What Ground awakening does and doesn’t do, and what practice does and doesn’t do 21Feb08 | 0

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.

Layers of release and harvesting of nutrients 08Oct07 | 0

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.

read on…

The gifts of ancestors 29Sep07 | 0

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

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

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

There are many ways to do this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breathwork 03Aug07 | 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

Layers of healing 01Aug07 | 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three centers 20Apr07 | 0

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

How Spirit is filtered through each…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pulling the rug out from under one’s own feet 16Apr07 | 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tataya Mato 03Apr07 | 0

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

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

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

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

A more full-bodied being with 20Jan07 | 0

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

The other is to bring in all three centers.

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

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

Head center only

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

All three centers

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

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

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

Healing of the moment and of the patterns

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

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

Seeds and fruits

I also notice some seeds and fruits here.

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

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

More simple and doable

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

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

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

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

The seed of many fruits

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

Practices surfacing 16Jan07 | 1

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

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

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

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

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

Two ways of being with: meditation and healing 16Jan07 | 0

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

Atemporal being with

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

Temporal being with

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

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

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

Two aspects of the same process

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

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

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

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

Both as inquiry

And both are inquiry.

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

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

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

Both leading to the field awakening to itself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both needed

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

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

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

Soul retrieval 12Jan07 | 0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hara, energetic hole, scoliosis and endarkenment 22Dec06 | 0

I can’t remember if I have mentioned it here, but I have noticed for some time the relationship between energetic holes, physical problems, psychological tendencies, and now also the three soul centers.

For me, the main one is in the hara.

Since the initial awakening in my teens, I have been aware of an energetic hole in my navel area, specifically located at and near my spine. At the same area, I had a noticeable physical deformity as well, an odd stacking of the vertebrae diagnosed as scoliosis.

At the time, I did a lot of Tai Chi and Chi Gong, both because I wanted more grounding and embodiment, and also to fill up this region.

A couple of years ago, I found Breema which also specifically works with the Hara region, and I have experienced a great deal of fullness, warmth and nurturing in the belly from Breema. Slowly over these couple of years, the energetic hole has filled up, and the spine has reorganized so there is only a slight stacking oddity now (helped along with massage in that area).

With the more recent belly awakening, the endarkenment, there is a sense of a deep luminous velvety blackness and also a new level of nurturing, and a new feeling of everything as Spirit.

This feeling of everything as Spirit, and the reorganizing of the emotional level within the context of all as Spirit, was exactly what was missing in the initial awakening. The head and heart centers were awakened, but not (yet) the belly one. So although I saw, and even loved, all as Spirit, I didn’t feel all as Spirit. The emotions lived their own life, and there was a good deal of turmoil there, partly as a consequence of the intensity of the awakening and its implications.

So there was an energetic hole in the hara region, a physical deformity in the spine at the level just below the navel, and a lack of grounding and emotional turmoil.

This energetic hole then gradually filled in, the physical deformity reduced greatly, and then there was a sudden shift into endarkenment, an early belly awakening into feeling all as Spirit, allowing the emotions to reorganize to all as Spirit, and a new sense of deep nurturing and being held by the velvety luminous blackness.

It is also interesting to note that Hameed Ali (A. H. Almaas) writes about these things in ways very close to my own experiences (although from far more experience and with more precision.)

Composting, Breema and endarkenment 13Dec06 | 0

What I experience as composting seems to have two inseparable aspects.

Aspects of composting

There is the feeling into whatever arises (usually some form of resistance, or the fruits of resistance) as is.

And there is the feeling into it as Spirit, as fullness and emptiness, as alive luminous awake emptiness and form, as fullness and awake space, or however it appears.

When both are present, it seems to allow whatever is felt into to unfold and transform. There is a healing component here, allowing reactive emotions to transform into a sense of quiet nurturing fullness.

Breema, composting and endarkenment

This is actually quite similar to what they talk about in Breema. Bring the attention to the body, and feelings will join, which I experience also there as a sense of quiet stable nurturing supportive fullness, centered in the belly region.

My sense is that Breema is quite a bit about the endarkenment, although they don’t talk about it that way. There is an emphasis on the hara region, the belly, and there is certainly a transforming of emotions into giving this sense of warm full quiet stable nurturing supporting fullness.

It seems that for me, Breema set the stage for the endarkenment shift, along with shadow work and other things I have done for a while, and the endarkenment diksha allowed me to fall into it, opening up for a whole new dimension of being.

Two phases of endarkenment

Again, there seems to be two phases or aspects of the endarkenment.

There is the energetic and attention components, which are centered in the Hara, the belly region. Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Zen, Breema and many other practices activates the Hara and gives a sense of energy activity there, of warmth and nurturing fullness. It seems that this is an early taste of some aspects of endarkenment. This energetic work, and the dipping into it, is a form of pre-endarkenment.

But the shift into endarkenment is quite different. It is a shift into a whole new dimension of being. It seems stable, deep, full, a whole new way of being and experiencing existence. It is a dropping into a full rich quiet darkness. And it unfolds and deepens from here on, which includes allowing the emotions to reorganize in even deeper ways.

The pre-endarkenment is like dipping the toes in the water. The shift into endarkenment is jumping into it. And the process of unfolding is to swim, dive down into and explore in many ways this whole new realm of being.

Fertile darkness as metahpor and direct experience 16Nov06 | 0

I have looked through some books on the dark goddesses and fertile darkness, including the Jungian Dancing in the Flames: The dark goddess in the transformation of consciousness and the Buddhist/shamanic The Fruitful Darkness: Reconnecting with the body of the Earth.

I read lots of books of that nature in my early twenties – Jungian views of the goddess, ecopsychology, ecospirituality, deep ecology, and so on, and found a deep resonance even then. It made sense on all the usual levels, and it was an experiential reality as well in different ways.

Yet, what strikes me now after the early endarkenment awakening is the difference between metaphor and direct experience of this fertile darkness.

Fertile darkness as metaphor

At the one hand, the dark goddess and the fertile darkness is a metaphor that works well at many levels. It is the yin, the earth connection, the body connection, lived and experienced. It is yin complementing the yang: the fertile darkness complementing the luminosity, the earth complementing the heaven, the relatedness complementing the detachment, love complementing wisdom.

And there are so many ways of working with this, including shadow work, body work and rituals, each one allowing us to deepen into it, allowing it to be more alive in us.

Direct experience of fertile darkness through endarkenment and belly awakening

The endarkenment awakening is certainly related to all of this, and what I have done in these areas have probably helped set the stage for this belly awakening, for this new shift.

At the same time, the endarkenment awakening is also very different, at least in my experience. It is an awakening clearly centered in the belly, and in the consciousness realm rather than the energy realm. It is an awakening where there is a direct and immediate experience of this fertile darkness, of the velvety blackness, empty and full at the same time, a ground of form.

The darkness is no longer just a useful metaphor, but a lived experience.

And this darkness can envelop anything arising, including anything arising in this personality. It makes it all OK, and seems to over time allowing it to heal and knots to unravel.

Enlightenment and mind, endarkenment and emotions

In a way, the endarkenment seems to do for emotions what enlightenment does for the mind.

Enlightenment clarifies the mind, allowing it to reorganize to the new awakening of everything as Spirit.

Endarkenment soothes the emotions, allowing them to reorganize to the new awakening to the fertile dark ground of form, to everything as the goddess and Spirit as well.

All as empty luminosity, and dark fullness

Also, in the initial awakening in my teens, everything was experienced as empty luminocity, including this physical body. Every cell in this body, and all form, was empty luminosity, golden, as a hologram with form and no substance.

Through the endarkenment awakening, there is a sense of the dark fullness of everything, a fertile loamy fullness of all form. There is a sinking into and as form in a very different way.

And this is, of course, just another form of transcendence and immanence, ascension and embodiment.

Self/Other Grid II 15Sep06 | 0

The Self/Other practice or modality grid mentioned in an earlier post left out the body level.

With it, the rough outline could look like this:

Self/Body

Various forms of exercise, including aerobic and strength, and diet, sleep and self-massage.

Other/Body

Forms of bodywork, such as massage, other-assisted stretching, medicines, surgery.

Self/Energy

Forms of yoga, including indian yoga, tai chi, chi gong, and related practices such as Breema.

Other/Energy

Forms of healing and energy transmissions such as reiki and diksha.

Self/Consciousness

Forms of inquiry and meditation, such as The Work, headlessness experiments and shikataza.

Other/Consciousness

Changes in content or context of consciousness catalyzed by an apparent Other, by a teacher, Christ and God.

Interactions

This grid overlays Ground and its many manifestations, so it is one fluid whole before and after we put on this grid. This also means that through the filter of this grid, we will see interactions between each of the areas.

When I or somebody else works on my body, it has effects on energy and consciousness levels. Energy may start flowing more freely, I may feel more relaxed and/or alert, and so on.

When I or somebody else works on my energy aspect, it has effects on my physical body, maybe healing of or relief from physical problems, and my consciousness aspect, maybe an experience of bliss or clarity, maybe even glimpses of Big Mind or selflessness.

When I or somebody else influences my consciousness, it also affects on the two other levels. My body may change, maybe it relaxes and tension melts away, and my energy system may change, maybe knots unravel and energy flows more freely again.

Integral Life Practice

The Other portion of this grid is often left out of integral practice discussions and frameworks, but it seems that for it to be more inclusive, and more aligned with the what is out there and available to us in terms of practices and tools for healing and awakening, both the Self and Other sections must be included.

Quackery? Yes and no 13Sep06 | 2

When I read the Wikipedia entry on the Bates Method, I was reminded of the opposition to eye yoga from many eye doctors. They probably see it as a threat to business, some may genuinely try to protect people against false hopes, and many reject it without know much about it.

So is eye yoga quackery?

Quackery

It is quackery if it is promoted in an inaccurate way. If it is promoted as if results are guaranteed and as if it would work well for anyone at any time.

It is also quackery of sorts, since some of the methods may not have been thoroughly studied. It may well be that some exercises are very effective, and some are less effective, yet we don’t know until there are more thorough studies available.

Not quackery

And it is not quackery. As always, the proof is in the pudding.

We know from innumerable cases that eye yoga does seem to work. It is very simple to test: get your eyes checked, do eye yoga, and get your eyes checked again. I went from near sighted and needing glasses to perfect vision, and a similar improvement has happened for many people and verified by their eye doctors.

There are also studies out there that shows that it works. As most things, it seems to work very well for some, it works to some extent for many, and it does not seem to work much for some.

Good sense

In addition to all this, eye yoga simply makes sense.

There are lots of muscles associated with the eye and with various eye problems, so exercising and learning to relax these just makes good sense. We do that with most other muscles in the body, so why not for those associated with the eyes. At the very least, it can hurt.

We also know the essential role of the brain in interpreting and processing the signals from the eyes. So also here there is lots of room for working with what is going on and training the brain in new patterns, which in turn may help our vision.

Light Sensitivity 13Sep06 | 0

For a while, I have been doing eye yoga now and then, using the Bates Method as outlined in Natural Vision Improvement and other books and videos. In a short time, I went from being near sighted and needing glasses to perfect 20-20 vision, to my eye doctor’s great amazement.

The one thing that didn’t change was light sensitivity. I have been using sunglasses while driving in sunshine, and also at other times while being outdoors. Without sunglasses, there was a lot of squinting and general discomfort.

I mentioned this to a eye yoga teacher who was at the Breema intensive a couple of weeks ago, and she mentioned her own story about light sensitivity which involved resolving her fear of death.

That it had an emotional component made immediate sense to me. I went into the emotional component of my light sensitivity, which was readily available and had a distinct texture and quality. Staying with this, a memory of nightmare from my childhood came up: I dreamt that somebody used thin metal rods to go into my eye sockets and pull out my eyes (!). The same emotional texture is also related to a slight phobia I have to the visual appearance of needles (they sometimes brings up a discomfort in me, somehow connected with my eyes).

I stayed with this for the rest of the day and as I fell asleep, and I had a range of intense dreams that night which had a similar emotional tone to them.

Two days later, driving our car for two hours home in brilliant sunshine, I noticed to my surprise that I didn’t need sunglasses. My eyes seemed perfectly fine without, even in the stark sunshine here in Oregon in the summer. I asked my partner if the sunlight was somehow less bright that day, maybe due to forest fires or haze or something similar, but she said it was as bright as it gets.

Since then, I have not had any need for sunglasses, even in the consistently sunny days here before the fall rains.

It seems that my system had a readiness for shifting out of light sensitivity, and did so only with a little nudge – by allowing the emotional component of it to surface, be seen, be stayed with for as long as it was there.

Bladder Deeksha 18Apr06 | 0

Off and on since my teens, I have experimented with healing, and am getting more into it again. The way it happens naturally for me seems very similar to Sat Nam Rasayan, and there is also a sense of connecting the causal energy level – allowing space for the healing to take place. It also seems relatively easy to scan the body and get a sense of what and where something is going on, at many levels. In general, it seems that connecting + intention + space = healing.

When I do this with my partner, it seems that most symptoms clear up relatively fast – whether it is pain, nausea or other things. She has had a bladder type infection for a while, which has come up whenever we have been doing a healing session – and it is quite clear that it does not resolve through the usual way of allowing space, intention etc.

Tonight, I mentioned that I would try something else, and silently invited the deeksha energy (through Bhagavan and Amma) in – offering it all up to that manifestation of the divine for healing. This took only a couple of minutes, and afterwards she mentioned that’s funny, it felt like a bladder deeksha. It was the same energy as when I receive a deeksha for the head.

Offering up

It is also interesting since the offering up part has come up for me again recently – offering it all to the divine. This came naturally during the initial awakening, and as with so much else, it seems that it is now coming back in a more intentional way.

It is all grace anyway, all God, so offering it all to the divine – in whatever form that comes up for us – is just offering it back to where it always was and is. Offering any stress that comes up, any perceived problems, any dis-ease, any illness, any skills, any gifts, any insights, any and every aspect of our human self, any and every physical objects we are temporary caretakers of, any person in our life, our community, this landscape, the whole earth, the whole universe – offering it all to the divine.

There is a tremendous sense of freedom in this, and also a sense of getting out of my own way so a deeper healing can take place.

And there is also nothing new in any of this. It is a regular practice in many spiritual traditions, maybe most clearly so in Tibetan Buddhism.

With the healing, there has been a mix of a sense of “doing” – allowing space for the healing, and also of offering it up. But this was a step further, purely offering it all up – surrendering it back to the divine.

Of course, the only thing that is surrendered is a sense of “ownership” or identification with it, revealing it as an aspect of the divine – as it has always been.

Causal Energy & Healing 13Apr06 | 0

I started reading the draft of the subtle energy chapter in Ken Wilber’s book on integral spirituality.

Not having read the whole thing yet, I am sure this will be clarified for me. But for now, I cannot help but seeing a relationship between a particular form of healing (energy healing, spiritual healing), and the energy component of the causal level.

In my teens, and during my initial awakening, I discovered that “I” could catalyze healing – by allowing space for healing and also to connect with the “ground”, or rather the level closest to it, what I later learned is called the causal level. And this seems very similar to what they do in Sat Nam Sarayan, which I recently discovered.

If there is a direct connection to the nondual level, to the ground, then nothing happens. What happens happens, and there is not really any change. But if there is an intention and a connection with the causal level, then healing can take place. The same is of course the case with the energy component at any other level, but the causal seems to be the one I most easily go to when allowing for healing – for myself or others.

There is an intention for healing there (relative), within the context of allowing what needs to happen to happen (absolute). There is my wish for a particular outcome, within the realization of how narrow my perspective is and that something else may be more appropriate. There is the prayer for healing, yet always followed by “Your will be done” – no matter what that may look like. There is intention and space. Direction and allowing. Seeking and humility. The relative and absolute.

Figure-Ground 06Apr06 | 0

I went to a Sat Nam Rasayan practice group tonight, and found it very rewarding. The approach is very similar to the way I have done healing since my teens, and also quite similar to Big Mind and Breema.

I went into Big Mind quite easily, supported by the atmosphere there. And experienced again the clear figure-ground shifts that occur.

Opaque, transparent, and popping

First, there is an identification with something finite. In my case, a habitual identification with things that appear to occur in my head/throat area – sensations, emotions, thoughts, attention to these, and the awareness it all occurs within. At the same time, there is a transparency to all of this. If I look, I find that none of these have any “I” inherent in it. And there is also a sense of no separation to anything else. Even here, it is all transparent to the ground.

Then, there is a shift to this ground within and as which everything arises – the sounds of the cars going by, the room, the people in the room, the voice of the instructor, the sensations, emotions, thoughts, focus, and the awareness it all unfolds within. It is all revealed as a seamless field, with no “I” inherent in any of it. It all just happens.

Figure-ground

So it is a figure-ground shift in a quite literal sense. First, there is a vague sense of self habitually places on certain phenomena arising in the present. And all this occurs against the ground of space and everything else happening. Then, this ground pops out into the foreground and all the figures are revealed as just occurrences within, from and as this ground.

Continuum

It is also interesting to note the continuum here. There may be an opaque identification with something finite, not questioned at all. Then, there may be a glimpse of selflessness, and still a vague habitual sense of self placed on something finite, but transparent to the ground – especially when attention is brought to it. And finally, the ground may pop into the foreground and all the finite forms are revealed as the temporary forms within this ground, as emptiness dancing.

Fluctuation

In the shift from one to the next, there seems to usually be an extended period of fluctuation between the two, often starting with brief glimpses of the next one, then longer periods shifted into it, and then shifting the center of gravity into it in a more stable way.

This allows for an easing into it and gradual familiarity with the new way of experiencing the self – from opaque and unquestioned, through transparent and not really real, to not existing other than as a label of temporary, limited and practical use only.

Two Levels of Healing 27Jul05 | 0

In healing, we can see it occurring through two main levels: the personal and the transpersonal, the small self and Big Mind.

When awareness is exclusively identified with the small self, it has no choice but to try to fix the small self – the body, emotions, thoughts, behavior – with the tools available to the small self. It is blinded by its own filters. No matter how much fixing and healing occurs in this way, it is never quite right – there is always a sense of something missing. There is still dependence on particular external and internal situations for happiness. There is still suffering. There is still dualistic views – pitting health against illness, right against wrong, body against mind, creator against creation, delusion against insight, me against you, humans against Earth.

When awareness awakens to the Absolute – and its own nature of spacious awareness – it finds another “ground”. It can view all inner and outer phenomena as aspects of a seamless whole. It seems that it is all ultimately perfect as it is, and that there is room for improvement. It knows a place where it stays the same, no matter what goes on for the small self. This aspect of itself is always beyond health and illness, right and wrong, body and mind, creator and creation, delusion and insight, me and you, humans and Earth. There is no need for healing here. And we find a place where we can be with – or be – whatever experiences comes up. This is the healing the small self needs – to be seen from this view… Here, the healing processes can take place for the small self – or not – either one is Existence manifesting.

Footnote: When we find this place distinct from and embracing the small self, we can view the small self and bring awareness into areas previously in the dark. This in itself is healing, and it allows the healing processes inherent in all life – in the Earth and the small self – to unfold. Where the small self interfered in dualistic and confused views, it has now stepped aside to allow the healing to unfold on its own – according to its own inherent wisdom and intelligence.

Healing & Fixing 20Jul05 | 0

Small Self Identification

When awareness is exclusively identified with (or temporarily caught up/lost in) the small self, there is a sense of separation. Awareness functions in a dualistic way. We see the world in terms of absolute separations – in you and me, body and mind, creator and creation, life and death, good and bad.

We see certain qualities in others and not in ourselves and the other way around, and we assign values to these qualities. When I see something desirable in you and not in me, it gives rise to admiration or envy. When I see something desirable in me and not in you, it gives rise to pride and arrogance. When I see something undesirable in you and not in me, it gives rise to judgment. When I see something undesirable in me and not in you, it gives rise to guilt and shame.

And all of this naturally gives rise to a desire to fix ourselves. We want to acquire more of the desirable qualities, and less of the undesirable. We want to be “good”. We want to be healed and fixed. As so many have pointed out, this gives rise to the whole self-help industry.

This may work to some extent and for a while, but is never in the end quite satisfactory. There is always someone who has it better than us, always something more to achieve and acquire. It is samsara – a nagging sense of uneasiness. Something is never quite right.

Nature of Mind

When we awaken to the nature of mind, we find another “ground” – one that is distinct from the small self. And we discover that everything is perfect as it is. It just is – complete as it is.

For the first time, we gain some overview and a perspective of the small self. We still see it with its peculiar characteristics and flaws, but nothing seems so serious anymore. We are more than the personality, and that which is more than the personality is perfect as it is and knows that everything is perfect as it is.

There is still room for improvement, and we may still engage in various ways to “improve” the small self, but now it is for a different reason. Now it is to finetune this vehicle for the expression of the nature of mind, or Big Mind.

And there is a new focus as well – to just be with whatever is. To rest in the nature of mind while being actively engaged in the world.