Potent Demonstration of Direct Experience

There’s no substitute for the immediate open evidence of direct experience.

Every time I have attempted to live life based on second-hand ideas it has only ever resulted in slow cooking myself in a confusing cauldron of concepts, and then ultimately deep drowning in a soup of suppositions.

It can seem like a lifetime’s challenge to exist authentically amidst a hypnotic torrent of endless ideation around how we ought to live, who we ought to be, what we ought to believe…

When I came to Balanced View I had really had enough of being told that “this is the way it is.”

I was interested in becoming acquainted with the truth at the core of human experience for myself in a simple, pragmatic, directly experienceable way – something which was instantly testable and demonstrable in my moment to moment engagement with life.

I am so grateful for what I found so openly offered.

I was invited into a direct encounter with reality through the effortless practice of short moments and a whole network of support which empowered this recognition. Here was a very simple means of gaining familiarity with something consistent, real, stable and universal beyond the stories I sold myself, and the habitual mindtrap of my all-consuming illusions. Illusions such as “I need to fix myself”, “My thoughts and feelings have to change in order to be happy and at peace”, , “I need to prove myself in the world to be worth anything” – (all of them ultimately different flavours of the mantra “I’m not good enough”.)

I’d had a history of some success with numerous other meditation techniques and had glimpses of the clarity beyond the clutter of my undermutter – that broken record revolving around like stifling circles in my overactive mind. I was still experiencing some duality  though between my experience sat on the cushion, and the embodied reality of the rest of my daily life.

The perfect inclusivity and simplicity of short moments gracefully bridged that duality.

It gave me a means of checking in with what was always clear and present in every moment, whether mindful or mindless, blissed out or pissed off.

Here was access to something that was simply forever open and aware, no matter what the current flavour of my thoughts, moods, feelings and passing perceptions.

All that was needed was to gain increasing familiarity with this always-on Open Intelligence, and the empowerment of an integrated life support dedicated to grounding and emboldening this recognition so it became more than a fleeting momentary insight.

I found, and continue to find all of this so elegantly interwoven into the boon of Balanced View’s “Four Mainstays”. I am so grateful for being supported to discover the courage and innate openness to test out what was so abundantly offered as it has utterly and irreversibly transformed my capacity to relate to myself and to the world exactly as it is, and to contribute in a potent, thoroughly heart-centred and beneficial way.

All that remains is a great and pervasive gratitude for this life, with all its ups and downs, perfect exactly as it is…

The Power of Opening to Okayness

There is so much to be thankful for in life.

I always had some recognition of the great value in simple gratitude before discovering Balanced View, but like so many, was raised in a society where criticism, sarcasm, blame, and vilification were endemic, even lauded, as functional responses to the world as we find it.

It becomes very hard not to respond in kind when this is all we see around us. Whether in friends, peers, celebrities, leaders or politicians. At times, contemporary culture can be saturated with the spirit of cynicism, and such choler is contagious.

Perhaps this tendency is born from a genuine misconception that the only way things or people will ever get better is if I criticise them. Or perhaps it was just an excuse to vomit up my own angst and project it in shades of joyless grey and angry red onto the walls of the world around me.

Either way, what I discovered is that it just doesn’t work. I saw that living a life of perpetual resentment, denigrating and deprecating people, places and things wasn’t actually what brought about genuine and lasting change at all. I saw this in the case of my own experience, and I saw it mirrored in the macrocosm – played out perpetually in the story of the society to which I belong.

Equally impotent was the “head in the sand” mentality of whistling a happy tune and hoping it’ll all go away. If I surround myself only with “positive”, “high vibration”, happy thoughts and things, then everything will be just tickety-boo and I can live in my fluffy pink bubble, blissfully oblivious to the pain and suffering, injustice and inequality in the world.

I find in my own experience how the bite of reality sooner or later ensures this fragile illusion will come quickly crashing down.

What I discovered since coming to Balanced View was a different approach entirely. At the heart of this grassroots movement for social change there is the simple invitation to engage. First and foremost, this is an invitation for me to look at how all the horror, injustice, fear and failing I see all around me in the world plays out within myself, and to start to take responsibility for that. This responsibility involves looking all of this in the eye, and recognising how in one short moment of meeting it all exactly as it is, there is something within me, inseparable from all of this, that is consummate, unfractured and unbroken. The simple recognition of this fundamental okayness is beyond all thought and description. It is the one thing that is common to all of us and when I recognise that and begin to see this in others – even in those who I may be most drawn to hate, berate, resent, or revile, I am given the first glimpse of what a solution to this monumental mess might look like.

Balanced View has offered me the opportunity to discover what this ground state of basic human okayness actually is, directly in my own experience, as well as the support to draw on it ever more frequently as a resource for peace, and potent solution focus. I have never found anything more comprehensive and robust. This is why my gratitude for this, and for the network of support on offer to integrate it, is so immense.

Through the Balanced View training I have learned how to draw on a wellspring of simple gratitude for all that I have in life, to take strength in this, and to find the capacity to see the very best in others. I am learning not to turn away from problems, but to ask very simply and directly what is needed, and then to act spontaneously from a place of potent, openhearted and beneficial responsiveness. I have found this to be so much more functional than endlessly bemoaning the problem, focusing on finding fault, or sinking in a swamp of cynicism.

Instead of criticising others, I am learning that empowering each other with love, respect, gratitude, stability and firmness is infinitely more effective.

This is how change happens.

I refuse to be crushed by despondency in the face of all that is going on in the world, and thank Balanced View for showing me the possibility that exists for humanity in creating a culture of gratitude, respect, empowerment and honouring, rooted in the clarity and dignity of what it really means to be human.

I bow to the beneficial okayness of this Open Intelligence in all of us.

Gratitude for great simplicity

I have always been fascinated by what we as human beings may truly be capable of if we were able to find the keys to unlock the true depth, scope, and limitless creative potential of our authentic intelligence.

I’d experienced occasional so called “higher states” of intelligence off and on since quite a young age, and been drawn to look towards these for some sort of insight into answering the bigger questions of life, death and meaning that so often preoccupied me. These states and experiences, as profound and beautiful as they were, always proved nebulous and fleeting, and however much clarity I found in them, the capacity to ground true and lasting insight in a usable way from them always ultimately eluded me.

I was slowly coming to realise that the truth of who I was, and what I was looking for, may be much more blessedly simple than I had imagined. There was something about my intelligence, and my very nature as a human being, which was being missed every time I lost myself in thought. Every time I efforted for freedom. Every time I pretended my ultimate happiness could ever be contingent on any feeling, thought, person, place or thing.

I’d begun to have glimpses of an intelligence beyond the content of my mind and the descriptions of my experiences, and on meeting Balanced View, the true scope of what this was, and the inexhaustibility of its beneficial potential, was given the mirror it needed to truly see itself.

For this genuine blessing, I feel such an abundance of immeasurable gratitude.

In the offering of this simple practice of short moments, confusion gives way to clarity. In this community of constant support, I let all my thoughts, emotions and experiences be exactly as they are – just for a moment, and rest my attention in the basic, open awareness by which they are known.

In the simplicity of complete relaxation, an ocean of potential and a wealth of creativity makes itself vividly apparent, and wants nothing other than to give, and to keep on giving.

In Balanced View, I have found an environment of unwavering nourishment for this unbounded generosity and creative potential to bloom, and a permission field for honouring all that we are.

Thank you, with all of my heart, for this fertile ground to flourish.

Welcoming Everything Home

 

wholeness-samagra

I used to think that waking up in the morning sometimes with a sense of anxiety, vulnerability, tightness, or tension was an indication of something ‘wrong’ with me. I assumed that if I wasn’t leaping out of bed brimming with existential glee every day, shouting hallelujah to the heavens and fist-pumping the air, I hadn’t quite ‘got there’ yet.

This is because I had come to believe in a prolific one-dimensional worldview in which authentic well-being is measured by whatever thoughts, emotions and random sensations happen to pass through the landscape of my bodymind on a day-to-day basis. This view is deeply ingrained in contemporary psychology, and in my own experience, the assumption resulted in the futile effort towards a kind of inner ethnic cleansing of any thought or emotion I may have deemed to be not quite up to scratch.

Only ‘positive’ thoughts and emotions counted. No room for anxiety, anger, frustration or depression. Anything myself or society had chosen to describe or label as ‘negative’ or ‘wrong’ couldn’t possibly have value, and needed to be extinguished in order for me to even begin to consider myself as psychologically or spiritually sound.

When I first encountered Balanced View, I had already begun to see through this false fixation and was learning to meet myself and all of my experience with considerably more openness, love and understanding. I was learning to integrate those thoughts and feelings I may have previously been all too quick to cast out, and had started to make friends with the parts of me that I had previously deemed as unacceptable. Nonetheless I was still finding that old patterns of describing and discriminating died hard.

What I discovered, and continue to discover, through trying out and rigorously testing the authenticity and efficacy of the Balanced View training, is an astonishingly sturdy and comprehensive network of support for that process of welcoming everything home, and waking up to what it is about myself that is fundamentally and unreservedly OK, no matter what I am thinking, feeling or experiencing. While I’d had glimpses of this before, I always found my capacity to remain grounded in it, especially during challenging times, was frustratingly elusive. Some thoughts, emotions and sensations just seemed too overwhelming, and I found it impossible amidst this affliction to see the golddust within them, or recognise the forest from the trees.

I am immensely and profoundly grateful for the support on offer through Balanced View’s Four Mainstays to come back again and again to the recognition of this peaceful and powerful indestructible basic state which is the essence of who I am. To gain support to rest deeply in the inseparable awareness within which even the most troubling thoughts, emotions and sensations arise is the greatest gift it is possible to receive in life. It allows me, one short moment at a time, to be fully present for existence, to feel everything fully, and to gain ever deepening assurance in my capacity to contribute to the world from a place of openness, stability, and lasting benefit.

I am grateful for all of this with all of my heart,

In Love always,

Marc

Gratitude for the courage to meet the world with an open heart

By all conventional description, it would appear at times as if we are living in an increasingly brutal, desperate and chaotic world.

Just looking at the news today – a woman the same age as me shot and stabbed to death on the streets of Yorkshire in a brutal attack defying all semblance of sense.

Earlier in the week – 50 people massacred in cold blood in a gay club in Orlando, just for living their lives.

The temptation is to respond by becoming consumed by anger, drowned in desperation, or cocooned in numbness.

Yet experience shows me that all of these ways of reacting bring nothing. Achieve nothing.

Every single day it becomes increasingly clear that the only way we are ever going to grow up as a species is if we take a long hard look at ourselves.

It is this support – to look unflinchingly into the heart of what is going on in myself and in the world, to find the courage to meet it fully, to face it fully from a place of clarity and integrity, and to educate myself in the single most powerful resource of my own innate peace, stability and open intelligence that is exactly the support I have found in the Balanced View training. THAT is why I am immeasurably grateful for everything that my participation in the Four Mainstays has given me.

Familiarity with this innate stability is what grounds me, empowers me and motivates me to embody my capacity to meet reality on its own terms. To see all that is going on in the world, feel it fully, and rather than become overwhelmed by it, gradually discover the strength to encounter it all with an open heart.

Balanced View has never for a second attempted to offer me an airy fairy quick fix to magically eradicate all of my own and all of the world’s problems overnight.

Instead, it has very soberly and directly offered practical support to trust my own direct moment to moment experience and gently notice that there is something essential in each and every one of us that is stable, aware and at peace.

The more I rest as that myself, through the simple practice of short moments and all that supports it, the more it becomes clear how a return to the integrity, peace and natural compassion of this indivisible openness at the heart of who we are, is a solution evolution is presenting us for moving out of this mess.

My experience of Balanced View has simply been of an elegant and comprehensively thorough means to access this resource within myself, one day at a time, and share my own strengths with the world in a spirit of natural generosity and uncontrived openness. The gratitude I feel within my own life for the benefits I have received from this are immense and incalculable.

I look forward to sharing more of this incredible gratitude, and more of my direct experience on this blog whenever I next have the opportunity to write.

With Love and profound gratefulness to my teacher, root teacher, and community for supporting this in me, and all of us always,

Marc