Since the dawn of human time, some people have spent their lives cultivating one or other form of higher awareness in order to commune with the gods, understand the meaning of life, get special 'powers,' or simply to escape from life altogether. Different forms of spiritual practice evolved in different places - each a product of their respective cultures, the psyches of their originators and the nature of the energy of each place where the practices or teachings were conceived.
A coherent system of spiritual practice is known as a 'Way' - a process of energy cultivation for liberating consciousness from limiting conditions. But not all forms of the Way are created equal. Apart from varying qualities of practice and result almost all are rooted in certain religious or social cultures with their associated artifacts, including entrenched beliefs, rituals, prejudices, taboos, and political or hierarchical agendas.
Some people search for a way of awakening their higher awareness without getting enmeshed in the typical, usually counter-productive, issues of human organisations - religious, spiritual or otherwise. The unique path of personal and spiritual development, the Way of Life, has evolved over the past 30 years in response to this need.
It is a personally enabling process which supports the practitioner in coming into resonance with, and gaining ever greater awareness of, the spirit. Both in terms of the Spirit as the universal guiding energy in the world, as well as their own spirit, that 'inner voice of wisdom' that is so often unheard, mis-perceived or barely understood. We live in a human world and culture where the divided mind - a mind that generates a partial, segmented and conflicted view of itself and its life - is dominant. And so we are largely driven by our thoughts, knowledge, beliefs, feelings, wants and aversions. Each of these powerful influences draws our attention away from a source of wiser counsel - the guidance of the 'spirit within' - a native energy, (one with which you were born), that resides in your heart chakra as a tiny, brilliant light back behind your breastbone. An inevitable result of the mind's dominance over the 'voice' of the spirit, is that our energy bodies become damaged through our unaware choices and so generate misfortunes of many kinds.
The Way of Life has been revealed through intense meditation upon the detailed observations of the changes that occur within the energy body of people who have achieved illuminating or liberating states of awareness. And the subsequent development of grounded and practical techniques and teachings that bring about these changes in a serious practitioner.
The Way of Life is a 'Way' for life in the 21st Century, albeit with its roots extending far and wide, in both time and space, to places, worldly and not so worldly, from where spiritual empowerments flow. Like all forms of the Way, the Way of Life is rooted in a number of fundamental precepts or observations (like the 'Four Noble Truths' of Buddhism) that lead individuals who observe them, and live by them, to higher levels of realisation and practice.
The first precept of the Way of Life is:
Everything we think, feel, say or do affects our energy and consciousness for better or for worse.
So, for example, if someone is often angry, specific areas of their energy body will inevitably be damaged - damage that increasingly compromises their awareness and well-being in many different ways as their life proceeds. Being trapped in the reactive condition of anger is known as a 'limiting condition' because it obstructs energies that, otherwise, would have generated a higher energy, more fortunate, future for that person.
The Way of Life includes methods of transforming limiting conditions of all kinds into higher forms of awareness. The more this occurs, the more you naturally experience liberation from your chronic forms of suffering - suffering that, often, is only recognised for what it is once sufficient awareness has been cultivated to perceive its true nature.
Your awareness is your ability to see and understand what is happening in your life. This ability is commonly confused with abilities of the mind. But the mind - whilst being excellent for applying knowledge, arriving at explanations, or making deductions about life - is entirely unable to simply see what is happening. By way of example, highly intelligent people are as prone to unhappiness, depression and all manner of strife as their less intellectual peers are.
It should be obvious that action without wisdom, without clear awareness of the world as it really is, can never improve anything." Theodore Roszak
Because our awareness tends to be undeveloped, (like a weak muscle), we don't often experience much real clarity about ourselves or our lives. And higher awareness - which results from an abundance of the energy that generates awareness being present at higher levels within your body - reveals potentials within yourself, your life and your world that, in its absence, are never discovered and remain permanently obscured or largely 'hidden' from your consciousness.
"If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear … as it is, infinite.” William Blake
The second precept of the Way of Life is:
The root of all our problems is our lack of awareness of our energies.
In other words, if we could perceive how the actions we commit (or are about to commit) affect our or others' energy, we would radically change much of our life.
Acting without awareness of the energenic impact of our actions results in 'karmas' - chronic contractions of our energy body that eventually manifest as misfortunes or challenges of one kind or another. Acting blindly is sure to lead to energenic injury which, in turn, leads to injuries to our bodies, minds and lives.
The third precept of the Way of Life is:
The quality of our life is determined by our ability to recognise and fulfil our needs.
This means, the experienced quality of your life isn't dependent on what you've got, or who you're with - it simply reflects the quality of your relationship with your own life. And this experience, (of your relationship with your life), depends on how much you are aware of what you need to do - and how much you act on this awareness.
For example, perhaps you need a cheap, yellow car but you want a more expensive, red car. So, if you aren't much aware of your energy or needs, you buy the red car. Later, you have an accident - because the red car damaged your security qi1 - and suffer from back pain from then on in your life. One of the many magical discoveries of cultivating your whole body awareness is that your energy body always knows, in advance, which choices will work out well for you (your needs) and which won't.
This is an excerpt from a description of the renowned Indian sage, Ramana Maharshi, recognising an essential need of his:
"One November morning in 1895, Ramana was on his way to school when he saw an elderly relative and enquired where the relative had come from. The answer was, "From Arunachala" . . . "The word 'Arunachala' was familiar to Ramana from his younger days, but he did not know where it was, what it looked like or what it meant. Yet that day that word meant to him something great, an inaccessible, authoritative, absolutely blissful entity. Could one visit such a place? His heart was full of joy. Arunachala meant some sacred land, every particle of which gave moksha.2 It was omnipotent and peaceful."
Ramana experienced in that moment what is known as a 'descent of the spirit,' the reception of an energy into the crown [chakra] then into the heart [chakra]. As a consequence, he acted on his new awareness by gathering the few resources he had and making his way to Arunachala (a sacred mountain in Southern India) where he developed an unusual kind and degree of higher awareness.
A sustained descent of the spirit is an essential element in the process of developing your higher awareness. The 'spirit,' in this sense, is not a religious concept - it's simply an energy that naturally points you in the right direction in every area of your life (to the extent it's present in corresponding areas of your energy body) - right diet, work, relationships, exercises, education, places to be, words to speak, skills to develop, meditations to practise, and all the rest. In short, your spirit makes your life work.
If you think of your energy body as 'hardware,' the spirit is the software, or operating system, that keeps your energy body on track - moving, in every respect, towards wherever it needs to be and doing whatever it needs to be doing.
A descent of the spirit doesn't have to be dramatic but it does have to occur. Otherwise, no amount of meditation or other practice makes much difference in terms of developing grounded higher awareness. Which is the case for a vast number of people who subscribe to practices that aren't particularly resonant with their needs. This happens because spiritual practices are commonly performed as fixed rituals or by rote, which is not unlike taking a certain medicine because everyone else in your organisation or group is taking it too . . .
To antidote the harm we do ourselves, through our lack(s) of awareness, the Way of Life provides a way to listen to, and be guided by, your spirit with ever increasing clarity. Why? Because attending to your spirit will transform your life in remarkable ways. It is based simply on what is needed for your higher awareness to awaken and grow in ways that are of most benefit to you - everyone's needs differ in some or many respects, hence the importance of coming into communion with your spirit, your own intent. The more you cultivate your spirit - without dependance on, or identification with, religious beliefs, rituals or taboos - the more clearly you will perceive your life as it is. This is called, 'living with intent.'
'Intent' doesn't mean 'intention.' Rather, it is another term for 'spirit,' albeit in its active or 'practice' mode. 'Intention' belongs with 'want' or 'will' - "I want this," or, "I will do that." By contrast, 'intent' means being at one, or resonant, with your life. Instead of hanging onto (or chasing after) whatever you feel or believe makes (or will make) your life better, living with intent means being aware of and fulfilling your [real] needs, which is whatever increases your higher energy fortunes and awareness.
The fourth precept of the Way of Life is:
Cultivating our awareness is our highest need
This means, although all your needs - which support your health, relationships, work, security, etc. - have varying priorities, becoming more aware is always the most important, not least because the quality of your awareness determines your ability to recognise all your needs. So the quality of your health, relationships, work, and so on, ultimately all depends on your awareness.
(i) everything you can do depends on one or other forms of awareness,
(ii) every problem you experience reflects a lack of one or other forms of awareness, and
(iii) the higher your awareness, the more you will naturally awaken your talents - dormant abilities that empower you to transform your limiting conditions or karmas into new or more powerful forms of awareness and the other fortunes - forms of wisdom, inner strength, happiness and success - that you most need.
This is one of the key differences between the Way of Life and other, traditional, forms of the Way. Your life is not random, it is inherently meaningful. And the more you learn to use it and embrace it as your most precious guide - rather than avoiding, or reacting against, it - the more your self-awareness, your awareness of the world, and your spiritual awareness will naturally unfold.
"The trainings you have created and the empowerments you give are the most precious gifts I've ever been given. My prayers for a true path were answered when I met you. Thank you for doing what you do." Natalie Fee
Cultivating sufficient awareness eventually manifests as states of awakening resulting from your heart energy ('spirit') ascending beyond your crown (the top of your head). With awakening, all concerns about life itself - health, relationships, money, reputation, etc. - naturally fall away as they are replaced by communion or identification with the spirit. This is a natural transition from the usual condition of identifying with your body, your feelings or your mind.
Awakening releases you from the oppressive grip of bodily existence, not because such existence is a problem in itself, but because identifying with it is. Imagine all the places you couldn't go or see if you were wholly identified with your car. It wouldn't matter how much you liked your car - you'd still be trapped inside it and personally suffering its periodic lack of fuel, the occasional dent or scratch and that weird noise it makes when turning hard to the left. And you couldn't get out and run through a field!
Your energy is always moving in your body. But, without effective energy cultivation practices, more of it gradually shifts down than up. In the absence of awakening, each person's karmas - unfortunate states or circumstances - become increasingly fixed, immutable to change. And people's consciousness, regardless of their worldly successes, becomes increasingly narrow through the gradual diminishment of their awareness.
Cultivating your awareness is the only way to reverse the imperceptible yet steady narrowing of your life and consciousness. And, instead, to expand your choices and abilities over time. With higher awareness, you can simply see more - more of why your life is the way it is, why you are the way you are, how you can change your life or yourself, and how you can cultivate the energies you need to bring such changes about.
This isn't rocket science - it's rather like looking out of a window on the 20th floor rather than being stuck at the ground floor. Every point of view is useful, but some points reveal views others cannot see. Your 'elevator,' or consciousness, is raised by you living with intent, which is why intent is called the 'ascending force.'
'Living with intent' is living with the spirit in your life rather than obscuring your spirit (and thus your life) with all manner of energy-descending goals, desires, reactions and distractions. Living with intent is paradoxical insofar as it both opens up all kinds of new possibilities - due to your increasing awareness and, eventually, awakened talents - and generates an increasingly disciplined and focussed life. The more you are aware of the 'commands of the spirit' the more precisely you live at every level.
So you find yourself able to do more but, often, your spirit will require you to do less. This is because, for its effective cultivation, your energy must both be conserved and directed wisely. This way you will accumulate more and more of the energy needed for entering into the world of energy - the world where spirits dwell.
Intent isn't just in the heart chakra or other areas of the human energy body. It's all around us. In everything - flowers, trees, hedgehogs, buildings . . . And most of it is present in ways that have no physical reflection at all. We live in a world of spirit that is affecting us and our life all the time even as we're almost entirely unaware of it. The higher awareness achieved through living with intent is the entrance and path into then through the world of spirit.
"The search for Reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings, for it destroys the world in which you live." Nisargadatta Maharaj
The fifth precept of the Way of Life is:
Our karmas are our most powerful guides.
Consider what frequently grabs your mind or attention - what thought, feeling, concern, sensation, memory, worry, obsession or anything else often drags your energy down? This is an experience of a karma. And all such experiences - our karmic commitments - rule much of our lives. Karmic, because all these attachments cause our energy to descend ultimately.
More often than not, people just suffer their karmic commitments - they are driven by them. They may obsessively chase better health, perfect relationships, duties, money, or anything else they believe will make them happier. Or, at least, keep the peace. But the very nature of a karmic commitment is that it eats your energy and awareness - it drags your life [energy] down. This is why, in the Way of Life, we look at how you can engage with the energy underlying your karmic commitments, as they become apparent, and transform them into higher energy (less karmic) fortunes.
Every disturbance, in itself - including everything you are attached to being or having - reflects a weakness in your energy body. By seeing your karmic commitments for what they are - by applying your increasing awareness to every area of your life - both you and your life change. You become stronger in countless ways as your karmas become the fuel that you need to liberate yourself from the limiting conditions you suffer in your life.
A karma is, fundamentally, a limitation of awareness. Limitations of body, mind or life are not, essentially, karmic. Our relationships with our body, mind and life are only as karmic as our reactions to them. And the quality of all such relationships is determined by our current level of awareness. The process of the Way is that of an ascending helix: the more we are aware the less we are controlled by reactions to our experiences; the less we react, the more aware we become.
To illustrate, your legs may be broken but, with the necessary energy cultivation, the view from the '20th floor' is a lot more fun than that of a physically fit person at the 'ground floor.' It's your awareness that makes a real difference to your life. Everything else is really just smoke and mirrors - all those dreams and desires. Only your awareness liberates you from suffering your successes and your failures. Everything else, no matter how much you want it, love it or hang onto it, will eventually fade to black.
Awaken Your Awareness By Relaxing Your Mind
In spite of all the benefits of higher awareness, the normal mind resists its cultivation. This is because the mind has, for a very long time, been top dog, ruler of the roost - it, literally, 'knows best.' This is why people - even those with much interest in spiritual matters - aren't able to cultivate their awareness effectively until they clearly see that a life driven by their mind isn't working very well. To the degree the mind's desires, beliefs, pride, knowledge, hope and all the rest remain dominant, the spirit can barely be heard.
The voice of the spirit within offers a very quiet message: ‘You don’t have to be like this; your life doesn’t have to be like this; you aren’t, inevitably, the victim of your circumstances; you can cultivate the energy to change yourself and your life, one step at a time.’ Through their persistent attention to this message, we've seen many people profoundly change both themselves and their lives in remarkable ways. You can do this too.
"I'm so grateful to you for providing such an incredibly profound and life-changing training. Your work with energy has given me practical techniques for transforming my life in every way: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I've already experienced how some of your very simple techniques can have a major effect on health, stopping one problem - within a week - I'd had almost daily for 7 months" Janice Kyd
Contrary to the beliefs within some spiritual traditions, ordinary life is not inherently detrimental to the cultivation of awareness. The Way of Life can be practised in the midst of any lifestyle. Your life, even when it's hard, is your friend and your guide - which is experienced, in consciousness, to the degree you've cultivated the awareness to see what it's showing you. The Way of your life is the path, unique to you, through which you can increasingly discover the truth of this, in your own way and in your own time.
A Way appears - like a track emerging from the fog - in your life as you increasingly relax your mind and become increasingly still. At any given moment, your spirit is pointing you towards what you need, what you need to understand, what you need to do, what you need to see, how you need to respond, and much more besides. It's like a bright light illuminating the whole of your life. This is why certain stages of awakening are called stages of illumination - becoming one with your spirit reveals a brighter world, a world that's always present, waiting to be seen.
"At last, after years of trying all sorts of different ways of living - this is where it has all been leading.
With my increasing energy awareness I am now able to begin to experience my spirit - who I really am." Carol Stanton
The Way of Life is centred around the warm and supportive Way of Life Community and Forum - the Shendo or Spirit [shen] Path [doh]. The Shendo is, itself, supported by the wyrds (words or teachings) and practices of the Way of Life. The wyrds reflect the real-world issues and concerns of members of the Shendo.
The wyrds, together with the associated practices, open areas of your energy body to empowerments - descents of the spirit, or manas, that provide you with the energy to transform your personal karmas, or limiting conditions, into higher energy fortunes, talents and awareness.
Each Shendo practitioner receives the Shendo Mandala - a unique energenic instrument for identifying the practices and other activities they need at any given time. With the Shendo Mandala, plus the support of the Shendo (forum), you can always receive the help you need whenever anything seems unclear.
Shendo practitioners also receive minimum or discounted prices on most services or products available from Life Energy Development or Energize Your Life.
The Shendo forum is a private yahoo group. This offers the convenience of forum posts being directed to/from your email address with no need to constantly log on to yet another website. You can join the Shendo on a monthly or annual (for a great discount) basis. Membership can be cancelled at any time, without any risk and you will only be billed for membership months already started. We look forward to seeing you in the Shendo.
If you are already a Shendo practitioner you can log in here to access your training modules.
1 Security/Respect qi is one of the eight forms of 'life qi' that enter, from eight directions, the crown chakra of the energy body
2 Moksha - liberation from [the causes of] suffering