Sebastian Blaksley: tenderness is justified under all circumstances


The message of Christ was “that tenderness is justified under all circumstances… there is never reason to disconnect from the sweetness of your heart.”

– Sebastian Blaksley, Choose Only Love V

Even the simplest pointer has a lot of complexity in it, and this one is no exception.

Tenderness is justified under all circumstances

When someone acts in a harmful way, they do so out of ignorance or in reaction to their own pain, and usually from a combination of the two. And they suffer from it, whether they notice or not.

And if a situation goes in a different direction than we wanted, it’s not personal. It’s life.

In both situations, it’s far more comfortable to keep a tender heart. It’s more healing for ourselves and sometimes others. And it tends to come with some receptivity and clarity so it’s easier to make better choices.

Why don’t we always live with a tender heart?

If our heart closes down, it’s typically for two related reasons.

We don’t see the situations very clearly, and our own hangups and wounds are triggered. We close our heart as a reaction to fear in us, and we react because this fear looks scary since it’s unloved and unexamined.

Tender heart and action

We can have a tender heart and also act decisively when that seems appropriate. One doesn’t exclude the other.

Supporting a tender heart

We can support a tender heart in many different ways. For instance, through heart-centered practices, insights & inquiry, healing how we relate to ourselves and the world, and inviting in healing for wounded parts of us.

Supporting a tender heart through healing

We won’t live with a tender heart in all circumstances.

When I notice that my heart is shutting down, I can ask myself some questions. How is it to meet myself with kindness? How is it to meet this pain in me with kindness?

When we notice our heart closing in a particular situation, we can use this to identify which wounds were triggered in us and, perhaps later, invite in healing for these.

Typically, when our heart closes, it’s a way for our system to protect itself. It comes from a wish to protect this human being, it’s ultimately innocent, and it’s a form of love. As mentioned above, it’s typically a reaction to fear in us that looks scary because it’s – so far – unloved and unexamined.

So this is another way to support a tender heart: inviting in healing for how we relate to ourselves, our own wounds, and the world. And invite healing for the wounds themselves.

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Can I find peace with what’s here?


Can I find peace with what’s here, as it is right now?

Any pointer is medicine for a certain condition, and this pointer is helpful for me right now. It helps me shift my relationship with what’s here, as it is, including the way I respond to something based on my conditioning.

Something in me knows how to find peace with what’s here, and something in me already is at peace with what’s here. This question opens up for receptivity to these parts. Something shifts on its own.

When I say “what’s here” – it means anything and all of what’s here. What’s going on in my body, emotions, and thoughts. What’s happening in my life situation. And how I respond to it all, out of habitual patterns.

Storror: Be accepting of going in


Be accepting of going in, and then you’ll stick it.

– Storror parkour team in Parkour Water Challenge, 18 minutes in

This is an example of how dedication to excellence in any area of life tends to lead us to similar insights. In this case, the insight is that if you accept failure, you are more likely to succeed. The fear of failure is often what leads to failure, so when we accept the possibility of failure and find some peace with it, we are more able to focus on the task and do our job well.

The Storror guys continue to push the boundaries of what they are able to do in parkeour, and in the process discover universal insights that people through history have discovered.

Standing on a ledge, about to jump onto a beam in the water, it’s easier to focus on the task and do the job well if we accept and find peace with falling into the water. If we are afraid of falling into the water, the fear will distract us and make hesitation and a mistake more likely.

This is what any good psychologist or coach will help us with. And this is also a common thread in Asian philosophy. For instance, the samurai practices finding peace and coming to terms with death (they practiced imagining already being dead) so they wouldn’t be distracted by fear of death at a crucial moment.

Life as a forever emergency


I saw an article about the benefits of thinking of the climate crisis as an forever emergency.

In a sense, life itself is a forever emergency. Humanity as a whole experiences a continuous series of smaller and larger crises and emergencies, as do we as individuals.

It’s very helpful to realize that this is part of the human condition, and that this is how it is for all fellow Earth beings.

If we live in the hope that this will change, we’ll be forever disappointed, and we’ll struggle with what is because it destroys our dream. As soon as we adopt a forever view on crises and emergencies, we can find more peace with it.

A forever view may help us in several ways. It may help us be better mentally prepared and better prepared in general. More able to enjoy the calm periods. Prioritize. Appreciating the small things in life. Looking for ways to learn and grow through the emergencies. And have more empathy with others since we are all in the same boat here.

Find a way to do it, so you would want to do it forever


Find a way to do it that’s so comfortable that you’d want to do it forever.

When we do Breema bodywork or self-Breema exercises, this is one of the informal guidelines.

And what we discover in any laboratory – in this case Breema sessions – is meant to be used in life in general.

Most of us have our lives changed because of the pandemic. So instead of impatiently waiting for it to be over, why not find a way to make this new life comfortable and enjoyable? Why not find a way to do it so we would want to do it forever?

It’s an invitation. Can I find a way to do this so I am a little more comfortable? Can I find a way to make it a little more enjoyable?

It’s often a process of making small adjustments, discovering new things over time, and the question always applies. Circumstances change. I change. What I discover change. So it’s a question to keep alive.

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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My advice is for myself


My advice is for myself.

What I write on this website are reminders and explorations for myself. And if it resonates with someone else, that’s icing on the cake.

Even when someone asks me for advice, I am aware that my advice is the advice I would give myself in the situation I imagine they are in. If the advice resonates and is helpful for the other person, that’s a bonus and not a given. We are all different. We need different things.

If I think my advice – whether spoken or not – is for someone else, I create an impossible situation for myself. I expect or want the other to follow it. I get frustrated if she or he doesn’t. And they often won’t for whatever reason, including that my advice didn’t fit their situation. It wasn’t for them. It was for me imagining myself in their situation – as I imagined their situation was.

I also see that most of my advice for others is unspoken. Right now, my advice for the neighbor is to be more quiet and considerate. It’s not spoken and probably won’t be spoken. And if I think it’s for him, I frustrate myself. The advice is for me. I am the one who enjoys being considerate of others and not make much or any noise. I am the one who can benefit from my mind quieting down about the neighbor, and be less noisy in my thoughts about him.

If I want to share with him that I would enjoy and really appreciate more quiet, I need to tell him. I can’t expect him to know if I don’t share it with him. It doesn’t feel right or necessary in this situation, so what’s left is my advice to myself.

I cannot go too far in seeing that my advice is for myself. But I can be one-sided. I sometimes withhold pointers or information from others even if it could be helpful for them. And that’s also not the most kind. When I notice this, I typically ask if they would like to hear what I have found helpful in similar situations. If they say yes, I’ll share. If they say no, then I am grateful they are able to say an honest “no” and I know it’s not the right time or place. (I am grateful that some of my friends are good at saying “no”. It means they trust that it’s OK for me.)

I have written this as it came to me without planning it out in advance. That means it’s more wordy and less structured than it could be, but I’ll leave it as is.

What I exclude from oneness


I may generally notice and realize that all is the divine, and yet I sometimes exclude something from it.

That points to an unresolved issue in me, something in me that I can invite in healing and awakening for.

Not surprisingly, when it happens, it’s sometimes more visible to others than it is to myself. It sometimes takes someone to point it out to me before I take it seriously. (And I may, at first, feel a bit defensive when it’s pointed out to me. Although I secretly know it’s true and I am grateful.)

I exclude something from oneness in my view and in my behavior. I perceive or act as if something or someone is not part of oneness. As if it’s somehow excluded from the divine.

It’s very natural, it’s very ordinary, and it’s probably a part of any awakening process.

It reminds me to keep going with the awakening, healing, and embodiment. It’s a reminder to include more and more parts of me in the awakening and healing.

How does it look? Here are some examples:

I see someone inn the world my conditioning doesn’t like, reject and condemn them, and “forget” that this person is also an expression of the divine. (When I recognize the oneness also here, I can still condemn an behavior and take appropriate steps to prevent the person from harming others. But I don’t need to condemn or reject the person, and I don’t need to forget that this person too is the divine.)

I reject something in myself. I avoid feeling it. I may not (like to) acknowledge it’s here. I see it as a problem. I may ignore it or try to get rid of it. I ignore my knowing that this too is the divine, and (mostl likely) do so to avoid pain.

I made a bad decision at a crossroads in life. I even went against my clear inner guidance. And I tell myself I went against what life or the divine wanted me to do. I am caught in regret and self-blame. And I am unable to see that this too was and is the divine. That this too was, in a sense, divine will. I may also overlook that this experience can helps me to go deeper – in healing, humanizing, maturing, awakening, and embodiment.

When I remind myself that “this too is the divine”, notice it, and allow it to sink in, it’s the context that changes. And this shift allows me to relate to it differently. Often with less reactivity and with a little more sanity and kindness.

Recognizing these people, parts of me, and situations as the divine doesn’t rule out sane and decisive action. On the contrary, it helps me be more clear and grounded in how I relate to it and in my actions.

What I write are pointers for myself


We teach what we need to learn.

That’s very clear for me with these articles. The pointers I share here are for me.

If I finish and article without taking time to intentionally apply it for myself, it feels incomplete. And when I do, it completes it.

Of course, what I write does come from my own immediate experience. And I do go into it before writing to make sure it’s alive and I can discover more about the topic, or at least remind myself about it. And yet, it makes a difference when I take the main pointer from the article and intentionally apply it after the article is written.

In The Work of Byron Katie, this is what they call Living Turnarounds. I take the most juicy pointer from the inquiry and apply it in my life. That’s how the work comes alive in me and my life. That’s how my insights ground in real life. That’s how I get to see what’s left.

I sometimes tell myself that if just one person benefits from what I write here, it’s worth it. By applying my own pointers after writing a post, I make sure at least one person benefits from it – and that’s me. And if one other person benefits as well, that’s wonderful. That’s icing on the cake.

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So much is about the match.

The particular match between the person and the art, whatever the art is.

A painting. A movie. Music. Food.

With art, some is inherent in the piece. The skills it’s made with. How universally it tends to speak to people. And yet, what it really comes down to is the match. The match between the person, there and then, and the piece.

Since my teens, I have preferred the rare art critics who speak partly about the skills behind and the universality of a piece, and the type of person the piece may be a good match for. (Most critics tend to generalize from how well the piece matches them personally and try to make it sound universal.)

The match principle can be transfered to other areas of life, incluidng pointers for life or spiritual practice. Here too, the skills and insights its coming from, and how universally it applies to people, plays a role. But it really comes down to the match.

The good guide or teacher will offer pointers that match the person and where he or she is at, as much as possible.

Of course, there are exceptions and extreme cases. Some food may be immediately unhealthy for everyone. Some pointers, if taken literally, may be unhelpful to anyone.

Painting by Mark Rothko.

Past lives as metaphors


I have some images that could be taken as images of past lives, and also from a disembodied state before my current incarnation. More recently, two separate vortex healers have had images come up during sessions with me that had them wonder if it had to do with my past lives.

I am very aware that all of these are images, perhaps with some charge associated with them. That doesn’t mean they are actual memories. And it doesn’t really matter that much to me. What matters is what these images of possible past lives mean to me now. In what way do they resonate with me? What in me do they speak to or point to?

For instance, the two vortex healers both had a sense of a soldier energy in me, someone who has been in a war. One also had images of a medieval battle. All of that very much resonates with me. It fits the primal survival fear that I have experienced off and on for some years now. The survival fear that surfaced when I – stupidly? bravely? inevitably? – asked God or life to show me what’s left. (The primal dread and terror surfaced one or two weeks after that prayer, stayed at an intense and overwhelming level for about nine months, and then lessened a bit.) It doesn’t mean I have had past lives as a soldier, but those images fit perfectly my experience of this dread and fear. It’s what I imagine a soldier in and after war easily can experience.

Quantum physics and evolution as pointers


The scientific approach in general is a good guideline and pointer for our own “spiritual” explorations.

And within science itself, it seems that the study of the very small and the very large both are fertile ground for pointers and guidelines for exploration.

Science in general helps us recognize that we don’t know. We operate from our own world of images and this is just a map. It may be very helpful in a practical sense in everyday life but there is no “truth” in it. Examples from quantum physics, the study of the very small, helps bring this home.

Through this, we notice that we may assume that there is an objective world “out there”, and it is helpful to act in daily life as if it is so, but this too is just an image. As is the images of a me and I (doer, observer). As we notice these images as images, as content of experience, there is an invitation for identification to release out of these images. We can still use any and all of them in a practical and pragmatic way, to help us function and orient in the world, but they are recognized as images, helpful tools only, and not any absolute truth. And we can notice what happens when there is identification with the viewpoints of some of these images, including the images of a me and I, and what happens when there is a softening or release of this identification and we are more free to play with and make use of these images while recognizing them as images only.

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Religions and their commonalities and differences


We’re Not the Same…And That’s OK. Stephen Prothero says the leaders of the interfaith movement have a problem: call it the Kumbaya Effect. Instead of grappling with our religious differences, he says they gloss them over, creating a ‘pretend pluralism’ that does more harm then good. Stephen Prothero, author of God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World — and Why Their Differences Matter.

The current episode of Interfaith Voices is on why our differences matter. It is an interesting topic, so before I listen to it (if I do!), I thought I would explore it for myself first. I am usually not so interested in religion, so it is good for me to take a look at it.

When it comes to emphasizing commonalities and differences, it seems appropriate and helpful if we emphasize commonalities these days. With increasing connection among people of different religions, emphasizing commonalities helps diffuse tension and ease interactions. Within that context of emphasizing commonalities, there is also a great deal of benefit in acknowledging and looking at the differences among religions.

Ecosystems are more resilient and stable the more diverse they are. And although social systems are not identical to ecosystems, it does seem healthy for humanity to have a wide diversity of approaches to religion, spirituality, and God. Each provide their own unique perspectives, contexts, and insights. There is a richer set of approaches and tools for us to try out. They provide contrasts to each other. There is an incentive for each tradition to clarify and refine their own approach. And there is an opportunity to find apparent universals and commonalities within the diversity. And as in an ecosystem, we don’t know which “species” will show itself fit and thrive in the future.

We can even acknowledge the benefits of the varieties that are apparently not so healthy, such as the ones with weird ideas, views not aligned with science, and fundamentalism in general. They provide a mirror for us, a contrast, an incentive to find alternatives that are more kind, wise, and aligned with reality, and they provide an opportunity for exploring and implementing strategies in relating to them such as working to minimize damage, invite changes, and developing more attractive alternatives.

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This is it



A sentence from any source can be used as a koan, a question for own exploration.

It is most interesting when the statement appears mundane or counter intuitive, and even if it is a familiar reminder, it can be an invitation to look in a fresh way and perhaps a little further.

This is it.

This is all there is. All my images of the world and myself is my own world of images.

All I see “out there” – in present, past, and future, is here now. All goals, dreams, qualities, dynamics, whatever it is, is here now.

It is an image here now. The feelings and atmosphere it evokes are here now. The qualities and dynamics I see out there is here now.

Even the images of present, past, and future themselves happen in my own world of images.

I can notice and get familiar with this in the usual ways. I can inquire into my beliefs. I can explore my sense fields. I can recognize my images as images as they happen. I can notice my emotions as here now, and not belonging to anything out there in the past, future, or present. I can recognize my goals as stories here now. I can find the qualities and dynamics I see in others here now, in myself, including in how I relate to that person. I can ask myself if what I seek is not already here.

In this way, I get double benefit from my world of images. I can use my images, goals, and so on as guides for choices and actions in the world. And I can recognize it all already happening here now.

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Living in the present


The present moment is highly overrated. From an evolutionary perspective, the past and the future are where it’s at. Any aardvark, antelope, cat, or cockroach can effortlessly reside in the present moment. Only human beings can engage deeply with the past and consciously co-create the future. By doing so, by looking outward with aims of bettering our world, big or small, we also walk a path that leads to inner fulfillment.
– from by Evolutionary Spirituality: Coming Home to Reality by Michael Dowd

I agree completely. And yet, there is a common misunderstanding here.

The “present” doesn’t exclude past and future. It is just a reminder to notice thought as thought.

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Stable attention and pointers


A friend of mine with a great deal of experience with Buddhist practice, uses the word “concentration” practice for what I tend to think of as stable attention.

As usual with these things, it is an opportunity for inquiry, for trying it out.

What I know for myself, is that several of the usual tools work quite well for me with the stability practice.

I can bring attention to the sensations at the tip of the nostrils, or something the belly, or the whole-body experience of the in-breath and out-breath. (There is a quite noticeable change throughout the whole body from the ordinary in- and out-breath.)

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Cosmology as pointer


It is my second day at the intensive, and words from the main teacher reminded me of how cosmology can be a pointer.

Our actions in this life determines whether we will evolve into higher or lower beings following this life.

That is the familiar story of karma, and these types of more abstract teachings – apparently describing something out there somewhere – can be very helpful when taken as a pointer for something here and now, and less helpful when taken as a belief. (Although when it is taken as a belief, that is part of the process as well.)

When taken as true, it may at best encourage students to practice and to live in a more ethical way. But it is inevitably mixed with getting caught up in fears and hopes, and is just another log in the fire of taking stories as true. It is a scare tactic, and not quite honest since we cannot know. (Even if the most respected teacher or book tells us so, if we have vivid visions or memories, even if science indicates that it may be so, the truth is that we cannot really know.)

As any story, the story of karma is a question, an invitation to explore for ourselves, and to find what it points to here and now rather than take it as (only) “out there” in the wider world or the past or future.

Is it true that my current actions evolve me into a higher or lower being? How can I find it in my own experience?

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Boundary between I and other


Sometimes, it is said that awakening means the boundary between I and Other is recognized as imagined

That is true and a helpful pointer. It helps us see that boundaries are created in the mind. They are, quite literally, imagined. This is a good starting point. 

And it is just that, a starting point, because it leaves something out. It can be taken as saying that the boundary may be imagined, but the I and other is real. There is an I here and a wider world, but it is part of the same seamless whole. 

The truth is more radical than that. So the next pointer is to say – as many do – that there is no separate I, no other, no world, no boundaries. All of those are imagined. All of those happen within our own world of images. 

This is an invitation to notice not only boundaries as imagined, but any object is as well. They all happen as a mental field overlay on the sense field. They all happen within our own world of images. And this includes the wider world as well as any sense of doer and observer. They all happen as content of awareness. They all come and go, on their own schedule. They are all gestalts, made up of mental field overlays on each of the sense fields. 

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A few resources


As of August 2009: See this page for updates.

A few resources I have found helpful…


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A more practical approach


Here are two approaches to any teachings, and any pointers – and stories – in general.

One is to take them as right or wrong, and come from identification with stories and their views.

The other is to see them as tools only, and as any tool, apparently useful in some situations and used in a particular way, and less so in other situations and when used in other ways.

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Don’t look outside of yourself


Don’t look outside of yourself for answers, or for something to complete yourself.

It is common advice, and can be understood in a few different ways.

First, in a conventional sense, it is an invitation to find in myself what I am looking for outside of myself. I may be looking for advice, and remember to (also) ask myself and find it in myself. I may be looking for something to complete me, and remember to give it to myself and find it in myself. It is a way to learn to trust what is here, see that it is already here, and that something outside of myself – teachings, people, situations – can remind me of what is already here. The world is my mirror.

It is an invitation to not get caught up in blind projections, in blind attractions and aversions. I may get advice from others, and enjoy things I am attracted to in others, but also remember to find it right here now. I can see it. Feel it. Find appreciation for it.

Then, I can notice that it is already happening. It is already that way. I may be looking for answers outside of myself, I may be looking outside of myself for something to complete me, and it may be outside of myself in a conventional sense, but is it really outside of myself?

It is all happening within my own world of images. The wider world and me that I see all this in is my own world of images. There is no outside and inside here.

The qualities and dynamics these images refer to are also here now. The wider world is a reminder, a mirror, of what is already here now. There is an inside and outside, but they mirror each other instantly and perfectly in this way.

And it is all happening as what I am and everything is. As that which all experience happens within, as and as an expression of.

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I am not… and yet am


It is common to hear folks say you are not your thoughts or emotions, or anything within experience. (Well, at least common among people interested in those things.)

And this is a good illustration on how teachings are pointers only, or medicine aimed at a specific condition. In this case, it is aimed at the condition of (blindly) identifying with thoughts, emotions, or content of experience in general.

As with any other statement, it is a pointer and a question. As any other teaching, it is medicine aimed at a specific condition, helpful in some situations and not other, and without any inherent truth. And as any other story, there is a grain of truth in its reversals.

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You are That


I am that. You are that. All is that.

Or as in the Bible, I am that I am. (Taken as a story reflecting something here now.)

It is one of the most profound pointers, and –  depending on how it is received, as with any teaching – one of the most helpful ones as well.

And as with any statement, it is a question and an invitation to explore for ourselves.

What am I really? Am I what I take myself to be? When I look here now, what do I find that I take myself to be? Is it in content of awareness? Is it something that comes and goes? Is what I really am content of awareness? Can it be? Is it something that comes and goes? If I am not what I take myself to be – this collection of sensations, sounds, sights and images – what am I then?

First, these may be insights coming from contemplation, from within stories. Then, as we explore what is here in immediate awareness, we can have genuine glimpses of what we are not, and what we are. And after a while, after getting more and more familiar with it, the center of gravity of our identity may shift from content of awareness and into what it all happens within and as – either gradually and slowly, or suddenly, or both.

In addition to sparking curiosity and exploration, it can also spark a desire to know, it can help us form an intention for inviting what we are to wake up to itself. And that too can be immensely helpful.

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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Everything you know is wrong



Helpful insights and pointers can come from any source. Some of my favorites are church signs, book titles and lyrics.

The book above is prominently displayed at one of our local grocery stores, and it is a great question and pointer. Is it true that everything I know is wrong? How is it true for me? What do I find? 

When I use statements from any source as questions in this way, what I find is often quite different from what is intended by the source. That only adds to the rich yield of those pointers. 

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Don’t take it as true


Don’t take it as true. Try it out for yourself.

That is how the Buddhist teachings are presented, and it can be understood in a couple of different ways.

Don’t take it as true. Try it out for yourself. See if it is true. See if the stories are true.

Or… Don’t take it as true, because no story is true. Use it as only as a pointer for your own exporation.

Stories as questions


There is a beauty in taking stories as questions…

When I do so, it invites in a receptivity here that reminds me that any story can serve as a pointer and a guide, and that it happens within the context of don’t know.

It is a pointer for own exploration. What do I find when I explore for myself, with some sincerity?

It can have a temporary and practical value as a guide for action, in some situations. What happens when i take it as a guide for action in any particular situation? In what situation may this story be helpful as a guide? Is there another story that seems more helpful in this situation?

And I am also reminded that this happens within the context of don’t know.

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So general it can be applied to anything


Sometimes, someone will say it is so general it can be applied to anything. 

And I say to myself, great, that means I am onto something. 

In my experience, the most valuable pointers are exactly those that can be applied to anything. They are simple. And when applied to a specific situation, yield a great deal of insights. They are meaty. 

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Orientations helpful for practice


A few things I find helpful in doing any form of practice…

I set the motivation of doing it for the benefit of all beings. This invites in a shift of receptivity and an open heart, a more stable attention, a wider embrace (including an embrace of all of me), and of living from the effects of practice in daily life.

I clarify my responsibility. I am responsible for how I relate to whatever comes up and how to live from it, and that is it. Whatever else happens is life’s business.

(The good news is that if I have an expected outcome for the practice in mind, the effects are immediate. The practice feel stale, forced and uncomfortable. Feedback is a blessing.)

I remind myself that I really don’t know anything. I don’t know what will happen ahead of time. I don’t know what is really happening as it happens. I don’t even know why I am doing what I am doing. I may – and will – have stories about all of these, but have no clue about what is really going on. This invites in receptivity, interest and curiosity. It is always fresh. New. A mystery.