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.

It’s not what we are?

 

In non-duality circles, it’s popular to say that our emotions, thoughts, identities, body etc. is not who we are.

That’s true enough, but also a little simplistic and possibly a bit misleading.

First, there is typically an identification as (some of) our thoughts, emotions, and identities. We have stories that tells us that some of these are what we are, and there are sensations associated with these stories that give them charge and lend them a sense of substance and reality.

Then, we may realize that it’s not what we are. Emotions, thoughts, identities and everything else comes and goes. It lives its own life. It’s not what we are. We are not any content of experience. We are what it happens within.

And then, we may realize that we actually are it. What we are is what any content of experience happens within and as.

The first is identification with thoughts saying we are some emotions, thoughts, and identities. There is a duality where thoughts and sensations tells us we are this particular human being, and not the rest of the world. Looking at how people talk about it, we see that even awareness or consciousness (or “soul”) is seen as others. There are a lot of contradictions in this duality which are pretty easy to point out.

The second is still a duality. We are that which content of experience happens within. And this content is other. This is a more clean and simple duality.

The third is more aligned with reality. We are all of it – awareness and awareness taking the form of its own content of experience, whether we call this content this human being or the rest of the world.

So when nonduality folks say it’s not who (or what) we are, that’s partially correct. It’s a pointer that’s useful in a particular phase of the process. But there is no absolute or final truth to it. It does reflect a duality. And if held too tightly as a truth, it may temporarily prevent us from noticing that we actually are all of it. None of it is wrong at all. It’s all typical parts of the process.

For me, this process has been slightly unusual in some ways and typical in other ways. And that’s typical too (!). When I was 15, center of gravity was pulled out of identification as this human being and into consciousness as the witness. There was a clear and simple duality between what I experienced myself as, which was the observer or witness, and the rest which was this human self and the rest of the world. It was very strong and slightly disturbing. I went to a great number of doctors and specialists to see if they could figure out what was going on. I was convinced something was seriously wrong. (At the time, I was an atheist although I had a long standing interest in parapsychology.)

About a year later, there was a shift into everything being revealed as consciousness (Spirit, God), love, wisdom, and home. Everything without exception, although there was still a thin thread of identification as this human self and there was an awareness of that remaining identification still being there.

I had no interest in spirituality at the time, and although it was very clear that all is consciousness/Spirit/love/wisdom and it was profoundly familiar when it was revealed, it also took some adjusting at a human level. Both shifts were very sudden. The first happened over a few minutes January 1st around noon when I was out in the sun. The second happened at night, walking along a gravel road with the bright stars above me and a big wind blowing through (I think awe of the wind and the stars somehow triggered the shift.)

Since then, I have mostly just tried to learn to navigate and live from it. And over the last several years, there has been a “dark night of the soul” with a lot of unprocessed psychological material surfacing to be seen, felt, loved, recognized as Spirit, and healed.

And that too is a typical phase or part of the process.

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Initial I Ching experience

 

I was introduced to I Ching by my first mentor (Aake Y.) when I was 17 or 18 years old. It was the Richard Wilhelm translation. My mentor threw the coins when we were on the phone, asking about me in general, and got Chien (Heaven / The Creative) transforming to Wu (The Wanderer). Within a day or two, I got the same book, asked the same question, and got the same two hexagrams in the same sequence.

During this time of my life – in the years following the initial opening or awakening – my life was full of amazing synchronicities, and this was just one of many. I probably needed it to learn to trust, and trust more deeply. It seems that the chances of this happening – both of us getting the same two hexagrams on the same question – is about 8,192 (64 x 64 x 2) to one.

I seem to need “big” experiences, for instance with the initial awakening, the synchronicities, some dreams, and my first experience with Breema and Vortex Healing. Perhaps it’s because I am a bit stubborn.

Besides using I Ching for synchronicity type guidance, I found the content fascinating and read it repeatedly for the following months and years. It reflected what had been revealed in the initial opening or awakening, and the “download” that followed.

I am visiting my parents right now, and they still live where I was born and grew up, so some of these memories come back to me and I may write a few more here.

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A real life ghost story: repeating sounds

 

In November last year, I was house- and dog-sitting in a nice new apartment in Hayes Valley in San Francisco.

At night, there would sometimes be a strong presence in the kitchen area, and when I was in bed before falling asleep, there would sometimes be sounds from the kitchen area. These sounds seem to repeat sounds from earlier in the day: water running from the faucet, the dog’s rubber ball bouncing on the floor, the dog lapping up water. A few times, I would hear the drinking and ball bouncing and think the dog was out there, and then realized she was lying right next to me. The dog would typically sit up and bark loudly at the kitchen when she heard these sounds.

I should say that the sense of presence itself is something I normally would discount as imagination, or at least not evidence of anything. The sounds definitely came from the kitchen and not a neighbor, and they were too loud and clear to be imagined. The dog hardly ever barks at anything so her barking at the kitchen was very unusual.

I asked Vortex Healing colleagues if anyone had experiences with clearing spaces, got some assistance, and the place quieted down. Since then, it’s been quiet here, both in terms of sensing a presence and in terms of sounds, and the dog has not sat up and barked at anything invisible. (I have been house/dog-sitting here off and on since.)

I thought I would mention it here since it was a bit unusual and I still don’t quite know what it was. It seemed playful more than anything. I did read up on the history of the block and it turns out there was a large orphanage here in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I don’t know if there is a connection.

I titled this post “real life ghost story” but don’t really know if this is connected to any forms of ghosts. Ghost typically seem more like imprints from someone’s life a long time ago – either visual or auditory. In this case, it was different. It did seem that the sounds from earlier of the day were repeated.

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Taking the lid off

 

Having a profound awakening can be like taking the lid off of a jar. All the karma that has been repressed, all the karma at the bottom of our misery that we aren’t conscious of, comes flying out because there is finally space in which it can emerge.

When it hits you in the face, you wonder where your freedom went and what went wrong. But understand that this is a consequence of the freedom; it is not a mistake.

Everything wants to come up into and be transformed by the freedom. If you let it come up into this aware space, which is love, it will reharmonize. This space that you are is unconditional love. 

Unconditional means just that: everything is welcome, nothing is cast away or set apart from it.

– Adyashanti from The Impact of Awakening

This is what happened to me after a six months non-dual transcendence/opening some years ago. I have written about it before so won’t go into much detail here. But I do want to say that this process seems to have a few different sides.

Ride it out. One is that it lives its own life, and we have to ride it out. We have to learn to live with it as it is because it often seems we cannot do much about it. I have written about practical ways to learn to ride it out, and these may include spending time in nature, finding support from others who have gone through it, having the right diet for us, rest, bringing attention to the sensations, and more.

Relate to it consciously. Another is that we can – and are invited to – relate to what’s surfacing consciously. To heal our relationship to it, and invite the unprocessed material itself to heal. To learn to meet the pain and fear with kindness. To recognize what’s surfacing as an expression of caring and love at a human level (fear, pain, anger, discomfort etc. are all here to help the human self and is an expression of caring and love), and as Spirit itself. To heal the material itself through any way that works for us.

We are invited to examine the unexamined thoughts and beliefs creating the suffering. To love the unloved. To experience the unexperienced. And it seems that we don’t really have much choice. Anything else is too painful. Although we can certainly drag our feet and prolong the struggle. And that too is perfectly understandable. That too is, in a certain way, an expression of caring and love, although slightly unenlightened and misguided.

Very human process. It’s a very human process. It’s very human material that surfaces to be loved, examined, and experienced. It’s very humbling. It’s very humanizing, especially if we let it be. Through befriending the wounds and traumas surfacing, we become more fully human.

Prerequisite for embodiment. This process, however it happens, is also a prerequisite for embodiment. What we are awakens to itself, and then needs to clear out our human self so it can be more clearly and fully expressed through this life. Our human self needs to realign to this “new” reality, and that involves a great deal of deep healing. We need to heal the wounds of, it seems, lifetimes. We are invited to mature within this process. And we are invited to embody whatever awakening is here.

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Samuel Bercholz: A guided tour of hell

 

I went to an excellent talk with Samuel Bercholz and Pema Namdol Thaye at the Asian Art Museum earlier today. They are the author and artist of A Guided Tour of Hell: A Graphic Memoir. I can highly recommend the book. (Samuel Bercholz also happens to be the founder of the Shambala publishing company. I must have read hundreds of their books.)

A few things about hell. It’s created by our own mind, and more specifically by our beliefs and identifications. Beliefs and identifications are at odds with reality, and create unease and sometimes suffering. This hell is with us as long as we have these beliefs and identifications, whether in this human life or between incarnations. We create our own hell.

What’s the remedy? It’s partly to heal our very human trauma and wounds. And more to the point, to heal our relationship with our experience. To befriend our experience, independent of it’s content. To find kindness and even love for it. And to recognize our experience as awakeness and even love. And this goes for all of our experience, including other people, the world, ourselves, different parts of ourselves, and our own discomfort, pain, and suffering.

My own experience with hellish states. It’s a good reminder for myself. As I have written about before, I have gone through a difficult few years. Following a nondual opening that lasted a few months, I was plunged into chronic fatigue (CFS) and later PTSD. Adyashanti talks about how an awakening or opening can “take the lid” off anything suppressed or avoided in our mind, and that’s what happened to me. There was no chance of holding it back or pushing it away.

A huge amount of unprocessed material surfaced over the following months and years, and it led to PTSD and several months where I hardly slept and all I could do was walk in the woods in Ski, Norway. (While listening to the audio version of the dark night chapter of Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill and Adyashanti talking about the dark night and other topics.) Fortunately, I had some guidance by someone who had gone through it himself and understood (Barry Snyder) and I also did The Work and found TRE, both of which helped me tremendously.

And still, a great part of this process was something I just had to ride out. Practices and healings helped in taking the edge off some of it, but the vast bulk of it just had to live its own life and was something I had to find a way to live with, even if it often felt indescribably unbearable and overwhelming.

As so many describe, it has gradually tapered off although I still feel I am in it to some extent. I am very grateful for having found Vortex Healing which has been and is a great support for me in the healing and continued awakening process.

Note: As I wrote the section above, I was aware that this is a good example of hellish states but not a good example of how we can work with it. The unprocessed material that surfaces is something I have worked with extensively and continue to work on healing and clearing – mainly through inquiry (Living Inquiries, The Work), TRE, resting with it, and – these days – Vortex Healing. As the intensity has gradually decreased, it’s easier for me to work on it.

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Influenced by circumstances

 

I am very strongly influenced by circumstances – by place, housing, and people around me. Right now, I am in San Francisco which is in a region where I feel very much at home, and I am near San Francisco Zen Center and the Breema Center. Here, I feel alive, clear, engaged, and passionate about life. In other locations, it can be the reverse. And for me, the difference is not subtle. It’s like night and day.

Some say we are the same person no matter what, so circumstances doesn’t matter. That’s true in one sense. We are the same person and we have the same potentials and characteristics in us. But it’s very much not true in a practical sense since different circumstances bring out different parts of us. And for some, this is stronger than for others.

Note: For me, the land has the largest influence. The spirit of the land. It’s very tangible, and it can bring about clarity and aliveness, or dullness and a sense of drudgery. I can quite easily tune into the quality of the land at a distance, so the quality of the land is rarely surprising to me when I actually arrive there.

Climate does play some role, the geology and ecology do as well, and the duration and extent of human settlement play a significant role. If a large number of people have lived somewhere for centuries or millennia, the land feels saturated with the energies of all these people. I think that’s why I like places like the North American west coast, the Rocky Mountain region, Iceland, and the wilderness and sparsely populated areas in Norway so much.

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Home

 

Everyone on a spiritual path has a slightly different essential motivation or carrot. It can be love, or truth, or something else. (Wanting to escape suffering is a surface motivation, and there is a more real and essential motivation there as well.)

For me, it’s coming home.

In childhood, before school age, I had flashbacks and memories of how it was before incarnation. An infinite golden translucent light. Infinite love. Profound sense of being home. All as Spirit, wisdom, and love. All beings as formless. Formless beings as guides and expressions of this infinite wisdom and love. (And for me, some slight identification which was recognized as an artifact and not having any absolute or final reality or truth.)

In my childhood, I had a deep sense of longing. I would often wake up feeling it very strongly, and nothing seemed to satisfy it. I would go to my parents, play with friends, have strawberry jam sandwich with hot cocoa (my favorite thing), read Carl Barks stories, and nothing even touched it. I couldn’t figure out what it was about.

During elementary school, I became a die-hard atheist on my own accord. Christianity made absolutely no sense to me and seemed a crock, or a crutch for weak minded people. I did have an interest in parapsychology and read quite a bit about it.

When I was 15, the world withdrew and appeared very distant and as a dream. Much later, I realize that identification was most likely drawn into the “witness”. This lasted for about a year.

And when I was 16, everything without exception was revealed as Spirit (consciousness, love, intelligence). It was Spirit awakening to itself as everything, as the whole universe, and expressed through this tiny and young human form. Here too, there was some slight remaining identification, which was clearly an artifact and without any final or absolute reality. This was very strong for several years, and never went away. I couldn’t find many who seemed to

I couldn’t find many who seemed to live or talk from this. The closest I eventually found, after many years, was Adyashanti and Ramana Maharshi. They both live(d) and speak/spoke from this. Meister Eckhart did too, although intentionally clothed by necessity in Christian language.

At some point in this opening or awakening, I realized that this is what the earlier longing was about. I had longed for home, and this was home. Of course, this home was and is always here. We can never get away from it. But we don’t always notice it. In this opening or initial awakening, home was revealed as always here and what I am and everything is.

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Frognerparken, Oslo

How my dark night started

 

I have written about this before.  And it’s sometimes helpful to revisit the topic since my perspective on it inevitably changes.

What is a dark night of the soul? A dark night of the soul – in a technical sense – comes after an opening or awakening phase and is life showing us what’s left to see, feel, heal, awaken to, and awaken. It’s a phase, and by no means the end of the process. People typically report several dark nights following a classic dark night of the soul. And the naming is perhaps a bit arbitrary as well.

How my dark night of the soul started. For me, it’s pretty clear how it started. I had an opening at 16 which lasted and clarified for several years. I lived from a clear and strong sense of guidance in smaller and larger life decisions. And when I got married about ten years later, I moved to another state in the US against a strong and clear guidance.

Going against my clear guidance, and continuing to do so for the next several years, was the beginning of the dark night of the soul for me. I know that for others, it’s often different. It seems that dark nights can be triggered by a wide range of circumstances and situations.

For the first few years, I was moved along by the momentum from before I went against my guidance. And then I started feeling more and more off track, and more deeply off track. I lost momentum, passion, engagement, direction, and joy in life. I also lost education and work opportunities and friends, and eventually, I lost my health (CFS crash and PTSD), marriage, house and more. There was an almost complete collapse in all areas of my life.

Now, there is a process of gradually getting back on my feet, and that’s a slow process that has included setbacks and also gifts and serendipities.

The label and phases. I don’t need to call this a dark night of the soul, although it does fit the outline and stages described by – among others – Evelyn Underhill in her book Mysticism. There was an initial opening and awakening and a honeymoon period over several years. (The initial phase included a dark night of the senses.) The dark night of the soul had a gradual onset and deepened over time. The darkest phase so far was 4-6 years ago, and it has gradually lightened.

Why did I go against the inner voice? Why didn’t I follow my guidance after I got married? I don’t know the full answer, but I know some pieces. I had strong beliefs about marriage, inherited from my family and culture, and although I consciously didn’t believe them I did at a deeper and more emotional or energetic level.

I felt I had to support my wife in doing her graduate studies in Wisconsin, and that I had to go with her even if it meant that I left my own education (graduate studies in clinical psychology), my friends and community, and the Zen center where I lived and felt more home than I had anywhere else. I felt that since we were married, I couldn’t ethically live apart from her. It wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t look right. So I sacrificed following my guidance, and many of the things most important to me in life.

Not following my guidance also meant I became unable to do activities that meant connecting with my inner life in a more contemplative way. For ten years or more, I had a daily meditation and prayer practice (1-3 hours a day on my own, 7-9 hours when I was at the Zen center) and also a daily drawing and painting practice. Almost immediately after moving, I was unable to continue with this. It was too painful since I tapped into my heart, and my heart told me very clearly I had to get out of Wisconsin and back to my previous path.

The simplest way of looking at this is that I went against my guidance and my life went off track and eventually collapsed. That in itself is a sufficient explanation.

Meeting more of the shadow. In the bigger picture, I can also see that the dark night helped me meet and face a great deal in me I previously was unable to connect with. Since the more complete collapse with CFS and PTSD, a great deal of shadow material has surfaced. A lot of it has been from early adulthood (missing out of relationships due to shyness), teenage years (social anxiety, awkwardness, aloneness), and early childhood (left alone in a crib in a dark room, abandonment, aloneness). Some has been from apparently before this life. (Being shown my next incarnation, being asked if I wanted it, and saying “yes” even if a part of me definitely didn’t want to.) And it has also included a deep and overwhelming survival fear (to the point of sleeping maximum 1-2 hours a night for several months), and a consistent and immensely uncomfortable feeling in my heart.

There has also been a strong fear of losing my mind. For months, I felt I lost all anchor points as soon as I closed my eyes and laid down on my bed.

And at a very human level, there has been strong regrets over lost opportunities, and fear about the future (being alone, sick, poor, homeless). Of course, all of this is very human.

The dark night is very human. The initial honey moon phase was a course in being what I am. Whether we call it presence, love, consciousness, or something else. It was a course in finding myself as that which is always here and not human. And the dark night was and is a crash course in being human.

I see there are many gifts in it. And there is also still a lot of regret, fear, anger, and disappointment. And both are OK. Both are part of being a human and living a very human and flawed life, and a life that also is complete as it is.

Taking comfort in the idea of a dark night. For a while, I took some comfort in the dark night idea. I would walk in the forest listening to the audio version of the dark night chapter in Underhill’s book, or Adyashanti talk about the dark night. It gave me a sense that there was a larger meaning to what was happening, and some hope that it would eventually be over. (A bit part of the dark night for me, and others it seems, is a deeply felt conviction that it will never end.)

Now, the dark night is more of a convenient shorthand. It points to something. It can be useful in communication. And at the same time, I don’t know if this is really a dark night as people talk about it (although it fits all the criteria), and it doesn’t matter so much.

What matters is that I recognize what seemed to trigger it (going against my heart, the quiet voice, my knowing, and continuing to do so), and that it has helped me face a great deal of shadow material (there is, of course, much left, and I don’t know and don’t need to know how much). And in facing shadow material, there is also a weakening and softening of many identities and identifications.

Is it “my” dark night? I cringe a bit when I write “my” dark night, since it isn’t really. It’s a good way to phrase it since it seems more ordinary and relatable, and it’s true in the sense that it’s happening to this human self right here. It’s also not so accurate since it’s life being and experiencing all of this. It’s life appearing as a human being. It’s life being and experiencing the opening, the honey moon phase, the dark night, the presence it’s all happening within and as, and this very human life.

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All as Spirit, and a deeper layer of what needs healing

 

When I was 16 and had the initial opening or awakening, all was recognized as Spirit and Love. The divine woke up to itself as everything without exception, and as consciousness, love, and the void it all also is. This was quite strong for several years.

At the same time, I knew that there was still a lot of healing needed for my human self and that the remaining unloved and unexamined parts of my human self created a pull for identification. I worked on this as well as I could, but it was difficult to access as deeply as I felt was necessary.

So what happened was a dark night of the soul. And that brought that material up to the surface without much filtering and without much opportunity to hold it back.

There are many ways to talk about this and many angles to approach it from. Each one with it’s own validity and value.

These parts want what I want, which is to be met in presence, kindness, patience, and understanding.

These parts do not yet know all as Spirit and love. They seek to know.

They seek to know their own deeper reality, which is presence, love, and even void.

Said another way, Spirit seeks to know itself as these parts of me. And to know these parts – the trauma, pain, sadness, anger, fear, grief – as presence, love, and void. As the divine and the play of the divine.

This allows for a deeper healing. And it allows for a deeper and more thorough alignment of more of my human self with reality. This is one of the ways an opening or awakening deepens.

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Upper torso/throat contraction

 

I notice a few things in the upper torso and throat area that likely are related to the same issue.

(a) A persistent contraction in my throat. (This one has changed and is lighter through inquiry. I found it related to a few times in childhood where I felt I was suffocating, and there is likely something there about communication as well.)

(b) Tension in my shoulders. I have had this at least since my teens, and it’s a pattern in my immediate family. (I think it partly has to do with not speaking up, holding things inside, feeling the burden of what’s unsaid.)

(c) My internal images/sense of my upper torso is a bit fragmented. For instance, if I want to pinpoint mentally the location of a point on the spine, I see two or three overlapping images and am unable to do so. I especially notice this if I do a practice of bringing my attention up and down the spine along with the breath. I did a similar Daoist practice in my late teens and early twenties, and that’s how I initially became aware of this. (I suspect this may have to do with not wanting to incarnate fully, and perhaps some developmental trauma in early childhood.)

(d) My belly feels relatively rich and full of energy, while my upper torso – chest, shoulders, and throat – seems to have less energy and fullness. This is also reflected in the appearance of my upper torso.

All of these have shifted through TRE, inquiry, and – more recently – Vortex Healing. I may update here as it continues to shift.

Update July 14. I led a somatic mindfulness group today and explored my own throat contraction in the process. It was about a two on a scale to five initially. After a while, the contraction softened and went away and what was left was a contraction in the outer areas my shoulders and some in my jaw. It was as if the center went away leaving a donut of remaining contraction. Pretty interesting. I have worked on this area with Vortex also off and on, and will continue to do so.

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Is the drop awakening to itself, or the ocean?

 

One form of awakening is when my very ordinary human experience is revealed to itself as presence, love, consciousness, void etc.

Another is when there is a very real sense of the whole universe awakening to itself as all of that – consciousness, love, wisdom, Spirit, God. Or, more precisely, it was already awake to itself as that, and now it happened here too through this human self and experience.

I am somewhat familiar with both types, which is why I am curious about this distinction. The initial opening or awakening was very much of the second type. And now, I am exploring more the first.

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Vortex Healing

 

I have had three vortex healing sessions since last Thursday. I initially dismissed it because of the new agey name and terminology but decided to try it based on testimonials. After the first session, I changed my view.

Here is a brief report on each session with the most recent on top. I may add more here as I do more sessions.

Basics course April 12-17, 2016

Prior to the workshop: A lot has come up over the last few weeks leading up to the course. I have also felt the VH energy work in different areas of my body at times (or so it seems). Both the VH people I know says that this is not uncommon. It’s the energy preparing me for the course.

What I have noticed the most is mostly two things: (a) Heartbreak, fear in the heart connected to a sense of abandonment that’s wordless and agonizing. And (b) the energy at times working on my frontal lobes. I have noticed that this area has felt “off” energetically since I got the strong CFS/PTSD and has been in need of healing. (The “off” sense and need for healing may be related to the diksha I received just before all this happened.)

Day one. The energy was quite strong through my body and also moving between areas (especially head). I walked a lot today to get fresh air and movement.

Day two. The vortex wheel was operation by the end of the afternoon so I spent a couple of hour in the evening running different types of vortex lights, and running vortex for different issues. The energies were quite strong, in different areas of the body depending on the issue, and the different vortex lights had very different qualities. I slept well and through the night for the first time in weeks, perhaps because I used the dream blue vortex before falling sleep.

Day three. A deepening from the previous day. I went on a long walk in the evening (from Rudramandir in Berkeley to where I am staying in Rockridge) and ran vortex on a self-destructive pattern I have noticed in myself. (This self-destructive pattern came in or was amplified when I went against my guidance on a major life issue. I was very much aware of it and struggled with myself since I wanted to follow what was so clearly right but was unable to do so. I was paralyzed by fear and conditioning and unable to break free from it until I finally was able to.)

Day four. I received a 10 minute session from Gailynn before class on trauma and a hyperactive/hypervigilant nervous system. (This takes a lot of energy and takes the form of sound sensitivity, discomfort when I am in noisy places or places with lot of people.) She said I had the energy of a soldier whose been to war, and that’s my experience as well. It’s possible this is from “being pushed into war” in past lives, as she said, or there may also be things from this life. She also gave me and another student a mini-session on Lyme. And she pointed out that I have a depleted energy system, which I am very aware of (the kidney energy is especially low), and that it will be good for me to use Vortex to energize my system (which I am doing and plan to continue with).

Day five. I am getting a better sense of how to connect with the Vortex wheel etc. (ask for it), the different qualities available, and how to use them. I also started doing VH on myself at different ages, which has been an interesting experience. (I assume it heals any wounds left in me from what happened at different ages from before conception and up.)

#9 April 9

A session in person with NW in Oakland. He worked on subtle energy pathways since that’s one of the things that needs to be done in person. Apparently, there were some blocks in the heart area. He then worked on draining the manifesting energy behind the Epstein-Barr virus. For the rest of the session, he worked on me feeling undeserving of a good life and a self-sabotaging dynamic. (I have a pattern of getting close to what feels deeply right to me, or even having it, and it then falling apart and away within a very short time. This dynamic came gradually more to the foreground after I went against my clear inner guidance on a major life decision some years ago.)

My “homework” is to recognize the undeserving dynamic for what it is: Created by the mind. Inherently without substance. Made up by energies and imaginations.

Mini session April 8

On and off for at least a couple of weeks now, I have had an energy/sensation in my heart area that’s familiar to me. As mentioned below, it feels preverbal (from infancy?) and as a matter of life-and-death. The sensation itself is not so strong, but it’s what my mind does with it – the stories it attaches to it – that makes it seem almost unbearable. I asked my friend KD to do a brief VH session on it, and he agreed. The session lasted about 15 minutes. I noticed that the uncomfortable sensation in the heart area disappeared and/or shifted almost right away. The VH energy then seemed to go down to the solar plexus and finally up to the frontal lobes.

After the session, KD said there was some fear in the heart, he did a few things to transform it, and also some repatterning of the consciousness.

#8 Sunday April 3 

Sixth session with NW. This was focused on a deep abandonment issue that comes up for me now and then. (It seems preverbal and almost as a matter of life-and-death, and it may be from infancy.) He did all the steps of the protocol, and said it was a straightforward session. I noticed a (comfortable) burning energy in my head, moving down to the heart, moving down legs to the feet, and then a warmth at the solar plexus.

NW also explained that in the month leading up to a basics/foundations class (which I am doing in about 10 days) the energy will work on and prepare the participants. That may explain why my sleep has been unusually fragmented for the last few weeks. I had a sense it had to do with the VH energy.

Update the following day: I woke up this morning and my first impression and thought was that something was missing from me. Then I remembered the session the night before.

I also have had a sense of the energy/intelligence working on me before and after sessions, sometimes for days, and that may be true. It does fit what NW said about the energy/intelligence working on participants of the basics course starting a month or so before the course. (I know this sounds woo-woo to many, but it does seem accurate based on my own experience.)

Update some days later: At times, it seems that the VH energy is working on me quite strongly on its own accord. Right now, mainly in the head and forehead area. (With the CFS and PTSD, I have for a while had an energetic sense that the frontal cortex has especially needed healing.)

#7 Monday March 28 (1/2 hour) 

Fifth session with NW. He focused mostly on the remaining Epstein-Barr viruses and said they were about 95% gone at the end of the session. (Most or all of the active infection gone, the dormant left.) He also strengthened the immune system and made it more alert to the remaining EPV.

#6 Monday March 21

Fourth session with NW. This was mainly focused on the Epstein-Barr virus (EPV) infection. He said the EPV is cleared about 70% so far. He also finished the main steps for working on the brain fog, although there is more that can be done. And he spent a few minutes energizing the kidneys. (I have noticed a weak kidney energy since my twenties.)

I didn’t notice that much effect of this session, perhaps because it mainly focused on an infection already “knocked back” to some extent with herbal medicines.

#5 Monday March 14

Third session with NW. He first focused on the Epstein-Barr infection and “knocked it back” although need more work to eliminate it completely he said. He also removed some conditioning around the brain fog. And strenthened my kidney energy (which I have known/felt is weak for long time) and improved the chi flow through my cells. As I was curious, he checked and said I have about 22 karmic knots.

#4 Monday March 7 

This session was my second with NW from the Bay Area and we decided to focus on the victim identity. (An identity that has surfaced more strongly since the onset of CFS / PTSD.) I did notice some energies during the session, and especially in/around the head during the last 10 minutes.

I’ll spend some time exploring the victim identity more intentionally. Right now, I notice the energy that makes it up, and that it’s connected to stories giving it meaning. He did say that he sensed the particular flavor has to do with nobody helping, and that fits my experience. Especially during elementary school, I felt quite alone and that nobody (or very few) were on my side. I especially felt that nobody were consistently on my side, there were nobody I could lean on or trust to always be there for me.

I am writing this within an hour of the session so there may be more to report tomorrow morning and in the next few days.

Update: The vicitm identity came up quite strongly the following one or two days, but it was much easier to be present with it and see it more for what it is. (Created by images and thoughts without further reality.) It hasn’t come up much since. (I am writing this three weeks later.)

In general after the first three sessions

I have noticed a “high” from two of the three first sessions, and this naturally tapers off over a few days. What stays seems to be the deeper (structural?) changes, such as the healing of the 2nd chakra divine line (very noticable difference) and a deeper sense of strength following the third session.

Another change I notice, as mentioned below, is that I am listening to Arvo Part again, I do tonglen, and I do sitting meditation again.

#3 Tuesday night

A session over Skype with NW in the Bay Area. (Who happens to be a friend of friends of mine there.)

He focused mostly on strengthening my system. Again, I experienced some presence and energies during the session, and lasting for perhaps one or two days. I also did feel stronger when I woke up this morning and through the day.

After this session, I have experienced a good deal of energy running through my system and I have had several nights where I only slept 2-3 hours due to this. (I take it as a good sign. It may be that my system just needs time to figure out how to deal with and integrate it.)

I have also been inspired to do more formal sitting meditation again on my own, which I haven’t since I got the CFS some years ago. And I have listened to Byron Katie which I haven’t for a long time.

#2 Sunday morning 

A session over Skype with JC in England.

This was mostly focused on the Lyme infection. I experienced some energies during the session. About half an hour following the session I experienced a burning sensation through my body. This lasted for two or three days, and longest in the head area.

#1 Thursday night 

A session in person with KD.

During the session, I could feel a strong presence and energy in and around me, and a lot of movement in my belly.

Here are some notes he sent to NW in the Bay Area whom I did a session with a few days later.

  • fixed broken divine line in 2nd chakra (yay!)
  • put in most of the standard treatment structures available at Omega level (his system really liked the fascia alignment structures)
  • energized the system with All-Energetics wherever it was most needed (in his case, the sacral/lumbar spine)
  • broke timelines twice in P’s “gut brain”
  • broke timeline on how his system is still in the broad holding pattern of the chronic fatigue
  • checked to see if an infection was present and confirmed it was since I was able to run some tools on it, but for only 10 mins (I had limitations on time)
  • re-patterning and integration at the end

The broken (or blocked?) divine line at the 2nd chakra can apparently create a range of health, emotional, and life problems. I have certainly had my fair share of these since the sudden onset of CFS, PTSD and the darkest part of the dark night.

The morning after this session, I woke up noticing a significant change and thought “I have my old belly back”. The much more healthy belly than what I have experienced over the last 6-7 years (with CFS, PTSD etc.).

I also experienced the full and nourishing feeling I do after having a Five Element acupuncture session, although the energy this time was stronger and lasted longer.

After the session, I found myself drawn to music and practices that were an important part of my life before the onset of the strong CFS / dark night phase. Specifically, the music of Arvo Part and the tonglen practice. (During the strong CFS / dark night phase, I still theoretically appreciated it but found it very difficult to listen to the music or actually do tonglen. Something in me was not aligned with it.)

It seems that Vortex Healing is without the backlash that most energy healing modalities have for me. I suspect it’s because it’s guided by – as they say – divine intelligence.

Chronic Fatigue & Lyme Update

 

I just spent two weeks in Poland and went to the Lyme/CFS clinic almost daily. It’s good to get some answers, and yet the treatments this time had less effect than last summer. I think it is because the treatment mainly focused on repairing the mitochondria, while what I more acutely need is to focus on active infections.

Here are some highlights:

Lab Reports February 2016

Active Epstein-Barr, Lyme, and two pneumonia bacteria. (I am not surprised about this. For instance, my Lyme symptoms return when I am off Artemisinin for two days a week.)

Epstein-Barr (these should be less than 2)

EBV LTT antigen 1 ug/ml  6.6

EBV LTT antigen 0,5 ug/ml  2.9

Borrelia (Lyme) (these should be less than 2)

afzelli 5.5

sensu stricto 3.1

garini 5.4

OspC 3.7

Pneumonia (these levels have increased since July 2015, which matches my experience)

Mycoplasma pneumoniae IgG  118 (has increased, was 96 in July 2015)

Chlamydia pneumoniae IgG  159 (has increased, was 118 in July 2015)

OK vitamin D3 level.

Vit. 25-OH D3 73,4 ng/ml
Not active candida.
Candida albicans IgA    < 10 U/ml
Candida albicans IgM    < 10 U/ml
OK B12 level? This was very low (127) last summer and I have taken sublingual B12 (methylcobalamin) since then. The reason my body doesn’t absorb B12 through the intestines may be parasites.

Methylmalonic acid  17 ug/l   normal range 9-32 (an indirect indicator for B12)

Magnesium are at normal levels. Selenium is at 135 ug/l (normal is 50-120) so it’s a little high, and the symptoms of high selenium fits with what I have. (It seems that just about all of the positive findings have similar symptoms, and fit with mine….!)

It’s also possible that I have heavy metals in my body (increasing the load) and parasites.

A “Food Detective” test found that my body reacts strongly to almonds and cow’s milk, and mildly to wheat, rye, oats, mushrooms, and yeast. (None of these are surprising to me. I have known about my reaction to sugar, what, and diary, and also some other grains and almonds.) It may be even more important for me to stay away from these foods since my body mobilizes against them, which means it will have fewer resources to take care of the real threats (intracellular EBV, Lyme, pneumonia).

Lab Reports from June 2015

EBV IgG 284 U/ml (Epstein-Barr antibodies, over 20 is positive)

C3A / C4A serum levels. These were low and suggested Sjøgren’s disease. Later results were negative for Sjøgren’s.

C3A serum level 0.27 (low, o.58 – 1.90 is normal range)

C4A serum level 0.37 (low, 0.57 – 1.68 is normal range)

VEGF 0.86 (within normal range)

Glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase 10.2 U/g Hb (normal range 7.20 – 10.50. This is a metabolic pathway providing energy to cells.)

ADH antidiurethic hormone 5.0 ng/l (normal is below 8)

Epstein-Barr

Antibodies p/EBV IgM 0.25 S/CO (negative, below 0.50 is negative)

Antibodies p/EBV IgG 59.16 S/CO (postive, over 1.00 is positive)

Vitamin 25-OH D3 37.0 ng/ml (normal/optimal range is 30-50)

Vitamin B12 127.4 pg/ml (very low, should be 200-800 range – or really 400-800 from what I read other places)

Borrelia IgM Western-Blot – negative, no reaction. (This is likely a false negative based on symptoms and other tests.)

CD3/CD8 (T-cell co-receptors)

% CD3+CD4+  13.3 (low, normal range is 19.0-38.9)

CD3+CD4+ 242  (low, normal range is 300-1200)

CD4/CD8 3.54 (high, normal range is 0.80-2.50)

CD57

% CD3+CD8+ 14.6 (low, normal range is 19.0-38.9)

CD3+CD8+ 266 (low, normal range is 300-1200)

Cortisol 472.3 nmol/l (normal range is 171-536)

Pneumonia

Antibodies p/Mycolasma pneumoniae IgA  negative

Antibodies p/Mycoplasma pneumoniae IgG 95.7 RU/ml  (over 20 is positive)

Antibodies p/Chlamydia pneumoniae IgG  118.39 RU/ml  (over 22 is positive)

Antibodies p/Chlamydia pneumoniae IgA  negative

Minerals

Sodium  146 mmol/l (little high, normal range is 136-145)

Potassium 3.97 mmpl/l (normal range is 3.5-5.1)

Chloride 109 mml/l (little high, normal range is 98-107)

ALT 24.1 U/l (normal is above 4 – not sure what this is)

AST 25.4 U/l (normal is below 39 – not sure what this is)

Hormones

TSH 2.480 ulU/ml (normal range is 0.270-4.200 – thyroid stimulating hormone)

Free thyroxine FT4  17.89 pmol/l (normal range is 12.00-22.00 – thyroid)

Triidothyrine FT3  5.68 pmol/l (normal range is 3.10-6.80 – thyroid)

Testosteron 22.36 nmol/l (normal range is 9.90-27.80)

 

Lab results from Ahus (hospital in Norway, February 2016)

Cytomegalovirus

CMV IgG Negative

CMV IgM Negative

Epstein-Barr Virus

EBV EBNA-IgG Negative

EBV VCA-IgG  345 (The Norwegian doctor says this suggest past infection. When I look at it, I see a higher number than the results June 2015 which suggests active infection.) 

EBV VCA-IgM Negative

Hepatitis

Hepatitis B virus core antigens  Negative

Hepatitis B virus surface antigens  Negative

Hepatitis C virus antigens Negative

Treatment February 2016

While at the clinic this time, I received i.v. to repair mitochondria and remove heavy metals from my body. I also did two hyperthermia treatments.

What I was prescribed while I was there:

Multimessenger (for immune system). Consists of: Colostrum/ betainehydrochlorid / Larix occidentalis/ Green Tea extract/ Punica granatum/ astragalus membranaceus/ Lentinula edodes/ Grofila Frondosa
Artemisinin 500mg x 2/day
Black cumin oil 5ml away from food – black seed oil “Ethiopia” from El-Hawag
Cholestyremine (to remove heavy metals)
Plaquenil (for parasites + possible Sjogren’s syndrome)
LDN 4.5mg
Vit D3
Probiotics

As I suspected, my doctor also recommends I go back to using antibiotics to take care of the EPV, Lyme, and pneumonia.

I also take vitamin A+K, magnesium, and eleuthero (Siberian ginseng for strength) and echinacea (for immune function).

What I am prescribed from my herbalist:

Echinacea 5g

Eleuthero to max comfort

Kapi kachu to max comfort

Methyl Folate work up to 5g

Weakened system and accumulation

Here is what I suspect happened:

I had mononucleosis at 14 or 15 followed by an initial CFS a few months later. I was sick most of high school.

I did better after high school, as long as I was careful about what I ate and to get rest when I needed.

I had a severe pneumonia 6-7 years ago which never left my system, and I had a strong return of the CFS a few months later.

I got Lyme May of 2015 (numb arms, legs, face, tongue, poor memory, severe fatigue).

It seems that each of these – the Epstein-Barr, pneumonia, and Lyme stayed in and increased the load on my system. The two periods of CFS both came a few months after a serious infection (mononucleosis and pneumonia). It’s likely that my body was initially weakened by the EPB and was then less able to fight off the rest.

It’s also possible that my system was weakened by feeling lost and off track, which I did both at age 14-15, and 6-7 years ago. During times when I have experienced a strong sense of purpose and being on track, I tend to do better.

(more…)

Health update

 

As mentioned in an earlier post, I went to a doctor in Poland this summer. He is a specialist in Lyme, and – as it turns out – also in chronic fatigue (CFS). He sent my blood off to a number of labs, and I received the results in August. The results show a number of things that all contribute to fatigue and brain fog (including poor executive functions and shaky/raw emotions).

These include: Very low B12 levels (127), epstein-barr virus (mononucleosis, often associated with CFS), two pneumonia viruses, an auto-immune disease, and Lyme.

It’s a relief to finally have more specific information about what’s been going on with me. Now, I can say it’s the things listed above, instead of using the fuzzy term CFS.

I don’t know the exact sequence of how I got these things, but here is my best guess:

When I was 14 or 15, I had mononucleosis. Some months later, I got CFS for the first time and this lasted 2-4 years quite severely. I felt I never recovered from this, and that may be true if the Epstein-Barr virus is still in my system (intracellular). After this, in my twenties and early thirties, I was able to function reasonably well as long as I could organize my own schedule and include rest when I needed it. (I was unable to follow a regular work schedule, and fortunately didn’t have to.)

Seven or eight years ago, I had pneumonia, and I never felt I got over this too. It now turns out I didn’t. The viruses are still there (also intracellular). This pneumonia preceded (and may have led to?) my second severe CFS episode some months later, much more severe than the initial one in my teens.

I assume the B12 deficiency developed over several years. It may have made me more susceptible to the pneumonia and Lyme by weakening my system so I couldn’t fight them off. It’s also possible that some of these led or contributed to (?) the B12 deficiency (not sure if that’s how it works).

It’s also possible that I have had Lyme for far longer than just this summer. Several people have suggested it, although I didn’t have any tests until now.

My doctor thinks that these are all treatable, so I am optimistic. I also know how important it is to help my system relax and strengthen in general, through diet, sleep, nourishing relationships and activities, moderate physical activity, helping my nervous system release tension and relax, doing inquiry on stressful beliefs/identities/apparent threats, and more.

Any prayers for my full recovery are welcome.

What’s been surfacing in the dark night

 

I keep returning to the dark night of the soul here.

In short, for me it came after:

(a) An early awakening to all as Spirit (God). Or, more precisely, Spirit awakening to itself as all that is with no exceptions. This happened out of the blue, since I was an atheist and had no interest in spirituality before this. After some time, I found the writings of some mystics who seemed to describe a similar shift. (Mid-teens.)

(b) A “download” of huge amounts of insights and inspiration, along with a great deal of energy going through my system. It felt like high power going through regular housing wiring. It also felt like being pulled apart and put together differently. This may have included a dark night of the senses, and reduced identification with my human self. This came with the initial opening or awakening. (Late teens, early twenties.)

(c) Honeymoon phase. A sense of everything falling into place in my life, in amazing ways. (For the most part.) Being guided and held by God in smaller and larger things. Clear and strong inner guidance. Amazing synchronicities. (Early to late twenties.)

(c) Early dark night of the soul. I went against my guidance on an important life decision (where to live following marriage), and this was the start of the dark night of the soul. I felt off track and gradually felt more and more lost and aimless. (From having been very focused and quite ambitious in a healthy way.) There was also a period of a nondual state where there was no self or I to be found anywhere. (Any images or words creating the appearance of an I or self were seen as that.)

(d) Intense dark night of the soul. This came after diksha (which may have fried my brain somehow) and the nondual phase. It started with strong chronic fatigue (CFS), and the lid being taken off what was unprocessed – and unhealed and unloved – in me.

So what’s been surfacing in the dark night of the soul?

CFS symptoms. (Fatigue, brain fog.)

Persistent dread. This is with me constantly these days.

Initially, archetypal material. Heaven and hell images.

Unprocessed personal material. Unhealed and unloved parts of me, especially from childhood and teenage years. Unquestioned stressful stories.

Regression. Going back to early childhood and even before, and then slowly moving forward. Feeling like I am that age. Having memories, wounds and themes from those ages surfacing through my daily life. It’s not quite that linear, but it does seem that I am in the early twenties now.

Fear about the future. Regrets about the past. These too surfacing so I can learn from it, and also to heal, be loved, and for the stressful stories to be questioned. (The stressful stories that brought me to make the choices I regret, and the regretful and fearful stories themselves.)

Sometimes hopelessness. Giving up. Unable to see any way out or through this, including being unable to find peace with it as it is.

Losses of many types. Loss of energy, inner and outer resources. Relationships. Health. Opportunities coming along, and then falling apart. And more.

Trauma surfacing to be healed, loved, and for the trauma-inducing thoughts to be questioned. This is mostly trauma created over time in childhood, from longer lasting stressful situations (at home and with peers).

Sometimes speaking and acting from the fear, confusion and trauma, which has its consequences.

And what is it asking of me?

To find kindness towards my experience, as it is.

To find love towards my experience, as it is.

To invite and allow healing for the parts of me that needs healing.

To question the stressful stories, including the ones (re)creating trauma.

To rest with what’s here, as it is. With kindness. With gentle love.

To love the unloved and question the unquestioned.

To live from integrity. Live from authenticity. Follow my guidance. Noticing, welcoming and questioning the fears preventing me from doing that.

To be a good steward of my own life, in middle of all this, as well as I can. This includes asking for help, when that’s needed.

During the initial phase, there was a sense of all being given to me. Now, there is a sense that I need to grow up. I need to apply what I learned in more difficult situations and in relationship to deeper and more painful wounds in me.

Instead of basking in heaven, as a child receiving everything from its parents, I need to more intentionally bring heaven (love, kindness, presence, natural rest) into how I relate to what’s here. It’s more a sense of work. It’s a process of sobering up.

I am invited to even more intentionally bring what I want (love etc.) into how I relate to my experience, as it is here and now, independent of its content.

I knew all of this before too, and even applied it. The difference is that this situation is far more intense and challenging, and require more intention and work. It’s like going from the ashes to the fire.

Aspects of the dark night of the soul

 

All these forms of the Dark Night—the “Absence of God,” the sense of sin, the dark ecstasy, the loss of the self’s old passion, peace, and joy, and its apparent relapse to lower spiritual and mental levels [….]

– Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism, Chapter 9

In Mysticism, Evelyn Underhill identified these forms of the dark night of the soul. To me, they seem more like aspects, perhaps since all of them at different times have been quite prominent in my experience.

Sense of sin. Yes, in many different ways.

Early on, visions of evil and evil figures from many cultures and traditions, and of being each of them. (Which is true for all of us. They represent aspects of us.)

Impulses to do things I previously pushed aside or saw as “too low” for me. Sometimes even acting on this, at least to some extent. (I am not very proud of it, and find it difficult to give examples here, although what I experienced and did is quite common in many people’s lives. To me, they felt like big things since they were so out of the ordinary for me.)

Dark ecstasy. Yes, pain and suffering, or a “dark desolation”.

Earlier in my process, I used to experience the “dark desolation” as a swing back after going into bliss, ecstasy, and love for everything. Now, since the dark night of the soul set in, it’s been a permanent companion. Sometimes stronger, sometimes more in the background.

Loss of self’s old passion, peace and joy. Yes, again in many different ways.

I lost just about all of my old passions, for painting and drawing (which I used to do every day and thought I couldn’t live without), loss of ability to meditate (which I also did every day, and thought I couldn’t live without), and much else. (Sustainability, sustainable design, community organizing, hiking, backpacking, concerts, theater etc.)

Relapse to lower spiritual and mental levels. Yes, both in terms of “regression” and “stupidity”.

I have regressed back in time, to infancy, childhood, and even before birth. Partly, this has taken the form of images and emotions from those times surfacing. Partly, it’s taken the form of experiencing myself as very young, and to some extent acting and appearing that way. Partly, it’s taken the form of interests from childhood resurfacing, including in comic books, animations, and games.

I feel I have also regressed intellectually. I am unable to read much, while I used to read several books a week. I am unable to write as I used to. In conversations, I often feel utterly stupid and unable to say much, even on topics I used to be very familiar with and could speak eloquently about.

Synchronicity: As I wrote “dark desolation” (dark ecstasy section) the song they played at the cafe I am at said “it’s always darkest before the dawn”.

Synchronicity 2: As I wrote “I am not very proud of it” (sense of sin section) the lyrics of the current song were “I still do things that I shouldn’t do”.

Here is the full paragraph from Mysticism:

All these forms of the Dark Night—the “Absence of God,” the sense of sin, the dark ecstasy, the loss of the self’s old passion, peace, and joy, and its apparent relapse to lower spiritual and mental levels—are considered by the mystics themselves to constitute aspects or parts of one and the same process: the final purification of the will or stronghold of personality, that it may be merged without any reserve “in God where it was first.”

The function of this episode of the Mystic Way is to cure the soul of the innate tendency to seek and rest in spiritual joys; to confuse Reality with the joy given by the contemplation of Reality. It is the completion of that ordering of disordered loves, that trans-valuation of values, which the Way of Purgation began.

The ascending self must leave these childish satisfactions; make its love absolutely disinterested, strong, and courageous, abolish all taint of spiritual gluttony. A total abandonment of the individualistic standpoint, of that trivial and egotistic quest of personal satisfaction which thwarts the great movement of the Flowing Light, is the supreme condition of man’s participation in Reality.

Thus is true not only of the complete participation which is possible to the great mystic, but of those unselfish labours in which the initiates of science or of art become to the Eternal Goodness “what his own hand is to a man.”

“Think not,” says Tauler, “that God will be always caressing His children, or shine upon their head, or kindle their hearts as He does at the first. He does so only to lure us to Himself, as the falconer lures the falcon with its gay hood. . . . We must stir up and rouse ourselves and be content to leave off learning, and no more enjoy feeling and warmth, and must now serve the Lord with strenuous industry and at our own cost.”

– Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism, Chapter 9

All of this very much fits my experience. It does seem like a weaning off, a transition from “spiritual childhood” to more maturity and adulthood. I don’t consider myself there at all, but see that that’s the invitation.

Victim identity

 

The last few years, it seems that life has made an extra effort to set up situations where my victim identity comes to the surface. (Illness, loss of relationships, loss of house, loss of friends, feeling alone and unsupported, fear of the future etc.)

It’s easy to tell myself life is doing it so the victim identification can be resolved in me. It’s life squeezing what’s left out of me (as Adya said would happen). It’s easy to tell myself these stories, although I see that I am the one who wants it to be resolved in me. I am the one squeezing what’s left out of me. And I see how I contribute to create these situations.

Life sets it up —> I set it up.

Life wants me to…. —> I want me to….

That’s more true for me, and I can find specific examples of how each is true.

The victim identity alone is images and words. Add associated sensations (velcro), and there is identification. The identity seems more solid and real, and it seems what I am.

At times, the identification is activated and seems solid, real, and what I am. And other times, it may be in the background while still influencing how I perceive and live in the world, and it’s also partially dormant waiting to be triggered and brought to life again by my mind.

So how can it be resolved? I know some ways that doesn’t seem to bring resolution: Ignoring it, trying to push it away, denying it, distracting myself from it, making myself feel good temporarily.

What are some other ways?

Notice and allow. Notice images, words, sensations. Allow. Notice they are already allowed.

Find love for it. Find kindness and love for the victim me, for the images, words, and sensations, for the victim me in the past. Perhaps use ho’oponopono, or loving kindness, or tonglen. Scan back in time, find times where the victim identity came up, and find love and kindness for myself then.

Inquire into it. Can I find the victim me? Can I find the threat? Can I find a command to be a victim, or not be a victim? What’s the worst that can happen if I am a victim? If I am not? When do I remember first feeling like a victim? Can I find the victim me in those memories? Can I find the threat there? A command to be a victim, or not be a victim?

Include the body. Use therapeutic tremors (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises, TRE). Bring the victim identity, and the situations triggering it, to mind while trembling. Go for walks, eat well, spend time in nature, do yoga (Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Breema etc.) as a support for my life, and for finding love for the victim identity and doing inquiry on it.

Ask for support. Ask life (God, Spirit) for support. Ask friends and family for support, if that seems appropriate. Ask people with helpful skills for support through facilitating inquiry and whatever else may support resolution.

What do I mean with resolution? It doesn’t mean making it go away. It does mean inviting in a shift in how I relate to it – the victim identity, identification, and anything else coming up around it.

It means notice and allow.

Finding love and kindness towards it. (Including from seeing that the victim identification is innocent, and comes from a wish to protect the me. It comes from love and kindness. It’s worried love.)

Inquire into it, to see what’s already there. See how the mind creates the victim identity and identification. See any associated images, words, and sensations.

It means treating it – the victim identity, identification, and anything associated with it – with respect. It’s there for a reason. When I see it’s there to protect me, it comes from love, it’s innocent, then it’s natural to find respect for it.

It means seeing that it really, honestly, doesn’t need to go away. When I find kindness and love for it, when I see it’s from love, when I see how the mind creates the victim identity and identification, then I also see it really doesn’t need to go away.

When I see the images as images, words as words, and sensations as sensations, and take time to feel the sensations as sensations, then I see it’s all OK. It’s all innocent. It’s all OK as is. It really, truly, doesn’t need to go away.

Also, when it doesn’t control me or my life anymore, it’s clear it doesn’t need to go away.

Similarly, when it finds it’s own liberation, it doesn’t need to act as strongly to get my attention. When it finds it’s own liberation from being mistreated, vilified, and pushed away by me, it naturally tends to quiet down, and it’s clear it doesn’t need to go away.

As always, knowing this can be helpful. It’s a first step. Even knowing it from previous experience, from a memory, is a first step. It’s like having a menu, or medicine in your hand. And what matters is actually applying it. Actually doing it. Actually ordering the food and eating it. Actually taking the medicine. And doing it wholeheartedly. Doing it thoroughly.

I see that the victim identity is quite central to my deficiency stories. Perhaps it’s like that for most of us. As soon as there is identification, the victim identification is set up to come alive. Even when we construct elaborate ways to deal with it, it may still be there underneath.

Our ways to deal with the victim identification may include creating an identity as as strong, capable or independent. Nurturing supportive friends and family. Using our natural strengths such as intelligence, knowledge storage, friendliness. Creating a life that’s safe materially and in as many other ways we can. All of these are fine, and many are even ways to be a good steward of our life.

And yet, the victim identification may still be there, and when it comes to the surface it’s good to notice, and perhaps explore it a bit. Sometimes, it’s so much in our face that we don’t seem to have many other options than really taking it seriously.

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Why things go wrong in a dark night

 

Recent experiences has brought me back to this topic:

Why do things tend to go wrong in a dark night of the soul?

When I use the term dark night of the soul here, I use it the same way Evelyn Underhill does in Mysticism, largely because the phases and how she describes them fit my experience. I am aware that the types, sequence, and characteristics of the phases people go through can vary quite a bit.

So why do things tend to go wrong in a dark night of the soul phase? Why do things fall apart or away? Why do things tend to not go “our way”?

In terms of contrast: It’s often reverse of the honeymoon phase

A dark night of the soul tend to follow an initial awakening and initial honeymoon phase. During this phase, life seems easy, joyful, and seems to mainly go “our way”. For me, there was a sense of being deeply on track, being held in God’s hand, and living a life full of amazing serendipities.

The following dark night phase has been the reverse of this, and it’s even more noticeable – and sometimes more painful – because of the contrast.

At a big picture level: Life squeezing out what’s left in us

A dark night of the soul is life squeezing out what’s left in us. It’s life rubbing up against remaining identifications (velcro, beliefs) in us, with an invitation for it to wear out, be seen through, and/or loved as is.

Central to this is life flushing out the victim identity in us. It comes to the surface, we cannot escape it, and are invited to meet it, examine it, find love for it as it is.

When I had a meeting with Adyashanti some years ago, he said I would find myself in this situation. And he used the words “life squeezing what’s left out of you”. That’s very much how it feels. I feel squeezed.

Flushing out what’s left from the inside: Victim identities and more

Along with all this, there also seems to be an inner impulse to flush out what’s left. Old wounds, traumas, hurts, pain seems to steadily come to the surface. With an invitation to examine unexamined painful stories, love the unloved, feel the unfelt.

They seem to surface even in the absence of “external” life circumstances and triggers, and although life certainly also has brought a lot of these triggers into my life during this phase. The internal impulse to flush out, and the external triggers, often go hand in hand.

And yes, I know there isn’t really anything internal or external. It’s all part of a seamless whole, all part of this seamless field of awareness. At the same time, it can be helpful to differentiate a bit using these words.

What’s missing: Lack of trust, confidence, resources

In this phase, it’s easy to lose heart. A sense of confidence, trust, and being able to rely on inner and outer resources may be among what’s lost. It’s been that way for me. It’s very humbling, and invites me to see what’s here without the possible defense or refuge of confidence, trust, and knowing I can rely on inner and outer resources. It makes me more naked.

At a more conventional level: Messiness begets messiness

When “the lid is taken off” our wounds and unresolved trauma, and these come to the surface and into focus, our life may reflect this (apparent) turmoil. We may act from these wounds, which in turn tends to create messy situations.

Inner messiness, confusion, and turmoil tends to be reflected in outer messiness, confusion, and turmoil. That’s how it’s been for me. Sometimes more than other times, and in some areas of life more than other.

Questioning the more basic ideas: Right & wrong, dark night, awakening, threats, someone going through it

As long as we hold onto ideas of certain things in our life going right or wrong, and the idea of right and wrong itself, life will rub up against it. Life will inevitably bring us into situations that we feel are wrong, or where something went wrong. (When I say “life” I could easily say “I” here, which would refer to both my human self and also the Big Mind/Heart/Belly Self.)

That’s an invitation for us to question our stories about right and wrong, look at the deficient and inflated selves our life situations brings up (victim, the one in control etc.), and find love for the unloved parts of us and our experience.

Falling away or apart is not the same as going wrong. That something goes against my preferences doesn’t even mean it’s wrong. When things fall away or apart, and it brings up the story of something going wrong, it comes with an invitation to look at that story.

Even the idea of a dark night is good to look at. Can I find it, outside of images, words and sensations? Can I find a threat? What’s the best that can happen? The worst?

And can I find someone going through a dark night? A victim? Someone going through an awakening process? Someone who is squeezed by life? Someone who has something going wrong, or right?

Healing, maturing, deepening

This phase can be a phase of healing, maturing, and deepening. A deepening in trust, prayer, inquiry, love, presence. A healing of old wounds and traumas. A maturing as an ordinary human being in the world.

It’s especially so when we align with this. When we intentionally allow this to happen. When we intentionally play along with it. (Instead of opposing it, resisting, complaining, although that too is often part of the process, and can eventually lead to further healing, maturing, and deepening. That too is part of being human, and noticing what’s here.)

Embracing it all: Being human

This too is part of the dark night of the soul. Embracing it all. Being human. Noticing what’s here. Notice and even find kindness for my human frailties, weaknesses, and  imperfections. I am human, as anyone else. I am no different. We are all in the same boat. There is a huge relief in admitting this, and really seeing it, feeling it, and taking it in.

The initial awakening and honeymoon phase may be a phase of transcendence. A phase of transcending, at least temporarily, our human frailties and weaknesses. The dark night of the soul is an invitation to embrace, get to know, and find kindness for my very human weaknesses and messiness.

Three centers: Including the heart and belly

For me, the initial awakening was a “head center” awakening, a recognition and seeing of all as Spirit. Shortly after, the heart came in, with a love of all as Spirit, and a recognition of all (and Spirit) as love.

The dark night of the soul seems to be a cleaning out of the belly center for me, of the emotional wounds, traumas, and traumas related to the primal survival instincts. It seems to open for a more deeply lived and felt sense of all as Spirit.

Is there a guarantee?

Reading Everlyn Underhill, it seems that the dark night of the soul inevitably leads to a clarification, maturing, and deepening. But that’s because she took people who had gone through it and come out on the other side as examples.

She didn’t look at those who may have gotten lost in despair, resentment, pain, and reactivity, perhaps for decades and the rest of their lives.

Is there a guarantee that this phase will lead to clarification, maturing, and deepening? Will this happen on its own? I don’t think so. I think it’s up to us to intentionally align with and support this process. It requires intention, sincerity, and work. It requires readiness.

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TRE and back pain

 

Therapeutic tremors – the ones all mammals have after stress or shock, and is initiated through the Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) – heal the organism, and doesn’t seem to differentiate between body and mind. The healing happens wherever it’s needed.

One healing that happened early on for me was my lower back. I have scoliosis (still there), and used to have days where my back seized up and I stayed in bed for half a day or a full day to recover.

During the first few weeks of doing TRE, I had periods of soreness in the lower back, and trusted that it was part of the healing process. (While I also monitored it, and adjusted the frequency and length of my TRE sessions, so it wouldn’t get too uncomfortable.) After some weeks, or perhaps months, I noticed that the muscles in my lower back felt much softer and healthier, and it has continued to be that way.

There are still areas of chronic tension in my body, most notably in my shoulders. The shaking goes up there, as it has for a while, but I have – for whatever reason – taken that process a bit slower.

 

Manipulation and the dark night of the soul

 

What’s a dark night of the soul?

I tend to use the term the way Evelyn Underhill describes it in her book Mysticism. It’s what typically follows an initial awakening or set of awakenings, and an initial honeymoon phase. It seems to be a phase of life squeezing the bulk of what’s left out of us, so it can be seen, felt, and loved. Unexamined identifications come up to be examined. Unloved parts of us surface to be loved. Unfelt emotions come to be felt. It can be experienced as a very dark phase, depending on the duration and intensity of what’s showing up.

As Jeanne Zandi says, any form of manipulation tends to backfire in this period. It just makes things worse. The dark night of the soul seems to be similar to a gestation and birthing process that needs nurturing and support. (And not a problem or illness to be fixed, although there may be things happening during this phase that can benefit from such a approach.)

I notice that if I go as a client to someone who’s trying to “fix me”, it tends to not work. It’s painful, and it often makes things worse for me. It’s happened with spiritual teachers, a therapist, energy work, well-meaning friends, breath work, and more. It feels much too harsh, and it seems to come from a basic misunderstanding of what the dark night of the soul is about.

In the beginning of this phase, I got burnt several times, and now seem to fortunately have wised up a bit.

What does work is allowing and love, and also gentle inquiry to see what’s already here. And that – along with nature, understanding friends, a good diet, some herbal support, rest, and a few other very simple and nurturing things – seems enough.

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Own Enneagram test results

 

I took the brief enneagram test again, and got these results. I still think I am mainly a nine, with 1, 3, and 5 as quite strong, along with 2 and 4.

As with any identities, this is what I am, or at least how I appear, in a conventional sense. At the same time, the results change somewhat over time, and between each time I take the test.

It may be interesting to take these types of tests, and useful in some specific ways. For instance, it can help me notice patterns in myself, and – in this case – how I tend to seek safety. In the context of the Living Inquiries, it can help me identify deficient and inflated selves, and perhaps threats and commands, which I then can look at.

And these types are not what I really am. When I look for the me that’s a peace lover or peacemaker, I cannot find it outside of a collection of images, words, and sensations.

Enneagram Test Results

The Enneagram is a personality system which divides the entire human personality into nine behavioral tendencies, this is your score on each..

 

Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||||||||| 62%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 4 Individualism |||||||||||||| 54%
Type 5 Intellectualism |||||||||||||||| 66%
Type 6 Security Focus |||||||||||| 42%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||||| 46%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||| 38%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||||||||| 70%

 

type score type behavior motivation
1 18  I must be perfect and good to survive.
3 17  I must be impressive and attractive to survive.
9 17  I must maintain peace/calm to survive.
5 16  I must be knowledgeable to survive.
2 15  I must be helpful and caring to survive.
4 13  I must be unique/different to survive.
7 11  I must be fun and entertained to survive.
6 10  I must be secure and safe to survive.
8 9  I must be strong and in control to survive.

 

Your main type is Type 1
Your variant stacking is so/sp/sx
Your level of health is above average
Your main type is which ever behavior you utilize most and/or prefer.
Your variant reflects your scoring profile on all nine types: so = social variant (compliant, friendly), sx = sexual variant (assertive, intense), sp = self preservation variant (withdrawn, security seeking).
For info on the flaws of the Enneagram system click here.

A golden child, and then all fell apart 

 

I thought I would share some of the painful stories that come up for me to be seen, loved, rested with.

These are very basic stories, and they come up without much filtering these days, partly because I seem unable to filter or set aside much.

These seem related to elementary school experiences:

I am a victim, unsupported, under siege.

In elementary school, friends would turn against me when certain other kids were around. I felt unsafe, scared, confused, unsupported (by family, teachers, school mates), under siege. All of these still come up now and then. I feel like a victim of life and circumstances (especially with my health, brain fog, divorce, loss of friends, lost opportunities, things continuing to fall apart). I feel under siege (noise, chemicals, lack of support, no place to call my own).

In elementary school, I couldn’t fight or flee, so I froze. I became paralyzed. And that’s still showing up in some situations in my life. (Being passive where it would be more helpful to be active.)

And a more overarching story:

I was a golden child, then all fell apart.

I had amazing opportunities and inner and outer resources until I got married and left my guidance (by physically moving away from many things that felt deeply right to me). Then it all started to fall apart. I lost opportunities. Lost friends. Lost health. Lost education and career opportunities. Lost support. Lost inner and outer resources (health, clarity, confidence, capacity, house, money).

And another story:

This is a dark night of the soul. I went through the initial awakening and illumination phase, and now it’s the dark night of the soul. (Very similar to how Evelyn Underhill describes it in Mysticism.) It’s a heroic journey.

This one may be partly valid, and can – to some extent – be comforting. And it’s also unhelpful if I go to this story instead of looking at what’s really here, in immediacy.

There is also an earlier story, which came up more strongly a couple of years ago but is still here:

I am unloved. I am unlovable.

My parents would leave me alone in a dark room in my crib. I cried, and they didn’t come. So I gave up. (I froze.)

Before incarnation, beings showed me that it was time to incarnate and the essence of how this life would be and why (for my own maturing, and to do my little bit to help shift humanity). I agreed because I saw it was good, and didn’t voice my hesitation. (I had glimpses of memories of this even as a very young child.)

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Three centers & how I talk about it – including light and dark

 

I had a conversation with a friend today where I tried to put into words the difference between the initial awakening, and the shift that happened some years after.

During the initial awakening, it was a recognition and seeing of all as consciousness, all without exception as consciousness. (Or God, or Spirit, or the Divine.) In addition, there was a sense of the body, and all matter, as golden light. (Quite similar to one of the last scenes of The Matrix, although less dense than in that scene.)

Relatively soon after, there was a shift into recognizing all as love, a recognition of all as consciousness, intelligence, and love – without exception. All form, all in this world, is and cannot not be love. There was also a heart opening, and a loving of all as Spirit and love.

During yet another shift some years later, there was a sense of deepening and depth, and a softer sense of all matter as consciousness, love, the divine. More specifically, there was a sense of consciousness “peering out” from the inside of all matter, of all being and being inside of (in the womb of) the divine feminine, and all being and being held within a soft, velvety luminous blackness. There was a felt sense of all as Spirit. (This was followed by a process where unloved/unquestioned emotional materials has and continues to come to the surface – with an invitation for it to be seen, felt, loved, and the stories behind it questioned.)

Through Barry Martin Snyder, and his description of the three soul centers, I found that I could map the initial awakening to the head center – a seeing and recognition of all as Spirit. The second shift can be seen as relating to the heart center, a recognition of all as love and a love for all as Spirit and love. (Apart from when wounds and hangups were triggered.) And the third relates to the belly center, a shift into feeling all as Spirit. The head center can be seen as more yang or masculine, and the belly center as more yin or feminine.

When I talk about it in this way, it does reflect my experience quite closely, and yet I feel a bit uncomfortable about some of the wording. The three centers is a metaphor, with a possible physical correlation. The words masculine and feminine are used in a more traditional way, and also as a metaphor. Light and dark are similarly used as metaphors, and I see that they come from an image I have of golden light, and of luminous darkness. Before I noticed these images, it somehow seemed that the world (as matter, consciousness, Spirit, love) was inherently golden luminosity and dark luminosity. After noticing these images, I see that these are images. They may have been created by my mind to fit the experience, and based on cultural influences.

And just to make it clear, these awakenings are not “complete” or a destination of any sort. They were shifts that are still here. They are more or less in the foreground of experience at different times, and shift in “volume”. It’s an ongoing process.

Also, for me, the head and heart awakenings were relatively easy, although they did involve a great deal of reorganization of my human self. The belly shift has been far more challenging, and has involved a large amount of unprocessed (unloved, unquestioned) material coming to the surface to be seen, felt, loved, and gently questioned. It’s all happened on it’s own schedule, and it seems to live its own life, in a way.

I am trying to intentionally align with what seems to happen, and what the invitation is in each moment, although I am unable to do it as consistently as I would like. That too is part of the process. It’s a bit messy, and I am aware that it can seem cleaner and more straight forward when written out in this way. To make it clear, this process is messy. I am bumbling through it.

When difficult emotional material is surfacing, I sometimes react to it and act on it. I sometimes actively avoid it through entertainment, or talking with a friend, or going for a walk, or food. I sometimes rest with it. I sometimes inquire into it. I sometimes find love for it. At different times, I do everything on the spectrum of how humans typically relate to these kind of things.

It can be helpful to bring anything here to inquiry.

Can I find X? Light? Dark? Luminosity? Luminous darkness? Masculine? Feminine? Head center? Heart center? Belly center? Recognition? Love? Feeling?

Can I find someone who is or has X? (Any of the above.)

What’s do I fear would happen if X is not here? What do I hope (or fear) would happen if it is here? Can I find the threat? Can I find what I hope will happen?

Is there a command to find (create, hold onto, not hold onto) X?

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Attending to the spine

 

In my teens and early twenties, I did a Taoist practice where I brought attention up and down the spine and through the top of the head. (Visualizing dark light going up, and golden light coming down, with the in and out breath.)

Now, I am doing a similar although simpler practice where I bring attention up and down the spine. Rest with it. Notice. Allow. Feel.

I notice again something I noticed several years ago. When I bring attention to the spine, I see three (or more) pictures of the spine, and they don’t quite align. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where the spine is, for that reason, and it’s more noticeable from the chest area up. My sense is that it’s connected with an incarnation trauma, perhaps the sense of being unloved and unlovable, and a sense of fragmentation. (Which is also expressed in sometimes being confused what to do next in life, and feeling split between two or more options.)

Some ways to explore this:

Continue bringing attention to the spine. Notice. Allow. Rest with it.

Find kindness towards it. See it’s there to protect me. It’s from deep caring. It’s from love. Treat it with respect. Kindness. Authenticity. (As I would like to be treated.)

Look for a threat. Where is the threat in bringing attention to the spine? In the multiple pictures of the spine? In the slight discomfort I experience when I bring attention there?

What’s the worst that can happen if this doesn’t heal or resolve? (Look for the threat.)

What’s the best that can happen if it does heal and resolve? (Look for that.)

Look for the spine. See if it’s findable.

Look at the incarnation trauma. Look for a threat there. (In the images, words, sensations associated with it.)

My influences

 

I thought I would make a list of some of my influences. I am sure  I am (accidentally) leaving out many important ones.

Teens & Early Twenties

  • Fritjof Capra **** – very strong influence in his exploration of the intersection of science and spirituality.
  • Ken Wilber **** – I started with No Boundaries, and have read just about all of his books since.
  • Shirley Maclaine –  yes, I know, but reading her books did early on help open my mind.
  • Parmahansa Yogananda *** – I read just about everything published by him.
  • Meister Eckhart – after the initial awakening, I found someone who was coming from the same place in his writings. (Although filtered through a different culture, tradition, and intentionally wanting to be a bit obscure.)
  • Saint Francis ***** – very strong heart connection.
  • The Gospel of Thomas ***** – strong resonance.
  • CG Jung ***** – very strong influence, I read a great number of his books in my teens and early twenties.
  • Taoism, I Ching etc. ***** – I felt a strong connection to Taoism and read and reread a number of the classics, and also some more modern texts.
  • Rudolph Steiner ** – I read a number of his books as well, along with other Anthroposophical writings.
  • Tibetan Buddhism *** – many of the modern and traditional classics.
  • Zen **** – during my time at the Zen Center, I read a number of modern and traditional classics in Zen too.
  • Ecospirituality, ecopsychology, The Great Story **** – I have been deeply interested in this since my teens, and have read most of what’s been available on these topics. (Which, for a while, wasn’t that much.)
  • Arne Næss **** – the ecophilospher, another one I feel a great kinship with.

Later on

  • Douglas Harding *** – I really like his simple and direct approach.
  • Ramana Maharshi, Nisgaradatta, Papaji, Ramesh Balsekar, UG Krishnamurti etc. – I had a phase where I read many of the modern classics within Advaita.
  • Adyashanti ***** – the teacher and teachings I resonate the most with. He feels like a brother on the path, one that’s a bit older and wiser. (It also felt that way when I met with him a few years back.)
  • Byron Katie **** – yes, very clear and has been very important to me.
  • Bonnie Greenwell **** – clear, down to earth, practical, insightful, experienced.
  • Scott Kiloby **** – I really like his ordinariness and down to earth approach, his clarity, humanity, and the approaches he has and is developing.

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The gifts of fatigue

 

It’s easy to see chronic fatigue (CFS) as a disaster.

That’s how we (most of us) are trained to see significant health problems. And if that’s all we see, and we hold it as true and real, that’s how we create suffering for ourselves.

And yet, as with just about anything else, there are also gifts there, and it’s good to acknowledge these. It helps balance the picture in my mind, and how I relate to it and my life.

So what are some of the genuine gifts in CFS for me?

When I thought of fatigue, the first that came up for me is I love you. (To the fatigue and associated symptoms.) This shows that something has shifted in me since I first got it.

I learned to befriend ordinary rest. I used to be driven to always do something productive (studies, work, photography, meditation). I didn’t want to “waste” any time. From the fatigue, I learned the value of rest.

I learned to find peace with being dependent on others. I used to be strongly invested in being independent and take care of my own life. And I learned the gifts in being dependent on others. In receiving. In letting people give. We are always dependent on others, in innumerable ways. And I found the gifts in being dependent in a more obvious way too.

I learned to find kindness for my very human experience, even when my human side didn’t like it at all. I learned the value and relief in finding peace with and love for what’s here. And I am still learning.

I had to face beliefs about health, value, roles in society, success, failure, and more. I have worked on and looked at many of these, although there are some left.

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Reasons for the dark night

 

I have written about this before, but wanted to revisit it for my own sake.

There are a few possible reasons for a dark night of the soul:

It’s a common stage in an awakening/embodiment process. It seems to be part of the process, for many or most.

It’s a part of natural swings. After a “high” there is a “down”, and the dark night of the soul sometimes comes after a honeymoon phase, an initial “high”.

With these swings, the invitation is to see, feel and love it all as awareness (Spirit, love), and to find ourselves as that which already is and allows it all.

It helps us see what’s left in terms of unloved and unexamined wounds, trauma, fears, beliefs, and identifications. It’s an invitation to find a new wholeness as a human being, and for identifications to (continue) to wear off.

It seems the dark night happened because I left my guidance. I went against my knowing and my guidance on a major life decision, and didn’t leave the situation even if it continued to not feel right. This led to a sense of being deeply off track, and eventually fatigue and collapse at many levels.

All of these may be part of the picture. It’s a natural phase, it’s an expression of natural swings, it’s an invitation to see/feel/love all as what I already am, it shows me what’s left, and it happened the way it did because I left my guidance on a significant life decision.

What are some possible reasons for an especially long and/or intense dark night of the soul? And, in particular, what may be some reasons in my case? (I am thinking of DNs that last 10-15+ years.)

It followed a long and intense initial awakening phase. The unusually high high was followed by an unusually low low. (Respectively 10+ years, followed by a transition, and then 10+ years.)

I may have special difficulties in finding love for what’s here, and examine it thoroughly. Perhaps due to trauma? In my case, it seems that it’s been difficult for me to allow it – the love, trust, understanding, insights – to deeply sink in and work on me at a deep(ish) level.

I continued to go against my guidance for several years, which deepened the sense of being off track, brought fatigue, and led to eventual collapse. I stayed in a situation that didn’t feel right, at a deep level.

On the topic of stages, here are some as described by Evelyn Underhill and Adyashanti.

Evelyn Underhill’s stages: Initial interest, dark night of the senses, illumination, dark night of the soul, unitive life.

Adyashanti’s stages: Calling, awakening, trails and tribulations, abiding tranquility, transfiguration, relinquishment, transmutation.

To me, it makes sense that a dark night of the senses leads to a more abiding tranquility. It seems that the only (?) way through it is to find a deep love for what’s here, including the deepest pain, and recognize it too – including at a felt level – as awareness and love. And it makes sense if this leads to a deeper sense of ease with what’s here, whether it’s easy or difficult, pleasant or painful, “light” or “dark”. It’s a deeper level of “one taste”, one that’s not only seen or loved, but also felt.

Update:

I am adding these points which came to mind:

A year or two before the dark night of the soul happened, I prayed for full awakening no matter what it would cost (for days, in front of the main altar in Bodh Gaya of all places). This is a type of “dangerous prayer” which may give us what we ask for, but not in the way we expect or (think we) want.

About six months before the darkest phase of the dark night, I received diksha (energy transfer) which led to about half a year in a (simple, easy, unremarkable) nondual state. This was followed by sudden fatigue and collapse at almost all levels. It’s possible that this was a response to the diksha. It may have tried to push or force a natural development that is better left to unfold in its own time. (Of course, this became part of my process and how it all unfolded.)

A couple of weeks before the absolutely darkest phase of the dark night (two years after the diksha event), I said another dangerous prayer. I asked to be shown what’s left, and was plunged into about nine months of primal and immense dread and terror.

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Collapse

 

For me, the “dark night of the soul” has been a slow – and then faster – collapse.

It’s been a collapse of health, identities, relationships, courage, strength, mental clarity, hope, optimism, authenticity and more.

It was preceded by a life choice where I didn’t follow my guidance, and instead acted on shoulds and fears. I guess it’s possible to say that this triggered the collapse, which was slow at first. (The choice was to move to Wisconsin because of a relationship, even if moving there went against a very clear inner guidance.)

At the same time, a dark night of the soul seems to be a somewhat predictable phase in the process, following the initial awakening (illumination) and going before equanimity (ease through ups and downs). My process has happened to follow this pattern “by the book”, which I know is not always the case.

What is the function of this collapse?

It shows me how draining it is to go against my inner guidance (heart, integrity).

It shifted me out of my familiar roles (which were identified with) and into their reversals. This is an invitation to include a wider range of identities in my image of how I see myself, and for the identification with these identities to soften and even release.

It’s an invitation to inquire into my stories and assumptions about myself, my life, what is happening, and the world.

It’s an invitation to find love for what’s here (fatigue, brain fog, grief, despair, anger, fear, fearful thoughts etc.), and recognize these as love (here to protect the imagined me).

Its an invitation for life to recognize itself as this too. (For the divine, Spirit, love to recognize itself as this too, and not only bliss, mental clarity etc.)

It’s an invitation to find a deeper trust – in life, existence.

It’s an invitation to find myself as that which “is space for” what’s here, whatever it is. (That which allows and is the field of experience, as it is.)

It’s an invitation to find empathy and understanding for others in similar situation, through my own lived experience.

It’s an invitation to deepen and mature as a human being.  And to deepen and mature in “spiritual” recognition and understanding.

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Repeating the incarnation trauma

 

I have images of an incarnation trauma, and the feelings to go with it. I am in a heavenly realm. A group of beings convey to me that I am about to incarnate, for the benefit of Earth and myself. I agree. I don’t speak for the part of me that deeply loves the heavenly realm, and doesn’t want to incarnate. And it’s quite traumatic. There is a loss of what’s most important for me, and a deep pain from this loss.

It seems that I have repeated this incarnation trauma several times in my life, especially around intimate relationships and also in other situations. I lose what’s most important to me (a relationship, a person, a place, an opportunity) right at the threshold of it happening, or shortly before or after it happens. The feeling, images and experience of it is very similar to the incarnation trauma. There is a deep sense of love, connection being home, rightness. And it’s lost.

A part of me also experience that a woman (relationship) will either save me or destroy me. And this too mirrors the incarnation trauma. God/the divine saved me, destroyed me (by sending me here), and may save me again. A woman will save me (if it is a deep soul connection, deep soul love, aliveness), or destroy me (if she has blind hangups, anger, and I feel trapped in it). Both the incarnation and some relationships (the ones with a deep soul connection) become a big thing, a life and death situation, in my mind.

Of course, I see that what was there before incarnation isn’t really lost. It’s here now. And it’s all God / the divine, whether it’s a heavenly realm or this life with all the usual human experiences.  And still, the pain is here, and it’s worth meeting with love and curiosity. It’s worth allowing the pain to come home.

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