1. Attuning Our Communication. We begin with communication because everything is in communication with everything. That’s how we know we exist. That’s how we know others exist. Authentic, attuned, and conscious communication is a receptive process in which we genuinely listen to others, and to ourselves, and speak from the heart of our listening. This listening activates neural networks that connect us at the deepest levels.
2. Harmonizing Our Breath. Our breathing not only relaxes, vitalizes, and harmonizes mind and body, but it is a template for our balanced and reciprocal relationship to all our experience. Our breath is an expression of a greater rhythm that runs through all creation, and it is a great ally in our path of healing and transformation.
3. Supporting Our Heart. Our heart is, biologically as well as poetically, the electromagnetic center of our body. It is the presence of the universal within the individual, congruent with the electromagnetic fields of the body, the earth, the solar system, and the galaxies. It is our interface with the world and its function is to arrive at harmony inside and out. This function is over-ridden by negative emotions, and nourished by positive emotions. We can actively cultivate the positive emotions that support our heart.
4. Befriending Our Brain. The brain is a great information processor in service to the heart. But it may serve instead a separate agenda – its own projections and conditioning that naturally arise from its own feedback loops. Our most evolved brain function, however, is capable of choosing mindful and non-reactive awareness that befriends the brain and is open to all information, while also directly attuning to the heart.
5. Ego and Essence. There is an essential principle of consciousness and presence unfolding in us and expressing through us as a unique individuality. There are also reflexive feedback loops of self-consciousness that contribute to a separated sense of self, or ego. These lead to two different paradigms of psycho-physiological functioning. We can help ourselves evolve through the paradigm of ego to the paradigm of essence.
6. Childhood and Emotional Integration. Childhood is a time of great openness and vulnerability in which we are processing potentially overwhelming information, emotionally and cognitively. Sometimes the only way we can handle this is to “split off” some of our awareness and our emotion from “ourselves.” Until we learn to re-integrate these parts of ourselves it will compromise how we integrate all experience. This affects how we parent and how we heal.
7. Healing Separation. Our lives are largely defined by our patterns of integrating experience or of flinching from experience. There is a way to call upon both the brain and the heart to help us re-embrace those parts of ourselves, and those parts of our experience, that we thought we couldn’t handle. This is also to empower our own capacity for compassion and for love in service to ourselves and to others.
8. Primordial States of Being. The Buddhists, consistent with many other spiritual traditions, identified several primordial states of being, notably love, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity, and distinguish these from the emotions. They are essential or underlying harmonious states of being that when filtered through the lens of the ego refract to a variety of relative and reactive emotions and mental states – including emotions and states that may appear quite opposite to these primordial states. We can learn to distinguish the relative and primordial states within us and learn how to call upon the primordial states to bring greater context and harmony back to the relative states.
9. Attention, Choice, and Evolution. Outside the narrow and arbitrary debate between evolution and intelligent design, there is a growing arena of harmony in our scientific and spiritual perspectives on the nature of evolution. We will look at how what unfolds last in evolution – consciousness, choice, love – is what is most innate; how we are called upon to participate in this unfolding; and how our maturity is the fulfillment, not the abandonment, of our childhood.
10. Open Awareness, Intimacy, and Freedom. Our intention is the creative force which will allow the opening of our awareness to greater intimacy in both the human realm and the spiritual realm. Attentive presence unfolds to intimacy, and intimacy unfolds to revelation. The unfolding of awareness and love, which is no longer fixated on narrow and illusory projections of the mind or emotional reactivity, is the gateway to our freedom.
11. Re-Integrating Our Bodies. This wonderful body of ours is the expression and celebration of all the creative forces of our being, and is in potential harmony with these forces. The reactivity of the thinking mind and the emotions continually stimulate each other, and both register in the musculo-skeletal structure, in our breath and metabolic functions, in the electromagnetic field of the body, and in our capacity for self-care. There is a conscious path to re-integration of the mind, the body, and the energetic fields of life that leaves us more healthy, coherent, transparent, and integrated within and without.