Donations 01Mar14 | 0

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Every story was made up by someone 27Jan15 | 0

This is very obvious. And it can also make a big difference if we ponder it and take it in.

Every story was made up by someone.

And then passed on by others, and changed.

Any story was created by someone. Stories saying that a word means a certain thing. Or that something is good and something else is bad. Or that this is anger, or sadness, or pain, or joy. Or that loss or heartache is terrible. Or that humans are separate from rest of nature. Or that something called God or Spirit exist.

Stories about these stories were also made up by someone. Stories saying that the initial story is true, or false, or comes from an authority (so you should perceive and live as if it’s true), and so on.

Each of these stories were made up by someone. They are all a thought. They are more or less useful as a pointer in daily life. Their content is really a question only, a question about the world.

 

TRE and fatigue 26Jan15 | 0

There may be many reasons for chronic fatigue (or not), and many ways through it.

For me, Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) is one.

I assume that chronic tension binds energy that otherwise could be used for healing and living life. And it may also block energy flow, in a more eastern view, with a similar result.

At the very least, it certainly takes a lot of energy to hold tension in the body. (As it does to hold beliefs, identifications, and velcro. This is what creates the mental and physical tension, which is why natural rest and inquiry is apart of this exploration for me. I want to go to the root of what’s happening, and TRE alone doesn’t do that.)

When I do TRE, I feel relaxed, whole, and more myself. And as I do it over time, chunks of tension soften and gradually release, starting from the legs and hips and moving up the body.

For me, now, the main tension sits in my shoulders, and that’s also where – in my throat – I notice a consistent body contraction. My hip area and lower back feels much more soft and open, and it seems that it’s largely due to the TRE.

Adyashanti: Meditation 25Jan15 | 0

Meditation is neither a means to an end nor something to perfect. Meditation done correctly is an expression of Reality, not a path to it. Meditation done incorrectly is a perfect mirror of how you are resisting the present moment, judging it, or attaching to it.

Meditation acts as a perfect mirror, which reflects your relationship with yourself, life, and the present moment. By becoming intimately aware of how you are resisting or attaching to the content of the present moment, and how futile it is to continue to do so, you may discover what it means to truly drop all of your resistance to the present moment.

Meditation has a very specific definition, purpose, and application. Meditation is the art of allowing everything to simply be in the deepest possible way. In order to let everything be, we must let go of the effort to control and manipulate our experience—which means letting go of personal will.

This cuts right to the heart of the egoic make-up, which seeks happiness through control, seeking, striving, and manipulation. Many forms of meditation are based on learning to control one’s experience as a means of attaining peace. Such methods often lead to a dead end, where one only attains peace of mind as long as the ego is being constrained by meditative technique.

– Adyashanti, from his free e-book The Way of Liberation.

Islam? 25Jan15 | 0

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Islam has become the new scapegoat – and favorite shadow projection object – for some in the west.

A lot of what’s going on seems so obvious that it’s hardly worth even mentioning. But if it was that obvious, I guess there wouldn’t be so much (apparently unquestioned) projection.

Here are some things that comes to mind:

Islam has become a favorite projection object for the shadow, for that in ourselves we don’t acknowledge and consciously embrace and own. We see it out there, and not “in here”. In reality, it’s very easy to make a list of all the “bad” things some see in Islam or Islamic cultures today, and find how we do the same – as individuals, nations, and a culture.

Religions may tend to be more or less peaceful in their expression. Buddhism tends to be more at the peaceful end, and the theistic (and Abrahamic) traditions less so. And yet, there is plenty of exceptions. Nothing is inevitable. Religions are, in a sense, tools, and it all depends on how we use them.

Islam isn’t inherently or inevitably less peaceful than, for instance, Christianity. For instance, during the golden age of Islam, Christian cultures tended be be far more barbaric and uncivilized than Islamic cultures. And many Muslims are far more peaceful and mature than many Christians (and vice versa).

The actions of western cultures goes a long way to explain why some in Islamic (and other) cultures are angry, feel powerless, and take to violence. We have acted in a very violent way towards them – economically, culturally, and militarily – so they are just doing the same thing back against us. It’s very understandable, even if a strategy of violence may not work very well. (It seems more a way of letting out frustration and anger.)

Similarly, some western politicians may – intentionally or not – fuel the scapegoating of Islam to distract from more local problems, and what they – and we – are doing that’s equally or more damaging or questionable.

I assume that in some years, when this is part of history and the history books, people will wonder how we – in the west – could have been so blind. How could we have been so blind to the obvious shadow projections? How could we have been so blind to our role in the dynamic? And yet, that’s what we humans tend to do. It’s part of being human.

What we can do is to bring it more into awareness. Be honest with ourselves. Take responsibility for our part of the dance. Perhaps explore this through inquiry, tonglen, ho’oponopono, and other practices.

I love you 25Jan15 | 0

Sometimes, I notice fear about the future, lack of confidence, and feeling flattened. (This is after some years of health challenges and having the rug pulled out from under me repeatedly, and I am sure this was in me before this too, although less on the surface.)

So I feel the sensations. See if I can feel the sensations as sensations. Notice the pictures associated with it. Look at the images. Perhaps ask some simple questions. For instance:

While feeling the sensation: Is it true that this sensation means anything about my future? Is it true it’s dread? Is it true it means anything at all?

While looking at an image of the future: Is that image the future? Is it true that the image is my future? Is it true it means something about my future? Is it true it means anything at all?

At times, I may hold sating with what’s here.

You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. I love you.

And sometimes, ho’oponopono.

I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.

When these things come up, there are a few ways to relate to it. I can pretend it’s not here, which works somewhat for a while, but not really since it is here. I can try to push it away, which also doesn’t work very well.

Or I can welcome it. Notice it’s already allowed. Notice it’s here to protect me. See if I can find love for it. Feel the sensations. Notice the sensations as sensations. Notice the images and words associated with these sensations. Perhaps ask some simple questions about the sensations, images, and words.

What is a thought ? 25Jan15 | 0

Thoughts. They seem very real. What they refer to may not be real, or may not be as the thought says it is, but the thought itself must be real?

What do I find when I look at thoughts?

I find that a thought may be an image. Or it may be a sound (a word or words) with associated images, for instance one or more images that the sounds refer to, and perhaps an image of the letters making up the word or words.

These may appear connected with certain sensations. And these sensations may lend a sense of reality and solidity to the images and/or words. The stronger sensations, and the stronger the sensations seem connected with the images and words, the stronger the sense of charge associated with the thought. This charge may appear to mean that what the thought refers to – or the thought itself – is real, important, good, bad, that I like it, or dislike it.

It can be helpful to notice this. Look at the images and/or words. Listen to the sounds. Feel the sensations. Perhaps ask simple questions about each, to clarify what’s really there. (And what is not.)

Seeing what’s really there, and feeling what’s really there, can be very freeing. It gives more freedom around the thought. I can relate to it with a little more clarity and intention.

Also, can I find a thought outside of these images, words, sounds, and sensations? Can I find a real thing called a thought?

Taking this further, I can explore images, words, sounds and sensations. Can I really find each of these, as a solid and real object? As they initially appear to me?

read on…

Byron Katie: Pain is in the moment 24Jan15 | 0

Can you notice how pain is in the moment? It’s not forever even though the mind would lead you to believe it is.

– Byron Katie

It’s very easy for the mind to project the pain that’s here now into the future, and make it seem very real. And very hopeless.

When I notice that’s happening, I sometimes ask myself:

Is it true it’s too much? It is true I can’t take it? Is it true it’s overwhelming?

Is it true it will always be this way? Is it true it will never go away?

Is it true it has to go away? Is it true it would be better if it goes away?

Bumpy and messy 23Jan15 | 0

When I write these posts, I am aware that the way I write can make what I write about appear simple and straight forward. Reality is usually not like that. Reality is often bumpy and messy.

Since it’s that way for me, I assume it’s like that for many others too. Most people who speak or write about different practices make it seem clear, simple and relatively straight forward. That’s understandable. We seek to present it in a clear and simple way. And that doesn’t mean it’s always that way to us.

For me, it’s certainly been a bumpy and messy path, with lots of apparent detours, mishaps, wrecks, derailings, and more. And that’s part of the process too. That’s life.

13.8 billion years old 23Jan15 | 0

When someone asks me how old I am, I sometimes say 13.8 billion years old.

It’s as true as whatever my passport says. Perhaps even more true. And it’s something we all share. It’s something we all share, whether we are galaxies, solar systems, stars, planets, ecosystems, plants, animals, emotions, thoughts, experiences of all sorts, molecules, atoms, quarks. We were all born 13.8 billion years ago.

We have evolved. Changed. We look quite different from back then.

But we are all the universe in it’s local expression. We are all how the universe has evolved, and is currently expressing itself.

As humans, and living beings, we are how the universe is currently expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself. We are a 13.8 billion year old universe experiencing itself.

We are, as Carl Sagan said, the local eyes, ears, emotions and thoughts of the universe bringing itself into awareness.

And that’s no joke. It’s as real as saying there was a certain number of years since I, as a human individual, was born. I have changed greatly as a human being since then. The universe has changed greatly as a universe since then. Everything physical in me is part of that 13.8 billion year old universe. And every pattern, dynamic and process in me is the result of 13.8 billion years of evolution.

This literally changes everything. When I take this in, feel it, find real examples of how it’s true, everything changes. My whole perspective changes. The context for my life changes.

Why self-love? 23Jan15 | 0

I recently wrote a post about the how of self-love.

Then there is the why. Why self-love?

A simple answer is that it’s what we all want. We all want love. Usually, we seek it from someone else. Someone else loves us, so we allow ourselves to love ourselves. But this is a precarious project. We won’t always get it from someone else, or the person we want it from. And this type of love may and does go away. So why not go directly to the source? Why not skip the middle man? Why not give it to ourselves?

Is it true this experience has to go away? 23Jan15 | 0

Sometimes, when I notice discomfort, and a wish for this experience to go away, and may ask myself:

Is it true this experience has to go away? 

Or…. Is it true it’s overwhelming? Is it true it’s too much? Is it true I need to escape?

Or even… Is it true it’s discomfort? Is it true it’s pain?

This is just a little nudge. An invitation for the mind to shift a bit in relation to the experience that’s here.

And the reality is a little different. Simple. Yet also with wrinkles and other elements.

In practice, I notice the impulse to move away from it, and instead feel it. Drop into the feeling. Allowing it. Allowing all of it – the feeling,  the impulse to move away from it, the wish to do the opposite. Notice it’s all already allowed. All content of experience is already allowed.

I may also say: You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. I love you.

And I notice images and words connected with the feeling. Sometimes just looking at them, until they perhaps fade, and sometimes asking simple questions about them to help me see that they are images and words.

The center is feeling what’s here, simply, as it is. And the rest are just occasional aids to allow a simple feeling.

Can I know for certain that this feeling means….? 23Jan15 | 0

I have had a feeling thought calls “doom” over the last couple of days.

So I feel it as sensations. Notice images and words connected with it. Notice they are images and words.

And ask myself: Can I know for certain it’s doom? Can I know for certain that this feeling means I am doomed?

Natural rest and love 22Jan15 | 0

Natural rest is a form of love. It’s noticing and allowing. It’s the reverse of rejecting and pushing away. It’s an alignment with the allowing that’s already here. It’s allowing what’s here, as it is. Even what may seem uncomfortable. It’s a love for what’s here. It comes from love for what’s here (even if it’s just a little bit of love and curiosity), and helps us find love for what’s here.

Love for a being often takes the form of noticing and allowing. And love for myself, my experience as it is here and now, can also take the form of noticing and allowing.

Inquiry and love 22Jan15 | 0

I know this is not how inquiry is usually talked about, but it is my experience.

For me, inquiry is about love. Finding love for the sensations, images, and words that are here.

Finding love for this experience.

Finding love for who and what I am. (Which is this field of experience, as it is, here and now. Which is all there is.)

I look at images and words. Ask simple questions to help me see what’s really there. Feel sensations. Ask simple questions to help release words and images from them. And it’s all about love. Finding love for what’s here.

Revealing the love that’s already here, for what’s already here.

Even revealing what’s here as love.

What’s left out 22Jan15 | 0

I haven’t watched American Sniper, but from the trailer – and just knowing it’s a Hollywood movie – I assume it’s presented as “apolitical”, and the main character as a slightly conflicted hero.

If that’s the case, what’s left out is quite glaring: He participated in illegal wars, mainly created to serve corporate (and political) interests. And he, most likely, saw himself as serving his country, and doing his job. Which may be true, but is secondary to him choosing to be an active participant in very questionable foreign policies. The US foreign policies and military actions may well create more enemies and terrorists than they are preventing or getting rid of, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that too is left out of this movie.

By leaving these things out, the US movie producers are doing their job, which is (a) to make money, and (b) not question the actions of the US government in any serious way. (If they do so, they mostly focus on more harmless fringe issues.)

Scared animal 22Jan15 | 0

I find it helpful to look at parts of me as an animal. Whether these parts are emotions, impulses, sensations, or the body.

Some of these animals have been rejected, pushed away, battled, wounded, and traumatized. Some of them have been rejected my whole life. They are scared.

So how would I relate to a scared animal? With kindness. Patience. Love. Respect.

Why not relate to these parts of me as if they were a scared animal? Why not relate to them with kindness. Patience. Love. Respect.

It may be especially challenging at first. It means going against an old habit, and one that society (for the most part) has taught us is the way to do it. It’s a bit like going into a jungle or zoo full of scared and wounded animals.

It may be helpful to start, and sometimes continue, with the guidance of certain practices, such as tonglen, loving kindness, ho’oponopono, and natural rest. (Natural rest is a form of love. It’s noticing and allowing. It’s the reverse of rejecting and pushing away. It’s an alignment with the allowing that’s already here.)

And it does change. It’s transformative. My inner world changes. The animals relax through this patient attention, presence, and love. There is a softening.

 

Uncharismatic teachers 21Jan15 | 0

I find I especially like uncharismatic teachers….. because then it’s all about the content, the pointers and tools. That’s one of the reasons I liked Scott Kiloby when I first saw a video with him.

Of course, charismatic teachers can be helpful too. They too can offer helpful pointers and tools.

And, especially early on in the exploration, they can be inspiring, and even good projection objects. We project our own wisdom and clarity onto them, get to know it “out there”, and then are invited to find it in ourselves. Sometimes with the help of disillusionment and disappointment…..!

Throat contraction 19Jan15 | 0

Over the last year-and-a-half, I have noticed a body contraction that seems to move up.

It started with a strong contraction in the solar plexus. Then the heart. And now the throat. Each one has lasted for a few months, and it has corresponded with old wounds and traumas surfacing relating to each. For instance, with the heart contraction, there was a lot of wounds around being unlovable and unloved that came up…. to be seen, felt, loved, rested with.

Now, with the throat contraction, I find my voice sounding held back and contracted as well, and I cough quite a bit. There are also wounds (identifications, beliefs) surfacing relating to being visible in the world, being seen as an authority, taking more of a leadership role, communicating my truth, and more.

These movable contractions is in addition to a more persistent contraction in my shoulders, and some in my calves, which I also hold in presence when I remember.

Body contractions seem to come from identifications and beliefs at odds with the world (which beliefs necessarily are). And they also seem to fuel reactivity and compulsions, including the compulsion to go to ideas and identifications for (a sense of) safety.

When I explore images and words associated with these contractions, what comes up range from abstract images, to personal memories, to family and cultural patterns.

Compulsive seeking 18Jan15 | 0

Nothing new here, and it’s something I have noticed from myself and also seen in others.

Compulsive seeking comes from trying to escape from (or fix) an uncomfortable feeling. And behind that feeling is a body contraction.

The seeking can take any form….. a seeking of comfort, understanding, status, love, enlightenment, being saved, money, house, and anything else.

None of these are wrong. And even when the compulsive seeking finds rest, and the feelings are felt, and the contraction perhaps softens or dissolves, we will still aim for a good life, and do the “inner” and “outer” work needed. Although now from a different and more restful place.

What would I have to feel? 18Jan15 | 0

What would I have to feel if I didn’t (do this addictive/compulsive thing)?

What would I have to feel if I didn’t….. reach for the phone, listened to a podcast, called a friend….. right now?

And then feel it. Drop into the feeling. Notice any associated images and words, while still feeling it.

I have run away from these uncomfortable feelings most of my life. Why not do the opposite? Why not feel them? Why not welcome them?

You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. I love you.

Included in this is the discomfort itself, and also the impulse to do something about it, fix it, run away. Any reaction to what’s here, and any reaction to this reaction, is included.

All is included. Whatever is here is included.

Why it doesn’t have to go away 18Jan15 | 0

I have written a couple of other posts on this topic, but find I am drawn to writing something again.

Why doesn’t this experience have to go away?

It’s me. It’s who and what I am, here and now. (And here and now is all there is. Any thoughts of past, future, or present happens here and now.) Why would I want to push parts of me away? Why would I want the pain of rejecting parts of me?

It’s here to protect me. When I look, I find that anger, sadness, discomfort, joy….. it’s all here to protect me. It’s all here to protect this human self, and the (literally) imagined self. I notice that here and now, and I also see that these impulses are put in me through evolution, and is what has made the survival of all my ancestors possible.

It’s from love. It’s here to protect me, so it’s from love.

It is love. It’s a form of love. (See the two previous points.)

It’s awareness. When I look, I find it’s all awareness. Any experience is awareness. It’s all – all of what a thought may call a me, experiencer, emotion, sensation -part of a seamless field of awareness. (And when I look for awareness, that’s unfindable.)

It’s already allowed. This experience is already allowed…. by life, mind, existence. It doesn’t work to try to change that.

Anything else is painful. Trying to push it away is painful. It’s suffering. It’s struggle. It’s futile.

It’s a relief. It’s a relief to notice that what’s here is already allowed. It’s already welcome. It’s already love. It’s already who and what I am. The experience itself softens. There is a sense of coming home. There is a quiet, soft, deep sense of satisfaction.

P.S. One way to explore if an experience really has to go away, is is to ask oneself: Is it true this experience has to go away? 

If this was a movie…. 13Jan15 | 0

If this was a movie, what would be the meaning of this?

If you were the director, what would you change? How would you write the sequel?

 These are excellent questions from a conversation I recently had with Bonnie G.

read on…

We are what we experience 12Jan15 | 0

It may appear that there is (a) a me here, (b) experiencing certain things, and (c) living in the world. These may appear as three somewhat different things.

That’s how it seems when we filter our experience through beliefs, or….. identifications with images and words, or….. when there is velcro and some images and words seem attached to feelings (which lend them a sense of solidity and reality, as if they reflected a reality “out there”). These are all different ways of saying more or less the same.

And yet, what’s more real is that it’s all a seamless whole. There is only this field of experience as it is right now, with sounds, smells, tastes, images, words, sensations. That’s all. That’s my world. That’s who and what I am.

Any images of past, future, present are images happening in immediacy, and those are who and what I am as well.

If I reject a part of what’s here now, I am – in a very real way – rejecting a part of myself. That’s why it hurts. That’s why it hurts to wrestle with what is, here and now. And that’s why it’s such a huge relief to notice, allow, and find love for it.  To feel sensations, and find curiosity about words, images, and sensations making up my experience.

Getting ready for inquiry 11Jan15 | 0

For all of us, there may be supportive practices that makes it easier for us to explore love, natural rest, and inquiry.

And if we are completely new to it, there may be practices that helps us get ready for it, and get more out of it.

Here is a list of practices I have found helpful in themselves, and as a support for – for instance – inquiry. (And inquiry, in turn, is a support for each of these. These practices are all a support for each other, in a very real way.)

Body inclusive: Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). Self-Breema and Breema bodywork. Yoga. Tai Chi. Chi Gong.

Stable attention: Training a more stable attention, for instance by bringing attention to the sensations of the breath.

Love: Ho’oponopono. Tonglen. Loving kindness.

Natural rest: Noticing. Allowing.

Physical exercise: Strength. Aerobic.

Nature: Being in nature. Moving the body in nature. Connecting with nature. (Practices to Reconnect.)

Inquiry: Some forms of inquiry may be easier to start with than others. For instance, it may be easier for some to start with the Big Mind process and The Work, and then move into Living Inquiries.

Things falling into place 10Jan15 | 0

Here is something I have noticed for a while now:

When I go against my guidance, things tends to go wrong and  fall apart.

And when I follow my guidance, things fall into place and there is often ease.

For instance, I went to England about a year ago, against my guidance. (I did it because two people whose opinions I respect encouraged me to do it. And I chose to follow their advice rather than what felt right to me.) From the first minute on English soil, things started to go wrong. I lost my train ticket. I lived in a house that was depressing to me. They had more rain than ever before recorded. Internet fell out regularly, often when I needed it the most. I lost my job after just a month. I was pooped on by a seagull on a day I had planned a rare outing, and had to go back to shower and change my clothes. A friendship got increasingly strained and ended. And much more.

Now, going to California, I followed my clear guidance. I was upgraded to priority class on the plane. Was the first to be dropped off in a van with ten people in it. Had a place to stay, with a friend. Got a ride to where I was going next, with very pleasant company. Was offered a dream job. And more.

Of course, there are still challenges, even when I follow my guidance.

The difference is that when I follow my guidance, especially on the major things in my life – where I am, who I am with, what I am doing – it feels right at a deep level, and there is a sense of ease. The challenges are more ripples on the surface.

When I go against my guidance, there is a sense of unease and struggle at a deep level, even if there is ease on the surface.

 

Seeking as a way to avoid pain 10Jan15 | 0

One reason for seeking – whether it’s seeking enlightenment, money, love, insights, the perfect partner, sex – is to avoid pain.

Or rather, to avoid the experience of pain. We are, at least in our culture, trained to avoid the experience of pain. We are in the habit of avoiding pain, and teach that to our children through our example. We teach that that’s how we live here.

And one of the ways we avoid pain is to medicate it with….. any number of things, including seeking insights, clarity, and enlightenment. It’s all innocent. It’s worried love.

There are a few ways of exploring this. Here are some I find helpful:

Meeting the pain, and the part of me wanting to escape it, with love. Ho’oponopono can be helpful here. I can also hold satsang with it. (You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. I love you. What would satisfy you forever? What are you really?)

Looking for the pain. The seeking. What I am seeking. The one in pain. The seeker. Can I find it, outside of images, words and sensations? How is it to look at each image and word that comes up around this, and feel the sensations?

When we examine this, meet what’s here with love, and feel what’s here, something shifts. We see it’s possible to experience what’s here without escaping it. And it’s actually more satisfying. Far more satisfying. And if we can do this individually, it’s at least conceivable that we can create a culture where this is the norm, and this is what we teach – through the way we live our life – our children.

It doesn’t have to go away 10Jan15 | 0

This is a very basic living realization, and one that is – in many ways – a turning point. (One of many turning points, or new chapters, in our experience of life.)

It doesn’t have to go away.

We are trained to think that we need to try to escape certain experiences or make them go away….. through distractions, going into thought, eating, finding pleasure, and more.

And yet, is that true? Most of us have tried this for a lifetime, and although it may seem to work for a while, it doesn’t really work. If I am honest with myself, I have to admit it doesn’t really work.

What if I tried something else? What if I tried the reverse? What if I felt the sensations, and found curiosity about the words, images, and sensations that seem connected into an unpleasant experience.

What I find here is that it doesn’t have to go away. When I hold it in presence, find love for it, feel the sensations, and inquire into the images and words, I see that it’s all OK. It can really be there. It’s already here so why not?

Also, I see that whatever is my experience here and now, is who and what I am. If I try to push it away, I am pushing parts of myself away. I am rejecting parts of who and what I am. Why not instead see what happens if I hold it in presence, meet in in love, feel the sensations, and inquiry into the words and images?

One of the things that happens if I do this, is that there is a softening or release of identification with the unpleasant experience. It happens, and I don’t have to act from reactiveness. I can find a more sane way of relating to it. I can find a more sane way of living my life.

Another is that I realize how much of the suffering (all of it?) was created through trying to escape from it, or make it go away. The suffering came from the struggle. And it was experienced as suffering, in a very basic sense, because I was struggling with myself, with who and what I am in the moment.

read on…

Adyashanti: At a certain point we need to grow up; we need to look inside ourselves for our inner guidance 28Dec14 | 0

At a certain point we need to grow up; we need to look inside ourselves for our inner guidance. There are things most human beings know; they just don’t want to know them. They know deep down that certain things in their lives are working or aren’t working, that certain parts of their lives are functional and others are dysfunctional. But sometimes, as human beings, we don’t want to know what’s not convenient. So we pretend not to know.

What is most important is to come out of pretending. There is a time and a place for everything. There’s a time to make effort and to be disciplined. There is a time to let go and realize you cannot do it alone, that it is up to grace, that effort and struggling and striving play no part.

But understand one thing: the trajectory of our spiritual lives—no matter what our path, whether it’s a progressive path or a direct path, whether it is a devotional path or otherwise—the trajectory of our spiritual lives and of all spiritual awakening is toward surrender. Ultimately, that’s the name of the spiritual game. Everything we do spiritually is leading us to a spontaneous state of surrender—to letting go. That is where it all leads, no matter what the path is, no matter what the practice is. Once you know that, you notice that each step along the way is the next opportunity to surrender. It may take effort to get there; it may take effort to get you to the point where you are willing to let go into grace, but ultimately the whole of spirituality boils down to letting go of the illusion of the separate self, letting go of the way we think the world is and the way we think it should be.

We need the willingness to lose our world. That willingness is the surrender; that willingness is the letting go. And each of us has to find what that letting go means for us, what we need to let go of. Whether it’s easy or difficult doesn’t matter in the slightest. It is the letting go that is ultimately important.

– Adyashanti, The End of Your World

Book ideas 28Dec14 | 0

It seems ridiculous to even consider writing a book, but there is a pull there, or perhaps a calling. I still don’t know what it would be about. And it seems strange to consider it since (a) so many good books have already been written, and (b) so many are more familiar with whatever I would write about than I am.

And still, it’s good to follow a consistent calling, and I also know that each one of us may share something in a way that is just right for someone else. That has nothing to do with someone else being more knowledgeable or insightful, and a great deal to do with the match between communicator and recipient. Also, to be helpful, its sufficient to be just one or two steps “ahead” of someone else in terms of experience and familiarity with the topic. We don’t need to be world experts or authorities for it to be helpful for someone else.

So here are some chapter ideas:

You already know, be your own final authority.

Somewhere, you already know what you are.

You already have the wisdom you recognize in others. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to recognize it.

Be your own final authority. Don’t give your authority away to someone else. Use your own best judgment. You have the final word in your own life, whether you admit it to yourself or not.

What’s it about?

Living from / as love. For one’s own sake, and that of others. Makes life easier, more fulfilling. Love is what we want, and it’s really our own love.

Curiosity. Noticing what’s already here. Consciously aligning more closely with reality.

Naturalness. Finding what’s already natural.

Different surface motivations: (i) Wanting relief, peace. (ii) Wanting love. (iii) Wanting to fill a perceived hole or lack. (iv) Wanting to live from love. (v) Wanting to align more consciously with reality. (vi) Wanting to serve…. life, love, reality. (These tend to change over time, perhaps becoming more simple and about aligning with what already is, and inviting this human self to mature and live an ordinary life of service.)

Phases and facets on the path.

Initial attraction. Initial interest, draw, calling, curiosity.

Initial opening and awakening. Initial revelation of reality. (All as consciousness. All as love. All as Spirit. etc.)

Honeymoon phase.

Dark nights.

Equanimity.

Deepening maturity. More familiar with the terrain. Maturing of who we are, as a human being. (In the best case.)

Continues to reveal itself. Life, who and what we are.

Love.

Finding love for anything in your experience. (a) Others. (b) Parts of yourself.

Forms of love practices. Ho’oponopono. Tonglen. Loving Kindness.

read on…

Comforting stories 27Dec14 | 0

There are many stories in the world of spirituality. Some seem to apply to my situation now…..

I am being transformed, similar to a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. I am in a dark night of the soul. I am in an awakening process. I am in a kundalini process. It’s a hero’s journey, as Joseph Campbell described it.

All of that may be true. Perhaps in hindsight, and if I had knowledge of more cases, it may be even more clear that what I am going thorough fits a particular pattern. It’s universal and to be expected.

These can be helpful stories. They help make sense of what’s going on. They may point me to people who have experience with this, and can help me through it. They may point me to information that can be helpful. They may help me find other people going through something similar, so I get to see I am not alone in it, it’s not personal, and people do get through it.

They can also be comforting stories. In the pain and confusion, it’s easy to attach to stories like that. They give a sense of meaning and importance to what I am going through, and hope of an easier time – and perhaps rewards – in the future. And that too can be helpful. Comfort can be just the right medicine.

And yet, at some point all those stories seem hollow. They are recognized as comforting stories. Stories my mind use to find comfort.

Reality is, I don’t know. I really don’t know.

Reality is also that there are other explanations. For instance, I tried a diksha shortcut (a form of shaktipat) some years back, which did seem to lead to some months in a non-dual state, and also to a collapse later on. A collapse of body and mind, leading to CFS and brain fog, and lots of previously unhealed parts of me surfacing. Some years earlier, just prior to the onset of the dark night, I left my guidance on a major life decision, and continued to do so for a while. That in itself is a sufficient explanation of what happened. And it doesn’t exclude any of the other stories. Including that leaving your guidance on a major decision, out of unloved and unquestioned fear, is one of the ways a dark night sets in.

Recognizing this, at a felt level, is disillusionment. And there is a sense of liberation in this disillusionment. It feels good at a deeper level, since it’s more real. It’s more true. I recognize that some of those “spiritual” stories may be true, in a conventional and limited sense. That I really don’t know. That they are stories, imaginations, and not inherent in reality. That my mind has used them for comfort. And that the comfort part, and holding them as true and investing them with energy, doesn’t seem to fit anymore. It doesn’t fit my life and situation anymore.

read on…