Deborah Bowman presents lessons learned from a climbing accident.
Some nights, stay up until dawn, like the moon does for the sun.Be a full bucket, pulled up the dark way of a well, then lifted into the light. Rumi
After my fall, I was lifted up by the grace of presence itself. Yet I recognize this lifting up as something we must do daily to stay awake to the gifts we are given.
There is no way to come up the well but the dark way. We blow it, in big ways and small, and we suffer real consequences. We need examine our failings and our fears and then let them go. May all of us, you and I, be a bucket full of lessons, overflowing with wisdom and love.
Click here to listen to Deborah’s 2014 TedX talk!
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Click here to learn about the Journey of the Feminine retreat in Costa Rica.
Lotus Bud at the Bangkok Market Photo: D. Bowman
“Don’t you know that afflictions are nothing more than wisdom? And that the purest of blossoms emerges from the mire?” Benming
The 10th century Buddhist nun, Benming, captures a striking human truth in her poetic question —that wisdom and affliction are intimately related. If we had no afflictions, no pain, no struggle, no hard decisions; how could wisdom ever blossom?
Wisdom is the ability to see clearly into the most difficult of situations and imagine the least harmful intervention. This wisdom is born out of the mire of one’s own suffering and mistakes. We only learn to free others of pain from having learned to free ourselves.
A wise person waits patiently when submerged in the mire until a clear vision arises. Feeling her roots spread out in the mud and reaching her tendrils towards the light, wisdom arises gracefully like a lotus bud in a healing gesture.
Waiting for that moment when mind and heart arise together in spontaneous repair can feel like watching mud settle; it works, but waiting can feel like forever when we are hurting. Patience is often something we learn because we have so very little choice and impatience will just heap suffering on top of suffering.
We remember how the purest of blossoms and the mud are inter-mixed when we are seriously afflicted and a friend bring us flowers at the hospital. Friends, like the lotus blooming from the mire, are there for us at times of need. In the same way, we can learn to befriend ourselves and others when there is suffering.
Learn about the Journey of the Feminine Retreat in Costa Rica, December 2019.
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“Learning to discover the treasure within you is the most worthwhile thing in the world. If you can put this into practice, you can live freshly, with a mind open like the sky, always overflowing with compassion.” Daehaeng Sunim
Asuras, temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia photo: D. Bowman
In Buddhist philosophy and poetry, the sky is often a stunning metaphor for mind; infinitely spacious, clear and compassionate. These figures, Apsuras, are protectors of the sky and in the image appear to be standing in guard of the temple and the secrets to the treasure of mind that the temple represents
The secret is actually no secret at all. It’s just so close to our nose that we don’t see it at all. Like the sky, the mind is transparent yet all-pervasive. The depth of understanding that the mind affords us leads directly to a compassionate view of all of life, including ourselves and every human being.
Yet mind’s clarity is often obscured by the clouds of our confusion. Clouds we inherit from the prejudice of our culture and clouds we pile on through our habitual patterns and personal prejudice. We pre-judge all of experience through the overcast lens of our past experience and foggy hopes for the future.
The temple of the mind needs to be continually blown clean for us to see clearly, to see reality just as it is and to open our hearts with overflowing compassion for both life suffering and and life beauty. The practice of mindfulness is like the wind, helping us see clearly what is right under our nose. And noticing the breath, like a gentle wind, can be a companion guardian of the temple.
Visit my website dbowmanphd.com to learn about mindfulness in psychotherapy and the Journey of the Feminine retreat in Costa Rica.
The feminine is understood as healing and embracing the whole; the whole our ourselves, our community and our planet. We invite you to join our small circle of creative healing so that you may bring your whole self into healing the larger circles of our world.
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Together we will create a container of safety and discovery to re-member the inherent gifts of the feminine in our lives. Your guides will facilitate sharing, guided meditations, sacred ritual and expressive exercises.
Join Sue Wallingford and Deborah Bowman in Costa Rica for this workshop! December 8 – 14, 2019
Deborah Bowman, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, certified Gestalt therapist and has been in private practice for 32 years. She is a retired Naropa University professor where she founded Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, Wilderness Therapy and the Naropa Community Counseling center. She was a founding member of the Boulder Friends of Jung and facilitates the dream-painting process. Deborah is author of several books including The Female Buddha: Discovering the Heart of Liberation and Love. She enjoys hiking, birdwatching, photography and haiku.
Sue Wallingford, MA, LPC, ATR is licensed professional counselor, registered art therapist and associate professor in the Mindfulness-based Transpersonal Counseling Program, in the Graduate School of Psychology at Naropa University. She founded Boulder Art Therapy Collective and Naropa’s Community Art Studio-International, most recently known as Partners for Social Justice, where the aim is to collaborate with other socially minded organizations to inspire creativity, healing and compassionate action in the world. Sue is an artist and lover of the outdoors and nature. She is a part time resident of Tamarindo.
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Listen to Podcast from Deborah Bowman, Ph.D.,
Naropa University Professor of Mindfulness-based Transpersonal Counseling and Psychologist
Learn about using Gestalt Awareness Practice by clicking on the link below:
Healing in the Here and Now