So, I’ve been meditating using Project Meditation’s (http://www.project-meditation.org/) LifeFlow meditation CDs since May 2008. I think this meditating may be a catalyst that is bringing up some more “stuff” in my life. Related to meditating, I have been regularly practicing focusing both with a partner and by myself for the past year and a half. In addition, I am a certified hardiness trainer and the lead teacher of the college level HardiTraing® class at Utah Valley University (UVU) where I work. I have been teaching this class for nearly 11 years.
I’ve noticed in postings on the Project Meditation forum that some of you have mentioned EFT and the Sedona Method as possible means for working with the “stuff” brought up through meditating. I’m grateful that you shared this information. I have purchased The Sedona Method CD training program and am currently going through it. In case some of you are interested in focusing and hardiness training, I’ve included some information below:
What is Focusing? (http://www.focusing.org/)
Focusing is a mode of inward bodily attention that most people don’t know about yet. It is more than being in touch with your feelings and different from body work.
Focusing occurs exactly at the interface of body-mind. It consists of specific steps for getting a body sense of how you are in a particular life situation. The body sense is unclear and vague at first, but if you pay attention it will open up into words or images and you experience a felt shift in your body.
In the process of Focusing, one experiences a physical change in the way that the issue is being lived in the body. We learn to live in a deeper place than just thoughts or feelings. The whole issue looks different and new solutions arise.
What is HARDINESS TRAINING? (http://www.hardinessinstitute.com/)
"Hardiness is the concretization of the concept of courage that appears in the optimistic theme of existential psychology. Existentialists view people as constructing meaning in their lives by recognizing that: a) everything they do constitutes a decision, b) decisions invariably involve pushing toward the future or shrinking into the past, and c) choosing the future expands meaning, whereas choosing the past contracts it. Though positive in terms of meaning and possibilities, choosing the future raises anxiety (fear) over the unpredictable nature of things not yet experienced. To accept this so-called ontological anxiety and push ahead with choosing the future requires courage. Substituting hardiness for courage lends precision to the existential formulation by emphasizing the three interrelated beliefs about one's interaction with the world, i.e., commitment, control, and challenge."
(Salvatore R. Maddi, founder of HardiTraining®)
The HardiTraining® program was developed out of a hardiness-validated research model of performance, leadership, and health. Training emphasizes key attitudes and resources that bolster hardiness at the individual and group level. HardiTraining®-outcome studies demonstrate its effectiveness in strengthening one's ability to resist the stressful impact of personal and professional changes.
A LITTLE OF MY LIFE STORY
First off, I have been going through so many changes these last few years. The biggest catalyst that started this process was the passing of my 86 year old dad in August 2002. This momentous event reminds me of the following quote by Roy Menninger, M.D.:
“It is never easy for any of us to look closely at ourselves—the ancient aphorism of ‘physician, heal thyself’ not withstanding. Most of us do so only when forced by crisis, anxiety, or a blunt confrontation with reality. Some of us have spouses or friends who help us look at the sore spots within, the personal rough spots which cause us and others pain. But for most of us, it is far easier to look outside, to look at others, whether to admire or to find fault, whether to seek guidance or to castigate.”
The passing of my dad in 2002 was the catalyst that put me on a spiritual quest that has really been quite the experience, to say the least. I use to be active in organized religion where I “knew” that the church I belonged to was “God’s only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” I use to sincerely believe that people couldn’t ever be truly as happy as my family and I were so long as they weren’t members of God’s only true church. With generations of these beliefs firmly in place, I felt it was my duty to convert others to God’s true religion. At age 20 years to 22 years, I had a wonderful experience as a missionary in Japan striving to convert others to God’s true church so they could be as happy as I was.
And then suddenly at age 44, my entire carefully constructed world started to come crashing down when my dad died. Fortunately, HardiTraining® and its practices were a regular part of my life at this time. I really belief that HardiTraining® had been orchestrated into my life by my “invisible friends” to prepare me for this next stage of my life. Over the past several years, I have read many books that have helped me expand my understanding and to broaden my perspective. These books have often come into my life in interesting and unexpected ways. Some of the books that have made a huge difference in my life and which I am so grateful that the authors took the time to write are:
A Course in Miracles
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
The Betty Book by Stewart Edward White
Across the Unknown by Stewart Edward White
The Unobstructed Universe by Stewart Edward White
With Folded Wings by Stewart Edward White
In the religious tradition in which I was raised I apparently developed some “false beliefs.” These “false beliefs” are some that I think my meditating has once again brought to the surface. Perhaps now, I am in a place where I can quit defending and rationalizing these beliefs and just let them to go. You see, I grew up believing that God was a male grandfather type person up in the sky and that he had “favorites” and “others.” To remain a favorite of God, there was a whole list of things you “should do.” I learned that God only granted the power to act in his name to certain faithful male members of his only true church. This belief has lead me to my current predicament.
There is a is a really strong and persistent part of me that beliefs that my worth as a human being is only validated by “certain” people who are in positions of authority and have the “proper credentials.” For example, at the time HardiTraining® was introduced to me in 1997, it found a fertile seed bed in me because it met my credentials of having the “proper authority and credentials.” It was developed by a person with a PhD who had graduated from Harvard University. And fortunately for me, he was a male person.
Over the past few years, this paradigm has been under assault as I’ve come into contact with more and more people who are awakening and writing books and offering their services as healers and light bringers AND who—according to some of my old beliefs—don’t have the proper authority and credentials. Interesting enough, many of these people whom I’m becoming aware of are female.
Over the last few months, I have been putting my desires out there in the universe and have been considering the idea of—as Joseph Campbell puts it—“following my bliss.”
You see, there is a part of me, or something in me, which still believes that “following your bliss” is okay for a hobby. However, it is unrealistic as a means of making a living. This “part” of me reminds me of the following story:
There is a story of a man trapped in his home by floods. As the waters reached his front door he prayed, “Lord God, please rescue me.” Ten minutes later a boat came by offering to take the man to safety. “No,” said the man, “God will save me.” The floods rose and the man, now trapped upstairs again prayed, “Lord God, please help me.” Five minutes later another boat came, but again the man declined its help. “God will save me,” he said, and the boat went away. At last the flood was so high that the man had retreated to the roof where he prayed, “God, please help me.” Almost at once there was a roaring sound and a helicopter arrived. “I don't need your help,” said the man, “God will rescue me.” The man drowned. In heaven he complained that even though he had prayed he had not been saved. “Yes,” said God, “that puzzled me too. I sent two boats and a helicopter yet still you drowned.”
One of my favorite things I do each month is to go on a hike along a beautiful mountain stream up the South Fork of Provo Canyon with my younger brother Randy. This last Saturday, September 20th, Randy and I had one of our best hikes yet. We hiked for nearly ten miles. I told Randy the story about how I use to love to dance. Here briefly is the story I related.
At one time, I actually thought I was a pretty good dancer. When I was about nine years old, I was dancing to the song “Christmas Candy” from the album “Snoopy’s Christmas” when my older sister, Terry, saw me and asked if I’d like to dance with her. I remember that I was pretty nervous, but I went ahead and danced. She said something to the effect, “Boy, you have good rhythm. You’re a good dancer.” And so all through high school, I went to church dances and had a ball dancing up a storm. This was the mid to late 1970's and the time of disco. I became quite the “disco king” wearing my platform shoes and my plaid bellbottom pants.
However, as I got older I didn’t dance as much. Once when I was dancing around my house, my family saw me. Unlike years earlier when I was nine, their comments weren’t nearly as encouraging. I don’t remember exactly what they said, but this is how I heard it. “Boy, you look awkward. Please stop moving. I think I’m getting ill.” And so, sometimes early in the morning when none of my family is up yet, I’ll put on some music, and I dance in the dark all by myself.
When I told Randy this story, something inside of me moved, and I just started to cry. Even as I write this story here, tears well up in my eyes.