Addictions

 

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

Media

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

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

Culture

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

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

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First Day – October 6, 2004

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

Some of the insights around addicition…

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

Dyads

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

  • Dairy

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

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

  • Sugar

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

Internet

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

Libraries

The wastness/richness of human experiences – all there.

Culture & Assumptions

 

Human Bias

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

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

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

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

Culture

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

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

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

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

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

Some cultural assumption I am aware of and their consequences…

  • There is a discontinuity between humans and other species

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

  • There is a separation between egotism and altruism

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

  • We are separate from the larger whole

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

  • [many more]

Activity

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

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

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

Breema & Healing

 

Some reflections related to Breema and healing:

Self-Healing Processes

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

Rhythm

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

All Levels

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

Beyond Altruism & Egotism

 

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

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

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

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

Body Comfortable

 

One of the Breema principles is Body Comfortable. As with all the principles, I continue to experience it in new, deepening and widening ways.

Body

Initially, I took it literally (still do). Whenever I remembered Body Comfortable, I would check in with my body’s comfort, and make whatever changes needed to move in the direction of more comfort. I found that I could sit, walk, stand, etc. in always more comfortable ways. And also that what is comfortable changes from moment to moment.

Body/Mind

After a few weeks, I applied it to my whole self. What do I experience as comfortable? How can I be more comfortable right now? It gave me permission to make choices based on what works for me at the moment, rather than “shoulds” and expectations. If I would be uncomfortable doing something, and I would do it based on shoulds and my own or other’s expecations, I can always say “no”. Very liberating. And subversive as well as revolutionary in our culture.

World

Then, I deepened my experience of “no separation” and of human society and Earth as my larger body. And of course Body Comfortable also relates to my larger body. How can I live a life that makes society and Earth more comfortable. There are no “shoulds” and no intellectualizing, just the experience of wanting my life to contribute to the comfort of my whole body. Most of the time, the choices are simple. What is good for my small body is also good for my larger body and the other way around – no separation.

Dreams

 

I have had several dreams over the last weeks, all with variations on the same theme:

I am leading a diverse group of people in a hands-on project (most recently building), and relate to each person individually and differently according to what is needed. There is a strong sense of leading and coordination, as well as (a) differentiation/diversity and (b) flow and unity.

I think the transformation coming from my daily Breema practice may relate to these dreams. I am bringing the diversity of my body/mind into awareness (the animal aspects as well as those beyond dualities) as well as the flowing unity of myself and the rest of the world.

Food

 

Food is another example of how something can be very simple. Still, we often make it more complicated – and in our situation with good help from commercialism (new fads promoted because someone can make money on it).

I have found an evolutionary perspective to be very useful when I make decision in any areas of life. How does it match up with our human history? (eg. the Atkins Diet seems obviously unhealthy since it is so far removed from the food situation we are biologically adapted to).

With food, it is simple:

* Diverse diet

* Less processed and whole foods

* Everything in moderation

* Daily excercise through diverse and daily activities

* Change. Eat with the seasons so no food is eaten regularly year round (give the body a break). Become gradually more intimate with my own mind/body and choose food based on what is needed at the moment.

And there is a strategy that fulfills all my biological needs, as well as my needs for connetion: Eating local food. Local food is seasonal, fresh, abundant, from people and/or places I have personal connections with, less processed, inexpensive – and immensely rewarding on all levels.

Culture & Depression

 

In my own life I have observed when depression tends to sink in: when I am not meeting my deepest needs. When I live a life that does not work for me.

It is very simple.

We have basic and universal needs, and we try to meet those needs through various strategies. Often, we are attached to particular strategies even if they do not work very well, and even if we are not very aware of which needs we are trying to meet through them.

In my teens, I experienced depression alongside with a tremendous exitement about what this world has to offer. I explored Jung, Steiner, Bertelsen, Daoism, Buddhism, sustainability, art and more, and it gave me a tremendous hope as I could see a way out of the habitual patterns I had inherented from my culture and family. Patterns that led to a life where my deepest needs were not met, and depression as life’s way of reminding me that they were not met.

When depression arrives – even in its mildest form – I know it is a reminder: which deep and universal needs are not fulfilled in my life? And I know there are more strategies possible to fulfill them than I – or any human being – can ever explore.

And the simplest strategies are often the most effective.

Life (experience & ideas)

 

I have seen how we humans easily get caught up in ideas rather than the taste and full experience. It is played out over and over again, including in different spiritual traditions.

There is the taste and lived experience, and then there is the ideas around it. The first opens up for life. The second, if by itself, for alienation. An healthy approach emphasizes the experience, and allows the ideas to support it.

And as everything is in change, our experience changes – and our ideas changes with it. There is nothing fixed to hold onto.

In Breema, there is a strong emphasis on the experience. It is one of the reasons why I find it such a nurturing and juicy approach.

Miracle

 

The greatest miracle is that anything exists at all.

Then, that there is awareness.

Then, how the immense richness of the Universe unfolds from simplicity.

We experience the magic in life when we are present, when we have a taste of Existence or God – beyond all dualities.

And I notice how Breema, as my experience of it deepens, helps me open to this taste of Existence and magic.

Summer

 

It has been a wonderful summer.

Breema

I have taken weekly Breema classes, and went to an eleven-day intensive at the Breema Center in Oakland, California. At my return, I sent out an invitation for free Breema session at the Eugene Permaculture Guild email list, and have had 2-4 sessions daily since then. I notice that the more session I do, the better I feel. It has much the same effect as meditation, yoga and tai chi, although two benefits when I do it – not only my self. The personal connections have also been great and have opened up new doors.

Food

It’s been an abundant late summer/early fall, with much food preservation going on (drying, freezing and eventually canning as well). It is great to find more local sources including free ones. I have also gotten back into making foods including mustard.

NWEI

 

When I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, one of the community activities that I found the most enjoyable was to help start NWEI discussion groups (on topics such as Voluntary Simplicity, Deep Ecology, Choices for Sustainable Living, a Sense of Place, etc).

Although the groups use an anthology of readings as background for the meetings, and a way of kicking off the conversation, I found that the magic happened in the interactions among the participants. It is amazing to see the wisdom and experience that is allowed to surface when we have a deep and personal dialogue, and the even richer and deeper wisdom that comes out of the group interaction.

It also became clearer to me how important it is to create a good container for quality interactions. Some of the guidelines: Speaking time is shared among participants, talking from personal experience (avoiding abstract ideas, blaming others, etc), solution focus, etc.

Consumption

 

Much of the mindless consumption in our society are attempts to meet basic human needs. And unsuccessful attempts at that.

Our culture has set up a quite impressive feedback system:

(a) Among our most basic human needs are deep, authentic and meaningful relationships to ourselves, each other and the Earth. These are needs that are not met very well in current western society (in the US least of all places).

(b) We are trained to be unaware of our basic needs. We are also trained to be unaware of how we choose strategies to meet those needs. Most of our strategies are habitual, unconscious, learned from our culture and family, and tragically ineffective in meeting our needs.

(c) We try to meet our basic needs through various forms of consumption. This is the one strategy that we systematically learn from an increasingly young age, and one that is reinforced by our culture.

(d) Our culture is set up to perpetuate alienation through promoting unsuccessful strategies to meet our needs (consumption, nuclear living units, mindless entertainment etc.). These strategies feeds the current (profoundly flawed) economical system and those who benefit from it (although they are as much and tragically caught up in it as anyone else of course). And this in turn is an additional incentive to perpetuate the same unsuccessful strategies.

It is a feedback loop that is doomed to failure, but we need to become aware of how flawed it is to change it. And, as with much change in human life (on an individual or collective level) it may not happen until the alternative (to continue what we are doing) becomes too painful. And the pain may partly come through our alienation, and partly through economic collapse and ecological unraveling.

Simplicity

 

Jen and I facilitated a workshop on voluntary simplicity today. We chose to do it as a discussion group, and is always amazing to see the combined wisdom and experience of the participants, and the magic that comes from the human interactions.

As with any group interaction, setting up the container is essential. And some aspect of that process this time was to give life to the realizations that…

(a) It is a process (no end goals).

(b) It is about intentionality and living a meaningful life – which will look different from person to person and different at different times in any person’s life (there is no one strategy).

(c) There is a wide range of tools available, and which tools are appropriate depends on the situation and person.

(d) Some of those tools have to do with inner simplicity. For instance, NVC helps us identify and clarify our needs, and consciously choose strategies to meet those needs (and flexibility in which strategies we choose).

(e) Most of our needs have to do with relationships and connections with ourselves, each other and the wider Earth community. They can be met simply, and w/o much consumption.

Breema is one of those tools for me, allowing me to connect deeply with myself, other people (when I give or receive Breema), and the wider whole. I have a direct and deepening experience of no separation, I can more easily let go of my attachments to ideas and habits that do not meet my needs, and choose strategies that better meet my needs. Many of the “holes” in my life that I sometimes try to (unsuccessfully) meet through various forms of consumption, are filled through Breema.

Beckett

 

I watched some of the 19 by Beckett plays tonight. It seems he, in many of the plays, pulls out one way we habitually relate to the world and then amplifies it.

In NVC terms, he shows how we are stuck in particular strategies to meet our needs, although the strategies do not always work and although we are sometimes not even aware of which needs we are trying to meet by a particular strategy.

NVC, meditation, Breema, etc. are some approaches to bring these habitual patterns into awareness, so we can relate to them with more awareness and choice.

News as a Tool

 

The daily news is mostly the same stories over and over, with different names, locations and scales.

Still, there is a surprising fascination with these stories, one that goes beyond what is necessary to make choices based on their information.

It seems that much of this fascination, especially concerning events that do not directly impact us, is due to projections. Something in the stories reflect processes and characteristics in ourselves that is not in our awareness. The stories trigger aversions (fear, anger etc) and attractions (admiration etc) that brings our attention to the stories so we can explore them in the outer world. From that, we – hopefully and eventually – recognize and become familiar with the same processes and characteristics in ourselves.

Ever since high school, I have used the daily news as a tool for awareness. Every characteristic I see in the outer world is also there in the inner world. There is no difference. No separation.

And with that, less need to be attached to stories, and less need for blind judgment (blind aversions or attractions). There is only events reflecting the human – including my own – condition. And there is more clarity in how to deal with these situations – how to reduce suffering.

What is left is deep compassion, based on recognition. It is all part of the human condition, we are all in this together. It opens up for a deep sense of connection, and for deep gratitude.

Holistic & Consistency

 

I walked into a massage office today and left within a couple of minutes. The air was saturated with offgassing from new paint and carpets. My initial response was sadness – mixed with judgment – to see someone in a health-centered profession introducing toxins to their work space. It does hardly support the health of those working their nor that of their clients.

I then was reminded that we all do this. Our lives may be (consciously) oriented in a certain direction, but life is rich and beyond dualities. Our lives and actions are by necessity richer than any abstract ideology/wishes, and thus far beyond “consistent”.

In terms of everyday choices, we live in a culture that is doing its job – it sets up patterns that makes some choices easy and others not so easy. With paint and carpets, it often takes more investigation to find high-quality and non-toxic products (unless there is a good store nearby specializing in those products).

In my own life, I consciously want to live in a way that supports life: for myself, the larger society/Earth, and for future generation (no separation there anyway). But my choices are by necessity not consistent. My awareness is limited and interacts with constraints set up by my culture and resources. My choices are relatively well aligned with my conscious orientation in some areas, and not so well aligned in other areas.

And then there is change: Everything is in change – the Universe and our experiences with it. There is nothing fixed to hold onto. My guidelines today are different from my guidelines tomorrow. What I perceive as appropriate choices today will be different from my choices tomorrow. New views emerge from new experiences.

Inconsistency is a part of the richness of life.

Simple II

 

“To be who you are, you don’t need much but you need to let go of much.” – Jon Schreiber, Freedom Is in This Moment.

I have been doing Breema sessions daily this summer, and am experiencing more directly how simple and uncomplicated life can be. It just is.

There is life, but no need for extra. There is discernment, but no need for judgement. There is cause and effect, but no need for “shoulds”. There are some guidelines, but no ideology. There is honesty, and no need for complication. It just is.

And it is grounded in every cell of my body, in my whole existence.

Simple

 

I dreamt that I was in a small US town, and crossed the street behind a moving police car. The car stopped, and a police officer walked up to me and started chit-chatting. I said “I know why you stopped me. It is because I crossed the street without using the sidewalk.” He looked taken back. “Are you not going to try to make excuses?” I said “No. I like it simple. And I like to be honest.”

I then woke up from a grunting racoon family outside the bedroom window.

I noticed how I enjoyed the experience of making it simple and honest. Uncomplicated. (And I was a little curious to see how he would react).

The day before: Talked with Jen about how simple life can be, through Breema (support to let go of extra).

Do it for Yourself

 

One of the Breema principles (not among the nine) is “Do it for yourself”. It is a revolutionary principle in our culture, and yet a very simple and obvious one.

When I do it for myself (whatever I am doing), and also realize that there is no separation, I and the larger whole benefits.

When I do bodywork and do it for myself (for my own enjoyment and benefit), and experience no separation, the other person also benefits more. I am more relaxed, more comfortable, more present.

Whatever I do in my life, I can move in the direction of doing it more for myself.

In NVC, there is a very similar principle: Want what you do and do what you want. And a process to clarify this: (a) Make a list of the top ten things you least enjoy doing. (b) Write down your usual internal statement of the activity (“I have to … because …”). (c) Rephrase it as a “choose” statement (“I choose to … because …”) and look at which needs the activity meets and do not meet. This process will usually lead to one of three changes: 1. I realize that the activity does not meet my needs and I stop doing it. 2. I change the way I am doing it so my needs are better met. 3. I change my attitude towards the activity because I realize it does meet my needs. And again, my needs are not separate from those of others or the rest of the world.

Long Perspective

 

I saw Artificial Intelligence last night, and while the movie as a whole was disappointing (artificial and stilted dialogue, flat and uninteresting characters, poorly developed storyline), there was one aspect that made it worth watching: The long perspective.

It is a good reminder to see the ending of the movie taking place after humans (and presumably Earthly life) is gone. Everything is transient.

In a few decades, I and every single person in my life, will be gone. In a few hundred years, every memory of most people alive now will be gone. In a few thousand years, the human culture – if still in existence – will be beyond recognition. Furter into the future (a few billion years), the Earth and all beings part of it will be gone. A few more billion years, and this Universe will be gone.

For me, this is a liberating perspective. I do not need to live my life to impress or follow the expectations of others or myself. I can live my life for myself.

Breema & Addictions

 

Among the many possible research projects involving Breema, it would be interesting to see it’s effect on addictions.

Breema…

1. Softens (decrystallize) habits and make them easier to deal with. It opens up for more conscious choice.

2. Fills many deep and universal human needs, including connection, acceptance and peak/blissful experiences. Many addictions are (failed) strategies to meet those same needs.

Two Cultures

 

The Norwegian culture and society are socially progressive, relatively open minded and well informed (thanks to a decent quality media). They tend to seek solutions that benefits society as a whole as much as the individuals (universal healthcare and free education at all levels are just two examples). Still, the small size of the population – and maybe a different conservatism – means that those interested in unusual topics are very few and create small (or no) communities. There may also be a conservatism in typical choice of life path.

In the US, the culture as a whole is far more conservative, and many tends to be less well informed (due to corporate media). They tend to perceive (or create the perception of) a conflict between solutions good for society as a whole and for individuals. But the large size of the population allows for subgroups of people with similar interests to gather and explore new paths, to a far larger extent than what I have seen in Norway. Since I have non-typical interests (e.g. permaculture, Zen, Breema, NVC, holistic health, etc), it is far easier for me to explore them here, in a community of likeminded people.

Prophet and Followers

 

It is common for prophets, in any area, to be followed by some who follow in name but not in substance.

Jesus, one who appeared to have experienced and expressed full enlightenment, is no exception. There are many genuine followers, those who follow from heart, wisdon and compassion (and even some who follow in their non-dual experience). And there are some who follow in name, but not life (who are in the grips of judgement, a closed heart, fear).

The path of Jesus was one of deep humanity, of inclusiveness, of wisdom and compassion born from a realization that we are all human. He spent his life with the outcasts of society (robbers, prostitute, lepars) as well as any others. And he did this from a trans-dual experience of the world.

Beyond Right & Wrong

 

There are no “right” or “wrong” actions. Only actions and their consequences. And these consequences may be perceived as desireable or undesireable (depending on our situation and perspective).

When we use “shoulds” we speak from value judgements and an (implicit or explicit, consious or subconsious) ideology. We have an attachment, which is often unconsious and leaves little choice.

When we use causality (action X may lead to action Y), there is more precision, consiousness and choice. It leads to simplicity and often more pleasant interactions.

Balance

 

I have for a long time sought, and often lived, a life that balance friendships, community involvement, spiritual practice and work/schooling. Since going back to school and enrolling in a graduate program in architecture, the balance has been severly skewed, with predicable loss of life quality and increase in frustration.

It seems that any culture that is life centered, whether it is on a global, regional or instituional scale, will make a strong effort to help individuals achieve this balance. In terms of work and schooling, it seems that the minimum would be to allow for evenings and weekends off… Any system or (sub)culture that is set up in a way that prevents individuals from finding this balance in everyday life seems profoundly flawed and unhealthy (for individuals and society)…

For me in my current situation, there seems to be three main factors: Quantity of work. Quality of work. Quality of life. I am expected to produce a high quantity of work, far beyond a regular 35-40 hour workweek (double at times), which does not allow much time/energy for the two other ends of the triangle. There is a predictable loss of satisfaction from not being able to explore a topic/project in depth, and further loss of quality of life from being able to engaging in social/community activities and spiritual practice to any significant extent.

It makes me wonder what worldview is behind such a system… What is seen as most important? Work – or people and life? For those to co-exist and enhance each other, there has to be a reasonable balance.

Messages from Water

 

“What the Bleep do We Know’ featured work by Masaru Emoto on the effects of intention on water crystallization. It is work by only one researcher so who knows how reliable it is – but it does make intuitive sense. [It seems that anyone should be able to replicate it, especially those living in climates with cold winters and a microscope.]

Emoto found that clean water and/or healing intentions (gratitude, compassion etc) leads to the formation of regular and beautiful water crystals.

Impure water and/or non-healing intentions produces less well-formed crystals.

In any case, it is a reminder of the power on intentions – they form our life, our role in the world, and collectively – the (social/ecological) world we live in.

What the ***bleep***

 

I saw What the Bleep do We Know last night. It is a well made movie on current thinking about the intersection between new physics and spirituality. Nothing new, but well presented (a documentary with a fictional story woven in and animations).

It reminded me of how effective the Big Mind process is in opening for a glimpse of the transdual experience of the world. And how effective a daily meditation practice (under guidance of an experienced teacher) is in grounding and embodying (living, expressing) the transdual experience, and helping us let go of attachments to habits and patterns.