Schedule a session

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, Tension and Trauma Release Exercises, and Breema bodywork. I have worked on my own healing and awakening process for more than two decades under the guidance of spiritual teachers from a range of different traditions.

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

– Thank you, keep in touch. Breana K.

See more testimonials from clients.

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. Feel free to rate. Thanks!

November 2015 update: I have the book idea(s) on the back burner for the time due to health and other life circumstances. 

Awakening in Vortex Healing and in other contexts

 

Vortex Healing is a path of healing and awakening.

When I first encountered Vortex Healing (VH), I was curious about how awakening within the Vortex Healing context is similar to and differs from other traditions I am more familiar with. I still have that curiosity, and here is some of how it looks to me now.

Similarities 

Same awakening. What’s described as awakening in the VH context is the same as how it’s described in the many spiritual traditions of the world. It’s Spirit awakening to itself and out of its temporary identification as a separate being. (Spirit = consciousness, awakeness, empty awakeness etc.)

Gradual. Awakening is a gradual path. There is a continuing clarifying and deepening. There is an awakening out of identifications, and as the fullness of existence beyond and including all polarities.

Sudden. Basic awakening is sometimes sudden. It can happens in a flash.

Embodiment. Awakening requires embodiment. It requires our human self to realign with this new reality. It requires healing, maturing, and realignment.

Ripening. Awakening requires a readiness and ripening. And we can set the stage for and support this readiness and ripening. There are certain things we can do to invite it in.

Work. Awakening requires work. Ripening, clarfying, and embodiment requires attention, sincerity, and work. That’s the same for all paths I am aware of. (The type of work can be somewhat different, although much is similar.)

Differences

Reliable and consistent ripening. Ripening happens in a relatively predictable way through any serious path, but it does seem to happen in a more reliable and consistent way through VH than what I have seen from other paths.

In VH, the ripening happens thorugh the courses we take as VH students, and it happens in a predictable way so all have basic awakening after a certain number of courses. I am very aware that this sounds like a naive assumption, and I was extremely skeptical for a while. Now, I have seen and experienced enough to say that it seems accurate.

Basic awakening happens at a certain predictable phase of the process, and it happens for everyone who makes it that far. (And it’s not even that far into the process. It can easily happen within two years.)

Unique paths. Each unique path brings something unique. The practices we engage in builds a certain set of skills, insights, and experiences. And we bring those with us into and within the awakening. For instance, in VH, we practice attention, intention, sensing, surrender, being guided, and transformative magic. (I know the word “magic” can be off putting. It was for me in the beginning, and I still rarely use the word. I guess I am getting somewhat used to it, and I also see that it’s a pretty accurate way of describing what’s happening.)

I should also say that in VH, the basic awakening is very precise and limited to releasing the core sense of self or an I. In other traditions, a sudden awakening may clear out a good deal more in the process. In VH, that clearing tends to happen more gradually through taking the courses and receiving healing sessions from oneself and others.

One of the things I find very helpful about VH is the gradual ripening and healing. It’s a gentle process, for the most part. I feel in safe hands. And it’s helped me heal things that went a bit haywire from earlier openings and awakenings.

I know that this can be a bit upsetting to some who have invested a great deal of time in traditional spiritual practices. There is another path where they can have basic awakening within two years? And it’s easy to dismiss it, as I did at first. It seems to easy. And yet, it’s not really. To be attracted to the VH path, we have to be pretty ripe already. Other traditions have a great deal of gifts in them. And it’s not one or the other. Most people combine other paths and practices with VH in their lives.

(more…)

Waiting for perfection

 

Some of us wait for perfection. We want to be X before we can do Y.

We want to be completely awake and healed before sharing our insights with others. We want to have our life in perfect order before having children. We want to heal completely after an long lasting illness before going back to work.

I see this for myself, and those examples are from my own life right now.

We can tell ourselves it’s noble to wait for perfection. But it can also be a very long wait. And it’s very often an excuse. Something we can hide behind.

As someone said, perfection is the enemy of the good.

A wish for perfection is a way for us to try to compensate for feeling not enough – not good enough, not lovable enough, or whatever else it may be. And it’s a way to not fully engage in life. It’s a way to let our fears – the unexamined and unloved ones – stop us.

(more…)

Core, ground, periphery

 

Here is one way to map out the discomfort/suffering dynamic.

Core. The core is identifications and beliefs. It’s holding stories as true and real, and this has energetic, emotional, mental, perceptual, and lived components. It’s reflected in all our human levels of being, in how we perceive, and how we live.

Periphery. These are the consequences of the identifications and beliefs. They include additional beliefs that support the initial ones, reactions towards the pain created by the initial beliefs, reactions towards the life situations the initial beliefs brings us into, and more. There is sometimes a great deal of these more peripheral beliefs, and they in themselves can become core beliefs for additional ones.

Ground. The ground is what we are and everything are, aka consciousness and love.

Identification means identification with or as the viewpoint of a thought. We hold it as real, and perceive and live as if it’s real. This creates a sense of separation. It also creates discomfort and even suffering since it’s out of alignment with reality. Life and reality rubs up against our beliefs and identifications, and this is uncomfortable.

Say there is a belief that there is a separate self. This can have a more peripheral belief that this separate self is unlovable. And this in itself becomes a core belief for a constellation of other beliefs, for instance that I need to seek love by doing what I think other people want me to do, and that her look means she doesn’t like me and that is terrible. All of this creates discomfort and suffering.

And that discomfort is an invitation to – eventually – examine more closely what’s happening and find more clarity and release from it. And that will eventually lead Spirit to recognize itself – and all there is – as consciousness and love.

Why is all this happening? We can see it from a few different perspectives.

At a human level, we can see the formation of the initial beliefs and identification as mimicking the adults in our life. We take on what we see our parents and others doing. It’s a form of love. It’s a form of taking care of ourselves. It’s innocence.

At a multiple-life perspective, we can see it as a habit that is passed on over lifetimes.

At a Spirit perspective, we can see it as Lila, the play of the divine. The universe – and our experience – is the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways. And this includes temporarily experiencing itself as separate, as a separate being. It’s part of the play.

(more…)

Samuel Bercholz: A guided tour of hell

 

I went to an excellent talk with Samuel Bercholz and Pema Namdol Thaye at the Asian Art Museum earlier today. They are the author and artist of A Guided Tour of Hell: A Graphic Memoir. I can highly recommend the book. (Samuel Bercholz also happens to be the founder of the Shambala publishing company. I must have read hundreds of their books.)

A few things about hell. It’s created by our own mind, and more specifically by our beliefs and identifications. Beliefs and identifications are at odds with reality, and create unease and sometimes suffering. This hell is with us as long as we have these beliefs and identifications, whether in this human life or between incarnations. We create our own hell.

What’s the remedy? It’s partly to heal our very human trauma and wounds. And more to the point, to heal our relationship with our experience. To befriend our experience, independent of it’s content. To find kindness and even love for it. And to recognize our experience as awakeness and even love. And this goes for all of our experience, including other people, the world, ourselves, different parts of ourselves, and our own discomfort, pain, and suffering.

My own experience with hellish states. It’s a good reminder for myself. As I have written about before, I have gone through a difficult few years. Following a nondual opening that lasted a few months, I was plunged into chronic fatigue (CFS) and later PTSD. Adyashanti talks about how an awakening or opening can “take the lid” off anything suppressed or avoided in our mind, and that’s what happened to me. There was no chance of holding it back or pushing it away.

A huge amount of unprocessed material surfaced over the following months and years, and it led to PTSD and several months where I hardly slept and all I could do was walk in the woods in Ski, Norway. (While listening to the audio version of the dark night chapter of Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill and Adyashanti talking about the dark night and other topics.) Fortunately, I had some guidance by someone who had gone through it himself and understood (Barry Snyder) and I also did The Work and found TRE, both of which helped me tremendously.

And still, a great part of this process was something I just had to ride out. Practices and healings helped in taking the edge off some of it, but the vast bulk of it just had to live its own life and was something I had to find a way to live with, even if it often felt indescribably unbearable and overwhelming.

As so many describe, it has gradually tapered off although I still feel I am in it to some extent. I am very grateful for having found Vortex Healing which has been and is a great support for me in the healing and continued awakening process.

Note: As I wrote the section above, I was aware that this is a good example of hellish states but not a good example of how we can work with it. The unprocessed material that surfaces is something I have worked with extensively and continue to work on healing and clearing – mainly through inquiry (Living Inquiries, The Work), TRE, resting with it, and – these days – Vortex Healing. As the intensity has gradually decreased, it’s easier for me to work on it.

(more…)

Influenced by circumstances

 

I am very strongly influenced by circumstances – by place, housing, and people around me. Right now, I am in San Francisco which is in a region where I feel very much at home, and I am near San Francisco Zen Center and the Breema Center. Here, I feel alive, clear, engaged, and passionate about life. In other locations, it can be the reverse. And for me, the difference is not subtle. It’s like night and day.

Some say we are the same person no matter what, so circumstances doesn’t matter. That’s true in one sense. We are the same person and we have the same potentials and characteristics in us. But it’s very much not true in a practical sense since different circumstances bring out different parts of us. And for some, this is stronger than for others.

Note: For me, the land has the largest influence. The spirit of the land. It’s very tangible, and it can bring about clarity and aliveness, or dullness and a sense of drudgery. I can quite easily tune into the quality of the land at a distance, so the quality of the land is rarely surprising to me when I actually arrive there.

Climate does play some role, the geology and ecology do as well, and the duration and extent of human settlement play a significant role. If a large number of people have lived somewhere for centuries or millennia, the land feels saturated with the energies of all these people. I think that’s why I like places like the North American west coast, the Rocky Mountain region, Iceland, and the wilderness and sparsely populated areas in Norway so much.

(more…)

The world as a dream

 

I recently answered a set of questionnaires connected with a course using tools from different spiritual and psychological traditions.

One of the questions was (paraphrased): do you experience the world as unreal, as a dream?

Do you experience the world as unreal, as a dream?

In a psychological context, I would answer no since a “yes” could be taken as a symptom of schizophrenia. I don’t experience the world as unreal in that way.

In a spiritual context, or in the context of a spiritual emergence or emergency, the answer would be “yes”. The world is revealed as consciousness (Spirit, love), as insubstantial, as a dream. The world and dreams both happen as and within consciousness.

Although the questionnaire was presented as part of a course using spiritual tools, I did answer “no” since the questionnaire itself was clearly a standard psychological one.

(more…)

Home

 

Everyone on a spiritual path has a slightly different essential motivation or carrot. It can be love, or truth, or something else. (Wanting to escape suffering is a surface motivation, and there is a more real and essential motivation there as well.)

For me, it’s coming home.

In childhood, before school age, I had flashbacks and memories of how it was before incarnation. An infinite golden translucent light. Infinite love. Profound sense of being home. All as Spirit, wisdom, and love. All beings as formless. Formless beings as guides and expressions of this infinite wisdom and love. (And for me, some slight identification which was recognized as an artifact and not having any absolute or final reality or truth.)

In my childhood, I had a deep sense of longing. I would often wake up feeling it very strongly, and nothing seemed to satisfy it. I would go to my parents, play with friends, have strawberry jam sandwich with hot cocoa (my favorite thing), read Carl Barks stories, and nothing even touched it. I couldn’t figure out what it was about.

During elementary school, I became a die-hard atheist on my own accord. Christianity made absolutely no sense to me and seemed a crock, or a crutch for weak minded people. I did have an interest in parapsychology and read quite a bit about it.

When I was 15, the world withdrew and appeared very distant and as a dream. Much later, I realize that identification was most likely drawn into the “witness”. This lasted for about a year.

And when I was 16, everything without exception was revealed as Spirit (consciousness, love, intelligence). It was Spirit awakening to itself as everything, as the whole universe, and expressed through this tiny and young human form. Here too, there was some slight remaining identification, which was clearly an artifact and without any final or absolute reality. This was very strong for several years, and never went away. I couldn’t find many who seemed to

I couldn’t find many who seemed to live or talk from this. The closest I eventually found, after many years, was Adyashanti and Ramana Maharshi. They both live(d) and speak/spoke from this. Meister Eckhart did too, although intentionally clothed by necessity in Christian language.

At some point in this opening or awakening, I realized that this is what the earlier longing was about. I had longed for home, and this was home. Of course, this home was and is always here. We can never get away from it. But we don’t always notice it. In this opening or initial awakening, home was revealed as always here and what I am and everything is.

(more…)

Trump reflections VI

 

Continued from previous posts.

The right side of history. It can seem a bit arrogant to say that something is on the right or wrong side of history. After all, some will disagree, and who am I to make such a judgment?

At the same time, I feel it’s something we are allowed to say. What generally is supportive of life and people is on the right side of history. Policies that aim to support life and people, and especially the weakest ones and the ones with no voice, are on the right side of history. Why is that? It’s partly because the weakest and those with no voice includes future generations.

It’s also because these more inclusive policies tend to be the most beneficial to everyone in the big picture and over time.

Everything is politics. Everything is politics. We all have preferences, and those preferences are politics. They intersect with policies at a social level.

If we see something as not political, it’s often because the preferences built into it – whether it’s a religion, activity, or way of life – tend to be accepted or mirrored by the larger society. As soon as this is no longer the case, it becomes clear to us how political it really is.

Privilege. As many point out, saying that we are not interested in politics, or don’t want to get involved, comes from a position of privilege. It’s what we can say if life for us and those close to us is relatively good. It’s what we say if we ignore the situation of those less fortunate than us.

Why are spiritual people often more liberal? It’s completely possible to be into spirituality and still have a generally conservative view, especially if it’s a more kind and sane version of conservatism. And yet, spiritual people tend to be more liberal. I think there are several reasons.

One is that spirituality tends to come with a natural concern for the welfare of all beings. We realize, and it’s often an alive and lived realization, that we are all one. We are all expressions of Spirit. We are all connected as part of this living planet. And that concern is best reflected in more liberal policies.

Another is that religions have conservative elements built into them. Religions seek to preserve themselves and not change too much. And that fits a conservative mindset. Spirituality tends to be more open and experimental, and that fits a more liberal mindset. Of course, these are just general tendencies. Some branches of religion are quite liberal, and some traditions have spiritual elements that can be quite conservative.

(more…)

Dreams: My father is clear and spirited

 

My father is his real age, and his body and energy is clear, youthful, and spirited.

In real life, my father is showing signs of aging but otherwise doing well. In general, much of what we think of as associated with aging has to do with the accumulated effects of identifications and beliefs. Energy is tied up, muscles are chronically contracted, and the body stiffens up, and that takes its toll when it accumulates over the years.

In the dream, all of that was cleared up and he was youthful and enlivened.

I wonder if this reflects the work I am doing these days, and what’s being cleared up through the Vortex Healing. I have worked on a range of basic issues, including stuck energy in the shoulder area which is a characteristic of my family. I associate it with my father, and as the energy clears up in me (still in the process), it may be reflected in dreaming about my father having this clear and more vital energy.

Inquiry mimics how we look at things when we are more awake

 

Formalized inquiry mimics how we look at things when we are more awake.

It’s a stepping stone. If we are drawn to it, and it works for us, it’s a wonderful tool.

And as any tool, it’s helpful for some things and in some situations.

It may seem especially helpful in a certain phase in our exploration and development, but even later, it’s good to return to inquiry to discover more and free certain sticky thoughts.

Is it who you are?

 

I was recently interviewed by a friend who is in Robert Keegan’s Order of Consciousness certification program.

One of the questions he asked was is it who you are? That orientation to see what happens as a gift, is it who you are?

It’s almost impossible to answer such a question simply. It completely depends.

To others who have known me for a while, the answer is probably yes. I have had that orientation since my teens.

If I answered a questionnaire aimed at detecting that orientation, I may score quite high. In terms of that questionnaire, it’s who I am – at least at the time of answering the questions.

In the big picture, it’s obviously not who I am.

At a human level, it’s not really who I am. I wasn’t that way, at least not consciously, before my mid-teens. There are moments where it goes in the background and something else is stronger. It may change in the future.

And I am really that which experience happens within and as. I am that which this orientation comes and goes within.

So is it who I am? Yes and no. It depends. It’s complex. And I am sure my answer will change if you ask me in a month, or a year, or ten years.

Gary Snyder: Self-definition is presupposed before we start talking politics

 

Self-definition is presupposed before we start talking politics, which is also to say: What picture of the world have you managed to create for yourself?

– Gary Snyder in National Treasure: Gary Snyder, Lion’s Roar

It’s always good to start with the big picture and some context. In this case, Gary Snyder reminds us that politics always starts out with our definition of ourselves and our picture of the world.

As does everything in our human life, really.

To the extent we see this and take it in, there is a softening of our identification with these identities. We see that politics – and so much else in our social and human life – come out of our biases and conditioning. That’s what creates the richness, and also what creates positions. And these positions – depending on how we relate to them – can create friction or a more informed view, or both.

To the extent we identify with our views, there is friction. And to the extent this identification has softened, there is some fluidity and the possibility of a a bigger picture and more informed view. We have the possibility of including multiple perspectives and find a more inclusive way of looking at the situation.

Playing out conditioning

 

Our human life and interactions is conditioning playing itself out.

A simple way to explore this is to take any view we have or activity we are doing, and then find a cause behind it, and then another, and then another. They are innumerable, and stretch back to beginning of time and out to the widest extent of the universe.

When we see this, there is a softening of identification with our identities, views, and actions. They are not personal. They are universal in the sense that they (a) belong to the universe as a whole, and (b) we and everything live out conditioning.

It’s also quite beautiful. It allows the universe – including us – to exist and function. It creates a great deal of diversity and richness. And it allows us to find ourselves as that which all this happens within and as.

In daily life, we can notice this whenever we interact with others. We each perceive and live from our conditioning, and it can be helpful to notice or guess some specifics about it. For instance, I prefer quiet over loudness. What may have lead to that preference?

I grew up in an educated middle class home in Norway, and quiet is valued in that subculture and culture. Being quiet equals being considerate and a good person and citizen.

I am used to quiet at home. I prefer it because it’s familiar.

I feel nervous and restless if it’s not quiet. It’s uncomfortable.

I have CFS and had PTSD, both of which makes me more sensitive to sound. Silence feels deeply nurturing and healing.

I am a mammal, and mammals tend to prefer silence or quiet. Silence or near silence is part of our evolutionary history, and it also allows us to detect danger more easily. It’s built into us to prefer silence.

And so on. I could probably always find one more possible reason, and then another.

Another person may not have this preference, and may even prefer loudness. What are some possible reasons?

They may have grown up in a lively and loud home. It feels familiar and comforting to them.

They may not have sound sensitivities. Their consititution may be more robust.

Their ancestors may have been very comfortable with loundness, and passed on those characteristics. Those traits can give a survival advantage in some situations.

They may use it to drown out uncomfortable sensations and thoughts. It can feel like an escape for them, a way to find a sense of safety.

When I see this, there is more understanding and compassion for both of us. I see that we are both playing out conditioning. And, really, we are both conditioning being played out. I still have my preferences, and I’ll still seek more silence, but the identifications around it have softened a bit.

These lists of possible causes are just that, a list of possible causes. They are questions. In this context, it doesn’t matter how accurate they are. They just serve as a reminder of innumerable causes.

(more…)

Shepard Fairey posters, Amplify Foundation.

Trump reflections V

 

Continued from previous posts.

Policies and democracy. Trump worries me and many others, and our main concerns are in two areas:

Policy content. He – supported by his cabinet and the Republican congress – are likely to implement policies that erode social safety nets, transfer what’s now publicly and collectively owned to private corporations, and tends to benefit people like them (billionaires) at the cost of regular people.

Democracy. Trump’s m.o. is to (a) deny the truth of something easily verifiable, and (b) turning it back on the other (blame, name calling). This erodes the democratic process, norms, and unwritten rules built up over decades and centuries. His authoritarian and bullying tactics belong to the world of old-fashioned kings and dictators, not a democracy.

What we can do. So what can we do? We need to be what we want to see in the world:

Emphasize facts and reality.

Act with integrity and uphold democratic norms and processes. Support order instead of his chaos.

Support forward-looking policies and what we want to see in our society. Remember and develop our visions of the society we want to have.

Remember that a majority of people in the US support liberal policies – when these are presented outside of party politics. Remember that Trump got only a quarter of the votes, and less than half of the votes cast.

Focus on the issues and not his personality. Hold the media to a high standard of accountable reporting. Act with sanity and maturity.

Collapse. Many have predicted the end of the US empire and Trump is actively engaged in making it happen. It doesn’t take much to predict it right now, it’s happening right in front of our eyes. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

What’s more concerning is the possible collapse of western civilization as we know it. The current version of our civilization is, as we all know, profoundly unsustainable. It can’t continue. The only question is how it will end and what will come instead.

If we take it seriously – far more than we have up to now – we can still create a relatively graceful transition to a more sustainable civilization. If we continue on our current path, and Trump even wants to reverse it, the transition may be in the form of a far more harsh collapse.

Trump as a useful idiot for Republicans. Many, including me, think that the Republicans will keep Trump for as long as he is useful to them. As soon as he becomes too troublesome – either in terms of damaging the Republican brand or by being too unpredictable and unruly – they’ll get rid of him. A Pence president won’t do the public any favors, but to the Republicans, he is far more predictable and in line with the Republican agenda. Robert Reich posted about this earlier today.

The upside. The possible upside of Trump and a Republican congress is that more people will wake up to what’s really going on. The Republican agenda is to line the pockets of the wealthy at the cost of ordinary people. And that’s what Trump is in the process of doing as well.

Even better would be if more people also wake up to the need and great benefit all around from creating a culture that’s aligned with ecological realities, but I doubt if the Trump situation can do that. Someone like Elon Musk are more likely to open people’s eyes.

A test. The Trump presidency is a test of sorts. It’s a test of our character. Again, it’s an invitation for us to be what we want to see in the world.

A mirror. At a more psychological level, Trump serves as a mirror. He serves as a mirror of what lurks in the US population. And he serves as a mirror for each of us. There is a simple way of exploring this.

Write a list of what you see in him. (He is… He should…)

Turn each statement around to yourself. (I am…. I should….)

Find three or more specific examples of how each statement is true for yourself – in this situation and other situations.

(more…)

Thoughts as guide

 

At some point, we realize that thoughts are…. thoughts. They contain no final or absolute truth. They are tools. They are here to help us orient and function in the world.

As we mature in that realization, we learn to function in the embrace of knowing that thoughts are thoughts while also using them as guides.

One way that works pretty well is to…..

Use consensus reality thoughts as general guide in everyday life, unless there are good reasons not to. This is especially helpful when we interact with people and in our work…!

Use maps that fit with our deeper experience of reality, perhaps similar to what is found in some spiritual traditions.

Use overarching maps of maps found in, for instance, integral models such as the AQAL model of Ken Wilber.

Use kindess as a guide. Use big picture views and long term perspectives as a guide.

Know that our experience, our choice of views, and the views themselves are inherently biased. They are the product of the whole history and evolution of the universe up to this point. They each have innumerable causes stretching back to the beginning of the universe.

Use the maps, views, and orientations with some fluidity, receptivity, and humility. Knowing that with more experience and maturity, we’ll find other ones that make more sense to us.

And there is always further to go. What I outlined here is pretty basic and a first step.

TRE for muscle pain

 

In the context of therapeutic trembling, the body releases tension and trauma whether we think it belongs to the mind or the body. The body doesn’t really differentiate between the two.

I was recently reminded of how valuable TRE can be for releasing physical trauma. I pulled some muscles in the lower back a few days ago, and have done TRE daily since.

When done gently and after the acute phase is over, therapeutic tremoring can heal and release the injury more quickly, and it feels very soothing.

It would be interesting to do a research project on using TRE for these types of injuries.

Note: Therapeutic trembling is the natural trembling mechanism in all mammals. In our modern western culture, we are often trained to think that this trembling is a sign of weakness or that we are out of control, or we don’t understand what it does, so we learn to suppress it. At first, we often need something more structured to allow it to operate again. And Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) is one way for us to find our way back to this natural trembling mechanism.

Why wolves?

 

There is an ongoing debate in norway about whether we should have wolves or not, and how many. The fault lines – as so often these days – seem to go between the urban and/or more educated, and the rural and/or less educated.

Here are some of the arguments against wolves, and my comments.

They take livestock. They do, but they take far fewer than trains, traffic, and disease. And the farmers receive compensation from the state if any are taken.

They are a risk to humans. No, they are virtually no risk to humans. The real risks are what we all know about, including traffic, suicide, poor lifestyle and food choices, and much more.

They are evil and scary. Yes, we may culturally have learned to see them as evil and project our shadow onto them, and they may trigger fear in us. That’s no reason to get rid of them. (I suspect this is what’s really going on since the apparently rational arguments are not very strong.)

And here are some arguments for having wolves.

For the benefit of the wolves. They have as much right to be here as we do. They are sentient beings just as us and wish to live.

For the ecosystems. Our ecosystems evolved with large predators, and healthy and thriving ecosystems depend on large predators.

For our benefit. Just as ecosystems, we need the wild. We evolved with and in the wild, and with high level predators. We need it for our own health and well being. We need it as a reminder of who we are, in an evolutionary context. We need it to feel alive.

Why are people really against wolves? I suspect primal fear of wolves is one aspect. Specifically, fear of losing animals to wolves may trigger a more primal fear than losing them to illness or trains. Another may be instinctual competition. Humans and wolves are both large predators, and it’s natural to try to eliminate the competition.

In my view, the arguments against don’t hold up well. And the arguments for are far more important – for them, for us, for nature as a whole.

As usual, I can add that this view is very predictable for someone with my background. I grew up in a well educated urban family. I love nature. I want to consider the rights and needs of other beings, including nonhuman species. I am liberal in terms of politics. If I had grown up as a sheep farmer in an area with wolves, my views may well have been different. And that doesn’t mean I won’t speak up for wolves. They need someone to speak for them.

(more…)

Testimonial: Alexsandra

 

I found Per’s guidance on my TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) journey very helpful. Until Per was there to answer my questions, I didn’t realize how many little questions came up while doing TRE on my own. Per was thoughtful, patient and spoke from his educational background, which goes far beyond TRE. If you are unsure about the next step for yourself on your healing journey, I recommend booking a session with Per for guidance.

– Alexsandra Burt, Hawaii

Asap Thought: Dear Lazy People

 

A good summary of some simple ways to (a) align more with reality in order to (b) get things done – or find peace with not doing it.

There are just two elements to it:

Don’t trust your future self. If you are not doing it now, you are not likely to do it tomorrow, or the day after.

Be honest with yourself. Instead of saying I don’t have time or I’ll do it tomorrow, say what’s more true: It’s not a priority to me right now. It can feel harsh but it’s the reality. And the truth shall set us free. It will either motivate us to do it now, or find more peace with not doing it.

I have found these two helpful for myself.

(more…)

Psychological questionnaires: Assumptions behind the questions

 

I am doing the Finder’s Course in a few weeks and filled out most of the psychological pre-measures today. It was a reminder of how imprecise many questionnaires are.

They make assumptions that may not be shared by the ones taking it, so the results are unreliable.

For instance, one asked me what percent of time I am happy, sad, and neutral. I initially came up with a number far higher than 100% and then had to bring it down to 100%. The reality is that most of the time, and even right now, there is a mix of happiness/contentment, sadness, and neutrality. I would perhaps say 40% happy, 50% content, 50% neutral, and 20% sad.

The questionnaire assume that they are mutually exclusive and asks what percentage of the time I experience one or the other. If I am honest, I would have to say I experience all three most of the time, perhaps 90-95% of the time. To me, it makes far more sense to ask what percentage of each I am experiencing right now.


Update Jan. 18, 2017

I decided to add a few more examples of how questionnaires appears to make assumptions not neccesarily shared by the person answering the questions. I realize this may be a bit pedantic…!

People should try to understand their dreams and be guided by or take warning from them.

I am answering “no” since I don’t think this applies to people in general. I definetely work with my own dreams – often using Jungian active imagination – but I wouldn’t prescribe it for people in general. They may not be interested or benefit from it.

If the question is really about how I see dreams then the question is misleading and my answer (“no”) will give a different impression than what’s true. Still, I can’t second guess the intention behind the questionnaire and answer “yes” since it’s not true for me.

(more…)

Being more mature than what your culture requires

 

… you have to think about what it means to actually be more complex than what your culture is currently demanding. You have to have a name for that, too. It’s almost something beyond maturity, and it’s usually a very risky state to be in. I mean, we loved Jesus, Socrates, and Gandhi—after we murdered them. While they were alive, they were a tremendous pain in the ass. Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr.—these people died relatively young. You don’t often live a long life being too far out ahead of your culture.

– Robert Keegan in an interview with What Is Enlightenment? Magazine, cited in Robert Kegan’s Awesome Theory Of Social Maturity by Mark Dombeck

I would add that those who are far ahead of mainstream and publicly seek social change, risk not living a very long life. There are certainly many who are far ahead of mainstream and foucses on facilitating change in other areas of life, such as Adyasanti, and they don’t run the same risk.

Trauma: Stuck as prey or predator animal

 

From nature’s side, we are equally prey and predator. Any time we are in danger of being hurt by another we are in an prey position. And any time we are in a situation where we can hurt or – in theory – kill and eat someone else, we are in a predator position. Each one comes with certain characteristics which aids our survival.

When we are less traumatized, or sometimes if a trauma is not triggered, we have a more relaxed relationship to these two roles. We shift into either when it’s needed, and out of it when the situation changes again.

In contrast, when we are traumatized and the trauma is not cleared or released, we can get stuck in one or both roles. We can perceive and act as if we are permanently prey or predator.

Being able to go into and out of these roles fluidly is a great evolutionary gift. It’s what has allowed our species to survive, and still – even in our modern society – allows us as individuals to survive. (For instance, the prey animal in us may be triggered when we are about to get into a car accident, allowing us to act more quickly by bypassing consicous deliberation and decisions.)

The good thing is that we have ways to release trauma. One of them is even built into our bodies in the form of neurogenic tremors. (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises is a way for us to access this mechanism.)

This topic came to mind since I have been interacting with horses lately. I have been very aware of them perceiving and acting as prey animals, as they are. And although I see them as partners and equals as beings, I am in a predator position (control). Horses have only one role, but humans shift between either.

This topic has also come to mind when I see Trump. I imagine he is pretty traumatized, and he may be stuck in perceiving himself as prey (fearful) and acting as a predator (dominance, power oriented) in order to compensate for it.

The photo is of Niki after having had a roll in the snow. She is relaxed since she is not perceiving any current threats and is not actively in a prey role, although she can shift into it at any moment if the situation calls for it.

(more…)

Keeping the big picture in mind

 

A recent survey asked “All things considered, do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither getting better nor worse?”. In Sweden 10% thought things are getting better, in the US they were only 6%, and in Germany only 4%. Very few people think that the world is getting better.

What is the evidence that we need to consider when answering this question? The question is about how the world has changed and so we must take a historical perspective. And the question is about the world as a whole and the answer must therefore consider everybody. The answer must consider the history of global living conditions – a history of everyone.

– from A history of global living conditions in 5 charts by Max Roser

It’s important to keep the big picture in mind, especially with a media that tends to narrowly focus on what doesn’t work. In this case, the bigger picture is how the human condition has changed over the last two centuries. It’s equally important to make decisions for future generations, and

It’s equally important to make decisions for future generations. And to see ourselves in the context of the history of the Universe as a whole. We are – quite literally – the universe expressing, experiencing and exploring itself. Remembering that gives a sense of awe and is amazing, exciting, and sobering.

Mimicking other treatments in Vortex Healing

 

Vortex Healing is performed by a divine intelligence using divine energy, and this intelligence is able to mimic other forms of energy treatments. I was skeptical about this (all of it!) before I tried it myself, but now that I have received and given a good number of sessions, I see that it works, and it works very well.

This morning, I was sitting outside enjoying the snow and the sun and I gave myself a Five Element Acupuncture treatment using Vortex Healing. And it really feels like a good Five Element treatment, both during and after.The effect is as strong or stronger, and the main difference is that it seems to work faster.

Norway and oil

 

Since my teens, it’s been obvious to me that Norway needs to invest money from oil into research and development in renewable energy technology. That way, Norway has (had?) a chance to be at the forefront also in the age of renewable energy. They didn’t, and the age of oil is really already over. It’s not too late, although the current government don’t seem to be very reality based on this topic.

It’s hard for me to understand. They have the opportunity to create a graceful transition from an oil-based economy to a renewable technology one. They have the opportunity to let Norway be in the forefront of the new age of renewable energy. And they don’t. Instead, they pretend we are still in the age of oil and they miss a golden opportunity.

Intuition

 

Here are a few things I have noticed about intuition:

When I follow my intuition in small things, it becomes a habit and I learn to trust it more. That makes it easier to follow it in bigger things or when fear makes it more challenging.

Following my guidance or not is an experiment in either case. If I do it in this situation, what happens? If I don’t do it in this situation, what happens? Make a note of it.

When I am guided to do something I am scared to do, a few things may happen.

(a) I may follow it anyway, in spite of the fear.

(b) I may meet the fear, question the scary stories behind it, find kindness and love for the fear, and then see if it’s easier to act on my guidance.

(c) Or I may follow the fear and not the guidance.

In either case, I get to see what happens.

What I have noticed when I follow my guidance or inner knowing is that things tend to fall into place. And if I don’t, then the opposite often happens.

I am using intuition here synonymous with inner guidance, inner knowing, or the small quiet voice.