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Tolerate the Discomfort.

Our contemplative practices do over time help us to ‘see’ differently. This Eastertide season many of you have joined in an intentional engagement with the charge from Cynthia Bourgeault to fast from and put space around our stories, and to taste our more subtle kingdom of heaven self and live from this level of selfhood more now, amongst other practices (see more here). All of this too is in service of a new way of ‘seeing’ and operating not from ordinary consciousness or rather unconsciousness so common in this worldly realm (world 48 and below), but from the Heart which perceives holographically allowing us to see the kingdom of heaven (world 24) realm surrounding and suffusing this realm. As we do our practice, our ‘seeing’ does increase. But as Cynthia reminds us in her book Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (which we will be diving into in the Centering Prayer and Oneness Retreat), that doesn’t necessarily mean an immediate increase in capacity for doing something different. The more we see we are caught in reactivity/story about our experiences, there can be an increase in desire to operate differently than our habitual mechanical ways. Yet we are not always ready to ‘see’ the way forward or capable of doing what our world 24 self may ‘see.’ Witnessing presence provides a gap and in that gap at times there is a risk of another part of ourselves wanting to ‘fix’ what we see dragging us back down into our egoic or super-egoic worldly operating system/selfhood. This is where there is opportunity for some real work. One of my guides once told me I needed to tolerate the discomfort of the anxiety I was experiencing in the midst of a life circumstance. That word tolerate jumped into my skin cell deep and rang with the truth of something very Real. We can mind the gap by tolerating the experience we are actually having with our current capacity which cannot yet do what our kingdom of heaven self knows and is capable of. We must tolerate that which we see because any attempt to do something or change our experience will likely be a result of behavior management and not true arising from the Heart. This is often uncomfortable to endure but as we tolerate, and I am specifically using this word rather than welcome, we learn something very important. To tolerate is to “allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference,” “accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance,” and “be capable of continued subjection to (a drug, toxin, or environmental condition) without adverse reaction” (def. comes from Oxford Languages). We can build our tolerance for what we see in ourselves without acting or reacting. We can bear, suffer, endure, abide, and stand in the discomfort of the gap developing the courage and strength to firmly sustain without flinching or breaking. When we tolerate the discomfort, we may or may not have the energy shift we often hope for but we have stepped back into witnessing presence enough, we have created enough neutral space around whatever is happening. When we discover the wider space, we do not lose contact with the discomfort but we are no longer as bound by it. Its as if we must allow our more subtle second body to be present to the upset in our physical first body. So I invite you to tolerate your world 48 experience in the midst of tasting your more subtle world 24 self. In Great Love, Heather


Here most of the Readings from this week's pauses:

‘Love After Love’ The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life. — Derek Walcott “When you are perfectly empty of all predicates-- including the description of yourself as a ‘receiver’-- then you are intensely full of pure ‘I am.’ And just as this point is reached, it explodes into the creative outpouring energy...I call the energy spondic because it pours out like a sacred libation, and this perfect liberty I call ‘creative freedom.’" ​ — Beatrice Bruteau I would not sacrifice my soul for all the beauty of this world. There is only one thing for which I would risk everything: an I-don’t-know-what that lies hidden in the heart of the Mystery. The taste of finite pleasure leads nowhere. All it does is exhaust the appetite and ravage the palate. And so, I would not sacrifice my soul for all the sweetness of this world. But I would risk everything for an I-don’t-know-what that lies hidden in the heart of the Mystery. The generous heart does not collapse into the easy things, but rises up in adversity. It settles for nothing. Faith lifts it higher and higher. Such a heart savors an I-don’t-know-what found only in the heart of the Mystery. The soul that God has touched burns with love-longing. Her tastes have been transfigured. Ordinary pleasures sicken her. She is like a person with a fever; nothing tastes good anymore. All she wants is an I-don’t-know-what locked in the heart of the Mystery. . . . I will never lose myself for anything the senses can taste, nor for anything the mind can grasp, no matter how sublime, how delicious. I will not pause for beauty, I will not linger over grace. I am bound for an I-don’t-know-what deep within the heart of the Mystery. —John of the Cross, Glosa á lo Divino, trans. Mirabai Starr “God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.” — Fr. Bede Griffiths “Being a good steward of your life means that you are not using spirituality to avoid any aspect of yourself or your life. I have observed that it is very common for people involved in spirituality to unconsciously use it to avoid painful, troubling, dysfunctional, or fearful aspects of themselves or their lives. There is often a hope that if they just awaken to Reality, all of their challenges will disappear. While it is true that with the dawning of awakening many of what we regard as problems simply disappear, it would be wrong to assume that a taste of awakening automatically resolves every challenging aspect of human life. Using spirituality to avoid challenging aspects of yourself or your day-to-day life can inhibit the dawning of spiritual enlightenment to a great extent, and will certainly inhibit its depth and stability. The Way of Liberation is a way of completely facing yourself and your life without withdrawing into denial, judgment, or magical thinking. It is a means of piercing through the veils of illusion and awakening to Truth. To be a good steward of your life requires you to embrace every aspect of your life, inner and outer, pleasant and unpleasant. You do not necessarily need to face them all at once, just whatever arises in any given moment. Give each moment the attention, sincerity, and commitment that it deserves. A failure to do so is more costly than you can ever imagine. Your life, all of your life, is your path to awakening. By resisting or not dealing with its challenges, you stay asleep to Reality. Pay attention to what life is trying to reveal to you. Say yes to its fierce, ruthless, and loving grace." — Adyashanti


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