Attending to the spine

 

In my teens and early twenties, I did a Taoist practice where I brought attention up and down the spine and through the top of the head. (Visualizing dark light going up, and golden light coming down, with the in and out breath.)

Now, I am doing a similar although simpler practice where I bring attention up and down the spine. Rest with it. Notice. Allow. Feel.

I notice again something I noticed several years ago. When I bring attention to the spine, I see three (or more) pictures of the spine, and they don’t quite align. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where the spine is, for that reason, and it’s more noticeable from the chest area up. My sense is that it’s connected with an incarnation trauma, perhaps the sense of being unloved and unlovable, and a sense of fragmentation. (Which is also expressed in sometimes being confused what to do next in life, and feeling split between two or more options.)

Some ways to explore this:

Continue bringing attention to the spine. Notice. Allow. Rest with it.

Find kindness towards it. See it’s there to protect me. It’s from deep caring. It’s from love. Treat it with respect. Kindness. Authenticity. (As I would like to be treated.)

Look for a threat. Where is the threat in bringing attention to the spine? In the multiple pictures of the spine? In the slight discomfort I experience when I bring attention there?

What’s the worst that can happen if this doesn’t heal or resolve? (Look for the threat.)

What’s the best that can happen if it does heal and resolve? (Look for that.)

Look for the spine. See if it’s findable.

Look at the incarnation trauma. Look for a threat there. (In the images, words, sensations associated with it.)

Cultivating the light vs meeting the dark

 

Some people talk about cultivating the light, or meeting the dark.

For me, the two go hand in hand. As so often, it depends on what we mean, and how we do it.

For me, cultivating the light means to cultivate what I wish more of. And meeting the dark means loving the unloved and examining the unexamined. It means healing the unhealed, and examining painful identifications and beliefs.

Already here, we see how they two go hand in hand. I wish to cultivate and become more familiar with loving what’s here, including what’s been previously unloved in me and my experience. I also wish to cultivate exploration of what’s here, and seeing more clearly what’s here, including how identifications and stressful beliefs are created.

This cultivation supports the meeting of the dark. And in meeting the dark, I am supported in continuing with the cultivation. (It inspires me to do so, I see it’s needed, and I get to test and fine tune my approach.)

How do I cultivate the light? Here are some practices I am familiar with:

Kindness practices, including loving kindness, ho’oponopono, tonglen, and also the Heart Prayer and the Christ meditation. Kindness towards me, parts of my experience, others, life.

Training a more stable attention also fits here, since it’s what I wish for and it supports any other activity and practice.

Natural rest. Noticing and allowing what’s here. Noticing it’s already allowed.

Prayer. Prayer for guidance. To be shown the way. For Your will be done.

Body centered practices, such as yoga, tai chi, chi gong, Breema.

Spending time in nature. Spending time in service to life.

Setting the intention to live from love, examine what’s here, rest with what’s here, live in service of life (including my life).

 And how do I meet the dark?

By finding love for the previously unloved. Finding kindness towards parts of me and my experience I have habitually ignored, rejected, or battled and seen as undesirable.

By notice and allow what’s here. Including the discomfort, anger, sadness, fear, grief, and whatever else is here in the moment.

By questioning the unquestioned. Examining beliefs and identifications. Finding what’s more true for me than the initial beliefs. Investigating how my most basic perceptions of deficient and inflated selves, threats, and compulsions are created.

By resting with what’s here. Notice. Allow. Rest with in kind presence.

It can be quite simple and straight forward.

When I use the words light and dark here, it’s mostly to connect with how some use these words. I usually don’t use the words light and dark since they are quite imprecise, there are assumptions about the world behind them that I don’t quite agree with, and I don’t even know how I would use the words so they make good sense. That’s why the use of them in this post feels a bit awkward to me.

Why is love, kindness, examination etc. light? I don’t really know, perhaps just because it’s what our personalities tends to like and prefer. We tend to like sunshine and daylight, and also certain qualities in ourselves and certain experiences, so we use the word light for both.

Why are identifications and beliefs dark? They are what creates what some see as darkness, including hate, fear, grief, compulsions, trauma, violence and more. I suppose some call them dark since they are often seen as undesirable, and they are often what we try to hide from ourselves and others, and keep “in the dark”.

Behind the surface expression of these “dark” qualities and experiences is a desire to protect the self, and deep caring and even love. A worried and confused love. That’s one reason I often avoid the word dark about these things. It only addresses and highlights one level of understanding. There is something different behind it.

These words and ideas themselves can be taken to inquiry. Any ideas of light or dark, or cultivation or meeting, or love or inquiry, or anything else that comes up, can be taken to inquiry.

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If you love someone, set them free

 

If you love someone, set them free. 

Or…. if you love someone, you set them free.

You naturally set them free.

When we care for someone, we want the best for them. We support them in what’s best for them, even if it may not be our preference. It may even be that they leave our life, even if we would like them to stay.

There is a big catch here. It requires that we are not caught in our own wounds and neediness. It requires that we are not trying to meet a sense of lack in ourselves through the other person. It requires that this sense of lack is reasonably healed in us.

How do I find healing for this part of me? For me, it’s the usual ways. Inquire into beliefs creating the sense of lack. See if I can find the lack, or the one having a lack. See if I can find the perceived threat. Meet it with kindness. Rest with it.

P.S. Sorry for the goofy 80s video! Even good songs can have less than amazing videos.

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Dark night of the soul: challenges & some remedies

 

The dark night of the soul has its own timing and its own life.

And yet, there are things we can do that can make it a little more bearable, and even align us more consciously with what the process seems to ask of us. (Also based on reports from people who have moved through it.)

Here are some common challenges for people in a dark night of the soul:

We feel that we did something wrong. Or that something is terribly wrong.

We feel that it will never end.

We don’t know what’s happening.

We struggle with and resist what’s happening.

We are caught in painful stories about what’s happening.

We are faced with painful stories surfacing to find liberation. These stories may be old stories recreating deficient selves, perceived threats, compulsions, wounds, trauma, and more. They are unquestioned and unloved.

We may have dread, terror, and trauma surfacing. (To find love and liberation.)

Our identities are “under siege”. Life may put us in situations where our familiar identities don’t fit anymore. (Sometimes, although not necessarily, through loss of relationships, health, work etc)

We experience periods of intense discomfort, perhaps without being able to put a label on it.

Shadow material tends to surface. Whatever is unhealed and unloved surfaces to heal and be loved.

It can feel overwhelming. Unbearable. We can’t take it anymore.

There may be losses – of relationships, health, work, and more.

We may have periods where we are unable to sleep, or get very little sleep.

 And some remedies:

Information. Talking with others who have gone through it.

Inquiry into the painful stories. The beliefs about what’s happening. The beliefs creating the painful experiences that may surface.

Meeting the pain or discomfort with kindness. Holding it in kind presence.

Resting with what’s here. Notice. Allow.

And some more things that may be supportive:

Spend time in nature. Walk. Garden.

Use your body. Swim. Walk. Do gentle physical activities that feels nurturing and supportive.

Eat well. Eat foods that work with your body. Drink plenty of water.

Nurture nurturing activities and relationships.

Receive sessions that are nurturing and supportive. Perhaps massage, acupuncture, craniosacral etc. Find practitioners who are OK with what you are going through, and don’t have a need to “fix” you. (Nothing needs to be fixed, but some activities and modalities can be supportive in this process.)

Find support from others who have gone through it, and are going through it.

Find a guide who has gone through it, and is experienced guiding people through it.

Rest. Get plenty or rest.

Be kind with yourself. Ask yourself what would someone who loves themselves do? (The answer may be very simple and for that moment.)

Be a good steward of your life, as much as you can.

Ask for guidance. Ask for support. Ask for your will be done. (Ask life, the universe, God.)

Let go of limiting ideologies, if they create stress and don’t seem to work for you anymore. (This includes ideologies about food, practices, world views, how you should live your life, and more.)

Ordinary human kindness. Ask for kindness. Be kind towards yourself and others, as much as you can.

See also previous posts on this topic, including for a list of helpful resources. (Adyashanti has talked and written about dark nights. Jeannie Zandi writes and speaks about it. There are several good books on spiritual emergencies, which includes a mentioning of dark nights. Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism has a good chapter on the Dark Night of the Soul, although colored by her tradition and times. There is a lot more information out there.)

Recipe for healing

 

What’s the recipe for healing?

There is probably not one recipe for healing, but many. Or many variations on similar themes.

Here are some I have found helpful, and it’s just the same as I keep writing about here.

Love. Finding love for my world. Myself. Parts of myself, and especially the suffering ones. Others, and especially those I may not like or who (I tell myself) have hurt me. Situations, and especially the painful ones. Life. Existence. God.

Practices such as loving kindness, ho’oponopono, tonglen and similar ones can be very helpful here, along with natural rest, inquiry, parts work, and most of the other ones on this list.

Natural Rest. Notice. Allow. Resting with what’s here. Resting with images, words, sensations. Notice it’s all already allowed.

Inquiry. Questioning my stressful beliefs. (The Work.) See if I can find a threat, deficient self, or command. (Living Inquiries.) Examine the unquestioned beliefs and assumptions that creates stress and suffering in your life. Rest with the unloved images, thoughts, and sensations. Perhaps even find love for the unloved images, words, and sensations.

Contractions. Working with body contractions. Examining beliefs about the contraction. Inquire into the images and words associated with the contraction. Perhaps tapping on it or massaging. Releasing through neurogenic tremors.

Parts work. Dialog with the suffering parts of you and your experience. This can be done using any of the parts-oriented practices, such as Voice Dialog or the Big Mind process. Or something more simple, such as: You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. What would satisfy you forever? What are you really? (Pamela Wilson.)

Gratitude. Create gratitude lists. Either conventional ones where you only include what’s easy to be grateful for. Or all-inclusive lists that includes everything in your life, what you appreciate and don’t. (This helps shift out of our habitual ways of dividing the world into good and bad, likes and dislikes, and also opens us for the possible gifts and grace in whatever is happening.)

Body connections. (Re)connecting with the body. Yoga, tai chi, chi gong, Breema etc.

Eat well. Eat food that works with your body. Perhaps mostly low on the food chain, less or not processed, avoiding too much sugars and added chemicals. Drink plenty of water. (So the urine is pale or clear.)

Release tension from the body. Neurogenic tremors. (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises, TRE)

(Re)connect to nature. Walks in nature. Practices to reconnect. (Joanna Macy.) Spending longer periods of time in nature, away from (most of) civilization. Gardening.

Nurture nurturing relationships. Nurture relationships that nurture and support you.

Happiness practices. Engage in happiness practices that works for you. Practices and activities that helps you (re)connect to a sense of meaning, engagement, aliveness, purpose, and satisfaction in life.

Find support. Find support from experienced and kind guides, and perhaps fellow travelers on this path.

Fear of meeting what’s here

 

It’s common and even sensible to fear meeting our more painful wounds and traumas.

And for good reasons.

We may not trust that we will know what to do. Or that our facilitator will know what to do. Or that the process we are using will work. And each of these is sometimes true. It’s possible to be exposed to our old traumas in an unskilled way and be retraumatized.

So what can we do? The best may be to find a process that works for us and that we trust based on our own experience. Work with a facilitator who knows what she or he is doing, and that we trust. And gain some experience and trust by first working on more peripheral material.

If we stay in the periphery, the wounds and hangups tend to recycle and keep coming up.

So at some point, we need to focus on the most painful and apparently most entrenched material.

We may not feel ready, and it’s not wise to try to push through.

So another option is to meet and examine our fears in meeting our wounds.

I can meet it with loving kindness. Perhaps ho’oponopono. Saying I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you to the fears, and the wound itself. This can help shift my relationship to the fear and the wound.

What do I fear? What’s the worst that can happen if I meet the traumas? (Some possibilities: It won’t work. It will make it worse. I’ll stay stuck in it. It will never end. My painful stories will turn out to be true. It will be too painful. I won’t be able to take it. The process won’t work. The facilitator won’t know what to do.)

What do I find when I examine these stories, one by one? For instance by asking is it true? What happens when I believe that story? Who I would be without it? What’s the validity in the turnarounds? (The Work.)

What do I find when I look for the threat? (Living Inquiries.) Can I find the threat in the images, words, and sensations that come up? Can I find the threat outside of these?

In my experience, if I stay with a process and examine my fears, there is a readiness and willingness to meet even the apparently darkest areas of me, the deepest wounds. And that can be enormously liberating.

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Healing my relationship with my world

 

An essential part of psychological and existential healing is healing my relationship with my world.

In other words, healing my relationship with whatever shows up in my experience, whether a thought says it’s me, or others, or parts of me, or life, or God.

I can find love for it, perhaps with the support of loving kindness, ho’oponopono, tonglen, or similar heart-centered practices. If it’s a part of me, I may see that it comes from a wish to protect me, from deep caring, and from love.

I can rest with it. Notice. Allow. Rest with the images. Words. Sensations. Notice it’s already allowed. (Resting with it is, in a sense, a form of love.)

I can examine my beliefs about it, and perhaps see that what I thought happened didn’t. (The Work.)

I can examine, in a finely grained way, how my experience of it is created, and see if I can find a threat, a deficient self, or a command. If it’s unfindable, there is often a relief. A relief in not finding it, seeing how it was created by my mind, and from the softening or falling away of charge around it. (Living Inquiries.)

I can release tension associated with it through neurogenic tremors (Tension & Trauma Release Exercises, TRE). This release tends to release the “fuel” for (reactive) anxiety, depression, anger, compulsions, wounds, trauma, and more.

I can find a sense of wholeness, which in turn tends to shift my relationship to my world.

There are of course innumerable other approaches to healing, many of which can be very helpful. These are just some of the ones I happen to be familiar with.

What I am healing is really my relationship with my own world. With my own images, words, and sensations. This, in practical terms, heals my relationship with myself, others, parts of me, situations, memories, life, God, and Existence.

And that’s how I find what I really seek. That’s how I find peace with my world. Through loving my world, I find the love I seek. Through meeting my experience in a nurturing way, I feel deeply nurtured.

Through giving to my experience what I wish to receive, I receive it.

My experience is my world. It’s who and what I am here and now.

And it’s made up of images, words, and sensations.

This is one of the many “secrets” to life. A secret that’s out in the open. It’s very simple. Very obvious, when we arrive at it.

All of this goes very well with an ordinary life in the world. It supports an active, engaged and good life.

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Easing vs jumping into

 

It’s sometimes wise to ease into it. To work on healing through bodywork, love, presence, and more. Perhaps also to work on more peripheral wounds, or work on more core wounds in a gentle way.

And at some point, we realize we need to jump into it. We need to face the stories holding the more painful traumas in place.

What am I most afraid to look at? Which painful stories are the most true for me? What are my earliest and most painful memories? That’s where the juice is. That’s what may hold any number of other wounds in place.

Also, as a facilitator, I am doing my client a disservice if I let her or him keep avoiding the most painful traumas, memories, and patterns. It’s often wise to ease into it, but not for too long. And it’s also wise to not push. (That rarely goes well, also because it would be coming from hangups in myself.) The most helpful may be to show that what seems very scary is not so scary when it’s met with love, respect, and looking to see what’s really there.

What appears to be there, the scary things that initially appears so real, may reveal itself as something quite differently. That’s how we can ease into facing what seems the most scary, dense, and real.

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Beating around the bush vs going to the core

 

In working with my own healing, and also with clients, I see a common pattern.

Some things seem too scary to want to work on.

So it’s tempting to choose something that’s less scary and yet seems helpful.

Why does it seem so scary?

It’s partly out of wise caution. I know that going into traumas may retraumatize me if it’s not done skillfully, in the right setting, and perhaps with the right person. It may retrigger the trauma without much or any healing.

It’s partly because when I first experienced the situation and created beliefs about it, it was traumatizing. So I expect, or am afraid, that will happen again.

What I can do is look at these fears and then evaluate if I have found the right tools and support for me to enter these traumas with the intention of finding healing. Using the living inquiries, we often initially approach strong traumas indirectly. We look at the fears in facing them. The deficient selves that come up when we consider facing the traumas, and perhaps when we consider the initially traumatizing situations themselves. We can also look at commands to either face the traumas, or avoid the traumas (both are often there).

Adyashanti: Forgiving yourself

 

Forgiving yourself is a big part of healing unworthiness. You have to forgive yourself for feeling unworthiness, and you can’t forgive yourself unless you allow yourself to feel tenderness, kindness, love, and compassion.

Forgiveness comes from a kind of wisdom that sees that we don’t really know what we’re doing. Jesus said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” It takes humility to forgive yourself, including your mind and your emotions.

You can project unworthiness onto everyone around you. There are lots of strategies that we use to avoid encountering unworthiness directly.

With consciousness comes options, and with options, you have to take responsibility: “What options am I going to start to utilize? Am I going to choose to be angry, compassionate, kind, or wise? Where am I going to operate from — the conflicted mind, or from some sort of stability?” It’s always wise to choose kindness.

Ultimately unworthiness is a form of attacking yourself. It is being very unloving and not being understanding. To stop attacking yourself takes a kind of humility — sometimes we just need to see what we’re doing.

~Adyashanti from the Way of Liberating Insight course

Awakening will save us?

 

Being in the Bay Area, I find an interesting mix of “my tribe” and sometimes feeling that some folks are a bit naive and create a spiritual ideology. Of course, that happens anywhere people are into spirituality, and is often a part of our process of maturing.

Some folks seem to think that a larger scale awakening will save humanity, or perhaps that it’s the only thing that will save us.

First, I see this as a projection. It may be true or not, and in any case, it’s pointing to something that’s right here and now. Can I find that?

Second, I am not sure if I see it the same way.

To me, healing, kindness, and engagement seems more important. Of course, those things can come through an awakening process, but it’s not guaranteed, and awakening is certainly not necessary for that healing to happen.

Healing is all about who we are as this human self. Awakening is more about what we are noticing and recognizing itself. As mentioned above, an awakening can certainly support healing, but not necessarily, and it’s not necessary for healing.

The single most effective way to allow this healing may be through schools. For instance, by offering basic life skills as part of a regular schooling, starting as early as possible. This may include meditation, communication skills, parts work, heart-centered practices, self-love, and similar. It can be done in a way that’s sensitive to local culture and compatible with atheism as well as a range of religions and spiritual orientations.

It is, after all, just basic life skills. Life skills that can make a huge difference for individuals, the school community, families, and also impact the wider local and even global community.

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Natural Rest, Love, and Healing

 

I am healing – from CFS, brain fog, (what looks like) PTSD, and many losses – and see that the next step for me is to meet what’s here with love. Meet the symptoms with love. And meet my reactions to it – mainly fear – with love.

I can do that through natural rest. Resting with the sensations, and the images and words. Allow and notice. And notice it’s all already allowed. This is a form of love. I can also ask simple questions about the sensations, images, and words, to clarify that that’s what they are, and clarify what they are not. This may support resting with what’s here.

I can do it through ho’oponopono with the symptoms and the fears.

I can do it through holding satsang with them. You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. What would satisfy you forever? What are you really? 

Waking up vs healing

 

Again, this is perhaps obvious, but also worth to notice and explore.

There is a difference between waking up, and healing.

Waking up is a recognition of what we are, that which this experience happens within and as. It can happen as a major and obvious shift, and it can happen in smaller ways over and over, and sometimes one and then the other. This awakening can happen through simple inquiry, or prayer, or different forms of meditation, or another practice, or even out of the blue.

Healing is a healing of who we are, this human being. This healing can happen through all of the ways we are familiar with…. therapy, bodywork, trauma work, and more. Mainly, it happens through love, often supported by some form of inquiry.

Awakening can support healing, and healing can support awakening.

Awakening can make it easier to find love for ourselves, and for our experience and life as it is.

And healing can make it easier for what we are to notice itself, since there are less wounds and trauma being triggered which easily brings in re-identification.

And awakening without healing, or healing without awakening, will always (?) feel a little incomplete.

Awakening without healing may still mean a life where wounds and trauma comes up, are triggered, and even lived from in a reactive way.

Healing without awakening may leave a sense of something missing, because something is missing. The recognition of what we really are, is missing.

Touch

 

Touch can be very comforting. We all (almost all?) know that from personal experience.

Touch – with presence and kindness – can not only support healing of emotions and the mind, but also physical healing.

This touch can be from an animal, another human, or even from ourselves in a pinch.

I was reminded the comfort of touch today during my first experience with oral surgery. It was a bit stressful, and I noticed my breath got deeper during the most intense phases. The nurse probably noticed the same, and put her hand on my shoulder during those times. It was very comforting, and my body and breath relaxed. It almost seemed that the body responded on its own, without going much through the conscious mind.

I have experienced and seen the same during TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises) sessions. Here too, the body seems to relax when touched by someone else. Often, it’s just a hold on the shoulder or the feet. And the touch-relaxation connection seems to largely go outside of the conscious mind.

It’s similar with Breema. Here, the touch is deeply nurturing, and allows me – whether I am a practitioner or recipient – to find a deep sense of full, healing wholeness. A wholeness of myself and existence. This touch is guided by Breema’s Nine Principles, which – I assume – is an important reason why it’s so powerful.

Touch conveys our mental and physical state, and the recipient picks this up. That’s another thing I have noticed through Breema. Sometimes, almost any touch can feel welcome. And almost always, I definitely prefer touch that comes from a sense of presence, kindness, and a grounded, relaxed wholeness.

Regression

 

During the darkest phase of the dark night, there was a sense of going back to earlier periods of my life – all the way to infancy and before incarnation. Later, my system seemed to revisit childhood and teenage years. Memories, impulses, wounds, unlived wishes, all surfaced. Not surprisingly, I also acted on some of them – which sometimes was enjoyable (playful impulses), and sometimes painful for me and others (wounds, trauma).

For me, this has happened in the form of phases – of weeks or months or even years – where I have felt, and sometimes acted, like an infant, or child, or teenager. These days, I feel like I am in my late teens and early twenties. For others, I know that this may come in a gentler or less  all-consuming way.

In one sense, there is a regression any time we are caught in wounds, trauma, beliefs or identifications. We “go back” to when these dynamics were initially created. We feel, and sometimes act, as if we are five years old (or any other age when these dynamics initially were created).

Also, it seems that we can go back to earlier times in our own life as part of a healing process, or as part of a kundalini process.

And, really, there is no “regression” or going back in time. It’s all happening here and now, including any memories of the past, and any emotions, wounds, traumas, or unlived healthy impulses. Stories of regression can be a useful shorthand to communicate something, and it can also be misleading since it’s all here now.

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Love is the universal healer

 

Love is the universal healer.

If it doesn’t heal the situation (an illness, circumstances), it heals our relationship to it. And that’s the healing we all deeply crave.

Love can be a feeling, and this can be found through practices such as prayer, loving kindness, tonglen, ho’oponopono, Heart Prayer, Christ meditation, heart flame visualization, and more.

Love can also be independent of feeling, through a falling away of delusion, and Spirit recognizing itself as all there is. This love is a lived love, independent of fleeting feelings.

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Fixing, love, allowing, noticing

 

Some ways of relating to what’s here:

Fixing & Healing

I can wish to fix it, heal it.

This can come from a wish to avoid feeling what’s here, which in turn comes from assumptions about what’s here and what it means.

Or from love and noticing what’s here.

Love

I can find love for what’s here.

This is a medicine for a habit of resisting what’s here and see it as bad. Some tools include metta, tonglen, ho’oponopono, and the heart prayer.

I can notice it’s already love.

This is a medicine for not noticing what’s here as love. Any beliefs and reactive emotions are innocent, come from love, and are love. Also, consciousness and it’s content is love.

I can find myself as love, loving presence for what’s here.

A shift into finding myself as love, and the loving presence it’s happening within and as.

Allowing

I can allow what’s here.

A shift into allowing what’s here.

I can notice what’s here is already allowed.

It’s already allowed. It’s effortlessly here. Is it true it’s not already allowed? (Even this resistance?)

This can shift into finding myself as the allowing and what’s allowed.

This third option is what happens when the images, words and sensations making up an appearance of a doer and observer are recognized as images, words and sensations, and identification is released out of it and back into consciousness and all of its content. It’s a shift from relating to what’s here, to being it, being the whole field of consciousness. Or, more precisely, from appearing to be an observer and doer relating to what’s here, to the whole field of consciousness and it’s content noticing itself as just that.

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Love your enemies – as medicine

 

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. – Luke 6:27.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. – Luke 6:35.

Love your enemies. It sounds like a should, but it’s really medicine. It’s a prescription for finding wholeness and well being of myself, which in turn benefits those around me.

Who or what are my enemies? It’s anything in my world I don’t like. Anything I see as undesirable, bad, that shouldn’t be there. It can be an emotion, pain, discomfort, a person, an illness, war, delusion, a political party, noise, or anything else.

How do I find love for it? I have found these helpful:

I wish you love. I wish you ease. (Loving Kindness, Metta).

Tonglen. Ho’oponopono.

Holding satsang with what’s here. (You are welcome here. Thank you  for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. What would satisfy you forever? What are you really?)

All-inclusive gratitude practice. I am grateful for…. (Anything in my life, including and especially that which I don’t at first like.)

Placing myself in the heart flame. (When it’s something in me I perceive as an enemy.)

Christ meditation. Visualizing Christ at the seven points (in my heart, above and below me, in front and back of me, either side of me.) I sometimes also do this for others, and the Earth.

Inquiry into anything – any stories, perceptions, assumptions – that I use to close down my love for myself and others. Any stories of enemies. Any stories of love not being here. Any fearful stories about love.

What’s the effect of finding love for my enemies? For me, it’s a sense of wholeness and love for myself and others. A sense of coming home, and of deep well being and nurturing.

Why does this work? If life is love already, and we are life and love, then this is a way for us to come home to ourselves.

In a very real sense, love may be the medicine we are all looking for. If we had a choice, would chose to be free of a particular situation or illness, or find deep and genuine love for it? Perhaps a healing of our relationship to ourselves and the world is the healing we really wish for. (It’s not one or the other. We can find deep love for an illness, and still go to the doctor and follow her prescriptions. We can find deep love for a person, and still not allow him to hurt others if we can help it.)

Finding deep and genuine love for what’s here may even open up for our natural fearless wisdom and intelligence, allowing us to act with more kindness and clarity in the world.

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Highly sensitive

 

As part of a spiritual emergency, it’s common for people to be highly sensitive – to the energies of other people, places, the land, food and more.

I have certainly experienced my share of it.

There is a gift in this sensitivity, since it provides us guidance (what to do, what not to do), it can give us insights and inspiration (for writing, art), and it can help us help others.

It can also be very challenging – and even painful – at times.

Here are some things I have found helpful:

 Recognizing the difference between the sensitivity, and my reaction to or relationship with it. The sensitivity itself is OK. It’s my reaction to it that sometimes is stressful and painful (and it comes from my own wounding and unexamined assumptions).

Inquiring into my stories about what’s going on, including the trigger and what’s triggered. Help myself see more clearly what’s really going on.

Finding in myself what I see as “out there”. Owning it. Embracing it. Healing and finding my own wholeness as a human being.

Taking care of myself. Allowing myself to leave situations that feel uncomfortable, if that seems the most kind choice. (And owning that I am doing so at least partly because I am not quite healed and whole yet.) For instance, if I sit next to someone on the train whose energy triggers something in me, I give myself permission to stand up and go somewhere else.

Spending time in nature. Healing physically and emotionally. Finding nurturing environments, people, activities etc. Find grounding psychologically (healing, wholeness) and energetically (nature, gardening, tai chi etc.). Allowing the soul level to work on me – through prayer and meditation – infusing my human self and inviting it to heal and find its own wholeness.

Healing and forms of healing

 

I read some books by Matthew Manning in my teens, and they – along with other books by Fritjof Capra, Jes Bertelsen, Ken Wilber, Jung and others – helped shift my conscious worldview from a conventional atheistic and materialistic view to one that’s more open and embraces more.

Yesterday, I went to a healing circle with him in the neighborhood. It was powerful, and I still notice the effect in me.

Some things I noticed:

It seems that his healing happens mostly (?) in the part of the spectrum that’s closer to the physical. I saw and sensed a very strong (non-physical) light in and around us, and in me even now. He seemed very clear and straightforward, was clear that it may or may not work for any one person, and admitted that he doesn’t know how it works, and also that he doesn’t need to know.

It also reminded me of what’s available to me here. I see energies and auras. I can often pick up what’s going on medically with others. And I can invite in healing. For me, the healing seems to happen more towards the “Spirit” end of the spectrum, perhaps at the blueprint level. (That may be why, for me, distance doesn’t matter and it’s often easier to do it at a distance.) And that’s not any worse or better than any other form of healing.

Also, since my teens there has been a question for me here. I am most drawn to finding love for what’s here, and recognize it as love and Spirit, no matter what’s it’s called and how it appears in a conventional view – whether it’s what a thought may call illness, pain or something else. That is the real “healing”. And at the same time, not everyone is interested in it, and a temporary relief is also very valuable. And that means that inviting in healing in a conventional sense is beautiful too, especially when done with respect, after asking the person if it’s OK, and giving it all over to Spirit.

So, in a sense, there are several forms of healing.

(a) One is the healing of perception. It’s a healing of identifying with images and words. A healing of our tendency to identify with images and words. A finding of genuine love for this tendency. (Which releases identification.) Seeing through the dynamics of this tendency. This is addressed by any spiritual tradition, and also some forms of meditation and inquiry.

(b) Another is the healing of our stories of what’s going on. A healing of perception of wrong. This is addressed by different forms of inquiry, including the Living Inquiries, The Work, cognitive therapy and more.

(c) And yet another is healing of what may initially appear as the problem, the problem “out there”, such as physical illnesses, life circumstances and more.

Each of these have their place. They fit together. They address the apparent problem at different levels, and none is really more or less important than the other. It’s all a matter of what we are drawn to. For me, the two latter are not enough, so I am naturally drawn to include the first one. And for others, it’s sometimes the same, and sometimes different. And that’s OK. It’s all part of life’s diversity. It’s all part of Life (Spirit, God, Buddha Mind) exploring and experiencing itself in as much diversity as possible.

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Basic orientation and levels of healing

 

Nothing new here, but a meeting I was at a couple of days ago reminded me of it.

There are two basic – and often complimentary – orientations to healing:

(a) Removing or changing the apparent problem, such as an illness or situation in life. (Most medicine and some psychology.)

(b) Changing how we relate to it. (Some psychology, and practices such as yoga, Breema, meditation, inquiry etc.)

And there are – crudely speaking – three levels of healing:

(a) Treating symptoms.

(b) Treating intermediate causes. (Most psychology and medicine is here.)

(c) Inquiry into the dynamics and nature of the mind, eventually allowing identifications with parts of the content of awareness (images, thoughts) to release. (Some forms of meditation and inquiry.)

Jeff Foster: The trauma of healing

 

All healing involves trauma, the re-opening of old wounds. Healing does not always look or feel good, pretty or kind.

One of the most dangerous myths we have inherited is that healing is supposed to ‘feel good’. No. Sometimes our pain actually increases as the darkness emerges into the light. But the pain actually indicates that the healing process is intensifying, not stalling.

There is such a tendency in our culture to avoid suffering, distract ourselves from it, label it as ‘wrong’ or ‘negative’, meditate or medicate it away, prevent the experience of it (and of course there is great intelligence in this too!). Much of our Western medicine is geared towards the removal of symptoms, the calming of disruption, the numbing of chaos and the journey towards some socially acceptable idea of ‘normality’.

But sometimes, friends, we no longer have any interest in ‘returning to normal’! The ‘normal’ was the problem, not the solution! The status quo needed to shift. It was unstable and false.

Sometimes our fragile ‘normality’ needs to break open into chaos, the pain needs to be felt more fully, the heart needs to break open more intensely. This is not to destroy us, but to destroy inauthentic modes of being.

Suffering is not a punishment from a judgemental god, nor a mistake in a broken universe, nor evidence of our failure and unenlightened ignorance, but a profoundly alive spiritual teaching. Witness Jesus on the cross. The device of his torture became his ultimate invitation to healing – the rediscovery of his own unbreakable Presence prior to his human incarnation, prior to time itself. The crucifixion was the invitation to the rediscovery of God itself.

We are all on that cross with Jesus! The cross does not discriminate!

Consider the possibility that within your suffering you are being invited to let go, to ‘put away childish things’, to wake up from the dream of normality and embrace life in all its brokenness and wonder. To fall in love with where you are. To be here, now.

Let the winds blow, let the tempests rage, let all that is false be purified, let all that is dead remain dead, let life explode where you are. You are only being invited to a deeper healing, even though it feels like pain, even though the heart is tender and raw, even though you cannot yet feel your tomorrows.

God is here.

– Jeff Foster

Healing and identification

 

I keep being reminded of this too:

When there is a wound here, a few things can happen.

(a) There may be a healing of this wound. I meet it in satsang, recognize it as coming from love and being love, and find genuine and deep love for it.

(b) It may be revealed as something quite different. (i) I invite it to notice what it really is, and it may find itself as (what a thought may call) love and awakeness. (ii) I inquire into the painful stories creating the (appearance of a) wound, and find that what I thought happened didn’t.

(c) There may be a release of identification with the wound. (i) I see that the wounded part of me is just a part, and it becomes an object for me rather than something I am. (ii) I meet it in satsang, and again it becomes an object to me rather than what I am. Instead of me feeling deficient and trying to fill the hole through people or situations, I can meet this part of me and give it what it really wants.

Each of these address a different facet of the wound. Each is valuable. Each offers something different.

Note: It’s possible to see these as different levels or stages. I use “facets” since it seems to fit my experience better. One is not neccesarily before any of the other. They all go hand-in-hand. They each address something slightly different. (a) If there is only healing, the underlying assumptions may still be unquestioned. There is still something unresolved, and the underlying beliefs are still there and may or will be triggered again later. (c) If there is only a release of identification, the wounded part of us may still hunger for love, and it may still not recognize for itself what it really is. (b) If there is only inquiry, it may actually include healing/resolution and release of identification. It’s the approach that may include or lead to the two other ones.

Healing my images of the world

 

When I do ho’oponopono, tonglen, hold satsang with what I see in myself, others or the world, or pray for myself or others, what I do is heal my images of the world.

I invite in healing for my images of myself, others and the world.

For instance, I see what I imagine is fear in another, and hold satsang with it. You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting (me, the other). How would you like me to be with you? What would satisfy you forever? What are you really?

I find it’s already allowed (by life). I find how it comes from love, and is love. I find it’s innocence. I find that it already is Spirit.

And in that way, my images of it are healed. My images align a little closer to reality.

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Jami Sams: When we heal ourselves

 

When we heal ourselves, others are healed. When we nurture our dreams, we give birth to the dreams of humankind. When we walk as loving aspects of the Earth Mother, we become the fertile, life-giving Mothers of the Creative Force. When we honor our bodies, our health, and our emotional needs, we make space for our dreams to come into being. When we speak the truth from our healed hearts, we allow life abundant to continue on our Mother Planet.

—Jami Sams, The 13 Original Clan Mothers

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Healing

 

Two basic approaches to healing is (a) to fix the problem “out there” in the world, in the body, in the mind, and (b) to heal our relationship with it, and these are complementary.

What I find interesting is that in healing for others (through prayers, visualizations etc.), these two approaches can also be used.

(a) I can ask for healing of a specific ailment. This is how I used to do it, through connecting and then inviting in healing and shifts. It worked, and yet didn’t feel quite right. It comes from an assumption that I know what’s best for the other person, me, and the world. This can be remedied by asking for the “highest good” or “Your will be done”, although it doesn’t necessarily change the basic assumption that I know what’s best. (Which I – as thinking mind, as personality – clearly do not.)

(b) I can heal my (and our collective, cultural) relationship to it in myself. So, in relation to whatever the ailment or problem appears to be, whether physical, mental, social, or in any other area, I can explore the following:

You are welcome here.

I am sorry for having pushed you away. I am sorry for having seen you as wrong.

I love you.

And if it’s in the psyche (distress, anger, grief etc.):

Thank you for your protection of [the person]. Thank you for your deep devotion to [the person]. Thank you for your deep love for [the person].

No matter what it is, I can invite it to a dialog:

How would you like to be met by me?

What is your function?

Who are you really? (Inviting it to notice itself through it’s layers: as a label, sensations, devotion, love, presence, awakeness.)

It is, as Pamela Wilson says, as holding satsang with what’s here, in this case the appearance ailment or problem. Meet it with respect, appreciation, love, understanding.

Not needing it to be anything different from how it is. Not needing it to go away or stay.

And if something comes up in me as I explore this – any desire for it to change, any hesitation, any fears – then that can be met in this way too.

As I meet something and recognize it’s complete innocence and love, it doesn’t have to change. How I relate to it changes. And that, sometimes, allows it to shift and move on, within its freedom to stay or shift.

Scanning my body

 

In scanning my body, I notice….

My legs seems more “fuzzy” than the rest, perhaps because I haven’t paid much attention to my legs recently when I have scanned and invited in healing.

There is a sense of fullness and energy in my belly area.

There is a “break” in the energy in the diaphragm area, and less energy in the chest and higher up.

There is another “break” at the base of the scull/top two vertebrae.

My head, and especially the top of the head, feels almost absent energy wise.

In scanning, I notice what’s there, and invite in the divine/Christ to do what wisdom and love would do, invite in healing guided by the infinite wisdom and love of the divine/Christ presence. I sometimes also imagine/see the Christ presence inside of every cell and every atom and molecule, doing what infinite love and wisdom would do.

I also see that it makes sense that the head feels “absent” or “empty” energy wise. It’s temporarily “shut down” to bring attention to the belly.

The sweetness of images surfacing to find liberation vs ego coming back with a vengeance

 

After an opening or awakening, it seems common to have a phase where confused parts of us surface to align more consciously with reality.

More precisely, images and thoughts still held as true surface to find liberation from being taken as true. And thoughts may label what’s surfacing as wounds, hangups, neediness, trauma, and so on.

It’s a natural and beautiful process. And, depending on how it’s met, it can be sweet and relatively peaceful, or it can be experienced as confusing, dramatic, and painful. For me, as for many others, it’s one or the other at different times.

And how we meet it depends on how we understand or view what’s happening. It depends on what images and stories come up to help explain it, and how tightly we hold onto those stories.

I sometimes hear people talking about this process using words such as the ego is coming back with a vengeance, the ego is fighting for it’s life, and even labeling what surfaces as our human garbage. I understand how it can be seen that way. And for me, those stories feel quite painful if I try them on. If I hold onto these images as true, I make what’s happening into an enemy for myself, and there is struggle and discomfort. Something else is more true for me, and more peaceful. It’s a call for love.

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Reflections on inviting in healing

 

Since I have been graced with the gift of inviting in healing for others, and it seems to be quite effective, I have been curious about what’s going on here.

What’s been clear from the beginning is that it’s God that allows for the healing.

This can be done believing that there is a me and I here inviting in healing for another. Or it can be clear that it’s all happening within and as my own world of images, and as awakeness. (Some folks would say it’s God inviting in healing for itself, through the appearance of a human being here asking for healing for another human being.) It’s all happening within my world of images, it’s all happening within and as awakeness: The perceived problem, the asking, one person asking on behalf of another, the perceived healing.

Also, what’s the focus for the healing? One way is to invite the illness itself to heal. When I did this, it felt off. It rests on a series of assumptions, and these may not be as true as they initially appear. Another is to invite in healing for my relationship with the illness or perceived problem. Right now, this feels more comfortable.

When emotions or images surface in me, and I notice a tendency to push them away, I see that something else is more true for me.

(Can I find where it’s already allowed? Where it’s already welcomed by life, awareness? Can I find where I wish to consciously align with this reality? If so, then….)

You are welcome here. You are allowed to stay, as you are.

(Can I find where I have pushed it away? Where I have made it into an enemy in mind? If so, then….)

Please forgive me for having pushed you away for so long. Please forgive me for having made you into an enemy in my mind.

(Can I find where it’s devoted to me? Where it’s love? Where it’s worried love? If so, then….)

Thank you for being here for me. Thank you for your devotion to me. Thank you for your love.

(Can I find where it’s from love? Where it’s love? Can I find my love for it? If so, then….)

I love you. I love you for being there for me. I love you for your devotion for me. I love you, for no reason.

When I do this for what surfaces in me, I find that this is the love these parts of me seek. The welcome and love I find for what surfaces is the love I seek for myself. Something falls into place. And it’s all from seeing what’s already here.

So why not see if I can find the same when I see discomfort, suffering or illness in others? Why not meet that the same way?

Whether a thought says this is emotion or image is mine, or that illness and suffering is his or hers, why not see what happens if I welcome it. If I find where I am genuinely sorry for having pushed it away, made it into an enemy. If I thank it. If I find my genuine love for it.

The “old” way of doing healing – perceiving separate beings and a problem out there to be fixed – doesn’t seem to work for me anymore. It’s not true for me, and never was. This approach feels much more peaceful for me, it seems to be the next step for me. And – so far – it even seems to “work” in terms of inviting in healing in a conventional sense. And it happens in a much more peaceful way, a way that feels more honest for me.

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