Finding safety in understanding

Finding safety in understanding is a big one for me.

That’s partly why I write here. It makes me feel I understand something, and it makes me feel safe and OK.

It’s true that some understanding can be helpful, in a practical sense. And yet, it can also be used to avoid feeling something, and look at apparently painful thoughts.

Right now, what would I have to feel if I didn’t write here? If I didn’t go to my understanding? Feel that.

What am I afraid would happen if I didn’t understand X?

I would be lost. Scared. Confused. Aimless. I wouldn’t know how to live my life. I wouldn’t know how to feel better. I would be miserable. Alone. In a dark hole.

Can you find X? Understanding? The one who understands? If you sift through images, words, sensations, can you find X?

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Feminine inquiry tradition

A friend of mine mentioned that we both belong to the feminine inquiry tradition.

I hadn’t heard that term before, and hadn’t really thought of it that way. But I see how it fits.

Here are some of what’s been important to me lately (most of it for a while), that can be seen as feminine:

An emphasis on love. Finding love for what’s here, for this experience, for this part of me and my experience I previously pushed away or ignored. Recognizing that identification (velcro, beliefs) come from love, from a wish to protect, and deep caring.

An emphasis on allowing. Allowing what’s here, this experience as it is. Notice it’s already allowed. Allowing even resistance, contractions, fear and more.

An emphasis on resting with what’s here. Notice. Allow. Rest with even discomfort, tension, resistance, contractions.

An emphasis on feeling. Feeling the sensations that are here. Feeling what I have to feel if I don’t do the compulsive behavior that’s coming up for me to do. Feeling what seems most uncomfortable, here and now.

And the inquiry part:

Inquiring into all of this. Inquire into what’s here. Notice the images, words, sensations. Ask simple questions to see more clearly what’s already here.

So yes, this is a feminine inquiry tradition. It’s love oriented. Feeling oriented. Inquiry oriented. It’s gentle, in a way. And also unsentimental and direct.

It’s even disillusionment oriented. And that too can be seen as feminine. That’s what a mother will do when it’s needed for the welfare of her children and family.

Of course, the reason we may see this as feminine is our stories about it. And these are adopted from tradition and culture. It’s a label. And it doesn’t need that label, which is partly why I haven’t thought about it this way, and may not use that term again in the future. (Unless someone else uses it, and I join in because it fits and helps us connect.)

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Adyashanti: The spirit that Jesus embodies is not a safe spirit

The spirit that Jesus embodies is not a safe spirit; there’s no guarantee of how it will all play out in your life. There’s only one guarantee that Jesus gave: if you can receive and awaken and embody what he is speaking about, then your life will never be the same again. Then you will realize that you’re already living in the Kingdom of Heaven.

– Adyashanti, Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic

It’s not a safe spirit since what it wants with us and our life may be contrary to what we, as a human being, wants. Jesus is the best example of this, with his crucifixion. And that goes for any awakening, not just one that’s (explicitly) associated with Christ.

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Adyashanti: To be truthful is to be able to look inside and enter the place in yourself where there is intimacy and vulnerability

To be truthful is to be able to look inside and enter the place in yourself where there is intimacy and vulnerability. I will give you an example: A person said they kept yelling at their spouse and then would attack themselves for yelling at their spouse. I asked them a simple question: What is it that you are really experiencing, and would say if you were not afraid to say what is going on for you? This person said: “What I would really like to say to my beloved is: ‘I feel separate and when I feel separate it hurts and I feel grief and I want to connect.'” That can be the opening of a more honest conversation.

– Adyashanti, from the Way of Liberating Insight course

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The imagination of my senses

When I am caught in thought, I am – in a sense – caught in the imagination of my senses. I am caught in the story created by mental images (sight), words (sight, hearing), and mental imaginations of sound (hearing).

– From a previous post.

It’s as if the mind borrows from the sensory input, and makes it into an imagination on order to process, explore, and navigate the world. Each sense is mirrored by imagination, and used to think – not only in words, but also in images and reflections of other senses.

I imagine that, for instance, a bat may imagine using a reflection of sonar senses. It may even dream using imagined sonar input. And possible beings from other places in the Universe may have their own quite different senses, and use an imagination of these to process, navigate, and think.

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Coming to our senses

Coming to our senses.

That’s an expression that can be understood literally.

When I am caught in thought, I am – in a sense – caught in the imagination of my senses. I am caught in the story created by mental images (sight), words (sight, hearing), and mental imaginations of sound (hearing).

I am absorbed in these stories, because they feel real. And they feel real because these images and words are connected with sensations in the body, which gives them charge and lends them a sense of solidity and reality.

All of this can be useful in a practical sense. Imagination is vital for us to function in the world, to plan ahead, run through different scenarios, sift through and examine the past, and act on what we learn from this imagination. It’s vital for our survival.

At the same time, it can go a bit awry. We can get caught in stressful stories about the past or future, and these can even go in a loop. We stress ourselves out rather than use imagination as a simple and practical tool.

What’s the remedy? One is to examine these stories. (Is it true? What happens when I take it as true? Who would I be without it? What’s the validity in the reversals? (The Work.) What images and words are associated to the sensations? What do I find when I look at each one, and ask some simple questions to help me see what’s there? (Living Inquiries.))

Another is to, literally, come to my senses.

I can notice what’s here. Notice sensation. Sound. Thought. Shift from thinking to noticing thought. Allow. Notice it’s all already allowed. Notice the boundless space it’s all happening within.

I can feel the sensations. Feel the sensations I may have wanted to escape, by going into thought. Rest with it. Take time.

Both of these – noticing and feeling – helps me shift out of thought.

The noticing helps me notice thought as thought, notice imagination as imagination.

The feeling helps me meet, feel, and even befriend the sensations I initially tried to escape by going into thought. I may get to see that the sensations that initially seemed uncomfortable or scary, because of the stories attached to them, are not so scary. They are sensations. They don’t inherently mean anything. I can feel them, rest with them, even find kindness towards them. I get to see I don’t need to escape sensations by compulsively going into thought. (Getting here may require some inquiry.)

This is a retraining of the mind. A forming of a new habit of noticing and feeling, when I notice the compulsion to go into (obsessive, stressful) thought.

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The awakening feeling

When there is an opening or awakening, it often comes with a feeling.

That feeling may then become associated with the opening or awakening, or certain realizations and insights that came from that opening or awakening. Even if the feeling is really created by our mind’s reaction to the awakening.

So we may seek that feeling again, try to recreate it, because we think it somehow is connected with the opening or awakening, or the realizations or insights that happened within that opening or awakening. And that doesn’t really work.

Eventually, we may see that feeling as a sensation with certain stories attached to it. And we may see that what we are can recognize itself independent of particular feelings or experiences. After all, what we are is that which already is allowing any feeling or experience. It’s not dependent on any of these to recognize itself.

I went through this. There was a certain feeling associated with the initial opening and awakening, and the realizations and insights that came with it. I chased this feeling for a while. It didn’t work. Life went against it. (It’s too kind to allow it to work.) And there is an invitation for a deepening recognition of what I am independent of feelings or experiences.

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It feels like….. literally 

When we say it feels like…., it’s because it’s usually literally felt.

We feel that something is a certain way. And the reason we do so, is because the sensations are associated with certain images and words in our mind, giving these images and words a charge, a sense of solidity and reality. The story created by these images and words feels true, because it’s associated with – or “stuck to” – these sensations.

It’s seems almost ridiculously simple, and it is, in a way. It can be embarrassingly simple, when we see it. And along with that comes a realization that what seemed so real and true, may not be. After all, it was a sensation that made it seem so, and a sensation is…. a sensation. It’s not something that can really tell us how something is.

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Adyashanti: I pretend to take your struggles seriously, just as I pretended to take my own seriously

And so at times we talk, and I pretend to take your struggles seriously, just as I pretended to take my own seriously. You may pretend to take your own struggles seriously from time to time, and although we pretend, we really shouldn’t forget that we are pretending, that we are making up the content of our experience; we are making up the little dramas of our lives.

We are making up whether we need to hold on or surrender or figure it out or pray to God or be purified or have karma cleansed—it’s all a thought. We just collude in this ridiculous charade of an illusion pretending that it’s real, only to reveal that it’s not. There is no karma. There is nothing really to purify. There’s no problem. There is only what you create and believe to be so. And if you like it that way, have at it!

– Adyashanti

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The part of the mind I call the body

For me, in my immediate experience, the body is part of the mind.

My body is part of my mind since it’s happening within and as awareness. All bodies, and any experience, is like that.

Also, anything I think I know about “the body” is created by the mind, by stories, by sensations and an overlay of images and words.

In both of these ways, the body is part of the mind.

So if I say my body tells me….., or my body feels….., I really mean my mind.

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Emotions vs sensations

What’s the difference between emotions and sensations?

A simple way to say it is that emotions means sensations + stories, and these stories give meaning to the sensations. And sensations are just sensations. Without stories attached to sensations, it’s usually not a problem to feel them and rest with them. They don’t seem scary or uncomfortable.

Both the story and sensation component of an emotion are valid and important. It can be helpful to acknowledge and look at the stories. And it can also be helpful to acknowledge, notice, and feel the sensation component of emotions.

It can be tempting to wish to feel the sensations as sensations, even when stories are still attached to them. If the “stickiness” of the stories is not so strong, it can help the mind notice and differentiate the sensations and the stories.

If the stickiness is quite strong, it can be helpful to look at the story component, and see what’s there. This can help loosen or release the stickiness of the stories to the sensations, which makes it easier to notice and feel the sensations as sensations. And that is often experienced as a relief, even as coming home.

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Uncomfortable feelings

Why are some feelings uncomfortable?

It can seem that it’s because the feeling is inherently uncomfortable.

But if we take a closer look, we may find that if we feel the sensations as sensations, they are not inherently uncomfortable, or perhaps even very strong.

So why do they seem uncomfortable?

It’s because of the stories attached to them. The stories telling us what they mean, and that they mean something scary and uncomfortable.

It’s because the sensation apparently has images and words “stuck” onto it.

There are several ways to explore this.

Feel the sensation as a sensation. See how it is to be curious about it. Allow it. This may reveal that the sensation in itself is not scary, and perhaps that it doesn’t inherently mean anything.

Feel the sensation. Notice any images or words that come up. Look at these, one at a time. Ask simple questions about each. (Is it X? A threat? A particular deficient self? A command?) This tends to soften or release the connection between the sensation and these associated images and words, making it easier to recognize the sensation as a sensation, and feel it, resting with it.

To notice these images and words, we can ask simple questions, such as: What does the sensation mean? If it could speak, what would it say? What would it say to you? What does it want from you? What would make it satisfied forever?

We can also identify the stories about the sensation, and take these to an inquiry such as The Work. Is it true? What happens when I take it as true? Who would I be without it? What’s the validity in the turnarounds?

What’s the outcome of this? Why would we want to do this?

Because feeling sensations as they are, as sensations, can be a huge relief. It feels like coming home.

And the alternative is to continue to avoid certain feelings, and avoid looking at the images and words connected to them. This is tiring, stressful, and uncomfortable. And it’s also behind any number of things that make our lives rocky, including reactivity, reactive emotions and behaviors, getting caught in stories, overthinking, compulsions, addictions, and more. It’s how hangups, wounds, and trauma stay unhealed. It’s how parts of us and our experience stay unloved, unquestioned, and unhealed.

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Creating and seeing through 

Creating and seeing through.

For me, they go hand in hand.

The creating is creating in an ordinary sense. Making a life. Being a good steward of our life. Envision. Follow through. Follow our guidance. Cooperate. And more.

Seeing through can happen in different ways, including more systematically through inquiry. This either requires some desperation and disillusionment with other approaches, or trust or intuition that life, reality, truth, and who and what we are is fundamentally OK. Or a combination of these.

Seeing through can seem scary. We need to face what seems the most scary to us. We need to feel the most uncomfortable feelings. It can take away most or all of what we relied on to find a sense of safety.

And yet, what’s “taken away” is what wasn’t true in the first place. What’s taken away is what we thought was true, and experienced as true.

This reveals what’s already here. What a thought may call presence, clarity, love, intelligence, engagement, intimacy with life. An intimacy that comes from life recognizing itself as this, and this life, this human being in the world, and the world itself.

Creating is natural. Seeing through is equally natural. And we usually need some guidance on both, especially at first.

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Holding onto suffering

Why do we sometimes hold onto suffering?

There may be many answers. Suffering comes from holding onto a painful story, and the reason we do so varies from story to story.

At the same time, it’s possible to say a few general things about it.

It comes from a wish to find safety, and from deep caring, and even love. When we look into and feel the suffering, we may also find and feel that caring and love. It can be very helpful to notice and feel this.

And there may be some general stories behind our wish to hold onto suffering.

What am I afraid would happen if I didn’t suffer?

I wouldn’t be able to function.

I would be gullible.

I wouldn’t know who I am. I wouldn’t recognize myself.

I wouldn’t get sympathy.

People wouldn’t do things for me. I wouldn’t get people to help me out.

In terms of the living inquiries, we can:

Look for the threat in not suffering. Look for the threat in suffering.

Look for the command to suffer. Look for the command to not suffer.

Look for suffering. Look for absence of suffering.

Look for someone who suffers. Look for someone who is free of suffering.

What I hope to get out of suffering? What do I hope to get out of being free from suffering? And look at that.

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Dark night and trauma

Following an awakening or opening phase, there may be another where “the lid is taken off” as Adyashanti says. A good amount of what is unquestioned, unloved, and unhealed in us comes to the surface, and we have little or no ability to set it aside or push it away.

It’s as if life wants to heal the human side of us, so we can become better vessels for the clarity, love, and awakening. The more we have questioned our unquestioned stories, the more we have found love for what’s unloved in us and our experience, and the more we have healed and matured as human beings, the better the clarity, love, and awakening can be expressed and lived through us.

For some, this may be more gentle and ongoing, and without dramatic “dark nights” of this type.

For some, it may be relatively short, or less intense. Perhaps if they already are quite healthy as a human being, and relatively free of what’s unloved and unhealed.

And for some, it can be quite dramatic, intense, and overwhelming. I seem to find myself in this category now.

Why is it more dramatic and intense in some cases? I suspect part of the answer is trauma. If there is more trauma – more that is unquestioned, unloved, and unhealed – this type of dark night may be more intense as well, and perhaps even last longer. There is simply more material to question, find love for, and heal.

The drawback then is that this phase may be more rocky, painful, and last longer, and it can impact ones life in many areas. The benefit is that there is an opportunity to learn a great deal through this process. And this may in turn even benefit others. There are plenty of examples of “wounded healers”.

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Here and now, and from the past

Velcro, identifications, and trauma are here and now, and from the past.

They are here and now, and cannot be found in the past or future. We cannot even find past, future or present outside of what’s created by images, words and sensations.

At the same time, velcro, identifications, and trauma were initially created and formed at some point in the past, often in early childhood. And it can be very helpful to look at that, question the painful stories, and find love for what was unloved. One way to find these early events is to ask when did you first have that thought?, or when do you remember first having that feeling?

It’s frequently said, and it seems to be true enough, that childhood trauma is behind a great deal of what we struggle with as adults.

So which one is it? Are these things here and now? Or found in the past? It’s both, as so often. It’s all happening here and now, and within that we can find painful stories of events from early in our life. And it’s important to look at these, and find some resolution and healing.

It’s also neither. At some point, it can be helpful to look for velcro, identifications, and trauma themselves. Can I find these outside of my images, words, and sensations that create an experience of these?

And unfindable doesn’t mean doesn’t exist or that they are not helpful stories or pointers in some situations. They can be, for instance, in finding healing.

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Adyashanti: What style of approaching spiritual practice works best for you?

Rikki writes:

I’ve been taught that I should “practice like my hair is on fire” and in the past I have done so. Now I feel I should relax into it, be patient. But I keep attacking myself for not being more urgent with the admonition that the more awake I am, the easier it is for someone else to find freedom. How can I relax, urgently?

Dear Rikki,

Let us throw out both of the ideas that say you must practice “like your hair is on fire” or that you should relax in your practice more. What is natural to you? What style of approaching spiritual practice works best for you? That’s really the only relevant question. What attitude works best for you? It’s not about what’s right or wrong as much as it is about what is most natural and works best for you. And you will not find this in your head, but in your body. When you are applying the most conducive attitude to your practice you will feel inspired and relaxed, questioning but not impatient or anxious. You will also feel challenged at times but still open and eager to unveil Truth.

With Great Love,

Adyashanti

 

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Spirituality as a strategy to be loved, acceptable, good enough

For some of us, spirituality can be a strategy to be good enough.

We feel deficient in some ways. Not good enough. Unlovable. Unloved. Unacceptable.

We think that if we engage in spirituality, we’ll finally be acceptable. We strive to be good, we wish for enlightenment, we hope to come to heaven.

And when that happens, we’ll be good enough. We’ll be lovable. We’ll be accepted – by ourselves, others, life, God.

So why not question those assumptions? I am not good enough, is it true? I’ll be more acceptable in the future, is that true?

Can I find someone who is not good enough? Unlovable? Unloved? Can I find that person, outside of my images, words, and sensations? Can I find acceptance? Love? Enlightenment? A good person? Heaven? (Living Inquiries.)

Maybe it was all created by my own mind in the first place. The sense of being deficient, and the idea that spirituality – or anything else – will finally make us whole and good enough. And it doesn’t help to “know” or think that, or attach to that idea. I really need to look. Leave no stone unturned.

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Jeff Foster: Room for sadness

Your sadness doesn’t say, “Please fix me, heal me, or release me”. It doesn’t say, “Please get rid of me, numb yourself to me, pretend I’m not here”. It certainly doesn’t say, “Please get enlightened so I can die!”.

Sadness does not come to punish you, or reveal to you what a ‘spiritual failure’ you are. Sadness is not a sign that you are unevolved or far from healing, awakening, enlightenment, even peace. The presence of sadness is not an indication that you’ve done something wrong.

Sadness only whispers, “May I come in? I am tired, I long for rest”.

And you reply, “But sadness, I don’t know how to allow you in!”

And sadness replies, “It’s okay. You don’t need to know. I’m already in”.

And we bow to sadness then, we recognise how it’s already allowed in, how there’s enough room in us for sadness, how we are not ‘the sad one’, not contained within sadness, but the room for sadness, its space, its home, its salvation, its loving embrace; not as a goal, but as our nature – consciousness itself, already free.

Don’t heal yourself from sadness; let sadness heal you. Let it show you the way when you have forgotten. Let it reveal to you the mysteries of love. Let it remind you of your vast heart, your refusal to split off from any part of your ancient Self, that bigger Happiness you danced when you were young.

– Jeff Foster

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Ways of working with Natural Rest and Living Inquiries in daily life

Here are some ways I am using Natural Rest and the Living Inquiries in daily life:

Natural Rest

Brief moments of natural rest. Notice what’s here, allow.

Shift from thinking to noticing thought.

Notice it’s already allowed. (What’s here, this experience.)

Check in, notice sensations, images, words.

Living Inquiries

Ask myself “what would I have to feel now if I didn’t X?” (Do the compulsive behavior – thinking, talking, socializing, eating, reading articles online, listening to a podcast etc.) And feel that.

Notice uncomfortable sensations, feel them. Notice resistance, where I feel it, and feel it.

Notice a mental image or words, visualize them on a wall, notice the space all around. (Boundless space, between me and the image or words, all around the image or words.)

Ask simple questions about sensations, images, words. Is it X? (A threat? The actual future? The actual past?)

Ask “what does this say about me?” and find a deficient or inflated self. I can then put that word or picture on the wall, or feel the sensations, or ask simple questions about the words, images, and sensations.

Make it simple

Make it simple. So simple and comfortable that I would want to do it forever. Find a way to do it so I would want it to be a natural, easy and ongoing part of daily life.

Notice how natural it is. Natural rest is just being the presence I already am. Living Inquiries is just the looking and curiosity that’s natural to us.

Additional notes:

The images can be just as they are. They are not always clear, and that’s fine. They can be a clear picture of something fuzzy.

The words can be very simple. Often, it’s just one word. This morning, I felt sad, noticed it, noticed the word “sad”, visualized it on the wall, noticed the space all around it. I also had a picture of a former partner, visualized her on the wall, and noticed the space all around.

More recently, I had the word “unlovable” come up, and visualized that on the wall, noticing the space all around. I am also feeling the sensations connected with that word (identity), and noticing them as sensations.

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How do the living inquiries work?

How do the Living Inquiries work?

Put simply:

Through looking at associated images, words, and sensations, feeling the sensations, and asking simple questions to see what’s actually there, there is a reprogramming of the mind. And this allows us to see the images as images, words as words, and sensations as sensations, and also more easily stay with and feel the sensations.

When sensations, images and words seem “stuck together”, the sensations lends a charge and sense of reality and solidity to the stories created by the images and words.

Through resting, looking, and feeling the sensations, this stickiness softens or release.

I also wonder if not feeling the sensations, and especially noticing and feeling them as sensations, allows something to discharge and release. The tension and “stuckness” that the initial stickiness created may be allowed to release, at least over time.

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Adyashanti: Enlightenment makes another movement of consciousness possible

Bit by bit, it began to reveal itself. I began to realize that our spiritual unfolding doesn’t really have a goal called ‘awakening’ or ‘enlightenment.’ There’s not an end point. To spiritually awaken or become enlightened is actually something that allows another movement to happen – and another and another and another. Spiritual awakening is the ground from which a whole new movement of spirit starts to occur, and that new movement that comes out of our own sense of freedom is what I call ‘awakening into our true autonomy.’

In fact, enlightenment makes another movement of consciousness possible. This other movement of consciousness is not really a waking up from our humanity, waking up from time and space, waking up from an individual identity. It is almost the opposite, where spirit comes into form and discovers this true autonomy.

– Adyashanti, Falling into Grace

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Shame as a pointer

Shame is an excellent pointer to something in me that’s still unloved and unquestioned.

The only reason, it seems, that something feels shameful, is that it’s still unloved and unquestioned. The stories creating the beliefs around it are unquestioned, and perhaps as yet unseen.

Shame is just one of many pointers: stress, discomfort, unease, guilt, depression, reactivity, compulsions, trauma, “sticky” sadness, anger, and fear, and body contractions.

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TRE trembling and other types of trembling

After starting with Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), I have been curious about various forms of trembling.

There seems to be a few different types:

(a) Trembling from muscle fatigue. After exercise, physical exertion.

(b) Trembling to produce heat. Shivering from cold.

(c) Trembling after orgasm. Some women (and men?) report this.

(d) Trembling to release tension and trauma. Following a traumatic event (hunted by a predator, car accident), childbirth, and also the TRE exercises.

The muscle fatigue trembling seems relatively simple, and localized to the fatigued muscles.

Trembling to produce heat also seems relatively simple, and partly localized (for instance to the jaw) and partly general and involving the whole body.

Trembling after sex and/or orgasm may be a way for the system to release an “overload” from the stimulation of sex and orgasm. (I don’t know why it seems to happen mostly for women, perhaps because their orgasm is a bit different and lasts longer than for men?) In some cases, this could be related to earlier sex related trauma, although that’s just a possibility.

Trembling from TRE seems different. It varies in frequency. It moves to different – and eventually just about all – areas of the body. It sometimes includes rhythmic movements of limbs (butterflying of the legs, shaking of hands etc.). It includes stretching. It seems to be guided by an inherent intelligence of the body, moving to where it’s needed and perhaps also at the frequency most needed. It seems to be much more about restoring the system to health (psychically and mentally).

David Berceli, the originator of TRE, uses the term neurogenic tremors for the TRE tremors. Neurogenic means initiated/guided by the nervous system, but all of these forms for tremblings seem to be initiated and guided by the nervous system. Using the word exclusively for the TRE type trembling doesn’t quite make sense to me. (I have to admit that I have used the word in that way in previous posts, because others do, and I have done so against my better judgment.) Some call it therapeutic trembling, which makes better sense.

It would be very interesting to know more about how these different forms of trembling are initiated, which parts of the nervous system is involved, and perhaps also which parts of the brain are involved in the different forms of trembling.

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Unloved and unquestioned for generations

I suspect that some things in me has been unloved and unquestioned for generations, in some cases perhaps even back to the beginning of civilization or earlier.

For generations, we have learned to not love certain experiences and parts of ourselves, and not question – or even notice – certain stories. And the pain has been passed on from one generation to the next.

Here and now, some of that pain is surfacing with an invitation for me to love it, questions the stories behind it, and release it from the pain of being unloved and unquestioned.

Sometimes, I imagine generations of ancestors here, approving of me engaging in this process of love and questioning, encouraging me, quietly supporting me. I even dialogue with them, to remind me, to hear what they have to say, and to feel their support.

This is, of course, all a story. It’s made up in my own mind. I cannot find any actual ancestors, or generations, or passing on. What’s here is here, and I cannot find it in the past. I cannot even find a past.

At the same time, this is sometimes an helpful story. It’s a reminder that my ancestors would support me in this if they were here and came from their more wise and kind sides. It’s also a reminder that I am may do this for myself, or think I am doing it for myself, and yet this is something far more universal and shared, and I cannot know the ripple effects of the work I am doing now.

It may not seem much. It may not always be enjoyable. I may not feel I am doing it as sincerely or diligently as I imagine I could. And yet, I really don’t know the ripple effects of this work – for myself and others, or perhaps even for Earth as a whole.

(more…)

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The richness of this moment

When someone asks me how I am doing, it’s not always easy to give a simple answer.

The reality is that any moment is very rich.

What’s here now. Right now, I notice…. quiet joy, enjoyment, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, sadness, fear, dread, love, discomfort, contractions, a sense of boundlessness, and much more. It’s a bitter-sweet experience, where both ends of many polarities are included.

And when I think about any situation, it’s similar. For instance, when I think of my ex-wife, there is love there, a wish for her to do well, some regret, a twinge when I think of her with someone else, a knowing I wouldn’t want to share my life with her now, sweet memories, slightly uncomfortable memories, and much more.

Richness of views. There is also a richness of views that all co-exist. When I look at my situation now, and my history, there is a wide range of views that all have some validity. I can find tragedy in missed opportunities. I can find privilege. I can find adventure. I can find mistakes and poor judgment. I can see it through a “spiritual” story of opening, initial awakening, dark nights, and situations perfectly set up to further the deepening. I can see it as a moving story of the hopes, failures, achievements, and losses of a typical human being. And again much more.

There is always one more facet of my experience here and now I can notice. There is always one more view that makes sense and has some validity.

Happening within what I am, and reflecting who I am. Taking a slightly different angle, I see that my field of experience – as it is now – is what I am. It’s all happening within and as what I am. It’s the richness of what I am now. And from yet another angle, I see that any quality or characteristics I see “out there” in others or the wider world, is something I can find in myself. I wouldn’t recognize it “out there” unless I already knew it from my own experience and who I am. In that sense, there is an immense – and very real – richness to who I am, if I only look and see.

Awareness, love, ground. It’s equally true that I can find where everything is awareness, love, form, and ground.

The awareness, love, intelligence is here, and it seems I can find it whenever I look. Whatever happens, this field of experience, is awareness, love, intelligence. Or, at least, those are the words that seem to fit the best.

The content of experience is here, as described above, including quiet joy, sadness, satisfaction, slight discomfort and more. And I can find a similar content of experience whenever I look. This happens within and as awareness.

At the same time, there seems to be a “ground” (void) here that awareness and its content happens within and as. And that too seems to be here whenever I look. This is perhaps what it’s most difficult to find an appropriate word for. It’s a  nothingness that allows for awareness and the content of awareness. And it seems surprisingly tangible?

When I say that “everything” happens within this, that “everything” includes any sense of a me or I. That too happens within what a thought may call awareness, love, form, ground. It happens within what “I” really am. In a sense, there is one “I” that all this happens within and as, and another “I” or “me” that happens within this (the human self, sometimes an apparent doer, observer etc.). And really, all of these – awareness, love, intelligence, form, ground – seem all facets of the same.

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