Working With Tools of Subtlety (Crystals, Flower Essences, Oils, Smudging Herbs)

When I first started intentionally following my spiritual path, things were rocky. Things were so rocky. All of the “stuff” I’d avoided facing for so long was knocking loudly at my door, in the form of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, interactions… everything. I experienced all-time lows of depression and extremely tense periods of anxiety. I felt as if I was in an near-constant triggered state.

During this initial phase of waking up and facing myself, I was so overwhelmed by everything that opening to and experiencing subtle forms of healing didn’t feel possible. For example, when I’d get a massage, I wanted a deep-tissue massage that really worked my body. Light touch didn’t seem to help and it even annoyed me. And if I used aromatherapy oils in the shower, I wanted to use oil of the strongest scent that would keep my mind grounded and focused. Light, soft scents didn’t seem to be enough to maintain my focus or shift my energy. The same went for crystals. I actually didn’t bother with crystals or medicine stones at all initially; I didn’t feel I could open to them while my PTSD was so strong.

At my first Vipassana retreat, one of SN Goenka’s recorded talks helped me understand what was happening. He explained that (and I’m paraphrasing), when the mind first starts to settle and we sit with ourselves, we initially feel the “gross” sensations of the body… all the major aches, pains, and discomforts. Slowly, as we scan the body during Vipassana meditation, we move through the gross sensations and start to feel the subtler vibrations of the body. Same goes with our thoughts patterns. We have to start where we are, opening to the loudest thoughts in the psyche that might feel rock hard. Eventually, as we do our work, we make our way to the subtler patterns of the mind. But we can’t magically JUMP into the subtle phase without working through the gross phase. That’s how it goes. It’s science.

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