Session Two: Moving beyond Control
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference
I hope you are all keeping well and healthy. Welcome to the second session of Path to Centre. I hope that you found session one to be of help and that you feel lighter after it. You can return to that first practice any time you feel fear rising in you and you need a tool to help you through. Remember, by doing this work, you not only help yourself, but you help others around you.
Above you will find a meditation made for our group at this time. I hope that you find it healing and connecting.
A Recap on Materials
The materials you will need for these sessions are probably lying around your home. Please don't venture out specifically to get materials! You might pick some up during your next necessary grocery shop. You can use markers or gel pens. If you don't have those, you can use pencils, even biros! Even if you only have one coloured biro, use that and play with the tones, with the dark and light to complete the mandala.
How the sessions work
Print out the Mandala as an A4 page and if you have a printer that can print it out as A3, all the better. If you can already draw mandalas, draw one from scratch for yourself, using this session as your prompt. If you aren't familiar with how to create a personal mandala, then please use the colouring PDF provided below.
Set your Sacred Space
Set up a sacred and quiet space for yourself where you will engage with the mandala. You can do this simply by lighting a candle or burning some incense. Perhaps gather crystals or objects from nature that have meaning for you. But please do set aside a special space and time with intention to do this work. Treat this time for yourself as a loving inward time dedicated solely to you.
In this session, we will focus on the idea of control. We are in uncertain times, and that is very uncomfortable for us humans. However, there is great power in embracing uncertainty. In having trust and faith that things will work out and that a light is coming more bright than we can imagine right now. When I began my personal mandala practice, this was one beautiful gift that mandalas gave me. It was as though when I was doing them during that dark time, a realisation slowly came that we are part of a much bigger picture. Not just a realisation...that is not the word. A knowing. An absolute faith. I could feel it in every cell. That there is order behind chaos. And that both are needed and that both are of equal value and cannot exist without each other. Just as night cannot exist without day.
C.G. Jung said "In all chaos, there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." I felt that profoundly through my practice. It was as though an invisible safety net was there for me. And it is there for all of us. Amidst the chaos, I found a hidden joy. I began to look at control in my own life. Understanding what was within my control and what was not. And I understood that was not in my control was being looked after by a higher hand. In essence, I surrendered. I had stopped trying to control.
I also began looking at areas in my life where I was being controlled by others or by systems and social norms. This enquiry brought to the surface many painful realisations about the people pleasing nature of my personality, and how that in itself is an effort at control and minipulation of others. It brought up how sometimes my morality was cowardice in disguise. Where I was being too afraid to step forward. And I realised there were relationships in my life that were not at all healthy.
I studied and came familiar with human psychology of the empath/narcissist dance of energy. I found that the study of psychology and the work towards self-actualisation is one with the spiritual journey to enlightenment. A difficult mirror to look in and to take responsibility for. But so worth it. I am still on that journey and probably always will be. It won't happen in one mandala! But the practice can help you gain clearer vision around these things, and I believe that the veils are lifted as you are ready for them to be.
The Card for Session Two from Alana Fairchild's Rumi Deck
The card is 'The Angel Razbar' and the quote is:
"Tell me the truth, I asked love,
What are you?
I am the everlasting life, love said
I am the recurring joy of living"
A beautiful wisdom to have received for us. Today you are asked to engage with your mandala in utter truth. You can look at your material and external life, the things that you can control there and the things that you cannot control through the mandala. And that will help you cope in this particular situation.
That is where I thought I'd leave it for this particular exercise, but my guidance is telling me to take you further in.
You are also being required to look deeply and truthfully at your inner life. Where perhaps you are being controlled or where you are controlling others. A truth mirror is difficult to look into. But once you do, and you have these realisations and awareness, and you take the action to change the energy dynamic to a healthier one:
You move into more of who you are.
You get to be in your truth and in your power.
You become a soul on deck and you have the capacity to shine your light where it is needed.
And you are needed now.
Surrender is a choice. In the words of Fiona MacNeil, “Once you know that there are some things that you can’t control, you can let go of your obligation to manage the Universe.” And at this time, that is what we are being required to do.
In this mandala practice, I would like you to really think about what is in your control and what is not. So for example it is within your control to social distance, to self-isolate, to spend time with your children, to learn something new, to spread positive energy rather than negative. There is a lot within your control if you think about it deeply. And then....what is not in your control? The economy, the future, who gets this virus, where we will be as a world after it. We can influence situations and people, but we have zero control over what the final outcome will be. Our emotional response is the only thing at our disposal. When we focus too much on what we can’t control, it steals our precious time and energy away from living a peaceful and joyful life and shining our own light.
You are also being asked to look at where you are being controlled and if you are controlling others. For now, simply close your eyes and ask that question. That is enough. The awareness will come with asking this question over time. The answers are not all necessarily for right now, but you are setting the seed for that healing to begin to happen in your life so that you can soon become more true and more free within and you can shine that light of truth into the world.
Sit in your sacred space and allow the realisations of what is in fact in your control and what is in fact out of your control to come. If you are using the printed mandala below, write the things in your control into the inner petals as you are colouring it. This is your inner circle of empowerment. If you are creating your own mandala, you might write them into it in some way.
The things that you are concerned about but that are beyond your control, place them in the area outside the mandala in the white space. Notice how you feel about them being there? If you feel fear about leaving them out there, perhaps revisit the meditation in session one.
Now look into the centre of your mandala. See all of the things that you do have agency over. Feel deep gratitude for them. Look at what you have written outside of your mandala. Close your eyes, feel into your body to where you might be holding onto them, then visualise them floating away on a gentle breeze. We try to control things because of what we think might happen if we do not. The act of worry can make us believe that we are 'doing something'!
I remember on my own journey through divorce, rushing upstairs to read my seven year old her bedtime story, rattling through it. Why? So I could go back downstairs alone and worry in peace! The irony of it! I felt as though I was doing something, taking some action by worrying. During that time, I had a stark realisation of what I was doing. I made a conscious effort to stop. Instead, I decided to be completely present with my daughter during story time, doing the voices and all! These moments came to be such cherished moments and I found myself actually cracking a smile and letting go of worry for the first time in a long time. I then realised, that I....yes I....had control over that choice. That I had the choice to surrender what was beyond my control. And oh...the peace and the freedom!
When you feel your mandala is complete, please do share the image and your experience with the practice in our closed private Facebook Group which is a safe space in which to do this work. Feel free to do a video into the group if you'd like to. It is beautiful to bear witness to each other, to stand together in our collective experience. I ask you to honour, respect and witness and support each other within the group. There is no need to try to fix anybody, just witness them on their journey. The link to join the group is below.
When your mandala is complete, be still. Notice how you are feeling.
Notice how you are feeling in your body.
Notice how you are feeling in your mind.
Notice how you are feeling in your heart.
Notice how you are feeling in your spirit.
Your Completed Mandala - Keep or Destroy?
When completed, you can either keep your mandala somewhere where you can see it. Allow it to give you further insight. You might perhaps meditate on it. Often they deliver you wisdom as you walk by them, glancing at them as you are going about something different!
Alternatively, if you feel to - and you know best - you can create a ritual, releasing the energy of what came up for you by burning your mandala. Please do this in a safe way either in your fireplace or stove or outside in a safe place. Burn the mandala with the intention of letting this energy go, of transmuting it to a higher power. Allow yourself to release any further emotions that might surface during this process.
With this particular mandala practice, it might also be an idea to cut your mandala out. So that you are left with the container of what is in your control. Have a ritual to let go of the rest of the paper, to let go of what is beyond your control.
So....that is it for session two! Again I will say that it is brave work you are doing, and you are courageous for showing up to do it. Honour yourself for taking the time to do it. Do something nice for yourself like taking a candlelit bubble bath or cooking yourself and your family your favourite meal. Do the meditation above if you can and I have also linked to another 'Sri Durga' Meditation, letting go of the old to bring in the new which I feel might be useful during this practice.
I hope that the session has been clear...it took me further than I thought I would go with you all. But let us allow that energy lead us.
Thank you so much to the people who kindly donated. It is not necessary at all to donate, but much appreciated if you feel to. (waaay outside my comfort zone here!!)
The Mandala above is called 'Beyond the Clouds'. It began as a rather chaotic painting, and order was restored through the chaos through surrender to the process. A great piece to meditate on as a part of this session.
Limited edition prints are available at https://www.healingcreations.ie/shop.html
Beyond the Clouds Limited Print
Meditating on this mandala brings about a feeling of surrender; an acceptance that we cannot control everything.
This piece is a meditation on order and chaos. It was something new for me to create a completely abstract background and then to place ordered geometry on it. It is a concept I have always been interested in. If all in our lives is perfectly ordered, we become bored. If all in our lives is completely in chaos, we are overwhelmed and anxious. Treading a fine balance between the worlds of order and chaos is what we really all want. Treading the way of the Tao. When I look at the finished piece, it is as though looking through stormy chaotic clouds out into a divinely ordered universe. It's a piece that makes you think a little deeper. I've gathered some of my favourite quotes on the philosophy of order and chaos, some you might like to ponder on whilst meditating with this mandala.
"In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order." ~ Carl Jung
“We adore chaos because we love to produce order.” (M. C. Escher)
"We live in two worlds - order and chaos. In the world of order, we plan, reflect, and think about what to do next. In the world of chaos, things happen, we get things done, yet unpredictability persists. In one world, we like to think we are in control. In the other, we mingle together with increasing complexity, conflict, and uncertainty." ~ David Spangler
"In terms of the game theory, we might say the universe is so constituted as to maximize play. The best games are not those in which all goes smoothly and steadily toward a certain conclusion, but those in which the outcome is always in doubt. Similarly, the geometry of life is designed to keep us at the point of maximum tension between certainty and uncertainty, order and chaos. Every important call is a close one. We survive and evolve by the skin of our teeth. We really wouldn't want it any other way." ~ George Leonard
"Mathematicians are beginning to view order and chaos as two distinct manifestations of an underlying determinism. And neither state exists in isolation. The typical system can exist in a variety of states, some ordered, some chaotic. Instead of two opposed polarities, there is a continuous spectrum. As harmony and discord combine in musical beauty, so order and chaos combine in mathematical [and physical] beauty." ~ Ian Stewart
"Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds." ~ George Santayana
The smaller print measures 30cm x 30cm (12" x 12") and comes beautifully mounted (16" x 16")
The larger print measures 50cm x 50cm (20" x 20") and comes safely rolled in a postal tube.
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