Desire Can be a Ladder to Freedom

Sri Vasudeva:

We need to be very careful about the things we dislike, to not allow them to preoccupy our minds, because they bind us to the world. We need to be able to be aware of our desires, to see how they hold us, drive us, how we become caught up in them and then how we can create the desires that are required to lead us to freedom. Desire is like a ladder that can help us to climb out of bondage and can lead us to ultimate freedom.



Dropping The Baggage

I have been observing my mind’s tendency to create stories and trying to arrest that habit.

The first time I discovered a story I was really so surprised, because I was treating this story as if it was the “truth” not realizing it was something made up by the mind. I took the story and attempted to delete my interpretations, bias, feelings… trying to find the core idea. I kept simplifying the idea until it was expressed in one or two short sentences.

In this way I dropped the baggage associated with the idea and it was easier to decide what to do with it. In a very natural way the idea fell away if it didn’t serve me and if it was useful, new information came to me, now that the field was cleared of the clutter.

As you would guess the more I engaged in this practice, the lighter I felt and more peace seemed to fill my being.

There is lots more I want to tell you about this practice but I want to give you a chance first to try this practice yourself, so that we can explore it in an experiential way together. You see once I did this practice a few times I found I didn’t have to do it every time because in the process I learned about why the mind was creating those stories but that is for the next time we chat.

Two Attitudes To “I Don’t Know”

I’ve been exploring consciousness expansion practices with the key element of remaining open to all possibilities. I set out with the intention of finding out what observing from an open space would be like. A natural progression was wondering what happens when the observing takes place in a closed space.
There were a number of situations that occurred these past few days where I had to make a decision or take some action and I didn’t know what to do and from what I can see they fell into two categories. I’ll give you an example of each.
When I am creating a new workshop or writing teaching materials I often don’t have a starting point. There is stress as I look for inspiration to get started. As the deadline for submission draws near, the stress builds up. But deep inside me I feel that some idea will come and I keep looking. Indeed once the inspiration starts to flow I can hardly type fast enough to capture all the ideas. It feels like I’m carried by a wave as the creative process unfolds. When I look back at materials that came out of this type of experience I still find the materials interesting, they stand the test of time. So I ask myself how could I transfer this experience/ process to when I’m working with challenging patterns of behavior in myself. Because this must be what observing from an open space must be like.
On the other hand when I observe myself and encounter unhelpful emotions or patterns of behavior then sometimes I get very upset with what I see. I can get swept up in negative feelings. I start to feel powerless. I know in the moment that I’m feeling contracted but I find it difficult to change and until this practice of observing process I didn’t have a clue as to how to move forward. I now realize that my attitude is closed. I’m observing from a closed space. In this scenario when I realize I don’t know what to do I see it as an end point. Whereas when I’m writing and I don’t know what to do next I see it as a starting point and that the inspiration will come. This was like a thunderbolt to me; I have two radically different attitudes when I feel “I don’t know”. One attitude leads to new discoveries and the other attitude lands me mired in misery. Can you see the difference in the two “I don’t knows”?
The next step was to try to apply a change in process when feeling contracted by seeing unpleasant patterns of behavior in myself. How could this be the starting instead of the end point? I could focus my attention on the information and tools that I already have about making changes. I could pay attention to the role models around me and draw motivation from them. I could pray for support while keeping alert so that I recognize the help when it comes. There are so many things I can do. I can see how this approach would open up the space.
I have to keep at this longer to see where it will take me. Hope this all makes sense to you. Let me know what you think.

Beginning To Figure Out How I Observe






Stop-at-the-first-thought-and-witnessA big part of my spiritual journey has been observing what is happening with me. I’ve focused a lot on what I observe in my inner space. So for example I can now see the types of thoughts I create in my mind and the emotions they generate. Of course I have been very interested in managing my mental and emotional creations.


I can also observe the vast space behind the thoughts and emotions, exploring the inner silence that is a constant companion.


In other words I’ve become more familiar with what is in my inner space. In a way it’s like entering a room and becoming familiar with what is in the room. I’ve enjoyed playing in that room, moving the “furniture” around and creating a pleasing environment. The furniture is like the events in my inner space.

I can say I have developed more confidence in my ability to observe myself. That is an important mile stone, “I can observe!”





Now I want to turn my attention to how I observe. What process do I use in observing? What are different ways of observing? What types of options are there? What is the effect of the different ways of observing? Are there more constructive ways of observing? Hmmm very interesting don’t you think? I shall report back on what I have discovered :). In the mean time feel free to share your process of observing.

Note the marvelous mindmap created by Paul Foreman.








Have I Taken Control Of My Day Or Is My Day Controlling Me?

How quickly time is passing by! We are well into the new year. I have to reflect on what’s been happening to see if I am spending my time in a way that is congruent with my larger vision for myself.

So far today have I taken control of my day or did I allow it to control me? Or was there a mixture of both; sometimes I was in charge and sometimes it controlled me? When and in what situations did I allow the day to control me? Was I controlled by the feelings of the body, or the triggers that come from other people, or energies from around me? How did I feel when things around controlled me? What was the feeling when I was in charge of what was happening?

Did I go with the flow of things and was I still in control? Was I keeping aware and changing when I thought it is not going where I want it to go? Did I manage my thoughts and emotions and align myself to what was happening around me in such a way that I felt more harmony?

Today my intention is to uplift my Self, Self inside and Self outside, to recognize the very same Source inside of me is looking at me through another, to come to the awareness that this is my Self in another person, “those eyes are looking from the same space that is inside of me”.

I seek to understand my Higher Self in everybody else. I want to understand that, I want to feel that, I want to know that Higher Self, to see my Higher Self in everything!

I want to recognize the energy working within me, and within others, feel peace within me, and recognize peace within others. The more I can feel that Higher Self inside of me, the more I will see it in others. It is by knowing Self that I begin to know my world.

I will keep a check on that ego part of me that is looking to be satisfied with the little things – a little fight here, a little pleasure there, the need for recognition here, not wanting to serve there, the need to protect personal property, the desire not to give but to hoard. All these are ego plays that serve no purpose. There is so much to learn, there is so much to know and there is so much to experience in every day! Today I am going to keep myself on track.


Looking Back So That I Can Go Forward

Courtesy D. Bowslaugh


It’s that special time of year again. It’s getting colder, the leaves are changing colors, slowly but surely change is coming. The days are getting shorter, the light intensity is changing. This year is drawing to a close and a new year is approaching. Before I can look forward to what is to come I like to spend a little time on what was.


I’ve been browsing through these posts and really enjoyed the conversations we shared. I’ve also browsed through my journals and it’s made for interesting reading. I looked at my facebook history and I even did a brief run through in my “sent email” box. I didn’t spend too much time with this, just a quick run through because I didn’t want to get caught up in the details. I wanted to see big picture.



Why am I looking back so much? I’m looking for patterns, for habits. I’ve seen by this history where I’ve actually spent my time and energy. Do you find that  you can’t find the time to do what you really love? Right! That’s exactly why I did the review. I want to cut out areas where I’ve given attention but it’s not a productive use of my energy. I also wanted to discover where I could give added focus, what is interesting for me but I put on the back burner because I didn’t have the time before. My ideas are not crystal clear as yet. I give myself this time to play with different ideas.

It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day living that it’s hard to get that big picture perspective of how my life is going. I’m appreciating this time of year that reminds me reflect on where I’ve been and where I want to go.


I hope you too use this time of transition to think about where you’ve been and get a fresh perspective of where you want to go.




The Pause That Keeps On Giving


This weekend we have been pausing and waiting for Divine guidance before entering into a situation. I have made some very interesting discoveries about when I connect with that guidance and when I don’t connect.


I notice that if in that pause I have already come to some conclusion about what is happening, then the result is that I have shut myself off from any kind of guidance. I feel contracted, confused, messed up. The trick is to train myself to open up to more, whenever I notice these types of negative feelings.


I begin the opening process by telling myself there are many possible interpretations of the signals that I’m picking up. As I try to observe more and hold off on drawing conclusions I start to come into a better frame of mind. I start to feel a change inside myself. I see the challenge the incident is presenting me but somehow there is a little space that allows more uplifting feelings to seep in. Then the guidance comes in how to act.

I need to practice pausing more before I enter into situations, I’m becoming very interested in this practice because it is improving my relationships. I’m not getting so cranky :). How is it going for you?




Grace Expressing Itself As Critical Feedback


I love working together in teams. I look to nature for inspiration on how it could be done harmoniously, how each part can play it’s role, adjusting when needed, always staying in peace.

Often an important part of my role involves receiving critical comments on my  work. When I look at this from an expanded point of view I can see this situation as life itself providing me with tips on how to grow. This view evokes an excited, engaged, optimistic response in me. However if I narrow my focus I might be mistaken in thinking that my team mates don’t like me and I might get upset creating a very stressful situation for all concerned.

I have a plan that I implement whenever I am in this type of situation. I’ve learned to use this wonderful feedback situation to draw attention to weak areas in myself and my way of working, and to invite critical comments. In this way I can consciously enter into the process and make the most of it.

With some of the feedback I can shift my inner stance in the moment, often because I had wrestled with the same point long before this session. So the feedback feels like a little nudge, small fine tuning in my approach. I can adopt it very readily.

Some feedback is harder to grasp in the moment, and these are usually when light is shed on a blind spot. I can recognize these cases readily as they cause stress in me. I sometimes start defending my actions, fooling myself into thinking that if I could explain myself properly the others would come to my side. This attitude brings contraction in me and sometimes could cause polarizing of the group as other members join in the attitude of defending.

A much more productive approach is to focus my attention to listen carefully to what is being said, to observe my reactions, even my resistance, to gather as much information as possible in the situation, seeing all information like vital clues to help me to improve.. Then to take some time to gear myself up before examining the situation. I find that when blind spots come to light, I feel some shock and sometimes aversion to accepting that this has been going on inside me. If I’m not careful I can go into  self-reproach which can lead to feelings of depression.

I give myself time to become ready to take a close look at this challenging new information. My readying process involves engaging in nourishing activities that bring me into the strongest possible place inside.  This might be exercising, spending time with nature, listening to music or meditating. At some point I can feel the prompt inside to look  at the feedback I got. I don’t expect myself to fully understand the feedback or to be able to make all the changes needed in a very short time. I see it as a long-term project with many layers that will reveal themselves with time and as I grow in wisdom.

I start slowly by looking for a very small simple step that I could take in the short-term. The successful completion of this step creates some energy for me to take a bigger step and so the road starts to open up for me to really make progress on my path. I start to feel optimistic about dealing with this feedback. There is a growing momentum that helps me to tackle tougher areas.

It is in the very nature of learning that I will have some missteps. I’m expecting them. They will tell me how to refine my process. It doesn’t mean I’m falling behind. I take a wider view and I give myself a lot of encouragement so that I can recognize the lessons that I’m getting. I see myself as a co-creator  in my evolution.

Then there will come a time when I will take a rest from the issue. Life itself seems to conspire with me to allow this break. The issue doesn’t appear in my relationships. I don’t misinterpret this signal to mean that the issue is totally cleared up. I have made some progress and it is a good thing to shift my attention to other areas. It is like taking a vacation in between semesters when we were at school. Because we’re on vacation it doesn’t mean we’ve completed our study, we’re just on a break.

After a time the issue will rise again so that I can continue to the next stage where I can take bigger steps. It’s like starting a new semester, moving on to new levels of learning, new curriculum. There are several stages in the process just like kindergarten, primary school, high school and university. You see I take a wider view of my learning process.

For my plan to work well I move constantly to and fro from a narrow focus to a more expanded view. This plan is very versatile. I use it not only when I receive critical feedback from people, but also when I am challenged, because I view that as my world giving me feedback. It helps me grapple with new ideas, concepts, new ways of thinking. It helps me to manage my emotional reactions. Ultimately it takes me to a more interesting place inside myself,  a place where I can better enjoy life. I see critical feedback as grace from the universe, as a helping hand in my evolution.

I hope you too find the narrowing and the expanding of the focus brings you new approaches in your growth process.


Expanding and narrowing the focus at will

Yesterday we talked about looking through the window of consciousness and that quality of narrowing or expanding the consciousness at will. I feel I have to practice this awareness of what is happening with my consciousness lots more because from yesterday I saw some gaps in awareness.

I notice that stress comes if I am using the quality inappropriately. By that I mean that sometimes I want to process an experience and if I narrow the focus I get some answer and if I expand my perspective I get different answers. The problem is I notice I habitually  narrow the focus in some situations when what I need to use is an expanded focus so it’s only natural that stress comes. Likewise I automatically expand the focus only in some situations so when thinking big doesn’t bring creativity stress comes.

So I’ve decided to stay with the practice of consciously expanding the focus to see how a thought or action may have short-term or long-term effects, or how it would affect the environment. I want to see if I can use the narrowing of the focus in new ways today to pay attention to my inner world and in my interactions with my outer world.

I’d love to read your stories of how you use  this practice.

Window of consciousness

We’ve had wonderfully warm weather. Perhaps like me, you have kept your windows wide open to catch whatever breeze might be in the air. When the window is wide open my view is bigger, I can see further. But this morning is a little bit cool and so I have pulled in the window a little bit. I notice more what’s right in front of the window; the flowers, the bird sitting on the tree whose branches are close by. It makes me think about the consciousness.

When I open my window of consciousness very wide, I am really using that quality of the consciousness to expand so that I am better able to see the big picture. For example I can see how one of my thoughts can impact my experience of my day and how that experience will ripple through in every interaction I have with family, friends, coworkers and that wave will spread out into the community and into my world.

I use the capacity to pull in my window of consciousness when I want to learn something, I concentrate my attention. I use this quality when I focus my attention on my body, breath, when I am managing my mind and emotions.

Today I want to observe my window of consciousness to better understand how I can use this quality to see from a very broad point of view and when I narrow my focus. I will use the physical windows around me to remind me of this intention.