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 rantish. And some may be made into a regular article in time.
When we operate from separation consciousness, it tends to create fear and a sense of lack. Somewhere in us, we feel we are not good enough. And one way we sometimes deal with this is trying to prove to ourselves and others that we are as good as others or better.
We’ll do this in any area of life that’s important for us. If spirituality is important to us, we may do it there, and that can lead to displays of spiritual one-upmanship.
We drop hints about where we are in the process and what special experiences we have had. We take secret delight in correcting others. We may secretly judge others for not being as far along as we think we are. And so on.
The essence of this is fear and specifically unloved fear and unloved fearful stories. Just like the trolls, it lives in the dark and bursts in the light. So the remedy is to bring it to light, find love for the fearful part of us, and examine the fearful stories behind it.
How can we do that? A good first step is to be aware of what’s happening and be honest with ourselves about it. If it feels right, we can also confess to someone else, if we trust they’ll understand and be good support for us. Then, connect with the sense of not being good enough and the fear behind it. Make friends with it. Get to know it. See it is there to protect us and comes from love. Thank it for protecting and for its love. We can then take it to (further) inquiry, dialog, or any other approach to help shift how we relate to this part of us and to invite it to heal.
If we approach it in this way, the initial spiritual one-upmanship can be a great source for healing, maturing, and finding more clarity.
SAINTS WERE NOT SAINTS
This is pretty obvious but worth mentioning.
The saints were not saints.
They were ordinary human beings with all the messiness that entails. And they were made saints partly for propaganda reasons – to create ideals, something to look up to, justify the church, and so on.
I am sure most of them did what most humans do. They sometimes did some things that hurt themselves and others and they later regretted. They sometimes acted on their hangups, wounds, and reactivity. They had their own wounds and traumas and ways to deal with these that sometimes were healthy and sometimes were more reactive.
And at the same time, most of them likely had genuine devotion, aspiration, acted in very kind and humane ways, and may even have had some degree of awakening – from glimpses to living from it in most situations.
It’s important to show and remind ourselves of the human side of those our tradition or culture wants to idolize, and the ones we personally put on a pedestal and want to idealize. Even if we don’t know everything about their life, it’s a good guess that they too had their struggles, they got caught up in fear and hangups, and they sometimes acted in less than kind and wise ways. They had all the human sides, just as we do.
Yes, we can learn from them. We can be inspired by their lives. And it’s good to remember they were human, just like us and everyone else.
MISOPHONIA & GENERAL STRESS LEVELS
I don’t know the causes of misophonia, and I haven’t found any quick miracle cures.
But I have noticed that when my general stress level is reduced, the misophonia is a little easier to relate to.
That means that anything that helps reduce my stress levels helps with the misophonia, whether this is surface-level stress or deeper-seated lasting stress in my system.
Some of the things I have found that helps release this stress is: yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema, Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), and also inquiry (The Work, Living Inquiries) and energy healing (Vortex Healing).
INDIA & ASSERTIVENESS
I was reminded of this story in a conversation yesterday: I went to Nepal and India for three-four months when I was in my mid-twenties, partially as a pilgrimage (Bodh Gaya) and partly to learn more about Tibetan Buddhism (I stayed at Tibetan monasteries and did courses there). Before I went, I was curious if I would have some shift in awakening during this trip. There was a significant shift, although at a much more ordinary human level. I learned to be more assertive, which was necessary if I was not going to be eaten alive as a westerner in India. The shift was in embodiment, which is probably exactly what I needed. (That trip got me into a later life situation where I needed that assertiveness, but hadn’t embodied it quite enough.)
CHOOSE YOUR DIFFICULTY
A part of maturing and growing up is choosing our difficulty.
In some situations in life, we are faced with doing something uncomfortable now to prevent difficulties in the future. We choose our difficulty.
We get out of a marriage that doesn’t work, even if divorce is difficult. We do a test which may be uncomfortable because it opens doors for us. And so on.
And, of course, sometimes we get caught up in fear and are unable to do the short-term difficulty so we are faced with the longer-term one. That’s part of life too, and it shows us something about ourselves there and then.
CFS VS DEPRESSION
Few if anyone who has personal experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) would mistake it for depression. But some apparently do, and I read a brief and succinct description of one key difference.
If you ask someone depressed what they would like to do, they may have a hard time coming up with anything.
If you ask someone with CFS the same question, they will easily come up with a thousand things.
DREAM: NO PLACE TO REST
I am in a house with a lot of people. Someone takes my bed, and I find myself without anywhere to sleep or rest.
This is the last scene of the dream before I woke up.
What does it mean with no place to rest? It does fit my experience off-and-on over the last few days and weeks. I have had some deep survival anxiety come up, and it has sometimes felt like I have nowhere to rest. I sometimes didn’t find the place to rest because I got caught up with a part of me struggling with the deep survival fear.
Another side to this is that as a human being in the world, there is no place to rest. We never arrive at a place where we’ll from now on have a life without challenges. Change and challenges are the nature of this life, and it’s that way for all life.
Update: After writing this, I was reminded of this quote that seems to fit.
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”– Matthew 8:20
HEALTHY BOUNDARIES CAN BE HEALING
This is something that’s well known from common sense, psychology, and probably our own experience.
If I get caught up in an issue, and someone sets healthy boundaries for me, it helps me see what’s going on and it can be an important part of my – and sometimes our – healing process. And the other way around, I can also do this for others.
The key is that we can come from a healthy and clear place in us and avoid going (too) much into our own reactivity. We say what we see and feel. We are honest. We are vulnerable about our own experience. We speak our own truth, and if it’s the right time and place, and there is some receptivity, it can be healing all around.
EMPATHY WITHOUT BUYING INTO THE STORIES
If we are going through something difficult, it’s usually not very helpful if others reinforce the painful and stressful stories about it, and also not if they reinforce separation.
What is helpful is to listen. Show empathy. Say we understand that it’s difficult.
Ask how we can support. Ask what would be most helpful.
If they are open to it, support them to be with and allow what they are experiencing.
And if it’s the right time and place, and they are receptive to it…. Remind them that they have gotten through difficult situations before. Remind them of the resources they have. Help them see it from another angle.
NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES AND SENSES
I watched the near-death experience (NDE) episode of Surviving Death on Netflix, and there is one question I always have when I hear these stories.
Why do people still seem to sense as a human even if they have left their body? Our human body filters out potential information down to the basics needed for us to function, and a huge amount of information is left out. Other species sense different types of information, for instance, a wider range of the visual spectrum. And our instruments also sense far beyond our limited human senses.
So why do people who have NDEs report as if they still sense through human organs?
Do they actually take in a lot more information? Does it seem that they still use human senses because of the language they use, what they choose to focus on, and the interpretations I and perhaps others have?
Or do they actually mostly still sense as if they sensed through a human body?
If the latter is the case, why is that?
I don’t have an answer to this, but if I studied NDEs, this would be one of the things I would explore.
FASCINATED BY A TV HOST
Watching the near-death experience episode of Surviving Death on Netflix reminded me of something from my own life.
As a child, I was fascinated with one particular children’s TV host. There is was something about her I resonated with. Much later in life, I learned that she had a near-death experience early in life that had a big impact on her.
So I wonder if I sensed something in her, perhaps an opening to infinity or vastness? And that it resonated with my own similar before-life memories? Who knows. (When I check in now and remember back, it is that opening to the infinite I find.)
DOING IT HERE NOW, NOT RELY ON COURSES
With the powerful transmissions in Vortex Healing classes, it’s easy to get a bit addicted to these classes and – consciously or less consciously – rely on them for future transformation, awakening, embodiment, and so on. I see that in how some other VH students talk about it, and recognize parts of myself seeing it that way as well.
Of course, it’s not that simple.
There are obvious downsides to relying on something in the future: It may not happen, we may go into a waiting mode, and it may take our attention and presence away from what’s here and now.
There are also obvious downsides to relying on something in the world and outside of ourselves, for what’s ultimately our own responsibility. (And the responsibility of the divine.)
And, who knows, perhaps what we think happens in these classes don’t, or there is something we don’t see.
I still plan to take future classes, while reminding myself that I cannot rely on something in the world for what I am ultimately responsible for.
MARCH 29, 2021
GUIDANCE IN THE FOREST
I went walking in my local forest today and was guided to take a different path than I usually do. It took me away from my favorite spot, which is a beautiful marshland I visit close to every time. Some minutes into my walk, I heard and saw a police helicopter hovering over the trees. It moved around for a long time, and I assumed it was looking for someone. As I left the forest, I saw the helicopter hovering over the marshland for a very long time before drifting out of the forest, and a police car entered the main path going into the forest.
Later, in the local news, I learned a young man had gone missing yesterday, they feared suicide, had searched for him this morning (which is what I saw), and found his body in the forest.
I can’t know for certain, but it seems likely they found him on the edge of the marshland where I would have gone if I had followed my usual route. Even at the time, it felt weird to be guided so clearly to take a different route, and one I had never taken before, and that may have been why. I wasn’t needed to find him, and it was probably far better for me to go somewhere else. In any case, I am very sorry for what this man felt he had to do.
MARCH 30, 2021
HEALING EXPERIENCE: SEED BOMB
I just received a healing session from EA, and it was an interesting journey.
The topic was loss, and I saw how it was connected with other issues (victim identity, survival fear), I felt different contractions in my body connected with it, I saw mental patterns and dynamics related to how I relate to loss, I saw situations of loss in my past and felt something unhooking, and so on.
At one point, I saw in my mind a cylinder being pushed into my body a little below the heart. After a while, it opened, and a great deal of seeds, seedlings, and saplings came out and spread through my body. An image of new beginnings and new life.
WHERE DO I FIND THE LOSS?
When I go into issues around loss, where do I find the loss? I cannot find in the past or future, outside of my mental images.
I can only find it here and now. By going onto painful stories and feelings around loss, I lose out here and now. I lose out of this moment.
Of course, that’s also not a real loss. But it is a good pointer that can help shake me out of it when it comes up.
BRAIN FOG AND THIS WRITING
Because of chronic fatigue (CFS) and brain fog, it’s impossible for me to read more than short texts at a time, and it’s also very difficult to write anything that’s very long. Writing requires reading it over and looking at the flow, structure, and so on, and that’s difficult.
This means that what I write is either very short, or it’s longer and something I wish I had written better with a more clear brain.
I also suspect that the topics would be far more varied, grounded more in what else is out there, and come at the topics from different angles if it wasn’t for the brain fog.
I am not sure, but I may also have done videos in addition to writing, which is challenging now since I have trouble stringing together sentences verbally and thinking of words and what I want to say.
The upside of the brain fog is that I haven’t been able to take in much information for the last ten years, so I have to rely on what’s alive here.
PLAYING ROLES IN LIFE
All the world’s a stage,– Shakespeare in As You Like It
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
Actors tend to talk about their roles as “I” or “he/she”. In the first case, they set themselves up for identifying with the role, which may be helpful as they play it but it’s not helpful otherwise. More mature and insightful actors tend to talk about their roles as “he/she” because they know it’s not them and they know it’s healthy for them to differentiate themselves from the roles.
That’s how life is as well, as so many have pointed out.
We play roles in life – as a human, as a gender, as a relative, friend, lover, spouse, someone with a particular job, healthy, sick, young, old, and so on.
None of these are inherent in what we are. It’s labels others give us and we, in turn, give ourselves. We learn from society what roles we play.
Many of us also learn from society that it’s appropriate to identify with these roles, so we are good boys and girls and do just that, even if it comes with downsides. When we lose desired roles, we struggle and despair. We seek roles we think will make us happy, sometimes just because society tells us it’s that way. We may limit ourselves and not do what will be genuinely fulfilling for us because it doesn’t fit our existing roles and identities. We may get so focused on these roles that we don’t notice what we are, which is free from all of these roles.
HOW TO RELATE TO STUPIDITY
There is a Norwegian news story going around on social media these days. In some cities, people living below the poverty line stand in long queues for food handouts, and this doesn’t fit how most people want Norwegian society to be.
Many blame the current government, which is appropriate, although I think it’s more accurate to blame the people voting for this government.
Some blame Muslims and the green party, which seems incredibly stupid to me. The green party has eliminating poverty and reducing social inequality central in their policies, and they did not in any way create this situation. And I have no idea how Muslims come into the picture, unless you are a racist and want to blame them for anything no matter how absurd it seems.
So, yes, I sometimes get upset about what I see as plain stupidity.
The conventional and pragmatic approach
I can, of course, take a conventional and pragmatic approach.
I can ask the person for more explanation and data. What are their sources?
What is it about what they said that doesn’t fit with reality as I see it?
What’s more accurate?
If it’s appropriate, how can I point this out in a relatively neutral and fair way?
Examining what’s going on
I can also use the situation as an opportunity to find more clarity and healing for myself.
Examine the thoughts about what I see as stupidity and also any identities I have around being smart and/or stupid. For instance, I can examine the thought “he is stupid” using The Work of Byron Katie. And I can explore how my mind creates its identity of “smart” and what’s behind it using Living Inquiries.
Work on any emotional issues tied up in this using inquiry, Vortex Healing, and dialog. I imagine I have an emotional issue around stupidity and fear of being seen as stupid. (As a kid, I created an identity of being relatively smart in order to feel better about myself and more safe.)
Befriend the fear behind my frustration, This is a fear of living in a world where people have stupid views and make stupid decisions that impact all of us. And a fear of being seen as stupid myself.
Use heart-centered approaches like ho’oponopono and tonglen to shift how I relate to the people triggering this reaction in me.
General pointers about stupidity
Apart from this, there are some general pointers and reminders that can be useful….
The label is created by my own mind, it’s not inherent in anyone or life.
Stupidity is relative. There are many people smarter than me in all areas of life, and if they choose to, they can justifiably see me as stupid.
The label “stupid” is just a quick knee-jerk judgment. If I knew more about what they mean and their background, I may see that the label doesn’t fit.
What I see as stupidity is sometimes people’s reaction to their own pain and trauma. They come up with quick judgments in order to distract themselves from their own pain and feel a bit safer. I sometimes do the same. It’s not really stupidity, it’s a reaction to our pain.
We all have our limits, background, and conditioning. I come from a relatively privileged background and have a good education. Many are not so fortunate. It’s not fair to judge others based on this random lottery of life.
So instead of going into my own quick judgment, I can see that… It’s relative and, to some, my views are bound to justifiably be seen as stupid. I may change my view if I knew more of where they were coming from. What I see as stupidity may just be a way to deal with our fear and feel safer. We all come from different backgrounds. And the label is created in my own mind and it’s not inherent in any of us or life.
Mostly, I see that labeling someone “stupid”, even if it’s only in my own mind, is a way for me to deal with my own fear. And there are other ways to deal with it that ultimately feel better and are more aligned with reality.
HEALING OUR WORLD
When we engage in healing and spirituality, many things can happen.
One is that we are healing our world.
My world is the world as it appears to me.
Noticing it’s all happening within and as what I am allows for a deep healing of my world, although it can take time to sink in. If it’s all happening within and as what I am, it is – in a very real sense – what I am. It’s not other.
When I engage in heart-centered practices – ho’oponopno, tonglen, metta – I am also healing my world. I am healing my relationship with my world, with the world as it appears to me, and the world as it appears within and as what I am.
When I engage in inquiry, I get to see how my mind not only creates its experience of the world (Living Inquiries) but more accurately how it creates its own world. I get to see how thoughts become an overlay on the other sense fields, and how the mind associates certain thoughts and sensations so thoughts lend meaning to the sensations and the sensations give a sense of substance and reality to the thoughts. I get to see how the mind creates beliefs and identifications for itself, and what’s more true (The Work).
Through these and other practices, I am healing my world. I am healing the images in my mind of the world. I am healing the images of past, future, and present. I am healing the images of myself. Equally importantly, I am healing my relationship with all of these.
I usually don’t use the term non-duality here although that is what I often write about.
The term tends to have baggage and associations I would rather not evoke. For instance, “non-duality” is sometimes used in a misleading and oddly one-sided way, especially by western neo-Advaita folks.
For me, it’s simpler than that. My experiences happen within and as what I am. I don’t need to reject the world or how most see it. It works fine. Differentiation is how we function in the world and what makes it interesting. And at the same time, I find myself as what my world happens within and as. It’s a seamless whole.
When we notice what we are, we find that our world – as it is – is a seamless whole. At the same time, we need to be able to differentiate to function in the world. Spirit takes both forms, and they are just facets of the same.
DEVELOP OR DISCOVER?
In an interview with Richard Lang, he was asked how Douglas Harding discovered headlessness and the headless experiments.
I like the word “discover” in that context. He clearly did discover what he was/is. It’s there waiting for us to notice.
At the same time, he did develop the experiments. They are pointers similar to a myriad of other pointers and practices from many times, cultures, and traditions.
WHY STILL A BLOG?
Why do I still write a blog? Why not YouTube videos? Why not snappy Instagram stories?
As I mentioned in another post, a big reason is my health and brain fog. It’s somehow easier for me to write when I have the energy to do it. Although it may change. Who knows.
That’s also why I don’t reference others so much here, apart from brief quotes. I am unable to read anything more than a few words or paragraphs at a time, so I am not updated on what’s been written for the last ten years and it’s difficult for me to go back to books I read before then to find something. So I tend to write about what comes to me here and now, perhaps inspired by a quote, conversation, or a comment I see on social media.
CONNECTED WITH SUFFERING
The more I am connected with my own suffering, the more I understand and am touched by the suffering of others.
And when I say “connected with”, I don’t mean indulging in it or being overwhelmed by it, although that can sometimes be part of the process. I mostly mean to intentionally connect with it. Feel it. Befriend it. Examine the stories behind it. Get to know it.
How I relate to myself is how I relate to others.
If I reject or make myself numb to my own suffering, then I’ll tend to reject and make myself numb to the suffering of others. If I get to know my own suffering, I’ll tend to allow myself to be touched and moved by the suffering of others, and do something about it when possible and appropriate.
NOTICE VS REALIZE
In spirituality, people often talk about realization.
I prefer to not use that word. Some can hear it as something we figure out within thoughts, and although that’s a part of it, it’s not what it’s really about. It can also be heard as something we realize once and for all and then it’s done.
That’s why I prefer to say “notice” or “notice what we are”. That’s more free from thought, and it’s here and now – it’s fresh. It also sounds more ordinary, which is good since what’s noticed is ordinary. It’s the most ordinary (no) thing there is.
APRIL 10, 2021
DREAM: UNABLE TO FIND A PLACE TO SLEEP
I am with a few people on an outing somewhere in the US. A friend of mine, Bruce W., is leading it, and I joined at the last moment so I am not very familiar with what the outing is about. We arrive at a large apartment, and I go out to go for a walk. When I return, it turns out that the group is much larger than I thought, and most people have already found sleeping spots. The beds are all taken, and the rest are finding creative sleeping arrangements on couches, the floor, and so on. I am unable to find one for myself. Someone says she can help me, and after an elaborate process, it seems she can’t anyway.
We are in a city somewhere in the southwest of the US. Bruce is a good friend from Kanzeon Zen Center who died several years ago. I had a similar dream a couple of weeks ago where I was unable to find a place to sleep.
Why no place to sleep? One answer is that the son (and daughter) of man cannot find a place to rest. As humans, we are part of a world that’s always in change. New situations always present themselves. In the process I am in, there are always more unhealed parts of me surfacing. And because of my health challenges and life situation in general, I feel that my situation – including living situation – is uncertain, unpredictable, and a bit precarious.
The only real place to “rest” is as what I am, when I find myself as capacity for my world. And yet, that’s not separate from all that’s changing. It’s just the only (no) thing that seems to always be here when I look.
Maybe the dream is highlighting the nature of change and impermanence, and inviting me to find more peace with it.
There is a related way to see this. Since these people in my dream represent parts of me, it suggests that parts of me are preventing me to rest, and that makes a lot of sense. Unhealed and distressed parts of me prevent me from resting.
Note: Before this dream, I was briefly awake and had one image from a previous dream. A man had just murdered someone. It was one of those type of dreams where “I” was not in it, and it was more like watching a movie. It did set a unsettled tone which followed into the next dream and after I woke up.
CRITICIZING SPIRITUAL TEACHERS
It’s easy to criticize, and it’s easy to criticize spiritual teachers.
They may not have a clear enough realization. They may not embody it enough. They may not be completely healthy at a human level. They may not be mature enough. They may be too impersonal or make it too much about them. They may not be skilled enough as a teacher or guide. They may not be able to meet the students where they are. They may focus on some aspects of the process and leave out aspects we see as important. And so on.
All of these are valid. A teacher may or may not resonate with us, and that shows us who we want to connect with. And it’s good to be aware of and, to some extent, discuss these things.
At the same time, it’s a very tall order to be completely clear in the awakening, to be fully healthy and mature as a human being, to consistently embody the realization, to excel as a teacher and guide, and so on. None of us are perfect, and we all have different ideas about what makes a good teacher.
For me, the best use of this impulse is to find healing and clarity for myself.
I can use the teacher and what I see there as a mirror.
What stories do I have about her or him? What do I find when I explore these? (The Work of Byron Katie.) What identities are triggered in me, and what do I find when I explore them? (Living Inquiries.) What fears come up in me? How is to meet and get to know this fear?
INFECTIONS INFLUENCE MOOD
I have had two persistent and recurrent infections – Lyme and Epstein-Barr. For a few years, the Lyme infection would be dormant for a few months and then return. And for years, even now, it’s the same with the Epstein-Barr infection.
I have noticed a couple of possible patterns.
The most obvious one is that when these infections come up, it changes my mood and my thought patterns. I tend to feel fatigued, hopeless and have related feelings and thoughts.
The other one, which I am not certain about, is that when I experience a lot of stress – both physical and psychological – the infection tends to come up.
NATURAL RESPONSE & ACTION VS HOPELESS, DEPRESSED
When we are faced with the destruction of ecosystems, people living in poverty, injustice, and so on, how do we respond?
Do we allow the natural emotions to move through us and act if that’s appropriate?
Or do we get bogged down in hopelessness, depression, and so on?
The first one is how it looks when we are connected while not having our own issues triggered. We have a natural human response, and act when we are called to it.
In the second case, we are most likely having our own painful beliefs and issues triggered by what we see. The external situation triggers stressful beliefs and old issues, which then brings up our own sense of hopelessness, depression, or whatever it may be.
BYRON KATIE: LIFE IS WHAT WAS NOW
Life is what was now.– Byron Katie
I often do a quick check on the origin of quotes, but don’t need to with this one. It’s classic Katie.
Life is what was now. As soon as this moment is reflected in a thought, that moment is already gone. Thoughts are always one step behind. What’s here now is what’s in the sense fields – which thoughts haven’t had a chance to reflect yet – and the thoughts themselves.
WHY ARE WE IN SPIRITUALITY? FOR AWAKENING? OR HEALING?
Many who are into spirituality want their pain to go away. And while awakening can help us relate to the pain a little better, it doesn’t make it go away.
That’s why I emphasize healing as much as awakening.
If we are honest, we wish to reduce the pain and find some contentment and joy in life. And healing and awakening go hand-in-hand here. Healing can reduce a lot of the pain, and awakening helps us relate to it differently.
There is, of course, a lot more to it.
Our pain and suffering come from painful beliefs (all beliefs are ultimately painful), emotional issues, and traumas. So emotional healing is a vital part of reducing this pain.
How we relate to life – ourselves, others, situations, thoughts, emotions, discomfort, pain – is another part of it, and we can shift this from fighting with to befriending it. Heart-centered practices are especially useful here.
And then there is what we take ourselves to be. If we take ourselves to be a separate being in the world, then that’s painful in itself and it tends to create a way to relate to life that’s painful. If we find ourselves as capacity for the world, it creates a different and slightly easier relationship with our experiences and life.
A couple of notes: Beliefs create and are an important component of emotional issues and trauma, and trauma can be seen as a stronger version of what we typically call an emotional issue. Also, when we find ourselves as capacity for the world, it means the world as it appears to us, our world, and that includes any experience – thoughts, sensations, issues, relationships, others, the wider world, and life in general.
APRIL 11, 20201
SLOW IS FAST
We often hear some variation of this: Slower is faster. To go fast, slow down.
There is a lot of truth to this. In many areas of life, slower is faster. If we slow down to do things well, we’ll progress faster. We take care of the basics. Learn the foundations. Make it less likely we overlook something essential.
And that’s the case with healing work and awakening as well. Slow down. Do it well. Find the essentials and make sure that’s in place. Take care of the central and most fundamental emotional issues. Learn the basics of spiritual practice – train a more stable mind, get used to noticing and allowing what’s here, invite your relationship with life to shift, notice what you are and get familiar with it and explore how to live from it.
NOBODY IS AFRAID OF DEATH
Nobody is afraid of death. It’s typically something else, and we’ll discover it if we explore it a little more closely. What we may discover is a fear of loss, fear of pain and suffering, fear of the unknown, or fear of whatever else we associate with death.
SUICIDE IS ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE
On a similar theme as the previous post: a suicidal impulse is not really about wanting to end our life. It’s about wanting to end our suffering. Seeing that can be very helpful. We differentiate our need (ending suffering) and strategies to achieve that. And there are ways to reduce our pain and suffering so it’s more manageable.
A SIMPLE WAY TO REDUCE NAUSEA
A long time ago, I was shown a simple – and for me effective – way of reducing nausea, so I thought I would share it here. I am not exactly sure where it comes from but assume it’s a form of acupressure.
Find your belly button and apply light pressure on the four points above, below, and on either side of the belly button, about 2-3cm from the belly button.
For instance, place the index finger of your left hand 3cm below the belly button, and the thumb of the same hand the same distance above the belly button. Place the index finger of your right hand 3cm on the left side of the belly button and the thumb the same distance to the right.
For me, this tends to immediately reduce the nausea, and others report the same.
FIGHT OR SURRENDER
Someone is currently experiencing that “everything” is going wrong in her life, and she asked me:
What can I do?
The answer is fight or surrender. There are no other options.
It’s perhaps simple but it’s certainly not easy. It’s not something we can choose and then make happen. We can set the stage for surrender, and we can support it in several different ways, but that’s about it.
We can shift how we relate to life, for instance through heart-centered practices. We can identify what in us mentally fights with life and explore it. We can identify and investigate the stressful beliefs behind it, and find healing for the emotional issues behind the fight. We can find ourselves as capacity for life, and see that life – the situations and the fight in us – lives its own life and are inherently “surrendered”. And the fight in us with life may also have to wear itself out.
I have lived with this for several years – a combination of being weakened by illness and having things repeatedly go “wrong” and not as hoped for or planned. It’s what brings us to our knees. And I feel like just about the worst in finding the surrender in me.
I should mention that it’s good to be able to fight. In some situations in life, we need to fight. What I am talking about here is mentally fighting with life itself, with our situation as it already is.
COMFORTING BELIEFS AS A STEPPING STONE
Until we discover what we are, we need comforting beliefs as a stepping stone. We need some delusions to keep going in life. As Ibsen said, “If you take the life lie from an average man, you take away his happiness as well”.
The other side of the coin is that these beliefs and delusions are what prevent us from noticing what we are. They distract us from noticing that we are capacity for all our experiences, including these thoughts.
The more we notice and live from what we are, the more these comforting beliefs and delusions can thin out. And the more we thin out these comforting beliefs and delusions, the easier it is to notice what we are.
Even when we are more familiar with noticing what we are and living from it, we’ll still have parts of us operating from separation consciousness. These may color our perceptions and actions without us noticing. And they tend to be triggered and come to the surface so we can notice them, get to know them, and support them in joining with the awakening.
It’s a process, as so much else.
What are some examples of these beliefs and delusions? It can be just about anything. A belief that we’ll be saved in the future. God is good. We are better than others. We know something. Our fundamental nature is as this human being. And so on. It can even be obviously stressful beliefs since these too give us a sense that we know how things are, they are familiar to us, and they are – in some ways – comforting to us.
WILL THIS GO MAINSTREAM?
Will acknowledging and exploring our true nature go mainstream?
It is already happening, to some extent. There is research on meditation and awakening, and we have more and more teachers who present it in a pragmatic and down-to-earth way that fits the modern mindset.
A DIVINE & EVOLUTIONARY SET-UP FOR ADDICTION
In order for Spirit to experience itself as separate, it needed to set itself up to believe in thoughts.
addicted to thought, required for the illusion of separate self / separation consciousness
a set-up for all the other addictions,
painful beliefs/identities, avoid painful sensations/thoughts, leads to addiction
can be addicted to anything – racism, ideologies, food, drink, movies, distractions, health, awakening path, spiritual practice, etc.
evolution – good to want sugar etc., but evolved in a different setting, different now
objectify people, ourselves – instagram etc
taking ourselves to fundamentally be an object
FROM FLOW TO CHAOS
When I was in my late teens and twenties, I was in a constant state of flow and grace. Things fell into place in amazing ways. I did well in whatever I did. I had a huge amount of passion for life, nature, art, studies, and so on.
The awakening and embodiment process is also a humbling process.
Why humbling? Because that’s how we get more consciously aligned with reality.
Separation consciousness assumes we fundamentally are a separate self, and that creates a certain tense survival mindset – with assumptions of being better and worse, and so on.
THE MECHANICS OF AWAKENING AND MYSTICISM
Awakening and mysticism is often seen as something mysterious. It is, to some extent, just like anything else. And there are also ways to demystify it.
What we are
What we are to ourselves is capacity for the world. We are what our experiences – of this human self and the wider world – happens within and as.
From logical reasoning, it’s clear what we are to ourselves is consciousness. It has to be that way. Any experience happens within and as consciousness, they happen within us as consciousness. All experiences change, and the only thing that’s left is consciousness and what our experiences happen within and as.
What we are is capable of taking itself to be a particular content within itself. It can take itself to be this human self.
How the mind creates its experience
Examining the effects of practices & pointers
- mechanics of awakening and mysticism
- what we are
- examining how the mind creates its experience
- examining the effects of practices / pointers
[drafts & unfinished posts]
We sometimes think the basics are something we learn in the beginning and then don’t need to pay much attention to. We move beyond the basics.
But that’s often not the case. And a better word for basics is perhaps essentials.
That’s how it is in spirituality as well.
So what are the essentials of spirituality?
It depends on our approach. For me, it’s….
Kindness, exploration, and life. To find kindness and love for my own experiences, which makes it easier to extend it to others. To explore, also through inquiry. And to live from it, to the extent I can.
- stable attention – mind, body as an anchor
- notice + allow
- notice + allow what’s here, this experience as it is
- helps create some distance (softens identification) + easier to notice what we are, mimick what we are
- prayer, devotion – open to something much larger
- tonglen, ho’o, metta – opens the heart
- learning – pointers, traditions, pitfalls, etc.
- investigate the mind, beliefs, etc.
- notice what we are – BM, headless way
- living from it
- notice when I don’t and take a look at what happens – fears, beliefs, identities etc.
Many of us have some behaviors or attitudes that can seem self-destructive. In some situations, in some periods of life, we act in ways that’s not in our own interest.
What do we find if we look a little closer?
These behaviors come from our reaction to our own painful beliefs and emotional issues. And behind these dynamics and parts of us is a desire to protect us. It ultimately comes from care and love.
So what can we do about it?
We can explore how to relate to these painful parts of us in a more conscious and intentional way. We can recognize them, see they are ultimately innocent, and create some space in how we relate to them so we don’t always need to act on them.
We can also explore and invite in healing for these painful and suffering parts of us.
What we are is capable of taking itself to be a particular content within itself. It can take itself to be this human self. And to create that experience for itself, it needs to take thoughts – mental images and words – as if they are true.
In this case, it’s the thought that “I am this human self”. It makes sense to perceive this way. It’s what we are taught by parents, friends, and our culture. And it looks very convincing until there is a shift out of it.