Living Integrated

LIVING INTEGRATED 

Actualized Self-Realization

Living integrated is not an act of doing but rather a state of knowing from which all doing and activity arises.  Living integrated is simply knowing yourself and being that no matter what is showing up in appearance in either your inner or outer worlds. 

Many people have at some point in their life touched or awakened to an aspect of themselves that is beyond their ordinary body-mind self.  Names we give to this newly recognized aspect of ourselves are things such as Soul, Heart, Universe, God, Source or Love.  Once touched many (but not all) people hunger to live and experience this awareness of self as Love in their every day moment to moment existence.  When people have this awareness of something beyond what they normally identify themselves as but aren’t yet living as it we tend to say that they are integrating or in the integration process.  

If we make it really really simple, integration is the process of aligning all of ourselves to that awakened or new found awareness of ourselves, aka our Heart.  What this means is that we are “integrating” only as long as we choose to stay out of alignment with the recognition of ourselves as Love.  In this way you can see integrating as a way that we postpone the full acceptance of ourselves as what we truly are.  Now granted there is a timing and rhythm to everything and all will unfold accordingly,, however it is also important to realize where we put the brakes on our own development, expansion and forward progression.  How long do we want to delay the reality of living as love that we desire?  When will we quit making excuses and accept that we are Love already?  What needs to be perfectly and precisely aligned in the world of appearances before we do?  

Sometimes after having a self-expanding experience people have the tendency to try to bring that awareness of Soul into mind, meaning they make it conceptual so that they can explain the experience to their more ordinary self or make it more relatable to others.  This is frequently what people call integrating, but its really just making the experience mental, and it is an attempt to bring a more unified awareness of self into a less unified awareness of self.  I would invite rather to include soul in addition to the mind-body-human experience as something beyond it rather than trying to put it inside of mental containers. Soul is not supposed to fit inside of mind or be reduced to it.  Soul is not to be flattened into the mundane and ordinary so that “more people can get it” or it can be more relatable to your mind or other’s minds. Everyone already has soul. It’s not by shrinking Soul that more people get it, instead it’s simply the shining of more light/awareness onto that which already is, that enables the “spreading” or waking up of it to more of itself.   

TRUSTING LOVE 

Getting in Alignment with how the Universe sees

Integration is prior to knowing. To say you must integrate is to hold onto a less than complete version of you or a lesser truth. To integrate, or to live as yourself, you must discard your story of incompleteness. Each moment you hold onto it you create an illusionary reality for yourself in which you experience suffering, separation and disconnection. 

Insisting on our own imperfection or the world’s imperfections is the prime way we disconnect from our true selves and hence we need to continually integrate. It is our lack of trust in Love/God that keeps us on the outside and in a world of objects and appearances.  When we don’t trust Love we are constantly trying to control the in’s and out’s of our moment to moment experience rather than place our focus on Love.  Most people are not taught that they can choose where to place their focused awareness so many of us have our awareness placed in the world of things rather than rested in God/Love. The turning point where you see that the choice is yours is instrumental to living integrated or fully self-realized and actualized.   A key practice is remembering God moment to moment. Putting the knowingness of God in the forefront of everything else. Placing the attention of your mind solely on God rather than appearances or things. This illuminates all appearances with the awareness of God as all that is and all that can be, and makes integration, or the being of one’s self, seamless and effortless.  An inherent trust in a natural order also arises which enables your body-mind to rest more deeply in a larger container of wisdom and Love.

The only thing that then remains is the perfection working through your vehicles of mind-body.  Any time your mind comes up and insists that something is even just one hair thread out of alignment then your experience of the life will be out of alignment.  You will not only perceive out of alignment-ness in the external world, but the generation of it internally as well.  You will begin to feel like life is up to you, that you have to manage it on your own, and you will attempt to control it all costs because you are disconnected from the larger you and out of alignment with how the universe/God perceives, which is always the lens of perfection.  

Disciplining your mind to see as God/Universe/Love sees is really the only practice you ever need.  All doubts will dissolve.  Only trust in Love will remain and thus your experience of life will be connected, open, inviting, embracing, encouraging, and expansive.  Your discovery of the container that holds all inside of it, as yourself, enables the perception of you as Creator, as God.  All movement, all actions and all unfoldings happening within you.  To resist, reject, attempt to leave out, push away, or even make different begins to seems ridiculous as you recognize everything, even all of the thoughts, feelings, sensations, things, situations people, as you.  There isn’t anything that isn’t Love and its becomes evidently clear to you once you stop insisting on incompleteness and imperfection.  

Incompleteness and imperfection are merely thoughts in your mind, nothing more.  Master the thoughts in your mind to align with the one perception that the Universe has of creation as complete unified perfection, and that is the reality that you will create.  All of physical reality will follow your singular perception.  We don’t create or re-create the world through physically and mentally hard work and toil.  We create it with our perception.   I know it seems like things happen out there, but they don’t.  They happen inside of your consciousness.  Now is the moment to realize that every form follows consciousness whether that consciousness is awake to itself or asleep to its self.  The benefit of being awake and thus creating awake is that rather than experiencing cyclic suffering you experience eternal bliss.  The bliss that comes from knowing yourself and being yourself.  Alive, awake and integrated.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Your Heart is the Knower

Your Heart is the Knower

The Mind is not the Knower

So often we move about our lives trying to figure out what things means, preparing and plotting our next action steps and attempting to find answers to all of our questions about this mysterious universe.  We have a tendency to feel safer if we can make meaningful sense of things, find answers to our questions or have some type of clear direction that we can comfortably take.  Being in uncertainty, the unknown or the ever present present moment tends to feel too unstable for us and we seek for solidity in our thoughts or the physical universe.  

Why is it that we attempt to create safety through our minds perceived sense of knowing?  The most direct answer is because we think that we are our thoughts.  We are identified as our thoughts and believe that we are separate distinct entities disconnected from a larger knowingness.  If we were connected to a larger knowingness of ourselves we would never for even one second attempt to use our minds to create certainty, stability and a sense of knowing. Due to the fact that being veiled from the larger truth of ourselves is part of this human experience and learning, we seek for some solid ground through our thoughts because that is what is most accessible to us.  

Despite what you may think your mind is not the knower.  Your mind is simply a thinker.  It produces thoughts but does not know from where they come.  The knower is larger than or beyond the level or your mind.  If we step back and look at this from the perspective of levels of development we will see that development evolves from physical body (the survivor), to emotional body (the reactor), to mental body (the thinker) and then into soul (the heart).  Many humans right now are waking up, if you will, to level of soul, but it is not the natural default for most.  Rather mind and thoughts is the default and hence why we seem to perpetually come back to trying to figure things out as if we are separate object in a universe of separate objects that all act independent of each other and don’t share information or energy between them.  

When the mind is in charge it tries very hard to do, to figure out, to know and to make happen.  The mind also likes to make things difficult and complex where there isn’t difficulty or complexity.  It is the great confuser.  Yet the more confused we feel the more we try to think our way through it and end up in the vicious loop of which there is no way out.  The only way to find our way through is make contact with that which knows.  The gateway to the knower is through the heart.  The language with which the heart speaks is not with thoughts but instead with the energy vibration of love.  Leaning into this language is the clearer of all confusion and recognition of non-separateness.  

Getting to Know the Knower

Language of Love

Why is it seem so hard to lean into the heart?  Why do we look for something other than the language of love?  First things first.  Many of us have layers of protection around our heart-soul body making it difficult to even make contact with it.  These layers exist due to pains that we experience in our lives.  Most of us don’t consciously close ourselves off, it is simply the defensive nature of our nervous systems to protect us when we feel any type of pain, which is quite common on this human journey.  When this protective response gets activated its puts us in our more primitive bodies which are the physical, emotional and mental bodies.  Even though the mind is more complex in organization then the physical or emotional body it is still a more primitive body than that of the soul/heart body.  

Many people live their entire life in a mostly protected, defended state and are very functional and contribute great things to the world.  They have friends and families, successful careers or businesses and belong to communities.  Most people have no idea that they are living in a state of protection, that is until life brings them a situation which seems outside of what they can handle.  This is often loss in any of it forms.  Loss of loved one, loss of a relationship, loss of purpose, loss of health, loss of function of some part of the body, loss of resources, etc.  These experiences of loss are the biggest catalyst/activator that we have to evolve, wake up to more of ourselves and become undefended, and yet we tend to see them as catastrophic.  Many people don’t see how these situations are pushing them into growth and they stay focused solely on the loss.  

This brings me to language of the heart which is love and why we tend to not listen to it or see it as the knower.  When the mind is running the show of our lives we want linear, logical and mentally sound answers.  To the mind love seems too fluffy or like its not enough.  We often feel like we need more than just love.  We need hard, concrete, physical answers and quite frankly love doesn’t seem to be powerful enough for all of that.  So we seek and search for an answer that we can make sense out of rather than directly experiencing the all knowingness that comes with love.  We choose effort, fight and resistance over ease, grace and acceptance.  Why make it easy when we can make it hard and treacherous instead.  

The reason why most people have this perception of love as not quite powerful enough, or simply not enough, is because they have only experienced love for fleeting moments at a time.  Their baseline experience has not been such where love has been the primary experience day in and out for years or decades at a time.  In fact people rarely experience nothing but love all day long for even a single day at at time.  That which we experience more often tends to speak louder and we tend to place more belief and value in it.  Hence why our thoughts dominate and we tend to rely on them as that which knows best.  

Our heart is the knower.  Its doesn’t think, it knows.  When we lean into the heart, doubt dissolves and clear seeing is revealed.  There is no longer anything to figure out.  We realize that love is not only enough, but it is the organizer of everything and essence of our very nature.  Here is where the mysteries resolve themselves and the present moment comes alive as our direct experience.  There are no problems in love, nothing to fix or solve, there is only the pure knowing of the perfection that is and the playing out of that in all the myriad of forms.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Defenselessness

Defenselessness 

Beyond Self-protection

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to live defenselessly.  To not react, protect, prove, rationalize or justify yourself to anyone including your own self.  To become so completely transparent that everything moves through you and nothing sticks, lodges or festers away inside of you.  To be so open that no longer is any ounce of separation perceivable by you.  To no longer be afraid.  

We all have a different relationship to defenses.  Some of us think we need to have defenses so that we don’t get hurt physically or emotionally.  It is after all the job of our defenses to protect us from feeling pain and surviving.  Defenses get activated when we feel threat.  That threat could be to our physical or emotional survival or to our sense of self in regards to how we both see ourselves and others see us. However this all begs the question as to if there is something more than reacting to survive or to keeping our sense of self fixed, and the exploration of allowing the impact of pain rather than attempting to keep it at bay.  

You may wonder why in the world would you allow yourself to feel pain willingly whether it be physically or emotionally.  You might ask, what’s the sense in that?  Feeling pain when it’s present is the number one catalyst to healing, transformation and self-empowerment.  It is also what allows you to come back to into presence and an innerly resourceful, clear state when you feel lost and can’t find home or clarity inside of you.  Feeling pain provides the fuel that moves you into the directions where you’ve been too scared to go.  Pain, or the perception of pain, lives underneath fear.  When we don’t allow the pain that is underneath the fear, then fear runs the show of our lives.  Fear reacts.  Fear can see only a very limited perspective which includes only itself.   

It doesn’t take much of feeling pain to get us either in a state of full acceptance of what is or moving us in a new direction that we must take.  Sometimes people have an idea that they have to keep feeling pain over and over and over and just stay in a painful state indefinitely in order to heal.  This is not advisable or beneficial.  Pain is simply the catalyst or activator into healing and transformation and not what is supposed to become your lived day to day experience.  If you find yourself in a perpetual state of experiencing pain then you are mostly likely stuck in your story about pain rather than actually feeling it or you are postponing an action that you must take and not listening to the message of the pain.   

Defended vs. Closed 

Choosing openness or closedness

Defenses keep things away from us and make us unreceptive, un-influenceable, and un-feeling.  This is because a state of defense is a closed, self-contained state of being rather than open and unified.  There are times when a closed state is preferable and your capacity to discern when this is appropriate is a key factor in your personal and spiritual development.  There is also a difference between a defended state and a purely closed state.  The prime difference is choice.  In a defended state you are reactionary and not in full choice or conscious of your chosen state of being.  Meaning no matter what you try to do you can’t shift from closed back into open and you are often triggered or thrown by what is occurring.  Your reactor or survivor is running the show rather than your chooser and you are locked into the pattern.  However when you consciously choose a closed state because that is what best serves or is preferably by you in a particular situation there is no difficulty in shifting from open to closed to open again instantly and at will.  You are also not triggered or knocked out of your center.  This is because you are aware of yourself and not merged with the situation that is occurring.  This is true self-empowerment and an important stage of development.  

Being defended is the the opposite of growth.  What this means is that in order to grow and evolve, both personally and spiritually, you must find your way through your defenses.  You cannot learn when you are defended, you can only protect yourself.  One of the reasons that we often feel disconnected or that we can’t feel or see what is going on beyond our limited perspective is because we are defended in a closed off state and frequently we don’t even know that we are.  This is why learning how to tune into yourself through your body is such a vital resource in discovering your patterns of protection and defense.  Rather than speaking through words or thoughts like the mind does, the body speaks through sensation, breath, movement and energy.  It is through learning to tune into those aspects of our being that we can begin to discover where we protect, how we avoid and where we are not open or receiving energy or information.  Through this discovery of protection we can begin to make contact with fear, and the pain that is underneath that fear.  Developing the capacity to be present with the intensity of these sensations and emotions is our gateway into healing, openness and unlimited energy.

Defenselessness is our natural state.  Open, vast, receptive, and connected.  It is only because we have taken on forms that we have become identified with that we have developed defenses.  With this we’ve learned to perceive ourselves as separate from and therefore having something to protect ourselves from.  In absolute truth there is no other and on a relative level there is the appearance of other.  Don’t be swayed by the multiplicity of forms and the illusion of separateness that they create.  Look past appearances and see with the heart.  The heart sees but one, feels but one, knows but one.  Stop confusing yourself with the form of this body and come to know yourself deep to and beyond the form.  Here you will experience the freedom of defenselessness.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Your Life is not Your Own

Your Life is not Your Own 

The Grand Symphony

We tend to believe that our life is about us.  We make goals, plans, and have dreams and aspirations that propel our life in certain directions.  We think that we are driving the train of those directions and that the fruition of our aspirations means something about who we are.  While in some ways and to some degrees this is true, ultimately the events of our life including the ways that we feel about our life mean very little about who we are or what we think our lives are about.

You may wonder why this is.  You may think “but my life feels like mine”.  The larger truth however is that there really is no “you” for which to have a life that feels like yours.  The you that you think that you are is based only on thoughts and ideas that have come together to create the personality that you’ve come to label as you.  There is no real separate personality you.  There is only thoughts of a separate personality you.  Everyone in spiritual circles knows conceptually that everything is one and that there is no separation yet we continue to believe ourselves to be a separate person.  Separate from not only other people, but also spirit, god or “higher self”.

This idea of you that you’ve come to know yourself to be, which has become your full identity, is what interferes with you knowing who and what you really are.  If you had the recognition of yourself that was not filtered through the lens of you being a separate person than you would instantly realize that your life is not your own.  That all the events that occur are are simply a web of interconnected dots in the larger matrix of creation and really have nothing to do with you personally.  Now this doesn’t mean that things and events don’t occur through this perceived sense of you as this particular body and mind because they absolutely do.  Your body-mind vehicle is the way that things get expressed and brought into creation.  It’s simply that those things that express through you are not about you.  The root of much of our suffering as humans is due to this simple misidentification of believing that that which gets expressed or created through us is ours.  

The desires, dreams and aspirations that excite us and propel us are impulses from spirit or higher self.  These impulses, which we call our desires, are the way that spirit orchestrates all the parts of the symphony getting us to play our parts at exactly the right moment and in the exact right harmony.  In this way the masterful song of creation comes together whether or not we can see or hear what all the other parts of the symphony are playing.  Only the grand master, who is the ultimate organizer can put all the pieces together to make the most coherent musical masterpiece.   

Perceiving Perfection 

The End of Fear

It should by now be clearly evident that there is something going on beyond what our minds know and what our senses can perceive.  Our lives are not just about what it is we think they are about.  Our actions, the directions that we take or don’t take in our lives, and the things we create, are really part of a much bigger picture that we mostly can’t see.  Considering this is the case why is it that we worry, fear, fret, overanalyze, and judge our actions, others actions and everything that is going on in our world?  Why do we try to control and manage the details of it all?  Its simply because we believe that our life is our own, that we are solely responsible for it all and we are disconnected from that larger organizing principle or the grand master of the symphony.

Due to this disconnection from the larger and the feeling like we are on our own we doubt and judge rather than trust.  Because we grip onto our life as our own we live from our head and not from our heart.  We wonder why we don’t feel divinely guided, supported or lost and unfulfilled and can’t see that we have not created the invitation for spirit in our lives because we have been so busy deciding and determining what all of the events of our lives mean.  We’ve left no space inside of our interpretations for anything other than what we think.  We can’t seem to get out of the way long enough to see that what is occurring or happening is exactly what is perfectly supposed to be happening or occurring.  

Facing the perfection of everything requires us to face our own ignorance.  Our ignorance which thinks it knows what is supposed to be occurring from its tiny, minuscule perspective.  The truth is that our minds don’t have a clue and yet we believe them to a fault.  This is our error and our suffering.  We all want some magic bullet that will make everything perfect and peaceful and happy and yet we fail to recognize that we are the magic bullet that we seek.  It is our sole responsibility, our one and only true responsibility, to align ourselves with the accurate perspective that there is nothing that is not in perfection just as it is.  Until we are willing to align ourselves to the perspective of perfection and give up our faulty perspective of perceiving error we will experience our own judgment over and over and over again and remain in the circle of suffering.  

The end of perceiving error is the end of fear.  When you no longer see wrong you no longer have any reasons left to fear.  Survival physiology ends, defense posturing becomes irrelevant.  There is no longer anything you need to protect yourself from.  It’s the end of the over-analyzer, the worrier, and the anxious one.  Simultaneously it is the birth of the healed one, of love physiology and of the posturing of openness and commune with spirit.  It is the recognition that there is no “your life” separate from anything and the allowing of the movement and impulse of life to move through your body-mind.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Disown Everything

Disown Everything 

Radical relinquishment

Think for a moment about how much ownership you claim in your life.  Look at external things like your house, car, clothes, career, business, professional titles, kids, spouse, friends, other family members.  Also peek at internal things like emotions, sensations, thoughts and beliefs.  Begin to investigate your relationship with all of the things both internal and external in your life.  How much do you think, feel or act in accordance with the thought that something is yours?  Anything that you own or claim becomes your identity and something that you then attempt to manipulate or control.  These are also the same things that we tend to worry about or that we say create stress in our lives.  

If you take this all the way to the extreme end you will see that taking ownership of something as yours is the source of all suffering.  Pause for a moment and simply feel what it feels like to give everything away.  I am not talking about physical items here necessarily, though those could be included, but instead giving away everything inside your mind.  The thoughts about the sensations in your body, your emotional state of being, the list of all the things you need to do this week, your beliefs about how things work in this world and the perspectives you hold so strongly onto.  It is in these moments of relinquishment that you taste your true self, that which remains when all is left to be as it is.

Now you may think, isn’t it irresponsible, superficial or bypassing this reality to disown everything.  The first thing I would say is to do a little self-experimentation.  Disown those very thoughts and see how it feels.  I’d imagine the peace that you desire to feel and the spiritual blissful nature of yourself is what you will instantly experience.  However if that is too radical for you and you prefer to take smaller steps into peace, freedom and bliss then the second thing I’d say is to investigate what it is that you really want.  Do you want to continue to interject, impose, manage, make sure everything turns out ok for everyone, feel stressed or exhausted, feel bad for extended periods of time because you think you need to keep holding onto a particular feeling state or a story about a sensation?  Do you have a belief that being human means that you must suffer and that the human experience can’t be congruent with a permanent state of peace or bliss?  Also investigate what it is that you think you will lose if you let go and radically relinquish.  Perhaps respect, purpose, validation, worth, people’s opinions about you, your opinion of yourself, your stories about what life means and what matters, love.  It is often our fear of loss, pain, and lack of self-worth that keeps us holding onto stationary concepts of life rather than living it.  In this way we continue the cycle of suffering for ourselves because we insist on what life should look like rather than what it actually looks like.   

True Power 

What we give away

However paradoxical this might sound, disownment of everything is where your true power resides.  It is where the personality you steps out of the way and you come to know the real you that has been ever present but masked behind the scenes of your busy mind.  Most people have a misconception that the more they have, whether that having is physical possessions, relationships, fancy titles or roles, conceptual knowledge, respect, admiration, some special gift, etc., then the more powerful they become.  Though this is the surface appearance, the underlying truth is that true power lives not it what you have but rather in the giving away of all.  

Many people have a desire to get out of the way and allow spirit to become them, live through them, and yet simultaneously they feel like they don’t know how to do this.  The one that feels like it doesn’t know what or how is the one that is trying to stay in control of and do life.  This one will never be able to figure it out because it is the one that is the roadblock in the first place.  It like a large rock in a stream.  The rock can’t figure out how to allow the stream to move through it because from the rock’s perspective its solid and fixed in place.  It has no idea how to move itself.  It needs either a large force that is other then its perceived self to move it so that the stream can flow clearly through or the rock itself needs to realize its non-solid nature.  Its the same with us.  Our minds (which is what we think we are) can’t figure it out.  Our larger awareness or consciousness must come in to move us and the only ways that it can do that is if we are either empty enough to be moved (having realized our own non-solidity) or the force is stronger than our rock like nature.  

The power of personality and personal will can only go so far.  It is an important driving force and also what ultimately must be suspended and transcended if we are to grow and evolve beyond it.  Our personalities are very persistent.  They like to be right.  They hate feeling wrong.  They look at life in linear and black and white ways.  They are insistent on labelling, defining and making sense of everything they see.  They take things personally because they are by their very nature personal.  When we confuse our identity with the mind this is what becomes our perceived real reality.  

When we boldly give away everything in our mind rather than accumulate, hold onto or take, we empty ourselves out so that the brighter, more luminescent consciousness that we are becomes more apparent to us.  This loosens our hold on the small person centric world view and opens us into a broader, less personal awareness.  With more and more tastes we come to know this as our self rather than the personal self we’ve assumed ourselves to be.  Loss of individuality is nirvana.  Though disownment may seem irresponsible and sometimes scary to our person, it actually feels so freeing when we do and gives us direct access to our beyond self.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Prioritizing Presence

Prioritizing Presence

Consumption, distraction & dissociation

There are a thousand million ways that we avoid being present.  Many of the strategies that we use to avoid being present revolve around consumption, distraction and dissociation as these things provide relief from all of the uncomfortable sensations, feelings and experiences that come along with being human.  Let’s investigate how these strategies manifest so that you can identify them in yourself when they arise.  

Consumption is king when it comes to avoidance of the present.  Over eating, over drinking, over shopping, over scrolling, over thinking, over watching, over looking, over searching and seeking, all provide a temporary feeling of satiation or fullness.  This fullness activates the parasympathetic part of the nervous system, which gives us a sense of relaxation and the ability to check out of life (aka our thoughts) for a few moments.  Just to clarify that while relaxation is integral with the development of your ability to be present, relaxation for most people is a checking out rather than a checking in, which is the opposite of presence.  The goal is to be stably present which is a state of calm, steadiness wakefulness no matter what arises, which is very different than relaxation which is a temporary disengagement from stressful conscious or unconscious thoughts.  

Distraction and consumption are closely related.  Distractions often come in the form of consumption.  This can be the busyness that we keep ourselves occupied with, constantly needing to be engaged with something or doing something and not having the ability to simply allow things to be.  This can look/feel like difficulty unwinding or physically sitting still, inability to still your thoughts/mind, and not being able to pay attention or focus your awareness to be productive in ways you desire.  Distraction could be summarized as giving your attention to things, activities, thoughts and doing more than your state of being.  

Lastly there is dissociation.  Dissociation is a disappearance of your awareness from the here now.  With dissociation there is a charge or something unresolved, and instead of being with it you learn how to escape it completely.  This can be seen as people who meditate into emptiness states and feel peacefully calm there yet feel unrest at all other times.  Taking recreational or other types of drugs/medicines also provide the opportunity to dissociate where you experience bliss elsewhere and have resistance/charge on this earthy plane of reality.  Other ways to recognize this are feeing spacey without a ground, feeling like you have no idea what is going on, or not engaging with others or certain aspects of your life.  The difference between dissociation and healthy disengagement which allows you to see a bigger picture of life is that with dissociation there is resistance to the experience of now, where in healthy disengagement there is full acceptance of now.   

Presence is life 

What we truly desire

In order to prioritize presence you must first identify your strategies and ways that you check out of it.  Only when you can identify and see your patterns can you change them.  The next piece after this awareness of self is the commitment, desire and prioritization of presence.  Without making this a priority you will simply fall back into your patterns as they are easy, known, somewhat comfortable and the more grooved path.  Checking out takes less energy then checking in and by default we tend to take the path that requires less energy and therefore less from us.  If you want to bring more energy and awareness into your system (energy & awareness are the components of life, health and vitality by the way) then you must want it more than anything else.

Presence is life.  Presence is ground.  Presence is being.  Its components are energy and awareness.  When you prioritize presence you prioritize life, ground and beingness more than all of the content and experiences that fill it up.  When you turn your attention, your awareness, to the beingness rather than the stuff you will begin to experience the freedom, lightness and bliss that most people desire deep down yet struggle to find their way to.  On the surface it seems that what we want are certain sensations, feelings and experiences to be a particular way, but if we dive a bit deeper into our being we will discover that its not the sensations, feelings or experiences that we truly desire to be a certain way, but instead we desire inner stillness and peace no matter what is occurring.  We desire to be free from having to constantly navigate, plan and prepare our life’s trajectory attempting to prevent the “bad”.  We desire to be in the mystery unafraid and in trust and faith of the magic of the moment.

Being present means you give away the control that was never yours in the first place.  You let life be as it is and unfold with it rather than try to plan, fix, mange and coordinate the unfoldings.  You realize that while you are in the driver’s seat of your own state of being, that is really the only thing you are in the driver’s seat of.  You stop saying or thinking that anything should be different than it is.  You stop insisting on rightness/wrongness thinking and perspectives.  This alone bumps you up to the next stage of awareness or consciousness that is beyond simply fighting for your survival and making sure you are taken care of.  

What’s beyond survival and trying to make sure you are taken care of you ask?  Freedom, peace and love.  All of this does not mean inaction, it doesn’t mean not standing up for yourself or causes that you feel inspired too, it doesn’t not mean you stop expressing or creating.  It simply means that your actions are in direct response to an intelligence that is beyond the intelligence in your own head.  It means moving beyond the person you, which you are so concerned and fused with, and that you’ve come to believe is who you are so much so that you’ve forgotten your true identity.

Your true identity lies beyond your own head, beyond the eyes that look out from this human body.  You cannot know it until you prioritize it over everything else.  You must make presence and a focus on your beingness more important than anything else that arises in your experience.  You must be willing to let everything go and become focused on existence rather than experience.  This is how/where you will come to recognize your true identity as being rather than as person or thing.  This will be your shift out of a survival state of being that is full of fear, threat and insecurity into a rested, stable ground of presence that is all pervasive, doesn’t come and go and is always ever presently here.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Body Intelligence

Body Intelligence

Stress & Acceptance Physiology

There is a natural intelligence to our bodies.  It is clearly evident that our bodies know how to coordinate a zillion biochemical process each day without us even being aware of it.  Modern medicine has barely scratched the surface in understanding the complexity of the way that our body operates and functions.  While it has made advances in looking at the physical components and parts it almost never steps back to see what is the operating force for this physical body in the first place.  

It is obvious that when we cut or injure ourselves that our body initiates a sequence of events to heal the tissue.  Different tissues tend to repair at different rates.  Many of what we label disease processes are the body’s intelligence attempting to recalibrate or heal itself in the best way it can given the situation it finds itself within.  Even when things seem maladaptive to us, meaning producing some kind of symptoms, this is often an intelligent process that is initiated to help adapt and heal the body.  This is also why simply eliminating symptoms can be dangerous as the body created them for a purpose, which is to support homeostasis and healing.  The adaptability and capacity of this body intelligence is really quite astounding and one that we often don’t give much attention to unless it seems to not be working correctly.  

This begs the question as to why it seems that this intelligence fails us at times.  Why does the body not repair after injury or find that perfect balance in its internal processes that we maybe once experienced?  Why does the body’s intelligence sometimes need external or outside assistance?  Lets start with the most significant cases first and work our way backwards.  In the most significant of cases an injury or insult to the body structure is so great that the body’s intelligence can’t reconnect and revitalize that part of the body despite its best attempts to do so.  You might see this with a car accident where there is loss of a limb or a stroke when a portion of the brain dies.  Connection has been severed and the body’s intelligence simply can’t reach or reconnect to that part.  When a part of this body is disconnected from its intelligence source its energetic resource is limited and it eventually ceases to function.  This is what we would call a death process of that part.  When intelligence completely ceases to inform this body structure that is what we call a full or complete death of this physical form.  Again this is the most significant of cases. 

Now at the body level we experience death processes every minute and this does not mean that a portion of the body or the entire body dies.  Believe it or not millions of cells die each second and millions of new ones are born each second.  Unbelievable I know but look it up for yourself.  The death process is actually a very important part of the regulation and health of this body, so much so that I would say that our resistance to a death process occurring is one of the major factors that interferes with our ability to heal.  Wait, what did I just say?  Yep you read correctly.  Due to our often impatience, fear, loss of stability in our body of what once was and wanting to go back to how we felt in our body before a pain or symptom arose we tend not want to let go of what once was.  We thus create a state of resistance aka stress physiology in our body and we are attempting to live in the past which always creates suffering because its impossible to do so.  In this way we interfere with the emergence of the new (which is on the other side of every death) by holding onto the old with the grips of our current idea of life.  When we are unwilling to accept what is, including the potential or actual death of the way that things were, we get stuck.  When we are stuck we desperately seek for some answer or some clarity that will bring us back to the knowing we once knew rather than this new state of uncertainty and instability that we find ourselves in.   

Now back to the body’s intelligence.  The body’s intelligence is always programmed towards health, vitality and wholeness in its actions.  When communication between our body tissues and the intelligence that informs them are intact and not interfered with this information is effortlessly communicated behind the scenes of our conscious awareness and our body functions optimally.  However if this information cannot reach the tissues of the body for some reason then the communication cannot get relayed.  In my opinion and experience the number one thing that interferes with this communication process is us.  Meaning we create the interference in the system through the inner state of being that we are choosing.  Now are there other things that interfere with this communication besides our inner state of being?  The answer is most definitely yes.  Not creating a good physical environment for the body by consuming crappy foods, crappy thoughts and not taking care of the physical body in the ways it needs all interfere.  These things are vitally important to our physical health and vitality, but they are not the entire story.  

The good news is that in many cases reconnection can be re-established.  The sometimes hard to swallow news is that we first have to accept the current-present-now state of our body before that connection comes back to life and our tissues can be re-vitalized.  On a body level this means that we have drop resistance, drop fight/flight mode, drop stress physiology so that the body intelligence can reconnect.  The physiology of stress (aka resistance) blocks physical healing and blocks the communication of the intelligence of the body with the body tissues.  Stress and healing physiologically work in opposition.  On a mental-emotional level this often means we have to stop thinking and start feeling the loss of what was, feeling the pain of not being able to go back, and feeling all of the other difficult emotions that are connected to not feeling or experiencing how you want to be feeling and experiencing being in your body.  

Acceptance physiology is radically different than stress physiology.  It’s the physiology of flowing, communicating, non-interfered with body intelligence.  When we quit holding onto what was, which is embracing the death of what we once knew, only then will we see the new that can emerge.  The clarity that we were so hungry for when we were feeling stuck begins to illuminate our experience.  We can see what needs to be done and take actions accordingly.  We become increasingly ready for whatever we need to do and be.  Our physical body may still be experiencing some symptoms but our relationship to their expression has dramatically changed such that we don’t even really mind that their present if they are.  This is the power of acceptance.  You have this power.  We all have this power.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Connected Movement

Connected Movement

Motion guided by thought

Unless you are a dancer, athlete or have practiced a lot of body awareness you probably don’t really pay too much attention to how your body moves.  Rather than tuning into our body’s natural movements or allowing our bodies to be moved we tend to think or do our movements.  Thinking our movements comes from our thinker deciding it wants to do something and then our body following through on that thought with the necessary actions.  For example say you are sitting on your couch and you have the thought that you would like an apple from the kitchen.  Your body then gets up and walks to the kitchen in response to this thought.  This is the process or act of doing.  This motion is guided by the thoughts in your head and often not in connection with the larger rhythms of your consciousness.  

When motion is guided by thought alone it is mechanical in nature, meaning you have to do the motion and there isn’t a sense of aliveness inherent within the movement itself.  In this previous sentence you are the thinker (as that is what most people identify themselves as) and the thinker/you is guiding the motion.  The process of pure doing, or moving guided by thought, involves effort and there isn’t a synergistic flow to it or something that is energizing it; you have to put all the work into it.  Another way to say this is that the movement is not connected.  Disconnected movement is movement guided by thought that feels like you have to do the work to produce the action.  This is how most people move most of the time.  

When our thoughts are the primary motivator of our movements we are then thus limited in our movements by the thoughts we think.  Our thoughts decide what movements we take, where we go, where we don’t go, how we are and aren’t able to express ourselves through our movements (including the movement of voice/sound) and what we think we are physically capable of doing.  The effects of this are vast and include how the movement of a single joint in our body moves or doesn’t move, the way a muscle or group of muscles tense up, or the posturing we hold ourselves in and extends into the expression of our purpose and what we move towards and away from in life.  When our movements are guided by the mechanical nature of thought intelligence we experience the limitation of our thoughts through this physical body which intelligence moves within. 

Intelligently Guided Motion 

Beyond the thinker

You may be wondering what can move us besides our thoughts?  Believe it or not there is something more intelligent then your thoughts that can guide your movements.  We are largely conditioned to believe that we are the thoughts we think, or one step beyond that, that we are thinker of the thoughts we think, and that our identity stops there.  This creates a limited perspective on who/what we are and that limited perspective is what gets expressed through these bodily forms as movement.  

What is this intelligence that lives beyond our thinking minds which can inform our movements and how do you access it within your own consciousness and experience?  One of the first pieces I’ve found to be fundamental for people in discovering themselves beyond their thinking mind is the development of body awareness.  What this means is learning how to drop your awareness from your head/thoughts into your body and simply rest it there.  Through learning how to rest your awareness into different parts of your body you begin to notice yourself and your energy within your body rather than be focused in your thoughts.  This opens your awareness to the more subtle aspects of your being.  This is simple in application, but requires a consistent practice to discipline where you allow your attention to go as it will almost always want to immediately go back into your thoughts.  

Navigating your awareness into your body you begin to learn presence and how to simply be without doing.  It is then through the next step of turning your attention towards your beingness that you become aware of yourself at that level beyond thoughts.  It is also here that spontaneously organized movement can arise that is generated not through your thoughts but through your being.  Here movement is effortless and not limited, controlled or determined by your thoughts.  It is also not mechanical, but instead has it own coordination and defies what the thinking mind previously thought possible.  The mind cannot makes sense of it, nor is it necessarily supposed to be able too.  Here, you the person, must have also developed enough trust, faith and surrender or you will not be able to experience beyond your thinking mind.  Without trust, faith and surrender the mind is simply unwilling or not ready to let go.  It needs more time to keep its confined, limited and illusionary sense of safety a little longer before experiencing freedom.  

At first some people experience this more organized, spontaneous movement as scary, strange or other worldly, but it is simply the waking up of your awareness to the beingness aspect of itself where thoughts don’t interfere and the intelligence beyond your thinking mind can get a moment to enter your body and organize it in a more efficient configuration.  Life is always evolving and moving towards greater organization, intelligence and knowledge of itself.  This is built into the blueprint of creation.  It is natural that we are waking up to this next aspect of ourselves where we tune to the more subtle aspects of our nature and our thinking minds get out of the drivers seat.  Here a more highly ordered and energized intelligence (that we are) can stream through and use the vehicle of the thinking of mind to express through rather than the thinking mind running the show.  Overtime and with more tastes we become more stable and rested at this level of our being and our identity shifts from thinker into illuminator or simply pure awareness.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Linear & Nonlinear Reasoning

Linear & Nonlinear Reasoning

Stages of development

The next stage of development we move into as older children and adolescents is that of analyzing, reasoning and trying to make sense of things that we perceive.  For many this comes in the form of logical and linear reasoning as this is what is mostly reinforced in our schools and culture.  It is black and white and views progress as moving from point A to B without deviation from the line.  It is focused on finding cause and effect relationships in which 1+1 must=2.  While others develop abstract or nonlinear reasoning.  In this type of reasoning things don’t move in a sequential fashion or progress on a straight line from A to B, but instead may move from A to P to O to D.  There are infinite shades and dimensions of all colors and things move out in many directions from one point.  A singular cause and effect relationship is a mute point as everything is influencing and effecting everything else, 1+happiness+an apple might=2.  People often categorize this into left brain vs right brain activity, where left brain is linear/logical and right brain is nonlinear/abstract.

Anyone who has spent time with a young child knows their insatiable hunger to know why things are the way they are.  This is rooted in a fundamental curiosity to know the outer world with which we find ourselves abiding within.  As young children we are little explorers with awakening mental capabilities that we use to make sense of what we see, feel, hear, taste and touch.  Developmentally we move from putting things in our mouth and touching things with are hands when we are infants and toddlers to using our mind to ask questions about things and formulate thoughts about what we sense.  Once we think we know our outer world well enough we stop asking so many questions with that child-like curiosity and we now have many developed assumptions based on what all of the adults in our lives have told us about the world.  We are not really aware of these assumptions as we’ve simply absorbed the information given to us and made it into a concrete and factual world which we now live in.  

While many people have a higher tendency towards logical, linear reasoning as that is what we are taught as primary, most people have aspects of both types of reasoning.  However as a collective we tend to lean towards what the culture accepts and expects and find ourselves locked into linear reasoning even if that isn’t our natural default or tendency.  We go for what “makes the most sense”, “is logical”, which is implied to be the “higher, more prestigious order”.  Whether or not that is actually true or valid is up for debate, but the logical mind tends to be quite rigid, singularly focused, at times righteous and has a hard time coloring outside the lines.  For it to see itself, and for you to see it in yourself, can be challenging because it must be proven to with facts, data and direct cause and effect or else it remains closed, skeptical and judgmental.  

Addiction to Reasoning 

Shifting into presence

While reasoning, linear and nonlinear, are fundamental developmental milestones to this human experience many people get locked into and addicted to reasoning, especially linear reasoning.  We tend to need to know why things are they way they are rather than simply experiencing them.  We feel a compulsion to figure things out particularly when undesirable occurrences are showing up in our lives or bodies and we feel frustrated when we can’t make sense of it all.  We think if we could just figure it out, have some reason or answer be revealed to us, then everything would be ok again.  

While linear reasoning absolutely has its place say for example when organizing your house, structuring your day or creating an action plan for something very specific that you want to achieve or create, in the realms of healing it often gets in the way.  Our near complete obsession with thinking and figuring it out postpones our healing like nothing else.  Why is this so you might ask?  It is because all healing happens in the present, in fact healing is a return to the present, and when you are thinking you are not present.  Our minds have a really sneaky way of convincing us that if they can just have a few more thoughts or think about something for a little longer than they will get closer to some kind of knowing that will benefit them.  This is why we develop an addiction to our thoughts in the first place.  We think that our thoughts and reasoning will benefit us more than simply being present to our experience.  That somehow our thoughts have the answer separate from our direct experience of whatever it is that we are experiencing.  We have learned to become so reliant on our thoughts that we can’t even imagine or trust that there is another way.  We often perceive being present to our experience as inactive and being in our thoughts/head as active and productive.  As long as our minds are active we feel success or as if we are moving towards success, but to still our minds and experience simply being with feels boring or empty, unproductive, or like a waste of time, especially when we want answers.

The other piece to this is that our minds have agendas.  When life isn’t looking/feeling like we want it to the mind looks for a way out rather than a way inGetting out of our experience is impossible and yet we will try at all costs to do so when we don’t like what we are experiencing.  Getting into our experience is the process of presence.  To feel and see what is here without turning away from it is what allows for healing and eventually transformation to occur.  We are so busy being in our heads avoiding the aspects of our lives that we don’t want to feel and yet feeling them is the key to healing them.  Remember avoidance is simply a protective mechanism, a way that we can check out of our experience rather than into it, because sometimes what is here is too uncomfortable, more uncomfortable than our continual avoidance of it.  

Being in your experience provides all of the energy and information that you will ever need.  Your capacity to feel the emotions and sensations that are present in any moment, particularly the ones you resist or don’t like, is what allows them to be part of the whole rather than separate in a concept or thought.  This integrates them back into the unified whole of which they never really left, only your thoughts kept them separate.  It is from this place that you can see a larger perspective.  This is where the energy and knowingness for actions, transformation and change occurs.  There is no more figuring out.  There is simply knowledge of how to proceed and what must occur now.  If you find yourself “not knowing how” then you’re not present yet because when you are present you always know.  Here self-doubt ends and self-knowing is inherent.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Inauthenticity: The Biggest Energy Drain

Inauthenticity: The  Biggest Energy Drain

Identifying your fake self

Business Executive and His Energy Level Concept Vector Cartoon I

Being someone you are not is absolutely exhausting and yet we attempt to do this all of the time.  Whether its in a social setting, work setting, or a one on one interaction with another person we find ways to filter, tame or ignore our true nature rather than just be ourselves.  Why is it that we pretend to be other, different, better, kinder or more amiable than we actually are?  It mostly comes down to wanting approval and acceptance by others and our fear of rocking the boat and creating a messy or destructive splash.  

When we choose approval or acceptance by others over our own natural impulse or nature we drain our own energy and dim our inner flame.  We literally become a shell because we’ve lost connection to our essence.  We are gone and only the outer clothing of the image we project remains.  We have all had this experience.  Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a conversation with a friend, client or co-worker and were completely drained afterwards. Or maybe you were in a social setting not speaking or engaging at all, yet feeling like you should be interacting in someway and find yourself similarly exhausted just being in that setting.  In these scenarios the ideas that we have about what and who we should be and how we should interact dominate our inner environment and take over our person.  This is the birth of the inauthentic version of ourselves that we think that world wants more than the authentic version.

The disappearance of the real you and the presentation to the world of the fake you gives you the illusion of safety and security, which is why you choose it over the real you.  This illusion of security provided by the acceptance of you by others temporarily feels safe and reassuring yet has significant long-term costs.  The costs are a drain to your life force which has physical effects on your body and its capacity to heal, rest and regenerate.  There is also a dimmed down expression of yourself that often comes with a sense of either not knowing yourself, liking yourself, valuing yourself or a lack of self-confidence.  Lastly there can be the experience of frustration that comes from not listening to or following through on your natural impulses or excitements.  In these ways your inauthenticity and choosing safety and security over your own beingness becomes the biggest energy drain.  The greater your inauthenticity the more lethargic, moody, tired and eventually sick you will feel.  These are the effects of disconnection from ourselves.   

Your Inner Fire 

Inviting the messy, destructive & chaotic

the burning woman head profile

Due to our conditioned propensities towards organization rather than mess, constructive rather than destructive, and calm rather than chaotic we live within a limited range of ourselves while attempting to control and manage life so that we experience more comfort rather than discomfort.  Our often complete aversion to discomfort makes us a planet of people pleasers and do gooders that jump to immediate alleviation at the first sign of upset or distress while simultaneously feeling suffocated, constricted and tight as we keep ourselves confined to expressing only that which is pleasing and containable. We wonder innocently enough why it is we feel so tense and why its feels hard to breath while not allowing ourselves to feel a grain of discomfort and thus only allowing a fraction of our expression.  

To invite the entire range of ourselves to play we have to be willing to feel the burn from time to time.  Not everything we say is nice and not everything we do is kind, nor is it always supposed to be.  Sometimes the most loving way to be has nothing to do with niceness, kindness or making sure others are ok with our expressions.  This isn’t a permission slip to be belligerent, but rather a permission slip to be authentically you.  We each are and have access to every characteristic and aspect in existence.  We are all parts and all parts are us.  To only play with or express a few parts is what gives us the experience of limitation.  

Your inner flame or fire is your source of passion and life force.  It is lit when you are simply being you.  There isn’t anything extra or added that you need.  In fact it is quite the opposite.  It is the dropping away of the added or extra, which are the filters and layers of falsity, allow your fire to burn effortlessly and as brightly as you are.  This is when you feel the most alive, energized, and vital.  Fire also has the capacity to burn away that which is false or inauthentic to you.  The more you allow the flame of your authentic self the clearer you become in yourself.

What then is required of you is simply to be yourself.  This is the experience of being rested and energized simultaneously.  To have the ability to respond, act and be in accordance with your true nature and not be dependent on other people or situations that you find yourself in to give you an external sense of comfort and safety.  This is the expression of confidence and self-worth.  To no longer compromise yourself at the expense of other peoples thoughts, opinions and perceptions of you.  To value your expression enough to simply be it no matter what.  This is what it is to be authentic.  

Inviting the sometimes messy, chaotic, destructive and uncomfortable is a good practice as it will stretch you out of your safety nets and help you drop the filters you have up that you don’t even know you have.  Moving towards your aversions of discomfort rather than away will liberate you from them.  Your freedom lies within being able to be with all expressions of you and not just picking and choosing the select few that you like or feel good to you.  When you can be with all of you, you are free.  

Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado