Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Better Selves

I watched the inauguration today with over one hundred college students gathered around a small television on campus. Although we were euphoric, I was still surprised by the spontaneous applause. We weren’t at a live event and yet we clapped to the tv throughout the ceremony. There was even a prolonged applause at the end of Obama’s acceptance speech. We obviously weren’t clapping for the speaker, we were clapping for ourselves. We needed to express our gratitude and jubilation.

Experiencing and watching the intense emotions of today, I’m reminded that the “King” archetype is a symbol of the Self. Is that why millions of us are awestruck by this President? In addition to his archetypal effect, President Obama is brilliant at helping us feel good about ourSelves, and calling us to be our best Selves. Is this why much of the country is completely infatuated with him?

Lewis-Barr 2009
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Friday, January 9, 2009

Sitting on the deck of a cruise ship

Woke this morning with a dream of being on a cruise. It was the 2nd or 3rd day and I was savoring the moment in the most profound way. When I woke, I wondered how I could do that same, deep relishing of the present—the feeling I have when on vacation-- in my daily life. Part of the challenge is that I am always striving, which pulls me out of that sacred savoring.

Is it the effect of the dream that all morning I’ve felt like I’m on a cruise? Very strange and wonderful. I’m not closing my eyes, so I do see the snowy streets out the window, but over that scene I’m looking at rolling waves and endless blue. It is quite fantastic to take that kind of vacation today and to relearn peace and contentment. © Lewis-Barr 2009
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

States of consciousness

I’ve been undergoing some hypnotherapy. In practicing some of the techniques, I’m learning more about states of consciousness.

Imagine a continuum with your unconscious mind on one side and your conscious mind on the other. Imagine that your ego—i.e. your consciousness of yourself is in the center of the continuum. The end of each continuum might look like this:

Less/no ego-----------------------------------------------------------ego dominated

Here’s how my different states of consciousness might line up along the continuum:

--Hypnosis/dream state drugs meditation workinginflow dailythoughts worries--

I’ve tried to place meditation in the middle because while I’ve experienced it mostly with an “I” (ego) consciousness, I’ve also had moments that transcended my own ego. Now, working with hypnosis, I’m learning to let go of my thinking and go “under” my thinking. I know many meditation teachers talk about this but I never needed or wanted to really go to a place of “no mind.” For me, meditation was a prayerful (even ecstatic) experience of God in my heart. I used a mantra to keep me focused but I had thoughts and many emotional and even body experiences. Tonight’s practice of self-hypnosis was different. I had a profound (and surprising) experience of “no mind.” I watched my thoughts come and go but I wasn’t the thoughts. But even though I was experiencing no-mind I was also using a mantra of a positive suggestion. My goal was to plant a positive thought in the virgin soil of my unconscious mind. But who plants the thought—if not me?

In my deeply relaxed state, this paradox was immaterial.

Another enigma: even as I experienced a place deeper than my mind, I couldn’t will (or even expect) my active and searching mind to shut down completely. I was, after all, curious about this experience and trying to make note of it for later. My mind was also making periodic reminders about other issues of the day. But this time I didn’t run with the thoughts. I trusted that I could let them go without losing them. I returned to my positive mantra and a place beyond me.

This was different from my wonderful experience of prayer/meditation-- a refuge of rejuvenation, insight, revelation, inspiration, and peace. Tonight was what I’d heard Buddhists talk about.

For many months now I’ve been meditating upon slowly waking up. It has been a wonderful gift to have that time to shift very slowly from unconsciousness to consciousness. Sometimes I will remember a dream and work on it. Sometimes I will have a spontaneous realization about my life. Often times I will just sit in a kind of half-sleep stupor and eventually do some writing as my consciousness comes to the fore.

Yesterday I decided to try self-hypnosis in the morning just as I awoke. What better time to do the programming, yes? But a strange thing happened. When I tried to do the positive mantra (I skipped the preliminary relaxation process thinking that, half asleep, I hardly needed it) I felt unable. The direction was wrong. What I’ve enjoyed so much in the mornings is the sacred experience of gradually linking unconsciousness to consciousness. Of hearing God’s voice through the darkness of what is “not ego.” Is it one experience to start with ego and descend into no-mind and another to come from no-mind into mind? Seems to me that these two directions are complementary but different. And they don’t seem interchangeable.

These experiments show me the mystical marriage of mind and no-mind. I have felt the sacred harmony of their union. Simply living in one frame or the other doesn’t work. Of course we all know that-- but my experiences of hypnosis, meditation and Jung, are changing me experientially, not theoretically.
© Lewis-Barr 2009
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