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The Crew Inside


Ever step back and really listen to the voices in your head?  Each of us is host to a cast of characters inside: some grandiose, some diminishing and cruel, some helpless and submissive … but all too often, in discord with one another.  This makes it difficult for us to know who we genuinely are and how we genuinely want to proceed.

In my work with clients, weeding through these alternate selves is vital to embodying a state of well-being.  To break the spell cast by the cacophony of internalized cultural and mind-generated voices, I find it is helpful to have clients step back and begin to accurately personify them.   As you might guess, this often brings comic relief.  I have encountered princes, pirates, tattered children, starving beggars…and my favorite, a fierce gargoyle-gatekeeper with tattoos and nose ring ;-).

Look for these sub-personalities in the troubled arenas of your life and notice the reels and storylines that follow you around money, love, relationships, health and vocation.  You will soon be able to predict with precision precisely who will show up and exactly what they will say.

Once aware of the crew you keep, you break your unconscious identification with them.  You are less persuaded by their urgency and are free to explore other avenues of being.  The crew inside is no longer running the show…

But who is?

Buddhism identifies the ‘5 Aggregates of Being’ that comprise human nature: our physicality, emotions, perceptions, thoughts and the pure consciousness that contains the other four.

As you observe the cacophony of inner voices, ask yourself, who is this one observing?  When we witness with neutrality, we are engaging pure awareness or ‘consciousness’; the aggregate of being that contains all the others.  Through this we encounter the true self and can begin to deeply identify with an inner guidance that leads to genuine fulfillment.

We expand our creative freedom, our capacity to live out of character.   We change the story and dissolve patterns that keep us from our true life.



What We Look For, We See.


What I look for, I see. Yes, logical. What I focus on grows in my awareness. Makes sense. What I tend to expect, I tend to find. Yes.

Anyone disagree? In the bible it says, “Seek and you shall find.”  The sages of ancient India taught us that what we focus on grows.

So, what if we expected wellness, happiness, support, safety, connection, prosperity…or whatever it is we wish we had?  How would that change what we see in our daily lives?

Experiment with me.  Expect ____________ (fill in the blank with what you think you don’t have, that you wish you did).  Start simple with one thing, and maybe not the thing you feel the greatest lack of…or maybe!

Spend one day.  Remind yourself, condition yourself to expect that.  Act, if you must at first, like someone who has that.  Feel like someone who expects that to be so.  Try it for a couple days, if you can tolerate it.

See how or if it changes anything.  And let me know.  This is one of my favorite spiritual practices:).


Not Enough

not-enoughMost of our emotional pitfalls have their roots in scarcity, though shrouded in whatever current event or credible outer storyline.  When we pause and examine beneath the surface, a subconscious reel of bad news can be distilled, an alarming headline – ‘NOT ENOUGH’.

The key to unlocking this painful myth is to slow down and retrace frame by frame the pivotal moments leading up to the plunge.

My scarcity headline hit the emotional presses last week after a fairly substantial
hiatus, providing me a chance to really dissect this process.  As is typical, someone close to me innocently did or didn’t do something that triggered an almost imperceptible avalanche of thoughts and feelings firing off at light speed, which suddenly shifted me into a feeling state of lack.

There I was in full character in the most vividly painful portrayal of my life.   I stepped back to observe this one I had suddenly become, wanting to see everything about her, what she believed about herself and who in her life she had cast in what supporting roles.

I dialogue and review with myself like I would with one of my children, careful not to dismiss, band-aid or criticize myself for my feelings.  I address it with sincere empathy like I would with a child.  “What happened?  What was said?  How did I feel when that was said?  What do I fear about that?  Under that what is my fear?  And under that…?”  I move deeper through the emotional layers until I reach the devastating root feeling.

I fully acknowledge how hurtful and intolerable it is to believe this myth of scarcity, when enough love, enough safety, security (or whatever it is) is absolutely necessary to my existence.  How intolerable scarce conditions are to the greater me.

When this process is lived consciously, it can be experienced and moved through.  The adult you is on the scene to question, illuminate, reassure and allow space for fears and feelings, and to then suggest the innate power to move to a different emotional place; the ability to meet one’s own needs by changing one’s emotional state.

If we rehearse or practice feelings and thoughts of lack long enough, we adopt them as a false identity, further strengthening their presence in our reality.  Attempting to get others to behave in a way that will validate our lovableness, worthiness and security is an incredible drain and impossible to sustain.

If we try to improve ourselves, create what we want, or conduct our relationships from a base state of emptiness, we reinforce that base state.  When we are intensely
identifying with not enough, we can never have enough reassurance from someone else.  In short, we cannot resolve the problem at the level of consciousness it was created.

To counteract the feeling state of scarcity, requires that we put everything aside to practice creating the base feeling state of its opposite.  To meditate simply means ‘to become familiar with’.  Carving out the space to focus on what it feels like to have an abundance of love, health, wealth, is ultimately how we create the conditions necessary for that to exist in our lives.


Trusting the River

trusting-the-riverI had a dream that I was standing at the center of my own huge ship sailing upstream when it came to a complete stop.  Looking over the side of the boat, I discovered the river had nearly dried up.  Only a muddy bed remained.

Suddenly, the boat bucked forward and began moving sluggishly ahead. One of the male crew members had jumped out, forcing the boat into motion.

I yelled for him to stop pushing and confidently declared, “We will wait for the river to fill up again!”   The crew and I then proceeded deep into the belly of the ship, where we gathered  around banquet tables to spend the time nourishing ourselves with wine, bread and intimate conversation.

If we fine tune our awareness, life will guide our movement like the river.  There will be seasons when things have clearly moved on inside us yet nothing rushes in to fill the space. We may have no clear picture of where or how to move next. Life invites a deep bellied pause, a contemplative in-breath and a movement back to the center where we can revise or recommit to our chosen path.

Handling the gap between what has been and what is coming can be unsettling. It requires faith.  I have witnessed myself many times and in many arenas of my life forcibly pushing the boat up an empty river bed, in fear that something was amiss in the stillness.

I have learned to heed the river’s cues and in such times commit to nourishing myself on the deepest levels, while holding council with ‘the crew’ inside me.

My willingness to contend with emptiness, to question everything I know and change course if necessary, strengthens me.  So much can be moved and clarified in the empty space.





4dpaqftbvka-jeremy-thomasI believe we are at a juncture in human evolution where we have an opportunity to make significant shifts in how we live, move, breathe, relate.  Our cosmology is shifting.  That is to say, we are beginning to view the relationship of the human being to the universe in a new way.  We are redefining our purpose, becoming more conscious of our power, our impact, and our infinite possibility.

There is inherent pressure in change and a medicinal power in our coming together in ways that soothe us in this transformation of human consciousness. So many people are questioning why they do what they do, how they live, who they really are.  We sense there is something more to us, some untapped potential, a possibility for a life more embodied.

While things out there in the world appear to be intensifying, we are inwardly sparked with wonder and a growing compassion.   We have the potential for a golden age and the healing of many of humanity’s wounds.


The Higher Ground

It used to be that my thoughts were largely negative, only I was so desensitized to feeling badly that I did not notice.  It began a long time ago as a measure of self-protection… I think.  If I were hard on myself, then I would improve.  If I thought of what could go wrong, then I would be better prepared…

It was faulty logic that exponentially increased my level of misery and vibrationally conditioned me to become the breeding ground for all the things I did not want.

I have become sensitive again.  I dislike the negative reels, replays and play by plays of what might go wrong.  I have little tolerance for my own senseless bad news, fixation on painful images, preoccupation with difficult feelings and thoughts that injure my spirit and lower my esteem and confidence.

Through reeducation, self care, practice and reprogramming, I have noticed that what gets air time in these precious 8″ between my ears, has gradually attuned to uplifted thoughts, flirtation with happiness and downright preoccupation with a healthier, more fulfilled life… Hallelujah!

We are now 12 days into our 40-day practice.  How is it going for you?  Do you care to share what your practice has consisted of and how have you structured it?  Has it been difficult to maintain?  How do you feel?  What do you notice?  Please feel invited to share anything you care to.

The past 12 mornings for me have begun by assessing my mental, physical and emotional state, and noting it in my journal.  Then I ask myself, ‘What is the higher ground that I would prefer?’  Meaning, how would I rather feel?  I name that and record it in my journal.

And then I plunge into some of the most enjoyable moments of my day; the blissful practice of embodying the state of being that I most desire.  How near or far I am from it determines how easy or difficult it is for me to make the shift.

The days when I am most distant, I have learned to be a child again imagining myself as I want to be when I grow up.  I allow the preoccupation with what it would it feel like to be the one I dream of being.

Imagination yields to feeling better, and then feeling better yields to becoming.  It is at that point that I understand that the process is simply recognizing and reclaiming these disowned part of my own nature.


The Mantra of Well Being

  love rain down on me

rest deep in the well of my being

love rain down, oh holy rain

wash away harm's trace

One of the most profound spiritual practices I have undertaken to date is the practice of 'letting in love'.  Amma, our modern day "hugging saint" from India describes two kids of poverty.  The first results from a lack of food, shelter and clothing.  The second is a poverty of love.  While in the East there is widespread suffering from the first, here in the western world she observes, we suffer in epidemic proportions from the latter.

There is an infinite source of energy in the universe which has been referred to by many names – ‘God’ , ‘The Divine’, ‘Source’  and often simply ‘Love’.  We live within this infinite energy and it lives within us.  All of creation at the most fundamental level, is vibration.   

The universe is fundamentally love, teeming with love actually.  We cannot stop the continous flow of this energy throughout, but we do possess the power to block it within our own energy field.  Many of us live largely unaware that we are doing just this on a daily basis, denying ourselves the love that is available to us in abundance. 

I weep listening to all the people singing with us on the summer solstice.  We had nearly 200 voices in that cave, calling love back in that moment.  Maybe you will join us next year!

This "Mantra of Well Being" was born in a moment when no solutions could be found, seemingly the bottom.  Those moments are of great value as I had no other recourse but to make an appeal from the fundamental level of my being and invite the pure healing energy of love.

It continues to feel good, as I sing this song to myself nearly every day when I sense myself even subtly shift into holding life/holding love away.  I am amazed at the power of such a simple song.  I am sharing it with you in case you might like to add it to your personal mantras.


Tuning Consciousness

Any activity performed in a conscious manner can be regarded as a spiritual practice…walking, doing dishes, gardening, journaling, even taking daily naps.  There are many traditional and new age practices as well such as yoga, tai chi, conscious eating, sufi whirling, tea ceremony, painting, calligraphy, flower arranging, sacred sexuality, breath work, repetition of mantra…and more.

The most powerful form of practice that I know of however, is the method of tuning into the state of consciousness that we are hoping to someday reside in full time.  If your spiritual goal is to feel unlimited and it is a life long feeling of scarcity that you suffer from, then what could be more logical and effective than practicing the feeling of abundance?

If like many people you are ready to reclaim more joy for yourself, then start by tuning into joyful thoughts for 15 minutes a day.  Simply close your eyes and dedicate yourself to nothing other than feeling your inherent wellness and inborn happiness.  Imagine.  Try on.  Act it out inside yourself.  The more you carve out time to feel it, the more you begin to expand your ability to hold that higher vibrational state.

If it is a feeling of separation that you have established a long standing identity with, then practice the emotional state of unity.  For 15 sacred minutes, begin living your life as you want it.  Feel merged, involved, part of….allow yourself the feeling that you have been denied.

How else can we possibly get to where we want to be, besides going there?  Acknowledge that nobody and nothing will ever come along and hand you what you want in this regard.  Only you can take yourself there.  And why not go there sooner rather than later?

It is most important to tailor your spiritual practice to your particular needs and goals and make sure that it is something that you enjoy.  You need not devote hours.  Even 15 minutes of practice a day has the power to yield significant results.  Let’s stay tuned around this and keep in touch and see what happens!


The Spiritual Path and the Sun

Mid-June marked the peak of extroversion for me.  After that, if I paid attention, I could observe myself subtly but steadily retreating inward.  Next week, the sun will spend equal time above the horizon as it does below, and I too will likely have the desire for a balance of solitude and communion.

ziceedwwh0o-andy-chilton All that I set in motion early in the year that managed to take root in the world and reach fullness, I will harvest and integrate in the weeks to come.

Undeniably, I am influenced by my planet’s movement around the sun.  I am as much nature as the plants and animals, and so my spiritual life tends to mirror the path of the largest and most influential star in my solar system.

Over the years, I have consciously allowed these cues from the sun to inform my spiritual practice.  Here in the northern hemisphere, we are currently approaching another distinct phase in the solar-spiritual year, the autumnal equinox through the cross quarter day of November 1st.

This is a time of pulling into closure a year of growth; an important phase for integrating new dimensions of self and seeing that they become well established in the totality of our being.

Over the next several days I will be writing more about this and looking at spiritual practice from a broad perspective.

I am inviting my readers and particularly my unencumbered being focus group to join me in 40 days of practice (the 40 day period extending from the equinox, September 23rd through November 1st).  By being in contact here I hope to create a network to support each of us in sustaining a consistent and effective practice.

I hope you will be inspired after the next couple posts to create a relevelant spiritual practice for yourself that will serve your current needs best and therefore bring you into greater balance and alignment.

Below this post in small type is a comment link.  If you click on the word “comments”, you will be able to share your thoughts, which will allow us to begin a dialogue.  If you want to read the comments of others, look to the left of this post and see the listings under “recent comments”.  There you can read what other’s have shared.

More to come, stay tuned!



copyright Amy McTear

'Sat Sri Akal' is a Punjabi/Sikh greeting that roughly translates as, "The timeless being is the ultimate truth." 

When I identify with the deathless part of my nature, I lose any reason to cling.  When I have no reason to cling, I allow life in.  Even my dying moments are filled with more presence and joy.

Daily, I remind myself of this ultimate truth; that though this body, this name, my loved ones, my material belongings will all change form someday, ultimately the greater part of me is not bound to these comings and goings. 

My body responds to this thought with an immediate exhale of relief, as if without it this awareness, I subtly hold my breath in defense of life.

These sung mantras are my medicine, my way to stay clear in this regard.  Set to music, my intentions and prayers seem to enter and ground in me more readily.  

It has been fun to play around with adding imagery to the music.  I regard this as a healthy balance to all the disturbing images that I can be confronted with on a daily basis.

If you are in need of comfort or remembrance, may this support you as well, in your return to wellness.  Enjoy!