This is a post in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be a little on the rant side. And some may be made into a regular article in time.
Allowing things to be
Colonel Brighton: Look, sir, we can’t just do nothing.– from Lawrence of Arabia, 1962
General Allenby: Why not? It’s usually best.
I love that brief dialog from Lawrence of Arabia. It shows experience, trust, and an effective way of dealing with some situations.
In the particular situation in the movie, the Arab tribes had taken over Damascus without the skills and experience to actually run it. Allenby knew that if left to themselves, they would realize they needed help and that running Damascus was not what they really wanted. He allowed them to arrive at that conclusion for themselves. The alternative, which Brighton proposed, was military intervention which would only have galvanized the Arabs against the British. (I will refrain from commenting on colonialism and colonialist attitudes in history and the movie…!)
Sometimes, we obviously need to take action and get involved. We find ourselves in a situation that – if left to itself – will lead to undesirable consequences and nobody else may be in a better position to take charge, or our participation is required in another way.
But often enough, the situation will run its course without any problems. Our intervention is not needed. We can sit back, watch it unfold, and see it arrive at a conclusion that is desirable or at least not terribly undesirable. And if it should take a surprising turn and our intervention is needed, we can always get involved.
If I remember correctly, Jung would sometimes “accidentally” set fire to a piece of paper in his ashtray to see how his patient would react. Did they sit back and let the small fire run its course – knowing it would burn out without any risks? Or would they freak out and try to control the situation even if it was not necessary?
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The role of nature in healing and awakening
For many on the healing and awakening path, nature plays an important role.
Why is that?
Being in nature is a form of retreat – at least to the extent we are alone and can be there for a while. It helps us face ourselves and learn to be with ourselves and whatever is coming up for us.
We belong to nature. The vast majority of our ancestors lived in nature. We are as much part of nature as anything else. It’s our home.
Nature doesn’t require anything of us. It is what it is and we just have to adapt as well as we can. This creates a contrast to the demands and expectations of culture, other people, and our own conditioned mind. It highlights and helps us recognize conditioning.
The vast sky and infinite starry night sky reminds us of our own nature. Spaciousness. Capacity for it all.
In nature, we learn to be our own authority. Even if we listen to the pointers and advice of others, we are our own final authority.
In nature, what’s required of us is simple. Food. Shelter. Warmth. This invites in a simplicity of being.
All of this frees us up to be with ourselves in a different and more inclusive way. We are invited to be with all of us.
Different paths and different solutions
We all have different paths and different things work for each of us.
I have never been inclined to be very preachy. Mostly, I find things that work for me. And I may mention it to someone else if it seems it could be a good fit, but that’s about it.
I know too well that what works for me may not work for you. Most likely, it won’t be the right fit for you because we are so different.
And I also know that what works for me now may not work for me tomorrow, or in a week, or a month, or ten years.
That said, if we share a direction or aim, then there are some tools that seem to work more universally. And other tools are more specific to the person and situation.
For instance, if we seek healing for emotional issues, then befriending ourselves and the parts of us that suffer seems a universally helpful approach. It’s something that supports any other healing approach we use.
And if we seek to explore what we are, then basic meditation seems helpful – notice and allow what’s here, and notice its already allowed. Basic prayer and devotional practice. Basic forms of inquiry. And following basic forms of ethical guidelines and service. But even here, one or some of these are often a better fit for someone, and it can change over time.
What’s behind it if we feel or act more preachy?
The most obvious is that we assume, at some level, that what works for us also works for the other person. Or perhaps all people!
We may feel we need affirmation for our own choice, and getting other people onboard is one way to get a sense of affirmation.
And behind these may be insecurities and holes we try to fill.
May 18, 2020
The most basic projection
There are a few different ways to look at projections.
The most basic one is the mental overlay we place on the world. (And the idea of “the world” is, in itself, part of that projection!)
Our mental field consist of images, ideas, labels, interpretations, and stories about the world, and it’s a kind of overlay on the world. Outside of my immediate sensory experiences of taste, smell, touch, movement and so on, this mental overlay is my whole world as it appears to me. I live within a world created by my own mental images and words. And we can think of it as a kind of projection.
Another projection comes out of this and is really just an interpretation of this more basic projection. It’s when I see something “out there” in the wider world that’s also “in here” in me. It could be a label, quality, characteristic, dynamic, or anything else that comes out of an image or story. Sometimes, we are generally aware of the same “out there” as “in here”. Other times, because of wanting to uphold beliefs, identifications, and emotional issues, we tell ourselves that something is only out there and not in here, or the other way around.
I find the second interpretation useful, especially when it comes to the charged or “blind” projections. It’s easier to communicate, although it can also seem a bit questionable to some. (Are you telling me I am like Donald Trump!?)
The more basic interpretation of projections is more undeniable, although also more difficult to communicate and for most people to grasp.
My world as it appears to me – apart from immediate sensory experiences – is created from my own mental field. All of it, as it is, happens within and as me. And all of it reflects, points to, and is characteristics, dynamics, and so on within me.
All-inclusive gratitude practice
I am back to doing a forty day all-inclusive gratitude practice.
I am doing it with a partner because of witnessing and accountability. And I find it helpful to do it with someone with a similar worldview to so we both get what it’s about, and someone I don’t know very well so I don’t feel a need to censor.
Each day, we send each other a list where each sentence starts with:
I am grateful for….
And we include anything that’s alive from that day, both things we feel grateful for and things we don’t feel particularly grateful for.
Including the things we don’t feel grateful is one of the keys here. It helps open the mind for the possibility that there is something to be grateful for in it. Over time, it shifts how we relate to the things our conditioning may tell us is unfortunate, bad, or shouldn’t be.
An update: Chronic fatigue and Vortex Healing
I have had chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) since my mid-teens and was introduced to Vortex Healing (VH) four years ago. Although I have heard stories of miraculous healings from CFS using VH, that’s not been the case for me. It’s been a slow process and I am actually functioning less well in daily life today than I did back then. (Not because of VH.)
I am giving myself VH sessions daily, and have received probably a three-digit number of sessions from senior VH practitioners. My energy system is in much better shape today than before I started with VH. And many of my organs are in much better shape too, especially the kidneys which were in bad shape after years and decades with Epstein-Barr infection. And yet, it doesn’t translate into more energy in daily life.
My suspicion is that this has to do with nerve damage. Some research has found damaged nerves in the brain stem in people with CFS, and a psychic friend of mine told me a while ago that that’s what she was shown (years before this research came out). The nervous system can and does heal itself, but it takes time. And I am sure VH supports that process. It can help the rest of my system recover, which in turn may support the healing process of the nervous system.
Why are the nerves damaged? It could be because of damage directly from the virus or – perhaps more likely – it’s from the body’s response to the chronic viral infection.
May 19, 2020
For several years – perhaps seven or eight? – I haven’t read or listened to much within spirituality or psychology. I have had a kind of faste. Not because I decided to (very little happens because I decide to), but because it just happened. It felt right. With the CFS, it’s difficult to take in and process information, it takes precious energy, and my symptoms worsen after. And it was perhaps time to allow it all to digest anyway and also notice what’s here without constant input from others.
What did I take in in the period before this faste? In the most recent period, mostly Byron Katie, Adyashanti, and AH Almaas / Hameed Ali. Before that, also Ken Wilber, Arnie Mindell, and a lot of others.
How to tell if an issue is cleared or dormant?
Life triggers an issue in me. I bring presence into it, shift in how I relate to it, and may explore the issue itself. It fades and apparently goes away.
So how do I tell if the issue cleared or just peaked and went dormant again?
First, it’s usually not an either/or situation. It’s more likely that some of the charge is released and there is still some charge left. Life may trigger it again, as it does, and that is another opportunity to met and explore it.
If I want to be thorough, I try to trigger it myself. I imagine myself in the situation that typically trigger it, and may tell myself the stories that tend to trigger it, and see what happens. If something comes up, I can look at that. And if not, I just let it go. If it’s still there, life will trigger it and I can meet it again.
I saw someone on social media describe herself as consciousness adventurer. I like that a lot since that’s how I see myself.
Since childhood, I have been fascinated by adventures and exploration. Back then, of our physical world. And later, of consciousness.
I also like it because it has a flavor of fun and discovery, and it suggests that the adventure itself is the goal. (Lila.)
Not taking things as seriously as it deserves
I have a tendency to not take certain things in my life as seriously as it deserves. Why? I imagine it’s partly because being in touch with or resting as what I am gives a sense of safety and that everything is OK independent of what happens in my human life. It’s not a false sense of safety and OKness. But my life still needs me to take care of it.
As Adyashanti says: Be a good steward of your own life.
I am the only one who are here all the time to take care of this life. And I am the only one for whom this life is the most important.
A friend of friends apparently committed suicide this weekend.
I think many of us have had periods in life where it seems easier to not be here anymore than keep on living. It’s more normal than we think. And in most cases, it passes. Life may still be challenging. We may still feel overwhelmed at times. And yet, the moment of deep despair passed.
The single most helpful thing in those moments of deep despair is to remember that everything passes. All our times of despair in the past have passed, and so will this one. It gets better.
Here are some other reminders that can be helpful:
What we want to die is the suffering, not ourselves.
We have a 100% success rate in getting through bad days.
What you feels is complete OK. Even your struggle with it is OK.
Depression and despair lie to us. Don’t believe what they are saying because it’s not true. What they tell us comes from painful beliefs.
There are also several emergency tools that can help in these situations, and the more familiar we are in using them the easier it is to remember and to actually use them when we really need to.
Note: I said apparently since this is based on her partner’s assumptions. Based on the available information, it seems equally or perhaps more likely that it was an accident. It’s good to not jump to conclusions.
In the previous post, I mentioned someone who committed suicide.
I don’t know much about the particular case mentioned above, but from her partner, it seems she was pushed over the edge by despair over the state of the world. (Combined with physical pain, and I assume the pain of old trauma.)
Personally, I feel it’s irresponsible to spread messages of doom and despair if it’s not combined with a good dose of solutions.
We need to address the serious issues in the world today, and there is no lack of them. But we mainly need to focus on the grounded, real, and workable solutions to them, and there is no lack of those either.
Media has a big job to do here. Traditionally, they focus on all the things that go wrong or doesn’t work, and that important. And it’s equally important that they – and all of us – focus on people who have found grounded and effective solutions to these challenges.
Why things go wrong in a dark night
There are several types of dark nights, and one is where “everything” seems to go wrong, perhaps combined with a lot of old emotional issues and traumas coming up.
Why does this happen?
The main reason seems to be that it’s a phase of the awakening process, and a phase where unhealed parts of our human self comes to the surface to be healed and reality rubs up against remaining identifications so they can be worn out or seen through.
It could also be that when deep wounds are activated in us, we tend to act in a way that makes things go “wrong”.
Perhaps karma is coming up to be cleared out. (I don’t have any way to check this for myself, it’s just what others say.)
Perhaps it’s a way for life to bring us to a place of more genuine ordinariness and humility.
Perhaps it’s a combination of these and more.
And although it’s interesting and even illuminating to explore the answers to that question, another question is perhaps more important.
How can we best relate to this? What does it ask of us?
For me, it’s about reorienting towards what’s happening – in my life and in me. To notice and allow. Meet. Bring presence into. Get to know. Listen to. Recognize as an expression of the divine.
To find healing for the unhealed parts of me. To meet what has been shunned. Listen to what has been ignored. Love what is unloved.
To feel whatever comes up in me as a flavor of the divine.
To notice when life rubs up against beliefs and identifications and explore these.
To find a gratitude for what’s here, including the parts of me that doesn’t feel gratitude for it.
To find myself as capacity for all of this, which we all already are.
What are some things that has gone “wrong” in this phase of my process? For me, it’s loss of heath, marriage (needed to lose), house, money, ability to work, and repeated loss of things happening in my life that seems promising. Often, these promising situations have gone wrong in surprising and bizarre ways, almost as if there is a “reverse” form of synchronicity going on. (Synchronicities aimed at making things fall apart.) It feels like an ongoing collapse in all areas of life.
Synchronicity: As I wrote the previous paragraph, the lyrics of the song I was listening to said Nothing lasts forever. It’s as if the universe wanted to make a comment on the topic of this post and what I personally am going through.
Differentiating sensing and interpretation
When we sense things in others, there is an important differentiation that’s helpful.
Say I sense anger in someone close to me. That sense may be completely true, at one level.
From here, I can interpret it in several different ways. One stressful option is to tell myself that the person is angry at me, and even go into frightening stories about what that means – about me and our relationship.
A more peaceful option is to remind myself about a few different things. For instance, I can remind myself that the person may be angry with someone else, or that an old issue has been triggered. I can remind myself that many different options are possible, and that I don’t really know. And I can remind myself that behind anger is often fear.
I can also take action and ask the person what’s happening and get more information that way.
If we are not used to differentiate sensing and what we think about it, and tend to believe what we think, it’s difficult to see that many different interpretations are possible.
And when we are used to differentiate sensing and interpretations, and perhaps also used to generating several different interpretations, it’s much more easy to remind ourselves that several interpretations are possible and that the reality may be something even different from that.
I intentionally said sensing since this can come up in a few different ways. We can sense anger in someone in conventional and ordinary ways, through words, tone, body language, actions and so on. And if we have developed some sensitivity, we can also sense it in someone at a distance without being in the same room or in contact with the person.
Pushing a decision creates confusion
When I have a decision to make and I have some time, one or two things may happen.
I can push for a decision, and that creates a sense of confusion.
Or I can wait for it to come on its own. Perhaps supported by pondering the different possibilities, gathering information, sensing into what feels right, and asking life or the divine to give me clarity or a direction.
May 20, 2020
Big and small interpretations of awakening vs honest about it being ones own experience
A friend of mine read a post here about big and small interpretations of awakening. His response was that it’s about being clear that it is ones own experience and not necessarily a universal truth.
I see where he was coming from, but, to me, those are two slightly different things.
First, a few words about the big and small interpretations of awakening.
As I have written about in other articles, the awakening itself is the same. What we are wakes up to itself and all of its content as itself. This is something we can label consciousness, awakeness, Big Mind, or many other things. This is oneness. Consciousness can temporarily identify as something within itself – for instance a me, I, observer, doer, human self – and then wakes up to itself as what all of its content happens within and as.
Here, everything appears as what we are. Everything appears as what we can call consciousness, awakeness, Big Mind and so on.
In the big or spiritual interpretation of awakening, this is taken at face value. It’s assumed that all of existence, in itself, IS consciousness, awakeness, love, the divine, Spirit, God, Brahman. And, to be honest, this is often supported by synchronicities, ESP, ability to see and sense energies, distance healing, and much more.
In the small or psychological interpretation of awakening, it’s recognized that since we – to ourselves – are consciousness and everything happens within and as this consciousness, it will appear as if the rest of existence is that too. It’s recognized as a projection. We make a difference between how it all appears to us and what all of existence in itself is.
For instance, it is conceivable that the materialistic view is correct and that what wakes up to itself is the consciousness that’s somehow produced by the body of this physical human being. Awakening is still the same in its essence. It’s still this consciousness waking up to itself. There is still oneness. It still wakes up out of taking itself as a separate human self.
Here, although we acknowledge that awakening has many benefits, it may also be seen as a glitch. Normally, consciousness takes itself to be this human self, and through whatever it loses that anchor and recognizes that to itself – consciousness is all there is and all experiences happen within and as this consciousness.
Is differentiating the two – the big and small interpretation of awakening – this the same as being honest about our experience and not generalizing?
Yes and no.
Yes, it’s the same in that in the small interpretation of awakening, we say: To me, all my experiences happen within and as consciousness. The whole world appears as consciousness, but I don’t know if it actually is.
And no, that’s not the whole picture.
This is also about how each one has its own function and usefulness. For instance, the big interpretation may be more inspiring and be a better fit for people already within a religion or spiritual tradition. While the small interpretation can serve as a bridge for people who come from a more materialistic mindset.
And it’s about which one is more accurate. The small interpretation is, in a sense, more honest since it acknowledges the projection aspect of awakening. And the big may be more accurate since there are many signs – synchronicities, sensing at a distance, distance healing and so on – suggesting that all of existence may indeed be consciousness.
May 21, 2020
Waking up different
When I woke up early this morning, my experience of myself was very different from normal. It felt like large parts of my energy system had fallen away and what was left was something thin and clear. I also vaguely remembered experiences during the night of a very different and more ethereal world and also experiencing and perhaps processing old material at that level.
First, I thought my system was drained of energy but it actually seemed OK. It did seem that my “center of gravity” had perhaps been “absorbed” into a part of my energy system and some work had been done there.
I went back to sleep, and when I later woke up I felt more as I usually do, and even more so after getting up for breakfast. I actually forgot about this until later in the morning.
Being in the present?
I see less of this these days, but it does come up now and then.
What does it mean to be in the present?
It does not mean to avoid thoughts of the past or future. These are essential for functioning in the world.
But it does mean to notice that all thoughts – and all content of our experience – happens in immediacy.
Any ideas of past, future, and present happen in the mental field here and now. Although there is the ideas of past, future, and present, and what happens in those three times, the actual past, future, and even present as it appears to us, doesn’t exist in itself. It all comes from this mental overlay.
The more we have examined this, the easier it is to notice that these thoughts about these three times happen here and now and in and as the mental field. They are questions about the world. They have pragmatic value and help us function in the world. And they hold no final or absolute truth.
Thoughts are tools to help us function in the world. They are not tools to find any final or absolute truth.
Thoughts as tools
In our culture, and perhaps many or all (?), thoughts are seen as a way to find truth. Some are recognized as a limited, provisional, and pragmatic “truth” that helps us function in the world. And some are considered a final or absolute truth, implicitly or explicitly.
In reality, all “truths” are limited, provisional, and have only a pragmatic value. All belong to the first category.
Thoughts are questions about the world. They are here to help us orient, navigate, and function in the world. They are questions about the world. They only have temporary, limited, and pragmatic value. They cannot tell us anything final or absolute.
And that goes for these thoughts as well.
May 22, 2020
Wanting to know the future
In situations that are uncertain and bring up fear, it’s natural to want to know something about the future. Perhaps even by consulting psychics or similar. A few things comes up for me around this.
Nobody and nothing can tell us the future. As Yoda said, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” We may get hints and impressions, but that’s about it.
To a large extent, we create our own future. The way we are now and what we do now determines a large part of our future. (At least most of the time and in many situations.)
Since the future is always unknown, and that’s how it’s always been and our natural habitat is uncertainty, why not find peace with it?
To make good decisions, gather as much information as you can and use your best judgment along with your inner knowing and inner voice.
In general, it really helps to address any fears that influences our decisions since the more we acknowledge – and to some extent process – our fears, the more clear and grounded our decisions will be.
I Ching and similar tools for “divination” tends to mirror ourselves back to us. We don’t necessarily see the future. We see ourselves as we are now.
How do we make good decisions? There isn’t one answer to this but here are a few things I have found helpful.
Often, it helps to gather all the information, explore different possibilities, and then let it go and simmer on its own while focusing on other things.
We can also plant a seed by asking and intending life to give us a direction.
It’s always good to check in with our inner knowing or inner voice. What does it say?
One way to check in with out inner voice is to make a list of the different options. For each one, we can say to ourselves “I can […] if I want, and I want” and see how the body responds. Does it relax and does it feel like a relief? Or does it tense and contract a bit? And then do the same with “I can […] if I want, and I don’t want”. (Relax suggests a yes and tension a no.)
If we have time and if an answer is not clear, it helps to wait a bit and see if an answer emerges on its own.
A small example of this that I paid for two divine doors (from EarthWorks in Vortex Healing – they bring in divine presence in a place or into a person) and had one left. Should I put it into this website? Or the cabin? Or my living space? Or somewhere else? I wasn’t sure so I felt into and thought a bit about each option yesterday and the day before. It still seemed quite open so I decided to wait for a more clear answer. Today, the answer was clear to me. (My living space, which in hindsight wasn’t a surprise.)
I should also mention that although it may look like we “make” decisions, and these processes above can be very helpful to arrive at an answer, we don’t really make decisions. They make themselves. They happen and then we notice them, as I today noticed the answer about where to put the divine door.
Fluidity of perspectives
In our lives, there is a fluidity of perspectives.
We shift between views and seeing the world from different parts of us.
We shift between the divine as other to the divine as here to the divine as what we are.
Some of these shifts happen over long periods of time. And others easily and quickly.
I was reminded of this just now. I had asked angels for their presence and healing and experienced love as other and here. Then, there was a shift into noticing what I am and everything as love. The two do not exclude each other. We can fluidly shift between them and they can even be here at the same time, with one more in the foreground and the other more in the background.
The more basic impulses for awakening
Where does our impulse for awakening come from?
What is it we really seek?
On the surface, it may seem like we seek relief from pain and suffering. Or it may come from curiosity or fascination. Or something else.
Looking a little closer, we may find more essential motivations. For instance, coming home, love, truth, finding God.
We can explore this by taking any surface motivation – for awakening or anything else – and trace it back to the most essential. What do I hope to get out of this? And what, in turn, do I hope to get out of that? And so on.
And really, this is the play of consciousness or the divine.
In a small interpretation of awakening, we can say that consciousness temporarily takes itself to be something within its own content. Usually a me, I, observer, doer, and human self. It knows and senses, somewhere, what it really is and is drawn towards it. And then may discover itself as what it always was, consciousness. That which all experiences happen within and as.
In a big interpretation of awakening, we can say that God or the divine wanted to explore itself in as diverse ways as possible, including through forming itself into a universe, galaxies, solar systems, planets, this living planet and humans. It temporarily and locally identified itself as a human being and got caught up in that experience as part of its self-exploration. At some point, it vaguely remembered or sensed what it always is and is drawn to explore that. And then wakes up out of the “dream” of exclusively taking itself to be a part within itself and notices itself as all of it and what all of it happens within and as.
The main motivation behind awakening is then for what we are to again notice itself, as part of its ongoing adventure of exploring itself in as many ways as possible.
Basic projection and filtering this basic projection
The basic projection is more of a mental overlay making sense of the world for us. This is needed for us to be able to function in the world.
One way to filter this basic projection is to see that what we see out there is also in ourselves, and sometimes the other way around. If I take any story I have about something “out there” in the world, and apply it to myself, I can find it in myself with specific examples.
And this second type of projection can be seen more clearly, or it can have a charge on it and I tell myself that whatever quality or characteristic or dynamic I see “out there” is not also in myself, or the other way around. When there is a charge on it, it’s tied up with beliefs, identifications, and often fear at the bottom of it.
Not surprisingly, many people who are in a healing role for others have their own wounds and trauma.
Why is that?
Wounds and trauma are relatively universal. We find it in any group of people.
People one a healing path learn a lot from working on their own wounds and can use what they learn to help others.
And people drawn to healing their own wounds and traumas often train in healing modalities so they end up in the role of a healer for others.
Our wounds and traumas can seem like a big misfortune, and in a sense that’s true. It can impact our lives in many different ways including our life decisions.
At the same time, our wounds and traumas can be seen as immensely valuable. They can help us mature, find a genuine gratitude for life, deepen our empathy, and become more thoroughly human. Perhaps especially if we relate to them more intentionally and as a good parent to a child.
The wounded healer has several facets. One is that exploring our own wounds serve as the training ground for later benefiting others. Another is the deep humanizing and maturing that can happen in this process, which also tend to support others in their healing process.
The perfect is the enemy of the good
I sometimes remind myself that the perfect is the enemy of the good.
The good is often good enough, and it can often be improved based on testing and experience.
Perfection comes from comparing something to an abstract ideal, and just about everything falls short of that. Perfection is not a very useful idea. And it often has more to do with trying to protect ourselves psychologically than wanting to get something done.
Learning a new language is a good example. If we want perfection before we open our mouth “in the wild” we may wait a very long time before we say a word, and it will slow down our learning. On the other hand, if we are like a child and speak in order to get something across – without caring too much if it’s grammatically correct or not – we’ll enjoy it more and learn faster.
In the Enneagram, number one – the perfectionist – often comes up high for me so this is something I am still learning.
The only way to appear smart is intellectual humility
I assume we all have done it. We pretend to know something we cannot know or that we cannot know for certain (which is everything).
Why do we do it? Perhaps to cover up fear and insecurity. We feel a bit scared and react to that fear by telling ourselves and/or others that we know something we cannot know, or that we know something for certain that we cannot know for certain.
The irony is that this looks really stupid. We make ourselves look exactly the way we are afraid to look.
What’s the solution?
Embrace uncertainty. Remember we cannot know anything for certain. We are all in the same boat here, it’s nothing to be ashamed over. Meet and befriend the fear. Find some grounded intellectual humility and honesty.
Anything can be a prayer if we have a prayerful orientation.
Meditation can be prayer. Inquiry can be prayer. Heart-centered practices can be prayer. Housework can be prayer. Walking can be prayer. A conversation can be prayer.
In a more conventional sense, prayer can be with words. We can ask for the divine to work on us. We can ask for Your will be done. We can ask for the best possible outcome – as the divine sees it – for a situation.
This prayer with words can also shift into something else. When we notice the presence of the divine, we can rest with that presence in silence. And that can shift into resting as that presence in silence.
May 23, 2020
Art and match
In my early twenties, I had a conversation with a photographer I knew. He talked about art as if it was inherently good or bad, and I remember my surprise. For me, it’s more about the match between the art and the person experiencing it.
Of course, art can reflect skills, insights, wisdom, understanding, heart, and so on – or lack of it. And I often personally enjoy art that does reflect those things, and especially soul and heart. (Arvo Pãrt has been my favorite composer since my teens.)
But to me, it’s more about the match with the person experiencing it. If it resonates with someone – if the person gets something out of it – then the art has served its purpose. Perhaps it brings up a memory. It opens someone heart. It’s enjoyable. It takes them on a human journey. It gives them insight into other people’s lives. It brings them in touch with some emotion. It lights up an old dream or passion. It shows them something about themselves. Perhaps it’s even just a distraction. It doesn’t matter so much as long as the person feels they got something out of it.
As I write this, I hear a voice saying what about art that’s blatantly racist? Blatantly anti-people or life? It may still resonate with someone?
Yes, it may still resonate with and feel meaningful for the person. In this case, it’s not so different from any other form of communication. We have freedom of speech, and sometimes this freedom is – rightly so – limited if it fuels racism and so on.
What words can and cannot do
Words divide reality. That’s their job.
Out of the oneness of reality and our experience, words divide and split it up so we can focus on some aspects of reality, and some aspects of these aspects.
It’s very helpful. It helps us communicate. It helps us explore. And it helps us orient and function in the world.
At the same time, words can only address aspects of aspects of reality. It’s very limited. It leaves a lot out. It leaves almost everything out.
Reality is always more than and different from any maps and words.
That’s why those who wish to speak about the whole or oneness are fools. It can’t be done. And yet, some of us try knowing we are fools. And some, perhaps the wisest ones, use metaphors and poetry because that can, at least, invoke what it’s about.
Even the word oneness leaves a lot out. It leaves out all the things in oneness that’s not captured by the word oneness. And oneness itself – like anything in reality – is different from its label and what anybody associates with it.
Dream: Residential school of some sort
In the dream, I am in some kind of temporary residential school for grown-ups. I have a good connection with the others.
I don’t remember more details, but the dream seems to be on the same theme as many other dreams for the last few months. A rich and alive sense of community.
Revisiting the past
When I revisit the past, it’s in the context of noticing patterns and issues to explore, get to know, heal my relationship with, and perhaps invite in healing and awakening for.
Sometimes, I get caught in the old painful stories about it. And even then, a part of me notices the patterns and plan on taking it to further exploration and healing later.
May 23, 2020
Play is the highest form of research.– not Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein said similar things but not exactly this.
Still, it’s true in a sense.
Any research requires an element of play. It requires us to have a light touch, a playful attitude, and explore and investigate in new ways.
That’s how it is with awakening as well. It’s an exploration process. What happens if I do this? What do I find if I explore these things? What works? What doesn’t work? What works for me in the situation I am in? How does it change over time? What happens if I take this entirely different approach to it? What happens if I change how I am in relation to this exploration? If I find more sincerity? Honesty? Receptivity? What happens if I clarify my motivation and discover my more essential motivation?
Some people talk about self-sabotage but that term doesn’t resonate very much with me.
Of course, seen from the outside it may seem like someone is “self-sabotaging”. Depending on who looks, I am sure it can look that way for all of us now and then.
But it is an outside perspective.
From the inside, it looks very different. We are doing the best we can. Our system has developed ways to survive difficult experiences. Most of the time, these are not very conscious to us. They color our perception and action. Sometimes, they make us perceive and do things that may not seem to be in our own interest. And sometimes, perhaps quite often, we despair over it without being able to very easily change it and it may even be difficult to understand what’s going on.
So instead of self-sabotage, I see trauma behavior. We were traumatized. Our system developed ways to deal with it. And those coping-mechanisms sometimes don’t serve us today.
It’s natural and understandable and – in it’s essence – very innocent. And it’s something we can explore and invite in healing and change for.
Shaming vs support
On the topic of the previous post:
I remember once meeting with a Norwegian woman (V.G.) who sometimes takes on the role of a spiritual teacher. I told her of some patterns like this I notice in my own life and am working on. She immediately said, with a good deal of force: Why are you still doing it! If you know about it why don’t you change it!!
She seemed exasperated and incredulous that I could see a pattern and it was still there, at least to some extent. It was almost as if she took it as a personal offense.
If it had been a gentle question and invitation to meet and explore what’s going on, it could have been very helpful. But the attitude she took reflected more a lack of understanding. Sometimes, we can see a pattern without being able to change it right away. It’s normal and natural. It can take time to change how we relate to these patterns in us, and for them to feel safe enough to relax and release some of the charge they hold.
A guideline I find helpful is to see these parts of me as scared and often traumatized children or animals. They need to feel safe. Understood. Respected. Listened to.
One of the things they need the most for me is for me to change how I relate to them. Do I react to them? Try to make them go away? Try to forcibly change them? Try to over-ride them? Pretend they are not there? Leave them when they need me the most?
Or do I listen to them? Listen to their fear and pain? Be with them? Allow them to be as they are? Give them a safe space to change when they are ready?
Is truth or our ideas more important?
Most humans struggle with the balance between seeking truth and reality and holding onto our cherished ideas, beliefs, and identifications.
After all, we need to be reasonably well aligned with reality to function and survive. At the same time, it can feel like a matter of survival to hold onto our most cherished beliefs and identifications.
We see this in all areas of life – from daily life to science, politics, religion, and spirituality.
The central question is: Do we prioritize our ideas and views? Or do we prioritize reality?
Do we seek our information and people who support our existing beliefs and assumptions? Or do we actively seek out information that may disprove what we have held as true?
In other words, are we metaphorical religious believers or good scientists?
For most of us, the answer is both. In some areas of life and some situations, we may chose our beliefs and assumptions. In other areas and situations, we may prioritize data. It depends on how seriously we take the choice, how invested we are in our ideologies, and more.