The same remedies for everything?


Why do I tend to suggest the same tools for a variety of hangups, issues, and identifications?

It’s because what I write about is a limited range of topics – mainly emotional healing and awakening.

It’s because I have limited experience and knowledge, from just a few decades of exploration.

It’s because the tools I write about tend to work universally within a certain category of things we may want to work on.

Also, it’s because the tools I write about tend to be helpful from the beginning to wherever we are on the path, whether we (in our own experience) move to or within Spirit.

Some of my favorite tools

The Work of Byron Katie can be very effective for working on beliefs, identifications, and all the issues that come from these – emotional issues, trauma, stress, and so on.

Living Inquiries can be used for the same, and also to get a better insight into how the mind creates its experience of anything. Living Inquiries is a modernized form of traditional Buddhist practice for noticing how the sense fields come together to create our experience of the world.

Headless experiments and the Big Mind process is an effective way for us to notice what we are.

Heart-centered practices (ho’o, tonglen, metta) are amazing for shifting how we relate to the world – to specific people, situations, and ourselves.

Practices to Reconnect work very well for deepening our connection with Earth and past and future generations.

Vortex Healing works better than just about anything I have found for physical and emotional issues, and also for supporting awakening and embodiment. (Although I would still use it with inquiry.)

Heart/Jesus prayer and Christ meditation help us open up to Spirit as everything, they tend to help us shift our relationship with the world and ourselves, they help us notice what we already are, and they help support embodiment.

Practicing a more stable attention (samatha) helps us in just about any area of life.

Noticing and allowing what’s here, and notice it’s already allowed, helps us notice what we are and soften identification with thoughts (shikantaza, basic meditation).

Remedies for certain conditions

The approaches mentioned above can be seen as tools for certain types of tasks, or remedies for certain conditions. If applied when appropriate, and with a bit of experience and skill, they work well.

We all have limited experience, insights, and knowledge. I am sure there are tools out there I would love if I only knew about them. And there is an infinite potential for developing new and equally or more effective tools than we humans currently know about.

Within my limited experience and knowledge, the tools above are the best ones I have found, and I am very open for finding new ones that are as or more effective.

Chronic fatigue syndrome & the pandemic


There are several connections between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and the current Covid 19 pandemic, and I have written about it in previous posts. Here is a brief summary.

Long covid was predicted and predictable

CFS is also called a post-viral syndrome since it often follows a viral infection.

Those of us familiar with post-viral syndromes and CFS predicted that we would see many post-viral syndrome cases following the covid 19 infections.

There would be a pandemic within the pandemic. First, those who got acute covid 19 infections. And then, those with the post-viral syndrome and CFS following these infections.

I wrote about this a year ago, at the very beginning of the global pandemic.

Research into CFS & post-viral syndromes

The slight silver lining in this situation is that long-covid may lead to the medical field and governments taking post-viral syndromes and CFS, in general, more seriously. We may see the beginnings of this.

The main symptoms of long covid and CFS are the same: fatigue, PEM, and brain fog. Although there may also be some unique symptoms of long covid, including visible damage to the lungs and other organs.

A missed opportunity

The medical world has largely ignored CFS. It’s often not been taken seriously as a biological disease, and there has been minimal research into it.

That’s doubly unfortunate.

It’s unfortunate for those of us who have CFS and know it’s a real and serious disease.

And they missed a golden opportunity to be prepared for long covid.

We knew a pandemic would come and that we were on schedule for a new one.

And we knew that viral infections lead to a significant number of post-viral syndromes.

So why didn’t they take the opportunity to prepare by learning about CFS and possible causes and cures? Why didn’t they take the opportunity to nip the predictable current upsurge in post-viral cases in the bud?

In the coming decades, ignoring CFS will go down in medical history as an injustice to those with CFS. And also a missed golden opportunity to learn more about CFS before the predictable pandemic upsurge in people with post-viral syndromes AKA long covid.

This pandemic may be a triple pandemic. The first is the viral and medical pandemic. The second is the social cost. And the third is the large numbers of those with long covid.

If researchers and governments had the foresight, they could have prevented the third. Now, they are instead playing catch-up.

Feel it as a flavor of the divine


Pointer in spirituality are medicine for a particular condition.

Some pointers are more universally helpful. And some are more specific for some people and some situations.

One that’s specific to where I am now is this:

Feel it as a flavor of the divine.

Sometimes, something comes up – a sensation, discomfort, emotion – and my old pattern is to react to it. My mind tells itself that this is not good, it’s not the divine. So avoid it or make it go away.

When I remind myself that this is a flavor of the divine, there is a shift.

I remind myself that this too is the divine. It’s a flavor of the divine. I notice it is the divine. It’s happening within and as what I am capacity for. It’s happening within and as – what the mind may label – consciousness, awakeness, love.

This morning, I woke up feeling material from an old issue – perhaps going back lifetimes if my sense is right and that of others who have sensed into it. It felt very uncomfortable and I did wrestle with it for a few minutes and felt grumpy. Then I remembered this pointer, and it helped my relationship to it to shift. The symptoms are still here but there is no longer any need to struggle with it. I notice it as a flavor of the divine and that makes it much easier.

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This too is the divine


This too is the divine. 

Any pointer in healing or spirituality is medicine for a certain condition. 

If our condition happens to be that (a) we have recognized all as the divine – either in glimpses or ongoingly, and yet (b) we don’t always see, feel, and love some experiences as the divine, then this can be a helpful pointer. 

This too is the divine. 

This is where I have found myself for a while. I know deeply that all is the divine. I can see it. I can feel it. I love it as the divine. 

And yet, when some experiences come up – strong discomfort, emotional pain, physical pain, wounds, trauma – I don’t always see, feel, or love it as the divine. Old reactive patterns take over. (And that’s OK since that too is the divine, it’s a local and temporary expression of the divine.) 

It’s really a question. Is this too the divine? Sit with it. Let it sink in. Let it guide noticing. Let it work on you. (There is no need to answer with words.) 

I find this one helpful. It’s the right pointer for me right now. It probably wasn’t some while ago, and won’t be at some point in the future. But now, when my attention gets absorbed in what’s triggered in me and I temporarily don’t recognize what’s here as the divine, it’s the right medicine. 

It’s not the right medicine if we don’t easily recognize most as the divine. Then it just becomes intellectual and not helpful. And it’s a not needed medicine if we habitually recognize even that which our personality doesn’t like as the divine. 

Most of the time, I focus on remedies and pointers that have more universal use such as different types of inquiry and heart centered practices. And yet, sometimes, more narrowly applicable remedies are just what’s needed. 

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Spiritual teachings as medicine


Spiritual teachings are medicine.

The general spiritual teachings are aimed at meeting most people where they are, and nudge them in the direction of love and reality.

And specific spiritual teachings are aimed at a particular person, with the intention of correcting hangups and one-sidedness of that person.

If most people were very familiar with Big Mind but not their human self, reverse of how it tends to be today, then the teachings would tend to be reverse as well. Mainstream spiritual teachings would say: “Look, you have this human self, and a world, and it’s important you take care of this human self and your life and your world. It’s not all about basking as Big Mind and Big Heart (and Big Belly). It’s also about how you live it through this human self.” And, of course, some teachings do say that, because some people are at that place. It’s one of the typical phases of a spiritual development or awakening to be temporarily identified more as Big Mind and Big Heart, and less as the human self.

In general, spiritual teachings can be grouped in a few different categories. (a) Living according to certain guidelines (morals), and developing and living from love. (a) Inviting Big Mind/Heart/Belly to recognize itself. (c) Recognize all life as Big Mind/Heart/Belly. And (d) how to live from and as Big Mind/Heart/Belly through this human life in the world. Each of these is a medicine for people at specific phases on the path.

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Any pointer, practice or insight is medicine.

It’s medicine for a stuck view, for what’s covering up innate wisdom, love and guidance.

And as with any medicine, it’s helpful for a certain person in a certain situation, and that’s it.

For others, it may not be helpful. And it may not be helpful before or after.

Medicine, and medicine for the medicine


Don’t Take Anything Personally:  Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
– from The Four Agreements

I don’t know much about the Four Agreements, but saw this quote on facebook.

It is medicine for a certain fixed and habitual viewpoint, in this case, of taking whatever happens too personally.

But this view, intended to dislodge a habitual and fixed view, can itself be taken as an exclusive truth. The medicine needs its own medicine.

I find that I can take things too personally in two ways.

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The Sun: Who will heal the healers?


The most important therapy I deliver is a human relationship. I’m not doing anything controversial or woo-woo. I never thought of myself as practicing alternative medicine until a colleague pointed out that spending time with patients is now “alternative.” We live in a world with all this electronic communication, but is anyone sitting down for an hour and making eye contact and talking, relating on a spiritual, emotional, and physical level? When patients come into this office, it’s a refuge from the frenetic outside world. They tell me things they might not have told anyone else in their lives — not even their spouse. They open up to me.

From an interview with my medical doctor in The Sun Magazine. Well worth reading.

Note that the full interview is only in the paper version of the magazine.

Inquiry: They are irresponsible


They are irresponsible. (And misinformed. Not receptive to research. Not receptive to reality. Caught up in irrational dynamics they are not aware of. Living out their hangups. Acting in ways that can harm their children and others in the community. They live out immature views, putting themselves and others at risk.)

The anti-vaccination folks.

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All of this may be obvious in general and for the stories we clearly recognize as stories, guides, pointers. Where it gets interesting and juicy is for the stories we still take as true, the ones creating friction and stress, the ones attention naturally is drawn to, the views we identify with, the basic assumptions we haven’t questions and explored yet.

Any story has a number of reversals, and each of these reversals also has validity. We can find specific examples of where each of those reversals are genuinely true for us. This is a reminder that no story has absolute validity, and it is also an invitation to explore ways to hold the limited validity of all reversals of any particular story. And then find the genuine validity in the reversals of those more embracing stories.

Any story also hinges on a number of assumptions, and each of these has valid reversals. The assumptions usually include the basic ones of space, time, objects, beings, a me, doer, observer and that these exists as real, separate, out there etc.

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Adaptogens are herbs that normalize and strengthen, such as ginseng, eleuthero, rhodiola (my favorite right now), tripala, astragulus root, arjuna and many more.

These are the major herbs in herbal medicine. They are the ones most commonly prescribed and they can, in most cases, be taken throughout life.

The minor herbs, sometimes called “poisons” (!), act in one direction and are prescribed in only certain situations and for shorter periods of time.

This is a rich analogy for spiritual teachings.

First, we can see spiritual teachings and tools as medicines. Each one is a medicine for a specific condition. They have meaning and usefulness in the presence of a specific condition. And there is no “truth” to them, no more (or less) than there is truth in a shovel or lawn mover.

Then, we can look at teachings and tools as either adaptogens or “poisons”.

Some practices are quite adaptogen-like, such as shikantaza, bringing attention to sensations, inquiry and self-inquiry, prayer and so on. And just as an herbalist will most often prescribe an adaptogen to a client, a spiritual teacher (and tradition) will most often prescribe one or more of these practices. They tend to work in a gentle way, normalize, can be used at any phase of the process, and their effects are most noticeable when used regularly over time.

Other teachings and practices are more “poison” like in their effects and work in only one direction. And just as an herbalist will prescribe these herbs in only very specific situations and for shorter periods of time, a good spiritual teacher will use these teachings and tools only sparingly. Some examples here may be teachings aimed at “shocking” or shaking students out of complacency. It may be very helpful and just the right medicine in some situations, but works best if used judiciously.

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Already know


One of the many teaching tools is to say that I am reminding you of what you already know.

And as for any teaching, the question is when it may be helpful, and when not.

First, this pointer is obviously a supplement to other pointers. It gives a slight tweak to other pointers, inviting us to notice what is already here and not expect it somewhere else – in the future, in others, in the past, in a different state and so on. What I am looking for is already here, I just need to notice.

In that sense, it can be very helpful in many different situations.

There may be an awakening here, but not quite clear and embodied, and the pointer you already know is an invitation to notice and then trust what is already here. What we are looking for is not in the future, others, in a different state, but right here now. Other pointers give us more specific guidelines for inquiry, and this one is an invitation to sincerely look at – and trust as sufficient – what is here in immediacy.

Also, something may be true for us but we don’t act on it due to a (contrary) belief. In this case, you already know may be just the encouragement we need to trust it a little more and eventually act on it. (True for me right now.)

And if there has not been any awakening yet, you already know is – again – an invitation to look here. To not expect it in the future, in a different state, and so on.

Then, when may it be less helpful?

As with any teaching, it may be less helpful as soon as it is taken as anything else than a question and an invitation to explore for ourselves. For instance, if I take it to mean that my stories about anything at all are true and valid, it is obviously a sidetrack. A very understandable sidetrack but still a sidetrack. It is a distraction from a more sincere and honest inquiry into what is here in immediacy.

So as with any teaching, it all depends on how it is received. And when students are likely to receive it in a helpful way, the statement may be just right. If not, something else may be more helpful. Or this one may still be helpful if presented in the right context.

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Bias against simplicity


Dr Olivier Ameisen, 55, one of France’s top heart specialists, says he overcame his own addiction to alcohol by self-administering doses of a muscle-relaxant called baclofen.

He has now written a book about his experience – Le Dernier Verre (The Last Glass) – in which he calls for clinical trials to test his theory that baclofen suppresses the craving for drink. […]

Further investigation uncovered research showing that the drug worked on rats to cut addiction to alcohol or cocaine

But, strangely, Dr Ameisen found that baclofen was unknown to specialists on dependence.

In March 2002 he began treating himself with daily doses of five milligrams.

“The first effects were a magical muscular relaxation and baby-like sleep,” he says. Almost immediately he also detected a lessening in his desire for drink.

Gradually, he increased the daily dosage to a maximum of 270mg, and found that he was “cured”. Today he continues to take 30 to 50mg a day.

“Mine is the first case in which a course of medicine has completely suppressed alcohol addiction,” he says.

“Now I can have a glass and it has no effect. Above all, I no longer have that irrepressible need to drink.” […]

However, many specialists fear that media excitement over Dr Ameisen’s theory is obscuring the complex nature of alcoholism.

“Encouraging people to think that there is a miracle molecule is to completely misunderstand the nature of alcoholism, and is extremely irresponsible, ” says Dr Michel Reynaud of Paul-Brousse hospital in Paris.

Source: BBC.

This story illustrates a bias against simplicity that sometimes occurs, in this case among academics and medical doctors.

All phenomena are of course infinitely complex. We can always explore it further within familiar frameworks, within new or different frameworks, and in terms of how they all may fit together in a larger and more comprehensive picture. And all of that is often quite helpful.

But that doesn’t mean that there can’t be simple solutions. Sometimes, there are simple solutions to complex problems.

In this case, there is a chance that they found a simple solution for alcoholism, at least in some cases. So when there is some receptivity there, we can investigate and see if, when and to what extent it works, and go from there. It may not take care of all of it for everyone, but even if it works for some, it is a great blessing.

And as always, it can be a supplement. Something that works along with other approaches – including helping people meet and come to terms with whatever they try to escape, and find what they seek in alcohol in other ways and areas of life.

This is also the case in psychology and spirituality. It can be of practical use to explore and be familiar with maps and tools. In the best case, they function as temporary pointers for us.

But sometimes, it is tempting to create an identity for ourselves that is based on an intricate knowledge of maps and theories. We use it to form in groups and out groups, and a sense of being right and on the right track. In short, we use it as a buffer against not really knowing.

And we overlook the simple tools. The ones that may not be very flashy, but still quite helpful.

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Teachings as medicine


Teachings can be seen as medicine.

We have a fixed position, which creates wounds, immature behavior and a sense of an I-Other. And the teaching is designed to nudge us out of that fixed position, either directly or through offering us a tool which invites the shift when applied.

That is one reason why there are so many – apparently contradictory – teachings. They each are designed to invite us out of a particular fixed position and belief. (There are of course other reasons for teachings, but this is an important one.)

From this, it is easy to see a “good teacher” as someone who is fluid among a wide range of views and positions, and can take any one of them according to what seems most helpful in the situation. And that is certainly true from a conventional viewpoint.

But I also find that teachers who take a somewhat fixed and rigid position can be very helpful. Maybe more helpful, in some ways, because they bring my attention straight to my own hangups.

I may have an expectation of the teacher being fluid, so get to notice and inquire into that belief. I may agree completely with the teacher, which then feels a little stale after a while, so I get to inquire into the stories I agree with. And I may disagree with the teacher, which is stressful, so here too I get to notice and inquire into my fixed positions.

In the first case, the teacher is fluid and models it for me. I get to see my own fixed views in contrast to the fluidity of the teacher, and am inspired and invited to move in the direction of a similar fluidity.

In the second case, the teacher is rigid, which in different ways also brings my attention right to my own fixed positions. And here, I have to do the work myself, which in many ways is more powerful.

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