Today we're talking with Beth Johnson, author of Coming To Your Senses
FQ: I have an inherent love for horses and spend a fair amount of time in their company. My personal belief is they are extremely soulful animals. I noticed in your bio, you raise horses. What role, if any, do these magnificent animals serve in implementing your teachings?
Although I have not followed the avenue of equine therapy one cannot be in the presence of these magnificent animals without being aware that they operate from their heart space. Here at our ranch we have had many instances where we have chosen to attune ourselves to a horse and feel with them to determine what course to take in training or in health issues. These moments are always healing for the horse as well as us.
FQ: Without breaking confidences, could you share an experience you've had during your years of teaching and counseling where you benefitted tremendous growth from the situation and its outcome?
The most powerful moment I have experienced that was a result of my teachings happened during a meditation with my own mother. She wouldn’t mind me sharing this; as a matter of fact she would hope that I would. She herself was an excellent therapist with a Jungian foundation. It was her belief at the time that if she were able to completely express and purge her dark side or vent all of her untapped anger she would then be able to heal herself from asthma. She struggled with both the asthma and the thought that she was not doing something right on a daily basis. It was her constant battle. One day a group of us met at her office for my first meditation with her since I had found this new method. Mother had spent time in rituals that observed silence but the methodology that I was now teaching was foreign to her. After following my lead the entire group found themselves in a deep silence. There were no thoughts stirring. The words that flowed through me surprised me. I said in a loud clear voice “Seeking perfection is a war waged by the Ego. True perfection is found in allowing yourself to be as you are.” Tears welled up in my eyes but I really didn’t realize at that moment how the words had affected the others.
Then I heard a sound come from my mother that was as strange as anything I had ever heard. Everyone in the room was awe-struck, both from the mediation and the enormity of the moment. The sound was almost animal like. It was not a sound of pain or anger but a sound of breaking loose from the clutches of the misinformation of the Ego, a desperate lunge for freedom. She made it. Her Soul was free. I can still hear it and I still get the same feeling I had then. Nothing was said until the end of the mediation and my mother sat with her head in her hands and wept saying “I can see now that I thought that I was less than perfect because I had asthma. I felt I had to heal myself to be a good spiritual example for my students. I, for the first time in as long as I can remember, feel total peace... no more inner battle to be more than I am. I am FREE!”
She died two weeks later and I knew she had finished her work here on Earth.
FQ: What lesson resonates and presents most often as you continue your teachings of Visual Meditation?
The lesson that resonates with me on a daily basis and I feel is the most important is that I am the one, I am the only one, that can make the choice to be in the flow with God Consciousness or not. All I have to do is feel my body and it tells me if I am in or out. What I do next is my choice.
FQ: Have you ever experienced the fiercest "naysayer"? to come around and actually recognize the benefits derived from practicing Visual Mediation? If so, is there a common trigger that brings enlightenment to the surface?
Oh yes I have had many that have come to me saying, "I will never be able to sit and do nothing, much less quiet this mind of mine." I relish hearing those words because I love seeing the expressions on their faces after the meditations. "Wow," they say, "I wouldn’t have believed I could do that."
You ask what is the trigger that brings the enlightenment to the surface? I would say it is in the way I teach meditation. There is a tangible thing that leads them into silence. The tangible thing is their own sensations in their body. It is always different and it is fun. Sacred and fun all in one package.
FQ: If you could assign one suggestion to help an individual overcome the mindset of "meditation just doesn’t work for me," what would that be?
Read my book. I don’t mean to sound flip, but if they have the desire to learn and are willing to try what they read in the book, they will succeed. I also have a blog connected to my website www.silentplace.com where they can listen and follow along. Lots of people listen with ear buds and feel like they are right in the room.
FQ: You address the 'Art of Letting Go' in Chapter 17. Have you ever been faced with a situation where the person simply cannot "let go" of something no matter how deeply he or she would like to? Is there a point when it is better to recognize the scar/wound for what it is, know it is a part of his or her being and redirect to a place of learning how to "heal" around it?
I want to answer this carefully and clearly because it is so very important. I am going to assume here that you read my book and have made the choice to go inside and allow transformation to occur. From this place within letting go means; in this moment I am no longer trying to alter the outcome of the past; In this moment I can see beyond that one piece of the puzzle and see how all moments connect to this Now. I can in this moment let that point in time Be as it was without judgment; In this moment I can forgive and Let Go. Here is what is important. You cannot have this moment or an epiphany while in the presence of the thinking mind. You must go inward and feel. You must be in the sacred space within to feel the spaciousness that allows the feeling of inclusiveness to be present and where compassion flows freely. In this place you are free to feel the Knowing of all things. From within you can see and feel the balance of the whole.
Having said all of this I must now say that this event in your past is not gone but now viewed from a different perspective. But depending on the strength of the Ego’s desire to come out as the victor, you may be called to do this again and again. Someone might bring up the event or your Ego decides to gnaw on the old bone again and you find yourself back in the grasps of the Ego’s talons.
What do you do? You don’t judge the moment; you just notice how it makes your body feel. If it begins to tighten or have any signs of reaction you know you need to go inside and release it once again. So you follow this plan until you have taught the Ego it cannot feast on it any longer nor keep that wonderful energy that surrounds the wound in bondage. We have a responsibility to ourselves and the Universe to keep all energy in motion. That is how I see the world that I live in.
To write about the inside while being on the outside is very difficult. That is why I so hope people follow the guide that is in the book so they can feel for themselves how this all is true.