The first autumn winds are blowing through New Hampshire and the sky is of a deep blue. The crisp air clears my head too. This is not something I was looking for. I simply notice a sudden clarity in my head and how refreshing the wind feels on my bare skin and how this spreads through me. What happened ‘by itself’ I sometimes try in vain to achieve through Sensory Awareness*.


I have been very interested in ‘allowing’ lately. We are often quite obsessed with trying to change what we believe needs to be different – including ourselves. As Sensory Awareness ‘experts’ we might work hard to try to ‘allow change’. But what if the conditions are not such that change is possible?  Can I allow for something to be as it is? How would that affect my quality of life?

Much of the time I might go as far as ‘accepting’ something but really only under the condition that the undesired will eventually – soon! – go away. Such ‘acceptance’ is really a subtle form of aversion and might even stand in the way of change. To engage with things as they are is different. We may still not like them but as we become participants instead of victims, we might – for moments – be free of the desire for things to be ‘better’.

When we are able to let go in this way, when our attitude towards things and events changes, we often experience beauty where just a moment ago we could only see misery. And sometimes, sometimes, it just happens that something gives way to change – as if by itself.

* Substitute with your preferred system of inquiry and “present-moment-work”, such as mindfulness meditation.  ‘Sensory Awareness’ here refers to a specific practice. For more, go to 

4 thoughts on “Allowing

  1. Dear Stefan, I can’t tell you how glad I am that you are once again sending your blog. I have missed it a lot. The picture is stunning. And the message exactly what I need to see/hear. At this point, I am allowing change of inner climate within myself, meeting the diagnosis I received in August of stage four lung cancer which has mestastized to the bone. It was, of course, a shock, as I had no indication except for a persistent dry cough for a couple of months. One thing I’ve learned is that cancer is not something to be “fought”. We all carry these cells within us; some of the cells behave themselves and stay within boundaries; some don’t. The ones that don’t may respond to changing the inner climate–or maybe they won’t. With a lot of help, visible and invisible, these cells are being met with guidance from the I Ching, humane and wisdom-filled medical guidance, chemotherapy (2 treatments so far), Erica’s expertise and help with vitamins and diet, Jin Shin Jyutsu, acupuncture (a Doctor of Oriental Medicine actually on the staff at the Cancer Center!), painting with Sarah, and lots of reading and quiet time. The Commons has been remarkable in its support and care. At this summer’s Wabi-Sabi, your name came up frequently as you were so helpful to those who had experienced your guidance with Sensory Awareness. We all hoped for the possibility of painting and sensory awareness in the Mindfulness Barn at some point. I loved seeing the pictures some time ago of your life in New Hampshire with the goats. Hope to see more. All the best to you, Sarah, and Julian, and the goats. Love, Ann

    • Dear Ann,

      I am so glad to hear from you. That my message is what you needed makes me happy and it is also very humbling. You are called to respond and the illusion of escape has been taken away from you. I know you are responding beautifully. Is the clown still alive in you? I’m sure she’s a terrific companion. I will write more in a personal email.

      Our thoughts and our love are with you always,


  2. Stefan, I responded to your beautiful and wise (always wise) blog post when I first read it and then it got lost in the “how to get it posted”). Now, with notice of two more posts awaiting the enjoyment of reading in my e-mail box, I am more hopeful of getting through whatever tech glitch prevented me from reaching out to you before. As so often happens, I am exactly where you are about how I may “use” sensing not to be fully be where I am in the world but in hopes that I can change it. Forgetting again and again that clear seeing or hearing or, in some other way, simply sensing the beauty and fullness of the moment is all that’s needed from “me,” the rest (if there is going to be a “rest”) still unknown. As I write this, I wonder if there is still hope lurking…

    • Dear Sara, what can I say. No tech glitch prevented me from responding to you. If there’s an excuse, it’s goats. It always is these days. And then a month of teaching in Europe. I am really sorry to only respond now because I so enjoy feedback to my blogs – and it is always good to be in touch with you. I am glad that you, too, can relate to it.

      Only one question to your response: Why should there not be hope ‘lurking’? I hope it is. ;-). There might come a time when we don’t need it, but we’re not there. And that’s okay, isn’t it?

      My favorite German comedian, Hanns Dieter Hüsch was once asked if he was optimistic about the future. He said: never – but hopeful, always!

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