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Inner Work

Changing The World By Changing Myself First

An Interview With Tan Hwee-Meng, Director Of The School Of Inner Work

What is Inner Work?

In the broadest sense of the word, Inner Work can be applied to any transformational work that we do to express our highest qualities such as love, power, strength, will, understanding, peace and patience.

I remember one of my teachers’ remarking that if a wise sage were to tell him that doing headstands whilst singing the national anthem for a year would make him wise, he would gladly do it. Well, if that process were to transform me into a wise person, I would consider it to be a form of inner work!

Inner Work is the inner growth from being a childish egocentric personality to being a spiritually mature adult. Each of us must consciously choose to embark on this path of awakening. No one can take this journey for us. NO ONE! Each of us must make our own commitment to manifest our personal best. I urge each of us to take this leap.

We are living in a time of the most extensive and rapid change in human history. What we do with our lives can make a difference as to whether our planet grow or die. More than ever, we need to bring forth our inner gifts and strengths to create a better world.

You use the term, spiritually mature adult?  Can you explain what that means?

You can split the term into 2 concepts; a spiritual adult and a mature adult.

Let us talk about a mature adult.  We erroneously assume that just because our physical bodies have grown to full maturity that our psychological self is also mature.  This is rarely the case.  Having an adult body is no guarantee that we have an adult mind, adult emotions and adult behaviors.   Unless we do the inner work to grow psychologically, many of us still have incredibly childish responses to life or we act like immature teenagers.  For instance, you may have met adults who throw tantrums, sulk or throw things on the ground when they don’t get their way.  That may be age-appropriate behavior for a 2 year old but it is an immature reaction to not having your own way.

Immature patterns of behavior sabotage your chance of personal happiness and success in life.  So, if you cannot cope with life effectively, if you are unable to create intimacy in relationships, if you do not know how to pursue your dreams and goals, or if you are overwhelmed by your negative emotions like low self-esteem, anger, jealousy and hatred, I recommend that you do the inner work to grow psychologically into a healthy, functional and mature adult. Personal growth programs like inner child healing, communication skills, assertiveness training, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), motivational programs, relationship counseling, or any program that teaches you self-responsibility and self-esteem are appropriate types of inner work.  I also really recommend the book, How to be An Adult by David Richo.

I want to share one of the most useful advice I have ever received.  Whatever problem in life you are facing now, whether it is financial, sexual, relationship, career, life direction or parenting, you are not alone.  Someone else on this planet has met with the same problem and has dealt with it effectively.  Reach out and ask for help.  Be willing to learn and grow.  One of the most erroneous beliefs that holds you back in life is when you think you are the only one with your problems.  YOU ARE NOT.

So, what about spiritual adult?

This part of you has to do with the mystery of your being.  Who are you before you are born?  Who are you after you have died?  What is the meaning of life?

In this path of inner work that I teach, there is recognition that we are spiritual beings living in a human body.  Who we are is not just our human personality.  We are spiritual beings as well.

If we see ourselves as only the ego personality in a human body, it is hard to cope with the fundamentals of human existence such as birth, illness and death.  In life, there is always suffering.  We must find some way or some practice that help us transcend our human existence and our limited identification with the human body.   Spiritual practices and spiritual studies are an integral part of inner work because they help remind us of the deeper dimension of our being – our spiritual nature.  Our spiritual nature is in fact who we really are.

To be a spiritually mature adult is to walk between 2 worlds, the world of heaven and earth?

Yes.  We recognize our inner divinity as well as honor our human incarnation.  In the school, 2 sets of skills are taught.  The first deals with how to live on this earth plane and the other helps us connect more deeply with our spiritual being.  Both sets of skills are essential to reclaim our wholeness.

Can you name and recommend any particular form of inner work? 

In today’s world, we are very blessed to have access to such a broad and deep range of Inner Work, drawn from many modern and ancient masters from around the world.

There are psychotherapeutic approaches such as Gestalt therapy, spiritual approaches such as the yogic path or meditation, body-centered approaches such as Core Energetics, energetic approaches such as breathwork…   the list is endless.

In the School of Inner Work, I have gathered tools and resources from many disciplines and schools of thought that I have found effective for healing and transformation.  However, it does not really matter what kind of inner work you do as long as you have a practice or a discipline that helps you become a better and freer person in life.

Just watch your process.  Do you feel your life and yourself opening up more and more?  If that form of inner work is right for you, there will be a sense of expansion, of being freer and lighter over time.  However if your practice is causing you to be more judgmental and  rigid and you have a sense of contracting more deeply into fear and paranoia, you may wish to check if that practice is still right for you.

For example, meditation is a great inner work practice.  I have seen some meditators that have meditated for decades and instead of becoming more spacious and at peace with life, they have unresolved anger and hatred in their relationships. Another great inner work practice is to see a therapist to heal your relationships with your family of origin. However, if you have spent 15 years dealing with your childhood issues and your life is still deeply overshadowed by your relationship with your Mother, then, you may want to consider changing your inner work practice or adding another type of practice such as forgiveness practice.

There are so many forms of Inner Work to cater for the many different temperaments as well as stages of inner development.  It is crucial to understand that you may need different types of inner work at different stages in your life.  You really need to develop your own path and not to copy anyone else.

Ultimately, inner work is about becoming a fully conscious and awake human being.  Whatever discipline takes you into a deeper place of peace, inner knowing, wisdom and open-heartedness is great. Whatever helps you manifest your highest potential in this life is wonderful.

 

How has inner work changed your life? 

Inner Work has made me who I am today.    Let me share one example.

Doing inner work has helped me to live more fully and more authentically in my life.  When I began my inner journey, I wanted to run away from my life.  I was always fantasizing I was someone else or I was somewhere else.  I felt that my life was a total disappointment; mediocre and boring.  I was also a bitter person, constantly wishing that my life could have been different.

After travelling thousands of miles to study with spiritual teachers, wise masters and anyone who has any answer on how to transform myself, this long journey has led me back home to myself.  Letting go of the need to be somebody else, go someplace else and have something else have helped me to embrace my life more fully.  The inner knowing that who I am right now is okay and where I am in my journey is perfect for me right now, has calmed a lot of my inner struggles and demons. Even the struggles and the difficult times are meant to be and so, I can stop trying so hard to fight myself and my process. I have greater inner peace.

I can relax more deeply into my life and I delight in the preciousness of each moment.  The joy of seeing someone I love sitting across me, the warmth of the sun at the back of my neck, the smell of freshly baked bread and the singing of birds – how rich and exquisite the ordinary moments of life are. I sometimes laugh because I had to travel half way across the world and live half my life to learn this lesson.

Another wonderful gift of Inner Work has been to the opening and awakening of my heart.  It has become much easier for me to express my deepest feelings for people that I care about and to have the courage to love others and myself.  I have slowly learned that people are what matters most, not success, fame or fortune.

I have just become a kinder, more patient and understanding person. Perhaps many people would think, “What is the big deal?”  But these values are important to me, or rather, they have become important to me. Being kind, patient and understanding may not bring huge recognition in our culture but guess what? I am a happier person because of these qualities.

 

What inspired you to create the School of Inner Work? 

Our traditional way of schooling may prepare us well for our careers but it is completely inadequate to prepare us for life.  There is a real need for alternative lifelong education if we really want to take responsibility for our own happiness and wellbeing.

My own joy and contentment have been the fruits of a commitment to lifelong learning with personal and spiritual growth teachers.  I am enormously grateful for their wisdom and love.  I wanted to share what has excited me and what has worked for me, hoping that someone else may find what I have learned to be useful.

My vision is to create an environment where people could feel safe and supported to be true to themselves and at the same time, learn skills to create a life that is in alignment with their deepest values and most secret dreams.

When I was young, I was very moved by this poem.

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits,
I dreamed of changing the world;
As I grew older and wiser, I realized the world would not change.
And I decided to shorten my sights somewhat
and change only my country.
But it too seemed immovable.

As I entered my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt,
I sought to change only my family, those closest to me,
but alas they would have none of it.

And now I lie on my death bed
And realize (perhaps for the first time) that
if only I’d changed myself first,
then by example, I may have influenced my family
and with their encouragement and support
I may have bettered my country,
and who knows I may have changed the world.

Written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop

I really believe that if you want to make a difference in the world, it is important to start with yourself first.  Change yourself first.  Work on yourself first.  I have practiced this principle over 2 decades now and my life has really changed.  I have more loving relationships and I am able to be a source of support for many people.

Can we do inner work by ourselves? 

That really depends on where you are in your development.  Unless you are enlightened, I think, it is better to work on yourself in the company of others.  Spiritual teachers have always taught the value of spiritual brotherhood and sisterhood.

Firstly, a lot of our pain, shame and self-hatred originated in relationship to other people.  Most of us were shamed by our elders in the process of growing up.  We may have been judged, ridiculed or shamed for being who we are.  It is important to heal in the non-judgemental and loving eyes of another human being.

Let me give you an example.  One of my clients had a very lively, curious and passionate personality.  As a child, she was told that girls should not laugh so loud, girls should not ask too many questions and girls should be shy.  This part of her that is full of curiosity and energy about life felt so ashamed and went into hiding.  She carried the belief that there was something unfeminine and unattractive about herself for a long time.  She had to keep holding back her natural aliveness and her adventurous personality.  In an inner work process, I told her that it was okay to laugh out loud and to be bold and adventurous.  A huge relief went through her body.  It was a homecoming.  A lost part of her came home to herself.

Secondly, it is easy to delude ourselves about our progress. We are often the last person to see our faults and dysfunctional patterns.  It is something like the saying that a fish cannot see the ocean it lives in. It is hard to see ourselves. That is why working with another person or a group of people is important, especially in the early stages of inner work.

Also, humans tend to progress faster with support.  There is a great story about Hakuin, a great Zen master most famous for his riddle, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” His friend and he pledged to meditate 7 days and 7 nights without sleep. So great were their commitment to enlightenment.  They vowed that should one of them sleep, the other will hit the sleeping one with a great, big stick! Well, neither one had the occasion to reach for that stick.  They both fulfilled their commitment.  This is the value of community.

Is there anything we can do to start our inner work right now? 

Absolutely.  Self-reflection is an important skill to cultivate.  Most of us just move through life.  If you want a life that matters to you, if you want to make a difference in your life, you must pause and review your life periodically.  Otherwise, we are no better than machines running on automatic conditioning and behavior.  We all long to have a better life but unless we learn to study and know ourselves, we do not even know what parts of us need changing. Honesty with the self is a prerequisite to growth.  There is a great exercise called Life Review from the School of Inner Work that I want to share.  Just as you may go for health check ups or send your car in for a tune up, well, this is the check up for your life, to see if your life is going where you want it to go.  It is a great idea to do this exercise periodically.
Honor yourself by setting aside some time for your life.  You are following the footsteps of the wise ones in our culture who have valued the benefits that come from contemplation.

THE LIFE REVIEW EXERCISE

This is an opportunity to deepen your reflection on your life. This is not an intellectual exercise.  Nor is this about your aspirations, hopes and dreams.  This is an opportunity for you to reflect on your life AS YOU HAVE LIVED IT, clearly and honestly.  It is important to find a comfortable, quiet and private place to sit.  Let your mind relax and use this time to connect to your deepest thoughts and feelings.  Write your answers in a private journal which is for your eyes only. Tell yourself the truth with great compassion.  Truth is painful and liberating at the same time.  Always have great compassion for yourself when you embark on your own inner work.

  • How old are you?     What do you look like?   How do you feel about your body?
  • Where do you live?  Who do you live with?
  • What is happening in your life right now? 
  • How do you spend most of your time?
  • What are your predominant feelings?   Fears?  Sadness?  Anger? Worries?  Happiness?
  • What are your joys and pleasures?   What do you take delight in?
  • What are your relationships like with your family and friends?
  • What would you like to ask forgiveness for?  Who do you need to forgive? 
  • What have been your successes?  Which accomplishments would you be most proud? 
  • What have been your failures? What are your deepest heartaches?   Your regrets and disappointments? 
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What lessons have you learned?  What lessons have you failed in learning? 
  • What is your relationship to your God/Spirit/Religion?
  • As you reflect on your life, what is most important to you?
  • What is your gift to your family, your community, this world?
    • If you were to die right now;
    • What would you like to be most remembered for?
    • What final message would you leave for those who would gather to remember you?
    • If you had your life to live all over again, would anything be different? 

 

Click here >> The School of Inner Work Brochure

Click here >> School of Inner Work Brochure Chinese 内在省修学苑手册

The Healing Power of the Heart

Hwee-Meng Tan

A lot of people have asked me how I started my career as a healer. There were many wake-up calls and many signs that called me to the path of healing. But the primary one was that I needed healing most myself. Just as I have studied many healing modalities, I have been the client of numerous therapists, healers, body workers and spiritual teachers. Over the years I experimented with many healing paths and disciplines.

One of the paths that have influenced me most deeply is the Path of the Heart. In a very famous quote, Don Juan, a master shaman advised his student in The Teachings of Don Juan,

Does the path have a good heart? 
If it does, the path is good.
If it doesn’t, it is of no use.
Both paths lead nowhere,
but one has a heart and the other doesn’t.
One makes for a joyful journey.
As long as you follow it you are one with it.
The other will make you curse your life.
One makes you strong and the other weakens you. 

Over the years, I have been convinced of the wisdom of this advice. I truly believe that having power, whether physical, sexual, intelligent, financial, psychic, or spiritual, without heart is dangerous.

In my opinion, many current problems in the world are caused by people choosing to walk down the path with no heart. What would our world look like if our words and our actions were guided by an open heart that has manifested fully its innate qualities of love, compassion, tolerance, kindness and forgiveness?

On a personal level, if we really loved ourselves, if we were really kind towards ourselves, we would treat ourselves like the most precious child on earth. Physically, we would never do anything to harm ourselves such as work long hours to the point of exhaustion. We would not let anyone hit us. Emotionally, we would not tolerate verbal abuse from anyone. Mentally, we would not attack ourselves with violent, critical, and abusive self-judgments. Not many of us have achieved that level of open-heartedness to ourselves.

On a global level, if we truly opened our hearts to one another, there would be no more wars, nor famines, nor environmental disasters.

The world is evolving more compassionately, but we still have a long way to go. As a result, many people work tirelessly for the healing of this planet in different capacities. One of the humanitarians that I admire is Marshall Rosenberg. He is the founder of Non-Violent Communication. He travels around the world, facilitating compassionate communication between fighting sectors such as husbands and wives, employers and employees and different racial groups. After working with so many warring factions, he posed 2 very interesting questions:

1. What happens to disconnect us from our compassionate nature, leading us to behave violently and exploitatively?
2. What allows some people to stay connected to their compassionate nature under even the most trying circumstances?

It is fascinating that a man like Rosenberg who has dedicated his life to being a peacemaker between conflicting parties, assumes that our basic human nature is compassionate. Notice that he asked, “What disconnects us from our compassion, NOT what makes us compassionate?” In other words, we are born compassionate but circumstances happen in which we disconnect from our compassion which is one of the core qualities of our hearts.

So, in this installment, I am going to write about how STRESS really separates us from our hearts. In the next installment, we will look at how our CHILDHOOD can play a huge role in closing our hearts down.

WHAT HAS LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

A lot of people have this misconception that love, compassion and all the qualities of the heart are soft and fluffy concepts. We think that love is a beautiful ideal with no muscle power. How many of us have been repeatedly indoctrinated with the slogans, ‘Be brave, be tough’?

Many of us wonder, “What have love and compassion got to do with bringing home a paycheck? Paying the mortgage? How do tolerance and kindness help us survive in a competitive business world? Get promoted?”

We feel that being heart-centered is a great spiritual ideal but it has nothing to do with the real business of living.

And yet, the latest studies in science have proven what all religions have preached for ages, that heart qualities such as compassion, love, forgiveness, and tolerance, have a positive and remarkable beneficial effect on our health and wellbeing. Qualities of the heart are not just mushy and sentimental values but in fact, are critical to our survival.

There are many books on the market now detailing these studies, encouraging people to take love and compassion seriously. I will share some of the more famous ones with you right now.

DR. DEAN ORNISH

Dr. Dean Ornish is very famous for his work in reversing heart disease through a low-fat diet and exercise. What were ignored were his findings that the factor that brought the greatest stress relief and healing benefits for heart patients was not the diet and exercise but love. He was so frustrated this particular piece of information was ignored by the media and medical system that he wrote another book, Love and Survival which focused on how and why love is important to health and well-being.

On the healing power of love and intimacy, he wrote:
“I am not aware of any other factor in medicine – not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery – that has a greater impact on our quality of life, incidence of illness, and premature death from all causes.”

MOTHER TERESA

In the 1980s, David McClelland, a psychologist at Harvard, showed a group of students a video about Mother Teresa. As she moved among the poor and destitute, she was the embodiment of care and compassion.

To determine if the students were impacted by this video, he compared their immune system before and after the video. We have an antibody called secretory IgA in our saliva and throughout our bodies. IgA is an important measurement of immune system because it is the one of the first line of defense against invading pathogens.

Test results found an immediate rise in IgA levels after the video. What this study proved is that when you watch a video of care and compassion, your immune system is strengthened!

HEARTMATH INSTITUTE

Another group of scientists at the HeartMath Institute was fascinated by the Mother Theresa study. If watching a video can increase your immune system, what would happen if you consciously induce the heart feelings in yourself? In fact, what would happen to the rest of your body and to your mind? The HeartMath Institute decided to research heart intelligence.

The HeartMath Institute uncovered 2 facts about the heart. Below is a simplified explanation.

a. Your heart has an electromagnetic field which is 5000 times stronger than the brain and can be measured up to 8 to 10 feet away with a sensitive detector. The heart, like cell phones and radio stations, transmit information via an electromagnetic field. The heart constantly influences the rest of the body, particularly the brain, via its electromagnetic field.

b. The heart is the strongest biological oscillator in the human system. The pendulum clock is also an oscillator and its pendulum swings back and forth, in a rhythmic tick–tock. So, if you put many pendulum clocks together in a room, the biggest oscillator is going to synchronize the other tick-tocks in the room to its tick-tock. All physical organs in the human body are oscillators and the heart is the strongest oscillator. Guess what the heart is doing all the time? The heart is constantly pulling the rest of the body’s systems into entrainment with its rhythms.
These scientists realized that if you influence the heart, the whole body is automatically influenced, which translates as better brain function, more clarity, heightened intuition, and better immunity.

So, the next logical question was what influences the heart positively and what influences the heart negatively?

Positive emotions such as appreciation, compassion, care and love, and all the qualities of the heart actually affect the heart’s rhythmic patterns in a positive way.

When you are in your heart, that is when you are compassionate and loving, you synchronize and increase the coherence of the heart’s rhythmic patterns. When the rhythms become more coherent, a cascade of neural and biochemical events begin affecting virtually every organ in the body in a healthy manner, such as improving hormonal balance and immune system response and lowering high blood pressure.

Love, compassion, forgiveness….. It is proven irrevocably that heart qualities have life giving qualities.

So, what influences the heart rhythm negatively? Stress!

Heart rhythms of people who were in stressful jobs such as policemen, people in stressful situations such as stressful marriages and people who have frenzied, chaotic and frantic lifestyles created disordered heart rhythms. This creates a negative chain reaction in our bodies: our blood vessels constrict, our blood pressure rises which lead to hypertension, heart disease and stroke. Resentment, anger, frustration, worry, disappointment; all the negative emotional states, justified or not, take a toll on your heart, your brain, and the rest of your body.

From their studies, they realized that you can’t just wait till you feel like being loving or compassionate. It is important to cultivate core heart feelings on demand instead of at random, because the benefits were so remarkable for personal growth and health.

The easiest heart feeling to cultivate is appreciation!

Appreciation is a powerful tool of the heart. Just look at the benefits!

1. It has a highly healing effect on your body.

2. It brings significant relief from everyday stresses. It helps balance the nervous system.

3. It amplifies the power of your heart and your love. Relationship improves.

4. It shifts your attitudes and perceptions quickly. It helps you feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. Your outlook on the world is more positive.

5. It makes you feel better: You become more appreciative, more forgiving, and less judgmental.

6. It smoothes even the most difficult situations. Problems are easier to deal with and you see the bigger picture.

The great news is that appreciation is a much easier feeling to generate than any other heart qualities such as love or forgiveness. Try these practices for at least a year. I have seen remarkable transformation in people.

1. Keep a gratitude journal. Every day, write down at least 3 things you can appreciate about your life. What if you don’t feel appreciative? Practice noticing the simple things that you may have taken for granted. For example, drinking clean water, being healthy, living in a safe country and having friends you can talk to.

2. Find appreciation in even the most trying circumstances.
a. Write down your difficult or challenging situation.
b. Write down 3 things about this situation that you appreciate.

3. Express your appreciation to people around you. Learn to say thank you, write a note or send a token of appreciation. Be a light in people’s lives!

The Teaching of Butterfly

Tan Hwee-Meng

“One day, a small opening appeared in a cocoon. A man sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.
Then, it seemed to stop making any progress.

It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could not go any further. So the man decided to help the butterfly: he took a pair of scissors and opened the cocoon.

The butterfly then emerged easily.

But it had a withered body. It was tiny and had shrivelled wings. The man continued to watch because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would open, enlarge and expand, to be able to support the butterfly’s body, and become firm.

Neither happened!

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a withered body and shrivelled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and his goodwill, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, were nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.”

I have read many variations of this famous story and this particular version is currently circulating around the Internet. The butterfly offers a wise and important teaching on the value of our human struggles.

No one is exempted from life’s difficulties. No matter how we may try to control life, we inevitably run into some sort of pain, setbacks and failures. The fact that we have problems does not mean that we are special or bad. Problems are a fact of human existence. Since struggles and difficulties are unavoidable, we must come into right relationship and right understanding to this essential aspect of life.

When difficulties land in your life, how do you view them? Do you have this idea that you are being punished? Do you think that it is some karmic retribution? Do you runaway? Do you pretend that everything is okay?

Do you moan and complain, “Why is my life so difficult? Why is my life so painful? Why did this terrible thing happen to me? Why? Why?”

Many of us pray for an easier path in life. We beg the Gods for a life free from obstacles. We wish that someone up there would take this pain away from us. We want someone else to save us. We hope for magical solutions that would wipe all our conflicts away.

There is nothing wrong with wishing for a pain-free life. However, sometimes taking an easy path in life is not necessary what is best for our inner growth. We fail to appreciate how important problems are to our development as spiritual human beings. As the butterfly so beautifully teaches us, our struggles are not our enemies. In fact, they are necessary ingredients to transform us into mature human beings.

So, honour your struggles.

I remember a young man who wanted to live overseas. He had a very comfortable lifestyle with his family. If he were to go overseas, he may have to endure hardship. So, the easier path would have been to stay at home. Against his parents’ wishes, he followed his dreams to relocate overseas. Many of his friends and family thought him foolish for choosing such a hard and risky path. And his friends and family were right.

It was a very painful experience to create a new life for himself in a foreign country. He struggled to make enough money to pay his rent. He constantly fell sick. He was also tremendously lonely. Yet, he emerged out of this dark and difficult experience, a beautiful human being. He became more responsible, self-reliant, and compassionate. His self-confidence and self-esteem grew as he learned to overcome his obstacles.

This young man gave me a priceless teaching. I realized that taking the easy path does not always serve our highest purpose. Just like a diamond which needs tremendous heat and pressure to turn it from carbon to diamond, this young man needed to wrestle in his cocoon of difficulties long enough to release his inner brilliance and light.

We do ourselves a great disservice if we run away from our struggles. Our problems serve as keys to unlock the tremendous potential that lies within each and every one of us. Our struggles bring us in touch with our Higher Self qualities such as love, patience, faith, power and forgiveness. Our process of resolving conflicts grows us as human beings.

Struggles also act as clear mirrors. They strip us of our illusions about ourselves. They are a way of seeing ourselves clearly. We may think we are forgiving until someone does something wrong to us. We may believe ourselves to be patient until something comes to severely test that patience.

As we wrestle with one set of challenges successfully and grow through them, we will be given a new set of obstacles for the next level of our development. So, we are never going to get rid of our difficulties.

This is a time-honoured path of growth. So, respect your problems.

Our struggles and problems are not accidental freaks of the Universe. Nor are they haphazard occurrences. Nor are they sent by someone out there to punish us. Consider them as gifts of love. They are designed by a deeper part of us – a wiser and more loving part of us that wants us to fly like a butterfly.

Consider that everything that has ever happened to us is happening as it should happen. So, every problem, every difficulty and every issue we have in our life now is there because they are somehow necessary to our growth.

I would like to share this wonderful exercise adapted from Jack Kornfield to help you find the treasures that lie in your obstacles.

REFLECTING ON DIFFICULTY
(Jack Kornfield)

Sit quietly, feeling the rhythm of your breathing, allowing yourself to become calm and receptive. Then think of a difficulty that you face in your life. As you sense this difficulty, notice how it affects your body, heart, and mind. Feeling it carefully, begin to ask yourself a few questions, listening inwardly for their answers.

How have I treated this difficulty so far?

How have my own responses and reactions to the difficulty caused me suffering?

What does this problem ask me to let go of?

What suffering is unavoidable and is my fate to accept? (As human beings, there are certain sufferings that are inevitable, for example, the death of people you love.)

What great lesson might it be able to teach me?

What is the gold, the treasure, the value, hidden in this situation?

In using this reflection to consider your difficulties, the understanding and openings may come slowly. Take your time. As with all meditations, it can be helpful to repeat this reflection a number of times, listening each time for deeper answers from your body, heart, and spirit.

Struggles are an essential part of life. How you choose to relate to them is up to you. You can see yourself as a victim of the universe and spend your whole life blaming. Or you can embrace struggle as a necessary process of life that transforms you into a spiritually mature human being.

No one can make this choice for you. Your parents cannot do this for you. Your friends cannot do this for you. Only out of your commitment to your own inner growth will you make this choice to bow down to your difficulties as great teachers.

I asked for Strength and 
Life sent me difficulties to bear.

I asked for Wisdom and 
Life sent me problems to solve.

I asked for Love and 
Life sent me troublesome people to forgive.

Lessons From Our Feet

Tan Hwee-Meng

The ability to walk is one of the most precious gifts we have. Until we learned how to walk, we are completely attached to our caregiver. As helpless babies, we are totally dependent on her to give us what we want. The moment we mastered crawling, standing and walking, we take our earliest steps toward freedom and independence.

We start moving away from our caregivers and exploring the big world around us. Our feet can carry us wherever we choose to go. We can move away from situations we dislike. We can stand on our own two feet. Our feet are truly symbols of our autonomy.

Lesson One:  Own your life.

Our feet connect us to this ground called life.  We carve out our path, one step at a time.  Notice the footprints you are making.

  • Are your steps filled with purpose and joy?  Or do you drag your heavy feet throughout the day?
  • Are your feet dancing toward the beat of your heart?  Or does fear direct your movement through life?
  • Do your feet rush so fast through life that you can hardly breathe?  Or do your feet meander this way and that way, smelling the roses along the journey?

Look down at your feet.  They belong to you and nobody else.  They are yours to command.   Take charge and walk down the road of life you really want.

Lesson Two:  Be bold.

Observe toddlers learning to walk.  Not afraid of failure, they are master adventurers of life.  Always falling, they persistently get back up again and again.      How did we become so frightened of trying?

Remember what it feels to be three again, fearlessly exploring the world, without worrying about the outcome.

  • What action would you take if you were not afraid of failure?

Take that risk.   DO IT NOW.

Lesson Three:  Walk Away.

Lay out all your shoes on the floor in front of you.  Wear each pair and ask the following questions:

  • Do my feet hurt?
  • Are the shoes too tight?
  • Do I feel imbalance wearing them?
  • Am I uncomfortable in them?
  • Do I hate them?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, it is time to give these shoes away.  You may be thinking, “What a waste of money!  I spent a fortune on those shoes.”   Yes, you may be wasting money but imagine walking through life in pain and misery.

Just like hanging on to shoes that hurt us, many of us are so used to enduring pain and suffering silently.   We forget we have 2 feet.  We forget we can say no.  We forget that we can walk away.

Lesson Four:  Just start.

You may wish to create an evening of deep conversation and share this activity with some friends.

Put on some slow music.  Bring along a bottle of special lotion (the one that you would buy to impress a special lover).  Gently and with reverence, massage your feet.  Don’t worry about techniques.  Just touch your feet in a way that feels good.  Do it slowly, one toe at a time.  Don’t forget the heels.  And most of all, don’t worry if your feet look good.  Just allow this sensuous massage to relax your whole body.

As you take the time to cherish your feet, think of all the places and situations that you have walked.   No matter where you were, your feet have stood by you, grounded you and carried you through good and bad times.

If you are doing this with friends, take turns and share the most meaningful memories.

Discuss the following:

  • If you could retrace any steps, would you have walked a different path?
  • If the answer is yes, why not start now?  What is stopping you?

All journeys begin with a single step.  So start.

Lesson Five:  Embrace this moment. 

Sometimes we are so busy going somewhere that we neglect to just be here now.  Our minds are caught somewhere between the past and the future.

To center yourself, look down at your feet.  Wherever your feet are, there you are.  Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.  Imagine your feet sinking deeply into this moment. Invite yourself to return to this moment, to this pair of feet.

Hwee-Meng is the director of School of Inner Work and Taking Care of Yourself program. For more information about her workshops, please contact lllsing@singnet.com.sg.

The Hidden Treasure

Hwee-Meng Tan

My prayer is to share with you what has deeply inspired and healed me in the hope that my writing may be one of the many lighthouses of light and love on your journey through life. I will share some personal stories so that:

You will not feel alone in your own struggles and confusion.

There is hope. There is always hope. Just as I have learned to create a deeply happy and fulfilling life, so can you learn to do the same.

I feel shy about revealing myself to you but I also realized that my story is nor unique nor special. You and I both share the same struggles as humans and the same wish to create a meaningful life.

Einstein was thought to have asked, “Is this a safe universe?” What do you believe? Do you live your life in fear, doubt and distrust of the world? Do you sometimes feel that you are an insignificant ant caught in the desperate survival of the fittest?

If you ever took the time to study the Universe around you, you will realize that Life is innately intelligent. The same intelligence that creates the stars, the sun, this planet, is also the same intelligence that lives in you.

You possess such wondrous intelligence in your body that it has taken scientists years and years of study to understand how your body works. And still, there are many areas of the body that medical science does not understand. Do you have to get up every morning to remind your heart to beat? To tell your thyroid to excrete the right amount of hormones to make your body function well?

In my final exam in anatomy and physiology, my lecturer asked, “What was the most important fact you learned about the human body?” She expected a long answer on all the facts and figures that I have spent the year memorizing. My answer was simple. “The human body is a miracle.” I got an A+.

You are a walking miracle! So why the deep unhappiness, confusion, sadness, and the feelings of being lost, frustrated or lonely?

Unfortunately, childhood rearing practices and societal values disconnect you from this intelligence that lives in you, surrounds you, and guides you. The fundamental healing principle work lies in re-connecting back to your own inner compass as the true source of guidance in your life.

Many people come to me with questions such as: What should I do? Why did this happen to me? Who am I? How can I solve this problem?

I do not have the answers to these questions, however through experience, I know that you possess the blueprint to your life. My work as a healer is to help you find this priceless treasure that lives in you.

An ancient story tells us that there was a divine being who wanted to hide an important secret — the secret of happiness. He thought first of hiding the secret at the bottom of the sea. But then he said to himself, “No, I cannot hide my secret there. Human beings are very clever. One day they will find it.”

Next, he thought of hiding the secret in a cave. But he rejected this idea as well. “Many people visit caves. No, no, people will find the secret there as well.”

Then he thought of hiding the secret on the highest mountain. But then he thought, “People are so curious these days. One day someone will climb the mountain and discover it.”

At last he devised the perfect solution. “Ah! I know the place where no one will ever look. I’ll hide my secret in the human being.”

Your inner wisdom has been called many names – the Tao, the Higher Self, the Inner Healer, the Divine Child or the Light. Your Inner Guide is constantly trying to communicate with you. It knows exactly what you need for greater balance and harmony in your life. It has the answers to all the questions you have ever wanted to ask. It wants you to succeed in fulfilling your greater destiny on this planet and it will do everything possible to help you.

A friend wanting to send you a message may use the following channels: handphones, home phones, e-mails, faxes, letters. Similarly, your Inner Guide also has its own methods of communication. What are they? Some channels that are used: body, relationships, events, dreams, synchronicities and mother nature.

I will discuss some of these briefly in this article.

A. The Body Channel

I have already mentioned that great intelligence lives in your body. So, naturally, bodily symptoms are bringers of important messages. Do not be afraid to face any illnesses or physical symptoms that you may have. They carry important seeds of learning that you need to go through for your own healing and transformation.

A few years ago, my body manifested urticaria for several months. I had red and horribly itchy rashes all over my body. Thanks to Western medicine I was able to control the itchiness. To utilize urticaria as a gift of learning, I spent several sessions working to understand the messages beneath the rashes. As a result, I made several changes in my life. I gave up a wonderful job, left a beautiful house, and committed fully to my life’s work.

Well, the messenger left after I made all those changes! Thank goodness, no more rashes!

Working with bodily symptoms does not mean that you do not seek medical attention or treatment. However, if it is non life-threatening, before you pop that pill in your mouth whether it is Western medicine, homeopathy, Western or Chinese herbs, play with the following exercise:

Imagine that this bodily symptom whether it is a headache, a rash, a cough, a pain, or cancer is a Heavenly messenger. Draw it on a piece of paper. Imagine that this picture could speak. What does it have to say?

The main mistakes that people make when trying to understand their bodily symptoms are:

They do not trust the process.

They do not realize that bodily symptoms can have many layers of messages. Therefore it is important to spend time (it may take several hours to several years) to explore their inner processes.

Or they do not believe that the messages can be simple. For example, take a rest. Spend more time with your family.

The other problem which arises is they often want the messages to be safe and reasonable. They do not want to hear messages that will rock the safe boat of their current lifestyles. Many of our current lifestyles are built on the foundation of societal standards and values. Work, raise kids, save money, buy house… all the important norms of our society today. Sometimes, bodily symptoms may ask for a totally radical change in lifestyle!

In my experience, receiving the messages from your wise self is the easy part. The main difficulty is having the courage to make the necessary changes in life or finding the patience and persistence in manifesting the vision. This is where you must find that next level of support to follow through. We live in a society of instantaneous gratification. The NOW time. We sometimes underestimate the amount of hard work, effort and time it takes to change.

It does not necessarily follow that symptoms will disappear overnight even though they may, just because you do the work to understand the message and make the necessary changes. Some bodily symptoms are like master teachers. They guide you all your life. I have met people with Down’s Syndrome that are incredible teachers of unconditional love.

I had a very wealthy and successful client who suffered from asthma for over 70 years. Western, Tibetan, homeopathic medicine, you name it – he has tried it. He finally realized that his asthma was the compass in his life. Through his asthma, he met his spiritual teacher. His asthma was also the engine that powered his spiritual and inner healing growth. And finally because of his asthma, he founded several charities to help children with asthma.

B. The Relationship Channel

Learning about yourself through the relationship channel is wonderful, challenging and growth producing work. Using this tool has made it easier for me to deal with difficult relationships and people in my own life.

Accept that everyone around you is your friend, your ally – an arrow that points you in the direction of your true purpose. Without an exception. Yes, all the wonderful people in your life and all those difficult people including terrible parents, selfish co-workers, philandering husbands, cheating wives… That they are here to teach you something about yourself or to help you to the next stage of your learning. In fact, people you have the strongest reactions to, whether it is love or hate are the teachers on your path right now.

Here are some simple methods of working to start you on your process.

Exercise

(This exercise is inspired by one of the teachers I have studied with – Arnold Mindell)

Think of someone you have a strong, negative reaction to.

Pretend you are that person. Act like him. Move like him.

Ask how you might need his qualities in yourself.

For example, your colleague revolts you. You judge him for being ruthlessly ambitious, cold and calculating. When you act like him, you notice how confident he is, how he goes after what he wants. You suddenly realize that you have never given yourself permission to follow your dreams.

Through this exercise, you understand that your “ruthlessly ambitious colleague” is an external exaggeration of your internally repressed desire to go after what you want. The quality you need to embody is assertiveness in pursuing your secret longings.

In relationship work, your relationships are mirrors to help you see yourself. As a general rule, people you dislike have qualities that you need to come in contact with and people you love have qualities that you want to develop in yourself in this lifetime. Couples in relationships often bring great teachings to each other. Your family is also another area where you will find your master gurus in disguise.

Barbara Brennan (another teacher I have studied with) gave some information about families that I would love to share with you.

“Each member of your family is vitally important to you, reflects a particular aspect of self, and is there to help you learn to deal with and heal that internal aspect that is difficult for you to heal… I guarantee you each member of your family that presents difficulties for you – and of course usually all of them do – represents an aspect within yourself. By virtue of the existence of that family member, you are always reminded that this is deep personal work for you to attend to.

Find how each family member represents an aspect of yourself that is being brought forth to develop, to heal, that can make you a better person and enhance your growth. When you fully understand, embody, and experience this, what arises from within is gratitude, because these members are helping you uncovering, bring forth and develop the core qualities that you long to develop. Qualities like unconditional love, caring, steadfast reliability, deep inner wisdom, the ability to care for yourself, the ability to center, and to let yourself unfold in your timing.”

Enjoy the exercises and the relationships!

 

C. The Mother Nature Channel

Native American Indians saw Earth as a living, intelligent Mother. To seek answers and teachings from Earth, they would participate in a ritual known as the Vision Quest. The Indians would journey alone into Mother Nature and look for visions to guide them. Mother Nature may send any number of her ambassadors; animals, any of the elements such as fire or water, tree guardians and so forth.

One of the most important messengers is animal spirits. In inner journey healing sessions (the urban equivalent of a Vision Quest), animals often appear as reminders of your strengths and gifts. Interestingly, can you guess which animal has appeared the most often to Singaporeans participating in the inner journey sessions?

Yes, it is the Lion! Perhaps it is no accident that Singapore’s name means the Lion City. It feels like the Lion Spirit is one of the animal spirits guiding this country. The Lion is here to remind Singaporeans something you may all have forgotten: You are all lions and lionesses!

Here is an exercise to help you identify the message of the Lion Spirit:

What are the characteristics of a Lion?

Choose one of the above qualities of the Lion that resonate deeply with you.

Imagine that you were to live out that quality. How and where would you use this quality?

If you knew that you carried the energy of a Lion deep inside of you, what in your Life would you change? What risk would you take? What would you do that would be different? What challenge would you go for?

As each one of you take up this challenge to bring forth the lion’s quality from within, you will help anchor the Lion’s consciousness in the psyche of this country. You will heal the energy of fearful thinking, scarcity consciousness and survival mentality that permeates your country so pervasively.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Singaporeans who participated in the healing journey sessions for allowing the Spirit of the Lion to speak!

So, go roar with power, strength, passion and play!


Hwee-Meng Tan conducts private inner journey sessions to reconnect you to your Inner Guidance. She will be starting a 3 year study program to empower students to work more deeply with inner healing principles, some of which are explained in this article. . For more information, please contact Lapis Lazuli Light (Singapore).

Returning Joy To Giving

Tan Hwee-Meng

Unconscious Helping: What you bring to the universe is consciousness, but any act itself can be unconscious or conscious. If it’s done unconsciously, then it just increases human suffering.

I see so many well-intentioned and good-hearted people suffer unnecessary through being unconscious about their efforts to help. I also see many kinds of HELPING that create all kinds of negative feelings such as inferiority, hatred, anger, frustration and guilt in the recipients.

I would like to shed some light into this issue of helping and explore what it is to help authentically so that both the giver and the recipient are nourished.

1.  WHY DO YOU WANT TO HELP?

Let us start by exploring our motivations for helping.

Kevin was a drug addict for many years.  He committed a lot of dishonest activities to buy drugs.  After he transformed into a spiritual teacher, he spent 10 years relentlessly teaching, healing and traveling the world.  One day, he woke up and realized that his spiritual work was an atonement for all the “sins” he felt he had committed during his drug years. His real dream was to be a scriptwriter.

Like Kevin, many of our desires to help may be driven by guilt or some misplaced sense of loyalty or gratitude.  Here is a list of unhealthy reasons for helping:

  • I think I should.
  • I help out of guilt.
  • I help because I am in so much pain or my life is so empty or my life is lonely.
  • I want to be, feel or look good.
  • I want recognition or approval.
  • I want to go to heaven or gain karma points.
  • I am afraid of the other’s anger, rejection or disappointment.
  • Others expect me to help.
  • It has always been that way.
  • One upmanship:  You owe me one or I feel superior to you.
  • That is what wives or husbands or children are supposed to do.
  • I have never turned her down before.
  • He said if I really loved him, I would do it.
  • They’ll think I’m selfish if I don’t do it.
  • If I don’t do it, they won’t think I am a nice person……
  • If I am really a caring person, I would do it happily.
  • If I don’t help now, when I need help later, no one will help me.

Examine your purpose in helping.  Are you coming from a place of love?

True helping comes from the willing heart. True giving feels joyous and enriches both the giver and the recipient.  When we are truly giving from the bottom of the heart, we are changed and touched forever by this act of love.

Let your giving be a pure expression of “I really love to give to you because I really want to do this.”

 

2.  ALLOW YOUR SELF TO HELP WHERE IT IS NATURAL AND JOYFUL.

  •  What is easy and joyful for you to do? 

Use your talents and resources.  I know someone who makes dolls for cancer patients.  I know another who loves giving free massages to the elderly in retirement communities.  I have another friend who loves to pay road rolls for the car behind because it is fun.

You do not have to make grand and sweeping gestures of helping. Whatever you do is enough.

I really love cooking.  I cook because it nourishes me.  It is an expression of my heart and love.  I love giving away my cooking.  Many people who have eaten have felt the love in the food.  This is how a gift can nourish both the giver and the recipient.  

  • Do not force yourself beyond your natural resources – in terms of energy levels – whether spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically or financially.

This is how we start hurting ourselves.

If you are exhausted, say no.    If you are struggling financially, say no to giving money.
If you are busy with young kids, say no to charitable activities.  Trust that there are other people who can step in easily where you find it difficult.

Recognize and respect your unique limits. What is your strength?  What is your weakness?  Recognize when your giving is depleting you.  You may be able to give in terms of your time but not your money.  Or you may be able to donate money but not time.   The key here is BE REAL in our giving and accept that we are very different in our ways of giving and in our capacities to give.

If you are thinking or feeling any of the following, you have probably overextended your personal limits.

  • I hate what I am doing.
  • I wish she would go away.
  • I am so sick of this person ( who I usually enjoy spending time with).

When your ability to give feels shut down, strained, or your giving feels artificial, this is a signal that you are giving in a way that is not natural to who you are.  The recipient may also feel guilty and burdened by your giving.  Be compassionate to yourself when you find yourself in a place where your own needs overwhelm your capacity to give to others.  You need to set a limit and you will reduce the stress, resentment and anger that come from overextended giving.

Also, in terms of your helping, you cannot help everyone all the time.  You are not a robot that can produce kindness at will.  Be realistic.  You can only do your best.

 

3.  HOW CAN I HELP?

I want to introduce you to a specific kind of helper known as The Controller.  The Controller is focused on improving other people’s lives, whether it is his mother’s eating habits, his wife’s career, his children’s marriages or his siblings’ unhealthy lifestyle choices. He is constantly trying to make the world a better place and he thinks his way of life is the best way.  His intentions are good and honorable.

However, the problem with the Controller in us is that we never ask if the other person wants this kind of help.    We always think we know what is best for the other person.  It is absolute arrogance.  And it also demonstrates a lack of trust in the other person.

The recipient of the Controller’s help often feels guilt, resentment or anger.    And the Controller in us feels unappreciated, and like a failure.

For the Controllers, it might be helpful to hear what the other person is really asking for.
Sometimes the only gift that is needed is the gift of love and acceptance.   The Controller in us need to learn to trust people to manage their own lives.  They do anyway.

I want to share some thoughts I learned from a famous Insight Meditation Teacher called Joseph Goldstein.

I propose an extremely useful distinction between the practice of “letting it go” and “letting it be”.  Often in meditative language we speak of letting go of things:  let go of thoughts, let go of emotions, and let go of pain.  Sometimes that is not exactly the right phrase, because letting go suggests that you need to do something.  A better phrase to work with is “Let it be.”  Let it be.  Everything comes and goes by itself.  We do not have to do anything to make it come, or make it go, or to let it go.  We just have to let it be.

I hope this article will generate reflection on your relationship to giving.  I leave you with 2 questions:

  • Does your helping hurt you?
  • Does your helping hurt the person that you want to help?

Healing Ancient Wounds – Part 1

Hwee-Meng Tan

Supposedly someone shot you in the chest. Bang! Would you leave the bullet in your chest? Of course not. We would rush for immediate medical attention.

However, if someone was to maliciously attack you with hurtful words, chances are you would not attend to your emotional wound in a similar fashion. As a culture, we do not place any importance on healing emotional injuries. Unlike physical wounds, we do not see the risks that long-term emotional pain poses to our physical health and well-being.

Emotional wounding is very similar to physical wounding. We even use similar language to describe our emotional hurts. Some of these expressions include’you broke my heart’, ‘his words could have killed me’, and ‘your betrayal was like a stab in the back’.

In order to further explain this similarity, we need to travel beyond the realm of the physical body into the world of energy healing. Energy healing is based on the theory that our physical body is surrounded and interpenetrated by an energy body called the aura. The aura or energy body nourishes and feeds the physical body.

When 2 people touch, not only are they contacting on a physical level, they are also exchanging energy on an energetic level. The type of energy is dependant on the nature of the interaction. When 2 lovers meet, they send soft waves of pink, rose-light and green to each other. If your clairvoyant sense is opened, you can actually see this phenomenon. However, even if you do not see this phenomenon, you know the difference between a lover’s touch, an impersonal business handshake and an angry slap on the hand.

When 2 people argue with a strong intent to hurt each other with cruelty and rage, the energy exchange can take the forms of arrows, swords, or knives. Once again, even though you may not see this clairvoyantly, you still suffer the painful consequences of such a hurtful exchange. Most of us can relate to being in an argument where we have limped away feeling so wounded, like we have just been shot at, attacked or stabbed. On an energetic level, we have!

Let me share with you a typical story of how we carry our unhealed emotional wounds with us.

One of my clients walked in with an energetic knife embedded in her energetic heart from the back. (Our energy body has an energetic heart which is an exact replica of the physical heart). From my experience, many people who have been betrayed, carry this knife in the back. My client emphatically denied any knowledge of betrayal.

When there is a knife in the physical body, blood is lost. When there is an energetic knife in the energetic body, energy or what in Chinese is called qi, is lost. The energetic heart feeds energy to the physical heart. So, if there is an energetic leak, the physical heart does not get nourished. Over years, this would eventually lead to disease in the physical heart. So there is truth to people dying of a broken heart.

As I worked on removing the knife with energy healing, my client started feeling pain. Memories slowly re-surfaced. The betrayal occurred over 30 years ago and when it happened, it nearly killed her because it was so painful.

This story illustrates several interesting points about emotional wounding.

  1. Emotional wounding is as real as physical wounding. Physical wounding damages our physical body. Emotional wounding damages our energetic body. Since the energetic body feeds the physical body, any damage on the energetic body would affect the physical body over time. That is why it is so important to heal emotional wounds.
  2. Most of us deal with emotional pain by trying to push it away. We freeze our feelings, minimize them or deny emotional pain totally. We believe erroneously that if we do not feel the emotional pain, it would heal with time. This is where physical wounds differ from emotional wounds. Emotional wounds do not heal with time. The emotional pain lessens because we bury the wound. However, just because we pretend that the wound is not there, does not mean that the emotional wound disappears over time. My client has carried hers for over 30 years. This is not at all unusual. In my healing work with people, we have uncovered emotional wounds that have originated from past-lives!

So, how do we heal emotional wounding?

First of all, it is important to acknowledge the impact of the incident on you. It is very easy to rationalize with ‘it does not matter’ or ‘I should not feel this way.’ Have the courage to tell yourself the truth. “This hurts.” “I feel sad.” Or whatever.

Then, find a safe place and allow yourself to have your feelings. This step is very confusing for some because we think feeling our feelings is the same as acting out our feelings. It is not. Acting out our anger is to yell and blame another person. Feeling our anger is to breathe into the anger we feel and allow the anger to move through so that the anger does not stay blocked in our system. In fact, the more we allow ourselves to have our feelings, the less we will dump our feelings on other people around us. The key word here is to breathe. Keep breathing and feeling whatever comes up. You may have to move through different layers of feelings. If you really do this process well, you will notice a shift in yourself. You will feel more energized, a greater clarity, more peace or a sense of a burden being lifted.

Emotional wounds vary in depth and size. Some emotional wounds will heal in 1 session. Some may take more than 1 session to heal. For very serious ones like grief, it may take many, many sessions over a period of years. For very traumatic emotional wounding, you may need to seek professional help like a counselor.

(To Be Continued)


Hwee-Meng Tan is an acupuncturist, a graduate of the Deva Foundation and Barbara Brennan School of Healing. She has spent the last 15 years, working and studying with many thinkers, healers and spiritual teachers around the world. She will be offering private healing sessions from April 18 – May 19, 2004. For a more information, please contact Lapis Lazuli Light (Singapore).

Healing Ancient Wounds – Part 2

Hwee-Meng Tan

“Am I possessed?”

Startled, I looked at this beautiful woman in her late 30s, sitting across from me. Dark circles under her eyes suggested sleepless nights and deep-seated worries.

“Why do you think you are possessed?”

I am asked this question a lot as a spiritual healer.

“I think I am going crazy. I have suddenly turned into this huge monster with so much rage inside me. I just want to attack people especially my poor husband. I have tried to control myself but I cannot.”

On further inquiries, she also suffered from other symptoms such as nightmares, headaches, and depression. There was no other possible explanation for her current behavior. Aside from the usual ups and downs of life, she was happy in her work and marriage.

“Out of the blue, I would suddenly feel fear and dread. And … for no reason, I would start crying:”

“Tell me about your childhood.”

She looked perplexed. She was probably wondering what her childhood had to do with her problems. Her face softened and took on a faraway look.

“My parents fought very violently. My father sometimes beat my mother. My mother was a deeply, unhappy woman. When she went into one of her uncontrollable fits of rage and hysteria, she would start hitting me. Sometimes, she would start screaming and yelling at me for the slightest mistakes or for no reason at all.”

Unbeknownst to my client, she was suffering from a form of mental-emotional wounding called post-traumatic stress disorder. When we have been subjected to constant and overwhelming stressful events or abusive treatment, we may experience PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms may include difficulty sleeping, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, recurrent flashbacks to traumatic incident or nightmares, and lost of interest in life. Symptoms can sometimes occur months after the traumatic incident.

In the previous issue, I discussed the necessity and importance of healing emotional wounding from an energetic perspective. I will continue the discussion from a psychological point of view. PTSD is a form of mental-emotional wounding. This trauma was first diagnosed for soldiers returning home from war. Mental health practitioners have now broadened the category of traumatic events that can trigger PTSD. As in the case of my client, growing up in a seriously troubled or abusive family can also cause PTSD. She was subjected to physical and emotional abuse by her mother. She was also a witness to domestic violence. A witness to violence can also experience psychological trauma.

To understand how childhood abuses can cause trauma, imagine for a moment that you are captured by the enemy and thrown into prison. Your entire survival needs depend on the whims of your guards. From time to time, you are taken out for a beating. Even if you were to escape the beatings due to good behavior, you watched your fellow prisoners being beaten. One of the favorite games of the guards is to humiliate and belittle you. “Filthy pig! Stupid! Good for nothing!” Continue to pretend that you are subjugated to this mistreatment for several years. Do you think you will escape imprisonment without any scars? Your physical scars will heal in time but the most difficult scars to heal are the invisible ones: the mental-emotional wounding or psychological trauma.

Some psychologists have made the analogy that children who are raised in abusive households are like prisoners of war. They are entirely helpless and dependent on their parents for their survival needs. Trapped in their family systems of violence, children are usually unable to escape any abuse their families inflict on them. If enduring cruel imprisonment can cause psychological trauma, think of the long-term impact that an abusive childhood can have on the physical and psychological wellbeing of a person.

What are the effects of growing up in a troubled family? As well as psychological trauma such as PTSD, an abusive childhood can cause other forms of mental illnesses, personality disorders and poor health. Many addictions such as alcohol, gambling, sex, drugs, work or religion have roots in childhood traumas. Abuse simply kills the spirit and potentiality of human beings.

Many of us do not understand what abuse is. In a public lecture in Singapore, I once asked the participants to raise their hands if they were ever physically abused. No one raised their hands. This surprised me. On deeper reflection, I inquired if anyone was ever physically beaten. Almost everyone in the room raised their hands.

Emotional abuse is even more unfamiliar. The most insidious fact about emotional violence is that there are no visible scars. However, do not underestimate the damage that emotional abuse can wreck on a person. We can all relate to “limping away” from a violent argument where cruel words were exchanged, feeling battle weary and deep pain. For those of you involved in an emotionally abusive relationship, whether with a boss, a parent, or a spouse, you can probably relate to the saying that “words can hit as hard as a fist.” Without realizing it, you may have watched your self-confidence erode away slowly with time. You may suffer from depression and lack of motivation without understanding why. You may have increased feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and self-blame. These are all symptoms of living with emotional abuse.

If you have been abusive, whether mentally, emotionally, or physically, it is important that you do not see yourself as a bad person, a shameful person or a monster. Our purpose here is not to blame our parents, our teachers, other perpetrators of violence or ourselves. In fact, many psychological researches have concluded that 100% of all abusers come from an abusive environment. Interestingly enough, when studying men and women who stay in abusive marriages, a very significant number of them have been raised in abusive background. When we grow up in an aggressive environment, we become immured to cruelty and violence. Many come to believe that abuse is a way of life.

There is a tragic story about frogs. Did you know that if you put a frog in cold water and slowly heat up the water, it slowly boils to death instead of leaping to safety? It does not realize that the water is killing it slowly. Children who are raised in an abusive environment do not know what abuse is. They have normalized and adapted to their environment.

We are all caught in a trance of abuse. Violent behavior and aggressive patterns are handed down from generation to generation. We were raised with the belief of “spare the rod, spoil the child”. We believed that the most effective way to teach is through shame and humiliation. We sincerely thought that humans need to learn through fear and punishment. We are like the frogs, slowly boiling to death in increasingly hot water. We have numbed ourselves to the fire.

If you are reading this Lapis newsletter, I imagine that you value compassion and non-violence. You can take an active part in creating a more peaceful world BY DECIDING RIGHT NOW TO END the cycle of abuse ONCE AND FOR ALL.

Steps to ending the cycle of abuse:

  1. Understand what constitutes abuse. Learn about the different types of abuse: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. Realize that all types of abuse destroy people in one form or another.
  2. If you are abusive or being abused in a relationship, seek psychological help. You probably came from an abusive environment yourself. You may not realize that you carry deep pain inside. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed. The only way to stop this damaging pattern in your life is through education and healing the pain of your childhood.
  3. Learn non-violent and effective strategies of communicating your needs and wants. You do not have to bully, intimidate, scold, blame or yell to get what you want.
  4. If you are a parent, study compassionate methods of child-rearing. Please understand that sparing the rod is not spoiling the child. This is black and white thinking. There is a middle way where we do not have to use violence and we do not spoil the child. Spoiling a child is equally destructive. There are children who are treated as little gods by their families. They either have servants trailing them everywhere or they have families who indulge their every whim. These children grow up to be very inconsiderate and self-indulgent. Children need discipline and teaching but we do not have to employ methods that are destructive to the human spirit.
  5. Learn healthy ways of coping with anger and insecurities of life. Develop safe ways to release stress. Modern lifestyle is increasingly stressful. It is not easy to balance full-time work with health, family and financial concerns. When we are stressed, we become more prone to being abusive. If you are highly stressed at work, I recommend that you find a way of releasing stress before returning home. I have observed many people release pent-up stress from work by yelling, screaming or beating innocent ones at home e.g. maids, spouses and children.
  6. Do family of origin work. We often repeat the patterns and behaviors from our original family unconsciously. This is known as repetition compulsion. Some examples of repetitive compulsion:
    • You marry someone who later begins to resemble the parent you resent.
    • You discover that you have started to act just like the parent you may hate.
    • You start treating your spouse or lover the way your parents treated each other.
    • You find yourself having the same career or money conflict your father or mother had.
    • You find yourself reenacting the same illnesses, upsetting events or upheavals that one or both your parents went through.
    • You re-create in your adult life emotionally upsetting situations very similar to the unresolved incidents of your childhood. (Only the characters and settings have changed.)

Many people who are new to inner journey sessions and inner work have difficulty believing that our childhood constitutes such a powerful influence in our lives.

“It is over.”
“My parents did the best they could. They worked very hard.”
“I grew up alright. It was not too bad. I had food on the table and a roof over my head.”

It is true that your childhood is over. It is true that your parents did the best that they could. It is also true that you grew up “functional” if that means you can keep a job and raise a family. However, unless you have consciously worked on your childhood issues, your childhood is unconsciously exerting its influence over you.

Human babies learn a lot from imitation. This is a fact! Watch young children. Watch how they mimic adults around them. A lot of our behaviors and ways of dealing with the world are learned in childhood. Many of our conclusions about life are formed during childhood. They establish the foundation for our life now. Unfortunately, some of these learned patterns may be self-defeating and no longer serve our happiness as adults.

A study was conducted by Harvard University to explore the extent of parental influence. Harvard students were given questionnaires about their parents. 35 years later, the same researchers contacted everyone and took detailed medical and psychological histories. What they found was quite amazing. 100% of the people who rated their relationships with their parents as cold, developed diseases in midlife such as high blood pressure, duodenal ulcers and heart problems. Only 47% of the people who rated relationships with parents as warm and friendly, developed diseases.

The researchers concluded, “The perception of parental love and caring may be a powerful predictor of future health because parental love and caring involves and integrates so many potential mechanisms.” These include:

  • Nutrition, stress and loving energy before and after birth,
  • Healthy and unhealthy behaviors developed during childhood,
  • Coping styles such as anxiety, anger, hostility, depression, optimism, and self-esteem,
  • Choice and stability of relationships and friendships,
  • The presence and support of parents in one’s adult life,
  • Spiritual values and practices.

If you had a childhood that was dysfunctional and abusive, you probably have learned many strategies that do not support you in developing your maximum potential in life. You may be “functional” but you may not be living from your true self. Let me give you an example.

A graceful woman in her mid 50s complained about feelings of emptiness. She has all the trappings of success; a devoted husband, adult children and an expensive house in a prestigious address. During her journey session, she saw an image of her life as a beautiful songbird imprisoned in a cage. As we deepened into the session, deep sorrow emerged. She realized that she had locked her spirit away for many years. She remembered playing piano when she was nine. Every time she played the piano, her mother would make belittling and sarcastic remarks like, “Would you stop making so much noise? Practice when I am not at home.” Or, “Who do you think you are? You are a good-for-nothing girl.”

One day, she was to invited to play Schubert in a concert. One of the guests was her mother. She waited in the wings of the concert hall for her turn, so excited to make her mother proud. She had practiced and practiced. Guess, what happened when she started to play? She totally froze.

The 9 year old child never played the piano again. She believed every word her mother said about her to be true. She was stupid, ugly, and worthless. No one in her family comforted her or helped her understand that performance anxiety was perfectly natural. It was a loss when she gave up the piano. However, the greater tragedy was that she continued to live life as if she was stupid, ugly and worthless. She chose a safe husband based on her secret fear that no one could love her. Her ambition was to pursue a life of art. She went to art school but after the first exhibition, she gave up art to become a housewife. When no one bought a painting during her first exhibition, the voice of her mother haunted her again. She truly believed that she was a failure. She spent the next 20 years raising children, never daring to risk anything again.

We can all relate to voices of prophetic doom from our childhoods. “You will never make it.” “You are stupid.” “You will always a failure.” Tragically, many of us believed these voices.

Take a moment now and fantasize. Imagine being born into a loving and supportive family that loved you unconditionally. Imagine being born into an environment that nurtured your talents and interests. Would your life have taken a different turn?

As a child, you were helpless to do anything about your life circumstances. You had to mold and adapt yourself to the kind of parents you had and to the world around you. You are no longer a child now. As an adult, you can give yourself whatever you want and whatever your heart desires.

The power and choice lie within you!

  • Physical abuse: Any intentional physical injury, such as pinching, slapping, beating, including ones that result in bruises, scars, broken bones or internal injuries.
  • Sexual abuse: Any exploitation of a child for the sexual pleasure of an adult.
  • Emotional abuse: Any verbal attacks such as humiliation, shaming, belittling, name-calling, constant criticism.

Taking Care Of Yourself

Hwee-Meng Tan

The 7 PRINCIPLES OF WELLNESS

Take a minute to reflect on this question:

What does “Taking Care of Yourself” mean to you? If you were invited to take care yourself, what would you do?

Some of the responses have included buying vitamin supplements, having a facial, taking a nap, improving the diet and ensuring there is enough money for retirement. Our self-care is usually focused on the physical and material aspects of human life.

There are more aspects to who you are than just your Physical Self. You also possess an Emotional Self, a Mental Self, a Relational Self, an Authentic Self, an Intuitive Self and a Spiritual Self. Each of these Selves represents an area of human experience.

EACH OF YOUR SELVES HAS DIFFERENT NEEDS

To have a full and balanced life, you must pay attention to all areas of yourself. It takes different skills and knowledge to nurture each of your Selves. The health of your Relational Self depends on how loving your relationships are. Do you feel loved? Are you able to give love? If you feel lonely, isolated and alienated, you may have to do some healing work on your Relational Self. Meditating, chanting and reading Holy Scriptures will not help your Relational Self but these great practices will strengthen your Spiritual Self. Some good skills to enhance your Relational Self are skills in loving kindness, forgiveness and communication.

Your Mental Self is your thinking mind and is a reflection of all your thoughts and beliefs. Negative thinking styles such as being narrow-minded, pessimistic, cynical, critical, worried weaken the Mental Self, as do fantastical thinking and magical thinking. If you are always full of great ideas and wonderful dreams, but none of them ever manifests, there is a high probability that you need to do some learning around the Mental Self.

True wellbeing is more than just good physical health or the absence of disease. It is healthy functioning on every level of our humanness. Most of us are strong in one area of our lives but are weak in another.

John eats healthily, exercises regularly, and receives weekly massages. These strategies are wonderful for conditioning his physical body. He reaps the rewards of good physical health. However, his wife complains that talking to him is like talking to the WALL! He buries himself in front of the television and barricades himself behind newspapers. He is clueless as to why his wife of 20 years is threatening him with divorce.

John’s Emotional Self has been deadened. Emotions add color and spice to life. Imagine greeting the sunrise with no feelings! Having a healthy emotional life makes us empathetic to our fellow human beings. It also deepens and enriches our relationships. It makes us real as humans. People who have a weak Emotional Self live in a grey and flat world. Like John, they learned somewhere in their childhood that emotions were frightening and spent the rest of their lives dampening and controlling their emotions.

Most of us fear our emotions. We know of friends and family who are stuck in chronic sadness, uncontrollable rage, vengeful fantasies, or unhealthy guilt. We pretend we do not have any feelings or we numb them with alcohol, busyness, shopping or drugs. Emotions are simply part of the human experience. To ignore our emotions is like cutting off our hands or legs. It is wiser to make the effort in mastering the necessary skills to navigate our emotional life intelligently.

Mary’s life looks perfect. She has a successful career, a loving family, and a beautiful home. However, she is plagued by a depressing sense of emptiness. Friends tell her that she is crazy or selfish. After all, her life is the pinnacle of everyone’s dreams. Believing that she should be happy and grateful, Mary feels guiltier for feeling the way she does. She throws herself into charity works and committees in a last-ditch attempt to fill her emptiness. It does not work.

Mary needs to listen and respond to her Authentic Self. Our Authentic Self holds our blueprint in life. Each of us has a unique purpose to fulfill. In order to remind us of our purpose, our Authentic Self calls to us in many ways: it troubles us with a sense of meaninglessness, speaks to us in our dreams and inflames us through our envies. Part of our work here is to understand the language of our Authentic Self so that we create a life that has heart and meaning for us.

 

ALL THE SELVES IMPACT ONE ANOTHER.

Our Selves do not function as separate entities. One part of your Selves can impact another positively or negatively. For example, to become more of our Authentic Self is to hold a positive vision of our future. This adds tremendous healing energy and vitality to our Physical Self and fills our Emotional Self with hope and joy. Conversely, a weak Emotional Self directly influences our Relational Self. The inability to express our deepest feelings to our loved ones is one of the biggest block to creating intimacy in a relationship.

 

A CHECK-IN

Wellness is a constant balancing act. It is not easy to master all areas of our life. There are people who are successful at work because they have a good Mental Self but have failed in relationships. There are people who are spiritual and yet, are emotionally dead. There are people with strong physical bodies with an immature Emotional Self.

I invite you to just do a quick check in your life. Where are you most comfortable? Which Self are you most uncomfortable with? What works for you? What does not work for you? It is important not to be judgmental of yourself as you do this. There is no living person who has perfected every area of life. We all have work to do on ourselves.

PHYSICAL SELF: How is your physical body? Do you feel comfortable and alive in the body? Do you attend to the simple needs of your physical body?

EMOTIONAL SELF: Are you emotionally closed? Do you feel at ease with your feelings so that they do not overwhelm you? Or do emotions run your life?

MENTAL SELF: Do you know how to use your mind effectively? Or are you controlled by worry, pessimism, critical thinking and prejudicial thoughts?

RELATIONAL SELF: Are you surrounded by loving family and friends? Or are you involved in abusive and unhealthy relationships? Do you fear intimacy and closeness?

AUTHENTIC SELF: Do you wake up with a sense of aliveness, meaning and purpose? Is your life an accurate mirror of what is deepest in your heart? Or do you feel lost and empty?

INTUITIVE SELF: Do you have a sense of being guided by a higher wisdom? Do you have a sense of higher beings such as bodhisattvas, angels or Gods and Goddesses protecting and guiding you? Or do you feel uninspired and cynical? Do you see yourself as an insignificant ant in the midst of this Universe?

SPIRITUAL SELF: Do you have a knowing there is a greater pattern at work in your life? Do you understand how each part of your life makes sense and fits together? Do you see the perfection in everything that happens?Or do you feel that this Universe is a random and chaotic mess?

Whichever Self you find to be the weakest, is where you start your work of self-care.

THE DIFFICULTY OF SELF-CARE

Many people erroneously believe that looking after yourself is self-indulgent and selfish. On the contrary, it takes an enormous amount of work and learning to honor and value our lives. The truth is most of us are lousy at committing to ourselves. Why do we run into such difficulty? These are some of the more common reasons.

  • We simply do not know how to do it. We have never been taught. We do not even know it is possible.
  • We suffer from low self-worth. We believe that we are not worthy of time and loving attention.s In my work as a healing practitioner, I meet so many people who find it easier to spend money and time on everyone else.
  • We are taught that it is selfish to focus energy on ourselves. Instead, we spend our lives on the hopeless task of trying to improve other people’s lives. It does not work! Otherwise, our friends and family would have already changed.
  • We are so afraid of risk and change that we prefer to stay in an unhealthy situation than to change it. We also fear the disapproval of our friends and family so we do not wish to rock the status quo with our changes.
  • It is so much easier to blame others, to have self-pity, to remain a victim and to complain than to do the hard work of changing ourselves.
  • We are caught in the myth of no time and yet, we do not examine how we unconsciously choose to spend our time. Many who complain they have no time, spend many hours on television shows, gossiping on the phone, and attending many social gatherings. There is nothing wrong with that! However, if we are pressed for time, we need to consciously decide how best to use our time.

In my personal opinion, self-care is one of the most important skills to acquire. Otherwise you create a lot of unnecessary suffering and unhappiness for yourself. Without this essential skill in life, you cannot blossom to your maximum potential.

Each one of you possesses something precious called LIFE. Your life is a gift that has been given to you. It is a piece of raw potential that you hold in your hands. Imagine this raw potential as a piece of fertile land. What would you do with it? How would you cherish this piece of land so that your life would bear the kind of fruits and flowers you want? Or would you let the land lie barren and undeveloped?

Do you feel that this piece of land called your life is worthy of your time, investment, love and care?

Just think for a few seconds.

I hope that your answer is yes. The greatest self-betrayal is not giving yourself the life you want. This is the essence of true self-care. It is about valuing yourself enough to create a life that makes you glow with inner happiness. Unfortunately, you cannot just snap your fingers and make your life happen without making a conscious effort. You have to do the work in learning the skills and overcoming the inner barriers to create a high quality of life that speaks to you.

I wish you well on your journey through life!

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the participants of TAKING CARE OF YOUSELF workshops. Through their questions and issues, they have helped me co-create this body of teaching.

 

Hwee-Meng Tan is a practitioner of healing arts. She writes, lectures and conducts workshops on TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF in Singapore. If you would like more information, please contact Lapis Lazuli Light for a comprehensive brochure.

The next evening lecture and workshop held in October 2005 is focused on the Spiritual Self – FROM DIFFICULTY TO LIBERATION. She will be co-leading this workshop with Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel Kaufman is an internationally known psychospiritual facilitator and teacher. Along with her husband, Rick Phillips, she co-founded the Deva Foundation to help raise the consciousness of the planet through individual healing session work and Deva professional training programs. To learn more about Deva Foundation, please go to www.deva.org.

Rachel Kaufman has been involved in many charitable and social actions. Her latest project is the CREATIVITY FOR PEACE CAMP. For more information, please go to www.creativityforpeace.com.

I Remember You

Deva Sessions: Clearing The Significant Other

Rick Phillips and Tan Hwee-Meng
We are born into relationships. Our first relationship is with our father and mother. Subsequently, we create many different types of relationships. We have siblings, friends, colleagues, lovers, children, in-laws and the list is endless.

Relationships are the essence of life experience. Every person we meet has a relationship with us. Some are intimate with us and some are distant. Every relationship touches us in some way; some positively and some negatively. Some relationships bring us great love and happiness and some relationships shatter and destroy us.

Since relationships are basic to life, we clearly need an effective technique to understand all of our relationships, whether joyful or heartbreaking so that we can learn and grow from them. We also need a way to heal and move on from painful relationships.

The Deva Session for “Clearing a Significant Other”: The Deva Session is a special healing session offered by Deva Facilitators to gain insights into our current relationships.It is particularly useful for coming to peace with relationships that are causing us suffering and confusion. However, we can also undertake this type of session to deepen into the intimacy of an extraordinarily loving relationship. We can use ‘Clearing a Significant Other’ sessions to work on any relationships that are significant in our lives, whether they are family, friends, bosses at work, enemies, or even the spiritual teacher that is important to us.

How Deva Session Works: Deva Facilitators recognize that our relationships with important people in our lives do not start in this life. To understand our relationships from the perspective of this lifetime is very limiting. Our history with significant people, usually begin in our past-lives. In fact, the source of many conflicts and loves in relationships are rooted in the past.

Our soul, the part of us that reincarnates from lifetime to lifetime, carries the memory of every interaction of every relationship. These past memories do influence the way we relate to the people we know now. For example, we may have not forgiven someone in our past. In this life, when we meet them again, we may find ourselves disliking them on our ‘first’ meeting.

Deva Sessions, as taught by the School of Inner Work, take a person deep within themselves into these soul memories. The experiences that arise in the session can be forgotten memories of this lifetime or other lifetimes, or experiences can be seen as symbolic stories that have special meaning and relevance to our current lives. The Deva Facilitator is trained to support this process of remembering the deeper history of our relationships and to bring important soul memories out that are important for clarifying the
relationships. Those who have experienced Deva Sessions usually find the insights, healing and illuminating for their relationships.

An Example of Deva Session: Mei Ling wanted to divorce her husband. In their marriage, Mei Ling had always felt like a mother to him. As she said, “The man I married has turned into a whining and angry child.” Because of what she called his ‘sticky childish dependency’, she had lost respect for him.
Her husband had recently suffered some financial misfortunes. She felt obligated to take care of him financially and this made her even more angry. She felt compelled to leave the marriage even though she felt a strong sense of guilt in not taking care of her husband.

They had been fighting for several months. They had attended a few counseling sessions with a family therapist with some success but the blame game was still raging.

Mei Ling decided to do Deva Sessions as a last resort to see if she could find the root cause for this conflict. She felt that doing ‘the Clearing of a Significant Other Session’ might help her marriage.

At the beginning of the session her husband’s soul appeared symbolically as a crying baby. The baby kept crying for Mother over and over again. A dialogue was established between Mei Ling and this child. It became clear that the husband was feeling abandoned, scared, and desperate for a sense of security.

Mei Ling then regressed into a past-life where her husband was a young child that had been abandoned by his mother during war. Mei Ling was his mother in that lifetime. She gave the child away because she could no longer take care of him. This was a great sacrifice on her part and imprinted profound pain on her soul and the soul of the child.

After seeing the past-life, the dynamics of mother-child in her marriage made perfect sense to her. The Deva Session opened her heart of compassion to his ‘stickiness’. She could see that her husband was still holding on to the pain of past abandonment and his fear of losing her again. She understood that his only response to this predicament was to play the wounded child role again. She could accept responsibility for the consequences of her past actions and immediately began a healing process of forgiveness and release.

She also realized that she had to stop playing ‘Mother’ to her husband. By continuing the ‘Mother’ role, she was reinforcing her husband’s childish and irresponsible behavior. Instead, she had to fully take her place as his wife and trust that her husband can step into his place as her husband so that they both had a chance to experience an equal partnership.

The couple continued the process of mending their marriage with her husband doing some Deva sessions. Seeing the bigger picture of their marriage helped the rift between them to heal. Healthy communication has now been re-established and both realize the value of remembering their past-lives.

Hopefully, this short article has inspired you to see your relationship in a larger context. Many of our current relationships spanned over many lifetimes. We do carry unhealed conflicts and unresolved issues in relationships from past-lives into this life. We also carry the positive seeds of loving relationships into this life.

For more information on Deva Sessions, please go to www.deva.org.

For a list of students who practice ‘Clearing the Significant Other’ Deva sessions, please contact Soh Wan on lllsing@singnet.com.sg.