centeredness

Using the “Ancient Child” technique

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I’ve been working and testing the “Ancient Child” technique for about five years now, and what people asked for was a fuller explanation, as well as a “plug and play” approach to using it. I’ve done that, and it will be available very soon, on the new blog I’ve been creating with WordPress guru Lorelle VanFossen.

Let’s discuss one application of the technique: emotional abuse. Especially if the abuse originated in childhood, this can be devastating. A parent who damages heart and body, or fails to provide protection for same, changes the profoundly important relationship with your core self, affecting:

Ambition
Self-love
Ability to find honest healthy relationships
Self-discipline (why bother if you aren’t worth it?)
Co-dependency
Creativity
Artistic success (which is a balance between “creative child” and “marketing/agenting adult)
Body composition issues (obesity and anorexia)
Self-damaging (cutting, etc.)
Drug and alcohol abuse
Sexual issues

And much much more. The “Ancient Child” technique can have a powerful effect here, because the “child” image you create is, specifically, a representation of the child you were BEFORE the abuse began. (Note: if you have serious abuse issues, please seek therapeutic assistance. Your therapist should be aware of what you intend to do here)

What you have to do is:

1) Enter a state of deep relaxation. Meditation or self-hypnosis.

2) Connect with your own heartbeat and “source of love.”

3) Visualize the child self.

4) Connect with the child self: visualize holding, hugging, playing with.

5) Remember the first time you held your own child, or held a baby sister, brother, or cousin. Find the “protective” door in your mind, even if it was only for a puppy or kitten. It’s there. You have the wiring. Or: remember/imagine being held and nurtured in infancy. EVERYONE was, whether you can remember it or not. Human beings who are not nurtured in infancy DO NOT SURVIVE. You may have blanked it out…but it happened. Find it. Meditate and search within yourself until you can find this strand of love, unbroken through the generations, back to the beginning of our species.

6) Commit to being your own mother/father. To DIE before you let anyone else hurt that child again. To protecting her dreams and hopes. To spending every day loving and nurturing.
Tell her/him. Say the words. Speak them aloud: “You are the most precious thing in all the world. Daddy is here, and I will never leave you alone again.”

7) Listen to what that “child” self has to say in return. See if there is a conversation to be conducted.

8) After you have emerged from your relaxed state, use your non-dominant hand (your left, if you are right-handed) to write a letter FROM your “child” to your current, adult self. Read it aloud.

This process can be of stupendous benefit. Please, please–even if you are “healthy” you will find it useful to connect to your creativity and aliveness. But if, like most of us, you’ve been banged up by life or have issues with parents, it is close to miraculous.

The process was given to me by a succession of phenomenally wise men and women. And now…it is yours.

Namaste
Steve

Emptying the bowl

I’m still trying to figure out how the “Ancient Child” evolved. That’s a big chunk of what this autobiographical effort is about. To that end, here’s a classic column from:

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2007
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In meditation this morning, I realized why I’ve had so much difficulty getting to the next level of my journey. The ego-walls I constructed as a child to protect me from bullies, the fear of rejection by the male (no father), and the fear that I could not achieve my dreams (cultural rejection) were insanely strong. That little boy, in many ways, was stronger than the man I’ve become. Makes sense: he was closer to being “real.” He was nearer the truth.

And the ego itself has a thousand thousand distractions. Imagine a miner sitting on a “mother load” that is thirty feet beneath him. He digs for ten feet, gets discouraged…and moves to another hole. Does this five, ten, fifty times. If he had ever remained in one place, he would have reached the gold. But it is so seductive to shift around, try something new, start a new hole. We do this in careers, relationships, with physical training programs. In “Mastery” George Leonard talks about this. That few people ever reach Mastery because they can’t bore through the “boredom” and “dissatisfaction with slow progress” and don’t understand that when progress slows, it’s often because we’ve begun to do the REAL work. This is where the rubber meets the road.

As often happens, when I hit a truth I need to look at, one of my friends will drop me a note, describing their own travails. In answering them, I am answering myself. This was waiting for me this morning:

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Dear Steve,

I’ve been having a strange experience with meditation lately. It
feels good and yet I run from it; my consciousness shifts with
jarring suddenness like waking from a bad dream. I don’t really know
where to go with it.

A few months back I’d been enjoying “happy liver” meditation. I’d
seen the author of Eat, Love, Pray on tv talking about a man who had
told her that the secret to meditation was to smile; smile from your
scalp to your toes, smile until your liver is smiling. So I would
sit and I would smile, not a “feeling fabulous smile for the camera”
smile, more of a subdued “don’t worry, be happy” smile. I would
smile until my troubles sank out of me and I would think “my liver is
smiling”. One of the great things about ending with the thought “my
liver is smiling” was that I could induce a state of calm in myself
with those four words. My husband and I would be on the verge of
some petty squabble and I would think “my liver is smiling” and I
would just release all of that tension and fear. I would remember
that there is no threat, I have nothing to fear and I would gain that
emotional flexibility necessary to deal with whatever was really
needed and not get caught up in pointless bickering.

Then I stopped meditating ’cause there’s always something more important to do,
right? And I started losing my “happy liver.” I’d be under some
stress and say to myself “my liver is smiling” and from somewhere
deep inside I’d hear the voice of an organ with its hands on its hips
saying “I don’t know where you’ve been lately, but this liver ain’t
smiling.” I’d lost it.

So after seeing you (recently) I got back on myself about meditation.
I saw a tee-shirt ages ago that said “If you have time to masturbate,
you have time to meditate.” Well, honestly there have been plenty of
times in my recent life where I don’t have the time or the energy for
either, but there’s something to the sentiment. It doesn’t have to
be an elaborate ritual, I don’t have to have a big chunk o’ time set
aside. So I steal moments and sometimes I get enough to matter,
sometimes I don’t. It doesn’t hurt to try. So when the kids are
outside playing, or I’m waiting for the dryer to finish so I can
rotate laundry, little opportunities like that, I meditate. There’s
a lot more little opportunities in the day than I would’ve thought.
Only now I’m not doing the “happy liver” I’ve gone back to “I am… ”

Only I think the two are merging. I follow the curves of each link
in the “I am” chain. One day it will be relationships “I am X’s
mama, Y’s mama, Z’s wife,” et cetera. Another day it’s my
resumé ” I am a housewife, nanny, instructor for the developmentally
disabled… ” It’s like a great big bowl filled with little slips,
like fortune cookie fortunes, each one a different part of my
identity. But a couple of times now I’ve gotten to the bottom of the
bowl, no more slips, no more words. The only answer is this warm
feeling– it’s like the “happy liver”, and prolactin (the hormone
that makes frazzled, sleepless moms feel all calm and content when
they nurse), and finding that perfect spot in the bed on a morning
you get to sleep in, all at once. It doesn’t feel wise, I don’t feel
“enlightened”. I just feel sated. And for some reason I find this
feeling very jarring and meditation ends almost as soon as I realize
there are no more slips in the bowl, there is no more bowl. It’s not
a great connectedness to all things, it’s just a being okay with
whatever connectedness is or isn’t there.

So is a smiling liver an adequate answer to “Who am I?” Not that
I’ve been able to just sit and be in this warm feeling, but should
that be my goal? Is this non-verbal outcome a new destination, or a
new wall between myself and my destination? It makes me antsy, I run
from it when it happens and yet those are the meditations that seem
to give the most general clarity throughout my day. It’s just not
familiar territory for me. Any thoughts?

Thanks,
M.
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M.

You’re doing fine. Fantastic, in fact. Don’t try to get to “Enlightenment.” The “you” that wants to get there can’t get there. The farthest you can get is “Awake.” The best state to aim at is “Adult.” “Adult” is the precursive state you’re looking for, and from my perspective, it is approached best by looking for light and clarity in the three major arenas. There are doubtless other paths, but I am certain that dealing with your shit in the arenas of body, mind, and relationship will turn all the lights on in your inner house.

THEN you can see what is real, and begin the next step. Until then, you’re just getting ahead of yourself, a virgin who has never had an orgasm trying to understand tantric sex from the ads in the back of men’s magazines.

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When you get to the bowl, and it is filled with “slips” and then the slips are gone, and then the bowl is gone, you will glimpse a truth. The ego, at this point, will try to back you away from it. Instead, apply this “emptiness” to the three Gateways. If you are empty, there should be nothing stopping you from achieving a healthy body—it is just clay. Nothing stopping you from feeling absolute love for your partner—he or she is your mirror. Do you not love yourself? What reason is there not to? There ARE no reasons. One might ask what reason there is to LOVE self, either, if there are no reasons. The easy answer is that Love is what is, but that would be a dualism as well. You just have to stay there, contemplating Self, until you get it. And the third Gateway—mind/career. You should either love what you do, or do what you love. Anything else is a waste of your precious time in this world.

The ego has many many tricks. It will present false bowls, like a magician drawing your eye to his right hand while his left sneaks a dove out of his pocket, or showing you the false bottom of a cabinet within which hides his assistant. Keep going. Further. Further.

How? By having delicious goals, tantalizing and motivating, clear, time-bound goals in all three. Goals that make YOU dance with anticipation. That are worth awakening early and staying up late for. Long and short term. Do NOT neglect the physical, M.—that’s where your shit is really hiding. You’ll know the “bowl” is emptying (at least to the next level) when you have lost the weight. Until then, it is a magician’s trick.

But trust me…this is the work, darling. This. Right here. Right now. Every damn day, cleaning the mirror, emptying the bowl, opening the Gates.

You’re doing excellent, excellent work.

POSTED BY STEVEN BARNES AT 6:33 AM

The Soulmate Process Part One

 NOTE: THIS IS AN EXPERIMENT.  I am in the process of creating my life story, and the first step is porting over articles I’ve created in the last 15 years on various blogs.   I will be cross-posting to Facebook from the new blog.  Please excuse!

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This is an intensely PERSONAL story–it could hardly get more personal, actually. Because of that, I am going to take the liberty to change some names and obscure some information: while I feel perfectly comfortable telling stories on myself, I have no right to broach the privacy of others.

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In about 1998, my marriage to my first wife, Toni, Nicki’s mom, hit a wall. We’d both made mistakes, we each paid for them in different ways. They added up to an untenable situation. For almost two years I tried to make things work, and finally ran out of gas. I mean, I completely crashed and burned.For the first time in memory, I didn’t even know who I was any more. Or what I wanted. Or what to do. I was utterly numb.

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The wall had been hit between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the anniversary of my mother’s death, and always a tough period for me. This just made things a lot worse. But I decided to give myself a week to come up with an answer, to decide what direction to move in. Many of you might have noticed how much easier it is to solve other people’s problems, so I used that approach: What would I say if one of my students came to me with this problem?

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A theory   called “The Beauty-Power Axis” clearly states that our relationships are mirrors. Hmmm. I had said for years that our relationships say a lot about us. Hmmm. So I thought one of the smartest things, perhaps THE single smartest thing I ever thought: “I don’t know who I am right now. But I know what I am attracted to. So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to make a list of everything I’m attracted to. I am going to describe the perfect woman, without any compromises. Her beauty, intelligence, sensuality, warmth, emotional health, spiritual centeredness…everything. EVERYTHING my deepest heart desires. Then, I am going to go out and find the woman who comes the closest to what I’ve described–whether she’s married or not (!), sit her down, and ask her what she wants in a man. If I’ve made my description carefully enough, and chosen carefully enough, whatever she describes is what I want to be–because, in my heart of hearts, what I want is to be a man who  can have a woman like THAT. And we can have anything that we mirror.”

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Needless to say, one of the most frightening things I’ve ever done, as well. What if she just wanted a billionaire? Well, then, she doesn’t really match what I had on the list, now would she? A woman attracted to a man with ambition, intelligence and success is onething. But to put a dollar amount on it was another. So I quieted my fears and put my plan into action…

 

More later.

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