“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.“ So go and dance in the shadows Rich, but enter at your own peril!
Ah what an intro…
You see, this year for me I had the intention to go into my shadow as so much of my life has been about ascension. But I realised that as far as I move ahead, unless I release the anchors dancing in the shadows they will always keep my growth limited.
Hence why I did a vision quest this year, where I spent 4 days sitting in the bush with no food in a 3 metre circle and nothing to read, write or do. Just sit in nature with self and dance those shadows to light. And I really felt I had shifted some big hidden monsters…
But over the last few months I have become infinitely aware of some old outdated patterns that are sabotaging my highest experience of life. Some dark shadows circling beneath me to the tune of the Jaws soundtrack.
These shadows came flooding to my attention in the intrepid waters of trading the futures market. I know, strange right that a meditation teacher would be into such a thing… but remember I aint no monk! I love the worldly experience of my humanity (sometimes..).
And I felt I had finally started to master an incredibly volatile playground.
After years of teetering with it, I was feeling “I’ve got this”.
As I had multiple days where I was on point, a master of my own dominion and executing my plan to perfection. It was incredibly exciting and liberating all in one. Finally I have mastered it, time to ramp up.
Until… that song starts to play, da nun…. Da nun….da nun,danun
Anxiety and despair overcame me. And again, I know, Rich you’re a meditation teacher. By gosh shouldn’t you have equanimity in all aspects and be like a calm body of water amongst the storms of life?
Well good question, now my ego would love to say, yep, I have ascended all my unconscious negative programs, and as far as I feel I have grown, safe to say I found some old weeds…
And all that equaminty was momentarily forgotten, and, my oh my, I got belted, my tail between my legs as I watched my unconscious patterns (the monkeys) grab the reins and I was taking trades that were not to plan and watching it all go pear shaped Majorly. I was in the jaws of the monster…
It hurt. Big time.
And it was not so much the loss of the almighty $$$, it was the monkey’s, man, seeing those guys grab the reins and take trades that I would and should not take was insane. Not fun.
But in hindsight I can see why I curated this horrible experience.
You see, I was caught up in some old programs and old beliefs that came running to the surface as I got stuck in fight or flight mode. We know the science, stress reverts us into old unconscious patterns. Shitty thing those stress patterns…
I liken them to the many apps running behind the scene (often totally unaware), taking up space, battery power and computing power.
These apps we could call our shadow patterns.
That somewhere along our conscious journey we programmed into our psyche, through ancestral and parents beliefs and behaviours, traumas and social conditioning.
Now some of these for sure are positive and required but so many are not.
And in my case they were far from helpful in my desire to experience the rich tapestry of life.
So rather than keep trading and ignoring my “unconsciousness” in the hope all will be okay, I knew this was my “being” trying to bring me to a state of homeostasis (balance and repair) by bringing the old to light. And for sure I could stop playing in the volatile playground of the futures market and stay constantly calm… But that kinda feels like ignoring the bogeyman.
As I realised, that this stuff is in me. The trading was just a mirror revealing it. Like the universe is continually doing. A constant reflection of the state of our consciousness.
So I knew I had to go back into the shadows and bring to light these patterns. So off I went to the therapist to guide me into my unconscious dark murky backwaters. Sidenote, I really thought I was done with those forms of therapeutic models (despite still studying psychology)… but through diving into the shadow realms, I knew I needed some trained experts’ help.
We dug deep and revealed some pretty outdated shitty beliefs that I thought I had well and truly moved beyond… Got to love the ego… But sure enough there they were, old dusty cobwebs in the closet… Beliefs like:
I am not good enough
Life is hard
I do not belong
It is not safe to be me
If I make money I will be better
Money doesnt grow on trees
Yada yada yada…
And a few more, but I am sure you can see, running this stuff behind the scenes is continually going to bring a whole lot of internal sabotage and incongruent behaviors.
A lot of those beliefs were inherited and programmed and some cultivated along the way.
Dad used to say to me “I don’t care what you do son, just be the best at it”…. Whoa.
Not do your best. Be the best.
That’s a whole lot of weight to carry unconsciously. No wonder I rebelled against the world.
As if I cannot be the best, what’s the point. None. So why bother trying. Enter Rich the rebel. And boy I played that incredibly well.
So amazing what a few words in order can do, as “be the best” is a very different belief to “do your best”. As when we “do our best” we just work with the power within us, not competing against anyone. Just moving towards our highest expression.
Which I do believe we are all here to do, in our very own special unique way.
But if we are running all the hurts, traumas and old patterns behind the scene. Never going to happen. We will just continue to repeat the old experiences.
Well I believe it is consciousness reflecting back to us that which we need to move through. To deal with and step into and face.
Just like what our body does naturally through the process of homeostasis (to continually move to balance and repair to survive optimally)…
As I am coming to believe our mind and spirit is no different to our body and just like the body shivering when it is cold to get warm (homeostasis in action), we have these reflected experiences – such as I had with the negative emotions and bad behaviours – in order to know we have to “get warm” i.e release the old to move to the new. We do that by bringing the old patterns into the full light of our awareness, where they start to lose their power. Not necessarily instantly but through continual recognition (re-cognition…) and then we start to use our most powerful tools.
Knowledge and Imagination.
The knowledge of the old patterns, identifying them (like shivering meaning the body is cold) and re-cogninsing them with a new awareness and a heightened perspective.
Then we bring in our imagination, we start to visualise a new terrain. A new landscape where the old hurts do not yield their power. And rather than a rinse and repeat of the old terrain, we become free to choose our actions and cultivate the reality we wish to experience.
And as you may or may not remember, the brain does not know the difference between real or imagined. So we use this to our advantage and get to prune the neural synapses and cultivate new ones into existence.
Incredibly simple and powerful (not saying easy and not saying hard…).
And we are either doing it consciously or unconsciously. All the time.
So I am deeply thankful that I went through that experience recently as I realised that this is nothing to do with trading, this is about me being more open, more loving, more conscious and trusting of my nature and nature. Basically moving towards the highest expression of my humanity.
As my journey is a continual evolutionary tale, and rather than ignore the shadows, stop trading, and play small, I surrendered to my gut and went and sought out an expert to guide me inwards. Into the shadows. To bring them to light.
From there reinforce the beliefs I wish to experience, to then curate the behaviours that support the beliefs and finally become the upgraded version of my consciousness. Version 47.5.
And I have no doubt there will be a version 48 and many more… Like the snake shedding the old to welcome the new.
Oh and a reminder as per Einstein’s incredible insight “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
And this is where your meditation comes in.
To aid you to get out of the conscious state that has created your reality (and all it entails) each day. And from there we access deeper currents of our consciousness (those not connected to the story), where we continually release the old and outdated and weed the garden. Then at the end of your meditation with the garden bed weeded, sow and water the seeds of a new desired reality (visualisation) and go out into the world expecting the plants to grow. And rinse and repeat.
Finally, if you too feel you’ve got some deeper weeds lurking in the shadows that keep running rampant, I highly encourage a few other therapeutic practices to bring the outdated to light, here is a few that I have personally utilised over the years:
Cognitive behavior therapy
Spirit medicines (with major caveat, set, setting and someone deeply trusted to hold the space and assist in reintegration of learnings)
And yes, I have done a lot… All have been stepping stones on the continued journey to self!