Side effects

I usually don’t talk about the bells and whistles that may go along with a process of Spirit noticing itself through a human life. And I also notice it doesn’t feel right to always leave it out, especially since someone may go through those things, happen upon this blog, and benefit from knowing it’s not uncommon at all.

So I’ll say a few things about my experiences here.

Initial opening/awakening phase. During this phase, several things happened. First, for about a year, there was a sense of being absorbed into the witness. The center of gravity shifted into the witness and (seemingly) away from what was witnessed, the content of awareness. This was quite disturbing in a sense, since I had no idea what was going on. I was a die-hard atheist at the time with no interest in Spirituality or God. I even went to the doctor to have tests to see if we could figure out what was going on. (I was 15 at the time.)

Then, there was a shift into Spirit recognizing itself as everything there is, with no exception. Some time into this, I remember sitting in the garden reading a book, looking up at the sky and the trees, and noticing a shine around the leaves on the tree above me. For a while, I thought it was some sort of optical illusion, until I – reluctantly (!) – realized it must be the energy field or aura of the tree. I then saw it in and around everything – inanimate objects (a simple aura at the global level), plants (an aura reflecting the aliveness of the plants), animals (more alive/complex aura) and humans (again more complex). Seeing this energy field in and around everything was yet another reminded that all is Spirit, all is God, all is awareness/awakeness. Along with this came what I later heard was called medical intuition, and the possibility of inviting in healing (getting a sense of what was going on, where it wanted to move to find healing, and inviting in changes at the “blueprint” level of the organism or being.)

Seeing auras has been helpful in seeing where spiritual teachers are at, how and in what way Spirit is awake to itself there. And I haven’t done much with the medical intuition/healing bit, mostly because I rarely talked about it so few asked for it, and also because it was clear that the cause/origin of illness or discomfort is at the level of how we relate to thought, so my interest instead went to different forms of meditation and inquiry.

During this phase, there were also a constant stream of synchronicities, often so others notice as well, and again as another reminder that all is Spirit. It’s a seamless whole, and movements within this whole appears as synchronicities. This too continues.

Diksha. I’ll mention another episode here that may be of interest. Some years back, I explored diksha. My memory of this is a bit fuzzy, so I’ll just mention a few things here. As I stood up after the initial session, there was a sense of something trickling from my head down the body, and of the body becoming translucent. This was followed by some days of a splitting and intense headache. A few days later, I walked in a forest (I was on a sustainability retreat) at night in the pitch dark, seeing the vegetation lit up and the path dark so it was easy to find my way (seeing all as energy was amplified). My companion could see anything and was surprised I could find my way.

A few days later, I was on my bed listening to the radio (Car Talk!) and my body started moving, twisting and shaking. The mechanism that connects intention and movement seemed disconnected, so there was just an observing of what was happening. This went on for 20 minutes or so. Again a few days later, “I” woke up in the middle of the night during a thunder storm, and there was just awareness and what was happening, with no awareness of anybody that this experience belonged to. After a few minutes, there was awareness of a body in the bed, and slowly and gradually, a thought that this awareness somehow was connected to this body, and then gradually a remembering that this was a human and more specific information.

During this time, attention became very stable during meditation. For instance, I would have on music to explore how thoughts tie together images of past, future and present, and it all fell apart. There was just sound, and not even that label, and nothing to tie images/memories of past, present and future sound into what could be called “music”. When I tried the indestructible crash helmet headless experiment, any sense of “I” fell away – apart from as an image not identified with anymore – and this lasted for about six months. My daily life went on as before, just without any possibility of identifying as an I. And this was followed by health problems and a quite dark dark night, showing me what was left at the human level.

Notes. These types of things seem quite ordinary and common in such a process. For some, it happens to a great extent. For others, almost not at all. And for most, it happens  during certain phases and less at other times. I suspect it’s just part of the mechanics of the process. Some of it – auras, synchronicities – is a reminder that all is Spirit. And some of it shows me what’s left. It brings up thoughts and beliefs, I get to see them, and can take them to inquiry. I may think it’s special, or that “I” am special, or it means something special. I may think that others will see me as weird, that it’s better to not say anything about it. I may think it means something is going right, or that something is wrong. And I am invited to question those thoughts, and find what’s more true for me.

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Thrown out of paradise

 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”  So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.  After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
– Genesis 3:22-24

Adam and Eve ate the apple, gained knowledge of good and evil, and were thrown out of paradise.

For me, an image (a memory, a flashback?) has come up since childhood from before incarnation. It was all love and a deep sense of contentment and home, and it was conveyed to me that it was time for me to incarnate again. I experienced it as being thrown out of paradise.

And, of course, I do it to myself. I believe thoughts, block awareness of love, and this is experienced as being thrown out of paradise.

The story from genesis reflects this quite accurately. There is a thought of good and evil, it’s taken as true, this blocks awareness of love, and I am – in my own experience – thrown out of paradise.

Healing and finding clarity is all about this for me now: Finding those parts of me, those situations, where I threw myself out of paradise, where I blocked my awareness of love. Find love there again, see it’s already love, was already love – feel it, allow it to sink in. And note and inquire into my thoughts at the time, the ones I took as true and which blocked my awareness of love at the time.

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Heartache

I have heartache coming up these days, and it’s been that way for a while. It may have been triggered by the TRE, inquiry and/or the dark night, or perhaps just a wish and receptivity for a deeper healing. In the end, it’s just life itself wishing it to be seen, felt and loved, seeking for old wounds to heal and beliefs to unravel.

It seems to come from very early childhood experiences. There is an image of lying in a crib, alone in a dark room, and beliefs such as nobody loves me, I am abandoned, I am alone, I am lost, I will die, something terrible has happened.

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Wholeness

Heal (v). O.E. hælan “cure; save; make whole, sound and well,” from P.Gmc. *hailjan (cf. O.S. helian, O.N. heila, O.Fris. hela, Du. helen, Ger. heilen, Goth. ga-hailjan “to heal, cure”), lit. “to make whole”

The meaning of the word heal is to make whole.

How am I made whole, in my own experience?

I find wholeness through noticing the wholeness that’s already here. I can ask myself, is it true the wholeness I am seeking is not already here? 

I can also engage in activities that may help me notice the wholeness that’s here – a walk in nature, inquiry, Breema, TRE, a nurturing conversation with a friend.

Through this, I notice that the noticing or experience of wholeness can come into the foreground even in the midst of illness, unease or confusion. Wholeness can and does coexist with whatever is here.

There is also another way I can find wholeness, and that is through the “creation” of wholeness. I can take medicines, receive surgery, do therapy and so on, and in all these ways my body-mind may find healing and integration in a conventional sense.

The noticing of wholeness is at the level of what I am (that which all experience happens within/as) and also at the level of who I am (this human self). And the creation of wholeness/healing is at the level of who I am.

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The process is endless, so what happens when it’s identified with?

Healing, digesting, maturing, clarifying and maturing at the human level is endless, an ongoing process.

What happens when I identify with this?

There is an equally endless process of hope for resolution, struggle, disappointment etc.

How would it be without this identification?

It’s seen as happening on it’s own, it’s all the life processes unfolding.

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A visualization from Anthony de Mello

Suppose I return to a scene that causes me much distress. An event that brought me humiliation, like a public rebuke, or one that brought me great pain, like the death of a friend. I relive the whole event, in all its painful detail. I feel once more the pain, the loss, the humiliation, the bitterness. This time, however, Jesus is there. What role is he playing? Is he a comforter and strengthener? Is he the one who is causing me this pain and loss? I interact with him, just as I did with the other persons in that event. I seek strength from him, an explanation of what I don’t understand; I seek a meaning to the whole event.

What is the purpose of this exercise? It is what some people call the healing of memories. There are memories that keep rankling within us — situations in our past life that have remained unresolved and continue to stir within us. This constitutes a perpetual wound that in some ways hampers us from plunging more fully into life, that sometimes seriously handicaps us in our ability to cope with life. [….]

It is important for our personal growth, both spiritual and emotional, that we resolve these unresolved situations that keep rankling within us. When we relive them in the company of Christ, again and again, if need be, we will notice that a new meaning comes into them, that the sting goes out of them, that we can now return to them without any emotional upset; in fact, that we can even return to them now with a sense of gratitude to God, who planned these events for some purpose that will rebound to our benefit and to his glory. This form of prayer is good therapy and good spirituality.

An excerpt from Contact with God by Anthony de Mello.

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The cat’s purr

A quick thought:

As I become more familiar with shaking, I get to know through own experience how it’s one of the ways my system heals and restores itself. It shakes out tension, looses muscles and ligaments, restructures itself at the skeletal level, improves blood flow, and by reducing the tension level in the body allows a deeper relaxation, reduces most symptoms, supports healing and makes more energy available. Although I don’t experience it directly, I also assume it aids the function of the internal organs – through healing connective tissues and improving blood flow.

It’s comforting, feels good, makes me trust and become more familiar with the intelligence of the body, and shifts me into experiencing myself as an animal in a good way.

Other mammals shake out tension in a similar way, especially after stressful events, and I wonder if not cats have figured out an additional and similar way to heal themselves – through purring.

It obviously has a social function. It is most likely as comforting for the cat as it is for us when we experience it indirectly. And it may also have an important healing and restoring function for the cat, in the ways described above and more.

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Gentle exercise, and gradual capacity building

These days, medical doctors often recommend gentle exercise to support recovery after injury.

And that seems to be sound general advice, whether it is recovering from an illness or injury, healing psychologically from phobias or traumas, or developing skills in just about any area of life – including inquiry or meditation practice.

Use gentle exercise and gradual capacity building, gradually expand what you are able to do. Combine it with rest, and periods of more vigorous exercise when you are ready and find enjoyment in it.

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Healing and maturing beyond the mirror

Exploring the world as a mirror is a great way to invite in maturing and healing. I see dynamics or characteristics in others, and see, feel and eventually find appreciation for it in myself.

The next step – going beyond the mirror – is equally interesting, and takes the maturing and healing to another level.

I notice that my world is my own world of images. The overlay of images on pure perception that makes sense of the world. The overlay that filters, interprets, sets imagined boundaries, imagined labels and so on. That is what creates my world.

So maturing and healing has to happen there too, in that world of images. It is, in a quite literal sense, a healing and maturing of those images.

As I notice that – in immediacy, as it happens – there is already an invitation for healing and maturing.

And as I work with it further – through inquiry, visualization, prayer and so on – there is an invitation for even further healing and maturing.

And even an invitation for what I am to notice itself more clearly, to become familiar with itself, for the center of gravity of what I take myself to be to shift into what already is.

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Healing invitation

Our gifts are to be shared with the community

And although this is something I rarely mention and prefer to leave to others, it is also quite clear that I am more aligned with what is honest for me when I am more open about this.

So here it goes, if anyone would like to be a guinea pig for receving healing, send me a message.

It will happen from my end in the form of prayer – and in the context of Let Your Will be Done.

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Healing

When I was 17 or so, I remember sitting outside one summer day reading a book, looking up at the leaves against the light blue sky, and noticing a light band around the leaves. I took it to be an optical illusion. In the following days and weeks, I notice a similar light band around animals, inanimate objects and also humans. And it was slightly different in each case. Around plants, a vitality and also quite uniform. Around animals, a little more alive and varied further out. Around inanimate object, very simple and clear. Around humans, even more varied further out.

This difference around different types of objects suggested that it was something more than an optical illusion, and I soon realized that what I was seeing was more of a property of the object I saw it around. One or two years later I met someone who was much more familiar with this and helped me be more comfortable with it, partly through looking at the field around people and recognizing that we saw the same thing, or at least something so similar that the differences were not noticeable in language.

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Forgive oneself

One of the basic pointers in growing and waking up (or at least align with awakening) is to forgive oneself. 

When I forgive myself, I forgive – and heal – images of myself. Images from specific situations in the past, and images of aspects of me here now. 

And forgiving myself and others mirror each other. How I relate to one is how I relate to the other. 

It all happens within my own world of images. The wounds, healing, forgiveness all happens within my own world of images. 

It all reflects qualities and dynamics right here, in this human self. 

It is all what I am and what everything/one is. 

Through this, I can heal and mature as a human self in the world. 

And my conscious view and life is more aligned with what I am. My life is a little more aligned with what I am everything already is. 

That alignment can happen even if what I am does not notice itself. It can happen while it notices itself and identification is still in stories and (parts of) content of experience. And it can happen in the context of awakeness awake to itself, and identification shifted out of stories and into the field of awakeness/form.  

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Dream: African American woman

Over some years now, I have been going to individual Process Work sessions with a local process worker. It has been off and on, and partly to deepen my familiarity with PW and partly to explore my own life.

I have had a nagging dissatisfaction with these sessions for a while now, mainly because of a sense that my process work faciliator is not able to follow the process where it wants to go and unfold. He seems more comfortable with staying at the surface and verbal level. This is obviously a projection – I can find it in myself – but also says something important about him and these sessions.

A few weeks ago, I had a dream where he is replaced with an African American woman. She is able to go exactly where the process wants to unfold, and she has a deep, earthy and heartfelt quality and an embrace wide enough for the whole world as it is. She seems to be a personification of the luminous dark which I continue to experience throughout everything that is, and – in terms of my body – centered in the belly.

Since I had this dream, and guided by the qualities of this African American woman, the process has been able to go where it needs to go, and be seen, felt and loved there. Things are shifting in ways they haven’t before.

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Functions of healing

Some functions of healing, related to awakening…

Before awakening, healing (of our human self) makes it easier to be who we take ourselves to be. It also makes it easier for those around us to be who they take themselves to be!

Healing reduces drama and the sense of split, which makes it easier for what we are to notice itself. (The opposite is also valid. In some cases, extremes of drama and suffering brings a shift into what we are to notice itself, but going in this direction intentionally doesn’t make much sense.)

And following/within awakening, healing of our human self influences how it functions in the world within this new context of what we are awake to itself. There is no sense of a need for healing, but it can still have a practical function. It is part of skillful means.

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Growing and waking up, and reasons for practice

Just to summarize the previous post…

To me, right now at least, it seems helpful to differentiate practice aimed at growing up (healing/maturing) and waking up (to what we are).

If my motivation and intention is to reduce suffering and find happiness – to get/compensate for/escape from something – it seems appropriate to emphasize a practice aimed at healing and maturing, finding my wholeness as who I am, this human self.

And if my motivation is truth and love –  a quiet curiosity or love of existence – it makes more sense to aim at waking up, inviting what I am to notice itself. (And also working at maturing which aids awakening, and helps it be expressed in a more fluid way.)

It can be helpful to sincerely investigate and clarify our real motivation. Although in real life, it doesn’t necessarily make that much difference, especially if we use tools that work simultaneously at both levels. The ones that help us grow up, and invite in a waking up as well.

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Reasons for practice at the levels of who & what we are

Somewhat convoluted…

I find different reasons for practice at the levels of who I am (this human self) and what I am (that which experience happens within, to and as).

At the level of who I am, the reasons for practice are healing and maturing. And at the level of what I am, inviting what I am to notice itself, the motivations are truth and love.

Right now, it seems helpful to differentiate the two.

At the level of who I am, I practice to heal and mature, and this reduces suffering and sets the stage for happiness. It invites in both, in a genuine way and to an extent that is sufficient for most of us.

The world is a mirror for me, so I find in my own human self what I see in the wider world. There is a sense of wholeness, embracing the (evolving) fullness of who I am, of self-reliance. I am not looking for people or situations for happiness, but carry it with me in my own wholeness.

So this alone is a pretty good reason for practice, and – as mentioned – quite enough for many of us.

But for some of us, finding this approximate wholeness as who we are, is still not quite enough. We see that it is an approximate wholeness, no matter how much we work on it, and there is still a sense of I-Other, of a subtle separation, of something not quite right, of something missing, of not quite being home yet.

So then there is the practice at the level of what we are, inviting what we are to notice itself more clearly. The motivation here is truth and love, finding the truth of what we are, and acting on our inherent love for existence itself. (Said in a glib way, there is the love of truth, and also the truth of love.)

I am not practicing to get, compensate for, attain, or escape from anything. I am just practicing to find what is really true, and to act on and deepen my love for existence itself. (Aka God, Brahman, Tao, etc.)

The good news here is of course that the practices – the tools – we use in either case often are the same.

The Work, the Big Mind process, allowing/being with experience, exploring the sense fields, choiceless awareness practice, and many more practices, all work on the levels of who we are (inviting in healing and maturing) and what we are (inviting what we are to notice itself more clearly). The relative emphasis of the two depends somewhat on how we do the practice and our intention.

And even if we start with motivations at the who level (healing, maturing, release from suffering, fining happiness), it may shift (or not) into the motivations at the what level (truth and love).

So for myself, when I see motivations relating to healing and maturing – and reducing suffering and finding happiness, I know they are motivations at the who level. And when I find motivations of truth and love, I see that they belong to the what level.

This is quite different from what I see in most spiritual groups and traditions I am familiar with, and I am not sure if it is just a matter of preference or if I am missing something here.

For me, if I saw someone wanting healing/maturing, I would recommend finding increasing wholeness as who they are. That in itself gives a quite deep release from suffering, and invites in a stable happiness. It may not be “complete” but it is really quite good.

And if I saw someone with truth and love as their main motivation, I would point them in the direction of inviting what they are to notice itself. Of course also including the who level, since working on that level makes it easier for what we are to notice itself, it makes it easier for our human self to function in the world, and when what we are notices itself, it makes it easier for it to express itself more fluidly through our human self.

I would not promote a practice with the intention of what we are to notice itself, if what the person seeks is release from suffering, and happiness. It wouldn’t be honest, since a practice aimed at wholeness at the who level is more than sufficient for this.

Come to think about it, that may be why most Buddhist groups – although their “mission statement” is at what level awakening – often emphasize healing/maturing at the who level. Most people come from the motivation of seeking healing/maturing, and that is exactly what most groups and teachers emphasize.

For the few suckers (like me, it seems) who can’t help it and really want to find the truth and act on their love, there is always the additional teachings, and the additional work that invites what we are into noticing itself.

There are the few more steps beyond the healing/maturing at the who level.

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Illness and knots

Several of my friends- myself included – were as sick as we had ever been this winter and spring, typically with some form of pnemonia. It turns out that there was a surprising number of shared experiences among us.

For instance, we all felt death very close and got to see how we relate to our mortality.

Another thing that happened is something I have seen for while. When the body-mind gets exhausted, for whatever reason, there is less energy for resisting experience. Whatever is habitually resisted in daily life tends to come up.

Knots line up and come through wanting to be seen, felt and loved. Knots made up of shoulds clashing with my stories of what is, and their associated emotions and supporting stories.

For me, it is an invitation to see it, feel it, and this may gradually shift into a sense of appreciation.

Illness and exhaustion is an opportunity for knots to surface. If I continue to resist them, the discomfort only deepens. But if I welcome them, as long lost relatives, it all shifts.

It is easier to inquire into the beliefs behind the knots, and fully allow and be with the emotions and experiences associated with them, inviting in a healing and softening of the knots and my relationship with them.

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What Ground awakening does and doesn’t do, and what practice does and doesn’t do

It can be helpful to be clear about what Ground awakening does and doesn’t do, and what practice does and doesn’t do.

To put it bluntly, all Ground awakening does is change who or what we take ourselves to be. We find ourselves as awakeness, the content of experience as awakeness, and already absent of any I with an Other.

And practice does two things: It invites what we are to notice itself. (Ground awakening.) And it helps this human self heal, mature and develop.

What Ground awakening doesn’t necessarily do is change how this human self shows up in the world. Although it may happen to some extent.

Our human self do tend to reorganize within this new context of Ground awake to itself, but it is almost side effect, it takes time, and may need guidance by intention and specific practices to be more thorough.

And what practice doesn’t do is to control anything. Practice invites change for this human self, and it may invite what we are to notice itself, but that is about it. Whatever shows up within form are guests living their own lives, on their own schedule. And what we are noticing itself is also a guest, living its own life, on its own schedule.

So when we see people functioning within a context of Ground awakening, and they seem relatively healthy and mature, what we see is probably a combination of practice and awakening. The practice – including ordinary psychology and relationship work – has invited the human self to heal and mature, and the awakening may have encouraged that further.

In a practical sense, it doesn’t really matter. Whether we are looking for a more healthy and mature human self, or to notice what we really are, practice is a way to invite it in.

The trigger for this post: Noticing how Joel sometimes talks and writes in a way that may give the impression that Ground awakening does more than it does. And how students at CSS sometimes talk as if a Ground awakening is responsible for what practice is actually responsible for.

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Layers of release and harvesting of nutrients

In working on knots, I notice two layers.

First, it is the release from being blindly caught up in it. It is a release from beliefs, identifications, shoulds, and the war created by these. I find more peace with whatever is going on, I befriend it. I shift into that part of my that naturally allows it, which is myself as awareness.

Then it is the layer of accepting the gifts and harvesting the nutrients inside of it. I do this through The Work, in exploring the truths in the turnarounds of the initial belief, and then bringing these turnarounds into my daily life. I do it through voice dialog and the Big Mind process, when I investigate what the disowned voice has to offer to this human self, and how I can find a more nourishing relationship with it. I do it through Process Work, when I become the Other and that which holds both what I previously identified with and the Other. And there are innumerable other ways of finding the gifts and harvesting the nutrients inside of the knot and the (previous) disturbance.

The release is a transcending of blindly identifying with it, and the harvesting of nutrients is an active embrace of its content.

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The gifts of ancestors

Our relationships to our ancestors has come up for me in several different ways lately, partly through shamanic sources and partly through Process Work (which has a strong shamanic influence).

The wider world is a mirror for our human self, and the way we relate to different aspects of the wider world reflects how we relate to similar parts of ourselves. The wider world is the world “out there”, in space and time, and our ancestors is an important part of this world. Our relationships, or lack thereof, to our ancestors says a great deal about how we relate to ourselves and the world in general.

When I explore it for myself, I find two main aspects in a more conscious relationship to my ancestors: healing and gifts. A healing of relationships, and a receptivity to and harvesting of their gifts.

There are many ways to do this.

We can use journeying, as in shamanic practices. I can meet some of my ancestors, hear what they have to say, work on my relationship with them, see what I can do for them, and also be receptive to the gifts they may have for me. What insights do they have? What qualities do they express, which I may find and pick up in my own life? 

We can use voice dialog, or the Big Mind process, and do something very similar. I can shift into the voice of particular ancestors, hear what they have to say, see how their relationship to the other voices and this human self is and how these relate to this ancestors, explore their insights and gifts, see what I can do for them, and so on.

We can use group practices, such as Joanna Macy’s Harvesting the Gifts of our Ancestors, where we walk back in time through the generations, tasting how it could have been to live their lives, and then walk forward harvesting their gifts.

We can deepen into gratitude for specific ancestors, and our ancestors in general, for their existence, their lives, their work and efforts, their insights… without which none of us would be alive today.

We can work specifically on healing through any of the above practices, and also healing and for instance tong len.

We can work specifically on harvesting their gifts through any of the practices, and maybe specifically through the journeying, voice dialog, the group practices, and through invoking specific ancestors and their qualities in our daily life, finding it in our selves.

And of course, all of this includes daily life work on our relationship with our own ancestors (including parents) and those we are ancestors to (children, grandchildren), and an awareness of deep time and the passage of generations.

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Breathwork

I did my first individual transformational breathwork session today, and it was certainly impactful. As before, when I did it on my own, there was a great deal of tension and tingling throughout the body, and I was out of it for a while afterwards – as if coming out of food poisoning – with shakiness and nausea. Can’t say I notice any “positive” effects from it yet, beyond the torture of it, but it may still happen.

I also see how a deep and rapid breathing in general for me tends to bring a collapse: running, kundalini yoga, and also breathwork all have a very similar effect.

It may be just the mechanics of breathing, or something else. But it could also be some frozen areas that are encountered in each of those areas. Frozenenss, emotionally (deadening), physically (tension) and view (rigidity, stuckness).

It certainly feels like more body oriented practices are right for me now, such as strength training (bfl), breathwork, and also different types of dance (five rhythms, ecstatic, etc.)

There is also a connection with the dream I had some days ago: I realized that I can see all as God and God’s will, but don’t have a felt-sense of it in the same way. There is a split there for me. The head center is relatively open, but there is still quite a bit further to go with the belly center. In going from a felt-sense of fear and lack of trust (in life, the universe, God), to a felt-sense trust, as so also more fluidity and wider range in behavior.

Note: It’s now 2011 and I am doing TRE – Trauma/Tension Release Exercises. This is a way of allowing a thawing of frozen areas in a way that feels much better to me. It’s gentler, more natural, and is guided by the body itself. Breathwork obviously works very well for many, if not most, people. But for me, and perhaps others whose system is a little on the edge, neurogenic tremoring is a gentler and more helpful approach.

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Layers of healing

A friend of mine mentioned how there are always new layers of healing, with no end in sight. And there is a beauty in that.

At our human level, there is always further to go with healing, maturing and developing.

There is no end to healing, because as long as there is a sense of a separate self there is something that is wounded and more to heal. And there is no end to maturing and developing, because the maturing and development of this human self is intrinsic to the evolution of the world of form as a whole.

The no-end-to-healing situation is exactly what may encourage us to explore what we really are, to notice ourselves as this awake void and form, inherently absent of an I with an other.

After a while, seeing always new layers of healing, we realize that there is literally no end to it. One layer is healed, only to reveal another. It can go on forever.

And that is what help us shift into a whole new orientation. One of exploring what is really going on and what we really are, in our own immediate experience, unfiltered by ideas. And one of allowing all that is, as it is, here and now. To see, feel and love it as it is.

We realize that seeking something that is always beyond the horizon – whether it is healing or something else – in itself is what prevents us from being at peace with what is, and finding contentment here and now. And it is also what prevents Ground from noticing itself.

When we seek something just beyond the horizon, something that is (apparently) not quite here yet, we don’t see the inherent wholeness of this human self, in spite of all its wounds. And the dust kicked up in the drama of seeking also prevents Ground, this field of awake void and form absent of an I and Other, from noticing itself.

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Three centers

These are some things from preliminary explorations of the three centers… or rather, how Spirit is filtered through the three centers, and then in turn filtered through this human self. (As it is alive in immediate awareness.)

How Spirit is filtered through each…

  • Heart… as alive presence. In general as a field of alive presence, in the heart region as the indwelling God, this alive presence specifically for this individual.
  • Head… as awake luminous void, and all form as this awake void, inherent absent of an I with an Other.
  • Belly… as smooth velvety round full luminous blackness.

Each of these are a field… what form arises within, to and as. Each one, transparent to the Ground, and no other than Ground itself. Each one, impersonal and personal (specifically for this, and any, human self) at the same time. Each one, infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive, and responsive to this (and any) individual.

When these centers are awakened, even in an early phase, it allows for a seeing (head), loving (heart) and feeling (belly) of all as Spirit (Big Mind, Brahman, Tao). It is Spirit filtered through each center, and then seeing/loving/feeling itself through them.

At the human level, an awakened (even partially) center, allows for…

  • Heart… receptivity, seeing myself in others, recognition, empathy, sense of intimacy, no separation.
  • Head… receptivity, seeing stories as only stories, seeing the grain of truth in all the reversals of any story, revealing the inherent neutrality of the situation.
  • Belly… a felt-sense of deep trust, safety, allowing for a deep reorganization and healing of the human self, especially at the emotional level.

The three centers are really one system… the deep felt-sense of trust from the belly center invites for a receptivity of the heart and head centers. The receptivity of the heart centers invites a receptivity of the head center, and also a deepening felt-sense of trust and safety. And the same goes for the head center.

The beauty of Spirit filtered through these three centers is how it allows for the impersonal aspects of Spirit and also the personal, the ones specifically for this and any other individual. It naturally and effortlessly seems to allow both into the foreground of awareness.

I also see how they each have come through in different phases of my life, allowing for an easier differentiation of each one. During the initial awakening, the head center awakened allowing for a seeing of all form as awake luminous void, inherently absent of any separate self anywhere. Then, the heart center awakened strongly, allowing for a loving of all as God, as Spirit. Then, over the last few months (partly through Breema, and partly through the endarkenment shift) the belly center, revealing all form as luminous blackness, velvety smooth, round, full, allowing for a deep sense of safety and trust for this human self, and a reorganization especially on the emotional level.

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Pulling the rug out from under one’s own feet

Awakening is a process of constantly pulling the rug out from under one’s own feet.

Any belief is stuckness in a particular story, and this prevents Ground from noticing itself as Ground.

Noticing these beliefs, and inviting them to unravel, is similar to pulling the rug out from under one’s own feet. Any belief gives a sense of a platform, a ground, a fixed view and position, it gives a place to stand, an identity. Unraveling beliefs allows that to fall away, until there is no ground there anymore… no fixed positions or identities… no place to stand. Noticing oneself as the groundless Ground of void, and everything arising within, to and as this awake void.

The same is also true for a healing of and deepening into who we are, as individuals (at the relative level, and after the basics are taken care of).

Here, the stuckness of beliefs prevents a wide embrace of who we are as individuals on the human and soul levels. It prevents an exploration of the evolving fullness of who we are, and a lived familiarity with it.

And here too, healing and familiarity with who we are involves pulling the rug out from under one’s own feet, allowing old beliefs to fall away revealing the wide open field that was already there.

Life will do it for us to some extent. But we can also actively participate in the process, and find it to be quite interesting and even enjoyable, for instance by using The Work to explore what is already more true for us than the surface beliefs.

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Tataya Mato

I am reading (or rather taking in) a book called The Black Madonna Within by Tatayo Mato.

It is a description, in words and drawings, of an amazing inner transformation of a woman who grew up in war-ravaged Eastern Europe and had a very strong inner connection to what Jung called the Self, the organizing principle that leads us towards greater wholeness, and healing, as a human being. The book is an account of a series of dreams and active imaginations over several decades, and the images are powerful for anyone on a similar journey. At least they are for me.

It is an example of the process of exploring and awakening to who we are, as an evolving individual human being. It is a tremendously rich, fertile, deep, embracing and rewarding journey. It brings deep healing, a deep sense of our shared humanity and how it shows up in this particular life, a deep sense of connection with all of humanity, a deep recognition of what I see in you as familiar here too…

It leads right up to the edge of a sense of a separate self, but not (in itself) beyond. There is still that core belief there of being a separate self, and that journey – of discovering what we ultimately are – is one that other traditions can help us with. Maybe especially Buddhism and Adveita, and the mystics of any tradition who realized selflessness… those in whom the Ground of emptiness noticed itself, and lived itself out through these human lives.

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A more full-bodied being with

One way of being with experiences is to just see and allow them, as they are, as they unfold, change, morph, transmute.

The other is to bring in all three centers.

To see, feel and love them, as they are, and as Spirit.

To see them, allowing them to unfold within awakeness. To have a felt-sense of them, bringing the body in. To love and allow them. As they are, in their unique form aspect. (And as they are, in their form and formless aspects, as Spirit.)

Head center only

Bringing in the head center only is very valuable in itself. It releases the suffering in the situation (which comes from trying to push away experience) and it can even allow Big Mind to awaken to itself, as what is.. the seeing and the seen, as one field, already and always centerless and selfless.

All three centers

Bringing in all the three centers changes the situation… Now, whatever arises is not only allowed and seen, but also felt into and held in love.

So the stress is released as when the head center alone is included, and Big Mind can still awaken to itself, but in addition to this, there is also a healing taking place within content. There is a healing of the individual self. The vulnerable animal feels held, safe, relaxes, allows the deeper patterns behind knots and contractions to unwind and reorganize within this new context.

I assume that some of this healing takes place just by seeing, but to me, it seems that it happens at a much deeper and more thorough level when all three centers are included.

Healing of the moment and of the patterns

In a way, it seems that only including the head center (the seeing) allows the moment to be healed, it allows the stress of the moment to be released, and also Big Mind to notice itself as already centerless and selfless. But it may not touch the deeper patterns of this individual so much.

And bringing the three centers in allows not only the moment to be healed, but also the deeper patterns. It reaches into the deeper patterns of this human self, allowing them to reorganize within this new context of deep allowing, of seeing, feeling and loving what is as it is, and within this new context of all seen, felt and loved as Spirit.

Seeds and fruits

I also notice some seeds and fruits here.

When I see and feel into what arises, the heart seems to come in. It allows and invites the heart to come in. So the seed is to see and feel into what arises, and the fruit is the heart.

The other seed is to see, feel (and then love) whatever arises as it is, which seems to allow and invite a (spontaneous) seeing, feeling and loving all as Spirit.

More simple and doable

And this makes it all much more simple and doable: My job is only to see and feel into what arises, as it is.

This invites and allows the heart to come in, with a spontaneous love for what arises, as it is.

And this in turn invites and allows a spontaneous seeing, feeling and loving anything arising as Spirit, as awake emptiness and form.

As made up of God stuff. No other than an aspect of God itself.

The seed of many fruits

Trying to do it all at once may be too overwhelming, especially in the beginning, but I can allow, see and feel into whatever arises. That is well within what is possible for me. And it is the seed of many fruits. (It may be best to simply allow these fruits as well, in whatever form they take, without having too firm expectations of anything.)

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Practices surfacing

It seems that many practices surface on their own these days…

This morning, I noticed lots of hangups coming up…. over someone delivering soggy firewood to us, careless housemates, the infernal rain… And then, a very tangible sense of this all coming from the soft little animal. This little vulnerable animal, which has been hurt, scared, confused, lost, so many times over its life (especially early on, when everything was new and utterly confusing.)

So instead of going into the contractions and stories coming up, there was space around it, and also a deep compassion for their source – which is this vulnerable, scared, hurt, confused little animal. This human self, as an animal, trying to find its way in this world, and sometimes being quite reactive and contracted. There was deep compassion for this little animal, and a seeing, feeling into, and loving of it. Holding it in gentle love, allowing it to relax, unwind, maybe even heal a little.

This is what many intentional processes do, such as Process Work, Voice Dialog and other ones, but it is nice when it surfaces on its own, as a spontaneous practice. A practiceless practice.

Another one that has come up for me over the last few days is the question is this worth getting contacted over? So far, the answer has always been no, and a release of the contraction.

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Two ways of being with: meditation and healing

There are (at least) two ways of being with experiences…

Atemporal being with

One is atemporal, here and now, just being with and allowing whatever is. This is also a being with whatever resistance arises, which allows a disidentification with this resistance, and this in turn allows for the sense of a separate I to erode and fade, possibly into the field noticing itself as a field, already absent of a separate I. There is an intentional activity here, which is the activity of being with what arises, and that is it.

Temporal being with

Then there is the temporal being with, which is a being with what unfolds over time… Seeing where it leads, what wants to come up, surface, be seen, felt and loved…

Allowing whatever comes up to soften, be held, unravel. Just by seeing, feeling into and love what comes up, there is a deep healing of it, and an unraveling of knots.

And in addition, almost as an afterthought, there is also an insight into patterns (although not always, and not always necessary), which can offer an additional level of healing and unraveling.

Two aspects of the same process

These two are aspects of the same process. The first one is more a meditation, the just sitting type of mediation known as shikantaza in Zen.

The second one is more of a healing process, similar to Process Work, Somatic Experiencing, shamanic work, and many other forms of healing and exploration forms.

And each one contains the other, more or less, depending on the situation and intention.

Within the unfolding of a process is the being with, just as in meditation. And within meditation can be a feeling into and possibly also a loving of whatever arises, depending on the circumstances and intention.

Both as inquiry

And both are inquiry.

Being with whatever arises is really an exploration of who or what am I? It leads to the field (of seeing and seen) to notice itself as a field, already absent of I and Other. Sooner or later, this will happen, and if it hasn’t been a conscious inquiry, it certainly becomes one at that point.

Allowing knots to surface and heal is also a form of inquiry. It is an inquiry into seeing, feeling and loving the knots surfacing, and also into the dynamics of the whole process… of knot-making, knot-unraveling, and what is revealed when knots dissolve… which is new layers of who and what we really are, until the same field awakens to itself also through this process.

The onion is peeled until the empty center is reached, and everything is revealed as always and already awake emptiness and form, absent of a separate I.

Both leading to the field awakening to itself

The atemporal being with leads to the field noticing itself as a field, here and now, independent of content.

And the temporal being with leads to an unraveling of knots which leads to the same place: the field awakening to itself as a field, again independent of the particulars of the content.

The individual as a filter for Big Mind, and more or less healed and mature

The individual is a vehicle for Big Mind in the world of form, and also a filter for Big Mind. No matter how awake Big Mind is to itself, it will still be filtered through the particular individual it functions through… its flavors, and its level of healing and maturity.

The atemporal being with is the classic spiritual path, leading to Big Mind awakening to itself. In the process, there is often a healing of the human self, both before and after this awakening. But there is no guarantee that there is a healing of the human self, of how thorough it is, or that this healing and maturing continues.

And if Big Mind functions thorough a distorted human self, with lots of knots and hangups, it will function in the world in a distorted way as well. The output is no better than the filter. (Instead of garbage in, garbage out as they say in science, is is Gold in, garbage out, if filtered through the garbage of the individual…!)

The temporal being with is a healing and maturing of the individual, and this goes on before and after Big Mind awakening to itself. It allows more and more areas of the individual to heal, reorganize and mature, in always new ways. There is no end to the process. The human individual can become a fuller, richer, more and more fine-tuned instrument for Big Mind in the world. More and more deeply human. More and more deeply Spirit awakened to itself, functioning through and as a human self.

Both needed

As with so much else, it seems that both are needed, and that they are two ends of the same polarity.

The atemporal form is very helpful in clarifying the awakening, for Big Mind to recognize and become more intimately familiar with itself.

And the temporal form is essential for a deeper and more thorough healing and maturing of the individual, which is a vehicle and filter for Big Mind in the world of form.

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Soul retrieval

After exploring headlessness again today, I see how so many explorations are really soul retrieval, if we use that word in a wide sense. It is about retrieving – in the sense of allowing, noticing, owning – who we are at an individual level, and what we are at the headless/Spirit level.

Working with projections, we find here in this individual life what we see out there in the wider world. As long as we only see it out there (or only in here), there is a split, not only between this self and the wider world, but within this self.

Working with being with experiences, as they are, there is again a retrieval of what was divided and split off… through a sense of I and Other. We find ourselves as the space holding both sides of the dividing line, the division, and the content on both sides.

Doing the Byron Katie style inquiries, we also work with the split through releasing attachment to beliefs in thoughts, and we find ourselves as that which already is and allows it all.

And through the headless experiments, we find ourselves as capacity for the world, full of the whole world… as it appears one piece at a time to this human self.

In each case, there is a healing of the split, simply by finding ourselves as that which already is and allows it all. The Other, that which was split off, is finally allowed and owned, the sense of I and Other falls away, and this reveals the field always and already allowing it all.

It happens on our individual level when we work on projections, and it happens on a Spirit level when we find ourselves as headless.

In either case, there is a sense of retrieving a bit of our soul, of what we already are but didn’t notice or didn’t allow.

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