Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XIV

 

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.

THREE JEWELS

When we are uncomfortable or anything unpleasant happens, we look to take refuge in something. Usually, we turn to food, alcohol, sex, drugs, money, power, or relationships. But none of these things give us the lasting protection or satisfaction you’re looking for.

When you understand you can’t find lasting happiness in Samsara, then the desire to find true refuge becomes strong. In Buddhism, we take refuge in the three jewels—the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

The Buddha is like the doctor who understands your disease and knows how to treat it; the Dharma, his teachings, is the medicine he prescribes; and the Sangha is the spiritual community that helps you to take the medicine. To take refuge is to finally seek protection from suffering in a way that can really help you. When we think about the ultimate nature of reality and what causes us to suffer— this is the true meaning of refuge.

–  Keanu Reeves in Discovering Buddhism module 7, refuge in the three jewels, 2004

This is beautifully and clearly said, and it applies to awakening in general – not just Buddhism.

In a broader and more universal sense, the Buddha is any skilled and insightful coach who knows the terrain of who (human self) and what (Big Mind) we are. The Buddha is also what we are, Big Mind. The Dharma is any pointer that helps us navigate this terrain for ourselves and discover what we are. And the Sangha is any fellow explorers in this adventure.

Buddhism is one system aimed at helping us discover what we are and explore the terrain of who and what we are and how to live from and as it. There are many other systems. And there are many paths outside of any system. This noticing is not dependent on any system.

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CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME: ONE CAUSE? MANY CAUSES?

The cause(s) of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a bit of a mystery. Most of the time, it comes after a viral infection. (Although not always.) It looks like the nervous and immune systems are involved. And it may come from our body’s reaction to an infection, perhaps even an ongoing infection.

Since we don’t know the cause and the mechanisms producing CFS, it’s easy to assume it has many causes. (Mold exposure, stress, body’s reaction to an infection etc.) And it’s easy to think that the treatment will have to be multi-faceted for the same reason. (Also because today, the best approach is often a multi-faceted approach.)

And yet, it may be that we’ll find a simple cause at some point, and perhaps even a simple treatment.

LOTUS FLOWER

The lotus plant takes mud and water and makes it into a beautiful lotus flower. That’s why it’s sometimes used in Buddhism and other Asian religions to represent awakening or some kind of inner alchemical transformation.

There are several things the mud-to-flower analogy can refer to.

Since it’s in the context of spiritual traditions and awakening, one way is that perception turns mud into lotus flowers. When we find ourselves as capacity for our experiences, we recognize the mud – our human confusion and issues – as what we are, as consciousness, love, or even the divine.

The human confusion may still be there, but it’s recognized more clearly as consciousness or the divine taking that particular form locally and temporarily.

It can also be understood in a more psychological sense.

When we find healing for our emotional issues, it’s a way for mud to turn to flowers.

When we heal our relationship to our emotional issues, we are less likely to be hijacked by them when they are triggered and we can respond to the situation from another place in us. Here too, metaphorical mud is turned into a metaphorical flower.

When we heal our relationship to anything – ourselves, parts of ourselves, parts of our experience, others, situations, Earth, life, God – mud turns to flowers.

When we heal our relationship to a thought – and shift from holding it as true to recognizing it as a thought with limited validity – mud turns to flowers.

And so on. There are many ways to understand or use the mud-to-flowers analogy.

DARK NIGHT OF THE WORLD?

Some say that the pandemic is a dark night for the world, similar to a dark night for an individual.

Yes, for some it’s like that. They’ll reprioritize. Find what’s more meaningful and important to them. Find humility. Open their heart. Open their mind. And so on.

And for others, it’s not going to be like that. They may just continue as before, as much as possible. Or they may close their heart and mind.

Some people and countries may take this as an opportunity for reorienting and reprioritizing, for instance expressed in a green shift and other policies. Other people and countries will do the opposite. And some will try to continue as before.

It just depends on where we are at. As Wayne Dyer said, when life squeezes us, what comes out is what’s inside. It shows us our general orientation.

WHAT’S EASY VS. WHAT WE NEED

When I do Vortex Healing for myself, I notice that using certain tools and focusing on certain parts of my energy system (or something else) is easy and feels good, and other tools and targets feel more gritty, uncomfortable, or doesn’t seem to do as much.

It’s natural to wish to focus on what’s easy and comfortable and gives a more immediate reward, and it’s not wrong to do that. But it’s important to also focus on what’s not so immediately easy and comfortable, especially since the discomfort often suggests that the work is needed. (The energies bump up against blocks and issues.)

It’s the same with any work on ourselves. It’s tempting to focus on what’s easy and enjoyable and overlook or do less work on what’s more challenging and uncomfortable. Again, it’s not wrong.

But it can be helpful to be aware of this tendency and ask ourselves some questions: What do I chose to avoid? Why do I avoid it? (Often, because it’s uncomfortable.) Could there be some benefit for me from working on it? What will help me work on it? Perhaps asking someone else to guide me or do it for me (depending on the work)?

OUR HEALING IS ALSO FOR THE WORLD

I wrote about this earlier, but thought I would revisit it.

It can be very helpful to remind ourselves that when we work on ourselves – whether it’s healing or awakening – it’s not just for ourselves and not just for the local and immediate environment. It’s for the world.

Of course, we cannot really split the two. They are parts of the same seamless whole. But it can be helpful to remind ourselves of this anyway.

July 1, 2020

SPEAKING FROM THE “VIEW” OF BIG MIND

Some spiritual teachers – especially in the non-dual/advaita circles – speak from or as the particular “view” of Big Mind.

What is this view? It’s the view from oneness, from all as consciousness, from all as void, and so on.

It’s not wrong, this view, but it’s incomplete.

So why do some spiritual teachers mostly speak from this partial view?

Most specialize and this may be their speciality and what they are most drawn to. It may be what they themselves need to explore and learn more about. It may be what some students resonate with and wish to explore. It may be more appealing to some since it seems clean, simple, and clear cut. (And relatively easily to grasp at an intellectual level, which is not necessarily so helpful.) It may even appeal to a wish to escape and transcend. And more.

At the same time, this view is partial. What we are – whether mind labels it consciousness, Big Mind, capacity, or something else – is that but also so much more. What we are includes all views.

If we speak mainly from or as that view, even if we do it only in a teacher role, it’s a bit simplistic and misleading.

It leaves out a lot of the complexities and richness in the awakening and embodiment process. It leaves out a lot of the richness of who and what we are. It leaves out of a lot of what people on an awakening path at some point may encounter, need to know about, and explore.

There is another side to this. There is no reason for a spiritual teacher to not seek out and use tools that will help their students have an immediate taste of this view for themselves. So if they stay a talking-head teacher, they do their students a disservice.

JULY 2, 2020

DREAM: CONNECTING AT A HUMAN LEVEL

I am in an interesting store with many different things. (It feels a bit like the Tintin store in London, but without anything Tintin-related!)

At some point, I realize the owner has right wing or conservative views. He is a Trump supporter. I am looking at something, and he – in a friendly way – asks if I am interested in buying it. I say “no, because I don’t share your values”.

He seems a little hurt and says “OK, but feel free to look around”. I am surprised by his kindness, feel a little sorry for what I said, and decide to stay a little longer. We connect at a deeper and more human level.

Under our surface views and reactions are something universal human. We all want to be loved. Liked. Safe. We all have the same feelings and basic thoughts and wishes and insecurities.

This is similar to the Trump dream I had some months ago. It reflects something in me, obviously. But it also reflects what’s needed collectively. This dream is my medicine, and it’s our collective medicine.

LEARNING TO NOT LEAVE OURSELVES

I was part of an online Vortex Healing group yesterday, and the healer mentioned learning to not leave ourselves.

How do we leave ourselves?

I leave myself when I move away from my own discomfort. The remedy here is to move towards the discomfort.

I leave myself any time I believe a (stressful) thought. The remedy is to notice and question the thought, either in the moment or more thoroughly later.

I also eave myself when I don’t notice what I am, when I don’t notice myself as capacity for my own experience – the world as it appears to me. The remedy is to remind myself and notice.

These are the general ways I leave myself. There are also innumerable more specific ways I leave myself that all flow from these. For instance, by moving away from discomfort and stressful thoughts, I may abandon myself, not be on my own side, and not be a good steward of my own life.

BRIDGE GRACE INTO SUFFERING

The healer from the group healing yesterday also said “bridge grace into suffering”. I find this a beautiful way to describe something very important.

Suffering comes up in me. So how do I bridge grace into it?

In the context of a healing session, it means to bring presence into the suffering and allow what’s channeled – and my own presence – to invite it to soften, heal, and wake up, and notice it as an expression of the divine.

In general, in daily life, there are some other ways I can bridge grace into suffering.

I can move towards it. I can notice and allow it, and notice it’s already allowed. I can notice the space it’s happening within and the space inside of it.

I can meet it with kindness. Curiosity.

I can notice it’s here to protect me and comes form a wish to protect me. I can notice it’s a form of kindness and love. (In a form that made sense when it was created and perhaps a little less now.)

I can ask it what it wants me to know and what it needs from me.

I can notice it’s happening within and as what I am. Notice the divine within the suffering. Notice the suffering as another flavor of the divine.

I can invite it to wake up to itself as consciousness, love, and the divine.

THE CROSS SYMBOLISM

The Christian cross symbol is beautiful in several ways. It shows us the intersection of what and who we are, or Spirit and the world. It reminds us of the value of sacrifice, of prioritizing and sacrificing what’s less important or meaningful to us for what’s more important and meaningful. It can open our heart to the suffering of ourselves and others. And more.

Even the element of literal martyrdom has value. Sometimes, sacrificing our life may be necessary and for the greater good.

These associations have become part of our European Christian culture. And there are some downsides to this as well, especially if we are not conscious in how we relate to these symbolic elements of the cross.

It’s essential for our humanity and for society that we are able to open our hearts to those suffering and find engaged compassion in order to alleviate suffering. And if this is misunderstood, it can become an idealization of suffering. We can come to see suffering as something noble or even desirable, perhaps even without realizing we live from that orientation.

It’s a sign of maturity to prioritize and sacrificing what’s less important to us so we can free up our attention for what’s more important. And yet, sacrifice can be misunderstood. We can sacrifice what’s important to us in order to please someone else. We can sacrifice our own inner life, truth, and passion in order to fit into a culture or even Christianity.

Even the intersection of Spirit (vertical) and the world (horizontal) can be misunderstood. It doesn’t mean that the two are two and they only meet in a small difficult-to-find area. It means they are both here simultaneously. The world happens within Spirit. Who we are happens within and as what we are.

Looking at the common psychological maladies in the Christian western culture, it seems that we collectively have fallen into those pitfalls, at least to some extent.

SELF-COMPASSION: WHAT IS IT TOWARDS?

Self-compassion is many-faceted.

It’s towards ourselves as a whole here and now. Our memories and regrets about the past. Our ideas about the future. Parts of ourselves. Emotions. Discomfort. Physical pain.

And it goes beyond this. It’s about the situations we are in, others, the world, and anything at all.

Why? Because our world looks the way it looks to us because of us. We see our own stories in the world, and self-compassion is towards our own stories. We see ourselves reflected in the world, and self-compassion is towards ourselves reflected in others. And we are capacity for it all, and self-compassion is towards all of it since it’s happening within and as what we are.

So self-compassion is compassion towards our whole world as it appears to us here and now. Past. Future. Present. Self. Experiences. Others. Situations. The world. Life. God. Anything.

The scope of self-compassion isn’t just this human self. It’s everything.

In one sense, this is a tall order. But it’s doable. And in practice, it’s about self-compassion towards whatever is here now.

JULY 3, 2020

PURGATORY

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WE SEE OUR IMAGES

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OUTSIDE OF ANY LABELS AND CATEGORIES

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THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

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A NEURAL PLASTICITY SYNCHRONICITY

I worked on bringing up the constitutional energy of my brain stem, frontal lobes, and spine earlier today, and continued with other ways of energizing.

According to my own sense, a psychic friend, and research, it may well be that the nerve paths in the brain stem is damaged and that’s part of what creates the fatigue, brain fog, and other symptoms (CFS). So it makes sense to support the brain stem, brain, spine, and nervous system in general to help it regenerate, find new pathways, and heal.

While working on this, I started watching the Voyager episode “Riddles” where Tuvok’s brain and nervous system is injured and gradually regenerates and creates new pathways.

Some minutes into the episode, I realized that working on my brain while watching this was a kind of neuroplasticity synchronicity.

I also couldn’t help seeing another parallel. Tuvok had created a persona around being logical and in control, and I had too – to some extent – before I got the CFS some years ago. After the injury, he lived from more innocence and heart and had to find value in his life without leaning on what used to give him a sense of worth. And that’s been my process as well.

There could be another parallel here, this one in the future. My psychic friend says my brain is creating new pathways and I will get much better in the not-too-distance future. Tuvok healed so we’ll see what happens to me. He was also happy as he was before his recovery, as I am I in many ways. So that’s OK too.

IS IT MORE NOBLE TO BE INTO HEALING AND SPIRITUALITY?

Am I more noble because I am into healing and spirituality?

Not at all. I am into what I need for myself, and what I talk about also reflects what I need.

The reason I am into healing is because I need it. I am a very flawed human being and need it to find some wholeness and balance at my human level.

In some ways, that’s also why I am into awakening. In my case, it happened “out of the blue” so it wasn’t something I was consciously interested in. Now, I am into it in order to navigate this consciously “new” and in reality old context.

At the same time, there is something noble – if we want to use that word – in working on healing and awakening. It does show that we acknowledge our messed-upness and wish to find something a little more sane and helpful for ourselves and the world.

TALKING ABOUT AWAKENING AS SOMETHING SPECIAL

When people talk about awakening as something special and use special words and perhaps with some longing and emotion, I often wonder if that’s not the “dream of the ego” talking.

If we are caught in separation consciousness, then awakening tends to appear as something special and something that may bring up longing and certain emotions in us.

In reality, awakening is a shift in our conscious noticing. And it’s a shift in our conscious context for our life – as this human being in the world. It’s what we are noticing itself and all its experiences happening within and as itself. Our human self keeps living its life much as before, with many of the challenges and struggles as before, although in a new context.

When the awakening is more clear and mature, there is no need for longing or an emotional tinge or even highfalutin words.

The one exception I can think of is that it’s difficult to talk about since words split the world and this is about what all experience happens within and as, so we do need to do some verbal contortions to try to point to it.

ASSUMING I HAVE IT

In March, after the pandemic had reached Norway and the country went into lock-down, many talked about living as if we already had the virus and didn’t want to spread it to others. It’s the approach that makes the most sense to me for several reasons.

It’s possibly true and if it is, I don’t want to spread it to others. It also gives me a sense of agency and I move from fear to action. And even if it’s not true, behaving as if it is helps me avoid contracting it.

This approach makes sense to me beyond viruses and pandemics. Whatever I see in someone else or in society, I assume I have it too. Whether it’s racism, bigotry, sexism, power-over orientations, or whatever else it may be.

It makes sense for similar reasons. It’s probably true since we all in our culture have these attitudes in us, whether we notice or not. Assuming I have it helps me notice if or when I act on it and be more conscious in preventing or counteracting it. And it helps it stop with me, to the extent I am conscious of it, and not so easily spread from me.

JULY 4, 2020

CHANGING THE FUTURE, PAST, PRESENT

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.

— (mis)attributed to C.S. Lewis on the internet

There are several things to say about this quote. First, it’s most likely not by CS Lewis. And in a conventional sense, it’s obviously true and can be encouraging.

And yet, it doesn’t go as far as it can. When we examine our thoughts about the past and find what’s more true for us, we change our past. And the same with our present. And this changes our future.

Also, who is changing anything? In a sense, it’s us as individuals. And yet, everything that happens in us has causes that goes back to the beginning of time and stretches out to the widest extent of the universe. When we look for the causes – outside of this individual – to even our smallest actions and choices, we can always find one more, and one more. And that’s only the ones we are aware of.

NO TREE CAN GROW TO HEAVEN UNLESS ITS ROOTS REACH DOWN TO HELL

No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.

– CG Jung

We can say that our personal hell is our shadow, the things in ourselves that don’t fit our desired personality. To find our heaven – an alive life where we follow our deepest desires and find contentment and meaning, our roots need to reach down into our shadow. We need to be aware of the existence of our shadow, actively seek to get to know what’s there, and find a way to include it in our conscious life in a way that enhances and enriches our life.

And it goes beyond this, especially if we take the essence of what Jung wrote and leave behind the references to heaven and hell.

When we acknowledge our shadow and the challenging things in a relationship, it’s easier for the relationship to blossom and flourish.

When we acknowledge the shadow of our society – perhaps a history of bigotry, inequality, abuse of animals and land and so on – and we do something about it, it creates the possibility for our society to more fully flourish.

When our roots go into the basics of how our mind constructs its reality, we can find a release from being caught up in old identifications and issues.

When our metaphorical roots – our presence – go into our physical body, it’s easier to live from awakening.

[…]

STRETCHING OURSELVES

To learn and grow, we need to go beyond what’s familiar to us and sometimes what’s comfortable. That goes for any area of life, and also healing and awakening.

It doesn’t mean pushing ourselves into something we are not ready for. It can mean to gently stretch ourselves and explore areas we know can bring healing or clarity and we tend to avoid because of discomfort.

It may be that we are avoiding tools that work on areas of ourselves that are unfamiliar to us or bring up discomfort. For instance, we may be comfortable with inquiry but not heart-centered approaches, or the other way around. Or solitary approaches and not social ones. Or body-centered but not inquiry, and so on.

It may also be that we tend to work on some areas of ourselves and our life and not other. For instance, we may stretch ourselves in our inner work but not so much in life. Or we may focus on what comes up here and now and avoid working on core issues (although they will be reflected in what comes up here and now and we’ll get to them if we go deep enough). Or we may now and then focus on a core issue but don’t work on them more systematically over time (which is often what’s needed).

JULY 5, 2020

IS VORTEX HEALING NOT HEART-BASED?

I heard indirectly about a Vortex Healing student who felt it wasn’t heart based enough for her so she is also doing more heart-based approaches.

That’s obviously a sane approach. No one tool or traditions is going to give us everything so most of us use more than one tool or dip our toes in (or get more wholeheartedly immersed into) more than one tradition. I do that too, including with more explicitly heart-based tools and approaches like ho’oponopono, tonglen, and the heart/Jesus prayer.

And is it true that VH is not heart based?

It’s true that it doesn’t mainly or exclusively focus on our heart or giving us feelings of love and so on.

And yet, in my experience, it’s also very much heart based. It’s completely aligned with Big Heart – the universal love we are and everything is. It opens our heart and mind, partly through removing energetic blocks and emotional issues that cover up our innate open heart and mind. During class and transmissions, we are often – perhaps 1/3 to 1/2 of the time – encouraged to focus on the heart and do a mantra with our attention on the heart.

And, as the founder says, it’s a political lineage. We are aware of the suffering in the world and get involved in alleviating it as best as we can, often individually and sometimes collectively through healings for situations, groups, or the world as a whole. And we do so – as much as we individually are able – from an inclusive view, seeing ourselves in the others, knowing it’s all the play of the one life and divinity, and wishing to support life and alleviate suffering.

MY EARLY LONGING

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BYRON KATIE: LIFE WILL BRING US EVERYTHING WE NEED

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SELF-COMPASSION

I wanted to write something about self-compassion but I have already written a lot about it.

Self-love can be about ourselves as a whole, a part of us, or an experience. And if we want to be more thorough, self-love is also towards others, situations, the world, and life or God.

It’s a shift in orientation.

We can support this shift through heart-centered practices like ho’oponopono, tonglen, or heart prayers.

We can also support it through inquiry since it does require, or leads to!, a release of any beliefs and identifications that hinders self-compassion or self-love.

It frees us up to make better decisions. We act less on reactivity and emotional issues, and more from heart and clarity.

It frees us up to act in a more decisive way. When the situation calls for action, we are less hindered by beliefs and identifications holding us back.

It’s not a sentimental compassion. Nor is it a love of acting on our hangups, wounds, or traumas. It’s more of a kind orientation towards ourselves. We become a good parent to ourselves.

JULY 6, 2020

IF THE HEART IS ALLOWED TO FULLY BREAK

If the heart is allowed to fully break, the heart is fully healed.

– Adyashanti, Silent Retreat Vol. 57 ~ Q&A

When our heart is unguarded and allowed to take it all in – the joy and the pain and everything else – it fully breaks. And that allows it to heal.

Our heart is never not whole. But it can be covered up by a whole range of emotional issues and unloved fears. When we allow these, and allow ourselves to feel what we have tried to avoid or run away from, there is a healing just in the allowing. Something relaxes in us. We see that we can allow it, and perhaps that it’s all already allowed.

What’s healed is what covers up our already open heart. Not the heart itself because it was never not whole.

PRACTICE BEFORE & WITHIN AWAKENING

It’s probably most common to engage in a spiritual practice for a while – prayer, meditation, inquiry, body-centered, service – before an awakening. It helps us prepare for it and may make it a little easier to navigate.

In my case, the opening or awakening came out of the blue without any preparation from my side (I was an atheist at the time). So I had to seek out and engage in practices after or within the awakening.

Why? Because it was clear that the awakening and living from it both is an ongoing process. There was and is more to clarify, see through, heal, and so on.

We don’t have a choice in which sequence happen in our case. But each one has its upsides and downsides. Practice before awakening helps prepare us at a human level and can make the process a little easier (although not necessarily). Awakening “out of the blue” with following practice can be disorienting at first and our human self may be less prepared, although it may also allow us to be more open about which practices and traditions we make use of and explore (again, not necessarily, and people who practice first can also be very open in what they explore).

WHAT’S THE GOAL OF AWAKENING?

There isn’t really any goal. It’s part of existence – the divine, Spirit, life – exploring itself.

And yet, there seems to be a direction.

And that direction is to clarify the awakening. Find resolution and healing for our human issues, wounds, and traumas. And learn to live from within the awakening. And all of that is an ongoing process.

I LOVE SCIENCE

Why do I love science?

There are many reasons.

At an obvious social level, science is the reason we have the society we have today – understanding of how illness transmits, hygiene, technology, computers, buildings, space travel, and much more. It’s also the reason we have far less superstition than in the past, although we do have conspiracy theories and I am sure that many of the basic assumptions we collectively have about the world will – in the future – we seen as akin to superstitions.

At a personal level, I love science because it’s a part of the adventure of being alive and one of the ways we explore ourselves and the world. I love learning what science has discovered about ourselves and our world. (Of course, I know these are just temporary insights and will be replaced in the future, and that’s part of the adventure.)

I love science because it has given us our collective myth of the Big Bang and the evolution of the universe, and us as an intrinsic part and expression of this unfolding. (When I call it myth it’s just an acknowledgment that this is our creation story and it provides a sense of meaning, awe, and wonder.)

I love science because it has given us the opportunity to see Earth from space as one seamless beautiful and – in a sense – fragile whole. (Overview effect.)

I love science because of the methodology which is common sense set in system and applicable to just about any area of life, including healing and spirituality and our own explorations of who and what we are.

THE BRAND MATTERS AT LEAST AS MUCH AS THE ACTUAL PRODUCT

But we live in a world where brand matters at least as much if not more than the actual product

– Hadley Freeman in Tom Hanks on surviving coronavirus

This is a common observation these days, and it also applies to spirituality.

Spiritual teachers create a brand for themselves, and some are very conscious of this and perhaps also successful for whatever reason. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are more insightful or give better pointers than many others. It just means they happen to have developed a better brand. Perhaps because they have prioritized it and invested more into it.

THE PERFECT IS THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD

Another Vortex Healing practitioner, who is close to me, said she doesn’t work so much on herself. She does a lot of sessions for others, but not so much for herself. It’s part of a larger similar pattern in her life.

When she talked to me about it, I noticed some thoughts she had. For instance, that she’ll need to do it for two hours. That she has to be 100% focused and can’t do it while, for instance, watching a movie. And that she has a very large list of things to work on.

Those thoughts are an example of the perfect being the enemy of the good. And I can’t help wondering if there isn’t something behind that too. Perhaps, and it’s just my imagination, a victim or martyr identity.

What’s the solution? One answer is for her to notice the thoughts stopping her from working on herself, question them, and find what’s more true. And also to notice it they tie into an identity or underlying assumptions, and explore and question them as well.

Another is for her to work on herself even if it’s just for five minutes or while watching a movie. It may not be as perfect as a part of her says it needs to be, but it may be perfect for her. The imperfect may be what she needs.

ZEN CENTER MEMORY: MISGUDED ANTI-SUSTAINABILITY SENTIMENTS

After having lived at the Zen center in Salt Lake City for a couple of years, I moved to another state and became the coordinator for a sustainability organization there. We used a consistent solution-focused and partner-oriented approach, and started up several projects where we worked with the city, county, the local power company, businesses, and other non-profit organizations.

For some reason, when I again visited to the Zen center to stay there for a while, the main teacher and several senior students suddenly seemed very anti-sustainability and missed no opportunity telling me. The main teacher even gave a full talk on it. (I had just mentioned what type of work I was doing. It’s not my habit to preach.)

As far as I understood, it had to do with them assuming that sustainability means an us vs them approach but that’s an obvious misunderstanding. Many if not most who work with sustainability seek to partner because we are all in it together. It’s usually possible to find shared values and projects we can work on together. It’s a much more enjoyable approach and it works.

It seems they had an idea in their mind of sustainability = us vs them so they dismissed both. Which back then and now seems a bit naive and unfortunate.

ZEN-CENTER MEMORY: HERD MENTALITY

I loved staying at the Zen center in Salt Lake City. But one thing I found odd was a kind of herd mentality where the main teacher would be into something, or have a certain view, and many of the students – mostly the senior ones – joining in.

One example of this was Ken Wilber. I loved KW’s books in my teens and read his new books as soon as they came out. I remember sitting in different places at the Zen center reading one of his books (don’t remember which one), and several senior Zen students independently disparaged or talked down Ken Wilber. I found this, in itself, a bit odd.

Some years later, the main teacher got to be friends with Ken Wilber and I think they did some events together, and suddenly the sentiment about KW changed. Now, he was the best thing since sliced bread.

I saw this kind of herd mentality in several non-practice related areas there.

Why the herd mentality? Did they want to fit in so they adopted whatever views and interests the main teacher had? Did they want to ingratiate themselves with the main teacher? Did the main teacher encourage it? I don’t really know.

Personally, I followed the guidelines and was a “good” Zen student in that I did my tasks and fully immersed myself in the practice. But I never saw a reason to follow these fads or take a cue from the main teacher on anything not directly related to the practice.

JULY 7, 2020

UNCERTAIN FUTURE

The future is a topic that illustrates a few important things.

It’s obvious we can’t know anything for certain about the future. And any ideas and images we have about it are just that, ideas and images. They are questions.

At the same time, there are some things that are more likely than other. For instance, that gravity will function as it does. That things in the next few minutes will mostly be as they are now. And so on.

We make assumptions about the future because many of them are roughly correct and they help us make decisions and function in the world.

From here, our minds sometimes makes a jumps. It takes the leap from innocent questions about the future, and often helpful assumptions about the future, and pretend to itself that some of these are actually true. That our imagination about the future is how it actually will be.

And this is not so helpful. This is what creates stress. This is how we become overly confident about our questions and take them as statements and facts. It’s how we are blind to the reality that the future is uncertain. It’s how we become less receptive to any information or views that don’t fit what we tell ourselves is true. It’s how we create stress for ourselves when life unfolds differently from our images of how it should unfold.


DRAFTS…..

When I read about ho’oponopono, I sometimes see references to situations in the world changing as a consequence of doing ho’o for it.

For me, ho’oponopono is about healing my relationship with something or someone – whether it’s me as a whole, a part of me or my experience, someone else, a situation, the world or Earth as a whole, or Life or God or anything at all. If something changes beyond that, it’s icing on the cake.

When I imagine doing it in order to change something in the world, I notice tension. I notice using ho’o as a tool to get things to conform to how I want it. I notice trying to influence something outside of what’s within my control (in a conventional sense), and being hyper alert to any effects of the practice on whatever I am doing it for.

It creates stress. It reinforces my sense that the world should be as I – from my conditioning, fears, and very limited understanding – wants it to be. I do it from less sincerity.

I miss out of the most helpful aspect of ho’o – and of any prayer or meditation – which is to allow it to work on me and transform me.

If and when I notice an impulse to do it in order to change something outside (in a conventional sense) of me, I can do ho’o for whatever fears and beliefs and sense of lack that may be behind it.

This doesn’t mean I won’t do what I can to change situations that seem harmful or less than optimal. I’ll still do it in all the usual ways. And I use ho’o for shifting how I am and my relationship to the situation.

So why do I chose this approach? Because I focus on what I know it can do which is help me heal my relationship to someone or something. I leave the rest out since that’s more peaceful for me. And if it does something beyond healing my relationship with what I do it for, that will happen anyway and is a bonus I don’t expect or need.

I stay in my business and leave the rest to God or life.

This approach is more aligned with reality as I experience it. It’s more peaceful. It doesn’t cost anything. It makes pragmatic sense.

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

A good deal of social interaction, at least among people who don’t know each other that well, seems to be an exchange of opinion. Apart from a period in my early and mid-teens, I haven’t found this very interesting or fulfilling. It’s one person putting out their opinion, and then another doing the same, and nothing much comes out of it. (Apart from perhaps putting each other in categories and deciding where the other fits in relation to our own identity.) 

It’s much more interesting to engage in a shared exploration of a topic. We have our own conditioning, biases, and experiences. And that can be a starting point. But it’s also possible to set aside some of our assumptions and orientations and explore the issue from more angles. 

There are some underlying assumptions behind these types of interactions. And some questions we can ask ourselves to notice where we are coming from, and perhaps where we would like to come from. 

Do we have the conversation to display our identity? Or do we really care about the topics and wish to explore? 

Do we want to hold onto our opinions? Or do we want to find what’s more informed and inclusive of several experiences and viewpoints? 

These questions may show us that many interactions are not about what they appear to be about. Obviously, conversations are often space-fillers and a way to connect. (An expression of love.) And they are more about displaying our identity and where we see ourselves in the world, and perhaps discover if the other match this or not.

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Why not write more exclusively from the view of what we are? There are several reasons. It can make it a little less accessible for people coming from a more conventional view. It may not be necessary for the specific topic. It’s included elsewhere. / The main reason is that it‘ makes it a little less accessible for people who come more from separation consciousness, and for the sides of us still coming from separation consciousness (!). I often try to bridge separation consciousness and oneness in what I write. Also, writing more fully from oneness tends to make the wording awkward, at least unless you have some poetic skills.

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There may be an evolutionary advantage to this. Perhaps in the life of most of our ancestors – a life that was more local, simple (although not always easy!), and predictable – our assumptions were often correct and helped us survive? Perhaps there has been a survival benefit to being confident about our assumptions because of this simpler and more predictable life, and because confidence leads to action, and feedback often allows us to adjust our assumptions

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There may be an evolutionary advantage to this. Perhaps in the life of most of our ancestors – a life that was more local, simple (although not always easy!), and predictable – our assumptions were often correct and helped us survive? Perhaps there has been a survival benefit to being confident about our assumptions because confidence leads to action, and life give us feedback and often allow us to learn and try again?

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PSYCHICS AND WISHFUL THINKING?

I have a friend who is a very perceptive psychic, and have infrequently also talked with other psychics. Over time, I have seen a pattern. They often seem to sense or depict a desired outcome of a situation, and the reality is that it goes in another direction. (To be honest, there have been a number of situations in my life where the general consensus is that it will turn out well and then something happens, including weird things outside of my control, that takes it in another direction.)

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Our views, ideas, and opinions give us an identity. And when we identify with this identity, and can feel very important to keep it up.

SPEAKING FROM THE “VIEW” OF BIG MIND

Some spiritual teachers, and especially in the non-dual/advaita circles, speak from the “view” of Big Mind.

I understand the appeal for some. It may be further removed from conventional views. It may sound exotic. It makes it sound more clear cut. It’s pretty easy to access and speak from when we have a taste of it. And it does help us explore that particular view or voice.

And yet, it’s also a bit simplistic and misleading.

Mainly, Big Mind includes all views. Yes, we can say that Big Mind has a unique or particular view. But it also includes all other views. It’s not just that one.

Speaking mainly from or as that one makes it all sound far more simplistic and clear cut than it is. It can give a somewhat false impression.

Also, it doesn’t take much to help people into the particular view of Big Mind. For a teacher to take monopoly on it is disempowering for the students. And, again, it’s misleading.

SPEAKING FROM THE “VIEW” OF BIG MIND

Some spiritual teachers – especially in the non-dual/advaita circles – speak from or as the particular “view” of Big Mind.

What is this view? It’s the view from oneness, from all as consciousness, from all as void, and so on.

It’s not wrong, this view, but it’s incomplete.

So why do some spiritual teachers mostly speak from this partial view?

Most specialize and this may be their speciality and what they are most drawn to. It may be what they themselves need to explore and learn more about. It may be what some students resonate with and wish to explore. And so on.

At the same time, this view is

It may also be more appealing to some seekersIt may be because it’s more appealing to some seekers. It’s further removed from conventional views so it may seem exotic. It can appear very clear cut. It’s simple and, in some ways, easy to grasp – at a superficial level – intellectually. It’s easy to speak from it when we have a taste of it. And it does help us explore that particular view or voice.

So Big Mind has, in a way, a unique or particular view. But it’s partial. What we are, Big Mind, includes all views. It’s not just that one. If we speak mainly or mostly from or as that view, even if we only do it in a teacher role, it’s a bit simplistic and misleading. And it leaves out a lot of the richness of who and what we are.

There is another side to this. If we have the tools, or make a little effort to find the tools, it doesn’t take much to help others into this view. They can shift into it and explore it for themselves. They don’t need to be dependent on a talking-head teacher. For a spiritual teacher to just talk and not give the students a taste of this for themselves is disempowering for the students. And it’s misleading in that it makes the teacher seem special in a way that none of us really are. We can all access this with a little guidance.

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SELF-COMPASSION

Self-compassion is many-faceted.

It’s towards ourselves as a whole here and now. Our memories and regrets about the past. Our ideas about the future. Parts of ourselves. Emotions. Discomfort. Physical pain.

It’s also about the situations we are in. Others. The world. Anything at all.

Why? Because our world looks the way it looks to us because of us. We see our own stories in the world, and self-compassion is towards our own stories. We see ourselves reflected in the world, and self-compassion is towards ourselves reflected in others. And we are capacity for it all, and self-compassion is towards all of it since it’s happening within and as what we are.

So self-compassion is compassion towards our whole world as it appears to us here and now. Past. Future. Present. Self. Experiences. Others. Situations. The world. Life. God. And anything at all.

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BYRON KATIE: LIFE WILL BRING US EVERYTHING WE NEED

Life will bring us everything we need, to show us what we haven’t undone yet.

– Byron Katie

Does this mean that life magically knows what we need and shows it us to us?

Yes, in a sense since we tend to perceive and act on what we haven’t undone and life gives us feedback inviting us to see and undo it.

And also, not really. It just means that life is rich and brings us a lot of different things. And some of it will show us what we haven’t undone yet.

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