Only lovers left alive: a dialog with someone who has lived for centuries

 

I haven’t seen Only Lovers Left Alive yet, but read enough about it to know that the two main characters have lived for centuries and have amassed a huge amount of experience and perhaps some wisdom in the process.

So I thought it would be fun to try a dialog with someone who has lived for centuries.

When we use Voice Dialog / the Big Mind process, we typically dialog with parts of us that are obviously here like the voice of appreciation, the victim, or Big Mind / Heart.

There is no part of me that had lived for centuries. Or is there? I can easily enough imagine how it would be to have lived for generations, and access that voice or part of me.

And in a quite real sense, I have in me something that had lived for that long. Something that has, through culture, accumulated experience and wisdom over generations.

In another quite real sense, as part of this living Earth, and as part of this universe, I am billions of years old. Everything in me is the product of billions of years evolution of the universe and this living planet, millions of years of evolution of pre-human ancestors, and hundreds of thousands of years thousands of my human ancestors.

So, yes, I can probably dialog with a voice in me that has the experience and wisdom from having lived for generations.


Dialog with one who has lived for generations.

Can I speak with the voice that has lived for generations?

Yes.

How do you see the world?

Not so different from you. Just from more experience. I am much less caught up in the daily fluctuations compared with you and others who have only lived for a short time. I have seen it all. It all comes and goes. Disappointment. Elation. Health. Illness. Birth. Death. It’s all part of life, and I have seen all of it enough to not get caught up in it.

Does it mean you are detached?

For a while, I tried detachment and distance, but that’s deadly boring in the long run. It’s much more juicy to feel and be engaged and play the game, but I am not caught in it. I know it all, including my responses, comes and goes.

It sounds a bit like the wisdom of the Buddha?

Yes, I knew him. Good fella. (That’s a joke, by the way. I was somewhere else back then.)

But yes, it’s pretty similar. I think that anyone who lives for generations will develop that kind of wisdom or view on life. It’s almost inevitable.

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

Well, let’s see. I think he knows it already but hasn’t taken it in fully. He doesn’t completely trust it or allow himself to live from it. So if I can help, here it is.

He allows himself to worry about things that are regular parts of life, it’s the universal ups and downs. And he sometimes takes it more personally than he needs, and get more caught up in it than he would if he had longer experience. Life is not about him. Life just happens, as it does for everyone. Stay engaged, play the game, and know it’s not personal and most of the details are not even that important in the long run. Just do your best.

How do you see the world today?

Most if not all of the problems come from people being short-sighted. They think locally and act short-term, and although that worked in the past when humanity was smaller and had less powerful technology, it doesn’t work anyone. There are too many people, with too powerful tools, for that to work.

Humans need to imagine bigger, or at least enough need to, so they can create new systems that take deep time and global situations (like ecosystems) into consideration.

Human nature won’t change, but humans adapt their behavior to the system they are in.

(I should add: Human nature does change, but not very quickly. Not on the scale of centuries or decades.)

Is there a question you would like to be asked?

Hm. I like that question. Ask me what I enjoy the most.

What do you enjoy the most?

The changing seasons. The seasons of nature, of human life, of generations and human history.

The very small things, the ordinary. A cup of tea. Saying hello to a stranger. Waking a dog. Reading a book. Weathering an illness.

The new. A new dish. A new sunrise. A new here and now.

It’s there anything you are tired of?

Not really. Perhaps the predictable, or at least thinking something is predictable. I have seen enough to know it’s not. I guess that’s something I am still learning.

Is there anything else you are currently learning?

I am not sure. I think it’s mainly noticing how everything is fresh.

The mind sometimes tells me that this is something I have experienced more times than I can count, and although that’s true in a way, it’s not the whole picture. This experience is fresh.

I guess that’s another parallel to what Mr. Buddha and others have talked about. And it is the only way to stay fresh and keep enjoying – and not only enjoying but deeply enjoying — life when you live and live and live as I do.

What music, art, and books do you like?

Anything. Anything from any culture and period. What’s familiar and what’s new. High culture and trash. It’s all juicy.

Is it possible to make a mistake?

Well, it depends on what you mean. Of course, we sometimes make mistakes in a small perspective. We bungle things. Make poor decisions. Or make good decisions that turn out badly.

In a bigger perspective, those are not really mistakes. We do what we can based on who and how we are and the situation we are in. And we get feedback from life and have an opportunity to learn. So in that sense, nothing is really a mistake.

What do you think about conditioning?

That’s something I have a lot of experience with. Conditioning is the operating system of humans or at least a large part of it.

Patterns are passed on through the generations, with some variations. Patterns of what’s seen as good and bad, right and wrong; and patterns of likes and dislikes, cultural and family hangups and traumas; ideas about heaven and hell, gods and demons, how the world works, and just about anything else that’s part of how humans function.

When you take a generational view, you see how it’s not personal. It’s all passed on. And then we make it personal, and we have a chance to not take it as personal if we realize what’s going on.

Even how we function as a body is conditioning, passed on with some variations through all our ancestors back to that first single-celled organism.

And how this universe works is conditioning.

Some talk about conditioning as if it’s bad or something we need to get rid of, but that’s a superficial view. We are made up of conditioning. Our bodies wouldn’t function without it. Our society wouldn’t function without it. We would have no chance to function, or survive, or exist, without it. It’s the fabric of what we are.

The only conditioning we need to be concerned about is the one of wounds and hangups, and even here how we relate to it is more vital than getting rid of it. Of course, we can do some of both.

And a part of this conditioning is the beliefs and ideas passed on through the generations that creates pain for us, and an unnecessarily limited life when we hold them as true.

How do you see non-dual spirituality?

I hoped you wouldn’t ask. Yes, it’s pretty close to reality. And in the modern western version, it’s often taken as a belief, something to hold onto to feel secure and try to stay safe. For many who are into it, it’s a security blanket. They just exchanged traditional religion for neo-Advaita. That’s fine but if they are not honest about it, they are deluding themselves.

If I am honest, and I know I sound like an old curmudgeon, many would do better to heal their emotional issues. They would find more ease and real contentment that way.

That sounds a bit harsh?

Well, yes. It’s just that I have seen versions of it so many times, in so many periods and cultures. People are in pain. And they seek and latch onto a belief – a religion or philosophy or political system – that promises to give them relief. And the real relief is in healing the pain, not getting obsessed about a system or philosophy.

To be continued…

A note: When I wrote this, I imagined dialoguing with a relatively average person who has lived for centuries. My partner dialogued with the version of herself that has lived for eons. And it can be fun to explore even more versions: the mystic, the poet, the wise man/woman, the scientist, the warrior, the one who loves earth, the one who loves humans, the one who loves life, the one who has lived innumerable lives in places around the whole Cosmos.

Dialog with the beast

 

A dialog with my inner beast.

I would like to get to know you better. Is that OK? Can I ask you a few questions?

B: sure

What food would you like to eat?

B: Not so different from what P already eats. But more strict more of the time. More strict in following what’s good for the body and mind. More hardcore. And enjoying it. Finding the fun in it. (As P did in his 20s and 30s.)

What music do you enjoy?

B: Again, not so different. But more free in the choice, and more extremes — weird music from around the world, more intense music. Again, as P did in his teens, 20s, 30s.

How do you see P?

B: He is scared, timid. He got scared from what happened in the last ten years. He is afraid of everything right now, including me and living from me more again as he used to. He is afraid to get burnt.

Do you have advice for him?

B: Yes. Quit being so timid. Enjoy life again. Dive into it again. You may get burnt again, and so what? You’ll survive. It’s part of life. Choosing timidity is no life.

How can he do that?

B: Start in daily life. Do things that you used to enjoy a lot but set aside because you are scared and afraid to trigger the buried pain in yourself. Watch challenging movies. Read about what you are passionate about. Listen to deeply moving and spiritual music. Connect with the people you really want to connect with, and not just the “easy” ones. Be more open about your passions instead of pretending to be “normal” and inoffensive.

I get the sense that you, as the beast, cover the whole range of human experiences?

B: Yes, sure. I am part of him and he does, as all humans do. I just want him to be honest, direct, authentic, follow his passions. Whether it’s listening to Rammstein or Arvo Pärt. Or eating organic local vegetarian food or the occasional juicy beef. Or reading graphic novels about ghosts or Adyshanti, Jes Bertelsen, or Christian mysticism. Or enjoying sensuality and passionate sex or prayer and meditation. It’s all part of his life. He knows he deeply enjoys all of it.

Do you have advice for him when it comes to his health?

B: Keep doing what you are doing when it comes to taking care of your health (diet, sleep, fresh air), doing healing work (Vortex Healing, parts work, prayer, inquiry), and planning to spend more time in better climates (warmer, drier, fresh organic food). Also, bring more of me into your life again. Find the joy again of living more from me. Allow yourself to risk getting hurt again. (I promise you you will, and that’s completely ok, it’s part of the game). Follow your actual interests and what makes you be who you want to be. Don’t sell yourself short. (By spending time with the “easy” people instead of the interesting ones, by watching easy things on internet instead of the juicy things that deeply feed you, by avoiding reading what’s deeply interesting to you, by not doing art and making music.)

He is scared of doing art and making music, yes?

B: Yes, he feels it puts him in touch with the deep passion in him and the pain he experienced when he left his inner guidance on the big life decision many years ago. He is afraid of the pain that’s there from leaving his guidance in the past. So now he lives a timid life. One where he doesn’t follow his deep passion and the deep passion he experiences when he does art and composes music.

What advice do you have for him on that topic?

B: Dive into the pain. That’s the only way to do it. You created the pain so you get to experience it. It’s actually not that bad when you dive into it. I’ll be there with you. It’s the only way for you to come alive again. It’s your path to life and living again, and in a much better way than before. You have grown a lot.

He left you?

B: Yes, he left me partially and enough to extinguish his inner fire. He left me when the pain of leaving his inner guidance was too much for him.

It’s that part of his illness? (CFS)

B: I don’t know but I think so. I give him strength, passion, and what he needs to be authentic and follow his guidance. I give him the strength to follow his inner guidance. All of that will help him get back on his feet again, and more than that live a full, fiery and deeply meaningful life. One that has an impact on others too and helps them live a fuller, meaningful and juicy life, and the life that happens when you follow your inner guidance.

Should he post this?

B: He has to decide. Yes, because he wants to be more authentic in his writing and what he posts. No, if it makes him feel he did too much and feels too scared and vulnerable. (It won’t but it’s good for him to embrace me more while also taking care of himself and follow his guidance.)

Anything else you would like him to know?

B: I am here for him. I won’t go away. He just needs to access me and live more from me. I have no interest in being the only part of him he lives from, but I am essential for him to live a more real, fierce, and alive life. I am essential for him to live as he wants to live. To live aligned with his knowing, truth, and authenticity.

You seem to be aligned with truth?

B: I don’t know. I want him to be aligned with his truth, and I am essential for him to live from it. He can’t be timid and still live from truth. He has to be able to access fierceness when that’s needed.

Read More

Healing past relationships

 
Star Trek Continues episode 4, “The White Iris”

How do we find healing for past relationships? This Star Trek Continues episode shows an approach that can be an important piece of the puzzle, and one I personally have found very helpful.

Captain Kirk is plagued by unresolved past relationships, and he finds resolution through revisiting the places and people (in the holodeck and in his mind) and a sincere and intimate dialog.

We may not have a holodeck to play out past relationships and situations, but we do have our mind and imagination. That’s where the past lives anyway. What I have found most helpful is to imagine and have a dialog with a healthy and awake version of the person. (Otherwise, I may just communicate with conditioning.)

For instance, I did this with some kids from my elementary and middle school. I revisited my uncomfortable experiences from that time. Imagined the most healthy and awake versions of those kids. Shared with them how I felt when they treated me as they sometimes did, how I wish they had treated me, and what I would like from them now. And they responded from a healthy and awake place, sharing their own pain, why they had behaved as they did, and their sincere well-wishing for me. I found it helpful to do this a few times, each time looking at different sides of the situation.

As a side note, I’ll mention that I just discovered Star Trek Continues (a fan-made follow-up to the original series), and find it as good and enjoyable as the original series. (And, of course, equally quirky, camp, and cheesy, and that’s part of the fun.)

Read More

Discovering that troublesome parts of me are actually on my side

 

Again, a topic I am revisiting in life and here.

Some dynamics of the mind can seem like a problem, an “other”, and even an enemy. It may be uncomfortable emotions, distressing thoughts, compulsions, pain, or something else.

Seeing it as an enemy tends to create additional struggle and discomfort. So we can explore the triggering part of us. How is it get to know it? What happens if I befriend it?

I tend to use ho’oponopono or tonglen to befriend, and also dialogue or inquiry (The Work, Living Inquiries).

When I dialogue with this part, I tend to ask a series of questions. For instance: (a) What do you wish for him (me)? (b) What happens when you do as you do? (c) How could you do it differently? How can you do it in a way that helps you achieve what you really wish for him? (d) What do you want me to know? How can I be of assistance from my side? (The wholeness of my human self.)

What I find is that all these apparently unhelpful or uncomfortable dynamics are here to protect my human self. They are here to be of service. They are here out of kindness and love. The way they do it may be a bit unhelpful, but their intention is protection and care, and comes from love.

When I get to see that more clearly, perhaps through additional questions and explorations, I can genuinely say “thank you for your protection, thank you for your service, thank you for your love” to these dynamics.

On thing that happens here is that I see – and feel – that these dynamics come from a wish to protect and serve my human self, and we are on the same side. Before, they may have appeared as an “other”, a problem, or even an enemy. And now, I see that we are actually on the same side. We have the same intention for my human self. That in itself is a big shift. It’s a relief. It’s a new beginning. It’s a starting point for us – the dynamic and me as the wholeness of the human self – to work together in a more intentional and coordinated way.

Note: Are these really “parts” of me? In one way, yes. It can help the mind create an image of it when it’s called a part which can make a dialogue easier. They are more habital dynamics. Movements more than a thing.

Also, are they unhelpful or uncomfortable? Not inherently. They just operate as they do, and our minds says it’s helpful or not. And the minds struggle with it, with these parts of itself, is what creates the discomfort.

And this is something we tend to rediscover over and over, each time one of these dynamics surface. We often need to rediscover it with each new surfacing dynamic, although as we get more familiar with it it tends to be easier and quicker each time. Our system gets used to this new way of operating.

Read More

Dialog with the body

 

We often have an unintentional dialog with our body, so why not make it more intentional?

I can ask it questions. I can ask it how I have related to it. I can ask how it would like me to relate to it. I can ask what it would like me to know. I can apologize for how I have treated it. I can share what I wish from it. I share that what’s happening is not a life-and-death matter and it’s allowed to relax.

And much more, all in the context of kindness.

This can be very healing, and it can change my relationship with my body.

In addition, it can be helpful to explore how my mind creates my experience of my body. I can do this through inquiry, for instance the Living Inquiries.

For instance:

Body, how does P. relate to you? He likes me most of the time. He appreciated me. He also struggles with me when I don’t do what he wants from me. He struggles when (he thinks) I create fatigue and brain fog.

How would you like him to relate to you? Continue to feed me good food. Go for walks. Get fresh air. Do what you enjoy. Find love for me, as I am. I am doing my best.

What advice do you have for him? Find some patience with me. Continue to explore how his mind creates his experience of me. Continue to find genuine love for me. Enjoy.

Body, can you do something for me? Yes, what? Can you shift into full health? Into an intention of full health? I will do my part, as much as I can. Yes. Remember, it’s a partnership. I am following your cues.

On the last topic, I have found that when I have asked for healing and health, there is a shift in orientation and into a more clear intention. I may also be more aware of what in me fears healing and full health, and can explore that. And I may find something or someone who can support my health.

It may not seem like much, having dialogues like this. And yet, something shifts. I feel more aligned with my body, and on the same side. I see it’s always there for me. I see how it’s taking cues from me, from my intentional and unintentional orientation.

And with so much I write about here, these dialogues are very natural and almost effortless. They happen anyway, so why not make them more intentional?

Read More

Friends with the resistance

 

When I find myself in a situation in my life that seems stuck, that doesn’t seem to change, I often notice a split.

One part of me wants change and another doesn’t want change.  And the more I resist and try to push away the part that doesn’t want change, the more it digs in, and the more entrenched it often makes itself.

And it’s all based on a misconception. I believe (a) that the resistance is wrong or bad, (b) that by resisting and pushing away the resistance, it will go away, and (c) that this will be the best solution. Fortunately, life has a different approach. It knows that there is wisdom in the resistance, so it lets it stay.

So what can I do? I can….

Welcome the resistance. Recognize that it’s there for me. It’s devoted to me. It’s there for me. It’s there to inform and protect me. It wants the best for me. It’s worried love.

Listen to what it has to say. What do you have to tell me? Share your wisdom with me. What do you try to protect me from? What would you like from me?

Let it know that I appreciate it for it’s service to me. Thank you. Thank you.

Let it know it has a right to be here. You are allowed to be here. You are welcome here.

And if the appreciation and welcome feels a little off, it means there is more for me to see. In what way is this resistance there for me? In what way does it have my best interest at heart? What is it’s wisdom? How can I incorporate it into my life?

Read More