“I am God”

 

When I lived in Oregon, a message from a member of the digital version of our local permaculture group said “I am God”. Someone had apparently had an awakening of sorts, or at least a glimpse, and interpreted it as “I am God”.

It’s not wrong. In a sense, it’s literally true.

And yet, to me, it seems far more accurate to say that everything and everyone is God and that what I am is God. We can also find other ways to talk about it, for instance – in the words of Carl Sagan – we are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe.

Why this distinction? Because saying “I am God” can easily be interpreted by the person saying it and others hearing it to mean “this sense of separate self is God”, and that is an unhealthy delusion (inflation).

Yes, this sense of a separate self is one of a myriad of manifestations of the divine. It’s the divine locally and temporarily taking itself to be a separate self. And yet, that’s it. Any sense of separate self comes from a temporary and local delusion. It’s very far from our true nature waking up to itself as what allows any and all experiences and is any and all experiences.

It’s safer and more accurate to say everyone and everything is God, and a temporary and local sense of being a separate self is the play of the divine.

So what if someone assumes that “I – as this separate self – is God”? Then that too is the play of the divine. It’s part of the process of that particular awakening. And it’s a reminder and reflection for all of us. Somewhere in our own process, and also right here and now, we can find it in ourselves.

Healing from oneness

 

During the initial awakening in my teens, I discovered healing from oneness. I have done it off and on since when needed. And I have more recently started to explore and use it more intentionally and frequently.

How does oneness healing look?

It does require some noticing of oneness, of what we are. And the more clear, stable, and thorough this noticing is, the easier oneness healing may be.

One aspect is noticing that whatever I wish to invite in healing for is already Spirit or the divine. It’s a flavor of the divine. It’s the divine temporarily and locally taking that particular form. It’s already happening within and as what I am.

Another is to invite it to notice itself as the divine. This happens through gentle noticing and intention, and it’s an invitation for the divine to wake up to itself as that particular – temporary and local – form.

If it’s an emotional issue, then yet another aspect is to invite it to align with reality, to align with oneness. This also happens through noticing and intention, by noticing all as oneness, how it may not consciously be aligned with oneness, and inviting it to realign with reality and oneness.

What do I use oneness healing for?

I mostly use it for anything coming up in me that seems even slightly “other” or “I”. If it seems “other”, it’s because there is some separation consciousness there. And if it seems “I”, in the sense of separate me or identification as something within the content of consciousness (sensations, ideas), that too comes from separation consciousness.

I notice something come up and then notice it as the divine and invite it to align with oneness, or for Spirit to wake up to itself in the form of that identification, issue, or whatever it is.

For instance, I may lie bed before falling asleep or after waking up. I notice some discomfort in my body and invite Spirit to notice itself as that discomfort and any reaction to it. I may notice some sensations in my head area that there is a bit more identification with, and invite the divine – in the form of these sensations and the identifications – to notice itself as the divine.

I may notice some reactivity in me (reflecting an emotional issue), notice the sensations and thoughts making it up, and invite Spirit to wake up to itself as that.

I may have a physical issue, and invite Spirit to wake up to itself as that – as the sensations and thoughts making up that.

If I do healing for others, I notice it happens within and as oneness, and I usually take some time to invite the divine to wake up to itself as whatever the healing is for.

I have done this for physical objects and plants.

And I sometimes do this for situations as well, whether it’s my own, someone else’s, or something happening in the world.

What form does the healing take?

When it comes to healing for myself, the main healing is healing my relationship with my experiences. If something is uncomfortable to me, it’s easy to fall into an old habit of wanting to push it away or avoid it. It’s natural, but there is a discomfort inherent in this movement.

So when I notice the discomfort and my reaction to it as the divine, there is a healing. And when I invite Spirit to notice itself as that, in that form or discomfort and the reaction to it, there is also a healing.

Anything else is secondary. Emotional issues may soften and lighten. Physical issues may resolve. And so on. That’s the icing on the cake.

When it comes to healing for others, the main function is obviously healing in a more conventional sense, and my healing of my relationship to my experience is still there but secondary.

Oneness healing for self and others

There is an interesting distinction here.

If I do oneness healing for myself, whether it’s for something physical or emotional, then it can be understood from a small or psychological interpretation of awakening. To myself, I am consciousness and all my experiences – including of this human self and the wider world – happens within and as what I am.

It’s an awakening as my true nature – as what all content of my experience happens within and as, as emptiness full of my world, and oneness healing makes sense within this context without assuming anything about the true nature of the rest of the world or existence.

When I do oneness healing for others or for situations, and it works (it often does), then it does seem to require an assumption about the true nature of all of existence. It’s most easily explained by assuming that my true nature, as it appears to me, is the true nature of everyone and everything. It’s all consciousness, it’s all Spirit or the divine.

Direct noticing and how we may find it for ourselves

This all happens within direct and immediate noticing. Thoughts may guide attention but that’s about it. It’s not about thoughts or what happens within thoughts.

So how can we find this for ourselves, if we don’t already? The answer is the usual answers for what supports or invites awakening.

Training a stable attention helps for anything we wish to do, including this exploration of our true nature.

Basic meditation – notice and allow – is very helpful. It helps shift our center of gravity out of taking ourselves as limited content of experience (this human self) to the context for and all content of experience. (When I say “context” for our experience, I mean noticing ourselves as that which all our experiences already happen within and as.)

Heart-centered practices are helpful to shift how we relate to any content of experience. In some ways, it mimics what can happen naturally when what we are notices itself.

Inquiry helps us see through beliefs and identifications, and how our mind creates its own experience. It helps us see through what we are not, but sometimes perceive we are, and more easily notice what we are.

Some form of inquiry helps us notice what we are more directly, and explore and get familiar with it. (Headless experiments, Big Mind process.)

There are also many other helpful practices and explorations. In this context of oneness healing, the Big Mind / Big Heart process may be especially helpful. We can explore particular issues through dialog, and we can get a better sense of anything – including that which we have a strained relationship with – as the divine.

What’s the bigger picture of oneness healing?

From a big or spiritual understanding of awakening, it’s all happening within and as Spirit. The issue focused on, the person receiving healing, the one channeling, the healing itself, and all of it are local and temporary expressions of Spirit. It’s all part of Lila, of the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new and different ways.

From a small or psychological interpretation of awakening, it’s all happening within what we are – which a thought can label consciousness. It’s all happening within the play of consciousness.

In either case, it’s an opportunity to deepen, clarify, and live from the awakening.

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Awakening is more fundamental than spirituality

 

From a conventional view, it’s easy to think that awakening has to do with spirituality. After all, that’s the context we most often hear about it.

It’s not wrong. But it’s also not entirely right.

Awakening means to awaken out of the trance of taking thoughts and mental images as true. It means to notice that what we are is what all our experiences happen within and as. It means for what we are to notice itself and wake up out of the trance.

And that’s not exclusive to any spiritual tradition or spirituality in general. It belongs to life. It’s more fundamental than any tradition or anything humans do or talk about.

We can wake out of the trance of specific thoughts in many ways: Through life experiences showing us another side of reality. Through conversations with someone who has seen through it for themselves. And through our own explorations.

We can glimpse what we are in many ways as well. We can experience is in nature, through drugs, out of the blue, or through being guided to notice.

I imagine a place where awakening is part of our culture, and where it’s not tied to any particular human tradition. It’s understood to be more fundamental than that. It’s studied and researched through science. And the different traditions are valued because they each have some valuable insights, pointers, and practices.

This is already happening. I suspect it’s a natural approach in a culture that’s largely secular, values pragmatism and science (although that’s eroding), and a culture where a wide range of traditional approaches are available.

The only physical place I know of like this is perhaps the Bay Area in California. And, who knows, maybe this more pragmatic approach will continue to gain momentum.

Adyashanti: Enlightenment is when everything within us…

 

Enlightenment is when everything within us is in cooperation with the flow of life itself, with the inevitable.

– Adyashanti

When I post quotes, it’s usually because they reflect what I have discovered for myself. I can vouch for it from own experience. (Which doesn’t mean it isn’t more to discover or other equally valid ways to express it.)

This quote is different. I have not experienced this for myself.

Phases of awakening

This may be because the awakening process goes through phases.

The awakening process may start with an interest or intuition. Then, there may be glimpses. Then, a more stable noticing. Then a reorientation of the human parts of us to align with reality (oneness). And after that, people seem to report what Adya describes in the quote.

Awakening versus enlightenment

There is a difference between awakening and enlightenment. Awakening is really a process, and it includes glimpsing what we are, what we are noticing itself, stabilizing that noticing, and allowing the different parts of our psyche to align within this new conscious context of oneness.

Adya seems to reserve the word “enlightenment” for when that last process is relatively complete. I hardly ever use the word “enlightenment”, perhaps because my process is not there yet.

The alignment process

For most of us, our human self was formed within separation consciousness. It developed in a family and culture operating from separation consciousness, and it itself likely operated from separation consciousness.

This means we have a great deal of “bubbles” of separation consciousness in us, even if there is a general awakening. These take the form of old habits, unquestioned beliefs, emotional issues, and traumas.

So when there is a general awakening here, and these bubbles come to the surface, they come with an invitation for us to see, feel, and find love for them, to recognize these bubbles as the divine, and provide an opportunity for them to align with reality – with oneness.

That’s how healing happen. That’s how the awakening can be more stable through situations. And that’s how we can live from the awakening in more situations. (Embodiment.)

In a sense, we are the guru for these still suffering parts of us. They come to us as devotees seeking our assistance to liberate.

They seek to join in with the awakening, and through that heal.

Sometimes, life can be “impatient” and bring up a lot of these bubbles at once and for a while. This can be what I think of as a “dark night of trauma” where a lot of old – including partly ancestral and cultural – trauma comes up to join in with the awakening.

Worded too strongly?

When Adyashanti says “everything in us”, I can’t help wondering if it’s worded too strongly. How can I know that it’s everything? How can I know that something won’t be triggered that I didn’t know was there?

Important distinctions

There are a couple of important distinctions here.

One is realignment of these parts of us versus how we relate to them when they come up. I suspect it may not be possible to allow all these human parts of us to realign fully with conscious oneness. There are just too many of them, and many of them are hidden from our view.

But we can get into the habit of relating to them more intentionally when they come up. We can recognize them for what they are, meet them, and invite them to realign with oneness. It can become our new habit, but even then, something may be triggered that catches us for a while.

Another distinction is transcending versus realigning. During the awakening process, there has been phases – both early on and later – where there is a strong oneness and no separation consciousness bubbles seem to come up. They are temporarily transcended. For whatever reason, they are not triggered. But they are still there, and they surface later on in another phase of the process and when triggered by something in life.

I assume that what Adya is talking about is when these bubbles have surfaced and – through how we relate to them – been allowed to realign with oneness (healed, awakened).

A motivation for spiritual practice: avoiding discomfort

 

For many, one of the surface motivations behind spiritual practice and wanting to awaken is avoidance. We want to avoid our discomfort.

Depending on our approach, we seek to transcend this discomfort, hope it will go away through an imagined future awakening, pretend through nondual ideology it’s not there or doesn’t impact us, try to make it go away through healing, try to make it easier for us through befriending it, and so on.

This is natural and understandable and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. But it is good to be honest about what’s going on. This honesty can help guide our approach.

How can we explore this?

One approach is, perhaps ironically, the most basic of all forms of meditation. Notice what’s here. Allow it. Notice it’s already allowed, whatever it is. (Basic meditation, Natural Rest.)

Feel the sensations as they are. Notice and allow.

We examine the scary thoughts associated with these sensations (The Work of Byron Katie), and how sensations and thoughts come together to create a sense of reality to these scary thoughts (Living Inquiries).

Another variation is to befriend these aspects of us as if they were beings. The discomfort. The subpersonalities. Get to know them. Listen to what they want us to know. Find some understanding for them. Respect. Perhaps even love for them, as they are.

And we can also use heart-centered practices towards the discomfort in ourselves and what triggers it in the world. (Ho’oponopno, tonglen, metta etc.)

What happens when we explore our discomfort?

We may find more comfort with it, as it is. It may take away some of the drive behind our compulsions, including for spiritual awakening. And that, in turn, is very good news. We get to see if there is still a draw towards spiritual practice and/or awakening, and we can then engage in it in a more grounded way.

Isn’t this just another way to try to avoid our discomfort?

Yes, in a sense it is. It’s a way to find comfort with the discomfort.

The difference is that we are facing it head-on instead of in a more roundabout way. And we seek to see and feel what’s already here, and befriend what’s already here, as it is.

Are there not other motivations for spiritual practice and seeking awakening?

Yes, definitely. The most basic motivation is for what we already are to seek itself, to seek to notice itself as it is.

This may take the form of yearning for truth, love, home, or something similar. This is truth wishing for itself, love wishing for itself, and home wishing for itself. It seeks to bring itself into consciousness.

We may also recognize that our life as it is doesn’t work – for ourselves, others, and the world. And seek to find a way that feels more right.

And we may have glimpses of what we are, or intuit it, and seek it. Or it may be relatively clear and we wish to clarify it and learn to live more fully from it.

How do compulsions come into the picture?

When we try to avoid our discomfort, we go into compulsions. We can say that the basic compulsion is to avoid our discomfort, and that takes the form of all the different compulsions we may have in our life: Seeking awakening, food, sex, distractions, entertainment, career, being seen a certain way by others, and so on.

Why isn’t this a more explicit part of the conversation around spirituality and awakening?

It is, more and more.

And it is part of many of the teachings of the past as well. This is not a new insight by any means.

In the past, it seems that this was often addressed indirectly through different practices. They may have trusted that people would discover it for themselves at some point. And teachers may have spoken with students more directly about this when they felt they were ready for it.

It may also be that spiritual teachers and traditions found it useful for people to operate from this compulsion for a while. It kept them in the practice, even if their practice inevitably was colored by it and for that reason slightly misguided.

In what way is our practice colored and misguided by this compulsion?

When we are caught in a compulsion (which is always to avoid discomfort), it colors our perception, choices, and life. And it also colors our spiritual practice.

We tend to get caught up in an idea of a future goal (desirable) versus what’s here (undesirable), and miss that all of it is already happening here and now.

We tend to go into effort and pushing when all that’s needed is noticing what’s already here.

We may get disillusioned since our efforts may not give us what we want, or if it apparently does then it goes away again. Our efforts cannot give us what we want since what we want is already here, and finding it depends on noticing and not effort.

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XIX

 

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

AWAKENING MAKES (OUR OWN) SEPARATION CONSCIOUSNESS MORE PAINFUL

Separation consciousness is inherently painful.

And when there is some awakening in our system, it becomes even more painful. The gap and contrast seems to bring the pain up and make us more acutely aware of it.

Why do many struggle during parts of the awakening process? One reason is that what’s left of the separation consciousness comes up, and that we feel the pain of it more acutely.

BEING NATURE

In our western culture, we often have the idea that there is nature and us, and animals and us. We see ourselves apart from nature.

The obvious reality is that we are nature. Everything we are – as individuals and collectively – is a product of the evolution of this universe and this planet. It’s all, including our cities and civilization, emerging from the universe and this planet. As Carl Sagan said, we are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We are the universe locally bringing itself into consciousness.

Why is this important? Seeing ourselves as separate from nature allows for mindless destruction of nature, and it also alienates us from the parts of us we see as more nature – our body, feelings, instincts, sensuality, sexuality, and so on.

To the extent we see ourselves as nature, feel ourselves as nature, and live as part of nature, we are more likely to care for the Earth, future generations, and embrace and find comfort with the more primal parts of ourselves. It also opens for a deep sense of belonging – to all life, to this Earth, to the Universe, to Existence as a whole.

There is nothing new here. Many have pointed this out for a long time. And there is perhaps some general social movement in this direction, but it’s a good reminder.

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The simplicity of awakening

 

Separation consciousness is often complex and convoluted because it’s created by belief in any number of different thoughts. It’s a rich fantasy world.

Awakening is simple because it’s what we are noticing itself, and thoughts are recognized as practical tools for navigating the world and not reflecting any final truth. And there is an immense richness in this simplicity.

Of course, in reality, there is often a mix of the two. Even when there is a general awakening, we still have bubbles of separation consciousness in us – and these color our perception and life even when they are in the background, and they sometimes come to the foreground.

Tolstoy was onto this dynamic when he said: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Healthy dynamics are often quite similar, and the unhealthy ones comes in many varieties.

The essence of spirituality doesn’t require anything esoteric

 

There are many ideas about spirituality in our culture. Some see it as a refuge or something that will save them. Some see it as escapism, fantasies, and avoidance. Some see reaching the “goals” of spirituality as only for special people. In some situations, and in some ways, there is some truth to each of these.

And yet, the core of spirituality is pragmatic and secular. We don’t need to take anyones word for it. We don’t need to assume anything about the nature of existence. We don’t need to leave it to someone else. We can try it out for ourselves.

So what is this secular and pragmatic core of spirituality?

It takes two forms. One is the many effects of spiritual practices on our human life. The other is finding what we already are.

I have written articles about both so I’ll just give a brief summary here.

Finding what we are

This isn’t dependent on any philosophy or particular worldview. It’s just dependent on noticing what we already are to ourselves.

Even logically, we see that – to ourselves – we must be consciousness.

Consciousness is what’s aware of any experience at all, so that’s what we are to ourselves. Any sense of being something happens within and as this consciousness, any experience of anything at all happens within and as this consciousness. Even the idea of consciousness, the mental images and associations we have about it, happens within and as consciousness.

And we can find this for ourselves. Consciousness can notice itself as, to itself, all there is. We can find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us. We can find ourselves as what the world, as it appears to us, happens within and as.

Our habitual identification is typically with this human self which appears within and as what we are. This is a kind of “trance” as many have pointed out, and is self-perpetuating unless something comes in to help us notice what we already are, or – more accurately – help what we are notice itself.

The most effective approach to notice what we are may be inquiry (headless experiments, Big Mind process). The most effective approach to stabilize this may be a combination of inquiry and basic meditation (notice + allow). The most effective approach to live from this includes heart-centered practices (tonglen, ho’oponopno) and regular emotional healing work. And training a more stable attention helps all of this and our life in general.

Is this the awakening spiritual traditions talks about? Yes, as far as I can tell it is. It’s what we are noticing itself, and noticing itself as all its experiences. It’s oneness. It’s a waking up from the trance of being this one separate self happening within and as what we are. It’s a noticing that what we are is love. After all, oneness noticing itself is expressed as love.

Helping who we are

Traditional spiritual practices, and modern versions of these, can also help us at a human level.

Training a more stable attention supports just about any activity in our life and our general well-being.

Basic meditation – notice and allow what’s here, and notice it’s already noticed and allowed – helps us release out of struggling with what’s here, our experience as it is.

Basic inquiry – finding ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us – also helps release us out of struggling with what is. It brings a lighter touch. It creates a space for us to act a little more from clarity and kindness.

Heart-centered practices helps us reorient in how we relate to ourselves, others, situations, and life in general. It helps shift us out of a struggle orientation to befriending what’s here. And this, in turn, helps our well being and allows us to act more from clarity.

The essence of spirituality doesn’t require anything esoteric

To me, this is the essence of spirituality, and it doesn’t require anything esoteric. It doesn’t require us to believe anything or go outside of our own experience. On the contrary, if we want to take it as far as it goes, it requires us to be ruthlessly honest about our own experience and find what’s already here.

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The messy phase of any cleaning process

 

I am currently reorganizing and cleaning in the basement, and the process has predictably gone through a phase where it looked far more messy than it did when I started.

Although it’s an obvious analogy, it does highlight a few things about our inner cleaning and reorganizing process.

When I clean and reorganize physically, I take things out of boxes, bags, and storage to see what’s there, sort, throw out some things, and organize all in a better way.

That’s the same that tends to happen in our inner cleaning and reorganization process. Old issues and hangups are brought out so they can be seen. It can look far more messy during the process than it did before we started. It can feel a bit overwhelming and confusing. We may, at times, feel a bit lost. We may need to take one small step at a time and focus less on the process as a whole. We may need to ask for help. And in the end, it’s all more clean, we have gotten rid of some old and no longer needed things, and it’s organized in a way that serves us better now.

This applies to healing of emotional issues, and it also applies to the awakening process. When we heal emotional issues, we typically need to see, feel, find a different relationship with, and find love for anything making up or holding in place the issue.

And it also applies to the awakening process. The awakening and clarification itself brings up things and can feel messy at times. And the awakening process also brings up old emotional issues so they can be loved and – at least to some extent – healed, so the embodiment of the awakening can go further into our human life.

The most dramatic example of this messiness may happen during a dark night. When I went through the darkest phase of the dark night, my inner and outer life were both messy, to put it mildly.

The banality of what we are

 

Awakening and enlightenment is sometimes seen as mysterious, from another time or culture, for special people, or a fantasy.

And yet, there is a banality to it.

It’s about what we already are noticing itself. Noticing that all content of experience happens within and as what we are. And living from it.

From a conventional view, we can say we are a body, a human being, and so on. And that’s valid enough.

And yet, what we are to ourselves is consciousness.

Consciousness is what experiences or is aware of anything. To consciousness, everything – all experiences – happens within and as itself. And that’s what we are.

What we are is what all our experiences happens within and as. Including our human self, any sense of a me or I or observer or doer, and any ideas about who and what we are – including any ideas about consciousness.

The world as it appears to us – with all its content – happens within and as what we are.

It’s logical. It’s inevitable. It’s something we can notice and explore for ourselves.

And it’s quite banal.

To ourselves, we are consciousness. The world as it appears to us happens within and as consciousness. All content of experience happens within and as what we are.

And it’s all about noticing what we already are and what’s already here.

It’s so ordinary that it’s sometimes easy to overlook.

On the one hand, I understand that we humans are used to taking ourselves to be this body, a human being, and so on.

And yet, it seems so obvious that to ourselves we are consciousness and all our experiences happen within and as what we are. It’s inevitable. It’s logical. It’s not something we can get around.

So why isn’t it acknowledged more often? Why isn’t it the basics of psychology 101? Why isn’t it something that more people – including people in research and academia – explore and study?

If we allow our civilization to continue, I imagine there will be a time when this is more commonly acknowledged and explored, including through research and in academia. It’s already happening, to some extent.

So why isn’t this more commonly noticed and acknowledged?

I assume it’s because our mind is typically conditioned to think of itself as an object in the world, as a human being, as someone with identities and roles, and so on. I

It tends to get fixated on its own content. As many say, it’s a kind of trance.

And as we can discover through inquiry, it’s because our mind associates certain sensations with certain thoughts, the thoughts give a sense of meaning to the sensations, and the sensations give a sense of solidity, reality, and truth to the thoughts.

That’s how the mind can tell itself that it fundamentally is an object in the world – a human, man, woman etc. – and overlook what it actually and more fundamentally is.

This is how what we are can overlook what it is. Capacity for the world. What all its experiences happen within and as.

What happens when this noticing happens? Does it have any practical value?

Yes and no. It doesn’t change the reality of our life – our circumstances and challenges.

But it does change how we see and understand it all. It changes the context for our life and experiences. And that, in a sense, changes everything.

Is this what the different spiritual traditions talk about?

I assume so.

For instance, we are capacity for the world as it appears to us, and this is the void that Buddhism talks about. We are nothing full of everything. And we can say that this is clarity, awakeness, consciousness.

It’s also oneness since all happens within and as what we are, and any ideas of an I or me happens within and as what we are – as anything else does. And it’s all love since oneness is also love. Not sentimental love, but the love that comes from oneness noticing itself as all there is.

If this is banal in some ways, is it also not banal?

Yes, it’s banal in that it’s what we already are noticing itself, and our life – in terms of its challenges and problems – doesn’t neccesarily change even if our conscious context for this life changes.

When this noticing is happening, our life goes on much as before. And as we mature in it, our life often tends to look very ordinary, and perhaps more and more ordinary, to others.

It’s also not banal. It’s the most dramatic change in our conscious context for our life possible. We go from taking ourselves to be an object in the world to that which the world, as it appears to us, happens within and as. We may experience it as magical, amazing, and even baffling.

And as we live from it, our life does transform. In a sense, we become more thoroughly and ordinarily human. We deepen into an ordinary humanness, kindness, and – perhaps – a bit of wisdom.

In another sense, living from this new noticing is extraordinary. It helps transform our human self. It helps the human parts of us still living within separation consciousness to join in with the oneness, and this gives a deep healing of old wounds and traumas. It’s not an easy process, it can be confusing and even overwhelming, and yet it’s more than worth it.

It’s also anything but banal to experience all of existence – as it appears to us – as consciousness, AKA love, AKA Spirit, AKA the divine.

Are there stages to this noticing?

Yes and no.

In one sense, the noticing itself is the same. It’s what we are noticing itself. We find ourselves as capacity for our world and all content of experience.

At the same time, there is a deepening of clarity, healing, maturity, and living from it.

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XVIII

 

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

USING INSIGHTS TO FEEL SAFE

Someone on the periphery of my life came to my mind, and I thought: She is using her insights to feel safe.

She is someone who does have some insights, and her job is to consult and give advice to others.

At the same time, I have noticed that she latches onto a small piece of information and jumps to one her insights as a remedy, without having a fuller sense of the situation. She tends to insist that the other adopts her particular solution. And she does this uninvited.

So although I don’t know the full picture (!), I imagine she is using her insights to feel safe. She may latch onto them to feel safe, and she tries to get other to agree and adopt them so she feels it’s supported by others.

And, of course, this is me. I do this too. It’s a different and perhaps slightly amplified version of how I am.

I sometimes latch onto insights – aka ideas – to feel more safe. I am happy when I find others who agree and – sometimes unwittingly – support me in latching onto these ideas for safety. And I sometimes give unsolicited advice, perhaps not so often in real life but certainly in my mind.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XVII

 

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

NORMALIZING BELIEF MAKES US LEAVE REALITY MORE EASILY

When we normalize belief, we normalize leaving reality. We normalize saying that my opinion is as valid as yours, even if I know next to nothing about something and you are a scientist who have devoted your life to studying it.

We in the western world live in a Christian culture, and this is a culture where belief and faith is normalized.

In Christianity, we are asked to believe what someone tells us without having the ability to check it for ourselves. We are asked to take things on faith. And this belief and faith is praised and encouraged.

From there, it’s a small step to do the same in other areas of life.

A clear sign of this is that it’s common to use the word belief outside of religion, even when the topic is clearly something that belongs to science and not opinion or belief, or it belongs to expert advice and not opinions of random non-experts.

For instance, someone asked me do you believe in climate change? It’s not a matter of belief. It’s a matter of science, and just about all climate scientists – people who have devoted their lives to study it – agree on. It’s happening and it’s created by human fossil fuel consumption.

Another example is the question do you believe in UFOs? It’s phrased as if it’s a matter of belief, as if our belief somehow is important or relevant. In reality, UFOs are a question for science – or experience – and what we personally think or hope or fear or imagine is irrelevant. (Unless we take a psychological and sociological perspective, in which case it’s an interesting question.)

Would we see this era of conspiracy theories and fake news if Christianity hadn’t taught us to abandon rational thinking and instead believe? I am not sure. I can’t help wondering if it plays a role.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XVI

 

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

SPOCK: WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE NO LONGER EXISTS

What happened before no longer exists. What will happen next has not yet been written. We have only now. That is our greatest advantage. What we do now, here, in this moment has the power to determine the future.

– Spock in Star Trek: Discovery, S2:E11 Perpetual Infinity

This is undeniably true, even from a mainstream view. And, to the extent we take it in and allow it to inform our life, it’s profoundly liberating.

This is an example of how we know what’s real. Most of us know that the past and future doesn’t exist and that our ideas about it are our ideas. And yet, we often perceive and live as if the past and future exist. We mistake our ideas about the past and future as an actual past or future.

Not only does the past and future not exist outside of our ideas about it, these ideas are often biased and inaccurate. Taking this in and allowing it to inform us is one of the most healing things we can do. It can help us heal our past. It can help us be more flexible in how we approach the future. And it can help us see that our ideas about the present are also our ideas and not the present itself.

It’s also very good to see this in mainstream TV series and movies. It can serve as a reminder, plant a seed, or ignite curiosity about how our mind creates its own experience of the past, future, and even present.

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Adyashanti: There’s this whole other side of awakening

 

There’s this whole other side of awakening which isn’t just waking up from form, waking up from the body, waking up from the identifications of the mind, but it’s getting that awakening down in through all of that, and that’s like a clearinghouse. That’s the difference between someone who’s had an awakening and ultimately someone who has discovered their divine individuality.

– Adyashanti in The Divine Individual

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XIV

 

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

THREE JEWELS

When we are uncomfortable or anything unpleasant happens, we look to take refuge in something. Usually, we turn to food, alcohol, sex, drugs, money, power, or relationships. But none of these things give us the lasting protection or satisfaction you’re looking for.

When you understand you can’t find lasting happiness in Samsara, then the desire to find true refuge becomes strong. In Buddhism, we take refuge in the three jewels—the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

The Buddha is like the doctor who understands your disease and knows how to treat it; the Dharma, his teachings, is the medicine he prescribes; and the Sangha is the spiritual community that helps you to take the medicine. To take refuge is to finally seek protection from suffering in a way that can really help you. When we think about the ultimate nature of reality and what causes us to suffer— this is the true meaning of refuge.

–  Keanu Reeves in Discovering Buddhism module 7, refuge in the three jewels, 2004

This is beautifully and clearly said, and it applies to awakening in general – not just Buddhism.

In a broader and more universal sense, the Buddha is any skilled and insightful coach who knows the terrain of who (human self) and what (Big Mind) we are. The Buddha is also what we are, Big Mind. The Dharma is any pointer that helps us navigate this terrain for ourselves and discover what we are. And the Sangha is any fellow explorers in this adventure.

Buddhism is one system aimed at helping us discover what we are and explore the terrain of who and what we are and how to live from and as it. There are many other systems. And there are many paths outside of any system. This noticing is not dependent on any system.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XIII

 

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

COMPLETE HEAVEN

I am at our family cabin by a lake in the forest east of Oslo. It’s sunny, warm, a light breeze, and I can shift between warming myself in the sun, sitting in the shade, laying down in a cool and dark room, and going for a swim in the lake (24 degrees celcius). It’s complete heaven for this physical being to be able to shift so easily between all these situations. I can very easily be comfortable.

And then there is the nature, the birds, insects, flowers, trees. The beautiful sky. The amazing evening and morning sky. The light at night. Feeling a deep sense of belonging to this Earth community with all the other beings and the rocks and lake and sky and sun. It feels deeply nurturing and healing.

I know it’s an amazing privilege. On the one hand, it’s the type of environment we are made for and our ancestors sought out and lived their lives in. On the other hand, and especially today, it’s not at all a given to have this opportunity. I know I am privileged. I know how much I have to be grateful for, even in a very conventional sense. (And in spite of challenges and a challenging life situations due to health problems.)

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XI

 

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

THE HIGHEST ACHIEVEMENT: TO BE AN ORDINARY HUMAN BEING

I wrote an imagined dialog with someone who has lived for eons, and one of the things that came up – from all those lifetimes of experience – is that the highest achievement is to be an ordinary human being.

Many of us try to be someone special, to set ourselves apart – at least in our minds, and live up to a certain image of ourselves. All that is ordinary, of course. But to intentionally be an ordinary human being is different. This means to see through all these shoulds we put on ourselves, and allow them to wear off. And then discover who we are when we are a little more free from them.

It’s not so easy. It can take a long time to discover and see through these images and shoulds and allow them to wear off.

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Dialog with someone who has lived innumerable lives in many places in the cosmos

 

Living for as many lives as I have, I have over time arrived at many of the same insights that many spiritual teachers and traditions talk about. For me, it’s through experience and living ordinary lives. I haven’t been terribly interested in spirituality in itself, except for at rare occasions. But I realize that a lot of what I know – in my fibers and bones and through my being – fits much of what spiritual traditions talk about.

– a quote from this dialog

This is one in a series of imagined dialogs with people who have lived for eons. This dialog is with someone who has lived innumerable lives in many places in the cosmos and – through a glitch? – happens to remember it all.

THE DIALOG

First, I am curious about the several lives. Does it mean you remember the life between lives?

Yes, although it doesn’t matter so much here. If you don’t remember it yourself, what I say will just become ideas. And if you do, I don’t need to say much about it.

Okay. How is it to have lived many lives in many different places of the cosmos?

I am very grateful for having that experience. It’s enormously enriching to live lives through the filters of different beings – and their senses, bodies, perceptions, culture and more – and their world.

What have you learned that many with one life haven’t?

Mostly, to know that we all live from our own conditioning. Everything about us makes sense in the light of our conditioning – from our bodies, environment, culture, and individual experiences.

Because of all the lives I have had, I am less inclined to judge. The tendency to judge has worn off in me over time. I know how it is to live in so many different circumstances, and I know how so much in us flows from our conditioning.

I have a deep empathy with different beings. I know we all just want to live and be free from suffering – and love and be loved. There is something very beautiful in this. It’s also heartbreaking because I know how universal suffering is and how common it is for beings to not feel fully loved and to not fully love themselves.

These sounds like insights from spirituality?

Living for as many lives as I have, I have over time arrived at many of the same insights that many spiritual teachers and traditions talk about. For me, it’s through experience and living ordinary lives. I haven’t been terribly interested in spirituality in itself, except for at rare occasions. But I realize that a lot of what I know – in my fibers and bones and through my being – fits much of what spiritual traditions talk about.

You mentioned empathy with others. What about awakening?

Well, that’s a big word. For me, it’s more simple and down-to-earth.

Through having lived as many lives I have, I notice that all sorts of experiences and states come and go. I have experienced millennia of mostly “ordinary” states with times of profound despair, mind-shattering pain, and amazing bliss. I have noticed that what I am is that which all this happens within and as. Experiences come and go and what I am doesn’t come and go. Of course, I am whatever state is here but it doesn’t last. Only being capacity for all of it runs through it all.

If you want to call that awakening, be my guest. But it’s really very simple. It doesn’t require fancy words, or rituals, or mythology, or even labels.

What do most people not get?

Hm, from my perspective, many things.

They don’t get how precious and amazing life is. Even a troubled life, even a mundane life, is amazing and precious beyond words.

They don’t get that the way they treat others is the way they treat themselves. Love your neighbor for your own sake. It’s good for everyone.

They don’t get the importance of a long and big perspective. Of course, most people get by with a more narrow and shorter perspective. But a long and big perspective enriches life enormously. And for you folks today, it’s essential for your survival. It’s the only way humans can and will survive. And life is showing you just that.

They don’t get that all experiences enrich life. They are not your enemies. Trying to run away from your experiences only creates an added layer of suffering. In reality, it’s the only real suffering.

Of course, most don’t get that what we are is capacity for all and any of our experiences. We are the experiences which come and go. And we are capacity for all of it.

How can we mimic your process and discover this for ourselves?

Well, that’s not my speciality. But it does seem that some things helps people to find this for themselves. It’s definitely possible to people to find this for themselves, and many do – to some extent.

The main thing is curiosity and sincerity. Explore and see what you find. Don’t take your own or others assumptions for granted. Be willing to leave your most basic assumptions about yourself and life. Get close to your experience.

I feel like this is a trick question since a lot of what you write about on this website does exactly that! Is that what you want me to say? I see through you. And of course, yes, the tools you write about here can be very helpful for people, especially if used with curiosity and sincerity.

Yes, I guess that’s why I asked the question. Although I write about these things exactly because these tools can help us find what someone like you have discovered. It helps us discover what someone who has lived for eons tends to naturally discover through lived experience.

Yes, I agree. For me, it comes through lived experience and mostly free form ideology or pointers or shoulds or trying to live up to anything. And for many humans, it’s often more of a mix of genuine lived experience and insights – and some ideologies and shoulds.

What can we do to make it more from lived experience?

You are asking difficult questions. As I said, this is not my speciality.

Get close to your own experience. Be curious about it. Take it seriously. Make use of pointers and use them to discover for yourself. Set aside shoulds and how people say something is. Live your life and pay attention to what’s happening.

Do you have any advice for P. (this interviewer)?

Yes. You already know all this. You even trust it. But there is some hesitation in you. You can trust it even more. You can sink into it. Lean into it. Rest into and as it. It’s what you are. Live it. It can help you to remember me and lean into what I am.

Thank you! I appreciate this interview and especially your advice at the end.

Thank you. I enjoyed this conversation. I don’t think about these things so often so it was fun. And I wish you all the best in your life. As I said, you already know and are all of this. Lean into it a bit more and it will help you a lot. (And if you don’t, that’s completely fine too.)

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things X

 

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

THE EGO TOO IS THE DIVINE

The ego is a name for what comes from holding a thought as true. It’s the perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and actions that come when a thought is held as true.

Some talk about the “ego” as opposed to the divine. Some see it as something standing in way of finding or meeting the divine or awakening. Some even use a war metaphor for talking about the “ego”: it needs to be conquered and so on.

I understand where it comes from. Taking thoughts as true is what brings identification with particular content of experience and makes it difficult for us to notice what we are. It makes it more difficult to find ourselves as capacity for this human self and the wider world and all our experience.

At the same time, seeing it as a problem or even something that needs to be changed is part of that dynamic. It sets up the perception of a duality that’s not so helpful. These are ideas that come from separation consciousness and although they may be useful at a certain phase of the process, they also tend to reinforce separation consciousness.

We can say that they are half-true so they are half-useful. At most, they are useful as a stepping stone early on in the process. (And not really necessary even then.)

So what’s a more helpful way of looking at it?

Why not look at it more from within a oneness context? Or the context of all as the divine and the play of the divine? Or just in a more finely-grained way?

First, it’s helpful to drop the idea of “ego”. It’s much more dynamic and less of a thing than that.

Then, why not meet the parts of us that operate from separation consciousness? Why not get to know them? Explore? Listen to what they have to say? Thank them for protecting us? Find a genuine love for them?

Finally, through different forms of noticing and explorations, we may discover more about these dynamics that happen when the mind holds a thought as true. We may discover they come from innocence. They come from a wish to protect our human self. They and understandable and natural. They are universal. They happen within and as what we are. 

At a human level, they come from love. They are a way for our mind to protect our human self. And as what we are, they are what we are. They are love. 

They are not an obstacle. They are not a problem. Yes, they create suffering. And yet, it’s innocent. From the context of what we are, it looks different. There is a natural forgiveness. A natural relaxation. 

A natural welcoming of whatever parts of us still live in suffering and operate from within separation consciousness. A natural welcoming of them as always having been what we are – as human beings and capacity for the world. 

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Awakening and healing is a blessing for the “ego”

 

I usually don’t use the word “ego”.

What it points to are the dynamics from holding a thought as true. The perceptions, thoughts, choices, and actions that flow from the mind identifying with the viewpoint of a thought. In this context, the word “ego” sounds too static and too much like a thing.

Also, the word “ego” can refer to two different things. In a spiritual context, it means beliefs or identifying with the viewpoint of a thought. In a psychological context, it refers to the “operating system” of our human self, and we want that to be healthy and strong – even in an awakening context.

I see that some talk about the “ego” not “wanting” healing and awakening.

I understand that they may mean the inherent fear in releasing beliefs and wounds. These beliefs and wounds are familiar. They were created to protect us. So there will be some fear of allowing them to release. It’s natural and even healthy.

For me, it helps to see these parts as scared and suffering children and see what they want from me. Often, what they want is to be seen, understood, respected, and treated with patience and kindness. Ultimately, what they want is to heal and awaken and be freed from their suffering.

So, on the surface, it may look like the ego is a “thing” and that it doesn’t want change. And yet, it’s more true that the apparent resistance is fear. This fear is natural and from a desire to protect this human self. And what these parts of us want more than anything is to heal and awaken. They want liberation from their own suffering.

Is awakening and healing a threat to the “ego”? It may seem that way, at first glance. But we may soon discover that awakening and healing is a blessing for these parts of us. It’s what they deepest desire. It’s what allows them freedom from their own suffering.

It’s what allows them to function with more clearly and in a more healthy way as part of us as human beings. The more they are healed and awake, the more they come into their full and beautiful natural expression.

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things IX

 

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

AN EXERCISE TO DEAL WITH REGRETS AND NOSTALGIA

Sometimes, we get a bit stuck in longing for the past or what could have been. There is one simple exercise that can be helpful in these situations.

Make a list of all the genuine not-so-good things about the situation or what could have been.

For instance, say a relationship ended and we long for what was. It’s easy for the mind to paint a rosy picture of what was to support this longing – and torture itself more effectively. Was it really so rosy? Make a list of genuine examples of what you didn’t like. What were the things that were not so easy? What did you wish was different? What was the reverse side of the rosy image?

Do it honestly and sincerely. Take time with it. Take it in. Be gently brutally honest with yourself.

We can’t trick our own mind so find genuine examples. You can also ask someone else to help you find things you missed.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things VIII

 

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

POWER-OVER VS POWER-WITH IN HEALING AND AWAKENING

A power-over orientation is one of domination, use, discarding, and valuing oneself over whatever it may be – nature, women, children, other ethnic groups, or our body.

It seems that pre-agricultural societies had a more power-with orientation. They lived with nature and in a more egalitarian way. The power-over orientation may have come to prominence with agriculture, accumulation, and a more hierarchical society.

This means it’s a part of most cultures around the world today, although it’s perhaps most obvious in the European culture. It influences most or all areas of society. It’s something we absorb just by being part of this culture. We perceive through it and sometimes act on it. And since it’s so old and all-pervasive, it’s often invisible to us.

All of this means it’s an important factor in our own healing and awakening process. It’s important to be aware of it. Notice how it influences us. And see through the beliefs behind it and the beliefs upholding it.

The most obvious may be how we relate to ourselves.

Do we try to push and manipulate ourselves in a certain way? Do we try to manipulate the experience we have here and now? Do we try to avoid it, make it go away, “transform” it, pretend it’s not here? All of that may reflect beliefs that what’s here is not OK, that our experience is wrong or bad, that it’s dangerous, that “we” – as our global whole – know better, and ultimately a power-over orientation.

So how does a power-with orientation with ourselves look?

To me, it has to do with a gentle curiosity and befriending parts of me. Meet them. Allow them as they are. Be present with them. Listen to them. Dialog with them. Get to know them. Listen to what they need. Give them space to heal if they want to.

If they suffer, recognize the suffering. If they are caught up in stressful beliefs, perhaps these beliefs were formed as a way to protect us? Perhaps it’s innocent? Perhaps it comes from love?

Do these parts of us as happen within and as who we are as a human being? Do they happen within and as what we are as capacity for the world as it appears to us?

Power-with means a real partnership with ourselves and the different parts of us. They are all already included so why not consciously include them?

They wish to be met, heard, and understood so why not met, listen to, and find understanding for them? They are already allowed so why not consciously allow them? They come from love so why not explore if and how they come from love?

This orientation is a way into allowing and supporting a vibrant inner community. One that includes more and more parts. One where each one has a voice. One where each one can be met with presence and love.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things VII

 

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

DOES AWAKENING HAVE TO TAKE A LONG TIME?

Yes and no.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DRAMATIC AND QUIET AWAKENINGS

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

Each one comes with upsides and downsides.

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

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

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

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

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

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things VI

 

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

AWAKENINGS AS EXPERIENCE OR NEW CONTEXT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Yes and no.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things IV

 

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

HEART PRACTICES

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHRIST MEDITATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

First, some background

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

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

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

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

Then the awakening

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

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

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

Why did it happen at that moment?

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

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

For the next few years, several things happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– from Moonshine by Caravan Palace

Love is all you need – for healing and awakening?

 

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

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

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

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

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things V

 

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

IS THE UNIVERSE CONSCIOUS?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things II

 

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

Adorable Ludvig as drawn by Kjell Aukrust

Writing from a voice

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

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

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

Recently, two stories caught my attention.

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

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

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

Click READ MORE for the rest of the notes….

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things I

 

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

I noticed that more and more of these snuck themselves into the reflections on society posts so I decided to move them here. That’s why most of these have an older date than the main post.

Divine energy healing as a form of prayer

Depending on who I talk to, I will sometimes call divine energy healing – whether it’s a more free form or something more structured like Vortex Healing – a form of prayer.

In what way is it similar to or a form of prayer? In some forms of prayer, we have an intention, give it over to the divine, and it’s the divine that does the work. And that’s also how it is in divine energy healing.

Click READ MORE to see the rest of the notes….

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Awakening and the directionality of the Divine: Where is Spirit? Above? Below? In us? Outside?

 

In our culture, we tend to imagine Spirit or the Divine up – above us, in the sky, in the heavens. It is purely cultural. In some other cultures, it seems they imagine the Divine in the Earth and plants and all around them.

When there is an awakening, these imaginations are revealed as cultural and we realize that all is the Divine – everything in all directions. Spirit is not more up than it is down, or to one side more than another, or inside this human self more or less than in the wider world.

Some spiritual practices reflect this and help us re-imagine and notice the Divine in all directions. For instance, in one of the basic meditation practices both in Tibetan Buddhism and Eastern Christianity, we visualize an expression of the Divine – Buddha or Christ – in our heart, above and below us (ca. 1.5 meters), to either side, and in front and behind us. We sit in the presence of the expression of the Divine in our heart and around us in all directions – and allow it to work on us. Which it does.

This reminds me of this prayer, attributed to the Navajos:

Beauty is before me, And beauty behind me, Above me and below me Hovers the beautiful. I am surrounded by it, I am immersed in it. In my youth, I am aware of it, And, in old age I shall walk quietly The beautiful trail. In beauty it is begun. In beauty it is ended.

And it also reminds me of the Deer’s Cry, beautifully put to music by Arvo Pärt.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in me, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me,
Christ with me.

Moby Dick as metaphor for awakening?

 

Some years ago, I heard someone using Moby Dick as metaphor for awakening. I understand why. It can describe some folks experience with awakening – if it involves dogged persistence, aggressively pursuing it, drama, struggle and so on. But that’s just one of many flavors. It’s not always that way.

Awakening can come out of the blue and most involve adjusting to it and finding healing for all of the unprocessed emotional material surfacing following the awakening. (Generally how it happened in my case.)

Awakening can come gently and gradually. It can be undramatic.

Awakening can happen through self-kindness, heart, and gentle but precise inquiry.

Awakening can happen in many different ways and with many different flavors.

To me, it seems that the Moby Dick metaphor comes from a masculine approach to spirituality and awakening, and perhaps a macho approach to awakening and life. (More specifically, it feels like something that could come out of a macho subculture within the male US culture.)

There is nothing wrong with that. It’s one of the many flavors of awakening. It’s one way the divine expresses, explores, and experiences itself and its awakening to itself as all there is. And it’s good to know it’s just one flavor. It doesn’t have to look like that at all.

What’s the difference between awakening and non-awakening?

 

Is there a big difference between awakening and non-awakening?

Yes and no.

What are some of the differences?

The main difference is that in one case, consciousness recognizes itself as all there is and all experiences as happening within and as consciousness.

In the other case, consciousness is identified with a number of thoughts which creates an experience of being a separate being in the world and of objects as being the fundamental reality.

Our life as human beings will, by necessity, be a little different in each case.

The conscious context for our life is different and that means that everything tends to stay the same while also being very different.

In what ways are they not so different?

Whether consciousness notices itself or not, that’s what we are. We are consciousness and all our experiences happens within and as consciousness. We already live as oneness. It’s even awake oneness in both cases, although it’s awake to itself in only one.

In both cases, it’s the play of consciousness, whether it notices itself – and all experiences as itself – or not. It’s consciousness expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself – as noticing itself or not.

Is it really so black and white?

No, it’s just a way to talk about it. In reality, it’s much more fluid and – if we want to fit into another too-narrow idea – a spectrum.

Even when consciousness notices itself as all there is, there is some fluidity. It can temporarily go back into separation consciousness, especially when triggered by old emotional issues and beliefs. Noticing oneness can be in the foreground or more in the background – for instance when a task has our attention. And the awakening itself tends to clarify and stabilize our time, perhaps to the extent it’s investigated.

Similarly, non-awakening is not just one thing or always caught in separation consciousness. This too is fluid. When caught in an emotional issue, the separation consciousness tends to get stronger. When we are absorbed in an activity, we may get in a “flow” state, forget separation consciousness, and experience some of the qualities of oneness. (Although it’s not as clear and consciousness typically does not notice itself as everything.) And we can have more conscious glimpses of what we are and oneness, for instance when we are in nature, from inquiry or meditation, or – although I don’t recommend it – some types of psychoactive plants and drugs.

I noticed you used awake in two ways?

Yes, that can be confusing.

In this context, it’s mostly used to point to consciousness awake to itself – and to all its experiences as consciousness and the oneness that comes with it.

It can also point to the awakeness that’s inherent in consciousness. Anyone who reads this does so because of this awakeness. It’s the very ordinary awakeness that we all experience and are familiar with. Consciousness is awake in a very ordinary way, and it may or may not be awake to itself as all there is – to all its experiences as itself.

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Reality vs spiritual traditions

 

Reality is always more than and different from what any spiritual tradition can capture. That’s why any sincere exploration has to go beyond the confines of any one tradition, and even all of them combined.

That doesn’t mean that traditions are useless. They can be very helpful.

They can be a good place to start and – for some – can be a good support throughout the process.

They can give us pointers and practices helpful in our own exploration. Some of these may be helpful at certain phases of the process and some – the more basic ones – throughout.

They give us a community of fellow explorers. In the best case, we feel less alone, can share experiences, and find support.

They have guides who can give us practical support in our own exploration.

As for myself, I didn’t belong to any religion or spiritual tradition as a kid. So when the awakening happened in my teens I was free to explore any and all traditions to find fellow travelers, pointers, and guides.

I did naturally seek out traditions at first. I found glimmers of real wisdom from mystics and teachers in the past, and especially from Taoism and Christian mystics. But as for what I found in person, it was mostly disappointing. Mostly, I found people without any real experience or awakening repeating what someone else had said.

The real insights and personal experience was something I found in people outside of the traditions. I found it in a dear friend (BH) who has remained a close friend. And I found Jes and Hanne Bertelsen from Denmark who clearly spoke from experience and awakening and draw from the wisdom of several different traditions.

Later, I found it in Adyashanti who was trained in Zen but does his own thing. I belonged to Center of Sacred Sciences in Oregon for a while and they draw from all the different traditions. And when I earlier – in my twenties – lived at a Zen center, there was a mix of traditional practice and a more innovative approach – specifically the Big Mind process developed by my teacher there.

I am profoundly grateful for the traditions. They pass on wisdom and experiences by innumerable awake and clear people. (And sometimes things less from clarity!) They offer people a place to learn and practice. They offer a community. They offer guides. I have gotten a lot out of practices, pointers, guides and more from traditions. And I admire people who are happy within a tradition and stick with it for the long term.

At the same time, it doesn’t seem to be for me. For me, it makes more sense to draw from whatever I find and delve deeply into one thing at a time and then keep exploring. Reality is more important than any tradition and I also know that traditions offer valuable support in this exploration.

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Oneness from a psychological perspective

 

This is one of the recurrent themes for me, but I like revisiting it to see if I can find other aspects to it and simpler and more clear ways to talk about it.

Oneness can be understood from a relatively ordinary psychological perspective.

In our own experience, we are consciousness. We are not a human being. We are not a brain. We are not the way others see us. All of that happens within consciousness. To ourselves, we are consciousness and this human self and the world and all experiences are content of this consciousness.

Another way to say it, which is a little more accurate, is that all our experiences – of this human self and the wider world – happens within and as consciousness.

Perhaps even more accurately, all our experiences happens within and as what we are, and the mind can label this many things including consciousness, awakeness, or Big Mind.

This also means that to us, all is oneness. All is one in that it all happens within and as consciousness.

Looking a little closer, we may also notice that all happens within and as – what we can call – emptiness or void. Nothingness makes something – consciousness and all its experiences – possible. So in a more basic sense, we are this nothingness that something happens within and as.

Also, when we discover ourselves as consciousness and all – as it appears to us – as consciousness, then it makes sense that some would take a leap and assume all of existence inherently is consciousness and call it Spirit, the divine, Brahman, Allah, or God.

I find it helpful to think of what I describe here as the small or psychological interpretation of awakening. We are consciousness to ourselves and all our experiences then happens within and as consciousness. This says something about how we are, but it doesn’t assume anything about how all of existence is.

The leap of faith, assuming all of existence is consciousness and calling it Spirit or the divine, is then the big or spiritual interpretation of awakening.

From the small or psychological interpretation, the big or spiritual interpretation is understandable. It makes sense that people would interpret it that way, even if we ourselves may not go that far.

From a small interpretation, the big interpretation may be seen as a projection and a leap of faith. From a big interpretation, the small interpretation means swimming in a pond that’s a little too small.

And personally for me? I find it helpful to switch between both interpretations. The small interpretation allows our view to stay grounded and it may make a little more sense to more people. And I suspect, for a variety of reasons and personal experiences, that the spiritual interpretation is valid as well. It may say something accurate about all of existence.

The nice thing about this way of looking at it – using both a small and big interpretation – is that the essential experiences of mystics form all traditions makes sense from either one. We can understand it from a small or psychological interpretation, and we can understand it from the big or spiritual interpretation.

Oneness makes sense. The awakening process makes sense. The pitfalls and dark nights make sense. The transformation of the human self in the context of oneness recognizing itself makes sense. Early glimpses make sense. Nature spirituality makes sense. And so on. (I am very aware that I haven’t gone into these here so it’s a bit of a teaser. I have written about it elsewhere on this website, and I may explore it more in further articles.)

Awakening is differentiation

 

Awakening is not just oneness. It’s also differentiation.

Without differentiation, there is no awakening. At least, if we start out from separation consciousness and wish to see what awakening is about. And if we wish to actively support clarification, deepening, and embodiment of the awakening.

So what is it we need to differentiate?

Mainly, the difference between thoughts and reality. Obviously, a thought is as real – or unreal – as anything else. But what it says about reality has varying degrees of truth to it, and even the most accurate thought has no final or ultimate truth to it.

We may know this at a superficial conscious level. We may hear it and tell ourselves I know that. But the reality is often different. At some level, we – our system – takes several thoughts as true even if we consciously may know it isn’t. It requires a much deeper exploration to see this and see through it so the “glue” making these thoughts seem real weakens. (Our mind’s magical truth-glue that makes something that’s not completely true seem true.)

How is this connected to awakening?

When we – at any level – hold a thought as true, there is automatically identification with the thought’s viewpoint. We experience ourselves as the viewpoint of the thought. And that creates a sense of being something within the content of experience – within the world, and an I with the rest of existence as Other.

What the thought is about doesn’t really matter. Taking any thought as ultimately true – somewhere in our system – creates this dynamic. Although some of the core ones are thoughts saying we are a human being, a me, an I, a doer, an observer, and so on.

How can I explore this differentiation?

Through inquiry, whether natural, organic, and unstructured or more structured.

Structured inquiry can be a good way to start, and can help us go deeper wherever we are in the process. And the more natural and unstructured inquiry helps us trust our own wisdom and guidance. (Especially when we already are somewhat familiar with the terrain, perhaps with the help of structured inquiry.)

For me, a combination of Headless experiments (Douglas Harding), the Big Mind process (Genpo Roshi), The Work of Byron Katie, and Living Inquiries (modern version of traditional Buddhist inquiry) has been helpful. But there are many other approaches out there.

What about other forms of differentiation?

Yes, there is the conventional form of differentiation and discernment we need in daily life, to function in the world.

The differentiation I wrote about above is helpful for awakening and also healing for our human self. The daily life differentiation and discernment is essential for us to function in the world.

Just as what and who we are – oneness and this human self – these two forms of differentiation are two sides of the same coin.

My experience of myself and the world

 

The way we experience the world often seems ordinary and unremarkable to us. We may not pay much attention to it. Although when we are on an awakening path, this tends to change. The question of how we experience ourselves and the world comes more into the foreground.

What’s the context of my experience?

It’s relatively easy for awakeness to notice itself and that content of experience happens within and as what I am. (Another label for this is oneness.) In daily life, particular content of experience is often in the foreground for practical reasons but that it’s happening within and as awakeness is always here and easily noticed.

There is also a noticing of the void all happens within and as, including the awakeness all content of experience happens within and as (!).

Is there a sense of a me or I?

Yes and no. In daily life, it’s easy to know that this human self is “me” and the one other people take me to be.

I notice a slight tension in the forehead and the roof of the mouth that feels a bit like “I”. I recognize it for what it is, and there is probably more for me to explore and see through here.

When I get caught in emotional issues, there is a stronger sense of a me and an I, although there is also an awareness of what’s going on. This too is happening within and as awakeness, it’s a temporary and local appearance, and not any ultimate truth. (Although if it’s strong, I may feel, experience, and even act as if it is.) This is something I am aware of and keep exploring, and I typically work on the emotional issues that come up.

Is this awakening?

This isn’t awakening as a state or somewhere to arrive. But it’s a snapshot of a particular phase of an awakening process. The process is ongoing and it seems unlikely to have an arrival place. There is clearly a lot further to go in clarity, healing, and embodiment, and that’s more than OK.

How is the content of my experience these days?

It keeps changing as any content of experience does. My system has a lot of fatigue right now so I notice the fatigue and rest. Sometimes, contentment is more on the surface with some low-grade other things in the background. And sometimes, different emotions are more in the foreground. When that happens, I pay attention to what it seems to be about and often explore it through informal inquiry and do some basic Vortex Healing for it.

Do I always explore what comes up?

Yes and no. I explore it in the sense that I notice it and make a mental note that this is something to continue to explore and perhaps find healing for. Sometimes I go more in-depth right away or within a few days. Sometimes, it goes on the back-burner and I know I may address it more in-depth if or when it comes up again in the future.

In general, how is this different from how most people experience themselves and the world?

I assume the essence is the same. The awake space everything is happening within (and as) is here whether we consciously notice or not. And our content of experience always changes and includes all the usual human experiences.

What’s different between this and most people’s experience?

The main difference may be that here, the awakeness – what all experience happens within and as – notices itself a bit more than what seems average these days. (And that can change – both here and in the world.)

So there isn’t that much of a difference between awakening and no awakening?

Again, yes and no. The awakeness is here and all our content of experience happens within and as it. In some cases, this is noticed – or it notices itself, and in some cases, there is identification as a me and I within this content of experience.

It seems somewhat fluid. I assume everyone has moments where they live more from the oneness (flow states etc.) and then a thought comes in saying “this human self is who I am, try not to forget it too often”.

There is a spectrum from what we are noticing itself to being caught up in identifications, and we are probably not aware of how far the spectrum goes in each end.

There is also a spectrum to how this is reflected in our life. At one end is a human life thoroughly reorganized within oneness noticing itself as all there is. This typically involves a lot of healing of emotional issues. At the other end is the extreme of living from separation consciousness and emotional issues and traumas. Most of us are somewhere in-between and shift somewhat fluidly along the mid-range.

What’s the main difference between my teens and now?

It’s actually not terribly different from my teens, following the initial spiritual opening or awakening. (Age sixteen.) The main difference is that there is more peace with the whole process now. Back then, it was intense and at time overwhelming and confusing. Now, it’s more familiar and – in a sense – ordinary.

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Describing awakening in a simple and grounded way

 

I like to demystify what can be demystified – including awakening. Why not try to describe it in simple and ordinary ways that others can check out for themselves, and that doesn’t rely on references to what’s outside of most people’s experience?

So what is awakening?

Awakening is what we are awakening to itself.

Independent of our worldview, it makes sense that what we are – to ourselves – is consciousness. Even within a materialistic view, it’s hard to not admit that to ourselves, we are consciousness.

All our content of experience – including the world and ourselves as a human being – happens within and as consciousness.

Typically, we identify with a particular content of our experience. We identify with and as this human self, and as an observer, doer, and so on.

Awakening refers to noticing that we are consciousness that this content of experience happens within and as. The initial noticing can be called an initial opening or awakening.

Sometimes, that’s all it is. And sometimes, the process continues.

We notice. Identification releases somewhat out of content of experience. Consciousness wakes up to itself as all there is. (To itself it’s all there is.) This noticing becomes more ordinary and continues through more and more situations in daily life. Our human life reorients and transforms within this new noticing and context.

Why are not more people interested in it?

We may not have heard about it.

We may not have been exposed to it in a way that makes it seem possible or attractive to us.

It may seem too mysterious, obscure, and distant.

It may seem like it’s for other or special people, not us.

We may not see how it’s useful.

It may seem like something we already know, intellectually.

Why are some people really into it?

We may have had a glimpse or opening and wish to continue to explore it.

We may intuit that there is something and set out to explore it.

We may be drawn in by traditions or teachers speaking about awakening.

We may seek to avoid suffering and have heard it will help.

It may happen out of the blue and stay and we keep exploring this new context for our human life.

What are some of the effects of awakening?

Mainly, our human self reorients and reorganizes within this new context.

This involves a lot of different changes and processes and lasts a lifetime.

It typically involves healing of emotional issues and hangups. Examining old beliefs, assumptions, and identities. And changing how we relate to others, ourselves, and the world in general.

How do we live within oneness? That’s the question, and the transformation of our human self can be more or less thorough within this lifetime.

What about spirituality?

Isn’t awakening about spirituality?

Yes and no. Yes, spirituality is often about awakening. And no, awakening doesn’t requite religion or traditional spirituality.

At the same time, there is a lot of practical and valuable information in spiritual and religious traditions.

Small and big interpretation of awakening

This article is mostly about the small or psychological interpretation of awakening. We talk about it a way that (can!) make sense independent of whatever worldview we have.

There is also the big or spiritual interpretation of awakening. Here, we use the more familiar language of God, Spirit, the Divine, and so on.

We may say that awakening is God (Spirit, the Divine) awakening to itself locally through this human self.

Spirit temporarily and locally took itself to be an ultimately separate being (this human self), and then woke up to itself as all there is.

How can we explore it for ourselves?

Mainly, we need to find one or more approaches that make sense to us. Perhaps they feel intuitively right. Or someone we trust recommends it. Or we happen to have a local awakening-coach and join for a while.

There are some approaches that within minutes can give us a glimpse or taste of what awakening is about. The two I enjoy the most is the Big Mind process and the Headless experiments.

Is there anything I need to be aware of?

Mainly, the usual guidelines for exploring and learning anything applies here too. It helps to have the guidance of someone you trust and who has experience. Trust yourself and what feels right to you. If the approach you use has little or no effect, consider trying something else.

When I said “consciousness” earlier, it was to make it more understandable. The mind may label what we are “consciousness” but that’s just a label. That label and all our ideas about it also happen within and as what we are.

The awakening process, and the approaches we may use on the path, tend to open our heart and mind, and that can open for whatever unprocessed psychological material is in us. If that happens, it can feel confusing, scary, disorienting, and overwhelming. So it’s good to find an awakening-coach who has experience with this, can take some precautions, and knows how to help you through it.

It can help to set aside what you think you know about awakening, especially the myths and ideas from religion and traditional spirituality. Make it simple for yourself. This is about noticing what you already are. There are ways to help you notice it. And there are people who can help you with it. It’s not so different from learning or exploring anything else in life.

Is awakening important?

Yes and no. If it happens, it may be the most important (no-thing) thing in your life since it becomes the context for everything. It can also help transform your human self.

And yet, most human beings live without having a (conscious) taste of this and that’s fine. You can have a very good life without conscious noticing of what you are.

If what you mostly want is a good life, and that’s the case for most of us, another strategy may be more direct. For instance, focus on self-compassion and healing the most obvious emotional issues. Nurture nurturing and important relationships in your life. And, in general, be a good steward of your life. And there is no problem with including this in an exploration of what we are. They work very well together.

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