the only way through is in…
Core Level Awakening
All of us on the healing journey long for a particular experience.
Can you name it?
This experience begins as a quiver when we’re guided to make tender contact with a deep wound, existential fear, unmet need, or long silenced emotional truth.
It reverberates throughout our whole being when our broken heart is cracked wide open to include all that we are.
When this CORE LEVEL AWAKENING occurs, a shift takes place in one’s mind, body, and spirit. For the first time we can remember, we stand naked, apart and free from our deeply rooted emotional conditioning.
To see this awakening experience.
To be intimate with it.
To feel tenderness toward it.
To find ourselves at home in wholeness with it.
Is THIS what you’re craving?
If so, you’re not alone.
When the tender longing of your soul’s love dissolves the last vestige of an outgrown piece of identity, a homecoming to all that you are, and all that is, welcomes you like that dawning sun that luminously reveals coloration that could only flow from the power and beauty of your soul.
For many of us, this craving for healing metastasizes into spiritual starvation. Wholeness becomes an existential imperative. If we don’t find it, we’re certain we’ll perish or worse: self-destruct.
Yet, time passes.
Maybe a shift occurs, maybe not. Maybe we just get some rest.
But inevitably, eventually, we wake up to the reality that we’re still here, longing for wholeness.
And while perhaps the hunger pains aren’t as strong, we know they’ll overwhelm us again soon.
We can–and often do–endure these dark nights of the soul for decades and lifetimes.
Core Level Awakening
an Inward Journey
When we look at our brothers and sisters, we see that many of them are starving too. They are also seeking cathartic transformation that will quench their malnourished spirit once and for all. We are thirsty.
I understand, because I too am a seeker.
Too many well-intentioned healers and therapists, regardless of modality, lament the difficulty of facilitating real breakthroughs, even after months and years.
I know, because I too am a healer.
When so many people are seekers and healers, why is deep healing so rare?
The truth is, modern science and clinical research have yet to demystify the mechanics of the spirit, and the boom of new-age healers and healing modalities has made skillful and apprenticed healers difficult to find.
As a result, well-meaning mental health professionals give us tools to effect incremental change. They share their gifts and techniques with the hope that we happen to need exactly what they can provide.
We seekers learn how to “reframe,” cope, resource, regulate, and transcend. We try to counteract and override our emotional realities and re-narrate, revise and bypass our lived experience.
These strategies have the potential to be extraordinarily effective. But they keep us stuck when they’re used to cover up core wounds. And they can be harmful when used as weapons against ourselves.
As Long as we are striving to fix ourselves or force our conditioned selves into submission, we will remain disintegrated and embattled.
And when we’re too tired, angry, or scared to fight ourselves, we may try to run away by distracting, numbing, or dissociating. But no matter what we do to fix or to escape ourselves, , we eventually fall into despair as we realize: we’re always the same distance from our pain.
From our triggers.
From our patterns.
We come to understand that fixing, avoiding, or bypassing are not the salve we need.
Because we have exhausted the alternatives, we become open to the possibility that there’s another way….
Say this to yourself: the only way through is in.
Can you sense the wisdom in those words?
When your heart is broken and your life is uninhabitable and you feel stuck in place, the idea that the only way through is in is likely to move something within you.
For some who’ve grown tired of running, this may spark a glimmer of hope, because the trail inward is one they’ve not yet explored. Or perhaps they started down it but stopped too soon.
For others, who’ve worked hard to fix themselves, the only way through is in may be counterintuitive. After all, the archetypal story of the hero’s journey teaches that peace will come when we finally claim victory over our external or inner enemies. This narrative does not encourage us to become intimate with our enemies and learn to welcome them, even if reluctantly.
But aren’t you tired of fighting that war? Aren’t you tired of seeing aspects of your own life as enemies to overcome, to best, to dominate?
Have you begun to question whether that battle can ever be won?
Undoubtedly, you can identify parts of yourself, your personality, that you blame for your suffering. We all can. But what’s the end game? To excise those parts? Drive them out of your being? Exile them somehow?
What if that’s not possible? Can you see how that warpath ultimately leads to self-destruction, not freedom?
The deep peace and uncommon wellbeing you seek is possible. This awakening is made possible not by force, but only through self-reconciliation and integration. The challenge is figuring out by what process this self-reconciliation can be achieved.
I invite you to heed the call to return home, to your deepest self.
The CORE LEVEL AWAKENING that catalyzes transformational change is available to you.
On this path, you will not only heal but also find joy, peace, awe, love, connection, and wholeness. These infuse life with a depth, texture, and richness you’ve never dreamed possible.
The fruits of this path are your birthright!
They are available to all who reclaim their full humanity.
CORE LEVEL AWAKENING is an initiation for those with the courage to turn inward and begin their homecoming journey.
Core Level Awakening
At every turn, you seek to avoid pain. Yet, buried beneath this effort is an awareness of the first noble truth: life is suffering. Fundamentally, you understand that no matter how deeply you love, you will lose everyone and everything, including your own body. Rather than embracing this awareness, we often experience it as pain.
Working with pain is an evolutionary journey that follows predictable pathways. Perhaps you are traveling one of these pathways now.
The initial stage of development, you either train everyone in your life to avoid triggering your wounds, or avoid people and potentially painful situations. The fatigue that results from maintaining a controlled environment or loneliness eventually force you into the next level of evolution.
Here, you start to make space for other people’s needs and desires. But not too much space. At this stage you’re wading into the water of considering another’s pain. Co-dependent dynamics are a feature of this stage; in order to avoid pain you insulate your cherished inner circle from the outside world.
The third level of evolution emerges from a desire for more individual space as well as the realization that your intimate friends and partners also need space to explore life. Here you see the value of individual sovereignty and understand the freedom that accompanies the choice to be fully present in your life. But because the fear of pain is still present at this stage, you lack the freedom to be fully emotionally intimate with others.
Many seekers simultaneously travel an additional pathway as they evolve through these stages: bypassing pain via spiritual practices. On the path of spiritual bypassing, you sidestep or transcend your wounds through meditation, psychogenic drugs, breathwork or other methods. You maintain enough spiritual practices to bypass the experience of pain.
You and I know that efforts to control or bypass our pain do not work.
At the final level of evolution you come to see that pain is truly unavoidable, and that the cost of closing your heart is too great to pay. You refuse to be separated from love by your pain. Your core understanding that life is suffering then lays the groundwork for your growing ability to love freely and deeply. You begin to love right up to the edge and even into the unknown territory of life. At this final stage of relational freedom you achieve the ability to become intimate with all of life. You can fully face your deepest fear without bypassing any part of pain. Rather, your transformed pain enlivens your life.
Core Level Awakening
Where Do We Begin?
Eventually, pain makes itself known and demands your attention, often through physical symptoms or relational dysfunction.
So how do you heal?
Humans attempt to control our environments because emotions overwhelm us and we haven’t been taught how to skillfully feel.
Emotional pain is like a Chinese finger trap. We keep trying to pull away from our pain only to become further entrenched and frustrated. To push your fingers towards one another is learning to feel emotion, sensation, and how to feel into memories, beliefs, and assumptions about reality. It’s a new skill set.
When you are fed up with controlling, dissociating from, and bypassing your emotions, you are ready to embark upon the skill of feeling. Those approaches don’t work because they emphasize that wounds and pain should be left behind. But those who are ready for CORE LEVEL AWAKENING learn to cultivate an inner space large enough to incorporate pain: they are no longer seeking relief from pain. Deep down they ache to become whole.
There are a variety of spiritual and therapeutic practices that facilitate a process of fierce yet compassionate self inquiry that seeks to align you with your innate healing wisdom. Gabor Mate calls it Compassionate Inquiry; some call it shadow work or trauma work; Internal Family Systems therapy calls it Self. Such healing is also the primary goal of psychedelic therapy. Though plant medicine or other therapeutic modalities may open the door inward, these interventions do not automatically connect you to innate healing wisdom unless you know how to navigate your inner world. All of us require integration–the bringing together of insight from seeing the truth about yourself and the Universe and applying that knowledge into daily living–and that is why integration is crucial. CLA is a technology that opens the door, makes the connection, and teaches you how to integrate at the same time. It’s an integration technology.
How does it work?
The CORE LEVEL AWAKENING experience creates a context that activates a wound in a safe and controlled way. Your guide asks questions and provides prompts that help you uncover and follow the breadcrumbs inward. You’re doing the work. Your guide helps you navigate. During CORE LEVEL AWAKENING sessions, you hold the flashlight of your compassionate attention and courageously point it where your guide asks, and then you step forward into inquiry. Your guide creates a calm, supported physical and emotional space for you to meet your pain face to face. This initiates the process that allows you to embrace the many facets of life and relationships in all their richness and complexity.
Core Level Awakening
Who Guides My Journey?
Luke can recall seeing himself in the oak framed bathroom mirror in his parents’ southern California home. He scowled as he examined his chest, the back of his neck, and his hairline. He felt ashamed of the many dark moles on his skin. “I’m so ugly,” he thought. He remembers the weight of his self judgment. He felt inadequate, and he assumed this was an inevitable adolescent experience.
A year later he attended a meditation and chanting program in Los Angeles with his parents. Luke loved the carefree celebratory feeling that characterized the chants and the peaceful silence of the meditation. This experience contrasted starkly with the boredom and monotony of his years of attending church and synagogue.
Not long after this, Luke attended another event. As soon as the opening Sanskrit chant began, a sensation at the base of his spine began to pulsate. The pulsation turned into a pleasant and powerful electrical current that quickly rose into his abdomen. When it pierced the center of his chest, he began to cry as a feeling of homecoming washed over his body. He felt completely welcomed and loved. The energy then passed through his throat and grief poured through his chest, arms and face as he recalled his years of self doubt and the disgust he felt toward his body. When the energy entered his head, a sense of purpose rang through his body and mind. Luke had this realization: “I am a beautiful person and my purpose is to help others discover their own fundamental beauty.”
This experience marked the launch of Luke’s spiritual path and a break from his inner critic’s grip on his self esteem. He never looked at himself with scorn again. Instead Luke saw the deeper inner radiance of his heart reflected in all people..
From then on, Luke found it easy to avoid painful emotions. He used his spiritual practices to detach from pangs of low self esteem, jealousy, anxiety and so on.. At the meditation center he absorbed valuable spiritual teachings, and he repeated many of these teachings as mantras. Through meditation Luke gained the ability to detach from any thought or emotion he found unpleasant.
His spiritual life was incredibly rich during his late teenage years and early twenties. Luke longed to take the vows of a monk and devote his life to spiritual practices as a renunciate. His meditation teacher instructed him to remain in the world and serve the spiritual path through a career and family. Despite his longing to renounce the world, Luke heeded the advice of his teacher. After a dissatisfying experience as an undergraduate student at a major American university, Luke vowed to never attend another school that lacked a spiritual curriculum.
As a result of the guidance of his parents, mentors and a few guardian angels, Luke pursued doctoral study in Chinese Medicine. In addition to rigorous programs in herbology , acupuncture, Chinese medical theory and Western medicine, Luke studied the Taoist healing traditions of Qi Gong, Tai Chi, meditation, and self inquiry. The five year program satiated his desire for spiritual study and provided a path to a fulfilling career.
Luke began a professional healing practice at 23. At 27 he became licensed to practice Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Luke poured himself into caring for his patients. For a few years he treated 70-80 people a week. After a few years of this grueling pace, he became exhausted. Luke remembers showing up to work on Monday after two days of rest, nearly as tired as he felt on Friday.
Why was he pushing so hard?
He loved it. He loved the interactions. Connecting with people around their deepest desires for a better life was utterly fulfilling. It was fun. Having entered the healing field at a young age, Luke had not yet experienced his physical limitations. He believed his work ethic was normal.
He felt perplexed when, in his late twenties, a debilitating autoimmune condition struck without warning, leaving him exhausted for days, accompanied by headaches, blurry vision, nausea, and poor focus. No amount of meditation or prayer alleviated his condition.
For nearly a decade Luke explored Chinese medicine, naturopathy, Allopathic medicine and various Shamanic traditions, but these provided no relief from his condition. He entered a repetitive cycle: the hope and promise of a new therapy or protocol would, months later, be followed by despair and disappointment.
In Luke’s late 30’s he discovered deep integral shadow work, and began to unpack unconscious wounding and trauma. Through facing deeply buried pain, he began a conscious relationship with an abusive aspect of his core persona that afforded him no rest or space to heal. Luke realized that he had been utilizing spiritual practices to dissociate from thoughts and feelings that he didn’t like. He began to recognize that his habit of misusing spiritual practices to escape painful experiences had major health consequences. Gradually, through cultivating a relationship with his inner critic and its many subtle facets, he gained the space to rest, work less, and create quality time for his family and friends. Concurrently, some of the herbs and supplements that didn’t seem to help before began to work wonders. As Luke gradually prioritized his well-being, his autoimmune condition significantly improved, as did the quality of his relationships.
CORE LEVEL AWAKENING is the courageous work of becoming deeply present to our unconscious conditioning, how it runs us, keeps us stuck, and eventually leads to poor physical health outcomes. Luke’s expertise in guiding others to breakthrough healing is born from his own long journey through suffering and pain, which, because he is human, is ongoing.
Core Level Awakening
How Do We Proceed?
Healing requires willingness.
How do you face your pain?
Try this practice:
Recall an issue in your life that has agitated you or sucked energy from you, either currently or in the past. If you’d like, you can write this down on a piece of paper, just to bring it out of your mind and into a tangible form..
Close your eyes and breathe deeper.
Place one hand palm flat on your lower abdomen.
Place the other hand flat over the center of your chest.
Take a long breath in. As you exhale, soften your abdomen.
Take 3-4 breaths like this. On the exhale, continue to soften your abdomen.
As you breathe, notice any sensation that occurs in your abdomen, pelvis, chest, throat, mouth, jaw, forehead, temples, etc. Think of relaxing into that sensation.
As you settle into your body and begin to gain awareness of your physical sensations, open your eyes.
Now, without any censoring or sense of appropriateness, write freely in response to the following prompts. As you write, return your awareness to your bodily sensations —or lack thereof.
Finish each sentence by saying your response aloud. Pause between each sentence to notice how the sensations in your body change.
Right now the sensation that I am most aware of in my body is….
As I become more aware of this sensation I notice…
As I feel this sensation, the thoughts that arise in my mind are…
In my mind’s eye, I see…
If this sensation had a color it would be…
If this sensation had a texture it would be…
If this sensation had a motion it would be…
And if this sensation, color, texture motion were to speak without censoring itself, it would say….
Say that phrase aloud with more emphasis 2 or 3 times…
Complete this sentence:
This is true because…
Breathe deeply again and soften the abdomen.
Identify the age of the part of you that spoke aloud.
What was happening at that time in my life is…
What I really needed then that I didn’t receive is…
Breathe. Feel yourself opening to the sensations in your body.
If that younger part of me could speak about their needs they would say…
What this part of me really longs for is…
Feel yourself embracing the younger you.
Marinate in self compassion for a minute or so. Note the presence of your Essence standing near the wounded part and feeling tenderness towards it.
The most loving, caring thing the current me could say to this younger part of my nervous system is…
With this process, you have entered into CORE LEVEL AWAKENING. Great Job!
By repeating this process, you exercise your ability to feel into and through your pain. Eventually, you will get to the bottom of what really matters most to you.
As you feel into and through your pain, a graceful presence often meets you. As you practice more of this work the spiritual realms you long for become more present.
As a result, you will feel a deeper sense of connection with all of life. Not just the luminous exalted spiritual realms, but the dark realms that are full of unintegrated life force. On the CORE LEVEL AWAKENING path, all dimensions of your being become fully and nakedly present.
This awakening feels incredible. It feels natural. It’s an embodied presence. You find yourself at ease with whatever emotion or sensation that moves through the body.
You feel at home.
If, as a result of these prompts, you didn’t have an experience of discovery, or if your experience doesn’t match what is being described, then you may need help laying the groundwork for CORE LEVEL AWAKENING. Luke’s guidance can help you discover self-compassion and stronger connection to your own innate healing wisdom. Or you may need personalized prompts that speak to your history, beliefs, or experiences.. Luke can identify the next steps that will lead you to CORE LEVEL AWAKENING and act as your trusted guide.
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