Posts Tagged With: Standing Stark book


 And so we begin, as all human beings do, in space, expressed by a word, permeated by time. Time is a suggestion we swallowed to hold our world together—creating a kind of comfort, but also terror in the false knowing that what passes has a beginning, a middle and an end. We invented words as conductors for experience, but language is meaningless to the intricate nuances of existence. We collectively convinced ourselves that the ground where we stand is solid matter, when the only foundation we truly have we cannot physically touch.

At the soul level, we long to move beyond what is human-made to That which is not. We hope to know the deeper realms of a reality the everyday eye may have experienced solely through fleeting glimpses—of what it cannot determine. We seek to be promised what we may only have scented through the permeable walls from another dimension. We desire to be inspired by what has stirred our bodies in unknown places with hints of rapture. We ask for the sign when the gift has already been given.

Moray Mist Artwork

Moray Mist
©2002 Carla Woody

There is an old Taoist story of parents watching their child as she sleeps next to them. In her sleeping state, the child moans and frets. She twists in discomfort. The parents cannot help their child no matter how much she hurts. If the child would awaken, she would see that the suffering is nothing but a dream.

The mind is the charioteer of experience, while the body is the vehicle that carries out the orders of its driver. The gift we have been given is the one called possibility, whose intent offers to tie all together, creating strands of a whole life rather than a disintegrated one. The gift we have been granted is what throws light into dark places. The gift held out to us has always been present. But accepting the gift has a price—courage. It is an undying courage that allows any of us to whip the dream horse and startle awakening.


Standing Stark Cover

Excerpt from Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage.

Categories: Healing, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Edge of Limitation

For years I led a meditation group. A good number of folks were faithful to this weekly gathering, a quite important factor because every one of them extended their self-intent to the group as a whole through presence and commitment. Consequently, when we came together we were able to dive deeply—immediately.


The Resistance
Photo: Carla Woody

We always opened with breathing together, to leave the day behind and connect with each other energetically. Then I would open the circle for sharing before we moved on to guided meditations. One time during the open frame a long-time participant asked a question.

What is the edge of limitation?

It was an astounding question, one I’m not sure I adequately answered in that moment. It was a question that—over time—framed a journey of my own, an odyssey into self-inquiry and the nature of a spiritual journey. I went on to write an entire chapter on this question in Standing Stark and, in the process, generated other queries to further define the question. Some of them are below.

Where is the meeting point between complacency and possibility?

Where is the meeting point between pain and healing?

Where is the meeting point between control and surrender?


The Invitation
Photo: Carla Woody

Recently I was camping in Utah with friends. When we get together we’re in the habit of exploring such territory. So, sitting around an evening campfire, I brought up the question originally posed to me. Thoughtful discussion unfolded. We may have had different words for that edge—but we all recognized it. With their permission I’m sharing excerpts of our conversation.

  • …the duel…as one decides or is compelled to take the risk of expansiveness or remain stuck…
  • …looking from the inside, fear is as far as I can go—the limitation…from the outside, I cross the “edge of limitation” as I conquer the fear.
  • …a balance point between growth and fear, then maybe as the high tide mark—which moves and shifts—between those two.

Clearly, the edge of limitation is something you lead up tounless you’re merely fantasizing. New considerations will open to places that are unfamiliar. I use a variety of metaphors to describe that state. Perhaps it’s a dark forest where the path isn’t visible. Maybe it’s a membrane you bump up against; to break through the sheathing involves an identity level shift: how you are in the world. Or it’s a threshold, the precipice where a decision is made to retreat or move forward. So the edge of limitation is the pinpoint in thought, time and space before Separation from the old self of status quo.


The Fulfillment
Photo: Carla Woody

One time I asked retreatants to do an exercise I drew from NLP. They chose an area of their lives where they experienced a block. Then I invited them to choose two spaces along a line they imagined on the floor. The first had to do with the edge that, if they moved beyond it, would take them through the threshold to freedom. Second, they chose a space along the line, prior to the first space, that signified their degree of resistance regarding the issue. The farther back they stood, the greater the degree of discomfort or blockage. Some had their backs up against the wall; others were poised close to the edge. I invited them to try something out; to physically walk along the line, out of the space of resistance and up to the edge; and if they chose, to cross the threshold to what lies beyond. To a one, they did. Their responses ranged from displays of relief to calm to abject jubilation. Fear vacated and possibility took its place.

Sometimes it’s just that simple to open the way.

Categories: Healing, Meditation, NLP, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tasking

Excerpt from Standing Stark.

Rio Paucartambo
Salk’awasi, Mollamarka, Peru
Photo: Carla Woody, 2004

Set your intent and let it go. Your intent is your beginning. Worrying about the details detracts from the intent. In your strong intent, the attraction will take care of the details.

The first aspect of beginning is assessing yourself and taking responsibility for your own course, where it has taken you and where you are now. That responsibility will determine your future—the one that exists through the vibration you now exude.

This is the Separation and then the Search. It isn’t really a search as much as it is a surrendering to intent. The giving over is to intent. Then intent takes the lead and brings you what will take you further. It will take you further to recognize your Core Self, the Self that had been hidden from you previously, but the one that had been there all along.

Sometimes the realization comes through sitting still—through patience and listening. It’s not listening to what has been habit, but listening to the quieter place and the guidance there.

Sometimes the realization comes through an action, but only an action made from clarity, from impeccability. Otherwise, it’s an action taken from habit. Then the action will merely tell you something about your habit.

An action arising from the deeper place will have a solid knowing and urging about it. It’s a bodily felt energy that envelops you in knowing. It’s not a feeling of desperation accompanied by inappropriate or castigating internal voices. That’s the dialogue through which the actions of habit are fulfilled.

Actions of impeccability move you along the warrior’s path of utter surrender to the destiny of Knowing and Not Knowing. It is the knowing of the Core Self in all aspects, in all human tendencies, in all that is resident of Source. It is the not knowing of the profound comfort of the Infinite.

It is the mind overtaken by Spirit.

It is the mind having willingly succumbed to the wider wisdom dwelling within and without.

And you have to leave the place of previous comfort and familiarity in order to uncover it.

Categories: Healing, Meditation, Personal Growth | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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