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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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Reduced charge and intimacy

 

A fellow inquiry facilitator said she had done inquiry to see how her mind created its experience of her dog. It led to a reduced charge on the different images and words she has about her dog. I asked if her relationship to the dog changed, and after some consideration, she said yes, it’s more intimate.

When we explore anything that seems real and solid in this way, there is often a greater sense of intimacy. And we can explore any of our ideas such as me and you, dogs and human, and whatever else creates a sense of solidity and separation.

Inquiry and intimacy

 

A client mentioned that she had done inquiry on her dog. She explored how her mind creates its experience of the dog, which allows her to hold her perceptions about her dog more lightly. Some of the sense of solidity had gone out of it. I asked her if her relationship with her dog had changed, and she said it’s more intimate.

That’s my experience as well. As I continue to explore how my mind creates its experience of me, others, life, and more, there is a deepening sense of intimacy with myself, others, and life.

The boundaries created by the mind has less charge and seem less real and solid, so there is naturally a sense of intimacy.

 

Resting with surface experience vs each component

 

Resting with the surface experience can help it rest but it doesn’t get to the root of how the distress or discomfort is created. Isolating out and resting with each of the components is the next step and goes further. And adding in some inquiry questions can help clarify and release even more. I tend to use the questions sparingly, but they are very helpful.

– from a previous post

I am writing a separate post on this topic this since it is essential to inquiry.

Resting with the surface experience of discomfort can make a big difference when what we are used to is fleeing from it. By surface experience, I mean how the combination of sensations and imaginations making it up appears to us before we differentiate and separate out the different components.

Resting with each component, one at a time, helps clarify and release further. We rest with the sensations. Notice an image or words associated with it, and rest with that image or those words. Rest until they fade on their own, if they do. Then, return to resting with the sensations, wait, and see if any images or words surface. Repeat.

Adding in simple questions can further help with the clarification and release. I can ask if the image I am resting with is a problem or a threat. If it is, then rest with the sensations making it feel that way. If I rest with an image of the future, I can ask if that image is the actual future. I can ask if certain words (the images or sounds) is a threat. And so on. I can also ask

I can also ask mining questions to see what additional images or words are connected with a sensation. If the sensation (body contraction) could speak, what would it say? What does it mean? What’s my earliest memory of feeling that way? What does it need from me?

Each of these three are in themselves very helpful. And the second and third tend to allow for a deeper release.

Resting with an experience allows it to rest

 

Resting with an experience allows it to rest. It may be discomfort, distress, or suffering in any form. For instance restlessness, fear, anger, sadness, grief, emotional pain, physical pain, or a compulsion.

Resting with the surface experience of it helps a bit. Resting with the combination of sensations and imaginations making up an experience.

Resting with each of the components helps more. Resting with the sensations, images, and words, one at a time. Isolating them out, noticing what’s there, resting with it.

Resting with each component and at times ask a few gentle inquiry questions about it may help even more. We can ask simple inquiry questions to see more clearly what’s there, and we can ask mining questions to see what more is there.

Resting with the surface experience can help it rest but it doesn’t get to the root of how the distress or discomfort is created. Isolating out and resting with each of the components is the next step and goes further. And adding in some inquiry questions can help clarify and release even more. I tend to use the questions sparingly, but they are very helpful.

Resting here means noticing and allowing, whether it’s the surface experience or each of the components making it up. Notice it’s already allowed (by mind, awareness, space, life). Notice the (boundless) space it’s happening within. And it comes with an orientation of kindness, rest, and patience.

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Let it run its course

 

When I rest with an energy or body contraction, I sometimes remind myself let it run its course.

Here are some things I notice subtly happening.

It invites patience.

It’s a reminder that it’s temporary. It will pass as any experience does.

It’s a reminder that it may just need to run its course. If it has been shunned in the past, what it needs is partly to be rested with in presence and with patience.

Sometimes, a gentle pointer like this invites a small shift, and that’s all that’s needed to support me in resting more wholeheartedly with the energy or body contraction.

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What’s the difference between sitting still and meditation?

 

What’s the difference between sitting still and meditation?

Sitting still.

If we just sit still without any particular intention, most of us will look for something to do or think about. This tends to just reinforce our habitual patterns of doing and thinking. There are no real shifts.

And if we sit still regularly, the mind tends to get still too. (I noticed that through all those hours of sitting at the Zen center. My mind got still and clarified even if I didn’t always intend to do a particular practice.)

Meditation.

There are many forms of meditation, including natural rest (notice, allow) and training a more stable attention. Other things we can do while sitting still includes heart-centered practices and inquiry.

These practices tend to shift our habitual patterns. Mainly, out of being caught in thinking (the stories, the content of thought) and into noticing thought, from a scattered attention to a more stable attention, and from being caught in occasional enemy images to befriending our experience. If we practice inquiry, there may also be a shift from taking units of sensations and imaginations at face value, to recognizing their distinct elements.

Also, many of these practices become more natural and habitual with time. They become our new normal, and they can be brought into more and more situations in daily life. Sitting still creates a container that reduces distractions and helps us go deeper with the practices, and this is helpful early on in our practice and also at any time later on. But we don’t need to sit still to engage in these new habits. They tend to enter the rest of our life as we go about our daily activities, and eventually even those situations that initially strongly pulled us into our old patterns.

So, yes, there is quite a difference between sitting still and engaging in various types of meditation. Unless you are a cat. I suspect cats naturally meditate while sitting. (Most animals probably do since they are less prone to be caught up in thinking compared to the human animal. Without the distraction of compelling thoughts, they are likely to be naturally inclined to notice and allow their experience in the moment.)

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Beating around the bush 

 

It’s very common to beat around the bush in inquiry and most other forms of healing work.

We work on the more peripheral or immediate issues, and hold off working on the deep, scary, and more core issues.

There are good and sane reasons for this. We want to feel that we can trust the process and the person guiding it – whether it’s ourselves or a facilitator – before we get into the deep stuff. If we dive into it too soon, without proper guidance or  understanding of how to work with it, we can easily retraumatize.

There may also be fear preventing us from going into the deeper issues, fear that’s unmet, unquestioned, and unloved. And it can be very helpful to look at this fear. What do I find when I explore the elements making up this fear? What shoulds do I have about not meeting these deeper issues, or about meeting them? What deficient selves do I find, either when I consider facing the deeper issues, when I find myself scared of doing so, or if I look at the deeper issues themselves? Looking at these deficient selves is often easier than diving right into the traumatic memories.

Looking at these things helps bring us to a place where we more sanely can evaluate whether we want to dive in deeper or not, and whether we trust the process and the guidance enough to do so.

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