Meditation Teaching: An Intimate Reflection

Keeping meditation teaching real, bringing vulnerability and truth to the moment is so vital to keep in alignment to be of service whilst teaching an important life skill. Perfectionism will go by the wayside if we can just relax and be our authentic selves giving permission for others to do the same.

I have been contemplating what meditation is and isn’t, to me. I have had extensive training in the more esoteric background and have now come into the actual learning of different meditation techniques and gaining the qualification to teach meditation to others. What I realise I do when I guide and teach meditation is merge the two teachings together. The pearls of wisdom from my previous esoteric teachers, gathered in chaotic circumstances to uncover truth in every moment and to live from this place, with that inner connection and embodiment is gorgeous and amazing. The stillness that came with some, or most of the techniques in meditation helped me to sink roots deeper and allow higher vibrations to more consciously flow through me in the delicious, deep and patient meditation methods. So that I could really steep in my own essence, witness myself with passionate intimacy and open my mind and body into a suppleness I haven’t experienced before in my life. From studying these seemingly opposite modalities, I can see how they both are a part of a continuum of ONEness. It is creating a beautiful merging of two opposite worlds and is simply enhancing my absolute respect for both modalities.

The more feminine approach is of letting go of restrictions, of embodiment, movement, to allow chaos, flow, rawness, beauty, power, grace, and love be a part of your life. Truly embody it and allow its expression to be present.  To experience the plethora of different feminine expressions within each one of us there is a need to be willing to journey into a space of letting go of control for a period of time whilst being guided by the facilitator (at the start). This is opposite of what many western cultures, and in fact many cultures teach- which is control, balance, restrict, silence, not make a scene, don’t express the full range of emotions- truth in the moment. This is often seen as ‘uncivilised’ and archaic, as if we have evolved from this type of behaviour…. but have we really evolved?The basis of these teachings I  previously spoke about revolve around the fact that it is energetic- the feminine. It is called shakti in the yogic tradition as the energy that moves form- the masculine. But, over thousands of years traditions have opted to serve only that which could be seen- the masculine physical world. So the feelings, emotions, energy within and around was ignored.

The teachings taught in the Occult traditions kept the flame of the relationship between the feminine and masculine energy alive. Focused on Oneness, in these teachings, both the energy (feminine) and the physical (masculine) were equally worked with. It was known that if energy is suppressed it doesn’t go anywhere, it is stored in the body. Furthermore, this can cause disease and illness in the body.  The feminine practices work to release stored energy which presents itself as pain, tension, or perhaps it hasn’t become represented in the physical form yet. So the energy clearing occurs by allowing the body to simply release what it needs to release, by moving the way it needs to move could prevent the physical expression of this, and act as a preventative or a stress release of pent up energy, kind of like pressing ‘re-boot’.

Ancient Egyptian Cults played a huge role in continuing the energetic thread of this ancient wisdom. It is in the balance of these two extreme energies that we can gain balance- not from stifling them, or restricting them with how we perceive ‘awakening’ should look. Relate this to today,  even meditation teachers fall under the pressure and culture of how they themselves should be. Now that I am adorned with this mysterious piece of paper giving me the authority to actually teach meditation to others, I have felt the energetics of the need to behave calm all of the time, or be perceived to be calm all of the time. That isn’t me. In this environment? During a pandemic? In lockdown with my two children? I have my personal practices which help me better parent and handle emergencies when called upon, but I do slip from time to time. I am human. I am perceiving in some circles some ‘acting’ other than what is true in the moment. My devotion is to stay real in the moment.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is no perfection in meditation. It’s a practice. Sometimes you go deep, sometimes you don’t. Honouring what arises wherever you are at in practice or in life is the perfection in it. Meditation teachers, or in fact even esoteric facilitators can get caught up on how they ‘should’ be perceived. What I feel is more important is truth. Is to show the humanness, as well as the amazing essence and divinity of someone. I can chat and even be telling a story before a meditation in my own authentic voice and expression that is relatable and HUMAN (sometimes I get excited and swear a little)- my point is, the sense of belonging can be shared. When it’s time for teaching and guiding meditation that ‘HUMAN ME’ slowly drains away and the depth of the practice comes in and service of the divinity or light, within a person and within the room is surrendered to in the moment, based on the energy of the room and who is present, we flow into a meditation aligned with this. Then after the meditation when everyone who wishes to share has shared, then I’ll chat and laugh and tell stories again. It’s a sacred union of humanness, ego and personality WITH connecting to something more than that…. just sublime….

Show me a meditation teacher who has done the work on themselves and I will see his or her authenticity. Being OK in their own methods, and styles, with life experience to have the maturity to hold space and willingness to learn from whatever is presented when it is presented is a must to gain the trust of those who are willing to enter the unknown with you. Humble to know it is the teachings, not themselves the people gather for. Devoted to getting their own ego out of the way to serve with sincerity, and devotion something higher than themselves within the room and within each person gathered. Leading by example only to reveal the truth that meditation is a tool to aid in the path of life- essentially entering the unknown and getting to know and connect to oneself in this amazing and often difficult process. It doesn’t matter which method you choose- masculine or feminine or bridging the gap between them, all can if taught in an intentional way, take you deep into connection and knowing thyself.

There are times when this is not always the case, for example some inherited diseases and illnesses, however doing a regular practice of what feels good for the body the soul has taken unique to each person, will help to reduce the ailments of the body in this instance. It is not simply a matter of moving the body and allowing it to subconsciously take care of things for you in the feminine. At least that hasn’t been the case for me, with two children to stay present for. I feel that we have evolved the masculine parts of us in this culture for a reason. Yes, there are distortions and the creation of patriarchy which has its faults, but we have the opportunity to bring consciousness or clarity to our lives. So, doing meditation under the more masculine method of witnessing, stillness, quietness is a perfect companion to the uncontrollable sometimes wild expression of the feminine.

For me, in my own practice, I cannot do one without the other, it feels like something is missing. The masculine helps us to live in this world, to be present to ourselves, to hold space for ourselves when things get difficult, to be witness with love, to act on plans and get things done out in the world. We need a healthy dose of this. But, in my teachings, there’s a gorgeous sacred union of diving equally into both, a cohesion. What one lacks, the other provides…. and vice versa. Oh, it’s such a beautiful path to walk on.

I hope you can join me in the future some time.

All my love,
Elise

Musings on Surrender, Openness and Courage

So often I have heard the words ‘let go’ and ‘surrender’…. but how often, I contemplated, do I truly, sincerely do this? How often do I stop searching, stop reaching for, and find myself ‘here’. Exactly where I need to be at the correct time. I have realised in my life, that there is a learning of letting go. A learning of stepping into the unknown without a map of how I am going to get on. Without being able to see. When I am in fear, and contracting so far away from the excitement of what may be around the corner and trusting that I have learnt the skills to be able to deal with it, then everything stands still. My openness to live life and enjoy the twists and turns reduces or becomes numb. And there it is I wallow in despair until I feel that soul essence within me once more. Until I feel the gorgeous alignments playing out. Until I feel the faith instil in me again, feeling truth and being courageous to step. This, this is the time to step, step into life fully. My mother keeps saying to me when she sees me, “I gave you life to LIVE, Elise.” I love that. There isn’t much advice I swallow from her anymore, but this cracks my heart open every time I hear it. And, heck, I’m going to back myself and do it.
How about you?

I can feel the breeze at my back, the warmth in my heart and a thousand dreams ready to be plucked from the spaces in between and embodied. I know I am not alone in this. If I am in this wave of energy, then I know others are too. So many are stepping out into the unknown. Trusting in themselves. Ready to learn what needs to be learnt. Courageously open and supple in this world we find ourselves in. It is you I salute. It is you that I honour and in you I am connected.

To love, to openness, to courage.
Elise

‘Surrender’ by Karen Kosky

Live. Live. Live. (reflection and poetry)

I was contemplating after having my first night out with the girls dancing ‘just because’ and having fun for over fifteen years, what happened? Where did that time go? How did I wind up taking myself so god damned seriously? Oh, oh… responsibility. Kids. Marriage. Sleepless nights. Money woes…. oh, yes. I forgot…. But I did realise what inhibits me from being more present in my life now. I realised what I think about like a hamster in a wheel, constantly returning to set patterned thoughts within my mind. It revolves around still putting pressure on myself for things to look a certain way or wishing things could be different. Then I go into fix it mode. I spend more energy on trying to handle the situation so no one gets hurt. No one is put out. No one thinks little of me….What a waste of energy! When I was out, dancing to a dodgy band in a club with my old school friends from a ‘short’ time ago, I could feel my body come alive. Like CPR paddles jolting me alive with every beat the drummer played. The sweat forming, my muscles working to move me in whatever way my body felt called to be moved, and me pliable to every beat, note and chord felt. Letting the music move and writhe and sway my body which was slowly coming back to life…. The words: ‘Live, Live, LIVE’ echoed through me and reverberated like an endless thunderstorm deeply within as it pulsed through my body- the earth. Oh, to let go of control and let my body become the music…. sweet, sweet surrender…..

Here is a message for me that I got as an undercurrent when I was out. If it is for you, too then great!
‘It doesn’t have to be a quick snap- a quick change. Just step one step closer and when you know it’s time to step then do so. Do not force yourself to step based on others opinions, wait for that drum, that thunder inside to tell you. And that pressure you put on yourself on how things ‘should’ look, or how you wished things could be different….
This is it. This is your life.
So LIVE it
Whatever situation you find yourself in.
Live. Live. LIVE.
In the mud. In the heart break.
Live. Live. LIVE.
In the mourning. In the turmoil.
Live. Live. LIVE.
There is more to you.
So much more…..
Go inside. Feel that more.
Let go of control.
BE IN YOUR LIFE.
FEEL YOUR LIFE.
RADIATE YOUR LIFE.’

Wherever you are at with your soul path, it can be hard. But LIVE anyway. There is gold even in the shitty bits. Well, I’m reminding myself of that so I thought I’d remind you too.
To being real. To being authentic. To being here for ourselves in our precious life.
I’m here. Turning up. Who’s with me?

Art by Vanessa Lemon
Written by Elise Heyward

The Courage to Enter Deep Spiritual Love (poem)

Oh, touch my heart, deeper, and deeper still….

Take me to the unknown, whisper truths in my ear

Take my hand, join me intimately, be ‘here’ completely

May I have courage to enter the unknown-

From formless to form and back again,

Immersed so deeply so that I may not be able to

Detect the delectable delights of the form

From the permeating energy of the formless.

Both, balanced, simultaneously-

Poised in the moment, and the moment proceeds

For hours and days- loving, processing and being….

Beyond the mind, yet including the mind

Excluding nothing… Accepting all of me

Rebirthed into myself over and over again

The joy, the grief, the knowing, the exploration,

The passion, the pain, the bliss, the love-

The ALL.

Oh, courage do not fail me.

I’ll be there…. in the unknown,

Basking, glowing, growing, breathing, rhythmically moving

To my own song…

 

Art by Kateryna Kovarzh

Written by Elise Heyward

Surrender, Open, Merge, Allow (poem)

Let go…. let go into the night sky
No different from the expanse of the ocean….
Somewhere between the two,
In the space where the ocean and sky meet
Is where we rebirth- you and me…
Floating with both above and below
The invitation on the swell of the ocean
And the touch of the gentle breeze
Both praying for the same thing:
They whisper in unison,
From above, and from below
Poised in timeless, weightless space:-

“surrender, open, merge, allow…

surrender, open, merge, allow…

surrender, open, merge, allow….”

For there is more than what you see
More than just making money,
Or upholding the norm….
More than the friends you have
or the family you’re from…
The sacred mysteries come,
Come knocking and inviting,
Patiently inquiring and merging
within the depths of your soul.
“Is there more?” You’ve asked yourself before
And to this the answer you shall have
when opened to explore…
Courage is to open, to feel to trust
In the path not revealed,
but rather constantly unravelling…
But oh, what an exciting life awaits
On the other side of fear and restrictions.
More than a mere temptation,
And more than you’ve been told exists….
It beckons and becomes too loud to ignore
It’s down to choice and a willingness to see
At how passionate, and full, and sweet life can really be…

Written by Elise Heyward
Art by Nari

Sexuality Unravels Within (Poem)

 

Sweat sizzling the body, breathless poise in the afternoon sun.
Tangible desire fills me to the brim as I accept this truth in the moment…
Touching, holding, passion boiling deeply- so deeply within
Oh, recycling, breathing balancing the energy
Grounding, opening, loving self deeply-
Exploring the edges within, embodying powerful energy- letting be…
Can’t help but wonder about the lover within me
Patiently watching my fluidity dripping where the flame rises
To meet my cool water within…
Steam rises and moves through my body, exuding out of my skin
Caressing every part of me like the naked touch of a lover
Stay….. stay here in the in- between a while longer….
Study Self, learn about the hidden parts, the exposed
No more hiding from my own gaze, let me dance and writhe within it.
Build the deep, potent fragrance of truth until courage is all there is
My love affair with truth continues, no matter how bereft I am left….


Written by Elise Heyward
Art by Angel Art Prints

A Discussion on Fear and an Invitation.

Life isn’t supposed to go to plan. How do we truly know what is the best for us anyway?

It feels important to admit that we don’t know. That this life baffles the mind- let’s face it we are born, we live a short childhood, a long adulthood and die (typically). Inside of that we need to make money to exist in this structure of society we live….. Fear can weigh us down. Recently, the thought crossed my mind ‘how did money become the main focus here?’. It somehow slips in when I am not looking and bunkers down deeply into my psyche like a bad house guest that won’t leave, stinking up the place. No. That’s not me, babe (Johnny Cash). I know that I KNOW there is something else and every time I get sucked into this fear based thinking I would love to be reminded- there’s more. I am going to check in with myself and ask: How do I feel right now? Just to pause and ask that question is going to help beyond the drama that may be going on.

I’ve decided to challenge myself, and feel free if you want to join me- I am going to ask myself the question, “Is this from fear or openness?” Then I can go into “How do I feel right now when I’m doing this/ being with this person/ going to work etc?” And finally, the best question of all, “What is the truth I am ready to see?”

I am going to challenge myself to live in the moment, to trust in the path, to make choices based on the above questions. If you feel ready, let’s do it together. Stay tuned…..

All my love,
Elise

Art by Oxana Poberejnaia

The Process of Letting Go Into Change

The Process of Letting Go Into Change

It takes courage to look at your life with a willingness to start again. To have nothing. To surrender it all. Below is a piece for YOU. Know that you are not alone, and somehow, perhaps you can have refuge in these words, as I did watching them being typed out of my fingers. This is not a ‘how to’, or self help article. This is from one human to another. May your choices be aligned. May you feel free to live your most authentic life. May you feel connected to yourself, to others and beyond…..

Sending love and loads of hope for your journey,
Elise

No longer is it the gentle kiss as a whispered reminder of that which I cannot enter, but a deluge, a flooding, making its way through everything, dripping, drenching drowning the life I had thought up for myself containing the labels, the roles, the absolute identity…. and now…. now it is all being flooded in the rain that keeps flowing, in the tears that trickle down my face, in the swollen rivers and lakes pregnant with truth and leaking it out everywhere….. I know that I know….. Truth has a way of coming out…. Turn my face and pretend that the rivers do not spill, that the banks and their foundations are being destroyed. Pretend to be as I once was, content with the life I had created for myself, but not harbouring the whole truth until now it pulses and knocks down my door, breaks my windows and rampages through the safe house I had built, content but somewhere within deeply yearning…. I am holding onto the back door, swinging in the rampage, gripping onto the perception of who I thought I was. My fingers slipping, water pummels my head, my body, my eyes so that I cannot see… It comes strong and powerful yet with a whisper of a message, “Let go, let go, let go….”

 

The River and Her Divine Flow (poem)

The river has her banks filled to the brim
It skirts the rocks and land formations
She moves and turns….
Rises and flows…
As the banks attempt to contain her,
Holding firm as she caresses the sides,
Writhing, rising, gently massaging
Until the banks, firm and contained
Begin to crack and falter…
The foundations crumble
As the river claims her expanded form
Dancing, moving in her new found freedom
She tiptoes beyond her known contained river
And flows through the landscape…
Making love, being in sacred union
With the rocks and the deep caverns….
Life spills from her luscious flow
As the landscape surrenders to meet her…
Birthing lakes, creeks and ponds
Creating new life from this loving adventure.

Written by Elise Heyward

Art by Shelby Robbins

As Deep and as High as You Want to Go….

You present yourself with gorgeous, deep roots-
Plump, pulsing with life and maze-like
Still within the package, clear and holding
You sit contained- unaware, naive…
I am entrusted to cut the end-
Pull you through and into this world
It’s as if you take your first breath….
Your roots entwine upon themselves
I gently, so gently massage them,
Patiently and lovingly sing you a song….
Until that moment of release and surrender-
And you are freed from your bonds.
Placed into the fertile soil.
Alone but lovingly adored.
There to grow as you wish,
As deep and as high as you want to go…