Pastafarians

 

When I first encountered the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster several years ago, I thought it was a brilliant satire over religions. Through their own obviously absurd beliefs and rituals, they highlight the often equally absurd beliefs and rituals in different religions. And they also highlight how society often silently agrees to not point out the absurdity.

And yes, I know that religions serve many functions. They give people a community and sense of belonging. They serve to regulate behavior. They give power to small groups of people. They instill fear and/or hope in people. They create problems (f.ex. original sin) and solutions to these problems.

Some of these functions may be partially helpful and some certainly are not (apart from for the small groups of people benefiting from it in a limited way).

People sometimes complain that Pastafarians mock religion. But that’s their whole reason for being. And religions, let’s face it, often deserve to be mocked – or, at least, have their inconsistencies pointed out.

As with most things, I think religions are mostly OK and that it’s not a problem to belong to one. (I have variously been involved with Unitarians, Tibetan Buddhists, and Zen.) But it is a problem if we are not honest about what’s really going on, at least to ourselves.

For instance, if we are honest we may admit that we chose a particular religion because we were born into it. That the beliefs are just something we (try to) hold as true because we are told to. That we don’t really know. That we are involved for social reasons or emotional comfort. That parts of religions reflect a particular culture at a particular time more than any universal truth. That the purpose of any religion perhaps is to perpetuate itself more than anything else. That we are involved only to explore certain practices and their effects and don’t care about the rest (as was the case for me with Buddhism). And so on.

Avoid, present with, or resolve

 

How do we relate to uncomfortable thoughts and sensations?

We can avoid them. Be present with them. Or invite them to resolve.

Each one has its place.

Avoiding can be useful in the short run. But nothing is resolved, the discomfort tends to return, and avoidance in itself can create problems in life.

Being present with the images, words, and sensations can be helpful. It tends to help the mind calm down. We may notice what’s there, some of the dynamics of the mind, and perhaps have some insights. But in itself, this too won’t neccesarily resolve anything.

So how do we resolve it? It can be resolved through the consciousness side or the energy side, and really through both. I’ll just mention the few approaches I am familiar with, out of the innumerable ones available.

We can identify and examine the stressful beliefs, and find what’s more true to us (The Work). We can notice and rest with the mental images, words, and sensations creating the stressful experience, allowing the mental connection between the thoughts and sensations to dissolve (Living Inquiries). We can dissolve it from the energy side while inviting in insights to support the new patterns (Vortex Healing). We can change our relationship to it through heart centered practices (tonglen, ho’o, metta).

In general, we can meet it with presence, patience, respect, kindness, and curiosity. And that curiosity is a kind of inquiry supported by certain pointers, guidelines, and perhaps practices aimed at helping us see what’s already there. The truth is kind, and it will set us free.

Another meta-skill is important for something to resolve and that’s intention. Intention for it to resolve and clear. Intention for us and the process to keep moving, to find and explore associated and underlying beliefs and identifications.

It also helps to notice that all of it – any movements and any content of experience, including the stressful beliefs and how we relate to and explore it – happens within and as presence. That’s the context for it all. And it helps us notice identfications with wanting something to change, and then notice that too as happening within and as presence. It gives it all more space and freedom to be.

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CFS and bodymind

 

The body-mind is a seamless system, as is the individual and the larger social and ecological wholes. It’s all a seamless system.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and other mystery illnesses function as a reminder of this. To understand it, manage it, and treat it, we need to take a broad and inclusive approach. At least, unless they find one simple solution to curing it (which may happen).

For now, it seems that different approaches work for different people in terms of managing it and sometimes healing from it. Activity management is a universally helpful approach to managing CFS, perhaps since we all do it anyway. It’s part of human life. And some have healed themselves through yoga, or some form of cognitive therapy, or herbal medicine, or eating more, or through other approaches.

In my case, what preceded the CFS, the symptoms, and what helps, is not original. The initial onset was preceded by mononucleosis, perhaps combined with typical teen stress which put an extra load on the system. I got much better after a few years, mostly because I found myself in a situation where I could manage my schedule more freely. When there was a relapse of the severe CFS many years later, it was after severe pneumonia that I wasn’t able to completely recover from.

It’s also clear that it’s connected with food intolerances (which makes the symptoms worse). And it may be connected to mold since I lived in a basement when it first happened, and I lived in a house in Oregon with mold problems when I had the relapse.

My approach to managing and healing from CFS includes:

Avoiding foods my body reacts to. (Dairy, wheat, sugar.)

Regulating my activities. Rest when needed. Do a little less than I feel I can (to avoid crashes).

Herbal medicine. Right now: siberian ginseng (energy), echinacea (immune system), kapikacchu (energy).

Natural rest, inquiry, heart centered practices. This helps me change my relationship to the CFS symptoms and it’s impact on my life, and also explore any issues that may in any way contribute to it.

Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE). TRE releases tension out of the muscles, which in turn frees up energy.

Eating enough. It seems that this is a peace of recovery for many. Making sure the body has enough calories and nutrients to have a good metabolism. (Also, recently adding a small layer of fat to my body has helped me avoid energy crashes.)

Vortex Healing. This has helped me greatly although it’s also a slow(ish) process. I have used it to clear the mono-virus that was still in my body when I started with VH, clearing and optimizing my energy system, and also working on emotional issues impacting my physical health and energy levels.

The Vortex Healing approach to CFS and similar health issues is a reminder of what I mentioned above. It’s best to take a broad and inclusive approach and leave no stone unturned. Prioritize and explore.

Note: I was motivated to write this by a somewhat odd discussion in a Norwegian CFS Facebook group. Some seem to take the view that cognitive therapy approaches can heal CFS (which it can for some but not others), some that it’s a purely physical illness (it certainly has that component, and that’s where a “magic bullet” cure may be found eventually), and some take a more inclusive view. As I mentioned above, with any mystery illness it makes sense to take a broad and inclusive approach and leave no stone unturned.

Lessons from losing a bag

 

I left my Timbuk2 messenger bag on the train a couple of days ago, and have not had it returned. It contained several things important to me and some that are difficult (or impossible) to replace.

Here are some things I have noticed:

I did experience some shock right away. It seemed unreal, especially since I have never lost anything important in this way before.

It’s helpful to be kind to my own experiences – the shock, sadness, frustration. They are like creatures that just want some presence, kindness, and respect.

I reminded myself that most or all can be replaced in different ways. And that they are just things. I can get by without any of the specific things I lost.

It’s a reminder that everyone and everything comes and goes. In a few decades, everyone alive now will be dead. In a few decades or centuries, everything I have will be gone. In a few millenia, everything humans have now will be gone.

I don’t “own” any of it. I don’t even “own” my own body. It’s all here temporarily. At most, I am a steward of this life and these physical things. And it seems that now, that particular bag with it’s content has passed on to someone else. Just as they came into my stewardship, they are now in someone else’s stewardship.

I get to notice some beliefs and identifications coming up from this situation. Life is rubbing up against them, so I get to notice them more clearly. I don’t consciously believe any of them, but somewhere in me they are believed. Here is a selection:

I am a victim. I am unlucky. Things go wrong for me.

I deserve to have it back. I always return what I find. Life should be fair.

I own those things. They are mine.

It’s hard to live in a world where people are so crude and lack empathy.

It shook me up and gave me a boost to get certain things in my life more in order.

Whenever life goes against our shoulds, we can use it to fuel stressful and painful beliefs. Or we can use it to open to our experience and meet it with some kindness, notice and examine our painful beliefs, and see that we are all in the same boat.

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Fear expressed as anger

 

I have mentioned this as an aside in other posts.

Fear can take the form of anger.

Or, rather, one response to fear is anger. And for some, anger can be a habitual response to fear.

Conversely, we can say that behind anger, is – most likely – fear.

It’s good to keep this in mind when we do any kind of exploration of anger or fear. If there is anger, is there fear behind or within it? If there is fear, does it sometimes take the form of anger?

Also, anger can take different forms besides what we, in our society, usually think of as anger. It can take the form of frustration. Blame. Harsh judgments (of self and others). Reactivity. Defense. And much more. And all of it may trace back to fear.

And fear can take a great number of forms besides anger and obvious fear. To me, it seems that a reaction to fear is behind most stressful experiences and dynamics, including going into beliefs and identifications. Our reaction to fear tends to create a wide range of different stressful experiences.

As always, these are questions. Starting points for exploration. Whatever we find is what we find, whether it fits our expectations or what’s suggested in pointers or not.

Note: I should mention that when we find the fear behind anger, identifications, etc. it often feels quite vulnerable, and as a confession. A hidden secret that we finally admit to. The anger, identifications, or whatever it may be often serve as a protection against facing this fear. So it can be helpful to explore and befriend the fear of meeting the fear.

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Are religious people delusional?

 

Are religious people delusional? That’s a question addressed by a recent article in The Guardian.

It’s a complex question and, as usual, it depends. Here are a few angles.

In general, what’s common and shared in a culture is not seen as unusual or a problem. (Although people from another background and culture may well see it differently.) Common religious beliefs and behaviors won’t be seen as delusional, even by people who disagree or have another view. And since most human cultures accept religions, we tend to give religions and religious people more leeway than we do in other cases.

If religious views or behaviors seem too much out of the ordinary we are more likely to wonder what’s going on. The views may be stronger than usual. Their views or behavior may be out of the ordinary. Their identity may be seen as unusual. And that may be considered a disorder or delusional.

Mystical experience is a subset of what I just mentioned. Some religious traditions and cultures accept mystical experiences (Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism), and some see it as more unusual  (Protestant Christianity). In the latter, mystical experiences may be viewed with more suspicion although it depends on how the person interpret their own experiences.

In general, from a mainstream psychological view, it depends on how the person views their own beliefs and experiences. If they have a reasonably rational and mature relationship to it, and their interpretations are not too much out of the ordinary, they are likely to be seen as sane. If they seem to have unusually strong beliefs, or very unusual interpretations, they are more likely to be seen as delusional.

I understand this approach. As social and group creatures, we absorb the views and norms of our culture. And whatever is ordinary is also normal and generally seen as sane. And yet, it’s possible to take a more dispassionate view. We can take a step back and imagine we see it from the outside.

From a more dispassionate view, I would say religious beliefs are delusional. If we adopt views and beliefs (a) unsupported by our own experience and solid data, (b) just because someone else holds them, that is – in a strict sense – delusional. It may be understandable and ordinary but also delusional. It makes about as much sense as believing in Santa Claus.

So why don’t psychologists see religious beliefs as delusional? There are many reasons. Mainly, the beliefs are understandable and ordinary and they want to give people some leeway. Also, they don’t want to antagonize large groups of people. And if religious beliefs are seen as delusional, then any belief will have to be seen as delusional.

And, of course, that’s actually true. When we hold our own imagination – which our thoughts are – as representing reality in any final or absolute sense, then we are delusional. Any belief is, in a strict sense, delusional. That’s why it’s also stressful. It’s out of alignment with reality.

Fortunately, there is a way out. And that way may include many forms of explorations including various forms of meditation, heart-centered practices, body-inclusive practices, and inquiry.

Perhaps in the future or in some society somewhere else in the universe, the norm is to take thoughts for what they are. As imagination only helpful in a practical sense to help us orient and navigate in the world. And not as a pointer to any final or absolute truth or reality. In such a society, religious belief – as any other belief – may be seen as delusional. Understandable but delusional.

Just to make it clear: I am talking about religious belief here. Not necessarily spirituality. Spirituality – as anything else – can and does get mixed in with beliefs. But it can also be a more open and pragmatic exploration. It can be a reporting on direct experiences, in an as honest way as possible. It can be a practical exploration through using pointers and practices to see what we find. It can be an exploration of reality, just as (other forms of) science. And that can be done outside of or (sometimes) within a religious context.

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Welcome, God

 

Earlier today, I noticed some slight discomfort, sadness, and impulse for it to change.

And then welcome, God. To the discomfort, sadness, and impulse for it to change. And as a reminder to myself that it’s all Spirit. It’s happening within and as awakeness. It’s the play of life. It’s life experiencing life.

It’s also a reminder of how spiritual practices are made. Something happens spontaneously, as welcome, God did. We find it helpful to ourselves. And sometimes, it’s passed on to others. To be more useful, it’s often made into a structure or a kind of prescription. And sometimes, it’s helpful to someone else, and sometimes not.

Either way, it’s something that initially happens spontaneously. Is found to be helpful. There is an impulse to pass it on to someone else. (Often as a kindness.) It is made into something slightly more structured. And it is then helpful or not, depending on the person and the situation they are in.

This particular one is helpful if we have seen (as a glimpse) or continue to see (when we look) all as Spirit. But we sometimes need a reminder that some manifestations of Spirit – such as discomfort or an impulse for something to change – also are Spirit. So we can then try welcome, God as a reminder, and see what happens.

Note: We can say welcome, God to anything. Situations. People. Emotions. Thoughts. Whatever it may be that we initially don’t recognize as Spirit. Whatever we don’t automatically recognize as Spirit due to old habits of calling some thing bad, undesirable, or just not the divine.

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A twist that changes what’s happened before

 

I tend to like stories where the ending changes how we see what happened before.

Two examples from science fiction is Arrival and Star Trek Deep Space Nine Whispers episode.

It’s also what happens through inquiry, when we find more clarity through openings or awakenings, and through any insight in general.

Through more clarity and revelations, we see our own past in a very different light. We interpret and understand it differently.

Here is a simple example from my own life:

Over the last few years, many things have fallen apart and away. It’s easy to think I have been unfortunate, or someone else is to blame, or it’s just what’s part of a dark night of the soul. And there is some truth to all of it.

But what’s more true is that I haven’t been completely on my own team. I haven’t taken care of my own interests as much as I was called to. And the dark night itself happened for the same reason. I stayed in a situation that didn’t feel right at a deep level, and I did so because I wasn’t completely on my own team.

This current insight changes how I see the past. My own past, quite literally, is changed in my own experience.

Here are some general shifts that can come through inquiry and openings or awakenings.

We may go from blame to taking responsibility – for our own actions and perceptions.

We may go from seeing something as wrong to seeing the neutrality or rightness of it.

We may go from seeing it as misfortune to seeing the genuine gifts in it.

We may go from narrow causality (blaming something proximal) to seeing it has infinite causes.

We may go from seeing it in a local perspective to seeing it as an expression of life and perhaps Spirit.

We may go from seeing it as happening to a separate self to happening within and as life or Spirit.

We may go from being focused on goals to seeing life more as the play of life or Spirit.

We may go from wanting something to change to seeing it’s already perfect. (And we can still aim at change although from within this new perspective.)

As someone said (I don’t remember who) awakening is retroactive. It changes how we see our past and all of life.

And as Byron Katie says, forgiveness is what happens when we see that what we thought happened didn’t.

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The problem with (some) psychological questionnaires

 

Many psychological measures and questionnaires are well designed and thought out. But some are not. Their questions can be interpreted in different ways which leaves the answers open for misinterpretation. Or they don’t measure everything needed to give a good picture of the situation.

For instance, here are my answers to two different measures of depression. A short one (MASDR) where the questions are reasonably well phrased. And another (CES-D) where they ask about the frequency of specific types of experience, but not the intensity. This provides insufficient data for any useful interpretation, and – again – leaves the answers open to misinterpretation.

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Noticing as inquiry

 

When we sit and have little choice but to notice the mind, we all – inevitably – have certain insights. That’s one of the reasons regular sitting (aka meditation) has an effect.

Here are some of the things we may notice.

Any particular content of experience keeps changing. They come and go. They are visitors.

The activity of the mind seems to naturally quiet down after a while when I sit still and the content is noticed.

My mind tends to run in similar patterns, revisiting similar dynamics and themes.

Identities and roles tend to “flash up” when called for by the situation or triggered by thoughts. They appear, I can engage with them or not, and they then go away again.

When my mind beliefs certain thoughts, they have a charge. And that charge is really sensations assicated with the particular thought. That’s how my mind creates beliefs and identifications, and any thought with a charge.

Strong emotions may pass through with little identification. They appear as emotions passing through and not much else. And slight emotions may trigger a strong identification and seem more real and true as if it really means something.

There is an infinite richness of experience here. I can find any experience and emotion right in this experience, even if just as a whisper or trace.

Content of experience may be active, strong, and in movement while there is also rest and silence here. It all happens within and as silence.

Content of experience may seem anything but OK while it happens within and as what seems OK. OKness and not-OKness both happens here.

Something doesn’t come and go. I can perhaps label it awareness, or awakeness, or consciousness, although none of those labels really fit.

Any description of this is insufficient. It can’t really touch it. Not because what’s happening is so amazing (most of the time it’s very ordinary), but because reality can’t really be touched by words. Words fragment and split while reality is a seamless all-inclusive whole.

I don’t know anything for certain. Thoughts are images and words created by my mind to make sense of the world. They can be helpful for orienting and functioning, but there is no absolute or final truth in any of them. Only a charge (sensations) associated with them can make it seem that they have some final truth, and that’s just a charge – also created by the mind.

Any “me” or “I” happens as content of experience, and is created by my own mind. They are created by thoughts (images and words) combined with sensations. I cannot find any me or I outside of that.

My experience is consciousness. Any experience is consciousness. Or, at least, that’s what the mind can label it. The mind cannot know anything but consciousness since sensory experiences and thoughts happen within and as consciousness. It doesn’t know anything else. The world appears as consciousness. (And any thought about it being consciousness, or not existing etc. are just thoughts, imaginations, questions about the world.)

Thoughts are really questions about the world. Sometimes, the mind recognize them as questions. And sometimes, it tells itself they are more true or real than that. Although it doesn’t really know.

The mind tries to find safety in telling itself it knows something, even if that knowing is painful. And it does so by combining certain sensations with the thoughts. The thoughts seem more substantial, real, and true when they are associated with sensations. And the sensations seems to mean something when they are associated with the thoughts.

Of course, many of these are easier noticed through more structured or formalized inquiry, either through The Work or Living Inquiry or something similar. When they are noticed in inquiry, they are more easily noticed in regular sitting (AKA natural rest, basic meditation, just sitting, shikantaza etc.). When they are noticed in inquiry and/or natural rest, they are more easily noticed in everyday life. And when they are noticed in everyday life, they are more easily noticed through a range of situations in everyday life.

I have participated in a few circling sessions on Skype recently, and this noticing comes even more alive when shared. Sitting in silence has it’s benefits, as does sharing our noticing in real time with another or a small group of people. For me, the sharing adds something to the noticing.

Trump reflections IX – aka reflections on society and politics

 

Continued from previous posts…. These posts started out about Trump but have morphed into brief notes about society and politics in general.

Emotionally motivated reasoning. A good portion of our reasoning is emotionally motivated. I sometimes think that in a Life 101 track for young people, learning to recognize emotionally motivated reasoning (EMR) – and it’s strengths and pitfalls – would be included. It seems a basic and useful life skill.

Emotionally motivated reasoning is reasoning based on emotions. We use thoughts to match our emotions, or to justify and support our emotions. We feel empathy so have a view of egalitarian inclusiveness. We feel angry, so we come up with a reason we are angry and perhaps why someone else is to blame. We are afraid, and do the same. And this influences our political views and reasoning.

What are some of the signs of EMR? Reactivity. Defensiveness. Blame. Appearing unreasonable. Uninterested in alternate views. Discounting data that doesn’t fit.

We can learn to recognize this in ourselves and in others. When we recognize it in ourselves, it’s a reminder to stop. Notice our emotions. Be honest with ourselves what we feel. (Perhaps anger on the surface masking fear.) And reconsider our view. It can be difficult, but it has many rewards. It’s a practice in honesty. And it’s a practice in being more interested in reality than our cherished views and identities. We will always operate from EMR in some situations and areas of life, but we can learn to recognize and be more honest about it.

And when we recognize it in others, we will then be more able to use a similar process. Sometimes, it’s  appropriate to directly address reactivity and irrationality, but it can also make positions more entrenched. Another way is to approach it with genuine curiosity. What are the emotions behind it? What’s the fear? What do they really want and need? Perhaps there are other strategies for them to have their needs met? (This is similar to Nonviolent Communications.)

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How food influences CFS in my experience

 

I have had CFS since my teens, and especially strongly in two periods (including right now).

From the beginning, I knew that food played a role in how well I do. The type of food plays a role, as does when I eat, and – as I discovered more recently – having some minimal fat reserves.

Type of food. I tend to do best when I eat mostly vegetables and meat, with smaller amounts of grains and fruit, and minimal to no dairy and sugar. The less processed the better. And I prefer organic and locally produced food. I am from Northern Europe, and I notice I do well on traditional Northern European foods. Perhaps it’s genetics, or just what my body is used to, or the climate, I don’t quite know.

I especially like warm food that’s delicious and easy and quick to prepare. Slow cooked stews with bone broth is a favorite.

When I eat. I tend to eat relatively frequently. My main meal is often breakfast, and it’s often vegetables and meat. Lunch and dinner are typically similar. Although I do mix it up according to what I notice I am drawn to. It’s good to not be too strict. (For instance, I had muesli with kefir a couple of days ago and it felt right and good then. And I do sometimes eat chocolate.)

Fat reserves. I have been slim to skinny my whole life, and unable to put on weight even when I have intentionally tried to. This spring, I did a combination of Vortex Healing and using an app in order to put on more weight, and it worked within a week. (The Vortex Healing was for my digestive system and to support my body in absorbing and making use of nutrients.)

I am now up to 84kg (184cm tall) and have a minimal to moderate layer of fat on my body for the first time. It feels like an important and helpful buffer for me. I used to have energy crashes if a meal was delayed or I missed a meal. Now, that doesn’t seem to happen anymore. Joey Lott and others talk about the importance of eating enough in order to deal with and perhaps recover from CFS, and that fits my experience as well.

Additional notes. As I mentioned above, I am not terribly strict in my diet. Now and then, I do eat some grains, some dairy (cheese, kefir), and some sugar (mostly in the form of chocolate). I also find that butter seems to really help me, so I tend to melt butter on most warm meals. I should also say that I do some strength training and typically walk a good deal, so I try to stay as fit as I can within the limitations of having CFS.

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Oneness understood in different ways

 

There are different forms or versions of oneness.

All as a system. The universe is a seamless system. Everything is evolving from, within, and as the universe. In the same way, the Earth is a seamless living system, and all parts of the Earth is evolving from, within, and as the Earth. (And, yes, that includes humans and our culture, technology, and society.) Everything has infinite causes. Our health and well being is intimately connected with the health and well being of the larger social and ecological wholes. This is a systems view of oneness.

All as consciousness. In our immediate experience, any experience happens within and as consciousness. Any experience is consciousness and cannot be anything else ever. It’s form empty of substance. Any appearance of substance of solidity comes from mental images or words combining with sensations, and that too happens within and as consciousness. (Images or words lend meaning to sensations, and sensations lend a sense of solidity to images and words.) This is something we can – if we explore it skillfully – agree on whether we come from a psychological view or a spiritual view.

All as Spirit. To us, any experience is inevitably consciousness. But is reality in itself – the whole universe – consciousness? (Or Spirit, Brahman, Buddha Mind, Allah, God.) It certainly appears that way to us, but that doesn’t mean it – in itself – is. As with anything else, we cannot know for certain. We can say that there are hints that everything, in itself, is consciousness, including synchronicities, various forms of ESP and knowing, and perhaps distance healing. But, in fairness, these can be interpreted other ways as well.

Is it so obvious? I have assumed that it’s obvious that all our experience happens within and as consciousness. I know that to many, the world appears to be made up of solid and substantial “things” that exist “out there” in the world. And yet, within one session of Living Inquiries, guided by a skilled facilitator, we can all have a taste of how the mind creates its own world. And that all of it happens within and as consciousness. A brief exploration will typically reveal it, even if most will revert to the “solid objects in a real world” experience afterward.

My view? To me, each of these three forms of oneness seems valid and useful. The systems view helps us organize ourselves so we are more aligned with reality, and it can also open for awe, gratitude, and humility, and a deep sense of belonging. The second helps relieve stress from recognizing how the mind creates its own experience. And although the third is perhaps a less needed addition, it does help us function in a more sane and mature way in the world.

Play of the divine. These three forms of oneness have an additional component for me. And that’s lila – the play of life, the mind, or the divine. From a systems view, the universe is the play of life. From the second view, our experience is the play of the mind. And from the third view, all of existence is the play of the divine. It’s life, the mind, or the divine, expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in a great multitude of ways. There is perhaps no ultimate “goal” to it all apart from the play itself, and that’s perhaps enough. Of course, within this play, there are apparent sub-“goals” or stepping stones, but it’s all happening within and as the play.

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How I have treated my Lyme disease

 

I got Lyme disease a couple of years ago and had the red ring, the classic symptoms,  positive test results, and diagnosis from a few independent specialists. Although some treatments helped for a while (antibiotics, hyperthermia etc.), the symptoms always returned.

So far, two treatments seem to help me the most.

Vortex Healing. Highest level Vortex Healers use a Lyme protocol that seems to make the Lyme go dormant. From what I hear, it may also clear it completely although that may take several sessions.  (I know many are skeptical to energy healing but it has worked for me.) Until I started with the essential oils, I needed to repeat the VH Lyme treatment every half year or so.

Essential oils. A friend of a friend recommended essential oils for Lyme, and specifically, something called the Doterra protocol. (See details below.) She treated herself for a year or so, became free of any symptoms, and have so far – about two years later? – not had any recurrence.

I should add that I know people who report becoming Lyme free through using either Vortex Healing OR the essential oils, so the combination is clearly not necessary for everyone. With something as serious as Lyme, I personally tend to choose simple combinations of the best candidates instead of just one approach.

It’s hard for me to say how much my Lyme symptoms are reduced, if I am actually symptom-free, and if the Lyme is gone or not, since the Lyme symptoms are very similar to CFS and I still have CFS. The senior Vortex Healers I have checked with say they can’t find any indication of active Lyme in my system, and possibly also no dormant Lyme. I am still using the essential oils and will for perhaps a total of 1 1/2 years. I keep an eye out for the typical Lyme symptoms (for me, numb arms, legs, and face, stronger fatigue and brain fog, and emotional instability), and plan on scheduling another VH session if I notice them.

How I use the essential oils.

This is just how I use the essential oils. It’s not a recommendation or prescription. (Some say it can be harmful to take essential oils internally over longer periods of time.)

I use Doterra oils in OO (medium size) capsules.

In each capsule:
12 drops On Guard
6 drops Oregano
2 drops Frankincense
= 20 drops total in a capsule

I take one capsule a day for 14 days. Then 14 days break where I apply 2 drops of lemongrass and 1 drop of oregano on each foot daily. Repeat the cycle. As far as I understand, it’s not good to indefinitely take essential oils internally so I plan to stop after a year or so, or perhaps 1 1/2 years.

Here is how I have done it:

I got the Doterra oils. A bag of empty OO capsules. A regular dropper bottle. And a dropper with a milliliter scale. (The oils from eBay, the capsules from Amazon, and the dropper bottle can be found at any pharmacy or online.)

I fill the dropper bottle with 6 parts On Guard, 3 parts Oregano, 1 part Frankincense, and mix it by gently shaking it. (For instance, 15ml On Guard, 7.5ml Oregano, and 2.5ml Frankincense.)

Each morning, I fill a capsule with 20 drops from the dropper bottle and swallow the capsule with water right away. (The oils melt the capsules after a few minutes so the filled capsules can’t be stored.)

Thanks to Zora for sharing the Doterra info with me!

I plan on giving an update after a few more months.

P.S. The reason these are specifically Doterra oils is because of the On Guard mix. The other two oils can be from another company, although it should be a company with good quality oils.

The essence of mystical experiences

 

My mystical experience has faded a lot now. I still spend time in nature, but that incredible oneness and closeness of feeling with the birds, trees, rivers is much less.

– J.

You may already have discovered this. One thing that has helped me with fading mystical experiences is to see what’s still there. Often, the strength of the experience may fade or the “bells and whistles” (the bliss, amazement etc.) may go away, but something is still there. And what’s still there is often the most central.

What I have found helpful is asking myself “what’s the essence of the mystical experience”, and then see if I can find that here and now. For instance, it may be a sense of oneness, or that all is Spirit or the divine. Initially, it can be a bit disappointing to see that it’s here but not as strong as before. But as you attend to it, you may find a real appreciation for what’s still here. It may turn out to be what’s most important and transformative in the long run.

– from my reply

I thought I would share this here. It’s common for mystical experiences to fade and for the side-effects – the bliss, awe, amazement – to go away. That’s the nature of mystical experiences. And there is an invitation here, and that’s to see what’s still here.

It’s easy to get into “chase the mystical experience” mode. I did for a while. Whether it works or not, it becomes pretty clear over time that it’s a bit like a dog chasing it’s tail. It can be fun, it may work, but it’s also exhausting and – if we are honest with ourselves – futile. It doesn’t really get us what we want because experiences, including the most amazing ones, fade and go away.

So what is it that didn’t go away? What’s still here? Maybe that’s what it is more about?

Thoughts: a risky experiment

 

Thoughts is one of life’s risky experiments.

It seems to work pretty well for non-human species. I assume many non-human species too have thoughts that mimic the senses. Imagined sensory information that helps them remember the past, plan for the future, and function in the present.

We humans have gone one step further. We have created language out of a combination of images and sounds. That’s another level of abstraction, and one that is both powerful and dangerous.

It’s powerful since it allows us to explore the world in the abstract. It allows us to take what’s already there in less abstract thought, and create everything human civilization has created – from agriculture and cities to science, art, and technology.

It’s dangerous. When we take our thoughts to be real and true, it creates suffering for ourselves and can easily do so for others as well. And that happens at social (war, religion, oppression) and individual levels.

And it’s a risky experiment from life’s side. It may not work out for very long. We may self-destruct because of our inability to use thoughts in the most beneficial way. And we may take some ecosystems and other species with us. Of course, it’s not really that risky since everything dies anyway – species, ecosystems, living planets, solar systems, and the universe as a whole. It may just speed up the death of some species. And as we know from Earth’s history, mass extinctions create room for new species, ecosystems, and life innovations. (It’s also not “risky” since it’s not a planned evolutionary step, it just happened because it happened to give our species a survival advantage.)

Thoughts can be a very useful tool. As mentioned above, it seems to work pretty well in its less abstract version, prior to more complex language. And even with higher levels of abstraction, it can work well. We can recognize thoughts as a tool of limited value. They are very valuable in helping us orient and function in the world. And yet, they can’t do anything more. They are questions about the world. They have no absolute or final truth to them.

Who knows, perhaps humans will eventually evolve so a majority of us inherently know that thoughts are tools only. If so, humanity may have a long lifespan.

From a Darwinist point of view, this will require those who are less inclined to believe thoughts to have a survival advantage and produce more offspring. On the surface, that may not seem to be happening. Although who knows. If we are around for long enough, we – as a species – will see.

(more…)

Jeff Foster: Why you haven’t healed yet

 

Are you wondering why, after all these years, you still haven’t healed, awakened, transformed? Why your pain, confusion, doubts, sorrows, your deep longings for home, are “still here”?

“I should have found the answers by now. By now, my sorrow should have disappeared. By now, I should be free from fear. By now, I should be feeling more peaceful, clear, awakened. By now, joy should be consistent, my natural state. By now…”

Friends, ‘by now’ is the biggest damn lie of all!

There is no such thing as ‘by now’. There cannot be a ‘by now’.

There is only Now. Only this moment.

No ‘by’. No ‘still’. No ‘yet’. Healing is not a destination.

If we can drop the expectations and the false hopes around healing, drop the myth of ‘by now’ and instead bow to what is actually here, honour our present experience, see its sacredness and its intelligence, celebrate THE WAY WE ACTUALLY ARE TODAY, even if we feel sad, even if we experience doubt, or anger, or fear, then we may experience a total paradigm shift…

From:

“Pain, sadness, anger, fear, why are you still here? I hoped that you’d be gone by now!”

To:

“Ohhh! You ARE here! Yes! What an honour to meet you, here! You are life, too; a sacred wave of consciousness! There is no mind-made story that says you shouldn’t be here! No demand for you to have disappeared ‘by now’! You are not ‘still’ here, of course; there is no time. You are here, now, in this moment, only! Still here! I am still, here! And in the stillness that I Am, in this oceanic field of Presence, we can truly meet…”

A thought or feeling does not arise to be healed, friend; it arises to be HELD, lightly, in the loving arms of presence.

So that’s why you feel like you’re ‘not there yet’.

You are not there yet! You will never be there!

There is no ‘yet’. There is no ‘there’. There is no ‘by now’!

You are here. You are always here. You will always be here. Here is your home and your sanctuary.

This is true healing: the surrender into Presence. The sense of being held by something infinitely greater than yourself. No time required.

This is the great paradox of healing: You are already healed.

– Jeff Foster