A better love

I've come to the realization that I've been wrong about love my whole life. I used to think that love was about doing things for others, caring for them, making sacrifices, creating happiness, being kind, etc. These are all beautiful aspects of a loving relationship, but they all sort of miss the point. What really grows love is not what we do but how we receive. When I think about my closest friendships, I find that what stands out is how much a friend can see of me and how I'm accepted. Do I have to hide myself, or can I show who I am without fear or shame? Can I talk about what's difficult in my life, or share my hopes and dreams, and not feel rejected or ridiculed? That to me is the mark of a true loving friendship.

Romantic relationships are no different - the receiving is still greater than the giving. It doesn't matter so much what my husband does for me as how I receive it. If I don't receive who he is and what he is offering me with joy and acceptance, then I'm not actually loving him. On the other hand, if I am hurting or struggling, I don't need help or fixing so much as to be heard and acknowledged. The help and the acts of love are important, but they aren't enough by themselves. The greatest thing we can do for each other is bearing witness, whether in joy or in sorrow. This deep need for connection is what makes us human, and connection doesn't exist without receiving.

So much of our hurt feelings arise from missing this crucial point, whether in relationships with our parents or friends or partners. How much more could we be if we knew how to love well? I love this quote from the movie Cloud Atlas: "To be is to be perceived. And so to know thyself is only possible through the eyes of the other." On a spiritual level, love is an act of creation, and what we are creating is each other.

By what men fall

I came across the most beautiful quote the other day. It is from the Kularnava Tantra, and it goes:

By what men fall, by that they rise.

This is so true, and so powerful. Our nature as human beings is to struggle - with ourselves, with our environments, with each other. But this isn't without meaning or hope. We may not know it, but we chose this life, we chose to struggle because that is what makes us grow, what brings creativity and consciousness into being. And it is no accident the kinds of struggles we encounter in our lives. Each one of us has specific lessons to learn, and it is our own unique path of struggle that brings us to this lesson.

As healers, we learn to transform our wounds into healing. That's because there is energy in our wounds, and if we want deep change we have to look for something that runs deep within us. Each one of us has traumas that make us who we are today, and we can either let those stories limit us or we can use them to empower ourselves. Sometimes it's just a small shift from one frame of mind to another. Sometimes it's an entire healing journey that takes us deeper and deeper until we are restoring our very soul. No two people are the same, yet everyone can experience this same healing.

The healer's role is not to do the healing for us but rather to support us on our own journey, to be a sacred witness that will watch for us until we are strong enough to see for ourselves. How many of us have experienced someone standing up for us, or loving us, and thus learned how to stand up for ourselves or love ourselves? So this is how healing works - we pass it from one to another, in a long lineage and onto the next generation.

Aho.

Seeing Yourself

Who am I? Everyone at some point in their lives has come across this question. It is this sort of questioning that sets us apart from lower consciousness beings such as animals. But how do we really answer it? When we're young, we try on different skins, experimenting with various roles and identities and seeing what sticks. As adults we find ourselves following similar patterns, whether searching for the perfect job or partner, or buying the next great gadget or outfit to feel good in. In a way, we're always searching whether or not we're aware of it. The rare and lucky few who truly find themselves will enjoy an existence of perfect well-being and enlightenment, but the rest of us? We have to work for it.

The most important practice on the path to self-realization is that of self-observation. In a way, self-observation and self-realization are on the same continuum where self-realization is simply the end goal. And like any good continuum, we can start with really small steps. The primary practice is checking in with yourself: How am I feeling right now? What are the sensations, emotions, thoughts? Where is my attention? If you do nothing else, practice this and it will be enough. In these few little questions lies the power of total inner transformation. You are actively nurturing the part of yourself that is capable of answering the question, Who am I. You are growing the seed of consciousness.

When we start asking these questions about ourselves, we may get some uncomfortable answers. Maybe I don't like how I behave, how I feel, or what I think. The secondary practice is compassion. Show yourself some kindness, patience, and acceptance because we all struggle with ourselves and no one is better than anyone else. What sort of forgiveness would you show your own child? Do that. The end goal of this practice is non-judgment, but until we get there it is good enough to be aware of our judgment. This means that when you do something that makes you feel awful, acknowledge it with gentleness and loving kindness, and don't indulge in shame or remorse. The more we practice this attitude of compassion towards ourselves, the more capable we are of creating peace with everyone else.

This is both the simplest practice as well as the deepest. It is at the core of our inner development, the growing of a voice or a self that will be our guide in life. All of us have to start at the beginning - even more so for those of us who have started more than once. And there are many different ways to engage in this practice, whether we are Christian or Buddhist, something else, or none of the above. The blessings will match the purity of our intentions.

Aho.

What is Healing Lines?

The name is an expression of a combination of healing practices and wisdom teachings. There is a core need for both in our modern lives, but we often want to go straight for the healing and gloss over the wisdom and spirituality. It is easy to see why healing is important, whether for our own health or as a society. Everything from stress and disease to toxic or broken relationships is a cry for healing. The anger and injustice and suffering in the world is a cry for healing. Modern science may be progressing faster than ever to address our physical problems, but there's so much more to us that isn't yet understood. And this is where the beauty of energy healing comes in. Healers believe in working upstream, treating the whole human being before our bodies start to break down from stress, environmental, or genetic influences. And the wisdom teachings help us to integrate the healing, showing us what it means to live as whole human beings and not shattered or divided souls. This combination is deep and takes time to work, but the change is drastic and, most importantly, lasting. The greatest gift is that when we heal ourselves, the healing will start to spread to those around us, radiating out through our families, friends, and communities. This work is my deep wish for you to be your fully realized self, so that others may find healing as well.

Aho.