in support of embodiment: how cishumanism can balance spiritual bypassing

Some recognisable traits observed when encountering spiritual bypassing:

-Not focusing on the here and now; living in a spiritual realm much of the time.
-Overemphasizing the positive and avoiding the negative.
-Being self-righteous about the concept of enlightenment.
-Being overly detached.
-Being overly idealistic.
-Having feelings of entitlement.
-Exhibiting frequent anger.
-Engaging in cognitive dissonance.
-Being overly compassionate.
-Pretending that everything is okay when it’s not.

embodiment: (1) a tangible or visible form of an idea, quality, or feeling (2) the representation or expression of something in a tangible or visible form

transpersonal: denoting or relating to states or areas of consciousness beyond the limits of personal identity

The late John Welwood, who coined the term spiritual bypassing, observed this process as using “spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional ‘unfinished business,’ to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, and developmental tasks.” The goal of such practices, he claimed, was enlightenment.

The path to enlightenment is often followed by spiritual practices that often attempt to eschew the material plane, namely the body and its dense, lower frequencies. The idea is to bypass these aspects of self so as to access a higher Self. This process of realising the Self can be enticing and seductive. However, the actualisation of this process—bringing heaven down to earth—can be often seen as mundane, trivial, inessential, or superficial.

But beyond the surface—in skin, flesh, and bones—there are genes and codes. These microcosmic components of our material structure can be seen to mirror the metaphysical nature of existence, the latter which seem to be out-of-body. There, seemingly outside of us, phenomena exist beyond that which our body’s apparatus can perceive. Somehow, what is inside reflects what’s outside. The inner landscape is akin to the outer realms. The ground meets the sky at the horizon. And we, humans, walk that line at once situated in this body—this ‘I’—as well as being a part of other dimensions of existence: mult-‘I’-dimensional.

 

in support of cis-humanism

cis- : on this side of; on the side nearer to the speaker. Often contrasted with trans-

transhumanism: the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations

In exploring the notion of a multidimensional being, I have found that, for many who identify as such, there is a sort of dismissiveness to their humanness, the astral or light bodies being favoured over the physical, emotional, or mental bodies . Even one’s perceived soul, oversoul, or soul group are given more attention than the 3D that is what dominates the human experience most of the time (the human mind probably being the very creator/conceiver of time to begin with). The multidimensional being, as it has come to be conceived of, is somehow transhuman.

 

cisgender: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex

As a cisgendered male, I identify as a male which corresponds to the sex I was born with. It’s a choice. It’s maybe contrary to transhumanism, yet I am positing cishumanism here not as an antithesis to multidimensionality, but as a recognisable pole that finds itself on the other end of a thread. Just like my identifying as a male doesn’t mean that I don’t identify with my feminine traits, my identifying as a human doesn’t mean that I deny that I’m multidimensional. I am that, too. And at the source of dimensions, where there is no t(w)o(o), I am.

Perhaps identifying as multidimensional is at the extreme end of a pole. Perhaps identity itself is extreme. No doubt, not identifying as anything feels free. Yet, to be in form there is an opportunity to be in-formed. This in-formation gives cause to a capacity to respond, to be response-able. Following this line of thought, being in a body carries responsibility.

What are we responsible for? In part, our physical, emotional, and mental conduct in/as this life/time. Or, the fine-tuning of energetic frequencies that support basic needs as well as developmental tasks. This is taking care of the multidimensional business of being, human: high functioning, present individuals with a solid sense of self and Self.

 

multidimensional embodiment = spiritual matter-ialisation

cis-human: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity corresponds with their birth form and genus

Identifying as cishuman, similar to cisgender, there is a recognition with the form we are experiencing. So does the idea of cishumanism negate being multidimensional? I don’t think so. The incorporation of dimensionality—with its natural limitations—is the human experience at its fullest. And while experiencing humanity, its beauty and fullness may be experienced: you may be-a-YOU-to-FULL.

Full, in this sense, is exploring the fullness of existence that covers the multidimensionality that is beyond the material, 3-D plane. It also covers the material, tangible form from which the ‘I’ finds itself most of the time: the human body. The path to enlightenment can often bypass this material-ness, seeing it as limited and crude. Yet a lack of embodiment can result in repressed, unintegrated experiences—stagnant biographical and transpersonal content which can often be released through very human ways: cognitive, affective, somatic.

We have a body.

It’s made up of palpable and tangible material.

It’s made up of matter.

And it matters.

 

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Nature vs. Nurture: For All My Relations

Nature vs. Nurture: For All My Relations

This vasectomy–what I call my V-Day–marks a new chapter in my life story. And it's an unapologetic HIStory. Aware that this is so much different than using contraception, seeing the smoke rise from my burning vas deferens solderised a new recognition and...

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each one of us

Each one of us

is amazing to someone
is ordinary to someone
is loveable to someone
​i​s challenging to someone
is pitiable to someone
​i​s hiding something from someone
is vulnerable to someone
is a liar to someone
is a saviour to someone
is a mir​ror​ to everyone
is dear to someone
is pathetic to someone
is in need of someone
​is caring for someone​
is fearful of someone
is uplifting for someone
is a victim to someone
​i​s gracious to someone
​i​s witness to someone
​i​s a trigger to someone
​i​s a treasure to someone
​…​.
And ​t​hough each one of us just is,
we can’t be everything to everyone.
That’s just the multiplicity of being​,​
human.

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Nature vs. Nurture: For All My Relations

Nature vs. Nurture: For All My Relations

This vasectomy–what I call my V-Day–marks a new chapter in my life story. And it's an unapologetic HIStory. Aware that this is so much different than using contraception, seeing the smoke rise from my burning vas deferens solderised a new recognition and...

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Nature vs. Nurture: For All My Relations

This vasectomy–what I call my V-Day–marks a new chapter in my life story. And it’s an unapologetic HIStory. Aware that this is so much different than using contraception, seeing the smoke rise from my burning vas deferens solderised a new recognition and acknowledgement of my maleness.

I was adopted and later raised as an only child by two lesbian partners–my moms. I have a great relationship with my adoptive dad (who is sterile) who has always been in my life (along with his wife). I have a very good relationship with my biological family: brothers, parents, grandparents, et al. I have had a lot of caregivers. I have a lot of family.

I have never felt to have a child, to be a parent— or at least not biologically. When I was old enough to be aware of my egoic self, I considered that such a desire would be stemming from my mind, and therefore not entirely trustworthy. And so I stayed open to the possibility that a desire to have a child may be borne out of a relationship/couple/union that would be the wellspring from which a heart-based manifestation could offspring—a child born out of abundant love.

Now, at 40, I close that option. I have yet to have that shared desire with any partner. True, I’ve never been in a relationship for longer than two or three years. Nevertheless, I remained open. Of course, 40 is not that old. I have many years ahead in which that shared love could birth a desire to have a child. Yet, apparently I am ready for a different human experience.

Closing the door to the possibility of having a child does come with a certain chagrin. I won’t have that very basic of human experience, parenthood. I’m not alone in that, for sure, and yet I share here the context for this long-considered choice.

A Human Experience

Before my vasectomy—what I have come to call my V-day—I revisited the genealogical work that my biological maternal grandmother so generously and laboriously created in the form of a family tree album. As I traced with my finger the names of my ancestors as far back as the early 1700s, I imagined all the reasons they wanted to have children. I honour their decision with supreme gratitude in recognition that I am one of the direct benefactors of whatever inspired them to create more life. Perhaps optimistically, I imagine that it was love above all.

In the album is a photo of me at three months old. It’s a precious image, perhaps the only one of me in the care of a family who fostered my nascent being from my biological mother to the family that would later adopt me. A ghost-like sadness arose as I considered that an infant such as this, like me, in my likeness, won’t be appearing. This image—me—has chosen that this will be the end of a line in this genealogical fractal.

Seed Carriers

Before V-day, a lover expressed sadness when I told her about the approaching procedure. She would have carried my seed, she tells me. She would have, alone, raised a child that I provided the seed for, as if I were to give away a cutting of my own branch. All I could say, from a place of reason, is that we are planting seeds all the time, be they genetic or not.

In one generation, there will be 9 billion germinated seeds, all in various stages of maturity. The human family flourishes. The tree is enormous. Perhaps my vasectomy is a sort of pruning. Yet it’s not that what could have come from me is unwanted. I trust that the creative energy that manifested me will swell and collect and that the foliage and flowers—albeit sterile—will be as colourful and abundant as can be, even though this particular branch will not extend any further.

I don’t have strong opinions about menopause, impotence, contraception, infertility, abortion, etc., yet I imagine being able to soon relate to those who are not having children—be it by choice or not (my adoptive mom later had a tubal ligation). My family tree is comprised of branches that have no direct biological connection as well as those that do. I have been living the nature/nurture binary all my life as well as exploring the theories of attachment. The constellations of what ‘family” is to me are pretty unique and my relationships—with family members, friends, romantic partners—are somehow anarchical as a result.

The Will of One

This V-day marks a new chapter in my life story. And it’s an unapologetic HIStory. Aware that this is so much different than using contraception, seeing the smoke rise from my burning vas deferens solderised a new recognition and acknowledgement of my maleness.

I identify as cisgendered. The cauterisation of one of the most male of parts brings to my contemplative mind how we co-create our reality, not just together but in concert with the larger divine will. My considered choice to halt, from me, the flow of new prospective humans is somehow a very male-willed act. It is my personal will. And I’m a man.

I’m tempted to describe this act as a responsibility, though this may be interpreted as a moralistic stance. In any case, I think that my vasectomy is just as much a contribution to the human environment/story as is having offspring. I take responsibility for my choice to not be a progenitor by taking care of all my relations.

As I, as an adult, came to know my biological family, I realise that there was and is great care in having allowed this seed to germinate. It was nature.

As one who was adopted, the many members who I know as family all took great care of me. I was nurtured.

As one who is maturing amongst many trees in many places, I thank you for being part of my family.

May we nurture each other.

It seems to be a natural thing to do.

 

 

 

 

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intention vs. attention

To have the intention to improve the quality of our life experience or to explore consciousness is a gift and is noble. With 5, one cannot programme the experience entirely. One can, however, allow the experience to be what it is, and learn from it by noticing how we respond to it. A conscientious practitioner can greatly assist with that.

 

intention: 1) a thing intended; an aim or plan; the action or fact of intending; a person’s plans; 2) [medicine] the healing process of a wound

attention: 1) notice taken of someone or something

Attending to what is present is different than intending something to happen.

The first time I inhaled a pipe filled with a likely huge amount of bufo alvarius secretion, I had no intention. I actually had no reason to take that inhale. I didn’t even know what it was. It was offered to me haphazardly and without even asking myself why I would do this, I said yes. I trusted something. I still don’t know what it was that I trusted.

For some reason there was very little resistance in my system and my experience—a full release as I came to understand it— was everything that one would prefer it to be. With my friend who was present and with the provider, I laughed and danced and revelled in the glory of all that we are.

It doesn’t happen like that all the time.

Many are not so fortunate. In this psychedelic renaissance, many use ‘consciousness medicines’—as Françoise Bourzat would call them—without even knowing what they’re using. Weekly, I hear from people who have had difficult experiences with 5/bufo, typically because they had no idea what they were getting themselves into (and/or the practitioner did not create a safe, secure, solid, sacred container). Even so, does one have to have a reason to use them?

conscious: 1) aware of and responding to one’s surroundings; 2) having knowledge of something; 3) [of an action or feeling] deliberate and intentional;
—from Latin conscius ‘knowing with others or in oneself’

Half a year or so after my first experience, the idea came to me to have another session. This time I asked myself why. I had no ‘why’ the first time. I couldn’t imagine how there may be more of singularity to explore. I did wonder, however, how I may get more out of the personal development work that would follow.

Because from that first time, I began to love myself. I immediately accepted myself more than I ever had. More than an act, I was in acceptance, in the love. I was more aware that I had not been accepting myself—and of how that affected my relations with others. I appreciated this (and the grief it brought) and thought that there may be more aspects of myself that I could draw my attention to.

An intention to simply pay attention.

consciousness: a person’s awareness or perception of something ; the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world

aware: having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact; concerned and well informed about a particular situation or development

When consciousness expands, what one is aware of encompasses ‘more’. The content of that ‘more’ is often not programmable or foreseeable. Stan Grof has called the expanded consciousness one experiences with breathwork a non-specific state. Given the vast array of experiences that can be had with 5/bufo, it would be safe to say that 5/bufo is also a non-specific medicine. I do believe that it has a specific function: to reveal that very impersonal realm of oneness. To arrive at that state, the personal must be relinquished.

As individual consciousness expands to the point/diffusion of a non-dual state, any specific desire the person has had is incorporated in the All. If an intention were to be still identified, that would mean that there’s still an identifier.

Who creates intention?
The self-identifier.
The mind.
The self.
The I.

How do you make God laugh? Tell them your plans.

resist: (verb) withstand the action or effect of; try to prevent by action or argument

resist: (noun) a resistant substance applied as a coating to protect a surface during a process

The very thing that formulates intention is the very thing that, in the 5 experience, is being asked to dissolve: the mind. Attachment to the mind’s intention—its aim, its plan—is yet another thread that needs to be let go of in order for the mind to surrender to what is being asked of it (to let go). When the attachment to what mind wants is being held on to, the energy of that hold can be experienced as resistance. So, we must let go of the reason ‘why’ we are even there, at that moment, bringing this substance into our body. As Rak Razam might put it, we must allow for the “heavenly permissions and protocols” to prevail. Perhaps even despite our intentions.

The peak experience (or, full release) is when attention is diffused to the extent that no specific point of focus is discernable or possible. Once the peak experience has passed, though, what one can do is direct attention to what is happening n the moment. Somatically, affectively, and cognitively there are signs, hints, and a trail of fresh tracks that would lead us back to the oceanic fullness of that One.

Pay attention (noticing), be with (presencing), and then respond (as opposed to reacting).

The grace in me after my first experience was that I had, thanks to my background in conscious connected breathwork, the wherewithal to attend to my experience by noticing what was going on for me. I looked to the ‘what’ as opposed to the ‘why’.

To have the intention to improve the quality of our life experience or to explore consciousness is a gift and is noble. One cannot programme the 5/bufo experience entirely. One can, however, allow the experience to be what it is, and learn from it by noticing how we respond to it. A conscientious practitioner can greatly assist with that.

Then, what is their intention?

 

 

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inspired being

“All you need to do is breathe. The teachings will come. Immerse yourself. There may not be a certificate at the end, but not everyone taking a plane needs to learn how to be the pilot.”

inspire: (1) fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative ; (2) inhale

Je dis en français : «laissez-vous être inspirés».

A direct translation may be “Let yourself be inspired.” This play on words doesn’t have the same affect in English. Even though ‘to inspire’ has the same meanings, English-speakers rarely use it that way, it would be better said “Let yourself be breathed.”

 

Teacher in Training

I get asked this a lot : Do you train other facilitators?
My answer is: no, not now.

My reason has many parts. The main part is that it is not, at this moment, my highest calling. Yes, I have, by now, 6+ years experience with a sample size of 2000+ participants in small group contexts. And I LOVE sharing my learnings with the breath, whether in a personalised therapeutic sessions, initiatory discoveries in group ceremonies, or ceremonies with teachings in the Immersion (retreat) context. But training others to be facilitators? Not now. I’m still learning myself.

I imagine that if I had poured as much energy, time, and resources into my breathwork practise in the last 3-4 years as I had other work, maybe I’d have developed a training programme, or been more involved with the International Breathwork Foundation, or maybe have written a book like Dan Brulé and Giten Tonkov (which are great, by the way). No, I haven’t yet contributed to the breathwork world in these ways. My focus has been on my other passion and sense of right livelihood, what I call the Breath of Five. Nevertheless, conscious connected breathwork has always been at the core of all my lessons and continues to be the core of all my teachings. Indeed, as I embody the breath-as-medicine, I am able to translate and transmit how the breath is the ultimate teacher.

And so I have let the breath inform, infuse, and influence everything I offer. The primordial nature of this modality is inspiration enough. Because it is practically synonymous with life itself, the breath doesn’t have a trademark: Essence, Transformational, Biodynamic, Holotropic, Clarity, Rebirthing….

I AM the breath.
You are the breath, too.
And it needn’t have a name.

Embodiment and continual offerings, both in individual therapeutic contexts as well as ceremonial, are my contribution to the world of breath work. I have been inspired by and I bow to the teachers and leaders who have taken charge of training other teachers. Teacher and trainer need not be the same thing, however. I pay tribute to those from whom I have learned by continuing to breathe others. That continuation is my contribution.

I’m a tributary. This is how I currently teach.

All you need to do is breathe. The teachings will come. Immerse yourself. There may not be a certificate at the end, but not everyone taking a plane needs to learn how to be the pilot.

Enjoy the ride.

Let it take you to your destination.

Let yourself be breathed.

 

 

 

 

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Nature vs. Nurture: For All My Relations

Nature vs. Nurture: For All My Relations

This vasectomy–what I call my V-Day–marks a new chapter in my life story. And it's an unapologetic HIStory. Aware that this is so much different than using contraception, seeing the smoke rise from my burning vas deferens solderised a new recognition and...

read more