The world becomes transparent

 

When there is a spiritual opening, a more thorough awakening, or just an in-depth exploration of the mind, it’s as if the world becomes transparent.

Spirit. One way the world can appear transparent is when all is revealed as Spirit. Spirit reveals itself to itself as all there is, including the world of matter, this human self, and anything else. All is revealed as Spirit, including what this is revealed to, so there is a sense of anything else – any appearances and labels – are transparent. They are ephemeral and “thin” compared to all as Spirit.

Exploration. Another way the world can appear transparent is through exploration. Specifically, an exploration of how the mind creates it’s own experience of the world and itself. As we become more familiar with these dynamics – for instance how thoughts and sensations combine to create identification and the appearance of something real – it’s as if the world becomes more transparent.

More about all as Spirit. When Spirit reveals itself to itself as all there is, it may happen in different ways. In a spiritual opening, Spirit may reveal itself as all there is as a glimpse which stays for a while and then fades. It won’t be forgotten, but the immediacy of it may fade. Often, it becomes a guide and inspiration for further exploration and awakening.  That may lead to Spirit recognizing itself as all there is in a more stable way. And that happens partly through embodiment. The different parts of us become more aligned with this reality of all as Spirit, and we live from it with more ease in more and more situations.

When there is identification with ideas about ourselves and the world, there is a “forgetting” of all as Spirit. And that impacts and shapes our psyche including through additional identifications, wounds, and trauma. These parts of us are no longer aligned with the reality of all as Spirit. So when Spirit reveals itself to itself, these parts are invited to heal and realign. They are invited to more closely align with all as Spirit. And this looks like quite ordinary healing, maturing, and kindness.

I should also mention that when Spirit reveals itself as all there is, that includes anything that can be labelled me or I. Nothing is excluded. This human self is still here. A soul may still be here. And so on. And it’s all Spirit. There is no actual separate me or I anywhere in it.

More about exploration. I have written about this form of exploration in other posts on this blog. See, for instance, any posts tagged inquiry, living inquiries, the work, or identification.

Avoid, present with, or resolve

 

How do we relate to uncomfortable thoughts and sensations?

We can avoid them. Be present with them. Or invite them to resolve.

Each one has its place.

Avoiding can be useful in the short run. But nothing is resolved, the discomfort tends to return, and avoidance in itself can create problems in life.

Being present with the images, words, and sensations can be helpful. It tends to help the mind calm down. We may notice what’s there, some of the dynamics of the mind, and perhaps have some insights. But in itself, this too won’t neccesarily resolve anything.

So how do we resolve it? It can be resolved through the consciousness side or the energy side, and really through both. I’ll just mention the few approaches I am familiar with, out of the innumerable ones available.

We can identify and examine the stressful beliefs, and find what’s more true to us (The Work). We can notice and rest with the mental images, words, and sensations creating the stressful experience, allowing the mental connection between the thoughts and sensations to dissolve (Living Inquiries). We can dissolve it from the energy side while inviting in insights to support the new patterns (Vortex Healing). We can change our relationship to it through heart centered practices (tonglen, ho’o, metta).

In general, we can meet it with presence, patience, respect, kindness, and curiosity. And that curiosity is a kind of inquiry supported by certain pointers, guidelines, and perhaps practices aimed at helping us see what’s already there. The truth is kind, and it will set us free.

Another meta-skill is important for something to resolve and that’s intention. Intention for it to resolve and clear. Intention for us and the process to keep moving, to find and explore associated and underlying beliefs and identifications.

It also helps to notice that all of it – any movements and any content of experience, including the stressful beliefs and how we relate to and explore it – happens within and as presence. That’s the context for it all. And it helps us notice identfications with wanting something to change, and then notice that too as happening within and as presence. It gives it all more space and freedom to be.

(more…)

Fear expressed as anger

 

I have mentioned this as an aside in other posts.

Fear can take the form of anger.

Or, rather, one response to fear is anger. And for some, anger can be a habitual response to fear.

Conversely, we can say that behind anger, is – most likely – fear.

It’s good to keep this in mind when we do any kind of exploration of anger or fear. If there is anger, is there fear behind or within it? If there is fear, does it sometimes take the form of anger?

Also, anger can take different forms besides what we, in our society, usually think of as anger. It can take the form of frustration. Blame. Harsh judgments (of self and others). Reactivity. Defense. And much more. And all of it may trace back to fear.

And fear can take a great number of forms besides anger and obvious fear. To me, it seems that a reaction to fear is behind most stressful experiences and dynamics, including going into beliefs and identifications. Our reaction to fear tends to create a wide range of different stressful experiences.

As always, these are questions. Starting points for exploration. Whatever we find is what we find, whether it fits our expectations or what’s suggested in pointers or not.

Note: I should mention that when we find the fear behind anger, identifications, etc. it often feels quite vulnerable, and as a confession. A hidden secret that we finally admit to. The anger, identifications, or whatever it may be often serve as a protection against facing this fear. So it can be helpful to explore and befriend the fear of meeting the fear.

(more…)

Are religious people delusional?

 

Are religious people delusional? That’s a question addressed by a recent article in The Guardian.

It’s a complex question and, as usual, it depends. Here are a few angles.

In general, what’s common and shared in a culture is not seen as unusual or a problem. (Although people from another background and culture may well see it differently.) Common religious beliefs and behaviors won’t be seen as delusional, even by people who disagree or have another view. And since most human cultures accept religions, we tend to give religions and religious people more leeway than we do in other cases.

If religious views or behaviors seem too much out of the ordinary we are more likely to wonder what’s going on. The views may be stronger than usual. Their views or behavior may be out of the ordinary. Their identity may be seen as unusual. And that may be considered a disorder or delusional.

Mystical experience is a subset of what I just mentioned. Some religious traditions and cultures accept mystical experiences (Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism), and some see it as more unusual  (Protestant Christianity). In the latter, mystical experiences may be viewed with more suspicion although it depends on how the person interpret their own experiences.

In general, from a mainstream psychological view, it depends on how the person views their own beliefs and experiences. If they have a reasonably rational and mature relationship to it, and their interpretations are not too much out of the ordinary, they are likely to be seen as sane. If they seem to have unusually strong beliefs, or very unusual interpretations, they are more likely to be seen as delusional.

I understand this approach. As social and group creatures, we absorb the views and norms of our culture. And whatever is ordinary is also normal and generally seen as sane. And yet, it’s possible to take a more dispassionate view. We can take a step back and imagine we see it from the outside.

From a more dispassionate view, I would say religious beliefs are delusional. If we adopt views and beliefs (a) unsupported by our own experience and solid data, (b) just because someone else holds them, that is – in a strict sense – delusional. It may be understandable and ordinary but also delusional. It makes about as much sense as believing in Santa Claus.

So why don’t psychologists see religious beliefs as delusional? There are many reasons. Mainly, the beliefs are understandable and ordinary and they want to give people some leeway. Also, they don’t want to antagonize large groups of people. And if religious beliefs are seen as delusional, then any belief will have to be seen as delusional.

And, of course, that’s actually true. When we hold our own imagination – which our thoughts are – as representing reality in any final or absolute sense, then we are delusional. Any belief is, in a strict sense, delusional. That’s why it’s also stressful. It’s out of alignment with reality.

Fortunately, there is a way out. And that way may include many forms of explorations including various forms of meditation, heart-centered practices, body-inclusive practices, and inquiry.

Perhaps in the future or in some society somewhere else in the universe, the norm is to take thoughts for what they are. As imagination only helpful in a practical sense to help us orient and navigate in the world. And not as a pointer to any final or absolute truth or reality. In such a society, religious belief – as any other belief – may be seen as delusional. Understandable but delusional.

Just to make it clear: I am talking about religious belief here. Not necessarily spirituality. Spirituality – as anything else – can and does get mixed in with beliefs. But it can also be a more open and pragmatic exploration. It can be a reporting on direct experiences, in an as honest way as possible. It can be a practical exploration through using pointers and practices to see what we find. It can be an exploration of reality, just as (other forms of) science. And that can be done outside of or (sometimes) within a religious context.

(more…)

Noticing as inquiry

 

When we sit and have little choice but to notice the mind, we all – inevitably – have certain insights. That’s one of the reasons regular sitting (aka meditation) has an effect.

Here are some of the things we may notice.

Any particular content of experience keeps changing. They come and go. They are visitors.

The activity of the mind seems to naturally quiet down after a while when I sit still and the content is noticed.

My mind tends to run in similar patterns, revisiting similar dynamics and themes.

Identities and roles tend to “flash up” when called for by the situation or triggered by thoughts. They appear, I can engage with them or not, and they then go away again.

When my mind beliefs certain thoughts, they have a charge. And that charge is really sensations assicated with the particular thought. That’s how my mind creates beliefs and identifications, and any thought with a charge.

Strong emotions may pass through with little identification. They appear as emotions passing through and not much else. And slight emotions may trigger a strong identification and seem more real and true as if it really means something.

There is an infinite richness of experience here. I can find any experience and emotion right in this experience, even if just as a whisper or trace.

Content of experience may be active, strong, and in movement while there is also rest and silence here. It all happens within and as silence.

Content of experience may seem anything but OK while it happens within and as what seems OK. OKness and not-OKness both happens here.

Something doesn’t come and go. I can perhaps label it awareness, or awakeness, or consciousness, although none of those labels really fit.

Any description of this is insufficient. It can’t really touch it. Not because what’s happening is so amazing (most of the time it’s very ordinary), but because reality can’t really be touched by words. Words fragment and split while reality is a seamless all-inclusive whole.

I don’t know anything for certain. Thoughts are images and words created by my mind to make sense of the world. They can be helpful for orienting and functioning, but there is no absolute or final truth in any of them. Only a charge (sensations) associated with them can make it seem that they have some final truth, and that’s just a charge – also created by the mind.

Any “me” or “I” happens as content of experience, and is created by my own mind. They are created by thoughts (images and words) combined with sensations. I cannot find any me or I outside of that.

My experience is consciousness. Any experience is consciousness. Or, at least, that’s what the mind can label it. The mind cannot know anything but consciousness since sensory experiences and thoughts happen within and as consciousness. It doesn’t know anything else. The world appears as consciousness. (And any thought about it being consciousness, or not existing etc. are just thoughts, imaginations, questions about the world.)

Thoughts are really questions about the world. Sometimes, the mind recognize them as questions. And sometimes, it tells itself they are more true or real than that. Although it doesn’t really know.

The mind tries to find safety in telling itself it knows something, even if that knowing is painful. And it does so by combining certain sensations with the thoughts. The thoughts seem more substantial, real, and true when they are associated with sensations. And the sensations seems to mean something when they are associated with the thoughts.

Of course, many of these are easier noticed through more structured or formalized inquiry, either through The Work or Living Inquiry or something similar. When they are noticed in inquiry, they are more easily noticed in regular sitting (AKA natural rest, basic meditation, just sitting, shikantaza etc.). When they are noticed in inquiry and/or natural rest, they are more easily noticed in everyday life. And when they are noticed in everyday life, they are more easily noticed through a range of situations in everyday life.

I have participated in a few circling sessions on Skype recently, and this noticing comes even more alive when shared. Sitting in silence has it’s benefits, as does sharing our noticing in real time with another or a small group of people. For me, the sharing adds something to the noticing.

The essence of mystical experiences

 

My mystical experience has faded a lot now. I still spend time in nature, but that incredible oneness and closeness of feeling with the birds, trees, rivers is much less.

– J.

You may already have discovered this. One thing that has helped me with fading mystical experiences is to see what’s still there. Often, the strength of the experience may fade or the “bells and whistles” (the bliss, amazement etc.) may go away, but something is still there. And what’s still there is often the most central.

What I have found helpful is asking myself “what’s the essence of the mystical experience”, and then see if I can find that here and now. For instance, it may be a sense of oneness, or that all is Spirit or the divine. Initially, it can be a bit disappointing to see that it’s here but not as strong as before. But as you attend to it, you may find a real appreciation for what’s still here. It may turn out to be what’s most important and transformative in the long run.

– from my reply

I thought I would share this here. It’s common for mystical experiences to fade and for the side-effects – the bliss, awe, amazement – to go away. That’s the nature of mystical experiences. And there is an invitation here, and that’s to see what’s still here.

It’s easy to get into “chase the mystical experience” mode. I did for a while. Whether it works or not, it becomes pretty clear over time that it’s a bit like a dog chasing it’s tail. It can be fun, it may work, but it’s also exhausting and – if we are honest with ourselves – futile. It doesn’t really get us what we want because experiences, including the most amazing ones, fade and go away.

So what is it that didn’t go away? What’s still here? Maybe that’s what it is more about?

Thoughts, charge, identification

 

Finding clarity often has to do with differentiation. And here is a very basic one.

There is a difference between thoughts, bodily sensations, and identifications.

Thoughts are mental imitations of the senses – whether they are images, sounds, taste, smell, movement, sensations, or something else. When we talk about thoughts, we usually mean images and words, and words are typically a combination of mental images (of the words) and sounds.

Sensations are bodily sensations. When the mind associates certain thoughts with certain sensations, the sensations tend to lend a sense of charge (reality, substance, solidity) to the thoughts, and the thoughts lend a sense of meaning to the sensations.

When there is identifications with a thought, it seems true. The mind identifies with the viewpoint of the thought. Thoughts that are not identified with pass through and are recognized as just thoughts. They are seen as questions about the world. Temporary guides for orientation and action in the world, at most. It’s clear that they don’t reflect any final or absolute truth. Thoughts that are identified with tend to seem true and real. And the mechanism for identification with thoughts is for the mind to associate sensations with thoughts, as described above.

When it comes to tools for exploring these, they each seem to work on certain aspects of this thought, charge, and identification dynamic. They each use a slightly different angle to invite a release of the charge out of the thoughts, and soften the identification with these.

For instance, Living Inquiries tend to release the association between thoughts and sensations. Thoughts are then more easily recognized as thoughts, and the previous associated sensations may still be there but now with less or no particular meaning. The Work helps us recognize that previously believed thoughts are not inherently or absolutely true, and that other angles are as or more valid. Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) tends to release the charge from the body which is associated with stressful thoughts and trauma, and the thoughts behind the stress and trauma tends to seem less charged and less true, and there may be less identification with them. Vortex Healing seems to work from both the bodily charge and consciousness side of this dynamic.

A footnote about mainstream psychology: I have for a long time noticed that mainstream psychologists sometimes don’t differentiate between these. For instance, many psychological questionnaires ask about thoughts but not how much charge they hold, or how identified the person is with these. And that’s one of many ways questionnaires can be interpreted in a misleading way.

(more…)

How difficult things look from the perspective of awakening

 

How do difficult things look from the perspective of awakening?

How do tragedies look? Loss of all kinds, whether personal or collective?

It depends, of course. It depends on the level of clarity. It depends on how embodied and lived that clarity is. It depends on conditioning, tradition, and culture, both in how it’s perceived and expressed.

Here are a few things from my own experience.

It’s lila. The play of the divine. It’s all the divine – or life, the Universe – exploring, expressing, and experiencing itself.

It’s all Spirit. It’s happening within and as what we are and everything is. It’s happening within and as (what we may call) awakeness, consciousness, love, wisdom.

It’s not what it looks like. Partly because of lila. Partly because the way it looks, in a conventional sense, is filtered and created by believing stories and being identified with identities and stories. And many of these stories, especially when it comes to loss, are stressful.

When we examine these stressful stories, we may find that reality is kind. (As Byron Katie often points out.) And we can find this for ourselves, even in small ways, through inquiries such as The Work.

When it happens to someone else, there is empathy. We know very well how painful and distressing human experiences can be. We know from our own experience. We wish to be present with others going through it. We wish to be human with others. If appropriate and possible, we wish to alleviate the suffering. That’s all very natural.

And when something diffcult happens in our own life, we wish the same. To be present with what’s here as it is. To recognize the suffering as very natural. Recognize it as the play of the divine, and as Spirit. And if appropriate and possible, to alleviate the suffering. (In our own case, through presence, inquiry, love, and more.)

Mainly, it looks very human. In the best case, it looks like clarity and maturity in a very human way.

In other cases, our own wounds – areas in us not yet healed or on board with the clarity – are triggered and we act from these wounds and lack of clarity.

Often, there is a mix. There is clarity and lack of clarity. And that too is very human.

(more…)

I am not useful?

 

Sometimes, we feel we are not useful. Maybe even that the world would be better without us in it.

Inquiry. This comes from thoughts, and it can be good to investigate these thoughts.

The Work. What stressful stories do I have about myself? How others see me? What the world expects from me? How I should be to be useful? What do I find when I examine these thoughts through The Work?

Living Inquiries. What does it say about me that I am not useful? Make a list. Find the statement that has the most charge and examine it. See what thoughts (images, words) and sensations make up this identity. If guided through this process by someone experienced in this form of inquiry, it can help release the stressful charge behind it.

Lila. Also, if it’s real to us, it can be helpful to remember lila. It’s all the play of the divine. The universe and us within it is life – the Universe, the divine – expressing, experiencing, and exploring itself. We are the play of the divine. Our life – as it is right now – is the play of the divine. Nothing is out of order. Nothing is wrong. There is no lessons to be learned. Nothing we are placed here to achieve.

Don’t know. We may discover this through inquiry, or we can remind ourselves, that we don’t really know. All my stressful stories and thoughts about myself and the world are stories and thoughts. They don’t reflect an inherent or absolute truth about myself or life.

The two last reminders – lila and don’t know – can be helpful reminders if they remind us of something that’s real to us. Something discovered through a spiritual opening or awakening, or through inquiry. Otherwise, they may be a pointer, something to explore for ourselves, for instance through inquiry.  Or it may be something not so useful for us right now.

TRE, Breema, Vortex Healing. I should also add that other tools can be helpful if we feel that we are not useful, our lives don’t matter, or that the world is better off without us. TRE can help release the tension, stress, and traumas behind it or created by it. Breema can help us find and experience the wholeness are already are. Vortex Healing can help clear the identities, beliefs, and traumas creating these experiences.

And there are, of course, innumerable other approaches that can help release the charge in the identities and beliefs behind this pattern, and help us (re)find our clarity. The ones I mentioned above are just some of the ones I have found most helpful.

(more…)

Healing & awakening = aligning with reality 

 

Healing and awakening is all about aligning with reality – at all levels of our being.

That’s a tall order. And it’s already what’s here.

In brief:

We are a local part and expression of life. We are already reality so from this perspective, no alignment needs to happen. We can’t align with what we already are.

And yet, as human beings, we are typically out of alignment in many ways. There is room for alignment and this alignment is an ongoing process of exploration and inquiry, healing and maturing as human beings, and embodying our discoveries and realizations.

How did we get out of alignment? We got out of alignment by holding our thoughts as solid, real, and true. We aligned with our thoughts more than being receptive to life as it is. We came to identify and experiencing ourselves as a being separate from the rest of existence. (Consiousness identified in that way, and took itself to be a being within the content of itself.) And this process built on itself so we came to create wounds, trauma, dynamics leading to some physical illnesses, relationship problems, and a culture and society out of tune with the larger living world.

Nothing is wrong. It’s all life expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself. And yet, it is uncomfortable so at some point, there is a motivation to coming back into alignment with life so we can find a sense of home, being in tune with reality, and being more at ease.

How do we get back into alignment? We do so by noticing what we are. That we already are (this local expression of) life and a whole that always is whole. We do so by healing and maturing as human beings. We do so by an ongoing process of clarifying and embodying.

That’s the short version.

And in more detail:

Already reality. We are, in a sense, already 100% aligned with reality. We are life, this local part of the Universe, all of us is already Spirit. We cannot help being 100% reality. We are more than aligned with reality, we are reality. We are this local thinking, feeling, experiencing part of reality. As what we are, we are already reality.

Room for realignment. And it’s a tall order. It’s an ongoing process. We’ll need to face a great deal that may be uncomfortable to us, mainly because we have habitually pushed it away and seen as scary. As who we are, this human being, there is a lot of room for realignment.

Out of alignment. How did we get out of alignment?

One answer is that we, as human beings, tend to believe our thoughts. We hold some of our thoughts as real and true representations of reality and perceive and live as if that’s the case. That inherently creates a sense of separation and of being a separate being, and temporarily veils what we already are. (Life experiencing itself through this local body and these local thoughts, feelings, and experiences.) This – combined with meeting difficult life situations – is also what creates contractions, wounds, and trauma, and the accumulated effects of different types of contractions.

Another answer is Lila, the play of the divine. It seems that Existence has an inherent drive to experience itself in always new ways. The universe is life expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways. And one aspect of that is creating beings and energetic/consciousness veils that create a temporary and local experience of separation. Nothing went wrong. There are no lessons to be learned, no redemption to be earned. It’s just the temporary play of the divine.

Into alignment. So how do we get back into alignment?

We get back into alignment by noticing that we already are life and whole as we are. We already are a wholeness that’s always whole. We can understand that in different ways, and the easiest may be to notice that all happens within and as awakeness or consciousness. And that’s always whole and undivided.

We also get back into alignment through healing and maturing as human beings. And by consciously living from whatever realizations we have about life, what we are, and who we are (aka embodiment).

Both of these are ongoing explorations. As what we are, we keep noticing and clarifying. As who we are, we keep healing, maturing, and embodying. And it’s not at all a linear path.

A few additional notes:

Christianity. I thought I would say a few words about Christianity. In some cultures, the idea of aligning with reality for healing and awakening is natural and comes in from birth. I assume Buddhist cultures, Taoist cultures, and many native cultures are this way.

In other cultures, and specifically Christian and perhaps Abrahamic or theistic cultures in general, it’s different. Here, nature, life, and reality is viewed with some ambivalence and perhaps suspicion.

In Christinanity, there is the idea of original sin which makes us question our own nature, we are suspicious of our natural drives (sex, eating, resting etc.). We may also be trained to be suspicious of nature and life since it can lead us into temptation. In a Christian culture, or one that was Christian for a long time, it can seem odd or questionable to want to align with reality. If we and nature is more or less inherently sinful, why would we align with it?

Maybe it’s better to push it away as much as we can? Or maybe it’s better to transcend? We may try transcending, and find it works for a while, but reality is whole so we are inevitably brought back here and now with what’s already here.

In this case, it’s good to take small steps. Try it out and see what happens. We can explore this through inquiry where we question stressful thougths and find what’s more true for us. We can also explore it through body-centered practices such as Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises where we use the natural and inherent mechanisms of the body to find healing. Through these explorations, we may see that aligning with nature and reality is healing and can give us a sense of coming home.  We gradually build trust.

Healing, awakening, & sustainability. As shines through what I wrote above, healing, awakening and sustainability are all about aligning with reality. That’s why the three – for me – are inseperable. The seeds of dis-ease, an unawakened experience, and a society out of tune with the larger living world, are all the same. And the basic remedy is the same as well – align with life and reality.

For healing, we can align through inquiry, TRE, Breema, yoga, meditation and more. For awakening, we can align through inquiry, meditation, prayer, and more (whatever helps us ripen). For sustainability, we can align with life through philosophical and economic frameworks that takes ecological realities into account (which none of the current mainstream ones do), and a generally worldview that does the same.

Psychotherapy. I intentionally left out psychotherapy from my (brief) list of ways we can find healing. That’s because psychotherapy can be healing or not depending on who’s doing it (the therapist) and the approach they are using. If the therapist’s view is inherently skeptical about life and reality, then any healing won’t go very deep. It may even be traumatizing. If their view and life is more deeply aligned with life and reality, and they have a deep trust in life, then the healing can go quite deep. Process Work is an excellent example of an approach that’s inherently trusting of and aligned with life.

(more…)

How to be miserable

 

As the video above, and the book it’s based on, reminds us:

It can be helpful to explore how we create what we want less of in our lives.

If I want to be more miserable, what would I do? Here is my list, right now.

Sleep. Make sure to consistently not get enough sleep, or sleep way too much. Make sure it’s consistenly irregular.

Diet. Eat a good deal of dairy, sugar, wheat. Eat mostly refined and processed foods. If you notice you crave something, then eat lots of it.  (Craving = a sign that your body reacts to it.)

Physical activities. Find ways to move as little as possible. Drive instead of walking. Stay indoors as much as you can. Avoid nature.

Thoughts. Believe stressful thoughts. Indulge in them. Never question them. Treat them as true and unquestionable. Seek out more stressful thoughts. Let them amplify each other.

Social. Spend a lot of time alone, isolated. OR spend time with people who focus on what doesn’t work, who believes and reinforces your own stressful thoughts, who is unable to be present with you, who wants you to change (for their own sake). Set other’s needs before your own. Make those around you miserable. (Complain, be ungrateful.)

Situations. Stay in situations that doesn’t work for you, that feels wrong at a deep level. Grin and bear it or complain instead of doing something to change it.

Attention. Put attention on distractions. Put attention on things that are urgent but not important. On news and drama. Train attention to be scattered.

Activities. Set diffuse goals, and impossible goals. Don’t break goals into doable steps. Always wait until you feel like doing it do actually do it instead of scheduling. Tell yourself that whatever you do isn’t enough or won’t work. Let small setbacks or discomforts mean that you should give it up. Complain instead of making a change.

Why does this exploration work?

It helps me examine what doesn’t work, and how this comes about.

It makes it easier to recognize when I do it.

It makes it more into a “thing” which helps me relate to it more intentionally. These dynamics are seen more as an object and are less identified with.

(more…)

Finding meaning, and holding it lightly

 

We are conditioned to find meaning in the world, and especially in what happens in our own life. It’s put into us through evolution, and it just makes sense that we do so. It helps us survive and function in the world.

One special case is when something happens that we don’t particularly like. Often, it’s in the form of a loss. We lose someone or something, and the mind tries to find a meaning in it.

The meaning may be that we are a victim, or that we are not good enough, or something similar and painful. And in the best case, we find a meaning that help us learn, heal, mature, and find peace with what happened.

For instance, the meaning may be I have an opportunity to learn about impermanence. I can learn to relate to it in a more helpful way. It may invite me to more fully appreciate what’s here and make use of an opportunity while it’s still here. It may invite me to know it will go away, and find some peace with it even before it happens. It may help me mature as a human being and find and deepen my empathy with others who experience loss. That all makes loss meaningful.

I like to keep these meaning-stories as simple and real as possible. I could add to it. For instance, life “wants” me to learn this, or that the loss was a special set-up just for me. But that doesn’t really make sense. It just adds unnecessary complication and drama to it. Some meaning-stories are inherently stressful.

And, in reality, any and each meaning-story can be stressful if we hold it as too real and too… meaningful. If we take it as absolutely true and real, instead of just as a temporary guide, any story will eventually be stressful.

There is a way to do this that seems the most helpful to me.

Find a meaning that’s practical, simple, and real. A meaning that helps me heal, mature, and function well in the world. Hold it lightly, as you are able.

Leave the rest aside. The meanings that seem overly complicated or makes it into something special. The meanings that are clearly stressful or painful.

Take to inquiry any remaining meaning-stories that seem real and substantial, and especially the stressful ones. Examine them.

For instance, use The Work of Byron Katie to see the consequences of holding it as true, how it may be if you don’t, and the validity in the reversals.

Or use the Living Inquiries to see how the mind creates its own stressful experience, how it attaches sensations to stories to give them charge and a sense of reality and substance, and help the mind soften or release the association between the stories and the charge.

To find a constructive meaning, it can help to talk with someone we trust or use some guidelines or tools found in – for instance – the positive psychology world.

And when it comes to holding any meaning lightly and set the stressful ones aside, some form of inquiry can be very helpful.

Note: When I say “I like to keep these meaning-stories as simple and real as possible” I don’t mean that I hold the meaning itself as real. It just means that I try to find a meaning that makes sense to me. A meaning that’s “real” in the sense of authentic.

(more…)

Talking about the healing modalities I use

 

It can be challenging to talk about healing modalities that are quite different from what most people are familiar with.

Most of the approaches I use fall into this category:

Breema bodywork looks similar to Thai massage or partner yoga, but the experience of and intention behind is markedly different. It’s deeply nourishing and helps us find ourselves as the fullness and wholeness that’s always here and always healthy, even as our body and mind may have ailments.

Inquiry can look similar to cognitive therapy, but it goes far deeper is far more all-inclusive than typical cognitive therapy. Living Inquiries is an exploration of how our mind creates its own experiences, including the stressful and painful ones. We get to explore the basic building blocks (images, words, sensations), and through separating and spending time with each one, it’s difficult for the mind to put it together again in a believable way. We also go back in time to the origins and roots of the issue, and we look at the different branches holding it in place.

Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) involves trembling and shaking, rocking and stretching, and sometimes also sounds. This is something we are all familiar with, but in TRE these all happen spontaneously and are initiated and guided by the body. We are just along for the ride. (Although we can stop it at any time, if we wish.) There is also a deepening, and a deep relaxation and sense of nourishment that happens as we do TRE regularly over time.

Vortex Healing may look similar to energy healing modalities such as Reiki, acupuncture, or chigong. It’s true it’s an energy healing modality, and yet it’s different to most other approaches in that it uses divine energy guided by divine intelligence. This is the intelligence of life or Spirit itself, so it already knows the problems and the way out of them. As a practitioner, I use my intention to support the healing, I partially guide and partially am guided through the healing session, and I allow my system to be used as a channel for the energy needed for the healing. Where other modalities often work more in a general way, Vortex Healing is especially effective when we work on very specific issues – sometimes the more specific and detailed the better. As a practitioner, Vortex Healing also speeds up and guides my own awakening and embodiment process. It’s very much an intimate partnership with the divine.

And, of course, most people are interested in if and how they can be helped, not the specific modalities. The modalities are just tools. While it’s easy to become fascinated with the tools as a practitioner, clients have a different priority. And rightly so. They are interested in what can be done for them. Can you help me with what I need help with?

In my experience, any issue can be helped by using these tools: Physical and mental health. Psychological and behavioral issues. Relationships. Awakening and embodiment. If there is a problem, there is a way out of it. And as usual, the degree we can be helped depends on many factors, mainly the willingness for change and the energy and time put into it.

Inquiry mimics how we look at things when we are more awake

 

Formalized inquiry mimics how we look at things when we are more awake.

It’s a stepping stone. If we are drawn to it, and it works for us, it’s a wonderful tool.

And as any tool, it’s helpful for some things and in some situations.

It may seem especially helpful in a certain phase in our exploration and development, but even later, it’s good to return to inquiry to discover more and free certain sticky thoughts.

Using spare attention for noticing, resting, healing

 

Through the day, there are many periods where I have spare attention. It may be after I wake up and am still in bed, before falling asleep, when I walk, shower or cook, when I use public transportation, when I rest, and so on.

During these periods, I often use my spare attention intentionally. I may notice what’s here – sensations, thoughts, sight, sound, taste, smell. I may intentionally rest with – or as – what’s here. Nowadays I often use Vortex Healing for myself or others. And in the past (going back to my teens), I have often used heart prayer (Jesus prayer), ho’oponopono, or tonglen.

Sometimes, I just let the mind do what it does in the moment and gently notice it.

(more…)

Willing to experience discomfort in healing & awakening

 

Healing and awakening – and life in general – requires some willingness to experience discomfort.

And this willingness comes with experience, skills, and trust.

It comes from experience with moving through discomfort. It comes, it’s familiar, it passes.

It comes from skills in how to relate to it. For instance, notice and allow. Rest with it. Notice the space around and within it. Notice it’s already awakeness.

It comes from trust in the process, in all as awakeness (the divine), in all as lila (the play of the divine).

We can also explore the fear of discomfort more directly, for instance, through inquiry or Vortex Healing. We can meet it, explore it, and see what’s there and where it’s coming from.

For me, I notice this most clearly in inquiry and Vortex Healing. Inquiry requires me to meet and dive into the scariest and “darkest” areas of my experience. And over and over, I get to see that it’s not as scary as it first appears. In Vortex Healing, after going deeply into something that needs healing or awakening, there is often a kind of healing crisis which can be uncomfortable. (This can be reduced or avoided by doing it more gently and doing more integration and catch-up, and I typically do this with a client. But when I do it for myself, I often choose to dive into it with less restraint.)

(more…)

Behind anger is fear, behind fear is caring, and behind caring is love

 

This is something that becomes clearer over time, especially through exploring specific issues through inquiry.

Behind anger, sadness, and compulsions is fear. Behind fear is caring. And behind that caring is love.

Said more succinctly:

Behind identifications (beliefs, velcro) is fear, and behind that fear is caring and love.

The pitfall in saying to so simply and succinctly is that the mind thinks it gets it and that such a superficial and intellectual understanding is sufficient. The benefit is that it can serve as a question to explore, and a guide when we work on ourselves and clients.

A few more details:

Identifications (holding a thought as true) is what creates stressful experiences such as struggle with anger, sadness, and compulsions. (Anger, sadness etc. can also just be here without any struggle.)

Fear is what holds identifications in place. It may be what created the identification in the first place, and it’s often what comes up when the mind considers not having that identification.

Behind fear is a deep caring. A caring for oneself and others. And caring is just another word for love.

When we see the behind all this is love, there is less of a struggle with it. And less struggle means a bit more space around it, which helps soften and release the identifications in and relating to it.

(more…)

Darkest before the dawn in inquiry and Vortex Healing

 

When I facilitate a client in inquiry, and also when I give someone a Vortex Healing session, I often notice the “darkest before the dawn” pattern. In a Living Inquiry session, we may enter a neglected area and nothing seems to move for a while. Then suddenly there is a shift and resolution. And the same sometimes happens in a Vortex session.

It’s a reminder that I don’t really know what’s happening. The surface signs do not tell the whole story. So trust the process. Do the facilitation or healing to the best of your abilities. Follow the process and be prepared to be surprised.

All made up

 

Sometimes, I hear someone say it’s a made up word. What they mean, of course, is that someone recently made up the word. And really, it’s just a reminder that all words are made up. And that all ideas are made up as well. Anything imagined – including all words and images and all abstractions and ideas – are made up.

All religions, philosophy, science, worldviews, self-images, stories about anything and anyone, are made up. It doesn’t mean they may not be meaningful, or useful, or work well to help us orient and function in the world. Many of them do some or all of those things for us.

But it does mean they are made up. They don’t reflect any absolute or final truth about the world or ourselves or anything else. And they are passed on through generations making up culture, religion, and worldviews that is shared by most or many in a society, and are then made to look final and absolute since so many take them for granted.

Through inquiry, we can begin to undo this sense that these ideas are final or absolute. We get to see how our mind creates and recreates them for itself here and now. We may get to see how imaginations combine with sensations where imagination gives a sense of meaning to sensations, and sensations give charge and a sense of solidity to the imaginations. We get to see how they must have been initially imagined by someone, perhaps a long time ago. We get to see how they are passed on from parents to child, and society to individual. We get to see how they can seem real and absolute just because they are shared by many in a society. We may find that we can relate to them more intentionally and use them more as seems appropriate. The charge in them may even lessen or fall away.

Fear of resolution

 

It’s common to fear resolution, even of what we deeply wish would resolve. It could be a long-standing illness, emotional issue, painful identities or beliefs, or being unenlightened.

So it’s good to look at that fear. Notice it. Allow it. Befriend it. Look at how the mind creates its experience – using sensations and imaginations – of the fear, what it fears, and the one threatened.

What do I fear would happen if this resolves? What’s the worst that can happen? Is there something desirable I won’t have anymore?

Do I experience a threat or a problem with it resolving?

If I could push a button and have it resolve completely and immediately, what would stop me from pushing it? What would make me hesitate?

And to make sure we look at both sides:

Is there a problem if it stays? What’s the worst that can happen if it stays?

Imagine you know it will stay forever. What emotions, feelings, and thoughts come up?

And then explore the components of this sense of threat and anything related to it. The sensations, mental images, and words making it up.

(more…)

The high of openings or awakenings

 

A spiritual opening or awakening can come with a high, especially if it’s the first time. That high may be a gentle wave or very obvious, and it may last briefly or for weeks, months, or even years. That’s all natural and nothing is wrong if it happens.

Although if it happens, it’s good to check in about a few things.

Does the high mask something? Perhaps something still unhealed, unmet, and unloved in me as a human being? If it does, that’s very common and very natural, and it’s also good to be aware that something may be masked and may resurface later on.  That’s OK and natural as well. It’s just good to be aware of. We can also prepare for what may surface and know and practice how to relate to it more intentionally.

Do I use the high to avoid something? Do I latch onto the high (or the awakening itself) in order to avoid a certain feeling, emotion, or painful story about the world or myself? If I do, can I allow myself to rest with whatever I try to avoid? What do I find if I investigate how my mind creates its experience of the fear and whatever it fears meeting?

Beyond that, what does this opening or awakening point to about reality and what I am. What does it reveal that I can notice and explore through any state and experience? Perhaps including when I experience what my habitual mind says is a “bad” experience. Can I find what it points to even in a contracted state, emotional or physical pain, discomfort, or resistance to my experience?

In short, an opening or awakening can be used to avoid certain emotions, painful thoughts, or states. Or it can be used as a support to meet and perhaps befriend what we may have spent a lifetime avoiding.

(more…)

Resolution

 

If I am honest, I see that the reason I explore these things is I want some form of resolution.

This resolution can come in many forms.

I can resolve my relationship to whatever bothers or disturbs me. From seeing it as an enemy or a problem, I can befriend it. This in itself is a very real form of resolution. There is a sense of relief here.

There are also many variations here, for instance, I may see that an emotion, reaction, or pain comes from a wish to protect me, and that it comes from a deep caring and love. I may also dialog with it and listen to its perspective and experience so I better understand it and have empathy for it. I may rest with it. And more.

I can inquire into how my mind creates its experience of it. This tends to release or soften the charge in it, which also can be experienced as a very real form of resolution. I get to see that what seemed so solid and real is actually created by my mind through combining sensations (lending charge) and imaginations (lending a story).

It can be recognized as presence. Whatever bothers me is actually presence itself. It’s presence taking this particular appearance. It’s substance and what it’s made up of is presence. The bothering thing and what it bothers (me) both happen within and as presence.

Each of these is experienced as a form of resolution, and the sense of resolution goes deeper if two or three of these come together and are included.

Of course, seeking resolution often comes from seeing something as a problem or an enemy, not having seen how it’s created by the mind, and not recognizing it as presence. That in itself is something that can be explored in these ways so there is a sense of resolution about even wishing for resolution. Seeking resolution can become a bit less compulsive this way, more gentle, and coming more clearly from kindness.

(more…)

Testimonials

 

A selection of testimonials from clients.

 

Inquiry

 

Hi P., I just wanted to say thank you for everything. Thank you for the difference you made my life and my recovery. I will never forget you. You were one of the greatest and most influential. You always thought of me and kept me calm when I wanted to jump out of my skin and run for the border.

– Thank you, keep in touch. Breana K.

 

After months of you guiding me through the Living Inquiries, TRE and Breema I notice I am able to continue to embrace experience as it unfolds in a curious and loving way. You first provided me with a wonderfully balanced foundation and then allowed space for me to experientially learn how to continue to provide it for myself. Your intuitive  presence helped me enter places and memories I was too scared to be with on my own. Places I thought would follow me forever. Now I continue to sit in experience, pleasant or not and provide myself with the same nurturing patience you shared with me over the months. Thank you for sharing your gift with me.

– Kindly, Brittney C.

 

Thank you for facilitating inquiry with me with such exquisite skill, precision, and gentleness. I was often surprised at what came up in sessions, but no matter what it was, you provided a space of complete acceptance and deep respect. I felt held, and safe to unfold layers of painful stories that have been with me for years.

As a result, I would leave each time feeling lighter and more alive. I also gained confidence in my ability to sit with any feeling that might arise, which in turn has greatly reduced the compulsions that used to rule my life. I am feeling more and more free as a result of working with you, and for this I am truly grateful.

You have a profound gift for this work. Thank you for sharing it with me, and I hope many more can receive the gift of this powerfully transformative work as well.

– With deep gratitude, Ara Jo

 

Vortex Healing

 

Foxy Muffin had lost all signs of happiness and vitality over the past 6 months. I often thought of plans for her last days and when would be the right time to end her life so she would not suffer.  P. asked if he could do a Vortex  Healing session for her and I agreed hoping for any positive change. I was not expecting to see the energy and excitement that appeared the same day.  Over the past few weeks I’ve seen the happy, playful, and fun little Pomeranian that I knew was there all along. Foxy eats better, her tail is high in the air and she appears to have experienced a healing of sorts.  I can see a difference with every session P. does for her.

– Paul C., Rancho Mirage, CA

 

I asked P. to do a Vortex Healing series with me on long-standing chronic pain in my abdomen.  I felt immediate relief after the session.  Although the pain returned for a short period of time after the first session, within a week, the pain never returned.  More than that, the series of sessions appeared to have opened up some deep emotional/energetic blockages for me that were associated with this pain.  It feels as though energy moves much more freely up and down my spine now.  I highly recommend P. to anyone with such blockages.  I don’t know exactly how Vortex Healing works, but it does!

– Scott K., Palm Springs, CA

 

I just wanted to thank you for the great vortex healing sessions you have given me so far. I have experienced many different healing modalities in the past but nothing comes close to the vortex sessions with you. I found myself having big changes in one session that would normally take many sessions in any other healing work. I also thought your ability to tune in and fine tune so to speak what was going on for me was very helpful. Your natural ability as a healer is clear to me and I look forward to working with you again in the near future.

– Mike C., Palm Desert, CA

 

Our cat Cosmos struggles with anxiety. After two sessions with P., everyone in the family noticed a difference. Now she sleeps next to her sister on the bed, whereas before they wouldn’t go near each other!

– Tom. A, Eugene, OR

 

Breema

 

I wanted to say thank you for the Breema sessions. You bring calming and sweet energy to your work. In my personal experience Breema seems very sensual, as well as loving. What a great way to help heal humanity.

– Barbara R., Eugene, OR

 

I so appreciate your Breema sessions! You are able to create a wonderful atmosphere of nurturing, comfort and something more that I find hard to define! Afterwards, I always feel renewed, relaxed and rebalanced. And it’s all so effortless on my part! Thank you for sharing this healing gift with me.

– Phyllis L, Eugene, OR

 

Thank you for your Breema sessions.  No matter what my state of mind going into them, I often find myself feeling present, relaxed and back in balance afterwards.  I especially appreciate your professional and focused approach, which has me feel at ease, trusting and open to the process.  I look forward to doing more Breema with you and have no doubt that what you are offering is a great gift!

– Robin R., Eugene, OR

 

A quick note to most deeply thank you for the wonderful relaxation you allowed for during the Breema session. This week is packed for me but I am wondering if you might consider giving me another round next week. Can I drop off some greens from my garden for you guys?

– Stephanie C., Eugene, OR

 

You are a gifted Breema practitioner.  Your presence and support gave me the feeling of deep peace, as if the whole of the universe were still.  It was so wonderfully relaxing!

– Tiffany M., Eugene, OR

 

Dear P.,

Thanks so much for letting me experience Breema. I had no previous exposure to the practice and came eager to see if it might help relieve my chronic problems with emotional anxiety and back stiffness.

Generally I have a hard time keeping my mind focused and not wandering off into distraction, which is very frustrating. I found the gentle, rhythmic motions of Breema helped me keep my attention on my breath without drifting away (except the couple of times I was so relaxed I dozed off!).

I felt you were transmitting peace into me, sending a peaceful signal directly to the core of my being. A kind of floaty and ethereal sensation—very nice. I definitely felt mentally and emotionally calmed, and at the same time I came away from each session also feeling enlivened and much more present in my body, more attuned to the moment.

I appreciate the special accommodations you made for my back problem by using knee pillows and adding an extra stretch at the end of the session. My back is bothering me a lot less in the mornings now, which I attribute to the Breema treatments.

Your firm gentleness, your strong hands, your accepting and caring approach, all helped me let go and relax. I found you to be very warm, respectful, unobtrusive, and caring. I especially appreciated your nonjudgmental attitude about my size and weight, something I’ve learned can’t always be expected.

Thanks very much.

– Sally S., Eugene, OR

 

I really appreciated the Breema experience.  You have opened whole new possibilities for me in terms of healing and questioning my current world view.

– Molly M., Eugene, OR

 

Per’s gentle, rhythmic movements using Breema techniques, gradually shifted my awareness from my physical body to the wider world of nature.  My ability to hear grew more acute and my sense of smell returned, something I had lost over the course of the last five years, as the movements progressed [As the movements progressed, my ability to hear grew more acute and my sense of smell returned.]  Each new movement seemed to shift me internally and in so doing, stretch my consciousness externally.  Per’s sensitivity, openness to where I was energetically, and his deep sense of caring for all of life, made the experience profoundly harmonizing for me.  I highly recommend P. as a Breema practitioner. His work facilitated me in shifting my awareness of pain, as I have experienced it in my body, into a new state of awareness of what it means to be well and at peace.  Thank you P. for sharing your gifts!!!

– Molly M. , Eugene, OR

 

The Breema session you provided for me was profoundly relaxing.  The experience has stayed with me.  I would recommend you and Breema to anyone!  Thanks and Be Well.  It’s a good service you are providing in the world.

– Jon B., Eugene, OR

 

Dear P,

I want to let you know how much I appreciate attending Breema sessions with you. I find it an exquisitely relaxing experience. Without fail my mind and body fall into a quiet stillness, a stillness in which the Breema spontaneously unfolds. I find that we are together participating in that stillness. As the receiver of Breema my part is

a very restful one, and I find that that rest deepens over the course of the session. By the end I am often in a state in which the ‘I’ has disappeared, and what remains is a sublimely refreshing peace. Thank you so much for facilitating this meditative art.

– Best, Damien P., Eugene, OR

 

P.’s strong and earthy touch, coupled with his calm presence and innate healing ability, radiate gentle warmth, wisdom, and loving-kindness. He moves deftly and gracefully through the sequences, and his work brings me to a place of deep meditation. Important insights often result. He is well-studied in the field of esoteric arts, and in his humility and graciousness is always curious to hear about my experiences and to offer his own suggestions and insights.

Here is an excerpt from my journal about a particularly transformative session I had with P:

“…I felt his hands molding and shaping me as if I were clay, and I realized that that’s how Life is…Life, or Soul, is constantly molding and shaping us. And so often, we are resistant until we learn to love and accept what is happening…He put his hands over my eyes, and I saw only darkness and quit breathing. It was if I, for some moments, had died. I opened my eyes onto the light from the windows and returned with gratitude to life and to living. In the session, I took increasingly deep, and deeper, breaths. I felt my heart beating strongly in my naval point, bringing life energy into my lower chakras.

…Allow beauty and goodness to come and to flow into you. And, it’ll be coming next by way of the lower chakras. I began coughing. I coughed up the limiting belief that I’d been carrying in my shoulders, mainly~~that I must do it all alone, in order to survive. The belief I replaced it with is, living can be a true joy. Accept the goodness and the bounty of the earth, and with gratitude and thanks accept her gifts to you in whatever form they take.

– Rachael W. , Eugene, OR

A story but no feeling

 

Sometimes, an inquiry client is aware of a charged story but not where they feel it.

In that case, some pointers can be helpful.

Does the client feel it all over the body? (They may look for it in a more limited area.)

Do they feel it in the face or head? (They may look for it in the torso.)

Do they feel it somewhere, but dismiss it as something else? (Stomach ache, headache, itching, pressure that they think is due to something else.)

If they were to point to where they feel it, where would they point? (Without thinking about it in advance.) Do they notice feeling it there?

Less charge

 

Through inquiry, the charge in what we explore often lessens or goes away.

And that makes it easier to relate to it in a more intentional and sane way. We are less caught by the charge, and less caught in a struggle with the charge.

That is a very practical and sensible reason for doing inquiry, for exploring how my mind creates its experience of something charged – whether it’s an emotion, craving, threat, identity, discomfort, or something else.

(more…)

Disappointment

 

Sometimes I look forward to something and it doesn’t happen.

I feel disappointed. Sometimes, I even feel heartbroken.

I know and sense it’s old and not really about the current situation, and it feels a bit childish to get so disappointed. That may be a reason I haven’t thoroughly looked at this yet. The embarrassment and the thought “it’s childish” serve as gatekeepers for entering and exploring the wound behind it.

I recently had this disappointment triggered again.

The situation triggering disappointment, what does it say about me? What do I tell myself about me in that situation? 

I am missing out.

I am unloved. I am uncared for.

I am alone.

These thoughts are familiar to me and came easily. I want to see what more is here.

Others have more fun than me. They are enjoying life more than me. They are getting something I am missing out of.

My life is not worth living. It’s hopeless. It will be like this forever. I am unloved by God. I am unloved by life.

This second set of thoughts are also familiar to me, but I hadn’t seen that they were behind this disappointment and the emotions and states that came with it.

What’s my earliest memory of feeling so disappointed? 

I am 6-8 years old and in London on vacation with my parents. I am exhausted from a long day walking around in parks and galleries, and I want and am looking forward to my favorite thing which is coca cola in a can. (We didn’t have coke cans in Norway.) The street vendor doesn’t have it, and I am grief-stricken and angry. My parents buy me a souvenir knife (a small folding knife with ivory on it and a picture of a beef eater). I throw it hard at the ground.

If I bring myself back to that situation, what does it say about me?

Life is over. My life has no meaning. I am unloved. I am uncared for. Life is against me.

Seeing these thoughts, I also see that it makes sense I felt the way I did. The sadness, grief, hopelessness, frustration, and anger didn’t make sense in the context of the current triggering situation, but they do in the context of this early situation where I was worn out and had looked forward to one thing that I didn’t get.

These thoughts spun around in my mind, and although I was not consciously aware of them I certainly experienced their effects in terms of emotions, moods, and states. As I identified these thoughts and wrote them down, I got to see what created these feelings and states, and I got to see that it all makes sense and that it has to do with early experiences in my life. I got to see the innocence of it all. And there is some relaxing of these dynamics just from identifying the thoughts and seeing the innocence of it.

(more…)

Fear about meeting something scary in ourselves

 

Most of us have fear about meeting in ourselves something that seems scary.

It’s worth exploring both the physical sensations making up this fear, and also the story component.

Some stories I have found for myself:

I’ll see it’s true. I’ll see that the scary story – about myself, life – is true.

It will be overwhelming. Too much. I won’t be able to handle it.

It won’t work.

I won’t do it right. I don’t have what it takes to do it right. (The skills, experience, capacity etc.)

The facilitator won’t do it right. He/she don’t have what it takes to do it right.

It won’t go away even if it’s done right.

It’s not the right time. I am not in the right space.

It will get worse. Facing it will make it worse.

I’ll be judged…. by myself and/or the facilitator. It will trigger guilt and shame. I won’t be able to deal with this guilt and shame.

It’s often helpful to identify and explore these scary stories at some point, typically before entering what we have the scary story about.

The symptoms of this fear can come in the form of avoidance, resistance, restlessness, distraction, frustration, anger and more. And when we look a little closer, there may be a very understandable fear there that can be met and explored.

(more…)

Translate knowing into words

 

Some inquiry clients report a knowing but no words or images. They know that a feeling is X (a threat, the one who isn’t good enough, a craving for sugar), but are not aware of any images or words connected with it.

There are words or images there, otherwise, there wouldn’t be a knowing. Without a story, a feeling would just be sensations.

One way to help the client explore this is to ask them to translate the knowing into words.

If the feeling could speak, what would it say?

What words fit the feeling?

What does the feeling mean?

This gives the client something to work on. He or she can look at or listen to the words, and in that way begin to separate the story from the sensations.

The reverse of this is when a client is aware of the story, but say they don’t feel it anywhere. In that case, some other pointers can be helpful. For instance, does the client feel it all over the body? (They may look for it in a more limited area.) Do they feel it in the face or head? (They may look for it in the torso.) Do they feel it somewhere, but dismiss it as something else? (Stomach ache, headache, itching, pressure that they think is due to something else.) If they were to point to where they feel it, where would they point? (Without thinking about it in advance.)

(more…)

Ecopsychology and inquiry

 

Inquiry can easily be used in an ecopsychology context.

Specifically how depends on the person and his or her situation.

For people concerned about our current ecological situation, we can look at fear, stress, a sense of inadequacy etc.

For people worried they are not doing enough, we can look at guilt, shame, fear, and commands to do more (or less!).

For people caught up in us vs them thinking, we can look at identities and perceived boundaries creating this sense of division and separation.

For people who want to experience a deeper connection with nature, we can look at identities with a charge that creates a sense of separation.

There is no end to possibilities. It would be fun to do a workshop on this one day. It could perhaps be combined with Practices to Reconnect developed by Joanna Macy.

(more…)