My whole life appears to be a consideration of the mechanics of separation and the reality of oneness of all of life. I expressed that life theme in drawings and paintings and poetry in my teenage years, before I was really aware of it as an unfolding life purpose. In the image on the right, the cube became a visual for our presumed confinement.
I found that the practice of embodied oneness brought up habitual patterns of separation intensively and more excruciatingly over time. When I started to experiment in groups I found that even a little bit of exposure to the reality of one aliveness will necessarily bring up the separative patterns we tend to manifest in a more exaggerated way and often we may then be habitually completely identified with whatever arises. When we are in touch with our emotions and can own what comes up, very valid processes can then occur, but when that is not the case, I often felt that the biggest unseen elephant in the room can be a certain identification with being special and superior and to gain self importance by entertaining various spiritual practice instead of feeling into more uncomfortable places underneith.
It doesn’t matter if we believe “that we know it all already, or if we believe “we’ll never know enough to do anything”. Both ideas simply cover up what’s really there, and we can not even get in touch with the profundity we are.
The practice of ‘Embodiment as the One Heart’, will ultimately challenge any self image we have if we engage in it seriously so it can begin to feel threatening if there are some very tightly held identifications with separateness. In the photos below my sister many years ago kindly modelled the feeling of being locked in or locked up with ones fear, pain and reaction to life.
Exploring these patterns alongside the embodied oneness practice is a major part in the Foundation Course. In my experience the most guarded patterns demonstrate a need for superiority that covers up fear of intimacy and vulnerability and often a sense of lack of self-worth and shame. Unresolved personal and collective traumas can bring about habitual patterns of self-protection that can have a destructive impact and can keep perpetuating damage in our lives.
If there is a sense that we build our sense of self-worth on how spiritual we are and how good and loving because of that, then we may end up with spiritual bypass and create a dangerous divide between the ways we want to see ourselves and the ways we truly manifest.
This is why it feels very important to practice the compassionate noticing of separative patterns alongside embodied oneness, no matter what they are, so we can grow safely into deeper being and seeing.
Below you can study some art I begun to create to bring awareness to classic patterns of entitlement and how they can end up disguising themselves in crafty ways especially with the help of spiritual language. I find this to be an important process to disentagle my own blindspots.
I find it fasciniating how infinitely creative the separate self idea is, just with a different energetic quality! In this short video below I am offering a juxtaposition of games of self-glorification and projection and contrasting this with an invocation of the qualities of one heart using similar language in both scenarios:
I was inspired to create this montage below, because I find the more we proclaim how much our lives are about Love and Truth the more there may be a divide in how we actually show up in life. It also is completely normal as far as I can see, that this happens. We all can be profound in some ways and will have major blindspots in other ways. And there is no point in being ashamed in what we find, because no one’s patterns are anyones fault. There is no separate self. Patterns of habitual separative activity just form naturally in reaction to life events and we carry what has been unresolved and unprocessed for thousands of years of self-destructive human history. But the more we can begin to take responsibility of how we show up in life, the more space we make for being at home in the freedom of embodied oneness.
So one point of enquiry could be how often we are telling ourselves how spiritually advanced we are or on the other side of the coin how we are just not worth it ? Depending on which side of the spectrum we tend to find ourselves more often, the separate I-idea likes to either shine in glory or be exceptionally bad and hence locate it’s separate comfort zone just on the other side of the same coin.
My invitation is to carefully listen to how we speak about ourselves and to practice being curious and playful and embracing whatever is there. If we can laugh about ourselves, it is a good sign.
This piece below I felt inspired to create, because patriarchal patterns are alive and kicking and often go unnoticed. Women’s lives can still be deeply impacted by these patterns in intimate relationships as well as in community contexts, no matter where in the world we live. In spiritual circles they can take on a very particular twist and then be harder to spot, as they are clouded in spiritual vocabulary.:
Here is another piece that could be interpreted through a patriarchal lense, but obviously this type of pattern can occur in any context, where there are self-protective mechanisms at play. Let’s call it ‘a twist and turn’ when resposnsibility towards someone is avoided by projecting that same responsibility as not met back onto the person who raised the concern in the first place. Personal growth tools like setting boundaries can then be applied in a distorted rather than in a healthy way.
Here is the background story to why I chose a flat drinks can for the photo montage below. As an art student I was working with this theme inspired by a coke can I had found that was run over by a car. It looked like an angry face. I wrote a little song about how you’re being told not to make an angry face when you are just being dicarded and left to rust and rain. Basically the message is, to leave you in rust and rain is ok, you being angry about it is not. Entitlement leads to injustice, by creating double standards in the realm of personal and global patterning.
At the time I made photomontages with the coke can and even a whole doll with a coke can face cut out of foam. One morning I spoke to my mum on the phone about how I had sadly thrown away that doll many years ago. And how it could be useful now for visuals of this consideration. But on that very day on a walk I found another perfectly squashed can which found its way into this montage. Entitlement to different standards for yourself than for others are one of the hardest to address. Artistic expression can be a catalyst for change, because neither the entitled nor the suppressed are happy and free.
The consideration here is to raise awareness to how we may appear destructive in our lives, because we can not see which vulnerable parts we are protecting. And how destructive behaviours from others can serve as mirrors to see our own.
As long as we can not see clearly how we manifest in the realm of separation we can not practice ‘Embodiment as the One Heart’ truly, as we will tend to project the way we manifest into others. Especially in communities where we really care about unity and love and truth I feel it is absolutely necessary, that we become aware of the interesting distortions that may happen when spiritual practice and unseen separative patterns are creating unhealthy dynamics.
This play with word and image below speaks of the seeing into the mirror of life. For me it completes the circle of this consideration. Inquiry with true curiosity isn’t about finding what we expect or fear, it is about the relief of seeing what is, which is always healing and wonderful and allows for true treasure to emerge , once effortfully painful self defense mechanisms are dissolved.
The way how I saw separation in my late twenties and how I am seeing it now has clearly changed, but ultimately it was still patterns of grandiosity versus pattrens of unworthiness that were on the forefront of the consideration. I wrote and performed these two solo performances during an arts residency in London in 2005. May be they are inspiring to you and support your own consideration asking playful and compassionate questions about yourself.