I love Breema. Here is a brief meditation followed by some simple Breema exercises we can all do where we are. Jon Schreiber is the director of the Breema Center in Rockridge (Bay Area), California.
Some birds were flying over a field when a man tried to shoot them. So they flew higher to get away from the bullets. Higher up, they were still bothered by the sound of the gun. So they flew even higher, but then above their heads an airplane passed. One said to the others, “Since we cannot get away from people no matter what we do, let’s go live our lives on Earth in the midst of them, and not worry too much – our job is to live our lives in joy.”
– Jon Schreiber in Your Home is the Entire Cosmos: The Wisdom of Breema
It can be challenging to talk about healing modalities that are quite different from what most people are familiar with.
Most of the approaches I use fall into this category:
Breema bodywork looks similar to Thai massage or partner yoga, but the experience of and intention behind is markedly different. It’s deeply nourishing and helps us find ourselves as the fullness and wholeness that’s always here and always healthy, even as our body and mind may have ailments.
Inquiry can look similar to cognitive therapy, but it goes far deeper is far more all-inclusive than typical cognitive therapy. Living Inquiries is an exploration of how our mind creates its own experiences, including the stressful and painful ones. We get to explore the basic building blocks (images, words, sensations), and through separating and spending time with each one, it’s difficult for the mind to put it together again in a believable way. We also go back in time to the origins and roots of the issue, and we look at the different branches holding it in place.
Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) involves trembling and shaking, rocking and stretching, and sometimes also sounds. This is something we are all familiar with, but in TRE these all happen spontaneously and are initiated and guided by the body. We are just along for the ride. (Although we can stop it at any time, if we wish.) There is also a deepening, and a deep relaxation and sense of nourishment that happens as we do TRE regularly over time.
Vortex Healing may look similar to energy healing modalities such as Reiki, acupuncture, or chigong. It’s true it’s an energy healing modality, and yet it’s different to most other approaches in that it uses divine energy guided by divine intelligence. This is the intelligence of life or Spirit itself, so it already knows the problems and the way out of them. As a practitioner, I use my intention to support the healing, I partially guide and partially am guided through the healing session, and I allow my system to be used as a channel for the energy needed for the healing. Where other modalities often work more in a general way, Vortex Healing is especially effective when we work on very specific issues – sometimes the more specific and detailed the better. As a practitioner, Vortex Healing also speeds up and guides my own awakening and embodiment process. It’s very much an intimate partnership with the divine.
And, of course, most people are interested in if and how they can be helped, not the specific modalities. The modalities are just tools. While it’s easy to become fascinated with the tools as a practitioner, clients have a different priority. And rightly so. They are interested in what can be done for them. Can you help me with what I need help with?
In my experience, any issue can be helped by using these tools: Physical and mental health. Psychological and behavioral issues. Relationships. Awakening and embodiment. If there is a problem, there is a way out of it. And as usual, the degree we can be helped depends on many factors, mainly the willingness for change and the energy and time put into it.
I like the term “complementary medicine”. It implies a pragmatic and inclusive approach to health and well being.
Common sense implies that we use a combination of approaches to our health. I’ll go to a regular doctor for any serious or potentially serious health issue. And I’ll also use whatever else makes sense to me, whether it’s herbs prescribed by an herbalist, acupuncture, Breema, diet, nature, or Vortex Healing.
So if anyone comes to me for – for instance – Vortex Healing, and they have a serious health issue, I would always encourage them to go to a medical specialist and follow their advice. That’s not something I would say (only) for legal reasons, but because it makes sense. It’s integral to giving them the best chances for recovery.
I have found a few approaches especially helpful to me: Breema, inquiry (The Work, Living Inquiries), Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), and Vortex Healing. I am also certified in Breema, Living Inquiries, TRE, and Vortex Healing.
It doesn’t mean that I think these are the best approaches out there in any general sense, or that they are right for everyone in all situations (they obviously are not). But they are the ones I am most familiar with, and they do work well for me.
Here are some of the unique contributions of each, and some of the ways I notice they are in mutual support of each other.
Breema. Receiving and giving Breema gives a deep sense of nurturing and wholeness. We find the health that’s always here, and within which conventional illness and health exist. As a practitioner, it also helps me explore the wholeness of who I am as a human being, what it all happens within and as (presence, awakeness), and how to shift back into noticing and living from that noticing. In general, Breema has a full and nurturing quality.
TRE. TRE helps me release tension out of the muscles, and that reduces anxiety, depression, and compulsions. It helps the body and mind heal and operate from a more healthy and dynamic state. It can also help us be less afraid of trauma since we know there is a through it to health.
Living inquiries. Living Inquiries helps release the charge out of charged thoughts (fears, identities, compulsions). Through exploring how thoughts (images, words) and sensations combine, and how thoughts give meaning to sensations, and sensations give charge and substance to thought, the association between these loses its strength. Sensations are more easily recognized as sensations and thoughts as thoughts. The sense of substance and reality of fears, identities, and compulsions is reduced or falls away more thoroughly. This form of inquiry also gives a variety of insights, both into general dynamics and patterns of the mind, and into specific issues (e.g. their roots, how they relate to early experiences and identities).
Vortex Healing. Vortex Healing can be used for general or very specific issues, from energizing or healing physical issues to working on specific traumas or identities.
Mutualities. There is a great deal of mutualities between these.
Breema offers an important sense of nourishment and wholeness.
TRE releases the charge out of anxiety, depression, and compulsions (especially when used over time). TRE can also bring up emotions or memories which then can be explored in inquiry or Vortex Healing.
Living Inquiries can bring insight into issues and identities, and help us recognize the healing qualities of presence and resting with (and as) any content of experience.
Vortex Healing can be used on body contractions identified through TRE or Living Inquiries, or any issues or identities that surface through the other approaches.
Very simplified, I find that Breema offers nourishment and a sense of wholeness. TRE releases tension deeply and quite thoroughly (over time). Living Inquiries offers insights and takes a sense of substance and solidity out of stressful patterns, thoughts, and identities. And Vortex Healing can work on just about any issue and identity.
Healing and awakening. Each of these approaches also acknowledges the connection between healing (as who we are) and awakening (as what we are). They each support healing and awakening in their own way.
A selection of testimonials from clients.
Hi Per, I just wanted to say thank you for everything. Thank you for the difference you made my life and my recovery. I will never forget you. You were one of the greatest and most influential. You always thought of me and kept me calm when I wanted to jump out of my skin and run for the border.
– Thank you, keep in touch. Breana K.
After months of you guiding me through the Living Inquiries, TRE and Breema I notice I am able to continue to embrace experience as it unfolds in a curious and loving way. You first provided me with a wonderfully balanced foundation and then allowed space for me to experientially learn how to continue to provide it for myself. Your intuitive presence helped me enter places and memories I was too scared to be with on my own. Places I thought would follow me forever. Now I continue to sit in experience, pleasant or not and provide myself with the same nurturing patience you shared with me over the months. Thank you for sharing your gift with me.
– Kindly, Brittney C.
Thank you for facilitating inquiry with me with such exquisite skill, precision, and gentleness. I was often surprised at what came up in sessions, but no matter what it was, you provided a space of complete acceptance and deep respect. I felt held, and safe to unfold layers of painful stories that have been with me for years.
As a result, I would leave each time feeling lighter and more alive. I also gained confidence in my ability to sit with any feeling that might arise, which in turn has greatly reduced the compulsions that used to rule my life. I am feeling more and more free as a result of working with you, and for this I am truly grateful.
You have a profound gift for this work. Thank you for sharing it with me, and I hope many more can receive the gift of this powerfully transformative work as well.
– With deep gratitude, Ara Jo
Foxy Muffin had lost all signs of happiness and vitality over the past 6 months. I often thought of plans for her last days and when would be the right time to end her life so she would not suffer. Per asked if he could do a Vortex Healing session for her and I agreed hoping for any positive change. I was not expecting to see the energy and excitement that appeared the same day. Over the past few weeks I’ve seen the happy, playful, and fun little Pomeranian that I knew was there all along. Foxy eats better, her tail is high in the air and she appears to have experienced a healing of sorts. I can see a difference with every session Per does for her.
– Paul C., Rancho Mirage, CA
I asked Per to do a Vortex Healing series with me on long-standing chronic pain in my abdomen. I felt immediate relief after the session. Although the pain returned for a short period of time after the first session, within a week, the pain never returned. More than that, the series of sessions appeared to have opened up some deep emotional/energetic blockages for me that were associated with this pain. It feels as though energy moves much more freely up and down my spine now. I highly recommend Per to anyone with such blockages. I don’t know exactly how Vortex Healing works, but it does!
– Scott K., Palm Springs, CA
I just wanted to thank you for the great vortex healing sessions you have given me so far. I have experienced many different healing modalities in the past but nothing comes close to the vortex sessions with you. I found myself having big changes in one session that would normally take many sessions in any other healing work. I also thought your ability to tune in and fine tune so to speak what was going on for me was very helpful. Your natural ability as a healer is clear to me and I look forward to working with you again in the near future.
– Mike C., Palm Desert, CA
Our cat Cosmos struggles with anxiety. After two sessions with Per, everyone in the family noticed a difference. Now she sleeps next to her sister on the bed, whereas before they wouldn’t go near each other!
– Tom. A, Eugene, OR
I wanted to say thank you for the Breema sessions. You bring calming and sweet energy to your work. In my personal experience Breema seems very sensual, as well as loving. What a great way to help heal humanity.
– Barbara R., Eugene, OR
I so appreciate your Breema sessions! You are able to create a wonderful atmosphere of nurturing, comfort and something more that I find hard to define! Afterwards, I always feel renewed, relaxed and rebalanced. And it’s all so effortless on my part! Thank you for sharing this healing gift with me.
– Phyllis L, Eugene, OR
Thank you for your Breema sessions. No matter what my state of mind going into them, I often find myself feeling present, relaxed and back in balance afterwards. I especially appreciate your professional and focused approach, which has me feel at ease, trusting and open to the process. I look forward to doing more Breema with you and have no doubt that what you are offering is a great gift!
– Robin R., Eugene, OR
A quick note to most deeply thank you for the wonderful relaxation you allowed for during the Breema session. This week is packed for me but I am wondering if you might consider giving me another round next week. Can I drop off some greens from my garden for you guys?
– Stephanie C., Eugene, OR
You are a gifted Breema practitioner. Your presence and support gave me the feeling of deep peace, as if the whole of the universe were still. It was so wonderfully relaxing!
– Tiffany M., Eugene, OR
Thanks so much for letting me experience Breema. I had no previous exposure to the practice and came eager to see if it might help relieve my chronic problems with emotional anxiety and back stiffness.
Generally I have a hard time keeping my mind focused and not wandering off into distraction, which is very frustrating. I found the gentle, rhythmic motions of Breema helped me keep my attention on my breath without drifting away (except the couple of times I was so relaxed I dozed off!).
I felt you were transmitting peace into me, sending a peaceful signal directly to the core of my being. A kind of floaty and ethereal sensation—very nice. I definitely felt mentally and emotionally calmed, and at the same time I came away from each session also feeling enlivened and much more present in my body, more attuned to the moment.
I appreciate the special accommodations you made for my back problem by using knee pillows and adding an extra stretch at the end of the session. My back is bothering me a lot less in the mornings now, which I attribute to the Breema treatments.
Your firm gentleness, your strong hands, your accepting and caring approach, all helped me let go and relax. I found you to be very warm, respectful, unobtrusive, and caring. I especially appreciated your nonjudgmental attitude about my size and weight, something I’ve learned can’t always be expected.
Thanks very much.
– Sally S., Eugene, OR
I really appreciated the Breema experience. You have opened whole new possibilities for me in terms of healing and questioning my current world view.
– Molly M., Eugene, OR
Per’s gentle, rhythmic movements using Breema techniques, gradually shifted my awareness from my physical body to the wider world of nature. My ability to hear grew more acute and my sense of smell returned, something I had lost over the course of the last five years, as the movements progressed [As the movements progressed, my ability to hear grew more acute and my sense of smell returned.] Each new movement seemed to shift me internally and in so doing, stretch my consciousness externally. Per’s sensitivity, openness to where I was energetically, and his deep sense of caring for all of life, made the experience profoundly harmonizing for me. I highly recommend P. as a Breema practitioner. His work facilitated me in shifting my awareness of pain, as I have experienced it in my body, into a new state of awareness of what it means to be well and at peace. Thank you P. for sharing your gifts!!!
– Molly M. , Eugene, OR
The Breema session you provided for me was profoundly relaxing. The experience has stayed with me. I would recommend you and Breema to anyone! Thanks and Be Well. It’s a good service you are providing in the world.
– Jon B., Eugene, OR
I want to let you know how much I appreciate attending Breema sessions with you. I find it an exquisitely relaxing experience. Without fail my mind and body fall into a quiet stillness, a stillness in which the Breema spontaneously unfolds. I find that we are together participating in that stillness. As the receiver of Breema my part is
a very restful one, and I find that that rest deepens over the course of the session. By the end I am often in a state in which the ‘I’ has disappeared, and what remains is a sublimely refreshing peace. Thank you so much for facilitating this meditative art.
– Best, Damien P., Eugene, OR
Per’s strong and earthy touch, coupled with his calm presence and innate healing ability, radiate gentle warmth, wisdom, and loving-kindness. He moves deftly and gracefully through the sequences, and his work brings me to a place of deep meditation. Important insights often result. He is well-studied in the field of esoteric arts, and in his humility and graciousness is always curious to hear about my experiences and to offer his own suggestions and insights.
Here is an excerpt from my journal about a particularly transformative session I had with Per:
“…I felt his hands molding and shaping me as if I were clay, and I realized that that’s how Life is…Life, or Soul, is constantly molding and shaping us. And so often, we are resistant until we learn to love and accept what is happening…He put his hands over my eyes, and I saw only darkness and quit breathing. It was if I, for some moments, had died. I opened my eyes onto the light from the windows and returned with gratitude to life and to living. In the session, I took increasingly deep, and deeper, breaths. I felt my heart beating strongly in my naval point, bringing life energy into my lower chakras.
…Allow beauty and goodness to come and to flow into you. And, it’ll be coming next by way of the lower chakras. I began coughing. I coughed up the limiting belief that I’d been carrying in my shoulders, mainly~~that I must do it all alone, in order to survive. The belief I replaced it with is, living can be a true joy. Accept the goodness and the bounty of the earth, and with gratitude and thanks accept her gifts to you in whatever form they take.
– Rachael W. , Eugene, OR
The different approaches I use all fit together nicely for me. Detailing how would take a long time since the parallels and interactions are very rich, although here is the start of an outline.
Living Inquiries (LI). An exploration of how sensory experiences and imagination combine to create our reality and how we experience the world. Specifically, we look at how sensations and imagination (mental images, words) come together to create an experience of different selves (deficient and inflated), threats, and commands. Through noticing the elements and the presence it’s all happening within, there is a release of the “glue” holding them all together. Our relationship to it changes. The charge tends to soften and go out of it. We recognize it all as presence and what we already are.
There is a deep allowing of what’s here which helps us to recognize ourselves as presence and that which all happens within and as. (And also as the emptiness allowing all of that.) There is also an invitation for what creates suffering in us to soften and release, which supports us as who we are, as human beings who naturally wishes to reduce and be free of suffering. These two go hand in hand and are mutually supportive.
The Work (TW). Identify and investigate beliefs. Beliefs means to take certain stories (imaginations) as true and real. It’s what happens when there is identification with the viewpoint of certain stories. We take ourselves to be that viewpoint, at least to some extent. The outcome is similar to the outcome of the Living Inquiries.
Breema. Mindfulness in movement. Finding ourselves as the whole that body and psyche is part of, and the presence it’s all happening within and as. This is also a very nurturing practice.
Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). Releasing muscle tension through the natural trembling and releasing mechanism of the body. Allowing our body and the innate wisdom of the body – created through evolution and the experiences of all our ancestors – to be in the driver seat. This also naturally and progressively helps release layers of trauma.
Vortex Healing (VH). My most recent exploration. Inviting and allowing divine energy and intelligence to work on us as a healing and awakening path. The framework for VH is very much aligned with the other modalities.
HOW THEY WORK TOGETHER
LI and TW. I sometimes will use TW within an LI session if I notice the client is more comfortable with thought than presence or feeling. It’s a stepping stone for them, and can be very helpful.
TW and LI. Within a TW session, I may include LI elements of resting with sensations, images or words.
Breema. Breema helps us bring noticing and allowing into movement. It can also be deeply nurturing. It helps us experience ourselves as the whole that body and psyche are part of. And it helps us find ourselves as the presence all happens within and as.
TRE and LI. TRE helps release the tension and body contractions that together with imagination makes up anxiety, depression, compulsion and general struggle and suffering. It speeds up the LI process, and LI helps speed up the TRE process.
VH and LI. VH can help bring the client into a more calm and present state, ready to do the looking required in LI. It can also help reveal and release whatever issues the client is exploring, and can help release and reveal the issues related to body contractions. VH can be used at any point before, during, or after an LI session.
LI and VH. LI can help us examine and find more clarity around issues revealed and softened through VH. It can help us see how the mind creates a sense of reality in anxiety, depression, and compulsions, and also help us find ourselves as the presence it all happens within and as.
HOW HEALING AND AWAKENING WORK TOGETHER
Healing and awakening. Beliefs, identification, and wounding are all words for the same. All creates the appearance of us being a separate self. All of it creates a contraction within mind and body which makes it difficult for what we are to recognize itself. It makes it difficult for the presence that we are to rest in itself as presence and as presence as the content of experience. When there is identification, beliefs, and wounds, we will inevitably identify as these whenever they are triggered. So healing is an essential part of a more stable awakening. Presence recognizing itself in a more stable and consistent way as that which all happens within and as, and then emptiness recognizing itself as that which all of that happens within and as.
It’s quite common for an opening or awakening to be followed by a “loss” of this awakening. That comes from mind identifying with stories again. And most (or all?) of the time, it’s because a wound is triggered leading to identification with painful stories. As these heal, which is a somewhat endless process (!), it’s easier for the awakening to be more stable and to deepen.
Awakening and healing. An opening or awakening can be very helpful for healing. It gives the mind a new context for any experiences, and this can make it easier to explore beliefs and identifications, and heal from wounds. At the very least, it gives a reference which can serve as a guide in this healing and exploration.
Awakening also can and will “take the lid off” of our trauma and wounds. At some point, these come to the surface to be seen, felt, loved, and rested with in presence. They come up to be recognized as presence itself, as love itself, as the divine. They come up so the divine (presence, love) can recognize itself as that too, as wounds and identification. And that’s where the deeper healing happens.
Mutual support. Healing as who we are, this human being, supports a more stable and deepening awakening. And awakening as what we are, that which all happens within and as, supports the healing of who we are. They go hand in hand.
I am exploring combining Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) with Natural Rest, triggering, and inquiry.
One is to combine natural rest with the sessions. Notice and allow. Notice sensations. Images. Words. Sounds. Allow it all. See how it is to allow it. Notice it’s already allowed. (By awareness, mind, life.) Notice how it is to shift from thinking to noticing. Notice even the thoughts that seems the most intimate, the most like “you”. See how it is to allow them too.
Another is to trigger stressful images (memories, situations) within natural rest, and while trembling. This may help release tension around this issue. It can be something stressful. A regret. Trauma. A compulsion. A time you wanted to …. (smoke, drink, use drugs). Or anything else. Bring the image to mind. Notice. Allow. Rest with it.
Yet another is to take time to look at images and words, and feel sensations. (a) Look at the image. Notice the texture. Colors. Shapes. Lines. Notice it as an image. See it up in front of you. (b1) Look at the word. Look at the letters. The spaces in between and around the letters. (b2) Listen to the words. Listen to the sounds. Say them in silence or out loud. Listen to it as sounds. (c) Feel the sensations. See how it is to be curious about it. Give it full permission to be there. Take time to feel it. Notice the space around the sensations. Notice the space within the sensations.
Following the TRE session, we can take what surfaced (if anything) to inquiry. It’s also possible to do it during the TRE session, by occasionally and briefly ask simple questions about what’s here. Is that image me, the one who is worthless? Is that image of my mother my actual mother? Are those words angry? Are they me, the one who is angry? Does that sensation mean that something terrible is going to happen? (Or is happening, or did happen.) This requires some familiarity with one or more forms of inquiry, and also self-facilitation.
I have for a while brought some principles from Breema into TRE. Find a way to do it that’s comfortable. So you could do it forever. (Body Comfortable) Notice the support from the floor. (Mutual support.) Relax. Allow the body to do it on it’s own. (No extra.)
It’s also possible to do it the other way. While resting with what’s here, I can invite in trembling. Or I can even invite in trembling during inquiry. It’s all an exploration to see what happens, and what seems to work for me in the situation I am in.
Touch can be very comforting. We all (almost all?) know that from personal experience.
Touch – with presence and kindness – can not only support healing of emotions and the mind, but also physical healing.
This touch can be from an animal, another human, or even from ourselves in a pinch.
I was reminded the comfort of touch today during my first experience with oral surgery. It was a bit stressful, and I noticed my breath got deeper during the most intense phases. The nurse probably noticed the same, and put her hand on my shoulder during those times. It was very comforting, and my body and breath relaxed. It almost seemed that the body responded on its own, without going much through the conscious mind.
I have experienced and seen the same during TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises) sessions. Here too, the body seems to relax when touched by someone else. Often, it’s just a hold on the shoulder or the feet. And the touch-relaxation connection seems to largely go outside of the conscious mind.
It’s similar with Breema. Here, the touch is deeply nurturing, and allows me – whether I am a practitioner or recipient – to find a deep sense of full, healing wholeness. A wholeness of myself and existence. This touch is guided by Breema’s Nine Principles, which – I assume – is an important reason why it’s so powerful.
Touch conveys our mental and physical state, and the recipient picks this up. That’s another thing I have noticed through Breema. Sometimes, almost any touch can feel welcome. And almost always, I definitely prefer touch that comes from a sense of presence, kindness, and a grounded, relaxed wholeness.
Some of the things I have found helpful for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS):
Walks, ideally in nature, and at least once a day.
Nurturing food. Slow cooked stews. (Current one: Beef, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, peas, barley, beef stock.) Oatmeal for breakfast. (Steel cut with coconut flakes, raisins, sunflower seeds, soaked overnight, cooked with apple or banana.) Beef broth. Local fruits, berries, seeds and nuts, nori flakes. I also take ginger and cloves capsules with each meal to aid digestion, and eat just enough so I don’t feel uncomfortably full.
Staying well hydrated. I tend to drink enough so my urine is pale to clear. I mostly drink herbals and spice teas (ginger, licorice, nettle, many from the Yogi tea company), and also at times – especially at winter – beef broth.
Reducing or eliminating certain foods. For me: sugar, dairy, wheat, processed foods. (Based on the effects I notice for myself.)
Nurturing body centered activities. For me, Breema, TRE, massage. (Also yoga, tai chi, chi gong etc.)
Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). These invite the natural neurogenic tremors initiated and guided by the body, allowing for a gentle, gradual and eventually deep release of tension and trauma from our body-mind system. This thaws frozen areas of the body and mind, gently releases chronically held energy, and enlivens the body and mind. From what I hear, and what I experienced myself, it seems very helpful for chronic fatigue.
Taking care of myself. Saying an honest yes or no. Being more honest and transparent with myself and others.
True Meditation. Noticing what’s here is already allowed. Adyashanti’s guided meditations have been very helpful for me.
Inviting in a more stable attention. The easiest for me is to bring attention, gently, to the sensations at the nostrils as the natural (unmanipulated) breath goes in and out.
Identifying and inquiring into stressful thoughts about the fatigue and anything else in my life, using The Work.
Identifying and welcoming deficient selves, noticing they are not what I fundamentally am.
Welcoming what’s here – fears, discomfort, fatigue etc.
You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love.
Herbs, vitamins and minerals. For me, vitamin D, magnesium, siberian ginseng (deep energy), echinacea (immune function), huperzine-a, rhodiola (mental clarity, quick energy), probiotics, and more recently Hanna Kroeger’s B.E. Kit (for chronic fatigue) and Tibetan Chulen (deep, full, soft energy). Adaptogens such as siberian ginseng and rhodiola help build energy and improves immune function.
Supporting deep, restful sleep. For me, with small doses of melatonin. Also, rest and take naps during the day, the more the better.
Nurture nurturing relationships – with my mind, body, others, life. Finding and connecting with understanding, loving and supportive friends.
Nurture nurturing and enlivening activities. For me, photography, being in nature, Breema, TRE, inquiry, reading, learning, being of service to myself and others.
Nurture a nurturing environment. In my case, beautiful, simple, peaceful, near/in nature, wood fire.
Engaging in activities that are fun, rewarding, meaningful, that spark passion and joy.
Situations and experiences always change, so my best option is to shift how I relate to it all.
The Work helps me shift how I relate to thoughts – about myself, the world, any experience.
TRE helps release tension, which helps me shift so I relate to any experience from a lower baseline of stress and tension.
Ho’oponopono shifts how I relate to situations that bother me. I take responsibility for having created them (whatever I see reflects my stories and what’s here), ask for forgiveness, and remind myself of my love.
Asking for help from God (Christ, angels) opens up for a larger wisdom and kindness (Big Mind/Heart/Belly) than what’s here as who I take myself to be (a particular human being).
Breema reminds me of my wholeness as who and what I am, which in turn shifts how I relate to what’s here.
Noticing what’s here helps me coming into more conscious alignment with reality. What’s here is already accepted. What “I” am is that which any experience already happens within and as – including any images of an I, me, a world, and someone relating to something else.
With just about any inquiry or practice, what’s visible in the world is usually the tip of the iceberg.
In The Work, the words are visible to the world. And yet, the words are just an invitation for inquiry and a reflection of what surfaces. The Work is meditation, it reorients us at emotional and energetic levels, in how we perceive and are in the world. Inquiry is not about the words, and yet the words are an essential tool in inviting in this reorganization and realignment with reality.
It’s the same with Breema. It may appear to be about the movements and body work, but it’s really about how we are independent of what we do. It’s about what happens when I bring attention to the body, when I am guided by the nine principles.
When I go to a medical doctor, it’s appropriate and helpful with a diagnosis. It tells the MD and me what the next course of action is.
And yet, when it comes to the mind – or the mind/body as a whole – the most helpful approaches I have found (so far) all come diagnosis-free.
Process Work, Breema, The Work, TRE, walks in nature and so on, they all come without diagnosis at all.
I am quite exhausted physically today, mostly from lack of sleep over several days.
So if I resist the experience of exhaustion, there is discomfort right there. I go into a victim mode. I want things to be different from how they are. The exhaustion becomes an Other, a problem, something that prevents me from doing what I want to do.
But if I allow the experience of it, for instance by using some of the Breema principles (body comfortable, no extra), there is a shift. Now, there is an intimacy with the body and the symptoms, and instead of it being a problem, hindering me in doing what I had planned, it becomes a support. The exhaustion is revealed as a deep relaxation, a deep quietness, a nurturing fullness, which in a very practical and immediate way supports me in whatever is happening here now.
I wrote another post on this a while ago, but wanted to revisit it (as with some many topics here) to see what comes up now.
The three centers – heart, belly and head – each filter Spirit, Existence, life in different ways…
The head center is the seeing of all as Spirit. When the view is split, it reflects and creates a dualistic experience centered around a sense of I and other. When the view is of all as Spirit, it reflects a more nondual realization.
The heart center is the loving of all as Spirit. When the heart is split, it too reflects and creates a dualistic experience of I and Other, us and them, the situations and beings our heart opens to and those it closes to. When the heart recognizes all as Spirit, the circle of care, compassion and concern effortlessly leaves nothing and no-one outside.
The belly center is the felt-sense of all as Spirit. When the felt-sense is split, there is a sense of comfort and relaxation in some situations, and discomfort and (emotional) reactivity in other situations. In general, there is a lack of basic trust in existence and life, a lack of feeling deeply nourished and held by life. When there is a felt-sense of all as Spirit, of all as God’s will and God itself, then there is that deep feeling of being held and nourished by life, independent of circumstances.
An awakening (even an early one) of the head center reorganizes the view, from rigid and dualistic to more receptive, inclusive and reflecting a more nondual realization. An awakening of the heart center reorganizes the heart from being often closed to being more receptive and open in any situation. And an awakening of the belly center reorganizes the emotions from reactivity and unease to being deeply nurturing and a deeply felt sense of trust in life, independent of how it shows up.
There is also a mutuality among the centers. The movement of one in the direction of a deepening split, or of reflecting all as Spirit, tends to be reflected in a similar shift in the others. For instance, when there is reactivity in the belly center, the view tends to become more rigid and deepen the sense of I and Other, and the heart closes down. When there is a deeply felt sense of nurturing in the belly center, the view tends to be more receptive and inclusive, and the heart more open.
In terms of practices for each center, inquiry works well for the head center, revealing what is already more true for us. Heart center practices include gratitude practices, rejoicing in others fortune, well-wishing, tong-len, heart centered prayers, and so on. And the belly center practices include any body-inclusive practices, and maybe especially Breema which seems to very clearly open for a deeply nurturing felt-sense of trust in life, and all as Spirit.
And each of these centers also have Buddhas associated with them, as an image reflecting their qualities when all is seen/felt/loved as Spirit.
(For some reason, the belly Buddha is often left out in Buddhist teachings, as the belly center is often – although certainly not always – left out in spiritual teachings in general.)
Hotei is a particularly good image for the belly center.
He has a big belly, drawing attention to that center, and also reflecting the sense of rich, full, nurturing abundance experienced in the belly center when it is more open, when there is a felt-sense of deep trust in life. (He sometimes has a big sack that never empties, reflecting the same sense of abundance.)
And he laughs… when there is a deep felt-sense trust in life, independent of how it shows up, and there is a deep sense of a nurturing fullness and richness coming from the reorganized emotional level and the belly center, it is naturally expressed in an heart-felt laughter.
Hotei is often seen as a more folksy and naive representation of Buddha and is left out of the more formal teachings in the different Buddhist traditions. But, at least in the context of the three centers, the image of Hotei is as profound and significant as those of Manjushri and Avalokitesvara.
Since the shift into endarkenment a few months ago, there has been a great deal of activity in the belly region, especially along the spine and in the kidney area. Since my teens, I have been aware of an energetic hole there which corresponded to a twist on the spine (L3-4). The twist (scoliosis) has gradually improved since then, and the energetic hole has filled up a great deal, partly through Breema and even more so through the endarkenment.
I have also noticed how the hara seems to be connected with a felt-sense of a basic trust in life and of being held by life and existence. The energetic hole seemed associated with a lack of this felt-sense, and as it is filling up, this sense of a basic trust in life and Existence is becoming more embodied, there is a felt-sense of it, the body knowing it in its cells.
The initial awakening was filtered through the head and heart centers. There was a clear seeing of all as God, as consciousness, beyond and embracing all polarities, and a loving of it all as well. But the felt-sense of it was not there, it was not (yet) filtered through the belly center. This made for a lot of stress happening on a physical level.
More in general, I see how this felt-sense of basic trust, of being held by life and Existence, allows for more fluidity of views, more receptivity of heart and mind, and more transparency of the sense of I and Other. Where a lack of this trust makes for rigidity of views, a closed heart and mind, and a deepening sense of I and Other, the trust allows for an reversal.
In periods, and especially so over the last year or so, my experience of myself shift… Partly, it because space & awareness goes into the foreground, partly because the soul (alive presence) goes into the foreground, and partly because this human self is shifting and reorganizing.
Sometimes, there is also a discrepancy of the experience of myself and how this human self presents itself in the world. I see old patterns acted upon (often in quite innocent ways) and then surprise comes up. Wow – I haven’t seen that one for a while, and it is certainly not how I experience myself…!
These are typically patterns formed early on in life, coming from more contraction than what seems necessary now. Coming up, there is an opportunity to see them, and holding them in awareness while feeling into it (the witness/feeling into combination that gives an engaged teflon mind.)
When I taught a Breema class last night, this came up quite strongly: seeing the personality behaving in ways other parts of it is not so happy with, with less fluidity, warmth and engaged presence than it would like (I have been physically off for a few days, and it invites some of the older patterns of awkwardness to come up.) It is quite clear that there is no doer in this. It just happens. Materializes out of thin air. Sometimes to the embarrassment of the personality itself. And that too just happens.
Since it was a Breema class, the Spirit (awake emptiness and form) and soul (alive full presence) were in the foreground, which allowed more space around it. The personality happens as ripples of the surface of the vastness of Spirit and soul. And this makes for more of an amusing show than anything else.
What my personality takes as a tragedy, the presence of Spirit and soul reveals as comedy. When the personality is in the foreground, and the Spirit/soul levels are distant, it takes itself very seriously. When Spirit and/or soul is in the foreground, the habitual patterns of the personality not only softens but is also taken, in a friendly way, as comedy.
This seems to happen whether Spirit or soul, or both, are in the foreground. But it happens in slightly different ways.
Spirit allows for a cool detachment. It is impersonal. The personality arises as no other than the awake emptiness itself, so cannot be taken as very solid, substantial or absolutely real.
Soul is an alive presence, and – depending on which aspects of it surfaces – gives a sense of fullness, warmth, nurturing, being held, soft bliss, intimacy. And this warmth and fullness offsets any hardness and habitual patterns of the personality. The patterns of the personality softens, including the way it judges itself. The edges are rounded. It soften, relaxes, releases. And this not only makes it more comfortable right here now, but also allows these patterns to reorganize over time.
I had tea with a friend from the diksha group today, and it (not surprisingly) turns out that we have been going through a very similar process lately. And one of the topics that came up was the importance (in each of our process) to include the soul level, the alive presence, in addition to the Big Mind and human levels. This alive nurturing luminous presence, which shows up in so many different ways when filtered through the three centers, unfolds over time, and infuses this human self.
And the importance for both of us in including the indwelling God in addition to Big Mind/Heart. The alive presence, in the heart area, as a fragment of God for this individual, infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive and responsive. Just waiting for us to ask for guidance, for knots to unravel, for maturing into a deeper and more full and soul-infused human life, and for awakening (and anything else for that matter.)
For both of us, these are living realities, filling out the picture of just our human self (the whole of us as human beings) and Big Mind, rounding it out, allowing more soulfulness – even in the conventional sense of the word.
We also found that we both, as part of the process, have been sleeping a lot, probably to process everything happening, and also have been watching a good deal of movies. For me, the movie watching allows things in me to surface, evoked and mirrored by the movies, and then be composted in the fertile darkness, the nurturing darkness of essence filtered through the belly center.
And also the deepening sense of intimacy between this individual and the wider world, both as a field (Big Mind), but also in terms of its specific content, through a steady unbroken stream of synchronicities throughout daily life.
And much more as well.
I attended a self-Breema class this morning, then had this conversation later in the afternoon, and the wholeness and depth of being was very tangible. Then, I went to a talk at the Jungian society on alchemical symbols (which was excellent and very interesting), got into my head (which is a form of resistance to what is), and afterwards felt more fragmented, and lacking the same width and depth. Interesting how something intended to invite us more into wholeness can actually do the opposite, if it is mainly presented from the head and processed by the receiver by the head. I’ll do a whole day experiential workshop tomorrow, on the same topic, and intend to use my Breema principles more actively – to bring my body and more of my whole being to it.
A question about the relationship between the three centers and the chakras came up for me after the phone session. I don’t know much about it yet, so all of this is from a very limited experience, and not aligned with anything I have heard or read so far.
The three centers and the chakras do not at all seem the same, but they are also obviously connected.
It seems that the three centers allows the chakras to transform and reorganize, along with the human self in general. The belly center allows the three first chakras to reorganize within all as Spirit, within and allowing a deepening of a felt sense of all as Spirit. The heart center allows the heart chakra to reorganize to loving all as Spirit. The head center allows the 6th and 7th centers to reorganize. And my sense right now (which will probably change) is that all of the three centers together allows the throat center to reorganize.
The chakras setting the stage for soul center awakenings
It also seems that working with the appropriate chakras can set the stage for an awakening of the soul centers, inviting an awakening of the centers to take place. And, as mentioned above, that this awakening in turn allows the chakras to reorganize within this new context.
The relationship(s) between the hara and the belly center
For instance, Breema or other hara-oriented practices can reorganize the hara chakras (2nd, or 3rd, or as I experience it the three first) allowing a drop into endarkenment, which in turn continues the reorganization of the hara chakras within the new context of endarkenment, of a felt sense of all as Spirit, which in turn deepens and more fully embodies this felt sense of all as Spirit.
There must be many individuals out there who have explored this in far more depth, for instance in the different yogic traditions (maybe especially Taoist yoga) and it seems that Almaas too probably have some insights here (although I haven’t gotten that far in reading his books yet.)
What I experience as composting seems to have two inseparable aspects.
Aspects of composting
There is the feeling into whatever arises (usually some form of resistance, or the fruits of resistance) as is.
And there is the feeling into it as Spirit, as fullness and emptiness, as alive luminous awake emptiness and form, as fullness and awake space, or however it appears.
When both are present, it seems to allow whatever is felt into to unfold and transform. There is a healing component here, allowing reactive emotions to transform into a sense of quiet nurturing fullness.
Breema, composting and endarkenment
This is actually quite similar to what they talk about in Breema. Bring the attention to the body, and feelings will join, which I experience also there as a sense of quiet stable nurturing supportive fullness, centered in the belly region.
My sense is that Breema is quite a bit about the endarkenment, although they don’t talk about it that way. There is an emphasis on the hara region, the belly, and there is certainly a transforming of emotions into giving this sense of warm full quiet stable nurturing supporting fullness.
It seems that for me, Breema set the stage for the endarkenment shift, along with shadow work and other things I have done for a while, and the endarkenment diksha allowed me to fall into it, opening up for a whole new dimension of being.
Two phases of endarkenment
Again, there seems to be two phases or aspects of the endarkenment.
There is the energetic and attention components, which are centered in the Hara, the belly region. Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Zen, Breema and many other practices activates the Hara and gives a sense of energy activity there, of warmth and nurturing fullness. It seems that this is an early taste of some aspects of endarkenment. This energetic work, and the dipping into it, is a form of pre-endarkenment.
But the shift into endarkenment is quite different. It is a shift into a whole new dimension of being. It seems stable, deep, full, a whole new way of being and experiencing existence. It is a dropping into a full rich quiet darkness. And it unfolds and deepens from here on, which includes allowing the emotions to reorganize in even deeper ways.
The pre-endarkenment is like dipping the toes in the water. The shift into endarkenment is jumping into it. And the process of unfolding is to swim, dive down into and explore in many ways this whole new realm of being.
There are probably as many, or more, ways to deepen into the soul level as to Big Mind.
For me, the heart prayer, Christ meditation and Breema are the ways I work with the soul level.
The heart prayer and Christ meditation is a second person practice, awakening Spirit – in its Christ aspect – as Thou, and also awakening soul as first person, as I or me.
Breema is a first person practice, awakening soul as I, me or mine.
With the Christ centered practices, there is a sense of deep fullness and richness, of unspeakable beauty, bliss, pain, longing, joy, and sometimes of losing any sense of separate self in an immensity and infinity of bliss and radiance.
In Breema, there is a similar sense of fullness, depth and richness, yet with an absence of the longing, pain, and intensity of the prayer. There is just a sense of calm fullness, of being home, of no separation, a quiet bliss and joy, and of being participation – of all of me participating.
So the fullness and quiet bliss of soul is there in both cases, yet with the Christ practices more intense and transcendent (although also very much in and through the body), and with Breema more quiet and body centered.
Since my first days with Breema, there has been a deepening and always new experience of the hara. The hara is described as the center of vitality in Breema and in many eastern energy approaches. I have experienced it as very clearly outlined, filling the whole cavity between the lower part of the rib cage and the pelvic bowl, nurturing the whole system.
During the Breema intensive this weekend, I had a new experience of the hara. This time, just about every time I received a sequence, I experienced in a very literal way the hara filling up, as a reservoir. It was as if something cool, clear, fresh, liquid and nurturing trickled from wherever my body was touched and to the hara, being stored and nurturing the whole bodymind. Staying as full and complete as ever, even as it flows through and nurtures the body.
A sense of no separation, of everything being included. Whatever happens is included in the session, including sounds, people walking through the room, and so on.
A sense of coming home, and of my whole being participating.
A sense of everything being always fresh and new.
A sense of fluidity and fullness.
A sense of fullness and bliss.
A sense of my hara filling with warmth, heat, nurturing the whole bodymind, and flowing throughout the body.
A sense of getting out of my own way, allowing an inherent wisdom to surface and shine through.
I went to the first evening of a nada yoga class last night. Apart from the obvious benefit of opening the voice, and also connecting with the chakras, releasing into spaciousness, and so on, it was interesting to notice parallels with other practices.
In koan practice, any tendency to being self-conscious and censoring oneself comes up and is seen, yet the direction of presenting the koan is in doing it wholeheartedly, and that was certainly the case here as well. In Breema, we use the principles of body comfortable, no extra, no force, and full participation, and all of those seem aligned with the nada yoga approach to using the voice: allowing the voice to rise fully and naturally, free from the force of holding back and pushing.
Earlier in the evening, I went to a kundalini yoga class where we practiced shunya listening, listening from emptiness, which – in a way – is a shortcut to what we arrive at through The Work. By allowing beliefs to unravel through inquiry, the natural spaciousness and clarity is revealed, free from attachment to any one particular idea and perspective and free to play with any idea and perspective.
Another rambling post…
In reading The Void by A. H. Almaas, my curiosity about the relationship of soul and spirit comes up again.
Soul, as that part of us that continues between human incarnations, the F7 and F8 levels in Wilber’s framework. Bringing this level into awareness gives a sense of richness, fullness, meaning, direction, joy, bliss and so on – all causeless, or more precisely not dependent on conditions apart from bringing the soul level into awareness.
It is individual, seems to evolve, yet also has the same essence across individuals. It has many names, such as essence and being.
Awakening to or glimpsing the soul level opens for nature and/or deity mysticism experiences. It allows for experiences of intimacy with all there is, of everything as God, of oneness and unity, of no separation. Yet, there is still an I and Other here, even within the unity. There is an I placed on the soul level.
And Spirit, as the Ground of it all, Big Mind, the nondual level in Wilber’s framework. This is the completely detached view, completely impersonal, allowing it all to be as it is. It is a shift in context, from a sense of I to a clear absence of I anywhere.
Soul, then Spirit, and the other way around
As Almaas mentions, some traditions – such as Buddhism, focus on nondual awakening and then bringing in the soul level. And other traditions – such as Sufis, focus on bringing in the soul level, and then nondual awakening.
Either is of course fine. And as this differentiation appears to us, it is just about inevitable that different traditions will approach the two in a different sequence and with different emphasis.
This is clear in for instance Breema, which clearly emphasize the level of soul, essence, Being, and briefly and indirectly acknowledge the nondual. It certainly makes it more accessible for more people, and the benefits are immediate and clear.
Soul awakening vs. nondual awakening
Yet, any awakening to soul level is bound to be temporary, unless eventually grounded in clear nondual awakening.
A soul awakening not (yet) grounded in a nondual awakening seems similar to the god realm as described in Buddhism – wonderful, possibly long lasting, yet eventually leading to a fall. Some of us learn that the hard way…!
If our sense of identification, our belief in the thought “I”, is placed on the soul, it seems wonderful for a while. Until there is a fall. Until that too goes away. And then it can lead to a suffering that easily matches any other form of suffering. We have lost that which was most beautiful to us, most meaningful, most blissful.
Only a clear nondual awakening is “stable” because it does not rely on any conditions within the world of phenomena. And the soul level seems very much within the world of phenomena, just as everything else. Bliss comes and goes. Causeless joy comes and goes. A sense of connection, fullness, meaning, direction and guidance comes and goes.
A Ground or nondual awakening allows any content to come and go. Bliss and boredom. Joy and sadness. Meaning and absence of meaning. Fullness and void. Guidance and no guidance. Everything is clearly revealed as absent of any I. There is an absence of any final or absolute identity.
Soul and Spirit
So bringing the soul level into awareness is more accessible and easily enjoyable than working on the nondual awakening. Yet, it is also incomplete, temporary, inviting to a fall – if a nondual awakening is not also present.
Working on a nondual awakening is certainly more difficult, maybe less appealing, yet also the only lasting awakening. And the soul awakening and development can – and will? – certainly continue within a nondual awakening.
Hearing other’s reports of how they experience themselves help me see what is going on for me. They reflect what has been for me, what is alive now, or what may be.
For me over the last several months, there has been a phase of a sense of neutrality and space. Mostly, there is just space – within which everything happens. There is little or no boundary between this human self and the rest of what is happening, it is just one field of space and phenomena – none of which appears solidly as I, or Other for that matter.
For this physical body where there are just a few disjointed sensations appearing here and there in space, some emotions now and then, and some thoughts now and then. There is a vague sense of center around the head and upper chest area, but it goes away when I look at it – it is just revealed as phenomena arising in space just like everything else. If I don’t look, there may be an equally vague sense of “I” here at this “center”, and if I look, both vanish – literally – in space.
Whenever I do Breema, either giving or receiving, there is a similar sense of space and a few sensations. The whole from which I can find a body and psyche is very clear, as a whole – as space within which sensations, feelings, emotions and thoughts arise (although it seems that only the sensations seems localized in space, the feelings, emotions and especially thoughts just seem to happen – nowhere in particular in space, not really connected with this human body or not).
The word fragmentation came up in a conversation this morning, and I realize that I cannot find that so easily in my own experience now. There is just space and then everything happening within and as this space. I can see that I can heal, mature, develop and so on as a human being, but it is also beyond fragmentation or no fragmentation.
Over these months and within this space, there has been a sense of dryness and flatness, of neutrality, a sense of fatigue, and punctuated by periods of watching stressful thoughts and images arising, and other periods of seeing some of the old exitement coming up.
One of the common features of most (?) spiritual traditions is guidelines for how to be with experiences. Here are some I am aware of…
Allow experiences to come and go as guests. This shifts the center of gravity to the witness, and allows for deepening detachment and insight into the general processes and patterns of the content of mind.
See, accept and move on.
This allows for shifting the center of gravity to the witness, and release clutching of content.
Can I be with it?
A particularly elegant approach is that of Raphael Cushnir. Whenever there are strong experiences coming up, or any other time, ask yourself – can I be with what I am experiencing right now?
This also shifts the center of gravity to the witness (or at least expands it to include the witness), and it allows the processes of the content to unfold and unwind on their own.
This is from Waking Down and I don’t remember the steps here… But it is something along the lines of see it, feel it, become it, and live it (and something more I am sure).
Release to the divine
In our deeksha group, we use a process which is very similar to what came up spontaneously for me during the initial awakening. Fully feel it, and fully release it to the divine.
The difference between this approach and many others is the intention. In Zen, they rarely speak about intention. But here, intention is included to offer it to the divine, and allow the divine to take care of and resolve it.
My experience is that this is a remarkably effective process, and one that deepens with time.
Unfolding the process
Yet another approach is that of Process Work. Here, the immense wisdom in every process is acknowledged, and the profound gifts behind any experience – including or maybe especially the difficult ones, are recognized. Through following the bread crumbs, the process behind the symptom (which could be anything within the field of experience, including disturbing and difficult ones) is unraveled, leading to often surprising insights and gifts.
I am not familiar enough with all of these to say much of the various dimensions, or to compare the various approaches in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Each of them seem to have its place, its own valuable contributions.
Some dimensions which come to mind…
- Shifting center of gravity to the witness, or expanding it to include the witness.
There is a subtle difference here, yet maybe important. The first encourages a slightly stronger sense of separation than the second.
- Emphasizing the release from content, insight into the processes, and/or digging into the content.
All of these emphasize a certain release from content – either in the present (most of them) or after a certain process (Waking Down, Process Work). Some emphasize insight into the processes and others don’t. Among those focusing on insight, some emphasize a more general insights into the patterns of the content (Zen), and others emphasize insight into the particular process arising in the present (Process Work).
- No intention apart from the seeing of it, or intention of offering it (back) to the divine and have it more actively resolved.
Zen is a good example of a tradition where the active use of intention is not much emphasized. The other end of the spectrum is the way we do it in our deeksha group, actively offering the processes to the divine – with the intention of allowing the divine to work on it, allowing it to unravel and find a resolution. Most are somewhere in between these two.
I notice how Breema bodywork and Self-Breema excercises creates (or opens up for) a full, rich and wonderful experience of the body. This makes it much easier to come to the body – through the breath, the weight of the body, the posture, the facial expression, the tone of voice. There is so much there – so much richness and pleasure – so it makes it more attractive to come to the body than being caught up in the habitual patterns of the personality. It is a great support in being present – in coming to that part of us that is always timeless and present.
I am realizing that an important emphasis of Breema is the process of liberation.
One aspect of Breema is mindfulness practice. By coming to the body – the breath, the weight of the body, the posture of the body, the facial expression, the sound of the voice – we shift our center of gravity to the nature of mind – the spacious awareness distinct from the self and the personality.
From being caught up in the habitual processes of the self – the habitual patterns of emotions, thoughts and behaviors – we find a new “ground” in the nature of mind, distinct from the self. From here, we are free to choose how to relate to and engage with inner and outer situations. We are liberated from being blindly caught up in the habitual processes of the self.
When awareness is identified with – or caught up in – the processes of the self, it functions in a dualistic way. It is trapped in the world of phenomena. When awareness awakens to its own nature, it begins to function in a transdual way. It is beyond and embraces the Absolute and Relative.
(The Nine Principles helps with this shift, as they express Existence as it is viewed from the Big Mind perspective.)
When we repeatedly engage in this shift, in everyday situations, we gradually become more familiar with the nature of mind as well as with the shift to the nature of mind. And from this, there is a gradual shift into and awakening of the Big Mind view.
Breema – at least this aspect of it – is about the liberation process. And from here, to an awakening into Big Mind.
I am spacious clear awareness, and when a situation that typically triggered contractions come along, I can see the habitual patterns thoughts/confusion appearing in the distance – but there is no need or wish to engage in them. It is much easier to stay in the clarity. They drop like leaves off a tree. They appear in the distance and go >poof
Do it for yourself
This is one of the pointers in Breema bodywork, and one that I have found very useful. What I discover is that I am already doing it for myself. I am always doing it for myself – in anything I do, although I can create a story for myself that makes it appear different. Whenever it appears that I am doing something due to external circumstances, I can ask myself How – in what way – am I doing it for myself?
It is already here – I am already always doing it (only) for myself. The process is in uncovering it.
I am always present – how can it be otherwise? I exist here now. These sensations, emotions, thoughts, this awareness, is always here now. And when I come to the nature of mind, to the spacious awareness, I experience it as well.
A little shift is all that is needed. A shift from being exclusively identified with the small self – caught up and lost in thoughts and images of past/future – to this always present spacious awareness.
Love, Compassion, Equanimity
When we awaken to the nature of mind – the spacious awareness – it is expressed in the form of love, compassion and equanimity. We experience that we are these qualities – it is our nature. And this love, compassion and equanimity is only conditioned on the nature of mind, not any inner/outer circumstances.
It is already here, and again – the process is in uncovering it.
At the Breema intensive, one of the participants asked what she could do about her habitual eating of foods not good for her body. The suggestion was to talk with the body, tell it how much she appreciates it and also apologize for what she does that makes it difficult for the body.
I have tried this over the last few days, and notice a clear shift. There is more a sense of a conscious partnership with the body, and of a friendship with the body.
It is not only a physical object, an appendix that allows me to move around and live in the world, but it becomes a partner, a friend. It becomes someone I have a more conscious relationship with. Someone I want to treat as well as any other living being.
After the Breema intensive last week, I notice the centaur level – in Ken Wilber’s terminology – very clearly. The whole which includes (and goes somewhat beyond) body/psyche. The whole of the person, the small self.
And in this, that which is beyond the small self is awakened. The spacious awareness which is distinct from the small self. There is a body, sensations, emotions, thoughts – all arising within this larger field.
When I recognize myself as this larger field – from spacious awareness down to body/mind whole and body, sensations, emotions, thoughts – I am here/now. It is always present, even when temporarily engaging in thoughts.
The centaur level almost seems to have a substance, or what they in Breema calls the “Breema atmosphere”. It has a fullness and richness in it, even while appearing within the empty, luminous and aware space. And this fullness and richness makes it easy to rest within it, and not get lost/caught up in sensations/emotions/thoughts.
When I lived at the Zen center and did yoga and sitting practice every day, this atmosphere was there very strongly. Now, through Breema – it reappears.
One way of becoming familiar with the nature of mind, is to bring the attention to something that is indesputably here now… It could be the breath, the weight of the body, the posture, facial expression, tone of voice, sensations, sounds, smells, taste.
This shifts the center of gravity from the content of the experiences (thoughts, emotions, sensations) to the process of experiencing – and that which is experiencing. And this is the empty, spacious awareness – the “me” beyond the self and personality.
It emphasizes a distinction between the subject and the object, which may be neccesary to awaken to the nature of mind (from here it can unfold into a sense of no separation between subject/object – both are just two aspects of Existence manifesting).
This technique is used in many approaches, including sitting meditation and meditation in movement (Breema, yoga, tai chi, chi gong, etc).
Over the last few days, I have noticed a specific change. It may be triggered by Byron Katie’s inquiry process, the weeklong Breema Intensive in Oakland I just returned from, and/or the Deeksha I went to in Emeryville on Sunday.
A situation (usually someone’s behavior) will trigger a habitual pattern in me (a contraction) – and I engage in it for a little while. Then – after some seconds – there is a shift and I cannot engage in it any longer. I see through it too clearly, and the contraction opens into laughter.
Trigger > contraction > – poof – > release
The landscape of the nature of mind (spacious awareness) and the landscape of confusion (believing in thoughts) are too clearly presented to me, and the choice between them is easy.
When there is the shift into the nature of mind, there is also spontaneous joy, appreciation and no separation. And specifically, there is deep appreciation for and sense of connection and intimacy with the person who triggered the initial pattern.
Living here on the West Coast, it definitely seems that we are at the cusp of an evolutionary shift – more and more people seem to have different forms of life-transforming awakenings. They may not be full blown and stable awakenings into/as Big Mind, but a taste and an opening in that direction.
And there are so many techniques that really works…
Waking Down In Mutuality
Most people have their “second birth” within a year, from what I am told. For me, the shift happened only a couple of months after engaging in it more fully. There is an awakening to the Absolute, the nature of mind, and a rich, sensual, intimate sense of no separation with all phenomena. It seems permanent, and it is definitely unfolding. It is not anywhere near a full Enlightenment, but it is a taste – it is a little opening into it.
Byron Katie’s Inquiry Process
A simple process of inquiring into our beliefs, which makes it impossible to believe in them anymore. We are freed from thoughts and ideas and the confusion believing in them brings about, and can live from the nature of mind – from effortless spacious clarity, wisdom and compassion.
Big Mind Process
An exploration process of the different ways the mind can manifest, on personal and transpersonal levels. It leads us into the transpersonal – Big Mind – view, and helps us see that it is always available. A little shift is enough. The Big Mind process can be used in many different ways, from healing on a personal level to connecting with and exploring Existence from the view of the Buddha Mind.
A practice that takes the form of bodywork. It allows us to connect with Big Mind, in a very rich and full way.
And among the many other techniques and approaches, here is one that I just heard about….
This seems quite similar to Waking Down in Mutuality, especially in terms of the shift – and the speed and way it occurs.
This is definitely a cultural shift and transformation, and may even be an evolutionary shift for our species. Who knows. I am about to read Translucent Revolution which is about just this topic.
What this means is that the leading edge may consist of more people – at least in terms of the states they are dipped into if not the level they are consistently (yet) at – although the majority of humanity will still operate from red (egocentric), blue (absolutism) and orange (modernism) levels in Spiral Dynamics terms.
When we are exlusively identified with small self, there is a sense of a strong separation between inside and outside, this self and the surroundings. Sensations and perceptions can be experienced as a disturbance. Here I am, trying to be peacful and content, and there you are disurbing me…!
When we awaken to Big Mind, all phenomena are experienced as Big Mind. All phenomena are movements within Big Mind – Existence manifesting in always rich and fresh ways. Everything is revealed as a support.
In my own life
When I give (or receive) a Breema session, I notice how everything in the surroundings participate and become a support. I experience the sensations – the sounds of the traffic, someone opening a door, walking through the house, talking; the smells from the outside, the smells of the house, the other person; the sensation of a breeze over the skin – as part of the session. There is no separation, no “other”. Everything is Existence manifesting in its myriad ways. Everything is a reminder of Existence.
And there is a similar experience in meditation. From being other, all phenomena are Existence manifesting. There is no absolute boundaries between inside and outside, me and surroundings.
The movements of Existence – independent of its particular manifestation – fuels and support wakefulness and clarity.