Healing from oneness

 

During the initial awakening in my teens, I discovered healing from oneness. I have done it off and on since when needed. And I have more recently started to explore and use it more intentionally and frequently.

How does oneness healing look?

It does require some noticing of oneness, of what we are. And the more clear, stable, and thorough this noticing is, the easier oneness healing may be.

One aspect is noticing that whatever I wish to invite in healing for is already Spirit or the divine. It’s a flavor of the divine. It’s the divine temporarily and locally taking that particular form. It’s already happening within and as what I am.

Another is to invite it to notice itself as the divine. This happens through gentle noticing and intention, and it’s an invitation for the divine to wake up to itself as that particular – temporary and local – form.

If it’s an emotional issue, then yet another aspect is to invite it to align with reality, to align with oneness. This also happens through noticing and intention, by noticing all as oneness, how it may not consciously be aligned with oneness, and inviting it to realign with reality and oneness.

What do I use oneness healing for?

I mostly use it for my own emotional issues and hangups. I notice something come up in, which sometimes is just discomfort, and then notice it as the divine and invite it to align with oneness, or for Spirit to wake up to itself in the form of that issue, hangup, or discomfort.

I do the same with physical issues, although less frequently right now.

If I do healing for others, it happens within the context of oneness, and I sometimes intentionally invite whatever I invite in healing for to notice itself as the divine.

And I sometimes do this with situations as well, whether it’s my own, someone else’s, or something happening in the world.

Oneness healing for self and others

There is an interesting distinction here.

If I do oneness healing for myself, whether it’s for something physical or emotional, then it can be understood from a small or psychological interpretation of awakening. To myself, I am consciousness and all my experiences – including of this human self and the wider world – happens within and as what I am.

It’s an awakening as my true nature – as what all content of my experience happens within and as, as emptiness full of my world, and oneness healing makes sense within this context without assuming anything about the true nature of the rest of the world or existence.

When I do oneness healing for others or for situations, and it works (as it does), then it does seem to require an assumption about the true nature of all of existence. It’s most easily explained by assuming that my true nature, as it appears to me, is the true nature of everyone and everything. It’s all consciousness, it’s all Spirit or the divine.

Direct noticing and how we may find it for ourselves

This all happens within direct and immediate noticing. Thoughts may guide attention but that’s about it. It’s not about thoughts or what happens within thoughts.

So how can we find this for ourselves, if we don’t already? The answer is the usual answers for what supports or invites awakening.

Training a stable attention helps for anything we wish to do, including this exploration of our true nature.

Basic meditation – notice and allow – is very helpful. It helps shift our center of gravity out of taking ourselves as limited content of experience (this human self) to the context for and all content of experience. (When I say “context” for our experience, I mean noticing ourselves as that which all our experiences already happen within and as.)

Heart-centered practices are helpful to shift how we relate to any content of experience. In some ways, it mimics what can happen naturally when what we are notices itself.

Inquiry helps us see through beliefs and identifications, and how our mind creates its own experience. It helps us see through what we are not, but sometimes perceive we are, and more easily notice what we are.

Some form of inquiry helps us notice what we are more directly, and explore and get familiar with it. (Headless experiments, Big Mind process.)

There are also many other helpful practices and explorations. In this context of oneness healing, the Big Mind / Big Heart process may be especially helpful. We can explore particular issues through dialog, and we can get a better sense of anything – including that which we have a strained relationship with – as the divine.

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I will disappoint you

 

If we idealize, we’ll sooner or later be disappointed. It’s built into the process.

We may idealize a person, a situation, the past, the future, ourselves in the past or future, God, or something or someone else. It’s often an attempt to find safety somewhere, often outside of ourselves, and to fill a perceived hole in ourselves.

Reality doesn’t live up to our idealizations. And that’s a good thing since disappointment – used wisely – brings us back to ourselves. It helps us notice and take in that we are our own final authority. There is wisdom built into the disappointment, and it’s up to us to notice and make use of it.

Idealization-related disappointment and disillusionment is an invitation for us to notice several things. It’s an invitation to notice that we idealize. When we idealize. That the idealization comes from us and is not inherent in reality. That reality is more messy than the ideas we have about it. That we idealize for a reason, perhaps to find a sense of safety in relying on something outside of ourselves. And that we already are our own final authority, no matter how much we would like to tell ourselves otherwise.

Conversely, if others idealize us, we’ll likely eventually disappoint them. In some situations, it may be good to point that out, especially if this other person is a student or client. We can mention this dynamic before the disappointment happens, and bring attention to how it can be used in a constructive way.

Dream: Looking for my partner, staying underwater for as long as I want

 

My partner has fallen out of a boat and is drowning. I dive into the water to find her. At first, it’s difficult to hold the breath and see underwater, but then I find I can stay underwater for as long as I want, go as deep as I want, and I can see through the water clearly. I find her, bring her to the surface, and at first think she is dead. But it turns out she is alive. I am deeply grateful.

In the dream, I am not the one I am in waking life, and my partner is also not the one I have in waking life. Our genders are not one or the other. It seems that both of us are man and woman. Shortly after diving into the water, I find I can easily and fast move through it, I can stay as long as I want, and I can easily see through the water as if it was completely transparent.

We are more fundamentally human (and Spirit) than we are men and women, and we all have what we call feminine and masculine qualities. As soon as we see beyond our surface gender identities, we find ourselves as whole human beings.

I am able to be underwater for as long I want, I can swim easily, and I can easily see through the water. This may reflect that I am more comfortable dive into my sensations and emotions, it’s easier for me to stay with (in) them indefinitely, they are transparent to me and I can metaphorically see through them. I have had other dreams of being able to be underwater indefinitely.

My waking-life partner did a one-day Vortex Healing class yesterday and felt a bit disintegrated and flooded with old things surfacing after class. Perhaps that’s what I picked up when I dreamt she was drowning.

Update: The same morning I had this dream, my partner dreamt she was swimming underwater in the deep ocean at night.

I have lunch in a restaurant or café. Trump sits in a corner with his meal. He seems completely deflated and almost not alive. I sit at a table close to him but don’t feel I need to acknowledge him. The others there also know he is there but don’t acknowledge him.

It may be that Trump will lose the election and feel deflated like this. This is also how I see him beneath his reactivity and bluster: empty and deflated.

It’s also how I feel if I try to make myself something I am not, if I try to make myself important, if I try to inflate myself. Behind the inflation is deflation.

Dark night of trauma

 

As Adyashanti says, when the mind and heart open, they also open to what’s unprocessed in us. When the mind and heart open during an awakening process, they also open to trauma and any emotional issues that are here.

Sometimes, this is a trickle. Other times, it’s as if the flood gates have opened. This can be called a dark night of the soul, although that expression can refer to many different things. I think of it as a dark night of trauma.

It’s not a bug in the system, it’s a feature.

The awakening requires that all parts of our human self awaken. And that means that the unawake parts – the trauma and emotional issues – come to the surface to be seen, felt, recognized as the divine, and align with reality and oneness. These parts of us also want to join in with the awakening.

This is also essential for embodiment, for living from the awakening more consistently in daily life. When a particular trauma or emotional issue is resolved in us, the situations that previously triggered this issue – this bubble of separation consciousness in us – are situations we now can respond to with more clarity and kindness, and from oneness.

Since most of us have innumerable bubbles of separation consciousness in us, I suspect this is an ongoing process.

We may arrive at a place where our new habit is to relate to these bubbles in us with more intention, kindness, and clarity, and invite them to unwind and join with the awakening. But bubbles may continue to come up.

Reflections on society, politics and nature XXXIV

 

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on society, politics, and nature. I sometimes include short personal notes as well. Click “read more” to see all the entries.

WHAT DO CONSERVATIVES CONSERVE?

Politics doesn’t interest you because you have no interest in changing a world that suits you so well

– Edith to Sherlock Holmes in Enola Holmes

A question I often ask myself is: what do conservatives want to conserve?

It’s of course many things depending on the person and the brand of conservatism.

Some of which I personally wholeheartedly agree with: Conserving nature and God’s creation. Conserving our world so future generations can have a good life. Conserving some traditional elements of our culture. (Which doesn’t mean to exclude anything else.) Conserving freedom of speech and religion. Conserving – and ideally improving – our democracy. And so on.

And some of which I don’t at all support. Mainly, anything that has to do with conserving privilege for the few at the cost of other groups.

This includes different variations of overt or subtle racism, bigotry, and prejudice, and also preserving unjust economic, political, and social structures.

And it includes preserving the privilege of humans at the cost of ecosystems and other species, and preserving the privilege of the current generation at the cost of future generations.

From my perspective, policies that don’t take the big picture into account – and the interests of all life – seem profoundly and inherently flawed.

THE 2016 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FORECAST WAS WRONG?

I have written about this in 2016 and earlier this year, but it feels worth mentioning again: Some folks still say that the polling or forecast for the 2016 US presidential election was wrong.

I mostly listened to the 538 podcast in the lead-up to that election, and I usually avoid US mainstream media, so I don’t know what they all wrote and said.

But when it comes to what I have seen, it seems that the problem has to do with people not understanding even the basics of statistics more than the polling itself.

538 said (as far as I remember) that there was a 1 to 4 or 1 to 5 chance of Trump winning the election (25-20 percent). Those are not bad odds at all. It means that 1 out of 4 or 5 times the polling numbers looks like this, Trump will win. Nobody should be surprised that he won the presidency.

This year, most – two weeks before the election – say there is a 90% chance Biden will win, which means there is a 1 to 10 chance Trump will win. Out of ten times the polling looks like this, Trump will win once. Even that’s not terrible odds. (Nate Silver at 538 says Trump has between 1 to 5 and 1 to 20 chance.)

How can you be surprised when Trump’s odds are in a reasonably good range? Again, I assume it has to do with reporters and other people not understanding even the most basic statistics – the type of thing everyone should have learned the first few years in school.

And that, in turn, may say something about the US education system.

There is also an over-arching question here: Why are polls important? Why not wait and see the result after the election. I understand polls are important for the candidates to target their campaigns, but why is it important for regular folks? To me, it seems more like entertainment than anything very useful.

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Helpful and not so helpful ways of living in the present

 

Living in the present can refer to a few different things.

It can mean noticing that all we have is what’s here now and that the idea of a past and future is imagined, as is the idea of a present, and anything we imagine in the past, future, and even present is imagined. It’s all happening within our thought field, within and as mental images and words. It’s all – all our experiences including of the three times and what happens within them – happens within and as what we are.

A less helpful way is to take the idea of living in the present to mean ignoring past and future, or at least making an effort to ignore it. The idea of past, future, present, and what happens in those three times, is essential for us to function and navigate in the world. (It just helps to notice that that’s what they are – ideas.) There is no need to try to ignore these or anything else.

Another less helpful way, which tends to come from an emotional issue and believing certain thoughts, is to take what’s happening here and now – and especially feelings and thoughts – and projecting them into the future, as if they mean something about the future or that it will always be this way, and also projecting them onto the past and present and ourselves as if they mean or can say something real about the past, present, or ourselves.

The first is the cure for the second and third.

Dream: Young inventor

 

I am with and observe a young boy who creates simple and creative inventions out of wood. I know he will invent a large number of other things later in life, and that he is young Benjamin Franklin.

Why this dream? Perhaps it’s a reminder to myself of my own creativity and ability to invent, and that this is an ability that can grow and flourish.

More accurately, when it comes to the areas I am interested in – healing, awakening, and to some extent art – I find that following my own path and following where my internal processes lead, inevitably takes me somewhat off the beaten track. It takes me into uncharted territory. So perhaps the dream is really an encouragement for me to trust this process, even if it takes me into uncharted territory.

It’s a territory that may be uncharted for me in a conventional sense. That’s certainly uncharted for me since here and now it’s fresh and the past only lives in my imagination (and the traces found here and now). That may be more or less uncharted by mainstream society. And that may also be more or less uncharted by others in general. (Although probably not, the general insights are often discovered by many people with some inevitable unique flavors.)

A part of me wants to join the mainstream. Whenever my process takes me somewhere, this part wants to compare it with what others have reported. There is some hesitation to fully follow my own process without being so concerned about how it matches or doesn’t match what others have found. So the dream may encourage me to be more like this little boy inventing and following his own path, wherever it leads him.

Own dream, and my partner and I sometimes have very similar dreams at the same time

 

I am in an outdoor shopping area in Southern California – a place like Palm Springs or Santa Monica. I try to find the parked car and the person I came with, and cannot remember either. I meet a teenage boy saying he is having a difficult time, and I tell him fifteen was my most difficult year. I then sit down and listen to a phone message – someone from South Africa wants to sell diamonds (scam). As I sit there, a young man with very characteristic face comes up to me, is annoying, and refuses to leave. I push him away with my foot.

I kick something over by the side of the bed which wakes me and my partner up. I tell her my dream, she tells me her dream, and it turns out we had very similar dreams at the same time. She too dreamt she was out shopping with a friend, she finds her car but it has not keys (and starts anyway), and she is similarly bothered by a young man who fits the description of the young man in my dream.

This has happened several times before. We seem to have similar dreams at the same time.

The dream itself seems a bit disjointed. I cannot remember where the car is parked or who I am with. The teenager probably reflects me working on issues from my teens the day before. I am not sure about the scam phone message, although it may partly reflect unease about the information situation in the world today (all the conspiracy theories, misinformation etc.). The young man with the unusual face (smooth, triangular) was a bit weird and insistent, both in my dream and my partners.

Of course, it’s all me. The distressed teenage boy is the unhealed parts of me from that time in my life. The scam attempt reflects how I sometimes scam myself – when I lead myself astray by believing my thoughts. The bothersome young man is also me, perhaps a part of me that reacted to pain and trauma by being a bit weird and insistent.

I can find where I am like that young man. And I also see it in my own life when I was in my early twenties – I was very driven and caught up in certain ideas.

Awakening is more fundamental than spirituality

 

From a conventional view, it’s easy to think that awakening has to do with spirituality. After all, that’s the context we most often hear about it.

It’s not wrong. But it’s also not entirely right.

Awakening means to awaken out of the trance of taking thoughts and mental images as true. It means to notice that what we are is what all our experiences happen within and as. It means for what we are to notice itself and wake up out of the trance.

And that’s not exclusive to any spiritual tradition or spirituality in general. It belongs to life. It’s more fundamental than any tradition or anything humans do or talk about.

We can wake out of the trance of specific thoughts in many ways: Through life experiences showing us another side of reality. Through conversations with someone who has seen through it for themselves. And through our own explorations.

We can glimpse what we are in many ways as well. We can experience is in nature, through drugs, out of the blue, or through being guided to notice.

I imagine a place where awakening is part of our culture, and where it’s not tied to any particular human tradition. It’s understood to be more fundamental than that. It’s studied and researched through science. And the different traditions are valued because they each have some valuable insights, pointers, and practices.

This is already happening. I suspect it’s a natural approach in a culture that’s largely secular, values pragmatism and science (although that’s eroding), and a culture where a wide range of traditional approaches are available.

The only physical place I know of like this is perhaps the Bay Area in California. And, who knows, maybe this more pragmatic approach will continue to gain momentum.

Adyashanti: Enlightenment is when everything within us…

 

Enlightenment is when everything within us is in cooperation with the flow of life itself, with the inevitable.

– Adyashanti

When I post quotes, it’s usually because they reflect what I have discovered for myself. I can vouch for it from own experience. (Which doesn’t mean it isn’t more to discover or other equally valid ways to express it.)

This quote is different. I have not experienced this for myself.

Phases of awakening

This may be because the awakening process goes through phases.

The awakening process may start with an interest or intuition. Then, there may be glimpses. Then, a more stable noticing. Then a reorientation of the human parts of us to align with reality (oneness). And after that, people seem to report what Adya describes in the quote.

Awakening versus enlightenment

There is a difference between awakening and enlightenment. Awakening is really a process, and it includes glimpsing what we are, what we are noticing itself, stabilizing that noticing, and allowing the different parts of our psyche to align within this new conscious context of oneness.

Adya seems to reserve the word “enlightenment” for when that last process is relatively complete. I hardly ever use the word “enlightenment”, perhaps because my process is not there yet.

The alignment process

For most of us, our human self was formed within separation consciousness. It developed in a family and culture operating from separation consciousness, and it itself likely operated from separation consciousness.

This means we have a great deal of “bubbles” of separation consciousness in us, even if there is a general awakening. These take the form of old habits, unquestioned beliefs, emotional issues, and traumas.

So when there is a general awakening here, and these bubbles come to the surface, they come with an invitation for us to see, feel, and find love for them, to recognize these bubbles as the divine, and provide an opportunity for them to align with reality – with oneness.

That’s how healing happen. That’s how the awakening can be more stable through situations. And that’s how we can live from the awakening in more situations. (Embodiment.)

In a sense, we are the guru for these still suffering parts of us. They come to us as devotees seeking our assistance to liberate.

They seek to join in with the awakening, and through that heal.

Sometimes, life can be “impatient” and bring up a lot of these bubbles at once and for a while. This can be what I think of as a “dark night of trauma” where a lot of old – including partly ancestral and cultural – trauma comes up to join in with the awakening.

Worded too strongly?

When Adyashanti says “everything in us”, I can’t help wondering if it’s worded too strongly. How can I know that it’s everything? How can I know that something won’t be triggered that I didn’t know was there?

Important distinctions

There are a couple of important distinctions here.

One is realignment of these parts of us versus how we relate to them when they come up. I suspect it may not be possible to allow all these human parts of us to realign fully with conscious oneness. There are just too many of them, and many of them are hidden from our view.

But we can get into the habit of relating to them more intentionally when they come up. We can recognize them for what they are, meet them, and invite them to realign with oneness. It can become our new habit, but even then, something may be triggered that catches us for a while.

Another distinction is transcending versus realigning. During the awakening process, there has been phases – both early on and later – where there is a strong oneness and no separation consciousness bubbles seem to come up. They are temporarily transcended. For whatever reason, they are not triggered. But they are still there, and they surface later on in another phase of the process and when triggered by something in life.

I assume that what Adya is talking about is when these bubbles have surfaced and – through how we relate to them – been allowed to realign with oneness (healed, awakened).

Byron Katie: Since the past is unreal and the future is unreal, all your thoughts are about nothing

 

Since the past is unreal and the future is unreal, all your thoughts are about nothing.

– Byron Katie

For us, the past is imagined. The future is imagined. And what we call the present is our ideas about something already gone.

Since all our thoughts are about the past and future, they are about nothing.

Byron Katie: When you fall in love with the unknown

 

When you fall in love with the unknown, you are free.

– Byron Katie

This is not the unknown that’s outside of what we think we know. This is the unknown within what we think we know. The receptivity that comes from knowing we cannot know anything for certain. And that this applies to everything, including our own personal life and who and what we take ourselves to be.

The Matrix and our world

 

The Matrix – with its real and virtual worlds – is explicitly an allegory for our world.

In what way is our world like The Matrix?

In a literal sense, it’s theoretically possible – although probably unlikely – that this world is created by some beings like in The Matrix. And in a metaphorical sense, we all believe things others may want us to believe and we can wake up from those illusions.

There is also another way, and one I find equally or more interesting.

Our world is created through an overlay of thoughts, of mental images and words. This overlay is what makes sense of this world and also helps us visualize a past and future and a wider world beyond what’s here and now. It’s where all labels, assumptions, values, and so on come from.

This overlay is virtual. It’s imagined. It’s created from thoughts to help us orient and function in the world. It’s completely essential for our survival.

And it makes our world quite a bit like The Matrix.

How can we take the red pill?

The safest and most lasting and effective way may be through inquiry, and especially sincere inquiry over time.

Through headless inquiry, we may discover that we are capacity for our world. The world, as it appears to us, happens within and as what we are.

Through traditional Buddhist inquiry, and modern variations like the Living Inquiries, we may discover how our mind creates its own reality. How it associates sensations with thoughts… so the sensations lend a sense of solidity and truth to the thoughts, and the thoughts give meaning to the sensations.

Through The Work of Byron Katie, we may discover that the thoughts and assumptions we held as true are not as true as we thought, and not true in the way we thought.

Through basic meditation – notice and allow what’s here – we may come to hold our thoughts a little more lightly which supports these forms of inquiry.

And so on. There are innumerable forms of inquiry and supporting practices that can be helpful here.

I am personally not interested in the path of psychoactive drugs. Although they can give us a glimpse of this, it’s dependent on chemical, it’s often transient, it may come with side-effects, and there are other approaches that are more reliable and thorough.

Why would we want to take the red pill?

There is some inherent suffering, discomfort, and struggle in taking our virtual world as inherently true and real.

Taking the red pill may not remove the suffering, discomfort, and struggle, but it can make it much easier. It can help us not struggle with it, and that – in itself – is a big relief.

Also, some of us seem drawn to truth, or love, or returning home, no matter what the cost may be. In that case, it seems we don’t have that much choice.

A motivation for spiritual practice: avoiding discomfort

 

For many, one of the surface motivations behind spiritual practice and wanting to awaken is avoidance. We want to avoid our discomfort.

Depending on our approach, we seek to transcend this discomfort, hope it will go away through an imagined future awakening, pretend through nondual ideology it’s not there or doesn’t impact us, try to make it go away through healing, try to make it easier for us through befriending it, and so on.

This is natural and understandable and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. But it is good to be honest about what’s going on. This honesty can help guide our approach.

How can we explore this?

One approach is, perhaps ironically, the most basic of all forms of meditation. Notice what’s here. Allow it. Notice it’s already allowed, whatever it is. (Basic meditation, Natural Rest.)

Feel the sensations as they are. Notice and allow.

We examine the scary thoughts associated with these sensations (The Work of Byron Katie), and how sensations and thoughts come together to create a sense of reality to these scary thoughts (Living Inquiries).

Another variation is to befriend these aspects of us as if they were beings. The discomfort. The subpersonalities. Get to know them. Listen to what they want us to know. Find some understanding for them. Respect. Perhaps even love for them, as they are.

And we can also use heart-centered practices towards the discomfort in ourselves and what triggers it in the world. (Ho’oponopno, tonglen, metta etc.)

What happens when we explore our discomfort?

We may find more comfort with it, as it is. It may take away some of the drive behind our compulsions, including for spiritual awakening. And that, in turn, is very good news. We get to see if there is still a draw towards spiritual practice and/or awakening, and we can then engage in it in a more grounded way.

Isn’t this just another way to try to avoid our discomfort?

Yes, in a sense it is. It’s a way to find comfort with the discomfort.

The difference is that we are facing it head-on instead of in a more roundabout way. And we seek to see and feel what’s already here, and befriend what’s already here, as it is.

Are there not other motivations for spiritual practice and seeking awakening?

Yes, definitely. The most basic motivation is for what we already are to seek itself, to seek to notice itself as it is.

This may take the form of yearning for truth, love, home, or something similar. This is truth wishing for itself, love wishing for itself, and home wishing for itself. It seeks to bring itself into consciousness.

We may also recognize that our life as it is doesn’t work – for ourselves, others, and the world. And seek to find a way that feels more right.

And we may have glimpses of what we are, or intuit it, and seek it. Or it may be relatively clear and we wish to clarify it and learn to live more fully from it.

How do compulsions come into the picture?

When we try to avoid our discomfort, we go into compulsions. We can say that the basic compulsion is to avoid our discomfort, and that takes the form of all the different compulsions we may have in our life: Seeking awakening, food, sex, distractions, entertainment, career, being seen a certain way by others, and so on.

Why isn’t this a more explicit part of the conversation around spirituality and awakening?

It is, more and more.

And it is part of many of the teachings of the past as well. This is not a new insight by any means.

In the past, it seems that this was often addressed indirectly through different practices. They may have trusted that people would discover it for themselves at some point. And teachers may have spoken with students more directly about this when they felt they were ready for it.

It may also be that spiritual teachers and traditions found it useful for people to operate from this compulsion for a while. It kept them in the practice, even if their practice inevitably was colored by it and for that reason slightly misguided.

In what way is our practice colored and misguided by this compulsion?

When we are caught in a compulsion (which is always to avoid discomfort), it colors our perception, choices, and life. And it also colors our spiritual practice.

We tend to get caught up in an idea of a future goal (desirable) versus what’s here (undesirable), and miss that all of it is already happening here and now.

We tend to go into effort and pushing when all that’s needed is noticing what’s already here.

We may get disillusioned since our efforts may not give us what we want, or if it apparently does then it goes away again. Our efforts cannot give us what we want since what we want is already here, and finding it depends on noticing and not effort.

Reflections on society, politics and nature XXXIII

 

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on society, politics, and nature. I sometimes include short personal notes as well. Click “read more” to see all the entries.

DISREGARDING SOCIAL ISSUES

I am watching Enola Holmes and enjoy it very much.

I especially enjoy that they are highlighting an inherent problem with Sherlock Holmes: He investigated individual crimes, was on the side of the establishment, and never questioned the crimes inherent in the social structures at the time.

These are not crimes according to the law and the courts, but they are crimes against humanity. Crimes of – at the time – not allowing large portions of the population to vote, keeping large portions in poverty, structural racism, and much more.

Of course, it’s much easier to see these problems with the benefit of a hundred years of hindsight and changes in social norms and values.

At the same time, this is happening today. We know of a large number of injustices and crimes against humanity – and life – and we don’t do nearly enough about it. What are some of these crimes? As I see it, it’s in an economic system that is not aligned with ecological realities. It’s in allowing the massive destruction of nature to continue. It’s in creating huge problems for future generations. It’s in ignoring the right to life of all species. It’s in supporting policies that allows huge gaps between the few wealth and the many poor. It’s in systemic racism. And much more.

Click READ MORE for more brief posts.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XIX

 

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.

AWAKENING MAKES (OUR OWN) SEPARATION CONSCIOUSNESS MORE PAINFUL

Separation consciousness is inherently painful.

And when there is some awakening in our system, it becomes even more painful. The gap and contrast seems to bring the pain up and make us more acutely aware of it.

Why do many struggle during parts of the awakening process? One reason is that what’s left of the separation consciousness comes up, and that we feel the pain of it more acutely.

BEING NATURE

In our western culture, we often have the idea that there is nature and us, and animals and us. We see ourselves apart from nature.

The obvious reality is that we are nature. Everything we are – as individuals and collectively – is a product of the evolution of this universe and this planet. It’s all, including our cities and civilization, emerging from the universe and this planet. As Carl Sagan said, we are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We are the universe locally bringing itself into consciousness.

Why is this important? Seeing ourselves as separate from nature allows for mindless destruction of nature, and it also alienates us from the parts of us we see as more nature – our body, feelings, instincts, sensuality, sexuality, and so on.

To the extent we see ourselves as nature, feel ourselves as nature, and live as part of nature, we are more likely to care for the Earth, future generations, and embrace and find comfort with the more primal parts of ourselves. It also opens for a deep sense of belonging – to all life, to this Earth, to the Universe, to Existence as a whole.

There is nothing new here. Many have pointed this out for a long time. And there is perhaps some general social movement in this direction, but it’s a good reminder.

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The simplicity of awakening

 

Separation consciousness is often complex and convoluted because it’s created by belief in any number of different thoughts. It’s a rich fantasy world.

Awakening is simple because it’s what we are noticing itself, and thoughts are recognized as practical tools for navigating the world and not reflecting any final truth. And there is an immense richness in this simplicity.

Of course, in reality, there is often a mix of the two. Even when there is a general awakening, we still have bubbles of separation consciousness in us – and these color our perception and life even when they are in the background, and they sometimes come to the foreground.

Tolstoy was onto this dynamic when he said: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Healthy dynamics are often quite similar, and the unhealthy ones comes in many varieties.

My relationship with religions

 

Someone asked me if I consider myself Christian. When the question comes from a more conventional view, it’s difficult to answer since it’s not a yes or no answer.

What I said was: No, I don’t identify myself as Christian. And, yes, I find value in the Jesus story.

How do I see religions in general?

Religions are organizations. Their main purpose is to maintain themselves and that often takes priority over truth or anything else. There is also all the human dynamics that come with organizations, hierarchy, and power. And if there is doctrine, then it tends to stifle curiosity, honesty, and sincere exploration.

Most of them have elements of real insights. I can find valuable pointers in any religion. I can find valuable spiritual practices in each of them. I can use the mythology within each religion as a mirror for myself and way for me to find it in myself. At a social level, I know religions serve an important function and can be very helpful at individual and social levels (while they also have their downsides).

So when it comes to religions as organizations, I don’t personally feel I need to get involved. At the same time, I appreciate those who do since they allow the traditions to go on and future generations to benefit from them.

As a repository of explicit and implicit (through the mythology) pointers, I find a lot of value in each of them.

Tom Compton: Notice your presence when you are open to complete helplessness

 

Helplessness is one of those things most of us are trained to avoid. We don’t allow ourselves to open to helplessness. We struggle and wrestle with it.

So when we allow ourselves to open to it, what happens?

What happens if you open to your helplessness now?

I notice it opens to spaciousness and a sense of wholeness. It’s a relief. A certain pressure – the one that came from seing helplessness as “other” – is gone.

The reality is that we are completely helpless. We are completely dependent on the universe, Earth, the Earth community, the human community, and the kindness of strangers and friends and family. It’s a relief to open to this. (At the same time, we are not completely helpless. We can act. We can be good stewards of our own life. We can relate more consciously to our inner and outer world. And so on.)

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Adyashanti: One does not need to seek out one’s demons in an endless pursuit of self-improvement

 

One does not need to seek out one’s demons in an endless pursuit of self-improvement. We simply need to face whatever arises with an honest, open, and inquiring mind and heart.

– Adyashanti, from The Art of Meditation

Life brings up what needs to be healed in us. It brings up what wants to be seen, felt, loved, and recognized as the divine.

Sometimes, it’s perhaps not so much. Other times, it can be a lot.

And if we notice a compulsion to seek out our demons “in an endless pursuit of self-improvement”, it may be good to look at that demon. What’s the demon behind that compulsion?

A common pitfall: “I know, it’s obvious”

 

I once listened to a podcast where one of the hosts – who is typically quite intellectual and takes pride in it – talked about his experience with mindfulness. He had taken a course and said he didn’t get much out of it. Why? Because the instructor said things he already knew and were obvious, for instance that “we are not our thoughts”.

Knowing about versus direct noticing

Yes, we all know we are not our thoughts, at least intellectually and from our own understanding of what it means. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about exploring it for ourselves. When we look, what do we find? What do we find in our immediate experience, outside of thought? That’s very different from knowing something intellectually.

Memory versus direct noticing

At some point, we may have a direct experience of how we are not our thoughts. This may be reflected in our thoughts. (We think about it, talk about it with ourselves.) And after, we may know it through memory. And that too is very different from noticing it here and now. Whatever the memory points to will be new, fresh, and different as we explore it here and now.

We can discover more when we set aside the idea that “I know”

In this case, with the “we are not our thoughts” pointer, it may also be that he would discover something surprising had he only set aside his “knowing mind” and explored it for himself with some receptivity and curiosity.

Perhaps he thought he was this human self, and not his thoughts? Perhaps he would have found that he instead is capacity for the world as it appears to him, including this human self? Perhaps he would have discovered that what he is, is what all his experience – including this human self, thoughts, and the world as it appears to him – happens within and as?

Perhaps he would have discovered that when we are identified with something, for instance this human self, it’s actually an identification with or as the viewpoint of a thought? On the surface, it may seem silly to say “we are not our thoughts” if we think we are this human self. But, in reality, our identifications are with thoughts – including the thought of being this human self. We assume we are the the thoughts, although we may not always notice it.

Wherever we are in the process, and however much we have discovered, there is a world of difference between the memory and thought and the immediate noticing, and there is always more to discover. If we explore something with sincerity and receptivity, we may find that we surprise ourselves.

The terrain is different from the map

As many have pointed out, this is the difference between the map and the terrain. Or reading a menu and eating the food. Or hearing about a place and being there.

I may know a lot about a place through second hand information. I may be able to talk about it as if I have been there. But that’s very different from actually being there. And even if I am personally very familiar with a place, there is always more and new things to discover.

The terrain is always more than and different from any map. The maps are different in nature from the terrain. And even within their realm of ideas, the maps all come from a certain limited point of view, reflect a certain limited worldview, and highlight certain limited aspects of the terrain. No matter how familiar we are with the terrain, they also reflect a very limited experience.

In real life: often a combination

When I write here, I notice there is often a combination. I notice something in immediacy and I write partly from memory (phrases, points) and partly from immediate noticing. They go hand-in-hand.

And it’s good to set aside the pointers for a while, even if it’s just a little while, and be with the immediacy of what it points to. It will be fresh and new, and we may discover something we hadn’t discovered before.

Dream: False world

 

I am headed somewhere with my partner and a group of friends. We meet two women and they talk with us and seem to want something from us. The others move on and I stay for a little longer. I soon realize something is off. It’s as if this world is created and they are unable to get all right. When something surprising happens, it takes a little while for the recreation to respond, and parts of the environment is created as I look at it. Even my body is part of this creation. The two women function as avatars for whomever has created this world, and they seem to want something from me. I am not sure what.

I had this dream after some old unprocessed materials had come up the night before. The dream may remind me that the world created by this “bubble” of separation consciousness is created and not real the way it may seem.

In general, we do create our own reality – to some extent – through our mental overlay in and its assumptions and interpretations. This dream reminds me of this.

One of the women in the dream looks like Jennifer Lawrence. I see her as friendly, charming, and disarming. Perhaps she was chosen as an avatar for that reason.

In the dream, someone was behind the whole false reality. In waking life, nobody is behind it. It’s an expression of life – in the form of our own mind.

Beyond that, I am not sure what this dream is about. Perhaps it was mainly to remind me of the created quality of my own world, and especially the stressful aspects of it.

Adyashanti: To take full responsibility

 

To take full responsibility for your life (which is not judging yourself) is actually

a key to being free, because it means that no one, and no past experience, can control or determine your current state of being. The keys to your life, and your freedom, are in your hands.

– Adyashanti, from Fierce Love

How can we do this?

A good start is to take responsibility for how I relate to this situation — to myself, others, what’s coming up in me, the situation I find myself in, life.

I cannot blame anything or anyone for how I relate to whatever is here.

I can ask myself: Do I take responsibility for how I relate to this situation? If not, how would it be to take responsibility for it?

And what in me urges me to blame someone or something else? What’s the belief? Identity? Emotional issue?

In this situation, what does it give me? What happens when I do it? How would it be to take responsibility for how I relate to it?

Going one step further, I can see that I am always my own final authority. Even if I tell myself I am not, I am still my own final authority. I cannot blame anyone or anything on my choices.

When I blame someone or something else, I give away my power. I overlook what I have control over and what’s my responsibility. I miss out on the life I can have when I take responsibility for how I relate to what’s here, and for my own choices now and in the past.

The experience we fight, fights back

 

The essence of this is basic and simple, as so much here. And as so much here, it’s something I rediscover regularly, and I keep finding slightly new and different wrinkles to it.

When I fight my experience, it metaphorically fights back.

What specifically do I fight?

When I say “fight my experience” it usually means fighting sensations in my body and thoughts associated with it. These sensation-thoughts may be triggered by a situation, but what I react to is these sensations and the thoughts my mind associate them with.

How do I try to fight it?

I can use a range of different strategies to fight it, including wanting to push the sensation away, distract myself from it, go into compulsions (the fighting itself is a compulsion), deny it’s here, try to intellectualize it away, try to transcend it, try to fix it through healing, and so on.

What happens when I try to fight my experience?

I act on and reinforce the idea that the story behind the sensation is true. By fighting it, I tell myself the scary story behind it is true and needs to be taken seriously and fought.

I reinforce the belief in me that it is scary. I reinforce the belief that I cannot co-exist with it, and that it’s dangerous to get to know it, allow it to be here, and befriend it. I reinforce the view in me that it is “other” and I keep it other.

And it doesn’t go away. It’s still here no matter how much I try to distract myself from it or change it or transcend it.

In what way does it fight back?

It fights back by remaining here. When I fight something that doesn’t go away, it easily appears to me that it fights back.

More importantly, when I struggle with it – and tell myself it’s strong and important and true and real and worth struggling with – it’s reinforced. and by being reinforced through my own struggle with it. The scary stories behind it and about it are reinforced.

What’s the alternative?

The alternative is to befriend my experience, whatever it is – even the impulse to fight it.

How can I learn to do this? It can help to use pointers and a more structured approach to get into it, at least until it becomes more familiar and second nature. And even when it is more familiar, a more structureed approach is sometimes helpful, especially when we get caught up in something strong.

Basic meditation is a way to get familiar with noticing and allowing what’s here, whatever it is. Doing this in the “labarotory” of meditation sessions makes it a little easier to do the same – notice and allow – when uncomfortable things come up in us in daily life situations.

Natural Rest is a variation of this basic meditation, and it has some pointers that helps bring it into daily life situations.

We can also dialog with whatever comes up, listen to what it has to tell us, get to know it, and find some empathy with it. This helps befriending it and shifting out of the struggle.

Heart-centered approaches like tonglen and ho’oponopono helps us reoritent towards our experiences in general, and we can also use them specifically with our own discomfort and ourselves in that situation.

We can identify and examine the stressful and scary thoughts behind the uncomfortable sensations, the situation triggering it, and about it all. (The Work of Byron Katie.)

It’s especially helpful to look at the fear of befriending our experience as it is. What do I fear would happen? What’s the worst that can happen?

We can examine how our mind creates its experience of the disocmfort, of it as scary and something we need to struggle with, the struggle itself, and any fears, compulsions, and identities connected with it. (Living Inquiries.)

We can find what we are – that which this and any experience happens within and as – which, in turn, helps notice and allow it all. (Headless experiments, Big Mind process.)

For me, it also really helps to have “wastness buddies” as a friend of mine calls it. Someone we can call when something strong comes up in us, and who can help us shift out of the struggle and into br

What’s the benefit of befriending our experience?

When we fight our experience, it ties up a lot of energy and attention, and it also tends to lead us to make life decisions out of reacivity rather than a more open receptivity. It’s uncomfortable and tiring to chronically struggle.

When we shift out of the struggle, we shift out of the battle and can find a different peace. A peace that allows what’s here, in my experience, to be here. It’s a sense of coming home. It opens for love for what’s here, as it is. It opens for a whole new way – one that’s fuller, rof being in the world.

What’s this not about?

It’s not about not fighting in life. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to fight – or fight for – things in life. It’s appropriate to fight for what’s kind and benefits life. (As we see it, from our limited perspective.)

Why do I write about this now?

The virus behind the chronic fatigue seems to get activated through physical exertion and/or stress, and that happened a few days ago. When it happens, it creates a toxic and very uncomfortable feeling through my whole system, and it also impacts my emotions. And I sometimes struggle with it and try to fight it. When I notice what’s happening, an I have struggled enough, there is a shift into allowing what’s here. And that changes everything. It’s like returning to my home and lover after an absence.

Universal themes: finding a better way, and learning to love

As I wrote this article, there were a couple of minor song-synchronicites. When I wrote about the alternative, the song said “You can learn to love me, given time”. (Sting, A Practical Arrangement.) And when I wrote about the benefits of befriending our experience, “While fighting was useful…. there has to be a better way than this.” (Sting, The Pugalist.)

I don’t really take these as a synchronicities, more a reminder that this – the dynamic of learning to love and finding a better way than fighting – are universal themes.

And, of course, that I gravitate to musicians and song writers who have a general similar orientation to life as me.

Byron Katie: When you walk in a dream

 

When you walk in a dream and you know it’s a dream, that’s love.

– Byron Katie

Just like a dream, our waking world is happening within and as consciousness. And to ourselves, we are that consciousness.

Also like a dream, if we believe our mental images and words about the waking world, the way it appears to us seems real and true.

Any lack of love comes from what we believe about our world. We take our mental images and words as true, that creates stress and struggle, and it covers up the love that’s here.

To the extent we recognize our world as a dream – as happening within and as consciousness, and our images and thoughts about it as not inherently or absolutely true – there is a release of the stress and struggle.

And what’s here is love. A love for our world as it is. A love for our world as one. A love for our world as what we are.

The essence of spirituality doesn’t require anything esoteric

 

There are many ideas about spirituality in our culture. Some see it as a refuge or something that will save them. Some see it as escapism, fantasies, and avoidance. Some see reaching the “goals” of spirituality as only for special people. In some situations, and in some ways, there is some truth to each of these.

And yet, the core of spirituality is pragmatic and secular. We don’t need to take anyones word for it. We don’t need to assume anything about the nature of existence. We don’t need to leave it to someone else. We can try it out for ourselves.

So what is this secular and pragmatic core of spirituality?

It takes two forms. One is the many effects of spiritual practices on our human life. The other is finding what we already are.

I have written articles about both so I’ll just give a brief summary here.

Finding what we are

This isn’t dependent on any philosophy or particular worldview. It’s just dependent on noticing what we already are to ourselves.

Even logically, we see that – to ourselves – we must be consciousness.

Consciousness is what’s aware of any experience at all, so that’s what we are to ourselves. Any sense of being something happens within and as this consciousness, any experience of anything at all happens within and as this consciousness. Even the idea of consciousness, the mental images and associations we have about it, happens within and as consciousness.

And we can find this for ourselves. Consciousness can notice itself as, to itself, all there is. We can find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us. We can find ourselves as what the world, as it appears to us, happens within and as.

Our habitual identification is typically with this human self which appears within and as what we are. This is a kind of “trance” as many have pointed out, and is self-perpetuating unless something comes in to help us notice what we already are, or – more accurately – help what we are notice itself.

The most effective approach to notice what we are may be inquiry (headless experiments, Big Mind process). The most effective approach to stabilize this may be a combination of inquiry and basic meditation (notice + allow). The most effective approach to live from this includes heart-centered practices (tonglen, ho’oponopno) and regular emotional healing work. And training a more stable attention helps all of this and our life in general.

Is this the awakening spiritual traditions talks about? Yes, as far as I can tell it is. It’s what we are noticing itself, and noticing itself as all its experiences. It’s oneness. It’s a waking up from the trance of being this one separate self happening within and as what we are. It’s a noticing that what we are is love. After all, oneness noticing itself is expressed as love.

Helping who we are

Traditional spiritual practices, and modern versions of these, can also help us at a human level.

Training a more stable attention supports just about any activity in our life and our general well-being.

Basic meditation – notice and allow what’s here, and notice it’s already noticed and allowed – helps us release out of struggling with what’s here, our experience as it is.

Basic inquiry – finding ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us – also helps release us out of struggling with what is. It brings a lighter touch. It creates a space for us to act a little more from clarity and kindness.

Heart-centered practices helps us reorient in how we relate to ourselves, others, situations, and life in general. It helps shift us out of a struggle orientation to befriending what’s here. And this, in turn, helps our well being and allows us to act more from clarity.

The essence of spirituality doesn’t require anything esoteric

To me, this is the essence of spirituality, and it doesn’t require anything esoteric. It doesn’t require us to believe anything or go outside of our own experience. On the contrary, if we want to take it as far as it goes, it requires us to be ruthlessly honest about our own experience and find what’s already here.

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Life as a forever emergency

 

I saw an article about the benefits of thinking of the climate crisis as an forever emergency.

In a sense, life itself is a forever emergency. Humanity as a whole experiences a continuous series of smaller and larger crises and emergencies, as do we as individuals.

It’s very helpful to realize that this is part of the human condition, and that this is how it is for all fellow Earth beings.

If we live in the hope that this will change, we’ll be forever disappointed, and we’ll struggle with what is because it destroys our dream. As soon as we adopt a forever view on crises and emergencies, we can find more peace with it.

A forever view may help us in several ways. It may help us be better mentally prepared and better prepared in general. More able to enjoy the calm periods. Prioritize. Appreciating the small things in life. Looking for ways to learn and grow through the emergencies. And have more empathy with others since we are all in the same boat here.

Dream: Back in the town where I first lived

 

I am with my partner in Kristiansand, a coastal town further south in Norway. We are there for a workshop. We get separated briefly and I find an amazing bookstore for graphic novels, on par with anything I have found in the US. Walking down the main street, I start having recollections. I know this place. I then remember that I was born in this town and lived here until I was one. Behind some white arches, I remember there was a toy store I loved and was inside of a few times. I find my partner again and excitedly tell her that I remember living my first year in this town.

In waking life, I was born in Oslo, not Kristiansand. The workshop may have been a distance Vortex Healing class, with people from Norway gathered in the same place for the sake of community. The night before this dream, I looked at art made by a friend (FB) who grew up in this town, and I also passed by the town earlier this summer. The graphic novel store and toy store has to do with childhood and youth. My friend was someone I met as I transitioned to (some kind of) adulthood and he always had a youthful enthusiasm tempered with knowing what it takes to get things done.

The theme of this dream was healing (the class) and remembering early life. There was an excitement and sense of youthfulness in the dream.

When I explore my early life, one aspect is looking at situations that created emotional issues, and the other is reconnecting with youthful enthusiasm and the sense that the world is a wide open place.


Note: When I say “created emotional issues”, it’s more accurate to say “situations where my mind responded, in order to protect this human self, with creating what we call emotional issues”.

Reflections on society, politics and nature XXXII

 

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on society, politics, and nature. I sometimes include short personal notes as well. Click “read more” to see all the entries.

From 2001: A Space Odyssey

AN ALIEN INTELLIGENCE WILL BE ALIEN TO US

I saw someone commenting that he doesn’t like the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey much because he doesn’t understand the alien aspect of the story. For me, that’s one of the brilliant things about the movie. The story is shrouded in mystery.

An alien intelligence will be alien to us. It will be mysterious. We won’t be able to make sense of it based on our own experiences, and our own experiences is all we have. It’s easy to imagine an initial alien encounter that’s a complete mystery and completely baffling to us. And even if we gather more information and think we understand more, we may discover we don’t understand it as well as we thought.

In most sci-fi, the aliens are us in another form. They have human drives and motivations, and they represent sides of us and are mirrors for us. Since that’s the explicit intention of most sci-fi, that’s completely appropriate.

If we want more realistic sci-fi stories, then we have movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Arrival. The alien intelligence here is alien to us. It’s mysterious, baffling, and confusing. It doesn’t quite make sense to us.

This is also one of the problems I have with some of the traditional alien-encounter stories. The aliens are too often just us in another disguise. They are scientists traveling through space to probe and examine us and tell us we need to take better care of Earth. In other stories, and especially the more shamanic or fairy-tale like ones, the encounters are truly mysterious and inexplicable, as I imagine is closer to how it may be in reality.

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Everything belongs: an essential part of healing and awakening

 

I assume that in each of us, there is a wish to belong. Something in us desire to belong to our family and our community, and also to the Earth and ultimately existence as a whole.

The good news is that we already belong. Although sometimes, we don’t notice because of our wounds, traumas, beliefs, and identifications.

Everything belongs. Everything belongs where and as it is.

Discovering this is an essential part of healing and also awakening.

In a conventional sense, we can find a community and a place where we feel we belong, and we can actively cultivate this sense of belonging.

Beyond this, we can find that we we belong to humanity, Earth and the universe since we grew out of it and are intrinsic parts of it. We are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We belong to existence. (Deep ecology, ecopsychology, Practices to Reconnect, Epic of Evolution, the Universe Story, Big History etc.)

We can find that all the parts of our human self belong to us. What we see in others and the world is also here. And we can get to know and create a partnership with these parts of us. (Parts work, Big Mind process, voice dialog etc.)

And we can find that everything that happens belongs. It’s all happening within and as what we are. (Headless experiments, Big Mind process, Living Inquiry etc.) Another angle is to say it’s all Spirit, or flavors of the divine, and expressions of the divine.

So how do we go about finding that it all belongs? In general, it’s a process of actively noticing and cultivating the belonging that’s already here, and seeing through and unraveling beliefs, emotional issues, and traumas telling us we don’t.

And, yes, even a feeling that we don’t belong belongs.

Adyashanti: You are going to lose your spiritual world

 

You are going to lose your spiritual world if you take this far enough.

– Adyashanti

Any ideas we have related to spirituality are ideas. Reality is different from and both less and more than these ideas. When we see through this, we lose our spiritual world. The spiritual ideas we have, and may have leaned on for a sense of guidance and safety, lose their sense of reality.

This also goes for the word spirituality. Spirituality is about noticing what we are, and when we do we notice that all our experiences happen within and as what we are. It includes all so although the word may still be useful in some situations, it also loses its meaning.

When we take it far enough, we lose our spiritual world. And we can support that process through inquiry into our ideas about spirituality and any ideas we find within spirituality.

Do I know for certain it’s true? What happens when I believe the thought? What’s the validity in the reversals of the initial thought? (The Work of Byron Katie.)

How does my mind create its experience of any particular spiritual concept? How does sensations and mental images and words combine to create this experience? What happens when I rest with the sensations on their own, and examine the thoughts? (Living Inquiries.)

Adyashanti: You can’t see your true nature without seeing the true nature of everything

 

When you wake up from your story, guess what you realize about everybody else? They are not their story. They are spirit, too. And that spirit is totally independent of their story and your story about them. So you not only lose your center, you lose their center, that box you would put them in. You see they are the same. This is why it is said that enlightenment is never a personal matter. You can’t realize you are enlightened and still believe that others aren’t. You can’t see your true nature without seeing the true nature of everything. It is literally impossible. This is a tremendous act of compassion, an act of love.

– Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

Yes, that’s true. And there is a slight nuance or wrinkle to it.

To us, it appears that everybody and everything has the same nature as us.

Everything happens within and as what we are, so naturally it appears that their true nature is the same as “my” true nature.

When we check with others, their reports seem to confirm that their true nature – to them – is the same as my true nature to me.

But is it true for everything? Yes, it appears that way. There may be hints, and sometimes a lot of hints, that the true nature of existence is the same as the true nature I find here. But if I am completely honest with myself, can I know for certain? For me, I find it helpful to have the flexibility to acknowledge the validity in both.

Is this important? Yes and no. It doesn’t really matter in a practical sense. But it’s good to be honest about these things. It helps us clarify and differentiate.

Not that wheel, Jesus: Giving the steering wheel over to the divine

 

What do we mean when we ask the divine to take the steering wheel of our life?

It can mean that we commit to listen to our inner guidance – the quiet voice, our heart, and follow it unless we find a good reason not to. We may do this in small everyday situations at first, and notice what happens when we follow our guidance.

Also, what prevents us from listening to this quiet voice? And what holds us back from following it? What fears come up? What do I find when I investigate these fears and find what’s more true? What happens when I try following my inner voice in small things, see what happens, and perhaps gain some confidence in it?

It can also mean finding ourselves as capacity for our human life and the world as it appears to us. When this shift happens, we notice all content of experience – including this human self and its thoughts, feelings, choices, and actions – happens on its own. It all lives its own life.

God – or life – is already at the steering wheel.

These two – listening to the inner voice and finding ourselves as capacity – go hand in hand. They complement each other. And they are two beautiful ways to metaphorically hand over the steering wheel to the divine.

Note: When I practice following my guidance, I often do it with food, checking in with my inner guidance about when to eat and what, and sometimes also when to do something that has a flexible schedule, or what to do if it’s relatively open. And saying that God is already at the steering while of our life, which is true in a very real sense, is no excuse to be a jerk, act on our reactivity, make poor decisions, and so on. If anything, noticing that God is at the steering wheel can help us be a better steward of our life.