Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XIV

 

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

THREE JEWELS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XIII

 

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

COMPLETE HEAVEN

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

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

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

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XI

 

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

THE HIGHEST ACHIEVEMENT: TO BE AN ORDINARY HUMAN BEING

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

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

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

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things X

 

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

THE EGO TOO IS THE DIVINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Awakening and healing is a blessing for the “ego”

 

I usually don’t use the word “ego”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things IX

 

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

AN EXERCISE TO DEAL WITH REGRETS AND NOSTALGIA

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

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

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

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

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

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things VIII

 

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

POWER-OVER VS POWER-WITH IN HEALING AND AWAKENING

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

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

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

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

The most obvious may be how we relate to ourselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things VII

 

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

DOES AWAKENING HAVE TO TAKE A LONG TIME?

Yes and no.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DRAMATIC AND QUIET AWAKENINGS

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

Each one comes with upsides and downsides.

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

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

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

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

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

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things VI

 

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

AWAKENINGS AS EXPERIENCE OR NEW CONTEXT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Yes and no.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things IV

 

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

HEART PRACTICES

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHRIST MEDITATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Love is all you need – for healing and awakening?

 

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

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

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

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

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things V

 

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

IS THE UNIVERSE CONSCIOUS?

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

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

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

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

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things II

 

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

Adorable Ludvig as drawn by Kjell Aukrust

Writing from a voice

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

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

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

Recently, two stories caught my attention.

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

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

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

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things I

 

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

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

Divine energy healing as a form of prayer

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

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

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Mind going to the past

 

If you keep going over the past, you’re going to end up with a thousand pasts and no future.

– Ricardo Morales in The Secret in their Eyes / El secreto de sus ojos

Yes, that’s true. If we get obsessed with the past and only repeat and fuel the stressful stories, we get stuck in the past. We get stuck in our stories about the past.

But there is a reason the mind goes to the past. It goes to traumatic or stressful events in order to seek resolution. It seeks healing. And it will keep going back until it finds it. There is nothing inherently wrong in it. It’s part of the healing process.

If the mind goes back to the past, and we use it to reinforce the painful stories, then the healing process goes no further. But if we relate to it with some kindness and skill, it can be an invaluable opportunity for healing.

Relate to the emotions and stories with kindness, as you would a child in pain. Acknowledge the pain that’s there. Feel the sensations of the emotional pain in the body. Allow it as it is. Find a gentle curiosity about the stressful stories. Listen to what those stories are. Write them down. Examine them. If you are gently, brutally, honest with yourself, are they true? What is more true?

An experimental approach to healing and awakening

 

If we are on a healing or awakening path, experimentation will – by necessity – be a part of the process.

We may find a teacher, guide, or approach that feels right for us for whatever reason – perhaps it makes sense to us, or it’s recommended by someone we trust, or the quiet inner voice says “yes”, or a combination. And we try it out.

What happens if I follow this pointer or engage in this practice? What do I find? What effects does it have?

Does it work? Does it bring healing? Does it help me to relate to myself and the world in a different way? (With more kindness, more from oneness?) Does it give me glimpses of what I am?

If so, it makes sense to keep exploring it. If not, perhaps I need to change how I am in relation to it or try something else.

So it’s not all the tools. It’s also me and how I am in relation to the practice. How sincere am I? How wholeheartedly do I engage with the practice? Am I willing to stay with it long enough to get results? Am I willing to ask for guidance from someone more experienced and see what happens if I put it into practice?

In my experience, when something works I tend to see the results early on or immediately. Even small shifts tells me that this may be worth continuing to explore.

This is how we would go about learning most things in life, whether it’s a language, sports, music or something else. And an experimental and pragmatic approach also makes sense for healing and awakening.

Curiosity, receptivity, and trying things out help us discover, learn, and finding new sides to what we are exploring.

An almost-synonym for experimentation is a playful attitude. A playful attitude helps us have a light touch, stay engaged, and find receptivity, curiosity, and a willingness to try things out.

In my experience, good mentors and coaches encourage grounded playfulness.

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Addressing multiple aspects of the same issue

 

When I work on issues, and especially deep seated issues, I find it helpful to approach it from multiple angles. This sometimes means to use different modalities. And it can also mean to differentiate out different aspects of the same overall issue.

Recently, I have explored and worked on an issue around not being authentic. I have looked at the different situations where this has happened in my life, the fear behind it, and how it ties in with family (and cultural) patterns. (For instance, my father taught me to not speak and stand up for myself at some crucial times in my childhood.)

I have also found several aspects or branches of this issue: Not speaking up. Not standing up for myself. Not being authentic. Not being real. Burying my inner warrior. Burying my inner beast. Not following my inner guidance.

These are all angles into the same overall or general issue. And if I want to be thorough in working on it, I need to address each of these. (As I work on one, the others will often be easier or have less charge since they are related.)

I got a clear demonstration of this yesterday when I received a Vortex Healing session. We worked on releasing the choice points for each of these. (Choice points are energetic structures that reflect a divine choice. They are created in crucial situations when “I” chose to not be authentic etc., or – equally accurately – when the divine made this choice to have a certain experience for itself.)

If each of the aspects I identified were really the same issue, there would be just one set of choice points. In this case, each one had its own choice points.

So if I had been satisfied working on just one, I would have missed the others contributing to the overall and more general issue.

Almodóvar’s Pain & Glory, and completing something unfinished

 

I watched Pain & Glory (Dolor y gloria) by Pedro Almodóvar and found it beautiful, moving, and emotionally satisfying.

It’s semi-autobiographical, filmed in a replica of Almodóvar’s own apartment, and Antonio Banderas – who played the slightly fictionalized Almodóvar – apparently wore the director’s clothes (!).

According to interviews with Almodóvar and Banderas, the fictional parts is mainly the reconciliation that happens in the movie. The director repairs three different relationships – with a former colleague, his mother, and a former lover. A fourth – with his childhood reading student – is left unfinished, perhaps something to explore in the future.

Unable to mend these relationships in his outer life, he did it – in a beautiful way – in his inner life and through his art. And we can do that too.

I have gone back to my childhood in my imagination and replayed situations with some changes. I imagine myself and the other people – who I felt hurt by at the time – as the most sane, wise, kind, and humane versions of ourselves, replay the scenes and how they would be different, and dialog with them and ask why they acted the way they did (and imagine their answers).

Imagining them – and me – as whole is fictional in one sense, but real in another since we all have the capacity to live from the most mature, wise, and kind versions of ourselves. And when I feel hurt, it usually comes from a combination of the actions of others (often coming from their hurt and reactive parts) and the hurt and reactive parts of me interpreting what happened.

There are many other ways to do this. For instance any form of parts work (Voice Dialog, Big Mind process, Internal Family Systems) or a form of inquiry (The Work of Byron Katie, Living Inquiries).

Some may say that it’s not really mended if it’s just in our imagination. It’s true that the reconciliation may be deeper and more embodied when it happens in real life with the people involved. And yet, it’s real enough even if it happens “just” in our imagination. It’s real for us. It’s real for our mind and our system. It’s real for us to the extent it’s wholehearted, genuine, sincere, visceral, and lived.

And doing it within ourselves can be a good stepping-stone for doing it in life, when and if that’s possible.

Note: What Almodóvar did in Pain & Glory is similar to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s psychomagic acts. Creating this film – where he mends three important relationships in his life – is a psychomagic act.

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Hercule Poirot: There is nothing in the world so damaged

 

There is nothing in the world so damaged that it cannot be repaired by the hand of the almighty God.

– Agatha Christie, spoken by Hercule Poirot in Appointment with Death

This is a beautiful and unusually personal and heartfelt statement from Poirot. It’s not beautiful primarily because it’s hopeful. It’s beautiful because there is a lot of truth to it.

At a personal level, there is nothing in our world that’s so damaged it cannot be repaired by the almighty hand of God. When oneness – AKA God – finds itself, that in itself is profound. We realize that what we are was never harmed. It was never damaged. No matter how damaged our human self is, what we are – that which our experience and the apparent damage happens within and as – is never damaged.

There is another side to this. When what we are notices itself – and especially when it happens more clearly and through situations and experiences – it provides a new context for who we are which allows this to reorient and heal within oneness. Some of this can happen in the initial awakening process, and much of it happens over time, gradually, and through intentional explorations and work.

From a larger view, and using a Spiritual interpretation of awakening, we can say that everything – all of existence – happens within and as the divine, Spirit, God. No matter how much destruction and apparent damage happens within the world or the universe, it all happens within and as Oneness.

Although we as humans may be called to do what we can to prevent and repair damage to people and the world – and this is vitally important – nothing is fundamentally in need of repair because it’s all already the divine.

How it works: Awakening

 

I know the title is a little presumptuous! Although it’s also good to demystify awakening to the extent it’s possible.

First, what is awakening?

It’s what we are noticing itself.

What we are is what our experience happens within and as. (We can put may labels on it, like consciousness or awakeness, and those labels also happen within and as what we are.)

Usually, what we are does not notice itself. Our mind takes itself to be something within the content of its experience, and that something is generally this human self. How that happens can be described from different angles. At one level, it happens when the mind takes any story as true and identifies with the viewpoint of the story. That shifts our experience of being what we are and into something that happens within the content of our experience. We experience ourselves as an object in the world and a particular viewpoint. What this is shifts with the story our mind happens to engage with at the moment. And, as a general container, we take ourselves to be this human self. That’s not wrong, but it’s just a small part of what we are.

What’s the process of awakening?

What we are can notice itself in glimpses. More or less clearly. Out of the blue or from intentional exploration. And it can also notice itself more stably through different states and situations in daily life.

For most of us, what we are comes into the foreground in daily life without us really noticing. It can happen through flow experiences, or any time we “forget” or “lose” ourselves in what’s happening. Why don’t we notice? Perhaps because it’s so ordinary. Or not so strong. Or that we think we know what we are – this human self – and this is not that.

It can happen out of the blue without any obvious precursor. And it can also happen gradually or more suddenly as a(n apparent) consequence of intentional exploration. I’ll say more about this below.

Initially, what we are may more easily notice itself in certain situations (which is where the intentional exploration comes in). And over time, it can notice itself through changing states and also in more and more situations in daily life. It can clarify and become more stable, and this process of living from it in more situations in daily life is called embodiment.

Also initially, we may still take ourselves to fundamentally be a separate being although one that’s ONE with everything. This tends to clarify and we realize that we were never this apparently separate being. What we are just started noticing itself more clearly. In a popular phrase: it woke up of the dream of being a separate being.

What we are noticing itself is often a bit fluid and changing throughout the day. It can be more or less in the foreground and more or less obvious or clear. It’s often a gentle context for our daily life. After a while, it becomes ordinary while also somewhat extraordinary.

As a human being, we are much the same even when what we are notices itself. It doesn’t magically and all of a sudden transform us. (Although that can happen.) This means we tend to have the same emotional issues, hangups, and traumas before and within awakening.

When these emotional issues are triggered, it tends to hijack our attention and we temporarily take ourselves to be separate. What we are noticing itself goes into the background and is overshadowed by our old patterns. This is why healing of emotional issues is vital for embodiment, for living more from what we are in more daily life situations.

What’s the consequence of awakening?

The only certain one is that the context of our life changes. What we are notices itself and our human life happens within that. Our human life, in itself, doesn’t have to change that much.

In practice, our human life does tend to change. We tend to live more from the experience of oneness, which means a little more open mind and heart and from a bit more compassion and empathy and concern for the far-reaching and long-term consequences of our actions.

It also seems that awakening often starts a process of healing emotional issues. These may come to the surface to be seen, felt, loved, and more consciously included in the oneness. One way to talk about this is that the initial awakening is a global awakening, and this healing process allows more parts of us – the ones still stuck in painful separation consciousness – to awaken and align with the global awakening. As mentioned above, this is also vital for the embodiment process.

How can we understand awakening?

In my mind, there are two ways of understanding or interpreting awakening.

In the small or psychological interpretation, we can say that in our own experience, we are consciousness, and this is what wakes up to itself. Whether there is an actual human being here or an actual physical world, or whether we fundamentally are separate or not, doesn’t really matter. What matters is what we are in our own immediate experience and the pragmatics of this noticing itself and what it does for our life.

In the big or spiritual interpretation, what we are is the same as what all of existence is. All is One, or Spirit, or God, or the Divine, or Brahman, or Big Mind, or Allah. The label is not important.

The small interpretation is helpful because it can make this more approachable for people within a more conventional mindset or setting. The big interpretation is perhaps more inspiring. And both seem to fit (most of!) the data of awakening equally well.

Why are there so many myths about awakening?

There are many myths about awakening: It’s reserved for special people. It’s something unusual. It’s something very different from our ordinary experience. It will solve all our problems. We become a saint. There is something we can call a final or full awakening.

I don’t know why there are so many myths about it. I suspect it’s because it used to be the domain of certain spiritual traditions and they partly obscured it based on misunderstandings and partly had vested interests in making it appear special.

Why is it important?

It’s not for most people and that’s OK. For some of us, it’s important because it’s part of human experience. It says something about who and what we are. It does help us live in a way that’s more conscious of the whole which can help society, humanity, and the Earth.

What are some methods for inviting what we are to notice itself?

These are the traditional spiritual practices and the newer variations on these.

It can help to know the words and the theory, but this is just a starting point and initial pointer. The words are, in themselves, not important.

Training a more stable attention supports this exploration – and anything we do in life – so it’s more than worthwhile to include in our daily life. Even just a few minutes makes a difference.

Basic meditation is to notice and allow. Notice what happens in the sense fields. Allow it all to be as is. This tends to shift identification out of the observed (content of experience) and it makes it easier for what we are to notice itself. (Initially, we may take ourselves to be the observer, and then notice that this too happens within the content of experience.)

Inquiry is a great support. We can get a glimpse of what we are through forms of inquiry like the Big Mind process and the Headless experiments, and also Living Inquiries. Through The Work, we may – over time – find how our thoughts are not true which allows space for what we are to notice itself. And through Living Inquiries, we explore how the mind creates its own experience – including taking itself to be a separate being, this body, the observer, consciousness, etc. This too tends to allow space for what we are to notice itself.

Guidelines for behavior is important to reduce drama and distractions in our life, and they tend to (roughly!) mimic how we naturally live when what we are notices itself and this is more embodied.

Prayer – at least the contemplative and heartfelt variety – helps shift our identification out of the content of our experience, it shifts our attention to a much larger whole, and it creates space for what we are to notice itself.

Heart-centered practices help us reorient. They help us shift from an us-vs-them orientation to befriending the world and our own experience. Again, this creates space for what we are to notice itself, and it mimics how we naturally live when what we are notices itself through daily life.

Body-centered practices can help us train more stable attention. It can also give us an experience of our body-mind wholeness which makes it easier for what we are to notice itself.

Some forms of energy work can also support awakening. I am most familiar with the awakening process supported when we go through the higher levels of Vortex Healing training.

As mentioned above, inviting in healing for emotional issues makes it easier to live from the noticing in more situations in daily life. It supports embodiment.

Note: Apologies for this slightly disorganized article. I chose to write this without outlining or editing too much, not because that’s better but because I felt a little overwhelmed by the thought of organizing and editing it!

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Healing: Take full responsibility & understand

 

I had a conversation with a friend the other day, and she brought up how some use psychological insights to excuse their own or another’s behavior.

For me, it’s a reminder that we are all fully responsible for our own behavior, and yet our behavior – including the unkind and confused one – is understandable and has explanations.

To heal, we typically need to address both.

We need to take full responsibility for our own behavior. I made that choice. Nobody and nothing “forced” me to make it. I can’t blame anyone or anything.

And we need to understand some of where it came from. It’s helpful to understand it on the story level in terms of origins, reasons and so on. And it’s very helpful to frame this in a kind way, also because that’s closer to reality. So often, we find that what we regret the most or are most ashamed of is innocent. It was a confused and innocent way to try to deal with our life and pain, although it may have created (triggered) a lot of pain for ourselves and perhaps others.

Taking responsibility without this understanding can be harsh and crushing. And having some of this understanding without taking responsibility is a cop-out and prevents us from changing and healing. We need both.

This also goes for how I relate to others. I can seek to understand some of why they behave the way they do. I can know that if I more fully understood, I would have empathy for them. And I also see and know they are fully responsible for their own actions.

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Writing about healing and awakening is like writing a guidebook

 

Writing about healing and awakening is a bit like writing a guidebook. We know there is a lot we don’t know about the place, and there may be others who know more about it in general, or who know more about different parts of it. But we (hopefully!) have been there, we have some experience with it, and the little we know may be helpful to others.

Also, when we write a guidebook, we focus on what we have a particular interest in – whether it’s the history, art, nature, food, or something else. And for someone out there, our approach may be a good fit.

Guidebooks don’t pretend to be complete or the final word about a place. They are incomplete, selective, written from our own interests, experiences, and limitations, and they need to be regularly updated. And that’s also how it is with guidebooks for healing and awakening.

Guidebooks are also typically written by people who know just enough about the place. While many who know as much or more about the place do not write about it. And that too is the same with guidebooks for healing and awakening. It doesn’t mean that guidebooks are not useful. Just that the authors of guidebooks may not be the ones who are most familiar with the place.

People who read guidebooks know the difference between reading about a place and actually going there. Again, that’s the same for healing and awakening. The guidebook is a good initial orientation and can be helpful – for some things and in a limited way – when we go there.

Guidebooks can be very useful and even essential. I usually read one or more before going to a new place, and I sometimes read them for places I am quite familiar with. And when it comes to guidebooks for healing and awakening, it can be helpful to recognize that they are not that different from guidebooks to physical places.

Healing = willingness to heal > lack of willingness to heal

 

I think there is a relatively simple equation for whether we heal from emotional wounds or not.

The simple version is this:

Healing = willingness to heal > lack of willingness to heal.

When we want to heal more than we fear the discomfort of the process, we tend to find healing. It may take time, but there is healing.

We can add a few more components to the equation:

Healing = willingness face discomfort + trust in the process + right tools & good guidance > fear of discomfort + lack of trust + not so good tools

We not only need to be willing to face the discomfort, we also need to trust in the process, and we need the right tools and guidance. We need to trust we can find healing, that the tools are right, and that we have good guidance. And the trust needs to be based on reality.

We can add even a few more things to the initially simple equation: sincerity, honesty (with oneself), receptivity, and doggedness, a willingness to stay with the process.

Of course, if there are no results after a few sessions, it may be good to re-evaluate the process and perhaps find another tool and/or guidance. In my experience, if it works, we notice it relatively quickly.

The issue may not clear right away, but we notice it shifts and perhaps lightens and opens up. Smaller and more isolated issues can be cleared relatively quickly, but it takes longer for the more core and interwoven issues, perhaps even a lifetime, even if these too can shift, lighten, and be much easier after some sessions.

I am talking from my own experience here so I am open for this changing as I discover new tools and approaches.

Sincerity on the spiritual path

 

Professor Broom: In medieval stories, there is often a young knight who is inexperienced, but pure of heart.
John Myers: Oh, come on. I am not pure of heart.
Abe Sapien(who’s psychic) Yes, you are.
Professor Broom: Rasputin is back for him. What I’m asking of you is to have the courage to stand by him when I am gone. He was born a demon; we can’t change that. But you will help him, in essence, to become a man.

– from Hellboy (2004), quoted in Wikipedia

One of the most valuable qualities on a healing and spiritual path is sincerity, a pure heart. As Broom says, this is a recurrent theme in some of the traditional legends and perhaps most famously the grail legend (Perceval).

Sincerity allows us to be more honest with ourselves, and that’s essential for emotional healing, awakening, and embodiment.

Is also essential for having a meaningful and juicy relationship with ourselves and others, one that allows for authenticity, growth, and surprises.

If we have some sincerity, it doesn’t matter so much if we are young or inexperienced on the path we are on. Sincerity is gold, and we can always learn tools and we will gain experience.

Is sincerity something we can learn or develop? Perhaps not. But I can notice when I am not sincere and I can then shift into sincerity.

Sometimes, it’s not so easy. We may be caught in fear of a situation or something coming up in us and retreat into defensiveness to try to stay safe. That’s OK. Again, it helps to notice. I can be honest with myself about what happened. And that, in itself, is sincerity.

It also helps to notice what in me takes me away from sincerity. What is the fear about? What is the fearful story? What beliefs do I find? Identifications? And then explore it further, befriend it (find healing for my relationship to it), and perhaps find healing for the issue itself.

As I wrote the second paragraph (“Sincerity allows us….”), I noticed a synchronicity in the lyrics of the song I was listening to:

There are times when a man needs to brave his reflection,
And face what he sees without fear,
It takes a man to accept his mortality,
Or be surprised by the presence of a tear.

– Sting and Rob Mathes, I love her but she loves someone else

Image: The Achievement of the Grail by British Artist Sir Edward Burn-Jones design, William Morris execution and John Henry Dearle flowers and decorations, from the Holy Grail tapestries 1891-94, Museum and Art Gallery of Birmingham, wool and silk on cotton warp.

What I exclude from oneness

 

I may generally notice and realize that all is the divine, and yet I sometimes exclude something from it.

That points to an unresolved issue in me, something in me that I can invite in healing and awakening for.

Not surprisingly, when it happens, it’s sometimes more visible to others than it is to myself. It sometimes takes someone to point it out to me before I take it seriously. (And I may, at first, feel a bit defensive when it’s pointed out to me. Although I secretly know it’s true and I am grateful.)

I exclude something from oneness in my view and in my behavior. I perceive or act as if something or someone is not part of oneness. As if it’s somehow excluded from the divine.

It’s very natural, it’s very ordinary, and it’s probably a part of any awakening process.

It reminds me to keep going with the awakening, healing, and embodiment. It’s a reminder to include more and more parts of me in the awakening and healing.

How does it look? Here are some examples:

I see someone inn the world my conditioning doesn’t like, reject and condemn them, and “forget” that this person is also an expression of the divine. (When I recognize the oneness also here, I can still condemn an behavior and take appropriate steps to prevent the person from harming others. But I don’t need to condemn or reject the person, and I don’t need to forget that this person too is the divine.)

I reject something in myself. I avoid feeling it. I may not (like to) acknowledge it’s here. I see it as a problem. I may ignore it or try to get rid of it. I ignore my knowing that this too is the divine, and (mostl likely) do so to avoid pain.

I made a bad decision at a crossroads in life. I even went against my clear inner guidance. And I tell myself I went against what life or the divine wanted me to do. I am caught in regret and self-blame. And I am unable to see that this too was and is the divine. That this too was, in a sense, divine will. I may also overlook that this experience can helps me to go deeper – in healing, humanizing, maturing, awakening, and embodiment.

When I remind myself that “this too is the divine”, notice it, and allow it to sink in, it’s the context that changes. And this shift allows me to relate to it differently. Often with less reactivity and with a little more sanity and kindness.

Recognizing these people, parts of me, and situations as the divine doesn’t rule out sane and decisive action. On the contrary, it helps me be more clear and grounded in how I relate to it and in my actions.

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.)

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We are creating our own reality?

 

To me, healing, maturing and awakening is partly about discernment, differentiation, and clarifying in what particular ways something is true.

In modern spirituality, we sometimes hear people say that we create our own reality. This can be understood in slightly naive (misguided and less helpful) ways, but there is also some truth to it.

So how is it true for me?

In general, I see that my perception of anything is filtered through and created by an overlay of stories – of images and words. And most these are often not even noticed, unless we have spent some time exploring and noticing them intentionally.

Also, as what we are – that which any experience happens within and as – we can say that we “create” our world. Our experience of anything is an expression of the creativity of the mind.

And if we are so inclined, we can say that what we are is the divine, everything is the divine, and the divine creates all these experiences for itself.

There is a related question: are we creating the situations we find ourselves in?

Sometimes, because we live from our limited experience and perception, and sometimes our hangups, wounds, and identifications, that creates situations for us. We sometimes sit in the nest we built ourselves. This is the conventional and ordinary way of looking at it.

I mostly find it helpful to look for how I can use my current situation to heal, mature, and awaken.

It can be helpful to assume that life “wants” me to heal, mature, and awaken. Life sets up situations for me where I can see what’s left, with an invitation for me to invite in healing, maturing, and awakening for whatever in me needs it.

From a bigger perspective, we can say that life creates situations for itself that invites in local healing, maturing, and awakening through this part of itself that’s this human me.

I don’t know if it’s true in any absolute or final sense, but I find it a helpful guide.

I can also do another what if exercise. What if something in me created this situation? Which emotional issue, belief, or identification in me would create it? (This is similar to the – somewhat naive – assumption that we are creating our own situations, but the what-if angle gives it a lighter and more playful touch.)

How has this played out in my own life? This topic is current for me now in a few difficult situations. One is my health (CFS and Lyme) and another is a recent process with the government which took longer than I expected (the wait had some ripple effects).

Some may say (and have said) that I am creating the situations for myself. For instance, I have created the illness. When I try that assumption on, I find it creates stress in me and weird thought patterns. It feels more helpful to see the situation in a more conventional way and use a couple of what-if thought experiments to harvest the value in the situation.

I can look at the situation in a more finely grained way, and in a way that’s more real and honest to me. For instance:

Have I created the CFS and Lyme disease for myself? Not really as they are caused by a virus (EB) and Lyme. And yet, it may be that stress and some stressful beliefs and identifications in me weakened my system and created the conditions for these to move into a full-blown disease. It’s good to address this. It’s very helpful for me to strengthen my system in any way I am able, including through reducing stress and clearing up any chronic stressful beliefs and identifications in me.

The illness has brought to light many areas of myself where I resist my life as it is (other stressful beliefs and identifications), and it’s helpful for me and my quality of life to address these. I can use the illness and the situations I find myself in due to the illness to identify and invite healing for these parts of me.

I can ask myself what if I created this illness, where in me was it created from? (I find a victim identity, overwhelmed by life, and perhaps a desire to hide from life.)

Did I create the delay with the government process? No, I found myself in the same situation as others in the same process. The delay was caused by many social factors, including restructuring and priorities. And yet, here too, I can find stressful beliefs and identifications triggered in me by this situation and invite in healing for these. If life placed me in that situation so I can find deeper healing, which parts of me need healing? Which wounded parts of me were triggered? (Victim, hopelessness.) What did the situation say about me? (I am a victim.) And what if something in me created it, which wounded parts of me would that be? (A victim expecting things to take longer than expected.) 

In this way, I acknowledge the validity in conventional ways of looking at life. I benefit from assuming that life is conspiring on my behalf and places me in situations so I can heal, mature, and awaken and find healing and awakening for more parts of me. And I can even benefit from the angle (held lightly as a what-if question) that something in me created it.

Waking up issues and more

 

I’ll write more about this in other posts, but wanted to make a quick note of it here.

When there is some degree of awakening here, this awakeness can be used to wake up other things, including emotional issues.

In my case, I connect with the awakeness (bring it to awareness), I connect with the lack of awakeness in the emotional issue, and I intend for the emotional issue to wake up. To wake up from its painful dream (the reason it’s an emotional issue is that it still lives in separation consciousness) and to reality (all as the divine and One).

When we wake up emotional issues in this way, it’s deeply healing, and it also helps us to live our awakeness in more areas and situations in life (embodiment). Instead of certain situations triggering the emotional issue, there is now more space to live from awakeness.

We can also wake up parts of the physical body or objects in the same way. The divine becomes more awake to itself as and through these objects.

This is the direct way to wake up issues and other things. And there are also other ways, including through a whole range of healing modalities such as Vortex Healing (after Core Veil is gone), the Big Mind process (shifting into Big Mind/Heart, holding a part of us still not awake, and invite it to wake up and align with reality), and different other forms of inquiry (Living Inquiry, The Work, headless experiments etc.)

A few additional notes:

How, more specifically, do I go about waking up issues? In my case, I notice the awakeness of all of existence – as it appears to me and as it stretches out indefinitely. (Some connect to the awakening in their spiritual heart, a little above the physical heart.) I then bring attention to the emotional issue – where I notice a physical contraction (there is a bodily contraction with every emotional issue), and I get a sense of the (stressful, separation-consciousness created) stories connected with it. Then, I intend for the issue to wake up – for the awakeness that’s already here to infuse the issue so it can wake up to itself as the divine. (And also, so “I” can recognize it more clearly as the divine, temporarily confused, temporarily pretending to believe in stressful stories, temporarily creating a “hook” for identification and so on.) And I stay with it until I notice the shift, and a bit longer so it can deepen and settle.

There can be a “general” and “global” awakening, and yet when we have emotional issues, as we all (?) do, these parts of us still remain in separation consciousness. They were formed from separation consciousness and still operate from separation consciousness. And life “wants” these to awaken, so it’s common that at some point after the general awakening, these confused and unawake parts surface so they can join in the awakening. To the extent we struggle with it and don’t know how to deal with it in a constructive way, it can be distressing and painful, and yet it’s an essential part of awakening and embodiment. And most of us learn, over time, how to better and more consciously dance this dance.

As I sometimes do, I have written this in a more ordinary language. It’s more accurate to say that it’s the divine waking itself up. The divine is (somewhat) awake to itself here, and uses that awakeness to wake up other parts of itself (emotional issues, parts of the body, objects in the world).

I should also add that the dynamic behind waking up issues is also why it can help to be in the presence of someone awake. That local awakeness helps the divine nearby (in the form of other people) to ripen and eventually wake up to itself.

And I want to add a few words about why I am writing about this now. I have naturally done this since the initial awakening in my teens, but it has sometimes taken a back seat since many people recommend and speak about other approaches to healing and embodiment. I have re-found courage to use this more direct approach since it’s used (in a slightly different form) in Vortex Healing, and since new people in my life have spoken about it and use it themselves. Another reason is that I overcooked myself a few months ago from giving myself and receiving a lot of energy healing, and I am unable to do much conventional energy healing right now (Vortex Healing). So what’s left is this more direct approach of awakening the issues. It doesn’t tax or strain my system nearly as much.

Awakening the issues can be very helpful and can create a big transformation. It doesn’t necessarily remove the issue, but it becomes lighter and has less charge, and since it’s more awake to itself as the divine it’s easier to relate to it more intentionally and in a healthier way. And any other healing or inquiry approach can be very helpful in conjunction with waking up the issue.

I assume when we wake up issues in this way, they wake up to the extent the “global” consciousness is awake. At the very least, we can wake up issues to the truth that the person is currently aware of and experiencing.

Allowing a situation to transform me

 

When faced with a challenging situation, my first impulse is often to change the situation. Most of the time, that’s what makes most sense and it’s generally a good way of going about it.

And yet, sometimes, I encounter a situation that doesn’t change, or that challenges me more deeply. What makes more sense then is to ask how I can allow the situation to transform me.

To help me reorient, I may pray for receptivity, clarity, and an open heart. I pray for clarification, maturing, and finding love for what is. I pray for being more consciously aligned with reality, truth, and love.

These are wishes and prayers for myself independent of any situation. And a challenging situation reminds me and may allow me to find more sincerity in the prayers.

In addition to these prayers, I can find more specific ways to allow the situation to transform me.

And for me, this often includes….

Being honest with myself and others in the situation. As Adya says, this honesty often takes the form of a confession. It can be a confession of deep fears in me, and thoughts and wishes I feel embarrassed or shy speaking out loud.

Inquiry where I allow the situation to help me see through my initial beliefs and find what’s true for me. I am willing to allow the situation to strip me of my old beliefs and identifications.

Heart-centered practices where I allow my old orientation (of complaining, blame, see myself as a victim) to make way for befriending the situation and what it brings up in me.

Energy healing where I invite in healing for emotional issues and identifications triggered by the situation.

And perhaps noticing all as what I am, for instance through the Big Mind process or headless experiments.

What’s the outcome of any transformation that may take place? We can’t know in advance, and it’s an ongoing process. At the same time, I have hinted at some in the list above.

We may find more honesty (and real kindness) in how we relate to ourselves and others. We may befriend the situation and what it brings up in us, and more. We may find what’s more true for us than our initial stressful beliefs. We may find healing for emotional issues triggered by the situation. We may mature as a human being. We may live with a little more kindness towards ourselves and others. We may find a little more capacity for allowing discomfort, and a little more resilience in life. We may notice what we are (that which any experience happens within and as) and perhaps become more familiar with it and even find that the center of what we take ourselves to be shifts more into it.

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Magic tricks, healing, and awakening

 

I have been interested in magic tricks since childhood. Like many kids, I had my own magic set and learned and performed the basic tricks for family and friends. In adulthood, I have enjoyed learning about the history of stage magic and how many of the tricks are done. (I have no interest in performing since that takes a lot of time, practice, stage presence, and showmanship.)

There are many great magicians, and the greatest is life itself. The greatest magic trick of all is that anything exists at all. Another is that the one appears as many, and even temporarily and locally takes itself to be separate from the whole. And the magic of life is, obviously, what allows our human lives and everything we are and do and experience. It’s also what allows our small stage versions of magic.

What does stage magic have to do with healing and awakening? Healing and awakening require us to see through some of the magic tricks of life. We need to go behind the scenes and see how emotional wounds are created, and how a sense of being (ultimately) a separate being is created.

How does stage magic work? It relies on a solid understanding of human psychology and especially how our mind uses shortcuts and fills in the gaps in our perception. The magician also makes use of misdirection, of distracting our attention away from where and how the trick is done.

The same principles are behind how our mind creates emotional wounds and a sense of being a fundamentally separate being.

How does the mind’s ability to fill in the gaps play a role in stage magic, healing, and awakening? I’ll write more about this below. In essence, the mind operates on limited information and assumptions.

A stage magician may show a woman in a box with the head out one end and the feet out the other. The box is cut in half, and it looks like the woman was cut in half along with the box. We assume the head and the feet belong to the same body, so she has to be cut in half. And yet we know that can’t possibly be the case so we feel bewildered, amazed, and entertained.

A trauma or emotional issue is formed in a similar way. Something happened. We felt overwhelmed and couldn’t process it very well. And we told ourselves scary and stressful stories about the situation and what happened. When we examine those stories, we see that they created the emotional issue, they hold it in place, and they are not accurate. There are other ways of interpreting the situation that are more accurate and kinder and allows the emotional issue to heal. (That’s obviously very simplified.)

Similarly, the mind creates the appearance of being a fundamentally separate self through limited information and assumptions. We may notice the human self operating and that it’s always here. We may not notice that we are not that (but what which is space for it). We are told that we are this human self, and others take us as this human self. So the mind takes itself to fundamentally be this apparently separate human self. It’s innocent and understandable. It happens through assumptions and the mind making use of shortcuts. And stage magic makes use of the same processes of the mind.

Let’s look at misdirection. How does misdirection work in stage magic? With the example above, there is a subtle form of misdirection that allows the trick to be believable. The box often appears much more shallow than it is. For instance, there is a bright side on the box so the box appears as shallow as that bright area. Below, there is a black area that may be set in and appears as just part of the construction of the box. The bright section isn’t deep enough for anybody to curl up in and it distracts us from noticing that there is actually a lot more space in the box than it first looks like.

More common forms of misdirection are words – saying something that isn’t true but sounds plausible. And movement – bringing attention away from where the secret of the trick happens.

How does misdirection work with emotional issues? How does life – or the mind – use misdirection to hold an emotional issue in place?

In order to heal emotional issues, we often need a combination of investigating the thoughts holding it in place, and meeting, feeling, allowing and befriending the emotions and physical sensations connected with the issue. The mind applies misdirection in order to avoid this.

It may be uncomfortable to examine the thoughts, and it’s often uncomfortable to feel and befriend the emotions, so the mind brings attention somewhere else. This misdirection takes the form of reactivity (a reaction to the discomfort) and can come out as compulsive blame, shame, guilt, defensiveness, fueling stressful stories, attaching to ideologies, anger, addictions, and so on.

And how does misdirection work when it comes to awakening? How does life (temporarily and locally) use misdirection in order to take itself as a fundamentally separate being?

Life has to take attention away from what’s here and what’s pretty obvious when it’s noticed. We are that which all our experience happens within and as. We can say that we are consciousness, and to us everything happens within and as consciousness.

The misdirection happens as soon as our mind holds any thought as true, as saying something fundamentally true about life, the world, and ourselves. As soon as that happens, the mind identifies with the viewpoint of the thought and in the process takes itself to be a part of the content of experience (and not that which all experience happens within and as). It takes itself to be a separate being, someone in the wider world.

This becomes a habit. It’s reinforced by people around us who do the same. And it’s reinforced by a lot of different psychological processes.

How is the magic trick actually performed? The main trick has to do with our sense fields (sight, sound, sensations, taste, smell, thought) and how our mind combines them into our experience of the world. As we know from mainstream psychology, the mind is excellent at shortcuts and filling in “the gaps”, and that’s (roughly) how emotional issues are held in place, and it’s also how we come to take ourselves as fundamentally a separate being (and not consciousness all experience happens within and as).

There are many aspects to this. We can say it happens when the mind believes its own stories. When it identifies with or as viewpoints created by these stories. When the mind associates sensations with thoughts (images, words), and the sensations lend a sense of reality and solidity to the thoughts (so they seem true), and the thoughts lend a sense of meaning to the sensations.

These sensations are typically created by the mind through physical tension. This allows the sensations to either be chronically available or to become available as needed in order for the mind to perceive a thought as true. This is why emotional issues are associated with physical tension (sometimes chronic). And it’s why taking ourselves to fundamentally be a separate being inherently comes with tension and stress.

I have gone more into these mechanics in other articles. Mainly the ones related to Living Inquiries (a modern form of traditional Buddhist inquiry).

Finally, what’s the purpose of stage magic? The purpose of stage magic is to amaze, bewilder, and entertain.

And what’s the purpose of life’s magic? It may not be so different. It’s the play of life. Or the play of the divine – Lila. Existence expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways. Existence amazing itself. Existence temporarily bewildering itself. Existence entertaining itself.

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Spiritual awakening: urgent or not?

 

Some experience an urgency about spiritual awakening. There is a sense that we have to find ways to make it happen as soon as possible.

When that happens, I suspect it’s to find peace, contentment, and a sense of arriving. And that a component of it is a wish to escape discomfort, a belief that awakening will give that, and that it needs to happen quickly because this discomfort is unpeasant and/or unbearable.

The upside of this is that it’s a “golden chain”. It can help us go more wholeheartedly into an awakening-exploration and we can gain a lot of valuable experiences and insights from that process.

The downside is that if it distracts us from our own healing, we may miss out of a path (the healing path) that will give us enough of what we want to satisfy us for a while. Often, healing is a quicker and more effective path to find a measure of peace, contentment, and a sense of arriving. Also, since it’s a compulsion, it comes from one or more beliefs, and it doesn’t work in the long run. Sooner or later, we’ll need to question the beliefs creating the awakening-compulsion in us and explore the emotional wounds in us that it comes from.

There are no easy answers in how to navigate this. Yes, the awakening compulsion comes from neediness, beliefs, and emotional issues. Yes, we can find a lot of what we are looking for through healing. Yes, we can learn a lot from a more compulsive awakening path, at least for a while. Yes, the compulsion eventually will have to go. And how we navigate all of this is up to us. We have to find our own path through it. And it does help to have experienced, wise, and balanced guidance.

At the same time, perhaps there is an easy and mostly helpful guideline. What I do is to choose approaches to awakening that also includes healing. Heart-centered practices often heal and prepare the ground for awakening (tonglen, ho’oponopno). Some types of inquiry invite healing as well as awakening (Living Inquiries, The Work). Some types of energy work do the same (Vortex Healing, although the awakening component comes in more when you are a student). Basic meditation (AKA natural rest, shikantaza) sets the stage for awakening and supports healing (although other approaches are often needed for deeper and more thorough healing). Training a more stable attention supports any activity, whether it’s exploring awakening or healing or anything else (and it does tend to bring in a measure of contentment).

So it makes sense to combine an awakening path with a healing path. The two support each other. And we tend to find what we really want through a combination of the two. And, perhaps more importantly, a release from thinking it’s what we really want and that we need it.

And is awakening an urgent matter? The dull (?) answer is that it is for us if we experience it as urgent. There is nothing wrong with this urgency. And it’s not needed. As far as I can tell, awakening isn’t inherently an urgent matter. If it was, life would have awakened through most or all beings already. It seems that for life, the path is the goal. (Lila.)

And there is a small (?) caveat here in that humanity is at a crossroads and a crisis point and the more life has healed itself and awakened to itself through a certain number of people, and the more the better, the more likely we are to get through this with some grace and with less massive collective suffering. (The crisis, if it isn’t obvious, is our current ecological crisis which requires an overhaul of our collective worldviews and systems, and also a reduction in local and global inequality in terms of resources and opportunities.)

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What if healing and awakening is endless?

 

The truth will set you free in any area of life. And so also with healing and awakening. Not only is truth what allows for healing of emotional issues and awakening, but the reality about healing and awakening is also freeing.

As far as I can tell, one of these “truths” is that healing and awakening both are endless. There is always one more issue to heal. There is always another layer of what we think we are that falls away. For all practical purposes, it’s endless.

If I think there is an end to healing and awakening, I’ll likely try to get to that end. I have a goal in mind. I get impatient. I may set aside other sides of my life so I can get the healing and awakening done with, and then I can address the others sides of my life again. I may get frustrated. Disappointed. Having the idea that there is an end to healing and awakening creates a lot of additional stress and struggle.

If I see healing and awakening as endless, it frees me up. It allows me to weave it into daily life as one of many strands. It becomes normal. It becomes one part of my life among many. There is less urgency and compulsion around it. There is more balance between healing and awakening and the rest of my life. (And everything – any activity, experience and situation – can still be food for healing and awakening.)

It’s perhaps obvious. I assume most of us already see healing and awakening as endless. But somewhere in us, there may be an idea of a goal or endpoint. I know I have had both the knowing of it as endless, and parts of me wanting an endpoint. It can be one of those hidden or unspoken beliefs in us. As with so much, it’s good to notice. And if we are drawn to it, we can explore it further through inquiry or other approaches.

A benefit of seeing healing and awakening as endless is that we know there is always one more step, and one more. We are less likely to think we have “arrived” and less likely to see ourselves as inherently better (or worse) than others because of it, or to go stale because we think there is nothing more to explore or discover.

Another benefit of seeing it as endless is that we all are in the same boat. We may be at different places on the path on all the different strands of development, healing, awakening, and maturing, but we are all on the path. There is always further to go. Always one more step, for all of us.

And it’s not a problem at all that it’s endless. It just means the exploration continues. What’s revealed is fresh and new. We see more and different patterns and connections. We find more underlying patterns and dynamics. As humans, we continue to heal, mature, develop. As this local expression of life, we continue to see more about ourselves and what we are.

Of course, that it’s endless is an idea, it’s my imagination. I don’t really know. It’s just what seems most likely within my current horizon. And it’s the view that seems most helpful to me now.

When I said “truth” in the first paragraph, it’s not meant in the sense of any absolute or final truth. It’s just what seems most real and accurate for me right now, and also most helpful in a practical sense. It may well change.

A cosmology footnote: To me, it seems likely that this universe will expand and then contract, and the energy will form another universe. A “heat death” as current science sees as most likely wouldn’t allow for a continued dynamic exploration, so it seems more likely that the universe is inherently pulsing. Of course, I don’t know. This too is an imagination. And again, it’s one that seems helpful to the extent any overarching abstract idea like that is helpful and relevant to anything.

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A more real rest: healing & awakening

 

How do we find rest?

We can find rest in the ways most of us find rest. Lie down, unwind, sleep. Receive bodywork. Spend time in nature. Go on a vacation. Slow down. Reduce your schedule. Do more of what you really enjoy. Take a few courses in mindfulness and mindful movement (yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema).

For most people, this is more than enough. It gives us the rest we need.

And yet, some of us are called to a path of deeper healing and awakening. And although this path can be intense, uncomfortable, and overwhelming at times (when unhealed emotional issues surface and our most cherished and basic identities are threatened and die), it does eventually bring a deeper and more real rest.

Taking ourselves to be a separate being is inherently stressful. Protecting the identities we take ourselves to be as an I and me is stressful. And unhealed emotional issues are stressful, whether they are triggered and active or resting and creating a more background level of stress.

All of this creates a level of ongoing tension and unease.

So as we find deeper healing for our emotional issues, there is a release of this tension and stress. And as there is an awakening out of taking ourselves to be a separate being, there is an even deeper release of tension and stress.

This deeper path of healing and awakening isn’t really something we choose. It’s chosen for us by life. It’s a calling. And although it can be immensely uncomfortable at times (to the extent we have trauma in our system and strongly hold onto certain identities for protection), it does eventually bring a deeper sense of relief and a deeper release of tension and unease.

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Using the new to heal the old

 

When a current situation triggers old wounds, it’s a valuable opportunity to find healing for the old. 

For instance, I have a loss in my life. And it triggers childhood wounds around loss. (It could be from specific situations, or it could be from family patterns and insecure attachment.) 

It doesn’t really matter if what comes up is “new” or old. (Although if what comes up in me is strong – stronger than I would expect from the situation, and it’s a familiar feeling or pattern, it probably means that the new triggered an old wound.)  

In either case, I can meet it with kindness, respect, and patience. I can feel the sensations, rest with them, breathe consciously. Notice and allow. 

And I can explore and invite in healing in any number of ways. For me, usually through inquiry and Vortex healing. 

In this way, I use the new to find healing for the old. My current situation becomes very valuable to me even if it’s painful and not something I would have sought out. 

Healing on behalf of life

 

When I invite in healing for myself, it’s on behalf of life.

When I heal a part of me, it obviously benefits myself, my future self, and those around me. It may also benefit future generations and all life. And I am doing it on behalf of my ancestors.

So when I do healing for myself and it feels challenging, I can remind myself of this. I am doing it on behalf of life. And, in a sense, I have the support of all of life in my healing process. 

How is this true, more specifically? 

When I find emotional healing for myself, it benefits me and my future self. It’s an act of solidarity with my future self. I’ll be better able to make good decisions and fully enjoy and live life. It may also benefit those around me since I’ll be more free of emotional issues and reactivity, less annoying, and perhaps more understanding. 

In the same way, it may benefit future generations. If I have children, they will benefit from my healing and pass it on, and at the very least not pass on the unhealthy patterns that ended with me. 

And I am doing it on behalf of my ancestors. Many unhealthy emotional patterns are passed on through generations and through our culture.  And even if my ancestors and previous generation were not able to find healing for the patterns passed on to me, I may be able to find healing for what they couldn’t (due to different times, awareness, support, skills). 

My healing can also help the wider living whole. Healing means contentment and less reactivity, and contentment allows for less (harmful) consumption, and reduced reactivity allows for kinder and more informed decisions and way of life. A way of life that takes into account the well-being of all of life. 

In these ways, all of life is an ally in my healing. When I imagine all beings as kind and clear, I know they support my healing. And I can remind myself of this and this implicit support, when my own healing seems challenging.

Beyond just reminding myself, I can call in and ask for support from ancestors, future, generations, and all of life for my own healing process. 

Note: I say “heal myself” which is partly true, but it’s more true that life heals itself. “I” am not doing it and cannot do it. Life does it. Life invites in healing for parts of itself and heals itself. 

The truth will set us free

 

and the truth will set you free

New Testament, John 8:32

This is true in many ways. 

It’s true in relationships, in society, and in terms of social justice and sustainability. We need the truth, and to be honest about it, for change to happen. 

It’s also true in healing. And, as Jesus referred to, it’s true in awakening. 

For emotional healing, we need the truth. Truth = reality, and consciously aligning more with reality = emotional healing. 

For awakening, we also need truth. Truth = reality, and awakening means to consciously align with reality. 

And then there is fear of truth. Most of us have a fear of truth to some extent, in some areas of life, for several different reasons. It’s important to honor this fear, and explore it with some gentleness, kindness, and curiosity. 

I have written about each of these more in depth in other articles so I’ll leave this article brief.  

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Healing and the limits of what happens inside of thoughts

 

When it comes to healing of emotional issues, it’s limited what can happen inside of the person’s thoughts. There is a limit to what can happen through thinking and talking. 

Of course, through thinking and talking, some limited resoling and healing can happen. It can be good to think or talk about something and put words on it. It can be good to have someone listening to it, whether that’s ourselves or someone else, especially when the listening is kind, insightful, and helps us find our own insights and resolutions. 

In the best case, it can help us gain some perspective and resolution. In the worst case, our painful (and trauma-creating) stories can be reinforced by ourselves or the other person. And by entering into something too quickly or in an unskillful way, we can also retraumatize ourselves. 

And although emotional issues may be largely created by us believing our own thoughts about something that happened, the emotional issues themselves go far beyond out thoughts. They sit in our whole system. 

So for a more thorough and real healing and resolution, we often need something outside of thought. As mention above, the main healing factor may be listening with presence, patience, respect, kindness, and invitation for us to find our own insights and resolution. 

Among the many outside-of-thought approaches to healing out there, I am only familiar with a few so those are the ones I write about here. They are just examples, and I don’t mean to say you have to do any of these. The ones available to you, and the ones that work for you are the ones best for you. 

So here is a list of examples I happen to be familiar with: 

Release tension related to and created by the issue out of the body through therapeutic tremoring (TRE). 

Reorient in how I relate to the emotional issue and to the triggering situation through heart-centered practices. (Ho’o, tonglen, all-inclusive gratitude practices.) 

Examine the stressful and issue-creating thoughts, and find what’s more true for me (The Work). 

Examine how the mind creates its own experience, and specifically the issue, through combining sensations and thoughts. Peak behind the curtain. Shine sunlight on the troll. (Living Inquiries.) 

Use energy healing to release the issue, including through releasing conditioning at all levels and invite in new insights. (Vortex Healing.) 

In addition, there are the time-honored ways of healing through touch, movement, loving social interactions, and time in nature. 

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Finding healing for myself at different ages

 

One of the things I like to do is to invite in healing for myself at different ages. I imagine myself as a specific age (e.g. age 5), feel into and look at whatever may have bothered me at the time (issues, uncertainties etc.), and then invite in healing for me / him as I would for any client. If it’s inquiry, I can do inquiry from that age, as if I am myself at that age. If it’s a heart-centered practice (ho’o, tonglen), I do it as if I would for anyone else by imagining him in front of me. And I find it works well even with Vortex Healing. I imagine him (me at age 5) as I would any client, and take him through a session (with some slight modifications) as I would any client. 

I find it helpful to do this through the timeline. I may scan my own timeline, find an age and period where I wasn’t quite comfortable with myself and the world, and spend time with myself at that age and invite in healing. Through presence. Noticing. Allowing. And sometimes inquiry, heart-centered practices, or divine energy healing (Vortex Healing). 

Why do I do this? I find it helpful to do healing for myself at specific ages. It brings certain issues more alive for me. It’s also easier when I see myself in front of me and approach the healing as I would for any client. I can access the issue internally, and it’s also an object I see in front of me which creates a helpful distance and somehow makes it easier for me to stay with the healing process. 

Mother and father issues

 

When asked about what our depression, or anxiety, or troublesome behavioral pattern is connected with, most of us will answer with immediate triggers. It has to do with our work situation, or the world situation, or current relationships.

And yet, as Freud pointed out and has become a bit of a cliche, the real answer is often in childhood. 

We may not feel ready to go directly there. Sometimes, it can be helpful to explore more peripheral or immediate issues. We get to learn and trust the process, and we get to see that it’s safe to meet it and that it can heal.

We get to see that we can learn to meet what comes up with presence, kindness, patience, respect, and gentle curiosity. We see that we can find healing for our relationship with it and how much relief is found here. And we may get to see that the issue itself can find healing and resolve. 

And yet, it’s good to relatively quickly explore if the issue does have roots in our childhood. After getting to know how the issue is experienced here and now, one of my favorite questions in inquiry is “what’s your earliest memory of feeling that way?”. It often brings the client (which sometimes is myself) right back to early situations that tell us something about how the pattern was initially formed. We get to see that it – whether it’s anxiety, depression, a compulsion, or something else – made sense in that situation and was a way of coping with a difficult situation. It was the best we could do in that situation as a child. 

We find understanding and empathy for ourselves, and perhaps even for the issue itself. We see it came from wishing to protect ourselves. And we are in a position to address the biographical roots of the issue, and that may allow for a more thorough, effective, and efficient healing.

Efficiency isn’t neccesarily a priority in a healing process, but we do have limited resources – in terms of time, money, and attention – so it is good to keep at least half an eye on efficiency.

I should also add that by addressing more peripheral and immediate issues, we do actually address parts of the the more central issues. The core issues are expressed in these peripheral and immediate issues. So by working on these peripheral issues, we do make inroads in the core ones. We prepare the ground for addressing them more head on, and it makes it easier – for many reasons – to address the core issues more head on.

We learn about the process, we learn to trust it’s safe to meet our emotional issues, we learn they can find healing, and we do – indirectly and in parts – address the core issues and find some healing for them. 

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