10828061_10203488755795919_460202539556757345_o - Version 5

Welcome to Mystery of Existence

Dear reader,

Welcome to Mystery of Existence.

These writings are a record of my own explorations, and will perhaps be of interest to you too.

Feel free to share your insights and comments, or ask questions.

Enjoy :)

June 2015 update: I am working on an eBook with a selection of posts from this blog. To help my selection, I have added a rating system. Please rate posts to your heart’s content. Thanks!

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Waking up – from the trance of trauma


Waking up can be understood in many different ways.

Most often, it means waking up to what we really are, that which all experience happens within and as. (And cannot really be pinned down by a label, although it’s sometimes called awareness, Spirit, Existence, Brahman, Big Mind etc.)

For me, more and more, it also means waking up from trauma, from the trance of trauma.

The two go hand in hand. One shows us what we are. The other helps soften and release the often strong identification created by trauma, and holding trauma in place. What we call “ego” so often seems to be result of trauma. A way for us to try to find safety, for this vulnerable self we sometimes take to be who we are and separate. (Which is not wrong, but also not the whole picture.)

And trauma does create a trance. A trance of believing the stories and deficiency stories creating the trauma and holding it place.

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Forms of rest


The term natural rest is quite accurate, and can also be misperceived. Mainly  because the word “rest” is commonly used in a different way.

In a conventional sense, we understand rest as a break from a task, sitting or laying down, and perhaps being spaced out, or entertained, or caught in thoughts or daydreams, being half asleep, and so on.

The “rest” in natural rest is quite different. It’s noticing and allowing. Or, rather, noticing what’s already here, notice it’s already allowed, and aligning more consciously with that allowing. It’s alert and relaxed. It’s very natural. It’s just what’s already here noticing itself. And it can happen during any activity, including quite strenuous physical activity or any type of work or a conversation.

Natural rest can also be understood, or emphasized, in a few different ways.

It can be a general noticing and allowing of content of experience, as it is, and noticing this allowing is already here.

It can be a noticing of allowing of a more specific subset of content of experience, for instance a word, an image, sounds, or sensations. It’s a resting with an image, word, sounds, or sensations.

It can be a noticing and allowing which includes, or emphasizes, the boundless space this content is happening within and as. (It’s boundless since any imagined boundaries happen within that space.)

It can be a noticing and allowing which emphasizes that which all content happens within and as.

It can be a resting as any of these. As content of experience. As a subset of content of experience. As unbounded space. As that which any content happens within and as.

When I facilitate myself or someone else, I’ll usually emphasize one of these depending on the client and situation. For instance, I worked with a client a couple of days ago who has a lot of very strong (mental/physical) contractions, and I invited him to first rest with the contractions, and then notice the space it’s happening within, and it seemed to be a welcome relief for him to notice that space. Even the strongest contraction happens within and as boundless space. When we notice that, it seems less overwhelming and more OK as it is. It’s easier to rest with it, and perhaps even as it.

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Pema Chödrön: Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know


Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.

– Pema Chödrön

One way to understand this, is that our “mind knots” don’t go away until they have taught us what we need to know. Our beliefs, identifications, or velcro is there, until we have learned from and about them.

And these mind knots gives us a certain experience of the world, and may even bring us to recreate situations in our lives, so it appears that things in our live doesn’t go away until we learn something from it.

We can learn things in a conventional sense. For instance, it’s easier in the long run – and feels better – to speak and act from integrity, and follow our heart / inner guidance (the little small voice). And we can learn things about the knots. For instance, we can investigate any belief (identification, velcro) that stops us from living with more integrity, and following our inner guidance.


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For something not to have power over you


Most of us experience – now and then – that something has power over us. It can be a person, a situation, life, a habit, fear, anger, a compulsion, or just about anything else.

We have a few different ways of relating to it.

We can submit and let it have power over us. Or we can try to reject it, perhaps through vilifying it, pushing it away, or telling ourselves it doesn’t matter. Both of these rest on and reinforce the assumption that it is powerful, and has power over us.

The third way has different facets or entry points. We can try to find peace with it. Find love for it. Recognize it’s happening within and as what we are (awareness, presence). Rest with it.

And to really do any of these, we need to examine what’s really and already here. We can explore how our mind creates our experience of what’s powerful, it’s power, and the me it has power over. We can also explore how our mind creates an experience of threat and someone threatened. And we can explore any commands that may be here, for instance to reject or fight back, to submit, or to find peace with it.

If we don’t examine this in some detail, perhaps several times, we will still operate from the assumption that there is actually something powerful – out there or in here, that it has power, and that it has power over a me that’s here. We can try to reject it, or find peace with it, or love for it, or rest with it, but as long as these assumptions are still operating in us, there will be something left. We will still perceive and live as if these assumptions reflect something real and solid.

And as always, there are two main aspects to this. One is our actions in the world. The other is examining how our mind creates our experience of the stressful situation. We can find clarity, and act in the world in whatever way seem most kind, appropriate, and wise. For instance, if there is abuse of power in a conventional sense, it’s usually good to speak up about it, and do what we can to change it.

Without this clarity, we tend to act from unquestioned beliefs, fear, and reactivity. And to the extent there is clarity, our actions are more fearless, kind, and helpful.


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Arvo Pärt: The Deer’s Cry


Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ in me,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me,
Christ with me.

Attributed to St. Patrick, 385-461(translation by Kuno Meyer)

The coming of Patrick to Ireland about the middle of the fifth century initiated the “most peaceful invasion and lasting conquest of all”. This hymn is attributed to Patrick and certainly reflects many of the themes found in Patrick’s thought. The version we have today was likely written in the late 7th or early 8th century. The hymn is a celebration of the wisdom and power of God both in creation and redemption.  It is an excellent example of a lorica — a “breastplate” or corslet of faith recited for the protection of body and soul against all forms of evil — devils, vice, and the evil which humans perpetrate against one another.  The name of the hymn derives from a legend of an incident when the High King of Tara, Loeguire resolved to ambush and kill Patrick and his monks to prevent them from spreading the Christian faith in his kingdom.  As Patrick and his followers approached singing this hymn, the King and his men saw only a herd of wild deer and let them pass by.  The word ‘cry’ also has the sense of a prayer or petition.

From rc.net

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Adyashanti: To rest or abide as awareness


To rest or abide as awareness means to feel what awareness feels like. Of course, awareness is not itself a feeling, but it elicits a particular feeling tone or presence. It is a bit like asking someone what the sun feels like on their skin. The sun is not itself a feeling but it gives off warmth that you can feel.

In the same manner, awareness elicits subtle feeling tones in and around the body that are sometimes called presence, openness, stillness, silence, or intimacy. To abide as awareness means to take note of these subtle feeling tones of awareness, to rest in the feeling and experience of them. This can draw you more deeply into the core of your being, the realization of which can only come by grace, which means spontaneously.

– Adyashanti

Yes, and it’s the first step. As this becomes more familiar and a new habit, there is another step: notice that these feelings are sensations, and also notice which images and words are associated with it. Then, we can recognize more clearly that everything is already resting as awareness, independent of content and independent of any particular feeling.

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A perfectly clear fuzzy picture


I am exploring a layer of fuzzy/generalized anxiety, dread and worry. It’s not so strong, but when it’s on the surface it seems pervasive. It’s often there when I wake up in the morning, and then goes into the background as I get busy with the day.

It can seem very difficult to do self-inquiry on this. Where do I start? It doesn’t seem to be about anything in particular, and I experience it as quite fuzzy and undefined.

And yet, as soon as I start exploring it, something else is revealed. I notice some quite specific sensations in the throat, chest, stomach, and face. And I notice an image. It’s an image with a fuzzy content, that’s an overlay of my whole world – of an imagined sphere around me. The picture itself is perfectly clear, only it’s content – what it is a picture of – is fuzzy. The content is dark, cloudy, with a certain texture.

Just noticing those two things makes a big difference. Feeling the sensations. Noticing where they are. Noticing they are sensations. Noticing the picture. Looking at the picture. Notice it is a picture. Notice it’s a clear picture with a fuzzy content.

And it’s a starting point. As I explore this further, more will likely reveal itself.

When I do inquiry for myself, either as a client or in self-facilitation, I often have more abstract pictures come up – colors and textures, and also body images – pictures of the body part(s) where I am feeling a sensation. These do not come up so often when I facilitate others, which makes me curious. It’s possible that I am more inclined to having images of parts of the body and abstract images with textures. And it’s also possible that everyone does, perhaps without noticing or perhaps they dismiss them as less important than images of situations, people etc. I don’t know (yet).

When I facilitate, whether it’s a client or myself, I often look for the first memory of having felt the sensation or had a particular thought, since this tends to get to early trauma. And I also explore what body images and more abstract images (with textures) may be there. It’s also good to do a lot of resting with sensations, feeling sensations, especially after associated images and words are “peeled off”.


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Song of the sea


I just watched Song of the Sea, and thought it was a beautiful and heartfelt movie. (One of my favorite bands, Kila, made the music, which is how I got interested in it.)

There is always a lot to be said about stories and how they reflect parts and dynamics in each of us.

In this case, the sister represent intuition, a deeper knowing, and nature connection. The brother a more intellectual knowing, which sometimes leads him astray, until he finds his heart. We all have these two, and they sometimes are at odds with each other, and sometimes more closely aligned. The heart is what brings these two together, as it does in the movie.

The own witch takes away pain by turning herself and others into stone. (Going numb.) We all do that too, in areas of ourselves, and sometimes. It can seem scary to feel, and yet that’s how we thaw, and also how we find our heart.

And the movie is also a reminder that we are nature. We may think we are disconnected from nature, or more connected with nature, which is true in a limited sense. And more truly, we are already nature. We are nature having all these feelings, emotions, thoughts, ideas, impulses, lives. Even our culture and civilization and technology is nature. It’s nature temporarily taking these forms. And when we see it, something shifts. (Similar to how the brother shifted in this movie.)



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Matt Kahn: Whatever arises, love that


Instead of trying to silence your mind chatter, simply love the one who wants to chat.

Instead of trying to shift your emotions, just love the one who can’t stop feeling.

Instead of trying to resolve each fear, simply love the one who’s always afraid.

Instead of trying to let things go, just love the one who still holds on.

Instead of trying to not take things personally, simply love the one who makes life personal.

Instead of trying to prove your worth, just love the one who feels worthless, lost, and alone.

Instead of trying to leap forward in evolution, simply love the one who feels left behind.

Instead of having something to prove, just love the one who came here to play.

Instead of bossing yourself around and measuring your progress through spiritual obedience, simply love the one who refuses to listen.

Instead of trying to believe, just love the one in doubt.

Instead of trying whatever you attempt, simply love the one needing permission to be.

Whatever arises, love that. This is the way of an awakening heart.

– Matt Kahn

Yes. And I have found some simple practices very helpful here, in actually doing it:

Ho’oponopono. Loving Kindness / Metta. Saying “I love you” several times.


Holding a hand over my heart.

Inquire into whatever stops me from doing this. Whatever fears and resistance surfaces, when I do this. What’s the perceived threat? What do I find when I look for this threat, in images, words, and sensations?

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Retraining the nervous system


People from all cultures and ages have known the benefits of inviting our system to release and relax. It’s built into us to seek various ways of releasing stress and tension, and find a deeper relaxation. What I am writing about in this post is not new in its essence, although the language obvious reflects my own time and culture. (I am sure what I write here will seem hopelessly outdated in a few decades, or perhaps even sooner.)

We have known for a while about the sympathetic and parasympathetic parts of the nervous system. The sympathetic is the flight, fight, and freeze response. And the parasympathetic is responsible for digesting, restoring, and allow for healing.

Both are essential for our survival. The flight/fight/freeze response is vital for us in situations that threatens our survival or well being. And the “resting and digesting” allows for healing and restoring.

At the same time, if the flight/fight/freeze (FFF) response becomes chronic, it’s not good. If it’s chronically on alert, as if a threat can be around any corner, it adversely impacts our well being and health. It reduces our ability to fight off disease, restore, and heal.

And the FFF response is chronic for many of us today. It becomes chronic through chronic stress, and through trauma – whether from one or a few major traumatic events or built up from many smaller traumatic events.

So what can we do?

There are the usual ways to relax.

Go for a walk. Move. Be in nature. Garden. Walk barefoot in nature.

Eat nourishing food. Drink plenty of water.

Do yoga, tai chi, chi gong, Breema etc.

Nurture nourishing relationships. (With yourself, your body, your heart, your belly, your mind, friends, family, partner, children, nature, society, past and future generations, the universe, life.)

Create a stable and nurturing life situation. (To the extent possible.)

There is Natural Rest, and various forms of mindfulness and meditation. These typically have relaxation – of body and mind – as a side-effect, and this can become a new habit. There is also the possibility of recognizing what we are, which opens for an even deeper relaxation.

There is also inquiry, which can help us see through (dismantle) stressful beliefs and identifications. Again, this can lead to a deeper mind-body relaxation.

In addition, some of these approaches specifically reprogram the stimuli-response patterns that create stress.

There is a stimuli – in the form of images, words, smells, sounds, movement, and sensations – and a response. When the nervous system is “on edge”, and the sympathetic branch is chronically activated, some or many of the stimuli we experience daily can trigger a FFF response, even they are not really a threat. They are perceived as a threat, at some level in us, so our nervous system respond as if they are an actual threat, even if a more relaxed and calm response would be more appropriate (in a conventional sense) and helpful.

These stimuli are, as mentioned above, images, words, smells, sounds, movement, and sensations. It can be a reaction to sound, which can lead to misophonia. It can be a reaction to smell, for instance chemical sensitivity. It can be a reaction to sight or mental images. It can be a reaction to heard or imagined words. It can be a reaction to sensations, especially when these appear combined with certain images and words.

It can be a reaction to images, words, and sensations making up (apparently) traumatic or stressful stories and identities.

It can even be a reaction to heat or cold (over sensitivity to heat or cold), the sensations of physical exertion (often a part of CFS), or the sensations of fatigue or brain fog (another part of CFS).

Here are a couple of ways to intentionally reprogram how our nervous system responds to various stimuli.

When you notice a stimuli that typically trigger a FFF response (unease, stress, tension, discomfort), intentionally notice and allow the stimuli and response. Feel the sensations, allow them as they are. Find love for them. Rest with them. (This is an intentional and specific use of Natural Rest.)

Explore the situation – the stimuli and response – through inquiry. Look at images and words. Feel sensations. Can you find a threat? A deficient (or inflated) self? A command to X? Through doing this, we get to see how our mind creates a sense of threat, or someone threatened, or a self that needs to be fought or protected, or a command to stay safe etc. This allows the charge to soften or go out of it. We more easily recognize words as words, images as images, and sensations as sensations. The stimuli trigger another response than the old FFF response. It can be met with a deeper relaxation and calmness, and even welcome and kindness. What we thought were there are revealed to not be there, at least not as we initially thought it was there.

A third approach is to invite tension to release out from the body, even chronic tension stores in muscles and fascia, for instance through therapeutic tremors (TRE). This releases the overall tension/stress level in the nervous system, so it’s less on high alert, less jumpy, less likely to “over react” to stimuli.

So we can find ways to relax, which can be very helpful. We can release chronic tension out of our bodies so it’s less on high alert, and less likely to respond with FFF. (TRE, therapeutic tremors.) We can intentionally reprogram our nervous system to respond differently and in a more relaxed way to stimuli. (Intentional use of Natural Rest, inquiries such as the Living Inquiries.)

I like the stimulus-response way of looking at this. It’s simple. Relatively easy to understand. It ties into science.

And it works for a wide range of different situations – from looking at sights (eyes) or mental images (memories, future, present), hearing or imagining words, hearing or imagining sounds, feeling or imagining sensations.

For instance, one way to understand trauma is to see that it’s created by words, images, and sensations “stuck together” so the images and words seem charged, real and solid. The sensations lend charge, and a sense of reality and solidity to the associated images and words. One example is mages of being bullied at school connected mentally with sensations in throat, belly, and face, and words such as “I am a victim”, “I am unlovable”, “they don’t like me”. The nervous system responds to these images, words, and sensations as if they are a threat, and go into high alert. By looking at the images, recognizing them as images, and seeing that they are not a threat, the nervous system responds with relaxation to the same images. The same goes for the words. And by feeling the sensations, recognizing them as sensations, and seeing that the sensations are not a threat, the nervous system shifts its response to these sensations from FFF to relaxation.

The same happens for fear of the future, any perceived threat, any sense of a deficient self, and even compulsions.

And the same pattern is there for sensitivity to just about anything: Sound, chemicals, food, heat and more.

In the case of chronic fatigue, which I am familiar with, there may be sensitivity and over-reaction to physical exertion, heat, fatigue, and brain fog. Or rather, the sensations, images, and words created by my mind which makes up my experience of physical exertion, heat, fatigue, and brain fog. My nervous system goes into FFF as a response to these stimuli, and this response can be retrained to be a response of relaxation. I am not saying that’s the whole answer to taking care of CFS. At the same time, it may be a significant portion of the answer, along with taking care of any medical issues (in my case, B12 deficiency, epstein-barr virus, two pneumonia viruses, an auto-immune disease, and lyme…!), strengthening the systems through adaptogens (herbs), a good diet, movement, fresh air, nature and more.


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Shouting while dreaming


In my dream I am on a boat in strong wind, heading away from shore. I see another smaller boat on the same course, and it’s just on my tail. I shout to the captain of the other boat to go back to shore since he has passengers with him.

Some say that dreams compensate for our conscious attitude (C.G. Jung among them), and mine is to not shout or raise my voice. I have shouted while dreaming before, in similar situations where I needed to communicate with someone far away or while it’s noisy. Maybe that’s why I sometimes shout while dreaming. Something in me wants balance.

It wants me to be able to raise my voice and shout, and since I am usually too much in control – and too self-conscious – to do it while awake, I do it while sleeping instead. It’s a bit embarrassing, and that may support me in taking a look at this and perhaps be more OK with raising my voice now and then.

What about the boat(s) and the storm? Why am I out in a boat in the middle of a storm? My life does feel like that these days. My external situation has been bumpy in some areas, the mid-future is uncertain, and there is still a lot coming up in me to be seen, felt, loved, and heal. In the other boat, there are passengers at risk who wants to go back to shore. Maybe the dream is telling me a couple of things: (a) This – my life now – feels more stormy than I am admitting to myself. (True.) (b) Parts of me are scared and wish for a sense of more safety and care. (True.) And maybe (c) some people in my life feel a bit uneasy by the storminess. (Probably true too.)


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Byron Katie: What is suffering?


What is suffering?

The imagined not-now.

– Byron Katie

The imagination of what was. What may be.

The imagination of this moment lasting forever.

With added stories that this – what’s here now, including these stories – is not OK.

How does the mind do this?

By associating sensations with these images and words, so they have a charge, and seem solid and real.

Or, said a few other ways, by identifying with the viewpoint of these words and images. By taking itself as this viewpoint. By believing these stories. And it does so by associating sensations with the words and images, the viewpoints, the stories, making them appear to itself as solid and real, and sometimes even unquestionable.

Any not-now is imagined. It’s made up of words and images, which are placed on an imagined timeline. This is very helpful, and we couldn’t function without it. At the same time, it is all imagined, and it’s good to notice. Even the stories about the present, and the idea of a present, are imaginations, made up of words and images, sometimes associated with sensations.

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A few words about sensitivity


Since childhood, I have been quite sensitive to a range of stimuli, especially sounds (noise, eating sounds, paper rustling), certain foods (sugar, dairy), chemicals, heat, physical exertion, and more.

I notice that my sensitivity is related to how well I feel in general. When I feel stronger and/or feel good about my life, I tend to be less sensitive. When I feel more fatigued or vulnerable, and I am less happy about my life, I become more sensitive.

Also, I assume these sensitivities are a type of “allergic” reaction. It’s my system reacting strongly to stimuli that in themselves are relatively harmless. My system seems to respond as if it’s a life and death situation, when it really isn’t.

That’s why retraining my system’s response seems important. How do I retrain or reprogram the stimuli-response reaction? How do I help my system respond with calmness to the stimuli that previously have triggered a strong reaction? One way is to feel the response in my body, and rest with it. As I rest with it, I am signaling to my system that it’s OK. There is no life-and-death situation here. It’s OK to relax. It’s OK to be OK with it.

Joey Lott writes about this, and it’s also an inherent part of Natural Rest and the Living Inquiries. In Natural Rest, I notice what’s here and allow it as is. I may even say “I love you, stay as long as you like”. In the Living Inquiries, I look at images and words, and feel sensations, which invites the “velcro” to release. (Sensations that seems “stuck on” images and words, lending them charge, and a sense of reality and solidity.) Both signal to my system that it’s OK. The stimuli is OK, whether it’s a sound, image, or sensation. It’s not life threatening. It’s OK for my system to respond in a relaxed way. It’s even OK to find love for it.

Said another way, when there is velcro (or a belief, or identification, or a psychological knot), the stimuli may trigger a strong and unpleasant reaction. It’s an over reaction, in a conventional sense, although the reaction is appropriate to the underlying belief, identification, velcro, or trauma. And this looks like sensitivity.

There is a sound. The sound itself is harmless. My system responds strongly, with a fight or flight or freeze response. It’s alarmed. It reacts that way due to a belief (or identification, velcro, trauma). And that stimuli-response pathway can be changed. My system can learn to respond in a more relaxed way, through inquiry, or Natural Rest, or just feeling the sensations of the reactions and resting with these sensations. In each case, I am showing my system that it’s OK. It’s OK to respond in a relaxed way. There is no life-and-death situation here.

Another way to work with this is Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), allowing the body to release tension and trauma through it’s natural and inherent trembling mechanism. (Spontaneous trembling, shaking, rocking, stretching.)

A couple of notes:

I included physical exertion above. I suspect that chronic fatigue fits into this pattern of stimuli followed by an exaggerated response. The stimuli is physical exertion, and the response is fatigue. It may be a type of freeze response. This is not the whole picture of CFS, but it may be a part of it for many. (I suspect there is a great deal of individual variation here, and another part of the picture is physical problems such as mineral and vitamin deficiencies, viruses, auto-immune illnesses and more.)

Similarly, fatigue itself may be the stimuli, and the system responds with increased fatigue. This can also be retrained, in the way described above. It’s at least worth a try. And inquiry can be invaluable in this process.

Is X a threat? The physical exertion? The fatigue? The brain fog? These sensations I label in that way?

Can I find X? Fatigue? Exertion? Brain fog? Someone who has these?

Is there a command to X? To escape a situation? For the fatigue to go away? For the brain fog to go away?

I am intentionally avoided using the term “nervous system” above. It’s obviously important in this context, but there is clearly a lot more going on than just the nervous system. Our whole body-mind is included.

One way the nervous system plays a role, is what happens when the sympathetic nervous system (flight/fight/freeze) is chronically activated. This leads to the parasympathetic part of the nervous system being less active. And this, in turn, leads to diminished immune function, digestion, and more, which in turn can lead to a range of health problems.  Teaching the nervous system to relax – in general and when faced with certain stimuli – helps our overall health. It makes the body better able to heal itself.

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Health update


As mentioned in an earlier post, I went to a doctor in Poland this summer. He is a specialist in Lyme, and – as it turns out – also in chronic fatigue (CFS). He sent my blood off to a number of labs, and I received the results in August. The results show a number of things that all contribute to fatigue and brain fog (including poor executive functions and shaky/raw emotions).

These include: Very low B12 levels (127), epstein-barr virus (mononucleosis, often associated with CFS), two pneumonia viruses, an auto-immune disease, and Lyme.

It’s a relief to finally have more specific information about what’s been going on with me. Now, I can say it’s the things listed above, instead of using the fuzzy term CFS.

I don’t know the exact sequence of how I got these things, but here is my best guess:

When I was 14 or 15, I had mononucleosis. Some months later, I got CFS for the first time and this lasted 2-4 years quite severely. I felt I never recovered from this, and that may be true if the Epstein-Barr virus is still in my system (intracellular). After this, in my twenties and early thirties, I was able to function reasonably well as long as I could organize my own schedule and include rest when I needed it. (I was unable to follow a regular work schedule, and fortunately didn’t have to.)

Seven or eight years ago, I had pneumonia, and I never felt I got over this too. It now turns out I didn’t. The viruses are still there (also intracellular). This pneumonia preceded (and may have led to?) my second severe CFS episode some months later, much more severe than the initial one in my teens.

I assume the B12 deficiency developed over several years. It may have made me more susceptible to the pneumonia and Lyme by weakening my system so I couldn’t fight them off. It’s also possible that some of these led or contributed to (?) the B12 deficiency (not sure if that’s how it works).

It’s also possible that I have had Lyme for far longer than just this summer. Several people have suggested it, although I didn’t have any tests until now.

My doctor thinks that these are all treatable, so I am optimistic. I also know how important it is to help my system relax and strengthen in general, through diet, sleep, nourishing relationships and activities, moderate physical activity, helping my nervous system release tension and relax, doing inquiry on stressful beliefs/identities/apparent threats, and more.

Any prayers for my full recovery are welcome.

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Seeking love, and manipulation


When I seek love, acceptance, and appreciation (LAA as Byron Katie calls it), I become someone who manipulates.

I act in certain ways to manipulate others to give me what I want, or what I think I want.

I become nice, avoid conflict, say what I think they want to hear, so they’ll like me, love me, and appreciate me.

Looked at superficially, it doesn’t look so bad. What’s bad about being nice? About being nice to others so they are nice back?

And when I examine it more in detail, it looks quite ugly. I see the manipulation. When I do this, I use others to get what I want. It’s even violent.

That’s what inquiry is about, of course, looking at it more in detail. Seeing what’s actually and already there.

And when I see what’s already here, in more detail, it tends to change.

I can use the Living Inquiries to examine this.

What does it say about me? What person would act in this way?

I am unloved. I lack in love. I need love (from others). I am deficient.

Someone who is insecure. Still a child. Confused. Inauthentic.

Can I find the threat in having someone not like me, love me, appreciate me?

Can I find the threat in X? Conflict. Being authentic. Not acting so people will like me.

Can I find X? (Me, the one who is unloved, deficient, insecure, still a child, inauthentic.)

Can I find the command to X? Be nice. Be loved. Be appreciated. Be accepted.


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Resting vs looking


When something gets triggered, I often rest with it first, and feel the sensations. I may also notice some images and words.

Then, if I want to go deeper, I inquire into it. Using the living inquiries, I look for a threat, a deficient/inflated self, a compulsion, or anything else that seems to be there and seems to be the problem.

Resting with it can, in itself, be very helpful. It helps shift from thinking to noticing thoughts, and – if I rest with sensations – from thoughts to sensations. And it’s only helpful up to a point. It often still leaves the underlying velcro (beliefs, identifications) untouched. It’s a stepping stone to inquiry, and an essential companion to – and support for – inquiry.

Just as inquiry is a support for natural rest. Inquiry may mean less velcro, which in turn leads to easier natural rest, since attention has a tendency to be drawn to activated velcro.

As a side note: Why is attention drawn to velcro? Because it seems important. It seems related to who and what we are. It may even, when it’s strong, seem like and issue of life and death. (Because of the identification.) No wonder attention is drawn to activated velcro. It’s also a gift, since it shows us what’s left to look into.

Velcro here means that sensations seem “stuck” on words and images, lending them a sense of solidity and reality, and giving them a charge. It’s also identification – with a story or viewpoint. It can be called a belief. Or even, as some use the word, “ego”.

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Scott Kiloby: Glance at a mental picture that seems to torment you for three seconds


Glance at a mental picture that seems to torment you for three seconds. Look directly at it, notice the open, empty space around it simultaneously. Often, but not always, a three second direct glance is all that is needed to unhook from identifying with it. Then gently feel the emotion/sensation if there is one.

This is especially effective for addictive and fearful thoughts. Do it all day today and tomorrow and see if you don’t notice a difference in your degree of overall well-being.

– Scott Kiloby



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Adyashanti: You are that in which opening and closing is happening


Yes. There may be a sense of expansion or contraction, of opening or closing, and that’s happening within the space any experience is happening within (including the sense of conventional space).

It’s literally boundless, since any boundary is imagined (a mental image) happening within this space.

It’s already here. It doesn’t close. It doesn’t open. It allows for (and is, takes the form of) any experience of closing and opening, contraction and expansion.

Said another way, it’s all happening within and as presence. Even the idea of presence (the words, images, sensations representing presence in our mind) is happening within and as this presence.


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Taking about Living Inquiries: Get to see how my mind creates the experience of X


When talking about the Living Inquiries, I tend to avoid the “unfindable” terminology since it easily can be misunderstood.

People may get caught in thoughts such as “if it’s unfindable, doesn’t that mean it doesn’t exist?”, and may even scare themselves unnecessarily through that way of thinking.

Instead, I often say:

Through the inquiries, I get to see how my mind creates my experience of X. And after an inquiry, there is often a sense of lightness around it, and less stickiness and drama. (It’s not about whether something exists or not “in itself”. That’s another topic, and not really relevant or important.)


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Emergency measures


When something – an emotion, physical or emotional pain, cravings and addictions – feels overwhelming and unbearable, what do we do?

As psychologists (and others) identified a while ago, there is a range of coping strategies. From the more unhealthy ones such as drinking, using drugs, and aggression and violence, to the moderately unhealthy ones such as eating, shopping, and entertainment, to the more helpful ones such as friendships, nature, movement, to the ones that may resolve it all such as inquiry and seeing through the beliefs of overwhelm and unbearable.

Among the latter, some may be helpful short term and some in the longer term. And we each have to find what works for us.

Here are some emergency measures that works for me:

Move. Go for a walk. Do self-Breema. Shake (TRE). Jump up and down in place.

Talk with a friend.

Conscious breathing. Place hands on belly and chest and notice the breath. Make outbreath longer than inbreath. Breathe into the sensation, allow the sensation and breath to merge.

Feel the sensations. Feel them as sensations. (Set the stories aside for a while, if I can.)

Use ho’oponopono. Say to myself (the scared part of me), I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you. Say this also to whatever triggered it. (A person, symptom, situation.)

Alternately amplify and drop the stressful stories. (10 sec. each, described by Joey Lott in some of his books).

Tapping. (EFT type tapping.)

Say to myself: I love you. I love you. I love you. / It’s OK to feel this.

Ask myself: Is it true this is overwhelming? Is it true it’s too much? It’s unbearable, is it true?

And some longer term strategies:

Inquire into how I relate to what’s been triggered.

Can I find the threat? The overwhelm? Intensity? Pain? (Living Inquiries.)

Is it true it’s unbearable? Too much? (The Work.)

Inquire into the triggers. (Perceived threats.)

Inquire into being triggered. (My stories about it, deficient identities, fears.)

I posted a question about this on a Facebook page for inquiry, and here are two answers I found especially helpful:

Venting to a best friend. Talking it out, focusing on how I feel versus the triggering event or person. Giving it that voice helps it wash through through a big honest cry.

Also, lately I’ve been using the words “I am willing to feel this” with whatever arises. Physical or emotional pain, lately it works for me most of the time. Another one: Put my hand on my heart and say “I love you” over and over again. or Put my hand on the area of my body that hurts/triggered and do the same thing. “I love you” “I’m sorry you’re feeling this” “I love you”. caress my face, caress my arms, like a pet… for a few minutes. tapping also. These are mine.

– Marina B.

An interesting question. As time has gone on, I’ve discovered that it’s possible to rest with even the most intense states/feelings. That’s been incredibly valuable, as I spent many years feeling that I couldn’t be with what I was feeling, and so using all the tools that we’ve described above, and more. They certainly have their place, and yet what has helped me the most is being with or resting or inquiring even in the direst of times. There’s something so profound about discovering we do have the capacity to bear it all, even when it feels unbearable

– Fiona R.


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Adyashanti: What the universe will manifest when you are in alignment with it is a lot more interesting


What the universe will manifest when you are in alignment with it is a lot more interesting than what you try to manifest.

– Adyashanti

Yes, and as usual there is a lot more to this.

In one way, we are always in alignment with the universe. We are the local eyes, ears, thoughts and feelings of the universe. (As Carl Sagan said.) What’s here is the universe feeling, thinking, acting, doing. It’s not two.

In another way, it’s possible to be more or less aligned with the universe. When I am caught up in fears, beliefs, velcro and drama it’s difficult for me to act from kindness and clarity, and follow (the quiet) inner guidance. When there is more clarity, and less trauma/beliefs/velcro/drama, it’s much easier for me to act from kindness, clarity, and guidance.

So there is always and already alignment with the universe. It’s unavoidable. And I can be more or less aligned with the universe, through (a) recognizing what I am (what this experience happens within and as), (b) healing my human self, and (c) relate to what’s here – including unloved fears and unquestioned fearful stories – with love, presence, and gentle and engaged curiosity.

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Katie: Would you like to know the secret to happiness?


Would you like to know the secret to happiness? Kindness and Gratitude. Nothing else is required.

– Byron Katie

Yes, and that includes kindness and gratitude towards everything in our experience. The whole field of experience. Any image. Any word. Any sensation.

Since most of us are trained to not do this, at least not consistently or universally, it can take time. We are retraining ourselves. We are forming a new habit. A large oil tanker needs time to slow down and turn, and that’s how it often is with us too. But with intention and dedication, it is possible. It can be done.

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Rest, mining, timelime


A reminder for myself about what I have found especially helpful when working with clients, using the Living Inquiries:

Rest. Plenty of resting, especially with sensations. (And sometimes images, words.) Noticing. Allowing. And with sensations, feeling.

Mining. What does X mean? (Especially sensations). If it could speak, what would it say? What does it want from you? What would satisfy it forever?

Timeline. What’s your first memory of X? (E.g. of having that sensation.) Then explore that, peel of images and words, feel the sensations as they are.


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Roxana N: What I was running from was what I was yearning for


What I was running from was what I was yearning for.

– Roxana N. in Facebook (and many others)

My experience with this:

What I have been running from are scary images and words, and sensations that seem scary. (Because images and words tell me so.) I have been running from my own experience. I have been running from myself.

When I meet this, welcome it, examine the words and images, feel the sensations, I come home. I find what I have been yearning for. I come home to myself. I come home to reality. I come home to love.

I come home to myself, as love, as love for all of this, as all of this, as what all of this happens within and as, as presence.

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Adyashanti: Be a true representative of the goodness in your heart


Be a true representative of the goodness in your heart, and don’t expect it to be easy or even noticed.

– Adyashanti

And…. notice how I stop myself from doing that. What do I fear? What stories do I believe?

What unquestioned stories are there? What unfelt sensations? What unloved parts of myself? What unloved parts of my experience?


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Byron Katie: The body is the ego’s greatest ally


The body is the ego’s greatest ally.

– Byron Katie

Yes, in so many ways.

I am this body. I will die. I don’t want to die.

My body is sick. It will get sick. It’s not good looking enough. It’s too old. It will get old. I won’t be attractive anymore. They won’t like me. I am wearing the wrong clothes. What will people think about how I look? Am I good and impressive enough looking to find a partner?

I am this body. The rest of the world is not me. It’s something that can help me or hurt me. It’s a precarious situation.

And more basic:

These sensations are connected to these images and words, and means these images and words are real, solid and true.

The mind is great at coming up with thoughts related to or relying on the body. And there is no end to how much stress can be created by these thoughts when they are unexamined and held as true. (Even if just a part of us hold them as true.)

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Byron Katie: Pleasure is pain


Pleasure is pain.

– Byron Katie

Yes. Pleasure is pain because……

Pleasure and pain are both sensations + images + words. The only difference is the meaning my mind attaches to the sensations. (One example is fear. If I experience fear while watching a good movie, or while on an amusement park ride, I may interpret it as pleasure. If I experience fear while alone in a dark alley, or after getting a diagnosis from my doctor, my mind may interpret it as pain.)

Pleasure is pain when I attach to the idea of needing pleasure. When it’s compulsive, pleasure seeking is painful. Trying to get it is painful. Anticipating it going away is painful. Having it go away is painful. Anticipating not finding it again is painful. Realizing that pleasure seeking is inherently unsatisfactory, while still being caught in it, is painful.

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