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.
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 :)
One of the most manipulative social ideologies I've witnessed in recent years is this idea of Privilege.
It gets split up into factions too
You name it, we can take any advantage a person has and attach the word privilege to it.
Issues such as racism, sexism, class-ism, homophobia; these have created much pain on this planet. But can we truly heal by just turning the tables on who has the power over others? Creating mental simplistic labels and imposing them on another without any genuine connection to them as a human being diminishes them (and ourselves). Diminishing a person solely for being a financially successful white male is not that different than diminishing the precious being that happens to be a transsexual woman with dark skin.
Personally I love being inclusive when it feels authentic to me! When it feels real there is joy and expansion in it. But if I’m being inclusive only based on trying to avoid being socially ostracized, labelled, or judged than I’m not being inclusive at all. Because I'm excluding myself. I’m conforming out of fear.
The chaos, anger, and pain that continues to surface in the collective makes the times we are living in ideal for doing our inner healing work.
Chaos precedes clarity. Pain surfaces when we are ready to heal and break free of something.
Anger too can be a good sign. For example I was in a relationship years ago and would experience sudden bouts of intense anger at my partner. I was reacting to my partner's subtle but controlling behavior. The anger meant progress because in the past I was submissive and focused on how to please the man in my life. My inner power was rising up but it was chaotic. I knew I needed to work with my anger because it wasn’t fair to my partner to throw my personal history of repressed frustration and pain at him.
When I worked with my anger and frustration triggered by him I saw that there was still an insecurity in me that was looking to men to validate my self-worth. I realized that I was unconsciously expecting him to give me love and validation. I also saw how much pain he was struggling with. When I started looking inside and waking up my ability to love and validate myself I stopped having all those heated power struggles and have attracted healthier and less volatile relationship dynamics. I experienced much more mutual respect with everyone in my life.
If I would have concluded that it was his “mansplaining” or "male privilege" that was the problem and that's that, I would have continued to outsource my personal power. I would have also had to face the pain of my inner conscience for participating in violence towards another.
One practice I do is to observe my mind and my thoughts. Over the years in doing this inner work and observing my mind I've come to recognize that anytime I have repeating thoughts about how someone did this or that to me I know there is something for me to see about myself related to that situation. When this happens it's an opportunity to break free of something that has been limiting me. The person or situation is just the trigger.
This doesn't mean there was no injustice or wrong doing in the first place. There is injustice AND we can learn and grow from it.
Something else that I see a lot and often comes with the ideology of privilege:
You owe it to use your voice to speak up for those less fortunate than you.
Who says we owe anything to anyone? Who decides that? Can compassion be imposed on us from outside of us? Does it follow rules about who deserves or who doesn't?
It can take time to genuinely start to question or see through these things, especially if we've taught ourselves not to question.
I was so use to following the crowd because it's how I've survived that when I tried to find my own voice I would cry because of how impossible it seemed. There was so much clutter in my mind and energy.
But I persisted. I have been releasing so many layers of mental programmings, ideologies, beliefs, outside opinions, judgments (about myself and others), etc. As I've done this my inner voice (my intuition) has become much stronger and clearer.
I may want to stand up for another person or group. I may not. But I alone am responsible for that decision.
I know that I can only make a conscious impact if I’m learning to take greater and greater responsibility for my life and my own individual and unique self-empowerment.
Here are a few similar blogs I've written:
The Game of Women's Empowerment (If you don't mind a rant mid-way about being accused of belonging to a cult)
How to Spot A Manipulator (I think this one freaks people out a little, but it's one of my favorites)
Adventures in Dating (If you like hearing stories about my love life, or my almost love life)
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.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” - Carl Jung
I started doing this work of becoming conscious thinking I was just trying to end my depression, my debilitating anxiety, and to try to get some of this thing people referred to as “confidence”.
I got those things and more. I am now connected to a strength and love inside me that I didn’t know was possible. I’ve had and continue to have mind blowing experiences of how magical and incredible life is. Compassion and understanding that allows me to forgive and move on from even the most horrible abuses inflicted on me. These experiences leave me in a state of awe, of regular gratitude exploding from within me. Almost everyday feels like a new adventure.
But here is what I didn’t know when I started this inward journey. I didn’t know that pain doesn’t end. At least not in the way I thought it would. I thought life would become easier. But no, what happened instead is, I got stronger and more resolved. I realized that life brings me what I need and I spend less of my energy trying to control it and bend it to my will.
To continue expanding our consciousness we have to experience pain often. This pain I’m talking about is the pain of the constant exposure of our self-delusions. It’s so much easier to see other people’s delusions than our own.
Again... It’s SO much easier to see other people’s delusions than our own.
This is why community or a teacher or both can be so vital. For both encouragement and not feeling so alone in this journey. To help us not give up. But also to reflect the truth to us. To help us see our blind spots.
There are many views that support staying away from all seeming negativity. Stay away from negative and dark energy! Protect yourself! Walk away from anyone who makes you feel bad or ashamed.They are bad people! Surround yourself with people that only lift you up and make you feel good. If you take this view and live your entire life this way. Well, it’s your choice of course. But it will keep you safely asleep in your own self-made delusional prison.
Does this mean everyone who triggers pain in you has good intentions? Of course not. Some people intend to harm or bring you down in order to make themselves feel better because deep down they feel small and fearful. That’s true. Yet that can have its own lessons for us too. (if we are honest with ourselves we have done the same thing)
But some will tell you the truth because they care. They are unwilling to settle for mediocrity, for themselves and you. They are unwilling to constantly make themselves small for you. They sacrifice your nice opinion of them.
I don’t have an easy formula for you to discern because it comes from experience for me. Lot’s of it. I do encourage a willingness to face and go through your resistance in order to go beyond it. Connecting to this ‘beyond’ part of me is what has guided me and given me joy.
Anytime I’ve experienced transformation, It involved pain. Sometimes it’s a feeling that I would describe as “agonizing”.
So is it hard? Oh my god yeah, it’s so hard!!
I hate pain. It sucks. I don’t like it. Yet I allow these experiences and that’s why I am a different person today. The transformations permanently altered me at such a deep level of my beingness. So much so that I had to change my name from Lila to Leela because I didn’t feel like ‘Lila’ anymore.
I have to admit something about my teacher Mada. She terrifies me at times, and has in moments during the whole past 7 years I’ve been her student. As much as I feel profoundly grateful to her. As much as she is this adorable spunky petite woman who looks and feels much younger than she is. With her curly blonde hair and her stylish clothes and Adidas shoes.
As much as I have never experienced a profound presence and silence as I do when I’m near her. In the moment when she is exposing something in me, suddenly she seems monstrous to me. She looks more like Kali holding a bleeding severed head. All I want in these moments is to dig a deep hole in the ground and crawl into it.
I’ve never met a woman (or man) this fearless. She is also hilarious and so gentle much of the time (I’m just focusing on the scary times because that’s what this writing is about).
It’s why I think of her as a “Zen Master”. Zen is responding to whatever the moment calls for.
It’s also why genuinely self-realized teachers, the ones who truly want us to come into our own, be truly self-empowered as the mystical amazing beings that we truly are, are often feared, projected upon, ridiculed, and hated. Because they expose our unconsciousness. They expose our darkness. This is exactly why Jesus was crucified.
But I am veering off to another topic.
Back to pain. An example of how pain helped me recently: Over the years Mada has reflected to me that I’m procrastinating and holding back who I really am. She always said this in a gentle way. I procrastinated less but yet was still doing it in many unconscious ways, I wasn't seeing the full truth of what she was pointing to. That’s okay because I was working through so many other things as well. It just wasn’t quite time yet.
Recently she brought this up again. This time not so gentle. The words she chose felt like a burning searing arrow through me. It exposed humiliation and guilt in me. I was suddenly seeing how deluded I’d been and how much I’d been holding back. Ouch. Yet even while still feeling that pain I immediately felt spurred to be more fully myself and take action right away.
However painful it was. It worked. The pain has now passed and in its place a new unfolding of clarity, determination, and gratitude.
That’s what truth does to us. It can momentarily seem like we are being viciously attacked. But there’s no other way to become conscious but to experience this kind of pain as Jung’s quote says. Otherwise ‘being spiritual’ is just dress-up for our ego.
The popular images of the Hindu Goddess Kali; I read somewhere that this is just how the ego sees her. I had an experience one time where I was in a lot of intense resistance and agonizing pain and she whispered to me so lovingly and gently “Sorry dear, I cannot take away your pain right now. Not yet”
She is actually the embodiment of compassion. (notice in the image, the man she is stepping on looks relaxed and blissful - he is in Surrender)
“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.
When we become totally disillusioned
When hope is dissolving
When the outer takes the complete opposite route to all that feels humane and right
When the world disappoints us and breaks our heart
and it all seems dark and heartless and meaningless and pointless...
This is such an unexpectedly beautiful place to be, if you are patient enough.
So don't reach for the old hope you had.
Don't sugarcoat it with false hope, as tempting as that can be.
Something new is being born.
Something very precious.
This is the turning point. A place where you have no choice but to ask deeper questions.
What if the world never comes to peace?
What if ‘they’ never change?
What is the purpose of it all?
Why am I here?
(find your own genuine question, it’s already there)
Maybe now you can start to head towards the true source of Peace. True source of Meaning, of Humanity, Wholeness and Love.
Maybe now you will give up.
Give up waiting for someone to come be the hero.
Give up spending tons of energy trying to be someone else’s hero.
Give up hoping the world will reflect something beautiful back to you (it will, but only at the right time).
The world, other people, they are not here to fulfill our dreams and hopes. They do not exist to make us happy and conform to our expectations.
Well, not in the way we have been taught.
They exist to help us learn and evolve.
And we need both, the light and the dark.
And we know which one we need to work with because that is what is showing up.
All that we long for, even if we find it 'out there', unless it also sparks an Inner Revolution, it won't really satisfy for the long haul.
So don’t be so quick to dis your disillusionment.
Dark gives birth to Light gives birth to Dark gives birth to Light....and on and on it goes.
If we get attached to one, we will miss the next.
If we get attached to one kind of happy, one experience of strength, a certain state of deep love, bliss, joy... we delay our continued miracle of unfolding.
If we get attached to our guilt, our mistakes, our hatred, our jealousy, our fear, our wounds...we keep ourself stuck and small and powerless.
Stories are meant to evolve, the all that we are can never fit in one story, there is always more.
We can let our colors change.
And there is actually no such thing as a wrong color.
There is just being in our energetic truth, or not.
(What I mean by Energetic Truth: It's not the looping story in our mind about what we think is happening. It's not the contents of our judgments. It's not someone else's opinion we may have adopted. Nor is it an inner truth we felt yesterday, or even an hour ago. Energetic Truth is what is REALLY happening inside us in this moment.)
See, your Agony and your Ecstasy, they live RIGHT next to each other. They are actually really good friends. They hang out. They trade recipes. They share secrets. They get together and have regular goofball dance sessions.
They laugh hysterically at each other's jokes. They even speak in secret code, the way the best of friends often do.
And when one is struggling the other comes in and says “Hey look, I know a better way, let me show you”. They keep each other close to home by helping each other find the thread when it has been lost.
When left as they are they don’t compete against one another. Their differences and contrasting natures are beautiful and necessary. They are actually deeply compatible.
But. We try to keep them apart.
We have bought into this idea that our opposites are enemies. So we teach them not to trust each other.
When we are with Agony we say “Wow, what a bunch of delusional B.S. Ecstasy is”.
And when we are with Ecstasy we might say “Man, what a loser and downer Agony is, a complete waste of time. Life is so much better without Agony isn’t it?”
End The War
To do this we have to start remembering the ocean while riding and feeling the waves.
“Okay I will live you to the fullest but I also know you are temporary. I intend to let you go when it's time”
“Okay so you scare me a little and I’m not sure I understand you, but is there anything you want to show me?”
One tiny little
...can change EVERYTHING.
There are actually many ways to be only a part of ourselves. The above “war” dialogue is just one example where we can cling to and drown in one part while forgetting the bigger picture, the whole.
Another common way is to deny and suppress a part of ourselves, thereby not feeling any one thing very much. We think we can suppress something "negative" and be better off, but no, we end up numbing our aliveness and compassion too.
I was diagnosed as bi-polar at around age 30. I used the Dalian Method to transform the root causes of what triggered me to get lost and extreme in my emotional ups and downs. I have found stability in strengthening my ability to be centered while accepting and loving myself as I am.
Leela Haris ~ E x p a n d i n g Consciousness