Monday, July 21, 2014

Are you an awakened and evolving being or are you stuck in the muck?

By Erik Carlson

Many folks are stuck and don't even realize it. Some folks are living in a house of cards. A foundation of false expectations and judgments that have been programmed by family, social, and religious expectations; an inner story weaved and shaped by their ego and they are stuck pleasing others rather than finding their own joy...

So, are you an awakened, evolving being or are you stuck in the muck of fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, or sadness?

How can you tell if you are stuck.
Well, what is your daily emotional state before any of your practices, chores or daily routines begins? Are you prone to procrastination or easy distraction? At any moment, how do you feel?

If you find yourself in a blue funk, because you can't make a decision or If you are having bouts of frustration, anger, fear, anxiety, or sadness, then you are acting or reacting to an emotion triggered by your ego.

If you find yourself jumping into anger, judgment, or sadness, then you are probably stuck and it's time to be honest with yourself and ask the following questions:
  • What am I doing that does not support or sabotages my bliss and direction?
  • What am I currently moving towards and what am I currently moving away from?
  • What should I be going forward with that brings me joy and gives me purpose?

Don't worry you are not alone.
I know a few people who, like a lotus flower have gone through a number of rounds of re-awakenings. They were on what they thought was the right path for them; they had purpose and felt like they were doing something that gave them joy and contentment. 
Then, at some point, they lost that feeling. They got stuck in a dead end with their life and found a new direction and higher learning. They began casting off more false truths in the process. Self-realization rarely happens with a single A-HA moment. 
Why? Because self-realization is a moving target. As more and more people awaken they raise the vibration of the realization state for everyone on the planet.

It does take some effort to get beyond the inner questioning and comfort zone of one's own ego. Some think they are realized beings, as they get caught up in the highs they get from kundalini yoga, or Pranayama, or from Tibetan bowl sound baths, shamanic practice or from chanting mantras. But, these higher states can become a false state, a place of escape from your day to day existence.

Maybe the Awakening was overwhelming
This article is not going to focus on the empathic aspects of being an awakened being, but it does and will happen. Many folks who have not had the gift of seeing or hearing spirit guides, stuck souls or entities on the other side, enable this ability in the process of doing their inner work and raising their vibration. I will refer you to “The Reluctant Empath” by Bety Comerford and Steve Wilson. 
I've worked with these two teachers for many years and this new book explains how becoming empathic is truly a gift and not a curse and the work needed to manage your connection as you progress.

Or, maybe a wrong direction
Many folks on this path cannot cope with all the energies from their spiritual work and they attempt to find escapes from their path. They get strung out on drinks or pills. Or they become energy junkies living on the rush from kundalini yoga, Qigong, chanting,....They can't wait to get to the next drumming circle, the next sound healing, the next yoga class, the next card reading, the next Reiki share, the next Qigong class.

But, all of these escapes are just temporary states. Like drugs, they offer a rush, a feeling of euphoria, a false sense of security and they wear off quickly. And your ego begins to question, to wonder what to do next. Even psychics and spiritualists can get caught up and off guard with the high of talking with spirit, but may not be mindful of their inner work towards self-realization. 

Knowing what is your truth and staying mindful is paramount. Mindfulness is a practice of being present and not letting the ego create a story or make assumptions about other people, reminiscing the past or anxious of future events.
Even Richard Alpert (aka Baba Ram Dass) who started experimenting with lsd and other mind altering drugs at Harvard began to experience out of body experiences. He soon realized that this method was not sustainable. His journey eventually connected him to a spiritual teacher who taught him a way to sustain a spiritually high level of living. His created his own process of self-realization. I tried to follow Ram Dass's path in my twenties, but left my own inner development for three decades before the right teachers appeared.

Having it your way – Well maybe
Others have closed ears, not listening to the messages they need to hear. I used to work at Psychic fairs and was intrigued by watching the folks who were looking for miracles. They would go from one reader to the next, looking for a reading that would please them. 

Rather than hear the repeated message they needed to hear, the same message was given from all the other readers and it landed on deaf ears. Not listening to the work that they have to do, they looked blindly for an alternative of something instant, something easy to be done with and move to what they think is their purpose, their bliss.

Ascension is a moving target
As I said earlier, Ascension and self-realization is a continually changing process. The vibration of the earth and the Universe is constantly changing. As more and more people work towards self-realization, the point or level for self-realization for all people also rises in vibration.

There are many vehicles to self-realization, but very few find their way, because they either loose interest or stamina in achieving the goal.

Moving forward
I can only talk about my personal experiences in moving forward.
  • Create and maintain new habits towards inner work

It is much easier to make progress in any area of your life if you can schedule a daily routine of inner work (meditation, mindfulness practices, healing work,....) When you make a practice a regular habit, it will take time away from non productive habits.
  • Limit your television, phone, and computer usage.
Facebook, texting, tweeting, and email can be very distracting and can allow your ego to “play nice” with others and not walking in your truth. I regularly put my phone into airplane mode so I am not distracted from my time. 

If you can't talk from your truth while interacting with others, whether in person or remotely, then you are straying into expectations and judgment and the ego will undermine your progress. Also, there are too many radio and television programs that plug into your judgment/fear points or are just pure escapism. Even today's news is geared towards tweeking one's fears, shock or sadness. And lastly, computer games are also an escape from reality.

  • Start with a regular mindful meditation practice
Mindful meditation is a way to learn how to not react to tugs and pulls of that ego that chattering monkey mind. the external opinions, false truths and judgments. When you can learn to “just be” rather than react. You will begin to see what your real truth is and you will see through the illusions and programming of society, family, and other areas of our physical domain. Eventually you can work at all regular routines mindfully (walking, house work, etc). My favorite mindful practices are tai chi chuan and qigong.
  • Make every activity a mindful practice
If you are making progress in mindful meditation, mindful walking, then bring more mindfulness into everyday work and chores. One task that is a big step toward awakening and staying there is to follow the tenets of Don Miguel Ruiz author of "The four agreements". Following these four agreements will keep you in your own truth and not get pulled into other's perceptions of what is real. His book titled “The Mastery of Love” is also a very good explanation of how we can breakdown our frustrations and false expectations and begin to embrace the common parts of the path we share with our partner. Yoga and Tai Chi Chuan can also become wonderful exercises that can round out a mindfulness practice.
  • Get outside and enjoy some quiet time in nature
I have a walking trail close to me where I can watch the birds and animals of the woods, watch the changing sky reflect on Hart pond, and immerse in the reality of our planet. I also have some quiet places to walk in different woods and mountains near me. From my Shamanic learnings, I can receive wonderful messages from spirit on these walks.

Copyright © 2014, all rights reserved

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

There Are No Reiki Masters

 By Erik Carlson, lmt, rmt, ietmt

I know the title of this article alone is going to ruffle some feathers for a few folks and a few other folks will be shaking their heads in agreement. I'm sure other points will continue to stir some debate as well.

I started working with hands on healing systems in 1996 and have enough certificates to wall paper a small room, but I believe as do many other hands-on-healers that Reiki like meditation or becoming mindful is an ongoing process of inner learning.1 Any remnants of ego, any lower vibrational emotions like fear, anger, sadness will wreak havoc to the healing work. And mindfulness and higher learning is a moving target, that is, inner work is constantly progressing and higher in vibration as others work towards the same goals. (A rising tide of ascension floats all boats)

Usui Reiki in Japan

In Japan there are no recognized masters within the Usui Reiki school.2 The Japanese are much more humble in their approach to this art as they do with all things in their culture. One Japanese saying is "The nail that stands up gets hammered down". In the Japanese Usui school,there are novices and students of the Usui method. Even the main teacher within the school continues to practice, meditate and teach.

Why are there no Reiki masters in Japan? The answer is quite simple. The process of mastery is through meditation, repeated attunements and working with clients. It is the inner work and refinement of mind and spirit that creates the mastery of a hands on healer. 
The Internal martial arts of China also follow a similar practice of continuous inner work. Becoming a master in any of these practices are usually attained after decades of work and refinement. One of my favorite lectures was given by Tai Chi Chuan Master Jou Tsng Hwa, who at age 91 and after forty years of tai chi practice and refinement admitted to the audience, "I think I'm finally starting to understand Tai Chi". 
Internal martial arts, meditation and hands-on-healing are all internal journeys. Where mastery is always just beyond our reach. Self realization is the same journey.

American Reiki following Takata

In America most people are looking for instant solutions, instant gratification. Initially, Teachers who followed Mrs Takata's method of teaching Reiki would put one to two years in between each attunement. I have to believe that Mrs. Takata divided the work into three levels for U.S. students; beginner, remote healing, and teacher.
My Reiki teacher told her students to keep a journal between each level. Level two wasn't taught to level one students for at least a year. Level two to Master level was another year of practice and journaling. After a few years at level II. I had moved to another location and I met another Usui master who taught me her master level and advanced Usui training. While this teacher did not follow the distancing of attunements; She was trained and offered classes in mindful meditation, yoga, and some shamanic work. 
A direction I also followed, enhancing my inner work and finding a curiosity in all things energetic; Tai chi, Qigong, and Qi healing. I also was curious about other forms or styles of hands-on-healing and took classes in Lightarian Reiki, Shambala, Integrated Energy Therapy and Shamanic hands on healing work.

Discount Store Reiki

In America there are too many weekend instant Reiki seminars that are stamping out so-called healing masters. I know too many teachers who put less than a month or two in between each level. Many other teachers in this fast paced discount store direction do not offer classes or guidance on building intuition, sensing energy patterns, or most importantly inner growth and cultivation.

I used to attend Reiki shares by some of these teachers and rarely found true healing masters at the share. I do know a few truly gifted healing masters. A couple of these gifted healers have never received an attunement. These gifted souls, these true healers are now on a life long journey. A journey on their inner work and a divorce of ego for a search of truth. They continue to follow a mindful life in search of higher truths and living in higher states of vibrational energy. They know their purpose, they follow their bliss and accept the twists and turns that are in their path. A journey of continually aligning with source, remaining mindful, not falling into judgment and recognizing and releasing fear, anger, and sadness.

The Disconnect from Ascension

I've noticed on facebook and at other holistic events a growing number of people who are unhappy, frustrated, and loosing interest in healing work. Some of them feel unfulfilled, unsure of their life's purpose and not sure what to do. Why is this happening? Some are oblivious of the need to do their inner work. Some are not trying to do any inner work.
Rather than discovering and removing the veils of false beliefs and programming, they are caught up in dead ends of inner growth. Some get caught up in ritual and superstition while others get caught up in the latest fad, gimmick, or self improvement technique. There is nothing difficult to finding your truth, it just takes persistence in what does work.

Carolyn Myss has an audio tape from one of her seminar talks in which she let's this group have it.3 Essentially what she said was, “no amount of prayer, psychic readings, saying mantras with your mala beads, writing spells, taking Tibetan bowl baths or playing with stones and crystals are going to find your inner truth, purpose or joy.4

Copyright ©2014 Erik Carlson
1 My first experiments with internal body energy began in 1993 with Sifu Huang Keo Wei teaching me my first Qigong practice. To date, that is 20 years of practice with various Qigong practices and internal martial arts
2 This was discovered by Frank Arjava Petter, his wife, and Lee Rand when they visited the Usui School in Japan. In either the video or subsequent book based on this investigation, it was shown that the process of meditation with Koans by students and practitioners and the repeated re-attunement of all Reiki students at the school was a long term practice.

3 This Carolyn Myss audio CD was around the same time her “Entering the Castle” book was published

4 I do not have the CD of this seminar anymore, so my words are from my memory of her talk and not an actual quotation.