PASSAGGIO ~ Personal Integration Coaching
As I teach it, Personal Integration begins with the understanding that you already possess the intelligence and discrimination necessary to manage your own growth towards a happy and meaningful life. And it’s my job as a coach is to help you become aware of those virtues and tools, and support you as you begin to put them to work for you. We are born with an ability to redirect our thinking from that which confuses us to that which supports us. With regard to our happiness and well-being, most of us are simply not in the habit of questioning our beliefs and assumptions. Just a tiny re-focusing of attention can make a profound difference to our lives.
Although informed by four decades of meditation and a lifetime of comparative study of Christian and Eastern mystics, sages and disciplines—Hindu, Japanese, Tibetan, Sufi, Tao, Advaita Vedanta—my work is not merely about sharing information or even ancient wisdom. All that is well and good and even great fun! But there is something that you will bring to this work that will show you more than I ever could. Within you is the Source of your existence, the Primal Energy of life itself which is your true guide. My job is help you wake up to that Source. Contact me here for a free Skype consultation.
What You Already Know
There is something that the student already knows which is every bit as, if not more important than what the coach is offering. The student is already in possession of a treasure-trove of information and skills. A good teacher knows this and simply radiates that knowing back to the student. The reality is that the student has been exposed to trillions and trillions of impressions, influences and insights, all of which are contained in the subconscious mind. Instead of teaching only new ideas, the teacher also establishes an ambient which encourages that—already present—subconscious treasure to rise to the surface. The student then starts to awaken to her own potential as doubt and anxiety ebbs. A joyful, natural certainty, based on solid subconscious—now becoming conscious—data, slowly takes the place of the old self-doubt. It’s in that atmosphere of well-being and confidence that the teacher can impart new insights and techniques.
Now all of the former in is the realm of ‘ordinary’ knowledge. There is another, much deeper reality which a good coach can help make the student aware of: Below even the subconscious treasure trove of information, there is the ground of existence itself, the pure consciousness of our source. This is who we are in essence and even the tiniest glimpse of this Primal Self brings profound meaning and depth to everything we do. In fact, not knowing who we truly are is the first and single cause of all misery and failure. Getting to that essential core of Being and allowing it to order or inner and outer environments is what I call Personal Integration or Passaggio.
Saint or Sinner?
When we were very, very young, we knew something very important; we knew love, play and joy were the most important things in life. We couldn't wait to get out bed in the morning and explode into the day knowing it was all going to be a blast. What happened? Since birth, the primal unity of our soul has been under attack from without. Influences and demands from all sides--most of them contradictory--beset us from all angles. We've been scattered and fractured by the sheer multiplicity of events that have shaped and molded our identities. Who am I? Am I really this mess of influence and confluence that pulls me hither and thither in confusion? Am I a hero or a coward, a genius or an imbecile, a reliable friend or a self-serving narcissist? But truth is, we are all of those things and none of them. We all have a little of the saint and a little of the criminal. But what were we before any of those variables arose in us? And what is that Changeless background within us that recognizes them as variables? In our essence, we are that Consciousness.
No matter how wrong things may seem to have gone, there remains within us, a primal stillness and clarity which possess the power to unite all the disparate, inharmonious elements of our being into a single harmonious whole. It is from that stillness that Personal Integration begins--for we can't change from within our identity. We've tried that over and over. We need to first transcend it, even for a moment or two, with meditation, mindfulness or some practice that slows down our thoughts. Then from that relative clarity, we can start to allow our conflicting compulsions to equilibrate themselves naturally. All compulsion is a call for inner peace, is to find the innate harmony of who we are behind the turmoil of our thoughts. The key to this journey is compassion for oneself. Compassion is the salve of what I call Passaggio, the bridge to Personal Integration. Passaggio is also the title of my new book.
Present State ~ Preferred State
When we complain about something, we are, in our minds, comparing what I will call the Preferred State to the Present State. For instance, when we say we are tired we mean that we have once experienced an energized state which is preferable to tiredness. In other words our complaint springs from the duality of two possibilities one of which is preferable to the other. The point of Passaggio is that if we merely hold on to the dissatisfaction of our appraisal we polarize the situation, freezing it in place. But if we can totally accept the Present State while aspiring to the Preferred State we can bridge the two in a dynamic acceptance—feedback—which in turn will bring about a dynamic equilibrium.
This understanding can change our lives—and personalities—because we are nearly always wanting something other than what is. This wanting is good but it becomes self-defeating when it doesn’t accept the Present State. This may seem simplistic or self evident, but if we look at our lives we’ll see that our actions are mostly driven by a need to achieve something "over there", pushing forward in a fierce rejection of our present state. We want to ‘snap out of it’, ‘get her done’. Dissatisfaction with the Present State, when it dominates, prevents the arrival of the Preferred State, because the Preferred State will only evolve from an intelligent, compassionate acceptance of the Present State. Compassion is the bridge between what is and what we want. If we don't have compassion for a relationship or situation there's no bridge to where we want to go.
My own Journey
I personally had a pretty wild dance with regard to integrating the conflicting aspects of my own identity. Brought up in a crazy Irish orphanage, I learned to pick pockets, cheat, lie and finagle my way through eight years of playground shenanigans, all of which left me cynical and manipulative. Add to the mix that I was at heart, a very vulnerable, delicate kid who was drawn to a devotional love for my creator and you can see how those battling aspects had me in tatters. I was twenty six before I began to suspect that I wasn't any of those aspects, that I wasn't my thoughts, influences or even my feelings.
It was then that I started to meditate. I had some wonderful experiences and revelations which changed my life's direction. I found a peace beyond my thoughts and ideas that filled me with hope and joy. I thought all my problems were over. I thought meditation would simply disappear all the things I hated about myself; my fear, my anger, my insecurity and of course my wall-to-wall anxiety. I was wrong. When I wasn't actually meditating, my old patterns returned with renewed vigor. I still had to deal with them in real-time everyday situations. I had to learn to work with and through my dysfunctional patterns and mechanisms not try to disappear them. I needed to bridge my "old" self with this new ability to transcendence--not desert it like a retreating army abandoning its troops on a battlefield. It took me years to find acceptance and compassion for my poor old battered psyche. Personal Integration is all about compassionate unification.
We often hear people say, “I want to be an authentic person,” or “I want to be the best possible version of myself.”
Well, I want to help you realize that there is a part of you that was never, not for a single moment, anything but authentic. And it’s not a “version” of you. It’s the real deal that was there before the influences of family and schooling caused you to conclude you are inauthentic. I want to help you ‘get’ to that true self—which is already there—and to allow that anchor of certainty to integrate all the seeming conflicting aspects of your “ordinary” identity. There's no need to destroy one part of you to get to another part. All 'parts' belong to the whole and beyond all is the Witness who can integrate them.
With meditation, self enquiry and mindfulness—over SKYPE or in person at my studio in Asheville NC—we’ll explore ancient and new ways to bring Personal Integration and Conscious Evolution into our lives. Contact me here for more info.
All teaching is really self-revelation
Although I use mindfulness and guided meditation--and other modalities--to help you find balance, in the realm of personal growth, all teaching is really self-revelation. It is the root sentience of your own humanity, your ability to love and feel what’s real beyond your thoughts that will be your final guide. My job, as a Personal Integration Coach, is to articulate that vision for you until you can see it for yourself.