I am often asked "What exactly is an "Undefended Heart"? The answer is that it is a way of living life. To live with an Undefended Heart is to live life genuinely, without self-deception, denial, or avoidance: To see oneself clearly and truthfully, and live from your deepest values without apology or arrogance. Not necessarily saintly, or always perfect, or loving, or skillful, it is the deep acceptance of your humanity as it is, living with your heart fully open to life as it occurs, with the willingness to feel anything without exception.
To realize an undefended heart, one must deeply investigate what closes it. These are the ways we protect and defend the heart and are at the core of human suffering. The defense of the 'self' is certainly one of the most frequent ways this is accomplished. For instance, when you have defended a behavior or emotion to someone else with the statement "This is just who I am", have you ever really stopped to inquire as to the truth of that statement? When we say that, we have given our emotion or behavior in the moment some immutable quality, as if were not amenable to change, but is this really true? Have you ever directly examined whether this aspect of you is in your best interest? Creates wellbeing? Draws you closer to others? Is the foundation of your happiness? Is it really a defining aspect of you that can't change?
This particular defense of the self, among others, is designed to gain the acceptance of another, or to justify painful emotions or behavior, often with no positive result. In addition, it begs the ultimate question: "What is the nature of the self anyway"?
The closing of the heart heart occurs for other reasons, of course, than defending our sense of self. Painful emotional history, traumas, familial/religious conditioning, and gender role expectations all play their part.
The Undefended Heart series is designed to help you uncover, and face, those aspects of your personal history and attachment to self (or identity) that cause the heart to contract. It is an artful synergy of both emotional healing from the psychological perspective and practices from the spiritual perspective whose intent is to relax the limiting grip of ego, or 'self'.
With respect to supporting this personal evolution, the most potent aspect of the group is the focus on utilizing life itself, what happens to you, as the source of your practice.
This is very potent. It changes our spiritual or emotional practice from something we do only in particular times or places, or with particular people or teachers, to a practice one lives as life occurs moment by moment-accelerating your growth tremendously. This is most exciting to me as the facilitator. Here's what one of my favorite teachers, Adyashanti, says about this:
"Our illusions-the beliefs we hold on to-are the very doorways to our freedom. We simply have to enter them, without grasping or pushing away. We must not believe them, but we must not run from them, either. We need to see each moment of apparent bondage as an invitation to freedom. Then it becomes an act of love, an act of compassion, to stop running away...Life itself shows us what we need to see through in order to be free" The End of Your World, pg. 60.
A few details of the nature of the group, and some reflections of previous participants are below.
The series weaves together psychotherapeutic, shamanic, energetic and spiritual technique. We will learn about the energetic nature of the heart center: what conditions create openness and flow, and which create contraction, protection and defense. We will challenge limiting beliefs, thoughts, and attachments through inquiry, psychological and energetic healing. We will learn powerful meditations to help increase our ability to identify with states of pure awareness (rather than a self), which helps to release attachments to the stories of self that contract the mind and heart. In short, we will learn and experience together the confluence of psychological and spiritual processes that best serve to help us realize an abiding experience of spacious, unconflicted mind and undefended heart.
The format of the group involves working with a small group of individuals over a period of seven months. Within the sacredness and safety of our group circle, you will have ample opportunity to experience the methods with guidance, thus promoting deep healing and opening experiences. Practices will be given for the weeks between groups to sustain and further your growth.
The series involves 5 Saturday sessions and one weekend intensive spread out over 7 months. Home practice assignments, and several conference calls will occur to help you sustain and deepen your growth in between group meetings. Limited to 10-12 people. Click here for dates and specifics. If you have questions about the group, please Email Louis or call 541-687-2835 and leave a voicemail.
Cost for the group is $150/session, or $945 if paid entirely in advance. Once you have participated in the first group, you will be asked to commit to the entire series. If you cannot attend a session, portions of it can be recorded for you to listen later.
To Register For The Undefended Heart
If I do not know you, I will require a private meeting in person or
by phone to discuss the group and see if it is right for you.
Please email me to state your intent, and a registration deposit of $100.00 is required to hold your space. Checks can be made out to Radiant Life Center and sent to 5319 Donald St, Eugene, Or 97405;
If you wish to pay by credit card, that can be handled via phone call once your participation is confirmed.
Email Louis for information and registration or call 541-687-2835