Extracts from past retreats
These extracts from retreats run by Théun Mares, highlight Toltec concepts and show how they are put into practice by people in their everyday lives.
THÉUN MARES: But, what is important, and that's what I'd like all of you to get a feeling for, over the course of this weekend, is - it's easy enough when you are interacting with somebody else -- let's say you and I are interacting, and you do something or say something, and you can sense that there is conflict arising between us. The reason why it is easy is because it's now objective. It's you vs me.
So it is easy to see that conflict arising, and really, what I've been guiding all of you towards up until this point in time, is how to learn to work with that conflict intelligently. So instead of immediately trying to take it away, or make it okay, I have focused for so long, with all of you, on your objective relationships -- learning to work with the mirror. Because, unless you can do it in that objective sense, how are you ever going to do it with yourself, which is completely subjective? Because that's where the difficulty comes in.
It's easy enough when you and I know that that's you, and this is me, and there is conflict between us, or not. But when it comes to the self, and when you are completely identified, on top of this, with the little self, it becomes awfully difficult. And that is invariably why people always end up in projection. So, it's not a bad thing to project, provided we understand what it is that we are doing, and why we are doing it. It's what I said this morning -- there are no wrong actions, provided we know what we are doing.
So it's okay for me, for argument’s sake, to say, "X, bear with me for a moment; I feel an incredible tension within myself. I'm not too sure what it's about. Can we just talk? And really I don't care what you talk about, I am needing you as a sounding board." But that's a conscious projection, because I am listening to you, whilst being open to the world around us, in order to understand what's going on for us within. Yes? That's a conscious projection.
The wrong sort of projection is where I project my confusion onto you. And then, in no time at all you and I are busy arguing, and neither of us actually know what it is all about.
PARTICIPANT: The feeling for me is that if the tension is not held internally between the inner female and the inner male, and if one is always collapsing the tension internally, then it's going to be very difficult to sustain the tension EXTERNALLY.
THÉUN MARES: Absolutely correct. Because, if we put that more simplistically -- what you said was technically very correct -- but just for the sake of clarity, to simplify it; it's really what we have been looking at the whole day:-
“If you cannot have a meaningful relationship between the true self and the little self, how you ever going to hope to have a meaningful relationship with anyone else?”
And, to have a meaningful relationship, the moment we truly relate, there is automatically tension. And several times today -- and I even said it yesterday as well -- TENSION DOES NOT HAVE TO BE NEGATIVE. But we CHOOSE to perceive it as being negative.
And it is the most extraordinary thing. I was just laughing with the musicians yesterday evening when we were finished, because obviously it was their first time performing in front of the whole group, and understandably they were terrifically nervous. And I said to them, "Are artists not the strangest creatures under the sun? It's when they feel SO nervous that they feel they are about to die that they are at their happiest!"
But I'm just using that as an example of when I say that tension does not HAVE to be negative. For an artist going on stage, it is a terrifying experience; of going to expose yourself. The tension is enormous. Now, it's not just you and one other person, or you and yourself - it's you and about 2000 other people out there; with all sorts of expectations, and the inner conflict that comes up is terrific. But it is that which drives the artist. It is that which motivates and causes in them their love of the art -- to be able to use that conflict and turn it into something exquisitely beautiful and poignant.
And that is really our CHOICE, and we can do that with every tension within our life. We make things beautiful, or we make them ugly. It is our choice. And, we have all been conditioned into believing that tension, or conflict if you like, is ugly; it is to be avoided, and you are a bad girl if you create conflict. So, of course, we always SEE it as something ugly.
And then, when we are forced to face it, we turn it into something ugly, because that's the way we perceive it.
It is truly poignant and truly beautiful when one can have a really -- and I am just going to use the word in inverted commas -- "heated" discussion with a close friend, and yet at the same time, when one is both fighting for that clarity; fighting for that new knowledge -- when one is BOTH doing it -- it is an incredibly beautiful experience. But most of the time we choose to turn it into something very ugly, and which has no meaning really. So, no new knowledge is gained, and we both just end up feeling terrible about ourselves.
THÉUN MARES: So, what I am trying to guide you towards, because this is where your frustration and everything else is coming from as well – is that it is such a PRECONCEIVED idea of the sort of experience that you feel that you SHOULD be having. That is your way of seeking attention, as it were.
Wanting, or THINKING that you want this, and then when you find you've actually got THAT, which is invariably what we TRULY need, then in sets the sense of frustration -- "Because I haven't fulfilled my goal. I haven't achieved what I set out to do."
And then, of course, if you STAY with that, you start feeling bad about yourself, and then the headaches start, and you just feel worse and worse about yourself.
And what I have been trying to guide you all towards seeing today, is that if we are purely OPEN to the experience, and by open, what we are implying is that there are NO expectations as such, and there is NO goal to be achieved -- we are simply open to the here, the now, where the experience is happening; and taking from it everything that we possibly can.
If we HAVE that openness; in other words, if we do not have the expectations, we can never possibly be disappointed. Because whatever we get is always so much more than we could have anticipated; because in fact, we have no expectation and therefore there was nothing to anticipate, except that feeling of, "I know I am going to be learning something. What is it? What will I be learning?"
And, of course, it always comes back to the self. So, you are learning about YOU.
Does that help in any way?
PARTICIPANT: Yes. And also what came up for me during lunch was that I was sitting in the room really getting cold, but I was more focused on looking a certain way -- trying to wear the same clothes that I HAD been wearing -- and I just caught myself prepared to be sitting here freezing! So, I went back and changed and I put on everything that was warm. And I thought, "That is reflectant of what I do -- trying to look a certain way on the outside, when I am feeling differently on the inside." Which is where I feel where my frustration comes from.
THÉUN MARES: Yes.
And realise that whatever you do to yourself, you do to everyone around you. And then of course that MUST be reflected back to you. So if you are living untrue to yourself, that's what you will be constantly calling forth from the world around you.
You won't be true to others, because you are doing that to yourself. And therefore, people SENSE that you are not being true, and they have to reflect that for you. So you also tend to draw into your life; either people who, because they are real, can sense that you are NOT being real -- so they ignore you or reject you -- OR you call forth people who are perfect mirrors for you; in other words they equally unreal -- they are not being true to themselves.
And, of course, all of that builds terrific frustration. Because, deep down inside, we all know what we are on about. And I often remind apprentices about that. It's not as if we don't KNOW what we are busy doing, but ACKNOWLEDGING that we know what we are busy doing is another story. That's the denial coming out again. Yes?
"Of COURSE I don't know what I'm doing -- what do you mean? Why would I be coming to retreats if I knew what I was doing?" But in actual fact, it’s BECAUSE you know, that you are coming. Because you already know enough to know that you've got a long way, there's another whole journey that you can undertake. And that's really why you come. Not to learn what you already know, that's a waste of time. True?