What is it to care about or to be caring? I’m looking at how people understand their behaviour as care when they are focused on fixing instead of honouring and wondering how to have that conversation. Let’s try this…
There is a kind of therapy called Gestalt. It’s not really a therapy but more of an experience. Officially you might refer to it as an experimental phenomenology because it encourages you to try new behaviours so you can get a clearer picture of how you operate. You clarify what you are experiencing and how you are doing it.
I like Gestalt because unlike other methods, it doesn’t attempt to analyse your subconscious, unseen or hidden aspects. Gestalt is all about the here and now.
For me, the present is a unique and significant indication of who you are. That means that there’s no holding you to the past, not even five minutes ago because that experience can only be understood as an expression in this moment. Gestalt agrees with me, isn’t that cool?
It’s a complex and compelling therapy that deals with what bubbles to the surface as you become aware of this moment as filtered through your perceptual and cultural biases. It does not attempt to change or fix you. The Gestalt therapist has been described as ‘a creative agent of change, an inventor, and a compassionate and caring human being’*. Did you notice me bring it back to caring there? Seamless people, just brilliant
So, here’s my thing about caring.
When you want to do something for someone that they will not do for themselves or when you tell someone something they have not asked to hear, especially when it ‘helps’ them, this is not caring.
Now, I’m not talking about making dinner for children or washing someone who happens to be in a coma. I’m referring to situations where you desperately feel the need to fix something or to help someone fix something. This is not caring when it diminishes their sovereignty.
If you step in to do it for them, they can’t figure out how to do it for themselves. For example, if you tied a child’s shoe laces until the day they left home, they would go out into the world minus that skill. How is that caring?
Of course they could buy slip-ons and never have to face the fact that they don’t know how to tie up there own shoes and no-one would be the wiser except when they have kids of their own or if they really, really, really want that job with a dress code… you get the picture.
When you take responsibility for other people’s self-discovery – who they are, what they need, how they find meaning and purpose – you rob them of the opportunity to have that experience. Even in therapy I stick to asking the questions that allow you to recognise how to bring all of your aspects home and how to give them all a room in your house so that you can make every inherent idiosyncrasy work for you. Rarely will I ever tell you anything, except maybe that you are fabulous, and whatever your guides are screaming at me to say out loud. But apart from that, it’s all you.
So, if it pains you to see someone in need or ‘suffering’ and they have not asked you to intervene or they have not indicated any desire to change, then perhaps this situation has been sent to you for a reason. Ask yourself:
What is really going on for you? How can you stay with your experience of discomfort to understand it more intimately?
Discomfort is enlightening. It speaks to you about what you can and can’t live with. Sometimes it is so loud you try to drown out the noise by changing the station. What would happen if you sat with it’s annoying frequency just long enough to hear what it has to say?
Whenever you take the focus off of your own experience – for even someone else’s suffering is filtered through your sensory perception and cultural sensibilities – there is martyrdom or control in play. Chances are you will ‘go out of your way’ (that’s code for martyrdom) to be a hero, or you are ‘doing what needs to be done because you know best’ (and that’s control) to quiet the noise.
Whatever the angle, it is rarely caring.
To care is to stand with someone as they have their experience, it’s having the respect to grant them sovereignty over their actions and meaning, and it’s taking responsibility for your own…
*Zinker (1978) Creative Processes in Gestalt Therapy
In order to be whole, connected and flowing we need to be tuned to the symphony of life. Quantum field theories tell us that all particles are simply vibrations in a field*. That all fields are everywhere all the time.
Imagine the universe was a piece of sheet music, where each note is a point on the staff either between or on the line, think of each possible position on the staff as a field and each note as a particle (a localised vibration in the field).
Just as all frequencies only appear to be separate on a hierarchy of low to high until one looks from above and sees the spectrum as one thread inseparable and incapable of division into good-bad, right-wrong, high-low, reality is not available to us until we tune to the language of wholeness. The language of wholeness in inclusive and seeks to understand rather than judge or separate into categories. What is it that binds us, that makes us complete and worthwhile in this moment?
In this way, so-called material reality is not a collection of solid dots or fixed points that bounce off one another, but rather vibration itself. This means we are not separate from or subject to our ‘environment’ since all things are simply excitations of a field. Vibration does not go out from a solid point and ‘effect’ other points. Vibration is the nature of physical manifestation (including thought, feeling and space).
If there is no inside-outside, and we are not separate from or subject to, then we cannot be evolving in the sense of moving from simpler to more complex because this form of evolution is based in a picture of the universe as a Newtonian, mechanistic, Cartesian dualism incommensurable with vibrational reality. We are not solid things animated by separate mindful substances changing into better things with more advanced or collective mindful aspects. We are excitations of a field in a constant state of change always whole, always perfectly designed for our experience. Only our consciousness changes – that is, only the story about what’s really going on is changing.
Our visions for a united consciousness on the planet are going to happen if we can learn a new language. The old language was exchange. It was about ping-pong or pin-ball consciousness. The new language is energy (I call it Heart Alchemy). It is about neutral consciousness. In order to support this shift on the planet, our global family needs a new mythology – one based on inclusion and wholeness rather than pathology and opposition.
Our new mythology is a dynamic, quantum, spectrum-based ideology that surrenders mystery and experience as benevolent. Our old mythology was a cause-and-effect, Newtonian, mechanistic, Cartesian dualism based ideology that fought to change and manifest and judge experience as spiritual herding. It might take some getting used to. That’s okay. We’re in this together and we’re all doing the best we can with what we have. The point is not to work hard for an outcome, that’s the old consciousness. The point is to tune into neutral consciousness whenever you can and feel the inter-connected experience of reality.
There are some ideas we will need to refashion so that the new mythology becomes a cosmology. That is, we need a new language to experience life in this new way. It is one thing to read about or think about but to experience is unique. When we use this new language there is a rewiring not just of the brain but in the way we experience our soul, our purpose, each other, the planet, and the story we tell about the past.
With this new language our meanings are transformed. There cannot be ’cause’ and ‘effect’ since these too rely on duality; and we reframe our language around ‘improvement’ and ‘outcome’ because all of these concepts are impossible once we live in a vibrational universe where reality is neutral.
It’s like suddenly discovering that your father isn’t biologically responsible for bringing you into the world. The love is still present but you long to know how you came to be who you are, to meet a genetic mirror who might explain more about what you inherited.
This new information opens you up to learn more about what’s really making you show up in this unique way. You open up to the possibility that your idiosyncrasies are part of something significant – a whole lineage of connection yet to be explored.
This new identity is natural and full of possibility. You feel new, like you can re-tell the past from a different perspective. Now that you know there is more going on than previously understood, you are open and flexible to new explanations for why you had this or that experience. Your life is recounted and made meaningful in an empowering reshaping process (although nothing has changed).
This fresh perspective is only empowering if you allow it to reposition your “why?” It is the why that informs our mythology which in turn directs our focus and either taps us into or keeps us out of neutral consciousness. Neutral consciousness is always there, the fact of your lineage is always there, only your awareness changes. Only the story and “why?” changes. Only your language is effected and this is where your experience lives.
Now, this might not make sense when you consider experience as a vehicle for variation, but experience is also neutral until we excite the field of judgement. In non-judgement we are capable of knowing reality in its neutral state. This is not to say that you become a robot. Your experience of life is beauty and wonder in neutral consciousness, it is simply the notion of cause-and-effect, higher-lower, right-wrong, good-bad, and other polarities that begin to crumble as we tap into the language, mythology and consciousness of life according to the Quantum Map.
Once we learn to speak energy and see the world through neutral consciousness, life becomes effortless. Our own happiness and our story about the world is inseparable. As visionaries and activists and parents and teachers and participants on this global scale we are supported by a mythology that keeps us inter-connected. We are capable of sustained happiness and drive, no matter what when our mythology allows us to live in peace as the world meets or fails our expectations.
How can you see what is when your mind will only let you see what your biases – perceptual and cognitive – allow?
Yes the filters appear to distort and focus the mind in particular ways but you also have access to truth beyond perception. When your soul speaks it is clear that you are more than cognition. Even if it appears to break all the rules or frightens your sensibilities, there are things that you come across which feel bright and hopeful like doorways into magical playgrounds where all our burdens have been lifted.
Once you begin to say “yes” to this new way of being on the planet, this neutral consciousness, you will understand even the mind’s filters in a non-judgemental way. You will see all things as serving you no matter how crazy or illogical they seem. You will see the order in chaos and more than this, you will feel love playing it’s symphony in all things.
No more duality, no more polarities, no more judgement, no more control, no more categories or separation, no more pathology, no more outcomes or intentions, no more becoming or evolving, no more enemies and allies, no more layers or levels or lines between anything or anyone. We are capable of something truly whole, compassionate and complete in this moment as an aspect of the Divine…
Learn more in the Perfect Present 8 Week Experience
*Lincoln, D (2013) The Good Vibrations of Quantum Field Theories
Reading the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I am contemplating the wisdom of ‘awareness’ portrayed as a three pronged process. First the word or sound (including thought), then the wave in your Chitta representing the idea or meaning of the sound, and finally after the waves dies, knowledge.
I am also pondering spider medicine-wisdom. Something about the web of connection and the concept of tangle in our modern conversation around ‘enlightenment’ or ‘clarity’ is still steeped in pathology. We seek to untangle ourselves, our minds, and our intention or focus from that which no longer serves, in order to fix or heal or make pure. All of these ideas are in duality. They separate ‘us’ from ‘ideal’ and in the process, ask us to see ourselves as incomplete, as imperfect – somehow as a flawed piece of the harmonious and balanced whole that is the Infinite.
Perfection is not an outcome. It is our natural state. Whether we are living in Divinity or contemplating suicide, there is something innately and immutably perfect about where we are right now. No human or social or spiritual concept of what is best can take away from that fact.
No Angel ever told me that we need to do better. No Ascended Master ever communicated a chastise or rebuke. We are loved and supported and encouraged to live a full-bodied experience including the whole gamut of emotions and possible adventures. Our sense of what is ‘right’ only serves to separate us. Whatever else is going on, there is an opportunity to be inter-connected and this is why we are here together right now on this planet attempting to put structures in place that foster global harmony.
Until now we have not had a language to bring everyone together into one family. All of our ideologies have been steeped in duality and judgement. If we want to work together, we need a new mythology. If we want to be inclusive and compassionate, then we need a new way of being on the planet with each other, with ourselves. This is why I work with Louise Moriarty to create projects that support the people who have a vision for humanity.
This new language, this new mythology is what is needed to birth a new cosmology – that is, a new way of understanding ourselves and one another that informs us how to live together on the planet. This is Heart Alchemy…
The Perfect Present 8 Week Experience easy as $123
Once upon a time – for there was always a sense of time crushing our dreams with some kind of commitment to be doing the bidding of priorities other than those our heart might cling to for salvation amidst the turmoil and injustice we perceived our lives to be embroiled in – once upon a time there lived a man named Tim and his daughter, Melanie. Now Tim was a simple man brought up with the fear of God and a healthy dose of class based humility. A cobbler, of all things, who loved to dance.
Tim the cobbler who loved to dance was chastising his daughter one day for not moving. “Melanie” said Tim, “’tis not safe to be idle in these dark times. You must learn to dance and sing and be more active lest the Devil take hold in the spaces you leave still!” Of course Melanie loved her father and wanted to do as he bid but there was something else inside of her, something that longed for her to be still and quiet and listen with the greatest strain in case it say something to her in the few precious moments her life allowed time alone.
Her love for her father pushed her to want what he asked, to make him happy – to see him smile. This pushing made the will to be still a bad thing in her life. She began to see it as a curse, as a door for the evil of the world to get inside her head and act through her on the people she cared about. Melanie was torn. In order to be a good person she had to deny the one thing her heart desired, the one place her soul wished to speak to and this was enough to make her crazy.
At first it was just a small voice, a reminder to keep moving, keep from the silence and stillness of life. But as time went on, Melanie began to receive louder and louder messages to keep safe until eventually she couldn’t keep from twitching and pacing and panting and flailing and grunting and moving everything all day long in a fit of desperate activity. Meanwhile, her father was driven to madness worrying what had befallen his beautiful daughter. Tim thought for sure the Devil had gotten hold of her soul and was now in the process of devouring her very essence.
Unable to work or think about anything else, Tim set out to find the medicine that would cure his precious daughter of her torment. He travelled through his country and far into foreign lands seeking a holy man or blessed potion to ease her suffering, to no avail. Each exorcist and priest he came across told him his Melanie was beyond their help. Gripped with love and fear Tim could not give up and refused to leave his daughter in the Devil’s hands.
Tired, wrinkled, old and through habit more than passion Tim walked long roads between cities in search of a medicine for his almost unrecognisable Melanie who now lived in a wooden cage he wheeled behind him. Together they travelled hot, dusty paths to towns where people seemed invisible to Tim now that his life was committed to casting out the Devil from his life, and these same townsfolk were more and more intolerable to Melanie as she became more and more sensitive to the voices plaguing her every waking moment.
One day, at the edge of a place Tim had hoped to find shelter they were stopped by a herd of goats. It was festival time and no-one was getting in or out of town tonight but the shepherd directed Tim to a house on the far side of town, the home of a poet. Grateful for the chance to rest, Tim dragged Melanie through the paddocks churning up mud and clay, powered by pure determination to survive to see just one more day.
As they came upon the house a woman ran to greet them both with the warmth and joy of an old friend. “Tim! I’ve been waiting so long, it’s fabulous to see you both. Come in! Come in!” Tim stopped to examine the woman closely in case he had failed to recognise her face, but it was not a face he knew. “Do I know you?” he asked suspicious and uncertain for perhaps this woman was a witch. And everyone knows you have to beware of witches, well at least all the God fearing people in Tim’s way of seeing do. Witches are hands of the Devil.
The poet smiled as she unlocked Melanie’s cage and ushered them inside without another word.
Once inside Melanie was sat in the corner among a collection of cacti that prickled and itched if she wriggled too much. They were both given a bowl of soup by the fire as the poet sang gentle music that caressed their tired bones. Finally Tim could hold himself up no longer and accepted the poet’s offer of a hammock swinging on the porch by a copse that trees swiftly singing him to sleep. That night Tim and Melanie were in the same dream – a dragon flew down from the mountains into a small town terrorising them day and night without warning. A dragon that blew fire on Melanie and icy bone chilling breath on Tim. For ten long years the two were singled out by this unrelenting beast as all else in the town were left in peace to do as they wished somehow unawares of the torture the two endured.
When Tim tried to tell people about the dragon’s chill the townsfolk would shake their heads and walk away. How could they be so cold? How could they not see that their lives were made miserable by a monster in the mountain? In the dream Tim and Melanie were summoned to head of state for a ceremonial banishment. “Ten years we have waited for you to see, and for ten years you have chosen to ignore the wisdom of the Earth dragon. Go now to the mountain and meet your soul.”
Tim could not believe people were capable of such cruelty. Surely they could see it was through no fault of their own that this monster tormented them? How could the town resign these two innocent victims to such a harrowing fate? He though about escape but they were never alone and there was only one way out of town left unguarded – toward the mountain. Still hoping for a way to avoid certain death, Tim decided to take his daughter into the mountain and find a way around. As long as they were together he would do everything in his power to keep her safe.
Banished without supplies they were forced to take the roads open to those who needed water and shelter to survive. They found little to eat but enough seemed to make itself apparent as they trudged up the slope. After eleven days of climbing they came upon a clearing and decided to rest. Just as they sank to the ground their dragon slipped from behind a rock face to pin them down. “Take me, take me!” pleaded Tim. “Just leave my daughter she has done nothing to deserve such a violent death. I will gladly give my life to save hers.”
The dragon roared so ferociously it shook the world and all around them began to crumble. As Tim prepared to be devoured he clenched his eyes shut and began to pray. But nothing happened. Slowly, cautiously he peeked through one eye and found the dragon weeping. Perhaps he should have taken the opportunity to run but something inside him urged him to stay. “Why do you weep dragon?” asked Tim. “Because you blame me for your suffering when all I have ever done is call you home” the dragon wailed.
The dragon continued, “why do you ignore the very essence of who you are? It pains me to see you live a life of distrust and self-imposed misery. All I ever needed was for you to follow your heart…” At that moment the belly of the dragon began to glow and Tim felt his own love of God stir inside himself filling him with calm and loving kindness.
“But who are you?” Tim whispered. “And why have you been tormenting us all these years?”
“I am your soul” the dragon answered, “and I have been trying to give you a sense of what it is to be you! I have been trying to help you understand what it is like when you ask your daughter to be something she is not, when you ask her to disconnect from her own soul’s message! I have been sending you experiences of great empathy and self-awareness trying so hard to get you to listen to your own sense of life’s miracle but you keep pushing me away. So I get louder and bigger and more unbearable in the hope that I become the only important thing your life so I can save you from all the pain and suffering you put yourself through.”
The two sat in silence for longer than Tim had ever dared to be still. Finally, the dragon reached into his belly and gave Tim a piece of his core, asking without words to share this sacred aspect with his daughter. Tim had completely forgotten about Melanie for the moment, and suddenly became aware that she was busy having her own conversation with the dragon of fire who told Melanie of all the unnecessary rules she was following in the hope of gaining her father’s love. A love that was not about making people happy or doing what you were told, but instead a love that asked her to stand up for herself and be who she was Divinely designed to be. Not about rules that were taking her further and further away from the ability to love and celebrate herself, but rather about rules that gave her a clearer sense of what her soul was speaking into life.
As each of them were given a piece of their soul-dragon to share with one another, the dream vanished and they were comfortable in their beds at the poet’s house. The poet was gone leaving them a note, porridge and enough supplies for the season. The note read as follows:
Dear Ones who travel with love in their heart there is one obligation your soul asks to live
To be who you are right now as you start wherever you are with nought to forgive
Simply a reason to be on this day a beautiful being, the Divine’s human eyes
Asking only to feel, rest and play. Loving you whole as healthy and wise
So drop all your rules and stories and fear, sing out your soul’s uniqueness and glow
For God is within you, holding you dear, trusting that life is a child’s “I don’t know”