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Why is This Happening to Me? Body Karma Explained

We always have free will in how we choose to deal with our body karma as it arises, and this choice determines our destiny.”

After doing thousands of psychic readings and past-life therapy sessions dealing with the health of the physical vessel, I’ve decided it would be helpful to elucidate some of the basic premises which have become abundantly clear from my decades of experience in this area.

Firstly, whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, most of us have had several dozen to several hundred past incarnations, and the details of these lives are stored in our psyches’ cellular memory.

Consequently, if we think of all the injuries and shocks to the system that our bodies have sustained in just one life and multiply this by all the lives in our cellular memory bank, we can begin to get an idea of the pool of unresolved body issues that may be coming up to be healed in any given incarnation.

In addition, when we think of all the lives in which we didn’t die peaceable in our sleep with no regrets or unresolved emotions, these may also come up to be healed at pre-programmed times in our karmic story-line, also known as fate.

What about our genetic heritage? Our souls choose their genetic predisposition as the tip of the karmic iceberg to reactivate the body karma we’re here to heal─just as we choose our parents, environmental factors and personality potentials as part of the perfect karmic activation package.

So, when my clients complain that years in psychotherapy have still not resolved their issues, I remind them that this life is just one chapter in the soul’s story and that, unless one goes into the previous chapters, it’s almost impossible to fully make sense of the root causes of our challenges.

That’s also why, when I get the question I’m most commonly asked of, “Why is this happening to me?” I’ve found that attaining clarity from a higher perspective and becoming willing to embrace all levels of healing involved are the pre-requisites before the most successful and long-lasting results can be achieved from any physical protocols.

For example, one prevalent body karma theme has to do with being overweight in a way that doesn’t allow one to be fully accepting and loving of their body just the way it is.

There are a multitude of past life reasons for this. One that’s common is a form of balancing karma from lives in which one died from starvation during times of famine and the last dying wish was to be in a heaven of unlimited earthly delights in the form of food. One woman whom I regressed said that her dying vision was now her and her husband’s greatest joy: “We roam through the aisles of our local all-night supermarket filled with abundant food.” Unfortunately, the husband’s obesity-related diabetes has caused him to become impotent, so food had literally become the source of all that is blissfully orgasmic for them.

With karma, the old saying “Be careful what you wish for” is certainly true. In fact, all unrequited desires, sooner or later become manifested. However, because it can take many lives, in certain cases, by the time we get what we wished for, the circumstances may be so different that we feel victimized rather than empowered. Cosmic humor, indeed.

I’ve also done dozens of past-life regressions where women have become overly-attached to a large and voluptuous body type because at various times in human history─bigger was literally better. They were considered the most attractive at their largest and, now that they have the same body type and it’s out of fashion, they have a challenging time coming to terms with themselves just the way they are. What’s a girl to do? 🙂

For men, many large and seemingly over-sized guys have had past lives fighting woolly mammoths in ice age conditions where large was good, bigger was better, and furry was an added plus in frigid temps. But since we’re not in an ice age at the moment, they might appear as throwbacks, attached to their big bodies for survival when it doesn’t serve their highest good anymore.

Other large men (and women) are attached to their body-type because as warriors their bulk in times when food was scarce allowed them to win half the battle before it even started because they appeared so intimidating. NFL players, as our modern-day gladiators, are remnants of this body archetype.

In all the above cases, there’s a need to become aware of the root causes of the karmic attachment to food or body type for survival or attractiveness and, from this, one can then more clearly choose to bring the relationship with food and the body into balance without the heretofore unconscious fear of death or lack of love inhibiting the karmic healing in this area.

For more on this, please view my TV Episode entitles “the Weight of His Past” on this exact karmic issue, which was healed through past-life regression therapy: VIDEO

On a more personal note, in the case of foot karma, I’ve written a whole chapter about my body karma in this area in my memoir, Cosmic Sugar, entitled “The Concubine Chronicles─The Foot Binding Unwinding.”

After many lives in China of being hobbled by having tiny tulip-shaped bound feet as my ticket to survival, attractiveness, and more I’m dealing with many ongoing painful foot problems in this life. To open up my feet, so that I could ground my psychic energies to the earth, I’ve done standing chi gung daily for over 20 years as well as having much healing work and deep massage done.

One of the upshots is that my feet have expanded from a petite size 5 to a size 8 1/2 double wide in less than 20 years, and they just keep growing. My lesson is in letting go of any aversion or vanity in having to wear more functional footwear and just being grateful that I can still get around on my own and am now more fully rooted to the earth.

I’ve had many clients with severe energetic imbalances in their body which run the gamut from hyper/manic to lethargic/depressed, on all levels from the mental/emotional to the physical/sexual and sometimes both in an alternating current. Many of these have had karmic cycles of past lives of overindulgence on the sense level alternating with cycles of complete asceticism and denial of the body. Obviously, in this life the karmic healing would be in choosing to go for the middle path bringing balance to the being.

Until this is addressed, the extreme nature of the cycling can continue to escalate until some form of breakdown occurs, forcing attention to be paid. In this case, the karma can be healed at any point in the downward spiral when the individual chooses to go for the course correction. As they say in 12-step programs, “All bottoms have infinite trap-doors.” This is especially true with issues of body karma, because if the root causes are not resolved before the body is dropped, the karma gets carried forward.

In the case of phobias, any traumatic past life event, especially death, can create an activation in the cellular memory when similar circumstances trigger it. For example, in cases of OCD, many have had past-lives in which they died from some sort of plague, thus creating a fear of death from anything connected to germs.

Past-life injuries, from battles or otherwise, can come up to be healed in the same parts of the body, almost feeling like ghost limbs and where, in many cases, medical tests reveal nothing substantially wrong. Those who have neck pain may have been hung or wounded there. Asthma sufferers may have had lives of being buried alive. Those with fear of water may have drowned. Claustrophobia can arise from being imprisoned in a small space. Even certain geographical locations can trigger an irrational aversion if it activates a past life memory of a not-so-happy ending there.

Obviously, I could list literally thousands of case studies─but you get the idea.

With mental illness, including cases of arrested development or retardation, the karma carried can be from cycles of lives in which mental development was prized above heart or any other level of the humanness. Thus, the soul chooses to come in with one part of the mind handicapped, so that there can be a more balanced development in the fullest human range of the soul. Other times, mental challenges can be a form of karmic rut in the identity, past-life patterns of suicide being a common example, which the soul is here to overcome and grow beyond.

Before I get into case studies of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, let me say this: my Channels have defined pain as a signal tone from the Higher Self that a course correction is indicated. It comes first as spiritual pain, then as mental and emotional, until finally if we haven’t gotten the whispered message our Higher Self yells in our inner ear: “COURSE CORRECTION INDICATED!”we’re getting blasted by some level of physical discomfort. If that still doesn’t do it, then the unlearned lessons of choosing to go for the growth are carried into the next incarnation ad infinitum thus setting up the playing field for our present-day karma.

The most important thing to remember, especially when it comes to the physical pain that accompanies much of our body karma, is that we’re not consciously responsible on the ego/personality levels for creating it by anything we have done or not done in our present incarnation.

But rather, our body karma arises at the perfect time to get us to focus on whatever course correction is indicated in some aspect of our being, and that nothing less than what has manifested on the physical level would have gotten our attention enough to be willing to address it and take action. So, while we’re not responsible in this life for our illnesses and other forms of body karma, we most certainly are responsible to it, as our symptoms are speaking to us.

In cases of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, the karmic roots are too numerous to mention them all. However, ALL are chosen by the soul for karmic healing and soul growth where no lesser drama would do. Please remember that the personality NEVER consciously chooses such conditions.

In many cases, especially with breast cancer, the course correction is in placing the need to nurture Self first. This could mean pruning any toxic jobs, relationships, environments, addictions or unhealthy food choices that are a symptom of not putting Self-Love before any other.

Where other forms of cancer, heart disease or life-threatening illness arise, especially in men or yang-types, there is a karmic predisposition in the identity to be a giver, a doer, a teacher, and/or a healer. The severe nature of illness forces those who are challenged in the area of receiving love, aid, and nurturing from others to surrender to developing the softer, yin and more vulnerable side of their Beings.

In many of these storylines, the karmic healing comes from getting the lessons inherent in being sick and not necessarily in healing from the illness. But rather, sometimes what needs to be brought into balance is through the healing that occurs within the dying process.

When one fully surrenders to what is, one may be gifted with the grace, nobility and true power that can spontaneously arise from this, then healing can occur up to the last moment of breath. Conscious dying then becomes the foundation from which no new karma on the themes of fear of death or imperfect humanness needs be played out again at this level.

Lastly, let’s look at aging gracefully. Did you know that over 50% of the human race that have ever lived to be over 65 are presently alive on the earth today? That means that as a race we have no cellular memory of how to age gracefully in an empowered way into our 80’s, 90’s and beyond.

This is one reason why there’s so much fear around aging. As a race we haven’t as yet learnt how to do it in a positive way, especially in modern western culture. So, it’s very exciting to be part of a new generation in the evolution of consciousness planting seeds in the racial cellular memory about how to live long, with health, vitality and no diminishment of power, but rather a continuous gathering of our forces and an ever-deepening wisdom. How’re you doing with that?

In closing, in the Vedic traditions of Ancient India, there are three levels of being bound by the wheel of karma: iron chains, silver chains and golden chains─-and some lives can be a combination of two or three of these stages.

Iron chains signify that one’s in a life of balancing karma from lives in which there were sins of comission from harming others. To the degree that we consciously choose to do no harm and come from the heart, we are released from this level of bondage. But body karma in the areas we have harmed others may be part of the healing of this karmic package through developing compassion for self and others.

Silver chains come from lives in which we harmed no one but ourselves (sins of omission). Releasing ourselves from these chains means placing the love, nurturing and empowerment of self-first. Here, body karma arises as needed, to inspire us with this lesson. 

And golden chains, ah golden chains, as good as they may sound they’re still chains! These come from lives of good deeds in which there was any level no matter how subtle─of ego aggrandizement from our benevolence. In this case, we’re pulled back on the wheel of karma into incarnations to reap the benefits of all the good we’ve done. In these lives, we need to learn how to receive our good fortune graciously. Body karma can still arise here, primarily as a reminder to maintain our open-heartedness and compassion, so there’ll be no backsliding.

Vedic philosophy teaches that the higher one’s consciousness evolves in the Divine game of Leela, Cosmic Play, the further one can fall. It’s exactly like a game of chutes and ladders. As one rises higher, the levels of misuse that can incur karma become ever more subtle.

To be free from the wheel, one needs to become completely non-attached to the fruits of one’s actions─like walking on sand and leaving no footprints. That’s why having a very long-range perspective on the human evolution of consciousness and recognizing that Leela is beginningless and endless is the most peaceful way to Be.

So, when next you have some body karma arising, as we all will sooner or later, rather than just asking “Why is this happening to me?” the most useful follow-up question is: “What am I supposed to learn from this?”

For a detailed description of the philosophy of Cosmic Play, please click here: LEELA

If you’d like a psychic reading with Joan to explore the full nature of your body karma and how to heal it:  CONSULTATIONS

If This Were Your Last Incarnation, What Would You Do?

1. I would meditate daily as if I were sitting on the highest ledge in the Himalayas witnessing the karmic wheels of all souls spinning round and round in an infinite amusement park called Leela, Cosmic Play . . . and smile.

2. I would be aware of my eternal nature while simultaneously being fully engaged on the personality level in the play of the Earth Game . . . and smile.

3. I would acknowledge that everyone is always trying to help me in some way as part of my curriculum in Earth School, if I would only allow them to, say “Thank you” . . . and smile.

4. I would embrace everything that happens to me as a “Plus” as, from the perspective of the Void, of which there are infinite levels─all manifestations in the Earth Plane are pure Co-Creative Aliveness . . . and smile.

5. I would smile equally as much when disaster happens as when things go smoothly because they’re a matched set in this Plane of Duality.

6. I would smile equally as much when pain occurs as when bliss and joy arise because they’re a matched set in this Plane of Duality.

7. I would smile equally as much when loss happens as when gains are made because they’re a matched set in this Plane of Duality.

8. I would smile equally as much when blame and shame come my way as when praise and fame fall into my lap because they’re a matched set in this Plane of Duality.

9. I would choose to cultivate the path of always taking the high road in word and deed so that this course becomes spontaneous and effortless in the Flow . . . and smile.

10. I would know that while this might be my last incarnation on the wheel of karma, new adventures await me in infinite dimensions of Unrelenting Spaciousness . . . and smile.

PLEASE NOTE:

The above list is something that I enjoy contemplating as an experiment in consciousness─as for 99.9 % of us, the wheel does keep going round and round. But acting as if this were our last sojourn on Earth makes each moment that much more precious and inspires us to Be fully and mindfully in the Now with whomever we are with or whatever is going on.

This practice allows us to get in touch with our attachments while being on Earth so that we can work them through consciously. For, if we can play the Earth Game fully, when we drop our bodies, we’ll have no regrets for anything left unsaid, undone or unhealed which pulls us back on the wheel. This includes even nostalgia, which is one of the subtlest levels of attachment.

Aversion to any part of being in the human condition keeps us firmly on the wheel of karma as well. So, if we feel unhappy or discontented or even ambivalent about being in an incarnation, this also keeps us firmly entrenched on the wheel.

Our ticket to ride all the way through appears to be a middle path of neither dissatisfaction with What Is nor clinging to that which is juicy and good as this creates a continuous loop of karmic suffering─until we cut it. This by no means implies that we can’t completely enjoy the full range of our human emotions, physical senses and communion with Nature─but only within the present moment.

Trying to lock things in on this ephemeral plane kind of misses the point, but we do keep trying─don’t we? A perfect remedy for our illusions of control and security is watching one of the best meditations on impermanency: Tibetan sand paintings. (For a glimpse: CLICK HERE)

As we unwind our samskaras, i.e. karmic grooves, one layer at a time, from lifetime to lifetime, we get to dissolve three levels of karmic bondage, which most of us have going on simultaneously to some degree:

1. Iron chains: Which allow us to experience the balancing karma from past misuse of our energies towards others.

2. Silver chains: Which allow us to experience the balancing karma from past misuse of our energies towards ourselves.

3. And finally, golden chains, which allow us to experience reaping the fruits of good deeds we have done, but with attachment─no matter how subtle. This also keeps us on the wheel, because we still have to come back into incarnations to receive the benefits of our good karma.

The ultimate contemplation in action is in practicing being a channel for good─towards ourselves and all others─with no attachment, as if we’re walking on sand and leaving no footprints. No small feat.

But once we can get to the point of honoring All Beings including ourselves as aspects of the Absolute, Source, the Divine or the Flow─then all the good that we do is always and only just for Ourselves. And that makes it all very cozy.

If you are a lover of duality like me, let me assure you that, as entertaining as the highs and lows of our personal roller coasters are, viscerally experiencing other dimensions makes the intensity of the Earth Plane pale by comparison.

When we do finally release ourselves from our personal karma, we can still choose to incarnate in the Earth again anyway. We just get to fly higher in other dimensions when not incarnate because our karmic baggage is no longer weighing us down. The equation is: To the degree that the soul’s purposes have transcended the individual karmic dance===to this degree do we have more options as to the circumstances of our next incarnation.

When it comes to the Universal Laws of Cause and Effect, i.e. karma, what goes around truly does come around, and it does ALL even out in the end, but this knowing requires an exceptionally long-range perspective. Therefore, smiling helps.

We may want the Absolute Truth─but can we handle it? It’s what we’ve been journeying towards from the beginning─Source or Home in the Game. But even if we’ve been waiting for countless incarnations to get off the wheel─it can also be terrifying.

The root of all fear is annihilation of the “little self” in the Void─even if the Void, i.e. emptiness, is the ground which simultaneously contains Everything in unmanifest form. In other words, form is arising out of formlessness in every moment ad infinitum.

Experiencing everything all at once outside of linear space and time definitely involves a learning curve. And that’s why we’re here! Earth School is the learning curve for merging with Source.

And the Ultimate Truth is . . . We’ve never left.

For more on Cosmic Play, please click here: LEELA

Spiritual Practices Reading List

Tantra

(scroll down for the 112 practices in the Appendix)

Paul Reps: in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, in the chapter called Centering, the Sacred Text at the Origins of Tantra are translated and listed: 112 techniques from the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra.

Daniel Oudier: in Yoga Spandakarika, these 112 techniques are listed with a more detailed translation and description. Also recommended: Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening and Tantric Quest.

Osho: The Book of the Secrets─Volume I-V offer discourses on these 112 techniques. Tantra, Spirituality & Sex contains excerpts from these five volumes.

Taoism

Lao Tzu: The Way of Life, translation by Stephen Mitchell

Brian Walker: Hua Hu Ching, The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu

Bruce Kumar Frantzis: The Great Stillness, 2 volumes

Zen

 Thich Nhat Hanh: The Miracle of Mindfulness, A Guide to Walking Meditation, Transformation and Healing, Our Appointment with Life and many more

Buddhism

Pema Chodron, all her books are excellent.

Dzogchen

Ngak’chang Rinpoche: Spectrum of Ecstasy, Wearing the Body of Visions, Roaring Silence, Entering the Heart of the Sun and Moon

Sufism

Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan: The Call of the Dervish, Introducing Spirituality into Counseling and Therapy, That Which Transpires behind that which Appears, Awakening

APPENDIX:

Vigyana Bhairava Tantra

The meditations and practices of Tantra were born, legend has it, out of a conversation between two lovers, Shiva and his consort, Devi, some 5,000 years ago. Shiva and Devi, entwined in a lover’s embrace, were discussing the mysteries of the universe. Shiva, inspired by his lover’s intense desire to know the meaning of existence, composed 112 sutras that were designed to give her the direct experience of how the universe came into being . . . a direct experience in her body. 

Devi Asks:

O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
What constitutes seed?
Who centers the universal wheel?
What is this life beyond form pervading forms?
How may we enter it fully, above space and time, names and descriptions?
Let my doubts be cleared!

Shiva replies:

1. Radiant One, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out)─ the beneficence.

2. As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves up to down─ through both these turns, realize.

3. Or, whenever in-breath and out-breath fuse, at this instant touch the energy-less, energy-filled center.

4. Or, when breath is all out (up) and stopped of itself, or all in (down) and stopped ─ in such universal pause, one’s small self vanishes. This is difficult only for the impure.

5. Attention between eyebrows, let mind be before thought. Let form fill with breath essence to the top of the head and there shower as light.

6. When in worldly activities, keep attention between two breaths, and so practicing, in a few days be born anew.

7. With intangible breath in center of forehead, as this reaches the heart at the moment of sleep, have direction over dreams and over death itself.

8. With utmost devotion, center on the two junctions of breath and know the knower.

9. Lie down as dead. Enraged in wrath, stay so. Or stare without moving an eyelash. Or suck something and become the sucking.

10. While being caressed, Sweet Princess, enter the caress as everlasting life.

11. Stop the doors of the senses when feeling the creeping of an ant. Then.

12. When on a bed or a seat, let yourself become weightless, beyond mind.

13. Or, imagine the five coloured circles of the peacock tail to be your five senses in illimitable space. Now let their beauty melt within. Similarly, at any point in space or on the wall ─ until the point dissolves. Then your wish for another comes true.

14. Place your whole attention in the nerve, delicate as the lotus thread, in the center of your spinal column. In such be transformed.

15. Closing the seven openings of the head with your hands, a space between your eyes becomes all-inclusive.

16. Blessed One, as senses are absorbed in the heart, reach the center of the lotus.

17. Unminding mind, keep in the middle . . . until.

18. Look lovingly at some object. Do not go to another object. Here in the middle of the object ─ the blessing.

19. Without support for feet or hands, sit only on the buttocks. Suddenly the centering.

20. In a moving vehicle, by rhythmically swaying, experience. Or in a still vehicle, by letting yourself swing in slowing invisible circles.

21. Pierce some part of your nectar filled form with a pin, and gently enter the piercing and attain to the inner purity.

22. Let attention be at a place where you are seeing some past happening, and even your form, having lost its present characteristics, is transformed.

23. Feel an object before you. Feel the absence of all other objects but this one. Then leaving aside the object-feeling and the absence-feeling, Realize

24. When a mood against someone or for someone arises, do not place it on the person in question, but remain centered.

25. Just as you have the impulse to do something, Stop.

26. When some desire comes, consider it. Then, suddenly, quit it.

27. Roam about until exhausted and then, dropping to the ground, in this dropping be whole.

28. Suppose you are gradually being deprived of strength or of knowledge. At the instant of deprivation, transcend.

29. Devotion frees.

30. Eyes closed, see your inner being in detail. Thus, see your true nature.

31. Look upon a bowl without seeing the sides or the material. In a few moments become aware.

32. See as if for the first time a beauteous person or an ordinary object.

33. Simply by looking into the blue sky beyond the clouds, The serenity.

34. Listen while the ultimate mystical teaching is imparted. Eyes still, without blinking, at once, become absolutely free.

35. At the edge of a deep well look steadily into its depths until ─the wondrousness.

36. Look upon some object, then slowly withdraw your sight from it, then slowly withdraw your thought from it. Then.

37. Devi, imagine Sanskrit letters in these honey filled foci of awareness, first as letters, then more subtly as sounds, then as most subtle feeling. Then, leaving them aside, be free.

38. Bathe in the center of sound, as in the continuous sound of a waterfall. Or, by putting the fingers in the ears, Hear the sound of sounds.

39. Intone a sound, as AUM Slowly, as sound enters soundfulness, so do you.

40. In the beginning and gradual refinement of the sound of any letter, Awake.

41. While listening to stringed instruments, hear their composite central sound; thus omnipresence.

42. Intone a sound audibly, then less and less audibly as feeling deepens into this silent harmony.

43. With mouth slightly open, keep mind in the middle of the tongue. Or, as breath comes silently in, feel the sound.

44. Center on the sound “AUM” Without any “A” or “M.”

45. Silently intone a word ending in “AH” Then in the “˜H”, effortlessly, the spontaneity.

46. Stopping ears by pressing and the rectum by contracting, Enter the sound.

47. Enter the sound of your name and, through this sound, All sounds.

48. At the start of sexual union keep attentive on the fire in the beginning, and so continuing, avoid the embers in the end.

49. When in such embrace your senses are shaken as leaves, enter this shaking.

50. Even remembering union, Without the embrace, Transformation.

51. On joyously seeing a long-absent friend, permeate this joy.

52. When eating or drinking, become the taste of food or drink, and be filled.

53. O lotus eyed one, sweet of touch, when singing, seeing, tasting, be aware you are and discover the Everliving.

54. Wherever satisfaction is found, in whatever act, Actualize this.

55. At the point of sleep, when the sleep has not yet come and the external wakefulness vanishes, at this point Being is revealed.

56. Illusions deceive, colors circumscribe, even divisibles are indivisible.

57. In moods of extreme desire, be undisturbed.

58. This so-called universe appears as a juggling, A picture show. To be happy, look upon it so.

59. O Beloved, put attention neither on pleasure nor on pain, but between these.

60. Objects and desires exist in me as in others. So, accepting, let them be transformed.

61. As waves come with water and flames with fire, so the Universal waves with us.

62. Wherever your mind is wandering, internally or externally, at this very place, this.

63. When vividly aware through some particular sense, keep in the awareness.

64. At the start of sneezing, during fright, in anxiety, above a chasm, flying in battle, in extreme curiosity, at the beginning of hunger, at the end of hunger, be uninterruptedly aware.

65. The purity of other teachings is an impurity to us. In reality, know nothing as pure or impure.

66. Be the unsame same to friend as to stranger, in honor and dishonor.

67. Here is the sphere of change, change, change. Through change consume change.

68. As a hen mothers her chicks, mother particular knowings, particular doings, in reality.

69. Since, in truth, bondage and freedom are relative, these words are only for those terrified with the universe. This universe is a reflection of minds. As you see many suns in water from one sun, so see bondage and liberation.

70. Consider your essence as light rays from center to center up the vertebrae, and so rises livingness in you.

71. Or in the spaces between, feel this as lightning.

72. Feel the cosmos as a translucent ever-living presence.

73. In summer when you see the entire sky endlessly clear, Enter such clarity.

74. Shakti, see all space as if already absorbed in your own head in the brilliance.

75. Waking, sleeping, dreaming, know you as light.

76. In rain during a black night, enter that blackness as the form of forms.

77. When a moonless rainy night is not present, close your eyes, see blackness. So, faults disappear forever.

78. Whenever your attention alights, at this very point, Experience.

79. Focus on fire rising through your form from the toes up until the body burns to ashes but not you.

80. Meditate on the make-believe world as burning to ashes, and become being above human.

81. As, subjectively, letters flow into words and words into sentences, and as, objectively, circles flow into worlds and worlds into principles, find at last these converging in our being.

82. Feel: my thought, I-ness, internal organs are me.

83. Before desire and before knowing, how can I say I am? Consider. Dissolve in the beauty.

84. Toss attachment for body aside, realizing I am everywhere. One who is everywhere is joyous.

85. Thinking no thing will limited-self unlimit.

86. Suppose you contemplate something beyond perception, beyond grasping, beyond not being─You.

87. I am existing. This is mine. This is this. O, beloved, even in such know illimitably.

88. Each thing is perceived through knowing. The self shines in space through knowing. Perceive one being as knower and known.

89. Beloved, at this moment, let mind, knowing, breath, form, be included.

90. Touching eyeballs as a feather, lightness between them opens into the heart and there permeates the cosmos.

91. Kind Devi, enter etheric presence pervading far above and below your form.

92. Put mindstuff in such inexpressible fineness above, below and in your heart.

93. Consider any area of your present form as limitlessly spacious.

94. Feel your substance, bones, flesh, blood, saturated with cosmic essence.

95. Feel the fine qualities of creativity permeating your breasts and assuming delicate configurations.

96. Abide in some place endlessly spacious, clear of trees, hills, habitations. Thence comes the end of mind pressures.

97. Consider the plenum to be your own body of bliss.

98. In any easy position, gradually pervade an area between the armpits into great peace.

99. Feel yourself as pervading all directions, far, near.

100. The appreciation of objects and subjects is the same for an enlightened as for an unenlightened person. The former has one greatness: He remains in the subjective mood, not lost in things.

101. Believe omniscient, omnipotent, pervading.

102. Imagine spirit simultaneously within and around you until the entire universe spiritualizes.

103. With your entire consciousness in the very start of desire, of knowing, know.

104. O Shakti, each particular perception is limited, disappearing in omnipotence.

105. In truth forms are inseparate. Inseparate are omnipresent being and your own form. Realize each as made of this consciousness.

106. Feel the consciousness of each person as your own consciousness. So, leaving aside concern for your self, become each being.

107. This consciousness exists as each being, and nothing else exists.

108. This consciousness is the spirit of guidance of each one. Be this one.

109. Suppose your passive form to be an empty room with walls of skin─ empty.

110. Gracious One, play. The universe is an empty shell wherein your mind frolics infinitely.

111. Sweet heartened One, meditate on knowing and not-knowing, existing and non-existing. Then leave both aside that you may be.

112. Enter space, supportless, eternal, still.

For private instruction, Joan will psychically prescribe those practices most attuned to your predisposition, individual needs and level of development. For more info, please click here:  Taoist and Tantric Energy Arts

On Spiritual Teachers: Buyer Be AWARE!

Spiritual teachers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and sexes and many of the truly Great Ones will always choose to remain in disguise and anonymous while in a human incarnation.

Here is the definitive teaching of the Buddha on this subject, called The Four Reliances:

Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality;
Rely on the meaning, not just on the words;
Rely on the real meaning, not just the provisional one;
Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary, judgmental mind.

What’s my definition of a spiritual teacher? Anyone who empowers us in healing karma and teaches spirit/mind/heart/body practices that help us along the path of awakening to our True Nature. Then, it’s up to each of us to integrate these teachings and levels of consciousness into our daily life and way of being in the world.

My personal experiences with a wide range of spiritual teachers has been, on the whole, exceptionally fruitful in helping me heal karma within myself along different legs of my journey, as well as in accessing and integrating higher levels of consciousness into my normal operating mode of Being.

Some of my teachers have come into my life in more informal roles: as mates, lovers, friends, 12-step sponsors, psychotherapists, and mind/body healers of various modalities. Others whom I have studied with over many years on a more formal basis include those whose paths include: Taoism, Zen, Tantra, Sufism, Naada Yoga and Dzogchen.

My criterion for choosing a teacher to study with─whether formally or informally─is that they must have something that I want and need and am lacking, in terms of it not being activated or developed yet in this life. Some of the things I’ve learned from teachers are: Cosmic humor, going with the Flow, how to root and ground myself to the earth and feel fully embodied, and how to use my emotions, thoughts and sensations mindfully as part of my spiritual path─to name a few.

Once I’m clear that a prospective spiritual guide has what I’m seeking, I’m willing to go to great lengths, in terms of investment of available time, energy and resources, to access that next “missing piece” to round out my development.

The most important lesson that I’ve diligently maintained in my awareness with all the teachers I’ve studied with is that they’re all imperfect human beings. This means that, just as we’re ALL at our absolute best when we’re doing our “thing,” so too are they at their absolute highest when they’re performing their spiritual function─myself included. Therefore, it’s essential that we take what we can use . . . and leave the rest.

The trap that many spiritual seekers fall into is in allowing themselves to becoming blinded by devotion, gratitude and, at times, feelings of unworthiness. Then the teacher is placed on an unrealistically high pedestal─which inevitably means that, sooner or later, these projected images ofidealized divinity will come crashing down─usually on top of the deluded student’s head.

This pattern is so common that there are a multitude of on-line blogs in which ex-students vent and lament about how disappointed, disillusioned and devastated they feel with spiritual teachers who’ve let them down because they were, alas, only human. The resolution of this scenario tends to be very messy─as much of the anger and rage, at least in the early stages of deprogramming and detaching, is projected onto the fallen idol /teacher in question. Buyer be Aware, indeed.

And, speaking of another sort of very messy, here’s a quote from the afterword of my memoir, Cosmic Sugar:

“Have you noticed how many perennially horny spiritual teachers are incapable of living by the standards they teach because of inner karmic demons they haven’t as yet exorcised? Still, it is possible to accept their imperfect humanness without rejecting their teachings which come from a higher aspect of their being. When we’re free from mental rigidity, the paradoxical nature of personality is full of entertainment value. At this stage in the evolution of consciousness, the majority of people on the planet, gurus included, are still bottoming out on their karmic ruts.”

So, if a spiritual teacher tries to sell you a sexual bill of goods by promising that your karma will be healed faster by engaging in sex with him or her or that you will get a “hit” of awakening from absorbing their energies or fluids which are chock full of “high-level chi” or taste like “ambrosial nectar”─Buyer Be Aware!

Yes, I’ve heard it all or at least a lot of it, personally as well as from helping deprogram many naive and psychologically immature survivors of this type of manipulation. So, please know this: Choosing to take responsibility and consciously engage sexually with a spiritual teacher may help heal some of your “daddy” or “mommy” stuff and you may even get a good “hit” of some high-level psychic energy, but there’s usually quite a messy emotional price to pay in the aftermath. So, again, Buyer Be Aware.

And what about the issue of attaining enlightenment (or existing in nirvana or being so that one is guaranteed a ticket on the heaven express) when it comes to spiritual or religious leaders, teachers, advisors, gurus, lamas, and Rinpoches, etc.?

In the Buddhist tradition, Nirvana is not some external divine place, but the purified state of consciousness in which we’re free of all negative emotions.

Nirvana has four characteristic features:

  1. A state of cessation of disturbing emotions from one’s mind.
  2. Absolute peace, a state of total tranquility of disturbing emotions.
  3. Exuberant satisfaction, which is free from all forms of dissatisfaction.
  4. Definite emergence, when one will no longer relapse to an unenlightened state.

By this definition, most of the highest spiritual teachers that I’ve had direct experience with have attained the first three out of the above four characteristics. That means that, when they’re teaching or giving direct transmissions, they ARE at a level of consciousness that emanates a realized state of Being. And when one is in their presence one can definitely get a “hit” of this energy and it feels GOOD. The problem is that it can feel so blissful that one needs to watch out for an addictive hook of dependency that arises from the limiting belief that this bliss can only be gotten from this teacher and is not attainable on one’s own.

For the majority of spiritual teachers, when they’re not in their highest transmitting function, they relapse into the unenlightened state. And this is where most students get confused, because they are unwilling to see the whole picture, (I call it “holding the split screen“), between the high states they experience when their teacher is in their spiritual role, and the rest of the time, when they’re just imperfect human beings playing out their karma like the rest of us.

Adding to this confusion, the spiritual marketplace is becoming overloaded with many so-called spiritual teachers who are selling their self-proclaimed enlightened state as a product or commodity. This means that prospective students need to use their discriminating awareness and give much time and thought before fully committing and surrendering to a particular teacher. Buyer be aware, for sure!

This is not to say that there are not at least a few fully enlightened Beings on the planet at any given time. I won’t name names, but I have had direct experience with one such Being in India. He emanated a consistent presence of the Void that was absolutely exhilarating, completely heart opening and a bit terrifying all at the same time. Not to mention that the wisdom of his teachings and energy has stayed with me and raised the bar of what I perceive as possible within a human incarnation.

But these realized Beings tend to be relatively anonymous, hard to get to and usually not taking on new students. Although if you’re fortunate, you might be granted a darshan, or audience, to sit and receive a transmission of whatever emanates from their presence and words.

So what’s a seeker to do? By accepting the reality of what a spiritual guide can and cannot offer, we need to take responsibility for seeing them not just at their highest, but in their imperfect humanness as well. Being a spiritual pragmatist, I always believe that if I take what I can use and leave the rest, (the old baby and the bathwater cliché)─I will be benefiting the most from any relationship I choose to enter into─in this area, as in all others.

Ultimately, we need to learn how to access, activate and embrace our “inner guru” or inner spiritual master and use ALL of life as the mirroring of this state of ownership of our innate divinity.

And some final thoughts:

Whether it’s from a Western or an Eastern belief system, the idea that there’s only one spiritual or religious path, lineage or teacher that can enlighten you or help you attain heaven or nirvana is a form of fundamentalism, regardless of whatever guise the seller is in. So, Buyer be Aware!

If a teacher says that you can’t “make it” spiritually without him, his teachings, path, or group─Buyer be Aware!

And, if you try to leave a teacher or group and are threatened with dire spiritual, karmic or other consequences─RUN! Then, be grateful that you have just escaped from a cult with your life and your sanity relatively intact. After this type of trauma, it’s a very good idea to get some objective help and support during a necessary period of deprogramming and recovery, especially if you’ve been deeply involved for a year or more.

For the definition of a cult, please click here:
cult characteristics

For more Cosmic Sugar, please click here:

 COSMIC SUGAR: The Amorous Adventures of a Modern Mystic

For more on my personal teachers: TEACHERS

For more on spiritual practices and my personal journey:

Favorite Meditations and Mantras

Spiritual Practices Reading List

Recommended Books

Some Quotes on this subject:

“The world is full of half-enlightened masters. Overly clever, too “sensitive” to live in the real world, they surround themselves with selfish pleasures and bestow their grandiose teachings upon the unwary. Prematurely publicizing themselves, intent upon reaching some spiritual climax, they constantly sacrifice the truth and deviate from the Tao. What they really offer the world is their own confusion.

The true master understands that enlightenment is not the end, but the means. Realizing that virtue is her goal, she accepts the long and often arduous cultivation that is necessary to attain it. She doesn’t scheme to become a leader, but quietly shoulders whatever responsibilities fall to her. Unattached to her accomplishments, taking credit for nothing at all, she guides the whole world by guiding the individuals who come to her. She shares her divine energy with her students, encouraging them, creating trials to strengthen them, scolding them to awaken them, directing the streams of their lives toward the infinite ocean of the Tao.”

“There are two paths leading to oneness with the Tao. The first in the path of acceptance. Affirm everyone and everything. Freely extend you goodwill and virtue in every direction, regardless of circumstances. Embrace all things as part of the Harmonious Oneness, and then you will begin to perceive it. The second path is that of denial. Recognize that everything you see and think is a falsehood, an illusion, a veil over the truth. Peel all the veils away, and you will arrive at the Oneness. Though these paths are entirely different, they will deliver you to the same place: spontaneous awareness of the Great Oneness.”
Lao Tzu

“The biggest barrier to awakening is the belief that it is something rare. Now don’t think that awakening is the end. Awakening is the end of seeking, the end of the seeker, but it is the beginning of a life lived from your true nature.”
Adyashanti

“Their function is to anchor the frequency of the new consciousness on this planet. I call them the frequency-holders. They are here to generate consciousness through the activities of daily life, through their interactions with others as well as through ‘just being.’”

“The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being.”
Eckhart Tolle

For more, please read: The Nature of Addiction–It’s Only Human which covers the full range of addictions from drugs and alcohol, to sex and shopping, all the way through to the highest addiction to spiritual teachers and practices.

ALIENS are US

BEFORE THE FALL by Joan Pancoe
BEFORE THE FALL by Joan Pancoe

DEFINITION of ALIEN: ANY SOUL WHOSE PRIMARY DEVELOPMENT IS MORE THAN 51% IN HIGHER FREQUENCY DIMENSIONS AND LESS THAN 49% IN THE 3RD DIMENSION.

For me personally, it wasn’t until I was about age forty in 1993 that I experienced a shift in my energies and started feeling more alien─i.e. more comfortable in other dimensions─than the earth plane. Up until then, my development felt almost perfectly balanced 50-50 between development in this plane and sojourns in other dimensions. And while I would say that I had a preference for sojourns in the earth plane before this time, after this─while I still have a great fondness for the earth─I no longer seem to feel any preferences between dimensions.

This feeling of non-preference was certainly reinforced ever since my soul mate, Jim Rush, passed over in 1997 at the age of sixty. Since then, his ongoing communion with me and the occasional “trips” or “waking dreams”─he takes me on to other dimensions continues to loosen any vestiges of attachment to being in any particular plane of consciousness.

But for whatever the reason: being a trance channel since 1972, feeling more grounded and stable from Taoist practices, or the Galactic Forces bombarding the plane to shift us all more towards the Light─or probably all of the above─I began to feel definitively as if I was more comfortable and more aware of being in other dimensions, while simultaneously being present in this body and this incarnation. In other words, my expanded concept of identity shifted its perspective to the point that it became viscerally integrated into my being.

Over time, my desire to paint began to fall away and my creative focus shifted to writing books, articles, newsletters and teaching workshops from this expanded concept of self-perspective. And, I still keep half of the portraits in my office focused in this dimension and half focused from other dimensions─to make ALL my clients feel at home. This shift in me marked a midpoint in my journey from coming in for a landing in this incarnation (right in the middle of my Uranian opposition cycle, BTW) to an awareness that I am now on the return-ticket portion of this ride.

What Does It All Mean?

If you feel relief when you read my definition of aliens and can identify with not feeling at home or comfortable with your emotions, bodies or in the earth plane itself─welcome to the 10% (and growing all the time) of souls incarnate in the earth plane whose primary development is in other dimensions.

The movie comedy, Men in Black, addressed this theme, with the premise that all aliens were delegated to stay on the island of Manhattan and maintain a human disguise. When, I saw this movie I wanted to yell at the screen, “They’ve all been confined to the East Village of Manhattan.” And, yes, it’s true! The neighborhood I live in has a disproportionate number of alien residents, literally, and I don’t just mean from across the pond or other countries.

On any Saturday summer night when I am people-watching from a sidewalk cafe, there are so many aliens, even with their alien pets, promenading up and down the main drag, St. Marks Place, and NOT all in disguise, that it literally looks like a real-life version of the intergalactic cocktail bar in the original Star Wars movie.

On a slightly more serious note, what do I have to say about the clients who come to me because they believe they’ve had alien sightings, alien implants or been abducted by aliens, etc.? Well, this is what I have to say: “I work with anyone who comes to me in a way that is empowering to them to make the most of their experiences. I don’t argue, debate or disputebut rather create a bridge reality so that we can work in a positive way going forward with whatever history, beliefs or fears they bring to me.

Just as in medicine the placebo effect has been proven to be effective as a treatment─equally as much as drugs─over 30% of the time, I believe in the power of the mind to create our personal realities, perspective and experiences. Therefore, while I have not personally had some of the experiences my clients bring to me to resolve, I do not discount them, but rather chose to work with them in the most helpful way so that they can use their experiences as soul lessons for karmic healing.

I call myself a “full-service psychic.” This means that I’ve had people come to who believe they’ve been possessed by demons, discarnate entities, ghosts, aliens or whatever. My method of working with these types of clients is to empower them to recognize that─at a higher level of their being─they’ve chosen this experience and personal reality for very specific karmic lessons which I can help them to own and integrate.

The vast majority of clients who believe they have been “taken over” or “possessed” in some way are usually holding some very limiting karmic fear-based beliefs in which they think they’re powerless over more powerful─and usually dark─”outside forces” and thus feel as if they can’t protect themselves energetically.

As Edgar Cayce, the great sleeping prophet of the 20th century said, “Mind is the Builder.” And if we don’t believe something is possible for us─we can’t manifest it.

For a more detailed explanation of this type of projection: Owning Our Inner Pluto before . . . It Eats Us for Lunch

While I do not allow anyone to breach my psychic boundaries and feel strong and confidant in maintaining them, it has taken me much work over many decades to get here. Therefore, I empathize with anyone who does not believe it’s possible to have this power within their own being. This is the very reason that I’ve chosen to pass on my own personal psychic empowerment practices. For more on this: EMPOWERMENT PRACTICES

Ultimately, my philosophy is: One Being===billions of faces. And this metaphysical perspective encompasses not only the horizontal axis of the earth plane─but also the vertical channel to higher dimensions as well. This means that, at the level approaching absolute reality, there are no horizontal boundaries that separate all souls incarnate on the planet in terms of the cocreative Divine energies we’re all made up of. And vertically, there’s nothing that separates us from beings in other dimensions─we’re also all made up of the same Divine stuff.

Once we dissolve the illusionary boundaries between ourselves and others─horizontally and vertically─at the level of relative truth in this plane of duality and, once we get a taste of how it is to be in all spaces and times simultaneously through spiritual practices, THEN this multidimensional game we’re all playing in becomes much more cozy and much more fun. Aliens are us─indeed!

Back Story

For almost forty years, I’ve been painting portraits of Beings in what I call “Alternate Realities.” In 1982, at the first solo show of my work in Soho (NYC) entitled “Visions and Dreamworks,” I had a small back room filled with figurative portraits from this reality and a large main gallery room filled with over a dozen portraits of what the mass consciousness would call “Aliens” or “ETs.”

One of the more humorous aspects of this show, for me anyway was that, while I had been stoned on grass when I painted all the figurative portraits, most of the alternate reality portraits had been done once I’d cleaned up my act and was clean and sober in recovery. Most everyone at the opening thought for sure it was the other way around.

But the real joke was yet to come. At the opening, as I was standing in the center of the main room, someone asked me, “Where did you get the idea for all these aliens?” Before I answered, I did a 360° scan of all the portraits. That’s when, as if I’d been struck by lightning, I realized undeniably: THEY’RE ALL ME!

To view my portraits (no mood-altering substances required): GALLERY OF MULTIDIMENSIONAL DELIGHTS

Since 1972, I’d been channeling readings from a variety of sources as I expanded the range of what my channels called my “open channel system.” Most of the soul readings I did for others evolved from an original contact in the (Akashic) Hall of Records who initially called himself the Sympathetic Bridge Recorder. Then, over time, this Akashic contact merged with a group or gestalt of souls whose function was to maintain and monitor the Soul Records at the level of the 6th dimension of consciousness, also known as the causal plane.

There were numerous other channels that came through in the early years. Some seemed much further out in frequency and tone than the ones I used with clients and originally labeled themselves: “From the other side of the Universe.” Then, over time, these channels stabilized and began calling themselves the Highest Available Galactic Forces (acronym: HAGF). This channel, whom I call “my bosses” is the one I still use for my own readings as they direct me in my personal marching orders. HAGF is also the channel I use for readings of a planetary, global or galactic perspective as well as setting the theme and tone for most of my newsletters these days.

Just about the time I had the revelation about the true identity of my “altered state” or “alien” portraits, my channels informed me─in no uncertain terms─that: “They” (meaning all my channels) were: “All meall along.”The various channels had just been labeling themselves for my convenience for over a decade, and so as not to put me into shock by giving me more information than I was ready to handle. So, it seems it took over a decade of being a trance channel for my “little self” or ego/personality to be stable and right-sized (haha) enough to handle this concept of expanded identity. And I’m still working on it.ge

For a more detailed description of this process:

(put in new link to BOOKs page) Openings, a Guide to Psychic Living in the Real World, Part V, The Personal Development of this Channel System and Part VI, Channels of Influence.

Summation

About 10% or so of the people who come to me for soul readings are informed that their primary development is predominantly─meaning at least 51%─in other dimensions and are thus defined as “aliens” in terms of what dimension they would be most comfortable “phoning home” to. The hallmarks of alien development are feeling: Quite uncomfortable with the human emotional range, resistance to being fully embodied, and/or being at home in the density of the earth plane at all. The vast majority of clients who receive the news that their primary development is alien are incredibly relieved and many are not even very surprised at all, as their reading just confirmed what they, at least subliminally, already knew. And, learning that their spouses and children were many times of alien development as well, made it feel very right and cozy for them─even if they were advised to not necessarily share this info with their loved ones.

I also began working with quite a few of these alien souls in my psychic therapy process with a special focus on helping them “come in for a landing” in terms of releasing any limiting karmic (or alien) beliefs, fears or aversion that kept them from fully embracing their assignment for this incarnation.

This usually entailed rounding out their soul development through a cycle of lives of full immersion in the earth plane and full development of the range of humanness through different roles and scenarios, with a special focus on experiencing the human emotional repertoire and how to operate in a physical body in 3D.

These 10% are also the therapy clients who give themselves the green light to go further out into higher frequency dimensions than the causal plane as part of their work with me. Most clients choose to stabilize at the 6th dimension or causal plane, (which I also call “the Universal Flow State” or “the Cosmic Ocean of Consciousness”) as the optimal frequency to maintain if they want to be able to simultaneously function in the earth plane. The causal plane is also where one can learn how to access the Akashic Records and channel readings for themselves and others. And for most clients, I concur that going further out than the 6th dimension is not optimal for stabilization while in a 3D incarnation.

But, for those souls with alien development, going even further out and stabilizing in their 7th dimension functions and frequencies (which I call the galactic plane), while opening up the space/time continuum so they can experience being here and there simultaneous is, not just the culmination of their therapy with me, but the ultimate joy for them─and for me.

For a more detailed account of this:

Psychic Therapy: The Backstory

For more on Divine Play: Leela

For more on my psychic adventures in this dimension and others: Cosmic Sugar

On Pleasure, Joy and Bliss

Venus and Jupiter by Joan Pancoe
VENUS AND JUPITER By Joan Pancoe

What do we need to do to have these good feelings more of the time? I’m glad you asked! It’s one of my favorite themes, and I hope it will become one of yours too.

Let’s talk about pleasure first. I know this may sound self-evident but: There is no other plane of existence except the physical plane in which we can enjoy the physical senses. So, all together now, “AAAAH!” That being the case, if we don’t choose to develop our capacities for pleasure on the sense level to a point of contentment, we may end up having regret for missed opportunities when not incarnate, thus keeping us firmly entrenched on the wheel of karma (regret does that, you know), until we give ourselves permission to enjoy our senses more while we’re here.

For those who are afraid of being free from the wheel of karma because of a natural fear of annihilation of the Little Self in the Void or of dissolving into the Cosmic Ocean of Consciousness, let me reassure you. We can be free from karma and choose to move on to other dimensions or to continue to incarnate. The difference is: We’re not pulled back in by our unresolved stuff. But rather, to the degree we’ve cleared our karma, we get to choose to play the Earth Game on a new level and pass on our joy and bliss in a natural overflow to others.

Furthermore, if we are indeed “the Divine’s little hand-puppets,” then the only way that Source can experience the physical senses is through us─and who are we to withhold that delight from our Cocreator?

For those of you who’ve read my memoir, Cosmic Sugar, you may recall that my particular karmic rut of over-development was on the 2nd chakra level of enjoyment of the sense pleasures. So, one of my many lessons in this life has been to bottom out on pleasure as the “Be-All and End-All” and learn to differentiate between good sensations on the sensual or 2nd chakra level and good feelings on the heart or 4th chakra level.

For, while good sensations can certainly be a contributing factor to feeling good emotionally, they are not exactly the same. Pleasure comes from the 2nd chakra, while all positive emotions─joy, happiness, love, compassion, and faith, to name a few─come from the 4th. All negative emotions─fear, anger, pride, envy─you know, the seven “deadlys”come from the three lower chakras being out of balance and, while they may rise up to affect the heart, they are not born there.

When I looked up joy in the dictionary, it’s defined as extreme happiness─in other words, a happiness that’s so full it’s overflowing from the heart. Other people or situations can make us happy, but when we allow our natural joy in being to bubble up, we spontaneously want to share it.

I’ve worked with many clients who’ve had a limiting karmic belief that joy is somehow not in spiritual good taste while there’s still suffering anywhere on the planet. These good souls are literally suffering under the misapprehension that their empathetic misery serves some spiritual purpose. I think not!

In fact, they have what I call “survivor’s guilt,” which means that even though they are finally in an incarnation working on other heart qualities, such as self-love, self-worth or joy─they’re stuck in a karmic rut of suffering. They’ve forgotten they’re supposed to be working on a new level of their evolution, not repeating what has already been developed. In past lives, these souls have already experienced cracking open the heart through suffering as a means to develop compassion for it─in fact, they have some of the most open hearts on the planet─just not much joy in being on the planet.

One solution to this attachment to suffering as one’s karmic identity, (or hair-shirt, as it may be), is to look at how one’s joy can positively affect others through the ripple effect. For sharing joy outward multiplies it exponentially in all directions and always makes the Goddess smile. Whereas once one already has a compassionate open heart for those who are suffering, suffering oneself only breeds more suffering. Whatever we feed─grows. And we always have a choice in whether we want to affect the emotional tone of the world positively, or allow it to affect us negatively.

The challenge for those with a karmic rut of suffering is to accept that all human beings have a Divine birthright to fully experience pleasure, joy and bliss─including themselves. Because they have very little capacity for enjoyment before unconscious sabotage mechanisms kick in through negative thoughts or actions, awareness and permission are needed to expand their tolerance level to handle good feelings. It’s actually like developing new muscles in the emotional body─let’s call it “bliss training.” Have you exercised today?

The first step in expanding our emotional range is in embracing the idea that growing pains are part of life, and it’s only our resistance with getting on with why we’re here─which is to evolve─that causes our suffering. The suffering portion of the program is completely optional.

We live in a plane of duality or polarities. Therefore, we need to embrace the package deal concept, which is: Where there is physical pain there will also be physical pleasure, where there is emotional pain there will also be joy, and where there is spiritual pain there is also the potential for bliss. It’s our aversion to one end of the human range of being and over-attachment to the other that keeps us between a rock and a soft place.

And what is Bliss? If we consider that the 4th chakra is the domain of all good feelings horizontally, including love on the personality level, then, as we move up the vertical channel, from the mid-point of the heart chakra, to the 6th chakra, our heart energies rise in frequency to commune with the Divine. This communion is experienced through the transpersonal emotional range which is epitomized by bliss─but also includes equanimity, rapture, ecstasy, At-One-ment with All That Is, universal love, and cosmic consciousness. It’s where our hearts and minds merge with the Divine Heart/Mind.

With awareness, we can learn how to transmute our life force energies thru the 2nd and 4th chakras until we are communing with the Divine blissfully through the 6th chakra and beyond in our vertical channel. This is where Tantric and Taoist sexual practices come in. These techniques allow us to merge with the Divine or the Tao directly or through the vehicle of making love with our partner so that we get to activate the pleasure/joy/bliss continuum simultaneously. In other words, Bliss is making love with Source in a continuous cosmic orgasm.

When I was twenty-seven, I went through a period where I felt completely cut off and separate from any Higher Power. This experience with spiritual pain catapulted me onto the path I am still on. Because my low-level search for the Divine─which included sexual escapades, smoking pot, and drinking─stopped working utterly, I surrendered to developing a direct conscious contact with Source, which I now maintain through daily spiritual practices. But one does seem to need to go through the dark night of the soul of spiritual pain first. Perhaps it is our capacity to experience deep pain that creates the space which allows bliss to arise.

Then, when I was thirty-three, I experienced the most excruciating emotional pain of my life while going through a divorce. Up until then, I had sealed my heart from this kind of pain from the age of twelve when my parents divorced. But my divorce blew my heart wide open with the kind of pain I’d been avoiding my whole life by focusing only on good sensations. The most remarkable thing is that, simultaneously with this pain, I experienced feeling more alive than ever before. Facing this raw emotional pain viscerally─without aversion or resistance─allowed my heart to come truly alive for the first time in this life.

Since then, joy has become one of my primary emotional tones─along with enthusiasm for the adventure of being human. And now, one of my main delights is activating these tones in others.

But, as with spiritual pain, unless one is open to expanding one’s emotional range─without resistance or aversion to the painful or attachment or clinging to the good (as this causes suffering too)─the fullest, highest emotional potentials are unable to flower.

Physical pain has been, and still is, the most challenging for me to embrace─especially since I have a karmic predisposition to pleasure and a very low tolerance for its opposite. Just last month, I had the most excruciating toothache with more acute pain than I can ever remember. As I was walking through Central Park on a beautiful sunny day on the way to the dentist, I asked myself, “Why is this happening now?” I got my answer experientially: In that moment, because I stopped resisting the pain─I was simultaneously filled with joy and bliss. Ta-da! After that, I knew it was the right time to share my thoughts on this particular theme.

This episode was particularly humorous to me in hindsight, when I realized that one of the meditations I’ve been practicing for decades─taken from one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books on Zen mindfulness─is to experience the joys of having a “non-toothache,” and from this, learn that feeling neutral with nothing in particular going on internally─is quite a pleasant state to be in.

My channels have always said that Pain is essentially a signal tone from the Higher Self that a course correction is indicated. It comes first as spiritual pain, then as mental and emotional, and finally─if we haven’t gotten the whispered message─our Higher Self yells in our inner ear: “COURSE CORRECTION INDICATED!” usually at the same time that we’re getting blasted with some level of physical discomfort. If that still doesn’t do it, then the unlearned lessons of choosing to go for the growth are carried into the next incarnation ad infinitum.

In summation, if we choose to embrace the fullest range of the human emotional repertoire as a vehicle for being most fully alive─then pleasure, joy and bliss are ours. It’s always a package deal in this plane of duality. I can assure you that it doesn’t hurt that much─pain that is─as long as we don’t resist, fear or have an aversion to it. And, as challenging as not fearing pain is, having no preference except being fully alive─regardless of the feeling arising─is the greatest challenge of all.

What actually hurts the most is resistance to change. This creates a pattern of ongoing chronic suffering─which, over decades, actually adds up to more pain than if we just went for the clean sharp growing pain of change to begin with. While it may seem that it is human nature to always choose the lesser pain, once we are consciously aware enough to go for the growth, suffering becomes literally non-existent.

Furthermore, since we live in an ephemeral plane where everything is always insecure, uncertain and ultimately beyond our control─resisting change means we are rejecting what IS. And, as the Buddha said, the root cause of human suffering is dissatisfaction with things as they are.

Alas, we cannot make pleasure, joy or bliss arise. We cannot force them to appear─nor can we grasp on to them and make them stay─and believe me, I’ve tried. But we can create the optimal conditions for them by cultivating receptivity, contentment, peace and equanimity through spiritual practices.

Pleasure, joy and bliss are ultimately gifts from the Gods. They are our divine birthright. Anything we resist in the moment─such as an unrequited desire for things to be different─generates suffering. So, accepting what is─just as it is─creates contentment─and that is the perfect emotional foundation for pleasure, joy and bliss to arise spontaneously . . . again and again and again.

For more: my memoir, COSMIC SUGAR, under the pen name, Leela Jones

The Nature of Addiction It’s Only Human

According to Jung, the craving for alcohol is a low-level spiritual thirst for wholeness. I’ll concur with that and add that ALL addictions mask a spiritual hunger to fill the hole in us that can ultimately only be satisfied by a sustainable experience of Cosmic Consciousness or Oneness with Source. That’s because the hole in each of us is infinite and nothing less than Infinite Being can fill it. 

What’s my definition of an addiction? It’s anything that we’re attached to for our comfort and which─if we don’t have it─causes us dissatisfaction. Wow! You may be thinking that’s a definition which potentially covers just about everything . . . and you would be right. That’s why addictions are an integral part of the human experience.

From the Buddhist perspective, attachment to what we desire is considered the root cause of all dissatisfaction and suffering. If we combine this view with Jung’s, then the vast majority of us are experiencing, at least some of the time and to some degree, a soul sickness which comes from buying into the illusion of being separate from God, the Divine, Source or the Tao.

I say “illusion” because the absolute truth is that we’re always One with Source and in Heaven all the time to the degree that we’re in a state of absolute consciousness. BUT, as spiritual beings in a human incarnation, we’re also simultaneously on the relative plane of Earth where duality, linear space and time and the karmic laws of cause and effect apply as the hallmarks of relative truth.

This dichotomy is called Leela, or Divine Play, in the Vedic tradition of ancient India. In this game of Cosmic Hide and Seek, after we incarnate, we forget our absolute identity of Pure Being. Then, in our attempts to seek our true nature, which is home in the game, we succumb to different levels of addiction and get stuck at different levels of Leela.

Once we’re actively engaged in an addiction, especially in the early stages, it gives us a false sense of at least momentary filling the void in us and at times even glimpses of Unity Consciousness or the feeling of merging with Source. But then we get hooked in as we attempt to repeat this illusionary “high” with increasingly diminishing returns and more and more negative consequences over time.

The range of addiction runs from life-threatening substances and behaviors all the way through to spiritual teachers and practices the whole gamut from medication to meditation.

Our job, if we want to play the game of life at its highest, is to consciously choose to continuously refine our addictions as we evolve. This will lead us ultimately to an ongoing experience of Oneness with Source and to the degree that we can maintain this spiritual condition, to this degree are we healed from our addictions as they become superfluous. The expression, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” speaks to this level of attainment.

One example of this is Ram Dass’ story of witnessing his guru in India gobble up an inordinate amount of LSD with absolutely no discernable change in his state of consciousness. This anecdote illuminates the idea that when one is already in a high state of consciousness naturally, no mood-altering substances are needed to achieve this state it’s just gilding the lily.

For some of us, consciousness-expanding drugs may be useful initially in cracking open our psychic perceptions and having a preliminary experience of higher states. But, for most of us, these substances usually only offer a fleeting glimpse unless we are karmically predisposed to follow-up our cracking open with ongoing maintenance through spiritual practices.

One of the biggest challenges occurs after we get stuck at levels of addiction that have become life-threatening or life-stagnating the very same ones that gave us that illusionary taste in the beginning that “all is well.” We keep going back sometimes for decades for that initial experience, but the “cheese” is no longer there just the memory of it. This is one definition of insanity repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. Bait and switch, indeed.

Here is a partial list of lower-level addictions: 

  1. Alcohol and drugs including pharmaceuticals, nicotine and consciousness-expanding substances
  2. Food, sex and sick excitement
  3. Gambling, high-risk sports and adventures
  4. Work, money, power, shopping and hoarding
  5. TV, computer and other mental stimulants that only feed the monkey-mind
  6. love and romance . . . and the list could go on and on.

Bottoming out on these addictions is tricky because all bottoms have infinite trapdoors that can go on from lifetime to lifetime. Because withdrawal can be so laborious on all levels─physical, emotional, mental, karmic─it’s important to remember that all bottoms feel the same from the inside: excruciatingly painful.

Therefore, it’s up to each of us to consciously choose to draw a line and say “My bottom stops here.” When we surrender to the reality that our addiction has turned on us and is bringing us nothing but more pain and more damage.

We all have a life force and a death urge, and in choosing to stop a life-threatening addiction we’re turning around the downward spiral of our soul evolution. We always have free will and our choices determine our future karma and destiny.

For addictions involving life-threatening behaviors or addictive substances, such as alcohol, nicotine and other drugs, total abstinence is the optimal course once a certain line of chemical dependency has been crossed. It’s nearly impossible to reverse and go back to occasional usage, especially when we’re dealing with our primary drug of choice.

Beyond this lowest level of addiction, we can refine our other addictions to ones that are no longer life-stagnating, by enjoying them in moderation rather than investing in them excessively. The key is in upgrading these habitual patterns from attachments which bring suffering if we don’t feed them to preferences, which we can enjoy when available, but can take or leave when not accessible or in balance with all levels of our being.

For example, we may still enjoy our TV or our computers, but as we evolve more, we can enjoy equally, if not more, being out in nature, meditating, mind/body practices, heart-centered human companionship, or just being present in the world and having a conscious relationship with Life itself.

We may prefer to be in a relationship with a significant other, but we can also equally enjoy our alone stages of the journey, without feeling depressed or lonely at all, but rather using this freedom to accelerate our inner evolution.

In letting go of people, places, things, habits, and substances that have turned on us, we can cultivate a preference for healthier foods and nutritional supplements, heart-centered friendships, and life-affirming activities. This is the middle stage in evolving through our addictions. 

The third stage in refining our addictions, after we are maintaining abstinence from life-threatening ones and upgraded life-stagnating ones to preferences, is best expressed in the Buddha’s teaching: “The Great Way is easy for one who has no preferences.”

In other words, if we want to be in heaven ALL the time, we need to accept life and others just as they are with no personal agenda to wish to change anything.

Ouch! This is the level of refining our addictions where the vast majority of us balk. Our egos draw the line at giving up our preferences for our personal “comforts,” and our little selves kick and scream and go into denial big time with exclamations like, “What’s the big deal with taking my comfort, it’s not life-threatening!”

As an example of this, I was on a 10-day spiritual retreat a few years ago where the theme was on working on letting go of attachment to our regular comfort levels. I’ve never seen so many egos in overdrive to defend the few comforts they had left myself included. 

At this level, the best way to work with being in heaven all the time is to look at it as a continuum of consciously choosing to release preferences for comforts that have become a form of anesthesia or buffer to experiencing reality just the way it is. We may not need to take it to the extremes of meditation at charnel grounds, but we can at least choose to be at peace with rainy days equally as much as sunny ones.

The highest levels of addiction occur when our preferences for what gives the most satisfaction is primarily on the higher chakra levels. Our attachments to spiritual teachers, practices or consciousness-expanding substances for spiritual experiences are the most subtle and perhaps insidious levels of addiction as they can all give us true but ephemeral glimpses of higher planes of consciousness.

Ultimately this level of attachment needs to be released as well. Here are some criteria to consider: 

1. With consciousness-expanding drugs─when the glimpses these substances once gave us are primarily in the past and we have not done the work to integrate these tastes into our normal operating mode of consciousness through spiritual practices─in which case, the need for these substances would fall away naturally. Instead, we’ve become stuck in a rut of stagnating growth on all levels─especially on the personal emotional range.

2. With spiritual teachers─when the transmissions we’ve received from them at their highest is complete and we’ve become One with them at that level─especially if we’ve become attached to a limiting belief that we can’t sustain these high states of consciousness on our own.

3. With our daily structure of spiritual and mind/body practices when the levels of consciousness reached through these has become an automatic natural part of our being, so that we no longer need to repeat these particular practices to sustain our normal state.

At these higher levels of attachment, especially the last two, letting go of specific teachers or practices because we’ve gotten what can be gotten from them does not mean we will not move on to new teachers and practices. However, ultimately, the boat that takes us to the other shore is no longer a necessary vehicle but just more baggage. 

My personal journey in this life and in many past lives has been one of enjoying and bottoming out on the full range of addictions from the lowest to the highest levels. All of them felt fantastically good in the beginning as they worked their magic in giving me those fleeting glimpses that “all is well.”

But, alas, over time those glimpses became more and more ephemeral and harder to sustain and, when the addictions turned, as they always do sooner or later, I had to choose, usually kicking and screaming, to go for the upgrade. 

The criterion for creating an ongoing experience of contentment with things just as they are is through consciously choosing actions that: 

  1. Support the life force rather than the death urge.
  2. Are consciousness-expanding rather than anesthetizing.
  3. Empower us to depend less on external factors─people, places, things, conditions and substances─for our bliss.

In closing, I wish all of us more than just a taste of what we’ve been seeking through our addictions all along: Being in Heaven All the Time.

For more on Leela: COSMIC PLAY

On addiction from a karmic perspective: “Why is This Happening to Me?”

For more on the highest level of addiction: On Spiritual Teachers: Buyer Be Aware

My story: Cosmic Sugar: “The Amorous Adventures of a Modern Mystic

Some Quotes on Addiction: 

On love addiction: “Addiction is composed of three elements: obsession or preoccupation, a feeling of being out of control, and continuation despite negative physical and psychological consequences. As with other addictions, the signs of addictive relating often become increasingly evident─but often not to the people involved.”
Brenda Schaeffer

“Those who eat too much or eat too little, who sleep too much or sleep too little, will not succeed in meditation. But those who are temperate in eating and sleeping, work and recreation, will come to the end of sorrow through meditation”
Bhagavad Gita

 “It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality. There are more television addicts, more baseball and football addicts, more movie addicts, and certainly more alcohol addicts in this country than there are narcotics addicts.”
Shirley Chisholm

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.”
Carl Jung

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

 “I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrows, but now the damned things have learned to swim.”
Freda Kahlo

“I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened upon me spiritually and financially.”
Denzel Washington

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Those who seek for and follow (the Tao) are strong of body, clear of mind, and sharp of sight and hearing. They do not load their mind with anxieties and are flexible in their adjustment to external conditions.”
Lao Tzu

“Contrary to popular misconception, karma has nothing to do with punishment and reward. It exists as part of our holographic universe’s binary or dualistic operating system only to teach us responsibility for our creations and all things we experience are our creations. When these creations are out of tune with Source, they often manifest in the disharmony known as disease. This can occur not only in individuals but in entire civilizations. In both cases, disease, which is typically considered a crisis, simultaneously serves as a powerful stimulus for transformation and transcendence.”
Sol Luckman

“Man cannot live without joy; therefore, when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures.” Thomas Aquinas

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