Awakening with or without soulfulness

 

I am not sure how universal this is so I haven’t written about it before. But I thought I would share some of my own experiences with this.

The initial awakening was an awakening to and as Big Mind, and within that, there was a strong sense of the soul and soulfulness. Just as the human self happens within and as Big Mind, the soul happens within and as Big Mind. It’s a vehicle for the divine to experiencing itself as an individual self. The human self is physical, and the soul is made up of “soul matter” for lack of a better term. I recognized the soul as similar to the human self. Something that’s here but not ultimately what I am.

The human self, the world, and the soul, are all part of the always changing content of experience.

For me, this soul emphasis took expression through a strong urge to make art and music, and generally diving deep into the arts. It was also expressed through a strong resonance with nature mysticism, ecospirituality, ecopsychology, deep ecology, community, and sustainability.

Gradually, over time, this soul emphasis diminished. There was still Big Mind, but with less of the soul and more just neutral clarity. That’s another way for Big Mind and the divine to experience itself. It’s not better or worse than having the soul more emphasized. And I think it’s natural for these shifts to happen, also because it makes it more clear what’s here independent of any changes in content of experience.

I wouldn’t mind having the soul experience return more strongly but I am not sure if it will. It may have been cleared out. Who knows.

I know that in our culture, soul and soulfulness are highly valued so many would think it’s better if it’s here more strongly. But I really don’t know. I see both as equal.

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Witness, then oneness

 

I thought I would make a quick note about the shift that happened in my mid-teens.

At the time, I was consciously an atheist although I was also very interested in parapsychology and research into parapsychology. I probably intuited there was something to it while also seeing the nonsense of organized religion.

When I was 15, there was a shift that was hard to describe at the time. It was as if the world became far away. Now, looking back, I realize that what happened was that I was absorbed into the witness. I became the witness function or aspect of consciousness. Or, more precisely, identification was released out of content of experience and into the witness or observing function. It was quite unsettling to my mind and I went to a range of doctors to see if they could find anything. Not surprisingly, they didn’t.

When I was 16, almost exactly a year later, there was another shift. This time, it was a shift into oneness. The One woke up to itself as all there is. Senses and thoughts etc. were still connected to and from this particular human self, but Spirit woke up to itself as all there is including this human self and anything going on with it. This lasted and there were quite a few side-effects such as huge amounts of energy going through the system, “downloads” of information, and so on.

When I later found Ramana Maharshi and Adyashanti, I saw that they described this very clearly, and they were the first ones I found who did. They even used some of the ways of describing it as I had done for myself early on. Others else seemed to cloud it over through remaining veils and ideas.

From what I have heard, the sequence of being absorbed into or as the witness followed by oneness is not atypical. I am sure it can happen in many different ways, and that sequence is probably also not universal. I am sharing it here just to have recorded this one example.

And, of course, this was just the beginning. I learned to live with and from it. I had a honeymoon phase that lasted several years. I did self-healing and embodiment work. I had a dark night of the soul. And it’s all an ongoing and always changing process.

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My relationship to death

 

What is my relationship to death?

Here are some influences:

In infancy, it seemed I would sometimes float around and check things out instead of being in my physical body. Perhaps it seemed more familiar and comfortable. (I later checked some very specific memories of what I saw with my parents, and they were accurate.)

In childhood, I had flashbacks to life between lives. Infinite love. All as golden light. Infinite sense of being home. Infinite wisdom. Somewhere between timelessness and a faint sense of time. Wordless communication with formless beings expressing deep love and wisdom. And, when I could put words on it later, all as happening within and as the divine.

In my mid-teens, there was a classic awakening. Spirit woke up to itself as all there is, and of all life as the play of itself. Any sense of being a separate self was a temporary experience of the divine as part of that play. (This continued and there was an intense download of information and insights over several years.)

In my teens and twenties, I explored my relationship to death through exercises, for instance, those in The Tibetan Book of Death and Dying and in an excellent university course I did on death and dying (University of Utah). Later, I explored beliefs and identifications around death – of others and myself – through inquiry, the Big Mind Process, Process Work, and more. More recently, I have used Vortex Healing to clear conditioning around this.

I am sure there is still a good amount of universal human conditioning in me around it, in the forms of old beliefs, wounds, trauma etc. Some from this life (family and culture), some from ancestors (genetics and epigenetics), and perhaps some from past lives. I am not aware of much, but it’s probably there.

I have done Vortex Healing on people who have passed on, and got a sense of how they experience the new situation. Some days and weeks after passing, they can still be connected with and sensed even after shedding the physical body.

Since my childhood and early teens, I have been fascinated by and read university research on reincarnation, near-death experiences, and similar. Most recently, I read Surviving Death by Leslie Kean.

So this – and probably much more – influences and makes up my relationship to death. From own experience, I seem to know something about how it is between lives. I know I am not this body. I know it’s all the play of the divine. I have the usual human conditioning around death, and I have worked on and cleared some of it. My relationship to death and dying is a mix of many influences, as for all of us.

And whatever my relationship is, it’s good for me to identify painful beliefs that are still here, and invite in some healing for them.

How can I find these? For instance….

I can ask myself what I fear the most about death is…. what I fear the most about my own death is…. what I fear the most about the death of my loved ones is…. and make a list for each of these. (For the last one, make a list for each specific loved one in my life.) I can then take these beliefs to inquiry (The Work).

I can use therapeutic trembling (TRE) to release tension and stress around death. While I tremble, I bring death images, beliefs, fears, and scenarios to mind to invite tension and stress to release out of these.

I can continue to do Vortex Healing for those who have passed and get more familiar with how people pass.

I can do Vortex Healing for myself to continue clearing conditioning around death and dying.

Why would I want to do this? It helps me have a more clear, healthy, and responsive relationship to death, and be there for others when they deal with death. It may reduce some of my own pain when people close to me die. It may reduce some stress around my own death. It’s good for society to have people who have a more healed and clear relationship to death. It’s interesting. It heals and clears issues in me, and this that may be helpful for me living my life in general.

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My experience with Vortex Healing awakening courses

 

I thought I would make a brief note about changes I notice after each of the Vortex Healing awakening courses. It’s by no means complete, just the effects I especially notice or that are surprising to me.

Core Veil, Dec. 2017. A sense of tying up lose ends in terms of the basic awakening. Relief. Something found rest in my heart area. The healing energy seems to engage deeper in the client’s system when using the healing tools. Clearer sensing, including a sense of temporarily becoming whatever is the focus of healing (e.g. an organ or system).

Inner Veil, February 2018. A sense of being space. Of being awake space. More spacious energy system.

 

Currently: Tying up lose ends

 

Although what I share in these articles is directly from my personal experience and journey, it’s written to emphasize the universal.

I tend to not flesh out the personal very much. Perhaps I wish to maintain some privacy. Perhaps I am a bit embarrased about the messiness of it. Perhaps I imagine it may be boring or tedious to read.

And yet, I know that personal and potentially embarrasing and messy details are what gives flavor and realness to writing, and what makes it more human and interesting.

Who knows, perhaps the wrinkles of my experience will match of up with the wrinkles of whomever reads this? So it seems a shame to leave it out.

I actually don’t know if I will include more of the personal and messy. Perhaps I will, slowly.

For now, here is a brief personal update:

Some years ago, on a major life issue and out of unloved / unmet / unexamined fear, I acted against my guidance and inner knowing. It was the beginning of a phase I can call a dark night, and in this phase, I felt more and more off course and more and more things fell apart. Eventually, it reached a phase where I lost my health, marriage (which was a good thing to lose at that point), house, and more. My life continued to go off kilter in many areas. (I have written more about this in earlier posts.)

This was followed by a phase of finding footholds which I then lost again.

And now, it feels like my life is stabilizing somewhat and I am starting to get some ground under my feet. It goes slowly, but perhaps that’s how it needs to be. And there is also a sense of tying up lose ends – in terms of my life (practical things), health, and the awakening process. And Vortex Healing is what has helped me the most in tying up these lose ends, especially in terms of my health and the awakening process.

Since I was introduced to Vortex Healing about two years ago, my body has stabilized and gradually gained core / basic strength. I have healed some central (universal) emotional issues. And things that went a bit awry in the awakening process feels cleared up and lose ends tied up. So right now, I am especially grateful for Vortex Healing having found me, for something in me responding to it, and for having had the opportunity to pursue it in terms of receiving sessions, taking courses, and applying it for my own healing.

Why do dark nights happen? Why are they common in an awakening process? As Evelyn Underhill outlined, a typical process consists of an initial awakening and honeymoon phase (illumination) followed by a dark night of the soul. And this dark night of the soul can have several different characteristics. Mainly loss – of health, relationships, roles, status, respect, sense of connection with the divine and so on. It seems that this may be needed, for some of us, to wear out remaining identifications and beliefs, and also so what’s unhealed in us can surface to be seen, felt, loved, healed, and recognized as the divine.

As Adya and others point out, the struggle we experience in a dark night is equal to the struggle we bring to it. The more we resist it, the more painful we experience it as. The more we hold onto identifications, beliefs, and identities that are incompatible with what’s happening and what’s lost in our lives, the more we suffer.

It’s tempting to think that the length and intensity of a dark night is equal to the struggle we put up. That may be partially true, but I don’t really know.

And, of course, the sequence that Evelyn Underhill and others have laid out is just a generalization. It’s something that’s relatively typical and an average pattern. But any one individual path may be quite different. It may have elements of the different phases, but they may happen in another sequence, and elements from more than one phase of the map may happen simultaneously.

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How awakening is perceived by others

 

How is awakening perceived by others?

Mutual recognition. If there is awakening both places – in both people – it’s often immediately suspected, sensed, or recognized. For instance, for those of us who sense or see energy, it’s relatively easy to see the level of clarity and type of awakening in someone else. (The energy around the person mirrors the awakening – it’s clear, finer, awake, with no apparent end in space.)

To others. If not, it depends. It depends on the level of healing, maturity, and embodiment of the awakening. And it depends on the role the person has in the world. Most often, the person looks quite ordinary and lives an ordinary life. The person may or may not talk about spirituality or awakening, and may or may not have taken the role of a spiritual coach or guide.

If he or she speaks about it, it may appear as an idea or something read in a book. (Since that’s it would be for the recipient.) Or it may appear as coming from direct experience the recipient has been told it’s from direct experience.

My experience. How has this been for me? During childhood, when I had flashbacks and memories of life between lives – and all as the divine – I didn’t talk about it. I just had a sense of nostalgia and a longing for “home”. In my teens, when Spirit as all woke up to itself more fully and clearly, I initially had no words for it and no intellectual context for it. After a while, I did speak my direct experience to a few people but they were either not interested or thought it was just an idea or from a book. Even people I thought would understand and be familiar with it – a few local Buddhist teachers and students – didn’t seem to recognize it and were more interested in traditional teachings.

Eventually, I did meet a couple who immediately recognized it. As me, they saw it in the energy system. One was a spiritual guide (Jes Bertelsen’s wife at the time), and another lived a more anonymous life and became a close friend. And later, I met others who have had a similar path as me and immediately recognizes it. Adyashanty is probably the main one. It felt like communication within awakening, and at a human level as meeting a brother, when I had the opportunity to talk with him for a few hours.

Over time, I also found writings from people who expressed this awakening or at least a view aligned with it.

In my teens, I could see that Jung had an inkling about it although he kept his writing at a human level. Arne Næss was aligned with it, although mostly through recognizing the oneness of Earth. As did Carl Sagan through the oneness of the universe. Fritjof Capra was similarly aligned with it through recognizing how eastern mystics and western science – quantum physics and systems theories – described the same reality. Ken Wilber, through his mapping, had a good understanding of it from an intellectual level and through glimpses. Jes Bertelsen was aligned with it and very important to me in my teens since he was a fellow Scandinavian. Some of the old Daoists expressed it quite clearly and beautifully. Some of the Christian mystics expressed it although filtered through their tradition and a wish to not appear heretical.

Later, in my twenties and thirties, I found others. Genpo Roshi obviously knew what it was about, and his Big Mind process was a good way to help others have a taste of what it’s about. (I was a resident at his Zen center for a few years.) Adyashanti is the one I experience as most clear and aligned with how reality revealed itself to itself in my case. Ramana Maharshi was almost a bit boring to me because it seemed too obvious (!). I really enjoyed Douglas Haring and his clarity, ordinariness, and playful pragmatism. I also enjoyed connecting with Joel Morwood and the other teachers at the Center for Spiritual Sciences which was just down the road from me for several years.

And, more recently, I am grateful for having found Vortex Healing and Ric Weinman. His very detailed descriptions and maps fit nicely into my more general views and experiences. And Vortex Healing has helped me greatly in healing at a physical and human level, and in clearing up and tying up loose ends from earlier awakenings (especially the VH awakening courses).

When I am on the US west coast I regularly meet people who understand and where there is a mutual recognition. But in periods, and mainly when I am in Norway, it’s been more lonely at a human level. I have yet to meet someone here where there is the same easy mutual recognition. Most of the time, it’s OK. But occasionally, I notice some emotional issues around this – and that’s an invitation to meet it with some kindness, patience, and perhaps invite in some healing.

A note about language: As usual, it’s a little hard to find the right words talking about this. An awakening is the One awakening to itself as all there is, and that awakening somehow operates through this human self. So we cannot accurately say that a person awakens, or that someone is awakened. It’s more that the One is awake to itself as all, and that’s expressed and lived through a human being. Our ordinary language doesn’t express that very well or easily. So we have a choice between using ordinary and simple language which is somewhat misleading and inaccurate, or a language that’s more accurate and often more convoluted and awkward, or something in between. I often go for the inbetween option although that too is not always so satisfying.

A note about the One awake to itself as all. I realize that when I write “Spirit / the One awake to itself as all”, it can easily be misunderstood. It’s meant literally. All of existence is awake to itself as Spirit. Even what we experience as matter is consciousness, space, and Spirit. And in this awakening, it’s clearly revealed as that. It’s not an intellectual understanding. It’s an immediate and clear recognition that’s expressed through language.

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Dread & Terror – befriending & inviting to heal

 

At some point in the dark night phase, I asked to the shown what’s left. And within a week, an overwhelming dread and terror surfaced. It lasted for about 9 months and then gradually subsided over the following years.

Of course, emotions or experiences are not a problem in themselves. They are expressions of life. They are put into us by evolution and have a function. They are expressions of – and are – Spirit, of what we actually are beyond our human appearance. They help us survive as human beings and point us to healing, maturing, and awakening.

And yet, we often struggle with our experiences and perhaps especially so with dread and terror.

The context: How we relate to our experiences. How we relate to our experiences depends on how we experience them. It seems obvious, and yet it’s easy to forget. If we struggle with them, the struggle itself will create discomfort. And if we befriend them, we have an opportunity to relate to our experiences with more clarity and kindness.

Since the dread and terror was with me for months (strongly) and years (in the background and in the heart), I have had ample opportunity to explore my relationship with it. My mind saw it as an enemy, as a problem, as something to get rid of, and created more suffering for itself that way. (And still does, now and then, with other experiences.) So I set out to explore other ways of relating to it.

I reminded myself that the dread and terror, too, is the divine. I found it when I looked.

I explored it and how I relate to it through dialogue. I found how it’s there out of a wish to protect me, out of kindness, and really as an expression of love. (Big Mind process etc.)

I investigated beliefs and identifications in me fearing and struggling with it. (The Work, Living Inquiries.)

I used heart-centered practices to see how it is to shift my relationship to the dread and terror. (Ho’oponopono, tonglen.)

And gradually, my relationship with it shifted. It seemed less an enemy, and more myself, life, and Spirit.

How I relate to my experience is the context. And by exploring it, I may befriend it and see it as myself, as life, as Spirit, and even as love. As something that’s OK as is. Something in me relaxes in relation to it.

The content: Inviting in healing. Within that, out of kindness, I can invite healing. Here are some approaches I found helpful with the dread and terror.

Therapeutic trembling. TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises) has been very helpful for me. It has helped release tension and trauma underlying the dread & terror. It has helped my system relax as a whole. It takes time, and TRE works best if it’s ongoing and regular, and it has worked very well for me.

Notice and allow. Notice the sensations and images / words making up the experience of dread & terror. Notice. Allow. Give it space. Notice the space around and within it. Notice it’s already allowed. The mind – and space, life – already allows it. Rest with it, as is. Also notice and allow any reactions to the dread & terror. Notice and allow the fear, the wish for it to be different. Include that too. Rest with it, as is.

Separate out sensations. Notice the sensations making up the experience of the dread & terror. Rest with the noticing of the sensations. Notice, allow, and rest with the sensations making up any reactions to it as well. Include all sensation. Notice. Allow. Rest with the (noticing of the) sensations.

Inquiry. Identify stressful beliefs around the dread & terror. Inquire into them and find what’s more true for me. (The Work.) Explore how my mind creates its experience of the dread and terror and reactions to it. (Living Inquiries.)

Heart-centered. Explore how it is to change my relationship to the dread & terror and my reactions to it. How is it to befriend it? (Ho’oponopono, tonglen.)

Vortex Healing. More recently, I have used Vortex Healing for these issues. For instance: Do puja 5 min/ day for a while to help it shift. Hold it in the grid. Denetwork any emotional issues behind and related to it. Bring it to the issue awareness room, issue transformation room, meet your pain room etc. Use the main tools to clear conditioning. And so on.

So we have the context, which in this case is how we hold the whole situation. Do I see it as a problem, an enemy, something that really needs to change? Or can I befriend it, see it as myself, as an expression of protection + kindness + love, as life and Spirit? Something that’s OK as is?

And we have the content which, in this case, is a natural wish – out of kindness – for healing. Inviting in healing in whatever ways we are drawn to and have available to us.

The dread & terror was an invitation for healing, maturing, and awakening, as anything in our lives is. I learned about working with these types of emotional issues. I learned about how these things can happen in an awakening process. I learned how the dread & terror came up to be recognized (as Spirit), met with understanding + patience + love, and with a wish to heal. I invited in healing for those parts of me. I got to see and clear some beliefs and identifications around it.

So although it was immensely and overwhelmingly painful at times, it was also – overall – an amazing opportunity for healing, maturing, and awakening. It has genuinely been a precious gift.

As a human, I would probably not have chosen it. But life chose it for me. And in the big picture, it’s a very good thing.

There is another side to this: we rarely if ever make full use of these opportunities. There is always something left to explore, find healing for, and awake to. And that’s OK. There is always more to explore, find healing for, and awaken to. Noticing that is also a gift.

Note: I should mention that in my case, a non-dual opening/awakening that lasted for about half a year may have “taken the lid off” of old trauma. That, in addition to my “dangerous prayer”, is most likely what brought up this dread & terror. And the dread & terror, most likely, came from many larger and smaller traumas from this and past lives. If any particular issue was at the root of it, it was perhaps a raw and primal survivial fear.

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Brief update

 

I just returned from Core Veil in London, a Vortex Healing course with Ric Weinman. I feel it helped clear, stabilize, and perhaps deepen a lot of the haphazard openings and awakenings from my pre-Vortex Healing days. And the course seems to also have strengthened my system considerably.

Over a couple of tea-breaks, Ric took a look at my chronic fatigue (CFS) and brain fog. He said it seems that a CFS (inducing) virus is still hiding out in my system (which would explain a great deal), and did a couple of brief treatments to clear it out. It will take some time for my system to adjust to a potentially virus-free existence. We’ll see how it unfolds.

A few words about viruses and CFS: There are probably many things that fall under the CFS label, including undiagnosed known illnesses and various subgroups of “true” CFS. Sometimes, CFS is called Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome which is fitting since it often comes after a viral infection. (For me, mononucleosis in my teens.) Many of the symptoms associated with CFS fit a viral infection. For me, it feels like having a flu – sometimes strong and sometimes less so – without the fever, runny nose, or cough. The brain fog and wooziness is there. The fatigue and tiredness. Worsening condition after exertion. Brain fog and inability to focus as before. Unusually sensitive to noise and sometimes light. Wanting to lie down and rest. (Or being unable to do anything but lying down.) And a rest that often doesn’t feel restful or nourishing. All of that is similar to having a flu or a similar infection.

If there is/was still a virus in my system, it also explains why any energetic work seems to actually work – in clearing and energizing pathways and chakras and doing many other things – but it doesn’t significantly change my overall health situation. The virus holds it back. So we’ll see what happens if a hidden virus was the key and the virus now really is gone.

Remembering heaven and being atheist

 

I rarely write or talk about this, but I thought I would share something since it’s part of my life, and it may be similar to what others have experienced.

As a child, I remembered how it was before this life. I remembered in flashes now and then, especially when outside with the sunlight filtering through the moving leaves. And in those moments, it was like being back. Then, I never spoke about it. Perhaps I knew people wouldn’t understand, and I didn’t have the words for it. Now, I may find some words.

All of existence was infinite love, consciousness, wisdom, light. There were beings – including me – that also were this infinite light, consciousness, and wisdom, and had no bodies. There was a profound sense of being home.

When I started school, these flashes were less frequent and then went away. What remained was a longing. A deep longing for this profound sense of being home. I would sometimes wake up with this deep longing, and do all the things I enjoyed the most to see if I could find what I was looking for. I would read comics (Carl Barks) and books (Jules Verne, adventure books), eat sandwiches with butter and strawberry jam, drink hot chocolate, go to my parents, go outside to play, play with friends. Nothing worked.

I didn’t consciously connect it with God or heaven. I had no framework for it. And when people did talk about God or heaven, it seemed to have no connection with my experience. I wonder if that’s why I, at a young age (in elementary school), decided to identify as an atheist. Religions made no sense to me. They seemed to be just made up by people. If there was some reality or truth to it, it was covered up by what was man-made.

When the initial spiritual awakening happened at age 15, I realized that this was it. All without exception was revealed as Spirit. As consciousness. As infinite love and wisdom. Any experience of a separate self was just that, an experience with no actual reality to it. It’s all – all of existence without exception – Spirit expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself. This is what I had flashbacks to as a child. And this knowing is why I had dismissed religions since they couldn’t begin to touch it.

I don’t really think of it as heaven but I see how that word can be used. And that heaven is here. We never left. We “just” need to notice. All of existence already is heaven. And it can appear as mundane or hell through our perceptual filters. Through our beliefs and identifications. That’s part of the play of the divine. That’s part of the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself. That’s part of the divine playing hide and seek with itself, as some have put it.

Note: The phrasing I have used here intentionally fits the flashbacks I had a child. In the awakening or spiritual opening in my teens, it was a little different. Here, Spirit awoke to itself as all there is, as all of existence, through this human being. Any sense of an “I” was seen as human- or mind-created, a temporary illusion which allows Spirit to experience itself as temporary and limited.

TRE helped me go from back pain to a healthy back

 

I have had scoliosis in my lower back since my teens. And I used to have periods of very strong back pain. I would typically wake up in the morning, perhaps every few months, and be unable to move for the rest of the day.

Some years ago, I discovered therapeutic tremoring. It’s the tremoring that our body initiates on it’s own, and most of us are familiar with it through seeing it in other mammals. For instance, dogs may tremble after stress. They shake out the stress after the stressful situation is over. It’s something that all mammals do and it’s built into us through evolution.

The reason most of us humans do not do it, especially in our modern culture, is that we have learned – from an early age – to stop it whenever it is about to start. We don’t understand it, or think it’s a sign of weakness. So we have learned to prevent it from happening.

Therapeutic trembling one of the greatest gifts given to us by evolution and our ancestors. It’s a mechanism that releases both physical and mental stress and tension. And it gives us a chance to get back to a healthy and balanced state, both in our body and mind.

Since we have learned to stop it, we need and initial structure to allow the body to tremble again. And TRE – Tension and Trauma Release Exercises – provides just such a structure. It’s a set of simple exercises which initiates and allows the therapeutic trembling.

When I started with TRE some years ago, my back was initially very sore. All the tense muscles there received a good massage and I experienced it as soreness for a while. Then, as much of the tension was released and the muscles (and fascia) returned to a more healthy state, the soreness went away and so did the recurrent back pain. Now, my lower back feels amazingly healthy and supple.

As with anything else I write about here, please contact me for more information – including who to contact if you would like to try these approaches out for yourself.

Dark forces or something much simpler?

 

Our stories about ourselves and the world has a big impact on us and our life.

When I shared something about the “dark night” phase I seem to have gone through, and how it has been a period of repeated losses and things going “wrong”, a psychic friend of mine said that “dark forces” want to prevent me from living my potential. It was meant well, and it was also a reminder of the power of stories.

At least on the surface, the “dark forces” story puts the responsibility “out there” in the world, into something mysterious and intangible, and it makes the person – in this case, me – into a victim. It’s a story that easily can trigger passivity and hopelessness.

I prefer stories that are closer to what’s here, that are about something I can check from my own experience and that trigger engagement.

The story that makes more sense to me, at least right now, is that I went against my clear inner knowing and guidance on a major and lasting life decision. It brought a sense of getting off track in life. It led into a “dark night” phase that gradually got stronger.

And although I wish I had been clear and healed enough to follow my guidance rather than my fears back then, I also see the tremendous and very real gifts in what happened. The “dark night” phase has brought what’s left in me to the surface. It has brought up remaining beliefs and identifications, and unhealed parts of me, and made it very visible to me. It has given me an opportunity for deep healing.

I created it. There is a valuable and real gift in it.

No “dark force” story is needed to explain what happened.

Although if I wanted to include the “dark forces” story, how would it look in this context? It may look like this: If there are “dark forces” at play, the reason they are at play is because they mirror what’s already in me. They mirror unhealed parts of me, and perhaps enhance dynamics already created by these unhealed parts of me. If anything, they are – really – part of the gift.

I should also mention that the content of the story has an impact on our life. And equally much, or perhaps even more so, does the extent we see through it. If we have examined the story, and it has lost much or all of its charge, the story is a much more useful tool for us. We hold it lightly and use it to the extent and in the situations it seems practically useful.

That often takes some work and investigation. For me, what seems most effective is a combination of inquiry (Living Inquiries, The Work) and Vortex Healing, approaching the story and how I hold it from the consciousness and energy sides.

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One type of dark night: From early awakening

 

There are many forms of dark nights.

In general, a dark night happens when life strongly challenges what we hold as true about ourselves and the world. That’s why the term “dark night” is sometimes used about ordinary challenging life situations, and sometimes in a more technical sense about parts of a spiritual path and process.

One type of a spiritual dark night can happen following an initial opening or awakening. With a spiritual opening, there is an opening to all as Spirit, and sometimes also an opening to previously unprocessed psychological material. As Adyashanti says, the lid is taken off and it comes to the surface. And that can be challenging in the best of circumstances.

In this type of dark night, we find ourselves in a difficult combination of (a) unprocessed psychological material coming to the surface, and (b) being unable to consistently see through it, or see it for what it is, since our clarity is not yet thoroughly clear or stable. There can be a great deal of difficult material coming up, from this and perhaps past lives. And since we are still “baby Buddhas” our clarity hasn’t deepened or matured sufficiently for us to clearly see everything for what it is. We still get caught in what comes up, at least at times.

As Evelyn Underhill and others point out, this is a deeply human process. It can be humanizing. Humbling. Painful. And it’s a pretty ordinary part of the process for many people. And we do get through it, whether we fight it (painful) or learn to go along with it (a little easier). It’s what I went through for a few years after the second opening (relative nondual clarity for about six months).

See below for a more detailed initial draft.

 

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How I have treated my Lyme disease

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I use the essential oils.

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

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

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

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

Here is how I have done it:

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

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

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

Thanks to Zora for sharing the Doterra info with me!

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

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

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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My worldview

 

A friend of mine is interviewing me within a couple of weeks to determine my level of maturity or adult development…! It’s part of his certification using the work of Robert Keegan.

It made me reflect a bit on what my worldview is. In some ways, it hasn’t changed much since the dust had settled from the initial opening in my mid-teens. And in other ways, more in the details, it must have changed – or matured – some. Here are some essays I wrote which reflect my teens/early twenties view on – or rather experience of – the world.

Here are some highlights of how I experience/view the world these days.

Lila. Life is existence expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways. Or we could call it God, Brahman, Buddha Mind, Big Mind, Spirit, Allah, or whatever word you prefer for the divine, or life, or existence. It’s all the play of the divine.

I experienced it this way very clearly in the initial opening, and many years later learned it’s called Lila in sanscrit. There is nothing new under the sun, at least not when it comes to our perception or understanding of basic reality.

Integral view. When it comes to maps, I have been drawn to Ken Wilber’s integral maps and framework for understanding the world. It makes a lot of sense of me, and did even back in my teens and early twenties. I typically don’t refer to it explicitly, but it’s there informing how I mentally map things.

View and perspectives. These are ways to mentally understand and map the world. In the best case, they help us navigate and function in the world. And the drawback is that it’s easy for us to take them as some absolute and final truth, and that tends to create stress and distress.

A thought is the same as a view or perspective, and there is some truth to just about all of them – if we look for it. The type of validity or truth may vary, and it’s helpful to learn to sort these as best and honestly as we can.

Physical matter. Matter is – to us – an experience. It’s sensory input with an overlay of thought telling us what it is. As anything else, it’s “unfindable” in any final or absolute sense. We can say it’s an experience in awareness which is awareness itself, and awareness too is really “unfindable”.

And yet, ideas of matter and awareness can be very helpful in helping us orient and function in the world. If they are recognized as ideas and held lightly, they are even more helpful.

Awareness. Any content of experience is happening within and as awareness, or awakeness, or consciousness, or Spirit. It’s what we are expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself. It’s real in that it’s a real experience. At the same time, it may not be as real or substantial as it initially appears.

Physical senses. The diversity of lifeforms – perhaps including life other places in the universe – allows life to express, explore, and experience itself in a rich and always changing and evolving way.

The different Earth species is Earth and life expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in a rich and changing way, through different physical senses and different perceptions.

Earth. Earth is a living and evolving system. Everything “on” Earth is part of the living Earth and this living system, including humans – and our consciousness, culture, society, technology, hopes and dreams, and everything else that’s part of human experience.

We are a part of Earth, we are the Earth’s local eyes, ears, senses, and awareness (to paraphrase Carl Sagan). Our experience is, in a literal sense, the local experience of Earth. And the local experience of the universe, and life, and Existence, and Spirit.

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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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.