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Esteban Ferrero, Manizalles Colombia
What has been my experience during the 2016 Spring Transformation Intensive?
I find it quite challenging to write down what my experience in this intensive has been! I really don’t know where to begin. In part, the reason is because everything is quite fussy right now, as the course comes to an end. I have different emotions, feelings and thoughts; I feel like I have been everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Reflecting on this moment, however, I can see that this experience may describe well this intensive. Experiences have been quite diverse, many which can be called unpleasant, such as insecurity, fear, disgust, and anger, among others. Only a few times I have experienced what I used to usually call good emotions or feelings, like happiness, fun, pleasure, etc. But, as I write this down and as it has been the case through the intensive, I know that it is okay. Really, IT IS OKAY! I am writing it twice, not because of fear that I would forget it or to create an experience that I tell myself I should feel – an expression of self-correction as I have tended to do – but because I am quite surprised, inspired, amazed and happy for coming more deeply to terms with this fact: that no matter how off the emotions could be from what I think I should be feeling, how lost I may feel (which also is compared to ideas of where I or how my life should be), how terribly unclear things may be in my head, what the content of my mind may be, what I think I know, or how difficult (or easy/happy) any experience may be, I am already and fundamentally free from all of it; these do not define who I fundamentally am, what I should do, what the present moment is, or what life is at any moment or as a whole. It only takes for me to make the choice to recognize that there is nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no one to be while, simultaneously, everything needs to be done. It only takes for me to recognize that awakening and freedom are awakening and freedom; awakening to what/who we are, which is free from everything, including our own apparently separate experience and suffering.
My aspiration for this intensive was to surrender – or, rather, to keep surrendering into Life – allowing me to swiftly and easily fall or follow into my mission of service. And this process, which may be a life-long one, has being more of dropping, or losing, than gaining anything; losing, or at least seeing through, many ideas, beliefs, tendencies and habits, or more important and accurately, my attachment to them. Dropping the insistence that life, my experience, or me are or should be a particular way; dropping the need to be so in order for me to be happy; dropping the belief that my experience (or the one from a separate Esteban) is what matters most and only what is there for me to see. Surrendering in this intensive has meant to be more interested and lean into life, without having to be so fixated with my own inner experience, thus facing and letting be fears, doubts, and insecurities that arise. The Awakened Communication sessions are perhaps the best example for this, as being with the others, as collective, clearly becomes more important than any internal struggle that might have been occurring, leaving only the present moment, life flowing through me, and a realization that nothing is ever missing and that there is no separation. But surrendering, especially, has meant to letting go of thinking, figuring out, and believing that I need, should, or even can know it all in order for me or for life to be okay. Surrendering right now is to surrender to the unknown, to the mystery, to be more interested in being present and open than in defending something or someone I am supposed to be, to be willing to not know, to skate in thin ice (and be aware of it) and to enjoy whatever life brings.
But at the same time, during the intensive, lots of conditionings became apparent, showing me how, despite the fact that everything is already okay, much needs to change. In fact, the reality that everything is fundamentally good and pure comes hand in hand that all must change. Becoming aware of the different conditionings that are attached to my self-images as well as those that are related to my gender and personal and cultural background has been very useful in order to transcend them, thus, allowing me to experience and express a more authentic life. And what is greatest about holding these two perspectives together is that even if my conditioning is alive in my internal experience, it doesn’t define who I am or what I can do. My ego during the intensive was present, perhaps even stronger than before at some moments, but I felt like it lost much of its power since I kept making the decision to be present, seeing through the illusion of it as being a real static structure. But I also learned that this is something for me to do every moment, choosing to see life as it is, and choosing to respond, even at the face of doubt, from a place of freedom. This is not to say that it is easy. I indeed struggled and still struggle with this, but this struggle is no longer a problem but, rather, something else to look at and transcend. Thus, I have gained lots of space by realizing that every present moment is both the path and the destination, evolution and freedom, perfection and ever-new creation, and that, thus, I can keep letting go of the fact that I am inherently flawed, and in need to be fixed in order to be whole. In this sense, life and freedom– or every present moment – are practice itself. And I don’t need to wait for anything in the future in order to be free and happy.
Living as community has been something quite important and profound for me, especially being the first time for me living in such a way. What has been the most powerful is to realize how helpful it is to have everyone living with the intention to be free and to feel that level of trust and intimacy that made it easier for me to be more vulnerable and open, especially with the other people from the intensive. I really got a glimpse into how evolution occurs collectively, as we are part of the same consciousness, showing how what everyone does matters. There are still lots of things that I do not understand about this, and lots of experience to gain from it but I am really happy to be able to live more of it.
I only have gratitude for everything that has happened during this intensive. From the meditations and work (which often was quite challenging) to the territory and the amazing people who leave and teach in Quinta da Mizarela. It is great to be Awakened Life Project and know that is and will keep growing through me.
As I finish this writing, my experience remains quite fuzzy and unclear, and it doesn’t feel so good. I am not even satisfied with what has been written as it really does not come close to describe the wonderfulness of the past six weeks and it really does not fulfill my habitual standards. But my heart burns brightly, stronger than ever, and it gives me the courage to be like a strong tree that can’t be moved. I feel how I am fundamentally capable to face everything, including my own insecurities and habitual patterns that keep me separate. I am more than ever willing to stand and walk on and through a groundless ground, with my attention focused but open, constantly surrendering into the unknown and becoming my aspiration to be free. I feel ready to live life intensively and constantly transforming in freedom. I know that there is no way back, but I am happy about it. It was never meant to be any other way.