Our true nature is vast and deep, alive and awake, joyous and peaceful, with infinite capacity to hold our experience. I have found that to realize this truth fully it takes both awakening and embodiment. Awakening is timeless; it's an insight or recognition that happens in an instant, yet is always present thereafter. It doesn't take time, but it lasts....forever. Embodiment, on the other hand, unfolds through time and experience. This can be likened to the marriage of heaven and earth: awakening is the recognition of our Divine, heavenly nature; embodiment is how we bring it down to earth and live it.
Since everything is light-filled perfection in heaven, it makes sense that awakening is the "easy" part. There are many things that support or encourage awakening, including sitting with an awakened being, or applying self inquiry. Since we are already "that", it's actually very accessible, and many people are awakening now. The experience of recognizing true nature is usually wonderful. It often brings a sense of freedom, expansion, joy, and everyone celebrates your good fortune. Embodiment is more of a slog. Once the honeymoon of awakening starts to pale, the real work begins, and work it is.
In my experience, it's pretty tough work, and definitely not for the faint of heart. As Carl Jung said, "There is no coming to consciousness without pain". The good news is, there are some hints that can dramatically ease the way. I'll share the main one here, and more in a future blog. Although I would say embodiment is infinite - after all, what we are is infinite - you really just need to get over the hump (more on that later) and then it gets fun. Mostly.
The hump is essentially everything that is out of balance, repressed, denied or disowned (i.e., shadow stuff). Embodiment requires the reintegration of the shadow, as it is a return to our natural state of wholeness. All of you has to get included back into being. Unless and until we return to the state of wholeness, we aren't able to fully rest in being and freely express our uniqueness.
If you're pretty sane and balanced, embodiment tends to go along much more smoothly, and you might wonder what I'm gong on about. In my case, I had a lot of shadow material, so there were a few rough patches along the way. If I had known then what I know now, getting over the hump would have been much less challenging.
Here's the key (otherwise known as the shortcut): What is required to return to wholeness is to fully feel all that has been denied or repressed. This means to be with whatever arises, as the aware presence you are, without moving away from the experience. No escape; no analysis; just being with or holding the experience. And everything will arise, though fortunately not all at once, as awareness wants to bring everything back home. At times it can be painful and uncomfortable, but as the saying goes, to feel is to heal. And the benefits are immense. The more we hold our experience consciously, the more peace, joy and freedom we experience, and the greater we discover our capacity to be. We truly are bigger than anything that arises, and by embracing it, we experience this directly, non conceptually. This brings about a stabilization of the awakened awareness which is another way of describing embodiment.
Our very presence is our own best medicine. When we bring that feeling/attention to anything that arises, it acts like magic. It is the most potent healing power there is. And since this presence is infinitely intelligent, it knows exactly what is required to return to wholeness. So you can trust your experience, you only have to be willing to fully have it without resistance. Since the ego is resistance, it's old machinations may surface in the form of distractions, avoidance, denials. Just hold that, too, and it will only deepen your knowing of your unshakable being.
Another important note is that the awakening/embodying process is cyclical, not linear. Each insight into true nature will become embodied in our experience. So wherever you are in the process, this is all relevant. We are all awakening and embodying more of ourselves in each moment.
To support your embodiment process, I have a few free meditations on my Audio page. For practice being with what arises, check out the Hug Yourself meditation. When facing a more intense emotion, the Heart Embrace meditation can be very helpful. The Inner Body Meditation is useful for bringing awareness more fully into the body and awakening the fire of presence. If you'd like to explore embodiment more deeply, I'm offering a teleclass called Embodied Wholeness to support moving into this state of being and becoming fully integrated. The next class starts November 2; for details, see the Schedule page of my website. I hope you'll join us as we experience and celebrate our ever present wholeness.
11/1/2015 10:39:09 pm
Thanks for the post Karen. What you say mirrors my current experience. I have had 11 years of peaceful meditation, but lately a lot of old, strong feelings have come up, seemingly out of nowhere, and it does feel in like they are being 'processed' as I sit, allowing and opening to them. In my case it is gentle, almost magical, at least so far. Perhaps it is so because my awakening process is very slow and undramatic … x
11/17/2015 03:47:57 am
Thanks for the great blog.
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