Although I ran into some technical difficulties, I did attend satsang last night. Thank you for your teaching. I was moved by the exercise you had us do of giving our pain to you. Your dharma seems to incorporate all your experience: a call to abidance in I-am via a disciplined meditation practice (paleo-Advaita, I like to call it). Chanting (which I've always loved). Awareness of and working with affect and psychological states. Love, devotion, and surrender.
I think I will be challenged by this particular integration of teachings. For example, when you asked us to bring up pain and give it to you, I found myself instead falling into meditative stillness (again, I know nothing of actual samadhi; by stillness I just mean a relatively quiet mind).
However, in addition, I felt a stirring in my upper abdomen. I think it was an attempted upwelling. Intellectually, I thought in the moment of painful childhood memories and recent anxieties. I believe the subtle upwelling was the body attempting to connect with the thinking but not quite succeeding. I would hate to think that I use meditative stillness to repress emotion, but if that's the case, I'm sure I wouldn't be the first. As I mentioned in my intial e-mail to you, I am in therapy, so I do work actively to bring forth emotion and work through it.
In any case, I plan to attend satsang regularly. I was thrilled to learn of the plan to hold a retreat in February. My last day of corporate serfdom is 2/1, so if the retreat doesn't start that exact day, I can and will attend.
I welcome any comments or advice.
I think you'll do fine with my approach.
I see the biggest blockages for advancement in the vast majority of spiritual students are two: wanting to do all the spiritual work themselves without a teacher or therapist, and the use of the teachings and practices to avoid both the personal, and walled off parts of the personal self.
The first sort of person is effectively and permanently self-deluded, because their "inner-guru" is merely their opinion of the moment. They tend to be frightened of their "insides," and take a route where it is never exposed.
You are actively reaching out in many modalities. So this is not your problem at all.
Then you are aware how meditation and quietness can be a form of conscious repression or a reinforcement of unconscious denial. Therefore this is not a major problem area for you either.
You will do well.