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.
If I was going to recommend one practice, what would it be? Inquiry? Meditation? Body-oriented practices?
It depends on the person and their situation and what they are looking for.
But, in general, I would say heart-centered practices.
Heart prayer. Ho’oponopno. Tonglen. Christ meditation. Or something similar.
Practices that helps us reorient in how we relate to ourselves, others, the world, and existence in general.
To the extent we allow these practices to work on us, they can be deeply healing and transformative. They also support awakening, and they support living from – and as – this awakening.
I have gone back to heart prayer (Jesus Prayer) and Christ meditation over the last few days.
The heart or Jesus prayer is simple and from the Eastern church. Say in your mind a simple prayer, for instance: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Synchronize it with the breath so the first half is on the in breath and the second half on the out breath. And then synchronize it with your heart beats. (Lord Jesus Christ _ Have Mercy Upon Me.) Keep saying the prayer through the day.
It may be easiest to start with the words, then add the breath, and finally the heart beats. After a while, it becomes second nature. And after a while, it’s as if the prayer is saying itself. There may even be a sense of it continuing during sleep.
Give yourself over to the prayer. Allow it to work on you. Notice and allow.
A good informal introduction to this prayer is The Way of a Pilgrim. Some of the descriptions of the effects of the prayer may seem fanciful but most (all? I don’t remember anymore) are accurate from my own experience.
The Christ meditation is also from the Eastern church. Visualize Christ in whatever form works for you (for me, as light and consciousness) in your heart, in front and behind you, and over and below you. Perhaps 1.5 meters outside the body. Rest with this. Allow it to work on you.
And if Christ doesn’t resonate with you, use any expression of the divine that works for you. This practice is also found in other traditions, for instance in Tibetan Buddhism where you use your Guru or an aspect of Buddha Mind.
ACKNOWLEDGING WHAT PEOPLE SENSE
I remembered something that happened maybe fifteen years when I lived in Oregon. I had been doing the Heart Prayer or Christ meditation – or perhaps both – for a while and the Christ presence was quite noticeable in my system. On my bus journey from the public library to home, a woman sitting in front of me turned around and said: Are you Christ?
I was surprised and dismissed it with a “no” and a smile and laughter.
After, I thought that she may have picked up on the Christ presence and what I could have said was. No, I am just a normal person like you but I have been praying a lot lately. Maybe that’s what you picked up?
That way, I would have acknowledged her and the courage required to ask that question, and perhaps also what she sensed before asking the question. It was an opportunity for connection and acknowledging something important. Instead, I dismissed it. Of course, it’s understandable and fine but it did give show me something about myself and these type of situations.
Her: I am very sensitive – I don’t know if it’s good or bad?
Me: It’s good if you are an artist or healer or mystic. And very bad if you are a soldier or assassin.– paraphrased from a conversation earlier today
THE CHALLENGES OF AN UNPREPARED FOR AWAKENING
It may seem like a blessing and a gift to awakening without preparing for it or even knowing about or wanting it.
That’s true. And yet, it does come with its own challenges.
In my case, it happened when I was sixteen. I was a nerdy angsty atheist teenager and in many ways completely unprepared. The upside was that the awakening seemed to happen fully right away so there was no doubt what was happening. All without exception was revealed as God. Any sense of a me or I was revealed as the divine locally and temporarily taking itself as that until it notices itself as all there is.
At the same time, I had done no preparatory practices. I had not done any meditation. No inquiry. No heart-centered practices. No yoga. No reading of any scriptures. No listening to any teachings. No spiritual teacher had ever come into my life. So my system was unprepared in this sense. (Although I suspect it must have been prepared in some other way, perhaps including through past life practices and experiences.)
Just on an energetic level, and day and night for years, it felt like high voltage energy going through regular housing wires.
In the middle of the oneness, I was very alone at a human level. I had nobody in my life who knew about or were even remotely interested in these things. I lived in an atheistic-agnostic culture. (Which I am very grateful for.) And this was just before the age of internet so it wasn’t so easy to find books or people who understood what this was about. In hindsight, I see the gifts in that too and am grateful for it. It helped me explore it on my own without much outside influence.
In general, I was very fortunate. Also because I know there can be a lot of other problems that come with an unprepared-for awakening.
For some, the awakening can be partial and we can get stuck in a very confusing space. That happened for me in the year before the more full awakening. The center of gravity of what I was – in my own experience – was shifted into observing and the world, including anything connected with my human self, seemed very far away. This was confusing and scary and didn’t make sense to me until I could look at it in hindsight.
In an awakening we haven’t prepared for, we can get confused, disoriented, “stuck” for a while in weird places of the fullness of what we are, we can feel we are going crazy, we can have a lot of unprocessed emotional material surfacing, others may think we have gone crazy, we can have overwhelming amounts of energy going through our body, we may discover new and surprising abilities (seeing energies, healing, sensing at a distance), weird diseases can happen, and so on.
Of course, that can happen in any awakening process. Although I suspect that preparatory practices and a community of people on the same path can help a lot, and even those can come with drawbacks. (For instance, they can come with expectations which may feel limiting.)
Note: I call it full awakening because both the fullness and emptiness of it was clear, along with seeing that any sense of me or I or being a human self was the divine locally and for a while taking itself to be just that. It wasn’t a full awakening in that it was “finished” – there is always further to go in clarity, deepening, discovering new facets, living from it and so on.
LOOKING FOR THE FEAR AS A SHORTCUT
When I notice I am about to get caught in reactivity, or that I already am caught in it, there is a shortcut I sometimes use.
Look for the fear behind it. Connect with the fear under whatever surface expressions it takes, whether it’s anger, frustration, hopelessness, or something else.
In my experience, reactivity comes from reactivity to fear. Reactivity is a way to not have to feel the fear. So the remedy for reactivity is to meet the fear and feel it and bring it into presence.
REINVENTING OURSELVES IN NEW PLACES
This is something most of us have experienced: When we are in a new place and can be there for a while, we discover and live from new sides of ourselves.
It can be that we change school, or move to a new place, or even just find a new group where we spend a good deal of time. A new environment and new people allow us to discover and live from new places in ourselves.
People don’t know us so the old external expectations about how we are are gone. The culture may be different so new sides of us will come out. Even the landscape may be different and helping us find new sides of ourselves.
For instance, I have never been in Latin America but will spend a good deal of time there in the future, and I have no idea how I will be there. Who am I in Latin America? Whatever it is, it will be a surprise to me and one I am looking forward to.
WHY DO I TALK ABOUT HEALING, ISN’T AWAKENING ENOUGH?
Yes and no.
Yes, awakening is enough if what we want is to notice what we are, and for what we are notice itself.
And no, if we want to live from this in more and more situations and areas of life, we also need healing. Healing opens up space for awakening to be lived more fully and in more situations and areas of life.
Also, as a human being in the world, which we also are, it’s generally a much better life if we are more healed.
So why not focus on both? Why not find approaches that invites in both awakening and healing? Just about all of the tools I write about here do just that, at least if that’s our intention.
And finally, it’s not really about choice or want. Sooner or later in the awakening process, we bump up against unhealed parts of us and it’s natural for us to want to invite in healing for these parts. These parts of us suffer so why not invite in healing and awakening for these too? It’s a natural part of the process.
Note: I made this into a longer regular article but decided to keep this here since it’s shorter and more spontaneous.
May 24, 2020
THE CLARITY OF MYSTICS AND SPIRITUAL TEACHERS
When I explored writings by mystics and spiritual teachers in the initial awakening phase (age 16 and the next several years), I noticed that even well respected and well known mystics and spiritual teachers often were not very clear. It was actually very difficult to find more than hints of clarity.
I loved Jung because of his work with the fullness of the individual. I loved Fritjof Capra for clarifying some connections between science and mysticism. I could see that Meister Eckhardt had some real insights although it was often obscured by tradition and culture.
I did find real clarity in Jes Bertelsen, a fellow Scandinavian. (Perhaps that’s why his writings and approach resonated with me and still does.) And No Boundary by Ken Wilber became a kind of Bible to me in the early years because of the simplicity and clarity there. (He hadn’t written his more well-known books by that time.) I really liked the books by Wilfrid Stinissen, a contemporary Swedish Christian monk. I was passionate about I Ching in the Richard Wilhelm translation because of the wisdom there and read it almost to pieces. And I read a lot of traditional Taoist literature.
So yes, I did find authors who reflected genuine clarity and realization. But they were few and far between and didn’t always correspond to the “mainstream” traditional wisdom of where to find it.
Later on, where I found most clarity was Chögyam Trungpa, Douglas Harding, Byron Katie, Adyashanti, and some others like Stephan Bodian. I love Douglas Harding for his deceptive simplicity. Byron Katie for her pragmatic approach that helps people find it for themselves. Chögyam Trungpa for his understanding of western culture and mind and pioneering work in bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the west. And Adyashanti for his clarity and since he is the one I personally resonate with the most. He talks about things I discovered / was shown in the initial awakening and that I didn’t hear others talk about before him.
IS THE AWAKENING IN VORTEX HEALING “REAL” AWAKENING?
When I first got into Vortex Healing, I had this question for myself.
And now, the answer is “yes” although the process is a little different from the typical awakening process as described by different spiritual traditions.
The awakening itself is the same. And the process is a little different.
In Vortex Healing, it seems that the energetic structures holding core identifications in place are released, one after each other in an orderly and structured process. This gives our system time for integration and getting used to this new way of being. And since it’s the energetic structures specifically that goes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll have some big awakening experience. It’s more gentle and slow. And it’s more of an opening for awakening. One that we can make use of, explore, and learn to live from through meditation, noticing, and bringing into daily life.
Ric Weinman’s Awakening through the Veils describes the process in detail.
SNAPSHOT OF OWN HEALING PROCESS
Due to three different challenging life situations happening at once, I have had some primal survival fear come up in the heart area. I experience it as relatively light physical sensations, but it my mind, it becomes scary and difficult. It means something, and it seems to mean something life threatening.
Over the last few days, I have brought presence into it, gently explored it, and rested with it. And I have done so with a prayerful attitude, inviting it to transform within and as consciousness and the divine.
Sometimes, I have also used Vortex Healing tools like Angelic Heart, Vortex Therapy, and more. Yesterday and today, inspired by a live guided healing led by Ric Weinman, I have invited it to transform within and as respectively Divine Mother and Divine Father.
It feels deeply transformative and healing. And the sensations that my system experienced as so scary are now more interesting and something to befriend and rest with and as. (That also happens when I remind myself that the sensations are a flavor of the divine.)
I don’t know how much more of it there is, and it doesn’t really matter. My job now is to explore this, and – in a sense – be a lover for what’s there in my heart area.
I have also noticed that there is an energetic line that goes from the heart to the solar plexus, and from there to the center of the belly. I follow it wherever it’s shown to me to be.
FOOD AND MIND
What we eat impacts the mind. This is something most people notice, and it’s also reflected in the advice in many spiritual traditions.
Some may be relatively universal, and some is obviously individual.
Personally, I do much better on simple and unprocessed foods, low on the food chain. Mostly vegetables, fruits, non-wheat grains, and occasionally some meat or fish. If possible, local, in season, and organic.
Wheat, dairy, and sugar all impact me immediately and noticeable. They impact me on all levels – mind, emotions, and physically. And it’s usually not very pleasant. It almost feels like having taken a weird drug.
ACCEPTANCE AND HEALING
Acceptance is one of those words often used in the healing and awakening world. I don’t use the word much because it can be misleading and also because acceptance is often a product of something else.
What does it refer to?
It means to notice and allow what’s here. What’s here is already here. There is no need to fight with it. Fighting with it only creates drama, confusion, and suffering, and doesn’t help us deal with it or change the situation.
How can it be misunderstood?
We may think that we can decide to accept something, that it’s something we can will into existence.
We may also think that acceptance means passivity, while it often includes action to change a situation.
How is it a product of something else?
Acceptance is often a product of two things.
One is noticing that what’s here is already here. And possibly that it’s all happening within and as what we are.
Another is seeing through beliefs saying our situation should be different, and emotional issues struggling with the situation that’s here now.
How does it look when there is acceptance?
We have some peace with what’s here. We acknowledge that this is how life shows up for us now. We acknowledge what’s coming up in in response to it. And it’s OK.
All of it is OK, even if we would have liked it to be different. Even wanting it to be different is OK.
We have seen through beliefs saying life should be different. We have found healing for emotional issues struggling with what’s here.
And within this acceptance, there is often clarity and presence to take action – as is appropriate and needed. We can have acceptance of the situation as it is, and also take action to change it.
Those two go hand in hand.
Is it really as clear cut as it sounds here?
Not at all. This is just a way of talking about it. Often, there is a mix of all of this. And when we notice struggle with what’s here, we can use that as a reminder to notice that what’s here is here, and identify beliefs and emotional issues we can explore now or later.
WHAT IS WISDOM?
I am sure there are many good definitions out there.
For me, it is something that comes from a mix of many different things: Insights, life experience, empathy, a good heart, clarity, receptivity, gratitude, big picture view, deep time view, and so on.
It’s basically what comes out of person who is relatively mature, healed, and perhaps even awake although that’s not needed.
It’s someone who uses guidelines and is also free from them. It’s someone who wishes the best for themselves and others and life in general. It’s someone who knows we never know anything for certain, and yet often need to act on the limited knowledge we have. It’s someone who knows that there often are no simple solutions, and yet there is always something we can do.
May 26, 2020
ASSUMING SUFFERING HAS TO BE PART OF AWAKENING
Some of us have the idea that awakening – and perhaps healing – has to include suffering. We have to suffer in order to awaken and heal.
Perhaps the idea is that we have to suffer to deserve it. Perhaps suffering will show life and the divine that we are sincere. Perhaps we see it as part of some purgatory process. Perhaps we assume that we mature and learn only or mainly through suffering.
Is it true? It is true that it sometimes looks that way. But when I look at it more closely, something else is revealed. What we learn from is insights, getting close, receptivity, being curious about something. Awakening comes from noticing what’s already here. Healing through being a good parent – and perhaps guru – for the suffering parts of us.
In any case, it’s good to notice any parts of us that has this idea about suffering and explore it. Do I know it’s true? Can I know for certain? What effects does it have on my life? How would it be to live free from it? What would be different? What’s the truth in the reversals of that idea? Can I find specific examples of how each of the reversals are true? (This is The Work of Byron Katie.)
This idea of suffering may also be part of a collective trauma. It may both reflect and maintain a cultural trauma. In our Christian culture, we seem to have the idea that we need to suffer in order to deserve something, to mature, to heal, perhaps even to awaken. What effects has it had on our culture? And is the idea really needed or helpful? They don’t seem to have that idea in, for instance, Buddhist cultures and they seem to be doing well.
HOW WE RELATE TO PARTS OF OURSELVES
As a human being, we have many parts and subpersonalities that make up our inner community. Each one experiences the world differently from the others. And we – as the whole of what we are – can help this community function better and even flourish.
In a sense, any experience is a part of us. When it’s here, it shows up as a part of who and what we are here and now.
Most of us have a slightly haphazard way of being with these parts of ourselves. We are fine with many of them. We love some and want them to come out more often. And we dismiss or want to get rid of some.
We learn how to be with these parts of us from parents, siblings, friends, and culture. We may model ourselves on what we see. We may relate to parts of us as those around us were with us when these came up in us and we lived from them.
At some point in our own maturing and healing process, it’s good to find a more intentional relationship with these parts of us and facilitate a more healthy and vibrant inner community.
This can all sound a bit abstract and, fortunately, there is a relatively simple guideline for how to do this process in daily life.
If I were these scared or abandoned parts, how would I like to be met and treated?
How would I relate to a frightened or abandoned child or animal?
If these scared and abandoned parts come to me for support and help, how can I best meet them?
If these suffering parts come to me as devotees, how can I live up to that role and be with them?
For me, the answer is to be there for them. To be available and present with them. Give them my attention. Be a safe space for them. Give them the love they haven’t received before. Listen to the frightening stories they live from. Get to know them. Befriend them. Be patient with them. Allow them to be as they are. Give them space to heal in their own time.
Of course, I can support this healing process in all the usual ways – inquiry, energy healing, heart-practices and so on. And within this context of relating to them as scared and suffering children, animals, or even devotees.
WAKING UP PARTS OF US
Our inner community works in many of the same ways as our human community in the world.
One similarly is waking up.
In our human community, we have spiritual teachers and gurus who help others in their waking up process.
And in our inner community, we are the guru who can help parts of us wake up. Even if there is a general and “global” awakening here, many parts of our human psyche still operate from separation consciousness. And we can invite these to wake up.
How do we do it?
We can do it through dialogue and perhaps especially the Big Mind process.
We can also do it with our intention, bringing awake presence into these parts of us so they can wake up. And it also helps to recognize these parts of us as consciousness and ready to wake up.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FEEDBACK FOR UNHEALTHY PATTERNS
This is something most of us know and yet don’t always know.
In a relationship, it’s important with clear and honest feedback. It helps us know what’s happening for the other, it helps us change and adjust, and it is essential for a healthy relationship.
One things it’s essential for is becoming aware of and perhaps changing or stopping unhealthy patterns.
I see this in my parents. My mother has gone into a pattern with my father where she wants to control what he says, does, and so on. And he seems to not have said or done anything about it. In the absence of clear feedback, the pattern seems to have gotten worse over time.
I don’t know the details of this situation, but it may be that clear and gentle & firm feedback from my father would have stopped or changed it long ago. (She used a similar pattern to me when I was little, and I remember being very clear with her that I don’t want it, and she stopped.)
This is also an example of how clear feedback can be an act of compassion. By not giving clear feedback, he allowed my mother to continue and go even further into this pattern. And it’s unhealthy for both of them and the wider family as a whole. It impacts everyone, and it’s likely it could have been stopped a long time ago.
They are both equally part of it, and sometimes it just requires one to first be clear and gentle & firm for it to change.
NEAT IDEA OF LITTLE VALUE
Sometimes, we humans come up with neat and even briefly fascinating ideas of little or no practical importance.
For instance, what’s valued in the culture of the different continents? Perhaps heart in Latin America? Body connection in Africa? Spirit in Asia? Intellect in Europe?
Latin American culture has heart – fire, expressiveness. African cultures have rhythms, dance, and are comfortable with their bodies. Asian cultures have highly evolved spirituality. European cultures value cold intellect.
It’s obviously a terrible stereotype and overgeneralization. But it has a grain of truth in it in in two ways. It says something about the stereotypes we have about different cultures. And it reminds us that together, we represent and express more of the wholeness of what it means to be human.
So this is a neat idea of little value, but it reflects at least one more essential insight that does have some value.
DIALOG WITH HEART ACHE / SURVIVAL FEAR
CONNECTING WITH THOSE WHO PASS TO THE OTHER SIDE
I have been able to connect with people who have recently died for a while, and have done it more intentionally and regularly after finding Vortex Healing. Partly because I can do a few things to help them and the transition.
I have been surprised by the wide range of reactions and states people are in after recently passing.
The first I connected with was a permaculture friend of mine from Oregon who had cancer. One night, I gave him a distance session and he seemed very disoriented and confused and it also seemed that the “anchor” of his physical body was gone. The day after, I saw that he had died earlier the previous day. I wonder if he felt disoriented and confused because he had an atheist worldview and didn’t expect what had happened. (Just speculation from my side.)
Another was the sister of a good friend. She had cancer and I had given her Vortex Healing sessions to support her. When I connected with her after she died, I sensed lightness, joy, and happiness. It was as if she was free and home. She was Christian so I wonder if she went where she expected to go, and also felt relief and joy since she was free from the pain of the illness.
A friend of a friend recently committed suicide. When I connect with her, I sense dense confusion, turmoil, and anger.
Another friend of a friend died in a car accident two days ago. Connecting with her, I sense deep sadness and grief. She was only 22 years old.
I wanted to check my impressions with a VH friend and asked her to tune in with the two who recently died. She got very similar impressions as I did. (I didn’t tell her my impressions until after she told me hers.)
So it seems that people respond to passing over with as many different reactions as people do to dramatic events in this life. And the emotions people experience before dying may sometimes continue on the other side, at least for a while.