My perspective on what it means to Be Conscious.
It is not in the way I talk or words I use. It's not the way I look, act, or dress. It is not a technique I use or approach to life I prefer. It is not the teacher I love working with. Nor is it about some kind of gift, talent, or ability. It is not in being kind nor is it in any particular trait in me.
It's not a list of good deeds I can show off.
It's not in the money or any outer success I can attain.
It's not in environmentally aware habits, living clean, or simple. It's not in not having money, success or possessions either.
Becoming more conscious can certainly influence and bring profound changes, it has for me. The outer changes though, for me, are really secondary.
Consciousness for me is an inner alert state of being. It has nothing to do with spiritual correctness, in fact it obliterates it. I've come to a realization that consciousness is the only thing that recognizes and detects consciousness. Which is one reason there is so much confusion out there. This confusion is when we try to think ourselves into being conscious.
A story to illustrate what I'm trying to say…
Years ago, through a few documentaries, I became aware of how horribly animals are treated in the meat industry. Months after this I began to ask myself "If I care for animals, why am I still eating meat knowing how cruelly they are treated?"
I wasn't judging myself. I was honestly curious about this.
Not long after this question arose for me, I discovered that deep down I believed myself to be dark.
I was initially nervous to find out where this belief came from and what the darkness was about.
In allowing this belief to fully surface and be expressed (using the Dalian Method) I discovered this rigid stubbornness in me insisting that I AM dark. Insisting that this is who I am: “I like being dark and dammit I'm not letting this go!”
During the healing session this then shifted and I felt the fear that was behind the stubbornness. I was afraid (terrified actually) to dissolve into the light.
The fear lasted several minutes then it released from my system. A wonderful peace and clarity surfaced. I realized that the so-called darkness didn't have much substance to it. It was just my ego that wanted to stay in that identity of being dark because it was afraid to dissolve into the light. I let go of that identity and welcomed the beauty of more light (of expanded consciousness).
After this I decided it was time to stop eating meat. The next day after I made the decision, during my lunch break from my office job, I went to my usual Mexican food place. Out of habit I initially ordered something with meat and then stopped. I remembered my decision and changed my order to a vegetarian option. In that moment when I switched and ordered the vegetarian item I saw a vision of myself stepping out of the stream of darkness I had been attached to.
It was a beautiful experience in honoring with action my shift in consciousness. It was a way for me to step out of the old identity.
Now, here is what I didn’t have a desire to do…
To BECOME a vegetarian. Meaning I was not interested in now having a new identity for my ego to attach itself to. "I was dark, but now I'm light and don't eat meat".
I wasn’t interested in telling people they should do it too or feeling superior to meat-eaters and making any assumptions about them.
I was simply letting something go. I didn't want to fill that new space with something else. To fill it with a new identity (even if it does seem like an improvement over the old one). Instead I can enjoy having more space and light in me.
Working inside-out is how I like to do things. If I had become a vegetarian before that inner shift happened because I "should" than I am not sure how it would have gone. It would not have had the same meaning for me and I would’ve struggled with sticking to it. I probably would have also created another battle within (by trying to think myself into consciousness).
And if I’m really wanting to eat meat, which I do every now and then, I just let myself have it. I’m not going to fight with my cravings (been there, it sucks). I'm not bound to anything either.
My habits, including "bad" ones, are just to help me understand and discover new things. About life. About what it is to be human. About myself.
After what I've personally released and have worked through over the years, the last thing I want is more programming or another ideology (however healthy or altruistic it may seem).
There are definitely major turning points in my life but Being Conscious isn't a place I arrive at, it is an on-going expansion into new experiences. Some experiences I admit are way more enjoyable than others. But it is a never-ending discovery that lets me stay open and flexible so I can adjust when I learn something new (or UN-learn something new).
This is how I work best, it's not necessarily going to look this way for everyone. Perhaps for another it is expansive and fulfilling a purpose for them to tackle certain problems in our society. Just like those documentaries influenced me and I'm glad someone created them.
**Technically I’m a pescatarian because I eat seafood.
I love my body.
Not in the physical way and in the "my body is beautiful as it is" kinda way. That's there as well.
But what I mean is how my body brings me to the Truth.
I've had times where my mood seems very low and I'm thinking things are not going well in my life. Then I allow my attention to drop deeper into myself, into my body, and I have felt a surprising lightness and a palpable sense that all is okay and fine.
Sometimes I will be excited and in a whirlwind of feel-good energy, but then I realize that my body is signaling to me that something isn't right. This has happened to me a lot actually, since I tend towards excitability.
This can happen in my love life, it can happen in my friendships and in group settings. All is seemingly great but then I get a moment to myself and something in my body doesn't feel good.
It might feel like being suddenly drained or tired. I've also experienced it as uneasiness in my own skin. Sometimes it’s a heaviness in my heart.
Nothing wrong with that bubbly fun energy. I like that about me yet I've been looking more closely at times where I am in that experience and have momentarily disconnected from myself. In these moments I'm not truly experiencing connection or real joy, I'm actually escaping from something.
I might have been escaping because I don't want to acknowledge to myself that I do not resonate with the ideas coming from people I'm around in that moment (nothing personal against others and their choices). Or it might just be time for me to rest and be alone and I'm resisting it. I've also seen myself be entertaining to people to get attention I've been craving.
Exploring escapism, especially in social situations, has brought up valuable opportunities for transforming my blind spots.
A major one for me right now is the fear of being alone. In working with this fear I've had beautiful glimpses that I'm never alone because I have myself. And within myself is all of existence.
But there are deeper layers still operating on this fear. I am actually feeling sad as I write this. I realized yesterday how I still diminish myself, my wisdom, and the work I do to at times to avoid feeling isolated and misunderstood (being alone).
Ouch. In diminishing myself I broke my own heart.
I know this sadness is necessary though and I'm just letting it be there and feeling it.
This is why I love my body, it connects me to the Truth, even if that Truth is uncomfortable. It won't let me kid myself.
Where have you noticed the difference between what your mind or mood is saying and what your body is saying? Feel free to share in comments.
“This Should Be Easy” <- Ever have this judgment toward yourself?
I have this habit - When anything breaks or something needs to be maintained: on my car, on my computer, or in my home. I immediately go into mental complaining and resistance. If possible I will find a way to avoid dealing with it.
Even the smallest things. The other day I got home and a light bulb in my kitchen went out. My mind immediately said what it typically says “Oh man, such a pain. Nah, I’ll change the light bulb later. I can live with less light in here”.
I saw the resistance and thoughts very clearly. Instead, I went down to my basement storage to get a new light bulb and changed it.
I find these daily life things a struggle and often the thought comes “This should be easy” which fuels more resistance to what is.
What I started to do is have a little “I’m so proud of me!” party when I deal with something I would normally put off.
So after I changed the light bulb…. instead of being a stern parent by telling myself that I did something I SHOULD do...I recognized that little victory and celebrated it. I gave myself a hug and said “Good job Leela!” and then did a little happy dance.
Imagine me in my kitchen dancing around singing and flailing my arms up “Yay I changed the light bulb!”
I already give myself credit for more obviously challenging things, but wanted to speak to the less-obvious & under-acknowledged challenges we face.
So here is what happens when I give myself credit:
I know what is easy for me and what is challenging for me. I can honor this instead of letting comparison, and the outer world’s ideas (including my own mind) dictate what 'should' be easy.
After reading this do you now realize what you need to give yourself credit for? Let me know in the comments. We can have a “I’m so proud of Me” party!
Or don’t share and do it alone if that feels most self-empowering for you!
***If you are unable to go beyond a particular place of struggle or self-judgment, then there is something causing it that you haven’t yet become aware of. Explore what that could be! You can also give yourself credit for something that feels already pretty light with not so much self-judgment (for example, my ‘should be easy’ judgments I refer to in this blog were not very intense for me to begin with.)
Light and positivity are not the same thing to me. If I relegated light to being positive my actual inner light would be restricted and stunted.
Light in the way I'm meaning it here is Consciousness.
Think of a flash light in a dark room. It reveals what has been hidden.
I allow both my “positive” and “negative”. I put those in quotes because truly to me, whatever reveals the truth, is ultimately positive. It is a YES to life itself.
Once I was at a retreat and was wearing a shirt with an opening in the back. Someone poked me in the back playfully and I asked them to not do that.
As I walked away I said to the person walking next to me “I guess that's what I get for wearing this”.
Wow. I didn't know that thought was in me!
If someone would have asked me if what a woman wears matters when she is receiving unwanted touch, I would have said “Of course not”.
But that would have been on the thinking mind's level. Deep down that thought that I said out loud at the retreat had been imprinted in me: Meaning I had at some point in my life heard this and believed it.
This happens to me frequently when I'm allowing myself to be authentic and spontaneous. I never know what I'm going to say, do, or discover.
There may be an expectation that I'm supposed to say or do things a certain way. But I want to continue expanding my consciousness (my inner light), so I can't focus too much on fulfilling superficial expectations.
Sometimes my insecurity is very visible. That's where I would like it, on the surface, living itself out. Not hidden, buried, and safely stored in order to fool myself behind a facade of confidence.
I am grateful for the people in my life who point out things for me that I’m unaware of. Sometimes though, a well-meaning person will try to help me fix what they think is a negative belief or my attachment to ‘my story’. They don’t realize that the story that is spontaneously falling out of my mouth and the emotions moving through my body are already unraveling….they are surfacing and disintegrating on their own.
Showing confidence is great! Unless, it's used as a protective facade, then it doesn't allow for healing what we’ve been trying to cover up. The healing would let the real inner confidence to open and bloom.
Sometimes it's our clarity that allows us to see the issues and lack of sensitivity in another person's behavior towards us.
But If we stay fixated on blaming them for our own stress & unhappiness then we lose contact with true reality. We haven't seen what the situation and person is there to teach us.
If you are reading this thinking your situation is an exception. If I were you, I would think again. You might very well be staring straight into the liberation you've been asking for and telling it….
“What is this situation here to show me?” is a question I use often. But I have to mean it when I ask it. I have to really WANT to know.
If this resonates on some level with you but seems very difficult: Have you first acknowledged, and fully expressed and felt any blame, hurt, anger, judgments, and self-judgments? This is how we compassionately and bravely take full responsibility for ourselves. For all we experience.
Another way to avoid reality and liberating yourself is to sugarcoat or spiritualize the situation. We can do this by trying really hard to or pretending to be loving, accepting, forgiving, grateful...when inside we actually feel very differently.
If you allow the challenge to deeply transform you, you may be shocked to experience a spontaneous gratitude for the asshole :)
Self-Empowerment is super messy. For a while.
If someone’s been living in a largely dis-empowered state for quite a while and their inner power is waking up - there is an adjustment phase. There will be mistakes and finer areas of learning and growth. Just like with anything new that we do or step into.
I was this person and when an exhilarating freedom emerged from within - I would sometimes bring more fierceness than a situation called for. Sometimes WAY more.
Imagine a situation where a soft simple expression would have gotten the job done but I’m yelling at the top of my lungs. (I can laugh now)
I had to go back and apologize a few times… hey, I’m sorry. I was being a jerk. You didn’t deserve that.
But I was like a child learning to ride a bike that felt a little big for me. Wobbly and crashing into things.
It’s different for everyone, for me it came in waves and lasted several years.
If the pendulum has been mostly at living life in a very small watered-down way, or just feeling small. Then naturally it needs to swing the opposite way for a while.
It takes time before things become more centered and stable. If we try to push or force stability, we interfere with the transformation that’s moving in and through us and our lives.
It eventually comes closer to center on its own.
So if you know someone that’s been recently difficult for you and they are sincerely working on themselves, hope this helps bring understanding. If this person is you, have compassion for yourself and trust the process.
I've been called weird almost all my life.
Such a sore spot in me anytime someone would say this to me. Ouch.
I reacted by trying to figure out what was weird about me and get rid of it. I wanted to and tried to just fit in...Blend in...Belong. This approach just kept me in the insecurity. And from seeing the truth about why this kept happening.
The truth is people called me this and it hurt...not because it was true, but because I BELIEVED it. It was my own conclusion about myself at a young age when the world outside didn't make any sense to me; It must be me. I’m weird.
When I began exploring and working with the insecurities and beliefs it brought up, most of the charge around the word dissolved.
I don't remember the last time someone called me weird. I don't remember the last time I worried about it. It just stopped happening a while back. Life is so interesting that way!
And it's not because people have such positive opinions of me or that I fit neatly into social situations. It just stopped mattering so much to me.
Sometimes I fit and connect, sometimes I don’t. That’s life. And it’s fine and good. Because we are all unique little universes.
We are all aliens here.
Do you have anything like this? Something that when is said about you just feels very raw and painful? Something that has been going on for a long time? Is it time for you to explore it, to go deeper?.
Feel free to share your insights and your ‘ouch’ place in the comments.
I love seeing a Dalian Method client realize their own inherent worth and goodness. I enjoy teaching people, who are ready, the difference between positive mental beliefs and experiencing their truth from within.
People are usually shocked at how much beauty and intelligence and wisdom and love is inside them. It's there naturally. Without any contriving or contorting or improving themselves.
This realization happens from the courage they undertake to be completely honest about the feelings and thoughts they have been running from. This allows the pain and self-judgments that have been operating from their unconscious to be permanently released.
Over time the need for mental positive affirming and other strategies of denial naturally drop because we see the profound value in being who we are and what we are genuinely experiencing inside. No matter how seemingly imperfect we are, we no longer enjoy saying things we don't truly know or mean. We stop unconsciously escaping our reality. And when we are escaping we may prefer to tell ourselves the truth and accept ourselves anyways.
I've had people inform me about how "We all create our own reality" yet they adamantly resist compassionately looking at how they create their own pain and problems. Preferring to complain or blame something outside of them. Whatever "dreams" they do manifest will be ultimately unfulfilling or possibly even harmful, because of lack of self-awareness.
Or they may be aware they are creating their own problems to an extent, but instead of really looking at how this is happening, they blame and beat themselves up for any negative experience. They tolerate abuse from others and experience depression.
It's common where we are saying one thing and our unconscious is expressing something completely different and we are not aware of this. Some people are aware of their pain but think that using feel-good phrases, grand spiritual beliefs, and positive thoughts will fix the problem. I have been there myself. But doing this just keeps the root of the problem in the dark by repressing it.
These are just examples, and the underlying issues vary widely between people. I've also heard these being expressed authentically as well (It's about the energy behind the words, rather than the words themselves).
If you recognize yourself in this and want to experience the Dalian Method: You can do your own sessions by purchasing the 'Healing the Body & Awakening Consciousness with the Dalian Method' home study kit (comes with two audio guided sessions and a comprehensive book). You can also get a private guided session by a facilitator such as myself. The creator of the Dalian Method Mada Eliza Dalian also offers private sessions, online courses, tele-classes, and retreats.
NOTE: When we have been believing things such as "I'm Not Good Enough" or "I can't Trust Myself" for many years (or lifetimes), even when these are clearly seen as false and are released through the Dalian Method, it may take time to stop trying to be a better person or do things to live up to an ideal of who we should be or prove our worth. We may experience deeper layers that need to be released. The mind also has to learn to accept something so completely earth shattering to everything we thought we knew about ourselves. To everything we were told about ourselves. To everything that the people around us believe and think.
Common thoughts that can stop you from helping yourself:
last but not least:
I've buried it and there's no point digging it back up and going through pain.
But do you know what else gets buried?
Your Sparkling Aliveness
When we bury the 'bad stuff’ we bury the good stuff with it.
“Negative emotions are toxic to your physical health”
This is one of those statements lacking real practical wisdom. I have not found this view, however popular, to be beneficial.
Yes it’s true that our mental and emotional state affect our physical health and can contribute to illness. It’s good to be aware of how everything is connected. Yet the idea that our emotions are toxic can, ironically, contribute to the very toxicity we want to avoid.
Here is why...
No emotion in itself is toxic. Even rage. What makes it toxic is repressing it. When we believe the mind that judges an emotion as “wrong” or "bad" or “toxic” we are repressing that emotion.
Anything repressed will cause problems
Judging all my anger as toxic = repression = more struggle and fighting with myself = suffering = staying unconscious of the messages life is sending me = toxic.
We will also end up taking it out on other people because it will find an outlet. It has to. It will either come out passive-aggressively or as an explosion because emotions are not meant to be forced away or pushed down. If we reach a reactive explosion point, we can feel shocked and guilty and try to control ourselves more. In an attempt to avoid the shame we might rationalize or blame someone or ourselves. This all keeps the unhealthy repressive cycle going until we have a deeper understanding.
I think stress is misunderstood too. Chronic stress needs to be addressed, but avoiding all stress to me would mean to avoid growth. For example we can certainly feel great pressure in the midst of transformation. If we are stepping into something new we will feel uncomfortable. If we only saw the pressure as toxic and felt we should always feel peaceful and calm, would that be helpful? It would be very limiting wouldn't it?
Accepting our "negative" emotions and finding healthy ways to express and explore them benefits us in so many ways.
Our emotions are wise messengers.
**Acceptance of our emotions doesn't mean we believe and act on them without awareness. Emotions themselves are not necessarily the wisdom, but allowing them and exploring them free of judgment brings us to wisdom.
Leela Haris ~ E x p a n d i n g Consciousness