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.

Be Still and Know

IMG_3062Be still, become silent within (no mind), and know, as revelation,

the “I” that is Elohim: The presence of Absolute Life; Total Consciousness.

This “I” is the arising (spiritual awakening) out of all that is unconscious in humanity.  

This “I” is the arising consciousness of every life form.                 

Psalm 46:10 (My translation).

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The “I” that is Elohim means no ego, no identification with any form. To realise the “I” that is Elohim is to be at One with the essence of all life.

Realising the still, quiet centre within reveals the essence of who you are. Begin simply by concentrating on the rhythmic motion of the breath, and bring your attention to the aliveness of the energy field that manifests your body. Every cell is vitally alive, the conscious breath helps you to realise this, by focusing your attention into the present moment.

This “I” is the creative, formless essence out of which all forms continually arise, and into which they continually dissolve.

Feel it now in the blood coursing through your veins, and in the air entering and leaving your lungs.

Through inner still silence, beyond the thinking mind, comes the realisation of the “I” that is pure Consciousness – Consciousness that is aware of itself. 

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 Be Still and Breathe consciously, following each breath with all of your attention. 

To Know (Yadah in Hebrew) also means unknowing – letting go of all that the mind has accumulated as intellectual knowing, all thoughts and identities.

To Know is to feel the universal aliveness within every cell in your body, to realize with pure clarity the Unity and interconnectedness of all things.   

Be Still, allowing the Breath to arise and fall out of the stillness.

Be at one with the still silence in which everything exists,

Be the “I” that is Elohim,

the revelation of life, which is true knowledge, without subject or object.

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From deep within, witness, as conscious presence,

the revelation of life as multi-dimensional creative power,

the revelation of the timelesse essence of all life.

dying star - NASA - Hubble image

dying star – NASA – Hubble image

As the ego dissolves, we discover (as revelation) Universal Being, not as one being discovering another, but through the consciousness of Being itself.

 The timeless, formless “I” – Elohim – is Universal Intelligence out of which all life continually emerges. Here within you Now, Present in your every breath. 

Entering the Place of Peace – September 2014 Weekend Workshop on Kabbalah

The Abbey Sutton Courtenay

“At your core is your spiritual Being. It is accessible to you now. This is the essence of Kabbalah.” (From Patterns of Creation.)

Weekend workshop Saturday the 27th and Sunday 28th of September 2014 With Stephen Pope, Author of Patterns of Creation Logos and the Tree of Life in the Gospel of John (Axis Mundi Books 2012)

This workshop focuses on finding Inner Peace. In Kabbalah Peace is understood as the core of who we are, synonymous with Presence, and the stillness of Being. From inner Peace we realise our intimate connection to the whole of life, to all that exists in nature and the entire Universe.

Inner Peace, is the end of all of our projections: it equates with true love, which means no enemies and marks the end of all our unconscious destructive behaviour towards the natural world.

During the weekend we will work with meditation, contemplation, conscious breathing and the energy field of the body to reconnect with the Place of Peace within each of us. From this awareness comes true freedom, as we experience these profound spiritual truths for ourselves and move beyond the mind dominated by ego into the stillness and the peace of Presence at the core.

A practicing mystic in the Kabbalistic tradition for over thirty 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 2012 is a radical exploration of the mystical teachings in the Gospel of John.

“This remarkable and profound work takes the understanding of the gospel to a new level.”

 Scientific and Medical Network review.

“You don’t have to a be a kabbalist to appreciate this really fascinating and enlightening book..it truly brought the teachings to life for me. It really is teaching at its very best.”

Goodreads Review. 

10.00am Saturday -­‐ 4.00pm Sunday, including evening session on Saturday £165. Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals. You have the option of arriving on Friday for the evening seminar, The Peace of Wild Things. Join us for both with two nights accommodation for £190

Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals.

To confirm booking please contact:The Abbey Sutton Courtenay, Oxon OX14 4AF 

http://www.theabbey.uk.com 

admin@theabbey.uk.com

Tel: 01235 847401

And for further details about the course please send an email to: stevepope59@hotmail.com