Posts Tagged ‘practicing kindness to self’

This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

Due to my limited knowledge and poor writing faculties, I am attempting to write about a potent, complex topic.

November 2017 Update: Some (maybe most) of my thoughts on this topic have shifted as I work with Pre- and Perinatal Psychology (PPN) and birth process work. Seeing how working with preverbal material is so unconscious until we have an extremely safe, slow, gentle, compassionate, appropriate, held container, I would definitely equate 12th house energy with the birth process – literally and figuratively. I am going to write a new blog post about it shortly. Nov 2017. I wrote this present post 8 years ago, before I met my PPN teachers. You should read my new upcoming post to clarify how we can liberate our shadow energy which initially shows up in the 12th house. We are not stuck, the 12th house is not a fatalistic doom and gloom zone. 🙂

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According to traditional astrologers, there is a feeling of gloom and doom about the 12th house, no matter how you package it.  However, I would argue that this is only partially accurate, and with a dedicated spiritual practice, this dim forecast is actually quite transcendable.  It truly depends on a person’s frequency and how willing / flexible they are to work with their shadow material. In ancient, Hellenistic astrology, the 12th house was known as the “Evil Daemon” and planets tenanting it received significant debilitation.  Only the cold, dry, stern, efficient disciplinarian of Saturn “enjoyed” being in that house.  This shows that there has been a stigma associated with the 12th house for thousands of years.

The 12th house is associated with Neptune and Pisces, and as such, it has had such billing as the house of imprisonment – being imprisoned by our addictive or escapist tendencies, imprisoned by our worries and fears (usually irrational), working against ourselves, being stuck in confusing, deluded patterns, etc.  It can be a house of deceptive energy, deceiving ourselves as well as others.  However, it has some positive traits, or “ways out” of its confining boundaries.  Planets in the 12th house can add heightened sensitivity to the native – physical, emotional, psychic, etc: it can certainly add increased intuition and dream guidance.  And it generally rings true that service is a good remedy to challenging configurations within the 12th – service to the community, or working within institutions such as hospitals, prisons, schools, mental institutions, etc.  The 12th house also tends to increase our powers of imagination and creativity.  And ultimately, the 12th house is where we discover the true source of power – humble conduct and wise universal understanding and compassion for all beings.

I would argue however, that without being born with incredible positive karma, and without having some form of diligent service or if we do not maintain some form of daily  / weekly spiritual practice, the 12th house’s deep, dark secrets and reserves of confusing energy can certainly be a cause for concern.  Personally, I see the 12th house as being that which is most hidden – you could say it is the Akashic Records – the “Divine book” that stores all of our thoughts, words and deeds throughout all of our lives.  It is the deep wells of karmic unconscious energy, waiting for the causes and conditions to come about to manifest.  I know this sounds like a fatalistic tone, but continue reading to get a better understanding and to see that is not my intention.

In Buddhism, one of the predominant theories is that we take a human incarnation in a world that is fraught with confusion and ignorance.  This confusion leads us to become attached to pleasure and averse to painful or challenging experiences (and people).  That is how we develop close friends and loved ones as well as hatred toward enemies.  As we go through life with this underlying confusion, we are never fully satisfied – in fact we generally want what we don’t have and once we acquire the object of our desire, we become dissatisfied with it.  So ignorance is the root cause of this suffering or dissatisfaction, and the attachment and aversion that arise from ignorance also create suffering and further dissatisfaction.

Our mind becomes separated from the knowledge and realization that we are completely interdependent with the rest of the world – if someone else suffers, we also suffer (whether immediately or down the road).  If someone (close to us) is happy, then we generally benefit (again – it might be an immediate gratification or a trickle down effect).  It is this fundamental confusion – that we are completely independent, separate entities that gives rise to conduct which maintains these cycles of dissatisfaction and suffering.  For instance, we continually grasp at the concept of an independent self, and we cycle through the patterns of defending this “self,” over and over again.  If we fully understand that we are intertwined with everyone else on the planet and we orient toward true compassion for others, then we can be content with the way things are.  We can think on a larger scale – aspiring and acting for others’ benefit will actually increase our well-being – whether in a “I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine” sort of manner or due to the positive karma and merit created by doing virtuous deeds.  When we aspire to and act for the benefit of others, out of loving-kindness, wisdom and compassion, without a personal agenda, this is known as Bodhicitta – the mind that desires complete enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.

However, most of this world has confusion, along with the resulting grasping and frustration of not having what we want.  It is this underlying confusion that is built into the 12th house in the astrology chart.  If we keep in mind that the Natal Chart is merely a template of our ego-structure, and if we start to transcend the ego using a qualified spiritual path (a path that leads to a more open, lovingly-kind heart), then we start to transcend the challenges which an afflicted 12th house might represent.  But, due to the fact that most of us, myself included, are not there yet, we suffer from constant dissatisfaction and confusion.  We are never completely happy and content – any temporary happiness or pleasure we encounter is always conditionally based.

It is this confusion and grasping for situations which we think will bring us happiness – pleasure, fame, gain and praise – that cause us to be stuck in this cycle – for eons and eons.  When we our frequency is very dense (when we have not cultivated Bodhicitta) and we are bouncing from situation to situation, reacting and posturing for our own benefit, that is when the 12th house jumps up and nips us in the bud.  The 12th house speaks of every frequency along these lines – do we work for the benefit of others and serve our community, or do we constantly blame others for the “problems” we encounter?  Do we understand that any happiness or suffering we encounter is actually our karma manifesting – whether positive or negative?  Are we completely honest with ourselves?  Do we know what our agendas are at all levels?  Do we practice generosity and patience simply to benefit others – sincerely, unstained by personal gain?

I will continue this thread in the next post, and give more concrete examples from my clients and personal experiences.


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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.  Photos from Angela Harkavy’s collection (Drikung Kagyu photographer).

Tibetan Lamas know about working with the heart (Khenchen in Arizona, Angela Harkavy photo)

Tibetan Lamas know about working with the heart (Khenchen in Arizona, Angela Harkavy photo)

This is a post about working with the Heart, with an astrological slant thrown in for good measure.  In my astrological practice, I conduct choice-centered, frequency-based interpretations.  What this means is that I am open to the infinite possibilities around people’s choices and the consequent results.  I like to tell people that nearly everything in the astrology chart is tendencies and habits – which, with practice, discipline and over time, can be changed and re-patterned.  Anything is possible if we have the karma for it – even when the astrological sky is looking a little overcast.

So, for any fatalistic astrologers who may be reading this, I offer a counter to the “certain challenging aspects are going to be that way, period” philosophy.  Here is why:

In my chart, I have a Leo Rising (meaning the chart is ruled by the Sun) which is associated with the Heart – think lion and courage, bravery, pride, occasional arrogance.  No “problems yet,” from a fatalistic perspective.  However, the Sun is the ruler of the sign of Leo, making the Sun in my chart personalized, e.g. slightly more important than normal.  My natal Sun is in the 8th house, the first, “ugh..” might come from the antiquated fatalistic crowd.  The 8th house is associated with many things, being one of the more complicated “psychic” houses of the horoscope – some of these characteristics are: transformation, magic, personal harrowing journey through the inner underworld, death, sex, psychological insights, dealing with other’s money etc.  It is not the greatest placement for an energized, enthusiastic, extroverted Sun.  In some traditions it would be interpreted as the shaman, the medicine woman or maybe a good investment adviser (but definitely a background power – not the chief or executive per se).

How much vast, spacious, open heart is in a room full of Tibetan Lamas?

How much vast, spacious, open heart is in a room full of Tibetan Lamas?

Recently, the chart ruler – the Sun in my chart has been undergoing a bit of a titanic tug of war.  If you have been keeping up with my posts, you may have read about the planet Saturn crossing through the late stages of Virgo (opposite my Sun), or you may already know that Uranus is sitting in Retrograde, slowly backtracking through the late stages of Pisces (exactly conjunct my Sun and opposite Saturn).  This is one configuration most traditional astrologers would rather not see their clients (and especially not themselves) have to struggle through.  However, I want to discuss a differing argument.

If someone is involved in a transformative modality for a long period of time – sustains dedicated Buddhist practice, receives many treatments of Biodynamic Cranio Sacral therapy, maintains a daily Metta practice, works with a qualified meditation teacher, sees a body-oriented psychotherapist for several years, etc etc – any modality that leads to a gentle, kind and gradual deepening in self understanding and heart-warming, then someone could potentially “purify” or come to grips with the shadows lurking under the surface (in the un/subconscious).  And then, they are not as likely to be hit with an “Oh my god, you want me to deal with what!?!?”  In other words, a major obstacle to the previous status quo (event, catastrophe, tragedy, etc).

Khenchen teaching at the Garchen Institute, Arizona (Angela Harkavy photo)

Khenchen teaching at the Garchen Institute, Arizona (Angela Harkavy photo)

One book that I use sparingly for reference because of its fatalistic trend, is “Predictive Astrology.”  Oh – as a tangent – I want to add that when I analyze my own chart, I always like to experience life first and then later, get an understanding of what I went through from an astrological perspective, if warranted.  That way, there is no way I am “being ruled by my stars” as Nietzsche so eloquently put it.  So, back to the Predictive Astrology book, one line I recently read in the section on Transiting Uranus crossing the Natal Sun, is that one can go through temporary heart arrhythmia that is so slight, that medical tests do not pick up on it.  Well, guess what.  Over the past nine months or more, I have noticed that if I am under a lot of stress, once a month (or less), my heart slightly changes a beat.  And of course, during my last physical (a few months ago) my heart was fine.  Actually my heart is fine, it is just a matter of listening deeply and providing it with the space it needs to process old “stuff.”  And to make gradual changes when I encounter old, limiting patterns of fear and / or contraction.

I have been feeling my heart more and more over the past few years.  In speaking with one of my teachers, Julie Henderson (the creator of Zapchen Somatics), I got a fresh perspective on what the heart needs to unwind.  Gentle-kindness, space, safety, patience (often a very slow, gradual process).  As layers begin to come alive, I thank them and I try not to have any judgment toward the new tentative layers underneath.  [Note to reader – this is a challenging, fascinating, rewarding and difficult journey, please do not try to undertake it without a person-to-person, qualified spiritual teacher!  Seriously.  And I am just an objective observer and reporter, not a teacher.]

As Garchen Rinpoche says, (and I paraphrase), “allow the ice of self-grasping around your heart to melt.”  The lamas have been saying this all along, it just took a Western teacher (Julie) to explain it in a fashion I could easily and comfortably grok.

Khenchen and Garchen Rinpoche, Arizona (Angela Harkavy Photo)

Khenchen and Garchen Rinpoche, Arizona (Angela Harkavy Photo)

What is one way to truly get in touch with your heart?  Well, I will present several, take your pick, not in any particular order: 1) be in an appropriate, well-defined-boundaries, inspiring, comfortable, direct-communications-are-okay intimate relationship – and when you notice resistance arising, name it, notice it and be present with it rather than reacting negatively or suppressing it; 2)start training in a healing-hands modality as the hands are a direct link to the heart (Reiki, Rolfing, Osteopathy, Craniosacral Therapy, Zero Balancing, Massage and many more, etc); 3)if you are not maintaining a daily meditation practice, this is another method to come in contact with your heart space; 4) maintain discipline and right conduct (positive morals and ethics) in attempting to live life from a kindhearted perspective; 5) if you have the resources, adopt, cherish and open your heart to a child; 6)if you have the resources, adopt and be kind to an animal; 7) find a qualified teacher to help lead you into deeper realization of your heart.

So… in conclusion, don’t believe everything you hear.  (Don’t trust everything you read here on this blog either for that matter.)  Especially if the person is a fatalistic diviner (astrologer, tarot reader, I Ching practitioner, etc).  Know that another possibility exists for you besides what you read in any number of well-written astrology books – not to mention the poorly written ones (joke joke).  And take a deep breath… right now… seriously… breathe… it’s going to be okay.

As an aside, regarding these photos, when I see such an incredible line of teachers gathered in the same place, especially in the U.S., I am filled with a deep yearning aspiration to attend them.  I also realize that I am not practicing enough.  I know – be kind and gentle – yes, but up to a point.  When a Tibetan Lama makes a suggestion based on your asking them multiple times about a situation, you should probably try to put their advice into practice.  As an example, I asked Khenchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen, what would be the best practice for me?  What would help me benefit the most sentient beings?  (Not that I have much in the way of capacity)  Well he said, “practice / study Dharma, and finish school.”  So that is what I am trying to do, slowly, slowly.  Maybe I am being hard on myself, or maybe I am leaning too heavily on gentle self care.  The middle way is good.

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