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I am now taking private clients. If you have questions about doing a session, or would like to schedule, please contact me. Most sessions are over Skype or Zoom.

Through my work with individual clients and groups in a professional setting, I have helped many with anxiety, depression, and compulsions, and also in clarifying or stabilizing spiritual openings or awakenings.

My background includes a graduate degree in psychology in addition to being certified in Living Inquiries, Vortex Healing (Divine Energy Healing), Tension and Trauma Release Exercises, and Breema bodywork. I have worked on my own healing and awakening process for more than two decades under the guidance of spiritual teachers from a range of different traditions.

Hi P., I just wanted to say thank you for everything. Thank you for the difference you made my life and my recovery. I will never forget you. You were one of the greatest and most influential. You always thought of me and kept me calm when I wanted to jump out of my skin and run for the border.

– Thank you, keep in touch. Breana K.

See more testimonials from clients.

My relationship to death

 

What is my relationship to death?

Here are some influences:

In infancy, it seemed I would sometimes float around and check things out instead of being in my physical body. Perhaps it seemed more familiar and comfortable. (I later checked some very specific memories of what I saw with my parents, and they were accurate.)

In childhood, I had flashbacks to life between lives. Infinite love. All as golden light. Infinite sense of being home. Infinite wisdom. Somewhere between timelessness and a faint sense of time. Wordless communication with formless beings expressing deep love and wisdom. And, when I could put words on it later, all as happening within and as the divine.

In my mid-teens, there was a classic awakening. Spirit woke up to itself as all there is, and of all life as the play of itself. Any sense of being a separate self was a temporary experience of the divine as part of that play. (This continued and there was an intense download of information and insights over several years.)

In my teens and twenties, I explored my relationship to death through exercises, for instance, those in The Tibetan Book of Death and Dying and in an excellent university course I did on death and dying (University of Utah). Later, I explored beliefs and identifications around death – of others and myself – through inquiry, the Big Mind Process, Process Work, and more. More recently, I have used Vortex Healing to clear conditioning around this.

I am sure there is still a good amount of universal human conditioning in me around it, in the forms of old beliefs, wounds, trauma etc. Some from this life (family and culture), some from ancestors (genetics and epigenetics), and perhaps some from past lives. I am not aware of much, but it’s probably there.

I have done Vortex Healing on people who have passed on, and got a sense of how they experience the new situation. Some days and weeks after passing, they can still be connected with and sensed even after shedding the physical body.

Since my childhood and early teens, I have been fascinated by and read university research on reincarnation, near-death experiences, and similar. Most recently, I read Surviving Death by Leslie Kean.

So this – and probably much more – influences and makes up my relationship to death. From own experience, I seem to know something about how it is between lives. I know I am not this body. I know it’s all the play of the divine. I have the usual human conditioning around death, and I have worked on and cleared some of it. My relationship to death and dying is a mix of many influences, as for all of us.

And whatever my relationship is, it’s good for me to identify painful beliefs that are still here, and invite in some healing for them.

How can I find these? For instance….

I can ask myself what I fear the most about death is…. what I fear the most about my own death is…. what I fear the most about the death of my loved ones is…. and make a list for each of these. (For the last one, make a list for each specific loved one in my life.) I can then take these beliefs to inquiry (The Work).

I can use therapeutic trembling (TRE) to release tension and stress around death. While I tremble, I bring death images, beliefs, fears, and scenarios to mind to invite tension and stress to release out of these.

I can continue to do Vortex Healing for those who have passed and get more familiar with how people pass.

I can do Vortex Healing for myself to continue clearing conditioning around death and dying.

Why would I want to do this? It helps me have a more clear, healthy, and responsive relationship to death, and be there for others when they deal with death. It may reduce some of my own pain when people close to me die. It may reduce some stress around my own death. It’s good for society to have people who have a more healed and clear relationship to death. It’s interesting. It heals and clears issues in me, and this that may be helpful for me living my life in general.

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Altered states: We are already living it?

 

I personally have not been very interested in “altered states” in a conventional sense. Perhaps it’s because I define it differently for myself.

So how do I see it?

We are always experiencing altered states. Our experience is always new, fresh, different. And, at least as I experience it, obviously so. It’s inevitable and doesn’t require us to do anything.

From another perspective, altered states seem easily induced by ordinary experiences, including food, nature, engagement in current activity, and so on. For instance, I just had a cup of hot cocoa and ginger (nothing else added) and it significantly changed my state and experience of myself and the world.

And from yet another perspective, the ultimate altered state is our ordinary human experience. The base state for existence is awake oneness. So when life (the divine, Spirit, the One) moved towards experiencing itself as separate, it created the ultimate altered state for itself. We are already living it, just by having the ordinary human experiences. As do Spirit when it temporarily made itself into innumerable beings – as part of this planet and possibly elsewhere – and the temporary experience of being a separate being.

So we are already living altered states. It’s inevitable. Our experience is always new, fresh, and different. Any activity creates a different and new state and experience. (We just need to notice.) And our ordinary human experience is the ultimate altered state for the divine, and all is the divine.

The only reason we would seek an altered state – as the term is used conventionally – is if we don’t notice the magic in our ordinary experience. And, of course, we are set up so many of us overlook that magic. That too is the divine experiencing itself through an altered state. That too is the play of the divine. That too is the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways.

Note: I am aware I wrote this from a slightly arrogant view. But, somehow, that was fun. I may do that more. Others sometimes point out that I often make myself small, so writing in a more direct way and revealing myself more is interesting.

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Healing for those who have passed on

 

When I do healing (Vortex Healing) for someone who has passed on, I sometimes know in advance they have died and sometimes have not yet been told. Either way, I tend to sense that’s what happened since the “anchor” of their physical body is not there and that’s relatively easily noticeable in these sessions.

Here are two contrasting experiences from these sessions. One was a man in Oregon I knew, and I read about his cancer on Facebook so I decided to do a session for him. I noticed he seemed to have lost his body and he seemed quite confused, reeling, and close to panicking. I focused on helping him find peace, center, and adjust to the new situation. Another was the sister of a good friend of mine I had done a few session for. When I checked in after she had just passed, she seemed relieved, peaceful, and feeling deeply at home.

I don’t know exactly why they seemed to have such different experiences. But I suspect the first may not have consciously familiar with his timeless existence and was confused after passing on. He may have been temporarily scared until he got used to it. And he may have had strong attachments to what he left (as I suspect many of us have), and perhaps he was scared for those he left. And in the second case, I knew she had a strong spiritual life so she may have felt relief from shedding a diseased body, peace from arriving home, and she may have had less strong attachments to what she left behind.

Note: I don’t have any reservations about using the word “died”. It’s often the most appropriate and direct word. But in this context, passing on seemed more appropriate. When talking from an ordinary human perspective, I usually say died. And when I talk about the parts of us passing on, saying just that seems more natural.

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My experience with Vortex Healing awakening courses

 

I thought I would make a brief note about changes I notice after each of the Vortex Healing awakening courses. It’s by no means complete, just the effects I especially notice or that are surprising to me.

Core Veil, Dec. 2017. A sense of tying up lose ends in terms of the basic awakening. Relief. Something found rest in my heart area. The healing energy seems to engage deeper in the client’s system when using the healing tools. Clearer sensing, including a sense of temporarily becoming whatever is the focus of healing (e.g. an organ or system).

Inner Veil, February 2018. A sense of being space. Of being awake space. More spacious energy system.

 

Silence or not during group meditation?

 

Having a Zen background (I lived for a few years at Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Like City), I am used to silence during the sitting periods. If someone makes repeated sounds, it wouldn’t be unusual for the monitor – the senior monk monitoring the Zendo – to shout “sit still!!!”.

Silence allows for easier centering, inner silence, and focus, at least in my experience. And having to sit still also requires me to find a way to allow and give space to my own restlessness and discomfort instead of distracting myself through sounds or movement. That’s perhaps the greatest benefit and one of the reasons the silence-norm is in place.

When I first took a Vortex Healing class, I was surprised by the sound level. People seemed to move around and make quite a bit of sound (breathing, sighing, coughing, pulling in snot, moving, opening bottles, even reading through notebooks!) during the transmissions or meditations. It’s distracting, but the benefit is that I get to see my own reactivity to it, and it triggers some emotional issues (rooted in trauma), so I can then work on and clear those. In fact, due to my own discomfort from the noise level in the group, I am motivated to work on and clear those issues. I want to get a good portion done before next class…..!

So there are benefits to each approach. I also guess Vortex Healing has more of an Indian and Hinduism connection with it’s higher tolerance for noise (and chaos!), so that’s why they do it differently.

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Healing as a motivation for awakening?

 

People who express a desire for awakening typically have a range of motivations, some of which they are conscious of and some not.

One of these is healing. We wish for healing. It may seem a tall order. So we wish for something as apparently dramatic as awakening to cure us. And, again, this may be conscious or not.

How do we identify our deeper or original reasons for wishing for awakening, or anything else? One is to follow the chain of “what do you hope to get out of X”. What do you hope to get out of awakening? Peace. What do you hope to get out of peace? etc.

And what if healing is a central motivation for wishing for awakening? If we identify that motivation, it can help us reorient in a couple of different ways.

One is to find and use approaches that invite in healing and awakening. I tend to take this approach, which is why I have spent time exploring inquiry (The Work, Living Inquiries), heart centered practices (ho’oponopono, tonglen), therapeutic trembling (TRE for healing and embodiment), Breema, training a more stable attention, natural meditation (notice and allow), and more recently Vortex Healing.

If we find that healing is our main motivation, we may change our focus to healing and leave the awakening aside for a while. It may be more likely to give us what we really want, and perhaps the awakening interest returns at some point or not. Either way is fine.

In either case, it’s helpful to clarify our motivations and reorient accordingly. What do we really want? How do we most effectively invite it in? And that’s an ongoing process.

Also, we may find that some of our motivations for awakening come from fear or a sense of lack. If so, we can explore these and invite in healing for these parts of us. In my case, I have used the approaches listed above, but there are many helpful approaches out there.

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Why so passionate about healing and awakening?

 

Why are some of us so passionate about healing and awakening? Why are we, in the words of someone I talked with earlier today, spiritual terriers?

It may be that I need the healing. That I know the liberation on the other side. That I wish for a clear and deepening awakening because it’s like coming home to what I already am. That I see healing or awakening as a way to escape discomfort. That I have developed a compulsion around it because I don’t want to face my pain. Or any number of other reasons.

In reality, I don’t really know. Why do we develop a passion for anything? Why do some of us develop a passion for music, or chess, or a sport, or drawing, or anything at all?

We can say that it makes sense evolutionarily. It helps the survival of our species for some of us to develop passions for skills, understanding, and certain experiences.

We can say that it’s a confluence of innumerable influences, stretching back to beginning of time and the widest extent of the universe, and it’s impossible to account for all of them or even a significant fraction of them.

We can say that it’s the divine passionate about experiencing and exploring aspects of itself.

And although there may be some truth to each of these, we don’t really know. But it is something we can make use of when it’s here. It adds flavor to life. It can give a sense of meaning and purpose. It can sometimes be used to support our own life in terms of making a living. It can be used to support other people, in this case – of passion for our own healing and awakening – in aiding their healing and awakening.

I should add that when it comes to any compulsion, including in spirituality or awakening, it’s good to look at where it comes from. Is there a belief? An unexamined fear? A sense of lack? Those are all helpful to look at and invite healing for. Then we can approach it with a bit more clarity and sanity.

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Fearless

 

A snowboarder, Ester Ledecka, won gold in women’s Super G in the winter Olympics earlier today. As I watched her run, my mind thought fearless – that’s why she won. (In addition to technical skills and lots of practice, of course.)

What does fearless mean?

Does it mean without fear? Not really. We can act fearlessly even if there is fear. As some say, courage is to do something in spite of fear.

Does it mean not being stopped by fear? Yes, certainly. That’s a pretty good definition.

And how do we get there? How do we get to a place where we don’t stop ourselves when we experience fear? Here are some ways:

Inquire into the beliefs around fear. What are my stressful beliefs about fear, or situations triggering fear? What do I find when I investigate these beliefs? (The Work.)

Inquire into how the mind creates its experience of the fear, and the threat within the fear. Allow the bond between the sensations and thoughts (images, words) making up these charged experiences to soften and fall away. (Living Inquiries.)

Change my relationship to the fear. Dialogue with the fear. Explore how it’s here to protect me, and how it has a function and comes from care and love. (Voice Dialogue, Big Mind Process.) Use heart centered practices to befriend fear and what the fear trigger in me. (Ho’oponopono, tonglen.)

Rest with the fear. Notice and allow the sensations. Notice and allow the images and words. Rest with noticing it all. Allow it as is. Allow it as it’s changing. Notice the space it’s all happening within and as.

Use therapeutic trembling (TRE) to release tension and trauma related to fear and the fear-triggering situations.

If we have access to effective energy healing, like Vortex Healing, we can use that as well. We can invite emotional issues around fear, and reactivity to it, to clear.

And, of course, it helps to not have (too strong) expecations and something to live up to. In other words, to have investigated beliefs and identifications around that too, release the charges, hold it more lightly, and invite our relationship to it to change.

Fear has a function. It’s put into us through evolution to make us appropriately cautious. And when emotional issues and reactivity to it is released, that’s when we can relate to it with more clarity. That’s when it won’t hinder us inappropriately yet still serves the function of making us take appropriate action. It helps us not take too much of a risk. In the case of Super G, it may motivate us to develop the skills needed, and make sure we have the right equipment, to give it all on the way down.

Currently: Tying up lose ends

 

Although what I share in these articles is directly from my personal experience and journey, it’s written to emphasize the universal.

I tend to not flesh out the personal very much. Perhaps I wish to maintain some privacy. Perhaps I am a bit embarrased about the messiness of it. Perhaps I imagine it may be boring or tedious to read.

And yet, I know that personal and potentially embarrasing and messy details are what gives flavor and realness to writing, and what makes it more human and interesting.

Who knows, perhaps the wrinkles of my experience will match of up with the wrinkles of whomever reads this? So it seems a shame to leave it out.

I actually don’t know if I will include more of the personal and messy. Perhaps I will, slowly.

For now, here is a brief personal update:

Some years ago, on a major life issue and out of unloved / unmet / unexamined fear, I acted against my guidance and inner knowing. It was the beginning of a phase I can call a dark night, and in this phase, I felt more and more off course and more and more things fell apart. Eventually, it reached a phase where I lost my health, marriage (which was a good thing to lose at that point), house, and more. My life continued to go off kilter in many areas. (I have written more about this in earlier posts.)

This was followed by a phase of finding footholds which I then lost again.

And now, it feels like my life is stabilizing somewhat and I am starting to get some ground under my feet. It goes slowly, but perhaps that’s how it needs to be. And there is also a sense of tying up lose ends – in terms of my life (practical things), health, and the awakening process. And Vortex Healing is what has helped me the most in tying up these lose ends, especially in terms of my health and the awakening process.

Since I was introduced to Vortex Healing about two years ago, my body has stabilized and gradually gained core / basic strength. I have healed some central (universal) emotional issues. And things that went a bit awry in the awakening process feels cleared up and lose ends tied up. So right now, I am especially grateful for Vortex Healing having found me, for something in me responding to it, and for having had the opportunity to pursue it in terms of receiving sessions, taking courses, and applying it for my own healing.

Why do dark nights happen? Why are they common in an awakening process? As Evelyn Underhill outlined, a typical process consists of an initial awakening and honeymoon phase (illumination) followed by a dark night of the soul. And this dark night of the soul can have several different characteristics. Mainly loss – of health, relationships, roles, status, respect, sense of connection with the divine and so on. It seems that this may be needed, for some of us, to wear out remaining identifications and beliefs, and also so what’s unhealed in us can surface to be seen, felt, loved, healed, and recognized as the divine.

As Adya and others point out, the struggle we experience in a dark night is equal to the struggle we bring to it. The more we resist it, the more painful we experience it as. The more we hold onto identifications, beliefs, and identities that are incompatible with what’s happening and what’s lost in our lives, the more we suffer.

It’s tempting to think that the length and intensity of a dark night is equal to the struggle we put up. That may be partially true, but I don’t really know.

And, of course, the sequence that Evelyn Underhill and others have laid out is just a generalization. It’s something that’s relatively typical and an average pattern. But any one individual path may be quite different. It may have elements of the different phases, but they may happen in another sequence, and elements from more than one phase of the map may happen simultaneously.

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The veils of perception: a gift or curse?

 

When we speak about our veils of perception – the veils of identifications and beliefs – we can do so from one of two different perspectives.

One is that these veils are a problem. They hinder clear perception, they create suffering, they cause a lot of the problems we experience as humanity. And so, we may think that they are a problem, wrong, bad, a mistake and so on.

Another is that the universe and life is Lila, it’s the play of the divine. And for the divine to experience itself as limited and as separate beings, it created these veils to allow for just that experience. They are not a mistake. They are not wrong. They are part of Lila, the play of life, the divine, and the One.

Both are valid, and there is some truth to each view.

In the big picture, the veils are part of the play of the divine. They are how the divine is able to experience itself as limited and as separate beings each with their own experience, view, and perspectives on itself and life. They are how the divine is able to create an experience of drama and – sometimes – of an apparently very real life-and-death struggle.

And for us – the divine experiencing itself as limited and as a separate being with its own dramas, struggle, and perspectives – these veils are what keeps this perception in place. They do create suffering. They do limit us. They may be seen as a problem. That too is part of the play. That’s part of the divine experiencing itself as limited.

Alan Watts used a brilliant thought-experiment to give us a taste of Lila.

Imagine you can decide the content of your dreams, and that these dreams are lucid – you know you are dreaming as you are dreaming. You may decide to dream about pleasant situations and getting whatever you desire. After a while, that may get a bit boring. You may decide to throw in some challenges to make it more interesting. After some time, you realize it’s still not very exciting because you know you are dreaming as you are dreaming, so you decide to forget you are dreaming while dreaming.

What you dream seems real to you as it’s happening. That makes it more juicy and interesting. But that too gets a bit boring, so you throw in some more serious challenges, perhaps life and death situations and even dying and being born again. That’s certainly juicy, but that too gets a bit monotone in the long run. So you decide to dream that you intuit or realize you are dreaming, and wish for and work toward waking up.

That becomes a new and different challenge. It becomes the new drama. And then, eventually, you wake up. And you realize that the dreams, however real they appeared and however real the actual experiences were, were dreams. They were created within, from, and as what you are. Nobody really was born and died. Nobody was really harmed. The drama wasn’t as real as it seemed, although it certainly seemed and was experienced as real.

And that’s Lila. What we – at least many of us – would choose if we could decide the content of our dreams, is how the world is. And that’s because we are the divine living and experiencing Lila. We are the divine expressing, exploring, and discovering itself in always new ways, including through the drama of life as it is for us humans part of this living planet.

And what are the veils of perception? The expression may sound vague and general, but it can be understood in quite specific ways.

From the consciousness side, these veils happen when the mind identifies with certain thoughts and their inherent viewpoints. That’s how a sense of being a separate self is created. As soon as the mind takes itself to be the viewpoint of any thought, it experiences itself as separate. Instead of being that which any and all experiences happen within and as, including thoughts, it takes itself to be the perspective inherent in a thought, and usually a great number of thoughts. It tells itself it’s a being, a separate being, a certain being, a certain being with certain roles, identities, preferences, and so on.

From the energetic side – as described in, for instance, Vortex Healing – there are energetic structures that make these identifications possible and support these identifications. The divine creates these to allow for identification, and the aspect of Lila that involves experiencing itself as separate, as a separate being, as a separate being with identities, roles, and viewpoints, and so on.

And there are ways to explore both the identifications and the energetic structures, and invite them to unravel when the time is right. That too is part of Lila. That too happens when the divine – experiencing itself as a separate being – is ripe. That too happens through grace, which is another word for the divine being ready and ripe for it. What needs to play itself out for it to happen, has sufficiently played itself out.

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How awakening is perceived by others

 

How is awakening perceived by others?

Mutual recognition. If there is awakening both places – in both people – it’s often immediately suspected, sensed, or recognized. For instance, for those of us who sense or see energy, it’s relatively easy to see the level of clarity and type of awakening in someone else. (The energy around the person mirrors the awakening – it’s clear, finer, awake, with no apparent end in space.)

To others. If not, it depends. It depends on the level of healing, maturity, and embodiment of the awakening. And it depends on the role the person has in the world. Most often, the person looks quite ordinary and lives an ordinary life. The person may or may not talk about spirituality or awakening, and may or may not have taken the role of a spiritual coach or guide.

If he or she speaks about it, it may appear as an idea or something read in a book. (Since that’s it would be for the recipient.) Or it may appear as coming from direct experience the recipient has been told it’s from direct experience.

My experience. How has this been for me? During childhood, when I had flashbacks and memories of life between lives – and all as the divine – I didn’t talk about it. I just had a sense of nostalgia and a longing for “home”. In my teens, when Spirit as all woke up to itself more fully and clearly, I initially had no words for it and no intellectual context for it. After a while, I did speak my direct experience to a few people but they were either not interested or thought it was just an idea or from a book. Even people I thought would understand and be familiar with it – a few local Buddhist teachers and students – didn’t seem to recognize it and were more interested in traditional teachings.

Eventually, I did meet a couple who immediately recognized it. As me, they saw it in the energy system. One was a spiritual guide (Jes Bertelsen’s wife at the time), and another lived a more anonymous life and became a close friend. And later, I met others who have had a similar path as me and immediately recognizes it. Adyashanty is probably the main one. It felt like communication within awakening, and at a human level as meeting a brother, when I had the opportunity to talk with him for a few hours.

Over time, I also found writings from people who expressed this awakening or at least a view aligned with it.

In my teens, I could see that Jung had an inkling about it although he kept his writing at a human level. Arne Næss was aligned with it, although mostly through recognizing the oneness of Earth. As did Carl Sagan through the oneness of the universe. Fritjof Capra was similarly aligned with it through recognizing how eastern mystics and western science – quantum physics and systems theories – described the same reality. Ken Wilber, through his mapping, had a good understanding of it from an intellectual level and through glimpses. Jes Bertelsen was aligned with it and very important to me in my teens since he was a fellow Scandinavian. Some of the old Daoists expressed it quite clearly and beautifully. Some of the Christian mystics expressed it although filtered through their tradition and a wish to not appear heretical.

Later, in my twenties and thirties, I found others. Genpo Roshi obviously knew what it was about, and his Big Mind process was a good way to help others have a taste of what it’s about. (I was a resident at his Zen center for a few years.) Adyashanti is the one I experience as most clear and aligned with how reality revealed itself to itself in my case. Ramana Maharshi was almost a bit boring to me because it seemed too obvious (!). I really enjoyed Douglas Haring and his clarity, ordinariness, and playful pragmatism. I also enjoyed connecting with Joel Morwood and the other teachers at the Center for Spiritual Sciences which was just down the road from me for several years.

And, more recently, I am grateful for having found Vortex Healing and Ric Weinman. His very detailed descriptions and maps fit nicely into my more general views and experiences. And Vortex Healing has helped me greatly in healing at a physical and human level, and in clearing up and tying up loose ends from earlier awakenings (especially the VH awakening courses).

When I am on the US west coast I regularly meet people who understand and where there is a mutual recognition. But in periods, and mainly when I am in Norway, it’s been more lonely at a human level. I have yet to meet someone here where there is the same easy mutual recognition. Most of the time, it’s OK. But occasionally, I notice some emotional issues around this – and that’s an invitation to meet it with some kindness, patience, and perhaps invite in some healing.

A note about language: As usual, it’s a little hard to find the right words talking about this. An awakening is the One awakening to itself as all there is, and that awakening somehow operates through this human self. So we cannot accurately say that a person awakens, or that someone is awakened. It’s more that the One is awake to itself as all, and that’s expressed and lived through a human being. Our ordinary language doesn’t express that very well or easily. So we have a choice between using ordinary and simple language which is somewhat misleading and inaccurate, or a language that’s more accurate and often more convoluted and awkward, or something in between. I often go for the inbetween option although that too is not always so satisfying.

A note about the One awake to itself as all. I realize that when I write “Spirit / the One awake to itself as all”, it can easily be misunderstood. It’s meant literally. All of existence is awake to itself as Spirit. Even what we experience as matter is consciousness, space, and Spirit. And in this awakening, it’s clearly revealed as that. It’s not an intellectual understanding. It’s an immediate and clear recognition that’s expressed through language.

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Dread & Terror – befriending & inviting to heal

 

At some point in the dark night phase, I asked to the shown what’s left. And within a week, an overwhelming dread and terror surfaced. It lasted for about 9 months and then gradually subsided over the following years.

Of course, emotions or experiences are not a problem in themselves. They are expressions of life. They are put into us by evolution and have a function. They are expressions of – and are – Spirit, of what we actually are beyond our human appearance. They help us survive as human beings and point us to healing, maturing, and awakening.

And yet, we often struggle with our experiences and perhaps especially so with dread and terror.

The context: How we relate to our experiences. How we relate to our experiences depends on how we experience them. It seems obvious, and yet it’s easy to forget. If we struggle with them, the struggle itself will create discomfort. And if we befriend them, we have an opportunity to relate to our experiences with more clarity and kindness.

Since the dread and terror was with me for months (strongly) and years (in the background and in the heart), I have had ample opportunity to explore my relationship with it. My mind saw it as an enemy, as a problem, as something to get rid of, and created more suffering for itself that way. (And still does, now and then, with other experiences.) So I set out to explore other ways of relating to it.

I reminded myself that the dread and terror, too, is the divine. I found it when I looked.

I explored it and how I relate to it through dialogue. I found how it’s there out of a wish to protect me, out of kindness, and really as an expression of love. (Big Mind process etc.)

I investigated beliefs and identifications in me fearing and struggling with it. (The Work, Living Inquiries.)

I used heart-centered practices to see how it is to shift my relationship to the dread and terror. (Ho’oponopono, tonglen.)

And gradually, my relationship with it shifted. It seemed less an enemy, and more myself, life, and Spirit.

How I relate to my experience is the context. And by exploring it, I may befriend it and see it as myself, as life, as Spirit, and even as love. As something that’s OK as is. Something in me relaxes in relation to it.

The content: Inviting in healing. Within that, out of kindness, I can invite healing. Here are some approaches I found helpful with the dread and terror.

Therapeutic trembling. TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises) has been very helpful for me. It has helped release tension and trauma underlying the dread & terror. It has helped my system relax as a whole. It takes time, and TRE works best if it’s ongoing and regular, and it has worked very well for me.

Notice and allow. Notice the sensations and images / words making up the experience of dread & terror. Notice. Allow. Give it space. Notice the space around and within it. Notice it’s already allowed. The mind – and space, life – already allows it. Rest with it, as is. Also notice and allow any reactions to the dread & terror. Notice and allow the fear, the wish for it to be different. Include that too. Rest with it, as is.

Separate out sensations. Notice the sensations making up the experience of the dread & terror. Rest with the noticing of the sensations. Notice, allow, and rest with the sensations making up any reactions to it as well. Include all sensation. Notice. Allow. Rest with the (noticing of the) sensations.

Inquiry. Identify stressful beliefs around the dread & terror. Inquire into them and find what’s more true for me. (The Work.) Explore how my mind creates its experience of the dread and terror and reactions to it. (Living Inquiries.)

Heart-centered. Explore how it is to change my relationship to the dread & terror and my reactions to it. How is it to befriend it? (Ho’oponopono, tonglen.)

Vortex Healing. More recently, I have used Vortex Healing for these issues. For instance: Do puja 5 min/ day for a while to help it shift. Hold it in the grid. Denetwork any emotional issues behind and related to it. Bring it to the issue awareness room, issue transformation room, meet your pain room etc. Use the main tools to clear conditioning. And so on.

So we have the context, which in this case is how we hold the whole situation. Do I see it as a problem, an enemy, something that really needs to change? Or can I befriend it, see it as myself, as an expression of protection + kindness + love, as life and Spirit? Something that’s OK as is?

And we have the content which, in this case, is a natural wish – out of kindness – for healing. Inviting in healing in whatever ways we are drawn to and have available to us.

The dread & terror was an invitation for healing, maturing, and awakening, as anything in our lives is. I learned about working with these types of emotional issues. I learned about how these things can happen in an awakening process. I learned how the dread & terror came up to be recognized (as Spirit), met with understanding + patience + love, and with a wish to heal. I invited in healing for those parts of me. I got to see and clear some beliefs and identifications around it.

So although it was immensely and overwhelmingly painful at times, it was also – overall – an amazing opportunity for healing, maturing, and awakening. It has genuinely been a precious gift.

As a human, I would probably not have chosen it. But life chose it for me. And in the big picture, it’s a very good thing.

There is another side to this: we rarely if ever make full use of these opportunities. There is always something left to explore, find healing for, and awake to. And that’s OK. There is always more to explore, find healing for, and awaken to. Noticing that is also a gift.

Note: I should mention that in my case, a non-dual opening/awakening that lasted for about half a year may have “taken the lid off” of old trauma. That, in addition to my “dangerous prayer”, is most likely what brought up this dread & terror. And the dread & terror, most likely, came from many larger and smaller traumas from this and past lives. If any particular issue was at the root of it, it was perhaps a raw and primal survivial fear.

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I cry -> there is crying -> life is crying

 

Ordinarily, we’ll say “I am going to the store” and “I feel sad”.

But in some circumstances, we may use a different language. For instance, when identification is released out of being a separate being, and we want to be more precise or highlight a certain facet of life or orientation to life.

We could say “there is crying” or “crying is happening”. When identification is released out of being a separate being, those words are accurate and reflect an immediate experience. There is the experience of crying happening – and not “to” anyone – so those words make sense. It may also reflect a slightly detached orientation. And it’s something we tend to hear more in neo-Advaita circles.

We could also say “life is crying”. Life is all there is, and right here and now it’s crying. It’s manifesting as crying. It expresses itself as crying. It’s experiencing itself as crying. This reflects a bigger picture and emphasizes the fullness and life. It may also reflect a more engaged orientation. Buddhist and mystics independent of traditions seem to use this language more.

Either of these are accurate in their own way. “I am crying” makes sense in everyday life, also because most minds experience it that way. “Crying is happening” reflects that it’s happening on its own and not “to” anyone. And “life is crying” reflects the fullness of life and a more engaged orientation.

From what I understand, for most there is a natural progression from “crying is happening” (detachment) to “life is crying” (engagement, fullness). For me, it went to “I am crying” to “life is crying”. And the “crying is happening” orientation was within the fullness of “life is crying”. Both were (are) there but one was more the context for the other.

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Byron Katie: The ultimate addiction is the mind believing itself

 

The ultimate addiction is the mind believing itself.

– Byron Katie

This is perhaps the only addiction, at least from the mind side of the mind-energy equation. The mind is addicted to believing its own stories. And from there, the other addictions are created.

The mind is addicted to believing its own stories. It uses a lot of energy and resources maintaining, supporting, and propping up its stories so they seem true to itself.

It does so because it’s familiar, other minds do the same, and it seems scary to do anything else. Who would we be without those stories? How would we function? What would we find?

Also, most minds don’t know how to release its addiction to beliefs. We are unable to, so it often doesn’t even bother trying. Until, perhaps, the pain of believing stories is so strong and obvious that we wish to find another way.

And a few words about addiction.

In a conventional sense, we can say that most addictions come from trying to deal with pain, wounds, and a sense of lack. We try to fill a hole. We try to avoid the pain. We try to find some temporary relief and comfort. And we do so through a wide range of addictions – whether it’s entertainment, relationships, nature, work, music, books, food, spirituality, drugs, alcohol, or something else.

Addiction is the mind’s safety valve. It’s natural. And yet, it can create a lot of additional problems in our lives. And it does prevent deeper healing, awakening, and embodiment.

Addiction is also how we often get on the path to healing and awakening. Eventually, the pain inherent in it is too much. We see it doesn’t work. It’s a dead end. We wish for something else.

The original addiction is believing painful thoughts. That’s how the pain is created that leads to and fuels the other addictions.

So what’s the solution? Of the many out there, here are some I am familiar with.

Rest with and allow sensations, including the uncomfortable ones. Rest with and allow any experience, including the uncomfortable ones. Make this a new habit.

Inquire into the painful thoughts. Find what’s more true (The Work). Allow the charge to go out of them (Living Inquiries).

Release the tension fueling the pain and addiction from the body. (Therapeutic tremoring, TRE).

Change your relationship to the painful stories and what they are about, and the pain itself. Befriend it. (Ho’o, tonglen.)

Release and clear the emotional issues fueling the addiction(s). (Vortex Healing.)

Train a more stable and pliable attention. This is a useful tool for any endavour.

Addiction is a universal human experience. We are all addicted to something in a conventional sense. And we are all addicted to believing thoughts as well. It’s natural. It has a function. And yet, it’s painful and unsatisfactory in the long run. So it’s also a gift that can set us on the path of healing and awakening. And there are ways to heal addictions, especially if we have the right tools and guidance, and motivation and persistence.

Mapping experience: type, strength & frequency, engagement

 

How do we map our day-to-day experience?

It depends on the purpose. But a good starting point may be to include these facets.

The type of experience. Sad, happy, angry, content, elated etc.

The strength of the experience. Is it strong or weak? Overwhelming or barely noticeable?

The frequency of that particular experience. Daily. Every few days. Every hour. Every few years. Never. Once?

The level of engagement. How engaged are we with it? Do we engage and struggle with it and spin it into a number of other stories and emotions? Is it easy to see that it’s just passing and visiting, and allow it as is?

Type, strength, and frequency can be helpful to pinpoint emotional issues to find healing for. And the level of engagement shows us how wrapped up in it we tend to be. If it’s just something that’s passing, it doesn’t really bother or impact us much. But engagement with it may influence our experience and life quite a bit.

In everyday life, there may be faint sadness from reading a story in the news. It’s allowed, passing, and not engaged with. In a conventional depression, there may be frequent and strong sadness that’s strongly identified with. And in a healing or awakening process, there may be strong emotions and thoughts but they are allowed, welcomed, and not engaged with much. They are recognized as living their own life and passing.

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Identifying topics for exploration, healing, clearing

 

Most of us are satisfied with a certain level of emotional healing. We take a pragmatic approach and just do what’s needed for a good life. It’s a sane and good approach.

Some of us avoid healing. That’s understandable since emotional healing often means facing discomfort and can lead to shifts in how we see ourselves and live our lives. It’s disruptive.

And some of us, like me, has a passion for healing (and awakening). It’s hard to say where it comes from. Why do some get into collecting butterflies, or running, or photography? We are drawn to something, and then make a story about why afterward. That’s how it is with me and healing. I am passionate about it, as are some others, and we don’t really know why.

If we have that passion, how do we chose what to focus on?

For me, it happens in two ways.

(a) I explore what’s up in my life. Life and my mind brings up an issue that needs healing. I take note of it. And work on it the same day. Current examples: Some unrest about an upcoming journey. Slight discomfort when “stuck” in a space with many other people (like train, plain). Slight distress about losses from the past (lost opportunities).

(b) I have lists of universals, own central wounds and issues, and things that come up in everyday life. And I work on these as I have time and opportunity. Current examples: Mother and father issues from childhood (a good universal). Any emotional issues that may contribute to the fatigue and brain fog (a universal for those in my situation).

How do I work on them? In the ways I often mention here. Inquiry. Therapeutic trembling. Heart-centered practices. And these days, especially, Vortex Healing.

P.S. Here are some of the “why” stories my mind makes up to explain my passion for healing (and awakening and embodiment). It’s an adventure. It makes me feel more whole and alive. It brings a sense of coming home. It reduces discomfort and pain. It helps me function better in everyday life. It helps me help others. It gives me experiences and insights that helps me guide others. And really, life is moving that way through me right now and that’s all I need to know.

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Brief update

 

I am writing less now than I have previously. It’s not planned. It’s just what’s happening.

As usual, I can make up stories about it. I can say it’s because my system needs more rest and healing. Or I am prioritizing practical things in my life. Or I have said most of what I wanted to say. Or I am getting a bit bored with my own writing, I am not surprising myself as much as I would like to.

There may be something to each of those, but the reality is that I don’t know and I don’t really need to know. Life happens. I have stories about it. And it’s OK to see that those stories can be helpful while also not being “it”.

Hafiz: This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you

 

This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.

– Hafiz & Daniel Ladinsky

Hafiz through the translation of Daniel Ladinsky is often very beautiful. There is a simplicity and truth to it, and it often comes from a refreshing angle.

We can say that all is God’s will. And more than that, all is God so all is an expression of God and is God. In that sense, where we are is somewhere God has circled on a map for us. And God is also the map, the circle, and the circling.

At home everywhere

 

The initial awakening or opening was surprising in itself. And there were several surprises that came with it. One of the surprises was that now everywhere was home.

I was at home everywhere because everywhere is God (Spirit, what I am). Spirit as me is visiting Spirit as a place. Anywhere I went was home.

There are a couple of other sides to this.

My very human preferences are still here adding flavor to my experience. So although any place is home, in a more real sense, I still have preferences. I still like the western half of the US over the other half. I still especially like Iceland and the English west country. I still like the Netherlands and Switzerland more than Germany.

And there is also something that happens as we mature and heal as human beings. The more we heal and mature, the more we feel at home in ourselves. So the more we feel at home in the world, just about anywhere.

This is also true for how I experienced people. When I met a person, it was Spirit as me meeting Spirit over there. Me over here met me over there. And as above, this coexists very well with my human preferences. And as I get to know myself more as a human being, and heal and mature, there is also a very human sense of recognition when I meet just about anyone.

So there are several flavors to my experience of places and people. One is of Spirit meeting itself. Another is my human preferences. A third is recognition and feeling at home from healing and maturing as a human being.

And yet another flavor is that in me that still doesn’t quite recognize this. The parts of me that haven’t yet healed or awakened. So when I don’t (notice that I) feel at home somewhere, it can be a pointer to parts of me not yet healed or awake. And when I don’t recognize myself in someone, or see that person as me over there, it’s the same. It’s a pointer to something in me that’s not yet healed or awakened.

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Getting to know those you dislike

 

This is another one of the things that parents, in the best case, tell their children.

If I enter a room or a group I’ll spend some time in, my mind tends to quickly sort people into “like” and “dislike” – at least as an initial map.

I have made it a practice to get to know those I have put in the “dislike” category. To get to know them a bit as humans and some of their back story.

It helps me to see them as humans rather than cardboard cutouts. It humanizes them in my mind. I may end up liking them or not, but that’s secondary.

And, of course, they are “me over there”. This is just me as this human being getting to know me as that human over there. And it reflects how I approach and relate to parts of myself and my own experience I dislike. Do I agree with the initial dislike and try to avoid it? Or do I know it’s worth getting to know it?

So if my mind tells itself “I don’t like that person” that’s a signal to get to know that person, at least a bit.

Note: This happend in the most recent Vortex Healing course I attended. My mind immediately disliked a person there, and just by circumstances I ended up talking with her for a while, seeing her as a real human being, and finding sympathy for her. She is still not someone I would actively pursue a friendship with but my experience of her has changed.

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Using practices to get rid of things

 

In healing work, there is a balance between (a) noticing we are that, (b) exploring our relationships with it, and (c) healing it. Whatever “it” is. Whether it’s an emotional issue, physical issue, or situation.

Of course, for some (a) is not so relevant. It’s not where they are at. But for all of us, it’s helpful to explore our relationship to “it” as well as inviting in healing for it.

Here are a few words about each.

(a) Notice we are that. For those interested, any apparently troublesome issue is an invitation for us to notice we are that. It’s “me over there”. Healing our relationship to it is a good start. That, in itself, softens the mind-created boundary. And other forms of inquiry can help us see it more clearly, for instance the Big Mind process, Headless experiments, or The Work or Living Inquiries.

(b) Our relationship to it. If I want something to change, it’s helpful to explore where that comes from. Often, it’s fear and a sense of lack. And, really, that this fear and sense of lack is unloved. So we can explore this in inquiry, and also change our relationship to it, befriend it, find genuine love for it. We can heal our relationship to the troublesome issue. A great deal of distress is created from seeing something as an enemy and something to struggle with. So when we find more peace with it, there is often a relaxation and sense of liberation.

(c) Inviting in healing for it. This is an healing of the issue itself, and in this framework it happens within the context of (b) and (a). It can happen within noticing it’s “me over there”. It can happen within a context of befriending it and what it brings up in me. And the healing of the issue itself can happen through any number of ordinary healing practices, including medicine and psychotherapy.

It’s natural for us to want certain things to go away. We may focus on making it go away and forget about (a) and (b). There is nothing wrong in that. It’s natural and understandable, and for most people, it may even be appropriate.

But if we wish to have a more conscious and intentional relationship to life, and we wish for a deeper healing and awakening, we can’t really avoid (a) and (b). They need to be included.

There needs to be some attention on each so that (b) and (a) becomes the context for (c). A more friendly relationship to the issue, and perhaps noticing it as “me over there”, becomes a context for inviting in healing of the issue itself.

That’s how we invite in deeper healing and awakening. That’s how we align ourselves more consciously with life as it already is.

It’s all already happening within and as Spirit and life. An adverserial relationship doesn’t have real substance to it, and doesn’t make sense in that context. And inviting in healing of issues and situations comes from kindness. It’s what naturally happens when it’s all recognized as Spirit and life.

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Present with being on autopilot

 

When we notice what’s here, what do we notice?

Mostly, we notice sensory experiences and this human self doing, feeling, thinking, and so on.

We may notice it’s all happening within and as awareness.

And we may also notice a range of other things. One of these is that this human self is on autopilot in two different ways.

He is on autopilot in that he is doing things on his own. He operates on his own. The more mind has released identification as being this human self, the more he is seen as operating on his own. He is on autopilot. This can be a disconcerning discovery, but as we get used to it it’s a relief.

He is also on autopilot in a more conventional sense. A lot of daily tasks are automated. They don’t require a lot of scrutiny. This is evolution’s way to help us free up resources to the occasional tasks that do require more intention and effort.

We are present with this human self. And this human self is operating on his own. And a lot of daily tasks are automated. So in both of these ways, he is – in the best possible way – on autopilot.

In this context, being on autopilot does not mean being distracted or absent minded. It means being present with this human self while he is on autopilot in these two ways.

Note: How do we discover that this human self is operating on his or her own? How is identification released? It can happen in different ways. Sometimes, glimpses of all as the One helps soften and release identifications. Sometimes, it comes through active investigation and exploration – for instance inquiry, healing work, and energy work.

And a personal note: For me, it was disconcerning to discover that this human self operates on his own. There was a bit of fear coming up. If “nobody is there” to take care of business, how can he function? But he does. He knows very well how to function. Life lives his life. The One lives his life.

It’s always that way, for all of us. Life or the One lives our lives. And the initial noticing may bring up slight worry.

The second form of autopilot is a no-brainer. We need to automate a wide range of tasks in daily life to even be able to function. It’s evolution’s gifts to us.

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My approach to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

 

How do I approach my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and brain fog?

We are one seamless system, so it makes sense to take a holistic, pragmatic, and ecletic approach. To use whatever works and approach it from many different angles. At least until the causes are more pinpointed and/or we have found simple and effective treatments.

Here are some things that have been helpful for me.

Rest. Avoid excertion.

Nature. Walks.

A diet that works for my body. In my case, eating less processed foods, low on the food chain, and organic and local as possible. Mostly vegetables and some meat and fruit. Mostly avoid wheat, dairy, and sugar. Listen to the body. Follow the body’s guidance.

Herbal medicine. For me, right now, eleuthero, echanacea, kapikachu. Stangeland’s herbal tea.

Resting with/as what is. Allow. Notice. (Shikantaza, “just sitting”.)

Western medicine. Check for deficiencies, organ problems, known illnesses with similar symptoms, toxic mold exposure etc.

Mindful body-centered activities. For me, it’s Breema but it could also be (and has been) Tai Chi, Chigong, and yoga.

Therapeutic trembling to release tension and trauma. Over time, this releases and frees up energy previously bound in tension. For me, through Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE).

Befriend the symptoms and my life. Change and heal my relationship to the symptoms and my body, myself, others, and life. I mostly use ho’oponopono and tonglen, and also inquiry and Vortex Healing.

Use the CFS and my life situation as an opportunity to see what’s left to heal at an identification and emotional level. As above, I am mostly using inquiry, ho’oponopno, and Vortex Healing for this.

Explore and find healing for any emotional issues that may have contributed to the CFS and Brain Fog (created a weakness, suseptibility). E.g. wanting to avoid life, finding refuge in the CFS. Again, inquiry, ho’o, and Vortex Healing.

Seek out and strengthen nourishing relationships. Heal stressful ones (at least from my side). Limit those who drain me.

Organize my life, as much as possible, so it’s simple and nourishing.

Use energy work to strengthen and balance the system, and clear physical and emotional issues contributing to the fatigue and brain fog. In my case, this is Vortex Healing.

Do more of what gives meaning in life. Zest.

And other things as I discover and am drawn to it.

A brief note about Norway: To me, taking a pragmatic holistic approach is natural. And that’s what I have seen among people I know in North America having similar health issues.

But in Norway, I have sometimes noticed a strange polarization between those taking a psychological approach (Lightning Process etc.) and those favoring a physical approach (which partly means waiting for doctors to find a treatment). They seem to overlook that we, as human beings, are one seamless system and that the mind-body distinctions is imagined. By taking imaginary sides in that way, we limit our options. And that doesn’t make sense when it comes to something as important as our health. It makes more sense to take a holistic and pragmatic approach. And, of course, many in Norway and everywhere else do just that.

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Therapeutic trembling: sitting, standing, horizontal

 

From the beginning, I enjoyed exploring therapeutic trembling in different positions. They each allow different things to happen.

When I sit, it frees my upper body to move, tremble, and shake. (Often the shoulders.)

When I lie down, it frees up my legs and pelvis to shake. This can also move up the body.

And when I stand free from a wall, the movements move unhindered through my whole body and especially vertically.

I should mention that when I say “therapeutic trembling” it’s, in my case, in the context of Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE). That’s how I learned it and what I still use to guide the process.

 

Reflections on society and politics X

 

Continued from previous posts…. These posts started out about Trump but have morphed into brief notes about society and politics in general.

Burnout. Burnout is often presented and approached as an individual problem. Someone burnt out because of marriage problems, health issues, depression, and so on. And the approaches are often presented as individual as well, whether it’s exercise, counseling, mindfulness, yoga or something similar. There is a focus on the individual whether it’s the individual themselves doing something to prevent burnout, or the organization sets up an employee program.

And yet, it seems obvious that burnout is a systemic issue. It has to do with how we organize our society and organizations. It has to do with our collective worldview, our economic system, and organizational and business values and culture.

For instance, the more an organization sees it’s employees as disposable and something to squeeze as much work out of as possible, sometimes supported by a culture idealizing overwork, the more likely people are to burn out. And the more an organization sees it’s employees as human beings, take them seriously and listen to their feedback and concerns, sees them a resource to invest in and support, and aims for mutual benefit, then people are less likely to burn out.

The current focus on individual approaches to burnout is an example of systems acting to preserve themselves. We have a system – especially in the US and in certain professions such as the medical profession – that often leads to burnout.

The real causes are at the social, cultural, and organizational levels. And yet, the focus is typically on individual approaches for preventing burnout, perhaps because that’s the approach that involves the least change and effort. To take the systemic causes seriously is more effective, but does involve significant change to society, culture, and the organization. And not everyone is willing to go there.

Other things take priority. And that’s OK but it’s good to be honest, open, and explicit about it. We know that burnout has to do with the larger systems, but we chose to focus on the individuals since it takes less effort and requires the least change. Of course, that honesty would – eventually – require a change so that’s perhaps why most chose to not be quite that open about it.

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Walking through myself

 

I am walking through myself.

Whether there is a spiritual opening, or a more stable shift in identity, or a taste through explorations such as the Big Mind process or Headless experiments, that’s a common noticing.

I – as a human self, am walking through myself – as the One (aka Big Mind, Spirit, Buddha Mind etc.). When I walk, I walk through myself. When I drive a car, I drive through myself.

I move through myself as this space I am moving through. This room. This landscape.

And as mentioned above, we can notice this through a spiritual opening where our identity is temporarily shifted out of our human self and more into what we are. Through explorations inviting in a similar temporary shift. Or through a more stable shift of identity out of identification as a separate self allowing our more real identity as the One to shine through or come more to the forefront.

And, for some reason, even if this can be noticed anywhere in any setting, it seems easier to notice when we are in a car and the landscape moves past us a bit faster than usual.

We can also experience being still and the landscape moving through us. That’s another aspect of this noticing. We are that which this human self moves through, and what the landscape moves through. We are all of it – the human self moving, the landscape moving, and what it all moves through.

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Adyashanti on functioning from non-self

 

Q: My ability to stay personally responsible on a material level is affected greatly by my continuing to let go of ego and self. I’m finding it challenging to pursue this path while also pursuing more complex earthbound goals. Am I limited to becoming a spiritual teacher by pursuing this path, or is it possible to successfully ‘surrender into life,’ as you said recently, and to use this no-self flow to live simply and thoughtfully through the material, everyday world? How am I grasping here?

Adya: Thank you for your question. The trajectory that moves toward the falling away of self can be very disorienting at times. It can lead one to wonder whether the state beyond self is made for this world at all. But I can assure you that no-self ‘eventually’ becomes a very functional state and functions quite well in life in its mature expression. If one retreats too much from life it can actually impede the no-self state from coming into mature expression and functioning. When it is all said and done (in retrospect), all other states of consciousness seem quite altered and strange when compared to the no-self state. No-self is in no way an altered state of consciousness; it is completely and absolutely unaltered. It is simply the One, seen from the One’s point of view. It is a single drop of rain, a cloud passing, the fall of your own breath.

– Adyashanti in “Experiencing No-Self” Online Course

Some say that awakening is not a state. I see how that’s accurate since it’s independent of any change in content of experience, and we can call the changing content of experience states.  It’s also possible to call awakening a state. It’s the state of the One (as Adya calls it) recognizing itself as all there is.

Calvin: How old do you have to be before you know what’s going on?

 

One of the “open secrets” of our lives is that we really don’t know what’s going on.

We may have all sorts of experiences, insights, thoughts, and maps, but we don’t really know.

Since this is a secret of sorts, and many adults don’t admit to or don’t speak openly about it, it easy for us as kids to think that adults must know.

I don’t know and (I assume) they do.

And when we still don’t know as adults, some of us keep that belief.

I don’t know and someone else must.

Of course, this may be true in a limited sense. Some will have more experience and insights into certain areas of life than I do, and I can learn from those people. But it’s not true in any final sense.

We are all just winging it.

Psychonaut

 

psychonautics
from the Greek psyche [“soul”, “spirit” or “mind”] and naútes [“sailor” or “navigator”] – “a sailor of the soul” refers both to a methodology for describing and explaining the subjective effects of altered states of consciousness […] and to a research paradigm in which the researcher voluntarily immerses himself or herself into an altered mental state in order to explore the accompanying experiences

– from the Wikipedia article on psychonautics

I like the word psychonaut. It describes what we all do in the sense that we all, in our lives, travel through and explore the mind. We are unable to do anything else. And in a wider sense, Spirit is a psychonaut. All of the existence is Spirit expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself. It’s Lila, the play of the divine.

In a more limited sense, some of us are more intentional psychonauts than others. Some of us have a passion for exploring the mind – whether it’s the human psyche, Big Mind, or both.

Of course, the word psychonaut comes with some (unfortunate?) associations from the 70s. But as history shows, we are free to redefine words. And psychonaut is one word I would like to redefine to be free of the 70s associations and instead mean an exploration of the psyche and Big Mind in a broader sense.

Whether it’s the journey of discovery we all inevitably do, or the journey of discovery some of us more intentionally engage in.

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If there were no other humans

 

For a long time, I have used a simple test to see where my motivations come from. If I feel embarrased, or that I am missing out, or that I want something or to do something, I sometimes ask myself:

What if there were no other humans? How would I experience this then?

Do I still feel X? Do I still want Y? Do I still want to do Z?

Often, I find that my motivations come from wanting love, approval, or appreciation from others. And when I see that, something shifts. It eases up. I am more free to chose what makes sense to me. It may be something different, or the same but it’s coming from a slightly different place.

I was reminded of this when I watched the documentary Sherpa last night. Why are some westerners drawn to summitting Everest? Is it for social reasons, or something more intrinsic to them?