By Wendy Ford
Spiritual growth. For those who are seeking, a great deal of time is spent focusing on the non-physical and spiritual as, after all, you are not your mind, you are not your body and you are not your emotions. This then begs the question of who are you but that is another topic for another article. For Now think of the word captain and the image it invokes.
It occurs to me that with so much focus on the non-physical and spiritual realms it could be misinterpreted that one should eschew the physical to concentrate on the non-physical and spiritual in order to somehow become transformed and become illuminated; that to be able to disassociate from the physical is the key to achieve the goal. In reality this is not true at all.
This discussion is an effort to clarify this, but in so doing can only be spoken from the personal experience of having been enmeshed in and attached to the physical so firmly and for so long; it has taken over 23 years to begin to disentangle and detach from the fixation of the physical and to at last be able to bask in some of the Spiritual Light and breathe non-physical air–at least for moments. Note “detach” not “disassociate”.
This entanglement and attachment to the physical resulted from hundreds of incarnations into the physical—so many that I got stuck and forgot how to experience the nonphysical soul that I am. I had come to believe I was my body and emotions. My emotions, personality and Ego ran the show, I saluted and took orders from them as if they were the captain.
In allowing these aspects of myself to ‘run the show’ further than I should I have ever allowed, I also enabled these reactions to isolate me from what I perceived as the outside world. Why ? Because I often interpreted the world as cold and cruel, in order to insulate myself from misconceptions of pain and/or discomfort. “Poor baby. Stay with us. Listen to us. We will take care of you. Don’t listen to that small still voice that keeps trying to get your attention. No, you asked us to take care of you and indeed we will. Come. Sit, EAT and Rest. Take comfort, child.” I had no idea this was keeping me insulated from even parts of myself and kept me rooted and anchored in physical forgetfulness to prevent any exploration into the nonphysical with the intent of discovering who and what I truly am.
It had been FORGOTTEN. It had been forgotten that my physical container is just that; a physical container through which my soul expresses itself. The physical senses are the only way my soul has of experiencing and learning about the physical realm. The container is just a container but with the instinctual component that left on its own only knows food, fear, sex and responds accordingly; its function is for the survival of the container period. It had been forgotten that the container needs a captain just like a ship. Now the job of the instinctual is a mighty big and indeed essential one, a whole topic by itself, so while being acknowledged it is with intention being left out of this discussion.
It is only within the past five years or so conscious awareness of my experience as soul that inhabits and controls the physical is coming into my arena of awareness, if only for brief moments. Dr. Strickler has taught that the foundation of all spiritual growth is based in the expansion of conscious awareness and selection of experiences. This requires judicious application of discernment. A very simple concept that should not take lifetimes to learn how to use for Spiritual growth, is, ‘an ongoing process and summation’: also one of Dr. Strickler’s trademark-final comments.
So, how does one disentangle and detach from the physical to experience the nonphysical without disassociating from it? Specifically, how does one become aware of the physical container as just that—a physical container through which one functions but is NOT one’s defining characteristic?
Initially it would seem disentangling, detachment and disassociation would not be that dissimilar, but experience has taught me that to disassociate was to ignore and not pay attention to the physical. Choosing to ignore the cacophony of emotional input was not proving to be helpful either. The instinctual, ego and personality just took over the reins and pulled me willy-nilly where I had (unconsciously and unbeknownst to me) instructed them to: protect, insulate, survive. Never mind that the old instructions were no longer valid or useful and were indeed leading slowly to self-destruction.
Disentanglement and detachment on the other hand are done with conscious awareness and intent. It requires taking chosen action. Detachment is like micro surgery requiring acute attention and patience. It takes the assistance of a skilled psychologist to help back track through the entanglement of all the creepy vines of learned and mis-learned emotional responses to identify where the roots are. Once that has been accomplished it takes continued self-work and vigilance to gently and patiently disentangle oneself from the creeping vines of the physical attachments.
It turns out that while being entrenched in the physical there was an acute ignorance of it at the same time. An entire dashboard of information (constant sensory input and information) was at my disposal yet there was very little conscious working knowledge of it or how to interpret the information. It was very much like driving a car with its rows of lights, gauges and signals each with a very specific purpose. One can ruin a perfectly good car if one does not know what the check engine light means or what to do when it comes on; messages from the physical container need to be paid attention to even more closely.
To be able to accurately interpret the input from the physical senses requires constant vigilance and conscious attention. This assumes one has even learned how to recognize when one of the indicators comes on. It is a continual process of scanning the internal dashboard and monitoring emotional responses to the input from the physical and learning how to discern the truth and reality in any given situation. Most difficult is the crucial task of unlearning, correcting and/or modifying misinterpretations from previous similar situations.
Dr. Strickler has frequently stressed to always remember: “truth destroys falsehood.” Once a truth has been discovered and accepted it can be used to dissolve the misinterpretations almost effortlessly. One just has to be willing to be open to the truth and be willing to change one’s mind or response. Again a simple concept that is more difficult in its execution.
How does one become more attuned to physical sense input and monitor one’s responses without being attached to them? Think of yourself as the ship’s captain who listens to the officers, receives their input and then makes decisions on what actions to take or not take. Just as the ship’s captain gives the commands but is not a part of the ship itself so it is with your nonphysical soul that functions through the physical container but does is not a part of it.
It is similar with your physical body. The nonphysical you that functions through the container receives input from the physical five senses and is the interpreter for the emotional responses generated. A finely tuned sense of hearing is required in order to “hear” what being received and this is only honed through practice; lots of practice over a period of time.
Try this simple exercise.
Have you ever sat still in a quiet room by yourself and experienced the sounds and movements of your physical container much like a ship’s captain on the bridge; the ones that are uniquely experienced by your physical body?
Pay conscious attention for the whooshing of the air as the bellows of your lungs move the air in and out and in and out—are the breaths shallow and anxious or deep and relaxed, are the breaths effortless and clear or strained or congested? Can you feel the air move in and out of your nostrils and swirl through your sinuses or are they congested or blocked? Feel the gentle rise and fall of your chest and abdomen that results from the expansion and contraction of the rib cage—is it tight or relaxed and effortless? Can you hear the swooshing of the blood as it moves past the ear drums—if you feel a thumping perhaps your blood pressure is too high. Can you feel the gentle to and fro movement of your trunk as it responds to the flow of the spinal fluid moving rhythmically up and down through your spinal cord sheath from your brain to your tail bone—perhaps this had never been noticed. Can you feel and sense the lub dub beat of your heart as it relaxes to expand, filling with blood, then forcefully contracting propelling the blood out to circulate—is the beat rhythmical and even and relaxed or uneven, irregular and too fast? If it is uneven or irregular, you should probably see your doctor. You might even hear or feel the occasional rumble or gurgle of the digestive tract as it processes the nutrients your container requires for sustenance. You can do similar exercises with the other senses.
Did you notice that feeling or touch was entwined with the hearing? It is as well with all the other senses for touch is the cornerstone for all the senses. Just as your ears are touched by sound waves your tongue is touched by the flavors and textures of foods and liquids that run over it, your eyes are touched by the light, your nose is touched by the odors and aromas carried by the air moving through it, your skin is touched by objects or the wind. All of the senses respond to vibrations that are received, the messages are sent to the brain for response and interpretation. All the Human senses are only able to receive in a limited fashion. Many members of the animal kingdom have much keener senses of smell and hearing and a broader spectrum of light available than the human physical container.
Most of the confusion and errors are generated in the interpretation of the response to the limited reception of the senses. If an error in interpretation occurs and results in an emotional response, that response may not be reflective of the reality; you as captain need to be able to make adjustments (course corrections as it were) that can bring the interpretation of an experience closer to the reality of that experience. Have you ever stuck your hand into really cold water and weren’t sure if it was hot or cold? Chances are the physical instinctual “you” pulled back out of self-protection generating a fear emotional response until the nonphysical “you” interpreted the truth of the situation and calmed down.
All of this occurs so fast we aren’t even aware of it most of the time. Through training we can learn to be consciously aware and modify our responses to more accurately reflect reality and truth in a situation or experience. This is when we are using our emotions as tools for our responses and not letting our emotions rule us. We are then acting as the captain of our ship.
Paying attention to the sounds and feeling of your physical container might give you clues as to how well it is functioning. Perhaps it is trying to “tell” you something and hoping you will “hear” and “feel” its needs. While you are not your physical body it is dependent upon you to pay attention and listen to its needs and notifications of its status. You are responsible for its care and maintenance, it is your vehicle through which you function and move. The nonphysical YOU functions within the physical vehicle or container to learn about the physical experience.
Hello body, it’s me, the captain of this ship. I am here and paying attention, thank you for keeping me informed. This is not unlike Captain Picard sitting in his chair on the bridge of the spaceship U.S.S. Enterprise listening to reports from his officers and monitoring everything that is going on in order to respond with the right action.
The nonphysical functioning through the physical. Once you become accustomed to listening to your container and attending to its needs, being the captain of your ship, you just might be able to discern its voices from that of the still, quiet voice deep within that is the Real You. It has always been there attempting to communicate. Perhaps now you will be able to hear it and dialogue with You and be open to communication from the Higher, the fleet admirals so to speak.
This is an ongoing process and requires vigilance and conscious attention but being able to hear and speak with You is so worth it.
Copyright © 2016 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC