Anxiety

Spiritual Emergency: The Dark Night of the Soul!

I would like to give thanks to Stan & Christina Grof for all their wonderful information on spiritual emergency. My dedication goes to Alli Lawler who was the beautiful woman who introduced me the Spiritual Emergence Network.  And I would also like to thank Kama Frankling for her support and wisdom on spiritual emergence.


In my blog “The Law of Attraction… Are My Beliefs Ruining My Life?”, the third point that was raised was that spiritual emergence without grounded reason can lead to serious mental illness with dangerous implications. Many people are inspired towards the spiritual path because they want to be special or because they think it will bring happiness and enlightenment!!! What most people are not told is that a spiritual journey is actually the harder path. It’s not a Sunday walk in the park… Spiritual awakening is about transformation at a soul level, this sort of stuff often happens through trauma or tragedy. It can shake the core of your being. In spiritual awakening you are changing your old thought and emotional patterns on a deep level and then relearning how to interact with the world and people again. Through the process some people even experience what we term in the West, mental illness such as depression, anxiety and psychosis.

In some non-western cultures Shamans may go through a dark night of the soul before they emerge into the tribe’s Sharman. In the West we would see that person as having a mental illness and possibly a psychotic episode. In these cultures they are seen as a Sharman in training. These cultures understand the psychotic episode to be a deep transformation and spiritual emergence lead by their own inner demons (and maybe outer demons too). People can go through this type of spiritual awakening for years, supported by their communities until they come out of it. Some never come out of it. However it is interesting that there is a far higher rate of these people emerging out of a “spiritual emergence” than there is a person in the West recovering from a “psychotic episode” through the mental health system.

In Eastern practices such as Buddhism, it is also well known that a person can suffer from symptoms of mental illness through regular meditation practice and spiritual awakening. When someone begins to experience symptoms of anxiety, depression or even psychosis through their emergence, they are guided away from spiritual practice to re-ground themselves. It is the only time they can eat red meat, they work in the gardens or fields and they cease meditation practices.

It is no wonder demons and scary images are captured and portrayed in religious art, including Christian art. Spiritual awakening burns through what we want to see least about ourselves. While not all of us go through a full blown spiritual emergency (that looks much like mental illness), spiritual emergence does tend to bring us to our knees in humility. It often throws us into an egotistical state for a while SO WE CAN CLEARLY SEE THE EGO! It’s a little embarrassing, trust me!!! We go sky high and lose our grounding for a while… I was ungrounded for years. It has bouts of pristine clarity and then complete confusion and disorientation. Any underlying unconscious patterns tend to be brought up to the light of consciousness, even when we struggle to remain ignorant and try to avoid what we don’t want to see. If we don’t know what we are doing we can get lost on the spiritual path… it can be a frightening place!

In saying all of that, I do believe with the right psychospiritual guidance, the practice of balance and mindfulness, and honouring the self and others, emerging into spiritual awareness can be a rewarding and honorable journey. The more aware we become, the responsible we can be and the more we can make choices where before we were largely ignorant of ourselves and reacting out of unconscious patterns. For those who chose to walk the path… you have my blessings and be wise on your journey!!!!

 

Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity …

 

 

 

 

Misunderstanding the Law of Attraction

Psychospiritual Reflections 18.12.2011

I regularly hear the statement “I attracted this in to my life” from clients, members of the new age community and friends. Movies such as The Secret portray a simple idea that if we believe and feel a certain way then we can attract in good experiences and bad ones will go away. I have found that that unless people are trying to sell something, most who say this statement are generally well meaning and genuinely want to help. Unfortunately they often have the opposite effect. There is certainly no fingers pointed or any blame, I’m sure I’ve said this statement before too! While I believe the Law of Attraction does have validity, this particular message about the process of attraction is distorted and misunderstood. The key reason why this message is distorted is because it confuses the conscious self with an unconscious or soul process called attraction. On top of that, its underlying message says that in some way a person is at fault if they experience a negative event. This message can be incredibly unhelpful!

There are two parts to attraction that I have either experienced or believe to be true. One is the unconscious or “soul” process that is unfolding and manifesting in our conscious lives, and the other is an emotional process. How we understand them and what we do with them is an essential part of whether the concept of attraction is helpful or not. This article will focus on the emotional process in the attraction process while next time I will focus on the unconscious process.

Emotion & Attraction

In The Secret emotion was explained as the “attracting force” that either brought pleasant or unpleasant experiences into your life. They also said a lot about beliefs in the attraction process, however there was a special point that it is actually emotion that ultimately attracts or repels. They spoke about “getting into the feeling space of what you want to attract”. I agree that emotion is an attracting force and that belief is a directing force. It is a bit like yin and yang! However, there is a lot more to emotional processes than simply “making yourself feel right” so that you can attract in a mansion, a gorgeous partner and a million dollars. We need to understand what emotions are really about if we are going to learn how to work with them.

Emotions are our guidance mechanism system. So rather than us trying to control them, we must learn to listen and work with them. Emotions tell us that something is in or out of alignment either in our environment or within ourselves. Even unpleasant emotions are important and ultimately helpful because they are alerting us to what is destructive. It is like pain alerts us to physical damage, unpleasant emotions alert us to emotional and interpersonal damage. So when we speak about shifting emotions, it is a false and even harmful expectation to think anyone can just change their mind and emotions and attract in abundance. It simply does not work that way!

We do have an influence in what we feel and think. However to free ourselves from embedded emotional patterns takes a great deal more than simply changing our minds. To work through emotional patterns and distress, we need to acknowledge the wounding and learn how to integrate what we have learnt through those experiences. Making life-enhancing meanings out of adverse experience is essential. Ultimately we aim to grow through these hard experiences and release the emotional attachments, however this process can take years in therapy. There are energetic and intuitive healing practices that can help speed up that process, however it still takes time because we are in the physical world.

The Harm this Message Causes

In my work as a psychologist, I have found that this message is particularly harmful when it comes to people who have experienced trauma, and especially for prolonged complex trauma. When someone is traumatised there is a common set of reactions that most people experience. This includes high anxiety, hyper-arousal, distressing thoughts and dreams related to the trauma, flashbacks and panic attacks. After someone experiences a trauma they often try to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma because it is so distressing. They also can experience a shutdown of emotions, anger outbursts and are easily startled. Trauma is a real psychological response to events that elicit high fear or terror, feeling out of control and witnessing or experiencing serious injury or death. The effects of trauma do not simply go away on their own. They need psychological intervention to process these memories and release the emotional distress associated with them.

Due to the level of distress people experience in trauma serious difficulties arise when people believe it is their fault that they experienced these traumatic events. This is even more pertinent if the type of trauma is type II (complex trauma) as it has the added extra dimension of impaired attachment in important relationships. In a nut shell, this message slows down or even prevents the person from healing from the trauma symptoms. Complex trauma involves being seriously injured sexually, emotionally and/or physically by another person who they are attached to such as a partner or a parent. So in situations where a person has experienced abuse, being told that they somehow “attracted that experience to them” again puts the fault and blame in their court. This is not too different from the attitude that someone was raped because they were wearing a short skirt or were walking where they shouldn’t. These sorts of statements only re-abuse the abused and are incredibly harmful.

Judith Herman’s work with complex trauma signifies the importance of recognizing the wrong doing of the perpetrator in healing from abuse and human inflicted trauma. Generally perpetrators of abuse blame the abused for their own actions and people who have experienced abuse often carry that guilt and shame. So to give someone the message, no matter how subtle and well-meaning, that they attracted the abuse into their lives only serves to exacerbate the emotional distress and the effects of trauma. On the emotional level, there is nothing worse you could imply than they caused the abuse they suffered.

Where to Now?

In the next article I will take a closer look at what is meant by the Law of Attraction at an unconscious or soul level, and I will show why the unconscious process involved in attraction is not the conscious self or the person. As mortal conscious human beings, we do not attract bad things because we are not healed enough or good enough. I will also explain how appropriate healing and therapy can eventually lead to a better experience of life which may influence the experiences our unconscious mind attracts, however this is not the same as holding a person consciously responsible for events outside their control.

Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity ….

 

 

 

Mindfulness at Work

Feeling Drained from Work?

Find out how mindfulness could help increase your energy and make your work more enjoyable

How many times have you been at work and begun wondering why you are pushing yourself so hard? Do you arrive home from work feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Have you find yourself wasting the weekend oversleeping because you feel drained from work? If you can say “yes” to any of these questions, then the practice of mindfulness could greatly benefit you in your daily life.

Whether you own your own a business, manage a team of people or work for someone else, mindfulness is an important key to coping well at work. We often have routine duties and tasks that we have to do, even though we really don’t want to. This leads to stress. We may have to socialise with people that we would not entertain if we were not working, and we have to learn things that we may not be interested in. Even if you own a business, while there may be some latitude in what you do, the weight of responsibility of owning a business often becomes the source of stress.

Mindfulness can help you to step out of persistent worry, stress and anxiety by giving you the awareness of how to witness thoughts and emotions rather than being stuck in them. Most of time we tend to think we are our thoughts and emotions. We do not realize that we can watch them without being overpowered by them. This is what it is to ‘dis-identify’ from thoughts and emotion. As we do this, our awareness becomes clearer and more peaceful.

 

 

Perhaps one of the most empowering aspects of mindfulness is an expanded ability to make life enhancing choices. We often think we are making choices all the time, and yet we are really reacting out of childhood conditioning and psychological patterns. We then become frustrated because we go around in circles and are not able to break free of the unpleasant consequences to our reactions. The power of witnessing conditioned thoughts is amazing! We literally get to the point where we can see the pattern so clearly that we simply look at it and realise we do not need to buy into the thoughts. We simply do not believe them anymore. However, if we cannot see them in the first place, we are not really making choices at all.

So when you are working in your job or business, it is empowering to turn the mirror to yourself and watch yourself as you function at work. What are the thoughts that bombard your mind? What are the triggers at work that cause you unpleasant emotions? Where does your body tense when a stressful event occurs at work? Witnessing your reactions to work events is the first step to eventually changing them.

Take The First Step Today…

You can access your free “10 days of mindfulness guide” by simply subscribing to this website. When you subscribe you will receive valuable information and audio meditations by email over the 10 days. You can use these meditations whenever you wish, as you learn the process behind mindfulness practice.

 

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Psychology in Business Series 2011: Introducing Change in Business

Successfully Introducing Change into Business

Change is always confronting! When we are asked or forced to change we tend to face the abyss of uncertainty and can feel overwhelmed, daunted or just plain scared. In a work place, we are also surrounded by our peers and often have ownership to our professions, training and positions, so when faced with these uncomfortable feelings, staff, managers and business owners can react in ways that block or sabotage change. These reactions may be completely or at least partially unconscious, and people often do not understand why they feel or react the ways they do when confronted with change.

These are important factors to consider when a business needs to open to change in a unpredictable economic market. Currently, technology is expanding at enormous speeds, the very rules and processes of the cyber-world are fundamentally shifting, social media is becoming central to business marketing, training is constantly being updated and legal requirements are increasing. All of these factors are driving change in business and they are moving faster as time goes by. These shifts in the market and in the world in general, can even result in businesses needing to change their fundamental business structures. So how do we approach the topic of change with business owners, managers and their staff?

Organisational change is a field of research and practice that has shown us the complexities and challenges that can occur as organisations are asked to change. Some of the learnings include:

  • Appropriately involve staff from all levels of the organisation in decision making about the changes
  • Be transparent (i.e. open and accountable to all owners, management and staff about why the change is needed, how it will be implemented and the processes for feedback)
  • Listen to the blocks or barriers to implementing the change and facilitated healthy discussion about how to over come the blocks
  • Equip owners, managers and staff to become experts in the areas of those changes
  • As change occurs in the business, gradually step out and hand over ownership of those changes to the owner, managers and staff.

These are a few tips for introducing change into organisations and businesses, however, there can be many challenges along the way. For example, people in business may be experiencing high levels of stress before the idea of change came into play. Therefore they may need stress reduction along side the methods of implementing change into the business. Other people may feel threatened at the idea of change and may need reassurance and honesty. Trust is vital as change is implemented. Another issue is that people may lack skills or fear gaining new skills such as information technology skills. These people may require extra assistance and reassurance as they learn new skills. Finally, there may also be power and ownership issues that emerge through a change process. These people often require open, honest conversations about what is happening and assistance to refocus on the goal for the great good of everyone, including themselves. In any of these situations the issues may escalate and therapeutic assistance for individuals or groups of people may be required.

In a nutshell, change can be embraced in business if the people who make up the business are given adequate support, training and ownership of the change process. It is often far from easy and staff may require individual counselling throughout the process. However, in today’s changing economy successfully embracing change is essential. It is far more likely that change is successful if it is consciously created rather than being forced upon the business by circumstances down the track.

For further information about change processes in business contact Vanessa 0n 0424507101

 

 

 

Psychology in Business Series 2011:Clearly Defined Staff Roles

Clearly Defined Staff Roles Increase Business Mental Health

When we become stressed we often become more confused, anxious, tense and irritable. Stress also decrease memory concentration and decision making abilities. Quite literally, we lose our ability to relax and see things clearly.
It is the same for a business! An organisation that is stressed can become distorted in its perception and can neglect important decision making. In the confusion and desperation, the urge to get things done and save the business can overshadow clarity.

This is particularly the case when it comes to clearly defining staff positions and roles, and especially when there has been staff cut backs. Professional boundaries can become blurred and expectations on certain staff members can become unrealistic. Another common occurrence when a business is stressed is that it can neglect to act appropriately when it does become obvious that staff are struggling. Business owners and management are often very stressed and overwhelmed themselves and can mistakenly see stressed staff members as an inconsiderate burden on the company. Important staff issues and dysfunctional interpersonal systems then get brushed under the carpet.

Unfortunately when staff needs are ignored the business only becomes more stressed in the long term. A lack of clearly defined and realistic staff roles and duties is a major contributing factor to staff burnout. A struggling business is only going to find it more difficult to deal with staff sick leave, breakdowns, retraining new staff and accommodating dysfunctional staff dynamics. In fact, it is not unusual for staff to become “scapegoated” as unconsciously it is easier to see the problems as a “difficult staff member” than the decline of a whole business.

This is why it is vital to step back, breathe and LOOK when a business is feeling the pressure! When a business is stress is the perfect time to explore and define staff boundaries and clarify staff positions and roles. As a general rule, the clearer staff positions are defined, and the happier and healthier the staff are, the higher functioning business can be. Business owners and managers who look after their staff and who take responsibility for clearly defined staff roles, tend to cope better in a challenging and unpredictable economic market.

This is just one more action a stressed business can make to enhance its mental health. Next time we are going to look at how to introduce new systems and initiatives into an existing business that is stressed. The more effective changes can be made in a business, the more likely it will adapt to our constantly changing economic market.

The Psychology of Business Series 2011: The Individual in the Workplace

How Can I Remain Balanced in a Stressed Business?

Today we are going to look at how an individual person can better cope in a business that is stressed. Next time we will look at the company itself, and what strategies can help a stressed business maintain its mental health. There are three main ingredients to maintaining mental health as an individual in a stressed business. The first is to become aware of your reaction to stress. The second is to see the effects of your reaction in the business context. Thirdly, is to find more effective solutions to the stress in the business.

As an individual person surviving in the workforce, self awareness is essential because as stress increases you are likely to fall into old defense pasterns. So it is important to know how you react to stress. This includes both what ways are your coping mechanisms are helpful and in what ways are they a barrier to your success. For example, if when you are stressed do you put your head down and work harder? If so, the benefit is that you may become more productive, however the disadvantage may be that you stop listening to others and stop looking where you are going. Another example is that you may become more directive and push others harder. The advantage to this is that you may increase control over the direction of the project or the company, but the disadvantage is that your leadership style may become a dictatorship and you may loose the morale of your workers. Another possible reaction to stress may be that you become increasingly aware of others and hypertensive to the stress around you. The advantage is that you are very aware that appropriate action to the stressful environment is required, but the disadvantage is that you may become highly anxious and find it hard to speak up. In short, recognizing your reaction to stress is the first step to addressing it.

The second step is to take a step back! Here it is important to reflect on how you can address the disadvantages of your reaction to stress. This may require counselling, yoga, meditation, exercise or similar appropriate solutions to reducing the stress itself so you can get clarity of mind. Mindfulness is a very effective way of addressing this, as it can both decrease stress and increase awareness of your reactions to the stress. Mindfulness is simply the ability to detach from the thoughts, body tension and emotions and watch them with curiosity and awareness. This type of detachment is beneficial as we can see what is actually happening within ourselves. It is important to note that this process is very different from becoming aloof or suppressing thoughts or emotions. Detaching peacefully and WATCHING mindfully is all about increasing self awareness and seeing what we might otherwise not want to see. It may also mean feeling and learning to tolerate unpleasant emotions. However the benefits in the end can be freedom from stress, anxiety and depression. So, step two is to see how your reaction to stressful circumstances increases your suffering and contributes to the negative dynamics within the business itself.

Step three is to then ask, what could I think, feel or do differently that would contribute to a better outcome in this difficult situation? For example, perhaps instead of working harder, the answer is “working smarter”. Maybe getting different ideas, approaches and learning about new business initiatives will bring about more rewarding outcomes than simply doing more of what you have been doing in the past.  Another example is that it may be that a different leadership style can help staff to better cope, feel more confident in their positions and increase value and respect in the workplace. Or it maybe that speaking up in a way that helps empowers both you and the business you are working for is the answer. There are a range of different personal reactions and therefore solutions to stress. The key is to know yourself and commit to change if that is what is needed to decrease stress.

This may not be the whole answer as there are a number of things that are outside our control and are not our responsibility to change. If we aim to influence the situation positively and things do not change then perhaps the next step is to detach and come back to what you do have control over. Remaining stuck in unpleasant circumstances and believing that you are helpless to change it, can eventually lead to depression. So come back to what you can change in your own life to create a better outcome. If a stressed business cannot or will not change then perhaps looking else where can alleviate your helplessness and open up opportunities.

Ultimately, a business is only as good as its workers, and visa-verse! If you feel stressed and you are aware that the business you are working in, own or are managing is a big part of what is contributing to this stress, then seek appropriate help. If the business needed an accountant, book keeper or financial adviser, it would be a “no brainer”… access the appropriate expertise. It is the same for mental and emotional issues. In the current market, anxiety, high stress and depression is becoming more prevalent. When we look at the stress of the economic market, this is completely understandable. The trick is to access counselling earlier rather than later.

Often we belief we are more powerless than we really are in a business. Embracing your strengths and moving towards your personal potential is an asset to the business you work for. Working through old defenses and discovering new more effective ways of dealing with stress in your business, can result in you realising your potential within the business you are working in.

 

The Psychology of Business Series 2011

Have You Looked at the Mental Health of Your Business Lately?

Whether it is global, national or local I hear the same message about our economy… things are tight! In my practice as a psychologist I hear about the very real effects of our economic slump on people’s lives personally, professionally and inter-personally. As profit margins slide, people are becoming more stressed, anxious, moody and intolerant. And yet, now is the time when we need to become more co-operative, accepting and resilient if we are more likely to find a way through the current economic market trends. More than ever, we need mental clarity and emotional balance. What I tend to see is that the individual’s stress level often parallels the company’s stress. Both a person and a company can be seen as an “entity” that affects each other. Individuals in a business are only as healthy as the company is, and visa versa. Over the next few weeks we are going to start by looking at the individual in a company to see how to maintain mental balance and health in stressful environments. Then we are going to look at the company itself. We are going to explore how to keep your company mentally balanced in a challenging and rapidly changing economic landscape.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks and learn about how your staff and your business can strengthen and even succeed through this economic climate!

 

Transmuting Rejection Into Self Acceptance

Breaking Free From The Patterns That Bind Us

Transmuting Rejection Into Self Acceptance

The experience of rejection can be an incredibly painful experience and one which most of us strive to avoid. We can feel rejection in many ways including a rejection of our ideas, values, beliefs, feelings, things and/or people who are important to us, spirituality or our self as a whole. In the raw experience of rejection we can feel mortified, crushed, defeated, devalued or even betrayed. While many of us will do anything to avoid feeling rejected by someone else, how many of us have stopped to look at what is really happening behind the scenes within ourselves when we are feeling rejected?

Today’s article focuses on the real nature of rejection and how we can break the pattern within ourselves that leads to us feeling rejected. That last sentence may seem to be a huge statement … You may claim, “MY PATTERN of rejection!” And then state, “It wasn’t me and my pattern that made me feel rejected, it was that evil person who thought I was stupid and then didn’t talk to me throughout the whole workshop!” But that is the nature of rejection, we feel someone else is rejecting us, we become hurt, judgemental, and defensive or cautious towards that person and tend to send out a psychic go away signal to the whole world. We tend to either go into our shell or we retaliate in anger. Which ever way we respond, within ourselves we hold frustration, humiliation, resentment and shame.

Why Rejection is Not Rejection

The problems with believing that other people can reject us are that firstly, we would always be on the look out for others potentially rejecting us to protect ourselves. This is debilitating. We would spend a huge amount of time and energy and worry while we are on the look out second guessing everyone else’s motives and intensions. And while we are doing this, we are distracted from our own ability to create, make choices and give to the world freely. In other words, we are out of our “inner power” and truth. The crazy thing is that this is true of many of us. It used to be true of me, until I started to break the pattern of rejection using mindfulness. The second problem with the idea of rejection is that we tend to globalise it to encompass our whole self. Instead of thinking that person has different ideas and values to me, we tend to take the difference as a personal attack. We internalise it to become an identity statement. It ceases to be about a belief or value and in our mind it begins to become they rejected “me”. This leads to a deep sense of shame and humiliation about ourselves rather than an acceptance of difference. Thirdly, is that it is a very painful place to be. If there were another way, surely we would choose that because it would be liberating.

So we have looked at the nature of rejection as it is commonly experienced and we have seen how debilitating it can be, now we are going to look at rejection as a pattern.

Mindfulness as a Way to Dissolve Patterns of Rejection

To practice mindfulness to gain clarity on the rejection pattern we need to discover what it really consists of and to break it down into manageable pieces. On a conscious level, it consists of a whole lot of thoughts about other people and ourselves and certain emotions attached to those thoughts.  Focussing on the beliefs involved about others in the experience of rejection, we often believe things like “that person doesn’t like me”, or “they think I’m an idiot”, or “that person is far smarter than me, they won’t want anything to do with me”. How ever the evidence for these beliefs is often body language, aloofness, or someone’s absence of actively talking to us or engaging our attention.  So the first step is to call it and see it as “perceived rejection”. It is our perception, our beliefs about what the other person is thinking or feeling that can lead us to feeling rejected. But is it true?

There are a lot of reasons why people act the way they do. And a large number of people are probably caught in their own judgements of themselves and others. However, from my experience as a counsellor, most people’s behaviour is a reflection of themselves rather than another person. They may have a head ache and are there fore quieter than usual, or they may be tired. Often what is happening, is that they are trying to deal with their own feelings of anxiety and worrying about what you may be thinking of them. As weird as it is, a great number of people generally feel inadequate and a little paranoid about what others are thinking about them. We are often all caged in our little prisons called our minds, and find it hard to see beyond the confines of our own self judgements. So what we thought was happening is often really only our perception of what is happening. And while we are in the rejection pattern, it is particularly easy to get it wrong.

So the first step to breaking this pattern through the practice of mindfulness is to know that rejection is a perception. The second step is to witness our own thoughts or beliefs. When we feel rejected we can breathe deeply and watch our own thoughts. What do we believe of the other person? Has this stream of thinking happened before in other situations? What was the outcome then? What would we prefer to happen? How does this thinking allow the better outcome to happen? Are our thoughts sabotaging our connections with other people? These questions take us away from blindly believing the thoughts and encourage us to loosen the attachment to these thoughts. In the pattern of rejection, it is our own thoughts about ourselves and others that creates the experience rejection.

But what about when someone does actually think negatively towards me? Even if another person is judging or dismissing how we think, feel or act, we are still believing them as opposed to believing in and trusting ourselves. If a person is in a state of judgement, that reflects on their inner state rather than our state, unless we let it effect our state. This may sound a little cold but it is not. I call it “compassionate detachment”. To know another person is caught within their own patterns and to discern (rather than judge them) whether their perspective may have some validity is more empowering than to take on another person’s judgements. Coming back to “what do I believe in”, “what does respect mean to me”, “my values are equally important as other people” etc. We may find that there is an irreconcilable difference between ourselves and others, however, this is not the experience of rejection. There is no deeply felt shame about ourselves or humiliation… just an acknowledgement of difference. Only through being aware of ourselves and our own true value can we discern what serves us and what does not.

Self Acceptance Emerges when we See Ourselves Clearly

Mindfulness helps us see ourselves clearly. It also helps us to see others clearly, without judgement. The main shift in perspective that helps us to come out of the experience of rejection is an awareness of our own sense of self acceptance. In truth we are all amazing and totally acceptable. It is only these patterns that rob us of our freedom, connection and truth. When we create and safe and private space and allow ourselves to breathe into the experience of rejection what we find on the other side is sense of self acceptance. To accept ourselves unconditionally is a beautiful experience! Yes we all make mistakes, yes we all act in silly ways sometimes, yes we all have done someone a miss-service (we may even wish to apologise or make amends), yes we have all experienced another person’s miss-service towards us, but when we stop believing our self judgements and by default believing others perceived judgements of us, we see our true Self. For really it was the pattern or rejection that fooled us into thinking we were shameful or that something was wrong with us. When we step out of believing that we are unacceptable, then no matter what someone else does or doesn’t do, we do not experience rejection.

A beautiful example of this inner place of self acceptance at work was in The Art of Happiness at Work, a conversation between Howard Cutler and the Dalai Lama. The fear of public speaking is ripe with patterns of perceived rejection. Howard asked the Dalai Lama how does he get up in front of thousands of people fearlessly and speak? The Dalai Lama responded that his focus is not on himself but rather the message which he believes in and is being received by the thousands listening to him. This is a great strategy… get outside ourselves. Outside our fears of what other people are thinking, outside our past experiences of perceived rejection or actual judgement, and believe in our gift. Believe in your message! When we create from the heart or from spirit, we loose a sense of our fearful lower self. We go into a zone and act from our true presence. Here, there is no such thing as rejection. There is only truth and beauty!

So the practice of mindfulness can increase our self awareness of the pattern of rejection and can free us from those painful emotions and experiences that come with that pattern. Through mindfulness, we can discover self acceptance which makes no room for rejection. The truth is that rejection simply does not exist. But we do exist! To truly know ourselves is to accept what is! It is to accept ourselves.