Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dealing With Blocks

Do you know what it feels like to be blocked?  I was almost two years into my awakening before I realized just how blocked I was.  Kundalini had begun its work and was loosening the material that had crowded itself around me. I thought things were getting better.  They were.  I was a changed man.  But awareness is a very relative thing. By being aware of how blocked I was, it led to still more removal of harder to get at material.

Certainly, the easiest material fell away first.  I could feel it. The more central material in my core, that was a different story.

I began the process of still-greater blockage removal by realizing it was there.  I began to attend a class that met twice weekly just a block from my home offered by a man who was an expert in his field. the classes cost me five dollars per two hour session. The teacher did this is a community service for the most part.  Lucky me and everyone else that took part.

The process that began in earnest in those classes, which utilized what is known as White Crane Qi Gung is the same Qi work that the Shaolin monks use.  There are many versions of Qi Gung, but all of it is based in movement. It means "energy work."  I can't say that any one type is better than another. My teacher, though, knew a lot about Chinese medicine and he was able to offer many different pointers to help facilitate the flow of Qi (Chi) through the body. The effect at first was that I felt awful.  I went away feeling clammy and more aware of how blocked I was.  This made it seem as though I was more blocked than I was.  I had merely become more consciously aware of these blocks.  I think it is important not to let yourself get down on yourself during these times of awareness.  The very fact that you are now aware is an important first step in removing the blocks!  Remember; where attention goes, so does energy, and if your intent is to remove something within,  the universe will conspire with you to see that this happens. Persistence is key.  So keep at it.

I found that the blocks I was now feeling felt like very real physical things. Around my heart there was this stony mote.  I could feel my heart scrape up against this hard surface every moment of the day.  This was maddening. It hurt.  It was hard. The pain was very real and I had no idea how to get it to stop.  In about a year in a fit of sadness, it all happened without any effort.  I felt the part of us that is known as the Observer step in and the rest was history.  It gave me just enough room to feel the forgiveness that was my own enough that this age old karmic thread was able to slip quietly into the ether never to return.  For as hard as the feeling was in my heart chakra, it did drive awareness in me in a 24/7 sort of way.  It wasn't until I gave up trying ot was at the end of my rope that the answer came.  It was swift, simple, and permanent. My heart center was then magnetized towards something very different. The effect that this had on my life was substantial. Events took a sudden turn in a new direction.  It was as though I was living in a different version of a world populated by people who were no longer attracted or affected by this thing that I had only a few days before.  Instead, a new story was unfolding.  Miraculous.

Movement has long been inculcated in the removal of past traumas.  There is a biological dynamic that happens where both etheric and physical are affected so that what lies in the energy body is also removed from the physical.  They work together so that the act of merely moving can loosen age old material in the energy body.  This material can be from lifetimes ago.  It has been observed, for example that nearly every culture on earth that knows ecstatic states (all of them actually) will tend to have a corresponding movement that goes along with it.  This can be expressed as twitches, jerks or "quakes" or shakes. The movement of the Holy Ghost is the same and Kriyas and mudras are an expression of this in the Hindu tradition. Aboriginal peoples will go into shaking fits as they reach communion with the spirits of gods.  Animals will shake after they have been attacked by larger animals all in an effort to "shake it off."  For more on this, search the archives using the search term "shaking it off" and you will find an article written over a year ago that addresses this very subject.

Staying physically active is helpful in removing blocks.  The Sufi tradition recognized the role that movement had in reaching higher states of being.  Sometimes it just FEELS good. But dance is another form that can also help, especially if you can dance ecstatically and get your body moving.  Will aerobics work?  That is a good question.  I do not see why not.  I have heard that pushing ones self physically can often break through energetic barriers to feel a deeper sense of self.  Runners often speak of hitting a wall that leads to a euphoria that give them the means to go further with less struggle.   Is this the same?  I can't say. I sure would be interested to know if anyone has experienced this and whether it had a liberating effect long after the event of the running took place.

Something about movement helps us to cognitively and emotionally rid ourselves of past issues that we have been holding onto for a while.  I notice that it gets me out of my thoughts and into my body, which is a peaceful place to be.  Here, with the mind silenced, you can simply be with the body as these small miracles happen drop by drop. This is not an intellectual pursuit, so keep the mind out of it.  This is much more a fundamental exercise.  Let it do its work without needing to know or understand.  It works.  That should be enough for your mind to chew on.

Part 2

There is another aspect to removing blocks that can also be very helpful.  I discovered the effectiveness of this as a result of my own work professionally in art.  I am a glassblower and my work is very physical.  It fuses grace, brawn, and skill in an act that is itself alchemical if you know how to let it work for you.  In these early sessions I found myself channeling different energetic aspects of myself.  Whenever I say "energy" I also mean consciousness. Always.  For energy is itself aware and you can feel into this when you know how to feel deeply.  A deep surrender ensues and all turns to bliss. 

But less than the movement used in my work is the power that creative energy has on us. In the same way that movement can help to remove old material, so too can the flow of creative energy.  Having said that, tantric energy also has the same effect.  All of these aspects all happen to have a lot of energy as a hallmark of their presence in your life. you can literally fuse them together in an intuitive way to make them work for you in a powerful way. 

So creative energy is very closely aligned to sexual energy.  It opens you up and allows you to feel yourself more deeply.  It leads you into that most beautiful part of you that awaits for that touch fo the divine that we are.  This can lead to a pulse of life so amazingly wonderful you will wonder how you ever lived without it. All you need to feel it is to become inspired. That is the core of all art.  But being inspired is also the same as being turned on sexually.  Both of these states have the same elements attached; we let go of the mind and begin to FEEL.  

When I teach my students in art and when I work in the studio in glass with people taking classes, I do everything I can do to keep thinking from getting in the way.  If you are of the opinion that you have to THINK in order to create; stop. Right now, put away that idea because it has no place in all of this.  Trust me.  In the same way that you let go all thoughts and just allow yourself to surrender in an act of intimate love, so too do you do the same exact thing when you are creative.  The feeling of the energy is different, yes, but not terribly.  We get excited and feel happy in both states.  We do this because it is what we are.  the act of becoming inspired is itself the shepherd to your core self.  Let it do its great work.  As you open up you can imagine or even feel those hard shells fall away from the outer parts of your being.  You become vulnerable, perhaps the most vulnerable you have ever been.  Let it be that way.  No one is here to hurt you. Be soft and feel yourself.  It is here that you are in this ancient current of the divine.  It is your soulfulness that you are bathing in.  You are infinite, and here you get to settle down into your pure essence.  Revel in that.  

Be like a child.  Stop feeling like you hve to put the brakes on everything.  All of these things are the very things that my students show me are their biggest hurdles and they have been mind, too. When I stop thinking about WHAT to do that it all just comes down like some giant download of information.  be a channel for this energy.  You will feel enraptured, enlivened, and renewed.  It will feel so good that you wont want to stop.  And why should you?  the challenge I p9ut to you is to learn how to channel this energy all the time.  This is what you are, and what you are learning to become. 

So use your imagination. What I do to get there is consider what would I make if I had all he money in the world.  No limits.  I think of how I once had a kingdom at my command and these people, whom I loved so much and who loved me, were willing to do just about anything for me.  I had such a rich supply of resources. We built temples in the forest.  We quarried stone and we decorated it with beautiful colors. I think back on those days and it helps me to realize that when i loosen up what i think is possible inside of me that the flow of inspiration just begins.  I have no thought in these moments. I have no idea what will come.  I direct it, yes, through my interest and desire, but I also am careful to allow accidents to happen.  I do this as a signal or cue to the higher self to step in.  My accidents are always full of discovery as a result.  I know this may sound haphazard to some, but because I intend it to be an entry point for the higher self, it quite naturally does.  It works because i believe that it can.  In order for it to work for you, you have to carry the same belief or else it might not work.   These events are very good for bringing in new ideas that I hadn't considered before.  There are simply no accidents in my experience.  But you have to be able to let go enough for this kind of magic to happen. 

As you do this work, you fuse your physicality with your energetic being in creating something.  In just the same way that making love can lead to creating new life, creating art leads to the creation of new forms of "life" which are embodied as ideas. We can quite literally break down old cognitive barriers that lead to new ways of seeing and feeling. When you still thought, you give this inspired moment the room to move in you.  Most great artists know this, but it is not taught as a methodology in schools. The students that have the most problem with art are those that are worrying about how it all will turn out.  You simply have to allow yourself to play and enjoy it, like a child does.  You CAN do this. Stop being so serious for a bit!  you do not create by ploughing seriously through the process but in surrender.  Your mind opens, your body and hands take a more receptive posture.  Then it slips through you like a small boat slips through the watery waves of your awareness.  First one, then another.  Here being in the moment, being present, is important. Then, still thought so you can feel your energy.  Just feel it.  You don't have to do ANYTHING with it. Just let it be for now.  It will get you excited.  This is the coming of inspiration.  It will show you that there is nothing to fear in letting go like this.  

The body gets in the act.  The two energies of the universal current begins to move.  the yin and yang merge both in your energy field and your physical body.  The brain, a mirror of the masculine and feminine aspects of the universe begin to work together.  The linear more masculine left brain takes the wildly imaginative yet almost formless right brain material and gives it a voice or a form.  The right brain sees the big picture and the left sees the details.  It sees the leaves and cell structures, but it gets lost in the forest.  the right brain sees the scales of form in great volume. Together, when they work perfectly, it is like tantric union except this is the creative act of birthing new ideas and forms in the world. Here, you are in your element.  I can hear the protestations now: "But I am not creative!"

Of course you are.  Maybe you cannot draw a perfect nude or a still life.  But you ARE creative.  In your own way, it is what you are.  It is what we all are. It is not an "art thing" that makes for creativity.  But I have a neat trick to help with that when it comes to art making.  I have glass. 

Ornaments, Parker Stafford
Glass is a material that, in its molten state, glows with a life of its own.  It is an amazing material.  it is also difficult to control, which for our use today is perfect. I use the molten plasticity of glass to keep people anchored in the moment.  This works!  Your focus with the glass is so total that your mind has the opportunity to go quiet.  People have told me that they like doing glass because it forces them to think of nothing else but the glass.  This is a lot like zazen or other meditative states. You can FEEL your energy in moments like these.  The other side to glass is that when you flow with it, it looks beautiful.  In fact, you can dribble glass onto the floor and it will look fantastic.  How can you go wrong with a material like this?  The simpler you are, the more its essence comes through.  Just let it do what it does naturally.  Colors are brilliant, and the glass sparkles and shines. Everyone who has tried glass for the first time have all been surprised with the beautiful results of the glass they have made at the studio.  This serves as a way to trim away all of those thoughts of their not being creative.  With glass anyone can make beautiful things.  It also doesn't need to be anything other than it is.  Sometimes an ornament winds up looking like a planet or world from some other realm.  It is interesting to look at.  Sometimes I just gaze at the ornaments on my own Christmas tree and see all of the wild details I had missed just a year ago.  The funkier and wilder, the better.  You see, glass can show you what is possible when creating blown forms.  

Nautilus bowl detail, Parker Stafford

In no other instance does it feel like Christmas then when we open the kilns where the glass we blew the day before we placed so they could cool slowly.  It has been over fifteen years and each time there is an excitement to see what is going to come out.  You'd think after hundreds of tons of glass made in my studio so far that I might get jaded.  But it doesn't ever seem to grow old.  Every day that has something waiting in the annealing ovens is a day where there is something new to discover. 

My work in the studio is designed now, when it comes to teaching others, to help set their wild horses free.  One moment we are doing a large sun catcher and moments later it becomes a ribbed tendril that get placed in a flower garden or hung with others as a light fixture or placed on a stake near a door to greet all who enter with its crystalline beauty. 

Nested Yin Form, Parker Stafford
My work in the studio discipline is not hard. It is deceptively easy.  It is about feeling into it.  The power of this is realized in how you feel as a result. It sounds like it is too simple, but it is in the simplicity of it that the effects are achieved.  It is in letting it happen to you that is the key.  When the mind gets out of it, something else gets into it.  Sure, you have to keep molten glass balanced on the end of a four foot metal rod, but in my work I am there telling the person what to do next. I don't map it out first in order to keep their mind out of it and simply engaged as it watches what happens as it all unfolds.  It is an approach that works very well. It is not always best for seasoned blowers who need to understand a complicated series of movements, but it is very effective for ferrying beginners through the process without building anxiety over the many steps or things they will be doing. In this way people tend to maintain a form of engagement that is very good for what I am seeking to help them achieve.  Just feeling good about making something beautiful itself has a very positive effect on a person. Fear goes away.  Creativity does not do every well in the presence of fear.  Like love, creativity and fear do not mix.  One closes you down, the other opens you up. 

Absent having glass as a moving modality for healing, you can do anything that lights your creative fire.  It can literally be anything.  Writing, drawing, dreaming, singing, dancing, writing music, or rearranging the house.  Working on the car.  Any act can be one of creation if you know where to look.  Then, cultivating a life that is passionate and engaged will keep your energy moving in you.  You can also observe those times when you feel suddenly bereft of creative fire and consider what it was that happened inside of you in those times that caused that to happen and learn to avoid that kind of thinking in the future.  I can tell you that my experience is that anything that causes me to pull back from life in anything less than a full embrace is what kills my creative fire.  Sometimes it is just a stray thought that turns in me that my ego get to work on and then after a while a very small thing turns into something big.  There I go again! I remind myself. I then just get myself worked back into a state of energetic excitation and suddenly the world glows with a new life.  This is a moment by moment cultivation of the very force of life in the day to day.  This is learning to bring heaven to earth. It is, after all, a worthy cause. 

No comments: