In the Womb of the Mother — My First Sweat Lodge

August 17, 2011

Many years ago I heard about sweat lodge ceremonies.  I confess at first they seemed creepy.  Bodies rubbing up against each other, while people were dripping in sweat.  Not my idea of a pleasant journey.  Then I had some fellow classmates at one of my Master’s programs go through a sweat lodge ceremony.  They came back raving about how incredible it was.  I couldn’t go at the time because I was a new mother and breast feeding.  But, I wanted to do a sweat lodge ever since.  Yesterday, I did.

To begin with I am blessed to have done it at the Ojai Foundation, one of those miraculous places where Native American
teachings of Council, Vision Quest, and Sweat Lodge regularly occur.  A picture of the lodge is below.  The ceremony is traditional run by a Native American Chumash elder named Paul.  As this was an all women’s sweat lodge he was the fire keeper and his wife Aleesa ran the ceremony.

From the very start something in me began to stir as we began the fire ceremony with Paul as our fire keeper.  As he talked about the “stone people” (the lava rocks put into the fire), the “one legged” (the trees who gave their life for the fire), the connection to the aliveness of everything around us emerged, not just as a theory or a platitude, but a reality for me.  The deep level of respect for the rocks, the earth, the trees, the lodge (also known as the womb of the mother that was going to rebirth us) touched me deeply.

After a Council around the fire where 25 women began to tell their truths to one another (and yes most of us were complete strangers) that lasted three hours, I was already sweating and feeling pretty cooked.  Then it was time to crawl into the “mother’s womb” where there were so many of us we were literally packed in like sardines touching arms and legs with very little room to move.

For five hours we sat in the heat.  Truth be told I have never felt so drenched in my life.  Sure I’ve been in a pool and tub of water, but this was different.  I was not only drenched on the outside, sweat was pouring out of me from the inside.  If I had bothered to weigh in before and after I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that I had lost five pounds.

As for the details of the ritual in general there were four rounds in the lodge, all held in total darkness.  Each round honored one of the four directions and the work we did was related to the psychological and spiritual teachings each direction holds.  Though I am still processing all that happened there, what I am able to understand so far is that 25 women sat in the dark and told the most raw and real truths about our lives we could tell.

This was far from a “get over it” experience that those who only want to glorify the light and run from the shadow like to espouse in motivational talks and coaching circles.  Rather, this was a “get real” experience.  No hiding from the feminine, from the Great Mother, from the shadow.  It was time to admit the truth, to feel the truth, to tell the truth without varnish.  No hiding, no covering up.  No running into addictive or hedonistic patterns as a means of escape. To be honest it was very, very hard work.  Physically,
mentally, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically — it was exhausting.

At one point after 6 1/2 hours of it I knew I couldn’t take it anymore.  My low blood pressure combined with major dehydration had me nearly passing out.  “All my relations,” I said to my fellow sisters.  “I need help.”  Far from the James Ray macho cover
up the truth and let people pass out, sufficate, and even die approach, this was an environment of total support.  “Yes, sister.  How can we help you?  What do you need at this time?”  I was not the only one who had asked for help in this way.  Four women had exited out the door before me.  Some in panic, some in physical duress, some simply not used to the major catharsis going on.  My sisters tried to talk me through to see if I could stay.  I started to faint.  They let me briefly out the door.  There the other sisters who had left were waiting for me and tended to me.  I was determined to recover and get back in to finish the sweat.  A little bit of water and a few minutes of rest, I did.

In that space we shifted from sharing the deepest wounds of our lives, to praying for the things we were desparately craving to feel healed.  We also prayed for those we loved and attempted deep forgiveness work on those who we felt harmed by.  I said attempted, because none of it was fake.  No fakeness allowed.  If you couldn’t forgive you could rage.  Some women raged so loud I honestly thought I might have broken an eardrum.  Others wailed, moaned, sobbed, cursed.  It was intense.  I’m a psychologist.  I’m used to intense emotions.  But, this?  This was intense.  REAL INTENSE.  Raw.  Real.  Probably the most real a group of
people (let alone strangers) had ever gotten with each other or with themselves.

In between the rounds there was the singing.  Beautiful Native American songs.  I didn’t really understand the meaning, though they were summed up in general before we sang them.  Connecting with the mother, the earth, each other, our hearts, our souls.  Hot.  Wow!  Was it HOT!  One woman apologized for dripping on the woman next to her.  Laughter was heard all around.  Who
wasn’t dripping on the people around them?  Buckets of sweat spilling over.  It was impossible not to.

Then there was the attempt to listen to our hearts beating and to the heart beats of each other.  Then came the drumming trying to sync our heart beats together.  Diving us down into the earth, into the womb of the mother.  Lifting us up into the blackness of space, the mother’s infinite womb.  It became clear we were not only pouring out the toxins from our bodies, we were shedding our skins.  We were rebirthing ourselves.

After three hours around the fire and just over five hours in the lodge those of us who were left slowly crawled out.  Sticky, dripping, coated with dirt, sand, and pebbles.  We were a mess!  Yet, we were changed.  People looked around at each other clearly in altered states.  When we went into the lodge it was day.  Now it was night.  Stars were overhead.  The star people and the moon shined down on us.  We did our best to hose off the dirt, sand, and pebbles.  Then we went into the tent (the teepee was down for now, getting repaired) and changed our clothes.

Once again we were around the fire.  Now it was simply hot coals.  The stone people had been moved into the lodge during our ceremony.  Only the coals remained and had been arranged into a medicine wheel.  Paul was there to greet us.  Normally, he does the sweats.  We sat around the fire again for about an hour and shared a bit our experience.  In part I was also fixated at this time on the leaders of the sweat.  They were clearly an example of a deeply spiritual and loving couple.  They were both so full of compassion.  They had held the space for all of us to do what we needed to do with total acceptance.  No judgment.  Just love.  I
was so moved.

Then the feast began.  Finally, we could eat and drink.  It was already around 11 pm at night.  Some people talked about the sweat.  Most chit chatted trying to finally get to know a little bit about the mundane worlds of each other.  Some sat in silence remaining in altered states.  All agreed.  We were all altered.  Reborn.

Love and blessings,

Lisa

To learn more about the Ojai Foundation visit here.  http://www.ojaifoundation.org

Copyright 2011 by Dr. Lisa Love. All rights reserved.

 

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Sweat Lodge at the Ojai Foundation.

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True Happiness & Freedom Only Come Through Discovering the Self

August 17, 2011

My life, like many people’s, has had it’s share of ups and downs.  Through it all the only way I know of to keep alive the joy inside is to constantly remind myself who I really am in this world.   There is a saying from the Osho Zen Tarot that innocence comes from a deep experience of life that is childlike, not childish.  It embraces the light and shadow in the world and by seeing and accepting the presence of it all, true innocence, or wisdom is born.  The Osho Zen Tarot also states that the truly free person is a rebel, someone who cannot be enslaved because that person has come to know the true Self.

Recently I took a few more blows in life, disappointments as things did not turn out as hoped.  And, I admit I spent a brief day or two in a mope.  That’s ok, as my soon to be released book Feeling Good & Living Great explains, there are no bad feelings.  All feelings have a gift to give you if you know how to embrace them.  The gift of what I was going through involved setting boundaries, letting go, and being true to myself.

But, when I say that I am being true to myself, I don’t mean that I, Lisa, am just trying to fulfill my own personal needs.  Some of that is involved, but it is a higher Self I am speaking of.  That Self shatters boundaries and illusions of all kinds.  That Self gives me the opportunity to see the folly of it all, laugh at myself, and return to innocence where wisdom is embraced head (and heart) on.

Deepak Chopra says in his book Unconditional Life that most people choose to control their unhappiness instead of letting it go.  I believe many people attempt to control that unhappiness by finding ways to medicate themselves so they can pretend that they are
not really as unhappy as they feel.  But, the Osho Zen Tarot indicates that the only true way to happiness is to become a Rebel.  “The Rebel is not fighting against anybody or anything, but has discovered his own true nature and is determined to live in accordance with it.”  Also, “the Rebel challenges us to be courageous enough to take responsibility for who we are and to live our truth.”

How do we do this?  How do we become Rebels, or truly happy and free people in the highest sense of the word?  First, it requires a true state of innocence, where you embrace light and shadow in yourself and others.  Second, it requires knowing your true purpose, your spiritual calling, your reason for being here on this Earth.  Third, it requires courage to live according to principles that keep you in integrity and wholeness, true to your inner nature.  Fourth, it requires compassion and love, for only love can bring about a true healing that frees you from your wounds adn your unhappiness so you can be who you really are.

The Osho Zen Tarot also says that instead of healing people prefer to “carry their wounds.”  “With your ego your whole being is wounded,” it goes on to state.  The ego is the selfish, protected, and defended part of who you are.  That wound, that ego, can only be healed when you drop your defenses, strip down naked, and expose the wound at its roots.  Then the weeds of your suffering can be uprooted.  Then you can cry and be vulnerable.  You drop out of your head and into your heart allowing it to be soft,
tender, with your “heart breaking open” (as Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh calls it).

And, as your heart breaks open you find it, the Self.  Like a transfusion of blood it fills your body and awakens your nervous system reminding you of who you really are as the Self.  It also reveals the sweetness of this moment, the sweetness of life.  Now, there is no seeking, or grasping, desiring, or doing.  There is just the Now.  But, don’t think for a moment that the Now is just a moment in time.  The Now is beyond time.  It is not found in seconds, or days, or even years.  It encompasses all moments.  The Now is eternity.  It is timeless.    And, in that timeless moment the Self is discovered allowing you to be liberated, free, happy, whole, healed, and at peace.

Love and blessings,

Lisa

Copyright 2011 by Dr. Lisa Love. All rights reserved.

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When the Spiritual Quest Ends Real Spiritual Life Begins

August 17, 2011

It is a natural stage to go in search of your Higher Self, Spirit, or God.  Yet, there is a faster way to Self-Realization that does not involve slowly trudging up the mountain, rather it involves leaping automatically to the top and in fact becoming the mountain itself.  And, some even say that the “old path” is to go on a quest, but the “new path” is to know you have already arrived.  How do we discern the difference between the two paths and learn to choose the later?  Simple.  Service.

Here is a way to understand the difference. Undergoing a spiritual quest is like going in search of some water.  So we travel here, take a class there, try a technique here, study with a teacher there, so on and so forth.  For many decades I did this in my life and I understand how it goes.  But, at some point you wake up and you realize YOU ARE THE WATER!  You are what you are searching for.  You are Spirit, God, Goddess, the Divine — whatever you want to call it.  Now what?

Now your focus radically shifts.  You are no longer on a quest because you have found what you have been looking for and you are it.  And, it is at this point that the focus of spiritual life shifts.  Your life becomes more about your spiritual purpose and finding ways to fulifll it through service.

That purpose can be in a variety of fields and it will uniquely match your talents and gifts.  Maybe it is in the field of science, politics. teaching, engineering, parenting, relationships, education, healing, marketing, business, arts, acting, whatever!  The
point is your life is no longer about flitting around just tasting and enjoying, having fun here and there, wandering around and going through and just sampling the menu.  Your life is about service, which requires a greater focus than the questing stage allows.

And, that is precisely where the ego rebels.  The ego wants to be “free.”  It wants to aspire to the spiritual path, but it doesn’t want to be disciplined in it, which is really no freedom at all.  It is like wanting to be “free” to be healthy without disciplining yourself to eat right and exercise.  True freedom requires discipline and effort.  Only then can you get to another level.  For example, now that you are healthy you have far more “freedom” because you are in better shape to enjoy and experience life.

Spiritual practice is the same way.  At first the ego doesn’t want to really have to find a spiritual purpose.  It doesn’t want to go through the disciplines to put that purpose into practice.  It doesn’t want to wake up everyday and focus on what one is here to give versus simply enjoy.  And, it doesn’t want to think about that giving in a focused versus a casual haphazard way.  Why not?  Because the ego believes it has more freedom this way.  But, think about it.  If you are really focused on how your gifts and talents
can serve others, how many more people will open up their hearts to you than if you are mostly focused on entertaining yourself?  How many more people will create opportunities for you to share your service, than if you don’t offer much of a service at all or do it only in a haphazard way?

Believe me I know about this kind of rebellion.  I have lived the life of wanting to just flit about here and there.  The end result was that Spirit kept pushing my ego onward until it realized more and more that only by finding and fulfilling my spiritual purpose, would real freedom emerge.  Does this mean the spiritual quest for me has ended?  In some ways no, but in many ways yes.  As I exercise the muscles of living my spiritual purpose and acting from a place of focused service, I am discovering that realizations about spiritual life come much faster than before.  I live less and less in the illusion that I need to search for Spirit (or water) out there!  I am IT in here and everywhere.  That’s the freedom.  That’s the joy!  That’s the bliss!  May I continue to know IT, be IT,
and share IT with all of you who are IT as well.

Love and blessings,

Lisa

Copyright 2011 by Dr. Lisa Love. All rights reserved.

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True Freedom is Found in Selflessness Not Self

August 17, 2011

In the United States people often talk about our right to “life, liberty, and happiness.”  Yet, none of these can be found when we are
self-indulgent, disconnected from others and the world around us, and only into power and pleasure.  Even brain research demonstrates happiness is found more in selfless acts of random loving kindness than self-indulgent pursuits.  That is why they have discovered that the brain gets the same kind of chemical hit as if it were on cocaine when people are being selfless and loving towards others (get The Happy Movie at www.thehappymovie.com to learn more).

And, how can we have life, liberty (freedom) and happiness when we know we are causing those around us suffering and pain because of our willful disregard of their needs and desires?  True freedom is found only in knowing who you are as a spiritual being here to serve others.  Life is only found when together we are concerned about our collective humanity, otherwise we are only destroying ourselves, as so many people are doing in the mass suicide of the human race caused by over-consumption, greed, disregarding the rights and freedoms of others, and the depletion of the environment.

Men  especially want to talk about “freedom!”  But, freedom for what?  Freedom to do whatever you want as a separated personality?  As I have written about in my Beyond the Secret: Spiritual Power and the Law of Attraction book, that is one of the biggest delusions of the law of attraction when it is used in a selfish versus a selfless way. Is freedom also the ability to have power over others so they will comply to your wishes and do what you want?  Is freedom the ability to indulge in constant hedonistic
pleasure?  Is freedom the right to have it at the expense of others life, liberty, and happiness?

That can never be.  As dictators fall around the planet and the environment is being decimated by out of control weather as never before the message is simple.  Freedom only comes about by freeing yourself to be your Higher Self, and by creating more life, liberty, and happiness for others.

Otherwise,  what do you have?  Guilt.  Paranoia.  Addiction.  Abuse.  Some happiness, live, and liberty in that.  That is just slavery
self-imposed.  So, whey you sound the battle cry for freedom consider the above.  For true freedom can never be found in selfishness, only in SELF, service, and love.

Love and blessings,

Lisa

Copyright 2011 by Dr. Lisa Love. All rights reserved.

 

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The Spiritual Use of the Law of Attraction & Money

August 17, 2011

Recently I had someone write me having read my Beyond the Secret book.  He felt frustrated because he thought it meant we should not have financial means to do what we need to do.  This is not the case.  The questions are:  Who are we?  What do we need to do?  What is the right use of finances to help along these lines?

I’ve been grappling with these questions for some time and have written articles that you can find in the notes on my blog here about money and it’s right use.  But, here are some summary tips.

1.  Know who you are.  If you are attracting as the ego (selfish separated self), you want to attract stuff mainly to show off, to prove how much better you are than everyone else, to give you a false sense of security.  If you are attracting as the soul or spiriutal self you attract stuff to help you accomplish what you need to in service to others.

2.  Know what you need to do.  And, as a spiritual self that need is always service oriented.  Maybe your service is as a doctor, a healer, a teacher, an economist, a hairstylist, a scientist, a counselor, whatever.  The point is not what you are doing, but that you
are doing it well with a mindset to help others.

3.  Practice right use.  That means look around you and see if you are truly taking care of your belongings and the things/people you are responsible for in a loving and care-full (versus care-less) manner.  Are you using the space in your home well?  Are you buying things you really need or just throwing them in a corner when you get them?  Do you dispose of things too easily?  Do you accumulate more debt than you can handle?  Are you responsible or irresponsible with your finances?  Are you making reckless bets and gambles that put not only your own well being, but the well being of many others on the line?  Can you budget and follow a budget?  Do you know how to save?  Do you make investments that help a lot of people or mainly yourself? Do you buy things that are really good for you, or things that feed a sense of entitlement, addiction, self-indulgence? Are you content with what you have or are you always craving more? Can you practice gratitude and appreciation for what you do have, knowing around the planet there are many people who do not have what you do? And, if you have an abundance are you chartiable well beyond just the 10% tithing some religions require of you?

These are all some key questions to get you started. And,  as you answer these questions in a healthy way the rest falls into place.  Money flows.  You have what you need, not what you “greed.”  You can live simply, so people can simply live.  You are a good steward of money, are charitable if you have an abundance.  You are peaceful and content.

Hope this helps.

Love and blessings,

Lisa

Copyright 2011 by Dr. Lisa Love. All rights reserved.

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Constant vs. Unconditional Love

August 17, 2011

For some months now I have been puzzling over the phrase unconditional love, wondering is it really  possible to love someone unconditionally?  Being a writer and someone sensitive to the meaning of words, I have come to the conclusion that the word “unconditional” is a a poor choice of word to convey what we are really meaning when we say “unconditional love.” Finally, I have
settled on a phrase I like better “constant love.”  Here is why.

To  begin with when we really look at it, it is impossible to love someone without conditions.  Even a study of the world’s spiritual teachers and traditions reveal there are conditions everywhere.  Jesus in the Christian tradtion for example, says, “Go and sin no more.”  He doesn’t say, “Go and sin again.”  Now, even if you sin again, the idea is there that you will still be loved.  Therefore, there are no conditions regarding the fact that love will remain constant.  But, and here is where it gets tricky, the point of love is to expand consciousness, to expand the field of love.  And, that can only happen if people wake up and become more conscious, more loving, less hurtful, less selfish.

The  problem for me is that when we use the phrase unconditional love it implies that there are no expectations, no conditions. But, there are expectations and conditions in spiritual traditions, the main ones being that you become a more loving, soulful, conscious, compassionate and caring person.  But, even if you don’t, even if you don’t live up to these expectations, their love is constant, it remains, while they go on encouraging (and in many ways expecting) us to become these things.

In  fact a loving response may very well be to have expectations of people.  Research is increasingly showing that people who have
expectations put upon them do better than those who do not.  The point is how you put those expectations on others.  Do you impose them in an unloving and cruel manner making it impossible for people to reach them?  And, do you pusnish them and throw them away when they do not?  That does not encourage becoming conscious, caring, or loving in anyone!

And, here is the thing — I want to love people enough to expect them to wake up, realize who they are as spiritual beings, and learn to be more compassionate and loving.  But, I don’t want to punish people if they do not, or withdraw my love.  I want to love them, believe in them, encourage them, and help them to be that which at essence they are, loving and spiritual beings.  I also want
that same expectation imposed in a loving way on me.  I want to be loved conditionally in this way!  It helps me grow and to become a better person.  But, I want it imposed on me in a loving, constant, and caring way.

So, I am going to be picky from now on and no longer use the phrase unconditional love.  I respect what people mean by it; I
think they mean what I am saying above.  I just don’t believe anymore the word unconditional conveys the right meaning here.  Your thoughts?

Love and blessings,

Lisa

Copyright 2011 by Dr. Lisa Love. All rights reserved.

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Accessing Bliss – My Favorite Meditation

January 23, 2011

I’ve often told people that the best sex I ever had was when I was single blissing out in meditation.  And, here is one meditation I know of that helps get the whole body vibrating and buzzing.  Ironically, it is a meditation on death.  Or, to put it another way, it is a meditation on realization of Self, the Self that we all are, our Infinite Being.

Though I recommend that most meditations happen when we sit up, this one can also be done lying down.  And, though I don’t always recommend music with it, there are a few songs that have aided the process for me, tipping me over into an expanded state even more when combined with this meditation.  (Only problem is sometimes when I play those songs again they reactivate a small measure of this bliss state and trance me right out.  Not a good thing when driving.  Once I even discovered I had driven an hour the wrong way, before I knew where I was.  Wasn’t even sure who was driving the car the whole time before I realized where I was.  So, warning, do not listen to songs you use with the meditation while driving, as it may not be good for you).

Step One.  To begin with take several deep breaths.  As you inhale realize that you are Spirit breathing into the body.  You are not a body (or a person) breathing in Spirit.  Rather, you are like Spirit almost finding a way to breathe through this little air bubble known as you.  And, as you exhale experience the freedom of no longer being limited in the body, but rather freed from the limitations of the body once more.

 Step Two.  Continue to breathe in this way.  As you do so notice how with each inhale you are attempting to dissolve the body (or person), and with each exhale you have succeeded at this, dissolving the body and how it limits you as Spirit just a little bit more.

Step Three.  As you (Spirit) continue to dissolve the body feel a growing spaciousness in the body.  Get a sense of the body humming and vibrating.  Sense the space between the various atoms in the body, and sense that space getting wider and wider.

Step Four.  Eventually you may even start to experience your “body” as filling up more space, maybe even the entire space of the room you are in.  If so, expand your sense of “breathing” only this time start to dissove the space of the room.  Sense all the atoms in the room vibrating and sense you (Spirit) dissolving the restrictions of this space, until even the room cannot hold you.  Also, continue to experience the growing pulse of atoms vibrating and the space between atoms expanding.

Step Five.  Continue this expansion of the space.  As Spirit sense yourself filling up the whole building/home you are in and then dissolving it and expanding beyond it.  Then expand into the town you are in, the state, the country, until you feel as if the space you fill up takes up the entire planet.  As you go through each step get a greater and greater sense of the humming vibration and pulse of trillions or zillions of atoms.  Get a sense of the expanding state you as Spirit truly reside in.

Step Six.  Continue!  Only this time expand beyond the planet and fill up the space of the solar system.  Then see the sun go supernova expanding to consume and include the whole solar system in light.  Then realize this is only one solar system of many that you as Spirit are.  Begin to include hundreds and even millions of solar systems until you have expanded into a galaxy.  Then go beyond that, to consume, expand, and include millions and billions of galaxies. 

Step Seven.  Continue until you can go as far as you can go in your consumption, expansion, and inclusion of all as Spirit.  The Spirit that you are.  And, when you get to a point where the intensity of the vibration is too much (at times I feel my body will go through a radical combustion and explode into the space around me), just focus on the hum, the vibration.  Sense it.  Hear it.  BE IT.  For you are it.  When the echo of that hum and vibration finally ends, bring your focus back to your breathing in the body.  Take some time to just absorb all of this.  And, be extra careful when you get up and start your day.

Love and blessings,

Lisa

Want help with the above? Check out my website: http://doctorlisalove.com/

Or, call me for a coaching session. Learn more on at this address.

http://doctorlisalove.com/coaching.html

Copyright 2010 by Dr. Lisa Love. All Rights Reserved.

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