Hunted and haunted

 

One of the things that brings up discomfort in me (=shadow) is people who seem agitated, driven in an unsettled way, haunted, hunted… who perform daily activities in a harsh way.

I notice for myself that when I feel this way, it is because I have created a box for life and myself, through beliefs and identities, and life comes up with something that is outside of this box, reminding me that it is too small. It comes knocking, I try to ignore it, it keeps knocking, and I become unsettled and agitated, haunted by its presence.

So what happens when I become unsettled when there are unsettled people around? I have a belief that people should be more conscious, more at peace with what is, and I also have an identity for myself as more conscious than that, and more at peace. So what the person is doing comes up outside of the box, and is unsettling to me. Their behavior becomes a reminder of what I left out in my views and identities, and that is exactly what unsettles me and haunts me.

As usual, what I see out there, in someone else, is exactly what is happening right here, at the same moment. It is a precise mirror.

I think he is stupid, and maybe it is a little stupid of me to believe that? What do I really know? Maybe there are some good reasons for his choices and actions? I think she is agitated and shouldn’t be, and as I believe that, I am agitated because what is shouldn’t be, according to my story. I think someone is brilliant, and right there, there is a hint of my own brilliancy in even noticing. I admire someone for having an open heart, and if my own heart was not at least partially open, I wouldn’t recognize or admire it.

The whole process of having things show up outside of the box can be unpleasant, but it is also a good thing. Life invites me to examine those beliefs and identities, broaden them to make them more widely inclusive, and eventually allow any identification with them to release.

Shadow of beliefs, and shadows of identities

 

Beliefs have their own shadows, and beliefs also create identities with their own (very similar) shadows.

The shadow of a belief is all the reversals of the thought or idea believed in. The shadow of an identity is anything that does not fit into the identity. And any belief creates an identity.

Say I have the thought that people shouldn’t lie, and believe in it.

The shadow of the belief is the grain of truth in each of its turnarounds, mainly that people should lie. Why should they? Because they do. And because people often have good reasons for it, at least as it appears to themselves. There are many reasons why people should lie, and even the gifts in it, and I can always find one more.

The shadow of the identity is the ways I lie. My identity is as someone who does not lie, so the shadow is the ways I lie in my own life. How do I lie? At one level, everything I say is a lie, or rather at best only a relative and limited truth. At another, more conventional level, I lie as well. I may come up against a threat to an identity, and come up with an (apparently innocent) lie to protect it. And I also lie to myself in many ways. I lie to myself when I believe in any thought, since I at another level already know it is not true. The list is endless, and here too, I can always come up with yet another example.

The shadow of the belief has to do with how I box the world in, and the shadow of the identity has to do with how I box myself in. And the two are of course closely related, just two faces of the same boxing in.

Relationships with the ultimate, and inflation

 

In terms of avoiding or minimizing inflation, it is safer to actively explore the 2nd, 3rd, and zero person relationships with Big Mind (see previous post), and then just allow the 1st person relation to come and go on its own.

Inflation inherent in a sense of a separate self

Although even here, as long as there is a sense of a separate self, there will be some inflation, and it is good to notice it and take it for what it is.

There is a sense that I, as a separate self, have a relationship with God, understand something about God, or am someone who has glimpses of the ground of all existence. So I am special, different, am in a special relationship with God or existence, and so on. All of this is inflation. We take something that is inherently neutral, place a value on it, and take it as happening to a separate self.

It is inevitable, and happens all the time anyway.

There is a sense of a separate self, and with it comes an automatic sense of superiority and inferiority, richly diverse and with many different flavors. This form of inflation is just one of those, although it can be an especially nasty one, and annoying to those around, if left unchecked.

So what can we do?

Working with inflation

Again, we can work with it from the form and the emptiness sides.

From the form side, one way is notice and work with projections, and especially shadow projections.

From the emptiness side, I can find myself as headless and see that all of this is (apparently) happening to an individual who is inherently free from a separate self, and more precisely that it is really happening as awake emptiness and form, inherently absent of a separate I.

In both cases, we come to see that it is all inherently neutral, and only takes on significance, meaning, and a sense of importance, through our stories about it, and through believing in those stories.

Views and their reversals and shadows

 

I realize this could have been more clear in some of the previous posts…

Views all have their reversals, and they all have limited validity and a grain of truth in them. They are all relative truths.

When a view is believed in, taken as an absolute truth, that is when it creates shadows. I am this, not that. This is true, not that. I am right, you are not.

And a view is any abstraction. Any thought, image, identity, ideology, framework, map. Anything that helps us navigate in the world. Anything that is really a question, but can be taken as a statement. Anything that, when believed in, we use to box ourselves and Existence in with, saying that it is this way, and not that. Anything that, when believed in, makes it appear that we know how things not only are, but how they should be.

Seen as just innocent questions and relative truths, they are immensely useful in helping us orient and navigate in the world. Taken as statements and absolutes, we try to box the world in, and the world comes knocking on the door wanting to be let in. Which can be quite stressful if we don’t allow it to. It is a big world, and our box is small.

Three relationships with the reversals of views

 

Related to the previous post, but also a little different…

I see how I cycle among three relationships with an awareness of the reversals of views.

One is happily oblivious, using or attaching to a view without much awareness of the grain of truth in their reversals.

The other is releasing views. Having seen how each view has innumerable reversals, and they all have limited and relative validity, I become more cautious. I release from them, as much as I can. There may even be ambivalence here, because I see that I cannot continue in my certainty of particular views anymore, but I am also not quite able to play freely with them either. So I hold back. And I investigate.

The third is a free play with views, first using one, then another, then a third, the a view that includes some of them all, being able to find the truth and validity in each of them, and also seeing the limitations of each. This comes from a more thorough investigation of particular views and each of their reversals. There is a more finely grained familiarity with the terrain, so also more freedom.

Examples and flavors

There are many flavors to this.

One is in terms of views in general.

Another is with shadow projections, where I am first blindly caught up in it, then learn to recognize the symptoms and become more cautions, and then more free around it as we become more familiar with the process.

And yet another is in the belief of a separate self. Initially, we take it for granted. Then, when we see that too as just another idea with relative truth, we may get a little stunned and hold back for a while while investigating further. And finally, there is a freedom around it, a free play, allowing it to be there when it is, yet also seeing the insubstantiality of it.

The three relationships play themselves out in each of these situations, and many more than involves views and beliefs.

Transcend and exclude

 

In my own life, and of course… more easily… in other’s life, I sometimes see a tendency to transcend and exclude.

And it has a direct connection with the shadow.

I am identified with a particular identity, and what comes up does not fit within that identity. The box I have made for myself is not big enough, and leaves it outside.

One of the more recent examples is with the movie The Secret, where my initial reaction was of pushing it away, putting it down, seeing it as inferior, not really worth existing.

But then, as soon as that happens, I also notice all the signs of being caught up in a shadow projection: pushing it away, putting it down, seeing it as inferior, not really worth existing…!

So shifting into a transcend and include mode, I am more free to find the grain of truth in its message, and also appreciate how it… obviously… fills a real need for many people. I can explore its value, its gifts, and see how it fits in with the bigger picture… what role does it fill? What can it do for people, and where are its limits? I can explore it in a more receptive and nuanced way.

And working with my own shadow projections around it certainly helps me in this… for instance by using The Work.

Islam’s golden age

 

In our post-cold war times, where Muslims are the new villains and scapegoats, and the Islamic world the new favorite shadow projection object, it may be good to remember what we owe Islamic culture.

The most obvious example is the role of the Islamic world in the birth of modern Western culture: the Renaissance, which would not have been what it was (or may not have been at all) if it wasn’t for the Islamic Golden Age, and their preservation, enriching and transmission of elements from a wide range of ancient cultures, including the Greek and Roman.

The stink

 


An open sewer in Lublin, 1930s.

As long as there is a sense of a separate self, there is a sense of being better and worse than others. And there is also a stink, which is especially noticeable when we cling to a sense of being better than others.

This stink is quite noticeable in much of the integral world… In those who use integral theory to put others down and elevate themselves. In those who find it necessary to see themselves as second tier, and pronounce it to the world. In those who find no use, and not even a right to existence, in less-than-integral approaches that obviously fills a need for others – such as The Secret and the Law of Attraction.

It all comes from a lack of investigation.

Anything I see in others, is also here.

The more I see that, through my own investigation, in a finely grained way, in daily life, the less there is a sense of being better or worse.

There is just a human life being lived out. And anything I see in others, is also here.

On the surface, in my face to the world, there are certainly differences.

But in the vastness of the depth of who I am as a human, and what I am as awake emptiness, there is none… Just intimacy, connection, recognition, and even that is saying too much.

Julian at Zaadz is saying something about this: Second Tier? Get Over Yourself. A Brief Righteous Vent…. (Thanks to William Harryman at Integral Options Cafe for finding and linking to that post.)

Projections – of what is alive here and now

 

In reading Brad Warner’s post on the Big Mind process, I took the opportunity to explore my own shadows. From my most juvenile and petty aspect, a voice said “this is just an emotional rant with no substance.”

And as usual, when I look at this, I find that what I see in him describes me in that very moment. In seeing his post as an emotional rant with no substance, I am engaging in exactly the same – an emotional (reactive) rant (story) with no substance (not based on much and not very informative, apart from describing what is going on for me right here and now.)

Something arises. It doesn’t fit a particular identity I am identified with. So I put it out there, on the most convenient target – in this case BW’s post.

It is very simple. Very obvious, when I take the time to look. Very humbling. Revealing the inherent neutrality of any situation, when the story is taken out of it.

More details

Here is another way to look at it…

  • Something arises in space: a (metaphorical) stick with two ends. Right and wrong, mature and immature, kind and unkind, and so on.
  • At one level, closer to the absolute, it belongs to no individual. It just arises.
  • At another level, closer to the relative, we can say it belongs to this individual, to me.
  • Space is split, into I here and Other there.
  • One end of the stick is here, with me (for instance right, mature, kind, etc.)
  • The other end of the stick is there, with you or them (wrong, immature, unkind)

It is also interesting to note that to an innocent and more dispassionate bystander, I will be seen as expressing both. My conscious image, reflected in my words, is that I am right and mature. But the emotional tone will most likely be of someone who is defending a position (afraid of being wrong), and of someone who is reactive (emotionally immature.)

What I don’t want to hear

 

In our local The Work group last night, we explored our least favorite things to be told by someone else – what are they, where can I find it in myself or my life, can I also find their opposites, and what are their gifts?

For me, the list can easily be quite long. Here are some that come to mind…

  • You are weird
  • You are incompetent
  • I don’t like you
  • You are a liar
  • You are selfish and self-centered
  • You are a loser
  • You are oblivious

Funny how these all seem to bring up least-favorite childhood memories…!

So let’s see if I can find these in myself, their opposites (finding myself as big enough to contain both), and also find the genuine gifts in each.

You are weird

Yes, I can see that I am weird in many different ways. I have some unusual interests (including in whatever I write about in this blog). I like unusual music. I don’t do much of what many do, such as going to bars on weekends. I prefer more quiet conversations with friends to big parties. I don’t always join in conversations on topics others find interesting, preferring to listen. I am sure my look can be seen as somewhat weird in different ways and different contexts (I especially noticed that when I was in rural Nepal!) A specific instance: I felt weird at times during the Breema retreat at Breitenbush this weekend, preferring to sleep and go on walks on my own rather than socializing (apart from meals.)

And at the same time, I am normal. My life is a human life, with all it means to be human. Nothing I have ever experienced or thought is something that I haven’t found expressed by someone else. My fears and insecurities seem to be quite ordinary, even common. A specific instance: last night during our local The Work meeting, where I saw that anything coming up for me – including the things I was most embarrassed about – was shared by others, sometimes all, in the group.

What are the gifts of being weird? Well, I am part of expanding what is allowed and expressed in human experience, maybe allowing others to be more comfortable with it as well. Others seeing it (and especially if I am comfortable with it) can help them be more comfortable with themselves and what they go through, maybe even enjoying it! I also get to explore areas of human experience where some others don’t go, filling out the map a little.

To be continued…

Inferiority and superiority

 

As soon as there is a belief in a separate self, there is a sense of superiority and inferiority.

Existence has an inherent neutrality – it is all a field of awake emptiness and form, and the form itself is nothing other than awake emptiness. It is all Big Mind, God, Brahman, Tao. One field, awake emptiness with a thin surface of innumerable and varied forms.

When there is a sense of a separate self, this neutrality is automatically split into a sense of being both better and worse than others. We believe in our stories about how we are simultaneously better and worse than others, in different areas, in different ways, and even these stories are in flux, so I may see myself as better in a certain area at one moment, and then worse in the next.

The antidotes to this are, as usual, to be found in emptiness and in form.

The emptiness side is to notice all forms as awake emptiness (and equal).

The form antidotes are many. One is to examine our beliefs and finding the grain of truth in their turnarounds (dissolving our grip on one story as absolutely true, being able to hold many stories and perspectives at once.) Another is to find in ourselves what we see in others, and the other way around (which is actually an outcome of finding the truths in the reversal stories.) Here, although there may be many surface differences, we find that we are all in the same boat.

The nigredo, albedo and rubedo of no defense

 

Any framework (model, theory, map, perspective) is a filter for exploring the world, and each one brings certain aspects out (and is blind to other aspects.)

So here is a basic alchemical take on defense and no defense, of that feeling of having to defend (or not) a particular identity.

Nigredo: the misery

Whenever there is this sense of having to defend a particular identity, role, belief, view, perspective, there is also a certain amount of misery. Will do they attack me? What types of attacks can I expect in this situation? What if they are right? How can I fight back most effectively? How can I shoot down their perspective? It is endless.

Even when there is a certain enjoyment in the battle, of maybe feeling more alive, of the possibility of winning or the appearance of winning, of strengthening and supporting a habitual or desired identity, even then, there is a certain amount of misery there.

A lot of energy goes into preparing for battle, strategizing, fighting the battle, and licking the wounds afterwards. There is reactivity, which a part of us is not comfortable with. We may feel stuck in old and sometimes unwanted patterns. And there is a basic sense of a split here between myself and others, which is only reinforced by the battle, and this too gives a sense of misery.

In alchemical terms, this is the nigredo, the misery that nudges us to look for a resolution, and this time not (only) by changing the rest of the world, but changing something in ourselves.

Albedo: the work

The albedo, the whitening, the clarification, is the work we do on ourselves.

In terms of having an identity to defend, we can work on it in many different ways. The Work is one, allowing us to release our grip on a particular belief, view and identity. The 3-2-1 Shadow Process is another, where we also find in ourselves what we initially only saw in the other. We can simply be with our experiences, which similarly tends to loosen any grip we have on anything arising, including our beliefs, fixed views, and identities. We can use active imagination, other forms of self-inquiry, or anything else. And we can use any combinations of whatever is available to us.

This is a process of bringing attention to our habitual patterns (calcinatio), of differentiation (separatio), of dissolution of rigid and habitual patterns and views (solutio), and of shifting into and becoming familiar with new patterns (coagulatio), which together and over time brings a clarification (sublimatio.)

Rubedo: the resolution

Eventually, after some work, there may be a release of defensiveness in certain areas, and then other areas, and ultimately, if we keep going, in all areas and situations in our life. Instead of feeling that we need to defend certain identities, we welcome whatever comes our way as a reminder that yes, I am that too, and that, and that.

Somebody tells me, one way or another, that I am stupid, and yes, I can find that in myself. That is part of my identity. Or that I am wrong, and yes, that too is there. Or that I am arrogant, yes, that too. Or insensitive, yes. Or boring, yes, absolutely. Or fun, yes, that too. Or a bad friend, yes. Or a good friend, yes… Or smart, yes. Or right, yes. Or sincere, yes.

It is all there. I am familiar with all of this, and it is all right here. And if someone says something that I haven’t explored yet, then I can find that too.

There is nothing to defend. Just ease, clarity, simplicity.

Woven together and in cycles

Over time, we may be able to see this general pattern, from nigredo (that was the time I didn’t see this at all, and also all the times I fall into defense in general), to albedo (that was when I started becoming conscious of all of this and started working on it), and rubedo (that is the general sense of ease that came out of all the work, and also all the glimpses of release and peace throughout the process.)

But they are all also woven together, especially clearly so in the middle of the overall process. There is defensiveness and misery, then some work on it, then some release, then back to defensiveness, work, release, over and over, within the same issue, and across different issues.

Nothing to defend, yet also taking care of myself and others

Eventually there is a general sense of nothing to defend, of ease, peace, even in the midst of daily life and interactions with others. There is no particular identity, or viewpoint, or belief to defend. Only a fluidity among numerous views, perspectives, identities, theories, maps. Whatever works in the situation is what comes up and is used, without any need to hold onto it.

At the same time, there is the ordinary taking care of myself and others. If a cougar attacks me, I’ll try to defend myself. And I’ll take care of my own health and well being. And I’ll defend others if they are in need of it, including defending their identity if it is attacked and they feel hurt.

There is no fixed identity to defend, and also the ordinary taking care of myself and others. And the fluidity of identities, views and perspectives is what allows me to take care of myself and others with more ease, and in more effective and effortless ways.

Why people focus on refuting Ken Wilber?

 

WH’s speedlinking for today has a link to a post on why so many focus on refuting Wilber (although the post itself seems to have vanished.)

When I saw that brief description of the post, what immediately came to mind is KW’s personality. His writings reflects a personality that invites, if not begs, people to tear him (and his theories) down a few notches. Whenever a particular identity and image is held onto and presented as strongly as in KW’s case (of being macho, smart and hip), it invites others to punch holes in it and tear it town. It is quite beautiful in a way, although can get ugly as well: if he doesn’t do it himself, others will do it for him, reminding him of his own task.

I am not saying that he is not macho, smart and hip. He is very much all of those, and genuinely so. There is just a very strong air of it being a particular image as well, and one that he spends a great deal of energy building up and presenting. And that draws some people to tear it down as flies are drawn to honey.

There are of course other aspects to all of this as well: inaccuracies in how he presents the views of others (it seems that he sometimes almost deliberately misrepresents the views of others), the way he puts down people criticizing or questioning his theories and models (sometimes harshly and with little compassion), his status as one of the most brilliant thinkers of our times (which in itself is reason enough for some to focus on punching some holes there), how he has a God-like status among some (again, a good reason for some to bring him down a few notches), and probably genuine holes in the theories and models themselves.

So in a way, it may all be part of a natural compensating process. He strongly holds onto a certain image so others want to deflate it, showing that it is only an image. He misrepresents certain views of others, so others naturally react. He puts others down, and this attitude is then mirrored back at him. Some of his followers are a little too enamored by him, so certain folks want to show that he is not quite the god some make him into.

It is all a natural, inevitable, process. One that is beautiful in the way everything is a perfect mirror, inviting us all to see in ourselves what we would rather not see. And one that also can get quite ugly through our resistance to this process.

If I hold onto a certain image, others will try to deflate it. This is an invitation to myself to see how I am holding onto the image, and let go of it. If I resist, it gets ugly and everything only intensifies.

There is a reason this happens with Ken Wilber, and not people like Dalai Lama, or Douglas Harding, or Adyashanti. And it goes beyond just his role as innovator and theory builder. In their cases, there is no resistance, so no need to punch holes in their image or theories, and no need to pull them down a few notches. In KW’s case, there is resistance, and this invites attacks.

To me, it is not so difficult to image someone developing the exact same theories and models as KW, but with no identification with a particular identity, and no resistance. In this case, there will still be questions and criticism of his work, but it will (mostly) happen in a far more uneventful and less dramatic way. And probably with more of a sense of partnership and collaboration, at least from his side, than of advesarial positions.

That is not to say that it would be better that way. When we are attached to a particular identity, then drama is good. It helps us see our identifications. And it even helps develop the theories, although sometimes in less comfortable ways.

Feeling all arising as Spirit and me

 

Throughout the day, and especially when lying in bed before falling asleep or waking up, the practice of feeling all as Spirit and me comes up.

Whatever arises is felt as Spirit and as me. It is awake emptiness and form, and it is me or a mirror for me as a human self.

I especially do this with anything arising that is outside of my habitual identities, such as fear, people I am attracted to or feel aversion towards, fatigue, pain, even countries and the Earth as a whole.

I feel into it as Spirit and me, and along with this is the seeing of it as Spirit and me, which in turn awakens the loving of it as Spirit and me.

Reorganizing the three centers, and allowing anything human to be experienced as me

This helps reorganize the three centers of view, emotions and heart within the context of all as Spirit.

And it helps transform my identity as a human being to be more inclusive of anything human. To feel, see and love anything human as not only it, over there, but also me, right here.

The One Taste of public and private situations

 

A while back, I used this practice more regularly, and still find it useful.

How would it be if there is One Taste of public and private situations? If I act in public as if I was on my own, and when I am on my own as if everybody could see me?

Acting in public as if I am on my own helps me with finding ease, comfort, allowing pretense to fall away.

Acting on my own as if everybody could see helps me find a sense of transparency, nothing to hide or protect, allowing the light of awareness into (more of) all I am and do.

Together, it helps me find ease and comfort with myself, as I am, accepting it as it is, be OK with all of what I am. It helps me find a sense of wholeness, of transparency, of receptivity, of nothing to hide, noting to protect or defend.

This is one of the many forms of One Taste, one that plays itself out on our human level.

Feeling into

 

After the dream yesterday, I have had several periods of feeling into a parade of things coming up, from shadow aspects to memories to sensations. There is a sense of fullness tinged with bliss and a new deepening, and it seems to be part of the endarkenment process. Different forms of shadow work, such as The Work, includes an owning of the shadow and a feeling into it, but there is a new deepening into it this time.

Levels of oneness: all as Spirit, and everything I see out there is also in here

 

Some levels of Oneness…

All as Spirit

Ultimately, it is all Spirit. The field of seeing and seeing is Spirit, absent of any I. The Ground of seeing and seen is Spirit, absent of any I.

And we can have a glimpse of this, maybe interpreted as an experience of oneness between I (as this human self) and Other (as nature, God, Spirit).

We can have an intuition or a sense of it, again typically interpreted as a sense of Oneness of I and Other.

There can be an immediate and more stable experience of this Oneness, that it is all Spirit.

Also here, there can be a sense of I and Other overlaid on the sense of Oneness. The volume of both can be turned up or down, one going into the foreground and the other in the background, shifting back and forth.

Finally, there is a realization that the field of seeing and seen is inherently absent of an I. There is no I anywhere, just a field of Spirit as Ground, seeing and seen. The sense of center falls away. The sense of subject and object falls away. Spirit as the field of seeing and seen, as a whole, is its own subject and object.

It is not touched by oneness and multitude, yet arises and can be seen as either and both.

And it is still functionally connected with a particular human self, which now arises as anything else. It is just part of the field, living its own life, just like clouds moving across the sky, cars passing on the street, other people living their own life, the world living its own life. It is Spirit as form, unfolding on its own, absent of any I anywhere.

Human level: deepening into knowing myself as an individual

Since Spirit, in our case, is functionally connected with a particular human self, and lives through and as this human self before and after awakening to itself, the forms oneness takes in our human life is also interesting.

At the ultimate level, all is Spirit independent of its particulars as form.

And at our human level, everything I see in the world is also here in me. This is a deepening of knowing myself as a human being.

Every quality and characteristic I see out there, in the world – in the universe, in the Earth, ecosystems, animals, plants, humans, cities, stories, mythologies, movies, fantasies, dreams, they are all also in here, in my own human life.

It is a deepening of knowing myself as a human being, and also a deepening of the realization of all as one. In my human life, all I see in the wider world is also right here, closer than my own breath.

At the most disowned, Spirit can recognize all arising as Spirit, but still see some qualities arising in other human selves and not in this one. This makes for a less complete, less human and more frozen way for this human self to function in the world. It makes for a less healthy and mature vehicle for Spirit in the world, even as Spirit has awakened to itself.

A little less disowned, Spirit can recognize all arising as Spirit, recognize in this human self what is sees in the wider world, but not be much familiar with it in this human self. It is acknowledged, but there is not much familiarity with it. Again, it limits how this human self can show up in the world, it limits its repertoire and what is familiar to it.

As these aspects become more owned, as they move from “it” to “me” and “mine”, there is greater and greater familiarity with it, not only out there, but also in how it shows up in this life.

It becomes known in a far richer way, and with a different (more conventional) sense of intimacy. It becomes part of the daily repertoire of the human self, available when needed.

There is a sense of deepening humanity, a more intimate connection with others, and more juiciness in life in general.

It is even a part of developing skillful means, since this human life is the tool of Spirit in the world, even after it awakens to itself.

Human level: deepening into knowing ourselves as us

Spirit also shows up as Us, as the multitude of beings and all of our many relationships, and this is another deepening into oneness.

When Spirit awakens to itself, what does that mean for all of the relationships of this human self to other people, to animals, plants, ecosystems, the Earth as a whole, past and future generations?

What does it mean to relate to those where Spirit has not (yet) awakened to itself? What does it mean for groups where Spirit has awakened to itself, to varying degrees, in many of us?

Again, as with the deepening into seeing everything in the wider world also in my human self, this is an infinite exploration process. As long as there is the world of form, and a vehicle in this world of form, it has no end. It continues to richen, deepen, mature, develop, evolve and change.

Deepening intimacy

In all of these ways, there is a deepening intimacy.

At the Spirit level, it is beyond intimacy since it is all Spirit. It is the most intimate.

At the individual human level, there is the deepening intimacy of finding and knowing in myself, in greater and greater richness and depth, any and all of the qualities I see in the wider world.

At our collective human level, there is the exploration of the infinite ways Spirit shows up as Us, in all of our many and varied relationships.

The split covering up the ground

 

From the previous post:

………………

If the world of form is split into good and bad, and the division is seen as real and important, the drama will hinder us in recognizing the ground that is always there. The fascination with the drama itself distracts us from noticing the ground. The dust kicked up in the drama of pushing some aspects of form away and holding onto other aspects, covers up the ground.

It covers up the Ground of seeing and seen, it covers up the fertile dark ground of form, and it covers up the inherent absence of an I anywhere in these grounds and all form.

………………

Or put another way…

When there is a belief in the idea of I, the world is split into I and Other. And in the ensuing drama, we just don’t notice what is always already here: the Ground of seeing and seen, and the fertile ground of form, and the inherent absence of I anywhere in all of this.

The field of seeing-seen temporarily identifies with just an aspect of itself, creates a drama for itself, and temporarily forgets that it is the Ground of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere.

The drama draws our attention to it, not leaving much space for noticing the ground. And even if the Ground is noticed, it is not taken seriously. It does not fit our conscious view, our beliefs, our worldview. It just cannot be, according to our stories about it. There has to be an I here, as an aspect of what is. There has to be some anchor point in the world of form.

But there isn’t, and the world of form is a stream in flux, so the drama goes on.

A sequence of forgetting

Here is one take on the sequence of forgetting….

There is the Ground of seeing-seen, a seamless field of seeing and seen absent of I anywhere. Spirit arising as emptiness, wakefulness and always changing forms.

Then, two things seems to happen:

It somehow forgets about its own nature, absent of I anywhere. It creates a sense of I and places it on something in the world of form. The seamless field of seeing-seen, absent of I anywhere, filters itself through a sense of I and Other, and identifies as a segment of the field.

And somehow, even more mysteriously, it gets functionally connected with a human self (or any other being arising as part of this field).

So there is a sense of I, and this human self seems the best candidate to place this sense of I on.

Or there is this human self, which the field is clearly functionally connected with, so then a sense of I is created and placed on it.

Or maybe it is both.

A sequence of awakening

First, the field is completely absorbed in the drama and it seems very real. It may also have glimpses of itself as a field, absent of I anywhere, maybe filtered and interpreted as a taste of no separation.

Then, the sense of I may weaken and be gradually placed on fewer and fewer phenomena in the world of form. Here, there is simultaneously an experience of the seamless field of seeing-seen, yet also with a vague sense of I floating around. There is I and Other, and no separation between the two. There is a sense, intuition, or even direct experience of all as Spirit, an early taste of One Taste.

Finally, the Ground of seeing-seen awakens to its own nature, absent of I anywhere. Even the sense of I is revealed as always already being absent of any I.

And the funny thing is that there seems to be changes within what the sense of I is placed, on within this human self, that sets the stage for Ground to awaken to itself. Changes within the world of form, pointing Ground back to itself, allowing it to notice itself, to awaken to its nature as Ground of seeing and seen, inherently absent of I.

Micro and macro: forgetting and awakening, involution and evolution

This is of course the process of forgetting and awakening occurring at an (apparent) individual level, that so many have talked about. And it also seem to parallel a larger scale involution and evolution which seems to be happening through the evolution of this universe, the earth and humanity. The small mirrors the large.

And while the big picture evolution may remain more theoretical, the process of forgetting and awakening, paralleling involution and evolution, happens right here now in immediate awareness:

The Ground of emptiness and awakeness allows form to arise here now, within and as itself. It believes in the idea of I, and places it on a segment of this form, on this human self. This is the forgetting, and parallels involution.

And the Ground may have glimpses of itself, intuitions about itself, tastes of itself, as the Ground of seeing and seen, absent of I. Eventually, it awakens in a stable way to its own nature. This is the remembering, and parallels evolution.

(It is Ground awakening to itself, so no evolution is really necessary – or possible – there. In its emptiness and wakefulness aspect, the field is timeless and stays the same.

At the same time, this awakening appears to be dependent on a certain level of evolution in the vehicle the field is functionally connected with, at the very least for consciously working towards awakening, and for a conscious reflection on and exploration of living from awakening. Ground may awaken to itself, accidentally, while functionally connected with a mouse. But, as far as we know, only humans can systematically work towards setting the stage for awakening, and consciously explore how and what it means to live from this awakening.)

Inner and outer shadows and darkness

 

In any explorations of the world of form, even within the utterly simple context of all as Spirit, it quickly gets very complex – infinitely complex.

The whole topic of the fertile darkness, and it symbolisms and archetypes of the dark goddesses, is one example of this. There is so much here, explored to far more detail and from far more experience and clarity than I can bring to it, but here is a simple overview of what comes to mind right now.

First, there is the projection and shadow aspect.

Consequences of the split: covering up the ground

If the world of form is split into good and bad, and the division is seen as real and important, the drama will hinder us in recognizing the ground that is always there. The fascination with the drama itself distracts us from noticing the ground. The dust kicked up in the drama of pushing some aspects of form away and holding onto other aspects, covers up the ground.

It covers up the Ground of seeing and seen, it covers up the fertile dark ground of form, and it covers up the inherent absence of an I anywhere in these grounds and all form.

Inner and outer consequences of the split

In our western culture, we associate light with good and dark with bad (or evil). Light is used to describe the light of consciousness, of what is known, of the divine, the masculine, mind, heaven, civilization, technology, purity, truth. Darkness is used to describe the opposites, including the unknown, the feminine, the body, the earth, nature, the uncivilized – all seen as less desirable.

We all know what this meant at our collective level: men, (western) civilization, technology, mind, the known and purity is elevated and gain power, while women, non-white, non-western cultures, nature, the body and the unknown have been seen as defiled, less valuable, and is excluded from influence.

The same split is of course right here as well, at our individual levels: we value the mind as a source of information and less so the body, we want to be right not wrong, we want knowing not not-knowing, and so on.

Reversals

As with life in general, at whatever level we look, the pendulum eventually swings back. So now, there is a growing appreciation of most of what was left out: non-western cultures, non-whites, women, the feminine, the earth, the body, and even – in some circles, not knowing.

A good examples is the flourishing of Wiccans who explicitly include women, the feminine, the goddesses, the Earth and the bodies. Within traditional religions, there is a similar shift, for instance seen in the renewed interest in the Black Madonna (of interest because she is dark skinned, a woman, and also represents other things left out by the masculine light-seekers.)

Shadow work at collective and individual levels

So there is shadow work at both collective and individual levels: we notice the split, the (undesirable) consequences of the split, and try to mend it at social and personal levels – using whatever means are available to us.

Shadow work, in whatever forms it takes, cannot itself bring about a shift, but it can certainly set the stage for shifts and deepening to take place. Without it, there is little chance for any shift to occur.

And this includes, for those of us into those things, a shift into endarkenment – where the fertile and dark ground of form comes alive in immediate awareness.

I know the first step, but what is the second?

 

I overheard a conversation a couple of days ago…

Somebody asked another how it is possible to not be reactive to what is happening in the world. The other said, I find in myself what I see in the other, and see that we are no different. And the first responded, impatiently, yes, I know that is the first step, but what is the second?

The second is the first step, all over again, and over again, and over again, until it deepens, becomes indisputable, is a lived realization, deepening and maturing over and over.

Whatever I see in you is also here in myself. Whatever I see anywhere out there, is also here in myself.

Knowing this as a general principle is useful as a pointer, as a reminder to look for the specifics. How is this true? How can I find in my own life what I see in your life? How does it play itself out here. How it is alive right here and now?

This exploration, over and over, is what deepens the realization. It is what puts meat on the bones. It is what fills it out. It is what makes it come alive. It is what allows any sense of absolute separation to soften, dissolve, melt away, leaving only an open heart – available to you and me as we are.

It is what any sense of boundaries to fall away, until there is only Ground left – the Ground of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere.

The Projection Line

 

There are innumerable lines of development (even a cooking line!), so why not a projection line?

The Projection Line (PL) would reflect how sophisticated we are in our understanding of projections, and especially how this is lived in our daily life.

It is a line that depends on the cognitive line (need to be aware of it before we can get some insights into it), and feeds many other lines, such as the spiritual, moral and interpersonal.

Widening circles of awareness and the PL

As we move along the cognitive line, our circle of awareness widens, and this makes it possible for us to move further along the PL.

Widening circles of empathy and the PL

And as we move further along the PL, our circle of care, concern and compassion widens.

Initially, we see only a few people as in the same boat as ourselves. Then more and more people, then all beings, then all of Existence.

How does it look?

  1. I am aware of somebody/thing triggering attraction or aversion in me. (Cognitive line.)

  2. My PL kicks in and I recognize this as the sign of a projection. I find in myself what I see out there (spontaneously, or through the 3-2-1 shadow process, The Work, Process Work or another of the many shadow techniques out there).

  3. I recognize in myself what I see out there. I see myself in the other, and the other in myself, and from this recognition comes empathy. I am in the same boat as the other, and my circle of concern and compassion now more easily includes the other. (Moral, emotional and interpersonal lines.)

Seeking mind as double support: reminder of projections, and taking care of my human self

 

Seeking Mind seems to have, at least, two main functions…

Seeking Mind as coming from projections

It can be seen as coming entirely from blind projections. Said another way, it is how blind projections are expressed and held in our life.

Something is alive in immediate awareness. There is the thought that this can’t possibly be me or right here. So it then has to be out there in the world, in others, in the past or future.

I then seek to contact it or avoid it out there in the world, which only has temporary and limited success.

When I notice that what I am seeking is already right here, there is a shift into a sense of fullness, richness and contentment.

Seeking Mind as taking care of my human self

On the other hand, Seeking Mind also holds some important relative truths.

I may seek peace, and notice that peace is already right here, independent of circumstances. At the same time, I may do something to change my circumstances, such as finding reconciliation with my partner, move to a more quiet and friendly neighborhood, and get a slower-paced job.

I seek health, and can notice that health is already right here, also independent of circumstances. And along with this, I can change my diet, get some exercise, engage in more nurturing relationships and activities, and go to a doctor.

In this way, Seeking Mind is that which keeps my human self alive and functioning in the world.

Seeking Mind as a double support

So on the one hand, Seeking Mind is a reminder to notice that what I am seeking is already right there. On the other hand, it is an invaluable support in engaging in daily life.

And as my projections are addressed and taken care of, Seeking Mind can function as a support in my daily life in a more clear and effective way, with less confusion from struggle and drama.

Is it true that what I seek is not already here?

 

Here is one of the inquiries Adyashanti suggests

Is it true that what I seek is not already here?

Specifically, he suggests asking this about our meditation. If I seek peace through meditation, is it true that this peace is not already here? If I seek to realize selflessness, is it true that this selflessness cannot be noticed right here?

But it applies more generally as well, to anything we seek.

  1. Something is alive in immediate experience.
  2. There is the idea that it can’t already be here, so it must be out there – in others, the world, the past or the future.
  3. And this inquiry, is it true that what I seek is not already here?, helps me see that it is already here.

There is a wonderful simplicity in this.

The me and mine, and the you and it, within transcend and include

 

In his chapter on the shadow in Integral Spirituality, Ken Wilber writes about the me and mine, and the you and it, within transcend and include as it shows up in spiritual practice.

Arising as 1st, 2nd and 3rd person

Anything arising can be seen as 1st, 2nd or 3rd person: as I, me or mine, as you, we or ours, or as it, other or theirs’s.

Trancend and include

And anything arising can be transcendet and included through various forms of spiritual practice such as meditation and self-inquiry. It arises within the field of everything arising in the present. And it arises as awareness, consciousness, Spirit, Buddha Mind, Brahman, God. This is of course wonderful in itself. It is reality waking up to itself.

From a blind identification with content, with the seen such as our human self or our soul, the center of gravity and identity shifts into the seeing itself, as the witness the seen arises within and to and as. And from here it shifts into realizing that there is no I anywhere in all of this: here is no I in the seen and no I in the seeing. The center falls away. The self-contraction falls away. There is just a field of what is, of the seen and the seeing, absent of I anywhere.

And there is the realization that this is how it always already is, even in the midst of the temporary misidentification with a portion of the seen or with the seeing itself.

Yet, as KW points out, there is a very important differentiation here. There are two flavors possible for what has been transcendet and included.

The me, you and it of that which is transcendent and included

If it is recognized and known as I, it becomes me and mine. It is arises as you or yours, or it or theirs, then it remains so even after the transcending and including of it.

In the first case, it remains 1st person. In the second case, it remains 2nd or 3rd person. Even as it arises as Buddha Mind, Spirit, emptiness dancing.

Example: anger remains an it

This is something I saw clearly in my initial awakening in my teens, and one of the reasons I worked so much (and still do) on recognizing and integrating projections: making the it into I and mine. It is a long process, one that lasts as long as there is a functional connection with a human self, so it is a good thing to find peace with – and find the enjoyment in.

For me, anger was definitely an it, an yours and theirs, probably due to the long list of typical suspects such as upbringing, family and cultural patterns, my young age (not ready to wake up from this aspect of the family and cultural trance), and so on.

So even in the midst of the awakening, where everything is revealed as consciousness, as Spirit, as God, it remained an it. Anger arises as Buddha Mind, with no separation and even with no I anywhere. Yet also firmly as an it to this human self, within all of that.

As Spirit, there is of course no need to integrate it. It already naturally is, arising within and as Ground and Spirit.

Yet on a human level, for this human self, it was very different. This human self had no idea of to integrate it, how to include it in its repertoire, how to use it, how to live it, how to use its energy in daily life and interactions with others, how to effectively relate to it when it comes up in in oneself or others. Anger remained an it. Something slightly foreign to this human self.

If anger is an I or mine previous to the awakening, it looks quite different. Of course, it still arises as Spirit and Buddha Mind. But it is now me and mine when it arises. It is not foreign to this human self, but something familiar, something that is included in the repertoire, something that can be lived and used in daily life, something that this human self knows how to relate to in itself and others in daily life – in a more effective and effortless way.

The absolute and relative of me and yours and it

At the absolute level, there is no difference. It arises as Buddha Mind and that’s it.

At the relative level, there is a huge difference. In the one case, where it remains an it, it is left out of the repertoire of this human self. It is foreign to this human self. And in the other case, it is included in the repertoire, it is familiar, it is a tool that this human self knows how to relate to and use.

Never too late…!

Of course, it is never too late to make the it into a mine, to own that which was disowned, to become more familiar with it at a human level, to include it into the realm of the familiar and the daily repertoire of this human self.

Gradations along the scale of 1st, 2nd and 3rd person

And there are also, of course, gradations of this, all the way from extreme disowning of the quality at a human level, to a deep familiarity and comfort with it. It can be something that this human self never touches, even after awakening. Or it can be something it is very familiar with as mine and knows how to use with elegance and effectivity.

These qualities are not only a component of our human makeup, allowing us to be fuller, richer and more complete and mature human beings. They are also skillful means, and the more of them that go from yours and it into me and mine, the larger the repertoire of skillful means available to us.

Deepening in familiarity, fullness and richness

There are always more of the yours and it that can be made into me and mine. And there is always further to go in allowing this human self to become familiar with it, exploring how to use it, how to live it, how to bring it seamlessly into daily life.

It can deepen in richness and fullness, as a me and mine.

How to work with this

In terms of the techniques for working with this that I am familiar with, the Big Mind process and The Work both seem excellent.

Through both, we become familiar with the its as me and mine. We learn to own that which was previously disowned. To include in our conscious repertoire at our human level that which previously was left out.

Evil and elements

 

Although The Fifth Element is a sci-fi comedy, it does have an interesting core story. Evil is approaching, and only the four earth elements along with the fifth element, the divine, can save us.

How does that mirror what is going on right here, in me?

Evil

Where do I find evil in me? It comes when there is a strong attachment to an idea, and the world (inevitably) shows up in a different way. If the attachment is strong, and the world shows up in a very different way, there may indeed be evil… in the sense that I am willing to go far to make the world conform to my idea of how it should be.

This evil also has an alien quality, as in the movie. I become less human, more obsessive, my view and concerns narrow, I am more willing to ignore my natural empathy and compassion for myself and others.

The five elements

In the movie, the only way to stop evil from destroying earth is the five elements: earth, water, air, fire and the divine.

For me, this is the deeply and ordinarily human. The inclusiveness of all that we are, as Earthly beings composed of the four elements, and with the element of the divine included.

It is the inclusiveness that is naturally here when we are relaxed and comfortable with ourselves. And the inclusiveness that equally naturally goes out the window when there is a strong attachment to an idea and the world does not conform.

Dealing with evil

As the movie pointed out, attacking evil only makes it stronger. If we attack it in ourselves, we only amplify the narrowness and obsessiveness that gives birth to it in the first place. If we blindly attack it in others, their narrowness and obsessiveness, and anger and resentment, is only fueled and directed back at us. (A good example is of course the “war on terror” which, in its current form, only fuels resentment and hatred.)

So the only remedy to evil when it arises in ourselves is to find ourselves as a more fully human being, to connect more with the whole of us. And when it arises in others, to remain in contact with and act from our own deep humanity: our compassion and empathy, as well as our decisiveness and action. An action that comes more from clarity and less from blind reactivity.

(In dealing with terrorism, this could mean to strengthen international cooperation and use legal means, as we would do to deal with any other form of criminal activities committed by smaller groups of people.)

Fortunately, there is no lack of tools to connect with our more inclusive humanity: The many forms of body-oriented practice, such as Breema. Allowing the mind to unwind and everything come and go on its own, through mediation. The many forms of self-inquiry. And maybe most importantly, the many ways of working with projections in general and the shadow in particular.

The Work greasing the spiral?

 

Ken Wilber talks about meditation as greasing the spiral. Apparently, meditation is the only practice shown, in studies, to help people move faster up through the spiral of development.

I would be surprised if not The Work greases the spiral in a similar way. It would make a good research project for somebody.

There are at least two aspects to this greasing…

The Work, identity and the self-line

One is what the work does with our identity. It widens and deepens, embraces more, becomes more porous, less tightly held. Then it shifts out of the seen into the seeing itself. And eventually, or so they say, it can release into realized selflessness.

Beliefs is what our identity is created from, and by allowing beliefs to be seen and fall away, our identity also falls away, one belief at a time. What is left is wakeful space, inherently absent of any characteristics, allowing them all to come and go as part of the seen. And with no I anywhere.

So in this way, The Work greases the self-line, from identification with the seen (this human self) to the seeing, to realized selflessness.

The Work and widening circles

The Work also seems to grease any lines that tends to go from egocentric to ethnocentric to widening worldcentric, such as the cognitive (view) and empathy (ethics, circles of care, concern and compassion).

As more of what is seen out there is also seen in here, there is naturally a widening of our view and circle of care, concern and compassion. We recognize in ourselves what we see out there. Less and less out there is foreign to us. I see myself in more and more of what used to be wholly other: in more and more people, in all beings, ecosystems, the Earth, past and future generations, and eventually Existence itself beyond and including all polarities.

There is a deepening sense of recognition. What I see out there is also in here. What I see in you, I recognize from myself.

And there is a deepening sense of belonging. What used to be so completely other is not so anymore. The boundary of I and Other becomes more porous. More and more, I see the seamless whole that these boundaries are placed on top of. There is a deepening sense of belonging… to humanity, to this life, to Earth, to Existence beyond and including all polarities.

With recognition and a sense of belonging, the circles of my view and compassion naturally widen, and widen, and widen.

Are you from Kazakstan? Culture, learnings, projections and levels

 

Western media report with some glee on the way some Kazakhstani officials respond to Borat and his new movie, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

In the west, we may wonder why they are so sensitive and don’t take it as an opportunity for playing along and use it for some healthy self-promotion. So there is obviously a cultural element here.

Projections

But this is also a good reminder of projections. When somebody see me in a certain way, either seriously or as a joke, can I find it in myself? It is most likely here, the only question is whether I have noticed it and welcomed it.

Say I try to hold onto a particular, exclusive, narrow, and by necessity precarious identity. If something comes along, either from myself or the rest of the world, that does not seem to fit with this identity, I will be defensive. I will try different strategies to maintain my identity, either by ignoring it, interpreting it a certain way, making a joke out of it, or argue against it.

But if my identity is more porous, inclusive, broad and lightly held, then there is more room to welcome it in. Whatever comes along, I can ask can I find it in myself? Most likely, the answer is yes, I can. Whatever it is, I can certainly find it in myself.

In this case, when am I from Kazakhstan? How is the way I see these Kazakhstani officials a mirror of what is going on right here? If I see them as taking themselves too seriously, maybe that is exactly what I do right now in exploring this… Not difficult to find (!)

So one way to look at this is culture: what do my culture see as appropriate? Another is projections: can I find it in myself?

Ethnocentric and worldcentric

Yet another way to look at it is through levels of development. If I live from a certain flavor of the ethnocentric view, I am likely to not see the humour in it when somebody makes fun of my (glorious) country. If I live from a more worldcentric view, it is OK. I don’t take it so seriously. I can even appreciate the humour in it.

Projections and development

It seems that there is a close relationship between (a) working with projections and (b) development from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric views (cognitive) and circles of concern (empathy, compassion, ethics).

If my identity is narrow and exclusive, then the area that does not fit into this identity is larger and denser. There are more blind projections going on. And I am more likely to act from egocentric and ethnocentric levels. I can see myself in only a few others. Or I can see others as me, in only a limited way.

As my identity becomes wider, broader, deeper, more inclusive and is held more lightly, the areas that do not fit shrink (although still there, as long as there is any identity). There are fewer blind projections. (There are still projections, but I am more aware of more of them, and can take them into account when I choose and act.) And I am more likely to act from various degrees of a worldcentric view. I can find myself in others, and in more and more of the others: all human beings, all species, ecosystems, the Earth, Existence as a whole.

They burnt me at the stake: stories as mirrors mainly

 

I read a news article about a psychologist in Norway getting in hot water for using regression therapy, using stories of apparent past lives to get at what is alive right now.

According to the news article, he had told his client that she had been burnt at the stake in a past life, which would explain some of her problems in this life.

Problems with seeing the story as real

Of course, the problem here comes if the therapist and/or the client actually see these stories as somehow real, if they add another story saying that this is what really happened.

At the very least, it can be a sidetrack and distraction, taking focus away from the story as a reflection of what is very much alive right now.

The client may get weirded out in believing it is really a story about a past life, or that the therapist thinks so. This can possibly get the client in trouble, amplifying the initial problem and the apparent solidity of the stories around it. And it can also, for good reasons, get the therapist in trouble. This is apparently what happened in this case.

Any story as a mirror

Any story is a reflection of what is very much alive right now, they are mirrors. And this is independent of their apparent source: waking life, dreams, daydreaming, fantasies, active imagination, regression therapy, movies, books, religions, science.

They reflect what is alive in us right now, especially if they have a charge for us, small or big or any flavor.

And there are many ways to explore these mirrors.

Ways to using stories as a starting point for inquiry

In The Work, I identify a stressful belief triggered by the story and inquire into it. They shouldn’t have burnt me at the stake. What is the turnaround? I shouldn’t burn me at the stake. Yes, that feels more true. I am the one doing it, daily, over and over. I burn myself at the stake.

In the Big Mind process, I explore dynamics among some of the voices related to the story. I was burnt at the stake. I can explore the voice of the body, of self-preservation, the protector, vulnerability, victim, perpetrator, helplessness, impermanence, and then look at it all from some of the transcendent voices such as Big Heart and Big Mind.

In Process Work, I can unfold the process behind the initial images and story and see where it goes, following the bread crumbs back home to wholeness.

In active imagination, I interact with whatever characters are there, asking them what their role is, responding differently to the situations and see where the story goes now.

In all of these ways, the initial story becomes an access point into exploring what is alive right now, bringing it into awareness, allowing the knots to unravel.

Any story about the world is a self-portrait

 

This may be a given, at least for those who have explored projections:

Any story about the world is a self-portrait

Any view of the world – any model, any framework, any map, any theory, any impression, any perception, any story, any thoughts and feelings about how others or the world is – is a self-portrait. It is a portrait of myself, as I am right now. It is a reflection of what is alive right here, right now, in immediate awareness.

Any scientific model, any spiritual model, any religious story, any story about my neighbor, they are all self-portraits. They all show what is alive in immediate awareness, here now.

Any creation story, from religion or science, is a reflection of how I am created right now. Any story about my neighbor is a story about what is alive right here right now. Any model of human development reflects what is going on in immediate awareness, from the levels to the processes.

It cannot be otherwise. I only know the world from what is already alive in immediate awareness.

Double function: aid for navigation and a self-portrait

Which is not to say that they are not useful in navigating the world. They are not only useful, they are essential for operating in the world. And there may even be a great deal of agreement that some of these views, models, frameworks and stories are useful and helpful.

Yet, they are still also 100% self-portraits. They effortlessly function as aids for navigating the world, and as self-portraits, at the same time.

Freud knew

It is interesting that this was clear to Freud and inherent in his views on projections.

Projections can be blind projections, and that is how the word is often used nowadays. We see something out there, and not also in here. We are blind to it in ourselves.

But projections are also more general. I cannot know the world, except for what is alive right here now, in immediate awareness. That is the only way I know the world. I cannot recognize hatred in someone else, unless I know it from myself. It has to be alive here first. That is the only way I can know it.

Munich: going beyond the obvious polarity

 

I watched the movie Munich last night, and found it far more interesting and engaging than I had expected.

Personality reacting

For one, it allowed me to see my own reactivity surface around some of the issues in the movie.

My personality reacts to any form of blind and stupid revenge, retaliation and use of violence, especially when it is very likely to just fuel more bloodshed, so there was a wish there for the main characters to be taken out early – knowing that would not happen.

It is actually interesting how my personality tends to have reverse sympathies, often for those others don’t have much sympathy for. I guess it is the sympathy for the underdog, whomever or whatever that may be in the situation.

Shifting views

And of course, as the movie set the stage for, there was also sympathy coming up for the main characters since we got to see at least two of them (the main character and his wife) in a more relaxed universally human setting.

In the beginning, they were set up as the good guys fighting the bad guys, in the familiar way. Yet, as the movie went along, it all got more complex.

In the safehouse conversations, we got a glimpse into the views of the Others, and they turned out to be human and having some good points as well. They may even be acting exactly as I would in their situation.

And we – the audience along with the main character – started to see that maybe this strategy of killing off opponents left and right may lead to more opposition, hatred and bloodshed on both sides.

Going beyond the polarity

I thought this was one of the strengths of the movie, and where it went further than most – at least US made – movies out there. It took us from the usual polarity of us versus them, and into a place where we see the similarities between us and them.

We are not so different. If I were in their situation, I would probably do exactly what they are doing. And if they were in my situation, they would probably do what I am doing.

Similarly, in the way Israel and Mossad responded to the Munich situation, they were exactly mirroring the terrorists, their opponents. They became the mirror image of their opponents.

This is a given these days, when people are a little more psychologically savvy: We become what we hate. Or rather, I have it in me anyway, and by shutting it off in myself, seeing it just in others, and blindly reacting to it in others, I set myself up to blindly live it in myself.

And we see it all around.

Becoming the terrorists

In the way the US reacted to 911, they themselves became the mirror image of the terrorist, although with one difference: Since they have far more resources and support around the world, they only do it at a far larger scale. Instead of less than 3,000 killed, they have killed – or been responsible for the killing of – tens of thousands, maybe hundred of thousands. In the process, they predictably and effectively erode whatever sympathy is left for the US, fuel resentment and hatred against the US, and recruit new terrorists worldwide – in far greater numbers and fueled by far more hostility. It is a suicidal approach.

There are of course situations where forceful measures, even war, is needed. But this was clearly not one of them.

This is where the movie led as well: All this blood will come back to us.

In the grips of irrationality

Why does it happen? Because we are in the grips of emotions. When there is a blind projection, we have little choice but to live out whatever would rather see in others than in ourselves.

And how to loosen it up and find release from it? Through taking a sober view at what is going on. If we support violence against those we perceive as our opponents, are we not doing excatly what they are doing? If our soldiers kill large number of civilians, are they much different from the original terrorists? How am I doing what I see in them? How am I living what they are living?

In seeing this more clearly, there is a release from blind reactivity and emotions. There is the space for a more rational approach, for more sane choices. They may still involve forceful tactics if that seems needed, but now at least from a different view and with more ability to let go.

Of course, it doens’t help that the US now has a government which systematically uses this form of irrationality for their own purposes, a government that uses fear as a strategy for getting their policies through. And that the US has a media that to a minimal extent question what is going on, and function more as stenographers than anything else.

Inquiry

Some statements for inquiry for myself…

They shouldn’t use violence to get their way.

They shouldn’t act in a blindly reactive way.

They should see how violence turns itself towards those using it.

They shouldn’t use fear tactics to get their way.

The US media and public shouldn’t be so stupid and unquestioning.

Have you been a borg?

 

I recently re-watched First Contact, a Star Trek: Next Generation feature movie featuring the borg.

When I first saw the borg – cybernetic organisms with one mission: to assimilate any species they encounter into their own collective – I was struck with the power of this image. They seem to have the same clear and resonant archetypal quality as classic creatures from ancient and more modern stories, such as cyclops, the centaur, dragons, goblins, witches, wizards and dracula.

The borg qualities

Exploring the borg image for myself, I notice that I see them as cold, inhuman, machine like, relentless, twistedly rational, single-track, without concerns for the views or interests of others.

Attachment to ideas

Where do I find these qualities in myself? When I strongly believe in an idea… When I am absolutely dead certain it is true, that I am right, and that the world does not conform to this idea.

That is when this same cold, inhuman, twistedly rational and persistent quality can arise, and the more seems to be at stake, the stronger these qualities may come up.

When it comes up

It can come up in daily life, whenever there is a strong attachment to an idea and the world does not conform. It can come up in small, apparently insignificant, situations.

It comes up in our culture, and maybe especially clearly seen in politics and religion. I see it in some progressives relationship to Bush. In Bush’s attitude towards terrorists. In some scientist’s view of religious fundamentalists. In some religious fundamentalists relationship to science. In some Americans view of United Nations.

The borg is right here

There is a strong conviction, a world that does not conform, and the ideas become more important than just about anything else. We become single-tracked, cold, relentless, machine like, with an absence of empathy and the willingness take other views.

The borg is right here. And when present, it assimilates and cover up our more human qualities. Our receptivity, flexibility and empathy. A creature emerges that is part human and part machine: relentless, cold, single-track, without concern for the views and interests of others.

Inquiry

That creature is any one of us, when we believe strongly in an idea. Fortunately, there are many ways to soften or disarm the borg.

We can distract ourselves with something more pleasant, temporarily shift attention away from it. We can come to the breath and the body, shifting out of the contraction.

Or we can find the thought we believe in – that which we are so attached to, that we see as so clearly true, that which holds us in its grip – and we can inquire into it.

When a belief is inquired into with some sincerity, it loses its grip. It becomes just another thought, and we are free to shift fluidly among multiple perspectives without holding any one of them too tightly. In a way, we become more human again. More organic.

Organic

It is interesting that in the Star Trek universe, the only species the borg has no power over is species 8472. They are all organic, including their space ships, which may represent a more fluid and flexible approach, more organic in a wide sense of the term.

Same Thoughts, and I Also Talk to Myself

 

I had lunch at an outdoor table today, and there was a homeless (?) man and his dog not too far away. He talked to himself about whatever was happening, including cars running their engines while being parked.

I realized that his thoughts were the same thoughts as I have. Every single one of them were familiar to me.

And I also talk to myself. I talk with myself through my internal monologues and dialogues about whatever is happening. And if I am honest, I often talk to myself and for my own benefit even when somebody is there listening and responding.

Again, when I look I find that he is me, in a very real sense.

This is of course at the relative level, where there is an apparent separation. Even as there is a belief in I placed on this human self, he is me.

Content of Beliefs, and Believing Itself, Brings a Sense of Something Being Off

 

When I believe in a thought, there is a sense of something is wrong.

Content of beliefs making something right and wrong

I believe that I should be wealthy, I am not as wealthy as I should be, so that is wrong. I believe I should be good looking, I am not that good looking, so again that is wrong. I believe my neighbor should be more quiet, he is not, and that is wrong.

Whenever I belive in a thought, then somewhere, sometimes, the world is wrong. It is inherent in beliefs that something is made to appear right and something else wrong.

The content of beliefs automatically splits the world into right and wrong.

Believing itself experienced as off

At the same time, I see that this sense of something being off is a projection. And as any projection, it is a projection of what is happening right here now, it is a projection of experience.

When I believe in a thought, there is an inherent sense of it being off, right there, even before going to the content of the thought. There is a sense of something wrong, just in the process of believing a thought itself.

And this sense of something being off, something being wrong, is projected out. It is added to the appearance of right and wrong inherent in the content of the belief.

Example

The content of any belief splits the world into right and wrong. And the process of believing any thought brings a sense of something being off, which is added to the other source of the world appearing as right and wrong.

I did my (mostly daily) round robin phone call for The Work today, and inquired into foods should make my body sick.

Towards the end, I saw how my story creates a sense of something is wrong. And how this sense of something being wrong, or something being off, is not only inherent in the content of any belief, but also in the process of believing in any thought.

Not Inanimate

 

It is with a great deal of surprise that I have watched the US invasion and occupation and Iraq, and now the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. The invasion and attacks were maybe not so surprising, but the official reasoning – and even more so the acceptance of this reasoning by many including the media, is surprising to me.

Their reasoning seems to assume that they (somehow) are not dealing with humans and ordinary human reactions and responses.

It seemed inconceivable that the Iraqi population would welcome a foreign invasion and occupation, especially considering their history. To oppose occupation is just human, it is what most of us would do. Yet, the US (officially) assumed otherwise. For every Iraqi civilian killed during the invasion and now during the occupation, the hostility towards the US and the west in general is bound to increase – for good reasons. And as the hostility and resentment deepens, the resistance – including the violent resistance, will too.

The same seems to be the case with the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. The official story is that they are attacking Hezbollah to weaken or eliminate them, yet again – it makes little or no sense. If a foreign country attacks yours, killing large numbers of civilians, isn’t that only going to fuel hostility and resentment? If anything, it will make Hezbollah and similar groups stronger. It only channels more sympathy, resources and people to them. Again, it is only human. It is simply how the vast majority of us would react if we were in their situation. At the same time, it weakens and erodes whatever sympathy is left for Israel around the world. They shoot themselves in the foot.

And the parallel seems clear in terms of how this plays out on an individual level. What I resist persist. As long as I deny its existence, or try to exterminate it, it will only (appear to) fight back with the same strength as I am putting into the fight. Only by meeting it where and as it is can there be any relief.

Of course, the conflict and war I see out there, is what I know from myself. I do the same things, daily, in my own life. Something happens that this personality does not like, there is an identification with and attachment to this dislike, and there is war. What I see in Iraq, Lebanon and other places is just a reminder of this. It is just a mirror. I clean it up here, and can also do whatever seems appropriate in the world.

Israel & Lebanon

 

I usually don’t mention current affairs here, but want to write something about the current atrocities in Lebanon. It is astonishing to me how the international community can watch, mainly in silence, as Israel is attacking, bombing and killing large numbers of civilians in a neighboring country – possibly even using chemical weapons in the process (hardly mentioned at all in the international media).

It is just another example of what we all do – justify or accept behavior by “friends” or “us” that we would never accept by “enemies” or “others”. In this case, the western world sees Israel as “us”, and watches in silence. While Muslims and Muslim countries are still “other”, so their lives are implicitly seen as less valuable and important, and their actions treated with far more skepticism and criticism, and far less patience and tolerance.

For me, one of the lights in this is seeing the reactions in Norway (my home country) which is far more critical to Israel’s actions than what I see in most of the western world. There seems to be a tradition in Norway to take a more deeply human view and also to side with the underdogs, relatively independent of who they are, and in this case the underdogs are Lebanese civilians.

So as I see this behavior of the Israelis – an almost insane cruelty and violence, and the behavior of the international community – complacency and silence, then the question is – how does this show up in my own life? How is this alive in me right now, as I see this, and how is it alive in my life in other situations?

As I watch and see my own reaction to the behavior of the Israelis, I see the same violence and cruelty in me as I see in them. For me, it is directed towards the actions of the Israelis, and for them, it is directed towards Lebanese civilians. I relate to the Israelis as I see them relate to the Lebanese.

As I watch and see my own reaction to the behavior of the international community, I again see in me what I see in them. I find the same complacency in myself as in them. After all, what am I doing about it? Hardly anything. I am passively watching as I see them passively watch. On another level, I see myself sometimes passively watch my own reactions, without investigating them. There is war right here, created by my beliefs and their clash with reality, and I am passively watching without examining what is really going on.

And I can just note this. Just see it. Take it in. It is information. There is no need to add an additional layer of drama to it, by adding stories about what I see in myself. And if I do, then that is just something else to see, to take note of.

Examples of Projection

 

I feel in need of rest, notice restfulness right here, place a story on it making it appear to come in the future, and notice the story and the restfulness right here.

I notice clarity and insights here, place a story on it making it appear out there on a teacher, notice this story and projection, and find the clarity and insights right there.

I notice death right here, place a story of it being in the future or for someone else, and notice it right here – as the nothingness, the void, the nonbeing, nonexistence, right here in immediate experience.

I notice discomfort right here, add a story of it being in the future, and notice the discomfort right here – including the discomfort created by believing the story.

I notice a conscious attitude which is not aligned with what is more true for me, place a story on it which makes it appear on someone else (he is wrong), and notice it right here – as holding onto a story not really true for me. I am the one who is wrong, according to what is more true for me.

I notice anger right here, place a story on it making it appear as being in another, and then notice the anger right here, alive in the present.

The process

For each of these… (i) The first noticing of the quality is not or only partially conscious. (ii) A story is added onto it appearing to place it somewhere else – in the past, future, onto “others”. (iii) This is noticed (as a projection). And (iv) the quality itself is noticed right here, alive in the midst of the story about it.

Between (i) and (ii), there is a reason for a story being placed on it making it appear “out there”. The main reason is that the presence of the quality right here now does not fit a story we believe in. Or we could say that it does not fit into our conscious worldview or identity.

I believe a story saying I am only tired right now, so see restfullness in the future. I believe a story of how I am not clear and insightful, so I see it in a teacher. I believe the story that I am alive, not dead, so death is in the past, future, and for others right now. I believe a story of discomfort being in the future, so don’t see the discomfort right here. I believe the story that I am right, so somebody else is wrong. I believe the story that I am not angry, so I see it in somebody else.

The overall process comes full circle, from noticing the quality and back to noticing the quality, although the quality itself is made more conscious through the initial projection. Sometimes it is easier to see it out there first, and then right here, where it always is.

Projections Noticed **

 

To follow up on the previous post…

Whenever I notice a thought (or sense) of anything in the past, future or “out there”, I know a projection is involved. Whenever something appears “out there” somewhere, it is a clear sign and reminder to look at the projection.

So I can simply see that the quality appearing “out there” is already and immediately right here. In the middle of the projection, in the middle of the story about it, in the middle of the sense of it being “out there”, it is already right here. It is already alive right here, in my immediate experience.

Finding this allow the projection to fall away. It is seen through. What appeared out there is noticed and found right here.

No fancy technique is needed. It is immediate, fresh.

And it may also come up since I have worked with projections for a while, including through inquiry. Who knows. That too is a story placing the process of unraveling in the past, while it is really unfolding right now.

Projections **

 

I often experience a particular insight as fresh and immediate. And then make a story out of it, compare it with memories of other stories, and note with some surprise that it seems “old”. This story is similar to an old story, yet the experience of what the stories point to is fresh and new.

Insights pointing to exactly where I am stuck

As soon as there is any belief in the label “insight” or the story this label refers to, that is of course exactly where I am stuck.

That is where I create a sense of identity, of I and other. That is where I split the world up in right and wrong, clarity and confusion. That is where I lose myself, where there is a sense of alienation, something to hold onto, something to protect, a weapon to make others wrong.

Projections as immediate

One of these insights is of projections as immediate.

A quality arises and is noticed. A story is added to it, apparently placing the quality “out there” – in the past, future, on others. And I can notice this, and find the quality alive right here.

It is very simple. Very immediate. Releasing the whole confusion that comes with blind projections.

And again, the story I put on this is apparently as the old story of projections, the one I have hold onto since my teens – when I got heavily into Jung and anything having to do with projections.

Yet the experience of it is different, far more immediate and fresh. Without any fancy tools or techniques. Just unfolding immediately and simply, allowing the temporary confusion to unravel.
And even this story of it being an “old” insight is a projection. The insight is alive right here. And I add a story on it appearing to place it (partly) in the past.

What is alive right now is all there is. There is no past, apart from stories about it. And these stories unfold right now.

Already alive here now

The world may agree with my stories about the past, or not, but they are still only stories – unfolding right now.

And the content of the stories, what they refer to, is also (only and already) alive right now, right here. It is all already alive right here now, right in the midst of the stories about them.

It is already noticed right here now, and all I need to do is noticing exactly that.

Dream :: Cat Brought Back to Life **

 

I find a room in the basement, and in it a machine. It brings a cat companion of mine, which died a few years ago, back to life. It is slightly surprising at first, and I see that just about anything else can be brought back – or into – life as well. I explore how to use the room and machine in a more conscious and predictable way, and find that a clear intention is the key.

This dream is similar to Solaris, the science fiction novel by Stanislav Lem (and movie by Tarkovsky) where an extraterrestrial ocean brings people from cosmonauts’ past – apparently – back to life. There was a similar image and atmosphere in the dream.

The day before, I had a deepening discovery relating to projections. I was in the bodywork intensive, noticed I seemed very tired, and saw how my mind went to lunch break and the opportunity for taking a nap then – even if this was early in the morning session. I noticed the sense of relaxation and rejuvenation was present, although placed by thoughts into the future, and decided to look for it right here instead. By noticing the same quality of relaxation and rest right here, I was able to bring a sense of being refreshed to my experience. What I was looking for was right there, in the present.

The “new” discovery was how immediate the projected material is, and how easy it is to contact it right here. It is already noticed right here, before being projected onto “other” such as past, future, others, so the only task is to notice it again, right here.

  1. A quality arises and is noticed.
  2. A thought is added to the quality, appearing to place it onto “other” – past, future, other. This most likely happens when the quality being here does not fit with a particular identity or a worldview.
  3. I can notice this projection, and re-find the quality right here.

This seems to be exactly what is reflected in the dream.

  1. The cat is alive in my memory and the qualities associated with him (innocence, open hearted, curious, courageous) are right here.
  2. A story is added to these qualities placing them on him and in the past. He is dead, so the qualities are projected back into the past, appearing there only. (A “there” which is really here, and always is.)
  3. I notice this process as it happens, and see the qualities right here. He is brought back to life, in the sense that the qualities I associate with him are seen right here, alive. I can find them alive right now, in my own experience and life.

This is just another reminder that anything I see “out there” is alive right here right now. The world is my mirror.

‘Devil May Care’ Guy *

 

Following along with this theme, here is another process from the train ride home tonight.

I sat in the diner car for most of the journey, and at the table on the other side of the isle was a big guy with a devil may care attitude. His body language, facial expression and movements all reflected this attitude.

I noticed that I initially found it somewhat annoying. He seemed to take up a lot of space, literally and otherwise. And his attitude could be interpreted as “to hell with everybody”.

Going into this, I saw that I was actually quite attracted to a variation of the qualities I saw in him. I want and need a more healthy indifference to others in my life.

Typically, I pay far too much attention to what others may think and say about me, and I sensor myself and become self-conscious that way.

There seems to be a readiness to allow that to fall more away. To find a comfort with what and who I am, and allow others to think and say what they do. The first is clearly my business, the second clearly other’s business. I also find the Breema principles of body comfortable and no extra helpful here.

So again, what first appeared as Other and a disturbance, became a welcomed reminder of what I want to bring more into my own life. Seeing it over there allowed me to find it here, it made it more alive in my own experience, it helped me see how I can bring it more into my daily life.

And if I forget, there will be other devil-may-care guys reminding me.