Contraction and expansion

 

Sometimes, there is is a sense of contraction here. Mind gets identified, and “I” and my world begin to feel very small, isolated. Other times, there is a sense of expansion, of no separation, of my world feeling large and spacious.

And is that true? Is it true there is contraction? I find a situation where I experienced contraction (two nights ago when fear, wounds and heartache came up). Is it true it’s a contraction? No. What I imagine as a contraction, the image I have of contraction, happens within spaciousness. It happens within and as awareness. Mind was identified with/as contraction, and at the same time, there is awareness of spaciousness, and of it happening as awareness.

Is it true there is expansion? I find a situation where I experienced expansion (the day after). Is it true, it’s expansion? No. It’s happening within and as awareness. It’s not expansion. What I imagine as contraction and expansion both happen within and as awareness. It’s not really contraction or expansion.

I can look at this a little closer.

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Inquiry: It’s suffering

 

As with so much, this is something that I assume is transparent if it resonates with your own experience, and appears opaque and mysterious – and perhaps even impossible or as wishful thinking – if not.

Any experience happens within and as what I am. It’s the play of this awakeness, and that which allows this awakeness and it’s play.

Any label on this experience is mind made, it’s created from images and thoughts. When mind identifies with these, the labels seem real and substantial. I see, feel and live as if they are true. And it’s also possible to take a closer look, to see these dynamics, and see what’s there behind the labels and images.

As I went to bed, something surfaced. Something that thought could label old wounds, old heartbreaks, childhood hurts, knots, unfinished business, primal fears, survival fears.

Thoughts also suggested it’s pain, it’s suffering. Turned around, the thought is it’s bliss. And I found that too. It’s bliss. That’s as or more true than that it’s suffering. I see how it’s all the play of awareness, of this awakeness. It’s made of the same as any other experience. It’s the play of awakeness.

If it’s bliss, if that label is genuinely fitting, why escape it? There is no need to escape it. No wish to escape it. Even what can be labeled an old impulse to escape, is this bliss. It’s the play of awakeness.

I also see it takes something – commitment, curiosity, kindness, grace? – to stay with this. In a certain sense, it goes against old habits. And that’s an image and a thought too. It’s just what’s here now.

 

 

Inquiry: My mother doesn’t love me

 

Situation: My mother shouting at me and blaming me for her breaking something in the kitchen while I was in the living room playing. I was four or five years old.

1. I am afraid of my mother because she is angry at me.

2. I want my mother to not be angry at me, to love me, to understand I didn’t do anything, to love herself.

3. My mother shouldn’t be angry at me, she shouldn’t shout at me, she should love me, she should breathe and calm down, she should find clarity.

4. I need my mother to love me, to love herself, to tell me it’s all OK, to tell me I am OK.

5. My mother is angry, confused, upset, afraid, hurt, blinded.

6. I don’t ever want my mother to be angry at me again.

Additional beliefs:

She is angry at me, and that means…. She doesn’t love me. She will leave me. I will be alone. I will be lost. I will suffer. I will die.

She is angry at me because…. There is something wrong with me. I did something wrong. I am not lovable. I should be punished.

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Generational suffering / dynamics

 

When I do inquiry, I see that whatever thought I am looking at, it’s universal. I imagine the same thought held as true by my parents, my brother, my wider culture, perhaps even most of humanity. I see it’s transmitted to me through my parents, my brother, my peers, media.

And it’s adopted by me in a very innocent way. It’s what others seem to do – taking this thought as true – so I do the same. In my innocence, I do it to fit in. Others seems to know something I don’t. It may help me somehow. I think it may help me find acceptance, approval, love, safety.

The belief is personal, since it’s happening here and operates in this life, and it’s impersonal to the extent it’s shared by larger groups of people. Some beliefs may be particular to my culture. And it’s underlying and more basic beliefs may be very ancient and shared by most of humanity.

It can be quite helpful to recognize this. What’s here is not just mine. It’s shared by my family, my culture, and perhaps most of humanity. It’s transmitted through the generations. I am doing the work not only for myself, but for my family, those around me, those who come after me, even for all of my ancestors who suffered through holding onto a particular thought as true.

And as with any thought, this one – about generational suffering and dynamics – can be stressful if held as absolutely true.

It’s generational suffering.

Is it true? No.

What happens, how do I react, when I take it as true? I feel it’s true. It becomes solid in my mind. It feels heavy. It becomes large in my mind, overwhelming. If it has been transmitted to me by so many generations, how can I expect it to end with me? I feel a responsibility of having it end with me, and it feels heavy. I think I may not be up to the task. I may transmit it to future generations, and be responsible for their suffering. I may fail in ending it here. 

Who would I be without that thought? I work on what’s here, free of stressful thoughts of it being ancient, of being responsible for stopping it here. I work on it more innocently. With joy, curiosity, interest. I feel more connected.

Can you find turnarounds? TA to self: I am generational suffering. When I have the thought of generational suffering, and take it as true, I am generational suffering. I feel the burden of my image of generational suffering. I experience the suffering of that thought. TA to opposite: It’s not generational suffering. I don’t know. It’s just a thought, an image. TA to opposite: It’s immediacy suffering. Yes, that’s more true. It’s here and now. Whatever my images of it, the suffering and the dynamics around the beliefs, happen here and now. I may have images of it being generational, or not, and it’s really  just here and now.

Mini-inquiry: My body is out of whack

 

My body is out of whack.

Situation: Yesterday, following dehydration.

#1 – Yes.

#2 – No.

#3 – I experience that my body is out of whack, it seems clear it’s true. I feel a victim of my body and circumstances.

#4 – Open, curious, relaxed. Going with what is. Noticing something is different, and it’s OK. Not in conflict with what’s here. Friendly towards myself, others.

TA: My mind is out of whack.

When I believe my body is out of whack, my mind is out of whack. It goes into resistance, victimhood, complains, tantrums.

TA: My thinking is out of whack.

My thinking – about my body – is out of whack.

When my thoughts create labels about my body (tired, fatigued, out of balance), when it goes into stories about what this means, and when these thoughts are taken as true, my thinking is out of whack.

– 0 –

Note

I explored these turnarounds as it happened, and could really see – and feel – that it’s true.

When my thoughts tell me my body is out of whack, and it’s taken as true, my thinking is out of whack.

–  0 –

Dark night inquiry

 

Why is the dark night the best for me, others, the world? 

For me

It helps me see what’s left.

It helps me see my wants, shoulds, needs – how I take (some of) them as true.

It’s an invitation for more of me to align with reality – through and through.

It’s an invitation to find comfort with all as guests – experiences, states, circumstances.

It helps me find comfort with this in myself, and so also in others. (Distress, loss.)

For others

I may be easier to be around, having looked at more of my beliefs.

I have more understanding for people in different situations.

(I judge them less, because I have been there.)

I find myself more as anyone else.

For the world

I have experiences and insights from this that may be helpful for the world.

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JYN: Alone in a crib in a dark room

 

Situation: Alone in a crib in a dark room. Infancy.

1. I am afraid because my mother abandoned me, she doesn’t love me, she is not there for me.

2. I want my mother to come and get me, let me stay with them, hold me, comfort me.

3. My mother should love me, be with me, make me comfortable, make me feel safe, make me feel secure, make me feel loved. My mother shouldn’t abandon me.

4. I need my mother to be with me, love me, care for me, be there for me.

5. My mother is absent, unloving, misguided, distracted.

6. I don’t ever want to experience being left alone again.

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Mini-inquiry: Life is unpredictable

 

Life is unpredictable.

–  0 –

TA: I am unpredictable.

(a) What’s next in terms of thoughts, feelings or actions is unknown to me.

(When I am honest, I see it’s a surprise.)

(b) I sometimes have a plan, and then decide to do something else.

(This has happened several times, especially in where I live and what I do.)

(c) Others may see me as unpredictable.

(I seem to surprise others, even people who know me well, when I tell them about phases from my past, or some of my interests and passions. I don’t seem to always conform to the images people have of me. Some that know me from Breema are surprised by my interest in science. Some that know me from sustainability are surprised by my interest in psychology. Some that know me from psychology are surprised by my interest in art. Some that know me from spirituality are surprised by my interest in space exploration. And so on.)

TA: Life is predictable.

(a) It’s predictable that I will say good bye to everyone and everything.

(I may not know exactly when, but I know I will say good bye.)

(b) When I have a belief about myself, others or life, I live as if it’s true.

(I view, feel, chose and act as if it’s true. And life will conform as far as it’s possible.)

(c) Whatever images I have about life, life won’t exactly fit into these images.

(People won’t conform to my images of them. Life won’t conform to my plans or expectations. The future will be different from how I imagine it will be. It may be slightly different or very different, but it will be different.)

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The Biblical standards for marriage

 

I watched a BBC story on the gay protests at a US fast food chain, and a woman said she wanted to uphold the Biblical standards for marriage. Of course, the Bible mentions several different versions of marriage, and has no one “prescription”. (Even if it did, it came out of and was relevant to that time and culture.) Of course, these are very predictable views from my side since (a) I am from Norway, and (b) in general tend to take a liberal and inclusive angle.

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“It’s obviously not true” as a guardian of the treasure

 

I am investigating the thought/feeling that my mother doesn’t love me, have found a few situations in early childhood where I remember or imagine I had that thought, and see it’s connected with some quite primal and basic fears in me.

I also notice I have the thought it’s obviously not true, and if that’s believed then it functions as a guardian of the treasure. It’s what may make me turn away from a more serious investigation of the belief that my mother doesn’t love me, and I may miss out – for now – of what’s there.

It feels true, somewhere, and at an emotional level. It felt true at the time, in the three or four situations that came to mind. It seems connected with similar deep and previously unseen beliefs such as I am unlovable. And an image of myself as a baby, in a crib alone in a dark room has surfaced for a while now, with the thought/feeling that I am unlovable. So it clearly invites attention.

Mini-inquiry: My mother doesn’t love me

 

My mother doesn’t love me.

Situation: (a) Alone in a crib in a dark room. (b) My mother ignoring me. (c) My mother yelling at me. (d) My mother not believing me.

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Turnarounds

I don’t love me

When I believe she doesn’t love me, I don’t love me.

(I withhold love from myself, because I take it to mean I am unlovable.)

When I believe she doesn’t love me, my attention is on her, not here for me.

When I believe she doesn’t love me, I don’t take care of myself.

My mother does love me

There are many examples: She has always been there for me. She told and tells me so.

I don’t love my mother

When I believe she doesn’t love me, I don’t love her.

(I prevent myself from noticing my love for her.)

Living turnaround

My mother does love me.

I’ll explore how that’s true for me, while staying with each of the situations listed above.

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Investigating a fuller spectrum of thoughts

 

In identifying thoughts about the dark night, I find several categories of these thoughts.

One is resistant thoughts to the dark night. Another is the thought that it’s a dark night and what it means. And a third is thoughts about it’s value.

I notice it’s helpful to question all of these.

(a) Finding the genuine gifts in the dark night helps release resistance to it.

(b) Questioning that it is a dark night helps me see it’s not solid or real. For instance, the dark night is a label only, it’s not a thing, and it’s equally much a brilliant day.

(c) And investigating and questioning my thoughts around it’s value helps me say goodbye to it. As long as I believe it’s valuable, there will be some resistance to let it go and move on to something else.

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2 Kings 2:23-25

 

From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.
2 Kings 2:23-25

A friend of mine is a priest and was assigned this passage for his sermon tomorrow.

I thought it would be interesting to see what come up for me, and how I may have approached it if I was in his shoes.

The easy way out is to say, as Christians do, that the Old Testament God is a sometimes angry and vengeful God, and was replaced with a loving God with the coming of Jesus Christ.

Another easy way out is to say that this comes from a misunderstanding, from an author who is not very clear. (A little disappointing, perhaps, if that’s where we leave it, because it doesn’t leave so much to look at.)

What’s a bit more interesting for me is that it shows us our fears. Do I believe God (reality) is vengeful? Unkind? Punishing? Where does that image come from? My culture? My experiences with adults as a young child? What do I find when I investigate those thoughts?

Equally interesting is looking at the effects beliefs have on me. If I have the beliefs I imagine the children have, that he shouldn’t be there, he is worth less than others, I don’t like him, what does that do to me? When I look at it, I see that I hurt myself when I hold those beliefs. I maul myself, as the children are mauled by the bears. The verse is a quite accurate image of what I am doing to myself, and how it’s experienced if I allow myself to notice and feel it.

This last one is also about karma. Karma is not (only) something that happens in time, in the dreamworld of cause and effect as BK says. It’s immediate and here and now.

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Mini-inquiry: My body is off

 

My body is off.

Turnarounds

I am off

I feel off when I believe that my body is off.

I am off if I believe my body is off.

My mind is off

My mind is off if I think my body is off.

When my mind is off – when I believe thoughts – I feel off.

*** When my mind is off, my body responds. ***

(I take a thought as true, and my body responds as if the thought is true.)

My body is on

My body is alive.

My body responds perfectly to what happens – sleep, food etc.

(Including when it seems to react to certain foods.)

*** My body responds perfectly to my thoughts.***

(When a thought is taken as true, my body responds as if it’s true.)

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A simple process II

 

 I woke up this morning with a slight sense of dread and terror.

I contacted and stayed with this feeling, and asked:

What does it say? What’s the thought behind the dread?

I won’t survive.

Is it true, I won’t survive?

I stayed with the dread and it’s thought, and the question and what surfaced.

I see I honestly don’t know if it’s true.

I stay with the contraction – the dread and the thought behind it, and not knowing.

(There is a sense that the contraction soften, reorganize, realign.)

Another thought:

It’s terrible if I die.

Is it true?

I don’t know. It may be wonderful. I will be spared.

Again, I stay with the contraction, and what surfaces as an answer to the question.

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A simple process

 

It’s early morning.

I lie in bed with my eyes closed.

A world of images

Images of space

I notice my images – of the body, the room, the building, the area outside of the building, the city, the continent, the Earth, the solar system, the galaxy, the universe.

It’s all images. I cannot find it outside of images.

I notice sensations in my body, and how my images adjust to fit these.

Images of time

I notice images of this coming day – having breakfast, going for a walk, meditation, swimming in the afternoon.

I notice images of yesterday – watching a film, working on some photos, eating, going shopping.

I notice images of the coming weeks, my life in the future.

I notice images of the preceding weeks, months, years, decades, my past.

I notice I cannot find any of this outside of these images.

Images of space & time

I notice that my images of things in space is placed on an image of space itself.

I notice how my images of episodes in time is placed on an image of time itself, and of an image of future, past and present.

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Mini-inquiry: It’s possible to make a mistake

 

It’s possible to make a mistake.

TA: It’s impossible to make a mistake.

(It’s impossible to do it wrong.)

It’s a choice with consequences, whether I make one choice or another.

It’s most likely not my last choice. I will have opportunity to change it, do something else.

Right and wrong, mistake or not, is an idea in my own mind.

No matter what happens, I’ll get an opportunity to see my own beliefs about it and find more clarity.

If God is love, it cannot be a mistake.

If the universe is kind, it cannot be a mistake.

TA: It’s possible to do it right.

It’s possible I’ll be happy with what I chose.

It’s possible I’ll inquire into whatever beliefs comes up and find clarity.

It’s possible I can make another choice later, which I am more happy with.

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Mini-inquiry: As a facilitator, I can’t do my own work

 

As a facilitator, I can’t do my own work.

TA: As a facilitator, I can do my own work.

Sometimes it just happens, it’s where the mind goes.

I can take guidance from the client: find how what the client says is true for me.

When there is silence, I have opportunity to explore it as my own inquiry.

I can make a note of my own beliefs (about facilitation, the client etc.) and inquire into these later.

Facilitating brings up beliefs in me, which I can take to inquiry.

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Inquiry: I need to be in the rigth frame of mind

 

I need to be in the right frame of mind.

(I need to be in the right frame of mind to do inquiry.)

– 0 –

Is it true?

Yes.

Can you know for certain it’s true?

No.

What happens, how do you react, when you have that belief?

I feel that my conditions – my frame of mind – need to be just right to do inquiry.

My frame of mind becomes a problem to me, an enemy.

I feel vulnerable to changes in my state of mind.

My state of mind is big and powerful to me, and I small and powerless.

I am at the mercy of the whims of my frame of mind.

I feel powerless, weak, tired.

I am alert to signs of my frame of mind not being right:

Feeling tired, spacy, distracted, scattered, not interested.

I make these into an enemy to me.

I am at war with my own mind.

Who would you be without that thought?

(What do you notice without that thought?)

Curious about & interested in doing inquiry.

Free to do inquiry any time.

Freedom. Excitement.

Turnarounds

(To self, other, opposite.)

I need to be in the right me.

The me that knows that inquiry, noticing, can happen in many frames of mind.

My frame of mind needs to be in the right me.

The me that notices it’s already allowed as is.

The me where resistant thoughts are noticed and inquired into.

The me that’s kind to and gentle with itself.

I don’t need to be in the right frame of mind.

It’s an invitation to do inquiry in different frames of mind, including when I feel tired, spacy, distracted.

It can be a good opportunity to look at my frame of mind, what’s really here.

It’s a good opportunity to look at my thoughts about what’s here.

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The gifts of the dark night

 

What are some of the gifts of the dark night of the soul for me?

Can I find real, simple, specific examples?

Health

(Loss of health.)

I get to see what’s left, remaining beliefs about health and what loss of health means.

It encouraged me to investigate my thoughts about health.

It’s humbling. I see that life lives it’s own life. I cannot always “chose” to pull myself out of any situation.

It’s an opportunity to befriend and find peace with what’s here.

It has given me time to explore and investigate. It has been life’s way of making me live more like a monk.

I have learned more about herbs, especially adaptogens.

Breema showed me even more clearly it’s how I relate to what’s here that’s important. I can find comfort and support in what’s here, including what I could label fatigue etc.

It encouraged me to do TRE and see if it releases trauma/freeze that may be behind the fatigue.

It has helped me see how certain beliefs create fatigue.

I have explored how the label “fatigue” combines with certain sensations to make the experience of fatigue.

It has helped me be more real and open about what’s happening for me.

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