Honoring and Respecting the Polarities

Being whole is a state in which there is room for all of who you are.

 Self-awareness spans your full human potential and your human frailties. Self-awareness is neither pole; it is  synergy between the two. In order to perceive clearly the nature of reality and our own nature recognize the paradoxical nature of being human.  Honor and respect the polarities within your nature.  It is this synergy that allows you to tap into that ‘non-dual’ transcendent part of your human nature that is called the Self.

Embodied Awareness is the process of becoming conscious of the Self.  This includes the practice of living more and more consciously from a state of Self-awareness.

Embodied awareness is the practice of holding the paradox–of being both a vulnerable, very mortal human and an infinite spiritual being with the unlimited potential takes you to a more transcendent awareness about not only your situation but also the nature of the ‘human condition’.

Practice making room for all of who you are to embody your Self.  How to become whole?

  • look  into the unconscious– into the darkness,
  • recognize your blind spots when they show up
  • use your intuition to seek to understand the origin of your thoughts and feelings
  • explore projections onto others in the form of your criticism, judgments, idealizations, expectations, past conditioning, habits and assumptions

One person, a Child and Youth Counsellor in our Embodied Awareness program shared his embodied awareness practice, which includes exploring these unconscious ‘shadow’ elements by making them more conscious.

“My daily practice is the shadow work. I didn’t have words for it before; but the work with “the guardians” is my practice.  It is great to wake up in the morning– I have my practice–I meditate for a while, then sit and journal and usually say “good morning” to my good friend, who I call ‘Perceiver’. We have a morning coffee together.  

We have a little chat together. Without doubt, the guardians come in too (and that guardian called “doubt” is always in there).  I’m amazed with how early these guys get up in the morning, these guardians!  They always come in. Initially, it was either anger, doubt or insecurity that showed up first. (I give every feeling its name and call each one by their name). We have a discussion.

When I first started this practice I felt attacked and safe.  I was commencing dialogue, and it felt better with them being present.

Now there has been a great transformation–They feel safe to come and converse.  They are present and we share a dialogue. In our conversations their wisdom–because they are not in a reactive state–the guidance is must quicker. They get to have the seat next to me to converse.

I also invite them to come throughout the day, and often they come when I don’t know they are there and so sometimes it’s reactivity and I recognize them and say, “Welcome! There you are!  And right now is not the ideal time for me… maybe we can make an appointment to talk tomorrow?”  This is definitely an evolving practice with me and I am grateful”.

Thank you Deren, for sharing.

Beyond Spiritual Bypass

{ Artist: Susan Sedon Boulet }

{ Artist: Susan Sedon Boulet }

Resistance to spiritual growth can take the form of a spiritual by-pass and psychological resistance to our thoughts, feelings, intuitions and deeper spiritual truth.  Embodiment means being whole—experiencing your feelings, thoughts and subtle impressions here and now–in your body, and letting them move you to new insights, awareness, and behaviours.

Spiritual by-pass is a term coined by transpersonal psychologist John Welwood.   In his article Principles of Innerwork, Psychological and Spiritual, Welwood describes three common traps when we begin to open spiritually. . .and all three can act as barriers to intuition by distorting our perception.

1. Mental By-Pass: ‘In your head’—a belief that the spiritual world is ‘better’
2. Spiritual By-Pass: Psuedo-detachment. (This is not the same as ‘non-attachement.  It is a way you avoid doing your personal and emotional work by disociating or pretending to be ‘above’ it.)
3. Emotional By-Pass: Over-processing of emotions. (Getting stuck in, or ‘addicted’ to the intensity of your feelings)

Spiritual by-pass is full of shadows.  AND, it is common to confront the ‘shadow’ when ever we go into unknown territory.  As we find our way through, we are able to mine precious gems and hidden resources found beneath the surface of our ordinary awareness, deep in the ground of being .

Take note:

Which are your favorite forms or resistance?

How do you find your way beyond the resistance?

How do you know when you are on the other side?


After one of our Embodied Awareness seminars, one participant, a corporate Coach, shared gratitudes with the class as she shared what she had learned about herself and her relationship to resistance:

“I want to convey a real sense of gratitude for the reflections from each of you today. I have had a real movement through my resistance.

I have danced with my resistance gnome for awhile. I really felt like instead of feeling, “Overpower! Overcome! Annihilate!  I feel like I can now live with my resistance–and it’s always going to hang around–but that’s not going to stop me from moving forward. . . .

Kinesthetic impressions have helped me make resistance a partner, rather than battle it – big move today- Oh my Gosh! I can live with this – not like a disease live with it – sort of like you’re going to live in my little back pack for awhile, like a little gremlin. That’s ok!  I can share partnership with my resistance.

It keeps me aware.
It keeps me in the trenches.
It reminds me what others may be up against.

{Artist: Brian Froud}

{Artist: Brian Froud}


What The Shadow Knows

“This is undoubtedly part of why I cried. Maybe even the most part. The painting depicts the feelings…crying for all in the world that are in sorrow and pain.”

This photo and statement was received in an email by someone of the February Embodied Awareness seminar.  It was an amazing reflection of an experience of ‘senseless fighting’ and ‘losing battles’ –a phrase that was shared by one of our other group members—and an experience that all of us could relate to in our own way.  The pain of the shadow!

Pain is universal. Sometimes one may become a conduit for universal pain—feeling overwhelmed by sorrow, anxiety, anger, worry, fear,  loss.. . .

And healing is also a universal experience.  Pain calls us to bring in healing. . . to become conduits for universal healing.  Shift the energy by not only exposing those areas which have been in the dark – but also by attending to unconscious needs, by caring for ourselves through addressing those forgotten and often painful experiences that seem to block our progress. Intuition helps us to ‘see in the dark’ beyond the shadows, into the unconscious drives and motives, and in this way awakens insight.

“Learn to See in the Dark: Make Friends with the Dwellers on the Threshold.  Blocks to intuition and barriers to Self-trust are metaphors. They are the Guardian presenting you with a riddle. These dwellers on the threshold of greater awareness challenge you spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and materially in the form of perceived blocks or barriers:

1. Spiritual Blocks lead to mistrust of one’s vision and purpose

2. Emotional Blocks lead to reactivity and mistrust of one’s values, desires, needs

3. Mental Blocks lead to rationalization and judgmental attitudes

4. Material Blocks impinge on one’s sense of safety and impact how one acts. Actions may be ineffective or self-destructive and lead to health problems, relationship problems, financial problems and crisis in work or life vocation “ (Radical Self-Care, Beth Hedva)

What shadows are you aware of?

What is calling for healing within you?

How are you healing your blocks?

Meet Dr. Joseph Breuer

Dream Mirror{ fanpop.com }
Dream Mirror
{ fanpop.com }

When I teach, I often do a dream incubation at bedtime before and during my classes, and ask to receive teaching dreams that may be pertinent to the group of students I am teaching.

In my January weekend Embodied Awareness Facilitator Certification course, I facilitated a ‘flooding exercise’ on Saturday,  designed to awaken our subtle senses in order to explore that which is hidden in our own nature—i.e. the ’shadow’.

On Saturday night, 1/ 26, 2013, I had a dream that I entitled “My Shadow: Interrupting Exposed.”

In my dream, I was in a conversation with a mentee of mine.  I could perceive my mentee’s blind spots and how he was making decisions out of emotional reactivity, which I could sense were the result of unacknowledged emotional vulnerability from his childhood.  Emotional reactivity is often an indicator that the ‘shadow’ is surfacing.  My mentee’s shadow was up, and he didn’t know it.

My mentee and I had a long conversation about the responsibilities that come with teaching and being a teacher. Next, I noticed that I kept interrupting him.  I ‘woke-up’ in the dream, and became aware of how my unconscious urge to ‘interrupt’ is a symptom of my own ‘shadow’ material — a ‘signal’ that my vulnerability (and shadow) are calling to be recognized. I saw my mentee as a reflection of me. . .in the dream I thought “both my mentee and I have hidden vulnerabilities” (All of us do).

My mentee decided that we should go to see his psychiatrist, an Austrian clinician named “Dr. Breuer”.

In the next dream sequence, I was introduced to an older gentleman sporting a beard. His name was Dr. Breuer, though in my dream I thought to myself “He reminds me of Freud. “

In contrast to my mentee’s emotional reactivity, Dr. Breuer (in my dream) is objective, insightful and quoting Jewish mystics.

Dr. Breuer brought up the importance of expressing our emotions and the significance of the ‘emotional world,’ which is one of four “worlds” in Jewish mysticism.  This led to a dialectical discourse in which I said, “universal humanitarian ethics also liberates us from the pain and sorrow.” I referenced Rabbi Lawrence Kushner’s book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”, to make my case that, in essence we are ‘good’ even if we experience ‘bad’ things or behave in ‘bad’ ways.   The key is to shift from primary personal process to universal awareness, to awaken and heal.

I woke up from this dream with the spelling B-R-E-U-E-R in my mind, and made a note of it. I also began to wonder if Breuer was more than just a dream symbol. . . . Here is where it gets interesting . . . .

When I got to class on Sunday, I asked my co-facilitator Martina Jaeckel (who is an Austrian trained clinical psychologist with 20 years experience in psychiatry in Austria) if she had ever heard of a ‘Dr. Breuer’.  Martina said “No.  But I know an Eric Breuer—he is an Austrian artist.”  Then she offered, “I’ll look the name up on Google.”  Her face brightened with delight at the discovery of Dr. Joseph Breuer, a renowned Austrian physician and a contemporary of Freud’s.


Who Is Dr. Joseph Breuer (1842-1925)

Dr. Breuer
Dr. Breuer

Josef Breuer was the son of Leopold Breuer (1791-1872), a liberal Jewish teacher of religion in Vienna.“  (more info here)  Interestingly, Breuer was Sigmund Freud’s mentor and creator of the ‘cathartic method” also known as “the talking cure”.  Freud was fascinated by Breuer’s success in treating “Anna O”, who suffered from hysteria, and began working with Breuer after reading this case study.  As the forerunner of psychoanalysis, Breuer proved (through case studies) that trauma can be healed through remembering the trauma, discussing the experience and releasing unexpressed emotional feelings in a therapeutic conversation with the physician.

Breuer was distinguished for several contributions to modern science.

  • coining the term ‘catharsis’ and developing the ‘talking cure” (ie the power of emotional release to effect healing)
  • discovered that the lung has receptors that send signals directly to the brain via the vagus nerve  whenever we occlude the trachea between inspirations and exhalations
  • Researched on the labyrinth (building one in his own yard).
  • Pioneered research on the anatomy and function of the inner ear.
  • Established the “Mach-Breuer theory of endolymph shift” which is responsible for perception of the body’s movement (including our sense of balance).


What Does Dr. Breuer’s research mean to us today?

The dream conversation with Dr.  Breuer reminds us that:

  • Emotions are an important subtle signals (especially when exploring the unconscious –or hidden shadow elements of one’s personality)
  • Expressing feelings (by translating emotional signals into memories, thoughts and discharging emotions in conversation with someone who is actually listening), helps to heal even traumatic injuries.
  • The subtle world of creative philosophical thought and the exploration of universal perspectives (as exemplified in the dream discussion of Jewish philosophies and mysticism), also influence healing.


Other Reminders from Dr. Breuer

  • BREATH: The ancients tell us that breath is a powerful regulator of subtle spiritual energies (prana) and oxygen.

     At the end of the 19th century, Breuer discovered the breath not only sends oxygen to the lungs, it also transmits signals directly to the brain through the vegus nerve.

     At the end of the 20th century we discovered that breathing not only influences the brain (through the vagus nerve); it also impacts our heart-brain.  Slowing our breath down to 4-6 respirations per minute changes the neurocardiology of the heart, (by decreasing cortisol and increasing oxytocin, dopamine and other more pleasant hormones, we change our stress level and blood pressure.

     What can we discover about breath and breathing in the 21st Century?


Ancient philosophical systems tell us that everything in the physical world is a representation of spiritual principle.  On a gross physical level, the inner ear is responsible for our sense of movement and balance.

Symbolically, the inner ear is about clairaudience–listening to one’s inner voice, those silent whispers that echo the sounds of an eternal source of wisdom from deep within the psyche.

Deep listening returns us to listening with our whole body and being. . . .to allt he subtle signals proprioceptive signals from the body, emotional signals from one’s heart and those even more subtle psychic senses that take a myriad of forms.  We  receive inner guidance.  This returns us to a state of balance within.  Then we know how to proceed. To embody inner wisdom and act accordingly.

I wonder if we will discover more of the neurological and physiological structures related to subtle senses, which foster expansions in consciousness,  in the years to come.

Psychic Dreaming


Clairvoyant impressions can take many forms: symbolic  process in the form of images, picture, and dreams (both day dreams and night time dreams) offer us a wealth of opportunity to ‘see’ into the hidden treasures of our full potential.

Within the shadow—within those unconscious or hidden elements of one’s personality—one discovers deeper truths and greater wisdom.  The shadow shines a light on our blind spots—those personality quirks, double standards and inconsistencies that are revealed in rigid thinking or emotional reactivity.  The contradictory parts of one’s personality are not the truth, but lead to a greater non-dual truth.


Full Moon{ Ariel Milinsky }
Full Moon
{ Ariel Milinsky }

“. . .Dreams speak to us in the language of the soul. . . “

Hedva, Radical Self-Care

What does this have to do with Embodied Awareness?

We live in a field of infinite intelligence.  Human consciousness (and our brains and bodies) receive and send signals. This is how we transmit and receive information between physical world experiences, and the worlds of inner experience (emotions, thoughts, perceptions and pure consciousness).  All knowledge is available to us, as we can learn to translate the signals we receive via our physical and subtle senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, gut response (transmission of energy), telepathy (transmission of emotion), clairaudience (transmission of thought, clairvoyance, intuition (pattern recognition), spiritual discernment (knowing), and realization.

Human intelligence (and personality) is organized within the context of time and space, and our experience of ‘past-present-future’.   Yet, in the field of pure consciousness and ultimate reality, even time and space disappear.  All that ever was or will be is here now.  Hence, Joseph Breuer is here now.  And I am here now (as are you, reading this blog post—if you read this far).   Each of us is connected to this field of infinite universal intelligence—not separate from it. We each are embodiments, sending and receiving signals for the purpose of awakening to our full potential as human beings.

A Few Interesting References relating to Dr. Joseph Breuer:

1)  Britannica 

2) Encyclopedia

3)    The Pioneering Work of Josef Breuer on the Vestibular System Gerald Wiest, MD; Robert W. Baloh, MD Arch Neurol. 2002;59(10):1647-1653. doi:10.1001/archneur.59.10.1647.

4) Journal Formerly Archives of Neurology

5)     The History of Psychology