CHOOSING OPENNESS

CHOOSING OPENNESS 

Why we choose closed 

It’s easy to be closed.  It isn’t as overt as you might think it is.  In fact most people are closed and don’t even know it.  It tends to be what we think of as our natural state of being.  Comfortable and familiar to us, being closed keeps us contained and in our own little bubble of existing and feeling like we know what’s going to happen.  In contrast, openness feels more spacious, vulnerable and mysterious.  When we are open we can feel ourselves and others.  Often people have a negative relationship with feeling, especially if the feeling that’s present isn’t a “good” one.  This is why we close, and sometimes stay closed for most of our entire life.  

When we are closed we can avoid feeling the fullness of “bad” things or feelings.  While on the surface this might seem advantageous to you (which is why so many do this), but when viewing from the bigger picture of your life it’s quite disadvantageous.  The first reason it is disadvantageous is that when you are closed, and are unable to be feel, you lose connection with your guidance system and therefore yourself.  Feeling is guidance.  It’s your beeline to your higher self.  Emotions tell us how to proceed forward on our path and which choices to take.  What to say yes to and what to say no to.  When you can’t feel you will often have the experience of being lost, confused or stuck.  You can call this disconnection, and a sense of not knowing how to move forward or what actions to take in your life.  The second reason being closed is disadvantageous is that when you are closed you can’t feel the bad or the good, so your experience of life flattens.  It’s like being kind of numb.  You might sort of feel things, but your range of feeling is limited. Most days and experiences feel ordinary (aka non-magical).  You go through the motions of life, feeling human and like a separate person from other people.  Again you might not even know that things could be, or are, different than this.  It’s just your normal known state of existing or being in the world.  You don’t feel particularly bad, but you also don’t feel particularly good.  

Being closed feels protective.  It is a defense mechanism that we learn in order to not experience impact.  This is important when we don’t have the inner resources or awareness to be with that impact, and when we’ve either lost touch with ourselves or don’t yet know ourselves.  Examples of this are when we are infants, toddlers or young children and we had experiences that were too painful, scary or confusing to feel.  This is when we develop protective mechanisms.  Nearly all people are still functioning in their day to day life using these strategies.  This is why there is so much disconnect from self, others, animals, the planet, and the universe at large.  It’s why we feel separate and why people are often oblivious to their impact on self or others, or exceptionally vigilant to it.  It’s because we aren’t feeling or are afraid of feeling “bad” things.  It is not wrong.  It’s simply the stage of the game we are personally and collectively at; that is until we choose different. 

FEELING 

Good, bad and everything in between

It really isn’t as bad as you might think it is to feel things that don’t feel good.  In fact it’s rather freeing and liberating, but we aren’t there quite yet.  From where we are now it might seem scary to feel because you don’t know what will happen if you do.  Some people create stories that they will never stop feeling bad once they start.  That they will enter a bottomless pit of despair and suffering with no way out.  Others fear attracting more bad feelings to themselves.  Still others know that if they feel what they are feeling then something will need to change and they aren’t ready for that change yet.  Then there are those people that simply don’t even recognize that they are feeling.  All they know is that they don’t feel on par.  Maybe they have pain in their body, or things aren’t going how they would like them to be going in their life.  Maybe they feel irritated or they don’t sleep well.  Perhaps they have digestive issues or skin problems.  What we are feeling will manifest into our physical experience if we don’t feel it in our emotional bodies.  Feeling will do whatever it can to get our attention and find its expression, because remember feeling is nothing more than guidance, and our higher self wants nothing more earnestly than to guide us on this journey.  

Bad feelings have really gotten a bad rap.  There is an important distinction here between having a negative disposition on life and feeling bad feelings.  Bad feelings don’t equal having a negative outlook, that is unless you don’t feel them.  See many people that are angry, anxious or depressed, are so because they aren’t feeling, not because they are.  This is opposite to what most people believe.  Most people think that the people that seem generally negative on life must be feeling bad things all of the time, but what’s actually happening is that they are avoiding feeling bad things.  That is why they are angry, anxious and depressed.  When we feel bad feelings we liberate energy, and this feels good.  We get less angry, anxious and depressed rather than more.  We open rather than stay closed, and because openness is our true natural state of being, it feels good.  We feel connected even if we are feeling something bad.  

People that you view as having a generally positive disposition on life are regularly feeling bad things.  This is how they can stay positive.  It would otherwise be very challenging to do so because so much energy would be bound up in their system.  Bound energy is closed, looped, tight and distorted.  To have the courage to feel is to be honest with what’s present.  It’s to be authentic with what is.  It’s the opposite of spiritual bypassing, which is to have a kind of “false” positive disposition.  It’s to say everything is great when you aren’t actually experiencing great.  There is an incongruence there, it’s inauthentic, and it’s ok.  It’s simply another protective mechanism to not feel bad feelings, because for some reason you view them as less spiritual.  

To be open is to allow all.  Nothing needs fixed or changed.  All is allowed and all is ok.  It’s not hard to feel bad things when they arise, but it does take a practice of slowing down and paying attention to yourself.  When you are in the doing mode of life, you are often not focused on your feeling body.  This is when you don’t even know that you are feeling, or you notice that something is off, but don’t want to take the time to stop and feel it.  Feeling might feel foreign to you at first, but I promise with a little attention to it, it’s not as mysterious as it might seem.  The reward in it, is you being connected to yourself again.  It’s to have more guidance and clarity.  It’s to be able to feel life, yourself, others, and to have connection to all of existence on this planet and inside this universe.  It’s to have passion for life and to act in alignment and integrity with yourself, your path and your calling. 

Dr. Amanda Love, 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