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
The more we allow ourselves to feel the pain of our self-abandonment, the Essential Qualities that we have been longing for begin to arise in us. The unfinished business of childhood begins to resolve itself in our psyches and our hearts begin to heal.
– Understanding the Enneagram, p. 365
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ll make this simple too:
It seems I have been gifted with the ability to identify – at least to some extent – what’s going on for another, and also invite in resolution and healing. And I haven’t used it much, other than in emergencies, because it’s always felt a bit off. And the reason it’s felt a bit off is quite simple: Who am I to say that what I see as healing and resolution is better than what’s here? Who am I to say it’s better than what we call pain, discomfort, illness?
So instead, why not find healing for my relationship to what’s here? Instead of healing what’s here, why not invite healing for my relationship to it?
Last night, I was asked to check in with a cat and possibly do healing, and today, I was asked to do the same for human belly cramps and headache. So instead of of I have done in the past – checking in, find curiosity for the path of resolution leading to healing, and inviting in and supporting that path – I did something else.
I checked in, got a sense of what was going on, and found where the following already is true for me in how I relate to this discomfort, pain, and illness:
You are welcome here. You are welcome here, as you are.
I am sorry for having pushed you away, for having made you into an enemy in my mind.
Please forgive me.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for supporting him (her). Thank you for coming from love.
I love you.
This comes from a recognition that all already is Spirit and Love. It’s God’s will, God’s love, and it is God and Love. And our discomfort and suffering comes from our relationship with what’s here, our struggle and making it into an enemy in our mind.
So by inviting in a healing of my relationship with it, something shifts. And, for me, the only comfortable way of doing it is to be very honest, very real.
Can I find where it’s already allowed, already welcomed (by existence, by God, by life, by awakeness)? Can I find where I genuinely welcome it?
Can I find where I am sorry for having pushed it away for so long? Can I find where I am sorry for having made it into an enemy in my mind?
Can I find where I genuine wish to ask for forgiveness?
Can I find where it – whatever I made into an enemy – comes from and is love? Where I am sincerely grateful for it being here?
Can I find my genuine love for it, as it is?
Inviting a shift in my relationship with the discomfort, pain, illness, may or may not be followed by a shift in the discomfort, pain, and illness itself. There are many reasons for this. Discomfort is created entirely from how I relate to it, from making it into an enemy in my mind. A significant part of pain is similarly created from how I relate to it, from making it into an enemy, holding onto my images and thoughts about it as solid and real. Even illness may shift as my relationship with it changes. As someone said, what we resist persist.
And if I notice a very natural impulse for the discomfort, pain or illness itself to change, can I welcome that too? Can I see where this impulse comes from love? Where it’s devoted to me, to my well being?
You are welcome here. Thank you for being here. Thank you for your devotion to me. Thank you for your love for me. I love you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.