The “Instruments of Self”

Can we converse with creation? Short answer: Yes.

In this video from the June 2017 TEDx Findhorn, Michael Lindfield describes communicating with morphogenetic fields, and calls for us to recognize and develop our “Instruments of Self” so we can communicate and partner with creation to build a positive future.

Sourcing The Way has a similar intention: To develop our individual and collective instruments of self, sensitized to the subtle signals of the universe and nature, for the benefit of all. 

“The Instruments of Self,” Michael Lindfield at TEDxFindhorn

Advertisements

Where to go? An example of Resonance Mapping

Would it be better to attend a conference in California this fall or put that money toward a bucket-list trip in 2018? Take a road trip inland or head for a retreat by the sea? Keep a “go bag” ready for something unexpected, or plan the next trip in advance? Our previous posts about Resonance Mapping laid out principles and basics. This post details an example of using Resonance Mapping for a practical inquiry: how to satisfy my wanderlust without blowing my budget.

hiking-1312226_1280
Photo courtesy of maxmann on Pixabay.com

Method

I wanted to know which of the various travel options I could think of for this fall would be most resonant for me. “Resonant” in this case meant most supportive of my ongoing evolution, with an ample measure of pleasure thrown in.

Jeff and I co-sensed this together, starting with a few possibilities I’d been considering: going to a retreat center, taking a one- or two-week road trip, holing up in a cabin somewhere, or jetting off on the spur of the moment if I found a great fare to a beautiful place.

For each place on my list of possible destinations, we listed three data points: two from Jeff, one from me. Jeff used his inner sensing methods to ask the resonance of each travel idea on two value scales: a percentage, and a scale of 0-10. He also listened for new suggestions that hadn’t occurred to me—for example, he repeatedly got a hit to include Canada in the list of optimal possibilities.

Unlike Jeff’s, my ‘data points’ were qualitative, not quantitative. When I tuned into my body sense, my core would contract or expand slightly, I’d get tingles or energy rushes around my head or torso, or my imagination would light up with a new idea or image. By practicing with Sourcing The Way folks, I’ve learned to recognize the difference between such hints or messages and my usual mental chatter.

Once we got rolling, I also heard or felt suggestions for going deeper. (More about that later in this post.)

Results

In less than 30 minutes we co-sensed and mapped a list of ideas that blossomed from a handful to more than 40.

Most resonant (top of the list):  Go to Paradise at Mt. Rainier when the wildflowers are blooming. The winners overall were to head for high elevation terrain (my usual vacation choice is coastal), do something unexpected, visit Canada, and do a self-directed retreat for a deep dive into the roots of being. These all came in at 9.8 to 10 out of 10, and above 90%.

Least resonant:  Urban settings, an impulse trip to Europe, staying home and saving the money for a later bucket-list trip, signing up for a formal retreat, and attending any of the upcoming conferences and festivals I’d wondered about. These ranged from 0 to 3 out of 10, and below 30%.

Somewhere in between:  Going to the desert, heading for Hawaii, taking a road trip through Washington state, and a few dozen other possibilities.

As the list grew, several axes or pivots presented themselves, so we also tested them:

  • Urban vs. rural?  Rural, with highest values for natural settings at high elevations.
  • North America vs. going abroad?  North America.
  • Impromptu or planned in advance?  Both were okay.
  • A retreat or a trip or a conference?  A trip and a retreat. Organized group events didn’t make the cut this time.
  • If retreat, self-directed or formal?  Self-directed.

An example of a question series

Once the rural vs. urban question was settled, we zeroed in on geography and my intuition joined in. I felt prompted to ask about vegetation. Somewhere with lots of plants, focusing on trees? 99%, but only 1.8 on the 10 scale. Somewhere with lots of plants, without focusing on trees? That got 1 trillion % (sometimes Jeff’s percentage values go beyond 100), but only 2.2 on the 10 scale.

At that point, I got a stronger hunch about what was going on. We’ve noticed that when the percentage and 0-10 scales give answers that are wildly different, we’re being invited to look more closely, to reframe the context or the question. So I asked “High elevation?” Yes! Infinitely high % and 9.9 on the scale. When I then asked “Near and above treeline during wildflower season at Paradise in Mt. Rainier National Park?” that 9.9 moved to 10.0 for a perfect score. And my insides felt excited—super excited, like a child with a birthday present to open.

When the process becomes alive 

We went through three stages with this Resonance Mapping sequence: static, dynamic, and alive. We had started with a list of a half-dozen travel possibilities. Simple inquiry, simple answers. That was the static phase of the process.

The Resonance Mapping became dynamic when new ideas started to surface. For example, the process got simpler and faster when we noticed and asked about the patterns or pivots in the rapidly growing list, such as whether a natural rural setting would be more resonant for my next trip than any city.

After we’d gone through the whole list once, intuition nudged me to shift from destinations to motivations. I got that my questions hadn’t been coming only from a desire to travel. Yes, I wanted to travel somewhere. But, to me, freedom to travel represents personal freedom, and I realized I’d been using this list as a gauge of my own freedom—or lack thereof.

When Jeff and I reframed the inquiry to remove any energy that suggested I wasn’t already free, a new question emerged: Where—which journey or experience—would offer me the greatest chance to be of service?

At that point, the process shifted from dynamic to alive.

The question deepened into my bones and into the floor beneath me. All kinds of additional possibilities raced into my mind. I also felt freedom—as lightness and curiosity—replace the mild constriction and contraction I’d been feeling about the list. “Either/or” left as “both/and” arrived.

Physically, I also felt something lift and stir my insides, like a spring breeze playing with sheets on a clothesline—an inner movement helping to free an old energy pattern I no longer need.

Source willingly (and playfully) uses Resonance Mapping to help us co-sense the practical decisions of life. But we’ve seen again and again that when we listen deeply enough to catch Source’s hints about our patterns and assumptions and then explore those assumptions together, Source takes us deeper, and the inquiries assume a radiant life of their own.

As for Mt. Rainier, as soon as Jeff and I finished our session, I went online and booked an inexpensive room just outside the national park for 2 nights in mid-August. It’ll give me easy access to the Paradise area with its beautiful trails through high-country meadows. I haven’t been there in years. Maybe I’ll take a trip this fall, too. But for now, the wildflowers and treeline at Paradise are calling.

This is the third post in a series on Resonance Mapping, one of Sourcing the Way’s foundational tools.

Labradorite

If I tilt this piece of labradorite just so,
when the angle’s right,
the grays of sky and sage
give way to Aurora fire.
Flames beneath the surface
blaze blue-greens
particular to this stone’s
particular sheen and qualities.
And also, uncontained, beyond containing,
deep light-lines straight as arrows
cross its face, bridges
to the something more
this piece was part of.

If you acutely angle a mind
in the geometry of surprise
enough to catch its story looking elsewhere,
a soul with the sheen of a rufous throat,
but neon-bright, shows itself,
blazing through the story’s camouflage,
and all the edgeless lines of light it holds
are pointers to the next soul and the next,
hints of the original urge
to break into so many,
and of the ache for union.

Shattered into everything, the All
reveals its fire through our faces.

IMG_3230
Photo of labradorite, by STW council member Dave Smith

Holly Thomas is a member of the Sourcing The Way Council. This post from her forthcoming collection of poems is part of a series of  “Glimpses” — brief explorations inspired by sourcing, the occasional bolt from the blue, or simply noticing.  

 

What is a Resonance Map?

This second post in a series on Resonance Mapping, one of Sourcing the Way’s foundational tools, was co-authored by Jeff Vander Clute and Holly Thomas.

In our previous post, Sourcing flow beyond yes and no, we offered the possibility of a new paradigm for inspired decision-making that can lead to a much greater sense of flow in work and life through a process called Resonance Mapping.

To borrow a phrase, a Resonance Map is a structure for ‘making the invisible visible’ – as a high-resolution image of a particular inquiry, recorded in the form of a spreadsheet, a map, or anything in between. It’s a record of the results of Sensing and Co-sensing into constellations of opportunities by however many people are participating in the inquiry. It can represent a single point in time or show changes over time.  

A few terms and observations are important here:

  • Sensing is the individual process of opening to and receiving information from what we call Source. An active version can involve asking a question and listening with the full body system for a spontaneous, uncontrived response.
  • Co-sensing is Sensing as a group of two or more. It includes individual Sensing but can be more powerful, often producing better data for inspired decision-making.
  • Sensing and Co-sensing – broadly defined – are how we practice Sourcing, and sometimes we use the terms interchangeably. Later posts in this series go deeper into the methods and benefits of Sourcing.
  • An inquiry can be about anything. Any question you can think of is fair game, especially if you’re sincerely curious about the answer, if you’re open to being intuitively guided, and if you’re willing to follow the energy if other questions emerge from the process. For example, you might want to discern or discover:
    • The optimal location and mission for a new business, or the composition and role of a new team, including the key factors influencing those choices.
    • The well-being of body systems, from the physical to the energetic, and from the largest scale (such as the whole endocrine system) to the sub-microscopic.
    • How best to use and renew your own life energy given a wide range of possibilities and opportunities.
    • Which opportunities are the most aligned with your soul’s purpose and joy.
    • What’s happening at subtler levels of creation and consciousness.

A Resonance Map makes it possible to examine, compare, and even measure information obtained through Sensing and Co-sensing for a particular realm of inquiry. It records the information’s aliveness, degree of truth, or depth of resonance and consciousness for a given time, place, and circumstance. The sum total of the information obtained this way represents the possibilities and opportunities named in the inquiry, and those that are most alive, true, resonant, or conscious rise to the top.

When the map is set up as a spreadsheet, it’s easy to record using numbers, descriptions, or other symbols or codes, whatever each participant senses through whichever sensing methods they use, from muscle-testing or pendulum work to body sensations or meditation, and then to see the whole picture that emerges from the individual results. When the co-sensing results involve numbers, percentages, or calibrations, simple statistical tools like standard deviation can be used to gauge the coherence of the results, and of the group. Resonance Maps can also track how questions and answers evolve over time, such as before and after energetic clearings and other intentional changes.

On a more mysterious level, we’ve noticed again and again that the more curiously and gently we inquire, the more alive the inquiry itself seems to become. A creation process unfolds, with us as co-creators. As the process flows, circumstances change, and answers and choices can all shift. When we work in this way, we are working at the level of the roots of life. That’s one reason why Resonance Mapping is so powerful.

What can Resonance Mapping help us accomplish?

If we live according to the binary extremes of yes and no, we can eventually get to where our souls want to go. But the yes/no life can be like a black-and-white movie, in which it’s easy to miss the vividness of our experiences. Bouncing between the polarities of yes and no can also feel a bit like zigzagging down a cobblestone street filled with potholes we can’t see. The blockiness or bumpiness is life energy constrained by our own mental blinders – specifically, the tendency to see only the extremes – and it will often show up as drama in our life circumstances.

When we focus on the extremes, we tend to overlook the subtle pointers and directional cues that would enable us to find the path of least resistance and greatest flow, and we are likely to miss both the overall picture and the details that enrich it.

At the most basic level, Resonance Mapping removes the mental blinders. We can see and be more clearly. There is more color in our lives and the path becomes smoother.

The most tangible and immediate benefit of Resonance Mapping is that it brings clarity and inspiration to decision-making by asking what wants attention right now, and then mapping the ‘aliveness and consciousness’ of a whole range of opportunities, not just the leading candidates. This produces a higher-resolution picture of how resonant (alive) each possibility is in relation to the whole. What emerges is a clear sense of the most luminous and empowered path forward. In the process, the way to go often becomes completely obvious.

Plumeria combined
Pixelated vs. high-res image of plumeria blossoms

When the resolution of the picture increases, the blockiness of the pixelation disappears and previously invisible subtleties, layers, and interrelationships emerge. We move into clarity and engage with a much more accurate representation of the situation, which in turn empowers us to navigate life that much more skillfully. Our inquiries and decision-making evolve from some version of “Is that blur ahead of me a friend or a foe?” to something more like “What is the pattern? What is the gift of this turn in the story? What am I being invited to notice and shift?”

As a tool, we can apply Resonance Mapping in other ways as well. For instance, we may use it as a feedback system to map the aliveness of various qualities of being that we are cultivating or liberating. We have found that working with real-time Sensing and Co-sensing feedback helps enormously in amplifying the ‘positive’ qualities and clearing the ‘negative’ qualities for ourselves, our organizations, and our communities.

Beyond the Beyond

Over the last six years at Sourcing The Way, Resonance Mapping has evolved from a basic ranking system into a mathematically and spiritually subtle architecture for conversing with Creation and Consciousness. Every time we’ve thought the system was complete, another layer has revealed itself, as if responding to our invitation to show up even more fully and deeply. More than a tool for practical decision-making, it has become a consciousness technology that can sharpen our insight, expand our awareness, increase our sensitivity to subtle energies, and, with consistent practice, open us to non-local awareness and Self-realization.

The more we source and map via Sensing and Co-sensing, the more we discover that immanent quality of ourselves that is the Source of all we know and experience. The ‘resolution’ keeps increasing, and the ‘pictures of reality’ we’ve seen emerge so far are stunning. The Infinite keeps unfolding, helping us awaken to the vastness and offering practical support for living more purposefully and authentically.

In the next post of this series, we will offer several real-world examples of Resonance Mapping.

Sourcing Flow Beyond Yes and No with Resonance Mapping

This post is the first in a series about Resonance Mapping, one of Sourcing the Way’s foundational tools, and was co-authored by Jeff Vander Clute and Holly L. Thomas.

When we face important decisions, all the information in the world is useless if we can’t discern which options work toward our goal, which options don’t, and whether the goal itself is optimal. Fortunately, we all have access to radically powerful inner wisdom technologies that can help illuminate the essential decisions of our lives, and we can cultivate the capacity to listen to these parts of ourselves in ways that will lead us to a greater sense of ease, freedom, and empowerment.

Hunches, intuitions, gut feelings, and synchronicities can help us navigate the day-to-day world of opportunities and challenges, as well as the inner landscape of ideas and emotions. Everyday techniques for dialoguing with intuitive guidance, such as muscle testing and body sensing, can yield yes/no/maybe answers as well as quantitative information. For more nuanced inquiries, we might pray, meditate, dive into research, consult experts or intuitives, explore dreamwork, check energies, ask trusted friends, watch for synchronicities, and so on.

Sometimes these “messages” come through loud and clear, and our inner compass is strong enough to follow. Often, however, whatever sense we have of being guided isn’t persistent or consistent enough to count on. The good news is that with practice, that can change. 

Working with inner guidance or universal intelligence is like building up a muscle that needs to be strengthened and exercised to function well. As with learning to walk, we begin with the “muscles” and modest (yet miraculous) coordination gained from earlier stages, take awkward first steps, fall down, and keep trying…until freedom comes.

One wrinkle in the process is our tendency to seek information through yes-or-no questions. Such an approach highlights binary or absolute black-and-white distinctions, which are actually rare.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.
– from Coleman Barks’ translation of Maulana Jalal Al-Din Rumi

Another wrinkle is that the linear approach of pursuing a series of questions toward a single conclusion ignores the nonlinear interdependencies among the myriad woven strands of our lives. Pulling on one strand, by making a decision to do or not do something, may strengthen some strands while unraveling others in a way that’s largely unpredictable.

That’s not to say we should never make choices. The key is to understand that single-minded linear sequences of questions can take us only so far. And, with a deeper understanding of Reality, we come to discover that they simply don’t work if we wish to live the dynamic fluidity of existence in a state of grace and awakeness.

If we look very, very closely, even “answers” that we call “yes” and “no” are almost always maybes – ever-so-slightly off-yes or off-no. Life exists in the creative space of “almost” and “maybe,” in other words, potential. The potential for our lives to flow gracefully exists between the extremes. The experience of flow is in many respects the opposite of our usual fixation on yes and no.

ball-443853_1280
Photo by geralt, Pixabay.com

The field of fluid dynamics shows us that flow, in nature, is also extremely nonlinear. If we look long and deeply enough, it becomes clear that the way in which we’ve trained ourselves to perceive the world and make decisions is why our lives tend to be filled with stops and starts, bumps and blocks in the road, and setbacks and disappointments. Taking into account how Reality actually works as a basis for much more empowered decision-making for living in flow, is where Resonance Mapping comes in.

Resonance Mapping zeroes in on subtle differences that can have profound effects, to help us find our flow and create what’s truly optimal. It engages with the full spectrum of vibrational consciousness (and beyond), by mapping the space of ‘maybes’ in a useful way. It unites the left brain with the right brain – analysis with intuition – so we show up more fully and bring all of our wisdom and ways of knowing to our decision-making. The rest of this series will focus on the what and how of Resonance Mapping.

Love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows. – Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That

The Velcro Ego

Spoiler alert, in the highly unlikely event that it’s not already glaringly obvious: I have not left my ego behind me on my spiritual path. But I know a few folks who have. Instead of identifying with their personalities, they consciously wear them like luminous clothing. Their sense of Self as Source dons just enough cover to function in the world.

I’m not that…realized? Lately, though, I’ve had some success at more quickly recognizing what my ego is up to, and helping it relax into the background so the larger me can show up. This post is about one tool I use to do that.

First-up, definitions

In this case, by my ego, I don’t just mean the parts of my personality that inflate and deflate. And not just the ‘healthy self-image’ self. I mean something closer to the whole Sagittarian tango perceived as me. But even that’s not quite it.

Let’s say my ego is the part of or aspect of me that’s focused on 3-D reality. It favors stability and safety. It tries to handle experience by concretizing it. When I’m not paying close enough attention, it treats as solid a range of stories, memories, experiences, sensations, and states of being that aren’t solid at all. Right, wrong, good, bad, true, false, better, worse—it’s the aspect of me that knows how to cope with a world of dualities and tends to feel threatened by any suggestion that there’s something more subtly unifying and non-dual going on.

The ego isn’t wrong. Not exactly. It is important to know the difference between the bug and the windshield. Being oriented to 3-D reality helps keep me alive. But I don’t want that narrow a view of reality to define and control me.

My ego has a black belt in doubt. It gets uneasy when I experience creation in non-dual ways, but it’s too clever to try to shut down such experiences by saying they’re not real. Instead, when I let it, it casts aspersions on my sense of the meaning of such experiences. Or, switching sides in the same game, it makes me need such non-dual experiences to feel ‘worthy’ or ‘important’ or ‘special’. Either way, my ego knows exactly how to hook me if I let it make me the fish.

“Small moves, Ellie, small moves”*

I’ve forgotten exactly what I was doing, but I was being stupidly judgmental about something, feeling simultaneously self-righteous and disgusted with my self-righteousness—a particularly nasty left hook/right cross combo. So, I took a breath and noticed what my ego was up to.

Next, I stepped back to wonder why. “I” didn’t vacate the premises, I just shifted perspectives. Ego is made of stories, and I caught myself for the millionth time assuming my stories were true.

Noticing I was hooked on my stories was all it took to unhook me for a while. So I took a good look at this Holly person who’d moments before been so firmly perched on her pedestal, and all I could do was laugh. I dropped my judgments like a boring book and became intrigued by this notion of ego hooks.

Next thing I knew, an image of a strip of Velcro popped into my head.

Velcro

Analogies are like rubber bands. Stretch them too far, they snap. But stay with me while I work this Velcro analogy a bit.

Velcro is a brilliant tool for keeping things sturdy, contained, controlled, and tight. It’s
adjustable, within limits. It’s nearly indestructible. It’s easy to peel apart from the edge, very hard to pull apart by a perpendicular attack (assuming the Velcro is strong and well-enough made).

Left to its own devices, Velcro also has a remarkable ability to pick up lint and pet hairs and crumbs and other gunk that bit-by-bit clog it up. Plus, if it’s not kept fastened up or wrapped, it tangles itself with itself. In fact, it can tangle itself with pretty much everything.

Velcro works for me as an analogy for the ego first because it’s not cloaked in spiritual or religious or psychological language. No intimidation factor. No holiness needed. No incense required.

Second, because Velcro isn’t all or nothing. Yes, each hook is binary—it’s either attached or it’s not—but a whole strip of hooks presents a whole range of…let’s call them ‘degrees of attachment.’

When I was in high dudgeon as Empress Holly Judging Herself and the World, my ego was firmly attached to itself. But just noticing that much was like peeling up a small corner of a Velcro strip, then a bit more, and a bit more. I didn’t have to open the whole strip to grok what my ego was up to. I didn’t have to dislike the Velcro, resent the Velcro, love the Velcro, or become realized enough not to need the Velcro. I just had to peel it open a bit at a time.

Practice makes practice

Since then I’ve been using this Velcro image a lot. When I catch myself falling for one of my stories—the need to be right, for example—I take a breath and imagine myself peeling up a corner of a Velcro strip. Often now, all I need to do is think “Velcro” and whatever had me hooked settles back into a non-issue.

The best thing is that it’s getting easier to unhook. I catch myself sooner, so the ego doesn’t as often attach all the way before I start peeling it back open.

Here’s where the analogy stops:

Velcro doesn’t learn from experience. Holly’s ego does. It can be cunning, and it’s fully capable of at least attempting to subvert this practice. But instead, it seems to appreciate knowing it doesn’t have to alternate between locking up tight and flapping loose, frantically snagging whatever it can. Plus, my ego rests better knowing that I don’t see its penchant for attachment as a character flaw. It’s just attachment—a tightness I can loosen or release.

Maybe my path will one day rip off my ego for good, hooks, loops, stitches, and all. Maybe death does that. But meanwhile, it’s still here, and we have come to an understanding. My ego is finally learning to relax and release its hooks more quickly, sometimes even gladly. And I’m finally learning to avoid getting so tangled and snagged.

ππππππππππππ

*”Small moves, Ellie, small moves” is a line is from Contact, one of my all-time favorite movies.

This post is the third of a series in which Holly’s sharing “glimpses” that come to her through meditation, Sourcing, the occasional “bolt from the blue, ” or simply noticing. 

It’s right there

Last Saturday it topped 100 degrees in Palm Springs, and while everyone else huddled near their air conditioners, I hit the pool. It’s a fairly big, well-maintained pool for the community where I’d been staying as a friend’s guest. I had her place mostly to myself, and, at tea time on this particular day, I had the pool to myself as well. No distractions. Bliss.

I’m not a great swimmer, but I swam a set of laps in my awkward way and played with kicks and water-robics to work out some kinks. I also sat for a while in the shadier of two hot tubs and said hallelujah when I realized its jets were positioned perfectly to simultaneously massage the small of my back and my feet. Yes.

Granted, hot tubs are counterintuitive on hot days, but desert dryness makes it work. Feeling sufficiently cooked after 10 minutes, I jumped back into the pool to cool off. The sun was already working through my last layer of SPF 50, so I splashed over to a shady corner and stood up. I looked back out at the pool’s sunlit surface, and noticed the water.

That sounds weird, I know. Obviously, I was already aware of the water. But it wasn’t until I just stood there and looked that I truly saw it.

After a moment, I realized my mind has been so well-trained to interpret the water surface as “silvery” that I’d overlooked its spectacular colors. It rippled with circles of bright sunlight, deep sky blue, a nearly-neon light turquoise, a dark turquoise carried up from the pool floor, flashing rings of lavender and orange, and patches of mauve and ochre reflections of the arid hills. Every bit of the surface was alive with motion because both I and the air were breathing.

I couldn’t believe that in all these years, this was the first time I’d ever stood in a pool that particular way, with the sun at my back, “merely” watching sunlight cast such specific, amazing colors across the surface. How much else hadn’t I been seeing?

With the sun still behind me, I stepped out to the center of the pool—just 5 feet deep—and looked down at my own silhouette. Around it, sunlight rippled in bright refracted patterns over the turquoise floor. I moved my hands in the water to speed up and slow the shifting rings and lopsided ovals. In a marvelous illusion, they appeared to emanate from my shadow self and interact with every other drop of water and flash of light.

Years ago, a beloved friend wrote this on my birthday: “Life is a garden, not a road. Where you go matters less than what you notice.” For a long time, seeing has been part of my practice and my gift. But sometimes I forget and my vision dulls.

I needed the water’s reminder to keep practicing. To revel in the interconnected, restless aliveness of what’s right in front of me. So much becomes clearer when I look where the sun is pointing.

Holly Thomas is a member of the Sourcing The Way Council and a writer, editor, writing coach, and artist. This is the second of a series in which she’ll share “glimpses” that come to her through meditation, Sourcing, the occasional “bolt from the blue, ” or as in this post, simply noticing.