I am delighted to introduce you to a new friend in the Blogging world, Leigh Gaitskill, who writes at www.bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com. Her down-to-earth h0nesty and humor combined with her wise insights make her regular posts a must-read. As we head into the new year the following blog, reposted from November 18, 2011, seems particularly relevant.

In my explorations of what it means to be truly empowered, resulting in the book about what I call Personal Magic, the importance of facing the truth of who you are in your various levels of Self is paramount. I particularly like Leigh’s reminder that we can sometimes be so focused on the means by which we cope, that we actually cover up the deeper truth that is the most difficult piece of what we are trying to manage!

Thank you for sharing this post here Leigh and for all your  offerings. This post in particular has given me something to truly contemplate as I prepare for 2012.

LIVING FROM ESSENCE
first posted November 18,2011. To view the beautiful art work, please go to the original post

During the Fisher Hoffman work my teacher, the late Ellen Margron, gave us an image that has been one of my teaching touchstones ever since, the diamond heart.* I tried to make a drawing but I’m hopeless with the drawing programs so I can only describe: there’s a diamond in the center, around that is a circle full of roiling darkness, around that is another circle. The diamond is the spiritual essence or Buddha nature or God Self (you pick). The circle around it is all the negativity we pick up in early childhood and along the way that tells us we are not God, we are not perfect, we are loud, dirty, dumb, whatever. The circle around that one is the personality layer we put on the outside so that no one will see the roiling mass of yuck underneath.

All spiritual and/or personal growth requires penetrating the outer mask and finding a way to go through the dark circle in order to reach the Diamond Heart or essence. Ultimately, of course, the basic point of all spiritual pursuit is to be able to live from that place of essence or from Buddha nature. The aspect of the journey that people most often want to sidestep is facing the dark circle where issues and negativity and unpleasantness dwell.

It is also possible to create a third circle around the outside of the other two. This happens when you meditate or do spiritual practice or stress management with a determination to avoid looking at the dark circle. You wind up creating this extra layer around your being that just traps the dark circle farther beneath the surface and actually takes you farther from the diamond in the center. I’ve met many people over the years who meditated or did some other practice regularly for decades but refused to allow their issues to arise into consciousness. To me they always feel as if they have a tough layer of laminate encasing them. I can feel the unresolved issues beneath.

I saw it in myself when Ellen introduced the concept. I’d been living with a roommate who mistreated me, my cats and my belongings. I taught stress management at the time and I found myself incessantly using those techniques. I succeeded in keeping myself calm in the midst of the madness but I really just created an outward facade of calm while pushing justifiable anger below the surface.

I spent the first five or six years of my journey by and large resistant to prolonged and serious inner work but the Fisher Hoffman process (as facilitated by Ellen – quite different from the process at the Hoffman Institute) not only opened me to deep and intensive work but convinced me that it has to be done in one way or another in order to progress. I don’t say everyone has to do Fisher Hoffman; I know many who have succeeded with Almaas’ work, I know people who have done very well with the more advanced levels of vipassana that start deconstructing thought and belief patterns and there are many more. Doesn’t matter what you pick, just decide to face the shadow.

ABOUT THE ART: My friend, Ann Wasserman (http://www.annquilts.com/ ), created the above quilt many years ago and with a personal story that I leave her to tell. I’ve always felt it portrayed the diamond heart idea even though it isn’t an exact replica of the chart.

(to see the art go to the original post.)

* I understand that this or a similar chart is also used in H. Almaas’ Diamond Heart work. I could never make it through more than a page or two of his writing so I can’t vouch for it. Almaas and Ellen were both students of Claudio Naranjo so it’s possible that the idea is something they both adopted from his work or that she picked it up from Almaas there.

http://www.ahalmaas.com/
http://hoffmaninstitute.org/

Related articles
Everyday Essence
(joyofspa.com)
A. H. Almaas on Emptiness and The Void

(mettarefuge.wordpress.com)
Why are we here anyway?
(bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com)

LEIGH GAITSKILL BIO
Leigh Gaitskill studied yoga for five years with Bill Hunt http://www.oakparkyoga.com/oakpark_yoga_instructors.html   and in 1988 earned a teaching certificate from the Temple of Kriya Yoga http://www.yogakriya.org/ Chicago.  During those years she was introduced to meditation and metaphysics by a transpersonal psychologist. In 1990 she went through the Nine Gates Mystery School (www.ninegates.org) program, then went on to study Huna, completed the Fisher Hoffman process, explored Buddhist practices and sat vipassana, and worked with Hopi elder Jeremie Jackson for two years.  She has taught classes on right speech, prosperity, and yoga.  She also has second degree Reiki and Amanohuna attunements.  She’s created movement classes that combine Robert Masters’ Psychophysical Method with yoga that are available for CE massage hours see her website (www.artofspiritandyoga.com).  Read about her journey on:  Bluegrass Notes (www.bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com)


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