Ursula Le Guin: You must go somewhere else, you must have another goal

 

To oppose something is to maintain it. … You must go somewhere else; you must have another goal; then you walk a different road

– Ursula Le Guin

This is true in ourselves and in the world.

Sometimes, it is important to oppose something in order to avoid harm. These are what Joanna Macy call holding actions. But in general, if all we do is opposing something, it tends to be maintained and even grow stronger.

It’s important to create, envision, and live what we want to see more of – in our own life and in the world.

And it’s also important to question our more deeply held assumptions and find another way of looking at ourselves and the world that’s more aligned with reality and more life centered.

It also helps to understand where the problems come from and how they are created. In our world, it’s often systemic problems, world views, and trauma. And behind that, fear. In ourselves, it’s often the same.

Byron Katie: Happiness may look entirely different from the way you imagine it

 

Happiness may look entirely different from the way you imagine it.

– Byron Katie

We have ideas of how a happy life looks. We have ideas about what life situations we need to be happy. Perhaps it’s health, money, a loving relationship or something else.

And yet, life may surprise us.

We may find ourselves in a very different situation than we imagined and find happiness there. We may live in a different place than we imagined. Do different type of work. Be in a relationship with someone we didn’t imagine. And find that we are very happy in that situation.

We may also find that happiness is less dependent on specific circumstances than we thoughts. We may find ourselves with an illness and perhaps without money or a partner. And still find happiness. We may find happiness in situations we imagined would be terrible and didn’t want at all, and perhaps still wish were different.

How is that possible? It’s possible through questioning our stressful beliefs about what is and what should be. Through questioning our stressful beliefs about anything in our life. And through questioning our most basic assumptions about ourselves and life.

Sometimes, this questioning is a natural and organic process and happens as part of our life. Sometimes, we can fuel it a bit through more structured inquiry and perhaps with the assistance of others who know the process.

The Work of Byron Katie is one way to do this.

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things VII

 

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be a little on the rant side. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

DOES AWAKENING HAVE TO TAKE A LONG TIME?

Yes and no.

The taste or glimpse of what awakening is about can happen within minutes, for instance through the Big Mind process and Headless experiments. Most people can find it pretty quickly and many can even learn to notice it in daily life.

And the process of clarifying, learning to notice in more and more situations in daily life, and exploring how to live from or within it takes time. It takes (at the very least) a lifetime and is ongoing.

Is a glimpse of what we are – through inquiry or something else – really awakening?

Again, the answer is yes and no and it’s a bit more complex.

The noticing is often real. And there may be more to clarify and notice and certainly more to stabilize and living within it to do. Although that’s how it often is for any awakening.

The image many have about awakening is something that comes suddenly and perhaps without much forewarning. Those certainly happen and they tend to be more dramatic and often with bells and whistles. The drama and bells and whistles are side-effects. They not essential for the awakening and can even be distracting.

So a more apparently mundane noticing – with the help of inquiry – has some upsides. It’s less dramatic and that is, in a way, its advantage. It helps us notice what it really is about and that special or unusual states are not a requirement at all. We can notice it in daily life, in our most mundane states. We are less distracted by drama and states and bells and whistles.

DRAMATIC AND QUIET AWAKENINGS

To continue a theme from the previous post: Awakenings can be dramatic or more quiet, and we often go through both types at different phases in the awakening process.

Each one comes with upsides and downsides.

What’s the upside of the more dramatic awakenings? They certainly get our attention. And they can create lasting and big shifts in how we perceive ourselves and the world. (As can any other form of noticing.)

What’s the downside of the dramatic awakenings? They come with side-effects, including the intensity, strong awe, bliss, and so on. And it’s easy to be fascinated with these side-effects and states and seek to experience them again. We can even take the awakening to be about these side-effects.

What’s the upside of the quiet noticing and awakenings? It’s easier to notice that what it is about is what’s here independent of states and experiences. It’s a simple noticing of ourselves as capacity for ourselves and the wider world. Our ordinary mundane experience is perfect for us to notice what we are.

And what’s the downside of the more quiet noticing? It can be almost too ordinary and quiet, especially if we have an image in our mind of it needing to be more dramatic to be a “real” noticing and awakening. If we have this conditioning, it can seem too simple, ordinary, and unremarkable and we may dismiss it or see it as not it. (This comes from a lack of maturity and may fall away with time.)

One is not “better” than the other. The dramatic ones can get our attention and may be just what we need in some parts of our process. The quiet ones helps us notice what we are through any states and experiences, including the apparently very ordinary and mundane ones, and is exactly what we need in other phases of our process.

Read More

The banality of evil and our ecological crisis

 

As Hannah Arendt pointed out, in Nazi Germany, most of the atrocities were committed by good family men who followed orders. They just did what was expected of them. And they didn’t take responsibility to change or pull out of the situation.

The same is the case today in our era of ecological destruction. Most of the destruction is done by people just doing what’s expected of them – and that includes me and probably you.

In Nazi Germany, they lived within a Nazi system requiring them to imprison, torture, or kill large numbers of people.

In our society today, we live within a social and economic system that doesn’t take ecological realities into account. A normal life within this system “requires” us to live in a way that’s ecologically destructive.

The banality of evil doesn’t just apply to Nazi Germany. It applies to us today.

So what can we do about it?

To me, it’s important to realize that this is a problem with the system we live within. It’s not only or mainly about “evil” corporations or politicians or any other specific people. Our social and economic system was created in the 1700s and 1800s, at a time where natural resources and the ability of nature of absorb the waste of civilization seemed unlimited. This system doesn’t take ecological realities into account because it didn’t have to.

When we live within this system today, with a much higher population and more effective technologies, it’s predictable that it will have harmful ecological consequences – to the extent that our civilization is at risk.

This is about all of us. We all live within this system whether we like it or not. (Apart from a very few who have radically departed from it by choice or for other reasons.)

So it’s up to all of us to educate ourselves about the real problem – our current system and what the alternatives are, speak up about it, support the alternatives, and vote at elections and with our money to nudge changes in the right direction.

We need to create a new system where what’s easy and attractive to do – for individuals and businesses – is what’s sound ecologically and takes future generations into account. And that’s very possible if we – collectively – decide to do it.

And it starts with you and me. Even small steps in this direction matter a lot.

Beyond ecology and 1800s structures: Power-over mindset

I intentionally focused on the ecological crisis and economic structures from the last two or three hundred years in what I wrote above, just to keep it simple. But that’s a bit misleading since the cultural roots of the ecological crisis goes back much further and those roots are connected to other social issues.

The ecological crisis does come from recent(ish) economic and social structures.

But it also comes from a power-over mindset that came with agriculture and has been prominent in the European and other civilizations. And this power-over mindset not only has harmed nature but women, children, animals, those who fall outside of the mainstream, and really all of us.

When we operate from a power-over mindset, we harm a lot of people, animals, and nature around us. And we also harm ourselves. We apply the same power-over mindset to ourselves – to our body, to parts of ourselves, and to ourselves as a whole. We all suffer from it.

This is part of the banality of evil. It’s the banality of evil we all live from and suffer from when we operate from a power-over mindset. And just about all of us in western culture, and in many other agrarian cultures around the world, live with and partially from this power-over mindset.

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things VI

 

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be a little on the rant side. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

AWAKENINGS AS EXPERIENCE OR NEW CONTEXT

When we discover ourselves as capacity for the world – for this human self and the wider world – it can be more or less clear and stable.

When it happens, it may seem it will last forever. After all, it seems so obvious. And time and space and the world happen within it so it can’t really be lost. Right?

And yet, it may pass. Our mind may get caught in old identifications and beliefs again, often when an emotional issue gets triggered.

If it goes away, it can seem like an experience and we may call it “awakening experience”. It’s something that seems to have happened in the past and perhaps something we wish to happen again.

If it doesn’t go away, then it becomes the context for our continued human life.

When the awakening passes, it seems like we are in time and the awakening happened in time. When it becomes a context for all our experiences, then we realize that time happens within us.

This makes it sound very clear cut but it’s often far more messy.

We may shift between the two for a while. We may assume the awakening is a state since that’s all we consciously knew before this happened, and we may chase it as a state. After a while of going through all sorts of states, we may realize that what it’s about is not a state. It’s the context of all our experiences. It’s noticing ourselves as capacity for our experiences, and this capacity noticing itself. And we can notice this independent of changing experiences and states. It’s not dependent on any particular experience.

We can notice it as well in an apparently ordinary and mundane state, and perhaps easier here since there are less fireworks and distractions.

Read More

Is anything here original?

 

As usual, the answer is yes and no.

It’s original in that we all explore slightly different landscapes and have our own perceptions and flavors in how we express it. For instance, I tend to differentiate between respectively who and what we are, and small and big interpretations of awakening, and although I am not aware of others talking about it that way, I assume there must be others who make the same differentiations with same, similar, or different words.

And it’s not original. Just about everything here are things others have discovered and talked about. It’s about reality so of course many will discover similar things. (Or have the same misunderstandings!) We are all exploring and learning about the same or a very similar landscape, so it’s natural if our experience is relatively similar and if the maps we create are similar.

Dream: Swimming underwater indefinitely in a deep and clear pool

 

I am with my partner in a small town. It’s a place where I used to live, perhaps in Devon (?), and it’s fun to revisit places I knew and see how some have changed and some have not.

We are then in a very large swimming pool. It’s perhaps fifty meters deep and the water is crystal clear and filled with a clear light and sunshine. I realize I can be underwater indefinitely. I swim twenty or thirty meters below the surface and see the others closer to the surface or on the surface. After a while, I decide to come up so they won’t wonder what happened to me. A swimming instructor is impressed and happy on my behalf.

The first part of this dream is similar to other recent dreams of being part of and exploring a community that’s interesting and has a rich feel to it. Here, I am visiting a place where I used to live.

The pool is deep with crystal clear water and a clear light shining through it. There isn’t really any sense of up or down in the pool. It’s all just water and I feel completely at home. I can swim under water indefinitely without any problem.

This second part of this dream is very similar to another recent dream.

I wonder if these dreams have to do with feeling comfortable going deep in the emotions. That has been a focus for my explorations recently. Especially recognizing the physical aspect of the sensations as flavors of the divine, bringing Divine Mother / Divine Father into it, and exploring it through dialog and Living Inquiries.

I wrote more about this in the comments about the previous dream so won’t go into it here.

Some associations:

When I woke up, I remembered the spacious crystal clear light I now sense where I live. Two days ago, a senior Vortex Healing practitioner put a Divine Door in the place, and it has brought in a sense of crystal clear spacious light very similar to the dream.

I also remember an experience in my waking life when I was around ten or twelve years old. I swam underwater in our local public swimming pool, and noticed I could keep swimming back and forth in the lane without needing air. At some point, after swimming for several minutes, I got up since I thought it was weird I could just keep going without breathing.

And one of my favorite movies several years ago was The Big Blue (Le Grand Bleu). I still love much about it and free-diving has always been a fascination for me and something I want to dive into more fully.

In what way is existence a mystery?

 

I have written other posts about mystery of existence – which happens to also be the name of this website – but thought I would revisit it and see what comes up.

In what way is existence a mystery?

That anything exists at all is the greatest mystery of all. It’s the one I can’t even begin to get a sense of or intuit. How come there is something rather than nothing?

A more conventional mystery is all the things we can know something about but don’t yet. A lot of these are things we don’t even know we don’t know. And some, probably a minuscule portion, is what we know or suspect we don’t know.

Then there is the mystery inherent in what we think we know. Any story is a question about the world. It points to one facet of something, and there are many other stories that may fit it equally well or better or at least give us a valuable insight and perspective about what the story points to.

And then there is the mystery inherent in everything. Our stories have only a pragmatic function. They help us orient and function in the world. They have no ultimate or final truth in them. What they refer to is ultimately a mystery to us, no matter how much we tell ourselves we understand it.

Even when we recognize all as consciousness and what we are as consciousness, all is a mystery.

For me, it’s helpful to notice all these ways existence is a mystery. It helps me find receptivity and curiosity, and it helps with holding stories about everything and anything a little lighter.

Jane Goodall: Lost in awe at the beauty around me

 

Lost in awe at the beauty around me, I must have slipped into a state of heightened awareness. It is hard – impossible really – to put into words the moment of truth that suddenly came upon me then. […]

It seemed to me, as I struggled afterward to recall the experience, the self was utterly absent: I and the chimpanzees, the earth and trees and air, seemed to merge, to become one with the spirit power of life itself. [….]

And I knew that the revelation would be with me for the rest of my life, imperfectly remembered yet always within. A source of strength on which I could draw when life seemed harsh or cruel or desperate.

– Jane Goodall in Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey

Jane Goodall describes a mystical experience. I imagine many have had similar experiences at some point in their lives, whether spontaneous or induced by psychoactive plants or something else.

It’s a taste of oneness, and a sense of self can still be present or apparently gone as she describes.

Often, it seems more vivid and real than our apparently more mundane everyday experience. It seems more real because, in a sense, it is. This is what we are and the trance of being caught in our stories and thoughts temporarily obscures it.

It’s also very common that these experiences stay with us and feed us for the rest of our life. It may also inform how we are in the world, and I assume it has fueled her passion for preserving and protecting the natural world.

Where does the sense of oneness and absence of self come from?

We can say it’s just a noticing of what we already are.

To ourselves, we are consciousness and all our experiences – of ourselves and the wider world – happen within and as this consciousness. Any sense of being something particular within the content of experience – a separate self – is created through a combination of thoughts and sensations.

Thoughts tell us that’s what we are and the mind associates these thoughts with particular sensations in the body, often from a slight and mostly chronic muscle contraction, and these sensations lend a sense of solidity and truth to these thoughts.

When we have these type of mystical experiences, the trance is temporarily lifted and we notice what we are and that all our experiences happen within and as what we are. There is a taste or experience of oneness.

Sometimes, the trance returns and what remains is a memory. It’s an experience that came and went and becomes something to remember.

Other times, this lifting of the trance is more stable. It lasts and clarifies over time, often through an apparently messy process. It’s revealed as what we are and what all our experiences happen within and as.

Dialog with heart ache / survival fear

 

I have been exploring something over the last few days. It’s in my heart area, and it feels like a combination of issues – primal survival fear, longing, heart ache and so on. It has come up a few times in my life, when I am faced with a loss of something important to me.

I thought I would do a little dialog with it to get to know it better.

Hello.

Hi. Can you help me? I am suffering.

Yes, I want to help you. How can I help?

Be with me. Help me feel safe. I don’t want to be left alone, that’s what I fear the most. Please be here with me.

Yes, I can be with you. I am with you now. And I want to be with you if or when you come in the future.

Thank you. I don’t know if I can trust you since you have abandoned me before. When I come, you get terrified and try to run away from me or get rid of me. It feels terrible. You have treated me terribly.

I am so sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing. I feel sad about how I have behaved and how I have abandoned you. I want to be different. I know how important it is for both of us.

OK. Just be with me now and we’ll see what happens.

How are you? I want to get to know you more.

Right now, I feel much more relaxed. I know you are sincere now. You are with me. You even love me. I know it. I can feel it. And it helps me relax. I feel softer.

How are you when I run away?

I feel desperate. It’s the most horrible feeling possible. I feel abandoned. Unloved. Alone. Scared. I want and need your attention and I’ll do anything to get it. I make myself bigger and louder and impossible to ignore.

Yes, I know. I also really don’t like it when it happens. I guess we share that. And I feel I am beginning to understand you more. I am actually glad you make yourself bigger and louder. I understand where it comes from. I understand you need me in that moment, and I instead run away.

Yes, all I want is your presence. That you are here with me. That you don’t abandon me. That you give me a sense of safety, and maybe even of being loved and understood.

What do you need the most from me?

Just that. Be here with me. Be present with me. Allow me to be as I am. And, if it’s possible, understand me, love me. I need to feel safe. Understood. Loved. That way, I can relax.

I love you.

I love you too. When you are here for me.

Can I speak with Big Heart?

Yes. I am here.

How do you see this situation?

I see you wanting to be in a good and nurturing relationship with this part of you, although you are not always able to. And I see this part of you desperately needing you to be there for it.

I am always here and always love you and whatever comes up for you. Both you – whatever you take yourself to be, and this part of you, are always loved. It’s just that you don’t always notice or remember. And that’s OK. That’s how human life is.

Can you help me and this part of me?

Yes, although it’s really you who need to do it. I am always here.

One thing you can do is remind yourself that what you feel is a flavor of the divine. It isn’t and never was anything else. It helps you to notice.

Another thing you can do is open for me and invite me in. I already love this part of you and what it needs is love. Allow it to absorb this love.

When that happens, it’s easier for you – and it – to notice that it already is this love. It is me. All of this – you, it, your relationship – is me. When that’s more thoroughly clear to you, there is a deeper healing.

Thank you. I love you.

I love you too. I always did. I always do. You are loved. And you are love.

Stephen Porges: If you want to improve the world

 

If you want to improve the world, start by making people feel safer.

– Stephen Porges

What happens when we feel unsafe? We go into survival mode and tend to think mostly about ourselves or a small circle of family and friends. It may fuel us vs. them thinking, blame, radicalism, and even violence.

What happens when people feel safer? In general, we relax, can function better, and have a larger circle of concern. It tends to encourage we-thinking and a bigger picture view.

What are some things that will help people feel safer?

What can we do at a social level? A good start may be universal healthcare. Good social safety nets. Trauma informed teachers, doctors, and parents. Reduced economic inequality. Reduced poverty.

And what can we do as individuals, for ourselves? A good start is to explore how to be a safe place for the parts of us that don’t feel safe. Give love to the parts of us that feel unloved or unlovable. Listen to the parts that has not been listened to. Be there for the parts we have run away from.

Why do I talk about healing, isn’t awakening enough?

 

Yes and no.

Yes, awakening is enough if what we want is to notice what we are, and for what we are notice itself as all there is. For a while, this may seem like all that’s needed, especially if we are in a temporary transcendent state – one where our center of gravity has, for a while, risen “above” our human stuff.

And no, because a transcendent state doesn’t last so we will eventually be plunged back into all the human messiness. That too is the divine. That too want to join in with the awakening. That too wants to heal and awaken.

If we want to live from the awakening in more and more situations and areas of life, we need healing. Healing opens up space for awakening to be lived more fully and in more situations and areas of life.

Also, as a human being in the world, which we also are, it’s generally a much better life if we are more healed. A lot of suffering, confusion, reactivity, and messiness is cleared up as we heal.

So why not focus on both? Why not find approaches that invite in both awakening and healing? Just about all of the tools I write about here do just that, especially if that’s our intention.

In this process of awakening, healing, and learning to live from the awakening, we will also over time develop skills and insights, we tend to mature as human beings, we tend to deeply humanize and become more human, and we may also go through some stages of adult development. All of this may happen mostly as a side-effect of working on ourselves and allowing the awakening to work on ourselves.

And it’s not really about choice or want. Sooner or later in the awakening process, we bump up against unhealed parts of us and we notice that these areas of us suffer. So why not invite in healing and awakening for these parts too? It’s a natural part of the process.

Although it’s not so important, this is also not about “us” choosing or wanting. It’s about life or existence choosing and wanting through and as “us”.

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things IV

 

This is a post in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be a little on the rant side. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

HEART PRACTICES

If I was going to recommend one practice, what would it be? Inquiry? Meditation? Body-oriented practices?

It depends on the person and their situation and what they are looking for.

But, in general, I would say heart-centered practices.

Heart prayer. Ho’oponopno. Tonglen. Christ meditation. Or something similar.

Practices that helps us reorient in how we relate to ourselves, others, the world, and existence in general.

To the extent we allow these practices to work on us, they can be deeply healing and transformative. They also support awakening, and they support living from – and as – this awakening.

CHRIST MEDITATION

I have gone back to heart prayer (Jesus Prayer) and Christ meditation over the last few days.

The heart or Jesus prayer is simple and from the Eastern church. Say in your mind a simple prayer, for instance: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Synchronize it with the breath so the first half is on the in breath and the second half on the out breath. And then synchronize it with your heart beats. (Lord Jesus Christ _ Have Mercy Upon Me.) Keep saying the prayer through the day.

It may be easiest to start with the words, then add the breath, and finally the heart beats. After a while, it becomes second nature. And after a while, it’s as if the prayer is saying itself. There may even be a sense of it continuing during sleep.

Give yourself over to the prayer. Allow it to work on you. Notice and allow.

A good informal introduction to this prayer is The Way of a Pilgrim. Some of the descriptions of the effects of the prayer may seem fanciful but most (all? I don’t remember anymore) are accurate from my own experience.

The Christ meditation is also from the Eastern church. Visualize Christ in whatever form works for you (for me, as light and consciousness) in your heart, in front and behind you, and over and below you. Perhaps 1.5 meters outside the body. Rest with this. Allow it to work on you.

And if Christ doesn’t resonate with you, use any expression of the divine that works for you. This practice is also found in other traditions, for instance in Tibetan Buddhism where you use your Guru or an aspect of Buddha Mind.

Read More

Ancient pain

 

A lot of the emotional pain we experience – in daily life or in a deep healing and awakening process – is ancient pain.

It’s ancient patterns of thoughts and beliefs that create emotional pain.

In what ways is it ancient?

It’s ancient in that it’s universally human. It’s what people from many times and cultures have experienced. (I imagine many other species experience this type of pain as well.)

It’s ancient in that much of it has an epigenetic component. It’s biologically passed on from our ancestors.

It’s ancient in that it’s passed on through the generations through belief and behavior patterns, from parents to children.

It’s ancient in that much of it is passed on through culture, through beliefs, norms, expectations, and so on.

It’s ancient in that much of it comes from very early on in our lives, sometimes even before we had language.

If reincarnation is correct, it’s ancient in that a good deal of it may go back many lifetimes.

Why is it helpful to notice this?

It can help us notice the different ways painful patterns of beliefs and behavior is passed on over time – into our life and beyond.

It can help us be aware of how we pass on these patterns, to our children and others in our life and perhaps even society, and counteract some of it.

It helps us see that we are not alone in this. It’s pretty much universal.

It helps us see that it’s not as personal as it may seem. It’s not just about me.

Dream: Interesting gathering

 

I am with my partner at a very interesting festival, perhaps in San Francisco. It has many different areas with very different focus and feel. One is like an old English village with many small speciality shops, including an amazing bookstore. A man shouts my name and it turns out to be a well-known Norwegian newscaster who was a friend of my father. We have a warm and good conversation and I bring my partner to introduce her to him.

The newscaster is a real person but, as far as I know, not a friend of my father. He is someone I perceive as warm and knowledgeable.

This is a typical dream for the last several months for me. Fun, interesting social gatherings that feel more like a community than a gathering of strangers. I guess it has something to do with my inner community. Perhaps they are all gathering and mingling more and feel more like a community.

And perhaps it also feels rich, interesting, multifaceted, and alive, as this and many other similar recentish dreams.

My own story: Before and after initial awakening, and the awakening itself

 

I thought I would write a few words about the initial opening or awakening that happened relatively early on in me – aka this human being’s – life. For context, I have added some short notes on what went on before and after.

First, some background

Before school age, I had flashbacks to the time between lives. It would often happen when sunshine was filtered through moving leaves. It was a memory of a formless world made up of consciousness and golden light and love, and an infinite sense of being home. I had not labels for this. And although this was alive here and now during these moments, I had a longing in my heart through my childhood.

In elementary school, we had one class on Friday about Christianity. This quickly made me into an atheist although I didn’t know anyone else who were. (My parents were and are open-minded agnostics.) I thought Christianity – as presented in those classes – seemed stupid. Why would you believe what other people told you to believe? Why would you believe something you can’t check out for yourself?

During elementary and middle school, I was very interested in parapsychology – ghosts, ESP, UFOs and so on.

Age fifteen, something happened that was deeply puzzling to myself and others. It felt like “I” was removed far from all content of experience, from my human self and the wider world. Later, I realized that the center of gravity of what I seemed to be had moved into observering. This lasted for about a year. Before this happened, I had experienced the not uncommon teenage angst and stress, and also social anxiety.

Then the awakening

Age sixteen, I walked up the dark gravel road to the house under a dark sky full of stars and a wind blowing through it. From one moment to the next, everything opened up. Everything without exception was revealed as God. Any sense of me or I was seen as a local and temporary appearance of God.

Everything – the stars, sky, wind, gravel road, houses, this human self, thoughts, feelings – is awakeness, love, and consciousness. Everything is the play of God. Everything is God even if it looks like something else to most humans.

On the one hand, this was shocking and completely surprising. After all, at my human level I had very little interest in religions or spirituality. On the other hand, this was more familiar to me than anything else. It was like finally coming home after several years of having forgotten it.

Why did it happen at that moment?

Who knows. I suspect the previous year – of having been absorbed into or as the “I” or observer – prepared the ground. And the night sky, the stars, and the wind reminded me of the infinite and that’s what woke up to itself in that moment.

This didn’t go away. It lasted. And in the years since, I have learned to be more familiar with it.

For the next few years, several things happened.

There was a sense of huge energies running through my system. It felt like high voltage running through regular housing wires.

I started seeing energies – first around leaves on a tree against the blue sky and later around everything. I also discovered I could sense what was going on in the system of others and invite in healing for it.

I had a huge amount of insights, often non-stop during the day and when waking up during the night. I filled several notebooks. (Similar to this blog.)

I had a lot of inspiration for music and art. Compositions and art came to me ready-made and I did my best to translate it into something physical.

Since I had nobody in my life even remotely interested in this, I kept it to myself. I wrote. And I looked for others who had discovered the same. I read a lot of books, and saw that some Christian mystics and others seemed to write from the same discovery although often slightly obscured by tradition and perhaps other things.

I did find two who recognized it in me right away – my friend BH and the then-wife of Jes Bertelsen HB. (I just noticed that their initials are reversals of each other.) They recognized it by looking at my energy system, as I tend to recognize it in others.

The intensity mellowed out over the next ten years or so and it all became more familiar and normal.

And then what went on after, what some call the life within God

From age 24 and on, I lived at a Zen center for a few years, then moved and worked with sustainability, and I had some years without much involvement with spirituality (apart from passion for sustainability). Then, the interest came back and along with it a more clear and peaceful shift in the awakening.

This was followed by several challenging years – aka a dark night of the soul – with loss of health, loss of ability to work, loss of marriage (which was very good), loss of house and money, loss of (some) friends, and a lot of old trauma surfacing.

And no, the awakening didn’t clear out all human hangups and emotional issues, and it also didn’t clear out all identifications. I still had and have hangups, emotional issues, and trauma, although I suspect a lot of charge in much of it has been released. There are still identifications here. And yet, all of this is recognized as the divine and expressions of the divine.

The awakening itself as an awakening out of taking ourselves as an I or me or human being, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot left to be cleared up. It’s an ongoing process of clarification, healing, maturing, learning to life from it, and supporting the different parts of me still living from separation consciousness to align with reality.

Am I special to have had this happen? Since it’s the divine waking up to itself as all there is, it’s just what we are and what everything is waking up to itself. It “forgot” itself locally and temporarily and then noticed again. That’s not really special at all. Also, it’s not the human self waking up. It’s reality waking up out of taking itself as exclusively that human self. At the same time, it’s true that it doesn’t happen through all humans but that’s also of the play of the divine. As someone said, it’s the divine playing hide-and-seek with itself. Nothing is wrong. One is not inherently better or worse than the other.

What’s the most baffling thing in all of this? That anything exists at all. That there is an existence – a divine – that can play this game with and within itself.

I rarely talk about the initial awakening so it feels good to finally write it here.

And yes, I still remember the spot I stood on on the gravel road when the initial awakening happened, and the date give or take a few days. (It happened between Christmas and New Year.)

A note on perspective: I chose to write this mostly from the perspective of my human self. I could have written it more from the view of the divine or Big Mind and may do that later.

And a synchronicity: I had written “view” in the previous sentence with quotation marks around it since Big Mind doesn’t really have a view. It has all and no views. I decided to remove the quotation marks to not confuse the reader unnecessarily, and thought to myself “Big Mind doesn’t really have a view”. As I did this, the lyrics of the song I was listening to said:

You know well what I’ve been through
Living there without a view

– from Moonshine by Caravan Palace

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things III

 

This is a post in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be a little on the rant side. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

Allowing things to be

Colonel Brighton: Look, sir, we can’t just do nothing.
General Allenby: Why not? It’s usually best.

– from Lawrence of Arabia, 1962

I love that brief dialog from Lawrence of Arabia. It shows experience, trust, and an effective way of dealing with some situations.

In the particular situation in the movie, the Arab tribes had taken over Damascus without the skills and experience to actually run it. Allenby knew that if left to themselves, they would realize they needed help and that running Damascus was not what they really wanted. He allowed them to arrive at that conclusion for themselves. The alternative, which Brighton proposed, was military intervention which would only have galvanized the Arabs against the British. (I will refrain from commenting on colonialism and colonialist attitudes in history and the movie…!)

Sometimes, we obviously need to take action and get involved. We find ourselves in a situation that – if left to itself – will lead to undesirable consequences and nobody else may be in a better position to take charge, or our participation is required in another way.

But often enough, the situation will run its course without any problems. Our intervention is not needed. We can sit back, watch it unfold, and see it arrive at a conclusion that is desirable or at least not terribly undesirable. And if it should take a surprising turn and our intervention is needed, we can always get involved.

If I remember correctly, Jung would sometimes “accidentally” set fire to a piece of paper in his ashtray to see how his patient would react. Did they sit back and let the small fire run its course – knowing it would burn out without any risks? Or would they freak out and try to control the situation even if it was not necessary?

Click READ MORE for more notes.

Read More

How we relate to our thoughts

 

One of the benefits of exploring how our mind functions – through mindfulness, inquiry and so on – is that it changes our relationship with our thoughts.

From believing our thoughts we may realize that they offer questions about the world, hold no final or absolute truth, and it works better if we find the grace to hold them lightly.

Instead of fighting with out thoughts, we may realize that it’s easier to examine them and find what’s more true.

Instead of fearing certain thoughts, we may find that by examining them and finding what’s more true, we also find peace.

Instead of thinking we control – or should control – our thoughts, we may find they come and go and live their own life and that’s completely OK.

Instead of thinking we can “chose” to believe a thought or not, we may find that all we can do is examine them and through that magic sometimes happen.

Notes: I saw a very brief article about meta-cognitive therapy which seems to be one of the new hot things today. Apparently, it has to do with how we think about our thoughts so I thought I would write a brief post about what comes up for me around it.

Because of that article, I wrote “how we think about our thoughts” as the initial title, partly because I thought it sounded more snappy. But I changed it since how we think about our thoughts is not so important. It’s how we relate to our thoughts that matters, and that’s far more than just thinking.

Dream: Old friend is now a Zen teacher

 

I am back in Salt Lake City where I lived at Kanzeon Zen Center for a few years in my mid-twenties. There is a new center there now, in the same tradition. I see someone I knew back then who is about my age. We talk and it’s clear we have the same realizations and insights. It turns out he is now the teacher at the center and he is leading a retreat.

I am seen and treated by the others as a beginner. Both he and I go along with it without saying or doing anything to change that impression.

My friend in the dream is a generic composite of several I knew back then.

This dream reflects some familiar experiences for me. I see people who started with things when I did, and continued within the system and have risen within the system while I left and did not. It’s familiar to me to be treated as if I have no experience when I join a new spiritual group, and I have experienced that what I say is interpreted within that context. It’s familiar to me to feel not seen, understood, and included.

All of these are relatively normal experiences, and for me they are connected with some issues. After waking up from this dream, I explored the issue of feeling not seen, understood, and included.

And behind that is the issue of fearing being seen, understood, and included. This feels more core. There is a fear of being acknowledged and for people looking to me as an authority and for answers.

That’s one reason I often don’t speak up or say or do things to change the impression people have of me.

Exploring that, I was brought back to a very vivid dream I had during the initial awakening process in my teens. I was a man in his late 30s or early 40s in Russia, well dressed, and with a genuine passion for art, literature, philosophy, and how we organize our society. My home was in a town near Moscow (?) and the time was the 1850s, ’60s and possibly ’70s. My family was wealthy so I spent months or years in Paris in the art circles there. As far as I know, I was not a professional artist myself but I loved the Parisian art scene.

I was also an anarchist and belonged to an anarchist group in the Moscow area. Some wanted to use violence to create the society they wanted, and as I was pacifist, I strongly opposed this. Perhaps unwisely, I stood up and said I would stop them by any means necessary, including going to the authorities with names and what I knew about them.

Instead, they stopped me. In the dream, I am running through a field a frosty winter morning, the pale sun is barely visible through the haze, and I know I am assassinated later that morning. I will be shot through the head. (When I shaved my head some years ago, I noticed I have birth marks where the entry/exit holes would be. According to people who do reincarnation research, it’s not uncommon to have a birth mark where a physical injury led to the death of the previous incarnation.)

I had a sense or knowing that this was my most recent incarnation, and others with good sensing abilities later confirmed that this looks like a real incarnation and my most recent one.

Who knows but the themes definitely make sense. I have a fear of speaking up and being seen, understood, and even taken seriously. If I was killed in a past life for doing that, those fears make sense. And if not, the Russian anarchist dream still makes sense as a reflection of these themes in my life.

I notice I feel slightly embarrassed and ashamed sharing this here. And that shows that this is an issue – or an issue complex – it’s good for me to continue to explore. Embarrassment and shame shows I haven’t quite found peace with it and that there is further to go in finding healing for the issue itself.

Notes: In waking life, a friend of mine (DT) is in the process of becoming a Zen teacher in that lineage. I assume the dream didn’t use him because I do feel seen by him.

We are all beginners in an important sense. We are all exploring and discovering. What we think we know we don’t really know. It’s very helpful to approach anything with receptivity and grounded humility. At the same time, in a conventional sense, we do have some experiences, skills, insights, and so on. And it’s good to acknowledge that as well – within the context of being a beginner in a more fundamental sense.

Feel it as a flavor of the divine

 

Pointer in spirituality are medicine for a particular condition.

Some pointers are more universally helpful. And some are more specific for some people and some situations.

One that’s specific to where I am now is this:

Feel it as a flavor of the divine.

Sometimes, something comes up – a sensation, discomfort, emotion – and my old pattern is to react to it. My mind tells itself that this is not good, it’s not the divine. So avoid it or make it go away.

When I remind myself that this is a flavor of the divine, there is a shift.

I remind myself that this too is the divine. It’s a flavor of the divine. I notice it is the divine. It’s happening within and as what I am capacity for. It’s happening within and as – what the mind may label – consciousness, awakeness, love.

This morning, I woke up feeling material from an old issue – perhaps going back lifetimes if my sense is right and that of others who have sensed into it. It felt very uncomfortable and I did wrestle with it for a few minutes and felt grumpy. Then I remembered this pointer, and it helped my relationship to it to shift. The symptoms are still here but there is no longer any need to struggle with it. I notice it as a flavor of the divine and that makes it much easier.

Read More

How to live in an insane world?

 

If we hadn’t noticed earlier, in some point in the awakening process we realize that we are living in an insane world. Not the natural world, which is beautiful although in many ways merciless, but the human world.

A world where what we are doesn’t notice itself and take itself to be a separate human being. A world where people actually believe their thoughts. A world where people create a great deal of suffering for themselves and others only because they happen to believe crazy thoughts.

So what do we do? How do we live within this insane world?

For me, the answer is the usual one. Go further. Look more closely. Use it as a mirror for yourself.

Examine your thoughts about this insane world. Identify your beliefs about it. See what’s more true for you.

Identify emotional issues triggered by this. Invite in healing for these.

Reorient. See how it is to find love for what is triggered in you around this. See how it is to find love for these people and the suffering they create for themselves.

Learn more about the mechanisms behind this suffering and learn more about trauma and trauma behavior by exploring it in yourself.

Instead of feeling like a victim (which comes from a belief and emotional issues), why not do what you would like to see more of in the world? Why not do something, even if it’s small and local, to support life?

When we see insanity in the world, we see our own insanity. It’s an invitation to go further in our own healing and awakening and bring a little more into the world of what we would like to see in it.

Note: I intentionally wrote the two first paragraphs from the view of someone seeing the world as insane. It’s not so difficult for me since I went through that experience during the first few years after the awakening, and still connect with it now and then.

Meme & cartoon reflections I

 

I thought I would start a series of notes on memes and cartoons relating to healing and awakening. I’ll include the memes themselves and links to the cartoons.

BEFRIENDING OUR DEMONS

Yeah, I’m just alone with my demons, but it turns out they’re actually good company.

– a pandemic-isolation cartoon by Brooke Bourgeois in the New Yorker, May 4, 2020

I have found that too. Because of the chronic fatigue syndrome, I have been put in a retreat-like situation and I have had to face my demons. It’s not always easy and I have often wished it wasn’t that way, but it turns out that the demons are not bad company when I get to know them better.

In reality, they are just scared little parts of me. Parts created when I was little and didn’t know how to deal with situations apart from creating these parts to protect me. The demons are protectors. They are here to protect me. And by getting to know them, they are revealed as something else than demons. They are innocent and come from innocence. They are like scared children who needs love, safety, to be held, to be understood.

Running away from them, they become demons. Meeting them and getting to know them, they are revealed as something else.

In what sense are they good company? They are good company in that they are already me and closer than close to me. They are fascinating to get to know. And they are ultimately revealed as consciousness, love, and even – if that’s a word in our vocabulary – the divine.

This cartoon shows a woman talking on the phone at home, with demons around a table enjoying a game of Jenga.

Click Read More to see more entries.

Read More

Exploring nonduality: There is no [whatever]?

 

Some nondual folks like to say “there is no X” where X can be anything – self, human being, a cup of tea.

Is that true?

As so often, the answer is yes and no and it depends.

X – whatever it is – is an idea. It comes from a mental overlay. Also, the idea and what it refers to happens within and as consciousness and oneness. In both of those ways, we can say there is no X.

There is no cup because “cup” is a label and an idea and not the thing itself. And there is no cup because it’s part of existence as a whole.

That’s true, and it’s also just one side of it.

There is X because we – collectively – have decided it’s that way. It’s a way for us to function, orient, and communicate. It has an obviously practical function.

Also, even if all is part of existence some things are more or less distinct. A cup can be moved around. It functions, in a practical sense, as something separate from other things.

So….

We can say that a cup doesn’t exist because “cup” is a label and not the thing itself, and the label and what it refers to happen within and as consciousness and oneness.

At the same time, we can say that the cup does exist because we can talk about it and use it. It exists for us in a practical and pragmatic sense.

It may not exist the way most people think of it. The label and our ideas about it are not the cup. And the cup in itself isn’t ultimately a cup. To us, its most basic nature is consciousness, not being a cup.

And that’s the same with anything we can think about and label, whether it’s me, I, an observer, a doer, a human being, the world, the universe, and even consciousness, Spirit, the Divine, Big Mind, God, and so on.

Why is this important?

For many, it’s not important and that’s more than OK. They live their lives and have other interests and things to focus on.

But for some of us, this is fascinating. It’s helps us recognize what we really are, which is capacity for the whole world as it appears to us.

For some of us, like me, it’s also about finding a way to express our immediate experience. The way the world appears to me seems a bit different than for many, so there is a natural interest in exploring it further and find ways to express it. (Even if the only way to get it is to find it in our own immediate experience.)

Be a parent to ourselves

 

As part of healing and awakening, we need to learn to be good parents for ourselves. Growing up, we learn to treat ourselves and the different parts of us the way our parents treat us and each other, and we also learn these things from siblings, friends, and the culture in general.

If we happened to have relatively healthy and genuinely loving and supportive parents, then this task may be more about fine-tuning things here and there. If not, it can be a bigger undertaking.

It’s a process of learning to meet, be present with, listen to, and find love for these parts of us that may not have experienced this before.

It’s a process of welcoming what has been shunned. Be available for the parts that were abandoned. Give safety to what doesn’t feel safe. Be company for what feels alone. Encourage what feels hopeless. Give understanding to the anger. Listen to what feels not heard. Love the parts that feel unloved – and all the other parts.

How do we do this? There are many forms of parts or sub-personality work that can be helpful. And in daily life, we can notice what comes up, notice what our habitual response to it is, and see if we can find a more loving and kind way to be with what comes up.

If this pain, fear, anger, frustration and so on was a child, how would I want to be with it? If I was a child feeling this, how would I like my parents to be with me?

One way to do this is to say to these parts of us:

Thank you for protecting me. I love you. You are safe here.

And then see if we can find this in ourselves. How is it to shift into this in relation to what’s coming up in me?

These parts of us are here to protect us. They come from care and love. When we shift into being with them, they are safe here. And when we recognize that they come from love, that they are part of us as a human being and also what we are, and that they are like scared children seeking a good parent and we are that parent, then we can find love for them.

Reflections on society, politics and nature XXVI

 

Continued from previous posts…. These posts are collections of brief notes on society, politics, and nature. I sometimes include short personal notes as well. Click “read more” to see all the entries.

Gritty wholesomeness

I was very skeptical when I first started watching Outlander but I have come to love it. I love it mainly for its gritty wholesomeness.

It shows flawed yet fundamentally caring and healthy people dealing with a series of raw and gritty challenges. And there is something wholesome in the best way in that. It reminds us of those sides of ourselves.

In that sense, it’s a bit like The Little House on the Prairie for grown-ups, and especially season four and five since they are set in North America.

I also like that it shows modern people in a time that was far more tribal and eye-for-eye, and how they adapt and learn to survive in that situation. They needed to find their warrior as we all sometimes do.

Click READ MORE to see more entries.

Read More

Mary Oliver: The Other Kingdoms

 

Consider the other kingdoms.
The trees, for example, with their mellow-sounding
titles: oak, aspen, willow.
Or the snow, for which the peoples of the north
have dozens of words to describe its
different arrivals. Or the creatures, with their
thick fur, their shy and wordless gaze.
Their infallible sense of what their lives
are meant to be. Thus the world
grows rich, grows wild, and you too,
grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too
were born to be.

– Mary Oliver

Inquiries as a structured reflection of how a clear and awake mind naturally functions

 

I love inquiries like headless experiments, the Big Mind process, The Work of Byron Katie, and the Living Inquiries.

They are all structured forms of a noticing that happens naturally when there is more awakening and more clarity. They reflect how a more awake and clear mind functions. They function as training wheels and stepping stones until we find that clarity for ourselves and it happens more naturally and fluidly here too. And no matter what clarity and awakeness are there, they can show us more.

Headless experiments reflect how an awake mind notices itself and the world, as capacity for the world.

The Big Mind process does the same while including a dialog with and among sub-personalitites. This dialog is something that happens more naturally in a mind that’s clear, healed, and used to working with parts of our human self.

The Work examines what happens when our mind holds a thought as true, how it would be without holding it as true, and the genuine validity in the reversals of the initial thought. This reflects a natural examination of thoughts that happen in a more clear and awake mind.

Living Inquiries helps us explore how the mind associated thoughts and sensations, and how sensations lend a sense of solidity to thoughts so they seem more true, and thoughts lend a story to sensations so they seem to mean something. This allows the “glue” binding them together to soften and perhaps even fall away. This reflects what happens more naturally in a mind that’s clear and awake and used to examine these things in a more finely-grained way.

So these inquiries – in their essence – reflect natural processes in a more awake and clear mind. And for anyone of us, I imagine they can help us explore certain things in an even more finely-grained way.

Love is all you need – for healing and awakening?

 

When it comes to healing and awakening, love is really all we need. Although it’s love that takes many forms.

Love can take the form of meeting and bringing our presence into an emotional issue. Spending time with it. Allowing it to be as it is. Listening to the painful story behind it. See that it comes from a wish to take care of our human self. See that it comes from love. Gently questioning the painful story and find what’s more true for us. And so on. All of that is love, and all of that can be very healing.

Love can also take the form of noticing and allowing what’s here. Training a more stable attention. Gently inquiring into our most basic beliefs and assumptions. Shifting into love for what is through hearth-centered practices. Bringing attention to our body and its movements. Using pointers to help us notice what we are, and what we are to notice itself. And so on. All of that are forms of love, and it can set the stage for and support awakening.

In both cases, it’s love gently exploring itself and revealing itself as what’s exploring and what’s explored.

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things V

 

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be a little on the rant side. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

IS THE UNIVERSE CONSCIOUS?

I have seen this article floating around for a while: The universe may be conscious, say prominent scientists

The first that strikes me is that if the universe as a whole is conscious, that’s not more weird than individual beings is conscious. What’s really weird is that anything exists at all and that consciousness itself exists. How and where it exists are just minor weirdnesses within a much bigger weirdness. Or minor questions within this much bigger mystery.

Also, this ties into what mystics of all eras and cultures describe. To ourselves, we are consciousness and the world – as it appears to us – happen within and as this consciousness. From here, all of existence definitely appears as consciousness. To us, it appears as consciousness.

If it – in itself – is consciousness is another question. It may well be.

Read More

A dialog with suffering parts of us as devotees

 

This dialog comes from seeing suffering parts of us as wanting relief and liberation from their suffering. And seeking us – as our “global” consciousness – so we can help them. In that sense, they are our devotees.

Hello.

Hi. Can you help me? I am suffering. I don’t know what to do. I feel that you can help me.

Yes. I will help you as much as I can. Can I ask you some questions to get to know you better?

Yes.

Who are you?

I don’t know. I just know I am suffering and that I feel you can help me. Please help.

I want to help you. How can I help you the best? In what way would you like me to be with you?

Be with me. Be there for me when I need you. Love me. Love me as I am. I don’t know how to change so please love me as I am.

I love you. Is there anything you want me to not do?

Yes, don’t try to change me. Don’t make me be something I am not. Please don’t push me away. Please don’t ignore me. Please don’t try to make me into something I am not.

Is there anything else I can do for you?

Yes. Help me understand myself. Help me free myself from the suffering. Help me know what you know. Help me be more like you.

In what sense do you want to be more like me?

I am not sure. I feel you have something I need.

If you could have your deepest wishes fulfilled, what would it be?

To be seen. Loved. Understood. Free from suffering.

Next time you come, how would you like me to be?

Yes, please listen. Be present with me. Help me feel seen. Understood. Safe. Loved. Please don’t run away. I need you.

Do you have any advice for me?

I don’t but there is someone else. I’ll get that one for you.

Hello. Who am I speaking with?

I am the one who knows how to help parts of you liberate.

Welcome. Do you have any advice for me?

Yes. You are doing well. But you still have a lot to learn. You are in the middle of the process. You can become more comfortable with these suffering parts of you. You can be more a friend to them. You can be more a wise guru for them. You can be more the loving one. You can recognize them more as love.

It will help you a lot right now to remember them as devotees. They are your devotees. They look to you for love, understanding, and patient presence. You can do it. You are already doing it. And it will help them a lot. You are doing everyone a great service through this process.

Thank you.

Tools for emotional emergencies

 

When we feel overwhelmed, it can be helpful to have some emergency tools to help us deal with it.

We may can feel overwhelmed when a strong emotional issue or trauma is triggered in us. And this can happen from daily life situations. Or it can come up as part of an ongoing healing or awakening process.

I have selected a few tools for this article that I have found helpful for myself.

These are emergency tools. They won’t solve the issue themselves but they can help us relate to them differently and help us through the strongest parts of the storm.

If you are currently overwhelmed, just do something simple that helps you here and now. Ask for help. And if something in this list resonates with you, try it and see if it helps. Don’t force yourself to do anything. Be kind with yourself.

If you are currently in a more calm place, I suggest you try each tool out for yourself, see which one or ones resonate with you, and get comfortable using it so it’s easier to apply when you need it.

AMPLIFY / RELEASE

Make whatever goes on for you stronger for a few seconds. Then release, let it all go, and rest for a few seconds. Notice the difference before and after. Repeat a few times if necessary.

See if you can make the uncomfortable sensations stronger. Make the scary thoughts and images stronger. Do it for perhaps five seconds. Then release. Relax. Let it all go. Do this for a few seconds. Notice the difference before and after and repeat once or a few times if necessary.

Don’t worry if you are unable to actually make the sensations etc. stronger. It’s the intention and engaging in the trying that it’s important.

I love this tool and it can help reduce the strength of what’s going on. I assume it works because our resistance to uncomfortable experiences makes it stronger and tends to hold it in place. Using this tool, we go against this resistance and intentionally try to make it stronger. That helps us release the resistance and it also shows us that the sensations, thoughts and so on are not as scary as they seemed.

BE KIND WITH YOURSELF

Place your hands on your chest and belly. Breathe slowly and intentionally.

Say kind and soothing words to yourself, as you would to a child or a good friend. For instance: I love you. I love you just as you are. This will pass. You are stronger and more resilient than you realize. Everything you are feeling is OK as it is. This is part of the universal human suffering we all sometimes experience.

You can also say to what’s coming up – the pain, fear, panic, loneliness, anger: Thank you for protecting me. You are safe here. I love you. Repeat.

Say: I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you. Repeat several times. Say it to yourself. Or the suffering part of you. Or who or what triggered the reaction in you. (This is a beautiful Hawaiian practice called Ho’oponopno.)

ATTENTION TO PHYSICAL SENSATIONS

Pay attention to the sensations in your body connected with the emotions. See if you can set aside any thoughts and mental images for a little while.

Stay with the physical sensations. Find some curiosity about them. Where do you feel it? Do they have a boundary? If you close your eyes, can you also notice the boundless space they happen within? Can you notice the space and the sensations at the same time? Do the sensations get stronger? Weaker? Do you notice sensations other places in the body?

It can really help to learn to pay attention to the physical sensations and set aside related thoughts and mental images. It helps us ground. It helps us notice that the charge of emotions come from body sensations. And we may notice that it’s often OK to set aside stressful thoughts for a while. We don’t need to actively fuel them.

BREATH

Slow and intentional breathing helps calm our system. There are several ways to explore this.

One is the alternate nostril breathing from yoga. Use a finger to block one nostril and take a relaxed and full in-and-out breath with the other. Switch. Repeat several times. Notice any differences before and after.

Another is to breathe out as much air as you can and allow your lungs to fill up again naturally. Repeat a few times.

And and yet another is to lie down, place one hand on the chest and another on the belly, and breathe slowly and intentionally. This can be combined with breathing as much air out as possible and then allowing the air to fill up the lungs naturally.

NATURE & PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES

Spend time in nature. We belong to and evolved in nature so this can be soothing and nurturing. Walk barefoot if conditions allow.

Walk. Run. Scream. Sing. Jump up and down while landing on your heels. Do strength training. Swim. Do yoga. Shake. Use your body. Take a good bath.

Put your face in cold water or splash cold water on your face. This can help calm down your system.

BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF

Identify your stressful thoughts. Write them down. Be gently and brutally honest with yourself. What’s more true than these stressful thoughts? If your life dependent on being brutally honest with yourself, what would you tell yourself? Finding what’s more true for us is often a relief.

For instance, my mind may tell itself it’s too much, I can’t handle it. Is that true? What’s the reality? The reality is that I am still here. I seem to know how to handle it, somehow.

This one may depend on some practice with inquiry. As with the other tools here, only use it if it works for you.

MORE STRUCTURED APPROACHES

The Work of Byron Katie can be great for dealing with stressful and overwhelming thoughts and corresponding emotions. Look up the free helpline where a facilitator will help you through the process.

Another form of inquiry, the Living Inquiries, can also be of great help although it does require some ability to rest and notice.

Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) helps release tension out of the body through the natural and in-built tremoring mechanism.

And Vortex Healing can help your system relax relatively quickly. This can be done at a distance.

Common for all of these is that you’ll need an experienced practitioner to help you unless you have some experience with it (The Work and TRE) or gone through the training yourself (Living Inquiries, Vortex Healing).

NOTES

There are a lot of other tools out there. Find the ones that work for you and practice when your system is more calm so you get familiar with using them.

You may notice that many of these tools have to do with the body, nature, and our physical world. That’s not coincidence. When we go into overwhelm, it’s usually because we actively fuel stressful thoughts and mental images. This can happen more or less consciously. In either case, it helps to bring attention to something physical and here-and-now.

I have written more in-depth about some of these tools. Follow the tags to find these articles. I also have a small booklet on the back-burner with these and more tools.

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

Being a guru to the parts of us living within separation consciousness

 

At some point in the awakening process – and perhaps for a long time – what we are notices itself in a “global” sense but there are still many parts of us living in separation consciousness. These are formed from and still live within separation consciousness.

It’s then our job to function as a friend – and, in a sense, a guru and therapist – for these parts of us.

They surface. They live in pain. Our habitual response may be to recoil from them or want them to go away. And the invitation is for us to be a friend to these parts of us. And – in a gentle way – be a guru and therapist for them.

To be in their presence. Help them feel seen, felt, loved, understood. Help them heal. Help them awaken to all as love. Help them recognize themselves as love.

They were formed in an attempt to help us as a human being in the world. They are an expression of consciousness and love. And the invitation is for us to help them recognize that.

As Pamela Wilson says, these parts of us are our devotees. They want us to be their friend. They want to be liberated. They – in a very real sense – need us.

This is a part of the awakening process. It’s a process of inviting all the different parts of us to awaken. And it has a nice side-effect. We learn to be a good friend to these parts of us – to be in their presence in patience, listening, recognizing them as love. And that tends to color how we are with other people and the wider world.

Gospel of Thomas 3b: When you know yourselves, then you will be known

 

I am going through some – perhaps all? – of the verses from the beautiful Gospel of Thomas to share what comes up for me. I may also give a commentary or response from a few different viewpoints to make it more interesting. The Gospel of Thomas is thought to be older than the four gospels in the New Testament and may be a source for these.

3b. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”

I will explore this as Big Mind, Big Heart, and Lila – the play of consciousness or the divine.

Big Heart

Know yourself as me and you know that you not only are love but your whole world and all of your experiences are love. You see behind the surface appearances and the labels human puts on whatever is happening.

If you don’t know yourself as me, you are still me. Nothing has changed except your noticing. And you will feel you live in poverty. You will long for what you are and what you think you don’t have. You may not “have” it but you are it. You already are it.

Big Mind

Know yourself as me and you know what you are. You will understand that as a human being you are a child of me. You and all your experiences happen within and as me.

If you don’t know this, you will live in poverty. You take yourself as fundamentally a separate being subject of birth, loss, death, and whatever else.

Lila

I temporarily and locally forget myself and take myself to fundamentally be a human being. In this, I feel small, limited, temporary, and although my experiences are rich and varied I experience it as a kind of poverty.

I feel that something is missing. I may long for it and seek it. I may first seek it in the wider world. And then perhaps as what I am.

When I notice myself again I know what I am and I understand that this human being is a metaphorical child of me.

You may see me as the divine and the play of the divine as all of existence. You may see me as consciousness and the play of consciousness. It the same.

Read More

Gospel of Thomas 3a: Rather, the Father’s kingdom is within you and it is outside you

 

I am going through some – perhaps all? – of the verses from the beautiful Gospel of Thomas to share what comes up for me. I may also give a commentary or response from a few different viewpoints to make it more interesting. The Gospel of Thomas is thought to be older than the four gospels in the New Testament and may be a source for these.

3a. Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

I will explore this through Big Mind.

Big Mind

If you think I am in the sky, then the birds will get there before you. If it’s in the sea, the fish are already ahead of you. If you recognize that I am inside you and outside you – that everything already is me – then you are on the right track. You have never not known me, you have just not recognized me.

I am the one who takes all these forms, including as you – as a human being – looking for me and thinking and I am in the sky or in the oceans and then eventually discover all as myself and all as always having been myself.

A note

I cannot help thinking that Jesus was a bit snarky here. Who looks for the Divine in the ocean? Unless you are a fish, of course.

Gospel of Thomas 2: When they find, they will be disturbed

 

I am going through some – perhaps all? – of the verses from the beautiful Gospel of Thomas to share what comes up for me. I may also give a commentary or response from a few different viewpoints to make it more interesting. The Gospel of Thomas is thought to be older than the four gospels in the New Testament and may be a source for these.

2. Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]”

I will explore this through the voices of Big Heart and Big Mind.

Big Heart

I love you as you are and you are love as you are, whether you know it or not and whether you seek love or your true nature or not. If life and love and all of existence has moved you to seek, then keep seeking until you find me and find me as what you always and already are.

At first, you – in the form of a human being – may be disoriented by what you find and you may be disturbed by seeing that all of what you held as true wasn’t true in the way you thought.

There is another way you may be disturbed. At some point in the process, you may be disturbed because all in you that was formed within not knowing all as love will need to be loved and recognized as love and heal through that. It’s a beautiful process, more beautiful than you may be able to see as it happens. And some experience it as deeply disturbing as it happens.

You will find an infinite richness and fullness in finding me as you and you as love and all as love and always having been love. (Even that which humans see as not love at all is love, it’s love in disguise. It’s love temporarily taking these forms and forgetting that it is itself.)

And you will find a rest beyond anything you have every imagined, even as you are active in the world. When you find me as you, and your human self gets infused with this and used to it, you will find a deep rest.

Big Mind

If you are drawn to seek me – which is me seeking myself – then keep on until you find.

As a human being, you may be disturbed by what you find. You discover that what you believed, including your most basic assumptions about yourself and reality, are not true the way you took them to be.

You will also marvel when you discover yourself as me and everything as me.

As me, you will reign over all since all happens within and as me, although that’s an old-fashioned way of talking about it and I wouldn’t say it that way now.

And as you become more familiar with me and everything as me and living from it, you will relax and rest in and as it even as you are in activity.

Read More

Learning to follow our inner guidance

 

We all have a quiet inner voice that gives us pointers and advice. We can also call it inner guidance, or the voice of the heart.

It’s perhaps not so important to know where it comes from. Is it a knowing that goes beyond what I – as a human being – can know? Does it come from experience? Does it come from the wisdom inherent in the body and passed down through the generations?

Is it the whole of who and what we are using any and all sources of information to arrive at a “yes”, a “not now”, a direction, a warning, or an impulse to do something?

What form does our inner guidance take?

As suggested, our inner guidance can take many forms. It can come as a sense. A voice. An image. And I am sure many other ways depending on the person and situation.

It can be a “yes” or “not now”. Or it can give us an idea, a direction, or a message for what to do or where to go.

A simple way to check in with our inner guidance for a yes or no

There is a simple way to check in with our inner guidance. I like it because it’s simple, practical, and can be used in almost any situation.

I say to myself I can if I want, and I want to X, and then check with my body. Is there a relaxation? A relief? Or tension? Contraction?

I then say to myself I can if I want, and I don’t want to X. Again, I check with my body. Is it more relaxed? A sense of relief? Or tension? Contraction?

A relaxation is a yes and tension is a no.

For instance, I say I have been invited to a social event and I am unsure if I want to go.

I ask myself: I can if I want, and I want to go to this gathering. I notice a gentle relaxation and softness in my body.

I then ask: I can if I want, and I don’t want to go to this gathering. This time, I notice a slight tension.

So here, my inner guidance tells me to go.

It’s helpful to practice this in small and daily life situations. That way, we get to know the process and learn to trust it through experience.

A more spontaneous way to follow inner guidance

This can also happen in a more spontaneous way.

Just now, I had the impulse to remove my neck warmer. It was just a brief thought and one that wasn’t consciously generated. I did a quick check and I couldn’t see any reason not to. So I removed it.

I make a point out of following these simple impulses right away, after doing a quick check to see if there is a good reason not to. It’s a way of saying to my own system and life: Yes, I appreciate these messages and take them seriously.

Noticing what stops us from following our inner guidance

Sometimes, my inner guidance is clear and the thought of following it brings up fear in me. I may see that it makes sense. I may recognize that there isn’t a good reason not to follow it. I may see that a sane, healed, and grounded person in the same situation would follow it. And at the same time, the thought of acting on it bumps up against fear in me.

In these situations it’s good to notice the fear and listen to what it has to say. What are the fearful stories behind it? What do I find if I investigate it?

This way, following our guidance brings with it a bonus: Identifying and investigating fears that may prevent us from living a life that feels deeply right to us.

Should I always follow my inner guidance?

In my experience, the inner guidance tends to give accurate information even if it doesn’t make sense at the time.

At the same time, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate what’s inner guidance and what’s inner “noise” from beliefs, fears, wants and so on.

That’s why I tend to listen to the inner voice, see if there is a good reason not to follow it, and then follow it if there is no good reason not to.

Does it give an answer once and for all?

Any no is really a “not now”. It may change, and sometimes it can change within a relatively short time. It’s good to check in with it.

What’s the characteristics of the inner voice?

When it happens spontaneously, it is – in my experience – simple, clear, and quiet. It’s there if I later check in with it on the same issue. (Although it can, of course, change if the situation changes.) It can be temporarily drowned out by fearful feelings and thoughts. And it is, in itself, free from fears and shoulds.

Photo by Samuel Chenard on Unsplash

Read More

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things II

 

This is a post with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles, some may be a little rant-ish, and some of them may be made into a regular article in time.

Adorable Ludvig as drawn by Kjell Aukrust

Writing from a voice

If I am honest, I get a little bored writing from my regular persona. Or writing from my MoE blog persona. It gets predictable and the writing is careful and not so juicy.

So why not write from other sides of myself? Why not write from Big Mind, Or Big Heart, or as I imagine a specific person from history or fiction would write?

That’s how I can surprise myself and keep it more alive and juicy.

Recently, two stories caught my attention.

Kjell Aukrust, a beloved Norwegian artist and author, would write letters as one of his well-known imaginary characters. He even wrote business letters that way. I am sure he did it partly from playfulness. But he also had dyslexia so if he wrote as one of his characters, spelling and grammar wasn’t so important.

Mr. Rogers did something similar. When he needed to tell his children something difficult, for instance something he was angry with them about, he would do it in character as one of his puppets. The puppet could say some things that he – as their dad – found difficult.

The reason I was fascinated by these stories is probably that I need or want to do something similar right here, in this blog. I need to do it to liven it up and make it more fresh, interesting, and juicy.

Click READ MORE for the rest of the notes….

Read More