Collective Unconsciousness

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Munch-Evening
Collective conscious or collective conscience is a term introduced by French sociologist Emile Durkheim that refers to the set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society. There are many overlapping fields of collective conscious. Every family has its own collective conscious. So do cities, states and nations, ethnic, cultural, religious and political groups. There is also a collective conscious of humanity as a whole.

People within every facet of society operate within a certain range of consciousness or lack thereof. Not only do people operate from the various forms of collective conscious. They also operate from states of individual and collective states of unconsciousness.

Unconsciousness is a state that occurs when the ability to maintain awareness of the self and the environment is lost. Unconsciousness is evident in the lack of awareness or understanding in various groups of people. Our state of unconsciousness is also evidenced in the addictions, violence and other abuses perpetrated against people and animals, the destruction of the planet, wars and other forms of dysfunction that play out individually and collectively.

We are all conscious or aware to varying degrees and yet there is so much more to our feelings, physical bodies and minds, the world around us and other people that we are not aware of. So much of our lack of awareness stems from the fact that parts of our consciousness have either failed to develop. Or we have shut down, deadened or disconnected from them.

The loss of innocence

We come into this world with an innocence and purity about us. But many of us are deeply hurt as a result of the hurtful words and actions of those entrusted to care for us, siblings, teachers and classmates and others with whom we interact. We cope the best we can and yet we internalize so much of the suffering we experience because we lack the understanding and resources needed to facilitate the healing of the deep emotional wounds.

We try to fit in to the best of our ability because of our needs for love, approval and acceptance, but we tend to lose touch with ourselves in the process of being what we think other people want us to be. Despite all of that, our bodies and minds are incredibly resilient throughout our childhood, adolescence and into early adulthood. The life force flowing from our core compels us to learn, grow and adapt to other people, our surroundings and the challenges of our daily lives. But it’s only a matter of time before the deep emotional wounds and vulnerabilities begin to surface.

The abuses suffered during my childhood and adolescence began to play out in my romantic relationships during my mid-twenties. I found myself attracting and being attracted to women that were either uninterested, unavailable or that reenacted the traumas of my past. These women were a reflection of how deeply wounded I was at that time.

I suffered terribly as a result of these patterns of abandonment and unrequited love. The all-consuming pain that arose was debilitating and I felt as though I were flailing in the dark in my initial attempts to heal the deep emotional wounds. I knew that I could not continue to live like that and I was willing to do whatever it took to get to a better place.

I had an instinctive sense that I needed to breathe softly and deeply while diving into the middle of the overwhelming pain and feelings of abandonment. The pain was so intense at times and I feared that I would go right on over the edge. But doorways began to open as I learned to move through the middle of the pain. The pervasive darkness gradually abated. I could feel these powerful emanations of warmth flowing from within as my authentic core self began to emerge and my connection to the higher power began to grow stronger.

The practice I’m describing is quite powerful, but that alone was not enough to heal the deep emotional wounds. I started receiving deep tissue body work and working with a number of powerful healers whenever the opportunity presented itself. I started going on the vision quest, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves going out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food and water.

I felt much lighter and my range of motion began to expand as the debilitating emotional wounds healed. I gradually began to attract healthier friends and companions, but I didn’t stop there. I naturally assumed that I would make further progress in my personal development as long as I continued to work with the practices and resources that had facilitated my healing.

My assumption was correct. I could feel parts of me emerging that I never even knew existed. I developed greater resilience along with many new skills and capabilities and my range of motion continued to expanded. The many years of intensive spiritual practice that I have gone through to heal my own woundedness and develop my body and mind has also greatly heightened my sensory capacity.

While speaking with people or spending time in their presence, I began to get an acute sense of their intellectual and emotional range and then I could feel where it stopped. I could feel how people disconnected from their thoughts, feelings and physical bodies and the realities of their everyday lives. I could feel the pain, fear, confusion, anger and other emotions that people were holding within their bodies and minds. I felt the parts of their consciousness that had shut down or failed to develop. And I could see how that prevented people from functioning in many areas of their lives and realizing their true potential.

People I spoke with often told me that they didn’t want to possess the heightened level of sensitivity that would enable them to see or feel what’s going on within others. And that they rather not know or be aware to this extent. The problem with being so desensitized is that it amounts to going through life with the blinders on. It prevents us from seeing what we’re getting ourselves into and the consequences of our actions. We end up doing a lot of unnecessary damage to ourselves and others.

Behind the façade

One of the things I enjoy most about my work is getting to work with all kinds of amazingly creative, intelligent, gifted and highly functional people with a clear sense of purpose and direction that excel at what they’re doing. I’m working with artists, writers, musicians, attorneys, architects, engineers, educators and people in the financial industry, healing arts and medical profession. I work with many successful entrepreneurs that have built their own businesses. I have also worked with ministers, priests and swamis. Many of these individuals are making valuable contributions to society. Some are truly compassionate, caring and have tremendous amounts of love to give.

A large portion of society gets up and goes to work in the morning and then comes home after the long day to watch television, surf the net, shop and eat. Many are successful by society’s standards, but their work leaves them unfulfilled and they lack any real sense of purpose or direction. They have their friends and interests, but in many instances there doesn’t appear to be much learning or growth. They seem to be more interested in getting comfortable.

Some people appear to do little more than take up space and use up more of the planet’s resources. And there are those who are doing lots of damage to themselves, others around them and the world in which we live. Fortunately, this is a phase that many people grow out of.

Our culture is so much about surface appearances that it lacks much of the range and depth found among some of the indigenous communities and people of other ancient cultures. And we lack the power, presence and connectedness to the forces of creation found among individuals in the various ancient spiritual traditions that have attained mastery through many years of intensive practice. Even the most highly functional people in our modern day culture that appear to have their act together are only using a very small portion of their true potential.

Much of the populace maintains surface appearances by saying and doing the right things. Most manage to function in their jobs because failure to do so could potentially jeopardize their survival. Behind the polished facade, there’s often a tremendous mental and emotional immaturity and a woundedness. A large percentage of the population suffers as a result of the traumas and chronic stresses that they have experienced over the course of their lives. Many people have been emotionally, physically and/or sexually abused during their childhood. Many have been sexually assaulted as adults. Many have suffered the physical and psychological traumas resulting from surgery and automobile accidents. Everyone suffers as a result of having gone through painful breakups, divorces and the death of friends and loved ones. Many struggle with patterns of abandonment and unrequited love or have attracted unfaithful and/or emotionally and physically abusive partners. This suffering is made worse by the fact that people are not fully equipped to process these traumas.

A large percentage of the population is on antidepressants, anti-anxiety and/or psychotropic medications and a wide range of other pharmaceuticals. Many medicate with alcohol and other recreational drugs. The medications we depend upon may help to dull the pain. Our drugs of choice may help us to escape monetarily, and yet the the substances we take to escape from or dull the pain also deaden our consciousness.

People’s deep emotional wounds are often compounded by their unwillingness to fully experience their true feelings and address relevant issues head on. Many do not even consciously register the emotions held within their own bodies. They cannot clearly perceive the issues that need to be dealt with because their consciousness is so muddled by the accumulated mental – emotional baggage held within and the fact that their bodies are in such a poor state of health. In many instances the hardware that actually facilitates consciousness begins to breakdown or degenerate and that further impedes people’s ability to process their emotions, bring issues to a place of resolution and heal their bodies and minds.

I’m interacting with people that are anxious, depressed, struggling with addictions, suffering from traumatic stress and a wide range of physiological health issues every day. I see and feel how wounded people are. I also recognize their untapped potential. I try to convey what I’m sensing and the fact that I possess gifts of healing that can address many of these issues. One of the unfortunate consequences of going through life suppressing one’s feelings and avoiding the issues is that many people are so out of touch that they do not realize how bad of shape they’re in or feel the need to do anything about it.

Some people are aware to varying degrees and yet they’re not willing to address the issues. Others do recognize the problems, and yet they have no understanding of the fact that those of us who have undergone such intensive training and that have received the transmissions of power possess gifts that will facilitate the healing of many of these issues. And many are just not willing to try something that they’re not familiar with. Sadly, many people who could heal, realize so much more of their true potential and live much healthier and more meaningful lives continue to suffer unnecessarily.

Disconnectedness

There are so many aspects of the world we live in from the increasing demands of our everyday lives, the technology we depend upon, the drugs we use to get high, the pharmaceuticals we take to block the pain and alleviate other symptoms and the foods we eat that are taking us further and further away from ourselves. That’s why it takes a such a concerted effort for us to remain present nowadays.

Many of us are becoming so outwardly focused that we cannot even perceive what’s taking place within our own bodies and minds. That makes it so much more difficult for us to understand the connection between the dramas playing out in our daily lives and our internal state of being. It’s this disconnect that many of us are experiencing from our feelings and physical bodies that leaves us so far removed from the underlying source of our problems and the resources that would provide the much needed solutions.

Many of us are either unwilling or unable to be present with our feelings, physical bodies and the realities of our daily lives, therefore we move through the world in a state of disconnectedness. Our relationships with our friends, romantic partners, children, parents and other family members all suffer as a result. So much of what we fail to deal with gets passed down to future generations. Our children end up internalizing much of our dysfunction.

Numb to what we’re holding in our bodies

New York City’s subways have inadvertently become a roving park bench for the city’s homeless population. Many of the homeless have not bathed for months. And some have not bathed for years. Their stench can be so overpowering that it empties an entire fifty foot long subway car. There are many instances over the course of a week when passengers are standing on the subway platform waiting to board a train once it comes to a stop. The passengers step into the subway car once the doors open and then end up taking a few steps backward to escape the overpowering stench. The homeless that have not bathed for extended periods of time have absolutely no idea of how bad they smell because they’ve gotten used it.

We hold all kinds of feelings of grief, loss, anger, fear, hurt and other distressing emotions in our bodies. We grow numb to these stresses over time. In many instances the presence of the stressful emotions, physical toxins and other imbalances held within our bodies no longer register within our conscious waking awareness because we’ve grown so accustomed to living with them. That’s why so many of us are so lacking in self-awareness.

The Great Escape

Our constant state of media saturation doesn’t give us the opportunity to ever really be present with ourselves. We’re ingesting far more sensory input than our body and mind could ever process and that leaves us with less of the available resources needed to process our feelings and bring our issues to a place of resolution.

There’s nothing wrong with taking in a movie or concert we’ve been waiting to see, watching a favorite television show or using social media, playing games on our computers and enjoying an occasional drink. The problem is that escaping has become a way of life for many of us. We’re always trying to fill the void and create diversions that prevent us from being fully present. We’ve developed this insatiable need to be entertained and so we’re constantly seeking stimulation and self-medicating. We’re escaping into novels, television shows, the internet, concerts, video games, shopping, religion and our drugs of choice. And in the process of doing so, we’re escaping from our feelings, our physical bodies and the realities of our everyday lives.

Spiritual bypass

Our religions provide a means through which we can get in touch with a force far greater than ourselves. In many ways they are also reductionistic attempts to interpret a force of creation that is far beyond the comprehension of our limited human minds. Many of our religions are based upon abstract notions of one supreme deity or multiple gods, their commandments consisting of the rules and regulations that determine how we should live our lives, concepts of sin and a savior that redeems us from our supposed sins. These abstractions are in many ways just another form of distraction to prevent us from being fully present. That’s one of the primary reasons that it appeals to so many people.

Religion often serves as a compensation for those of us that lack the emotional – cognitive – psychological sophistication needed to facilitate the deep level processing or healing of our shame, guilt, fear and other aspects of our woundedness. Religion and spirituality becomes another means of escape whenever we use it to avoid, deny or suppress our feelings, our physical bodies and the world in which we live. And in the process of doing so we inadvertently disconnect from our authentic core self and the higher power. We want to believe that God and Jesus have forgiven us and yet that doesn’t change the fact the fact that many of us continue to hold so much of the anger, shame and other emotions that we want to deny the existence of within our bodies.

Moving on and putting the past behind us

So many things about our lives do not work out the way that we want them to. We often attempt to move on by putting those things that have caused us pain in the past behind us without ever addressing the issue. The problem with this approach is that we end up leaving the wounded parts of ourselves behind. The loss of these parts of ourselves greatly diminishes our presence and power.

Our bodies and minds invariably go unconscious when we’re not attending to the issues or concerns that are relevant to us. We end up losing touch with parts of ourselves and becoming blinded to much of what’s going on around us when we fail to show up fully present. Our inner state of being becomes incredibly toxic from all the emotions that we’re not allowing ourselves to feel and our power to effect constructive change in our lives diminishes.

One of the most important practices we can engage in is to make a concerted effort on a daily basis to show up fully present as an active participant in our lives. That means experiencing the full range of our feelings while addressing the issues that arise to the best of our ability. We may not enjoy some of the realities that present themselves, but we need to fully embrace life. By making a concerted effort to remain fully present we will develop more of the power and resources needed to create more of the life we truly desire.

Resistance

People often say they want to heal when their emotions are out of control, their bodies are falling apart and their lives full of toxic drama. They start reaching out for help when their level of discomfort becomes intolerable. They’re often very enthusiastic when they first begin the healing process. But I’ve watched so many people show up for class a time or two or do one or a few sessions and then disappear as soon as their feelings and issues make their way to the surface. And many lack the discipline, motivation and understanding needed to do what is required to facilitate true healing. The unfortunate consequence is that many of these individuals end up going back out into the world with the same health issues and emotional wounds. In many instances, they fall deeper into their sickness and dysfunction over time.

Many of us are hugely resistant to being fully present to our feelings, physical bodies and the realities of our daily lives. Resistance will often grow as we continue to work our way down through the layers. We initially shut down the fearful, hurt and stressed out parts of ourselves because we didn’t possess the resources or understanding that would have enabled us to cope with what was happen. We keep reinforcing our resistance whenever we deny, avoid or shut down to what we’re experiencing and the subsequent feelings that arise.

The fear, hurt, confusion, trauma and other stresses that we hold within deaden our body – mind consciousness, preventing us from ever fully realizing our true potential. It can feel very uncomfortable as these feelings and issues begin to make their way to the surface. But we need to bring whatever is we’re holding within the body to the surface so that it can be gradually transformed, digested and integrated.

Muddled Perception

The traumas such as those resulting from emotional, physical or sexual abuse, combat and other forms of extreme stress elicit very powerful and sometimes overwhelming feelings. The powerful emotional states resulting from these traumas alter the neurostructure and biochemical makeup of our brains. These structural and biochemical changes taking place in our brains vastly alter the way that we perceive and experience ourselves, other people and the world in which we live. The vast majority of us never fully process or heal from these traumas. In many instances we continue to suffer the effects of these traumas for the remainder of our lives.

We learn from an early age to disconnect from our feelings, but in doing so we’re shutting down the body and mind’s innate healing intelligence. We need to thoroughly digest our life experiences along with any feelings that arise in response to them. Emotions and the stresses of daily life that we fail to digest accumulate within the our bodies. The residue of this undigested emotional content becomes very heavy and toxic as it stagnates within the body. These accumulated stresses accelerate the aging process by causing the body to break down at a more rapid pace.

Most of us are not doing much to process the things that have hurt, traumatized or stressed us out. We tend to accumulate more and more emotional baggage and other stresses over time. A large percentage of us have become so deadened or lacking in consciousness from the diaphragm down. In many instances our abdominal region becomes a toxic waste dump. The residue of all of these emotions and other stresses that we fail to digest has a very numbing or deadening effect upon our consciousness as it creates tension and cesspools of stagnant energy within the body. This toxicity causes us to feel heavy and lethargic as it drains our life force. The toxic emotional residue also creates a muddle of confusion that diminishes our clarity, consciousness and understanding.

Our level of consciousness, or lack thereof, is also reflected in our relationships. The many layers of conflicted feeling held in the body can easily distort our perceptions of other people, preventing us from seeing them for who they truly are. And so we get caught up in all kinds of projections and toxic relational dramas. We’re often drawn to and become involved with partners that hurt and abuse us or that are not well matched for us. And then we become strung out emotionally because of our inability to process our emotions and that makes it hard for us to leg go and move on when things are not working in our relationships.

Avoidance coping

Avoidance has for many become the primary means of coping. Our tendency to avoid that which we find uncomfortable has become so habitual that it’s like a knee jerk reaction. Consequently, many of us never develop the resources that would enable us to process our emotions and bring our issues to a place of resolution. Our limited processing capacity greatly reduces our capacity to learn, heal and grow. The feelings, issues and realities that we avoid muddle our consciousness and that diminishes our awareness of ourselves and our impact upon others and the world in which we live.

Many years of intensive practice and experience working with people has taught me to go right to the underlying source of the issues. People tell me that they want to heal and yet the conditioning among many people to avoid one’s feelings, issues and the realities of their everyday lives is so incredibly strong. Those who are not willing to do the work necessary to facilitate their healing or that are too afraid to face what’s going on within tend to bail out. It can sometimes be incredibly uncomfortable to go to these vulnerable places within ourselves and yet in many instances it is the only way that we can heal the deep emotional wounds. Only those of us who are truly committed to doing what it takes to heal can make this journey.

Everyone has their shortcomings and yet the majority of people are basically good hearted. Most want to get to a place in life where they feel comfortable. Everyone is negatively impacted and in some instances incapacitated by their wounds. Much of the population is what I refer to as self-avoidant, meaning that they are avoiding being fully present with or turning away from themselves. And as a result, they lack much of the basic drive or motivation that is necessary to compel them to heal and grow. What they really want is to have their suffering taken away so that they can continue on in their lives without out having to address the issues or experience their true feelings. Only a small percentage of the population possesses the kind of growth orientation that compels them to take whatever steps are that are necessary to facilitate healing.

Food and drugs

So much of the highly processed packaged content made to resemble food that is found in our supermarkets contains very little nutritional value. Much of this garbage is highly toxic for the human body and yet we continue to shovel it into our mouths. These food substitutes have a deadening effect upon our body — mind consciousness.

We’re devouring billions of pounds of candy, cake, ice cream and other foods loaded with processed white sugar a year. Our attention span and ability to learn deteriorate in proportion to the amount of refined sugar we consume. Many of us are also jacked up on caffeine to compensate the fact that we are not getting adequate rest. Caffeine and refined sugar have a numbing effect that impairs our ability to process our emotions.

The vast majority of livestock and produce raised for mass consumption is produced solely for profit. Many of our crops are now genetically modified. Serious health risks associated with genetically modified foods include infertility, immune deficiencies, damage to the internal organs and acceleration of the aging process. Commercially produced beef, chicken, pork and farm raised fish are loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones. The chickens, cows and pigs that we consume are subjected to horrific abuses, trauma and terror. The traumas suffered by these animals are held within the flesh. We’re ingesting this suffering every time we consume the flesh of other living beings.

Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients and generate more than 7,000 chemicals when they burn according to the American Lung Association. Many of these chemicals are poisonous and at least 69 of them are carcinogens. Smoking causes extensive damage to the lungs, the cardiovascular system, brain and other parts of our bodies. Smoking has a numbing effect that impedes our ability to process our emotions. The combination of unprocessed emotion and toxicity resulting from the pollutants being inhaled into our lungs contributes to the stagnant quality in the physical and subtle bodies of people that smoke. Statistics on the number of smokers per capita vary considerably by country. Despite all of the warnings and risks associated with smoking, somewhere between five to thirty-five percent of the population continues to light up.

Alcohol and other drugs are so attractive to many because they provide us with a momentary escape. We’re escaping from the hellish internal state of being that we create when we suppress, resist or avoid our feelings, our physical bodies and the realities of our everyday lives. We find ourselves caught up in an addictive cycle when the pain we hold within compels us to ingest excessive amounts of alcohol and other intoxicating substances. Our bodies may also develop a dependence upon these substances. The substances we ingest to get high may initially relax our bodies and inhibitions. They may even induce a momentary expansion of our consciousness and yet with excessive use they diminish our connection to the authentic core residing deep within and the higher power. These substances deaden our consciousness by impairing our ability to process our feelings and by causing damage to the subtle bodies along with the brain and other internal organs.

The pharmaceuticals that many of us depend upon to address various physiological and psychiatric issues may be necessary, but they also have many harmful side effects. Psychiatrist Julie Holland stated in an article published in the New York Times, “Medicating Women’s Feelings” that one out of every four women in the United States in on some form of psychiatric medication. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and psychotropic medications turn down the volume on, and in some instances, completely deaden our feelings. The use of these medications may be the best known option, but there is a danger in that they interrupt the innate healing intelligence residing within our bodies and minds while deadening our consciousness.

Pharmaceuticals, alcohol and other drugs that we use to numb ourselves reinforces the disconnect between our bodies and minds. The resulting desensitization further impedes our ability to process our feelings. The residue of this unprocessed stress, pain and other emotional content is transformed into a toxic substance. Our bodies and minds have a very difficult time processing this toxic residue. The use of these substances may also result in damage to the hardware that facilitates consciousness. The combination of these factors contribute to the stunting of our emotional, intellectual and spiritual development.

The foods and substances we put into our bodies are largely a reflection of our level of consciousness. People that work with me individually often cut down on or completely stop smoking, drinking and using other recreational drugs. Many have been able to discontinue the use of medications that they had been dependent upon. People that work with me generally begin to make better food choices, consuming more nutrient rich foods that actually nourish their bodies and minds.

Dead zones and toxic waste dumps

Our life experiences and any subsequent emotional response we have to them need to go through a process in which they are digested. This digestive process transforms our life experiences and feeling responses into fuel for growth. The vast majority of us have never learned how to work constructively with our feelings. The emotions and stresses of everyday life that we fail to process remain trapped within our bodies indefinitely. We feel the tension in our neck and shoulders when the undigested emotions and other stresses cause them to tighten up. Stressful emotions stored in the chest and lungs can make it difficult for us to breathe. Stressful emotions can also precipitate panic attacks by overloading our neuro-circuitry. They can do lots of other damage throughout our body and mind. And in doing so they greatly accelerate the aging process.

Much of the stressful emotion that we fail to process accumulates within the abdomen. The majority of adults are holding a backlog of residual emotion and other stresses within this part of the body. The stresses held within the abdomen bog down the internal organs and thereby hinder their ability to function. Accumulated stresses account for much of the gas, bloating, poor digestion and constipation. These stresses are also one of the primary causes of digestive disorders such as Crohn’s Disease, colitis and irritable bowel.

Some of us eat to suppress our emotions and in the process of doing so we become numb to our feelings. But then we keep on eating and as a result we end up putting on considerably more weight. The additional layers of accumulated fat act as a buffering that prevents us from feeling. Using food to stuff our feelings shuts down the body – mind’s innate healing intelligence. And that leaves us further removed from the source of our power. Our inability to access our feelings reinforces the stuckness that keeps us locked into our dysfunctional holding patterns.

The emotions that we suppress operate primarily outside of our conscious waking awareness. These emotions sometimes intrude upon our conscious awareness when we’re under stress and during times of crisis. We widen the gulf between our intellectual mind, our feelings and physical bodies as we continue to deny, avoid or suppress our feelings.

Undigested emotions and other stresses held within the body indefinitely become toxic. The heavy dense energies of the emotions and stresses that we internalize create hardened areas of armoring, pools of stagnant emotional energy and deadness. These denser energies make it far more difficult for the life force to circulate within certain parts of our bodies. Areas within the abdomen and other parts of our bodies sometimes become toxic waste dumps or dead zones. We generally experiences very little consciousness or awareness within these parts of our bodies.

The practices I teach enable people to heal and become more fully present within the various parts of their bodies. Some people will initially feel nauseous when I have them bring their awareness to their abdomen. People are more likely to feel nauseous when the accumulation of emotion and other stresses held within the abdomen and other parts of the body becomes toxic and begins to putrefy.

A big part of the healing process involves dissolving the many layers of body-mind armor and cleaning up the toxicity and bringing clean vital life force into the parts of the body mind that have become so toxic and deadened. People that have spent so much of their lives disconnected from their feelings and physical bodies possess so little self-awareness and understanding. Many discontinue the healing process when the body begins to cleanse itself of toxicity and the emotional backlog stored within the body begins to make it’s way to the surface. That’s very unfortunate, because whatever toxicity people fail to clean up will remain trapped within the body indefinitely. The backlog of toxic emotion and other stresses held within the body maintain the dysfunctional holding patterns that are preventing people’s lives from working. It also causes their physical and subtle bodies to break down at a faster pace, thereby accelerating the aging process.

I do the best I can to help the people that show up in my classes and those I work with individually to understand the patterns playing out in their lives and the healing process taking place. But it can at times be especially difficult to convey this understanding, because the conditioning to avoid, suppress or disconnect from one’s feelings and physical bodies is so incredibly strong. Many are fearful of, resistant to, blinded and dumbed down by the huge amount of unprocessed emotion residue and other stresses held within their bodies.

The effort that it takes to get through to people can sometimes be exhausting, because many are slow to understand. And people nowadays are less likely to hold onto any understandings because the endless media barrage saturating their minds is making it so much more difficult for them to keep their attention focused long enough for healing to occur. Some people never gain awareness or get in touch with the forces that motivate or drive them. Sadly, they’re just not teachable.

Now that Technology has taken over the still place within

We now live in a world where we are overly dependent upon our cell phones, computers and other devices. Continuing advances in technology are making our phones, computers and the internet all the more enticing to the point that many of us have become addicted. We feel compelled to reach for the phone, to check email and text innumerable times a day. And then we’re spending hours surfing the net. The technology that was initially designed to serve us has in many ways taken over our lives.

Our bodies and minds cannot possibly process the vast amount of information flying through our sensory channels. The information overload that many of us are experiencing as a result of our use of smartphones and the internet and the corresponding changes taking place in our neuro-circuitry are making it more and more difficult for us to keep our minds focused for any considerable length of time. Our minds are getting pulled off course so easily by all kinds of irrelevant distractions and that’s preventing us from maintaining the level of focused attention needed to address relevant issues.

The sensory overload that we’re experiencing is also contributing to our growing desensitization. And that’s making us less aware of our feelings and physical bodies and the world in which we live. The never ending stream of sensory input in the form of videos, news stories, instant messages, texts, tweets, Facebook updates, celebrity gossip and games flooding our bodies and minds now occupies so much of the internal space that we need to go to in order to heal. The overburdening of our brain-body-mind means that we have less of the much needed resources required to do the deep level processing that facilitates healing and personal growth.

Many of us are in serious need of a digital detox to clear the backlog of sensory clutter that is congesting our body, mind and spirit. That can be hard to do now that nearly every aspect of our lives revolves around the use of technology. We have to maintain an awareness of our internal state of being in order to heal and grow. And we need to be returning to this space on a on a daily basis to continue the healing process. For many of us, that can only happen when we make a concerted effort to create the internal space needed to do the deep level processing and make consistent use of the various practices and resources that facilitate healing.

Chakras and layers of the aura

The subtle bodies that are comprised of the chakras and layers of the aura are a very intricate form of bio-electrical circuitry. They are a critical part of the infrastructure that maintains the structure and that facilitates the functions of the body’s organs and systems. The patterns or configurations that manifest within the subtle bodies are a reflection of all the processes taking place physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually within the body and mind of an individual.

The subtle bodies often fail to fully develop in those who were neglected as children or that suffered extensive childhood trauma. People’s subtle bodies often become damaged or disfigured as a result of prolonged illnesses, traumatic experiences and other forms of chronic and extreme stress. The stagnant emotional residue that accumulates within the body when we suppress our feelings can also cause extensive damage within the subtle bodies.

Antidepressants, anti-anxiety, psychotropic, analgesic and other medications may be the best option to address the psychological and physiological health issues of many individuals, and yet their use often causes damage within the subtle bodies while interrupting the body and mind’s innate healing intelligence. Excessive use of alcohol and other recreational drugs also causes tremendous damage to the brain, other internal organs and the subtle bodies.

The lack of development in the subtle bodies can also signify an individual’s limited range of motion. It can also be an indication that a person is not making good use of the resources that would enable them to fulfill their true potential.

Damage within the subtle bodies can greatly impede the functions of the brain and other internal organs and systems. It also distorts our perceptions, thereby interfering with our ability to think clearly, to process our emotions and to bring issues to a place of resolution. Damage to or a lack of development within the subtle bodies can also greatly limit the realization of our own unique gifts and potentials and the fulfillment of our life’s purpose.

But isn’t it just their karma?

The greatest challenge I face in my work is getting people to stay present long enough to move through their internal resistance and heal the deeply wounded parts of themselves. It can feel very uncomfortable when the fear, pain and other emotions held within the body are making their way to the surface. For many, it is the only way to resolve the core issues, heal the deep emotional wounds and continue to move forward on the path of personal growth.

Much of the population operates at the surface most levels of awareness. They may be holding all kinds of toxic emotion within and in some instances their bodies are falling apart. Their lives may also be an absolute mess and yet they are often hugely resistant to doing the deep internal work necessary to facilitate true healing. Their resistance to healing and growth reminds me of some of the homeless in New York City who haven’t bathed in ages that become very defensive, fearful and angry if someone were to attempt to clean them up and get them to put on a fresh set of clothing. They’re either fearful of change, too attached to the comfort of that which is familiar or deriving some form of secondary gain.

So much of what is being offered to us in our modern day society in terms of spirituality lacks any real power or substance and is very escape oriented. Much of what is referred to as shamanism has very little resemblance to the spiritual or healing practices of indigenous peoples. The vast majority of those who call themselves shamans have never spent time among any indigenous groups of people. Many are now referring to themselves as master healers after three weekend workshops. Most of these shamans and healers are like children playing doctor as they possess no real power. Most people nowadays have never experienced the kinds of healing gifts and powers possessed by indigenous peoples, therefore they do not know the difference.

Most people in our modern day society lack the discipline and commitment found among the indigenous peoples and those in other cultures that have for many centuries followed the ancient spiritual traditions. What makes it even worse is that people nowadays can be so damn flaky. They’re more likely to be intimidated or frightened by the powers possessed by those who have attained mastery in the indigenous spiritual traditions and many make a run for it as soon as their feelings and issues make their way to the surface.

I sometimes hear people say that each individual comes into this world at a certain level of development. And that some people supposedly have not matured on a soul level, so it’s all they can do to take small steps in their evolution. And that’s why they cannot progress beyond a certain point in their development. But is it really just their karma? Or are we living in a society that conditions us in such a way that it prevents us from developing spiritually and realizing our true potential?

Our media saturated culture teaches us to be good little consumers of products. The unfortunate consequence is that we can easily lose touch with our authentic core along with our unique sense of purpose when we’re working at jobs that deaden us mentally, emotionally and spiritually while chasing the dollar so that we can acquire more material possessions. Other cultures may not have enjoyed the high standard of material wealth and yet they placed a great deal of emphasis on tradition, religion, social hierarchies, politics and other abstract values. The danger of instilling values that are so diametrically opposed to our basic human nature is that it tends to produce people that lack empathy, compassion, self-awareness and connection to one’s inner source.

I’m fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to spend considerable amounts of time in India and Sri Lanka and to live among Native American tribes in Oklahoma and New Mexico. I’m also fortunate that to be able to do many years of intensive training with a traditional Native American doctor and a Master from China. It can be much more difficult for people that haven’t traveled and spent time among other cultures to break out of their ethnocentricity.

Ancient traditional cultures such as those found in China, India and among Native Americans certainly had their drawbacks and yet they provided a framework that encouraged people to develop spiritually. It was fairly common in the various parts of Asia for those who were truly committed to developing their bodies and minds and deepening their connection to the higher power to do many years of intensive yoga, martial arts and meditative practices such as Chi Gong and Pranayama.

Native Americans were much more connected to the Earth and the forces of nature. Nearly everyone in the tribe participated in rituals such as the vision quest, sun dance and other kinds of intensive spiritual practices. They often did so many times over the course of their lives. There were many individuals among the various tribes that possessed all kinds of unique powers, gifts of healing and in some instances paranormal abilities.

Native Americans and the people I worked with in India and Sri Lanka tended to be very respectful and appreciative. A large percentage of those I have worked with possess an innate sensitivity that enables them to be very aware of the presence working through me and the changes that were taking place within their bodies and minds. Much of their receptivity has to do with their constitutional makeup. It also has a lot to do with the fact that there has always been a segment of the population in these cultures that spent their life time doing intensive daily practices to become the living embodiment of a force far greater than themselves, to experience a profound awakening and to become more fully present.

The exceptional few

The majority of the population in our modern day society is not growth oriented. They may be successful, possess a lot of intellectual knowledge, be good natured and even kind hearted. And yet the motivation to heal and grow beyond a certain point is very limited or non-existent.

I do encounter a small number of truly exceptional people along the way that are deeply committed to their healing and personal growth. People who are truly growth oriented are not content to get to a comfortable place and just hang out. They feel a profound desire to do and be more coupled with a willingness to take whatever they experience in life and use it to facilitate their healing and continued development. People that are truly growth oriented are continually learning. Their willingness to adapt and openness to change allows them to remain relevant and that gives them a more youthful quality.

Our responsibility to heal

We all have been wounded somewhere along the way. Addressing these wounded parts of ourselves can be very uncomfortable at times. Those of us who demonstrate the courage to heal will discover that the discomforts are short lived. These momentary discomforts are greatly offset by the rewards that come as a result of our commitment to do whatever it takes to heal and grow.

We all have a responsibility to take constructive action to heal our woundedness to the best of our ability. The negativity generated when we fail to take the steps necessary to facilitate the healing of these wounds feeds into the destructive force created by our global collective shadow. This collective shadow manifests in the form of addictions, poverty, the abuses of animals and other people, oppressive leaders and governments that brutalize their people and that favor the needs of corporations over their own citizens, wars, the destruction of the planet and other forms of dysfunction. We offset the destructive force of our own individual and the collective shadow as we increase our awareness, become ever more present and heal those parts of us that are wounded.

Most people have never learned to work constructively with their feelings. Undigested emotional residue and other stresses accumulate within the body where they remain indefinitely. Our resistance to being present, lack of understanding and lack of resources needed to effect healing are a big part of what maintains our state of unconsciousness.

Feelings can be messy, confusing, inconvenient, uncomfortable and even painful at times, but they are an essential component of the innate healing intelligence that resides within our bodies and minds. Our feelings facilitate growth and transformation as we learn to work constructively with them. Our feelings can then serve as a doorway into the subconscious mind. They provide us with a valuable source of feedback that gives us a greater understanding of ourselves, our needs as well as the needs and considerations of others.

Our life experiences along with any subsequent emotions that arise need to go through a process in which they are digested. The practices I teach facilitate a crucial aspect of this digestive process. We begin by acknowledging what’s happening in our lives and the feelings that arise in response to the issues impacting us. We then notice where these feelings are situated within our bodies. We breathe softly and deeply while fully immersing our awareness in the middle of any feelings or bodily sensations that arise. We then follow the feelings and sensations as they go through their progression.

Most of the readily available therapeutic modalities are very limited in their effectiveness when it comes to healing the deep emotional wounds that many of us carry. That is clearly evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of those who have gone through extensive trauma continue to suffer indefinitely. Many of us are going to have to go beyond that which is familiar if we are to ever heal in this life time.

Indigenous people have for centuries allowed other forces or beings to work through them to facilitate healing that would not have otherwise been possible. There were many powerful indigenous healers in times past. Only a small number of individuals carry on these traditions. I would encourage people to work with these individuals whenever the opportunity presents itself. I possess these same healing gifts as a result of having trained with a traditional doctor from the Kiowa Indian tribe and going on so many vision quests.

I do this work because I truly do care and I want to make a positive difference in people’s lives. A big part of that involves helping to alleviate people’s suffering by facilitating the healing of the deep emotional wounds. Emphasis is then placed upon building a strong foundation along with the resources needed to fulfill each individuals true potential and realize their life’s purpose.

The presence working through me during the individual sessions cultivates body – mind consciousness. Damage is repaired within the physical and subtle bodies. More and more layers of emotional body armor dissolve with each session. Stagnant emotions and other stresses held within the body are transformed into vital essence that can then be integrated as a functional part of the self. This essence will then serve as fuel for growth. The resulting transformation facilitates the emergence of one’s true self while deepening one’s connection to the higher power. The changes resulting from these sessions bring about a greater sense of aliveness, clarity, sense of purpose and renewal of one’s passions.

©Copyright 2015 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

Building the Momentum for Healing and Personal Growth

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Momentum
Most of us want to get to a place in our lives where we feel comfortable. The problem with hanging out in our comfort zone for indefinite periods of time is that we cannot sit still for very long without becoming stagnant. Essentially we are either moving forward or sliding backwards. Many of our lives are set up in such a way that we get up in the morning and ready ourselves for work. We spend long hours at work and are depleted by the time we get home in the evening. At times find ourselves overwhelmed by the demands and responsibilities of our daily lives, and yet we often make matters worse when we sit down in front of the television or go online. The massive amount of stimulus flooding our sensory channels overwhelms our body and mind’s processing capacity. And that impedes our ability to process the realities of our daily lives and any subsequent feelings that arise.

The vast majority of us are operating from holding patterns and that limits our ability to grow, move forward in our lives and realize our true potential. Unprocessed emotional residue, the stresses of our everyday lives and additional sensory input that we fail to process causes stagnation in our physical and subtle bodies. Our life force literally congeals and that greatly impedes our growth and personal development.
Reaching out in times of crisis

Shiori was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. She had been strung out emotionally for quite some time on a guy who wasn’t all that interested in her when she showed up in my class. Shiori was in a more grounded and emotionally comfortable place after a few of the individual healing sessions and was able to completely let go of the guy.

I could see that Shiori was making a lot of progress, but I knew that we had only scratched the surface. I could see the backlog of unprocessed emotional residue and other stresses held within her body that we hadn’t gotten to yet. I called Shiori to follow up, but she never returned my call. Shiori called me to schedule an appointment a few months later when the deeper levels of imbalance surfaced and she found herself in a depressive state that made it difficult for her to even get out of bed.

People nowadays tend to approach healing as something to do only when they have serious emotional, interpersonal or health crisis. Many people think to themselves “I’m fine now. I’m feeling much better. The problems are resolved so I don’t need to take any further steps to facilitate healing” as soon as the storm blows over.

Many of us think of healing as something to do so we can just get on with our lives. This type of mentality and approach to healing is so indicative of our tendency to operate at the very surface most levels of consciousness. We may have diffused the immediate crisis, but we have yet to address the underlying cause of our suffering. We need to understand that we have only scratched the surface. The changes we experience may feel profound, and yet they are barely a taste of what is truly possible.

Staying focused on what matters

I called Steve to check in and see how he was doing after a recent healing session. At one point he said “One of my greatest problems is that I get distracted and end up wasting a lot of time and then I don’t accomplishing the things that I truly want to get done.”

I responded by telling Steve “I know you have a lot on your plate, but I would encourage you to do the practices I’ve been teaching you for at least an hour a day if at all possible. Do twenty or thirty minutes if that’s all the time you have. The practice I showed you to awaken your instinctual consciousness will give you a clearer sense of purpose. You will get a strong feeling in your body that reveals what you need to be doing. It will also create the sense of urgency that will build the momentum needed to propel you forward. You’ll find yourself making better use of time and you will become more productive as a result.

The traumas of my own childhood and adolescence began to surface during my mid-twenties. I then found myself attracting women that reenacted my early life trauma. I had an instinctive knowing that I needed to breathe softly and deeply while fully immersing my awareness in the painful feelings and sensations that I experienced within my body during these times. Working with my feelings in this way helped to alleviate the pain while making it possible for me to let go when relationships were not working.

There were other times when I wasn’t in so much pain, but my love life wasn’t happening and I was struggling to get by financially. I was stuck in a holding pattern, but I didn’t know what steps to take to effect change in my life. It took me some time to realize that I needed to be doing practice every day.

I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity to train with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Native Americans have for centuries gone out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water. It was during the vision quests that the traditional doctors received the gifts of healing and other powers that made it possible for them to be of assistance to others.

I feel a strong presence moving within whenever I come down from the mountain. The powerful forces moving through me after a vision quest diminish over time and my body and mind tends to go back in the direction of its old familiar way of being. I’ve learned that I can keep the momentum of the vision quest going by doing as much intensive practice as I can afterwards. I get a lot more mileage out of the vision quests by doing more practice and the changes I experience are much more profound.

The vast majority of people who have been deeply traumatized will continue to suffer the adverse effects of the trauma for the remainder of their lives. They are, to varying degrees, incapacitated by the deep emotional wounds. That has a lot to do with the fact that many of our conventional and alternative approaches to healing are very limited in their effectiveness. It may be necessary for us to go beyond our comfort zone by stepping into the realm of the unfamiliar in order to heal.

The traumas that had such a debilitating impact upon me gradually healed as a result of the many hours of intensive practice, deep tissue body work, healing sessions and vision quests. The horrible pain subsided and then I began to experience a greater sense of freedom and aliveness. I recognized the progress I was making as my range of motion continued to expand, but I could still feel the parts of me that had yet to develop and that made me acutely aware of my limitations. I could feel where I was not as responsive or engaging as I would like to be. Rather than assuming that I was done at any point, I thought more along the lines of “I’ve come this far. How much further can I progress in my development? And what steps can I be taking on a daily basis to make that happen?”

Many of us have become so numbed or desensitized. We operate from such a profound state of disconnect that we do not even comprehend the amount of fear, hurt, sadness, anger and the stresses of daily life that are stored within our bodies. And we’re not very cognizant of the adverse impact that these stresses are having upon our organs and systems. Our woundedness will invariably become more deeply entrenched and we will become more stagnant if we’re not doing intensive spiritual practice on a daily basis, making use of resources such as deep tissue body work, working with gifted healers or going on the vision quest.

I’m also very fortunate to have the opportunity to train with Sifu Li Tai Liang in the Internal Martial Arts of Xin Yi Quan and Baguazhang. Those who attain mastery in the Internal Martial Arts train for hours a day over the course of their lives to continually refine their forms and build greater internal power. Sifu began to train under his father and other masters for five to seven hours a day at the age of five. He went on to become the national fighting champion in the competitions in all of China. Sifu Li Tai Liang and others who have attained mastery clearly demonstrate the value of intensive daily practice.

Healing and personal-spiritual development isn’t just a passing fad or something one does in times of crisis for those who train in the ancient traditions. It’s a way of life. I follow the examples provided for me by the traditional Native American doctors and Internal Arts Masters in China by doing everything I possibly can to build a stronger foundation, deepen my connection to the source and increase the presence moving through me. I start my day with Chi Gong and other intensive Xin Yi Quan and Baguazhang Practices. I make a concerted effort to spend an hour doing the mindfulness practice I developed of breathing into any feelings or sensations that arise. I have worked with a number of powerful healers whenever the opportunity has presented itself. I have been going back to the Wichita Mountains in Southwest Oklahoma to go on the vision quest in March and October like clockwork for over twenty years now.

The more practice I do, the stronger and more resourceful I become. And I can feel the momentum building as my connection with the authentic core residing within and the higher power grows stronger. I’m very cognizant of the progress I have made. I’m also acutely aware of my limitations, because I come up against them all the time. A big part of my daily practice involves breathing with my awareness immersed in those parts of myself that feel contracted, jammed up or not flowing in some way. I can feel these parts of me becoming more malleable and responsive as a result of this practice.

We all internalize a great deal of stress over the course of our lives. The stresses that we hold within our bodies cause all of us to contract to some degree. Many years of intensive spiritual practice has enabled me to develop my sensory capacity to such an extent that I can feel the stresses of daily life along with the hurt, sadness, loss, anger, fear and other emotions held within people’s bodies and see how it causes them to shut down. I can see and feel how people’s minds become constricted and sluggish. I feel how the suffering held within stunts the process of growth and maturation. These same stresses can also be very hard on the body. They create a heavy stagnant presence and accelerate the aging process by causing the body to break down at a faster pace.

Some people are completely engulfed by the distressing emotions held within their bodies while others go numb to them. Many are able to conceal their woundedness behind the façade of a polished public persona. Our defense mechanisms often break down during times of crisis. And they will eventually break down as we age.

I see many people like Shiori that do one or a few sessions and then disappear. The tendency to disappear has a lot to do with people’s short attention span and their unwillingness to do the work necessary to facilitate healing. It also has a lot to do with the fact that many don’t have enough sense to listen and follow instruction.

People I’ve worked with have told me on many occasions that the presenting issues have been resolved and that they are now in a much better space. The problem with stopping the healing process the moment we feel better is that in many instances we have only dealt with the surface most levels of imbalance. The conscious mind is only aware of a very small portion of the stress held within the body. In many instances, the underlying cause of our emotional, interpersonal and health crises remain trapped within the body – mind. And it’s only a matter of time before these imbalances take resurface in the same or other forms.

People who have spent the vast majority of their lives disconnecting from their feelings and the realities that they haven’t wanted to deal with have difficulty comprehending the healing process taking place. They can become very resistant when their feelings and issues make their way to the surface and have a tendency to run when that happens. It concerns me when I see people interrupt their healing process. Healing cannot possibly take place until we process these feelings. Those who fail to do so will invariably continue to hold the painful feelings and traumas within their bodies and reenact the same destructive patterns in their lives.

An amazing process of growth begins at the time of conception. This process continues on throughout our childhood, adolescence and into early adulthood. The momentum slows down as we age. Much of this slowing down comes as a result of the stresses that we internalize over the course of our lives. These stresses can be the source of our undoing or a catalyst for healing and personal growth and that depends largely on what we do with them.

We all need to be doing some form of intensive spiritual practice on a daily basis to facilitate our continued healing and personal growth. The practices I teach awaken the innate healing intelligence that resides within the body and mind. They effect healing and personal growth by making it possible for us to digest the conflicted emotions and other stresses held within the body. Other practices such as Chi Gong and Pranayama can help us to draw in more life force to nourish the organs and systems of the body.

There are also times when we need outside intervention to facilitate the parts of our healing process that we are not capable of doing on our own. There are lots of healing resources available to us such as acupuncture, deep tissue massage and homeopathy that we need to be making use of.

There were many exceptionally powerful doctors among the Native American tribes in times past. The traditional native doctors would go out to fast alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water. It was during the vision quests that they received various gifts or healing powers. These native doctors allowed other forces or beings to work through them to facilitate healing that would not have otherwise been possible. Indigenous healers from parts of Central and South America, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and countries in various other parts of the world possess similar gifts and capabilities.

I would often come up against my own limitations despite the fact that I was doing as much intensive practice as I could on my own. I would always jump whenever the opportunity to work with a powerful healer presented itself. I have always experienced a breakthrough whenever I worked with these individuals. The problem is that I often had to wait six months to a year between sessions because they didn’t come around very often.

My mentor Horace had me going on the vision quest during the times he transmitted portions of his own healing gifts to me. I wandered aimlessly through much of my twenties until I realized that I needed to get back to the mountain. I have gone through dozens of vision quest since that time.

Parts of the vision quest feel like a near death experience. I could see all kinds of imagery and experience the feelings attached to them as memories of past abuses, traumas and other stressful events made their way to the surface. I could feel other forces or beings helping me to thoroughly digest what I had gone through while simultaneously building a much stronger and healthier foundation. I felt as though my whole body – mind consciousness was being reformatted.

Many of the same forces or beings that have facilitated my own healing during the vision quests now work through me to assist others during the individual healing sessions. Those who have the opportunity to work with me go through a process of evolution. The highly charged emotions and impressions associated with anxiety, depression and emotionally traumatic experiences are digested. Processing the accumulated emotional backlog and other stresses increases one’s overall life force. Damage is repaired within physical and subtle bodies. The regenerative process taking place within the body and mind makes people healthier, stronger and more resilient.

Changes that take place within the body and mind as a result of the individual healing sessions increase one’s capacity for learning and growth. People I work with often tell me about the new resources and capabilities that are developing as a result of this work. I’ve worked with visual and recording artists, writers and people working in a wide range of professions. Many have told me how the sessions are helping to increase their range of motion in ways that is making it possible for them to further refine their work and in many instances take it to a whole new level.

True healing is an ongoing journey in which one continually evolves to realize more of their true potential and develop a greater connection with the authentic core residing within and the higher power. People I work with often tell me that they are now better equipped to process their own feelings and the realities of their daily lives. The increased processing capacity makes it easier for them to work through their emotions and bring issues to a place of resolution.

Working through progressively deeper layers of grief, hurt, sadness, resentment, anger, fear and confusion facilitates the development of a much stronger and healthier connections to the authentic core within and the world in which we live. Deepening this connection makes it possible for us to live from a place of greater honesty and integrity. By living in a way that is congruent with our authentic core we develop a greater capacity for love, empathy and compassion.

©Copyright 2014 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

Show Up, Pay Attention and Participate

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Jemez Dancers
Flakiness has become so commonplace in our society that many of us have come to accept it as the norm. At times it seems to pervade nearly every aspect of our lives. The sad thing about flakiness is that it breaks down the underlying sense of cohesion that holds us together as a society. All we have to do is look around to see examples everywhere we turn.

Flakiness is evident in the way we make promises and break them or we tell another person that we will do something and then don’t. We talk about getting together with friends or acquaintances and then never follow through. We make plans and then break them if something better comes along. We make a date and then call up with some excuse as to why we cannot make it. We walk out on relationships when the tough issues arise. Some of us abuse, abandon and fail to care for the needs of the children we bring into the world. We live off the hard earned money of other people rather than support ourselves. We slack off when there’s work to be done by allowing others to carry our share of the load. We spend money that we do not have to spend by running up credit card debt and then we declare bankruptcy. We sign up for classes and workshops and yet we never bother to show up. We schedule appointments with therapists or healers to help us to heal and sort through the mess we have made of ourselves and then call to cancel because we don’t want to go to those places inside where we hold all the feelings and issues that we have been avoiding for so long.

Flaking out is incredibly rude and disrespectful. It shows a serious lack of consideration for other people and their needs. People who fall into a pattern of flakiness create massive inconvenience. They waste our time, deplete our energy and create all kinds of unnecessary hardship.

Being on the receiving end of other people’s flakiness can evoke feelings of frustration, resentment, anxiety and sadness. Hurts and disappointments held on the inside have a very desensitizing effect. After a while we grow so numb that we no longer feel the emotions held within our bodies, but they diminish our capacity to love and be loved or to be present in our interactions with others.

We sometimes find ourselves in a position where we are forced to interact with or depend upon people who flake out on us. Having to deal with them can be wearing because they bring that much more stress into our lives. At some level we may enjoy the connection. We may like or even love the person, but their dishonesty and unreliability precludes the possibility of any kind of meaningful relationship or productive interchange.

Our propensity for flakiness has a lot to do with fact that we have become so disconnected from our feelings and physical bodies. Disconnecting on a feeling level shuts down the empathetic capacity that makes it possible for us to form attachments and to truly love and care for other another person. The loss of our empathetic feeling capacity can cause us to become grossly insensitive to the needs and considerations of others.

Flakiness denotes an ambiguous approach to life. It demonstrates a lack of courage and an unwillingness to embrace life with all its challenges. Our feelings help us to gain an understanding of our needs. The sense of ambiguity we experience when we lose touch with our feelings can make it very difficult for us to know what we truly want and that’s why we become so incongruent in our words and actions and give off so many mixed signals.

Our inability to commit ourselves to anything has a very ungrounding effect. It causes some of us come across as being very flighty, airheaded or dishonest. What often happens is that we make promises and then we experience all kinds of conflicted feelings about keeping those promises. We end up breaking our promises and then we blame the other person or our circumstances. We’re not being honest with ourselves or anyone else about what’s going on. We may feel guilty because at some level we know that we’re hurting and disappointing others, but in many instances we keep on repeating the cycle.

Speaking with a forked tongue

Native Americas who first encountered people of European descent often said that the white man speaks with a forked tongue. Treaties made by the United States Government with the American Indian tribes were seldom honored. Traditional homelands were continually being stolen and the native people were killed en masse.

Native elders that I spent time with placed a great deal of emphasis on being truthful and honoring one’s commitments. Native people who lived by the traditional values operated from a place of integrity in that they did what they said and said what they did. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to live among the Kiowa Indian tribe and to have trained with their last surviving traditional doctor. My mentor Horace expected me to demonstrate commitment to receiving the gifts of healing that had been passed down through the centuries. I could have never gotten away with the kind of flakiness that I encounter among people within our present day culture.

There’s an old saying that goes “A man is only as good as his word.” Many of us have lost all concept of honoring one’s word. Lying has become a convenience for so many people. Our words cease to have significance or meaning. We often say whatever we think the other person wants to hear without any concern for the impact of our words or actions upon others.

Our words become inconsistent with our actions when we say we’re going to do something and then don’t follow through. The subconscious mind recognizes the incongruence when our words cease to have meaning and then stops taking the conscious waking self seriously. That exacerbates the split between our conscious and subconscious minds.

The loss of trust

A person who gives us their word creates a sense of expectation within us. We count on that person to do what they say they will do. We have no sense of where we stand with people whose words do not hold true or reflect their actions.

Flakiness is responsible for the underlying cynicism that pervades so much of our interaction with others. Trust is the underlying basis for any kind of healthy and meaningful relationship. Lies and incongruencies make it very difficult for us to trust people. The hurts, disappointments and frustrations we experience when people flake out on us accumulate within our bodies over time and that destroys our trust. After a while we begin to feel that we can’t believe what people say or count on them to do what they say they will do. This inability to trust or depend upon people destroys our faith in others and that precludes the possibility of real intimacy or any kind of significant or meaningful exchange.

Cutting our losses

A friend of mine became involved with a man who turned out to be very emotionally abusive. She confronted him on his behavior, but he responded by telling her that she had no right to hold expectations of him. My friend suffered horribly as a result of her involvement. At one point she confided in her friend, American Indian activist John Trudell. John responded by saying “People within the tribes have always depended upon one another. Without expectation, the tribe wound not have survived.”

It’s critically important for us to consider the implications of our actions upon other people. We have a responsibility to show kindness and consideration to those with whom we become involved. We also have a right to expect the same in return. Self-centered people who are not willing to be accountable do not care about the impact of their words and actions upon others. One can never change such a person. It is sometimes best to cut our losses and move on.

Flakiness subtracts from or diminishes the quality of human interaction and of life itself. People who consistently flake out on us can be an incredible pain. I’ve let go of friends and romantic partners because it wasn’t worth the headaches and heartaches. I walked away from my own father because he wasn’t making an effort to keep in touch. I have cut off people who came to me for assistance because they were either unwilling or unable to honor their commitment to their own healing by keeping their appointments. It’s better to let go of people who continually hurt and disappoint or that cannot be counted on so that we can create an opening for people who can love, nurture and support us and who value us and what we have to offer.

The games we play

Forming deep and loving attachments with other human beings is one of our most basic human needs. But men and women often act in ways that are very hurtful, insensitive and even cruel to one another. We often do so by playing with each other’s emotions. We sometimes initiate conversation and then later act standoffish. Or we act as if we are interested when we meet someone new and yet we do not bother to respond to a text, email or phone call. We often tell each other that we will call and then we don’t. Or we make plans to go out on a date and then call with some excuse as to why we cannot make it. And in some instances we don’t even bother to show up.

Cultural expectations that discourage us from being vulnerable or experiencing our true feelings are very damaging. Many of us have failed to grow or mature and that leaves us stunted developmentally. We’re so out of touch with ourselves that we don’t have a clear sense of what we want or know how we truly feel. That’s why we’re often unaware of our partner’s emotional needs. Our tendency to hurt and abuse stems from the fact many of us are so deeply wounded that it prevents us from developing the capacity to form deep and loving attachments or to truly care for another human being.

The fears that keep us apart

We have become a very fear based society. We’re giving our fears way too much power by allowing them to have so much control over our lives. Many of us are afraid of love, fearful of intimacy or commitment and terrified to feel our feelings. Our society’s fearful mindset has a lot to do with the deeply ingrained cultural conditioning that teaches us to disconnect from our feelings, our bodies and the realities of our daily lives. Unprocessed fears held in the body make it difficult for us to participate in life as fully functional adults. To make matters worse, our fears are also fed by the ratings and profit driven media that sensationalizes violence and social-political pundits who seek to polarize people for their own personal gain.

One of the nicest things about living in Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado and New Mexico is that the pace is slower. People that I encountered tended to be open, friendly and engaging. I was socially inhibited during that part of my life, but in many ways I found it much easier to connect with people. Women in these parts of the country were much more approachable. Those who liked or found me attractive would engage me in conversation and have on occasion expressed romantic interest or pursued me.

I encountered a whole different mindset when I started spending time in New York City and Boston. I could sense a guardedness in many of the people I encountered and found it much more difficult to develop any kind of meaningful connection. People living in the city are more likely to connect through their circle of friends or online, but they often lack the kind of openness that would allow them to spontaneously meet and get to know people they encounter along the way. It has always been difficult for me to get used to the fact that many do not make eye contact or engage with strangers. Some will engage and yet they operate with a rule that says any conversation that takes place in a public setting with a stranger will go no further.

One of the greatest challenges of living in a place like New York City is that it’s humanly impossible to process the massive amount of input flooding our senses. We can easily become so overwhelmed by everything that’s going on around us and that impairs our ability to process our fears, frustrations and the stresses of daily life. We start to lose touch with our feelings and physical bodies. The resulting disconnect makes it very difficult for us to access the intuitive knowing that tells us whether we are safe and that the person we’re engaging with is trustworthy.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that many of the women living in the city were operating with a fearful and guarded mindset. Those who lose touch with their intuition have greater difficulty differentiating between individual men and are more likely to project their fears along with the hurt of past relationships on the other half of the human species.

Many of the women I have gotten to know while living in the city complain about the fact that they don’t have a man in their lives and that they don’t seem to be meeting anyone. And yet many of these same women automatically assume that any man who attempts to engage with them is either a player just looking to pick up or some form of predator. In many instances men who attempt to connect with women are given fake phone numbers or email addresses.

Approaching and engaging those we find ourselves attracted to, exchanging contact information, following up with an email or phone call and then meeting again are all normal parts of the process of finding love that takes place all over the world. Sadly, the early stages of getting to know one another are interrupted when we allow ourselves to be so controlled by our fears that we can’t allow the process to happen. We are in many respects like children whose parents are still telling us “Now don’t be talking to strangers.”

Wounded

Men have a greater capacity to engage in sexual experiences that are devoid of any relationship or personal connection. Those who are not being completely honest about their intentions sometimes lie and take advantage of women or use them sexually. Women that have been lied to, cheated on and taken advantage of sexually tend to close their hearts and become guarded, fearful and suspicious of men. Women who have been hurt or that operate from a fearful mindset can sometimes be very cruel in their response to men. Men often feel deeply hurt when women react in a harsh or negative way in response to their sincere expression of romantic interest.

A friend recently told me about how her sister would mislead guys who showed interest in her by flirting even when she had no desire to be with them. Guys with good intentions often ended up getting hurt by the sister who was using them to fulfill her needs for attention or to feel important and desirable.

Men and women who lose touch with their capacity for empathy either fail to see or don’t care about the fact that the people they become involved with romantically are also human beings who have feelings that can be hurt. In many instances men and women give up or stop trying because they have been hurt so many times.

It’s so important for us to keep in mind that nearly everyone has been wounded somewhere along the way and that can make them vulnerable. Acting in ways that are hurtful or jerking people around emotionally can be very damaging to their already fragile self-esteem. It often leaves them feeling very anxious, fearful and insecure. Life is hard enough as it is. There is absolutely no excuse for adding to people’s suffering.

Those of us who have been hurt repeatedly have a tendency to close our hearts. We’re afraid to say what we truly feel or make ourselves vulnerable by opening to another out of fear that we will be hurt again. The consequence of closing our hearts individually and collectively is that it decreases our capacity to love and care for one another. Our inability to open our hearts also decreases the likelihood that we will ever find the love we truly need and desire. We become more isolated and that only adds to our unbearable sense of aloneness. Many of us end up suffering through our lives in silence. The resulting state of disconnect and the pain we hold within also feeds into the collective suffering of humanity and the planet.

The Screens that come between us

A friend of mine was telling me about how disappointed she was when a guy she was interested in didn’t respond to her text. I asked her why she was sending text messages if she was truly interested in the guy. Why not just pick up the phone and call? She responded by saying that no one seems to want to talk on the phone anymore.

Texting, tweeting and messaging on Facebook has become the primary means of communication for many. Some of us prefer to text and tweet rather than talk over the phone or meet in person because of our unwillingness to show up and be fully present. The problem here is that it’s so easy to misconstrue what’s being said in our little snippets of communication because we’re no longer physically present in our interactions.

Our unwillingness to address the issues or engage directly with one another contributes to our confusion and misunderstanding. Lack of communication prohibits us from forming healthy attachments. That only adds to our sense of distress by feeding into our separation anxieties, fears of abandonment and our sense of isolation. Our inability to gain understanding and bring issues to resolution prevents us from learning, growing and getting to a better place individually and collectively.

Abandon ship

Relationships have a way of bringing all of our core issues to the forefront. That’s a good thing because it provides us with an amazing opportunity to learn and grow. Addressing the issues as they arise enables us heal and to deepen the connection. Sad thing is that many people are not processed oriented. They want the nice home, car, clothes, smart phone and man or woman. They may exercise, eat the right foods and take all kinds of supplements to stay in shape. But they have no real desire or motivation to learn about themselves, grow as an individual or heal.

Relationships often fail because of one or both partner’s unwillingness or inability to experience their own feelings and address relevant issues. Rather than learning from our experience and using it as a means of growth, we tend to blame each other for the painful feelings that arise. We often withdrawal in conflict or shut down emotionally. We sometimes ignore or distance from our partners, hold on to anger or say and do other things that cause more hurt. Many of us also turn to various addictions such as food, alcohol and other drugs, work and shopping to avoid our feelings.

Some of us abandon ship by bailing out of the relationship as soon as the underlying issues make their way to the surface. In some instances we never see or speak with our former partners again. All that pain, stress and confusion gets bottled up inside of us when we cut and run. Those who of us fail to resolve the issues end up dragging the emotional baggage of the past into subsequent relationships.

Forming healthy and loving attachments provides us with one of the greatest opportunities for personal and spiritual development. We cannot learn about ourselves or each other in relationship by shrinking way from, avoiding or side stepping relevant issues. Connection requires real presence with the use of our senses. We can only heal the wounds, resolve our issues and bridge the gaps between men and women when we fully commit ourselves to learning to work constructively with our feelings. Honesty and transparency can be unpleasant at times, but it is the only road to personal integrity and genuine intimacy. Fully opening to our feelings and engaging in open and honest communication with our partners helps us to gain understanding, strengthen bonds while facilitating healing of the deep emotional wounds.

Working through our feelings facilitates the healing of the emotional wounds and that enables us to deepen the connection to our authentic internal core self. The growth that takes place as we develop a healthier relationship with ourselves enables us to be more fully present in our relationships. Making a consistent effort to listen to and understand our partners, supporting their needs and showing affection will then strengthen the connection by helping us to grow individually and as a couple.

Commitment to doing whatever it takes to heal

People often tell me how they want to heal and get their lives on track. In essence they are looking for someone to come along and magically remove all of their pain and suffering. The presence working through me takes people right to the source of the problem in order to facilitate healing of the body and mind. I have watched so many people who were initially very enthusiastic about healing disappear as soon as the underlying feelings and issues make their way to the surface. Native American elders told me on numerous occasions that people who are not honest and that fail to honor their commitments cannot heal or receive the blessing of the higher power.

Many of us have scheduled appointments with healers or therapists and then canceled because of our unwillingness to face the issues or experience our true feelings. Those of us who are truly committed to doing what it takes to heal may have to reschedule on occasion, but we don’t just cancel or blow off appointments.

Allowing our fears to take over when there are issues that need to be addressed attaches a lot of fear, resistance and confusion to the healing process. Those of us who fail to address the issues and take the steps that are necessary to heal will in many instances have to live with the pain, stress, fear, confusion and sickness in our bodies. This toxicity will eventually spill over into other parts of our lives. Some of us may eventually find our way back, but we risk creating so much obstruction or becoming so lost in our attempt to escape from ourselves and the realities we’ve created and that may prevent us from ever healing.

The harm we’re doing to ourselves

Flakiness is one of the most disempowering and self-destructive forms of behavior we can possibly engage in. We’re flaking out on ourselves when we run from or avoid our feelings and issues. Facing the issues and experiencing our true feelings isn’t always easy, but that’s what makes us stronger.

We all avoid people, issues and situations somewhere along the way because they evoke fears, insecurities and feelings of overwhelm. It’s important for us to understand that avoiding people, situations, issues or feelings that we rather not deal with erodes the foundation upon which we stand.

Feelings and issues that we resist or escape from continue to grow in magnitude as we attempt to push them out of our awareness. Conflicted feelings pushed down on the inside create a tangle of confusion that makes it difficult for us to clearly see ourselves or gain an understanding of the relevant issues that need to be dealt with. Avoidance prevents us from fully developing the capability, competency and other resources we need to fully realize our true potential and to be effective in all areas of our lives.

Cleaning up our act

Our propensity for flakiness has a lot to do with our tendency to avoid feelings and realities that we find uncomfortable or intimidating. It also stems from the fact that we haven’t fully developed the resources that would enable us to cope effectively with the realities of our daily lives. Flakiness is also reinforced by a culture that tells us “Don’t go there” and that doesn’t hold us accountable for our actions.

Many of us have good intentions, but have way too much on our plate and are so overwhelmed by all the things we have to do in order to survive. Balancing the demands and responsibilities of our daily lives with our own individual needs can pose a significant challenge. We may truly want to be there for friends and family or to support a cause we believe in, but in doing so we are sometimes over committing ourselves. Paying attention to how we feel within our bodies when we commit ourselves to people, projects and causes will give us a more realistic sense of our limitations.

One of the women I work with recently told me how she often flaked out on friends and family saying. “The trauma that I had gone through had such an adverse impact on my brain function and that made it very difficult for me to make decisions. I felt paralyzed by the pervasive fears, anxieties and feelings of depression. I just kept backing out of things because I couldn’t handle being around other people and just wanted to keep to myself. But I’ve become so much more open and outgoing as a result of the healing that has taken place over the past few years.”

I have dropped the ball on numerous occasions because I either felt overwhelmed or just didn’t know how to deal with a person or situation. Flaking out on others left me feeling horrible on the inside. I knew at some level that what I was doing wasn’t right. I would often ask myself how I could do things better. In many instances I would go back to the person and apologize and then do whatever I felt was necessary to make things right. From there I’ve gone forward in life with a resolve to live from a place of integrity.

Showing up and paying attention as an active participant in life is one of the most important aspects of becoming a fully functional adult. Some of the people, issues or situations we have to contend with can be intimidating at times. We may lack some of the skills or resources we need to cope effectively. But that doesn’t mean we have to settle for our limitations. None of us are perfect. We will invariably make mistakes along with way and yet we can resolve to learn from experience and do better with each passing day. Learning to show up fully present is an ongoing process. With discipline and perseverance we can develop the resources that will enable us to increase our effectiveness in all areas of life.

We contribute value to the lives of others and to society as a whole through our words and actions when we make a conscientious effort to live from a place of integrity. Our willingness to go the extra mile when the situation calls for demonstrates that we truly care. Making a consistent effort to be real and straightforward in our interactions with others by doing what we say and saying what we do brings about greater alignment within our body-mind consciousness by helping us to become more congruent.

Making the commitment on a daily basis to show up fully present initiates an amazing process of self-discovery and personal growth. We do our part to facilitate the process by facing the issues as they arise to the best of our ability and by fully opening ourselves to any subsequent feelings that emerge.

Choosing to fully embracing life requires tremendous courage. Staying connected to our feelings and physical bodies while being present to the realities of our daily lives enables us to develop greater understanding and insight. We learn to live by a deeper instinctual knowing that guides along a path that leads us to the realization of our potential and the fulfillment of our true purpose.

©Copyright 2012 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.