A Journey of Courage: Afterword

Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I am becoming more and more amazed (awed, if you will) at the way these Journeys are beginning to visibly shape my life. Synchronicity is happening. Right timing is happening. My thoughts from the Journeys are manifesting.

Two things primarily stand out: 1) Life itself is “feeding” me what I am asking for; I am experiencing things showing up that I have written about here. 2) The Journeys themselves are creating the Journey process; things I have written about in past Journeys are connecting with things in this Journey…and I am already seeing how this Journey connects to the next one, A Journey of the Heart.

Here is one of those things I want to explain, that I want to share with you: the depth of insight, the feeling of just knowing I am doing this “right”, that I am being guided, or am “manifesting” what is exactly right for me right now. But I also know words won’t quite do it.

I hope, truly hope, each of you reading this have your own experience of what I am talking about. I think you probably do, in some way, from some point in your life. Things just feel right. And if you know, or have known, this feeling, you know it’s not the kind of thing anyone else can understand by your explanation of your experience…but if they tap into their own recollection of that time when things just felt right they will know immediately what you mean. Tap into that for me, now. Do you feel it? Life is right and perfect, right here, right now, tomorrow, yesterday; everything flows, everything is with you and for you. That’s what I’m talking about.

One of the things that is amazing is that this guiding, the things I have “found”, are not things from my conscious mind. It’s not like I have said, “I want to receive a blue balloon” and a blue balloon shows up. It’s not tangible like that. I go to my heart, to my highest ideals of Love and Oneness (through the contemplations each day) and (miraculously?) the right and perfect thing that feeds my heart with Love and Oneness “arrives” (or occasionally steps in to release the things in the way of Love).

Let me give you some examples, at the risk of using words to describe this:

I started the Journey, saying this:

“Every moment I must be in a state of courageous awareness: always keeping at least a portion of my mind/heart attentive to Infinite Love and its directions, and doing my best to align my mind/heart/actions with that direction…This means a constant saying “yes” to Truth, to following one’s own inner wisdom.”

And also this:

“I want the courage: …to be open and receptive to new ideas and new experiences. …to dissolve the “I”. …to not do, to let go of the “I” impulses which seem to move me.…to access expanded states of consciousness, to bring more light to my body and life. …to be ready for “what’s next”! …to accept Grace…”

I mentioned on Day 26 that I had “found” a healing practice called Jharra. This was, I believe, a direct response to what I had written, and the work I had been doing consciously and sub-consciously for many months. It was “what’s next” that I had wanted the courage to face. It has dissolved so much of my “I”. When I “found” it, there were no “I” impulses, I simply said “yes”. It has shown me a sliver of a new state of awareness, and new light to my consciousness. It has shown me Grace (as well as devotion, love, and gentleness).

But more than this! Do you remember that at the end of the previous Journey (of Gratitude), and really throughout that Journey, I had been having a lot of “issues” with the phrase of the Guiding Thought, “We tune out distractions and place our entire focus on simply being with the Love that is always with us”? Well, it has been during this Journey, and particularly with the work I’ve done with Jharra, that I have learned to be with the Love that is always with me! I can do it now! I am not shy and embarrassed, or feeling guilty or worthless in the face of Love. I am just with Love. Wow!

Then there were obvious synchronicities and “right timing” that happened over the course of this Journey: A colleague introducing me to a friend, who amazingly lives right near me and does very similar “work”. Seeing an old friend out of nowhere at Trader Joe’s who (through me) then got in contact with another old friend, with whom she had fallen out of touch. Several (!) unexpected checks came in the mail (right before the holidays, thank you!).

And the neat thing is, I don’t feel involved with it all. That is, “I” don’t feel involved with it all. It’s happening. I am just here.

And I also have to monitor myself so “I” don’t get involved. As I write this, I feel excited and amazed thinking about it all. But as it was happening it was just me feeling neutral (or rather, not feeling), like “yeah, this is right”. When things feel that way, there is no ego-involvement, there is no actor, there is no action…and that’s what makes it right. So as I sit here, feeling excited, I have to remember the excitement is of my ego-mind, wanting to claim it, or have a stake in it. NO! Let it be. Let it be through me, not of me.

I dare say the Journey of Courage was more of a “success” than I ever could have imagined. But I am not really even sure what that means. I know I am encouraged, and I am ready for what’s next, whatever that is.

I also know that Journey of the Heart is going to be absolutely right and perfect in this here-and-now flow. Following my heart, listening to its wisdom, following where it leads is what’s next. Let’s do it!

I do hope you will join me for Journey of the Heart. I know that Journey of the Heart begins on a bit of an awkward day—January 1, 2016—but it’s going to be good, so very good. It will be a continuation…and a beginning.

Your flow is waiting for you. It’s right there. Step in.

 

 

Conscious Seeking/Seeking Consciously: Journey of Courage – Day 40

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I am aware, I allow, and I accept What Is. I go within to my silent Self which Knows and follow my Inner Wisdom to Truth. I practice Divine Balance in thought, word, and action. I Am! I Am my Self! I Am my Self of Love!

Sharing

It’s the final day of the Journey! Feels good! Thank you for being here in whatever capacity you have been. I hope you have “found” some courage, or been encouraged, or learned to be courageous—in your own way, in your own time.

I’ve relied on the phrase, “Seek and ye shall find” for much of my life. It has been a light to guide my inner-exploration. I suspect now that my early seeking led me eventually here, to these Journeys.

Seeking can be conscious or unconscious (or sub-conscious). In the culmination of thoughts, words, and action, people are always casting nets: the energy and attention used goes out and “gathers” something. What that “something” is, depends on our thoughts, words, and actions—and how consciously or unconsciously we use them to get the “catch” we want.

I realized this morning for the first time that the Guiding Thoughts are prompting and guiding this seeking, the casting of nets. Here’s how I worked it out:

I am aware

Am I aware? What am I aware of? How do I know if I am aware or not? How do I know if I am aware of the right things?

By asking these questions, I am exploring awareness itself, looking into the nooks and crannies where it might be, where I might find it.

I allow, and I accept What Is

What is? What IS? >I start looking for the What that IS< I am aware, and I can be aware of what IS. Once I find It. Then, I can allow and accept It. But I also need to look within and explore how I allow and accept. So once I find the What that IS, and once I’ve discovered proper use of allowance and acceptance, I’ve got this.

I…follow my Inner-Wisdom to Truth.

Where is my Inner-Wisdom? How do I recognize my Inner-Wisdom?

Now, not only am I aware and looking for What Is, as well as the acceptance and allowance of it, I am also looking for my inner-wisdom. Do you see how subtly this Guiding Thought leads to seeking? I don’t have to think about seeking, it just happens as I read each line of the Guiding Thought.

I practice Divine Balance in thought, word, and action.

Once I find and follow my inner-wisdom, I need to practice what it shows me, be where it leads me: Divine Balance. The seeking at the beginning of the Guiding Thought eventually leads me to the finding of Divine Balance, which is Bringing the Truth (What IS) into my thoughts, words, and actions, through my awareness, acceptance, and allowance of What IS.

And then, what do I find?

I Am! I Am my Self! I Am my Self of Love!

This single Guiding Thought is an entire Journey all on its own, beginning with seeking and ending with finding What IS.

Right here, right now. It may be for just a short time today, but I have found. The energy of the moment, this energy, this attention, ripples out and affects all areas of my life, simply because I’ve devoted these moments to consciously seeking.

What I seek for, I seek with.

What I seek, seeks me.

And It reveals itself through my seeking.

Thank you again for being here! I hope to see you on the next Journey! A Journey of the Heart begins (ready or not!) on January 1, 2016. In the next 10 days, I will add one or more reflections about Journey of Courage. And, I suspect, I will begin reflecting soon on the upcoming Journey of the Heart. This is a transition time, from 2015 to 2016. What do you want 2016 to bring? How would you like to grow and learn? Start thinking about it! Transformation begins with the preparation for it. I will be preparing for that Journey over the next 6 weeks…and I’ll begin 2016 in full-strength with a Journey of the Heart (crayons, colored pencils, drawing, connecting to your heart! How can you resist??).

 

“Be Patient, Luke.”: Journey of Courage – Day 39

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I accept my light and my lightness! I feel my Self expand! As I perceive change around me, I remain anchored in my Being of Light. I allow myself to sit peacefully in the still place of nothingness as life moves quickly around me.

Sharing

What is the Guiding Thought telling me today? I feel like it’s giving me a clue that I will figure out at some point in the future. I’ve been feeling that a lot lately (and especially on this Journey): that I am being guided, following clues whither they may lead.

Flower of Life
Flower of Life

Interestingly in accordance with the Guiding Thought, in my usual meditation this morning I included light-meditation.  First, I pictured a white-light Flower of Life encircling me, with its center at my navel.

It represented creation and protection, or attraction and protection, in the sense of attracting what I am “creating”. Protection was about transforming harmful thoughts within, as well as being a protective barrier from harmful influences without. It was like a 2-way dream catcher, catching negative energies before they could reach me, and releasing negativity, or like a cell wall which allows in nutrition and oxygen lets out the “waste” of carbon dioxide.

Then I pictured a golden light encircling me, its center at my heart. You know how paintings of spiritually advanced people are often painted with a circle of light around the head? I wondered if those small circles of light in the pictures represent a much larger circle which would fill the space all around the person.

I moved my attention up and “saw” two circles of light with centers at my forehead and the top of my head. I know this is beginning to sound like a chakra meditation, but interestingly, the light at my head did not correspond to chakra colors. The one at my forehead was a pastel pink, the one at the top of my head a pastel blue. I thought, “That can’t be right…” and tried to visualize them in the “correct” chakra colors, but it felt wrong, so I let them stay pink and blue.

This is part of why I said a moment ago that I think the Guiding Thought is trying to tell me something, is giving me clues. What is the clue about pink and blue head-chakra lights?

More and more, recently, I am noticing things like this, that have no apparent rhyme or reason in the moment—like the peacock and the caterpillar—but that make a whole lot of sense a week or two (or three) later.

“Be patient, Luke.”

I am learning patience, learning to watch and allow myself to be guided. I am learning to follow. I’m learning “to sit peacefully in the still place of nothingness as life moves quickly around me”…and the clues continue coming.

I ended my meditation this morning thinking about God expressing through me, as me. Who am I to understand the entirety of God and Her/His expressions? Who am I to know how all the pieces fit in perfect Unity and Completion? I am enjoying being lead and enjoying simply following. It’s like the start of a whole new journey.

After note:

Just after finishing the Journey this morning, I had some time before I had to get ready for work, so I picked up the book, The Divine Mother Speaks: The Healing of the Human Heart, by Rashmi Khilnani. I came to a place that says, in essence, exactly what I wrote about above. It was like an immediate affirmation of everything I had written, including the part about finding clues—by affirming my clues! It really makes me chuckle how “stuff shows up”.

Here is what I read (Speaking about lessons to be learned from the Sphinx): You connect strongly to the energy of patience, to the energy of detached witnessing, and to the energy of nonjudgmental observation…Patience is the calm acceptance of Divine timing and of the eternal nature of all things beyond time. The tendency of the mind is to push you into impatience, which then leads to frustration and disease. The intrinsic nature of your human heart in its depth of Divine connection is patient, ever patient.

I began the Journey today noticing clues…then I went into patience…then I ended with patience about how the pieces fit (“Divine timing”); do you see it? Maybe it’s just me, but when I read the words from The Divine Mother Speaks, I felt like the book was telling me, in different words, exactly what I had just written. I also don’t think it’s coincidence that the last line of the above quote is about the nature of the heart, and yesterday’s Journey was all about the heart.

Working Toward My Heart’s Ph.D.: Journey of Courage – Day 38

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I allow myself to connect with my pure Inner Divine Heart of Oneness. I am aware of the expression of the Divine Heart through me, as me. I connect with my heart, and am aware of embodying its pure Love intention for All.  I am filled with Joy as I embrace my heart’s Love.

Sharing

Heart Love is so healing! The heart unifies; it’s through the heart that I am able to balance the thoughts in my mind, thoughts which tend to dissect things in order to figure them out and put them back together. If I connect with my heart, when I do this “figuring out” and “putting back together”, my overall understanding is more complete, more whole.

Although I know this and practice heart-love, I have to admit, it’s one of the harder things I am learning. I like my mind and my intellect. I rely on my mind for so much and I’ve spent a lot of time developing it.

Connecting with my heart is not difficult per se; it’s just that my heart-development is so far behind my intellect—my heart is like an elementary student, while my mind has a Ph.D.

Actually…that is a good comparison. My mind does actually have a Ph.D. and I know what it took to get it there. There was study and research, focus, intense concentration, and there was a lot of work with single-pointed aim and intention.

Now it’s time to get a Ph.D. for my heart, using these same skills. Perhaps it is not such a coincidence the next Journey is a Journey of the Heart.

But what does the heart have to do with courage? Why has this seemingly random Guiding Thought about the heart shown up on the 8th day of each round?

I have a glimpse of an answer:

The heart unifies. Unity is wholeness and completeness. Thus, the heart is the vehicle through which we are able to connect with Oneness. In Oneness, there is: equality, compassion, love, and understanding. In fact, many times here, I have equated Oneness with Love. Love is All and All There Is. Thus, the heart is how we also connect with the Oneness of Love, with All That IS. Living as Love, with Love, has been one of the major themes of Journey of Courage: encouraging living as Love. Thus! Courage!

Of course, in those sentences, I hear my intellect, not my heart. A whole answer will require a heart-connection, which will require the study of and concentration on the heart!

Off Track and Right On: Journey of Courage – Day 37

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

Love is strong! Powerful! I embrace Love and wield it through my awareness of Oneness. Oneness destroys the illusions of the mind, of the past, and of the material world. I move forward courageously with Peace in the Truth of Love and Oneness.

Sharing

“I wield Love through my awareness of Oneness.” This part of the Guiding Thought really made me think today. Love can be wielded through a consciousness of separation. It is not a given that Love is always used in a Loving way. That sounds a bit convoluted, doesn’t it? I am thinking about people who use love to manipulate…or parents using love to justify violence, “It’s for your own good”; “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” Or, even well-meaning people who give “loving advice”, through the lens of their own projections, that ultimately does more harm than good.

How we wield Love matters. A match is only a match, just as a flame is only a flame, but it can be used to light a candle to show the way, or it can be used to burn down a home. The way we “wield” love is through our consciousness—a consciousness of either separation or Oneness. We choose how we use it, how we direct it.

Unfortunately, separation is how humans encounter the physical world—as a world of duality. Our senses, our brains, our perceptions are all “wired” to rank, categorize, compare, and divide.

Seemingly inherent in this is the judgment about to which rank or category something belongs. Judgment often implies that something is “better” or “worse”. Why do we get caught up in these distinctions, in these categories and comparisons?  I am beginning to see how limiting our perceptions are, and how we do it to ourselves; we limit ourselves through these boundaries of comparisons. In order to categorize, we must ask, “How are things different?” In order to discern, we must ask, “How are things different?”

Our propensity to dualistic thinking leads us to becoming stuck here. The opposite of thinking, “How are things different?” is thinking, “How are things the same?” and that doesn’t seem to help us. How can we tell things apart if we look at similarities?

Oneness is not about comparison, or even similarities, it’s about connection. Instead of looking at how things are different, or how things are the same—what their physical characteristics are that distinguish things from or with one another—we should ask, “How are these things connected?” “How are they related?” That bypasses the divisive thinking all together.

Seeing connections rather than comparisons does not seem to be our “natural state”, however. Fortunately, this is something we can learn.

Beginning to understand the myriad interconnections of nature was the original use of the term “the butterfly effect”, meaning the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil could cause a tornado in Texas, but the intricate effects of that one flap could also prevent a tornado. Small things interconnect with an entire world through ways we may never know, especially if we don’t begin to look.

People are learning to see connections through nature, through how wolves change the course of rivers, through watching the ocean-environment change with the over-“harvesting” of sharks and manta rays, through how weather patterns changing in one area (for example, this year’s El Niño), can affect the weather across a continent, how the ocean warming is changing currents around the world, affecting migrations, feeding, and spawning. Everything is connected.

I see that I got way off track today. I’m ok with that. I think the point I was headed toward is that Oneness is not about duplicity. We are trained to think in dualistic ways, but we can learn beyond duality. A good place to start is in learning to think in terms of connections and interconnections, relationships and interrelationships. This moves us away from dualism. It doesn’t quite get us to Oneness, but it’s a step.

 

But Wait! There’s More! Journey of Courage – Day 36

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I am responsible! I am able to respond with and through conscious awareness of my inner-centered, silent knowingness. I practice Knowingness moment by moment. Anchored in my inner-harmony, I have the courage to face my own thoughts and actions.

Sharing

The insights of how this Journey is subtly teaching me continues! On several previous Journeys, I’ve had inklings of the gradual progression with each step Journey takes, which leads me to greater understanding. This, however, is the first time I am seeing the progression this clearly—seeing how the days “fit” together, and also “fit” into the combined bigger picture of the entire, overall Journey.

Yesterday, and the day before, I explained how Love gives us assurance of Itself, calls us to Itself, and helps us (gently) to understand It is where we really want to be. In doing so, It helps us want to lay aside anything that gets in the way of being with It. This is one of many ways Love gives us courage.

Today (the 6th day of each round) addresses our co-relationship with Love: Love is within us and all around us, but it’s up to us to allow It to express through us. Allowing Love is our responsibility. Love gives us free will to choose It, or not. It gives us every aid and encouragement to follow Its lead, then sits back and says, “What are you going to do? What do you want?”

Being responsible with Love, for Love, and to Love means choosing Love’s lead…as much as I can, as often as I can, and ultimately, choosing It completely, 110%, all of the time.

This takes practice. This is the practice of connecting daily with the inner-centered, silent Knowingness, the Love within, and being willing to allow that Love into Being.

The more I practice this, the greater I reinforce the assurances Love has given me, for example for the first 5 days of this Journey. This becomes the anchoring.

Anchoring gives solidity and firmness from within. It’s that unshakeable place within that can handle anything that comes up. And it can handle anything that comes up, because through practice, we learn our own strength in and with Love.

In the practice of choosing Love, and feeling anchored, my confidence in “handling life” increases. Also, in that confidence I can find and clear-away even more that might be hindering my experience of Love. In this anchored place there is constant increase (of Love) and constant clearing away (of things not-Love). These two things work together, like a scrub-brush and a broom: one loosens the dirt, the other sweeps it away! All of this gives me a fuller experience of Love in Life, of Love and Life expressing in me, through me, as me! Oh what a joy it is!

It’s Coming Together: Journey of Courage – Day 35

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for susanwithpearls.com
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for susanwithpearls.com

Guiding Thought

I am ready and willing, here and now, to be courageous. I release my mind’s idea of security, of “right” and of “wrong”. I allow my personality to dissolve and to become One with the Love that Is, everywhere. All false boundaries evaporate like mist in the sun as I devote myself to the Oneness of Love.

Sharing

I get it now. This Journey is making so much sense! It really amazes me how things come together, just doing this process.

The first few days I was asking, “What does this have to do with courage?” Now I get it.

Love is gentle. Love wants us to come to it. The first few days of each round, Love is showing us it’s gentle.

Before beginning, I was a bit on edge about this Journey of Courage, because courage often implies facing something scary. Who wants to take that on willingly? So, instead of showing us something scary, Love gave peace and assurance first. That’s what the first three days of each round are: softness, gentleness, Love saying, “It’s ok; I’m here. I enfold you, give you safety. Come to me.”

“Come to me.”

It’s like the growling Doberman turns into a puppy those first 3 days. Who doesn’t want to just run up and mush on a puppy? “There’s nothing to fear. Come to me.”

The reason this works—when Love shows me its softness and gentleness—is because it’s what I want. I’ve just had too much in the way, and I don’t think I can trust Love.

That’s where courage comes in. It’s not Love I am afraid of; it’s all my own stuff I can’t trust that gets in the way and causes me to think/feel fearfully. Figuring this out and walking through my stuff, being able to “release my mind’s idea of security, of “right” and of “wrong”’that takes courage.

That’s why on this Journey, courage doesn’t even enter the picture until day 4. Love assures us, then it encourages us to walk through (and release) the mire of misunderstanding and misperception.

Love is there for us. It leads us through the mire of our minds. It leads and I follow because It’s what I want.

Love knows me better than I know myself. It knows what I need to be One with It, and just how much I can handle before I get too scared and turn away from It. It knows just the right way to lead me to Itself. All I need to do is release and follow.

When I am not following Love, that’s when I am over-thinking—anticipating (Day 25). But ultimately Love Knows…and Love leads. The more I follow, the more I experience Love’s beauty and gentleness, which results in me trusting It and wanting to trust it more. The more I trust my experience of Love, the more I want to let go of my misunderstandings, my ideas about security, of “right” and “wrong”, my false boundaries, and the more I want to follow and to devote myself to Love.

Each day I’ve been assured of Love leading (Day 11). Devotion and surrender now have a new, richer color. Before, devotion and surrender felt like giving up, submitting, losing something. But now, the more I feel Love leading me, the more I want it to, the more I want to give up everything that gets in the way. I simply want to be with Love, to do whatever it takes, and do whatever it wants for me. It’s so much better than anything I could imagine or do for myself.