Monthly Archives: February 2024

A Vertical Resource: Listening in Turbulent Times

A vertical resource allows us to be vulnerable in life and yet held firmly within a landscape of greater possibility. No matter how grim the world looks, a vertical listening within the heart walks with us. We are never alone. The naked vulnerability within our vertical connection resembles a kitten being held by the back of the neck by its mother. Our nervous system relaxes when life reveals its true nature as “perfectly imperfect” (Tao te Ching translation, Stephen Mitchell).

A vertically-resourced nervous system is also the first commandment of the three monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In biblical language the name given to vertical resourcing is “God” and we are instructed to love “that” with everything we have — mind, heart, body, soul. In each of these traditions it is the mystics who embodied this commandment through their surrendered inner-listening and ecstatic praise. Mystics are not distracted by hierarchical power-structure outside of themselves in order to “achieve” spiritual status in the world. They are listening to their inner and outer world as one movement. They simply belong to both and are grateful for the opportunity to be here.

The Tao and monotheism’s primary instruction point towards an unwavering inner-trust and a willingness to let go of the known. Not for the faint of heart, listening to the timeless vertical-flow living within our own body, heart, and mind is a radical departure from our conditioned inner-operating system: vertical transmission transports us into a spacious inner-landscape that softens contact with the trauma living within our body, heart and mind. Ironically, a vertically resourced relationship heals us from that which we were “intent on healing” and even from the very concept of “fixing.” Surrendered listening transforms life into a landscape of divine belonging where an unconditional inclusion of our hurt places allows them to find rest. 

As our suffering finds its place in life we come to understand it as part of the process of life discovering itself. We are the kitten being held by the great mother as we learn to trust that our personal, ancestral and collective traumas are not separate from the path of our soul’s embodiment and the evolution of life. Vertical resourcing is a digestive-aid that converts trauma into embodied wisdom and compassion. As this process occurs in the ICM workshops, I frequently find myself humbled by the simple realization that I am here to walk with life and learn from life—however much I may stumble in that walk.

In order to digest and transmute the grid-lock of human trauma we are now facing, the next phase of our human evolution necessitates intimate encounters with our innate vertical resource. Here, we can rest in a quantum field of unconditional intelligence where insight, depth, and compassion inform our personal, ancestral, and collective landscapes. With his timeless quote, Rumi continues to invite us there: “out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”