Resistance to Being Fully Present

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People initially approach me with an enthusiasm saying that they want to heal. That enthusiasm often disappears as soon as the underlying feelings and issues that are the source of many of their problems start making their way to the surface. This loss of enthusiasm stems largely from people’s resistance to being present with their feelings, physical bodies and the realities of their everyday lives. This same resistance is what prevents people from gaining awareness, learning from their experiences, growing and healing.

I have watched so many people take a few steps to heal only to have their resistance to being present derail the healing process. Ella has been working as a nutritionist for many years and yet she has always struggled to support herself. The relationship with her partner is very tumultuous at times. Ella and her partner fight like cats and dogs. Her fears of dying have grown along with the range of age related health issues that have emerged in recent years. Ella has been too fearful to go in for a physical exam, despite any concerns she might have for her health and wellbeing.

I would have Ella close her eyes, bring the issues and concerns to the forefront of her awareness, notice what she was feeling within her body and then tell me where the feelings were situated. I then had Ella breathe into the feelings and sensations that arose. People that I work with often tell me how this practice helps them to diffuse and then digest the highly charged emotions that are the source of many of their difficulties. Ella was incredibly resistant to the process and would sometimes say “I hate this!”

Ella had resisted being present for so long that her internal state of being has become a living hell. I told her that she couldn’t possibly experience all of these feelings or go through so much discomfort if she weren’t holding so much toxic drama and emotion within her body. What she hates is being present in her own body, with the feelings contained therein and the realities of her everyday life. Needless to say, Ella’s drama continues.

Most people do not react as Ella did. They may even enjoy the healing process and acknowledge the benefits that they have derived from the individual sessions. Some even rave about the difference the healing sessions have made in their lives, and yet many cannot sustain this level of presence.

Mia was sexually abused as a child and was later abused by the psychiatrist she sought out for treatment. She had so medicated herself into oblivion that one of her friends had to call and schedule the initial appointments. Before long Mia was able to call and schedule her own sessions. With each of the individual session she was developing greater lucidity. Mia began to address the issues pertaining to her finances, her mother’s failing health and it was quite obvious that she was beginning to function better in all areas of her life. I had hopes for Mia after seeing her starting to return to herself, but she would do a few sessions and then disappear for periods time. She would show up months later and then disappear again. I haven’t heard from Mia in quite some time now. The last time I spoke with her, it was evident that she was allowing herself to sink back into her pharmaceutically induced haze.

People like Mia are holding a lifetime of pain, trauma, fear and confusion within their bodies. Matters are further compounded because they lack many of the basic faculties needed to facilitate the healing of these traumas. Traumatic experiences and their corresponding emotional responses alter the biochemical makeup and neurostructure of the brain. The subtle bodies consisting of the chakras and layers of the aura are often damaged and in many instances they fail to fully develop. The combination of these factors can leave survivors of trauma overwhelmed and incapacitated.

The presence working through me during the individual sessions facilitates healing by helping people like Mia to diffuse and then digest the traumas and subsequent layers of emotion. Changes in the structural and biochemical makeup of the brain and the building of the chakras and layers of the aura resulting from the healing sessions make it easier for these individuals to contain and then process their feelings and experiences. Feelings and memories need to be brought to the surface so that healing can take place. The first impulse of many survivors of trauma is to run. The challenge is getting people that who have suffered as a result of traumatic events to remain present to themselves by sticking with the process long enough to build a strong and healthy foundation.

Resistance is inevitable because we learn from such an early age to disconnect from our bodies, our feelings and issues and the realities of our lives that we don’t want to deal with. Our habitual tendency to avoid or resist causes these patterns to become even more deeply ingrained. It is critically important for us to understand that our feelings and the issues we need to be addressing will never just go away. Whatever we fail to process will remain trapped within our bodies and minds. And that will cause our bodies and minds to break down.

We smoke and drink and self-medicate with other recreational drugs. We take pharmaceuticals to numb the pain. We eat way more than our body needs to sustain itself. And we spend hours of the day on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites and we find innumerable other distractions to take us away from what it is that we don’t want to feel.

The feelings we disconnect from may no longer register within our conscious awareness after some time. Our resistance to being present is what prevents us from becoming fully conscious. To the extent that we’re not being conscious we’re walking around in a state of unconsciousness. The disconnect becomes so great that it leaves us blind and numb to whole bandwidths of our consciousness. The resulting desensitization prevents us from seeing and feeling the implications of our actions upon ourselves, other people and the world in which we live. And that accounts for so much of our craziness individually and collectively as a human species.

We may eat right and exercise. We may even pray, meditate, chant mantras, do Tai Chi, Yoga, Pranayama, go to our preferred house of worship and bow at the guru’s feet and yet we still deny and disconnect from our feelings, avoid the issues and refuse to go to those wounded places within. Prayer, most forms of meditation, yoga and tai chi all benefit us in many ways and yet they’re not going to heal the deep emotional wounds. And no great god from the sky is going to come down and take it all away. We have to become fully present to our issues, the realities of our lives and the subsequent feelings that arise from them.

I was very resistant to the painful feelings that arose in response to the abuses suffered during my childhood and adolescence and the subsequent patterns of abandonment, unrequited love and abusive relationships that began to play out in my adult life. My resistance to what I was feeling reinforced the relational dynamics that were causing me to suffer so terribly. This same resistance is what prevented me from healing. It took me a long time to realize that I could never escape from the pain. I could only go through the middle of it. I taught myself to be fully present to the realities of what wasn’t working in my relationships and all the subsequent feelings attached to them. Breathing into all the feelings and physical sensations began to awaken the innate healing power residing within my body and mind. The pain was transformed. And in the process of doing so it became fuel for growth.

There were many instances where I would start to access my feelings, but my internal resistance would cause me to pop out of them. I had to train myself to remain fully present to my feelings by continually bringing myself back to them whenever my defense mechanisms caused me to jump track. I would breathe into the numbness during those times I couldn’t access my feelings or the stuckness I felt when parts of my life weren’t working.

I have been making a very conscientious effort to become more cognizant of the many areas of life where I am resistant. I do that by teaching myself to pay more attention to the times when I react to people and situations. At other times catch myself complaining about what’s not working, becoming frustrated or angry or trying to control the outcome of a situation.

It is appropriate for us to react when we’re faced with a legitimate threat to our wellbeing. Most situations do not warrant such a strong response. I find that I can respond more appropriately to people, situations and the issues that are of concern to me when I breathe into the feelings that were causing me to react. And then there are other times when I need to let go of any attempt to control or influence and just allow people and circumstances to be as they are.

All kinds of feelings and issues make their way to the surface in response the various practices and interventions that I do. It can feel very uncomfortable at the time these feelings and issues are surfacing, but I always feel a greater sense of aliveness and find that I’m more capable of doing whatever it is that I need to be doing as I work through the feelings and issues. I want as much of this aliveness, presence and power as I can get.

There are times when I felt incredibly resistant while 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 or water. The resistance becomes so strong as the powerful forces working on me began to move through my body. I sometimes felt as though I wanted to jump out of my skin. I would become so angry and frustrated as the resistance intensified that I wanted the whole experience to be over with. I finally realized after some time that it was during these times when I felt the most overwhelmed and the most resistant that I was making the greatest breakthroughs. I learned to stop fighting the process by becoming as present as I possibly could in the midst of my discomfort. The breakthroughs I experienced became that much more profound as I learned to become more fully present in this way.

Healing requires courage, commitment and consistency. Healing and personal growth ceases to happen when we stop feeling and addressing our issues and embracing life. The feelings, issues and realities of our daily lives that need to be dealt with can be unpleasant at times, but the only true way forward is to remain fully present to the best of our ability. Facing our issues, dealing directly with life as it unfolds, feeling what we truly feel and making use of the interventions that enable us to facilitate the aspects of our healing process that we cannot fully do on our own make it possible for us to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

©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.

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Why Isn’t the Law of Attraction Working For Me?

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The Law of Attraction has gained popularity in recent years and yet it is nothing new. Various Christian and esoteric traditions have been practicing some versions of this philosophy for thousands of years.

Simon, the minister at the church I went to as an adolescent was very charismatic. He manifested a large congregation and sanctuary to hold services in along with cars and a nice home. He and other Evangelical Christians pointed to numerous scriptural examples claiming that one could manifested whatever it is they desired as long as they were in alignment with the word of God. Rather than calling it the Law of Manifestation, Christian Evangelicals referred to it as “living by faith.” I made a very concerted effort to follow these teachings in my teens and a more metaphysical version as an adult, but despite my best effort I often felt as though something were standing in my way.

Spiritual materialism

Many of the people that are into the Law of Attraction are placing a great deal of, if not too much, emphasis on acquiring material possessions. Some of the more prominent teachers are showing off their Mc Mansions, their very expensive cars and their beautiful spouses. It’s important for us to consider the implications of our actions upon other people and the planet. A great deal of pollution is created in the process of extracting natural resources and manufacturing all of these material goods. So much of what we consume has a very limited live expectancy. Before long we end up discarding our cars, electronics and most of the other goods we accumulate. And many of us are continually repeating this cycle of consumption over and over again.

I have at times felt grossed out to see the excessive amount of consumption and waste that occurs here in the United States after returning from India and Sri Lanka. There’s nothing wrong with having basic comforts, but no one really needs the massive amount of stuff that many of us are accumulating. And if we’re such wonderful and spiritually evolved people, then why don’t we take some of our excess and use it to feed, shelter and educate children in need or even adopt one or a few of the millions of children that do not have homes or parents to love and care for them. Or we can donate some of that wealth to combat human trafficking.

Manifesting within the context that we find ourselves

The circumstances of our lives vary hugely according to where we live, the families we were born into, the innate resources we each possess as individuals and a wide range of other factors. The majority of us who reside in the United States live a very sheltered existence in a land of opportunity. We have opportunities in terms of career and education that are seldom, if ever, made available to most people living in developing nations. We enjoy a quality of life in terms of material comforts that much of the world’s population cannot even conceive of. We can manifest all kinds of cool stuff this context, but that’s not going to happen for the majority of those living in developing nations that are struggling just to pay for clothing, shelter, their children’s education or even to have enough food to eat.

You’re just not doing it right!

Many people into the Law of Attraction operate with the absurd notion that bad things don’t happen to people that are spiritually evolved. The Tibetan Buddhists were highly developed spiritually and yet thousands of them were imprisoned, tortured and killed by the Chinese. A large percentage of the Tibetan population fled over the mountains to India where they now reside. American Indians lived in harmony with the forces of forces of nature. Some possessed powers that would enable them to bring the rain or even divert a tornado. And yet over ninety percent of the native people living in what is now the United States died as a result of disease and the genocidal practices of the European settlers and United States Government.

One of the most annoying tendencies among certain individuals within the Law of Attraction community is the smugness and pretension that they have their shit together by virtue of the fact that they’re doing well financially or that they’re able to manifest the nice house, car and other toys. Everything about this world we live in is transitory. We are all vulnerable and it’s just a matter of time we grow old, our bodies break down and we lose many of the freedoms and capabilities that we’ve grown so accustomed to. We, along with everyone we know and love will eventually die. That’s why it’s so important for us to live fully, enjoying life while we can, but to do so with humility.

My own personal experience varies tremendously according to where I’m at, the cultural context I find myself in and the people with whom I interact. I find it very easy to connect with people when I’m in India and Sri Lanka, but I’ve experienced extended periods of being very alone in New York City.

People that I’ve worked with in India really value and appreciate the healing gifts that I work with. I do find people here in the United States that truly value and appreciate the healing gifts I possess, but I encounter more people who are so resistant to being present that they run as soon as their feelings and issues make their way to the surface. It’s even worse now that people are spending so much time staring into the screens of their computers and smartphones. Many have become so disconnected from their core self as a result of being so distracted that I have to now work four times harder just to hold people’s attention and connect the dots for those who are not capable of doing so on their own. People that I worked with while I was staying in Germany seemed to be a bit lost in the beginning, but they tended to catch on quickly. I have found many of the people that I’ve worked with from Germany to be the most committed to doing whatever it took to facilitate healing within their own bodies and minds.

My mentor Horace was one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa tribe. He often had to hide whatever car he was driving at the time in someone’s garage or behind their home, because the word would get out and his own native people would line up to see him once they learned of his whereabouts. It is true that he was exceptionally powerful in his day, but he also had the advantage that his own people understood and valued the healing gifts that he possessed.

Why does it seem to work so well for some and not for others?

One thing I noticed as I developed the ability to read the human aura is that people vary significantly according to their constitutional makeup. The people I’ve seen that do best with the Law of Attraction tend to have a very strong dynamic presence along with a power that enables them to attract more of what they want. Some have a greater ability to compartmentalize their suffering as opposed to having it take over them, and that makes it easier for them to keep moving forward. Sometimes the aura has a very Teflon quality about it. Stress just seems to roll off of them. Not everyone can be like that.

One of the negative psychological consequences of the Law of Attraction is that it tends to induce shame in people when they fail to manifest what it is they think they want. I’ve heard many people say things to indicate that they feel as though they have somehow failed because things are not manifesting the way they expected them to.

Many of us have been subjected to some form of emotional, physical or sexual trauma at various times in our lives. Traumatic experiences can elicit overwhelming emotional responses that trigger biochemical reactions within the brain. The vast majority of us never fully process these traumas. Many of us continue to hold much of the painful feelings and impressions within our bodies.

The conscious mind of an individual that has suffered extensively as a result of having been deeply traumatized may want to attract a good job, a safe and comfortable home and a loving companion. But our bodies, which contain the vastly more powerful subconscious mind, continue to hold onto all kinds of painful feelings and impressions associated with past traumatic experience. The horrible pain and suffering that we hold within often causes us to attract more people and circumstances that reinforce our suffering. Sad thing is that most people do not possess the tools or resources to completely heal that trauma on their own. That’s why many are locked in a cycle of repeated victimization and suffering.

I know from personal experience what it’s like to attract more people and circumstances and have that reinforce the trauma of my childhood and adolescence. I felt helpless to do anything about it for quite some time. My experience only began to change as I began to heal from within. I developed a series of practices that enabled me to “digest” my past and all of the subsequent emotions attached to it. I then started working with a number of exceptionally powerful healers and going on the vision quest, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves fasting alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water.

I have worked with many deeply traumatized people over the years and I could see how they continued to attract many of the same kinds of individuals and recreate the suffering of past traumas. I’ve watched many of these individuals began to attract people and experiences that nourished them and facilitated growth as a result of the healing taking place within their bodies and minds.

A split in consciousness

I’ve heard a number of popular teachers say that the Law of Attraction always works. That may be true to some extent, but it obviously doesn’t work the way that many of us want it to. We tend to operate primarily from our conscious mind in our attempts to manifest. The problem many of us run into is that our conscious mind is not congruent with the subconscious mind which is vastly more powerful in comparison.

Attempting to attract the things we want in life is not inherently bad. It’s just that many of us have a tendency to go up into our heads in our attempt to manifest what we want, but in the process of doing so we disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies. That creates massive incongruencies in our body-mind consciousness. In other words, parts of us are affirming, seeing and believing while other parts of us are forced to hold onto all of the fear, pain, anger, doubt, unworthiness and other feelings that we’re not allowing ourselves to experience. Painful or unpleasant feelings and other stresses that we fail to process can remain trapped within our bodies indefinitely.

Unprocessed emotions, the impressions of what we have experienced in our life and the thought processes attached to them continue to accumulate within our bodies. We may eventually find ourselves overwhelmed by the backlog of painful emotion and other stresses that consume us. The parts of us that are hurting, fearful, confused and conflicted cause us to attract more of what we don’t want into our lives. They also have a negative impact upon our relationships. And in many instances they manifest in the body as some form of pathology.

I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with individuals who have attained mastery in a number of different spiritual traditions as a result of many years of intensive discipline. I have been training for twelve years at the time of this writing with Chinese Master Li Tai Liang in Xin Yi Quan, Baguazhang, Tai Chi and Chi Gong. I have also trained with a traditional Native American doctor (medicine man) and have gone through numerous vision quests that involve going out alone in the mountains to fast for four days and nights without food or water.

One encounters people nowadays with no real training or discipline, but they’ve attended lectures and workshops and have read “The Secret.” Many are in absolutely horrible shape. Their emotions and lives are a total mess. Despite the obvious, we have now have lots of people who possess no real power or substance that have somehow delude themselves into thinking that they have evolved spiritually.

To deny a truth is to give it strength beyond all endurance

The Law of Attraction can easily become another form of New Age escapism for people that are not willing to be present to their feelings, physical bodies and the realities of their everyday lives. People that follow the Law of Attraction are constantly censoring their thoughts and the words coming out of their mouths. They’re so afraid to think or say anything that would be considered negative.

Tracy told me when we first spoke by phone that she had been following the law of attraction for some time, but that she was experiencing a sense of heaviness as many of the old feelings she had struggled to move beyond kept resurfacing. She said that she was experiencing a sense of unworthiness and shame over not having succeeded to the extent that she thought she should.

I could see that Tracy had disconnected from her feelings and physical body. Lots of old stagnant emotional content had backed up in her abdomen. She told me that she was feeling better when I spoke with her by phone afterwards and yet she never returned for a follow up sessions. Tracy’s problems are only going to get worse as the gap between her conscious mind and sub-conscious widens.

The woman that initially referred Tracy to me suffered terribly as a child as a result of having been severely neglected by a mother suffering from mental illness that didn’t have the capacity to care for her. Alicia was not fully inhabiting the lower portion of her body. Her abdominal region had a very deadened quality about it. The presence working through me enabled Alicia to process huge amounts of old hurtful stagnant emotion while drawing more of her spirit into the abdominal region, which then began to feel more fluid and alive.

Alicia began to talk to me about the Law of Attraction at one point. I responded by telling her that it hadn’t helped her to attract anyone into her life. I then reminded Alicia that it was the changes that took place as a result of the healing sessions that enabled her to let go of the man who had been jerking her around emotionally that she had been strung out on for quite some time.

I have spoken for a number of Law of Attraction groups. I would start out the evening by asking those in attendance if they wanted me to lecture or take them through practices that would enable them to become more firmly rooted in their bodies. Not a single person in attendance at any of these groups was well integrated with their feelings and physical bodies. In fact, many of them were holding all kinds of hurt, anger, resentment and a backlog of other toxic emotional residue bottled up on the inside. None of them had the courage or commitment needed take the steps that would have facilitated the healing of these deep emotional wounds.

Developing greater congruence

The bottom fell out from under me when the economy crashed in 2008. People were afraid of making any investment in themselves, the phone stopped ringing and I had no idea of know how I was even going to survive. There were many nights when I couldn’t fall asleep until two or three in the morning or I would wake up during that time feeling overwhelmed with anxiety. I would lay there in bed breathing into all of that horrible anxiety and ask myself “What can I do? How am I going to make it?” It took some time, but creative insights began to emerge as I continued to breathe into all that fear. And that gave me the inspiration to offer classes to help people heal the loss of a love and learn how to attract healthier people into their lives.

The practices of affirming what we want, seeing it in our mind and believing we have it can work very powerfully in some instances. Numerous athletes have used these practices to improve their performance. The danger here is that many our tendency to disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies as we attempt to affirm, see and believe what we want into existence.

The practice of focusing my attention on what I want and following up by taking constructive steps to make it happen has helped me in many ways. I take it a step further by breathing softly and deeply while focusing my attention on any corresponding feelings of desire that I experience within my body. The challenges I face on a daily basis can sometimes elicit anxiety, fear, pain, self-doubt or any number of other feelings. Breathing with my attention immersed in these feelings initiates a digestive process that transforms them so that they become fuel for growth.

I make a daily practice of breathing with my attention fully immersed in the stuck places within my body and mind that are bound or constricted. After some time I can feel these parts of me beginning to flow. The world feels more responsive as life takes on a more fluid quality. I become more responsive to people and circumstances. That makes it easier for me to adapt to the challenges of my everyday life.

Digesting all the charged emotions and other forms internal resistance creates an opening for change. New opportunities do have a way of presenting themselves. Sometimes it’s more of a matter of being able to let go of what’s not working so that I can embrace what does. And in many instances I’m able to recognize and respond to opportunities that I had previously overlooked.

©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.

Replenishing the Depleted Body and Mind

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Harlan, like so many of us nowadays, is working way too many hours. He’s built a successful business over the past ten years. He’s made lots of sacrifices and has accomplished a great deal, but his body and mind are definitely paying the price. His days consist primarily of working at the computer and spending time on the phone with customers. That becomes very depleting, literally sucking the life force out of his body. Harlan also has a tendency to live in his head and that leaves him very disconnected from his feelings and physical body. I could definitely sense the depletion as I looked into his body. Harlan’s kidneys had become so depleted that it was interfering with the quality of his sleep. He has to rely on sleeping pills to knock himself out at the end of the day.

I began the session by having Harlan breathe into the sense fatigue that he described throughout his body. After some time Harlan told me that he was experiencing bloating in his abdomen and inflammation in his joints. Unprocessed emotions and other stresses that had accumulated and the resulting impairment of his digestion were causing the bloating.

The bloating and inflammation began to subside as Harlan continued to breathe into the physical sensations within his body. He began feel the life force flowing through his body as that happened.

Harlan works very hard and yet he’s not doing much of anything to counteract the stress. He told me that he was doing much better a few months prior when was practicing Tai Chi consistently, but had since gone downhill. Harlan needs to be doing practice every day. I can always see the wear and tear that occurs within his body where there are long gaps between sessions. Harlan has tremendous difficulty sticking with healthy food choices and the daily discipline that would enable him to maintain his health. His inability to stick with the foods and practices that nourish his body and mind has a lot to do with his tendency to disconnect from his feelings. Unprocessed emotions and other stresses that accumulate within his body create internal resistance and inertia. That’s why Harlan often feels burned out and is often lacking in enthusiasm.

I have worked with a number of people like Harlan that push themselves to the point of exhaustion. Many will let months go by between sessions because of their unwillingness to make any kind of serious investment of time and energy in their health. And that’s why so many people get into serious trouble with their health. I feel concerned by the inertia or deadening that I see, especially when I can tell that it’s causing their bodies to break down. I do the best I can to recognize people’s limitations and to reach them where they’re at.

The deadening that was taking place in Harlan’s abdominal region was notable. But I could feel the presence working through me during healing session dissolving the armor by softening the abdominal organs. The internal organs become more alive and responsive whenever I work with Harlan and that brings him back to life.

The sessions revive Harlan and get his body back on track. He sleeps better afterwards, his digestion improves and his enthusiasm for life is renewed. He has said on many occasions that he feels revived as though he had slept for a long time or taken a much needed vacation. Harlan just needs to slow down enough to be present with his feelings and physical body. He needs to breathe into the feelings and sensations that he experiences within his body on a daily basis and show up for the healing sessions at least once a month.

The abdominal region is a critically important part of the foundation that enables us to be firmly rooted in our bodies. Many of us are overwhelmed by the demands of our daily lives. We may experience abdominal bloating as the physical and emotional toxins accumulate within our digestive tract. Unprocessed feelings, the stresses of daily life and physical toxins have a deadening effect upon this part of our body and our overall body-mind consciousness. The deadening of the consciousness in our midsection cuts us off from a critical source of nourishment that is needed to replenish our bodies and minds. People often get into serious trouble as that happens.

The abdominal region affects all the organs and systems of the body. The enteric nervous system, which is embedded in the lining of the gastrointestinal system, contains a hundred million neurons that produce the same neurotransmitters found within the brain. Sixty to Seventy percent our immune system is located in the gut as a vast network of lymph tissue referred to as GALT (gut associated lymphatic tissue). We need to keep this region of our body and all the organs contained therein soft, fluid and alive.

Harlan said something about finding someone to learn Chi Gong from. Chi Gong is a very powerful and effective practice for developing one’s body and mind and I do a lot of it on a daily basis. But Chi Gong practice isn’t anywhere near as effective for helping us to digest the toxic emotional residue and other stresses that get trapped within our bodies. Breathing into the feelings and sensations enables us to get deep down inside the cells and organs to digest the emotional residue and other stresses held within in a way that Chi Gong practice won’t.

Chi Gong and the practice I teach of having people breathe into the feelings and sensations present within their bodies are two very different approaches to healing and developing one’s body and mind. I encourage people to do both forms of practice. The practice of breathing into our feelings and sensations is one of the most powerful means we have available of reconnecting with our bodies. We need to make this form of meditation a part of our daily practice.

Many of us are working and commuting excessively long hours, spending way too much time on the internet and not getting enough rest. Our bodies and minds can easily become overwhelmed by the stress. The energies of fatigue or exhaustion, unprocessed emotions and the stresses of everyday life can easily get trapped in our bodies unless we make a conscientious effort to digest them. We need to make time to be fully present with our bodies by breathing into our tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion that we experience throughout our bodies.

Much of that stress accumulates within the abdomen. We also need to be breathing while focusing our attention on any fullness, deadening or congestion held in our abdomen. Breathing into our feelings and bodily sensations awakens the innate healing intelligence residing within our bodies and minds. Consistent practice will help to bring our depleted body back to life. It will also increase our life force.

Native Americans didn’t have access to the modern medical interventions that many depend upon today. They relied upon the forces of nature to effect healing within the body and mind that would not have otherwise been possible. I spent a number of years training with Horace Daukei, the last surviving traditional doctor among the Kiowa Indian tribe and have since continued with the vision quest.

The individual healing sessions have profound regenerative effects upon the body and mind. The presence working through me repairs damage within the physical and subtle bodies. Stagnant emotions and other stresses held within the body are digested. Depleted bodies literally come back to life.

©Copyright 2013 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. The practices he teaches and individual healing sessions replenish and heal depleted bodies and minds bringing them back to life. 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.