy is Eternal Delight.

-William Blake


As you are sitting here see if you can feel a presence that is not your mind. It is possible to feel it in your body and it often is sensed as a current. It may not have a physical component, it may just be a subtle silence or a great depth. It is this presence that informs our lives.

The curtain of our days
draw back, on occasion,
and the soft belly of our hours exhale.
The currency of forward thinking falls in pieces around
Our filling hearts.

We are suddenly made more
And an unaccountable eternity appears in our midst.

One of the things we are working with as an ethic of attention is to recognize this quality of presence. Its not like a static process, its not like one particular thing or state we are going to recognize, but what we need to be able to do is deepen and stretch our receptor capacities for when presence appears. One of the things that is true is that presence doesn't generally appear through the mind. Occasionally it will form as a crystalline mental construct and you can feel a kind of opening that comes of that. But generally it will be an experience that is not coming through the surface content of the mind. So what part of our being is feeling this?

Another way of asking this question is, "What have you always known?"

† What I have always known is that I am the presence that I just experienced while we were chanting. and I think I have always known that. And I knew it before you said it. My mind was going who are you? Who are you? I got that I am this presence. I am not this body and not this personality and I have had a sense of this presence since I was a baby.

† What I have always known is a presence. I remember as a little girl, maybe three or four, falling down and scraping my knee for the first time and hearing like a guardian say, "This is the first time you have hurt yourself and you will hurt yourself many times but you will be ok." There was not only my own sense of being a part of something, this presence that was me, but somehow I was part of other beings and a community, I think, of the invisible. I have always known that.

† What I have always known is that I live beyond myself.

The reality that we experience in a sensory way is a condensation of various fields. Human beings, by virtue of our capacity to be conscious have the ability to sense larger fields at work. How that sensing takes place is different for different people. Some people aesthetically modulate the subtle fields, some people will bring them in as creative insights, some people express them in physical accomplishments. Some people will sense them directly as a flow of energy. Other people will simply experience them as a state of being or a quality of attention.

Essential Field

The idea of an essential field is a conceptual frame through which we explore the subtle gradations of our being. You can consider it a point of inquiry. Its real definition is to be found as an internal experience of subtle energy awareness and the particular states of consciousness that manifest which have a quality of essence present.

Essence appears as a still point of purity. This could be pure love, pure joy, pure strength, pure insight. The purity arises because the experience is being generated from an opened field of connection that is not modulated through the mind or in reaction to external stimulus. It simply arises as fundamental sense of connection and flow of energy that can be felt in the mind/body in a variety of ways.

As an anchor point of inquiry it is possible to locate a higher frequency field of subtle the external boundary has been two hand widths from the head or heart. At this location the field becomes accessible as a kinesthetic experience most often grounded through the hand, or palm. Opening to this layer of energy allows the mind to relax into a more essential state of being.

Inside the breath,
Inside the longing,
A waterfall of being.

That which is, is peace.
All that we need do is to keep quiet.
Peace is our real nature. We spoil it.
What is required is that we cease to spoil it.
If we remove all the rubbish from the mind,
the peace will become manifest.
That which is obstructing the peace must be removed.
Peace is the only reality.

-Ramana Maharshi

Tuning the Mind & Body

Take three full deep breaths.

Filling the abdomen and then moving the breath up in a wave from there to the top of the head.

Tone the three seed sounds each three times.

The vibration is what is important in this exercise.

Use the sounds to open the body.

Om Ah Hu

Sitting in the silence that follows notice what appears in your mind and body.

Bring your hands together in front of your heart. Make contact with your palms.

Then play with the space between the palms and see if you can feel a tingling, or energetic presence.

Once you establish a sense of energy flowing then move your hands out from the heart area until you can feel an increase in frequency.

This may feel like a tingling or a shift from a certain density to a more spacious feeling.

If you find this increased frequency then rest your attention and breath in that field.

† I have had a long history of back problems, and true to form, came into the gathering with some version of that theme. The most consistent energetic experience for me in opening to the universal energetic field is a sensation of pressure in the top of my head. I anticipate it now as a sign of the parting of my local energetic cacoon, through which my essential self descends. I often picture a stream pouring into a golden bowl wresting above my pineal in my head.

At one point in the chant/meditation sequence I dropped the bowl into my pelvic floor, and let the flow fall down through my head, down through my spine into the vessel at the base of my spine. My back pain dissolved.

Directly experienced contact with the essential field has a fullness that is present and at the same time a demand implicit in it. The demand is for you to become the essential signature of its expression through the unique configuration that you have been given. This means getting some of the encrustations of conditioning to move and shed and shift. Our conditioning is a weaving of our ancestor stream (and the genetic material that arises from this stream), the holding environment of our childhood, larger cultural forces, and the intrinsic material of the soul itself. Our work is about awakening a direct connection to that essential field and understanding how it manifests in our own experience and how it can support the unfolding of the flower of our uniqueness. The fundamental uniqueness of our unfolding is the coherence necessary to manifest the non-sensory subtleties of our souls journey.

† What came to me was that there is a lot of talk about self organizing and so forth right now and without this, the essential field, is still seems mechanical. What I am getting is the power of shifting this and then organizing and then going into other processes of open space they don't have the same power of impact.

Most of us are going to have destiny lines that will put us in active forms. There are assemblage , the stream of your becoming, and looked at how you have effected all the beings in your world you would see an extraordinary radiating mandala of being that goes out through time and space. This mandala is connected to the many beings who have made up the construct of your world. When one part of the mandala is moved, all other parts move as well.

Within the moment of each of our lives
Lives a reflection,
A mirrored holding of the whole,
When we find the opening
The mirror falls away,
No pieces left,
Only presence, Only presence.

Permission in a social context helps establish crucible of access. Because we are so social, and so deeply conditioned by our social construct if a permission field is not generated in a group structure resistance can manifest. What we are developing is a deeper carpet of permission so that we can relax into the states that are coming through us.

It is the informing essence that is the guiding principle of the work. What we are doing is bearing witness to the results in a cognitive and verbal way. The value of doing this is that it hooks up our conscious frontal personality as we take these voyages. What is interesting is that these voyages are going to take place with the wash of energy going through all of us. So the words actually anchor our frontal experiences, but the wash of experience is going through us all the time. The great bell of creation is ringing continuously.

What is the awareness that is registering the content that is not the mind? What we are looking for is a recognition of that quality of presence. We can anchor this in different ways. Sometimes it will anchor as bodily sensations such as slight trembling, heat flashes, waves, or different sensation that will appear in the body/mind. Some times it transcends the body, it simply opens. What we are doing is training ourselves to recognize these moments. And then we soften the heart to deepen into these states.

† What came to me was that there is a lot of talk about self organizing and so forth right now and without this, the essential field, is still seems mechanical. What I am getting is the power of shifting this and then organizing and then going into other processes of open space they don't have the same power of impact.

There is an oscillation of the mind as it moves between states. You will notice that the mind will go negative, it will go positive, it will go negative and it will go positive. There is something beyond this oscillation. The oscillation tends to create a patterning, a kind of net in which we get trapped in preferences.

There is an interesting demonstration of this process in groups. Some people you feel attracted to and some you feel repelled from. The deeper layers of the heart are not inclined to this kind of oscillation. It is an evenness of heart which eventually distills the mind and allows it to release this kind of fixation or judgment. We live in a culture in which judgment plays an important part, so it can be difficult to free the heart of this tendency.

Notice where the attractions and repulsions live. It is not a matter of controlling the feelings, because you are busy controlling the whole situation. You simply want to feel what it is your heart is doing. In the various exercises that we will be doing you want to dissolve into the solution of the presence and then notice what happens to the heart.

Tuning the Mind & Body

Consider your heart.

Place your attention deeply within the center of your chest.

Allow your mind to consider the various people in your world. Almost as if they were being called to the chamber of your heart.

Let each being sink into the well of your heart until you find that you can release a reaction to them.

If the reaction cannot be released then note this as an objective fact and move onto the next person.

If the reaction can be released then rest in pure tone of that persons nature. See if the heart can marvel at the uniqueness and complex beauty of each person without being filtered through preference or reaction.

The Heart

The physical heart begins beating at about twenty one days. At that moment a rhythm until you die. Rhythm as a process can in fact encode enormous amounts of information. The hearts beat is a very profound and unique process. If you have ever seen electrocardiogram there is a vast array of waveform function depicted. It has been shown that right prior to heart attacks the complexity of the heart beat goes way down. It essentially loses its ability to encode complexity.

Each persons heart beat is unique. Nobody else's heart is going to beat like ours. The physical beating of our hearts encodes much of our personality function. Because of this you can work to release some of the encrustation of the personality just by working with the heart itself. The physical heart provides the rhythmic anchor for our experiences and it is a profound connection to the rhythm of life. It truly brings us into that connection. There is a more subtle dimension of the heart that opens into more subtle dimensions of experiences. The more subtle dimensions of the heart are very vast and are not limited to the physical body. So when they talk about the opening of the spiritual heart you are actually going into a realm of being that is not just this plane at all. It is in this realm of experience that we feel this mysterious connectedness that grows out beyond what we are here.

Where then mind attends is the leverage point of transformation. When you put your minds attention on the heart beat you actually start to change the nature of the heart beat. The yogis understood this process. Voluntarily slowing of the heart was a signature of yogic attainment. So in the quieting of the mind it becomes a portal for universal experience. The mind will begin to rest into the heart beat. All of which is being guided by a sense of presence. In most of the exercises we will be doing you will be bringing your attention within the context of that field of awareness. and then releasing to see the spirit of guidance at work.

Tuning the Mind & Body

Begin by finding your heartbeat. This is most easily done by holding the inside of the wrist or the artery in the neck.

As you rest your attention on the heart beat then simply watch how the breath and the heart beat interact.

Then as the in-breath begins visualize your heart and see the incoming energy bathing the heart. As you exhale practice releasing any tension or contraction that is present.

See if you can find a balance between the heart and the breath; the place in which they meet.

† I felt very present (bird song)

† Got clearer to me

† I felt connection. Sort of like blood.

† Just a moment there I felt like I could listen to everyone's heart.

† Listening into my pulse it was gradually built up like a thunder. Likeit went back to some essential place beyond myself.

† I had this experience of seeing a silvery ring which was the group and seeing these threads like the heart beat going into a pool in the center and it would go in and it would splinter, it wasn't really defined.

† I also felt the tendency to nod off. It felt like a fierce conservation of energy. It wasn't that I was drifting off it was that I really be with what ever was here. I watched some other beings tendency to conserve energy.

† what was really apparent for me was this intense heat. It seems very interesting to me was that a chant can produce this.

How can a chant produce so much heat? It is not just a chant. What we do here at this plane, with the intentions set correctly, opens portals. It is an energy system far beyond our comprehension that organizes these experiences. This organizing power is the matrix of the world. The practices we do set the conditions for the connection. It is the connection that is the important part. And once that connection is established then our experiences arise out of the matrix and the depth. There needs to be faith that there is some kind of intelligence to the process and that it is not just chaotic or random.

You have just opened the door of the cosmic kiln. The yogis call this tapas or heat. Tapasyas are practices that one does to generate the internal heat. The function on a cellular and pychodynamic level of the internal heat is to literally reform the structure. So the heat is both necessary on a physiological level and on a subtle level to "cook" the system. You are literally being baked so that you can contain the energies that are emerging.

How does one recognize what it is one is emerging into? How in the samhill does one know? Well most of us do not have the insight and we take wrong paths, get hit, and come back. Is there a process that can help us get closer to where we are going?

In developing the ability to recognize essential connection there is an inherent ability to recognize and define life purpose and its not arrived at from the minds investigation. It is correct that we are all busy becoming something right before out eyes. We have enormous clues, if you look at your life trajectory, talents, abilities, skills, callings, urges, life situations, synchronicities and chance meetings. All of these things set up

Now in studying what I would call essential callings throughout history, and in my own experience, the contact tends to mature over quite a bit of time before it truly gets expressed in the world. It is not like you can just jump up and run off after a five minutes of connection and expect that your mind, body and life have come into alignment. What you need to do if you are feeling a certain emergence is to keep listening. Keep recognizing the connection as it emerges. Develop the patience to mature it and develop the patience to listen and allow it to emerge. If you force it to emerge based on your own will alone you may express some of your intrinsic connection, but the entirety of the process will not be present.

It takes over a million years for light from the center of the sun to make
its way to the surface,
Our continents are grown over eons,
The curl of a leaf finds its expression by virtue of the long winter and
spring before,
We, too, are rooted in an ancient becoming.

We are kind of like icebergs in the sense that our visible conscious selves are the tip of a huge well of being. Occasionally this depth rises up in terms of world circumstance or encounters. And then there are fallow periods in which it doesn't look like much is going on at the surface but a lot is organizing from within.. Respect for the integrity of this process is helpful. This is an understanding that in the arising of the dynamics of the soul there is a very vast, somewhat mysterious, deep formation working from within the depths of ourselves. Recognizing when it make contact with our surface selves is important.

Underneath every practice that we do is one simple foundational act and that is attention. The constrictions on your attention need to be pliable enough to expand so that you can recognize the different states that appear. The way that you do is by stretching the boundaries of your attention capacity and validating the experiences you have.

Locus Of Identity

What is the locus of self that moves through our life experience? It’s a constant companion and continues through the thread of our of experience. So what is the container that holds our identity? Most of us have some sense of a continuity of existence that goes beyond this plane of existence. We carry very deeply within our structures tendencies that we seem to incarnate with. These tendencies provide a very powerful matrix for the formation of ourselves which, in this life time, are cooked or matured in the family of origin that we have encountered and the culture that we are born into. Where is the sourcing of our deeper identity?

Tuning the Body & Mind

Tone the three seed syllables three times each.

Om Ah Hu

Relax and see if an essential current can be felt. This may express itself as a deep flow, relaxation or a widening of awareness.

Then ask mentally where is the locus of our identity? What is the structure that holds our identity?

Hold the question, let go of needing to know and let the stream of presence reveal what might be so.

† I went through this whole process and ended up seeing myself with my eyes looking out the other side. It was like me looking this way; somehow something really resonated for me. That location, that description of the seat of the soul is somewhere. I can see myself. But in that process I felt my heart, there was this water that channeled from here to here (pointing).It was a surge, not a location. It was like the energies I felt like when I felt joy. There was so much joy. That surge that comes this way up. It felt like it was surging.

† When I first started chanting I got tears in my eyes. It wasn't just sadness. It was much like joy and the energy went from here to my heart and then it was like an image. I am not sure what the image was. All that would come to me was "womb". There was a flow of energy from here to here and there was a great opening..

† The piece that kept coming to me was there was so much movement. The first thing I noticed was how much movement there was and so I thought of the dance of life. I don't know why that came to me, but it was all in me. At first I felt it was the center of me, but in intervals it kept shifting, popping back and forth. It had so much light and movement and energy,. And when you first asked the question, I didn't know why it was the first thing that I thought.

† The image that kept coming to me was of a river, just spreading over the rocks and always going forward, in eddies. It was very joyful.

† What came to me is what happened when my mother died and my family was with her when her spirit burst. It was like what you described, only it was out here. It was all around and we were filled with huge joy and grief. A huge joy, it was like this spirit was free and there was a feeling of presence in the room and it was really true joy and also we were in great grief.

† I have noted in that particular chant is that on the Ah there is for me, a huge sense of well being and the sense of self , that all is well with me. That whatever is to be done in t his world through me is totally possible. There is that sense of richness, immense and present at that particular moment.

† I kept experiencing an energetic aperture and energy would go up and down with that and I was curious about the relationship between the container that seems to be in me and the energy that is in me.

† My association with identity is personality so when you asked the question what is your identity and were is it located? I am very fascinated by the sharing and opening up of consciousness to other possibilities, but there was so much freeness in the chanting. But then focusing the mind on the question I had such a powerful experience in my second chakra. Like it was just held in places like a contraction. And so in reflection I see that an identity is held. And now I know where it is. It is right in my belly. And it reminded me of Stevine Livens suggestion of soft belly. It was a good understanding for me to see that the contraction was the ego mind centered in the belly. The next time I am going to look for some other identity. I did experience that but it did not resonate with me what identity meant.

We are conditioned by a western understanding of identity which is articulated around lower chakra phenomenon. This understanding of identity does not necessarily bring one to the essence of identity. It is the anchor of the heart that holds our basic sense of self.

It is a challenge to focus on an essential anchor of identity. What we identify ourselves with becomes the organizing principle of our lives. The great teachers talk about the ultimate identity being an extremely expanded state. What does it mean to actually have an experience of that identity?

† I noticed what happened for me in the sharing is that my experience was the same as others and the way I attributed it was more limited so when someone used different words and the next person used more words it better reflected what my experience was.

† This dances on the edge of I am I, I am you and you are you. It dances on the edge. I went into describing where I know my uniqueness is as opposed, or instead of, thinking of broader consciousness identification. And I felt that question asked me to look close within and yet when I know that I see myself mirrored in other people too. It doesn't stay here but it emanates from here.

Working with Difficulties in our Personalities

There is not a state that you experience in your mind/body that is not rooted in some source, a pure source. And no matter how distorted it feels or how out of balance it appears in its expression, it does indeed have a true source. When you are looking at yourself you are trying to find the seed, or source, in your difficulty that is trying to take you back. Rather than saying, "Oh this is a terrible thing and I want to push it away from myself." This creates a fracturing of self when this takes place. You want process of your being that is displayed in the difficulty.

(The group is asked to consider an issue that is creating a difficulty in their lives.)

The Issue:

† Relating to the pain of the world and people who are in pain and creating a sadness for myself. I think a lot of people I know are similar. Latching onto the pain. And I have done that all my life.

This is the condition and in contemplating this we want to be doing this with her as a group practice. So consider this as the issue: a sensitivity to the worlds pain and feeling unable to do anything about it. Now objectively its one thing to talk about how to relate to the worlds pain, but what does this have to do to her consciousness? This becomes the important inquiry. What is the dilemma? The presupposition is that our dilemmas are in service of our wholeness. What service is this extreme sensitivity and reactivity about?

† Its a sensitivity to others, a way of connecting. And Its going to the essential place when all the ego stuff kind of falls away: the essential place where people are willing to connect. The suffering brings that awareness and that feeds me.

So suffering feeds you?

† It is where I go to the essential with people. Where I hear it. Empathy is in there a lot. And I would never want to forfeit my sensitivity, but it would be nice to not be carrying the pain of the world.

What does the construct feel like? Does it have a geometric shape, does it have a texture to it, is there anyway you can approach the issue that is not conceptual. What does the construct feel like in her?

What attracts me to this area is the confirmation of life when people have had incredible things happen and they can reconnect with that sense of life and they can become heroes on the journey. That's what attracts me. That is life affirming. I've worked with disabled people for years and to see how they can rise through that and make their lives incredibly beautiful and I think you forget that often and get connected to that pain. For example I was telling you yesterday what has been bothering me for three days is that woman who has started the Colorado Fire and I keep thinking what is she feeling? Its like I did it. I cant get her out of my mind. That is a lack of boundary that I am maintaining for myself to keep it healthy because the core of it is a healthy thing. But that boundary is where I loose it.

† When I felt into you I could feel this person who had an immense gift but was too little to protect herself. So the experience was of you with immense arms having such a connection with people, I think in pain, but everybody about you. Taking it all in and being too little to feel the other side and protect her.

† What I am aware of is something for me about, more about a fear of the living connection that actually comes from ecstasy when somebody else isn't. A shame about joy and being a junkie for connection and finding it at that level when all along there is another level that is far more satisfying to me that is totally why I am in this room. But that groove isn't cut very deep, but it takes something for me to rest my chips in that one. Especially when other people aren't . So it is faith in another basket and developing that out more. So in that chant this morning I knew that my creation was intact. and it included people hammering over there and everything going on here. it was very deep knowing it was very deep knowing and from that place the pain is quite different.

† When David first asked how do you experience this construct the word that came to me was, actually two words, very porous. Soon as we are talking about the fear or shame of being in joy when others are in pain, I also think of the flip side of that: when others are in joy and are privately feeling pain Its that for me. It has to something to with this very deep capacity, hunger for really taking others in, really deeply feeling the world and other people. Really allowing it to come into myself. And at the same time I am doing this with my hands because if I take too much in. I somehow start to leak it out there is some degree. to which it feels like a dilemma for me. How much to take in and how much to how to regulate the degree of intimacy I have at any moment and the experience that is a meshing at some times or a profound difference that might show up. This doesn't feel good to me at this moment, this feels great to me, but I see you are in pain. It feels like something for me about how my soul regulates that.

† This might sound off the wall. I will just bounce it out there and see what happens. I guess I have a belief or a construct that at our collective consciousness level there is a kind of regulating of intent going on. The thing that immediately flashed through my mind I know it does in a lot of circumstances. What just flashed through was, Thank god there is someone somewhere, somewhere feeling something other than anger or blame towards this woman. I have wondered sometimes, I wondered this about this myself certainly. Its kind of like a current. Its part of our shared collective consciousness somehow. It isn't just by happenstance that certain things pull out for me. Its a question of how much you take in, that was just a frame that came to mind. To me it asks the question of how we are plugged into or wired into a larger stream of consciousness ?. I tend to think that way.

† I'd like to name something else and it may be totally my content and it may not be. It has been percolating for me and the operating word is survival. And I think my experience is that as a naturally sensitive person I have found myself in a world where my survival has depended on my ability to sense other people's states of being and to respond. And I heard a thing on the radio the other day. Its research being done on the profound sensitivity that people who come from abused backgrounds have towards very subtle facial expressions that appear to immanent rage, displeasure or unhappiness. And they will pick it up in very subtle ways. And I want to name: one of the gifts is to survive and be able to do what needs to be done to survive even if it means losing a certain spontaneity or giving up a certain choice to live in joy. And that’s how I make sense some of what comes up for me and as a small child survival involves identifying with my environment which means either ducking and covering or entering into a codependent relationship, trying to take care of others so that's part of the sense I get here to. I was characterized as a sensitive person . I've gotten to look at some of what my sensitivity is as a sort of constant vigilance for who is unhappy and who isn't.

The nature of doing this kind of inquiry is to try and establish within us what is our essential motion what is the story we are unfolding. Where is the true being appearing through this person? If we can help aim ourselves towards this then it addresses the issue of how we are to be of service to one another in the midst of the pain that we hold. Its trying to tease out the essential current that is there. Its not so much to solve it, but it is to feel where the soul is wanting to move.

What we need to bring to this investigation is a simultaneous awareness of the content of the problem and the background field sensitivity to where the truth of the inquiry needs to go. It is so easy, because we are so process oriented and so adept at the story line material, to go down the conceptual tracks and lose the authentic experience of the energy states. It’s a training of our ability to sense the energy states and its a cultivation the crucible of the community.

† This is a very helpful process. I am thinking that we who are here locally should help each other go through these portals.

Just to reflect back, there is a dignity present in my experience, there is a respect present, there is a commitment to heart fully being with the pain of her condition and not trying to fix her. And that is another important component. It is not about trying to fix each other, its about witnessing the truth of the souls current in each other and the moment you can move into that as an of act of perception then much movement is possible. It is about support. We cannot do this journey alone. We cannot make it through alone.

As long as our psyches are pulled apart by the cacophony of the dialogue which come through our ancestor streams, through the family of origin material, through all the forces that create these many voices we will have difficulty finding our center. Because our consciousness moves out to its extremes and then fights with itself to discover itself.

How do we arrive at these essential places? we have to be willing to arrive at the construct of who we are we have to be truly willing to enter the construct of who we really are. We need to have the faith that we are somehow held by a source and it is not up to us to hold the center. We generate faith through experience and we generate true experience through authentic recognition of essential states. When you can realize that our dilemmas are in service of our souls depth then the kindness you can have towards the process is different. We need to discover the true construct of the souls exploration.

† I was touched by how wonderful it is to have the consciousness of a community without any judgment or expectation. Just hearing into somebody. Just doing the best we can to do that and are being willing to share the best that we can knowing that is only part of all of it.

There is an innate recognition that the soul has when truth is being inquired after. There is something that wakes up in us when we wake up to the truth of a situation. We are simply trying to understand how this presentation of being is occurring. For ultimately that understanding is the liberation. We are here, connecting. Can we bare witness to this, rather than the need to control the outcome.

Tuning the Body & Mind

Settle into the breath for a few repetitions.

Consider those who are in your life.

Consider what ever suffering or pain they may be in.

Contemplate their pain from the standpoint of how it might be a contraction of an essential quality.

If the essential quality is released then notice how it lives within your own being.

Contemplate this quality as a unique stream leading you inwards to a more refined state of being.

The rhizome of the heart
Is a thread that weaves through this common sea,
The place where the waters of experience
Wash themselves clean of suffering.
Where waters run deepest
The flood-born flotsam of these lives
Spread to reveal the eye of deepest blue,
The center of our quiet ocean.

The Breath of the Heart

By holding the heart with the breath as an act of attention we release the deep potentiality of our embodied selves. These two rhythmic processes are fundamental to the organization of our physical body's energy flows. In addition the various qualities of our personalities are also encoded on the rhythm of the breath and heart.

Tuning the Body & Mind

Begin by finding your heartbeat. This is most easily done by holding the inside of the wrist or the artery in the neck.

As you rest your attention on the heart beat then simply watch how the breath and the heart beat interact.

Then as the in-breath begins try and visualize your heart and see the incoming energy bathing the heart. As you exhale practice releasing any tension or contraction that is present.

See if you can feel small gaps, or catches in your breath as you breath in and out. Note how these appear and what they might represent.

A more subtle noticing is to be done around the heart.

See if you can feel contractions that are present in the in the heart beat. These may feel somewhat like a spiral of motion in the pulse that is like an overlay or patina of something holding back the hearts motion.

Responses to the exercise:

† I felt quite relaxed at some point and felt liked my heart had taken over.

† I had a very uncomfortable time. I wonder if it was what you were talking about. I felt really sick, I felt like a migraine coming back. I felt like giving up, but something kept breathing and breathing.

On the breath and on the heart there will be trauma tracks. You will find these catches. If you watch your breath as it comes in there will be these little catches. Everytime you find one of these you are finding evidence of a trauma. There are similar places of constriction in the pattern of the heart beat, but these are usually more difficult to identify.

† I had hard time too. I felt this constriction in here. Then I was flooded with memories of getting mad at my son and things I don't like about myself.

This would be the unwinding of the heart.

Rather than having to process the material out psychologically, you are actually undoing the way that is held in the heart.

† I feel really hot right now.

† I would like to talk about the catches. As I would breath deeper I felt the catches. It was almost like the heart beat and the breath became one and then I could feel the energy moving through my body

How about your sense of self?

† Bigger.

† For me my sense of tingling glow all the way down is there.

What about your sense of self?

† Strong, Full, Well Being.

† Every time I was in a hold breath place, it was trauma. I was accessing physical places. Memories of different physical places. But I don't feel like my ego went away at all.

We are not looking for the ego to go away. We are looking for subtle shifts in your sense of self. If you could efface your ego this way we would be home free. We are not going to evaporate the ego, but in working with this we are looking for how the sense of self shifts. What we are seeing with the trauma tracks is that this stuff is in us all the time and is effecting our sense of self. The use of our attention and breath allows us to help re-pattern the bodies capacities and shift the matrix that supports our personality expression. We are looking for a balance between the practices we undertake and the field sensitivity we have.

† I found that once I go into the breathing on the out breath it felt like an out of body experience. To me its a sign of needing to do more work in the container of my physical body to hold what felt like the fire. Sometimes I feel like I can go so far out and not find my way back. Its always scary for me. And this, for some reason, maybe the permission of the field somehow came to play. I was able to go out, but then the breath helped me come back in. It felt like a real portal.

† I had an experience that starting out that I was using my imaginal mind, it was like coming down, enveloping my heart and then coming back up. I was mindful about it in a way more than usual. As I went on and on I realized I was becoming really resistant. My mind was saying this is a bunch of bull shit, nothing is really happening. Then I noticed that maybe that was my contraction. I got identified with it.

† As I've been doing this, as people have been talking and what occurs to me is if I use this I can pay attention to what is going on out here, but I don't get scared. I am breathing and my heart it was not separate. So I was thinking of practicing this in times when I am stressed.

† I have been having an image of this, because I was raised Catholic, I don't know if anybody else remembers the sacred heart. The heart inside. It came so powerfully, but I have been repulsed by that because of my association with Catholic upbringing and this time it was so beautiful. It was a beautiful image of holding a larger part in my heart.

† In a funny way it shifted my experience of my rejection of that imagery in my past, because at the same time it was beautiful for me I felt so grateful to have it come. And I have felt this shimmering ripple. I felt this shimmering relaxation out . It wasn't even my heart. It felt like it was holding my heart. Something shimmering through the dimensions for all of us.

† I didn't have any visuals but I had a very real sense of separating and clearing out a lot of stuff that raises questions and a feeling of empowerment or clarity. Very clarifying experience for me.

When you open into an essential state and then return there is a frequency shift. That the human system can open in such a short time is truly amazing. Part of the work is establishing links between the open state and relative state.

In the rhythm of heart
A great dance unfolds
Each contraction is an expansion
And what is made whole
Unfolds before the witnessed silence of our
The near friend that lives within the breast
And holds the filaments of creation in each unwinding pulse.

Signature of the Soul

One of the signatures of soul contact is tingling at the top of the head. Why is this happening? Because by the very fact you are having it is an indication that your higher order frequencies are activating. So as a link up happens between the lower self and higher self the energy opens and becomes apparent to the physical system. The energy connection is always present but it is not always apparent to the physical system. So what is it that allows that to become apparent?

You see visual evidence of this in Anazazi rock art. You will see wavy lines coming down on top of people's heads. In European religious art you will see halos around people's heads

What is interesting is that in our contemporary times it is not talked about very much. It is a confirmation of the seal of the soul. When this activates it means that your are literally feeling that direct connection through your soul to a higher frequency reality and its engaging as a physical sensation.

† This has been happening for me for a while and I thought there was something wrong with my brain.. I find it kind of humorous. I like this explanation a whole lot better than if it is a brain tumor.

The current itself will break apart old patterns but there is a profound capacity that is inherent within it. As the manifestation of our resistance works out then a sense of support is more easily apparent.

Grace is the spontaneous descent on the wings of mercy that appears, apparently of its own free will, in the midst of our relative lives.

The essence of what we are doing is using our capacity to attend, and moving the assemblage point of our attention to more essential states, it is that simple.

Tuning the Body & Mind

After settling with your breath move your attention to the space above the top of your head.

Let your attention soften there and simply witness what is to be found in that space.

Persistence is helpful in this practice. The capacity to hold attention when directed is an important part of creating greater will.

Essential experiences create the qualities of faith. How do we know when something is deeply true? When we recognize truth it is something that vibrates way down inside of us and does awaken faith. Instantaneously, there is no artifice about it, you simply know when something is true. And the more that you can begin to trust that and the more that it is modeled the more you can trust it.

The chronic constriction of doubt takes the evidence of our experience and detracts from it. The basis of doubt is a reliance on a point of view rather that the generation of ones own essential experience. As we are growing up we generate a sense of our identity by the mirroring of our environment. The holding pattern of our family provides the matrix in which we discover much of what it means to be a human being. But along with this matrix comes a construct of reality which we often unquestionably absorb. When something comes up against the construct and doesn't fit the cues of our conditioning then we go to doubt. And it is a territorial doubt which triggers of a lot of predator-prey behavior at the animal body response level. So you will find that there are places in your being that actually goes after knowledge and braces and attempts to do it in.

The Dance of Men & Women

Fair encounter of two most rare affections!
Heavens rain grace on that which breeds between em.
Shakespeare - The Tempest

A woman will be able to carry on a very significant conversation, wipe the counter and remember to pick up the kids. Whereas, if you watch men, involved in significant conversations the world starts falling away. They will not tend as readily to the details of the physical world. The tendency to track the physical world and tend to it when they go into deep contemplative or abstract space is literally different than how a woman will field the same process. I can tell you as a man, sitting inside of a manes body, that the world does fall away. I feel a line of energy and inquiry and often the physical world recedes.

When men listen one side of their brains will light up. When women listen both sides of their brains will light up. There is a way that women attend to signals that give them access to many different dimensions at the same time. Women are able to talk about deep experiences and maintain connection with those states at the same time. The translation from the deep internal states to verbal speech is simply easier in a female form than a male form. And what I have seen in many relationships is that we as men will tend to defer to the women's vocabulary as a description of emotional and spiritual qualities because words do not come as easily for men. There is a compensatory experience that happens which is that men, when they focused on the vocabulary of inner experience, they will get very verbose, but usually after a time. You will get a long philosophical discourse that is a compensation for a lack of capacity to link inner experience directly to speech immediately.

One of the paradoxes for men is that they come out of the female form and yet their own bodies are substantially different. There can be a subtle reliance on the female form which lives deep within the biological structure as well in the personality. Men will tend to rely on the female capacity to language the inner experience that is taking place. Because of this it is important that men take the time to gestate their experience before expressing it.

Women's bodies manifest a connectivity of experience. Menus bodies manifest very discrete intensities of experience. Because of the intensity of the connection to spiritual realms it can take some time for the man to translate that connection into action. If pushed to bring the connection out too soon the seeds of a rigidity of form, a kind of fundamentalism of expression can take place.

One of the hallmarks of male spiritual experience is silence. Which is paradoxical because men can be very verbose if philosophical inquiry or abstractions are present. But their inner experience often has a deep silence that accompanies it. Not that women don't have silence available but there is a way in which the connectivity laterally not only creates the language for the experience but also the embodiment of the experience.

† There is the urge to want to share the experience, and being and my own nature is that I drop right into words and want to do that. Well the ultimate question is there a way to share this experience without words, or more than words?.

And because it lives in such silence in the male transmission stream there is a way in we don't validate our internal connection correctly. It is not that we have not had the experience. It is that the translation of experience into social space is not as easily achieved as it is for a woman. There is a gap that sets up which can cause a contraction to take place. There can be an aggressive way in which the masculine will come in and cloak the experience in abstractions as a way to hold to them and make them real. The use of abstractions to communicate these experiences can be very aggressive.

Social space is defined by the energetic of the field but it is also communicated by the speech that is used. The language structure that we use creates the context for our social agreement. Music is good for going way in. As a way of tracking inner movement it is unsurpassed and it is much better than speech. So you can use listening, sound, mantra and chanting as a way to move way back in, but in terms of the articulation of the experiences in a social body, language is critical. The language we use is very important and the ability to connect our language structure to the experience we are having helps define the qualities of the permission field.

In a male and female dynamic timing is everything. So what I have noticed is that because a woman has a whole field connection she will feel my experience as I am having it and then she will want confirmation in the social space so she can relax in the reality that is happening. So she will start pushing me to explain what is going on. (laughter) In that push there can be an interrupting of the essential anchoring of my experience. And so I will start shutting down and then the woman will start pushing more and a power struggle will ensue. If it is a matter of timing, which I really believe it is, and the male comes forth with an organic representation of his understanding then a much better level of reciprocation takes place. If, in a woman's history there is an history of abuse at any level it is dangerous to let a man have feelings unexplained because they may become abusive and so there is an extra push that comes in through the woman. She will want you to explain what is happening because her safety is at stake.

In sharing in social space there needs to be a gestation in the male experience. The man actually needs to become pregnant, because we are not wired to give birth the way women are. Women can give birth to their experience in a more immediate manner. They can incarnate experience, because your body is designed to incarnate experience, it is designed to do that. We as men need a little more gestation time in order to give birth to our experience at this level.

† In the dance and dynamic the woman is waiting, then what does it mean for the man that he also has a duty in that situation?

The man has a responsibility to bring into form that which he has experienced. The more we can create the linkages the quicker the process comes through. Also there are different natures and some natures just need more time. This is independent of gender. Its not that men don't have the responsibility to show up, they definitely do, but there is also a need to respect the space of the gestation. .

† Abe Maslow was a friend of ours and he came over one day. He came over and said to my wife, what it is like to have a baby? How does a woman describe what it is like to have a baby? And so she described what it was like to have a baby. And then he took a deep breath and said, "I've just finished a book" and shuffled back.

† What if you feel, as I tend to feel, almost scared of not knowing what my partner is feeling. So there is something in my biography.

The need for a woman to be able to describe the male experience is deeply rooted. For if a man cannot find proper expression for that which he is experiencing internally then the possible seeds of aggression are sown. The frustration of not having a proper vehicle for the expression of internal contact can be acted out in a variety ways, from subtle passive aggressive behavior to out right physical violence. This will create ongoing pressure for the man to articulate his experience. The need for men to arrive at a descriptor of their experience.

It is also important to be patient.

† My own experience has been that if I really wait then it all comes out. It is sort of startling to me that it does.

† But if the woman is having the need for an explanation then it seems that the man should be contributing.

It is possible to signal the woman in such a way as space is generated. A simple statement such as, "I need more time," may indeed be enough.

(large sigh by a man)

It is also important to recognize that this has been a source of wounding for all beings. The tenderness with which we can approach this wounding is important. It lives in the experience between men and women.

† There was a study done recently at UC San Diego recently that showed two men when they are stressed or danger have a flush of oxytocin. The urge is to collect and gather, whereas with men the testosterone overrides the oxytocin and the urge is to flee away from the danger. I wonder if that is so deeply programmed that when there is any kind of personal movement or spiritual exploration the desire is still to gather.

The adaptation to stress is different in a male and female body. Under stress a woman is going to want connect in mitigate the stress and a man is going to want more space to release the tension.

† Just a personal comment what you are saying really hits home with my relationship with Suzanne. She will ask a question about what I am feeling and I will inevitably repeat the question just to bide time.. (laughter)

One of the solutions to this power struggle is for the woman to deepen the trust of her internal awareness. If a woman trusts her internal access then the need for confirmation is reduced. If a man increases his ability to trust his connection then he will be able to articulate his experience more rapidly.

In the different practices that we are doing we are attempting to build the muscle of this trust. As we begin to validate and trust the depth of our inner experience the need to control the external world is reduced.

Our work is about coming to the authenticity of our own experience. This is about trusting that what we know; that we actually know. So in the different practices what we are trying to do is to build a muscle of trust in our experience. It is the ability to confirmation on the exterior begins to diminish when our faith deepens.

† There are spaces where I really don't know. I make up my own story and I find that to be the most destructive and debilitating. Because I often go to a place of the previous experience.

In the creation of our own story we usually are anticipating the worst and trying to create some strategy to deal with it. This is a very early artifact of how we have tried to cope with those places in our lives that were out control. We try to insert these story lines to try and buffer ourselves from anticipated disaster. The energy that goes into the story lines is large. It gets extended beyond our personal story. It gets projected onto the world scene over and over. In a lot of the conflicts at the world level you will see a very deep need to make the story line real.

† There is another line or twist to this experience that came to me. There is a kind of archetypal line of difference across many men and women. I have seen it across hundreds of couples. The story is that men seem to know, if they have enough space, they tend to be very clear about what they want, whereas that seems to be a more difficult clarification for women. I see this in business, I see this when people talk about life in the bedroom. I am just wondering what the relationship between what you are saying.

Women are wired to establish identity through substrate and context. And men are wired to create identity through goal orientation. When we speak of wiring we are talking literally of neurological circuitry. Women create their experience out of the context they are in. To create that masculine sense of identity means they drop away from the context they are in. The men will do what they are going to do and then the down side for the man is that in losing sensitivity to the context they become malnourished. I as a man need to become more context sensitive and nurturing of those sensitivities. Doing this softens me. and helps me relax into a field more.

† I noticed that for myself as I have learned whether it is with my wife or other women that I work with, as I learn to ground myself it starts to show up in the woman I am partnering with, no matter what the context, as typically she will start to be clearer about what she wants, she suddenly becomes contextually focused and she suddenly becomes very clear and laser like. All of sudden that shifts quickly.

In this dance between men and women there is a longing for a meeting place in the middle. There is an activation that takes place between men and women that opens a portal for a more complete sense of connection. For a man this will translate as a feeling of embodiment and grounding into the earth. For a woman there is an intensification of form, a congealing of intent that helps open a portal of access to a more essential field


The essence of what we are doing is using our capacity to attend, and moving the assemblage point of our attention to more essential states. It is that simple.

The rest is really secondary to this particular path. The trick is to get our attention moved. As we know in our daily life stream it tends to be the same racket going. We tend to stay in the narrow confines of our ability to attend. The value of group practices is that hopefully it moves our ability to attend out a bit. Our old habits will tend to appear and close down the portal of the opening.

When you are caught in the whirlpool of bad habit dig a way out
through the bottom to the sea.

If we can cultivate an understanding of our personality dilemmas as being an extension of our souls journey then the way in which we hold the difficulties is changed. The power of a group field is such that often we can, by seeing through the eyes of others, arrive at a more complete and whole understanding of the container in which our problems are appearing. The activation of intuitive knowing can be catalyzed by the presence generated in a group setting.

Underneath every practice that we do is one simple foundational act and that is attention. The constrictions on your attention need to be pliable enough to expand so that you can recognize the different states that appear. The way that you do is by stretching the boundaries of your attention capacity and validating the experiences you have.

† I was touched by how wonderful it is to have the consciousness of a community without any judgment or expectation. Just hearing into somebody. Just doing the best we can to do that and are being willing to share the best that we can knowing that is only part of all of it.

When you open into an essential state and then return there is a frequency shift. That the human system can open in such a short time is truly amazing. Part of the work is establishing links between the open state and relative state.

Grace is the spontaneous descent on the wings of mercy that appears, apparently of its own free will, in the midst of our relative lives.

Our work is about coming to the authenticity of our own experience. This is about trusting that what we know; that we actually know. So in the different practices what we are trying to do is to build a muscle of trust in our experience. It is the ability to trust our deep inner knowing. This need for confirmation on the exterior begins to diminish when our faith deepens.

Tuning the Body & Mind

Movie one hand outward from the heart it is possible to encounter the higher frequency of the souls field.

This increase of frequency can be registered if the mind rests on the sensation in the subtle channels of the hand..

Place your attention on the space around the hand as you extend your reach from near the body to farther away from the body you can come into contact with an essential frequency necessary to ground contact with the souls movement.

For that precious hour
You hold us
Deep inside yourself
Where not even the darkest thoughts
Can matter
Swept in meditation
To the idea of dancing
Evenly over all the world.

Visible, patient breath
Without pain, peaceful
Blood throbbing richer
Nearest to the heart.

Miraculously bright and cool
The whole
So much greater
Than the sum of its parts
The spirit of assembly
Unity and love.


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