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 Per, 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., Rancho Mirage, CA
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
There is a problem with using modern science to support perennial wisdom.
Current scientific views, theories, and models are, by their nature, temporary. They will be replaced with something else, whether we count that time in months, years, decades, or centuries. And perennial wisdom is, also by its nature, more perennial.
It can be cool and sexy, and draw in some people, when we use current theories or speculations from science to support perennial wisdom. And science and perennial wisdom (and mystics from all traditions) explore and describe the same reality. (Even if they use different methods and understand it in the context of different worldviews.)
At the same time, supporting perennial wisdom with elements from current science also has some (major) drawbacks. Often one or both – the science or perennial wisdom – is misunderstood or not understood very well. Often, people cherry-pick from one or both and conveniently leave out what doesn’t fit the point they are trying to make.
And, as suggested above, current understandings in science changes over time, as they should. They change with new information, new knowledge, new understandings in other fields, new over-arching worldviews. So what right now may seem to agree with elements from perennial wisdom may, in a little while, be outdated.
I should mention that I went through a phase in my teens and early twenties where I was passionate about the intersection of science and spirituality (quantum physics etc.). And I am still very interested in using science to explore the effects of different spiritual practices, what’s different in the systems of those who claim awakening, and also ESP, past lives, what happens after death, and so on.
But I am less enchanted with using current science theories and speculations to support perennial wisdom. Often, it reveals a lack of understanding of one or both. And the science will move on, and what it moves onto may not be equally compatible with perennial wisdom.
There is a difference between being defeated by life or a particular situation, and being surrendered to it. And we can also think we are surrendered when there is more left.
Say I have an ongoing health issue (as I do).
I can be defeated by it. Feel hopeless. Sad. Hopelessly angry. Give up. At the surface, this can look like surrender but it’s really just being defeated by the situation. I still see it as terrible, I still fight it in my mind, but I have given up doing something about it.
I may think I have surrendered. I may also think I have surrendered because I hope for it and it looks like it has happened, while the surrender is temporary or one of several layers. I can also fake surrender. I can pretend I have surrendered. I may have all the right words. I may see the benefit of surrender. I may wish for surrender. But I am still secretly fighting life. I still secretly see my situation as terrible.
And there can be a more real surrender. My resistance to the situation has worn off over time, perhaps through a lot of struggle. And sometimes it’s supported by inquiry, whether the natural inquiry we all engage in through living our lives, pondering our situation, and talking with others about it or a more structured inquiry. I may have seen through my stressful beliefs about the situation and find what’s genuinely more true for me. I may have identified and seen through my cherished identities that don’t fit my health situation, and again found what’s more genuinely true for me. I may have found the genuine gifts in the situation for me and genuine gratitude. I may have found that what I really value in life, myself, my relationships, and my role in life, genuinely isn’t what this illness impacts. I may have come to a place where I openly allow my grief, anger, sadness, gratitude, joy, and anything else that sometimes come up in me around it.
Often, there is a mix. Some parts of us struggle with it, and we struggle with these parts of ourselves, so we don’t fully allow them. We may think we have surrendered (perhaps in a particular way or area of life) and there is still something left which surfaces later and in another situation. And sometimes, in some areas of us and our life, there is a more genuine surrender through clarity, allowing, and an open heart.
How can we invite in a more genuine surrender? Mainly, it comes in its own time. We cannot decide for it to happen or will it to happen. If it happens, it’s often because our resistance wears out through (futile) struggle. What we can do is prepare the ground. For instance through basic meditation (noticing, allowing), heart-centered practices (prayer, ho’oponopno, tonglen, metta), inquiry (The Work, Living Inquiries, Big Mind process, headless experiments), therapy with a wise, skilled, and heart-centered therapist, and most of all receptivity, sincerity, and authenticity.
I notice I rarely write about surrender although it is an important topic. It’s not something we can choose or will to happen – it comes through grace. There is a difference between surrender as a temporary state and a more genuine and complete surrender, and it’s not always so easy to tell the difference (unless we wait to see). And there are always more layers. Surrender is a not something we achieve, it’s at most something we can invite in. And it’s an ongoing process.
There is also a bigger picture here. A lack of surrender is life resisting itself. It’s life locally and temporarily taking itself to be separate from everything else and engaging in an ongoing struggle with itself. Surrender then is life recognizing itself as all of it and giving up the (identification) with the struggle. The struggle may still happen because that’s conditioning. But life recognizes itself as all of it – this human self, the wider world, the situation, the struggle – and identification goes out of it. All of it is recognized as the play of and within life and not something that happens to an actual separate self.
Where do I think it is? Where have I glimpsed it is? And where is it, in my immediate experience?
Is it in this human self? Is this apparently separate self the final word on what I really am?
Or is it in life itself? As this Earth? As the universe? As all of existence? As all as consciousness? As that which is capacity for it all?
There are several layers to this as well as ways of noticing.
I can have an intellectual understanding, either through western science and philosophy (Universe Story, Epic of Evolution, Ecospirituality) or from mysticism and maps from different spiritual traditions.
I can have glimpses, either without anything apparently bringing it about or through certain practices (inquiry, Big Mind process, basic meditation, practices to reconnect etc.).
And my center of gravity can shift. Perhaps it’s first as this human being in the world. Then, as the wholeness of what I am as human and soul. Or as the wholeness of existence. Or as consciousness somehow separate from the content of existence. Or as consciousness that all experience happens within and as. Or as that which is capacity for it all. Or as this capacity and all it is capacity for (consciousness and all content of experience happens within and as consciousness).
This is one aspect of what spirituality is about. Being curious about where the final “I” is. Exploring it. Noticing new layers of “I” in glimpses. And gradually, and sometimes suddenly, having shifts in the center of gravity of what I experience as “I”.
And really, it’s life exploring itself. It’s life temporarily and locally taking itself as a local “I” and not questioning whether this is the final or most basic “I”. And then being curious about it, either through spontaneous glimpses opening up to something more, or through intuition or a knowing, or perhaps through a crisis that makes it question basic assumptions. It’s life gradually gaining an intellectual understanding and seeing that it must be life itself not this apparently separate self. And it’s life gradually inviting the center of gravity of what it takes itself to be out from the local and to the whole, to all as consciousness, and to what’s capacity for it all.
I want to add a few words about using (structured) inquiry to explore what we are. We can use forms of inquiry that explicitly helps us shift into what we already are, like the Big Mind process and the headless experiments. And we can use inquiry that helps us see what we are not, and helps us see how our mind creates a certain experience for itself of what it is (through images, words, and sensations), and how it holds onto it as true in order to find a sense of safety. Both are equally helpful and they feed into each other.
Shifting into what we are highlights our old (an incomplete and ultimately false) ideas of who or what we are. And shifting out of our old ideas of who or what we are invites in a noticing of (more of) what we really are. And it’s good, and eventually essential, to question absolutely all our experiences or ideas of who or what we are, even the most “spiritual” or “enlightened” ones, and perhaps especially those. They may still be roughly accurate and serve as helpful pointers, but if we hold onto those ideas as true and our identity, we’ll eventually need to question and see through them.
When I am alone, I can imagine I am with others and see if that changes anything. Would I behave differently? And when I am with others, I can imagine I am alone and see if that changes anything. Would I behave differently? Would I be more authentic? More free?
This helps even it out, and although we obviously still would behave a little differently just because the setting is different, it helps us find a more even keel and a more authentic way of being in both settings.
This is a little practice I remember Jes Bertelsen suggested in a book I read in my teens or early twenties, and it’s been in the back of my mind since.
Some experience an urgency about spiritual awakening. There is a sense that we have to find ways to make it happen as soon as possible.
When that happens, I suspect it’s to find peace, contentment, and a sense of arriving. And that a component of it is a wish to escape discomfort, a belief that awakening will give that, and that it needs to happen quickly because this discomfort is unpeasant and/or unbearable.
The upside of this is that it’s a “golden chain”. It can help us go more wholeheartedly into an awakening-exploration and we can gain a lot of valuable experiences and insights from that process.
The downside is that if it distracts us from our own healing, we may miss out of a path (the healing path) that will give us enough of what we want to satisfy us for a while. Often, healing is a quicker and more effective path to find a measure of peace, contentment, and a sense of arriving. Also, since it’s a compulsion, it comes from one or more beliefs, and it doesn’t work in the long run. Sooner or later, we’ll need to question the beliefs creating the awakening-compulsion in us and explore the emotional wounds in us that it comes from.
There are no easy answers in how to navigate this. Yes, the awakening compulsion comes from neediness, beliefs, and emotional issues. Yes, we can find a lot of what we are looking for through healing. Yes, we can learn a lot from a more compulsive awakening path, at least for a while. Yes, the compulsion eventually will have to go. And how we navigate all of this is up to us. We have to find our own path through it. And it does help to have experienced, wise, and balanced guidance.
At the same time, perhaps there is an easy and mostly helpful guideline. What I do is to choose approaches to awakening that also includes healing. Heart-centered practices often heal and prepare the ground for awakening (tonglen, ho’oponopno). Some types of inquiry invite healing as well as awakening (Living Inquiries, The Work). Some types of energy work do the same (Vortex Healing, although the awakening component comes in more when you are a student). Basic meditation (AKA natural rest, shikantaza) sets the stage for awakening and supports healing (although other approaches are often needed for deeper and more thorough healing). Training a more stable attention supports any activity, whether it’s exploring awakening or healing or anything else (and it does tend to bring in a measure of contentment).
So it makes sense to combine an awakening path with a healing path. The two support each other. And we tend to find what we really want through a combination of the two. And, perhaps more importantly, a release from thinking it’s what we really want and that we need it.
And is awakening an urgent matter? The dull (?) answer is that it is for us if we experience it as urgent. There is nothing wrong with this urgency. And it’s not needed. As far as I can tell, awakening isn’t inherently an urgent matter. If it was, life would have awakened through most or all beings already. It seems that for life, the path is the goal. (Lila.)
And there is a small (?) caveat here in that humanity is at a crossroads and a crisis point and the more life has healed itself and awakened to itself through a certain number of people, and the more the better, the more likely we are to get through this with some grace and with less massive collective suffering. (The crisis, if it isn’t obvious, is our current ecological crisis which requires an overhaul of our collective worldviews and systems, and also a reduction in local and global inequality in terms of resources and opportunities.)
In depth psychology, the shadow refers to what we disown in ourselves. Qualities and characteristics in us that we see (more) “out there” in the world and in others than in ourselves, and that we haven’t yet befriended and gotten to know in ourselves. These are usually qualities and characteristics our culture tells us are undesirable, and that don’t fit our desired image of ourselves.
We are scared to admit to them as part of ourselves and our life, often because of fear of how others may see us and judge us, so it’s easier to pretend they exist mostly or only in the wider world and others.
This means we often become afraid of our own (psychological) shadow.
It scares us when we see it in the world because it seems threatening to our well being. We may be afraid of angry people, or immigrants, or people with a certain ideology, or wolves, or aliens, or ghosts, or anything at all. Of course, sometimes it may be appropriate to be afraid of someone or something. And a sign that its a shadow-fear is that it’s consistent, out of proportion to the situation, and often made into an ideology.
And it scares us when someone (which may be our own mind) suggest it’s part of us because it threatens our desired identity. Often, this scares us because we are afraid of how others may see us, judge us, and treat us if we admit to it in ourselves.
Say I am a US businessman with a checkered history. My father gave me almost all my wealth and bailed me out repeatedly when I went bankrupt. My business dealings are often based on deception and semi-illegal activities. So I feel like a fake and a failure, and instead of admitting it (which would be a threat to my desired image of being a successful businessman) I call others failures and fakes. And since I’ll need to keep this up in order to maintain my desired image, this becomes a habit.
Defending and propping up our desired (and very partial) self image is tiring. So eventually, we may realize that it’s easier to just admit to it in ourselves. It’s a relief. It makes us more human and ordinary. It puts us in the same boat as everyone else.
To the mindset that wants to maintain a desired self-image, this can seem threatening. But when we actually do it, we find it is a great relief. We are able to be more real with ourselves and others. We don’t have to be so vigilant when it comes to our self-image. And our views and actions are more fluid and less dictated by the need to maintain our old desired self-image.
As usual, this is an almost infinitely rich topic so I’ll just add a few things.
It is easier to do this among others who do this. It makes us feel more safe. So making a shift to befriending our shadow sometimes does come along with a shift in who we spend our time with.
And there are more structured ways that makes it easier for us to befriend our shadow. There are specific shadow work approaches. Tonglen is great. Most forms of inquirytends to do it. And for me, the most effective and thorough approach I have found is The Work of Byron Katie.
As we befriend our shadow, it’s no longer a shadow. What seemed scary and threatening no longer is that to us. I suspect that’s why I rarely use the term shadow when I write there. It would make sense to use it since it’s a well-known term but it doesn’t fit my experience so well.
The term shadow makes it sound like something monolithic and one single thing. It’s not monolithic. It’s not a single thing. And it’s not even a thing in the first place. It’s just one thought held as true, which makes my mind see it out there and not in here, and spend some effort trying to maintain that division. And then another thought. It’s something that happens here and now, with the thought that’s here and now.
And the content of that thought varies. Sometimes, it’s about heartless politicians. Sometimes, it’s about idiotic people wanting to shoot all wolves. Sometimes, it’s about a friend who is too angry. Sometimes, it’s about how my mother treats my father. Sometimes, it’s about noisy neighbors.
Since we can project the shadow (any unwanted characteristic) onto anything, we can also put it into the past and future. We can vilify the past, and we can scare ourselves with scary images of the future, whether it’s our own or the world’s.
The image of being afraid of one’s own shadow is a bit comical. And that’s how it is with the psychological shadow as well. We are afraid of something we don’t need to be afraid of. We scare ourselves. It seems real before we investigate it, befriend it, and see it’s literally almost nothing.
In one sense, it’s almost nothing since it’s all created by the mind. In another sense, it’s something since admitting to certain characteristics in ourselves can lead to others judging us and treating us differently. (Especially in more traditional and smaller societies.) And in another sense, it’s something since befriending our shadow allows us to experience ourselves as more whole, more deeply human, more connected to everyone and everything, and it allows us to draw on all of these characteristics in ourselves and make use of them in different situations in life.
How is it all created by the mind? It’s the mind putting labels on the world, others, and ourselves. Deciding these labels are either good or bad, desirable or undesirable. And then making the effort of putting bad labels out there and good ones on ourselves. These labels of good and bad are partially cultural and partially individual. Sometimes, we decide that culturally “bad” labels are good for us. They serve as protection for us. (For instance, being stupid, ugly etc.) So we reverse the usual
These labels of good and bad are partially cultural and partially individual. Sometimes, we decide that culturally “bad” labels are good for us. They serve as protection for us. (For instance, being stupid, ugly etc.) So we reverse the usual good/bad content and tell ourselves “I am stupid, and she is brilliant”. In this case, our own shadow contains characteristics that our culture see as good and desirable. We just don’t think we deserve to see it in ourselves, and we find some sense of safety in it.
Why can it be so difficult to recognize and befriend our shadow? It’s largely because of our culture. It tells us some characteristics are good and some are bad, so we naturally want to see the good ones in ourselves and put the bad ones somewhere else. Our family demonstrates this to us as we grow up, as do friends and society in general. It becomes a habit for us, ingrained almost from birth. So it naturally feels difficult and perhaps scary to befriend our shadow, at least at first, and at least with the characteristics our mind most strongly tells us are bad, undesirable, and scary.
I also assume that in some traditional and smaller societies, it could be risky to openly befriend our shadow. If done with some wisdom, we would just appear as more whole and wise people. But it can also be done in a less balanced, more brash, and less mature and wise fashion, and that could be risky in any culture and society. We’ll get a backlash telling us to wise up.
Our culture does also send messages about befriending our shadow, often through fairy tales, poetry, books, and movies. It tells us humanizing stories about the gifts of befriending our shadow. These are very valuable pointers.
I’ll also say a few words about projections in general. The shadow is one type of projections. And projections are, in one sense, images our mind creates and puts on the world. These types of projections are essential for us being able to navigate and orient in the world.
In another sense, projections are when the mind tells itself that some characteristics are mostly or only in us and not in the wider world, or the other way around, and when these stories are invested with energy (associated with bodily sensations) so they seem more solid, real, and true.
And the shadow are the characteristics our mind tells itself are undesirable, and sees more in the wider world than in itself.
What does it give us to befriend our shadow? When we don’t, we have a unrealistic picture of the world, and we tend to get caught up in (harmful) ideologies and reactivity. It can lead to dehumanizing other people and groups of people, and “demonizing” people or parts of the world. We also make more misinformed and misguided decisions, and we are less able to work around or strengthen our weaknesses. We are, quite literally, prone to be blind-sighted by our blind-spots.
When we befriend our shadow, it gives us a more realistic view on ourselves and the world. We are better able to make good and informed decisions and take care of our own weaknesses (find workarounds, strengthen). It creates a sense of us all being in the same boat. And we are less caught up in reactivity, dehumanizing people, and demonizing parts of the world. We are hopefully a little more able to act from informed clarity and kindness.
The truth will set you free in any area of life. And so also with healing and awakening. Not only is truth what allows for healing of emotional issues and awakening, but the reality about healing and awakening is also freeing.
As far as I can tell, one of these “truths” is that healing and awakening both are endless. There is always one more issue to heal. There is always another layer of what we think we are that falls away. For all practical purposes, it’s endless.
If I think there is an end to healing and awakening, I’ll likely try to get to that end. I have a goal in mind. I get impatient. I may set aside other sides of my life so I can get the healing and awakening done with, and then I can address the others sides of my life again. I may get frustrated. Disappointed. Having the idea that there is an end to healing and awakening creates a lot of additional stress and struggle.
If I see healing and awakening as endless, it frees me up. It allows me to weave it into daily life as one of many strands. It becomes normal. It becomes one part of my life among many. There is less urgency and compulsion around it. There is more balance between healing and awakening and the rest of my life. (And everything – any activity, experience and situation – can still be food for healing and awakening.)
It’s perhaps obvious. I assume most of us already see healing and awakening as endless. But somewhere in us, there may be an idea of a goal or endpoint. I know I have had both the knowing of it as endless, and parts of me wanting an endpoint. It can be one of those hidden or unspoken beliefs in us. As with so much, it’s good to notice. And if we are drawn to it, we can explore it further through inquiry or other approaches.
A benefit of seeing healing and awakening as endless is that we know there is always one more step, and one more. We are less likely to think we have “arrived” and less likely to see ourselves as inherently better (or worse) than others because of it, or to go stale because we think there is nothing more to explore or discover.
Another benefit of seeing it as endless is that we all are in the same boat. We may be at different places on the path on all the different strands of development, healing, awakening, and maturing, but we are all on the path. There is always further to go. Always one more step, for all of us.
And it’s not a problem at all that it’s endless. It just means the exploration continues. What’s revealed is fresh and new. We see more and different patterns and connections. We find more underlying patterns and dynamics. As humans, we continue to heal, mature, develop. As this local expression of life, we continue to see more about ourselves and what we are.
Of course, that it’s endless is an idea, it’s my imagination. I don’t really know. It’s just what seems most likely within my current horizon. And it’s the view that seems most helpful to me now.
When I said “truth” in the first paragraph, it’s not meant in the sense of any absolute or final truth. It’s just what seems most real and accurate for me right now, and also most helpful in a practical sense. It may well change.
A cosmology footnote: To me, it seems likely that this universe will expand and then contract, and the energy will form another universe. A “heat death” as current science sees as most likely wouldn’t allow for a continued dynamic exploration, so it seems more likely that the universe is inherently pulsing. Of course, I don’t know. This too is an imagination. And again, it’s one that seems helpful to the extent any overarching abstract idea like that is helpful and relevant to anything.
People ask how I can live if nothing has any meaning and I’m no one. It’s very simple. We are being lived. We’re not doing it. Are you breathing yourself? That’s the end of the story. Did you just put your hand on your face? Did you plan it? Without a story, we move quite well. Effortlessly. In perfect health. Fluidly, freely, with a lot of love. And without war, without resistance. This possibility can be very frightening for people who think that they have control. So investigate, and see how life goes on, so much more joyfully. Even in its apparent collapsing, I see only joy.
I never try to sell anyone on the state of no-self because it cannot be sold. Nor should it be. When it is our time we will simply be inclined towards it, whether we want it or not. We will finally let go without reservation, and for no self-serving reasons, into the Infinite Void. It will be a death more real than physical death, and resurrection into a new life, True Life. And when it is all said and done, we will wonder why we ever avoided it. We will not have attained anything, nor achieved a better status on earth or in Heaven. But we will know the only thing worth knowing, and see from the eyes that created God.
I just finished Blankets by Craig Thompson, a beautifully drawn and told story about his own childhood and teenage years.
I’ll mention a couple of things that stood out to me.
Wholeness. After meeting a young woman who becomes a close friend and then his lover, he says in the presence of my muse I no longer needed to draw.
He hasn’t yet found his own wholeness, so his girlfriend fills the hole he experiences in himself. I assume drawing normally filled the hole for him, and now his girlfriend does so he no longer experiences a need to draw. Of course, when we find our own wholeness more fully we can still very much enjoy relationships, art, and anything else in life. And it now comes more from joy than neediness.
Most of us try to fill the holes we experience in ourselves through relationships, work, status, and other things in the world. It’s natural and it helps us taste wholeness and how it is to feels to be more whole. As we realize that these are band-aids (they are temporary and not completely satisfactory), we may explore finding our own wholeness in ourselves. The wholeness that’s already here. And the wholeness that’s filled out and becomes richer as we develop parts of ourselves.
Christianity and duality. He has a conservative Christian upbringing. And although a basic experience of duality is reflected in most religions and worldviews, Christianity is perhaps especially strongly dualistic. It comes with ideas about a strong division between of heaven and hell, virtue and sin, body and soul, and so on.
When Craig meets his girlfriend, it triggers these images. On the one hand, he is afraid of being led into temptation and eventually to damnation and hell. On the other hand, he sees her as perfect and a goddess. This is normal. We all do it to some extent. It’s the nature of projections. It’s what happens when our mind invests an overlay of imagination with energy (associates it with sensations) so the imagination appears real, solid, and true to itself.
When this happens, we miss out of the intimacy that comes from recognizing the other as ourselves, as a complex and ordinary and ordinarily extraordinary human being. Again, it’s normal. It’s part of being human. It’s part of the play of life as it plays itself out through and as us human beings.
Why isn’t there more research on what happens after this life?
After all, it’s clearly an important topic. All of us will die. It has a direct bearing on what worldview we adopt as a consensus worldview in our modern society. And it is possible to study. (And some do, as outlined in – among other books – Surviving Death by Leslie Kean.)
So if there are good reasons to do this type of research, and a few already do, why isn’t there more research?
The most obvious answer is that it’s (still) taboo in our modern society. It goes against the consensus atheist view of modern science. (Which I mostly agree with apart from when it creates a taboo.) And it steps into a minefield of opinions from religions and religious people around the world. For both of those reasons, you risk upsetting people if you enter this field through research.
That’s perhaps why it has become a taboo. And why most scientists leave it alone. They see it as a field for personal opinion and not something to explore through research.
Of course, it’s also irrational to maintain this taboo. As mention earlier, it’s an important topic with great ramifications for how we see ourselves and the world and it’s well within what we can do research on. There are no good reasons to not do research in this field, apart from the taboo itself.
And yet, taboos have a way of maintaining themselves. People acculturate and adopt the taboo, sometimes without even knowing what’s happening, and then ridicule and reject those who go outside of it. In this way, scientists are not necessarily more rational than anyone else.
This goes for any research on topics outside of the current mainstream view on the world, including research on ESP and the effects of energy healing.
Will it change? Probably. I can easily imagine a world where this type of research is more widely performed and accepted, and where the findings inform our consensus worldview. After all, it is important. And we can do good research on it.
I have several sources of apparent information about it.
Some research suggests life goes on, and that we may even be reborn. I have been very interested in this research since I was perhaps eight or ten years old. And I am also aware that the research on this topic is sparse, there are several different interpretations on the data, and that more and better research is needed.
Religions tell us there is an afterlife of some sort, whether indefinitely or for a while until rebirth. These are religions and have their own agenda, and these are ideas created by someone and then passed on as (often unquestioned) truth.
Atheism says nothing will happen. After we die, we are gone. They make assumptions and are also not always in the truth business. Atheism can be a religion on its own.
Ric W., the current Vortex Healing lineage holder, talks about rebirth and also that we won’t need to be reborn if some of the energetic structures or veils creating strong separation identity have been removed. (As happens in awakening.) This fits the spiritual traditions I trust the most, and if I were to put my money somewhere, it would be here. This too is what someone has said and not something I have been able to verify on my own.
When I do Vortex Healing for people after they have died, I seem to sense how they are and how they experience their new bodiless existence. I tentatively assume this is accurate since when I sense something in Vortex sessions for living people and I check with them, it is most often accurate. Also, in one case I did VH for someone I thought was alive but had actually recently died, and I did sense that his body had fallen away and he still hadn’t adapted to a bodiless existence.
Even as a little child, I had images that looks like memories of life between lives. These images fit perfectly what others describe, even if I didn’t know that at the time. My experience was of all as consciousness and (golden) light, of all as infinite love and wisdom, and there was a profound sense of being home. These are images and although it seems real, I cannot know for certain.
Later on, I had images of past lives that felt like past lives, and others who sense these things have agreed. Again, these are images with some feelings attached to them and I don’t really know. (For me, past life images are useful for reflecting and highlighting issues I have now and I am less interested in whether they are “true” past lives or not.)
So although I have all these sources of information, I honestly don’t know. That’s the authentic answer. Whether it’s one way or another, all I have is what’s here now. My responsibility is to what’s here now. Death comes when it comes, and that’s another phase of the adventure.
As the Zen master said when asked about life after death (paraphrased):
I don’t know, I am not dead yet. Ask me then. (And I won’t answer.)
There is a valuable upside to not knowing what will happen after we are dead, and about anything in the future (or past, or present). It brings us back to immediacy, to what’s here and now. That’s all we have.
This is from an old post that showed up in the sidebar today.
God as WE. That’s still alive for me.
All of existence is the divine. And so are all beings – the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself as individuals and communities, and as evolving species and societies.
It’s already that way. God is already WE. And yet, when God recognizes and notices itself as WE something else comes in. A new dimension in our experience of ourselves as WE.
To me, this WE is not only all human beings, it’s also the whole Earth community. It’s all of life. It includes any beings other places in the universe, whether we know about them or not. And it even includes all of existence. All of it is WE.
This larger WE is what we connect with through the Universe Story or the Epic of Evolution, and through many forms of rituals and forms of spiritual openings. And the WE as a society is something that comes when we find a sacred context for how we see each other and society as a whole, and it can be supported by Big History and practical approaches to create a more real and deep democracy.
Spiritual practices has their effects on us. That’s why we engage in them.
Heart practices opens for love and gratitude for what our human personality likes and doesn’t like. Inquiry helps undo the charge on thoughts and reveal thoughts as questions about the world and not the final word on anything. Breema bodywork allows us to find ourselves as the whole that any unease or discomfort happens within, and that makes the unease and discomfort much easier to relate to and live with. Vortex Healing as a practice, as something I do for myself on a daily basis, helps undo decades and lifetimes of conditioning. Therapeutic tremoring (TRE) helps release tension out of the body, which in turn lessens the charge on thoughts. And so on.
Each of these – at least if we engage with it with sincerity and over time – has a certain effect on our daily life.
When I talk with people, and it may be people who for a while have engaged in different forms of spiritual practice, I tend to notice relatively quickly whether or not they seem to be informed by The Work.
In general, people who have done The Work for a while, and have lived and breathed it, tend to recognize beliefs. They may still be caught in them, and they may still feel true, but they know – from experience – that they are not. They know the stress is created from holding a thought as more true than it is. That no thought is the final word on anything. That there is as much or more validity in the turnarounds as the initial stressful thought.
And through that knowing, there is some space around the thought. We don’t get as caught in it. We are open for finding what’s more true. We may even see the humor in the stressful thought. And all that before even taking it formally to inquiry.
When I talk with people who may have a long spiritual practice but have not immersed themselves in The Work, I often notice that they seem to hold some thoughts as the final or absolute truth without having the same awareness of what’s happening. Of course, there are exceptions. But I have noticed this as a general trend.
The thoughts they hold as true may be anything, and often – if they are spiritual practitioners – they may be thoughts about spirituality or reality.
As usual, this is OK and more than OK. It’s natural and understandable. It’s how life manifests locally and temporarily through and as us. It’s part of the play of life and the divine. It’s how the divine experiences itself, here and for a short while, as separate and finite.
And, of course, this – as everything – is a projection. I am describing myself. I sometimes hold thoughts as the final truth without noticing, and often these are thoughts about spirituality or reality. Including the ones in the previous paragraphs…! Although I am generally aware these are thoughts and questions and not the final word on anything.
When I say this prayer, with some sincerity and wholeheartedness, what happens?
For me, there is a shift into that which already allows all that is. A shift into what I am. A shift into what we can call Big Mind / Big Heart.
There is a release out of my smaller views and concerns. A softening. A release out of being completely caught up in it.
And there is an opening for receptivity, gratitude, and recognizing all as already grace.
And what happens in a more specific sense?
My will is the will of the one taking itself to be a separate being. It’s what comes when I am caught up in my very human reactions. We can say it comes from (blind) identifications with thought, or when thoughts are believed, or from emotional issues and trauma, or reactivity to own experience. All those are ways of talking about what is, in essence, the same.
Your will is what is, what’s here, what happens. It’s how existence is both “inside” and “outside” of me as a human being. It’s all there is.
When I say this prayer, there is a shift in perspective, or a shift in context. There is an acknowledgment that this is already God’s will. There is a shift more into what I am, into Big Mind / Big Heart.
And within this new context, I am still responsible for my own actions as this human being. I am still responsible for being as good steward of my own life as I can. I am still responsible for my own life and my own choices and actions. Only the context has shifted.
So when I pray let your will be done….
It’s an invitation to notice that all already is God’s will.
It opens for receptivity, gratitude, and awe.
It moves my center out of this human being and more into Big Mind / Big Heart.
It helps me step back, shift out of small views, and look at the bigger picture and what is more kind and wise in the situation.
Sometimes, it requires a crisis before we do this. In our daily life, we may – without noticing – live from our will, and it works relatively well. Then a crisis comes, we notice that “our will” is no longer enough or what’s called for. So we pray let your will be done and invite in grace and everything that comes with it.
We remind ourselves of reality. All is God’s will. All is grace. And when I remind myself of this, it’s easier to shift out of my small concerns and find what’s kinder and wiser in the bigger picture.
What that is depends on the situation. Often, it involves forgiving myself. Finding gratitude for life itself. Finding some trust in life as it is. Stepping back from my small and very human concerns. Connect with my knowing and inner guidance. Perhaps find what seems the kindest and wisest for everyone involved, and in the longer run. (As far as I can tell.) And make a small step in that direction.
We can find rest in the ways most of us find rest. Lie down, unwind, sleep. Receive bodywork. Spend time in nature. Go on a vacation. Slow down. Reduce your schedule. Do more of what you really enjoy. Take a few courses in mindfulness and mindful movement (yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema).
For most people, this is more than enough. It gives us the rest we need.
And yet, some of us are called to a path of deeper healing and awakening. And although this path can be intense, uncomfortable, and overwhelming at times (when unhealed emotional issues surface and our most cherished and basic identities are threatened and die), it does eventually bring a deeper and more real rest.
Taking ourselves to be a separate being is inherently stressful. Protecting the identities we take ourselves to be as an I and me is stressful. And unhealed emotional issues are stressful, whether they are triggered and active or resting and creating a more background level of stress.
All of this creates a level of ongoing tension and unease.
So as we find deeper healing for our emotional issues, there is a release of this tension and stress. And as there is an awakening out of taking ourselves to be a separate being, there is an even deeper release of tension and stress.
This deeper path of healing and awakening isn’t really something we choose. It’s chosen for us by life. It’s a calling. And although it can be immensely uncomfortable at times (to the extent we have trauma in our system and strongly hold onto certain identities for protection), it does eventually bring a deeper sense of relief and a deeper release of tension and unease.
Trauma-informed schools and society. There is a movement to create more trauma-informed schools. These are schools where teachers and students are aware of the symptoms of trauma and how to relate to traumatized students, and where knowledge opens for understanding, empathy, and healing. In the best case, it can help whole generations of students in all areas of life. And there is a similar movement to bring trauma awareness into some types of workplaces, including police, firefighting, and the military.
When we don’t know about trauma, we tend to react to it – in ourselves and others – in ways that may retraumatize or deepen the trauma. And when we know the symptoms and how to relate to traumatized people, we can create a safe space, invite in deeper healing, and people’s lives can change for the better in all areas of their lives. The more a whole culture – whether it’s at a school, workplace, for teachers in general – is trauma-informed, the more transformative this can be.
My wish is that we will, eventually, have more trauma-informed people, communities, and even societies. It’s already happening some places, and it will most likely spread. So much of what we see as problems in our society today is typical trauma behavior, including reactivity, recurrent or ongoing anger, anxiety or depression, extreme ideologies, dehumanization of groups of people, substance abuse and any form of addiction, violence, physical and emotional abuse, and homelessness and crime. All of these are often reactions to trauma, or rather to the pain of trauma.
What picture do you get when you hear that sentence?
I see a child.
And that says a lot. It says that in our culture, it’s OK to say I am scared when you are a child, but you are not really supposed to say it as an adult. As an adult, you are supposed to be angry, or sad, or grieve, or be frustrated, or happy, or ecstatic. And sometimes afraid, but that’s definitely more taboo.
Why is fear more taboo? Why does it feel more vulnerable to say I am scared? I am afraid?
My guess is because it’s more real. It’s more true. It’s more authentic.
When I explore anger, grief, sadness, and frustration in myself, I often find fear behind it. These are often reactions to fear.
My mind feels fear. It reacts to it. And that reaction can take the form of anger, frustration, sadness, or even grief.
I lose something or someone important to me. It brings up fear of being alone, of missing out. And my reaction to that fear takes the form of sorrow.
I don’t get what I want because of someone else’s actions, and I see it as unfair. I am scared because I don’t get it, and I feel out of control. And I react to that fear by going into anger.
When I explore emotional issues for myself, mostly through inquiry, fear is often at the bottom of it. (Along with my mind believing scary stories.) And the rest – anger, frustration, sadness, grief, even elation, happiness and ecstacy – come as reactions to the fear.
I can’t say it’s always this way, or always this way for everyone. But this is what I find. When I get close enough, I often arrive at fear. And that tends to dissolve the surface emotions and reactions.
My suspicion is that’s why fear is more taboo. It’s more taboo for adults to admit fear. It’s too intimate. Too authentic. It doesn’t allow for our usual ways of coping with fear through anger and sadness or various compulsions. Admitting to the fear and getting close to it allows the house of cards to fall. What’s left is just nakedness.
When I get close to fear, what then? It’s just like a scared child or animal. What it wants is to be noticed, allowed, respected, met with kindness and patience. Listened to. Often, that’s all that’s needed. (At least, at first.)
I am not really into recreational or mind-altering drugs, and haven’t tried any. (Apart from a little wine with food occasionally.)
Why is that? I can find a few different reasons.
An acquaintance in middle school became psychotic after using drugs. It gave me a healthy scare and I had no interest in following in his footsteps.
The cultures and sub-cultures I have belonged to have been mainly drug-free. Up until very recently, none of my close friends were the ones that had used drugs of any type.
Even as a teenager, I saw it as an escape, and I don’t wish to escape.
I notice a fear of losing control and of lasting undesirable effects.
Life is amazing and magical as it is, and I have no desire to use drugs to get something I already have. (The experience of life as magical and divine.)
Mainly, I want to go through life sober. I don’t want to escape my discomfort. I want to use it as a pointer to what I can befriend, and sometimes what I can invite in healing for.
I understand why some people use recreational drugs. It may be part of their culture or subculture. It may be normal for them. They find it relieves some of their stress and discomfort. (At least in the short run, although in the long run, it tends to add to it.) And I do the same. I too use things to escape. (Believing thoughts, distractions, entertainment, food, sex, friendships, nature, books etc.). I know I am in the same boat.
What about using psychoactive drugs for healing, guidance, or spiritual openings? I know some report great benefits in this area. And I am sure it can be useful for some people in some situations. (Mainly, when it’s informed, conscious, and supported by someone who knows the process well.) Personally, I am a little suspicious of the side- and after-effects of using this path. Again, I wish to go through life sober. I wish to use other approaches. And here too, I know I am in the same boat as the ones using psychoactive drugs. For instance, I too explore some “quick fixes” for healing and awakening. (For instance, through Vortex Healing.)
I discovered I Ching in my teens and read it over and over for the insights and wisdom in it. (This was the Richard Wilhelm translation and I think I got into it because it had a foreword by Jung.)
I also occasionally used it as an oracle although I quickly realized it mostly reflected my mind at the time of asking and less the situation I thought I asked about.
At times, I have also consulted psychics. The good ones often have good insights and pointers and pick up on what’s happening in the situation. They may also get something about the future but tend to not emphasize it, partly because it’s less useful and partly – as Yoda said – always in motion is the future.
And I too have a knowing about which choice to make. Mainly, it’s from the quiet inner voice and sometimes it’s a sense of how bright different options are. And I have seen that it works out best (more aligned, more flow) if I follow the quiet inner voice, the voice of the heart, and the brighter options.
My experience with oracles and psychics is that, at best, they can point to what I already know and help me trust it. They may also help me look at an aspect of the situation I have ignored or not taken seriously enough.
What they cannot do is tell me what to do or what will happen. And that’s as it should be. There are many benefits to the future being (mostly) unknown to us and always in motion.
One is that the future doesn’t exist apart from as images in our minds. (And these images will always be based on very incomplete sensing and information.) Realizing we can’t know the future, and that what’s here now is all there is, helps us align with reality and “live in the moment” in the sense of knowing that our images about the future, past, and present are all images in our mind.
Another gift in an unknown future is that a big part of human life is making choices, experiencing the consequences, and learning from it. That’s how we mature and grow. Also, if we knew the future the suspense would be gone. It would take a lot of the spice out of living.
Of course, we know the future in a limited way. I know that if I stub my toe, I’ll most likely experience pain. If I am kind to people, they are most likely kind to me. If I save money, I’ll have money in the bank for when I need it.
Ideas and images about the future are essential for us to function as individuals and society. It helps us plan, and it helps us mentally test out different futures and chose to invest in the ones that seem most sensible and attractive. And it really helps to know and remind ourselves that these are images. They are not an actual future. They are not “real” apart from as images. We can act in ways that make the ones we like more likely to happen. And investing these images with emotional energy tend to eventually create suffering. (Life often won’t conform and everything passes.)
All of this brings us back to ourselves. I am the one who has to make my own decisions. I have to live the consequences. I have to steer my own ship. It won’t be perfect. I’ll make choices I would have made differently with what I know in hindsight. And that’s the human experience. That’s how this life is set up. It’s inevitable so I may as well make the best out of it. I may as well enjoy it…. the unknowing, the suspense, the surprises.
Any source of information about the consequences of different choices is helpful, including my own knowing and the quiet inner voice. Any images of the future are just that, images. And embracing the reality of this, the inherent unknowing, makes it easier for me to enjoy it all.
And that brings me to perhaps the most important aspect of this. Where in me does the impulse to want to know come from? If I feel compelled to know, or find safety, or have others decide for me, where does it come from? What do I hope to get out of it? What are the emotional issues behind it? What beliefs and identifications fuel them?
These are often quite deep-seated and central issues in our lives so it’s good to acknowledge and explore them. The more I find clarity around and healing for these issues, the less compulsion there will be to know, the less paralyzed or stressed I will feel, and the easier it is to notice and follow my own knowing.
When a current situation triggers old wounds, it’s a valuable opportunity to find healing for the old.
For instance, I have a loss in my life. And it triggers childhood wounds around loss. (It could be from specific situations, or it could be from family patterns and insecure attachment.)
It doesn’t really matter if what comes up is “new” or old. (Although if what comes up in me is strong – stronger than I would expect from the situation, and it’s a familiar feeling or pattern, it probably means that the new triggered an old wound.)
In either case, I can meet it with kindness, respect, and patience. I can feel the sensations, rest with them, breathe consciously. Notice and allow.
And I can explore and invite in healing in any number of ways. For me, usually through inquiry and Vortex healing.
In this way, I use the new to find healing for the old. My current situation becomes very valuable to me even if it’s painful and not something I would have sought out.
I have gone through what we can call a dark night of the soul for the last few years. I won’t go into much detail here since I have written about it in other articles. But what keeps coming up is what seems like a central invitation. And that invitation is to see, feel, and love even what’s most difficult to see, feel, and love – as the divine.
In my teens, the divine revealed itself to itself as all there is. It was easy to see and love all – or almost all – as the divine, and even feel it as the divine.
I said “almost all”… Some things were not so easily recognized as the divine, especially what this human self strongly dislikes, and especially strong emotional pain, and – to a lesser degree – discomfort in general.
My dark night phase has been a series of losses – of health, relationships, money, opportunities, belongings, identities, ideas about the future and more. And that has brought up things in me. It has brought up what hasn’t yet been seen, felt, and loved. And what hasn’t yet been seen, felt, and loved as the divine. It has brought up emotional wounds, trauma, and cherished beliefs and identities created for protection and safety (as all beliefs and identities are).
When unprocessed psychological material comes to the surface, it’s often painful. And there are often reactions to it. If I get caught in my reactions, it’s even more painful. And if I relate to it is with kindness, respect, and patience, it’s easier. It’s a relief. It can even bring a bittersweet feeling, a sense of wholeness, and a sense of returning home.
Meeting it with kindness, respect, and patience is the portal to seeing the unseen, feeling the unfelt, and loving the unloved in me. And that, in turn, is the portal for the divine to recognize itself as even that, even the discomfort, even the pain, even the reactivity to it. To see, feel, and love itself as all of it.
There are different types of dark nights, and even within any of our mind-created categories, each one is unique. And yet, they all seem to be about removing veils. Wearing off identifications, beliefs, and ideas about who or what we are.
In my case, one of the many beliefs life seems to wear out in me is the belief – held deeply in me and not aligned with my conscious view – that some things in my experience are not the divine. That this emotional pain, this dread & terror, this discomfort, is not the divine. That it’s somehow inherently wrong. Alien. A mistake. The child in me still reacts to it as if it is all of these things.
There are no shoulds here. But there is an invitation to see what happens when I get caught in the reactivity to what comes up (amplifying the discomfort), and what happens if I instead remember to meet it with kindness, respect, and patience. And perhaps see the unseen, feel the unfelt, and find love for the unloved. And perhaps then, allowing the divine to recognize itself as what’s here – the emotional pain, the reactivity to it – as itself. As a local and temporary expression of itself.
When I invite in healing for myself, it’s on behalf of life.
When I heal a part of me, it obviously benefits myself, my future self, and those around me. It may also benefit future generations and all life. And I am doing it on behalf of my ancestors.
So when I do healing for myself and it feels challenging, I can remind myself of this. I am doing it on behalf of life. And, in a sense, I have the support of all of life in my healing process.
How is this true, more specifically?
When I find emotional healing for myself, it benefits me and my future self. It’s an act of solidarity with my future self. I’ll be better able to make good decisions and fully enjoy and live life. It may also benefit those around me since I’ll be more free of emotional issues and reactivity, less annoying, and perhaps more understanding.
In the same way, it may benefit future generations. If I have children, they will benefit from my healing and pass it on, and at the very least not pass on the unhealthy patterns that ended with me.
And I am doing it on behalf of my ancestors. Many unhealthy emotional patterns are passed on through generations and through our culture. And even if my ancestors and previous generation were not able to find healing for the patterns passed on to me, I may be able to find healing for what they couldn’t (due to different times, awareness, support, skills).
My healing can also help the wider living whole. Healing means contentment and less reactivity, and contentment allows for less (harmful) consumption, and reduced reactivity allows for kinder and more informed decisions and way of life. A way of life that takes into account the well-being of all of life.
In these ways, all of life is an ally in my healing. When I imagine all beings as kind and clear, I know they support my healing. And I can remind myself of this and this implicit support, when my own healing seems challenging.
Beyond just reminding myself, I can call in and ask for support from ancestors, future, generations, and all of life for my own healing process.
Note: I say “heal myself” which is partly true, but it’s more true that life heals itself. “I” am not doing it and cannot do it. Life does it. Life invites in healing for parts of itself and heals itself.
I thought I would give an health update in the context of Vortex Healing.
I have had chronic fatigue (CFS) since my teens, with a long period where I functioned much better, and then a return of strong CFS some years ago. And I have also had Lyme for several years (for certain since 2015 but I and others suspect much longer).
Here is a brief outline of my healing journey since Vortex Healing found me near three years ago. I won’t go into all the details as it would take too much time and probably be tedious to read (and write!).
I was initially very skeptical to Vortex Healing (VH). Although I know very well that we can channel divine energy and consciousness for healing, VH sounded a little weird and I have had unfortunate experiences with other energy healing modalities.
The first session – in February of 2016 – was amazing. I felt the energy and consciousness work in me, and a lot of problems with my belly and digestion went away after the first session. When I woke up the morning after, I felt much lighter and had a taste of how I was before the return of the strong CFS.
For a while, I mainly received sessions – and after my first class gave myself VH – to balance and bring up my energy system. I also worked on emotional issues with good effect.
Since my first VH class, I have done VH for myself nearly daily with a few periods where I needed a break energetically. I am now at Jewel level.
When it comes to my fatigue and brain fog symptoms, VH has helped a lot in periods but my system has then reverted back to a (low) default state. I assume this is because the Epstein-Barr virus (CFS) and the Lyme and Lyme co-infections all still were active in my system.
Over the last year, it seems that a few VH sessions have been able to remove the Epstein-Barr virus behind the CFS and the Lyme and co-infections behind the Lyme disease. These have been sessions with teachers and senior students. I assume these are out of my system since re-checking brings a negative result (which is good!).
More recently, I have worked on supporting my body detoxing using VH and herbs (dandelion tea and more). The VH sessions from others and myself have mostly focused on the lymph system, liver, and general detoxing. My body’s detoxing has been slow and sluggish and feels better now, although there is further to go.
I have also worked on emotional issues behind or at the center of the CFS and brain fog. I assume there is an emotional component to the CFS in my case since that’s the case for most or all long-term illnesses. Among these is an impulse to want to hide from life and seeking refuge in illness.
I am also working on core childhood issues using VH and inquiry. This makes sense no matter what (for general quality of life), and they may play a role in my health in general and with the CFS in particular. Childhood issues often impact our health.
My general experience now is that my system is in far better shape than it has been. (My system used to feel like a bathtub with the stopper removed so any energy drained out immediately. Now, there is a sense of some reservoir of energy again.) My energy system feels OK and much more balanced.
And yet, my fatigue and brain fog symptoms are still here, and I spend most or almost all of the days still resting.
When I check in with my system, what seems most off currently is my head. There is an energetic block between my head and the rest of my body. And the energetic bodies seem a little disembodied from my physical head. Energetically, my head area feels fuzzy, unfocused, and disembodied. Over the last couple of days, I have started working with VH on my head/rest-of-body connection and the brain.
A psychic friend of mine says she sees an image of the nerve endings in my brain fried and curled up, and says my brain needs to create new pathways. As she sees it, this is the reason for the continued fatigue and brain fog. According to her, I will return to full health but it will take some time.
If this is the case, it makes sense to me. My system got fried during the initial awakening in my teens, and that was when I initially got CFS. There was another awakening that happened just before the return of the strong CFS, and this may also have fried something in me. (I also received diksha during that time, and I wonder if that did something with my brain.)
Right now, it does seem that the VH sessions are getting to core issues behind the fatigue and brain fog. It is puzzling to me that I don’t function better in daily life even after the removal of the pathogens and the energizing, clearing, and balancing of my system. But the head issues may be a clue to what’s going on. And I am sure working on any emotional components will give my system a better chance to recover.
I have lived several years on the US west coast (Oregon and California) and am very comfortable with the more mature spiritual communities I find there. They draw on decades of experience with exploring spiritual traditions and practices, and combining them with western approaches to therapy, bodywork, and healing.
In Norway, where I grew up and find myself right now, I haven’t found any communities where I feel at home in that way. And, if I am honest, not many – or perhaps any – individuals I resonate with in that way. Of course, there are many spiritual communities and even more individuals I don’t know about and haven’t yet met.
What I have found is less experience, less variety of experience, and overall less maturity. It feels a little provincial. And for good reasons, since the contemporary spiritual community in Norway is provincial. It’s not as rich or old as in some other places.
Of course, this sounds a little arrogant. But it’s also real. The US west coast is unique in this way due to its unique history (partly because of the large Asian population and the counter-culture of the 60s and 70s).
What I have found more of in Norway are people being more dogmatic about the one approach they have found and are familiar with, or people with a lose grasp on reality who seem to want to believe anything that’s weird (and the more weird the better). Again, this is perhaps to be expected since contemporary spirituality is relatively new here, and it’s perhaps also a not entirely fair description.
Whenever I write these type of posts, I am very aware that they reflect my own hangups and wounds. I am holding up a mirror to myself. I find myself in how I see the US west coast and in Norway. I have the more mature, inclusive, and innovative forms of spirituality in me, and also the less mature versions. And those projections come from beliefs, identities, and wounds that I can explore through inquiry and find some resolution for through a variety of approaches.