Three layers of alright.
There are many gifts in projections.
The most obvious is that projections allows us to orient and navigate in the world. Our world of images create a sense of space and time, places whatever happens in the sense fields in space. connects images of past, present, and future events, places boundaries to create the appearance of objects, filters, interprets, and makes sense of it all. This can most easily be noticed through simple sense field explorations. Without our world of images, we wouldn’t function.
This world of images also creates an infinitely rich world. We can place boundaries anywhere. Find connections anywhere. Look at any (imagined) object from any number of perspectives. Create any number of contexts which dramatically changes how we see something. We quite literally create our own worlds through the images we place on top of the sense fields.
In feeding demons – and similar practices – there is always a range of gifts I can receive.
I can receive information when I dialog with the demon (or the disturber), and this information can be very helpful. The character (subpersonality) often has valuable insights for me, and something it wants to tell me. (This is similar to voice dialog or the Big Mind process.)
I can pick up the energy behind it and bring it into daily life in an exiting and constructive way. This is true especially for the energy it has before it is fed, which is often very much alive. (This can be accessed through movements as well, and is similar to Process Work.)
And after it has been fed, there is a feeling atmosphere I can bring into daily life. Often of being deeply loved. Seen. Felt. Safe. At home. (Happens in a range of other practices, such as tong len.)
There are several ways to use the word gift, for instance in the sense of given to us vs. our own doing, or as a blessing vs. a curse, or as a gift of invitation to awakening.
If we take ourselves as a portion of the content of awareness, it makes sense to see some things as gifts, or given to us, and other things as of our own doing.
I am responsible for my everyday activities, including the ways I work on improving myself and my position in the world, but not responsible for what life hands me such as opportunities, accidents, illness and so on. Of course, there are times when the boundary gets fuzzy and we then see our task as sorting out what goes where.
But as soon as we take even a casual look at this, it becomes clear that it is not quite this simple. Or rather, that it is far more simple.
It is all gifts. Any inner and outer resource is a gift…. where we are born, the families we grow up in, education, our personality traits, our ambition, our motivations, our experiences, our skills, all of it are pure gifts. It is all given to us, or rather given from existence and life to itself.
And looking a little closer, we see that the whole inner/outer boundary is hard to pin down, partly because there is a gray zone, but really because it is not there. It is merely an idea placed on top of the world, and not inherent in anything. Everything about this human self, and anything else in the world, has infinite causes, and these reach back to the beginning of time and stretch out to the limits of the universe.
Finally, also by looking a little closer, the conventional boundary between gifts and curses (whether miniature or bigger) breaks down. That too is not inherent in our life. Whatever happens is inherently neutral, and we filter it as one or the other through a set of ideas.
In a more conventional way, we can hold onto an idea of what is desirable for our human self, and interpret and make situations into a gift, whether it is illness or health, problems or ease, failure or success, getting what we want or not getting i. It all becomes fodder for growth, maturing and making lemonade out of lemons. If we cannot quite do this as it is happening, we can at least do it afterwards. Being able to do this is in itself a gift, within this context.
We can also see whatever happens as a gift in another way, as an invitation to wake up to what we already are. To notice ourselves as this awakeness that all experiences unfold within, to and as, already and always inherently free from any I with an Other, and anything else coming from thought.
In a very simple way, we can see this in how stress helps us notice beliefs and rigid attachment to stories and identities, which we can then explore to find what is already more true for us than the initial story.
One of the many gifts of families is that they bring relationships we cannot so easily escape. Instead, we are invited to work with them more consciously, as they are, over the long term.
Some of the ways we can do this…
- Inquire into beliefs
- Being with our experience, fully allowing it in a heartfelt way
- Open our heart (to all of us, and all of ourself) through tong-len, prayer, well-wishing
- Working with the others on the relationships, clarifying, engaging, working things through and out as well as we can
- Allowing it all to humble us, wear of the hard edges, become more deeply and fully human, through receptivity at the view (inquiry), emotions (fully allowing and being with), and heart (tong-len, prayer, well-wishing)
And as usual, any of these can invite a shift in any and all of the others. For me, I find the shifts from the heart work especially noticeable.
Also, of course, the one relationship we cannot so easily escape is the one to ourselves. Any other one highlights aspects of this relationship. As we relate to ourselves, we relate to the wider world. (Or said in a more headless way, as this human self relates to itself, it relates to the wider world.)
In working on knots, I notice two layers.
First, it is the release from being blindly caught up in it. It is a release from beliefs, identifications, shoulds, and the war created by these. I find more peace with whatever is going on, I befriend it. I shift into that part of my that naturally allows it, which is myself as awareness.
Then it is the layer of accepting the gifts and harvesting the nutrients inside of it. I do this through The Work, in exploring the truths in the turnarounds of the initial belief, and then bringing these turnarounds into my daily life. I do it through voice dialog and the Big Mind process, when I investigate what the disowned voice has to offer to this human self, and how I can find a more nourishing relationship with it. I do it through Process Work, when I become the Other and that which holds both what I previously identified with and the Other. And there are innumerable other ways of finding the gifts and harvesting the nutrients inside of the knot and the (previous) disturbance.
The release is a transcending of blindly identifying with it, and the harvesting of nutrients is an active embrace of its content.
Our relationships to our ancestors has come up for me in several different ways lately, partly through shamanic sources and partly through Process Work (which has a strong shamanic influence).
The wider world is a mirror for our human self, and the way we relate to different aspects of the wider world reflects how we relate to similar parts of ourselves. The wider world is the world “out there”, in space and time, and our ancestors is an important part of this world. Our relationships, or lack thereof, to our ancestors says a great deal about how we relate to ourselves and the world in general.
When I explore it for myself, I find two main aspects in a more conscious relationship to my ancestors: healing and gifts. A healing of relationships, and a receptivity to and harvesting of their gifts.
There are many ways to do this.
We can use journeying, as in shamanic practices. I can meet some of my ancestors, hear what they have to say, work on my relationship with them, see what I can do for them, and also be receptive to the gifts they may have for me. What insights do they have? What qualities do they express, which I may find and pick up in my own life?Â
We can use voice dialog, or the Big Mind process, and do something very similar. I can shift into the voice of particular ancestors, hear what they have to say, see how their relationship to the other voices and this human self is and how these relate to this ancestors, explore their insights and gifts, see what I can do for them, and so on.
We can use group practices, such as Joanna Macy’s Harvesting the Gifts of our Ancestors, where we walk back in time through the generations, tasting how it could have been to live their lives, and then walk forward harvesting their gifts.
We can deepen into gratitude for specific ancestors, and our ancestors in general, for their existence, their lives, their work and efforts, their insights… without which none of us would be alive today.
We can work specifically on healing through any of the above practices, and also healing and for instance tong len.
We can work specifically on harvesting their gifts through any of the practices, and maybe specifically through the journeying, voice dialog, the group practices, and through invoking specific ancestors and their qualities in our daily life, finding it in our selves.
And of course, all of this includes daily life work on our relationship with our own ancestors (including parents) and those we are ancestors to (children, grandchildren), and an awareness of deep time and the passage of generations.
Seeing all as gift is one of the many practices that makes it easier to be who we take ourselves to be (this human self) and also mimics Big Mind and makes it easier for Big Mind to awaken to itself.
When I explore it for myself, I find that the practice of seeing all as a gift opens the three centers: head, belly and heart. It opens for a seeing, feeling and loving of all as God, as God’s will, good, and beyond the boundary of I and Other.
It is a wonderful practice, if it is a guideline for investigation for myself.
As with anything, it can also be used in less than helpful ways. For instance, if it remains an abstract belief, it becomes a battle against myself, trying to convince myself all is a gift when it certainly doesn’t feel like it. And it becomes heartless if it is used to justify what happens to others.
At the head center, it helps shift the view from split, from I and Other, to finding the wholeness beyond this imagined boundary of I and Other. It helps shift from a belief in a separate self into Big Mind noticing itself.
At the belly center, it helps shift from emotional reactiveness to an allowing of emotions without blindly engaging in them, either through resistance or impulsively acting on them. It helps me find a stable sense of fullness and nurturing. And there is a shift from a felt-sense of a basic distrust in life, to a felt-sense of trust in life, independent of how it shows up.
At the heart center, it helps shift from a heart closed to certain situations and qualities, to an heart open to all of it. There is a shift from a half-open and ambivalent heart, to one embracing it all.
In more detail, at the head center, it is an invitation for me to actively explore how this situation may be a gift for me. Can it help me discover my empathy for others in similar situations? Can it help me discover the friction between my stories about what is and what should be, and then investigate these stories? Can it help me notice the difference between engaging in resistance to my experiences, and a more heartfelt and wholehearted allowing? Can it help me notice different parts of myself, recognizing in myself what I see in others? Can it help me bring out new aspects of myself, as the situation seems to call for? Can it help me actively work on my relationships with myself and others?
At the belly center, it is an invitation to wholeheartedly and in an heartfelt way be with whatever emotions I am experiencing. More fully allowing them, relating to them as an afraid animal or child that only wants to be seen and held, in a heartfelt way.
At the heart center, it is an invitation to see in myself what I see in others and the wider world, and notice the empathy that comes from this recognition. We are all in the same boat. Everything in us is universally human.
One of the things that sometimes trigger irritation in me (when the I-Other split is already primed) is people blindly acting from contraction… people who are tense, wound-up, seem hunted or haunted by something, and are blindly caught up in it, blind to what is happening.
(This is obviously a shadow-projection. At the very moment I see them as blindly tense, I am describing myself as I am right there and then.)
And as usual, there are some valuable gifts in here…
When I am blindly tense (which includes seeing it in others and being bothered by it), it is an invitation for me to more clearly see what is going on. The discomfort in it nudges me to do something about it, and the only way that really works, in the long run, is to investigate my own reactions… to identify and explore the beliefs behind it, be with whatever comes up in an heart-felt way, tracking the process behind it, and so on.
So again, what seems like an annoyance when I don’t notice it as an invitation, becomes a great gift when I do.
It leads me right to my own blind spots, inviting me to see more clearly what I previously was oblivious to.
I have mentioned this before, and the previous post reminded me of it again… the gifts of blocks and resistance.
As awful as resistance can be, in terms of the stress and sometimes suffering created from it, it also has some great gifts.
One of the main ones is that it allows for an exploration of Spirit (in its form and emptiness aspects) one piece at a time, filtered in space and time into mostly manageable portions.
Resistance slows down the process, allowing for a more detailed and thorough exploration of each without it drowning in the immensity of the whole. In some ways, it functions as a magnifying glass, allowing for one piece of the terrain to be explored, in detail, at a time. It holds us in place for a while, inviting a more thorough exploration of that particular area of the landscape.
Our personality certainly does not like resistance and its effects, at least not right away. But with time, there can be a great deal of appreciation and gratitude even for resistance and blocks, for these and other reasons.
(Resistance here refers to resistance to experience, which comes from a belief in a story, which in turn creates a sense of I and Other, seeing of some experiences as undesirable, and then resistance to them, which then leads to a sense of drama, stress and sometimes suffering… which is just about all it creates. Spirit refers to all of Existence, in its form and emptiness aspects, including our daily human experiences.)
Most approaches to discovering who (individual human/soul) and what (Ground) we are have a particular focus… somewhere within our levels of being, and often just aspects of certain levels. If they acknowledge other levels and aspects, and are transparent to them, it is easy to see the benefits… it allows for a more thorough familiarity and investigation with whatever their area of focus happens to be.
But what if they are closed to other approaches? If they don’t appreciate their contribution or validity? What if they, for instance, use a language that creates a ceiling, floor or walls blocking off other levels and aspects?
One of the practices I am involved (appears to) do exactly that. It is great for the centaur (body/mind) and soul levels, but closed off from the Ground, from what we are. It seems closed off from it in terms of their views of what is possible and how existence is put together, in the terminology they use (for instance “no separation” which assumes an I not separate from an Other), and also some of their practices (by all means not all… other practices can go right into Ground, into what we are).
It is an example of an approach that does not so much have a floor or walls, but do have a very obvious (to me) ceiling.
Although I know I am just coming up against my own beliefs and identities around this, it has been difficult for me to relate to. I want to stay involved, because their approach is by far the best one (for me) I have found at centaur and soul levels. And staying involved means that I have to face the friction between life and my beliefs & identities. I have to live with it, until it resolves one way or another.
One way of working on this is to explore the genuine gifts in their version of the ceiling… What are the genuine gifts there, for me?
I can easily find the same gifts there as for any approach that have a limited focus (which is all of them)… they focus on the centaur and soul levels, which means they become very familiar with that landscape… they can explore it in great richness and depth, which is obviously very valuable.
And what about their lack of transparency into Ground? That too is a gift, as it invites me to work with it… rephrasing (for myself) their words… It helps me explore that particular area in far more depth. It also means that I don’t so easily take that area for granted. I have to work a little more consciously at it.
Finally, the friction between their approach (what life brings up for me) and my beliefs and identities invites me to look at and investigate those beliefs and identities. I cannot pretend they are not there anymore. I have to work with them.
The initial gift is the same as if they were transparent to Ground. And in addition, there are two more that comes from the ceiling.
All in all, a pretty good deal…. if I stay with it, take the friction seriously and use it as an opportunity to see what is already more true for me, behind my surface beliefs and identities.
There are many gifts in resistance.
It allows for the rich experience of being a separate self (resistance to Ground, to what is inherently void of any separate self, gives rise to the full and varied experience of being a separate self).
And also, within this, it allows for a more thorough exploration of different aspects of Existence and life. It creates a boundary, and I place a sense of separate self on one side and something else on the other side, and I get to explore the boundary, what is on each side, their many relationships, how they are part of one larger whole, how they are aspects of life manifesting… and finally how they are emptiness dancing.
Resistance allows for the exploration itself…
This is an amazing and precious gift of resistance.
I am appreciating The Secret, and all the attention brought to The Law of Attraction, more and more.
First of all, it works. It opens my mind to certain possibilities, and when opportunities come along, I am more likely to recognize and take them. And it may work beyond that as well.
It may also bring some temporary happiness to people who use it, which is a great thing.
It helps people see that what they thought would make them happy didn’t, or at least brought no lasting happiness.
It helps people recognize the infinite cycles of wants. When we get what our beliefs tells us would make us happy, we may experience happiness for a while, but it soon fades and something else comes up as something that would make us happy, and so on. It never ends. It may be fun for a while, at least as long as we get some of the things we seek, but after a while, the whole process becomes less appealing.
It helps people recognize the role of beliefs in all of this. It is our beliefs which triggers happiness and unhappiness. I believe something will make me happy, I get it, and experience happiness. I believe something will make me happy, don’t get it, and experience unhappiness. I believe something will make me unhappy, get it, and experience unhappiness. I believe something will make me unhappy, don’t get it, and experience happiness (or at least relief).
Recognizing the role of beliefs in this, it invites people to examine their beliefs, which in turn opens for finding peace with what is, as it is. And beyond peace, even appreciation and gratitude for it.
And finally, it has invited a large number of people to clarify their own views on all of this, and explore the topic more in depth, which is a great gift. Just over the last few days, I have found (without seeking it out) both funny and very insightful comments on the topic, and there is a great deal more out there.
Not everyone arrives at all of these of course, but the invitation is there, and the process leading there is set in motion.
So exploring what is happening around The Secret, we find gifts all around.
When we take ourselves to be a separate self, it is natural to want to avoid suffering and friction. And if we identify ourselves as a spiritual practitioner, at least in some traditions, we don’t like resistance and misidentification much either. In fact, our whole practice is often aimed at getting rid of it.
As long as we want to get rid of it, or anything, we are stuck in it. We are identified with content of awareness (resistance, beliefs), which is exactly what we were trying to escape.
And when we finally see this, really see and feel it, allowing even this identification to go, we are fine with all of it… which is also when it tends to fall away.
It is tricky. Wanting something to change is what traps us. And only by fully and wholeheartedly allowing it all can it change, but by then it doesn’t matter anymore. We are doing it for another reason… because we see we don’t have a choice, and because we want to be consciously more closely aligned with what is.
One of the ways to be more consciously aligned with what is, and to allow it all, even the suffering and resistance, is to explore it from the emptiness and form sides more in depth.
From the emptiness side, it is all OK. It is the temporary form play of emptiness. All forms are revealed as inherently neutral. Or as God manifesting and exploring itself, as God’s will.
From the form side, we can explore the genuine gifts of what we resists.
At one level, we see that suffering is an invitation to wake up. When we are not fully awake to who and what we are, there is suffering.
At another level, we see that the misidentification is a part of the play of God. It is God temporarily forgetting what it is, and exploring itself as some small realms of its form aspect (as a separate individual.) It is beautiful, a beautiful play and exploration, even when suffering comes up because of it.
And resistance is an inherent part of misidentification. When we take ourselves to be a separate self, as a region of the world of form, resistance is what allows it in the first place.
Also, resistance and misidentification is what allows for an exploration of parts of the form realm in more detail. It filters a lot out, so that some regions of form come into the foreground and there is a deeper and more intimate familiarity with it. It is part of God’s exploration of itself.
In a very real way, to resist any of this, or to put it down in any way, is to resist and put down God.