This is one 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.
IS THE UNIVERSE CONSCIOUS?
I have seen this article floating around for a while: The universe may be conscious, say prominent scientists
The first that strikes me is that if the universe as a whole is conscious, that’s not more weird than individual beings is conscious. What’s really weird is that anything exists at all and that consciousness itself exists. How and where it exists are just minor weirdnesses within a much bigger weirdness. Or minor questions within this much bigger mystery.
Also, this ties into what mystics of all eras and cultures describe. To ourselves, we are consciousness and the world – as it appears to us – happen within and as this consciousness. From here, all of existence definitely appears as consciousness. To us, it appears as consciousness.
If it – in itself – is consciousness is another question. It may well be.
WHAT’S INSIDE THE ISSUE IS INSANE BUT I AM NOT INSANE
Sometimes, when strong and old issues come up, we can feel a bit insane.
It’s natural. Any emotional issue is a bit insane.
It comes from a stressful belief out of alignment with reality. So it’s no wonder that the thoughts, emotions, and perceptions that comes with an issue feel a bit insane. And that we can feel a bit insane when it comes up, perhaps as part of a healing process.
One reminder here I find helpful is that what’s inside the issue is insane. It’s like a bubble of insanity. And that doesn’t mean that I, as a whole, is insane.
Is there anything else we can do when this happens?
Go for a walk. Use your body. Spend time in nature. Play with a child or animal. Watch or read something wholesome. Eat well. Drink water.
Receive bodywork or energy work you know can help calm down your system. (Repairing divine lines, integration, and optimizing from Vortex Healing can be very helpful.)
Talk with someone who understands. Someone who has gone through it themselves and can listen, understand, and give you gentle encouragement and support.
ARE THE WORK OF BYRON KATIE AND THE LIVING INQUIRIES FORMS OF COGNITIVE THERAPY?
Yes, they are since they help us explore thoughts – and perceptions, emotions, and actions that come form believing certain thoughts – in depth. They help us relate to thoughts in a more healthy way.
At the same time, they go beyond most conventional forms of cognitive therapy. In The Work and the Living Inquiries, we are encouraged to leave no stone unturned, to examine even the thoughts that seem the most obviously true, to question our most essential and cherished assumptions about ourselves and the world.
BASICS OF SMALL INTERPRETATION OF AWAKENING
I keep returning to this topic.
Essence of awakening
Independent on what worldview we have, to ourselves we are consciousness.
Also, the world as it appears to us happens within and as this consciousness.
All we know is consciousness.
All we have ever known is consciousness.
When we take ourselves to be a particular content of consciousness – an me, I, human self – that’s a temporary trick of the mind. It’s the mind being a magician and giving itself the impression of being something particular within itself.
Cultural clothing and simplicity
The idea of awakening is clothed in all sorts of ideas from spiritual traditions and culture. And yet, stripped of all this, it’s simpler.
It’s this consciousness waking up to itself and all its content as itself. It’s consciousness waking up of the temporary trance of taking itself to be something particular within itself – whether it’s me, I, observing, doing, human self, and any other ideas and labels like “consciousness”.
It’s likely that the magic trick has an evolutionary function. Why else would it be so common? For instance, it may engage people more fully in life so they have a better chance to survive and have offspring.
So what about awakening? What about the cases where the magic trick doesn’t work?
We can see awakening as a “glitch” in the system. An important evolutionary function – the magic trick – has been seen through or stopped working for whatever reason.
It’s also possible that there is an optimal balance between instances where the trick works and where it doesn’t. Perhaps this optimal balance is exactly what we see: Many where the trick works so they are more fully engaged in the game of life. And a few where it doesn’t so they can provide a bigger picture and fresh look on life to benefit their group or society.
Today, with our global challenges, that bigger picture and fresh look is more important than ever. It’s crucial for our survival as a species.
This is all written from a small or psychological understanding of awakening. We can also take big or spiritual view and then the wording and emphasis will be a little different, although the essence is the same.
SEEING THROUGH VS REPLACING THOUGHTS
In some circles, they talk about replacing thoughts.
Yes, it’s better to notice unhelpful thoughts and replacing them than buying into them. And it does require that we examine the thoughts.
Say I have a thought telling me “I am worthless”. I can notice when it comes up and replace it with “I am 100% valuable”. That can help a lot, to the extent I have examined both thoughts.
I can examine the first and see that I don’t know for certain. I can explore what happens – to my perception, emotions, other thoughts, actions, and relationships – when I believe it. I can explore how my life would be without it. And I can find the validity in the turnarounds, including the “replacement” thought, and find specific examples for each one.
I can go even further. I can look at underlying thoughts and examine them. Perhaps one underlying or supporting thought is that my value comes from my actions, and I am unable to do much these days.
I LOVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY
I love you unconditionally, except when I am caught in fear– in a conversation
I found myself saying this and it’s true. As what I am, there is unconditional love. And as who I am, I sometimes get in the way of that love.
It’s very human. And it’s good to be honest about it.
In Buddhism, they talk about liberation.
But what’s liberated? Is it a human being?
Not really. Awakening means an awakening out of assuming we are only or mostly a human being.
Instead, we can see liberation in a few different ways.
On a superficial level, since all our experiences are transient, we can say that they self-liberate. They come and go. Seeing it this way requires a mental overlay of the idea of time. And if we have hangups and issues they tend to return until they are liberated in a different way.
When what we are – consciousness, love – recognizes the experiences here as itself – as consciousness, love – they are liberated from being misidentified.
We can also see it as liberation of the parts of our psyche still living in separation consciousness.
These are liberated when mind – the global whole of mind – sees through the stressful stories creating them.
They are liberated when they are met with and recognized as love.
And over time – with intention and support – they are liberated from their suffering through healing, aligning more with oneness, and being recognized as consciousness and love.
WHAT ABOUT MATURING AND ADULT DEVELOPMENT?
I don’t write much about maturing or adult development here. It’s not because it’s not important, because it is. And it’s not because I don’t pay attention to it in my own life, because I do.
It’s because I don’t know tools for directly working on maturing and adult development. To me, they seem more like side-effects of healing, awakening, clarifying, embodiment, and so on.
May 28, 2020
GETTING CAUGHT IN STATES
For a while in my late teens and early twenties, I got partially caught in states in a particular way.
I would experience bliss and joy, hold onto it, and then crash into some reverse state for a while.
It wasn’t very pleasant, and I knew what was happening without being able to do very much about it.
Over time, it wore itself out. Not completely since I just now noticed an old tendency in me to wanting to identify with and hold onto a current enjoyable state. But a lot of it wore itself out.
This is a similar pattern to the manic-depressive or bipolar pattern, but it’s a much milder – and probably much more common – version. It’s natural to want to hold onto and identify with pleasant states, especially if we have some identity around lack which most of us do to some extent. And after going on the rollercoaster for a while, we recognize the unpleasantness of it and the charge in it tends to soften over time.
FOLLOW-UP THE NEXT MORNING
I am writing this the following morning.
Last night, as I wrote the post above, I noticed a leaning into some euphoria that had come up. It wasn’t directly getting caught in it, but definitely an enjoyment of it with elements of identifying slightly with it. That’s why I wrote this post.
This morning, I noticed the reverse state, sadness, as I suspected could happen. (It didn’t last long.)
The invitation here is: Can I feel what’s here – whether it’s euphoria or sadness – as a flavor of the divine? Can I notice it’s happening within and as what I am?
May 29, 2020
THE DECEPTIVE SIMPLICITY OF HOW THE MAGIC TRICK IS CREATED
To ourselves, we are consciousness and all our experiences – of ourselves and the wider world – happen within and as this consciousness. Any sense of being something particular within the content of experience – a separate self – is created through a combination of thoughts and sensations.– from an article on Jane Goodall
Thoughts tell us that’s what we are and the mind associates these thoughts with particular sensations in the body, often from a slight and mostly chronic muscle contraction, and these sensations lend a sense of solidity and truth to these thoughts.
This is – at one level – how the magic trick of taking ourselves as a separate self is created. Writing it this way, it seems deceptively simple. I assume most who read it think to themselves that it can’t be that simple and almost banal.
And yet, it is. The mind associates certain thoughts with certain body sensations, and that’s how thoughts seem real, solid, and true, and how feelings also seem to mean and tell us something. It’s how our world is created and how separation consciousness is created. It’s how identifications, beliefs, emotional issues, compulsions, and trauma are created.
How can we discover and explore this for ourselves? The easiest way may be through the Living Inquiries, which are based on traditional Buddhist inquiries.
LIFE IS NOT FAIR?
In a conventional sense, life is obviously not fair. We are born into widely different circumstances and that tend to shape our whole life. We can put a lot of effort into something and nothing comes out of it. And so on.
In one area, life is relatively fair, and that’s our work with ourselves. If we do it with some sincerity, guidance, and – after a while – skills, this has effects. And it has very rewarding effects.
It also depends on perspective. For most of us, it’s not difficult to find examples of people who do or would see us as lucky. It’s not difficult to find one thing to be grateful for, and then another, and another.
Equally important is that any ideas of fairness are our own. They are not inherent in life. The ideas only exist in our mental overlay on the world, and the world lives its own life and does its own thing. It does not conform.
COMING (BACK) TO REALITY
Healing and awakening are about coming (back) to reality.
Awakening is noticing ourselves as what we always are.
And healing comes from inviting the wounded parts of us to align with reality. For the stressful stories creating the wounds to be seen through. For the wounded parts of the recognized as consciousness and love. For them to recognize themselves as that.
Even in a more everyday sense, coming back to reality is healing. If we get caught in stressful thoughts, come back to the sensations of your body and what’s here and now. Remind yourself of what’s true and real.
IF ALL IS CONSCIOUSNESS, WHAT ABOUT THE PHYSICAL WORLD?
I imagine someone hearing “all is consciousness” having that question.
To ourselves, we are consciousness and all our experiences – of ourselves and the wider world, including everything physical – happens within and as this consciousness.
In our immediate experience, all is consciousness because we are consciousness.
Our experience of something physical comes through the different sense fields and our mind puts it all together into the experience of something physical. Right now, I am touching the keys on this computer. There is a sensation. Sound. The visual image of keys, computer, and hands. And to help organize, make sense, and put it all together is my mental field with images, labels, and stories about it.
When I close my eyes, the visual side of this mental overlay becomes more obvious since I can easily visualize it all even in the absence of visual input from the eyes. I can also explore the labels and stories I have about it, and also of it all being a physical world.
With eyes closed, I touch the keys. I notice the sensations. I can notice the sensations as sensations and set aside the images and stories for a while. Then I notice the mental images and stories. And how the sensations and mental overlay combine to create the experience of fingers touching keys and it all being very physical.
In this way, we can explore how our mind creates its own reality. We can explore it in quite some detail, in any area of life, and we can even explore our most basic assumptions about ourselves and the world.
For instance, we can see if we can actually find something physical. How does a computer key show up in my experience? I can listen to the sound. Notice the sensations of touching it. See the mental images. Is it in either of those? Is it anywhere else? Examine it thoroughly.
In this way, and over time, it tends to become more obvious that all happens within and as what we are. We are capacity for all of it. And we can call it consciousness, or awakeness, or something else, and those labels also happen within and as what we are.
WHAT’S MY WORLD VIEW?
Hm, that’s a big question and I assume it’s complex for all of us. We have conscious and less conscious views. We may shift views depending on the situation and area of life. And it also depends on whether we are in a more clear place or caught up in reactivity.
My conscious view should be relatively clear from the other articles on this site. I’ll just mention a few things.
To ourselves, we are consciousness and all our experiences happen within and as consciousness, including this human self and the wider world. There are some signs and hints suggesting that all of existence is consciousness, which we then can call God or Spirit.
To us, existence as it appears to us is consciousness taking these forms and expressing, exploring, and experiencing in all these ways. If all of existence is consciousness, then all of existence can be seen as the play of the divine, the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways.
When it comes to human life, a lot of the challenges in the world today comes from social and economic structures put in place in the 1800s when we didn’t need to take ecological realities into account. A lot of the rest comes from a narrow and short-term thinking. And what has to do with bigotry, racism, violence and so on often has roots in trauma.
We are both humans and Spirit. We are humans in the world and we are that which all our experiences – including this human self and the wider world – happen within and as. It’s all Spirit.
There is no contradiction in being fully involved in life and social issues while also recognizing it all as the play of the divine. They feed each other in a beautiful way. Being involved helps us see what’s left in us to heal and awaken. Recognizing all as the divine helps us appreciate it differently and not get too caught up in it in a stressful way.
RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY IN NORWAY
I am not terribly familiar with religion and spirituality in Norway, and some of this may be a bit outdated, but I’ll write a few words.
In general, there isn’t much religion in Norway. When I grew up, it seemed that most families and adults I knew were gently agnostic and went to church for weddings and funerals but not much more.
It also seems that many or most in Norway have some spiritual interest. They may be slightly interested in what’s beyond the physical like near death experiences, ghosts, energy healing and so on.
Most people also have a skeptical orientation, which I enjoy and see as very healthy.
A few are into religion, whether it’s Christianity or something else. And a few are more deeply into spirituality. When I lived in Norway in the ’90s, it seemed that people into spirituality fell into a few different group. Some glommed onto a tradition and became relatively fundamentalist within that tradition. Some became
brainless new agers into and willing to take as true anything that’s weird. And a few took a more serious approach but I didn’t find too many of them. I hope the latter group has grown since then.
MYSTERY OF EXISTENCE
May 29, 2020
BRIDGING THE TWO ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM
We are capacity for the world. We are this human being in the world living our life. And the second happens within and as the first so they are not different.
There are no “steps” in between these two since they are the same.
Within that context, we can ask ourselves:
What are some of the connections or steps in between?
Much of what I write about in these articles are about just that. Allowing our human self to transform and reorganize within a conscious noticing of what we are. Within oneness noticing itself.
TWO FORMS OF SKEPTICISM
Skepticism is not only valuable, it’s essential for us to survive as individuals and a species.
We all have a skeptical side, and we take it out now and then. For instance, if someone wants to sell us something that sounds too good to be true, it hopefully comes up.
There are two forms of skepticism.
One is where it becomes an identity and a more or less permanent feature of our personality.
The other is where we take it out as needed and it becomes a support and occasionally useful tool.
In the first case, it can lead us to dismiss a lot of things without examining it. We are skeptical to a certain category of things and forget to apply our skepticism to our own skepticism. It becomes an identity for us. It becomes a way for us to feel safe and for us to tell ourselves that we are right and we know. We use it as a way to deal with our own fear and insecurity.
In the other case, it’s a useful tool. We apply it as needed. We keep a mostly open mind. We have some receptivity. We are open for different answers. And we want to explore and check something out for ourselves.
Any experience can transform us, it depends on how we receive it.
And the stronger ones are more likely to obviously transform us.
We see this when people get a glimpse of something that clearly doesn’t fit their existing worldview. It can be a mystical experience, an experience triggered by taking psychoactive plants, a near death experience, being close to death, close encounters with aliens, astronauts seeing Earth from space, or something else.
If we have some receptivity, we’ll question our worldview and perhaps even our most basic assumptions about ourselves and the world. It may open our mind. And with an open mind sometimes comes a more open heart. We may reprioritize. We may change how we live our life. We may wish to support life. We may wish to explore further what we had a glimpse of.
In some cases, people recoil from the experience in reaction to the fear it brings up in them. That can lead to a more closed mind. It happens but seems more rare. (I haven’t seen any statistics, and it may be “survivor” bias since the ones who are more receptive and curious are the ones we are more likely to hear about.)
I was fascinated by these transformational experiences even as a child. The first obvious one I personally experienced was when I was ten or twelve and slept under the open sky high up on a mountain in Norway. I looked up at the stars and the moving satellites, and experienced oneness with the universe and the stars and a profound sense of awe and the immense beauty of the universe and this planet. The second was the spiritual awakening a few years later, although this one didn’t go away so wasn’t really an “experience” but it has certainly been transformational.