This was the first ‘open topic’ human group and it went extremely well; finding the flow of conversation straight off the mark and mixing in everybody’s topics fluidly resulting in a deeply satisfying, heartfelt experience. Every participant left inspired, expanded and humbled by the intimate sharing expressed by everyone.
The check in was ‘what do you want to talk about?’ And ‘what don’t you want to talk about?’
The first group wished to explore, emotion, the ego, fear, reconciliation, and vulnerability. We started off by exploring fear.
Why is it that we protect ourselves from another’s fearful expressions and dwell upon fear ourselves?
The group suggested that when we agree with fears being expressed it can feel as if we are feeding them and further manifesting them into our reality. This in itself is a reaction to a fearful idea and in the process we reject, fix or bypass another’s vulnerable expressions of doubt. The person expressing the fears and doubts feels this as a rejection of themselves and their emotions. Later on in the group a participant whilst asked about vulnerability said that they fear they will not be heard, met or understood when they are expressing a vulnerability. Perhaps this vulnerability is giving voice to the fears we dwell upon in order to process the underlying emotion or feeling.
Here we have a conflicting interaction, one person not wishing to hear the seemingly unpleasant vulnerabilities of another and the other not feeling met or held whilst being vulnerable. Bth in the negative result are reacting to fears.
Perhaps the fears and doubts are simply the secondary layer to a primary sensation. A blocked uncomfortable feeling that is made sense of through attaching a contextual meaning to it, whether it is the case or not.
What would happen if we listened to the emotion of what is being said and addressed them rather than personally reacting from fear to the words/meaning we make from what is being said?
Teal Swann speaks about the primary feeling being the first aspect of expression that needs to be acknowledged and held. In Alain de Botton’s book ‘the course of love’ he speaks the upset infant, not having words to express and confuse the parents, leaves the parents to address the primary cause and not take the upset personally.
What would happen if we looked upon each other as an infant needing love, care and attention when they are upset? How do we stave off selfish reactions whilst confronted with another’s vulnerable suffering?
Meditation, practicing discomfort, being aware of our triggers, being meticulous with the words we use, responding rather than reacting to fear, holding space intentionally for the other person to explore their feelings with whatever words they wish to use. Exploring our fears, expressing our doubts to friends and family that can receive them unconditionally. The way we treat another’s vulnerability is the way we treat our own interpersonally and perhaps creating a healthy relationship with our fears, doubts and underlying emotions develops our capacity to hold another’s?
Throughout this conversation we tied in all topics that each participant wished to explore. With fear came vulnerability, underlying emotions, the need for rest and a new dawn, reconciliation with our seemingly unacceptable parts of self and bringing pause to our own egoic responses as a service for another.
One practice offered by a human was to watch the news, breath and feel into the body and intentionally build compassion for the victims and the perpetrators in order to humanise and create a gentle world view in which inspires participation rather than separation and fear.
The second discussion was very intimate with only three participants including myself. The topics raised were insecurity, death and letting go. We started off with death, asking each other; what lies on the other side and what is our own personal relationship with death?
We spoke of dying as a process of stripping back all the material focuses and exposing all that really matters in the life that was lived. Fears, expectations, saving face, external influence all dropping away as mere trivial delusions in the face of death. How do we create a relationship with death that inspires a full living of life?
How do we live everyday to its fullest?
Perhaps we die many times throughout life and it is simply the form identity that changes; who we think we are; the ego. A perfect paradox; if we can practice dying everyday we inject a fullness to life.
This perfectly enmeshed the topic of ‘letting go’.
How do we let go of dreams, visions, relationships and identities? How do we move on from ourselves and what keeps us attached?
There is a liminal space at the end of cycle, (life, relationship, identity), that is vulnerable to fearful injection, one in which sensation and feeling dominates whilst no clear meaning making can be created. So we rest upon our own insecurities being at fault for these uncomfortable sensations; I am not worthy, I have been abandoned, I am useless, pathetic, etc. This meaning making can result in a compensation, drive to be worthy or loved; we climb tall mountains and ladders, we be what is loved, we be what we immaturely determine as successful and wanted.
Yet this is all secondary meaning making upon a primary sensation built by a child who associated the feeling with a momentary experience of separation or abandonment. This sensation could be uncomfortable for one person signalling the need to change, do or fix something whilst for another it could be a positive association that can be simply enjoyed and cherished?
How do we make it complete? Like the death of a loved one, it is decided. However, the ending of a relationship could have many ideas of possibility because the person is still alive. The loop must be closed, the era of life completed and the lessons found and defined. And when the emotions come, they come as a natural process of ‘letting go’ rather than one of attachment and longing for the other.
Thank you to all the wise humans who participated and collectively created such a rich stew of insight and expanded perspective.