Weekend Workshop at The Abbey Sutton Courtenay

Saturday the 19th and Sunday 20th of September 2015

  The Kabbalah

   Awakening to Unity

  with Stephen Pope

 “At your core is your spiritual Being. It is accessible to you now. This is the essence of Kabbalah.”

Kabbalah teaches that the spiritual dimension is not distant or separate. It is present within us right now, as the core of our being and the Essence of who we really are. Only our mind-made sense of separation and fear keep us from awakening to the direct experience of Unity and Peace with all life.

Patterns of Creation - book coverLike the mystics and shamans of every culture, as we awaken spiritually, we make the mystical, journeys of ascent into the formless heavenly realities, and descent into the life of the body and the natural world and know them both as aspects of the One Creation.

This weekend we will work with some of the most powerful gateways to spiritual awakening – expanding awareness through meditation and the conscious breath, awakening the vital energy of the body and connecting with the animal spirits and the living Earth.

From this comes true freedom, as we transcend the mind dominated by ego to know our Unity with all life and realize the Peace and Stillness of Sacred Presence at our core.

A practicing mystic in the Kabbalistic tradition for over thirty years and a meditation teacher for the past 20 years, Steve Pope has a B.D and MA in Theology and translates Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts. His book Patterns of Creation –Axis Mundi Books, June 2012. Is a radical and acclaimed exploration of the mystical teachings in the Gospel of John.

 10.00am Saturday – 4.00pm Sunday, including evening session on Saturday                           

Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals   £165
You can join us for this companion Friday evening session as well  at a special price with two nights accommodation   £190

The Heart of the Wild

 7 – 9pm on Friday 18th September
with Eleanor O’Hanlon and Stephen Pope 

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The mystical and shamanic traditions teach that all life is conscious, interconnected and whole and we humans can commune with the spirits of minerals, plants, animals and the Earth itself. Western science and religious dogma broke that connection between humans and other life.

But now western science and shamanic teachings have begun to meet – many leading researchers in animal behaviour have come to see animals as conscious individuals that can choose to interact and commune with us.

Award-winning author Eleanor O’Hanlon speaks about this recent revolution and shares her own experiences of intimate connection with wild creatures from the desert elephants and rhinos of Namibia to the gray whales in Baja California. And with guided meditation, Stephen Pope takes us deeper into direct experience of inner connection with the animal spirits and the living Earth.

Eleanor O’Hanlon is a writer and conservationist. Her book Eyes of the Wild won the 2014 Nautilus Gold Award for Nature Writing. http:www.eyesofthewild.org

  £12 suggested donation for the Friday evening only 

All bookings through The Abbey Sutton Courtenay:

 The Abbey Sutton Courtenay, Oxon OX14 4AF 
Telephone: 01235 847 401 
Email: admin@theabbey.uk.com  
http://www.theabbey.uk.com              

September Retreat in Southern France.

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Meditation on Conscious Communion

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Everything is Alive – everything is Conscious.

All the stars, planets, all of the minerals, plants and animals: All are creative life forms within the One sea of consciousness. All are expressions of the single conscious breath, behind which, Life is Still, Silent, timeless, Presence.

In biblical Hebrew Elohim (usually translated as God) expresses timeless Creative Presence.

As you read this now: Breathe with awareness, feel the spaciousness within connecting to all that appears as external to you.

אֱלֹהִים

Eternal – timeless – formless – Presence;

Formless movement out of the present moment; 

Conscious Breath of Life; 

Creative Potentiality, 

taking shape and form as the Great Ocean of Creative Space. 

Feel the stillness out of which the movement of the breath arises. 

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The Universe shines forth continuous creativity, and we bathe in its Brilliance. 

The Light of Consciousness.

The Sun blazes this same Cosmic Brilliance, a cell within the great Universal body.

The Earth is that Brilliance; 

All life forms are that Brilliance;

You are that Brilliance in Human form.

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Become conscious of the movement of your breath, anchoring you in Presence.

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A Blue Whale on a rolling breath, Loreto, Baja California, Mexico.

You are a point of consciousness within multiple fields of consciousness that interpenetrate each other: A multi-dimentional being within a multi-dimentional Universe.

When you realise the formless unity of all these fields of consciousness you share life with, you partake in conscious communion.

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You are connected to a vast web of life, from sub atomic particles to the Earth itself. You are connected to the Solar system and the Stars of the Galaxy, to the depths of the Cosmos.

Planet-earthAll that we experience through the physical senses is the surface of things. 

Breathe consciously and feel the aliveness opening out beneath the surface.

As you go within, following the conscious breath, you enter a multi-dimensional creative Universe, obscured by the compulsive thinking of the egoic mind.

The intense aliveness within you is met by the intensity of aliveness in all that appears to the mind as the external Universe.

The call To Be in immediate Presence brings Peace and Inspiration into the World.

This is your gift to all Life.

Subject and object diminish into the One Conscious Communion of Life.

Easter 2015 Retreat in Southern France: Practicing Conscious Presence

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The Birth of Spiritual Consciousness

  Spiritual Consciousness begins as a seed within the heart of every Woman and Man.2014-10-11 23.38.18

This is the Birth of  creative potentiality within, which takes place when you become Conscious of Being Conscious. This is  spiritual awakening. It means you are no longer identified with your thoughts. The mind is silenced and you are aware of the spacious stillness within.

The seed of spiritual awakening is carried on the Conscious Breath.

The Seed of Life

The Seed of Life – the six directions of Space.

The seed of consciousness comes from the depths of who you really are. It exists as creative potential wihtin you now. For it to blossom, open, grow and bear fruit, you need to give it conscious space.

As you read this now, feel the space within you. Feel the aliveness of the energy field that continually manifests your body.

Feel the aliveness of the breath entering the body, entering every cell in your body.

The birth of Cosmic Consciousness is not someting abstract. The beginning is here, within you, now. You know, without thinking, that everything is alive; inner and outer are connected, continually emerging out of the formless, timeless One.

The Seed of Consciousness becomes a Great Tree. 

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Life is a Cosmic Event and the Cosmos is the visible surface of muti-dimensional space in which creation continually occurs. Life on Earth is inseparable from the creativity of the Cosmos.

Evolution is the continual creative change in the single multidimensional being we call the Earth.  Our planet is evolving along with the Solar System, which is the fruit of the Tree of Cosmic Consciousness: The Tree of Life. 

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Artistic representation of the Geometric Tree of Life – from the Madīnat az-Zahrā, Cordoba, Spain. 10th Century.

You are a Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life – depicted by the illuminated Minorah – symbolising the energy centres within you that give life to your mind and body.

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You are the light of consciousness.

The light that animates spirit, that illuminates soul, that breathes every form you inhabit, into existence.

Spiritual consciousness is already here, within you now.

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The sacred geometric pattern that forms the Tree of Life:  Sephardi synagogue, Cordoba, Spain.

 As awareness of the formless I of Being increases, the illusory i of the ego diminishes: You realise your connection with every living thing, on the Earth, in the Solar system and ultimately, the multi-dimensional Universe.

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life gives birth to multiple flowers of Life – you are a Tree in human form. (Tree of Life diagram, from my book Patterns of Creation.)

The Flower of Life

The Seed of Life becomes the Flower of Life: I Am that I Am: the continual creation of life from out of the Eternal Presence of God: When we breathe with awareness we access the universal creative pattern of life.

The Flower of Life:
Creation continually emerges from out of  Eternal Presence: When we breathe with awareness we access the universal creative pattern of life.

The Flower of Life is the fulfilment of the Universal potential in you, which grows out of the death of the ego.

This brings to an end to the illusion that you are a separate self within a vast, empty universe.

The universe is alive with splendour, full of potential and intimately here, now, breathing through you, bringing you to birth on every breath.

The Essence of Life

2014-10-01 06.49.30This blog post is inspired by a walking meditation in forested mountains on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

Meditation in the Forest.

Through the conscious breath I felt a deepening connection with the underlying Spirit of Life.

On the surface of things, Life is not meant to be easy, the struggle for life means death is ever present: the continual creative upwelling demands intense awareness from the life forms inhabiting the Earth. 

Alert awakened Presence is the cutting edge of continual renewal, as the essence of Life shapes the manifest World.

In the intense Presence of Life – beneath the appearance of things – everything is known 

to be One.

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In reflecting Conscious Presence, inner and outer dissolve into One: There is no other. That which Is the underlying formless source of external reality, is felt, and known, to be within.

Beneath the different forms of multiple movements lies the great Ocean of formless fluidity, Ha-Main in Hebrew, potent life force, fluid space allowing all things to be in existence, to interact, one with another, to transform from one form into another.

Each life form has its time before it dissolves to be reborn anew.

 הַמַּיִם

Ha Maim – the Waters of Life.

Nothing is separate; the beholding consciousness meets that of the conscious whole. All our mind-made divisions resolve into One breath.

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The 11th century German Mystic Hildegard of Bingen spoke of the intense Greenness of Life as the expression of God’s Presence.

In ancient Hebrew the expression of the intensity of Life is found in the words, Ani El Shaddai. These words point to the reality that is the foundation of the Abundant Life of the natural World. Usually mistranslated as “I am Almighty God”, its meaning is much deeper:- 

אֲנִי־אֵל שַׁדַּי

 Ani – El Saddai

I – the One, the all nourishing essence of Life.

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אֲנִי

Ani – The I of consciousness – Being – The Real,

Still, Presence.

Be Still and breathe with awareness of the life force within you.

The physical Universe continually emerges out of intense alert Presence.

אֵל

El -No-thing, Being, source of the continual flow of Life; the creative dance- every movement emerging out of, and supported by Stillness.

The potency and potential of every emergent life form.

שַׁדַּי

Shaddai; all nourishing abundance, the vivifying fire, the breath of cosmic motion; the feminine breasts – to nourish its progeny into evolving, ever changing, diversifying life.

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With Her foot resting upon a skull – She symbolises the still centre, beyond the cycles of life and death.

El-Shaddai: The power of Life that underlies nature, the planetary being, the solar system, the galaxy and the universe, continually breathes life into every form.

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To Breathe with awareness is to begin to engage fully with life – to meet consciousness with consciousness.

  When we breathe with awareness we access the universal creative pattern of life.

 The realisation of non-dualuality, each movement unified by awareness of stillness. 

 Universal Creativity revealed in consciousness beholding itself.

One Breath Meditation

 

Corsican Sunset

Corsican Sunset

On Sun warmed rock, a gentle wind caressing my skin, the deepening rhythmic pulse of the sea fills my senses, opening out into the fathomless deep of creative potential.

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Sun enraptured rock, the earth rising up blood-red into flesh and bones.

The rising wind blows through me.

Cells suspended in ever expanding space, the rhythmic sea, mirrored in the rising and falling Breath.

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Ancient iron rich lava flow – Corsica

Landscape, wind and ocean merge as one continuous up-welling movement within timeless, still space, continuously filling to the brim.

I am no more. 

Life moves through and beyond any thought of me.

אֲנִי

Ani, the I of consciousness in Hebrew,

the fullness of Life; No-thing, Presence, becoming all.

The Universe’s singing like a great bowl consumes me into her song.

She takes me into herself,

I, without thought; deepening Presence – the spirit of the breath of Life.

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The radiance of every form of Life rings out continually to humanity calling us into awakening.

אֶֽהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶֽהְיֶה

Ehieh Asher Ehieh

Ehieh is the unspoken manta heard in each consciously taken Breath.

One Breath filling every form of life with song,

each part in communion as the dance unfolds in the blaze of the universe.

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NASA – hs interacting spiral Galaxies

The Kingdom of Heaven

IMG_3261The Kingdom of Heaven is Present within you here, now.

The spiritual teachings contained in the Bible can be summed up by this simple phrase.

When you are Present with all your attention, and all thinking subsides, you begin to glimpse the reality sustaining every form of Life.

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Clarity emerges from No-Mind Consciousness; Alert, Still, Presence.

Where is the Kingdom of Heaven?

You cannot say here it is or there it is.

Once the mind stops looking for something that stands out as if it were a distinct place you have to search for, reach or find, you begin to see, hear and feel the formless creative presence of life, the Essence of the visible universe. At first this awareness is so subtle that it goes almost unnoticed. Yet, it is here as potent reality within you now; that which the mind cannot grasp, own, or contain, the transcendent beauty that brings a deep sense of Peace.

IMG_3062Heaven and Earth – the formless universe and the universe of forms – are intimately intertwined as lovers who behold the One in each other.

To enter the Kingdom of Heaven is to become still, silent – no thought, no mind, just an alert awareness, the realisation that all forms in what appears as the external world are transparent, an empty fullness, an unfathomable beauty, the pressure of creative life seeking to be consciously known within you.

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Allow all thoughts to flow through your attentive awareness, without following the stream – just be the witness seeing that all thoughts are transient, continually arising and dissolving.

Letting go of thoughts and emotions is the beginning of freedom. The ego, the person, becomes transparent, there is nothing you need, to be who you are. This is to enter the place of Peace.

In the language of the Bible this is to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. However as the mind notices the deepening Peace and beauty, it begins to label and conceptualize it as a “spiritual”  experience. The essence underlying all forms of Life appers to vanish, obscured as the mind resumes its chatter. And we think the the Heavenly realm is gone, that we have lost it.

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Practice being consciously present with simple and seemingly small things. Witness Universal Consciousness within the tiniest flower, feel the Abundance of Creative Life.

To regain a sense of Presence: Be Still and alert: breathe with awareness: feel the aliveness in the spinal cord, in the arms and legs, in the heart, and the deep centre of the skull, flowing into and out of every cell in your body: As the awakened Soul, engage with the Spirit of Life flowing into and sustaining all things.

Every creative Idea, every creative act comes from this point of conscious stillness within the heart. All subject – object relating diminishes into the realisation that all is One.

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Dwelling in Peace – gratitude for the aliveness and infinite beauty manifest as the World.

The Kingdom of Heaven is dynamic potential of every living thing.

Continual change, yet underneath never-changing.

The Kingdom of Heaven – Malkut Ha Shamaim in Hebrew – Is Here within you Now, as it is within every form of Life. 

It is not something you need to wait for, or somewhere you will go to if you believe in a story, or follow a set of rules.

Heaven and Earth are a seamless garment of non-duality: the real and the appearance of that eternal reality within the One consciousness.

 

Awakening

 

Patmos

Sunrise from the Cave of the Revelation, former Temple to the Goddess Artemis, Grikos beach, Patmos, Greece.

Spiritual awakening is not personal; it is freedom from all ego identity and its resultant suffering. Spiritual awakening is part of the collective awakening of humanity, the evolving consciousness of the life of the Earth, the Solar System and Stars, and the Cosmos itself. In Conscious Presence you come to Know that everything is alive, and that everything is connected. 

Dawn on the sea of Galilee

The Sun rises above the Jordanian Hills to shine upon the sea of Galilee. In mystical teachings the Sun walks upon the waters of Life, it’s non-visible Light -the essence of all Life – greets and enters the awakening heart.

The dawn light is always present on the Earth.

The Seed of Life

Healing begins as a Seed of Life deep within our inner Space.

Awakening illuminates all of the pain that we carry within us. The pain that you feel is not only personal, your pain is linked to the human collective pain and suffering which have accumulated over thousands of years.

To feel our emotions is an essential part of healing: realising wholeness. Even more important is to feel the stillness of space underlying and surrounding our emotions so that we don’t become identified with our emotional body. The mind will quickly turn powerful emotions into ego identities, unless we bring them into conscious presence: the intense aliveness that cries out from every cell in the body; and beyond that, the stillness that brings peace.

The Seed of Life becomes the Flower of Life: I Am that I Am: the continual creation of life from out of the Eternal Presence of God: When we breathe with awareness we access the universal creative pattern of life.

The Seed of Life becomes the Flower of Life:
When we breathe with awareness, opening the heart, we access the universal creative pattern of life.

Breathing from the heart and solar plexus stills the mind, and brings awareness to the aliveness of the spinal cord. Awakening to the vibrant aliveness of the spine through the conscious breath, you feel life flowing through the arms into the hands, and through the legs into the feet, and the opening of the Pineal gland at the top of the spine – behind the forehead.

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Movement and Stillness in water and stone. Underlying all movement is Still Presence, unnoticed until we still the mind. The still mind is empty of thought, yet full of alert awareness.

Holding still, thought-free, space for a few seconds during quiet moments throughout your day, calms the emotions and allows all the thought forms that cling to the ego identity to begin to dissolve.

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Allow your inner Being to open and blossom.

Allow yourself moments of freedom from thought throughout the day.

Be Still and move from there. Be silent and speak from there.