Meditation: the Discomfort Zone

meditation Source unknown

Many people believe that meditation will bring peace and tranquility, and at a certain point, when we are freed from the distress of our discomfort, we do achieve the equanimity which many of us long for.

When I began meditating many years ago I was taught that the mind and its thoughts and reactions was the source of all problems, and practicing meditation would free me of its influences.  I spent hours in sitting meditation, working hard to eliminate all thoughts.  I became very good at being numb, but I did not achieve inner peace.  The more numb I became to the insistent chatter in the brain, the more anxiety I began to feel until I finally experienced full blown panic attacks.

I now believe that the real secret of meditation is in learning a mindful approach to our discomfort.  When we feel emotional or energetic discomfort we often reach for something palliative to relieve the discomfort.  Food, drugs, alcohol – all of these are methods of reducing the level of discomfort in the body that triggers distress.   Mindful breathing and focus can help us to befriend the anxieties and emotional triggers to go THROUGH them and release them rather than go BEYOND them as I was taught years ago.

The breath holds the secret to befriending our discomfort.  Many of us hold our breath, either on the inhale or the exhale, in a fear of letting go to the experiences in the body.  This is a learned reaction to stress or unpleasant emotions, and learning to regulate the breath through deep inhalation and slow exhalation can help to decrease the anxieties around our discomfort and slow our reactions to it.

This is coming up for me personally because transiting Uranus is hitting a sensitive […]

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By |2015-04-23T09:19:43-04:00April 23rd, 2015|Astrology in my world, Consciousness|6 Comments

Saturn and Neptune and the boundaries of compassion

reposted from February 2007

Last night I watched part of a Dog Whisperer episode that I missed about Howie, the (adorable) rescue dog that lived at an animal hospital in Atlanta because he was “unadoptable.” Howie had been terribly abused before his rescue, and while his body had healed he was still terrified and growled whenever anyone new came near him. The ladies who cared for him were very protective of him and did all they could to keep him safe. He lived at the animal hospital for two years before Cesar Millan came to help Howie become adoptable.

When Cesar arrived, he found that Howie had been indoors for two years. Because of his abuse, his foster moms had been afraid to put a leash on him for fear it would bring back memories of the terrible times. They felt he had been through so much, and they just wanted to keep him safe and loved. Cesar always says that dogs live in the moment, and that if we keep living in the past and reinforcing that for them that they will never heal.

Chiron teaches us that our desire to heal others often stems from a wound within ourselves. In the highest form of this “Wounded Healer” archetype, we wait to heal others until we ourselves have been healed. Once we have walked into the fire and shadows of our own wounds and the energy held in the cellular memory has been released, we then experience the empathy to be able to help others heal. However, there is a shadow side to the Wounded Healer in which the wounds of the patient activate the wounds of a healing provider who has not yet fully healed. Jung called this phenomenon “countertransference,” and in this circumstance the patient and […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:04:59-05:00April 16th, 2012|Favorite posts|6 Comments

The agony of Bill Zeller

Bill Zeller suicideA reader requested that I look at the chart of Bill Zeller, a brilliant programmer who was best known for creating innovative software such as the MyTunes application.  Mr. Zeller committed suicide on January 5th after struggling for a lifetime with memories of repeated sexual abuse as a child.

It’s unfortunate that we don’t have a time of birth for Mr. Zeller, but the solar chart (born 10/26/1983 in Connecticut) reveals a stellium (tight conjunction) of four planets.  His Sun and Saturn are tightly conjoined in Scorpio, suggesting a pattern of rejection and coldness (Saturn) from the father, and also a tendency towards depression, especially as a young person.  (The beauty of Saturn is that if we can survive his trials as young people we can have a very productive old age.)  A Scorpio Sun reveals an assignment to experience life as deeply as possible, including the dark emotions that lurk under every rock and within every crevice.  There is a powerful emotional intensity with Scorpio that cannot be denied.

Also embedded in this stellium are Mercury and Scorpio in a nearly exact conjunction.  Mercury is either at the last degree of Libra or fully into Scorpio, depending on when Zeller was born, and Pluto is at the last degree of  Libra where it is fully “on the cusp” of Scorpio.  Mercury represents the way we think about things, and with Mercury on the cusp of Scorpio and conjoined by Pluto we have a “double whammy” connecting Mercury–the mind– with Pluto/Scorpio’s intensity.

Mercury is also conjunct the Sun which bestows a high degree of intelligence on the individual, but traditional astrologers, calling this a “combust” aspect, suggest that Mr. Zeller’s capacity for reason would be diminished by […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:10:48-05:00January 12th, 2011|Death, People, Psychology|6 Comments

Farewell to the Chiron/Neptune conjunction

Image from HeartSoulVisionAlthough Chiron and Neptune only have made one exact conjunction during the past two years (it occurred on February 17, 2010), they have been within a few degrees of each other for this entire time.  They are still about as close as you can get without being exactly conjunct, about six minutes of arc apart.  But having just changed direction to move forward after a long retrograde period, they will begin to separate.

Chiron and Neptune both operate on the level of the soul; neither planet is very concerned with supporting the ego or the personality.  Chiron’s work is to clear the emotional debris of past experiences by awakening dormant emotions and forging new energetic pathways of healing.  Neptune’s role is in dissolving the ground upon which we rely so that we will awaken to a higher expression of the Self.  I like to call Chiron the “Soul Healer” and Neptune the “Soul Teacher,” so under these two planets we have been inspired/urged/forced to address deeper matters in our lives.

This has been particularly true for those of us in our 50s who have Pluto in the later degrees of Leo.  Chiron and Neptune have been opposite Pluto in these charts, instilling a sense of urgency in healing the wounds of the past.  I have been able to watch the process of the Chiron/Neptune conjunction in the experiences of my clients.  Back in early 2009, when the conjunction first began to align (peaking in April through July when Jupiter was involved as well) clients of all ages  were reporting intense experiences of grief and mourning as old wounds resurfaced, seemingly out of nowhere.   As Chiron and Neptune continued their dance, the intensity of the emotional […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:04:59-05:00November 8th, 2010|Consciousness|3 Comments

Astrology in my world: Saturn square my Chiron

At first I thought something was wrong with Rich, my husband.  Everything he did was bothering me.  He didn’t talk to me enough.  He talked to me too much.  He didn’t pay any attention to what I was doing.  He paid too much attention to what I was doing.  I felt like a raw nerve, and everything he did set me off.  And then I felt that there was something wrong with me – that I wasn’t good enough and it was probably my fault anyway.

I went for a walk and realized, “This feels like Chiron.”  You would think I would be more up on my own chart, but I long ago stopped tracking every little movement of the planets and anticipating what they might mean.  (I keep an eye on the larger cycles, but since Saturn will only make this square to my Chiron once I didn’t give it too much thought.  Next year when Pluto conjoins Chiron I will be singing a different tune!)

At any rate, once I realized that Saturn was squaring Chiron in my chart, it all began to make sense.  Chiron in our chart reveals where we are emotionally sensitive.  It’s the little places where if someone says something the wrong way we burst out in tears.  Transiting Saturn, being the noble Taskmaster that he is, wants to make sure that we are doing the hard work to heal old wounds and will make sure that those wounds pop up in our conscious mind so that we can attend to them.

Individuals with Saturn/Chiron alignments in their chart know this all too well.  I like to say to my Saturn/Chiron clients that  “some people can hide from their wounds, but not you.” […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:39:07-05:00September 27th, 2010|Astrology in my world|5 Comments
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