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.
OPINIONS & IDENTITY
Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.– Bill Bullard
This is expressed in a somewhat judgmental way but it does point to something important.
When I interact with others, what’s my main purpose for the interaction?
Is it to connect? If so, any topic is fine. I can set aside my opinions and focus on topics that help us connect. Perhaps about something shared or not so charged. Even better, I can ask questions about the other and get to know them. For instance, what does he or she love or love to do? What’s meaningful for them? What are they passionate about?
Is it to get to know the other? If so, questions are most helpful, and perhaps especially questions about what they love, find meaningful, is interested in, and so on. (My own opinions are not so relevant.)
Is it to explore a topic? If so, our experiences, orientations, and opinions may serve as a starting point and we can engage in an exploration that moves beyond our starting points. We may find a way to look at it that includes more experiences, orientations, and viewpoints.
Is it to display my identity and get a sense of the identity of the other? If so, then putting out our opinions is useful.
These questions can be very illuminating. After a conversation, we can ask ourselves these type of questions to see where we were coming from. And also where we would like to come from in future conversations. And what may derail us.
What derails us? Do we miss or lose sight of our deeper intention? Do we fall into a familiar pattern? Do we get caught in some insecurity, fear, and wanting to be liked?
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TERRITORIALITY IN SPIRITUALITY
In a social media group for the Headless Way, I have seen people suggesting that respectively “believing” in the Big Bang and using The Work of Byron Katie are incompatible with the Headless Way, or that people who are into both don’t get it and have inferior seeing.
These type of views seem common. We find an approach that works for us, make it into an identity for ourselves, and then use that to exclude or pretend that other approaches somehow are inferior. Even some integral folks do that despite the inherent contradiction.
How does this look at the different “levels” of our being?
In essence, it’s Spirit or consciousness exploring itself in all these ways, including as holding one path as superior to other paths. We can also say that engaging in any path to healing and awakening comes from a desire to find home, love, truth, or however it appears to us. And on top of that is all sorts of human messiness, conditioning, emotional issues, and unmet fears.
So at one level, we can enjoy it all as expressions of life and the divine, and the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself. At another level, we can recognize that all sincere spiritual paths leads us home. And we can also recognize that whenever anyone – including ourselves – hold a path as inherently better than another or superior to another, it’s a reaction to our own issues and unmet fears. It’s an attempt to stay safe and however ugly or misguided the expression of it seems, it does come from innocence and ultimately love.
What about the two examples above? First, any content of experience happens within what we are capacity for. It’s already allowed. So of course it’s compatible with headlessness. The story of the Big Bang is just one of innumerable maps we use – collectively and individually – to orient and function in the world.
Also, if used that way, the universe story that comes out of modern science can lead us into noticing ourselves as Big Mind or capacity for the world as it appears to us. The universe story shows us the wholeness of existence. That we are the local eyes, ears, feelings, thoughts, and consciousness of the universe, and the universe bringing itself into awareness (Carl Sagan). And it can be the pointer allowing us to find ourselves as Big Mind and capacity for the world as it appears to us. The Universe Story is a way to find ourselves as headless.
What about The Work? For me, headless pointers are a way for us to relatively easily and quickly notice what we are. To find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us. And The Work is a way to examine anywhere mind identifies with a thought and “forgets” this. Headlessness is via positiva. The Work is via negativa. They go hand in hand. They mutually support each other.
I should mention that, as far as I have seen, Douglas Harding (originator of the Headless Way) and Richard Lang (current main engine) would not subscribe to this view of exclusivity or hierarchy. They would, most likely, just see that the Big Bang story happens within what we are capacity for, as does the process of doing The Work. As does any words or pointers within the headless way.
HIERARCHY OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICES?
Is there a hierarchy of spiritual practices?
No, there is no hierarchy inherent in anything.
And yes, if we create a hierarchy to put them in. If we do, then we can use different criteria which would influence where in the hierarchy each practice goes.
There are many criteria we could use.
For instance, how universal is the practice? Is it useful to most people wherever they are in the process?
How far does it take us? Can it take people all the way through to finding themselves as capacity for the world as it appears to them?
How much does it support embodiment, living from the clarity and love we have available to us? Does it include healing of emotional issues? Questioning all types of beliefs and assumptions, including the most basic ones? Opening the heart and shifting how we relate to ourselves and the world to befriending and noticing as the divine?
Are there beliefs and assumptions in the approach they don’t encourage questioning or actively discourage questioning?
How good is the approach in helping people through specific challenges on the path? Does it have the tools? Does it provide a map and insights into the common and possible pitfalls and rocky patches? (This often has more to do with the specific coach or teacher.)
Even if an approach doesn’t take us all the way to noticing what we are and living from it, can it still be useful? Does it have a useful function? Does it fill in a gap left from the main approach?
If the approach fits only one or a few of these criteria, is it still compatible with the other criteria? Does it play nice with all of them?
In writing this, I am sort of answering the hierarchy question. Yes, we can put things into a hierarchy if that’s what we want. But there are a lot of different criteria we can use, and many of them don’t fit so neatly into a clean hierarchical model.
In my own mind, I use the questions above – and other ones – to see if I would like to explore an approach or not. Or if it’s something I would recommend to someone or not. But I don’t put them into a hierarchy.
Just about all the approaches I use and write about here fit one or more criteria mentioned above and is compatible with the rest.
For instance, Headless experiments and the Big Mind process can give us a taste of what we are and help us explore how to live from it. The Work and Living Inquiries can help resolve places in us the mind tends to identify with and lose sight of what it is. Ho’oponopono, tonglen, and the heart prayer helps us reorient in how we relate to ourselves, others, and the world, and befriend and even find love for it all (and recognize it and ourselves as already love). Vortex Healing helps us resolve emotional issues getting in the way of noticing what we are and living from it, and – as a student – also greatly supports the awakening process.
EXPLORING MISOPHONIA & SOUND SENSITIVITY
Since childhood, I have had forms of misophonia and sound sensitivity.
I have explored it now and then, but never thoroughly and enough in-depth for it to resolve.
Here are some things I have discovered and suspect, and some of the ways I have explored it and probably will continue to explore it.
It’s worse when I am stressed, overwhelmed, and/or fatigued.
The stressful stories I have or have had are along the lines of the people making the noise (playing loud music, talking loudly, eating with open mouth etc.) being unconscious, don’t care about the impact on others, and doing it to drown out their own discomfort.
It’s tied up with an identity I have for myself of being quiet and considerate. (The noisy people, to me, represent my shadow.)
I can find that shadow, and what I see in them, in myself. I sometimes use noise to avoid my own discomfort (talking, writing, internet, YouTube, Netflix, music etc.). I am sometimes inconsiderate of others and don’t take in my impact on them. (I can find several examples, some of which are difficult for me to admit to myself but it feels good when I do.) I am obviously often unconscious/ not conscious about how and why I react to issues in myself, including in how I react to noisy people. When I react to noisy people, I react to my own discomfort, I believe – at some level in me – some of the stories I have about them, and so on.
As I work on seeing this and taking it in, and see myself in them and that we are in the same boat, the stress that comes from the me-them overlay softens and goes away. There is more left, but at least that bit is easier.
It helps a lot to explore this through inquiry, as I have to some extent done in the past (The Work, Living Inquiries.)
And these days, I am mostly drawn to using Vortex Healing to explore it. It has helped greatly to clear and optimize my etheric body (interface with the world around). It has helped to work on grounding and centering (grounding cord, optimizing 11th chakra in the middle of the head). It helps a lot to clear, energize, and optimize my energy system. It helps to clear, energize, optimize and nurture my nervous system.
I am currently using the Relationship Room to explore and shift my relationship to noise (it works on my head and I can only do a few minutes at a time because it’s strong). And I’ll also explore any emotional issues / identities etc. behind my reaction to certain sounds and noise.
I suspect that one root may be a situation from late childhood/early teens when I lived in a basement apartment under my parents’ living room, and hearing my mother talking a lot to my father in a way that was stressful to me. (In my mind, nagging.)
I am a bit of a Trekkie and have re-watched some Voyager episodes. (As many others, I love the vision of a future where many of the “children’s diseases” of humanity has been fixed, that they address current social issues in a more easily digested sci-fi and fictional context, and that they often address universal questions and dilemmas.)
In Nothing Human, there is a question of whether they should use medical knowledge gained through torture and experimentation on non-volunteers to save a crew-member’s life. On the one hand, it would validate the methods and perhaps inadvertently set the stage for future unethical medical research. On the other hand, the past can’t be changed and they have valuable information that can be put to good use now.
Captain Janeway cuts through the confusion by saying that both sides are right, and that her most immediate concern is to save the crew-member’s life. She acknowledges the validity in the different viewpoints and takes a pragmatic approach.
This is, in a sense, a mature and wise decision (I would probably have done the same). And it also shows that it’s possible to say “you are all right” and then proceed with a questionable decision.
This also highlights that unethical behavior can set us up for dilemmas further down the line. And especially when it’s not acknowledged and repaired as far as is possible. If the original research had been acknowledged as unethical, if the person responsible for it had been held accountable, and if the people impacted by it had been compensates as far as is possible, the situation may have been different. It may have been a little easier for them to agree on using the research to save a person’s life.
The problem was as much that it was unaknowledged as that it was unethical in the first place.
We see this throughout human history, and one current issue is colonization. It’s obvious that the old harm needs to be acknowledged, the ongoing harm acknowledged and remedied, and the original inhabitants compensated as far as possible. And when this is done, we are in a better position to decide what else – if anything – needs to be done.
JUNE 25, 2020
SHAKE YOU AWAKE
My speaking is meant to shake you awake, not to tell you how to dream better.– Adyashanti
One way to understand this is that Adya doesn’t give us easy beliefs or comforting statements that can serve as a pillow for us, and also not practical tools for feeling better or getting what we want in life. That’s not what he is about. He points to what we are. He wants us to wake up and not dream better. (There is already a lot of people out there helping us to dream better.)
Adya almost exclusively talks about what we are. And when we talks about our human self, it’s in the context of what we are. Everything he says, more or less, is aimed at shaking us awake.
When I write here, it often include the context of what we are for the same reason. We can talk about things relating to our human self – pointers, dynamics, and so on. It can be understood within separation consciousness or oneness. So it helps to add the context of what we are. That reminds us of the bigger picture.
For me, it’s an interesting dance. Sometimes, I exclusively give the human side. Often, I start with the human side and a more conventional (separation) view and then end with including the oneness context. And sometimes, I write more excplicitly from what we are and oneness.
Why not write from oneness or from that context all the time? It may not be necessary for the particular topic. It may be enough to add that context at the end. It makes it a little more accessible for most people who may come from a more conventional view. Starting from a more conventional view and ending with a oneness context can serve as a bridge from one to the other and show the validity of both. Also, writing more strictly from or as capacity or oneness can be awkard and sometimes annoying.
I usually find it most helpful to keep what we are as context for what I write about more than writing from the view or perspective as capacity or Big Mind or oneness. It keeps it more grounded. And all views are already included in what we are, not just the one explicit view AS oneness or Big Mind.
What’s an example of these different approaches?
A typical one for these articles is emotional issues or trauma.
I can write about it in a conventional way, giving some pointers for how to explore it, mention that it’s created from the mind holding a stressful belief as true and how this ties into identities and draws the mind into separation consciousness. All of this hints at the bigger picture but stays within a more conventional perspective.
I can write about it more explicitly in the context of what we are. For instance, it’s all happening within and as what we are. Healing happens through this wounded part of us aligning more consciously with reality and oneness. Healing the issue also allows us to live more consistently from noticing what we are (embodiment). And it removes one unresolved issue in us that – when triggered – can draw the mind from noticing itself as oneness and into separation consciousness. And this allows for more stable noticing.
I can also write more explicitly – and sometimes annoyingly! – from the “view” of what we are. As capacity or Big Mind, we create this experience for ourselves. As life, we create this experience of this world, this universe, and this human self. We create the local and temporary experience of being a separate self. We create the local and temporary experience of having emotional issues, as part of what naturally happens within separation consciousness. And we sometimes create the experience of an awakening process and waking up out of this temporary trance or dream and to what we already are and always are.
All of these approaches are valid and have a function. For me, it works best when they are all included. Sometimes, one article may leave one or more out, but the bigger perspective is included in other articles. And sometimes, I try to include all in the same article, at least as a mention.
ONENESS AS VIEW OR CONTEXT
I already wrote about this in the previous post but thought I would mention it separately too.
There is a different between talking about oneness as context or talking from or as oneness.
When I keep it as a context, it’s more the way it operates in awakening in daily life. (At least in my limited experience.) As I go about my daily life, oneness is context. There is this human self here doing and experiencing things, and most people take me to be this human self so I play that role. It’s all happening within oneness and within and as what I am. And I don’t explicitly speak as oneness since that would be weird, confusing, and unnecessary.
Speaking AS oneness or Big Mind, as we do in the Big Mind process, can be very helpful for specific purposes and specific situations. It helps us clarify what we are and how the many different parts of us as human beings operate within this context of oneness. These parts are part of oneness, but sometimes they operate from within separation consciousness and we can help them operate more consciously within oneness.
We are not only Big Mind as a whole. We are also all the different things happening within and as Big Mind, including our human self and all the many different parts of our human self. Including the parts that still operate from within separation consciousness! Big Mind includes it all. What we are includes all the different views and perspectives. So it’s helpful to not get stuck in any one in particular, including Big Mind as a whole.
SMALL & BIG INTERPRETATIONS OF AWAKENING = THIS IS MY EXPERIENCE (?)
A friend of mine read an article I wrote about small or big interpretation of awakening. We can have the same awakening and chose to interpret it and talk about it from a psychological or spiritual interpretation. His response was “yes, it’s about being honest about it being my experience”.
That’s a part of it but also not what I wrote about.
Neither of these interpretationa of awakening ends with saying that this is just my experience. They also say that this is what I find, this is what many others appear to have found, and this is what you may find as well.
Also, it’s a choice whether we use a small or big interpretation to talk about it. They each have their function. The small can make it more accessible to people with a more mainstream and secular view, and it can also more easily fit into academia. The big interpretation can be more useful for people with a more spiritual or deviational leanings or who already have had a taste of it and interpreted in a spiritual way.
For ourselves, the small interpretation can help us be more grounded and pragmatic about it. And the big interpretation can be inspiring and further open our heart and mind.