Dharma work with Chris McKenna & Megan Cowan

Grounding, Being in the Body & Observing Inner & Outer Reality

When we ground and become relaxed, awareness usually will find a place in our body to rest.

This is unique to each individual, but there are some common places: the insides of your hands, your breath, or your whole body all at once are some common ones. Although you can direct your mind to these places, if you allow enough time of grounding, settling, relaxing, awareness will show you where it naturally rests. This is a place of refuge and regeneration. When the mind rests there, let it. Encourage it. Give yourself to it.

From grounding and this specific place of refuge, you have a place to stay. And from inside the body, you can feel the movement of mind (emotions, reactions, judgments, thoughts) more obviously.


Presence, True Nature & Disidentifying from the Mind & Ego

Part of being identified with a separate/small sense of "me" is the compulsive need to evaluate people, places and things in terms of "what they will do for me" or whether "they are useful to me."

When we reflect on moments of true happiness, it is so obvious that this "me" is either way in the background or completely absent.

We long to meet the world with this complete innocence full time - not just in small flashes in childhood, childbirth, sex, death and other peak experiences.

The memory of this openness with no agenda echoes throughout our entire being, calling us back. As we practice, we become more available to this whisper, more sensitive to the energy that draws us inward, away from the uninvestigated priorities of the world.


Acceptance, Compassion, Love & Forgiveness

A free heart and mind has an immediate acceptance of all arising inner and outer experiences. It simply meets every moment with knowing, witnessing, receptivity. It doesn't contain the usual resistance or attachment that the casual mind meets most experience with. The tone of our participation is a kind greeting, "oh, this". The engagement is not sticky. The moment comes and goes without grasping or pushing, or judging or analyzing.

Acceptance is not a condoning of negative patterning or bad behavior, or an allowing of harmful actions. It is the quality of honesty and recognition that this is my reality right now. It is an acceptance of truth.


Sacred Conduct: Inquiries Into Intention, Speech & Action

Obviously transforming mental habits is meaningless if it doesn’t show up in our behavior – in how we speak, relate, choose, and act.

Freedom, if it means anything, must include freedom in action. To be free, we must have the sense that our response to the world is not programmed – is not conditioned by other people’s beliefs about us, or our beliefs about ourselves.

What does our life look like when we are not planning, strategizing and acting from the ego?

The fact that our direct experience of Being, of joy, of peace is so simple provides an important clue. When we live from true nature, we awaken the longing for simplicity – for the structures, rhythms and relationships of our life to resume a kind of natural, flowing quality.


Inquiry & The Awakening of Intuitive Guidance

One feature of deep presence is the complete absence of a separate, small “me.” We discover that what we are is a living field – a vastness that cannot be named. A mystery.

But as we come out of that rarefied, concentrated space, the “me” re-appears! We return to our lives, to our relationships, to our work and the sense is that some kind of intimacy with true nature is lost.

This is “I got it, I lost it.” It is certainly one of the core “dilemmas” serious practitioners face. There are all sorts of pointers for working with it. The pointer for this series is: if we don’t want to be taken over constantly by the conditioned mind, then we have to stop using it to run our life and make all of our decisions.

This seems so obvious on the face of it, but to really live it means that we have to re-wire how we respond to almost every input we receive from the world and other people.


Working Skillfully with Conditioning & Wounding

As far as we can tell, the entire set-up of family dynamics is to prompt wounding, healing and spiritual understanding. From a spiritual perspective, we would say that's what the human life is about. Our family of origin (our birth family and/or the families we were raised in), and our romantic relationships are both a response to our incarnate tendencies, and a triggering of any place in us that is still unresolved. Even under the best circumstances, wounds via family relationships are going to arise. These wounds travel down family lines until someone is prepared to face them. If you're reading this, that's probably you.

Through these wounds we are pushed up against the wall of suffering and forced to contemplate their role in our lives. Rather than avoiding them as those before us did, we use the wounds to look at ourselves and find truth. Find ways to unravel the patterns. Find healing and freedom from the power they have had.

These wounds that we are healing include all the big gun issues - abandonment, boundaries and power, inadequacy, self-doubt, judgement and separation, fear, self-worth and lovability, invisibility, agency and inner-truth. Whatever our particular wounds, circumstances will show up in life to help us work on them in milder situations. But, the check-mate is always with family.