Health & Quadrants

 

For any healing process to have deeper and more lasting effects, it has to be holistic. If we use Ken Wilber’s model, the approach has to take into account all four quadrants.

  1. I >> Individual Self and Consiousness
  2. It >> Individual Organism
  3. Its >> Society and Ecology
  4. We >> Collective Culture and Worldview

Any comprehensive approach to health must take into account the structures, processes and relationships in each of these quadrants.

Even if we focus on healing on an individual level, we need to address how this person relates to all four quadrants. What are the relationships, and in what ways do they contribute to (or hinder) health and well-being? Any approach that only focuses on one quadrant is bound to have limited effect and usefulness.

Some approaches, such as meditation, Breema, Process Work, etc. works on the whole person, and do have effects far beyond. They seem to be truly transformative practices and tools.

Other approaches, such as acupuncture, may have more limited effects and use. For instance, if acupuncture only focuses on balancing out all levels of the person (mind, body, spirit), but do not work actively with the awareness of the person, the imbalances will most likely return. It is just a band-aid. A temporary fix, and of limited usefulness.

For real change to occur, it has to go through awareness. We have to bring our habitual patterns, and our relationships with all the four quadrants, into awareness – and a deeper transformation has to occur through insights and realizations. A deep transformation has to occur in how the person relates to all quadrants in their everyday life.

Tools that Work

 

There are several tools that work well in terms of helping us find contentment, fulfillment and happiness. It seems that the most valuable lesson for anyone to learn is how to apply one or more of these tools – it is worth more than any external wealth…

  • Rejoycing in other’s happiness (lo-jong)
  • Asking ourselves “can I be with what I am experiencing right now?” (R. Cushnir)
  • Using our own difficult situations/intense experiences to break open rather than breaking down, through being with what we are experiencing (letting go of resistance, experiencing it fully)
  • Using our own experience of pain to deepen our empathy with other’s suffering
  • Coming to our bodies and the present through yoga, Breema, tai chi, etc.
  • Clarifying our mind through meditation practice (under guidance of a qualified teacher)
  • Exploring and choosing actions that benefits others as well as ourselves
  • Softening – letting go of attachments to habits, ideas, etc. through Breema, meditation, etc.
  • Bringing more of ourselves into awareness through working with projections. Whatever I see in the outer world is also there in the inner world. When I experience attachments to anything in the outer world (attraction or aversion), I can use it as a reminder to explore and become familiar with those qualities in my self and my own life.
  • Deepen our awareness of how we relate to the world. The way we relate to the outer world is also the way we relate to the inner world. The patterns I feed in how I relate to others, are the patterns strengthened in how I relate to myself. If I relate to others with empathy and compassion, I relate to my self with empathy and compassion. If I seek to benefit life, I seek to benefit others and myself. There is no separation.

Three Dimensions

 

Waking Down does a good job of mapping out three essential components of any comprehensive spiritual practice…

  1. Waking Up

    Opening to a transdual experience of the world. We directly experience Existence as beyond and embracing all dualities, and we continually deepen our experience of both the absolute and the relative, and the dance between the two. Both ends of all polarities are seen as integral to Existence, one no more important, spiritual or real than the other.

  2. Waking Down

    (a) We ground and integrate the transdual view into our everyday life. We explore how to live continually more fully from this view.

    (b) We explore our psyche, and especially the areas we see as “other” – those we, for one reason or another – have closed ourselves off from and fragments our world. This includes a good deal of projection work: seeing in ourselves what we see in the outer world. And the guideposts for this work is attractions and aversions to qualities in others and the rest of the world, both of which tells us that we are not as familiar with those qualities in ourselves as we could be.

  3. In Mutuality

    And all this is company of others on the path, both guides – those a little further along – and companions. We explore our own path in the company of others, through guidance, conversations, rubbing against each other, and in honest exploration. Our Sangha is our laboratory for clarifying and for testing out how to live from a more transdual view. What does it mean in our everyday lives? How can I live it in company with others? Where are my blind spots? Where are my wounds that need to be brought into awareness.

Relaxing Into

 

In Buddhism, Breema and Waking Down, there is an emphasis on relaxing into our experiences.

Relaxing into them as they are right now, independent on how we habitually relate to them (push away or cling to).

This helps us go beyond our regular blind dualism, where we fragment the world and ourselves. Where we, based on ideas of “right” and “wrong”, choose to cling to some aspects of ourselves (identified with) and push other aspects away (shadow, identify others with).

When we relax into our experiences, there is no separation. We bring it into awareness, as part of ourselves – as part of our shared humanity. And we can move beyond. We create a situation where we can mature as rich and whole human being.

And we find the gold in what we used to push away – through increased empathy (seeing in others what we recongnize in ourselves), energy (released from not having to push it away anymore) and clarity.

Update Jan 31

I read Raphael Cushnir’s book “Unconditional Bliss” yesterday (sitting in the sun by the river), and it gave a quite beautiful and simple outline of the process. (a) Bring into awareness your experience right now, and (b) ask yourself “can I be with what I am experiencing now?”.

As he mentions, reality is as it is. Resistance only drains energy.

And when we relax into our experiences as they are, we gain both energy and clarity. No separation gives rise to – ironically – some distance and perspective. We are in a better position to relate to our situation in a more fruitful and constructive way.

Breaking Down vs. Breaking Open

When we resist intense and/or difficult experiences, we can break down. When we relax into them, we break open.

Chairs & Floor

 

In Western culture, it has been important to emphasize the difference between humans and other animals. One way of demonstrating this difference is through chairs. No other animals sit on chairs.

Sitting on the floor, on the other hand, emphasizes our connection with the earth and the soil. It also reminds us of our similarities with other animals. When we sit on the floor, we are on their level.

I have for a long time wanted to set up spaces for sitting on the floor, and Breema has given me an excuse. We now have padding under the carpet in the livingroom (in front of the woodstove/fireplace), and have moved the coach over to the side. I find that sitting and lying on the floor while reading, talking and relaxing is far more pleasureable than even the most comfortable coach or chair.

Breema & Transdual

 

Breema seems to open for a genuine transdual experience.

For me, Breema opens up for a direct experience of…

  1. No separation

    Mind/body, myself/other, me/universe

  2. Newness

    Everything is experienced as always new (always in flux/impermanent)

This experience emerges initially at a bodily and low intensity level, and it is continually explored and deepened as I continue with my Breema practice. How far it can take a Breema practitioner, I don’t know (possibly not to a full blown transdual state, but who knows).

The pathway to this transdual experience is mostly likely through bringing me to the present. To my breath, body and mind right here now. Free from attachments to ideas. With a receptive mind and supportive emotions.

Blind Spot

 

This is one of my major blinds spots:

I am aware of (and experience to varying degrees) existence as seamless – everything has the same source. All beings, and everything else, are manifestations of Spirit/God/Buddha mind etc. All sounds are the voice of Spirit/God/Buddha mind.

At the same time, I have hangups when it comes to sounds, especially human made noise in its many manifestations: machines (leaf blowers, lawn movers etc), slamming doors, load music, eating noisily… Any noise that seems unnecessary, “extra”, and born from a certain amount of unconsciousness. It seems that at the core of it, it is the unconsciousness I react towards.

So I know, and experience, that all sounds are expressions of Spirit/God/Buddha mind. At the same time, there is sometimes a strong discomfort with certain sounds, and I allow it to overwhelm me. Instead of relaxing into the experience, allowing it to unfold and give it space, I sometimes resist it which leads to an escalating cycle of resistance, emotional reactiveness and mental justifications.

This tension is a natural part of human existence. It’s a tension we experience in many ways every day, and at the core – it seems to be the tension between the transdual and the dualistic. The seamless whole and the parts. And it is a tension that brings our attention to itself, and a path towards the more trans-dual and integrated.

We can continually deepen our experience of both poles of the polarity, and of the polarity itself.

Breema

 

I went back to my files, and found some feedback I received from Breema recipients (I gave about 60 hour-long free Breema sessions last July, August and September). Beyond being nurtured from giving, this is an additional reward.

Thank you for your Breema sessions. No matter what my state of mind going into them, I often find myself feeling present, relaxed and back in balance afterwards. I especially appreciate your professional and focused approach which has me feel at ease, trusting and open to the process. I look forward to doing more Breema with you and have no doubt that what you are offering is a great gift!

– RR

I so appreciate your Breema sessions! You are able to create a wonderful atmosphere of nurturing, comfort and something more that I find hard to define! Afterwards, I always feel renewed, relaxed and rebalanced. And it’s all so effortless on my part! Thank you for sharing this healing gift with me.

– PL

I wanted to say thank you for the Breema sessions. You bring calming and sweet energy to your work. What a great way to help heal humanity.

– BR

A quick note to most deeply thank you for the wonderful relaxation you allowed for during the Breema session. Can I drop off some greens from my garden for you guys?

– SC

You are a gifted Breema practitioner. Your presence and support gave me the feeling of deep peace, as if the whole of the universe were still. It was so wonderfully relaxing!

– TM

Dear Per,

Thanks so much for letting me experience Breema. I had no previous exposure to the practice and came eager to see if it might help relieve my chronic problems with emotional anxiety and back stiffness.

Generally I have a hard time keeping my mind focused and not wandering off into distraction, which is very frustrating. I found the gentle, rhythmic motions of Breema helped me keep my attention on my breath without drifting away (except the couple of times I was so relaxed I dozed off!).

I felt you were transmitting peace into me, sending a peaceful signal directly to the core of my being. A kind of floaty and ethereal sensation—very nice. I definitely felt mentally and emotionally calmed, and at the same time I came away from each session also feeling enlivened and much more present in my body, more attuned to the moment.

I appreciate the special accommodations you made for my back problem by using knee pillows and adding an extra stretch at the end of the session. My back is bothering me a lot less in the mornings now, which I attribute to the Breema treatments.

Your firm gentleness, your strong hands, your accepting and caring approach, all helped me let go and relax. I found you to be very warm, respectful, unobtrusive, and caring. I especially appreciated your nonjudgmental attitude about my size and weight, something I’ve learned can’t always be expected.

Thanks very much,

SS

Vision Improvement

 

We know that all muscles in the body needs exercise to stay fit and healthy. We also know that the brain is remarkably responsive to training – creating new pathways and connections.

We have a cultural “blindspot” when it comes to vision improvement. Most of the common vision problems are connected to (a) muscles related to the eye and/or (b) how the brain interprets the signals. Still, few engage in active excercises to keep their vision healthy and improve poor vision.

Many techniques have been developed, and most of them are quite similar to each other. Some come from Taoist and Indian yoga, other from the West (the Bates techniques, Feldenkrais, etc). As with all techniques and therapies, they work very well for some, relatively well for many, and not so well for a few (in this case, about 10-15%).

Sources:

Association of Vision Educators

Natural Vision Improvement, Janet Goodrich (the book that helped me)

Meir Schneider (book, video, training)

I was moderately nearsighted and had frequent eye related headaches, and through Taoist yoga, Feldenkrais and the Bates method improved my vision from 20/40 to 20/15 and with no headaches. When I feel strain coming, I have techniques that work.

Connections

 

In our current culture, much seems to conspire to prevent us from connecting with ourselves and the world in a real and grounded way.

One way to re-connect is to learn the basic skills for everyday living: growing food, cooking, building, pottery, woodcraft, etc.

It is rewarding in many ways: through the products that come out of it, the connections with others we make in the process (learning and working), the connections we make with the world, and the satisfaction of knowing useful skills and how to make the products we use every day. We will of course not provide for all our needs, but just knowing how to do it is immensely rewarding.

[Photo of a shaker table I made this winter]

No Extra

 

As with all the Breema principles, No Extra can be explored in all areas of life and there is always new insights – or rather more to peal away. What comes up for me these days, is how No Extra also means not putting off what needs to be done. The extra comes in when I put something off, have to remind myself to do it in the future, and experience some stress around it. Doing it now, is No Extra.

Food

 

The many food fads (diets, theories, etc) seems to be a reflection of how disembodied people are in our culture. When we are in touch with ourselves as physical beings, when we know we are body, and can access the wisdom there, we need no books or experts to tell us what to eat. Our bodies tells us, clearly and accurately. We are so diverse, and in so different situations, that our own bodies are the only reliable source of this information.

For me, what I need changes with the seasons and my current situation. In the summer, my body wants fresh and light food. In the winter, heavier and cooked food. And it wants diversity – not too much of anything, and nothing over too long periods of a time. Fermented foods are typically good for me, as are less processed foods. And beyond this, what my body wants changes over the weeks and months, seemingly independent of seasons and other situations.

Current food habits:

  • Miso soup (seaweed, vegetables, miso) – for breakfast, lunch or with dinner
  • Tempeh, slow fried
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Some nuts
  • Teas (variations of herbal and spice, including green, yogi and chai)
  • Some grains (moderate amounts of any grains)
  • Some dairy (moderate amounts of cheese, mainly feta)
  • Oatmeal (breakfast, some days)
  • Meat (very infrequent, mostly local organic)
  • Wine (infrequent small amounts with food)

Different Cultures

 

I went to Norway over the holidays, and – as usual – had an opportunity to reflect on the differences between US and Norwegian culture. In the big picture, they are obviously very similar to each other, but as a person living in one culture or the other, there are some significant differences as well.

Maturity

The main difference I experience is the level of maturity in the mainstream culture. In Norway, there is a fusion of head and heart in a grounded way. In the US, head is separated from heart, and often not very grounded.

In Norway, they take the side of the underdog and the weak in society. They see themselves as a part of an international community, and have a genuine interest in the international community. They typically use compassion and openness when they view different situations and individuals. Solidarity is a strong value – solidarity with those in Norwegian and international community who are in a difficult situation, solidarity with future generations (they save up billions of dollars in an oil fund for future generations). Politicians are regular people, live regular lives, and look out for regular people. It is respected and seen as a mark of maturity to admit mistakes openly.

In the US, they support the strong and punish the weak. They are not very aware of the larger world. Judgment is rampant. Solidarity and compassion are seen as weakness. Problems are pushed onto future generations (an enormous national debt). Politicians come from the few wealthy and look out for the wealthy. Admitting mistakes is seen as a weakness.

This is of course a somewhat simplified and polarized view, but the general trends described above are accurate as I experience them.

Diversity

There is obviously a reason why I live in the US as well: diversity.

In Norway, the culture as a whole is quite progressive, but the leading edge developments are often not found there or are found only in a very small group of people. This is probably due to (a) the small total population in Norway, (b) the homogeneity of the culture, and (c) that life is typically very good in Norway. Most people enjoy their life and their work.

In the US, mainstream culture is relatively backwards, but there are significant numbers of people working on leading edge insights and tools. This must be due to the large total population (and similar minded people tend to cluster), the diversity of the culture, and that life for many is not so good in the US so there is an incentive to develop alternatives.

Some leading edge developments: holistic health and health psychology, holistic design (incl. permaculture), alternative health (process oriented psychology, Breema etc), Community Supported Agriculture, and much more.

Health & Systems

 

The Universe is a seamless whole, beyond and embracing all polarities. And it can be seen as a holarchy – systems nested within systems, where everything is simultaneously a whole and a part in a larger whole.

Looking at human health from this perspective, we see that all areas impacts our health. We also see that some areas with a significant impact on our health is often given less attention in this context than they deserve. Two of these areas are ecology and economy.

The health of the Earth as a whole, and its various ecosystems, is intimately connected with human health. Healthy (diverse, resilient, large in mass) ecosystems are necessary for healthy humans. We depend on these ecosystems for our lives and our quality of life, on both physical and psychological levels. Human-made toxins released into ecosystems also go into the human body. Unraveling ecosystems is an unraveling of our life support systems.

And the health of our economical systems is also intimately connected with human health. Healthy economical systems (diverse, resilient, fair) are necessary for healthy humans.

And for both of these areas, corporate globalization is the greatest threat, and thus a great threat to our own health and well being. The few benefiting, or appearing to benefit, from corporate globalization, are only postponing the impact. And the many are already suffering.

Comfortable ::: Healing

 

I more and more experience healing as being about being comfortable with oneself. Deeply comfortable with all one’s unique and deeply human experiences and characteristics. Comfortable, in a place beyond and including body/mind… This of course reflects my current process…

Comfort = experience of no separation = inclusion in one’s experience of oneself and the world = healing / making one’s experience of oneself and the world more whole.

It gives a sense of grounding, centering, relaxation. What I see in others I recognize in myself. I don’t need to be attached to having to defend anything, prove anything. I can live my life fully. I experience a deepening sense of connection, meaning and direction. There is no separation.

As they say in Breema: True health is harmony with existence.

And as with everything else, both ends of the polarity needs to be included. We need to experience comfort with ourselves and the rest of existence, with all the flaws and everything else. And we need a vision of where we want to go (even if that is just the process of peeling off the extra).

Views

 

All our views are maps of the terrain. And as all maps, they highlight some features while leaving other features out. And ultimately, they are wrong. The terrain is the terrain and the only “truth”. A map is always something else.

Realizing this can help us relate to our maps/views with more flexibility. When new information comes along, we can modify our maps. And we can choose our maps according to their effects on our life rather than their ultimate “truth” (as long as they correspond relatively well with the world in other respects).

Some examples:

Reincarnation

Helps me keep the long view and the golden principle in mind. Whatever I send out to the world will come back. This view helps me relate to others as I would want them to relate to me if our roles were reversed.

Bodhisattva Checklist View

When I see my life as if I chose it, it helps me to take responsibility for how I relate to my life. I no longer blame others for my own experiences. And I am more open for the gifts in each experience. How can I use it in a way that enriches my life and makes me more deeply human?

The World as a Gift

Another related view is the one of the world as a gift. Every situation is perfect as it is, exactly what I need to mature as a human being. What is the lesson in this situation? How can it help me live with more awareness? (of course, the necessary complementary view is that there is room for improvement in every situation).

All the Pain in the World

 

I did a three-day Breema workshop over the weekend, and a shift happened after I went to bed Sunday night. I felt that all the pain in the world was inside of me. It was a raw and intense experience mixed with a lot of sweetness… My heart openend, accesible to the pain in my own life and the world.

I felt very shaky the whole day Monday and Tuesday… Litterally shaky, and shaken emotionally and in my whole being – shaken down to the “foundations”.

These two days of being all the pain in the whole world…it has been a sweet and terrible experience at the same time.

Nourishment

 

Jen and I facilitated a small informal workshop Saturday evening, using the Practices to Reconnect developed and collected by Joanna Macy.

It is a reminder of how important it is for us to connect with…

  • Our despair and pain that comes from our intimate connection with the rest of the world. When we do not acknowledge it, it paralyzes us and leads to burn-out. When we do acknowledge it, it leads to an open heart, energy, enthusiasm and a realization of our interconnectedness.
  • The larger view – the Earth as a whole and past and future generations. In our work towards the Great Turning, we can experience support from past and future generations and all non-human beings.
  • Our sense of meaning and mission in the world. What makes my heart sing? Where do I receive energy and feel nourished? Where is the intersection between my own needs and the needs of the larger world?

Dream :: Intention + Body/Mind Together = Change

 

A council generated proposals that would either pass or not pass. When they were named 22, 24 and 25, they did not pass (blocked). When they wanted a proposal to pass, they renamed it number 23, and it passed easily and quickly.

Associations

There are several associations to this that all seem to point in the same direction

  • From my time reading I Ching and daoist literature, I remember…
    2 = body
    3 = mind
    2+3 = body and mind together (living from the larger whole)
    When body and mind are brought together, everything flows.

  • 23 is a prime number. One that is complete in itself, and prime – primary. When I am clear about my priorities, and place emphasis on what is of primary importance, I can more easily make a decision.
  • And 23 was a year where I felt everything coming together: relationships, mind/body work (tai chi, chi gong, Tibetan meditation practice), art, studies (psychology at UiO).

Intention + mind/body together = change

Empathy

 

– from rants

Without empathy, there is little room for us to change our perspective.

We cannot experience in ourselves what we see in others. We cannot taste how others may experience their situation. We loose fluidity. We loose our ability to mature as human beings.

Empathy comes from allowing ourselves to stay with our own experiences. To hold them, allow them to unfold. And express them as appropriate.

When we do not allow ourselves to stay with our experiences, we cut ourselves off from our connection with others, humanity, ourselves, and our own potential for maturing as a human being…

We are stuck in rigidity. We live in fear for facing what we cut ourselves off from. We live in fear for being exposed. We stay with the narrow and comfortable. We may adopt ideologies that justify our rigidity.

George Bush, unfortunately, may be an example of the latter. See this essay taking a Jungian perspective on his way of being.

[Bush in Black and White – by Donald Williams]

Breema & Zen

 

The principles of Breema and Zen are very much aligned. When I do Breema, I experience it as Zen in motion.

Still, there are some differences.

The main one may be that in Breema, we deal with difficult situations (any situation actually) by coming back to the weight of the body and the breath. This allows us to be here, now, and relate to the situation from a space of centeredness.

In Zen, we are encouraged to take difficult situations as a koan. To stay with it, contain it, go fully into it, become it, live it, to throw everything – energy, emotions, thoughts – into it. Through this, we live it fully and allow it to work on us. There is no separation as our life becomes the situation or issue. We contain in from spaciousness – no matter how large it seems, it is still experienced as only a small part of the spacious mind. And we can relate to it from Big Mind – the view that embraces everything and is beyond dualities.

Process Work is a third approach, where we pick up any symptom and follow the process behind it. The symptom can be any characteristic of our experience (inner/outer world), and the process is followed in any channel (taste, smell, hearing, visual, movement, relationships, larger world). It allows us to process it in another way than Zen, although the outcome may be similar.

Zen allows us to go fully into and live the situation and our experience. Process Work helps us unfold the process behind it. And Breema allows us to relate to it from centeredness and grounding. Each is an invaluable tool.

My experience so far tells me that the Breema approach – if used alone – could set up a shadow situation. Some aspects of our experience may be put aside and not processed sufficiently. Although going deeper into Breema may resolve that. It is after all a profound practice where the non-separateness of existence is deeply experienced, and where we relax and melt into our experiences – no matter what they are.

Core Issue

 

Since my teens, reading Fritjof Capra, Jung, Jes Bertelsen, and others, it was clear to me that one of the core issues in western culture is blind dualism. And I keep rediscovering it in new ways.

Origins

The origins of our blindly dualistic worldview has been described by many. It may have started with agriculture, although the main shift seems to have come with patriarchy and masculine gods. Judaism, and later Christianity and Islam, all grew out of and perpetuated this worldview.

This is a worldview that has a split at its core: God vs. creation, male head vs. females/children, humans vs. nature, soul vs. body, good vs. evil, etc.

And it is a worldview that springs from and triggers fear and deep alienation.

Results

An experience of a split world creates a long line of consequences. Consequences we are all too familiar with…

From alienation and fear…

We feel we need to dominate and control nature (from which science and technology springs).

We feel we need to dominate other human beings (power-over rather than power-with).

We have created a social system, reflected in all social institutions (including schools), that operate from a power-over view.

We cling to abstract ideas rather than our direct experiences.

We hold onto ideas and images, rather than being comfortable with the always changing now.

We see something as “good” and something else as “evil”, and try to eliminate the “evil” in ourselves and others.

We split ourselves from ourselves (parts of our mind and our body) and the rest of the world.

We are not comfortable with life and ourselves as we are…

We run around trying to “fix” something – through consumerism, self-righteousness, escapism, addictions (including to new approaches to healing), and much more.

We choose from fear, rather than from what is life-affirming…

Change

It is deeply tragic, and it is the engine of our civilization. It is the tool with which we may kill ourselves, unless there is another shift.

And there are many tools for the changes required. Some of which are outlined other places in this journal (breema, trans-dual practices such as Big Mind, working with projections, deep democracy, non-violent communication, etc).

Gradually richer

 

Our experience of the world is expressed in every aspect of our life and activities.

And our experience of our inner world is reflected in our experience of the outer world.

When we bring more of our inner world into awareness, we slowly experience ourselves more as a seamless whole. Through this, we gradually experience the outer world more as a seamless whole. And the inner and outer world as aspects of a larger seamless whole. Our experience of no separation is deepened and brought into our daily life and activities.

And there are many tools for this transformation to take place…

Projections

An essential tool is projections. Every quality we see in the outer world, in people, animals, nature, the Universe, fantasies, dreams and movies, are also there in the inner world. We can use the outer world as a reminder of inner qualities. And the way we relate to these qualities in the outer world, with attraction or aversion, reflects how we relate to them in ourselves. Which in turn reflect some of the ideas we have about the world, often learned from culture and family.

One specific technique is to visualize ourselves as whatever it is in the outer world that expresses a certain quality. This helps us experience it more fully and integrate it into our awareness.

As more qualities are brought into awareness, we become more familiar and comfortable with them. This opens up for increased fluidity (less rigid self-image), deep empathy with others based on recognition, and more effective choices since we are less blinded by emotions.

Meditation & Body Oriented Practice

Meditation helps us open up for all our experiences and qualities. We create a container where they can freely surface and unfold, and in the process be brought into awareness. A body-oriented practice (Tai Chi, Yoga, Breema) is also invaluable in experiencing the larger whole that the body and mind are only aspects of.

Contemplation

Contemplation and study is another essential aspect. We explore the different connections in the world, and how the seamless whole is expressed in a multitude of ways. Systems theories is one of many possible avenues.

Life Situations as Teacher

 

In contemporary psychology, and in particular cognitive psychology, there is an emphasis on bringing the thought processes to “neutral”. From thought processes that are not aligned with reality, and brings depression, anxiety etc., we learn to bring them into a more neutral way of perceiving the world.

Buddhism and other practices takes this further. Instead of neutral, they bring our view into one that is similarly aligned with reality, but also opens for deep compassion, gratitude and sense of belonging and meaning.

A few examples…

Buddhist mind training, lo-jong in Tibetan, helps us to use difficult situations to open our mind/heart.

Tong-Len is a dynamic visualization practice where we take in other’s suffering as our own (integrating projections), and wish for others to be fully free from suffering, through awakening wisdom and compassion. This also opens up ourselves for what we wish for others.

Bowing to our adversaries is a powerful individual or group practice where we develop genuine appreciation for what our adversaries help us recognize in ourselves.

Dreams

 

The Real Boss [last week]

I was back in my first job here in Eugene, engaged in community networking and related projects. My boss walked up to me and said it was time for me to meet the real boss. I did not know that there was another, and it turned our that she was a very tall woman (20-25 feet tall and solidly built). She gave me some instructions and guidance. Her qualities were a combination of strength and masculinity, and earthy femininity. She had native american features and a mysterious and numinous quality.

Active imagination: I tried active imagination several times, which each time ended in a sense of mystery. She seems to be a goddess.

My Father [last night]

I visited my parents in their apartment in an old beautiful building in Oslo (they live in Ski in real life). As it was time for me to leave, I felt some disappointment that we had not connected more deeply. My father, surprisingly, gave me a long and heartfelt hug, and then proceeded to give me some healing in my stomach/lower back region. He displayed deep, soulful qualities, and was deeply comfortable with it (as was I). I asked him what had happened. He said that during a healing process after an illness, he had time to explore other qualities in himself, and found a new way of being in the world. More at ease with his inner richness, and deeply caring and human.

The qualities he displayed are the ones I experience in Breema. Deep, soulful, caring, nurturing, deeply human, and beyond/embracing dualities. There was a strong sense, as I woke up, that this is my inner father – as he can be when unfolded/accessed. I also realize that these qualities are there in my real father, but not openly expressed as he may not be completely comfortable with it.

I was also struck by the connections between these two dreams. My real boss, the goddess, expressed a mature integration of masculine and feminine qualities, with an emphasis on the masculine. She was the real master behind the scenes and gave me directions/guidance. My father also displayed a mature combination of feminine and masculine qualities, with an emphasis on the feminine – the deeply caring and nurturing.

Fodder

 

Everything I take in is food for my mind/body. What I take in, combined with how I relate to it, influences how it is digested and nourishes me. This is true for air, food, surroundings, conversations/relationships, reading, music and more.

Reading

  • Comfortable with Uncertainty

    Pema Chodron. Excellent anthology of mind training reminders. Very powerful.

  • The Path of the Human Being

    Genpo Roshi. Deep and profound, as well as simple as it is from direct and lived experience.

  • The Essential Ken Wilber

    Ken Wilber. I have read most of his books, and this one is a good highlight refresher.

  • Wild Fermentation

    Sandor Ellix Katz. Wonderful book on just that.

  • The Mustard Book

    Jan Roberts-Dominguez. Made a wonderful garlic mustard from a recipe from this book.

  • Books on monasticism/monasteries in different traditions
  • Books on anthroposophical architecture and communities, and intentional communities in general

News

Other

Radical

 

Erik Bye said he became more radical with time. That is my experience as well, although I am not nearly as old (yet) as he was.

It seems that if we live our lives with open hearts, our views are bound to become more radical with time, as we learn more about the world. The alternative is to choose to become numb…

Today, and maybe at most times and places, it is radical to have a life-centered view. To want justice, human rights, the deeply human… Not just the comfortable and going along with the mainstream, which will always be what the priveleged have set up to protect their privelege.

Bad ideas flourish because they are in the interest of powerful groups.

Paul Krugman

This priveleged group happens to include me this time. So there is even more reason for me to speak up against it…

Erik Bye

 

Erik Bye died a few days ago. He was one of the most prominent culture personalities in Norway – working/living as a singer, poet, actor, composer and reporter.

He is an example of someone fully human, recognizing in the inner world everything he saw in the outer. It opened him up for his inner richness, and deep and lived compassion for others.

Throughout his life, he consistently gave voice to the voiceless. And as his own heart was open, he invited others to listen with an open heart.

Identification

 

It seems obvious, but may be a good reminder…

As Walt Whitman said, we are all multitudes. We all have all qualities in ourselves that we see in the outer world. Some unfolded and obvious, others as only potentials. And the unfolding and expression of these qualities is a mysterious process, partly dependent on our life experiences and situation.

Still, there is a tendency in our culture (maybe universal) to identify people with what is expressed in their lives. And not only what is expressed, but what we are aware of as being expressed.

So from the vastness of potential, we select out a small portion. And from this portion, we select out an even smaller portion. And we identify others and ourselves with it.

There are of course good reasons for this, and mainly an evolutionary one: People do tend to follow certain patterns, at least over shorter time spans. And it is good to know about these patterns so we can make appropriate choices.

But there are also two serious flaws in this that we need to keep in mind.

Time

Everything is in flux. Nothing stays the same. And this seems to be true for all phenomena. We all change. None of us are the same as what we were. This is true for all of us, whether we try to hold onto fixed images or views or not (and we all do to varying degrees and in different areas).

Space

We are all multitudes. What is expressed at any time is only a small fraction of the multitudes of qualities in us. We can at any moment choose to express different qualities, if we have the awareness and experience to do so.

In practical terms, an easy place to start is to not identify individuals with their work. Instead of saying, “I am a baker” we can say “I bake pastries for a living”. Instead of saying “She is a medical doctor” we can say, “she works as a medical doctor”. It opens up our awareness of the larger potential in each of our lives. It also reduces distress when we no longer have that particular work – we are already used to thinking about ourselves in a larger way.

Research

 

Some research ideas…

Breema & addictions

I have found that Breema meets deep needs in me that I sometimes attempt to meet through addictive behavior (food etc). A study could include a group of people in treatment for addictions, where half receive regular Breema sessions and the other is a control group. Is there a short term and/or long term difference in the groups?

Breema and well-being/quality of life

Randomly assign people to Breema, Tai Chi, Yoga, swimming, no special activity, etc. Is there a difference between the groups? If so, what?

Lo-Jong/Mind Training and Empathy

Explore the effects of Buddhist mind-training techniques on empathy, quality of life, etc.

Effects of meditation on personality etc.

Study of long-term meditation practitioners, compared to non-meditators and new meditators. Possible flaw: difference to begin with between those motivated for long-term practice and those not.

Meditation and well-being/quality of life/empathy etc.

Is there a connection between meditation and well-being, empathy, etc?

Acupuncture and Psychology

Effects on acupuncture on well-being, reduced depression/anxiety etc. (using control groups)

Meditation/Breema and Youth

Teach meditation and/or Breema to high-school students, and see if there is an effect (socially, quality of life, academically, etc).

Near death and/or mystical experiences

How many has had near-death and/or spontaneous mystical experiences? What effect, if any, did it have on their life?

Cancer and personality/coping approaches

Continuing along a line of existing research.

Of course, for many of these topics the challenge will be to sort out any cause/effect relationships. Is it possible to randomly assign people to Breema, mind training, etc. and expect them to do it with sincerity? If people are self-assigned, then how can we sort out personality from practice effects? Maybe personality/initial motivation is a key factor and random assignment is a mistaken approach?

Natural Wisdom of the Body

 

I notice that the more comfortable I become with/in/being body, the more the natural wisdom of the body comes out. It is expressed in (a) taking my needs more seriously (taking care of myself better), (b) food choice (my food needs change all the time, so abstract ideas/guidelines are not much help), (c) grounded intuition when making other choices as well.

I have also noticed that the animal wisdom of my body seems wiser than my mind in many cases. This became obvious a few weeks ago when there was a day where I was unusually mentally stressed. That same evening, I had a Breema class. The moment I began receiving the first Breema sequence, my body relaxed and soaked it up while my mind still held onto the stress-inducing thougth patterns. My mind only joined some minutes later.

The Goat

 

I saw The Goat by Edward Albee a few days back at Lord Leebrick Theater.

Although it was quite predictable on a certain level, in wanting to shake people in the few remaining taboo areas in our culture, it did have some memorable qualities. The main one was that the characters all were intelligent and mature, and – more importantly – able to hold several emotions and reactions at the same time.

Of course, we all do. We all have a multitude of emotions, reactions and thoughts on any subject. And when we expect this, and realize that this is a natural expression of our rich and transdual nature, we can hold it. And mature and deepen our humanity.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture (especially in the US) where a more one-dimensional human being is expected. So seeing it so clearly in a play is sometimes a rarity, and a very welcome rarity.

Addictions

 

I am looking forward to joining a process work group focusing on addicitions, although I have few or no “traditional” addictions.

Media

I do sometimes spend more time on the internet than I would like to.

Media addictions, and internet included, are – on the surface – perpetuated by intermittent reinforcement (which is most resistent to extinsion). Most of what we find on the internet, or are exposed to in the more passive medias, is not interesting. But occasionally, something very rewarding comes along, and that is enough to keep us coming back. Realizing this is one key to having more of a choice. Another is to eliminate exposure to the media all together, as I have done with TV for many years, and more recently also with newspapers (except a few online).

Culture

The addictions I am more interested are the ones tied to our culture. An addicition is a behavior that is repeated although not (completely) desired by the person, and one where we seem to have little choice in the matter.

This is the case for me in terms of many cultural assumptions and habits.

——————————————————

First Day – October 6, 2004

It is wonderful to be back into process work. It is such a fluid and profound work.

Some of the insights around addicition…

  • We all have a deep urge towards transduality – to live from the view beyond all dualities. And we are often stuck in small mind (aware of differentiation but not unity, and even less aware of the transdual). Addictions is one way we cope with this situation. We seek a sense of connection, looseness and bliss through various addicitions.
  • Addictions often comes in pairs and compensate each other. I have an addictive tendency to sugar, which gives me focus and energy, and dairy, which gives me a sense of softness and relaxation.

Dyads

I worked on my sugar and then dairy addictive tendencies in a dyad…

  • Dairy

    The quality I seek in dairy is the deep relaxation, the womblike experience, comfort, softness, gentleness, rocking, full body contact, natural, fluid, soft, connection, no separation….

    This is what I find in Breema, and when I do Breema for several hours a day, my addictive tendencies falls away. There is no charge there anymore, because my needs have already been fulfilled.

  • Sugar

    And the quality behind sugar (for me) was first an intensity and shaking, then opening up to a Masai dance. It opened up to spaciousness, centering and deep grounding, as well as the primal, tribal, free.

Internet

Fluid, dynamic, trance, connected to the whole world (an image of the world).

Libraries

The wastness/richness of human experiences – all there.

Culture & Assumptions

 

Human Bias

The universe is a seamless whole and everything is part of the same larger process: galaxies, our solar system, Earth, culture, our experiences. There is no separation.

The Universe can be seen as a holarchy: systems within systems, processes within processes. Everything is simultaneously a whole and a part.

Our experience of the inner/outer world is influenced by the holarchy we are embedded in.

  • The characteristics/processes/habits of the Universe as a whole
  • The characteristics of this solar system and the Earth
  • The evolution of the Earth and our ancestors (going back to the first organisms)
  • The evolution of humans
  • Our culture
  • Our personal experiences

Culture

Each human being is raised in a culture, and absorbs a large number of basic assumptions of the world. We then use these to survive and guide our choices in a complex world.

This is essential for our survival. And it can also cause problems if/when some of these assumptions are not appropriate for our current situation.

In the western world, we are still transmitting and operating from cultural assumptions that were developed hundreds or thousands of years ago, in a quite different situation from that we are in today. And a number of these assumptions are unquestioned and operate below awareness for many of us.

As we are facing an increasingly urgent need for deep culture change, it becomes increasingly more important to bring these assumptions into awareness, explore them and possibly develop alternative strategies.

What do they tell us about the world and our role in the world? How do they guide our choices and actions? What are their origins? How well do they serve us in our current situation? What may happen if we change them or replace them with other assumptions?

Some cultural assumption I am aware of and their consequences…

  • There is a discontinuity between humans and other species

    Through science, we understand the similarities and continuity between humans and the other species. But we are still stuck in a perception of separation between humans and other species in terms of ethics and how we relate to humans and other species.

  • There is a separation between egotism and altruism

    We do not expect there to be a congruence between what is good for oneself and the larger whole. This would change if we operate from an assumption of no separation.

  • We are separate from the larger whole

    We do not perceive ourselves as embedded in the Earth and the Universe. We may understand intellectually that there is no separation, while still experience the inner world (experiences, sensations, thoughts, emotions, etc) as discontinous with the outer world (plants, animals, rocks, clouds, stars, galaxies)

  • [many more]

Activity

I participated in an activity yesterday that again brought these issues up for me: In the Miwok creation story, Silver Fox is lonely and visions up Coyote. Together they dance, sing and vision up the whole world.

If this was our creation story, how would we experience the world? What would it mean for us?

Some possible answers: The world was created through visioning, play and joyfulness. So too can we create in our own lives. And animals are our partners and teachers, not below us or essentially different from ourselves.

Breema & Healing

 

Some reflections related to Breema and healing:

Self-Healing Processes

Self-healing is a characteristic of any living system, including humans. And it seems that there is one thing that often gets in the way of our healing: ourselves. Or rather our patterns (emotional, cognitive, behavioral) and our attachments to these patterns. Breema helps me as a giver and a receiver to get out of my own way, and allow the self-healing processes to unfold.

Rhythm

It seems that the rhythmical and gradual qualities of Breema bodywork allows me to deeply relax. The whole Universe is pulising, including the womb we all started our lives in.

All Levels

Breema allows healing on all levels: physical (gentle leans/stretches), emotional (comfort, safety, connection, acceptance), mental (letting go of attachment to ideas), and spiritual (opens up for a transdual experience). Mainly, it allows the self-healing processes to unfold on all levels. It opens up for whatever needs to happen.

Beyond Altruism & Egotism

 

Existence is a seamless whole. How could it be otherwise?

My life is seamlessly integrated into the life of the Earth and the Universe. It is one system. One body.

And there are many simple life-centered choices that appear to be beneficial on all levels (of course, it depends on what we mean by “beneficial”):

  • Taking care of myself. When I am more in balance, it benefits those around me.
  • Eating low on the food chain and less processed (less resources consumed)
  • Eating local (connection with land, money stays in the community, less resources consumed)
  • Low consumption (simple living > more time for family/friends/community)