Welcome to Carolyn Cowan Online; Designer, photographer, teacher, mother, counsellor and bodypainter.
Archive for September, 2006
I have been trying my suggestion, repeating I Am. It works. It is interesting. After an initial resistance, it is now quite easy to keep repeating it for extended periods of time and what I find emerging is interesting. I am reading I Am That, a book by Sri Nisargardatt Maharaj. In it he talks about how life rises and falls in front of us, like waves. Each event is another wave, and that the real art is not to attach to any one particular event and then ride along with it, but to allow the rising and falling to happen without attachment. Using the I Am mantra I am starting to see the waves coming up and going down. The longer view is that it seems to be making me more present to the moment. Something I have always longed for: being able to be totally present, with no fear of the future, and no pain from the past colouring how I view any event, person or experience in the present moment. This is a challenging desire. I perhaps should have wished for something more material, as my ambition requires me to do all the work. But it is fun, trying to be aware of the judgements one makes based on previous experience and projected fears.
On a different note we have 50 people to the house today for two meals. Lunch and dinner. We are filming big meals to add life and movement to the vegetarian cooking DVDs. It should be fun. Total, overflowing chaos, but fun. Huge amounts of food have to be cooked and served, cleared away, cleaned and then all cooked and served again. But then we are almost done. It has been quite a marathon, doing these two DVDs.
Days pass and I have not written. The rebelliousness has softened into a distance and acceptance of other peoples rigour and need forÄ¶.. what? Dressing up, titles, orders.
I have taken to reading I Am That. A book I have been moving to and from for the past 13 years. An amazing piece of writing that takes so much focus to read it is quite startling. I read two chapters, twice, at night, the first being the one I had already read twice the night before. It takes forever to sink in, for the mind to accept this other reality that is not driven by fear and an overwhelming sense of lack and loss.
We were talking this morning about 9/11. Controversial subject now, rather like Catholicism, fundamentalism and Princess Diana. All of which are interesting constructs. I am longing to see why the Pope thought he ought to speak out in such an inflammatory way recently. Nothing is ever what it seems, and that little tiny moment will bounce for a long time, I am sure. Back to 9/11, and I remember watching it, sitting with my mouth open on the bed thinking Äúgosh that is very well put togetherÄù. I have not changed my ideas about it, and still feel that all these things are designed to keep us scared and in that overwhelming, but discrete undercurrent of fear that colours our perceptions, we keep shopping, keep imbibing, keep acting out in an attempt to numb the idea that we will all die. Eventually.
But back to the book. The idea that life rises and falls, and all we have to do is watch it, but what we all do it attach to the pictures and get dragged along by them, is such a wonderful thing. It is as abstract as thinking we could survive without TV or just by seeing the positive in everything.
The mind is a monkey that longs to jump around at any opportunity. We think it is a marvellous thing, this monkey, and do nothing to control it’s games and naughtiness. We are so entranced by it’s behaviour, it’s cheek and gall, that we do not take even a moment to see the damage it is doing, just trail along behind it like rats following the Pied Piper.
The damage it does is rampant and uncontrolled thinking, negativity, judgements, fears, terror, comparisons, and diminishment or aggrandissment of the ego.
Some days can be total hell, others, a delightful stream of fantasy and objectification.
Try this. Find a short mantra: I Am.
Now repeat this for one minute without the mind taking you away to think, obsess, remember, fear or wander. See if you can actually hold the mantra I Am for just one minute.
I AM is the connection to the Soul. It is the way of making a separation from the mind into the sum of who you are. If you are new to the idea that you could distance yourself from the mind, then the art is in recognising that you are being led away from the mantra. See that you have gone and bring yourself back to the I Am. As soon as you can do this you have take a monumental step into the art of meditation: Being able to put the mind down. Just one minute. See if it is possible. If yes, then go for two, or even three. Once the mind is conquered, even if only for two or three minutes, the possibilities are endless, peace begins and the view is fabulous.
Reading the newspaper yesterday, there was a feature on the statements made by those about to face execution on death row in Texas. It was strangely voyeuristic to read, rather like watching the repeats of the twin towers falling, but at the same time it plugged right into the feelings that death brings. This feeling has reared up inside several times recently. It is a huge emotion, far larger than attraction, amusement, fear or desire. It opens up such a well of pain inside that takes one by surprise. Conversations with friends recently have brought up the same huge ball of feelings. Someone talking about their dog dying the week before and the remembrance of holding my dog as she died, or the pain of my beloved friend dying in February, and the recurring sense of loss when I think of her, all touch this place inside that is so deeply hidden from everyday view, yet so horribly potent when woken.
We think we are safe, somehow, from the extremes of pain, as though building a wall of possessions and friends around us will shield us from the excesses of loss, but it doesnÄôt. All the therapy, all the prayer and meditation does not seem to bite into that huge well of agony at all. Yet we continue stacking up the goods around us, trying to build a wall to defend us from death.
As Yogi Bhajan said;
ÄúThe only difference between you and me is that I totally accept myselfÄù.
It is the profound and endless lack of self-esteem that gets us. Endlessly, in all daily experiences, on a subconscious level comparing. Always measuring ourselves.
The salesmen and women of the world need the measurement, the comparison, the divide, to keep selling the stuff. Without it there is no need, no lack, all is even.
I still push for spontaneous moments of self-esteem driven by self-acceptance on a global scale. Remove the tentacles wound around others and pull them inside. Buy yourself flowers and say no if you feel like it. How fabulous.
Fundamental mystics are starting to get a trifle annoying. There seems to have been a shift in the energies recently and a certain fundamentalism seems to be emerging.
It is not just in the far reaching joys of Muslim Extremism. It is emerging in other areas of life, too. The recent experiences with the Vegans, who increasingly seem to be a furious lot, then the Yoga Show illuminated a few others.
There is something about the endless apocalyptic messages that we are all living with, all the time, that is engendering a desire to reach some platform of perfection that is set by another. We seem to be no longer enough as we are, to be able to sit back and accept ourselves totally. There are now rules made by all manner of different communities and businesses that say Äúyou mustÄ¶Ä¶. to be perfect, to be enlightened, to be enough, to be beautiful, to be acceptedÄù.
It is becoming rather tiresome. Dates set in the future when massive ÄúthingsÄù will happen. Take the end of the cusp between Pisces and Aquarius. Some time in 2012 there will be all manner of things happening predicted by all manner of Fundamental Mystics. Andrew Cohen and his personal idea of an emerging consciousness that will manifest then, or other teachers, multiple and nameless who predict the end of humanity in various forms by then. What about the fall of America, we have waited for that for ages, or the property boom, or the Stock Markets, or Bird Flu? How many wandered past ponds looking for dead birds for months? Terrorism. Another one. Endlessly waiting for buses to blow up in front of us. Yes, it did happen, but no where near what we have been led to believe it would be.
It is time to rebel. It has to be. It is time to sit back, put down the self-help books and to truly Be Enough As You Are. Stop being driven to be more all the time by a climate of fear. Fear that you will not be Enlightenend if you donÄôt wear this, sit like this, eat this. Fear that you will not be loved if you donÄôt look a certain way or buy the latest thing.
Stop chasing success with endless external modification. Stop giving all the power away to others.
Have a day off. Do nothing. Lie in bed, laugh, walk in the park, smile at people. Be enough. If we all did it, the economy of consumerism would collapse. Self esteem would blossom spontaneously, dominant Fundamental Mystics would be left talking to themselves and maybe we would all stop trampling on one another in the rush to get to the top of whatever mountain we are currently aspiring to.
Continuing on the theme of spirits,
It seems that many identify with the need to fall asleep listening to music, and that any sound in the environment pulls a thread of listening from us.
I recently went to talk to someone about how much I was dreading being in the house in France with this ability. Previous experiences there had shown me that it was not relaxing and I needed a holiday. I explained that I was able to listen to sounds so hard and so far away plus that any spirits seems to gravitate my way or I was in their path through the house and I wanted it to be different, my reaction to the experience.
I was taken through a visualisation where I pulled the energy from my hands and feet into the centre of my body. I had to ground it in the crimson of my pelvis, in the sacrum. I had to really come deeply into my body. The experience was fairly intense, and I worked hard at it because I was absolutely willing to let go of the attachment to the problem.
After a few minutes the person taking me through the visualisation decided it was enough and start to pull me back. At this point I knew I was nowhere near ready. I had begun to work on the ethers, on the energies around me, not just in my physical body and I could actually feel tentacles of attention and awareness spreading far, far out from me. The consciousness of it was quite startling and the effort of pulling it all in, quite intense. It took time to feel it all gathering inside.
I was amazed at how far out of my body I had become. It was an interesting feeling to be so far and to know it.
During the time in the house in France I worked with the imagery all the time.
With every sound in the night I fought the desire to throw my attention towards it. I pulled myself the other way and curled the energy deep inside me. Little by little it has settled. Since July I have not journeyed in this way. I thought it was a major part of my psychic talents, but other abilities have risen since then and I have no sense of loss. I sleep better, more deeply, and can choose to engage with the passing etheric traffic or not.
It is a strange ambition, I know, but one that has tailed me for a while.
Happily for my children and my husband I am able to let it be a thing for the future, but it came up again twice yesterday in conversations.
I love the idea of being able to provide simple death ceremony; willow and hand carved or painted coffins and a place where the emotional experience of the death of friends or family is acknowledged.
I have no idea why I feel I can make a difference, hence the lack of any steps towards actually realising the idea. A friend wants to turn a shop she has into a funeral parlour and offered it to me. What made her offer, I have no idea, and I had not mentioned it to her.
But I bring it up now because the new au pair is delightful. Totally charming. Hates my cooking, and lives on deep fried eggs, but a real gift none the less. She is strong, determined, focussed, speaks good English and deals with the children really well.
She has one strange thing, which I get disturbed by because I used to be the same.
I came down at 4.30am the other day to work and her light was on. The same the next morning, but with strangely repetitive music playing. I asked her if she was insomniac and she replied no, she slept really well. So why the music and the lights? (Which are on now, too.) She is scared of the dark because she sees spirits and her parents used to take her to psychiatrists because they did not believe her. I asked if she had seen anything here, but she had not. She is terrified by Amoras. They are the ones that sit on you and you cannot breath or move. Apparently there are lots in Macedonia.
I used to be like that. Never able to sleep with out light and sound to drown the awareness of the slightest sounds. I had hearing that I could make snake itself extremely far away from me. I would wake at the slightest hint and then I could magnify the sound, send my attention out of my body and see what it was.
I did it for years, and since learning how not to do it and to pull the etheric tentacles back in, I think that my hearing is now too sensitive because of so many years of straining.
The link with funerals being the death and spirit thing. Which surprising numbers of people are now finding they are conscious of having a gift with. But there is a real lack of understanding as to how the spirits get stuck and what can be done.
I wonder if this gift is part of the new emerging consciousness that so many are writing about. Take a look at www.wie.org it is a magazine called What is Enlightenment. A strangely make environment where the new consciousness is propounded. I thought it would be an interesting place to advertise Devotion so I called the office and spoke to a woman called Terri. She was delightfully chatty and so I asked her why there were so few women in the magazine. (The front cover is covered n small images of Ä¶.. saints, speakers, spiritual teachers, only two out of fifty are female.) Apparently there are no women with an expanded conscience.
Sweet. Especially from another women.
Thoughts and trains
I had to go to Bristol on Monday. I had to be there at 8am, so it meant leaving at 6am from home. Arriving at the station was fun, there was no one, but little by little it filled with hurrying people. Men with suits and suit holders, all twisted by the weight on their shoulders, carrying coffee and looking cross.
Women with bags clutched to their chests as they watched the train times over and over again, moving across the board. Me, reading a book and watching.
Once on the train I was struck by how easy it is to think with perspective.
On one talks on trains, you, we, are stuck in this winding, rocking, twisting tube with no way to affect our external surroundings. We sit there, and if not fully engaged in reading or writing, we all watch the outside whirl past. I find I get tremendous distance from day to day life. I watch the lives of other, little glimpses of their existence, watch the beauty of the countryside, watch walking people with dogs, and I wonder about my life.
I am feeling satisfied at the moment. It is not a sensation I reach easily, but the last DVDs and the catalogue were a major effort, and I think they will be good. I sat on the train, wobbling gently, thinking about where we are.
When I got to Bristol I was whisked to the printers and spent the day authorising proofs and changing spelling mistakes. I am sure a few slipped through, none the less, but the man who was entertaining me was extremely interested about websites and traffic and adwords.
I came away with distance, having learnt a lot about printing, and rather excited about the new awareness of adwords. I spoke with his web designer yesterday and the ball is rolling.
I have kept my mind still with regards to the next plans. I now have 6 DVDs in the process of finishing and need to focus my attention there, rather than divert off elsewhere. I find it hard to knuckle down to detail sometimes. Bill paying is my task today. I find it hard to let go of large amounts of moneyÄ¶Ä¶.
I am off to a Vegan Fair! Selling DVDs. They won’t let me sell chocolate! Why on earth not? No pleasure policy. That’s the problem. All this austerity is quite chilling.
I will report.
We have today and tomorrow left and then we have done it. The huge and monumental task will be filmed. There is still about 9 months work to go on it, but the filming and photography will be finished.
I only really realised the enormity of our task yesterday, when we were all talking at lunch about how to film the talks to the cameras and found myself aware that HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C are seriously big issues worldwide and there is nothing else like this around.
The people who agreed to be in it have been amazing. Truly fabulous. Their cc
commitment has been a real gift and I am very grateful.
I am starting to feel a bit tired, but have follow government advice all the way through and drunk lots of water. My bedtime is getting earlier every day and my wake up time too. I have to finish writing the texts for the intro and talks now. This part I feel insecure about. I have done most of it and now have to fine-tune the words until they flow smoothly.
I have worked all through August and I long for a break now. I want a holiday, and to lie in the sun, and what happens? The children go back to schoolÄ¶.
Louis brought home a huge pile of school workbooks yesterday. Gosh, they were beautiful. Really wonderful colouring, drawing and writing. It was a pleasure to sit and go through every page. He took such delight in all of it.
We, I, have been thinking of putting him in the local school next door. There are lots of reasons which I will not go into now, but watching him last night and looking at the strength and beauty of the work, all iconic queens, kings, angels, fairies. I think it would be crazy to take him out of the system. So the question appears to have dissolved into the beauty of his work, a lot of which has a really mystical feeling.