Updated: Jan 14
“You have an inclination: In the flash of one second, you feel what needs to be done. It is not a product of your education; it is not scientific or logical; you simply pick up on the message. And then you just act: You just do it. That basic human quality of suddenly opening up is the best part of human instinct.”
- Chogyam Trungpa
Learning to meditate is one of the greatest gifts you can offer to yourself.
Even better is taking the plunge into your first silent retreat or meditation intensive. These moments of profound inner peace and self recognition, short lived as they may often be, leave a special imprint.
A tiny match flame, when properly fed and nurtured, grows into a raging fire. So too, the tiny divine imprints left in our hearts through moments of meditation, when properly, lovingly nurtured, grow into a fire. This passionate heart-fire is the driving force on the spiritual journey.
Somehow, touching the intimate depths of being, even for just a few precious moments, can start an inner revolution. The intuition of our essential nature becomes the guiding light, or inner compass, by which we come to see the other aspects of our lives.
Guarding the Flame
The insights gleamed during a retreat may appear as powerful as a nuclear bomb. In those moments it seems so obvious. People often report a clear sense of conviction, “now, everything is perfect, I understand what I must do or how things can be”.
Then we are thrust back out into the world and into our lives. Suddenly the insight and clarity that was so alive, can seem as faint and flickering as a match flame.
The journey of Integration basically one of trust. Being inspired by a special moment is one thing. But there are many layers of subconscious conditioning that cloud and distort our capacity to see clearly. Now begins the tender and intricate process of learning to see clearly in more and more situations.
See what? See yourself!
The spontaneous recognition of your own presence as being more intimately ‘you’ than the aforementioned conditioning that you normally call ‘you’. As your practice deepens, this inner knowing will gradually shine in more and more moments. Soon it will blossom into a quiet kind of confidence in yourself and trust in your life.
The Integration Journey
“Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.”
― Chogyam Trungpa
The dichotomy between touching freedom in some special moments, and being totally lost in identification is pretty much the flavour of the journey.
Becoming aware of this apparently contradictory back and forward is the first step. It’s not always a pleasant one initially. Typically, this implies starting to see many layers of behaviours and beliefs that you might prefer not to have to see.
The good news is that pretty soon it will start to become obvious that seeing (making conscious) that which we didn't see before (unconscious patterns) is actually most of the journey of becoming free from them. You may even start to feel grateful for the challenge. Instead of a new reason to judge yourself, seeing blind spots becomes a reason to celebrate growth.
In this way, self reliance is born. Understanding through repeated experience and occasional struggle and triumph, that whatever comes, we can face it and overcome it. Because indeed, what we truly are is more intimate, more profound and more real than no matter what problem that may arise.
Trust Everything That Happens in Your Life
Cultivating genuine spiritual aspiration and learning to trust in your life. These are not small, or overnight feats. It can take years. There will be many challenges and it is totally normal to experience wavering between trusting your life, and doubting yourself.
Yet with patience, perseverance and a radical commitment to truth and to the unfolding of your own life, we start to see a paradigm shift. From an apparent uphill battle with insurmountable challenges, to the co-emergence of personal effort and divine grace.
Yes, we still need to show up and face challenges. We may still fall and it will still hurt every step of the way. Yet simultaneously, the trust that shines in the background allows us to see our entire life as the Guru.
The life that we live becomes a mirror through which we see only ourselves. Everything that happens is a reason to surrender, an invitation to celebrate the mystery of life and to remember to love people more and more deeply.
Support on the Journey to Fullness.
With all of that said, there are many almost indispensable elements on this journey that can be deeply supportive and nourishing to the little match flame in the heart.
Community is Key
Friends are super important in life in general. In the context of an authentic spiritual search, community, or ‘sangha’, becomes a profound support.
Here are some of the most profoundly supportive elements:
People who understand you:
Knowing that you have a group of like minded people that understand what you are going through and how important this journey is to you.
Inspiration and accountability:
When the practice gets tough, or when keeping up your daily practice becomes challenging, there are people who you can call. You can practise together, check in with each other, share insights and even inspiring books and youtube videos to keep eachother in alignment with your commitments.
Thankfully, with the internet, YouTube, mobile devices, ebook readers, services like Amazon's Audible, wisdom teachings, audio courses, books, online courses etc. have never been so readily available.
Actually, the challenge these days is more about understanding which teachers and practices you resonate with most. Then comes actually following through when your email inbox and news feeds get cluttered with so many other sparkly looking options.
Remember there’s definitely such a thing as over stimulation here. It’s fine to explore, and can always be helpful to listen to a new perspective, but you sooner or later need to go deep in one direction. Establishing a stable foundation in a single kind of practice or tradition is key to making real progress.
Your Own Authority Above all Else
Your own spiritual experiences and aspirations should always inform your decisions moving forward.
Of course there is a need to recognise the authority of certain teachers and to trust their word and guidance. At the same time, your own practice and the experience that comes from it, will begin to awaken a deep inner knowing within you.
Trusting the passion and the calling of your own heart is at the very core of this journey of integration.
We know, from years of experience that this journey takes time and requires support! And after many years of journeying and being supported by others we're now excited to offer our support, experience and journeys to you!
Check out our 8 Week Online Integration Course A course designed to support you by:
Helping you establish and stabilize a daily practice;
Coming together in community to share your experiences of the process, where others can hear you and be heard by you;
Deepen your understanding of the teachings, by exploring how they apply to concrete areas of your life!