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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Why mindfulness?

 

Mindfulness is a word that’s currently used to mean a lot of different things.

I tend to understand it as noticing content of experience. The content of experience that’s here now, whether it’s  sensory experiences and imaginations of sensory experiences (aka mental images, sounds and images making up words, sounds, taste, smell, sensations).

Why would we do that? I can find a few different reasons:

I get to notice how sensory experiences and imagination combine. For instance, I get to see how sensations combine with imagination to lend this imagination a sense of solidity and reality, and how imagination gives a sense of meaning to sensations.

It helps me shift from thinking to noticing thought. It helps me shift out from being caught in thinking. More precisely, it helps attention shift out of being caught in the content of stories and instead notice that these are imaginations and stories.

It helps me relate to all this in a more intentional way. For instance, I can more intentionally relate to my own reactivity (velcro, beliefs, identifications). It gives me a little more space to recognize that I can relate to my own experience and reactions in a more intentional way. I don’t have to automatically act on whatever is triggered in me.

It helps me notice that what’s here is already noticed and already allowed. This content of experience is already noticed and allowed, and noticing this helps shift the “center of gravity” to that noticing and allowing already here. It’s already built into experience.

It helps me notice what’s here, so I can take it to inquiry and explore it further.

To me, mindfulness is just one aspect of this exploration. In one way, it’s a helpful stepping stone to further exploration. In another way, it’s an essential element of any exploration of our experience, reality, and who and what we are.

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Actually following the instructions vs sort of following them

 

I have noticed several times the difference between actually following instructions vs half-heartedly following them. It’s been especially clear with guided meditations and inquiry, and also in other areas of life.

Sometimes, I sort of follow the instructions for a while, then notice what I am doing and that it’s unsatisfactory in the long run, and find the intention to actually follow them. There may also be a curiosity about how it would be to do it more wholeheartedly.

Other times, I may start out following the instructions wholeheartedly, then shift to doing it half heartedly, and then notice and return to doing more wholeheartedly.

It seems to be a natural cycle. And it’s self-correcting to some extent. There is grace in noticing, and finding the intention to do it wholeheartedly.

It can also be helpful to look for the threat in doing it wholeheartedly. What comes up in me when I consider doing it wholeheartedly? What sensations are here? What images? Words? What do I fear will happen? What’s the worst that can happen? (Some answers that come up now: It’s too much effort. It will take too much energy. It will be uncomfortable.) What would I have to feel if I am doing it wholeheartedly? (Is it OK to feel it?)

I was also reminded of this in listening to an interview with a documentary film maker. He is making very high quality documentaries without much training or background. On being asked about his secret, he said I never take shortcuts. I am meticulous in every aspect of making these films. 

What already is

 

One flavor of spirituality is about consciously aligning with reality, with what is.

For instance….

Noticing that what’s here is already allowed, it’s easier to intentionally welcome what’s here.

Noticing what’s here as love, it’s easier to find love for what’s here. For instance, noticing how this anger is here to protect the image of me, how it’s devoted to this me, how it comes from love and is love, it’s easier to find love for it.

Noticing what’s here as awakeness, it’s easier for parts of our psyche and experience to notice itself as awakeness.

Noticing the different selves as images and sensations, it’s easier to see how the appearance of a self is created and that there is no real (absolute, solid) self there.

Noticing what’s here as already God’s (reality’s) will, it’s easier to welcome and appreciate God’s will, and to welcome and appreciate what’s here.

Noticing that God is already closing and opening doors for me, it’s easier to find some receptivity to and perhaps curiosity and even gratitude for these closing and opening doors.

Noticing how life invites me to consciously align more closely with what is, it’s easier to ask for support (guidance, be shown the next step, inner/outer support) to consciously align with what’s here.

For the benefit of all beings

 

May this be of benefit of all beings.

These simple words is an invitation to shift orientation.

And there is also an invitation for exploration here.

How may this benefit all beings? How may I relate to it so it is of benefit of all beings?

Is it true this – as it is – is not already to the benefit of all beings?

For instance, anger comes up and I find it difficult to relate to it. (And am caught up in the idea of an I experiencing anger as something “other”.) Saying may this be of benefit of all beings invites in a shift, and it invites in this exploration. How may I relate to it so it benefits all beings? Is it true it’s not already that way?

For the benefit of all beings

 

In my late teens and twenties, it was easy and natural for me to have the intention of whatever happens with me and whatever I do to benefit all beings. Then, during the dark night, this fell away and I found an appreciation for taking care of myself first. And now, the initial intention seems to come back, perhaps held in a slightly different way.

May this be for the benefit of all beings. This experience. This situation. What I say and do.

How is it to find this intention? When I find this intention, what changes? Is it true this intention is not already here?

Is it true life is not already this way? Is it true that what’s here is not already for the benefit of all beings? Can I know for sure it’s not already this way?

Can I find the idea of benefit outside of my own images? Do I really know what’s of benefit? Do I really know if anything is or isn’t a benefit? Can I find beings outside of my own world of images? How is it to live from this intention, while recognizing what’s more true for me? (That “benefit” is an idea in this mind, not inherent in the world, and I cannot know what’s of benefit or not. And the same goes for the word beings.)

How is it to notice that this intention is an intention for all the beings in my world to benefit. The beings in me – the different parts, voices and subpersonalities. And for the beings apparently out there in the world (and yet still images in this mind) to benefit. An intention for all beings – whether a thought says they are internal or external – to be welcomed, met with respect, thanked, loved, notice what they really are. For these beings to allow themselves to relax, and find liberation from their struggle.

When I have fear or frustration or dullness or physical pain or a sense of stuckness come up, how is it to find this intention? How is it to say may this benefit all beings? How is it to have that quiet prayer, that quiet wish?

Bodhisattva attitude

 

A Bodhisattva is one who, motivated by great compassion, has a spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, and who becomes dedicated to their ultimate welfare.
Wikipedia

This is what naturally happens as …. (a) All is recognized more clearly as Spirit. (b) There is more clarity on thoughts. And/or (c) there is more familiarity with the dynamics of the mind and the effects of finding this intention. If this intention is not clear, conscious and have sunk in, it’s because it’s temporarily obscured by beliefs, and this is painful. As it is more clear, or even if there is just a wish for it to be more clear, it feels like a relief, like coming home. It’s peaceful.

This intention or wish – for all beings to find liberation, for Spirit and love to awaken to itself in and through all beings, happens in two ways, and they are really the same.

It’s towards the beliefs happening here – the wounds, reactive emotions, and the beliefs these originate from. These beliefs surface with an invitation for them to be seen, felt and loved. With an invitation for them to be seen through. With an invitation for these thoughts to be liberated from being taken as true. With an invitation for it all to be recognized as love, and seen in the context of all as Spirit.

And it’s towards any being in the world. Here too, there is an invitation to see them and everything in them and their life as love, as Spirit. There is an invitation to be available to them in whatever way seem most appropriate and helpful. To meet them where they are. To be generous with our own experience and insights if they ask for it.

And those two are really the same. Whether it’s confusion or pain in me or in someone in the world, it’s a part of my field of awareness that’s not yet quite clear. Love haven’t yet awakened to itself as love right there. Spirit hasn’t yet awakened to itself as Spirit right there.

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For all beings

 

When I do inquiry, I obviously do it for myself and it also benefits those around me. Equally true, it is humanity and life resolving it for itself right here, through this one person.

The beliefs I inquire into are ancient, they have been part of human experience for millenia, and they are passed on to me through my own family and culture. And when they are here, there is an invitation to see and feel through them. What happens when I believe these thoughts? Who would I be without them? Are they true? Can I be certain they are true? What is the validity in their turnarounds? What happens when I allow experience as is, even welcome it with warmth, instead of resisting?

When I do this work, it is one small piece of the puzzle. It is one strand unraveled for humanity and life as a whole.

In the first of the four fundamental practices in Tibetan Buddhism, we visualize all beings taking refuge in Buddha Mind (reality), in the pointers and guides, and in the community of people on the same path. This helps us align all parts of ourselves with this intention.

There is also a sense of support from this visualization, and in the same way, I can visualize that I am doing my work with support from not only past, future and present generations, but from all beings. It is already reality. There is already that support here. There is already that wish from all beings, even if they don’t know it themselves yet. It is the wish of life itself.

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May this benefit all beings

 

May this benefit all beings.

This simple little prayer is very helpful.

When I am in a difficult situation, it is a reminder to work with and through it.

When I am in an easy situation, it is a reminder to use this opportunity for my own and others benefit.

I also find that the prayer/intention helps moderate the roller-coaster of up and downs, it gives me a steady focus independent of the situation.

It is also a reminder: What I am experiencing is an universal situation. Working with the situation in a constructive way benefits myself and those around me. And it is not all about me.

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Clarifying longing

 

Saying that God is longing to know itself is, as anything else, only a pointer, an invitation to exploration. It is not true or not true, apart from in the most limited sense, and the reversals are equally true. 

So how is this a pointer? In what way is it a helpful teaching? What is it a remedy for? 

The most obvious may be as an invitation to explore our own longings. I can take any longing in my own life, however mundane and unspiritual it may seem, and trace it back. What is it really a longing for? What is more genuinely true for me about it than its surface appearance? 

I have a desire for food. What is it about? I find that it is about survival, avoiding suffering, and finding some happiness. It is innocent, and a way to take care of this human self. 

I have a desire for success. Here too, I find that it is about survival, avoiding suffering, and finding some happiness. Again, it is innocent, and it is love filtered through stories. 

I have a longing for connection. Again, I find the same things. 

By exploring this, I find that my longings – the ones I have looked into so far – are all innocent, and they are love filtered through certain stories. The longing is always genuine and innocent. And the strategies to fulfill those longings may or may not make sense after I investigate them. If they don’t, there is always room to try something else. 

There is a relaxation here, a relase of struggle with myself. 

I also find that each longing is a longing for allowing what is, as it is, and for a full and rich human life. In other words, it is a longing for waking up – for appreciating what is, as it is, including the confusion, drama and mistaken identities, and also for releasing identification out of stories and identities, and the drama and resistance that comes from getting caught up in them. And it is a longing for growing up, for healing and maturing as a human being in the world. 

So the pointer God is longing to know itself is a way for me to clarify my own longings, my own intentions and desires. Not to change them, but to see what they really and genuinely are about for me. And I may find that they are innocent, and genuine desires to grow and wake up. There is a new sense of alignment when this is recognized, and it may happen over and over as I explore new longings and desires, or explore again the ones I have looked at before. It is always new. Fresh. Different. 

There are also other ways the hadith God is longing to know itself is a pointer. 

It is an invitation to see what is happening here now. To notice that form happens within and as awakeness, and not even that, just as the mystery no pointers can touch. This world of form, as it is, is God longing to know itself. It is no thing longing to know itself as (the appearance of) something, in always new, fresh and different ways. 

It is of course an anthropomorphism. There is no longing there. And yet, maybe we can say there is. The movement into form in itself can be seen as a longing for God to know itself as and through form.

Including as this universe, planet, plants, animals, humans, mistaken identities, awakenings, and whatever else is happening. 

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Two forms of motivation

 

When I explore motivations for myself, I find two general types…

One is to avoid suffering and find happiness. When I trace back most of my everyday desires and intentions, I find that they go back to the basic one of avoiding suffering and finding happiness.

This makes sense in an evolutionary perspective. It is how individuals and the species as a whole survices. And it also makes sense from a basic psychological view. As soon as there is an identification with a story, there is a sense of I with an Other, and a desire to take care of this I as best as possible. 

The other is a quiet love for God and truth. This is an impulse towards awakening and can take different flavors. A desire to come home. To find what is really true, no matter what it is. To find what I really am. To know God. To be with God. To serve God fully. 

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Clarifying and channeling motivation

 

Draft…

When I look at desires and motivations, I find two main types.

One type of desire comes from our human self. We want to get something. And mainly, we want to avoid suffering and find happiness. 

This makes sense in an evolutionary perspective. It is how the human individual and species takes care of itself. 

And it is also what happens when we identify with any story. There is a sense of an I with an Other. And we want to take care of that I. 

Another type of motivation is a quiet love for God or truth. This seems to be more of a remembrance of what we are, and a quiet longing back. 

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Clarifying intention

 

When I explore intention, I find that it helps in daily life and also in growing and waking up.

And although it may seem to help to change or form intentions, all I really need is to clarify the ones already here. I can work with what is here, instead of against it.

I notice an existing intention in whatever form it takes. Desire. Wish. Want. Attraction. Aversion. Seeking.

I trace it back. What do I hope to get out of it? And what do I hope to get out of that? What am I really looking for? What would be the most satisfying? (This is an inquiry Adyashanti suggests.)

By doing this, I find – for myself and for now – that any initial intention comes back to seeking to avoid suffering and to find happiness. No matter how mundane or crude the surface expression of the intention seems, when I trace it back I find that it is really innocent.

In daily life, clarifying intentions helps me prioritize, focus, stay receptive to opportunities and so on.

In terms of growing up, it helps me experience myself in a more unified way and as a whole. And it also helps me see that we are all in the same boat here. We all seek to avoid suffering and to find happiness, no matter how that is filtered and expressed. (Often through a bit of confusion.)

In in the context of waking up, it helps me recognize that all my intentions already are in the direction of waking up. I just need to notice.

And one way to notice is to trace my intentions back, over and over, so I get to see and feel its essence, the way it is expressed in my life right now (often filtered through confusion), and what happens when it is filtered in a confused way and when there is more clarity around it. And through that, there is a genuine appreciation and love for it all, as it is.

This is a topic that is endless. For instance, an aspect of many spiritual practices is to clarify intention. To helps us see that our one wish – appearing in all the different ways desire and intention appears in our life – is to wake up.

And it is also helpful to recognize the validity of intentions as they appear at different places in the chain back to their essence.

The surface desire may be for a hearty soup, which may be entirely appropriate to fulfill at the human level. Looking a little closer, I find a desire for something nurturing which I can also find through relationships, in nature, through Breema, and more. And when I trace it even further back, I find a desire for avoiding suffering and finding happiness, which is a desire for growing up and – if I take it that way – for waking up.

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Asking for it

 

A couple of weeks ago, I set the intention for whatever has not been seen/felt/loved yet to surface. (Knots, beliefs, emotional attachments.) Whenever I do so, I get a few weeks of amazing intensity – usually involved many nights with hardly any sleep.

It is good. And I also see the intelligence inherent in the process. It backs off a little when daily life requires my attention, and turns up the volume when space opens up – mostly at night! And if I ask for the volume to be turned down for a few days, that happens as well.

It is a beautiful process, although certainly not always pleasant. Even in the midst of recognizing all as awakeness itself, as the play of the infinite, there is a great deal of intensity and sometimes contraction. As always, to the extent it is resisted – and that happens at times, it is uncomfortable.

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What everybody and nobody wants, and clarifying

 

What I find is that what I really want is awakening. No matter what the surface intention or want is, when I look at it and peel back the layers, I find that it always goes back to a desire for awakening. For coming home, truth, freedom from suffering, a quiet joy, of all awakening to itself as Ground.

And I also find that many sides of my don’t want awakening. Instead, I want all the surface wants. The shorter term things that enhance this separate I. Yet, these are false – insubstantial – wants. Mirages that appear when I take a story as true.

So as long as I am not clear on my real motivations, there is a mix of the two. I sincerely want to awaken. But I also want to enhance this separate I in different ways. Which is why it is so helpful to clarify motivation. It helps see through the surface motivations, see that they each are mirages created from taking stories as true, and that each of them lead back to the essential desire for awakening.

There are so many practices that are complete – or sufficient – in themselves. And this seems to be one of them. The process itself takes us right to awakening.

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For the benefit of all beings

 

The basic Buddhist pointer of living for the benefit of all beings has a great deal of different effects.

It places my life in a larger context. It reminds me that I am a part of this world, of this larger social and ecological whole. It is not all about me.

It helps me see that my life not only influences myself but also everyone around me and rippling out from there in ways I cannot know.

It brings a shift from working against situations (complaining, resistance, victim role, making someone wrong, sense of drama) to working with situations (receptivity, open heart, sense of ease and simplicity, practical solution focus).

It invites in a sincere well-wishing for all of me and the larger whole. (If there is well-wishing here, it meets whatever happens in this human self and the wider world.)

It helps me see that just a small shift here, even just in intention, is a shift in the world as a whole. It brings about a shift in how I relate to myself and the wider world, and that benefits myself and those around me, and ripples out from there. It helps me appreciate the value and effect of small moves.

It may look like a noble aim, but it is really just a very practical and simple tool. It makes my life much simpler and easier in daily life.

In practical terms, it is a simple prayer or a setting of intention: May this practice benefit all beings. May whatever I am doing benefit all beings. May this life benefit all beings.

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Intension, tension and moods

 

A small additional detail in what I notice when exploring intention through the sense fields.

First, when I explore moods (atmosphere), I find that they are made up of sensations and thoughts. Just as emotions, pain, and so many other experiences. Sensations in a specific area of the body create the quality of a specific mood, and these are then enhanced by mental images and more, and interpreted and labeled as well.

If the particular sensations needed for a particular mood is not stable or strong, the muscles in that area tense up to create clearer, stronger and more stable sensations to create the experience of the mood.

With emotions, I notice that – for instance – a belief is triggered which brings up sadness. This sense of sadness is created by tightening certain muscles in the chest, which bring up certain sensations there, which in turn are combined with a mental image of sinking (so there is a sinking feeling in the chest), and there is the interpretation or label “sadness”. All of this creates the experience of sadness, and it seems very real and substantial, unless I notice how it is created here now.

The same happens with moods, which seem to be vague or more complex emotions, and maybe combinations of several.

And when I explore intention, I notice how also intentions are made up of sensations combined with the mental field. Muscles tense up to create sensations which then, combined with images and interpretations, create a sense of intention.

I have an intention to get up and open the door to let in fresh air. The sensation aspect comes from is a slight tightening in the back of the mouth, the mental aspect is an image of myself getting up and opening the door, and if I bring attention to it, there is also the label “intention” to the gestalt created by both of those. The slight tension of the muscles in the back of the mouth gives a sense of determination, and also power or energy, an ability to do it. (The back of the tonge presses gently to the roof of the mouth, and the muscles in the roof tighten slightly.)

And these two – moods and intention – combine as well. An intention is often associated with a particular mood, for instance of anticipation, excitement, bliss, lightness, fear, drudgery or heaviness. Sometimes, the same sensations serves as the sensation component of both the mood and the intention, and sometimes these are different sets of sensations.

For instance, an intention that is associated with bliss (Breema, for me), has as intention component the familiar slight tightening of the muscles in the back of the mouth, and the mood component is the sensation of air flowing through my nostrils.

When I notice this, there is a sense of all experiences being very simple in their components, and also a growing familiarity with how each particular one is created.

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Intention

 

During the retreat, I also explored how intention shows up in the sense fields.

What I find, as so often, is a sensation and a mental image.

In general, intention shows up as a slight tightening of certain muscles in the throat. And a mental image related to the intention, either a direction, a goal, or some intermediate stages.

When I explored intention of moving parts of the body, I noticed how attention goes to the limbs I want to move, and specifically sensations in the areas closest to where I intend to move them. Almost like where imaginary puppet strings would be fastened.

I also noticed how intention seems to be the easiest and most effective way of honing a stable attention. When it is distracted to some extent, sharpening up the intention seems to help.

There is of course a lot more to the effects of intention – such as how it helps align the different parts of us in a certain direction – and some of it is explored in other posts.

Planting seeds

 

sprout.jpg

When a question comes up for me that seems important enough, whether it is about some of the topics mentioned here or in my life in general, I sometimes plant it as a seed. I bring in the belly center, and sometimes the heart center, and invite an answer to emerge later on. And it always (?) does, sometimes immediately, sometimes after some minutes or hours, and sometimes within days or weeks or even months.

It is similar to planting a seed… making sure the conditions are right (a quiet and sincere intention, bringing in the three centers, and staying with it for a while), and then allowing it to grow at its own schedule and waiting for it to emerge on its own.

The answers are of course only of temporary and limited value, as anything else, but still useful in that limited sense.

Dream: rednecks

 

A friend of mine and her partner has recently bought a piece of land in a rural area, and have a general store and a small farm. The area is full of rednecks and some of them are in the store, ready to be offended by anything my friends may say or do. As they try to trigger a confrontation, my friend’s partner behaves in an unusual way – singing fragments of odd songs and mumbling in a not very coherent manner – which confuses the rednecks and diffuses the situation. They leave, and my friend’s partner now becomes a smart and coherent person again. I realize it was a trick and one of the few strategies that may have worked to diffuse the tension. The rednecks had strong beliefs, were not open for any genuine exchanges or conversations, and were ready to be offended by even the most innocent remark or behavior.

About five days ago I set the intention for deep beliefs to be resolved. Beliefs that sit in the body, below the level of my usual attention, giving rise to a sense of pride and inferiority, a sense of separate self, etc. Every night since then, there has been a long string of dreams with a nightmarish quality, indicating that something is definitely being sorted out at a deeper level. This is the first one where I remember some of the content.

The rednecks in the dream were irrational, strongly wedded to their beliefs, not willing to engage in any real conversation, and looking for any opportunity for a fight. And that seems to reflect how those deep beliefs function… ready to be triggered, outside of what it is normally possible to dialog with. The dream may also indicate a little more consciousness in that area, since my friend (who is a friend from real life, and someone who would do just such a thing) and her partner had recently bought land there and set up a store, and they apparently are smart and skilled enough to make it work.

Asking for it: patterns surfacing full force

 

Intention is one of my staple practices, in different forms. One is to ask to be shown (by life) what I am not seeing, what I need to see, what stands between me and Big Mind, and so on.

I did this before falling asleep the second night at the Crater Lake trip, and I got exactly what I had asked for…

The trip up until then had been very comfortable, easy and enjoyable, with a sense of headlessness and no separate self coming and going and never far away.

That night, a storm came through and the temperature dropped significantly (in itself fine since I have a good tent, wool underwear and a mountaineering sleeping bag), the air went out of my thermarest, and my body heat got sucked into the ground. Normally, all of this would have been fine and workable, but instead, old and ingrained patterns of resistance got triggered and came right up to the surface… resisting it all, being annoyed with everything, everything feeling wrong… and then, after having resolved the cold issue, the dream about my relatives being insane and believing their own stories, just as I had done that night.

I got exactly what I asked for. I got to see patterns that are still there, although often not triggered or so mild that I don’t notice or can easily brush it off. It is sobering and humbling, and although I was certainly not grateful when it all came up full force and I was completely in the grips of it, the gratefulness came up later on. There is nothing more precious than seeing where I am still stuck… Seeing where the gold is, behind the ugly facade.

Intention & Surrender

 

One of the simples and most transformative ways I have found to work with what is happening is…

  1. Intention for it to resolve, clarify, for harvesting nutrients from it
  2. Surrendering it to the mystery, to the divine, to the larger whole, to God, to Spirit, to Source, to Buddha Mind, to Existence, to the deeper wisdom, to my own nature

I connect with Source, and give it over to the divine. And in that, it transforms, unravels, clarifies – in ways I consciously could not have predicted. Whatever comes up, is surrendered. Including any identifications, any sense of stuckness, any insights, any sense of understanding, any sense of knowing. It is all surrendered.

This is another simple path, safe, contains its own directions, allowing it all to move along. It invites the wheel to continue to turn. And it works at any and all levels, from my human self through to the Ground.

Intention to Live It

 

Changes often seem to follow intention. In my own life, I see how there is an intention to find clarity about something – and it then unfolds.

So one thing it the insight itself (apparently a little more clear than before, although there is always further to go). And the other is the intention to live it, to live the insights – to allow my life to align with and be informed by them. It seems that also here, a clear intention is very helpful.

It seems to provide the nudge to allow it to actually happen, to allow the insights to come to fruition in this life. Until there is more clarity, other insights, which in turn come to fruition. And so on.

Seasons upon seasons.

Ways of Being With Experiences

 

One of the common features of most (?) spiritual traditions is guidelines for how to be with experiences. Here are some I am aware of…

Zen

Allow experiences to come and go as guests. This shifts the center of gravity to the witness, and allows for deepening detachment and insight into the general processes and patterns of the content of mind.

Breema

See, accept and move on.

This allows for shifting the center of gravity to the witness, and release clutching of content.

Can I be with it?

A particularly elegant approach is that of Raphael Cushnir. Whenever there are strong experiences coming up, or any other time, ask yourself – can I be with what I am experiencing right now?

This also shifts the center of gravity to the witness (or at least expands it to include the witness), and it allows the processes of the content to unfold and unwind on their own.

Recognition yoga

This is from Waking Down and I don’t remember the steps here… But it is something along the lines of see it, feel it, become it, and live it (and something more I am sure).

Release to the divine

In our deeksha group, we use a process which is very similar to what came up spontaneously for me during the initial awakening. Fully feel it, and fully release it to the divine.

The difference between this approach and many others is the intention. In Zen, they rarely speak about intention. But here, intention is included to offer it to the divine, and allow the divine to take care of and resolve it.

My experience is that this is a remarkably effective process, and one that deepens with time.

Unfolding the process

Yet another approach is that of Process Work. Here, the immense wisdom in every process is acknowledged, and the profound gifts behind any experience – including or maybe especially the difficult ones, are recognized. Through following the bread crumbs, the process behind the symptom (which could be anything within the field of experience, including disturbing and difficult ones) is unraveled, leading to often surprising insights and gifts.

Dimensions

I am not familiar enough with all of these to say much of the various dimensions, or to compare the various approaches in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Each of them seem to have its place, its own valuable contributions.

Some dimensions which come to mind…

  • Shifting center of gravity to the witness, or expanding it to include the witness.

    There is a subtle difference here, yet maybe important. The first encourages a slightly stronger sense of separation than the second.

  • Emphasizing the release from content, insight into the processes, and/or digging into the content.

    All of these emphasize a certain release from content – either in the present (most of them) or after a certain process (Waking Down, Process Work). Some emphasize insight into the processes and others don’t. Among those focusing on insight, some emphasize a more general insights into the patterns of the content (Zen), and others emphasize insight into the particular process arising in the present (Process Work).

  • No intention apart from the seeing of it, or intention of offering it (back) to the divine and have it more actively resolved.

    Zen is a good example of a tradition where the active use of intention is not much emphasized. The other end of the spectrum is the way we do it in our deeksha group, actively offering the processes to the divine – with the intention of allowing the divine to work on it, allowing it to unravel and find a resolution. Most are somewhere in between these two.