Week 9 Reflection
Allow me to preface with a brief and humble statement of realization about myself as a learner regarding Pearce’s Heart-Mind Matrix. This quarter particularly, I have noticed students, and at times myself, picking apart the literature, getting annoyed with non-linear and frequently non-evidence-based writing styles, and some students refusing to even read the book. Thankfully, I have remained open enough, mining for the treasures I wish to find, but I have also given blistering reviews of some books. That especially goes for The Heart-Mind Matrix and not because I am closed off to the intelligence of the heart but because I just had a hard time with his language and delivery, which is fair enough...or maybe because I was just having a hard time in general. That said, I have noticed that when I am learning new ideas, and this doesn’t always happen, I notice that I can get frustrated and analytical. I can come up with reasons to build a case against something and then refrain from taking it as seriously as I perhaps I should.
Perhaps this is a coping or defense mechanism and I’m being a brat? Maybe I just did not fully understand the points Pearce discusses? Maybe I was reading when my head was tired and full? And, maybe I did not understand because I wasn’t ready to, because my psyche wasn’t quite ripe for the conditions of cultivating and contemplating some of the topics he covers? Maybe there is a reason for that too? I feel humbled—not humiliated—and I feel compassion for myself as a learner doing the best I can with the tools I have. I am learning that timing, and not human linear time frames, is everything. There is an intelligent cadence driving my journey and my cosmic dance, and that intelligence isn’t all mine; that I trust. So, today when I picked up Heart-Mind Matrix, it now makes profound sense and I love it and feel inspired to reflect on and respond to many ideas shared. I am also making the commitment to re-read the books which have challenged me in one way or another. I will view the flags of annoyance as indicators that something special is happening in me, maybe even possibly transforming my consciousness, and I will pay even closer attention to what arises so I don’t miss important information. Obviously, I can only do that to the extent that I am able to, but my commitment is to notice the nuances and to do my best to lean into the challenges, not make excuses to avoid them.
Now onto my actual journal where I will attempt to weave a few points from the reading together.
“And here we arrive at a paradox: for mind-as-emergent to “escape” and move beyond these ancient survival instincts, it must fully accept and embrace the concept of death itself (Pearce; 2010; pg. 129).” Pearce further explains that mind emerging as an extraction out of abstractions, allows mind to move beyond “all known physical functions and their restrictions. This, of logical necessity, includes the phenomenon of death…(pg. 129-130).”
So, where am I going with this? Um, well…
Recently, a few weeks ago I experienced what Laski codified as the Eureka! experience (Pearce, 2010). In the past I have referred to these experiences as aha! moments, but I did not know the phases in which these insights or experiences develop, or how the mind is operating, or isn’t in this case, when Eureka! experiences take place. The Light Figure project had been percolating in my heart/head since before I began my studies at SWC and during the time I was researching the school and deciding whether I wanted to attend. As Consciousness 2 approached, ideas percolated and I scanned lists of awesome, inspiring deceased humans in my mind. I eventually selected David Bowie, which happened in an auspicious way where I too felt selected by him, but then I would need to also design a final presentation where I channeled the spirit of Bowie, a task which at first felt daunting. I felt stumped as I thought and thought and thought about what I ought to do and what would be cool and authentic. Then I gave up and let it go completely. One day, I don’t remember what was going on, which makes sense because Eureka! experiences occur when the intellect is turned off, and the perfect presentation was shown in vibrant detail to me. I experienced my insight and ideas as divine providence gifted me by Bowie and perhaps my late husband Ray because the ideas didn’t come from me, or did they. Either way, I was shown that my presentation would be a funeral because I had not been able to attend Ray’s actual funeral. Okay…
Fast-forwarding, I was shown the steps to organize and perform the funeral to a T. I gathered my supplies, mapped it out to a degree, translated the vision into actual plans of action, which incorporated miming; face-paint; an alter ceremony; the scattering of ashes; the entire performance non-verbal and done in silence; identity fluidity represented through costume change and gesturing; and then transforming into my Bowie glam phase and putting on a show by singing a Bowie and an original song while playing guitar. I was even shown the importance of documenting the presentation so I can look at it later for learning and healing purposes, so a friend videoed my presentation. I would have never come up with all of that! These ideas seemed to come from out of the electric blue, and they did, perhaps like Mozart’s creations came from the fields of potential and reception which he tapped into and which Pearce discusses. Clearly, I’m no Mozart, but this collaboration with Bowie and the ways this art piece came together, and the healing it has brought me, is an indicator of how future experientials with art and healing can take place in me and in clients. I know that my job is to trust the process, to not over think ideas, and to open myself up to cosmic fields of inspiration and aspiration.
In conclusion, it’s just interesting to me that it was in a death ceremony that I have experienced so much magic and freedom. My Soul knew that it needed ritual and closure and so it guided me to carrying it out in the perfect way. My work touched my audience deeply too, which begs the question of whether my Soul and the Souls of my colleagues were in cahoots, setting up an exorcism or something? While I was given, and gave myself, the opportunity to fully mourn in the safety of community, and through fully engaging my unconscious and creative impulses, I ended up also attending my own funeral, which was an unexpected, unplanned outcome in this project. As a result—and this was just last weekend—I am, or my mind is rather, escaping certain abstractions and restrictions as Pearce discusses.
For example, I am now aware of the sense of entitlement I felt which caused me to further feel that I did not deserve to experience heartbreak and all the loss, challenges, abuse, etcetera, which have come my way in my life time. Because of my awareness of these feelings of entitlement and coming to terms with how toxic they are, I learned that I could change my perspective and that’s exactly what I have done. More than ever, I see my heartache and challenges as gifts that I needed to grow and heal, and/or to help others on their journeys. I believe these events had to happen. Now I feel more whole and I don’t feel like an abandoned victim anymore, which is huge and so empowering! I also no longer believe that Ray’s death, or our marriage ending, is a symbol of a battle lost or as a failure. Yes, it’s true that he died because he lived hard and had been in a lot of pain for a very long time. Yes, our marriage could not withstand the demonic complexities that accompany addiction, but we aren’t losers just because there wasn’t a happy ending. We ended and he died because that had to happen for us to grow and heal. Ray died because it was time for his spirit to move on to the next phase, which means he has a fresh new start and wins the battle. His death was not a punishment or indicator of failure. Because of the healing that happened to me in the funeral, I know that things are not always as they seem and death isn’t the end.
Designing and conducting the funeral gave me firsthand experience with the magic of gestalt and psychodrama and it has surprisingly opened my psyche up to the path of shamanism, which feels extremely pertinent to me as I experience the thin veil between various levels of reality and consciousness. Shamanism is also teaching me how to get to the energy behind illness, life challenges, conflict, death, loss of all kinds, and to learn to use that energy to heal myself and to support others on their healing journeys. Shamanism isn’t a path of transcendence and bliss, as life is wrought with aging, sickness, conflict, and death. Shamanism is a path of warriors, hunters, and seers willing to go straight into the pain, into the mouth of the wolf, and into the belly of the whale. I may not have been able to hear the calling to the shamanistic path if it weren’t for all I have been through and for my willingness to face my relentless dark night over the years. My experiences primed me and transformed me into fertile ground, ripe for precious, life affirming conditions and work opportunities, which I would never have suspected, at least not to such a profound degree. My new awareness could not have come if it weren’t for the harms (pleasures and accomplishments too) which I have experienced, the dissolution of our marriage, Ray’s death, the light figure project, the funeral, and in experiencing certain parts of myself dying too.
Finally, bringing this reflection to full circle, I have also noticed that I am picking up reading material that has felt off-putting for one reason or another, and am getting so much out of the material now. The funeral or my ceremonial death of personal history and labels which do not serve me have caused me to advance to a new level of seeing, knowing, and gnosis. I feel that the funeral, in conjunction with the powerful meditations, mandalas, and soul retrieval in this class, catapulted me into a new paradigm. I encounter books that piss me off and I realize it is probably just a delayed trauma response or is just me being a brat because learning and growing are hard. I’m excited to see what will happen next as I learn to harness these energies and understandings further. I’m also excited to know that I can re-read material that has triggered my defenses and can mine for more treasures. I feel like such a grownup!