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I could boil down every single “issue” that clients or friends state they have it comes down to this: a deep sense of unworthiness, feeling we are not enough and a lack of self-love. That may be the collective pain body Ekhart Tolle talks about or the collective unconscious every human shares that so many Zen teachers  and mystics discuss.

What became transformative to me is when I saw this “wound” not only in myself but everyone around me.  I realized we all believed this. It wasn’t until I started to heal my own wound of not “being good enough” that I saw life and people differently. The messy disorganized yard, was enough. My family member who yelled and was angry, was enough. We and it- the situation, is all enough. It is just our judgment that it should be better or different.

The healing comes when we bring our concentration to whatever it is that we are experiencing. And experience it fully, with our full consciousness. When we do that, the moment becomes transformative. Then there may be a new understanding, a shift in self perception. That new knowledge is power but only powerful when applied. The lesson is learned when we experientially feel the understanding and it turns to a knowingness. That is profound understanding. The truth is all of life’s “problems/flaws” can we “solved” by this process. Because it is the act of awareness that dissolves the illusion that there ever were problems to begin with. Now I know that when I first heard these concepts, I felt residence and began to defend my positionally “no that behavior is unacceptable, if he loved me he would have, that person shouldn’t have cut me off”. The positionally is – being wronged. In order to be wronged – you are stating you are in the right, and they or it is wrong. There by choosing to be wronged with the gratification of being “right about it”. Dr. David Hawkins states: “There is only one thing you have to surrender- the payoff you get out of whatever positionally you are stuck in”. Once you have identified it, you’ll see it each time it comes up in the future and that is where the awareness builds.

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This poem really captures faith for me. The author wrote it out of the grief of loosing his first wife.



Do you need Me?
I am there.
You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.
You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.
You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.
I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.
I am at work, though you do not recognize My works.
I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.
Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me as I am, and then but as a feeling and a faith.
Yet I am there. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.
When you need Me, I am there.
Even if you deny Me, I am there.
Even when you feel most alone, I am there.
Even in your fears, I am there.
Even in your pain, I am there.
I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.
I am in you, and you are in Me.
Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me, for only in your mind are the mists of “yours” and “mine.”
Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.
Empty your heart of empty fears.
When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.
You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.
And I am in all.
Though you may not see the good, good is there, for I am there.
I am there because I have to be, because I am.
Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take form; only because of Me does the world go forward.
I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.
I am the love that is the law’s fulfilling. I am assurance. I am peace. I am oneness. I am the law that you can live by. I am the love that you can cling to. I am your assurance. I am your peace. I am one with you. I am.
Though you fail to find Me, I do not fail you.
Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you never wavers, because I know you, because I love you.
Beloved, I am there.

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Kotler has coined the terming Being in the Flow and how the act of being consciously present in the now can profoundly impact your work productivity and creativity. That is because BEING is everything. Instead of swimming against the current of the river, you float down the river and allow it to take you where it goes. Not only is it much less exhausting, it FEELS better. You feel more alive, more inspired (which by definition means In SPIRIT) so that must mean that when you are “being in the flow” you are really in alignment with the source, in the present moment. That is why the most genius ideas happen in the now, or people describe being creatively inspired. As I write this, I feel it is not I but what comes through me as I type.

That is being in the flow. I am the being. I am the flow. I am that.

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We all know, Pain in life is inevitable. It’s the suffering that is optional. Yet why do we continue to suffer. I have come to observe that we as a human species are pain-avoidant creatures which may simply be an evolutionary program. We touch the hot stove as a child and never want to touch it again. It instantly is scared in our memory that pain is not fun and we must avoid it to keep us alive. This pattern of pain avoidance, especially with emotional pain is what I have found to be the continuation of suffering. The avoidance of emotional pain is one of most pervasive problems for human kind. The epidemic with addiction (specifically prescription pills) and individual’s desires to self-medicate is evidence of this. No one likes to experience pain, but if pain serves a purpose until is no longer is needed then what is it trying to teach us? I think it’s trying to teach us not to run, not to avoid, not to be led by fear. I think it is trying to remind us of who we really are. We are not the pain in the body but rather the witness to the pain. Therefore, the pain is there to teach us, who or what we are identifying with is not our true nature and must be let go.

We can begin to let go of 1025390298-An-inspirational-picture-quote-about-dealing-with-pain-through-changing-thoughtsphysical and emotional pain once we identify with our true nature. This requires non-attachment, non-resistance and non-judgment of our current experience. Which all sound easy, but require significant work to master. When I think of the most painful event imaginable it would be the death of a child or loved one. Radically accepting this seems so hard. Yet what are we resisting, what we are hurt by or angry with? These questions, of self-exploration are what create conscious awareness in the moment.

“Pain is a sensation accompanied by a motor intention to withdrawal”

I forget who first spoke this but this definition points out an alarming yet relieving fact: Pain is simply a sensation. Pain therefore can be observed as a sensation in the body. It is not who you are and does not have to create such fear or desire to avoid. That is a faulty error in thinking that can be corrected. Pain I like to think of as discomfort, not ideal but tolerable. Suffering is not necessary if you radically accept what your experience. Suffering requires you live in the past, resist what happened or resist that you are experiencing pain now.

For example: When I went through what felt like at the time a devastating breakup, I remember waking up in the middle of the night to dreams of him and then panic hit me that my reality was true that we were separated and this was my new reality. My heart felt physically like I was dying, I could pin point the lower part of my heart, where if I was 80 years old I would be convinced I was having chest pain consistent with heart failure. My heart felt so bad, the situation felt real. It’s in believing my thoughts about the situation that caused me suffering; that the engagement shouldn’t have ended and I should not be experiencing this now that caused me suffering. *I was resisting the now, vehemently.

As I sat crying watching the pain, I then remembered something that changed that situation and now everyone. I remembered the thought “this is just growing pains; my heart is growing.” Change and growth may be painful, but are necessary. I remembered waking up as a little girl crying in the middle of the night for my mom to bring me Tylenol. The “growing pains” in my legs felt at the time excruciating. And in that moment I wanted to avoid the pain. Just like now so many years later. But it was temporary, it only lasted as long as it should. And then I saw that I was observing the pain and no longer identified with the chest pain, the story changed. I was the witness to it and therefore not it.  If you get this one sentence, you will begin to see all things are this. And the minute I saw this, the pain became just an ounce more bearable. As time went on, the story continued to change and once again the pain only lasted as long as it should.

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e most important aspect I think in counseling, is for a helping professional/therapist  (regardless of title) to hold the space for clients. This sounds easy but requires tremendous work on the counselors part to clear their own mental noise to be fully available, fully present. Second, it requires that person to have the willingness to hold that space for the other. This can be done in intimate relationships as well. The more mindful you become the easier it gets. Holding the space, entails the power of intention. The intentionality behind it is being available for the other person, for their healing of past wounds or for their growth in this moment. Both of which are sacred. Check out my blog on Love, The Greatest of All where I explore Thich Nhat Hanh’s mantras to prepare me for consciously meeting with any client or loved one. This is the epitome of what Carl Rogers defines as unconditional positive regard.

When you hold the space in an individual therapy, you allow the present moment to unfold without your own agenda. You allow the here and now to guide the session to the most prominent need. And simply by being clear and available, change happens. Moments of awareness come and the client is led by their own knowingness (even if they are unconscious) to their potentiality. This is what counseling theorist refer to as Self-Actualization.

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