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

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

My background includes a graduate degree in psychology in addition to being certified in Living Inquiries, Vortex Healing, 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.

See 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. 

Willing to experience discomfort in healing & awakening

 

Healing and awakening – and life in general – requires some willingness to experience discomfort.

And this willingness comes with experience, skills, and trust.

It comes from experience with moving through discomfort. It comes, it’s familiar, it passes.

It comes from skills in how to relate to it. For instance, notice and allow. Rest with it. Notice the space around and within it. Notice it’s already awakeness.

It comes from trust in the process, in all as awakeness (the divine), in all as lila (the play of the divine).

We can also explore the fear of discomfort more directly, for instance, through inquiry or Vortex Healing. We can meet it, explore it, and see what’s there and where it’s coming from.

For me, I notice this most clearly in inquiry and Vortex Healing. Inquiry requires me to meet and dive into the scariest and “darkest” areas of my experience. And over and over, I get to see that it’s not as scary as it first appears. In Vortex Healing, after going deeply into something that needs healing or awakening, there is often a kind of healing crisis which can be uncomfortable. (This can be reduced or avoided by doing it more gently and doing more integration and catch-up, and I typically do this with a client. But when I do it for myself, I often choose to dive into it with less restraint.)

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Behind anger is fear, behind fear is caring, and behind caring is love

 

This is something that becomes clearer over time, especially through exploring specific issues through inquiry.

Behind anger, sadness, and compulsions is fear. Behind fear is caring. And behind that caring is love.

Said more succinctly:

Behind identifications (beliefs, velcro) is fear, and behind that fear is caring and love.

The pitfall in saying to so simply and succinctly is that the mind thinks it gets it and that such a superficial and intellectual understanding is sufficient. The benefit is that it can serve as a question to explore, and a guide when we work on ourselves and clients.

A few more details:

Identifications (holding a thought as true) is what creates stressful experiences such as struggle with anger, sadness, and compulsions. (Anger, sadness etc. can also just be here without any struggle.)

Fear is what holds identifications in place. It may be what created the identification in the first place, and it’s often what comes up when the mind considers not having that identification.

Behind fear is a deep caring. A caring for oneself and others. And caring is just another word for love.

When we see the behind all this is love, there is less of a struggle with it. And less struggle means a bit more space around it, which helps soften and release the identifications in and relating to it.

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Ric Weinman: What needs to be done?

 

6) Do good deeds & save the world. This was traditionally called karma yoga. But most people who practice it do so from the wrong understanding and get nowhere with it, in terms of their own awakening. Typically, karma yoga is practiced from the point of view of ‘what can I do?’ Every action is taken based on ‘what can I do?’ and so every action reinforces the position that it was generated from, which has ‘I’ at the center of it. ‘What can I do?’ is centered on the ‘I’. True karma yoga asks, “What needs to be done?” Notice that there is no ‘I’ here at all. One has already surrendered the ‘I’ for the sake of the larger need. This kind of karma yoga becomes a practice of ‘not-I’ and develops the sense of not-I. Done long enough with enough sincerity, the sense of not-I will keep going deeper until it becomes the living reality in the core of that being.

– Ric Weinman in The Nature of Awakening Part 2

Working on oneself

 

At a small gathering of Vortex healers, the senior healer mentioned that she rarely works on herself and added, “I don’t have time, too many clients”. A few things came up for me about this:

This is – in my experience – not typical for the Vortex Healing community. Most I know use Vortex Healing to work on themselves quite extensively, both as maintenance and to clear deep personal, ancestral, and karmic material.

Saying “I don’t have time” – as most of us do now and then – is a polite way of saying “I don’t prioritize it”. I try to make it a practice of being honest about this so when I notice the impulse to say “I don’t have time” I change it to “it’s not a priority for me”. I may not say either out loud, but I say it to myself so I can see what’s going on. It can feel harsh, but it’s honest, and the truth shall set us free.

Finally, I tend to be drawn to approaches that benefit both myself and clients. Tools I can use for myself and others, and that benefits me even as I work with clients. Vortex Healing is a good example of these type of tools. Now that I have some time, at least for a few weeks, I find myself using Vortex Healing for myself for several hours each day. (So far, I have worked on chronic fatigue, clearing energy pathways, digestion, possible infections, possible inflammation, misophonia, lungs, throat chakra, shoulder tension, karmic hooks, and a few other things.)

It’s important to find a balance between working on oneself and the rest of life, and now that I have more time, it feels like a valuable opportunity to take some time for myself.

How does Vortex benefit me as I work on a client? The energy flows through me so my system opens up and is energized. Also, there is an element of service, of doing what’s needed in the moment.

Ric Weinman: The Nature of First Awakening (article)

 

So, if the ego does not awaken, who does? Imagine you are having a dream that you are a cow, and suddenly you wake up and you are back in your bed as yourself. You would not say that the cow woke up and realized it was you. You didn’t turn into a wise cow. You would say that you were always yourself but were lost in the dream of being a cow, and that you awoke out of that dream of being a cow. The moment you stopped pretending/dreaming you were a cow, you were back in your normal experience of yourself. The dream character didn’t wake up; the dreamer did. […]

Often, I will get an email from a student who has had a powerful spiritual experience and the student wants to know if this is awakening. The answer is found by looking at whether there is still a sense of ‘I’ residing in the heart. In fact, this is the only true test of awakening—not external behavior, not symptoms, not subjective experiences of peace or bliss or oneness. The only test of this initial awakening is whether or not the ‘I’ has disappeared from the heart. A student may have a taste of awakening (different from mystical experiences), where they feel they have disappeared, but if I can see that the ‘I’ is still there in the heart, awakening hasn’t happened. Sometimes, as a student gets close to awakening, enough of that sense of ‘I’ has broken down that it is hard for them to sense it. But no matter how subtle it is, if it is still there, awakening has not happened. The other ‘false positive’ that can happen, especially with students of neo-advaita teachers, is that the student truly has gotten that there is no ‘I’, but they have gotten this in their head only, and it has not penetrated to their heart. Getting it in their head does create a change in their consciousness, but it still is not true awakening. It is more like a taste of awakening in the mind, and sometimes neo-advaita students get stuck in that place.

– Ric Weinman in The Nature of Awakening, printed in Paradigm Shift, Issue 43, July 2009, UK

I selected these two sections of his article, the first as a relatively standard (yet clear and insightful) description of awakening, and the second as a hint of how awakening in a Vortex Healing context is understood in a quite precise and differentiated way. Here is Part II of the article and a list of additional Vortex Healing articles.

The approaches I find especially helpful, their unique contributions, and how they work together

 

I have found a few approaches especially helpful to me: Breema, inquiry (The Work, Living Inquiries), Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), and Vortex Healing. I am also certified in Breema, Living Inquiries, TRE, and Vortex Healing.

It doesn’t mean that I think these are the best approaches out there in any general sense, or that they are right for everyone in all situations (they obviously are not). But they are the ones I am most familiar with, and they do work well for me.

Here are some of the unique contributions of each, and some of the ways I notice they are in mutual support of each other.

Breema. Receiving and giving Breema gives a deep sense of nurturing and wholeness. We find the health that’s always here, and within which conventional illness and health exist. As a practitioner, it also helps me explore the wholeness of who I am as a human being, what it all happens within and as (presence, awakeness), and how to shift back into noticing and living from that noticing. In general, Breema has a full and nurturing quality.

TRE. TRE helps me release tension out of the muscles, and that reduces anxiety, depression, and compulsions. It helps the body and mind heal and operate from a more healthy and dynamic state. It can also help us be less afraid of trauma since we know there is a through it to health.

Living inquiries. Living Inquiries helps release the charge out of charged thoughts (fears, identities, compulsions). Through exploring how thoughts (images, words) and sensations combine, and how thoughts give meaning to sensations, and sensations give charge and substance to thought, the association between these loses its strength. Sensations are more easily recognized as sensations and thoughts as thoughts. The sense of substance and reality of fears, identities, and compulsions is reduced or falls away more thoroughly. This form of inquiry also gives a variety of insights, both into general dynamics and patterns of the mind, and into specific issues (e.g. their roots, how they relate to early experiences and identities).

Vortex Healing. Vortex Healing can be used for general or very specific issues, from energizing or healing physical issues to working on specific traumas or identities.

Mutualities. There is a great deal of mutualities between these.

Breema offers an important sense of nourishment and wholeness.

TRE releases the charge out of anxiety, depression, and compulsions (especially when used over time). TRE can also bring up emotions or memories which then can be explored in inquiry or Vortex Healing.

Living Inquiries can bring insight into issues and identities, and help us recognize the healing qualities of presence and resting with (and as) any content of experience.

Vortex Healing can be used on body contractions identified through TRE or Living Inquiries, or any issues or identities that surface through the other approaches.

Very simplified, I find that Breema offers nourishment and a sense of wholeness. TRE releases tension deeply and quite thoroughly (over time). Living Inquiries offers insights and takes a sense of substance and solidity out of stressful patterns, thoughts, and identities. And Vortex Healing can work on just about any issue and identity.

Healing and awakening. Each of these approaches also acknowledges the connection between healing (as who we are) and awakening (as what we are). They each support healing and awakening in their own way.

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Dream: Wizard training

 

Two wealthy people encourage me to use my abilities in their service. I refuse, and after a while, they realize I won’t change my mind.

I am then offered to stay indefinitely in a beautiful old and large house with others with similar abilities so we will have the opportunity to develop our abilities undisturbed.

This dream reflects my daily life and concerns these days. I have worked with clients using Vortex Healing, and I have seen the temptation to do it mainly for money. It doesn’t make sense to me since I want to do it to support people and for their benefit. (That’s also what will benefit me the most.)

Also, I am not really working these days and am housesitting for a few weeks (taking care of a dog in Hayes Valley in San Francisco, and then several horses in Southern Oregon). A part of me is slightly bothered by it. But, as the dream showed me, I do have an opportunity to explore Vortex Healing, work with clients (by donation or as a gift), and work on myself.

Trump is the healer

 

Trump is the healer.

As anyone pushing our buttons, he shows us what’s left. He shows us our wounds, traumas, and hangups.

And that can be very healing if we let it. In this case, it’s specifically an invitation to see where we stop ourselves from speaking up and acting to prevent harm from happening to others.

Some more things that come to mind:

I would never want him as a leader of anything, but now that he is…. how can I make the best out of it?

How am I like him? What do I see in him? (A bully, bigot, racist, xenophobe, habitual liar.) Where can I find that in my own life, with specific examples?

How do I let other bully me into being inauthentic? What are the fears? What do I find when I explore these? (Using The Work, Living Inquiries etc.)

When I use ho’oponopono, tonglen, loving kindness practice or similar on him, those supporting him, those harmed by his actions, and myself, what do I notice? Where is there resistance? What’s the fear? How is it to meet and inquire into that fear?

Trump may not last long, but while he is president, he can be a great healer…. if we allow him to be. He can mobilize many of us to action on behalf of dignity, life, earth, and future generations. He can be a mirror for ourselves, showing us what’s left.

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Byron Katie: Anyone who is angry is fearful

 

Anyone who is angry is fearful.

– Byron Katie

That’s my experience as well. Behind anger is fear. Fearful stories create anger, fear, compulsions, and much more.

Stressful stories that we hold as true lead to fear – which can take the form of anger, sadness, or compulsions. The answer is to question these stories and hold all of it in kindness and presence.

The dramatic flow of our lives

 

Dramaturgy is the study of dramatic composition and the representation of the main elements of drama on the stage.

Wikipedia

I have been listening to the Norwegian (VG) broadcast of the world chess championship between Magnus Carlsen and Sergej Karjakin. The commentators will sometimes talk about the dramaturgy of the match. The dramatic flow of the twelve games making up the championship. (They both make mistakes, sometimes missed by the other, the underdog finally won a game, then the current champion, and they are now even before the final game tomorrow.)

Our life has a dramatic flow and composition as well. And sometimes, it can be helpful to step back and see it that way. Whether things go “our way” or not, we can at least appreciate the dramatic flow. I find that quite helpful.

This is a more western way of talking about lila, life as the play of the divine. It’s a more limited view but perhaps more accessible to many.

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Trump reflections II

 

Continued from a previous post.

Focus on the issues, not the person. A lesson from Italy and other places is to focus on the issues, not the person. Focusing on Trump’s insanity (a) distracts from the real issues, and (b) galvanizes the Trump supporters and makes their position even more entrenched. The issues are real and important enough. There is no reason to dilute it by focusing on Trump himself, no matter how tempting it may be.

Why is he so fascinating? That said, there is a huge temptation to focus on Trump’s personality. The media certainly gave him a huge amount of free airtime, and they did so because of his outrageous statements and behavior, and the drama and chaos he creates.

A deeper reason why people are drawn to focusing on his personality is that he reflects something in all of us. He is an outrageous caricature of some of the worst sides in all humans. He shows us our shadow. And that is inherently fascinating.

In that fascination is wisdom. There is an invitation for all of us to find ourselves in him. How would I describe him? (Write it down.) How does that apply to me? Find specific examples. (It may be that what I find in myself is much less strong, and appears in a different way. After all, he often functions as a caricature of these sides in us.)

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Christians who are very different from Christ

 

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I know that we all tend to think that our (very conditioned) view is the “correct” one. And I also know that my particular conditioned view on Christ – and anything else – is biased in a liberal/progressive fashion.

And that’s why I tend to see some Christians in the US today as not very…. Christian.

Jesus – the human who embodied Christ – was a radical. And Christianity long ago became a conservative tradition. Many current Christians resonate more with the conservative tradition aspect than the original Christ qualities.

Jesus supported and spoke up for the poor and the outcasts. Many conservative Christians today support policies that harm the poor and minorities. Jesus lived and spoke up for forgiveness. Some Christians live from harsh judgment. Jesus lived and spoke about inclusiveness and a “we” orientation. Some Christians live and speak an “othering” orientation. Jesus saw beyond surface identities and to the humanity and soul. Some Christians seem very much focused on surface identities (gay, Muslim etc.).

Vortex Healing on own irritability

 

I just attended a Vortex Healing clinic in Berkeley and it was very powerful. I was also reminded of my sound sensitivity or sound irritability, also called misophonia.

In the car on the way back to San Francisco (I am staying there for a month) I did some Vortex Healing for myself on sound sensitivity and irritability. Memories of recent times I had been angry came up, and it retriggered the anger. I gently set it aside to focus on the irritability, but these memories and emotions kept taking center stage.

After a few minutes, I realized that this anger is at the center of the irritability. Irritability is anger. And anger is fear. I knew that the irritability and misophonia mostly likely has to do with trauma, and I got to see more clearly the connection between (a) sound triggering (b) the trauma and fear, and (c) it taking the form of irritability (anger).

When the sound sensitivity is triggered, my system goes into flight (wanting to get away), fight (irritability, anger), and freeze (numbing out). And all of it comes from trauma. My sense is that just a few sessions with VH will make a big difference. I have already made good headway on this issue using The Work and Living Inquiries.

Brief summary of second session: First, Vortex on irritability, which worked in the mid- and lower spine and belly area. Then, sound sensitivity, which worked in the frontal lobes and a bit on the sides of the forehead and down the neck. Then on the shoulder tension and the material there. Some on ancestral and mostly on karmic material (I have done a session on the shoulders before which may have worked on the ancestral?). Felt like a lot of release. I got the message to sit up more straight several times.

Darkest before the dawn in inquiry and Vortex Healing

 

When I facilitate a client in inquiry, and also when I give someone a Vortex Healing session, I often notice the “darkest before the dawn” pattern. In a Living Inquiry session, we may enter a neglected area and nothing seems to move for a while. Then suddenly there is a shift and resolution. And the same sometimes happens in a Vortex session.

It’s a reminder that I don’t really know what’s happening. The surface signs do not tell the whole story. So trust the process. Do the facilitation or healing to the best of your abilities. Follow the process and be prepared to be surprised.

A purpose to life?

 

Some talk about a purpose to life (external to what we make up for ourselves), or of life as a “school”, or a series of tests, or perhaps having a goal we may miss or not.

I see how each of those can be helpful for a while, but they are also inherently stressful. They are stressful because they assume we either pass the test or not, or fulfill the purpose or not, or reach the goal or not. They are additionally stressful because if we believe those stories we believe stories that we cannot know for sure are true. Trying to take them as true while knowing we don’t know for certain is inherently uncomfortable. And they are stressful because we may think we need to push away the grain of truth in any stories that appear incongruous with the one we try to hold as true.

Our minds are fundamentally honest. It knows when we try to deceive ourselves in the ways described above. And that’s discrepany is inherently stressful and uncomfortable.

Ther is a story that makes more sense to me and is far less stressful. And that’s the story of life as lila, as divine play. We can still use the stories of goals, tests, or purposes if they seem helpful, although these stories are seen in the context of the play. We can still grow, mature, and heal, and that too is part of the play. We can even believe stories, and that happens as part of the play.

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Dream: Boat going down

 

I am concerned about the safety of a group of children. They are on a boat that seems unsafe. As they get close to the shore, it starts rapidly filling with water. I am floating above the boat without a physical body, so I call out loudly to the people on the shore to come and help. Earlier in the dream, I had a body and was talking and interacting with people in the group the children were from. I knew many of them.

In the dream, there was an urgency in wishing to save the children. And it reminded me of the contrast between the strong sense of desire and passion I used to have and the lack of it I am experiencing now. There is a sense of nostalgia and wish for it to return in some form. (It slowly went away during the dark night, and especially after the CFS. For a while, the only sense of urgency was around surviving.)

Update: This dream happened a few days into my housesitting in San Francisco. Some weird things happened in the apartment (occasional strong sense of presence in the kitchen area, sounds from the kitchen at night – water running, dishes moving, sounds of a rubber ball bouncing on the floor etc., the dog bolting up and barking at the kitchen at night) and I did some research on the site. It turns out there was a large orphanage there for about 70 years in the 1800s and early 1900s. I wonder if there was a connection with this and the content of the dream. The “hauntings” – or whatever they were – disappeared after I and a couple of other vortex healers cleared the space. The apartment has been quiet since.

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Jeff Foster: Not the end of the world

 

It’s not the end of the world. Just the end of a dream.

Let your heart break today. Feel your feelings. Your disappointment, anger, fear. Let all thoughts, pictures in the mind, voices in the head, have their say, and know they are only new dreams trying to take root.

And feel your feet on the ground. Bring attention back to the here and now. To yourself. Feel the morning sun on your face. The breath rising and falling. Hear the sounds all around you. The bird singing. The television blaring. The traffic, the chatter of children.

So much here remains unchanged. So much here is familiar. Life goes on. The sense of being alive. The throb and pulse of being. Your ability to love, to hold yourself in presence. To connect with others, friends and strangers. To embrace difficult sensations.

Don’t abandon yourself for a chaotic world. Recommit to your path today with even greater ferocity. Nothing is so bad when you stay close to the place where you are. Nothing is so bad when you touch your own power. Presence itself.

– Jeff Foster

Trump reflections

 

I think the biggest lesson of this election is this: People love a good story way more than they like reality. Trump lied constantly, and had neither the temperament, the experience, nor the plans to change American lives for the better… but he knows how to spin an enthralling yarn.

Everything he promised is objectively bullshit. People with actual experience in economics, immigration, constitutional law, etc. said as much. Experts in every area came out against him, but America didn’t care. They liked his stories where other people were to blame for their problems and everything had a simple, intuitive fix. The blatant lies didn’t matter, as long as the story made them feel good.

America didn’t just give the middle finger to the elites. They said “fuck you” to everyone with expertise, to everyone in positions of earned authority, everyone who was trying to tell them what to do. America said, “You’re not the boss of me, I’m going to vote for an authoritarian who will tell YOU what to do.”

– S.O’B

Written by a friend of mine on Facebook.

I have had many reactions to the Trump popularity and now election. Here are a few:

From this spring on, I – and others I know – had an intuitive knowing he would be elected. From this morning of, the morning of the election and even before any results came in – I had a sickening feeling in my body.

He is insane. He may be literally insane. His level of projection, bigotry, sexism, islamophobia, vengefulness etc. is off the charts.

He seems to take delight in creating chaos. That’s a very dangerous quality of a leader of any country.

He seems to take delight in denying reality. He repeats and indulges in dangerous lies even if they are easily shown to be lies.

Trump is not really fit to be the leader of anything, apart from perhaps some crazy reality TV show.

He speaks to very legitimate fears and concerns many people have, especially how politics often serve corporate interests over those of people (neoliberal globalization etc.) The bail-out of the banks, instead of jailing the ones responsible, is one of many examples of why people are rightfully distrustful of politicians. And yet, his solutions are uninformed, misguided, and ranging from terrible to disastrous.

Some people compare him to Hitler, and others say he is not nearly as bad. Hitler wasn’t nearly as bad either at the time he was elected. The parallels are, at the very least, scary.

I feel sad Bernie Sanders did not become the Democratic nominee. Polls at the time showed that he was much stronger against Trump (clear advantage) than Clinton (much closer). Bernie speaks to many of the same concerns as Trump but has sane, proven, and inclusive solutions.

I would have voted for Hillary Clinton if I could, but I am not at all enthusiastic about her. She is far too aligned with corporate interests. (I know that’s partly strategic on her part, but still…. it’s a poor strategy when corporate interests so often are not the interests of people, ecosystems, and future generations.)

What will happen now? I am not sure. Personally, I have had a sense for a few months that I would leave the US for a while. I would find it easier to deal with Trump watching him from another country.

Hopefully, the democratic party will reform and address the very real issues and concerns that got Trump elected. I also suspect that the Republican partly will be torn apart to some extent, with pro- and anti-Trump segments (that’s already happening).

Trump is notoriously unpredictable, so just about anything could happen. He’ll likely try to get as much through of his campaign promises as possible. There is no reason to think he will be much different from the person we saw during the campaign. The republican congress will support much of it, and may oppose or block some of his more extreme policies.

He will set a new low standard in public discourse and politics, and this will be a model for others to follow.

He will most likely undo a great deal of social and environmental progress made over the previous several decades. His presidency will set back any efforts to reduce the severity of climate change (already on track to be severe).

He is likely to cause rifts with other countries. In the worst case, we’ll see his vengefulness and unpredictability cause very dangerous international situations and conflicts.

Trump doesn’t have the experience – and perhaps not the inclination – to lead the country. So his advisors will probably do a lot of the work, as they did with G.W. Bush. And these advisors may be as or more dangerous – socially and environmentally – than Trump himself.

It’s possible that he’ll resign or lose his presidency within a year or two and we’ll get another Republican president. Someone a bit more level headed and predictable, but still one who can do a great deal of harm, especially in the social and environmental areas.

It’s also possible something good will come out of the destruction. He may motivate life-centered engagement more than anyone else. Out of the ashes, something new and more life-affirming may emerge. We’ll see.

Most likely, what happens will be a mix of several of these things. Typically, things won’t be as bad as we fear or as good as we hope, although Trump has a way of go outside of the norm.

My hunch: He will go after his enemies (and will be partially stopped by courts and the law). He will try to get as many things done in as short a period as possible. He’ll get nearly full support of some Republicans, although many will oppose some of his more extreme projects. He will resign within one or two years, giving a reason that allows him to save face. (That he wants to focus on his family and/or TV network or another business project.) Another Republican will take over and continue some of his more regressive social and environmental policies but in a more professional manner. (Which, in some ways, is more dangerous.) A Democrat will be elected in 2020. This person will be slightly more in the Bernie Sanders camp. It could be Elizabeth Warren, but I think it will be someone else who is slightly more mainstream in their views. (Elon Musk would have been an exciting possibility, but he is not born a US citizen.)

Here is a post from early on the election day from another friend of mine:

If Trump wins, it is my belief that he will bring forth the movement, the revolution, faster than Clinton would because people will be much more motivated to do so. So fret not, if he wins, if the dark worker wins, (and dark workers are just as important in history as light workers) there will be revolutionary change even faster, but with more unfortunate consequences, drama, and maybe even fatalities. With Clinton in place, the movement will be slower going, safer and boring in comparison, but either way the Bernie movement will happen! I KNOW it in my bones that in my lifetime I will see the World fall apart and put itself back together again.”

My prayer now: Let the falling apart be as swift and light and easy as possible for all involved. Let curiosity diffuse fear and show everyone the magic that’s possible when anger expressed is met with an innocent heart. Anger is more fear after all, it’s just bigger looking and sounding. It’s scarier and hence creates more fear.

In the coming days and weeks and months I will strive to continue to grow my capacity to deal with fear and anger in myself and anyone who expresses it around me. When I feel it or see it, I will use it as my cue to get curious as much as possible. To find beauty in the moment as much as possible with everyone I meet.

Finding the blessings and beauty in any tense situation diffuses it immediately. Try it yourself. Next time you see someone angry or afraid, find anything to compliment them about genuinely. See what happens. Let me know if you do it. I’m so curious!

– MB

Update the following morning: for the last several months, my thoughts have sometimes said “he can’t possibly be voted in” but my knowing has said otherwise. Now, my thoughts try out “it won’t be that bad” but again there is a sense in me saying otherwise. It may be as bad as we fear, or worse.

With regular democrats and republicans, there is a regular level of craziness. They may go to war for oil or to get a regional foothold, or even to line the pockets of contractors. They may change some social and environmental policies. But in general, they keep things pretty stable. With Trump, it’s easy to imagine that it can spiral out of control. He is Loki, a chaos maker, and someone who seems to delight in chaos. It may lead to a situation beyond what most people are currently willing to imagine, as this historical analysis points out.

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How we frame a situation

 

How we frame a situation makes a big difference. It’s not about ignoring important aspects of a situation or pretending it’s something it’s not. It’s about framing our story about it – and we always have a story about it – in a way that makes sense, is real, and is helpful to us.

The other day, I talked with a friend of mine about a recent frustration in my life. (Buying a used phone through an apparently reputable website, having to send it back since it was locked to an Apple ID and the seller couldn’t help me unlock it, and now the seller is refusing to refund the money and says I am scamming him….!) She talked about dark forces trying to get us off balance and hold us back. To me, that does not seem helpful. That’s a story that (a) puts the power out there somewhere, (b) into something nebulous, and (c) can easily fuel fear. Also, I have no idea whether it’s accurate or not.

A story that makes more sense to me is that when challenging things happen, it’s life showing me what’s left. The situation shows me what’s left in me to see, feel, heal, find kindness towards. This situation has helped me meet wounds in me from childhood, created by similar experiences (taken advantage of, innocently accused) and it’s an invitation for that wound to be seen, felt, loved, and healed.

I did also ask life to show me what’s left a few years ago, and that’s what’s happening. (Life shows us what’s left anyway, for all of us, but it seems to have intensified for me after that particular “dangerous prayer”.)

Another way to see it is that life is kind. Life shows me what’s left. I would perhaps have chosen something easier, but life is kinder to me than that.

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Types of empathy

 

Empathy seems to have different facets.

A basic differentiation is how the empathy is experienced and the source of the empathy.

It can be experienced in a more cognitive or reasoned way. I imagine you must feel this way based on the situation you are in. Or in a more felt way. I imagine myself in your situation, and feel this emotion or state based on it. Often, there is a combination of both of these.

And it can come from a very human resonance. I recognize in myself what I imagine you feel, or what I would feel in the situation I imagine you are in. Or it can come from a perceived oneness where there is less or no separation. My center of being is more in the awareness that everything happens within and as, and the imagined separations has less charge to them. There is no real or substantial separation between you and me. Here too, there is often a combination of both of these. Even if we are not aware of the oneness that’s already here, and even if it’s covered up by a charged sense of separation, it’s still already here so it will have an impact on our experience.

So empathy can be more or less thought out or felt, and it can happen from a very human recognition or also from an intuitive or obvious sense of oneness and no real separation.

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Robert Masters: When we’re entrenched in spiritual bypassing

 

When we’re entrenched in spiritual bypassing, we tend to like our relationships sunnyside-up: no confrontation, no anger, no messy feelings, nothing that leaves any egg on our face. Smiles and relentless gentleness with everyone doing their best to make nice. There is not just denial here, there is also considerable dissociation, perhaps masquerading as spiritualized detachment and equanimity. Such relational disengagement maroons us from the vulnerability and depth needed for real intimacy, leaving us in psychoemotional flatlands.

– Robert Masters in Spiritual Bypassing

I usually don’t use the words bypassing or spiritual bypassing. It’s much simpler than that. It’s fear. We use an idea to avoid meeting unexamined and unloved fear in us, and we may even do it without noticing. In this case, the fear may be of confrontation, anger, rejection, being alone, and perhaps having a certain image of ourselves or someone else be shown to be incomplete. We have unexamined and unloved fear of what those things mean.

Distressed because we put the blame out there

 

When something happens and the mind sees as unfortunate, it tends to try to put the blame out there – onto others, God, life, or even being a victim. (The victim identity is “internal” to the self concept, but is still seen as “other” and “out there”.) What we blame depends on our worldview and background and can include childhood, parenting style, ancestors, karma, evolutionary traits, and any sub-personalities we see as screwing things up for us.

Putting blame “out there” is distressing since it’s not entirely true. There is a distressing battle between what we tell ourselves and others about the situation (the blame), and what we know about the situation if we take the time to look (our part in it).

The truth is a combination of our own responsibility and a set of circumstances, and the more we can own our own part of it, fully and honestly, the more there is a sense of quiet and peace around the situation. It settles for us.

For instance, my life derailed in several respects when I made a major life decision that went against my own inner voice and knowing. I can blame life, others, childhood trauma and more, and there may be some truth to all of it. And yet, I didn’t find peace with it until I could find and take a more full responsibility of my part. I was the one making that decision, and I was the one who stuck with it for far longer than was comfortable. I know some reasons why I did it (fears, trauma, cultural expectations), and they are part of the picture, but the real peace comes when I take a fuller responsibility for my part.

For me, it really helps to talk with good friends about this, as a confession. It helps “cement” my responsibility, and it helps the turmoil around it settle.

I was reminded of this when I saw a press conference with Therese Johaug, a Norwegian skier. She was caught using illegal medication (in this case, it seems to have been medication for sun burn), and she put all blame on her doctor. It’s very understandable since she needs to do what she can to avoid being excluded from future competitions. And it’s also understandable since many of us react and initially put the blame out there when something like this happens. At the same time, avoiding taking responsibility creates a great deal of distress. And it was her responsibility to look it up for herself and make sure it wasn’t on the list of banned medications.

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Giving people what they want when they act from pain

 

When people act from unexamined and unloved pain, we can give them what they want in two ways.

We can give them what they want on a surface level, which is often drama, feeling hurt, messing up relationships, getting us off course, and more.

Or we can give them what they really want, which is to be seen, kindness, and cutting through the surface drama and nonsense – for instance by telling them what we see.

At a place I recently worked, clients would sometimes try to create drama and conflict, and when it happened, it was usually very obvious what was going on. At the same time, the superiors would sometimes completely buy into it and give them exactly the drama and conflict they were looking for. It’s still astonishing to me that they would swallow the hook, line, and sinker to such an extent. Of course, it happened because the clients knew how to trigger the two bosses, and they got triggered and acted on it.

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When in a funk, careful about drawing big conclusions

 

A funk or any strong emotional state tends to color our experience of everything. And that goes for our thoughts as well. Our thoughts tend to reflect whatever emotional state we are in. It’s as if our mind wants to be helpful, so it creates or brings up thoughts aligned with the emotional state.

It’s good to notice this pattern.

I notice I am in a funk or an emotional state. I notice my mind creating certain stories that goes with that funk or emotion. And I notice that as the funk or emotional state passes, as it does, then those thoughts pass as well. They were linked to the emotional state. They were not as true as they seemed when they were supported by the emotional state.

As I notice this pattern over time, a part of me also recognizes and knows what’s happening and not to believe those thoughts. A part of me knows they are fueled by the funk or the emotions, and as the funk or emotions pass, the thoughts will not seem as true or real.

And that helps me avoid fueling the thoughts further, draw big conclusions (about life, others myself, situations) based on them, and especially to act on those conclusions.

This is kindness towards myself.

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Mona W: when I started my practice of intentionally finding things to LIKE

 

Years ago when I started my practice of intentionally finding things to LIKE no matter where I was, who I was with, or what I was doing, the unexpected benefit was that my anxiety decreased. I felt safer and calmer because I realized I was surrounded by wonderful things that I liked and there was nothing to be afraid of or worry about.

– Mona W. on Facebook

It’s often the simplest intentional noticing and activities that helps the most. They may seem so simple that the thoughts says it’s too simple, it’s what a child may do, and that’s a good reminder to give it a go.

CG Jung: Evil is – psychologically speaking – terribly real

 

Evil is – psychologically speaking – terribly real. It is a fatal mistake to diminish its power and reality even merely metaphysically.

– Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 539-541.

Evil is real, psychologically speaking. It’s what happens when we react to our own pain by lashing out instead of meeting it with kindness, patience, and curiosity. That lashing out can be very damaging to ourselves and those around us. And when it’s acted on by political leaders, it can harm a whole society. Trump is an unfortunate current example of this. I assume he is reacting to his own pain in the way he behaves, and those who enthusiastically support him do the same. Adyashanti talks about this in the discussion on Judas in Resurrecting Jesus.

Note: I am not sure why three pages are listed in the Jung reference, and the second part of the quote does seem a bit mangled.

Norway’s decades long fascination with oil

 

I read a story about possible large untapped oil reserves in the Barents sea outside of Norway. The implication is that Norway’s economy can continue to float on pumping and selling oil to the world. This is obviously a naive assumption. As someone said, the stone age didn’t end because of lack of oil, and the fossil fuel age will not end due to lack of fossil fuel. It will end because a better technology comes along, and that technology is already here and is continually being developed.

We have known that for decades, and we have also known that Norway needs to channel oil money into developing renewable technologies. With the wealth currently generated by oil money, Norway is in a unique position to be on the forefront of this field, and continue to be on the forefront of the global shift into renewable energy. And yet, that’s not what they do. Politicians, media, and people in general, still seem transfixed by a path that’s already outdated. And there is still time to make this shift.