Incarnation trauma

 

From early childhood, I seem to have had a clear memory of life between lives. An profound sense of all as love and wisdom, an infinite sense of being home. 

And along with that, formless beings and communication without words. The other memory I seem to have is of when I knew I would incarnate again. It was shared with me by a group of a dozen or so beings, I was shown the life in broad strokes, and I was shown I would incarnate along with many others needed in this phase of humanity’s and Earth’s evolution. 

I was also asked if I would. Being a good boy (soul), I said “yes”. And yet, it wasn’t honest. I wanted to because I knew it was the divine movement and there wasn’t really a choice. But the rest of me deeply and profoundly didn’t want to. I had spent a long time in this place that was partly timeless although also touching on time. (My previous incarnation may have been in the second half of the 1800s.) 

Saying yes when so much of me wanted to say no seems to have been traumatic. It created a deep wound in me. It was dishonest. And it was pointless dishonesty since these beings knew everything about me anyway. 

When I replay it being honest, it is beautiful. I acknowledge the “no”. I say it out loud for myself and these beings to hear. (Although not with words.) I grieve. And I arrive more wholeheartedly at a yes that’s aligned with this divine movement. 

Going back in my timeline to find me needing healing at different times, this seems one of the more important ones. 

As usual, I am not taking this literally. (Although I am also open for it being an actual memory.) I take it as any dream or vision or apparent memory that can’t so easily be verified. I take it as giving form to something very real in me. In this case, a “no” to life and a trauma around being incarnate, around being a human being in this world. 

That’s what this points to. That’s what may need to be seen, felt, loved, resolved, and healed. That’s where the invitation is. 

Projecting sensations into space

 

I had a low-grade sense of sinking heaviness for a couple of days and decided to explore it in a Living Inquiry session yesterday. 

I started with resting with the sensation of slowly sinking heaviness filling my experience and going indefinitely far out in space in all directions.

Then, I rested with the sensations in my body that created this experience. It was a slightly vibrating sensation on my skin in the face, head, and upper body. After resting with this for a while, I brought attention to the image(s) of something sinking, and of something spread out infinitely out into space in all directions. 

As I have noticed before, when a feeling feels like its outside of the body, it’s created by a combination of bodily sensations and one or more images placing the sensations outside of the body. 

And as with any experience with a charge, it can only hold itself together and seem real as long as it’s uninvestigated. As soon as it is investigated, and we have taken time to rest with each of the components, the illusion falls apart.

In this case, the sensations are still here (although less) but they are recognized as sensations in particular places in the body, and the associated images are recognized as images. The magic trick cannot anymore be experienced as I initially experienced it.  

I also explored some of the associations with this slowly sinking all-encompassing heaviness, what triggered it a couple of days earlier, and some of the underlying issues (back to childhood). I won’t go into details here since I mainly wanted to share how sensations can be projected into space, and seem to fill our whole experience even if they are actually quite localized. 

Since I noticed some identification as someone sitting here (mostly with the head area), I took some time to rest with the sensations making up this experience, and also the images making it up. That allowed this identification to similarly fall apart as a convincing magic trick. 

Sending back projections?

 

A friend of mine talked about sending back projections. Other people put their projections on us, so we can notice and send them back (visualizing?).

First, what happens when we take on other people’s projections on us? We make it into a belief about ourselves. So although it may make sense to try to “send it back” we can’t really. We can’t send back a belief we have about ourselves because we made it ourselves. And we cannot will it away.

To me, it makes more sense to work with these beliefs about myself the same way I would work with any thoughts with a charge.

First, what’s an example of this projection-made-into-belief dynamic? Someone may have low self-esteem. They identify with beliefs and identities telling them they are not good enough and so on. So they project that onto us to feel better about themselves. And we may take on that projection through making it into a belief about ourselves. There is nothing inherently wrong or bad about this. It’s natural and understandable. Although as with any belief, these beliefs about ourselves may be stressful and limit how we live our lives.

And how would I work with it? One way is to examine these beliefs more thoroughly, for instance through The Work or the Living Inquiries.

Using The Work, I may examine thoughts such as: He is a jerk. He tries to put me down. He is insecure. I am not good enough. I am less than others. They will see me as not good enough. They won’t like me. They won’t accept me. They won’t love me. All of these, and whatever other thoughts I have, are gateways to really get to see the dynamics of the mind around this issue for me and find what’s more true for me. The thoughts become a valuable gift rather than a threat.

Using Living Inquiries, I may ask myself what the triggering situation says about me. For instance, I am not good enough. I am unlovable. I am less than others. I can explore how my mind creates these identities by combining thoughts and sensations. I can find the earliest memory I have of feeling that way and look at the thoughts and sensations creating that memory and anything associated with it. And in this way, the charge goes out of the identities and painful beliefs.

And although neither of these approaches explicitly talks about projections, that’s exactly what’s going on. Through either of these approaches, we identify, explore, and own projections, and the charge goes out of them. They are not only rendered harmless, they become a valuable asset and genuine gift.

Mild synchronicity: When I wrote this, I happened to listen to Michal Jackson’s Man in the Mirror.

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Healing, maturing, and awakening – and how we see others and ourselves

 

As we mature and heal as human beings, we tend to more and more experience the sameness of all of us while also discerning differences. And the same tends to happen as we continue to clarify and mature in recognizing all as the divine.

We all have blind projections, and the more is unhealed and unawake in us, the more blind projections we tend to have and the stronger they may be. We see something – qualities, characteristics, dynamics – out there in others and the world and not in ourselves, and the other way around. These projections inevitably have a charge, and that charge often comes in the form of emotions and value judgments that feel solid, true, and perhaps even final.

At a human level, as we recognize in ourselves what we see in others and the world and “own” it, the charge tends to lessen or go out completely. We see something in others, know it from ourselves, and although it’s useful and valuable information, it comes with less or no charge, and any value judgments (from habit) tend to not feel very solid or inherently true or absolute.

And the same happens as we deepen in our experience of all as Spirit. Here too, there is discernment and differentiation as it helps us function and orient as human beings in the world. But any value judgments tend to seem less true and solid. We recognize them as coming from our human conditioning. And they tend to weaken and perhaps fall away over time, as we mature as humans and as Spirit recognizing itself as all there is.

Note: When I talk about value judgments, I mean any sense of something or someone being inherently better or worse – in a solid, final, and absolute sense – than something or someone else. These judgments may still come up for us, but as we integrate and become more familiar with our projections, and as we deepen in recognizing all as Spirit, they now seem less solid, less about any final or absolute truth, and more as just human conditioning. It adds to the richness of our human experience while less and less holding any inherent truth for us.

I should also mention that experiencing the sameness of all of us goes for all of us as humans, and all of us as beings – whatever type of beings that may be. There is a deep sense of the fellowship of all life, and beyond that, of all of Existence. And this only deepens as we heal and mature as human beings, and deepen in recognizing all as Spirit.

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Are hell, heaven and purgatory real?

 

Another revisited topic:

Are hell, heaven, and purgatory real?

Yes, we can definitely say they are…. if we see them as reflecting states and process of the mind.

Hell reflects a hellish state of mind. The mind experiences something and tells itself it’s hell. It may be caught in beliefs about a situation, state, or emotion. And it gets caught in blind reactivity to it which is experienced as hellish and may look like getting caught in anger, despair, grief, vengefulness, justification, self-pity, and much more.

Heaven can reflect two different things. One is similar to hell. The mind experiences a pleasant state and tells itself it’s good, it’s so good it’s heaven. It’s heavenly. Another is when the mind is able to notice and allow what’s here, whatever it is. It’s a certain equanimity or contentment, independent of the particular content of experience.

Purgatory is any time an unloved or unquestioned part of ourselves is met in a way that allows for healing. It can happen through noticing and allowing it as is. Or, for instance, inquiring into it. It may be uncomfortable. It can feel like torment. It can feel overwhelming. And yet, because of how it’s met – with some noticing, allowing, respect, and patience – it’s ultimately healing. It’s purifying and can bring us to heaven.

So if someone asks me if I believe in heaven, hell, or purgatory, I’ll say yes. But it’s a heaven, hell, and purgatory that’s right here and we can explore for ourselves right now. We don’t need to wait until we die.

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Awakening, and then projections of this awakening

 

Again a revisited topic:

When awakening happens here, it tends to be projected out.

We see it everywhere. The whole universe seems awake. We see it in other beings, and that it just needs to be more consciously noticed there for a more full awakening to take place.

Projections typically happen in two ways. One is when we legitimately recognize what’s here also out there. In ordinary human interactions, it’s called empathy or understanding. I sometimes get angry, so I recognize when others get angry. The other is when I put my own things on others. I am angry at someone, so I imagine the look she gave me means she is angry at me even if that may not be the case at all.

Which one is it in the case of awakening? It could be either one, although there are hints here and there suggesting the first one – at least in its basic version where the universe is perceived as awakeness and consciousness. Some of these hints are: Synchronicities (in my life, they happen in clusters, in some periods they happen at a ridiculous rate and other times less so). Download of information after an awakening. Seeing auras (which can be checked and confirmed or not with others who also see them, as I did after the awakening). Sensing at a distance (can also be checked with others and reality).

So, yes, we perceive the universe as awakeness and consciousness, and awake to itself. That’s because this awakeness is recognized here. And some clues suggest it may be an accurate perception.

Another version of this, which seems more typical for our modern interconnected age, is a perception that larger parts of humanity are about to wake up or is waking up. This too is a projection, but is it also accurate? I am not so sure about that. It’s easy to get that impression through internet where we can find a good deal of people where awakening is or have taken place. The same is the case if we live on, for instance, the US west coast where the culture (a large subculture) tends to support awakening. Also, more people may be waking up because information and support for inviting in awakening are more readily available. But that doesn’t mean it’s actually taken place.

Note: When we say that existence or the universe is awakeness or consciousness, or even that it’s awake to itself, that doesn’t mean this is consciously recognized in all beings. In most beings, it’s not consciously recognized. And that’s part of lila, the play of the divine. We could say that Spirit has gone to great lenghts to make it so small parts of itself is in the darkness in this sense.

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Projections helps us find in ourselves what’s projected

 

Again, a topic I am revisiting from a long time ago (my teens).

Does projections have a function? Yes, they help us make assumptions about others and navigate in the world. And they help us, eventually and if we are open to it, to find in ourselves what we see in others.

We cannot see something in others if it’s not first in ourselves, at least at a very low level. So we have a quality or characteristic in ourselves. We use our familiarity with it – even if that familiarity is not acknowledged – to see it in others. That helps us make assumptions about others and navigate in the world. (This is imperfect but works sufficiently well in general.) And if we are open to it, we can use that to find it in ourselves.

So we have something in ourselves and are familiar with it here. We then see it in someone else or anything “out there” in the world. We use that to navigate and function in the world. And we can then use that projection to refind it in ourselves.

For instance, I have a bully dynamic in myself (as we all do) I am mostly unaware of or don’t acknowledge. I think Trump acts like a bully. I see the bully in him. And if I am open to it, I can use that to find how I act as a bully – perhaps in how I see him and in other situations in life. For instance:

In my mind, I call him names. (Idiot. Bully. Imbecile. Infantile. Egomaniac.) That’s a form of bullying.

I do that with others as well. If I go into reactivity, I sometimes put people down, make them into cardboard cutouts, and call them names in my mind. I bully them in my mind. (At least until I catch on and get on another track.)

I sometimes cut off people close to me if I don’t want to listen or engage in conversation or dialog about something. Instead, I could say “can we talk about this later” and mean it.

So projections have very important functions. And they make life more interesting.

Note: Our minds project whether it’s conscious or unconscious. Sometimes, what we project is something we are well aware of in ourselves. And sometimes not. And the former is usually more comfortable and allows us to function better in the world.

Making projections conscious and “owning” what’s projected in ourselves helps us heal and mature as human beings, and it also helps with embodiment of whatever awakening is here.

I should also mention that what’s projected is universal. It’s not really a question of whether something is here in us or not, but how and when it’s surfacing and expressed – even if at a very low level.

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No smoke without fire?

 

No smoke without fire.

This saying is an example of projection.

We hear a rumor about someone. We imagine it. This imagination combines with sensations giving it a charge so we feel it may be true. And we say no smoke without fire.

The saying is obviously not true in reality. There is often smoke without fire. False rumors with no basis in reality. (Apart from the universal that we are all capable of just about anything, and that we can always find examples of something in us if we look closely enough.)

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Dream factory

 

I saw the Hollywood Costume exhibit in LA a couple of years ago.

It was fun. And it also made the dream factory aspect of Hollywood very obvious. They are explicitly and openly in the business of (a) producing compelling dreams that (b) people will invest with emotional energy so it (c) seems real, substantial, charged, fascinating, and attractive to them, and they (d) seek it out and are willing to pay money for the experience.

It’s a manipulative business. But since it’s so explicit it’s also honest. We know what’s going on, and we – to a large part – chose to which degree we wish to participate. (The other side of this is that we get to vicariously experience a great deal we otherwise wouldn’t, which enriches our lives and – in the best case – help us learn and grow.)

Since the dream factory function of Hollywood is so obvious and excaggerated, it’s easy to see and explore there. And that can help us see similar dynamics in other areas of human life.

The dream factory side of the entertainment industry in general is pretty clear. But it’s also there in most or all businesses. Most or all organizations. And also in all religions.

All are in the business of creating dreams that people invest with emotional energy, draw themselves into, and are willing to invest time, energy, and sometimes money to experience more of.

There is nothing inherently wrong in this. But it’s good to be aware of.

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Why wolves?

 

There is an ongoing debate in norway about whether we should have wolves or not, and how many. The fault lines – as so often these days – seem to go between the urban and/or more educated, and the rural and/or less educated.

Here are some of the arguments against wolves, and my comments.

They take livestock. They do, but they take far fewer than trains, traffic, and disease. And the farmers receive compensation from the state if any are taken.

They are a risk to humans. No, they are virtually no risk to humans. The real risks are what we all know about, including traffic, suicide, poor lifestyle and food choices, and much more.

They are evil and scary. Yes, we may culturally have learned to see them as evil and project our shadow onto them, and they may trigger fear in us. That’s no reason to get rid of them. (I suspect this is what’s really going on since the apparently rational arguments are not very strong.)

And here are some arguments for having wolves.

For the benefit of the wolves. They have as much right to be here as we do. They are sentient beings just as us and wish to live.

For the ecosystems. Our ecosystems evolved with large predators, and healthy and thriving ecosystems depend on large predators.

For our benefit. Just as ecosystems, we need the wild. We evolved with and in the wild, and with high level predators. We need it for our own health and well being. We need it as a reminder of who we are, in an evolutionary context. We need it to feel alive.

Why are people really against wolves? I suspect primal fear of wolves is one aspect. Specifically, fear of losing animals to wolves may trigger a more primal fear than losing them to illness or trains. Another may be instinctual competition. Humans and wolves are both large predators, and it’s natural to try to eliminate the competition.

In my view, the arguments against don’t hold up well. And the arguments for are far more important – for them, for us, for nature as a whole.

As usual, I can add that this view is very predictable for someone with my background. I grew up in a well educated urban family. I love nature. I want to consider the rights and needs of other beings, including nonhuman species. I am liberal in terms of politics. If I had grown up as a sheep farmer in an area with wolves, my views may well have been different. And that doesn’t mean I won’t speak up for wolves. They need someone to speak for them.

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Current situation colored by what it triggers

 

Today, the primal survival fear is alive in me again. It’s quite familiar now, as it’s been visiting off and on since the darkest phase of the dark night of the soul set in. (I am calling it “the dark night of the soul” just as a shorthand, knowing that it’s a label with a lot of assumptions that have some but limited validity.)

It feels primal and ancient. Some of it may be passed on through family dynamics. Some from epigenetics. Some perhaps from past lives. Who knows. What I know is that it seems primal, ancient, and universal – something that’s a shared experience for perhaps all mammals and even other groups of animals.

I also see how it does what triggered traumas often do. It colors my experience of my current situation. It makes certain things seem really scary, while the reality is that they don’t quite warrant that level of fear. The more I can notice what’s happening, rest with the physical sensations of the primal fear, and notice the associated images and words, the more I am able to notice that coloring, and the more I notice the scary stories my mind creates based on the coloring. It helps me differentiate and relate to it all – the primal fear, the coloring, my current life situation – more consciously.

What’s up for us coloring our experience of anything

 

What’s up for us tends to color our experience of anything.

It tends to color our experience of whatever we bring attention to, and the stronger the mind is identified with what’s up, the stronger the coloring. This goes for anything triggered in us, whether it’s a deficiency story, an inflated story, an emotion, or anything else with a charge.

This dynamic also happens within inquiry sessions.

For instance……

Hopelessness is triggered. And we can become hopeless about inquiry, about anything helping, about the session itself.

Anger is triggered. And we become angry at the facilitator, the session, inquiry, life itself, and the mind has good reasons for each of these.

Sadness is triggered. And we are sad about how the session is going, maybe that it’s not helping as we thought it would, that we are a hopeless case.

Superiority is triggered. (Reaction to own fear.) We feel that the facilitator is dumb or naive and we know better. We feel we could do a better job than the facilitator. We feel we are wasting our time here.

Inferiority is triggered. We feel we are unable to do the inquiry very well. We are ashamed and may try to hide it from the facilitator.

Fear is triggered. We become afraid of where the facilitator will lead us next. We become afraid of looking at what’s here or feeling the sensations. We may want to flee from the session in any way possible. (Including falling asleep, go to the bathroom, start talking about instead of looking at what’s here.)

Frustration comes up. (Filtered anger.) We become frustrated with the facilitator, the way the session is going, with inquiry, and with anything else. And the mind comes up with good reasons for all of this.

The mind will direct whatever is up at whatever is here in the situation. It will try to make sense of the emotion or feeling by pinning it on something in the situation. And in reality, it’s something old.

There may be some truth to whatever stories the mind comes up with. There usually is, and as the facilitator, it’s good to acknowledge this and take it seriously.

At the same time, it’s helpful to notice this dynamic. It can help us take a step back, recognize what’s happening, and look at it in the inquiry session.

Freud recognized this dynamic, as must have many before him, and he called it transference. I like to just call it coloring.

It’s not anything terribly mysterious. We all do it.

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You need to look at that

 

And this is definitely not something to use against others to deflect from our own behavior and for us to avoid feeling and seeing things in ourselves. Some folks will say “you got triggered, you need to look at that”. There is a grain of truth in it, of course, but it’s also cheap and very often used by the person to avoid taking responsibility for something they themselves did or said.

From the previous post. If I think you need to look at something, I need to look at something.

In some situations, it can be helpful to point it out, but only if both people are invested in exploring these things, and only if the person takes responsibility for their side of the equation and look at their own behavior and words, and what they may try to avoid feeling or looking at in themselves. My general rule is to avoid saying these things altogether, because it can easily get messy. People get hurt and feel that they are treated in a patronizing way, and there is some truth to that.

What comes up colors everything

 

When something is triggered in us, it can color everything. I know that from my own experience and from working with clients.

An old trauma may surface, old hurt, anger, fear, sadness, hopelessness, inflation. Something that wasn’t fully felt when it surfaced initially. Not fully loved. Something that remained unfelt, unloved, and unexamined.

So it comes up now, and it can color everything. And our minds tries to make sense of it by explaining how something in our current situation triggered – or even created – this feeling or experience.

This may also come up in a session, and it may be directed at the facilitator or the situation.

Anger may surface, and be directed at anything and anyone in the present situation including the facilitator. Sadness may come up, and our mind makes up a story about how our life now creates this sadness. Hopelessness may color the experience of the session, and the client may feel hopeless about the process or the prospect of ever healing.

This is called transference in mainstream psychology. As usual, I don’t like that word so much. It’s too limited and sounds unnecessarily clinical.

Then there is counter-transference, where something is triggered in the facilitator (or therapist) and color his or her experience of the session and/or the client.

It’s universally human. And it’s good to be aware of. It may happen, and if we notice what’s happening there is a little more distance to it, and more room to relate to it more consciously.

This is something it’s very helpful to educate clients on, as well as facilitator trainees.

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We are what we fear

 

In the classic cave scene from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, Luke Skywalker meets his nemesis and representative of the dark side, Darth Vader. After a brief sword fight, Luke decapitates Darth Vader, and sees his own face inside of Darth’s helmet.

Luke is what he fears the most. He is the dark side.

That’s how it is for all of us. We are what we fear. And that’s true in a few different ways.

It’s happening within and as what I am. It’s all happening within my world. It’s happening within and as (my) awareness. When it’s here, in awareness, it’s what I am.

The world is my mirror. Whatever I see “out there” in the wider world or someone else, is what I know from myself. Whatever stories I have about the world and other people, I can turn them around to myself, and find specific examples of how it’s true. (It may not look the same, or be expressed the same way, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find the same here as I have stories about in others.)

It pushes back. When I try to push something away in myself, and in the world, it tends to push back. It wants in. It wants to be acknowledged. Life is kinder than allowing me to reject something for good.

And why? Because life invites me to see what’s more real and true than my initial beliefs about it.

Life invites me to…. Recognize it as happening within and as what I am. Find in myself, as a human being, what I see in others and the wider world. Realize we are all in the same boat.

Life invites me to…. Meet it – the fear and what I fear – with respect, kindness, curiosity. Take a closer look and examine by beliefs about it, and how my perception of it is created by my own mind.

Life invites me to see that what I fear is not how it initially appears. (That doesn’t mean we become passive bystanders to injustice or cruelty, or approve of it. On the contrary. We are in a much better position to do something the more clear and mature we are in our relationship to it.)

How does it push back? We may find ourselves in situations where we encounter it again. We may replay a situation in our minds. We may have certain qualities or emotions surface in ourselves.

For instance, if I see anger as bad and try to push it away, I’ll still find myself in situations where people are angry, perhaps even at me. I’ll still replay memories of people being angry, or imagine someone being angry with me in the future. I’ll still experience anger, even if it’s pushed down and perhaps comes out as frustration or restlessness, or even feeling flat. It doesn’t go away.

P.S. I am aware that the usual interpretation(s) of the cave scene is slightly different. I imagine the more standard interpretation is that Luke has the potential to go over to the dark side, just as his father did. He has the anger. The impulsiveness. The restlessness. He is his father’s son, in that way. The cave experience is a warning, and also an invitation for him to recognize this in himself and take it seriously.

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In the same boat

 

Whether I work with clients or teach a group, or am a client or student, there is often a sense that we are all in the same boat.

The roles, there and then, are different. One is a facilitator, the other a client. One is an instructor, the others students. After the session or the class, the roles change. They even change during the session or class, sometimes.

Behind the shifting roles, we are all human beings. We are all exploring universal dynamics. What I see in you is what I know from myself.

When I work with someone, as a facilitator or client, it’s often with a sense of a shared exploration of universal dynamics.

Of course, it may be that the person in the facilitator or instructor role has more experience or skill in a certain area. But even that may not be the case.

This makes it much easier. We are in the same boat. I don’t need to pretend.

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Fox News

 

I happened to watch a few minutes of Fox News the other day.

I have known about them for a while, of course. Including that Fox News viewers tend to know less about the world, and have more inaccurate factual information, than those who take in any other news source.

I was still struck by how toxic it seemed. Divisive. Angry. Humorless.

I know there is a grain of truth to their views, as there is to any view. And that the groups I tend to identify with – progressives, liberals, greens, integralists – don’t have all the answers.

And yet, I am amazed that anyone would want to take this in. It seems that it would make for a quite unhappy mindset. But perhaps many who watch it already see the world this way, so it feels familiar and comforting – in an odd way.

It’s perfectly possible to hold conservative views and still be sane, rational, and even reasonable. (Although in the US, that tends to be the type of conservatives that are less vocal and less visible these days.) I have to remind myself of that after this glimpse into the world of Fox News.

I don’t mind people with conservative views. I know there are very good evolutionary reasons why some are more liberal, and some more conservative. We need both groups to survive as a species.

And I also tend to prefer a more sane approach to politics, no matter the political orientation.

It did seem quite insane to me. Or rather, I felt a bit insane while watching it, so I projected that onto Fox News.

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Whose stuff?

 

Whose stuff is it?

When something appears in my awareness, perhaps something that feels uncomfortable, where does it come from? Is it all mine? Mine or yours? Humanity’s? Does it matter?

For me, it’s a yes to the three first and mostly no on the last.

It’s all mine. (a) It’s all happening in my world. It’s all happening within my awareness. It’s all happening as what I am here and now.

(b) It’s all reflecting what’s here in me. If I recognize it “out there” it’s because I know it from myself. It’s reminding me of what’s here in me, in my human self.

So it’s all mine as (a) what I am, that which all happens within and as for me, and (b) who I am, this human self.

It’s mine or yours. Some of it seems more clearly mine. It’s familiar to me. It’s from my own background, my own history. It’s familiar hangups, wounds, traumas. Some of it may seem more like yours. It’s familiar to you.

This is how we conventionally differentiate between mine and yours, and it can be quite helpful in some situations. It can, for instance, be used to prioritize.

And it’s all differentiated by my thoughts, somewhat arbitrarily, and based on my own assumptions. (And perhaps even fearful or wishful thinking, in an attempt to uphold a fearful or wishful identity for myself.)

It’s all of humanity’s. The more I am familiar with the dynamics in me, and also in others, I see it’s all quite universal. It belongs to humanity. It’s shared, and also personal since it appears here in me.

Does it matter? Not really, most of the time. If it’s here, I can take care of it. Can I find love for it? What do I find when I examine the beliefs responding to what’s here? Or even creating it? What do I find when I try to find the threat, or the deficient self, or the compulsion?

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Depictions of Native Americans

 

This is a topic that came up in conversation yesterday.

Many or most “white” depictions of Native Americans will be seen as offensive by some or many actual Native Americans. 

The depiction may cast them as primitive savages or villains, especially in the books and movies up until the 70s(?). As noble savages or heroes. As damaged alcoholics. Or as wise people in tune with nature, as in the modern new age mythology. 

In most cases, the depiction will be of an imagined Native American which may not ever have existed in that way. It’s a generalization, a cardboard cutout, often based on myths and fears and/or wishful thinking. And this generalization is across time, groups, or individuals. 

That’s almost a given since few westerners have actual and in-depth personal familiarity with their lives and culture, either in the past or now, and there is also a great deal of cultural and individual variation among Native Americans, as there is within any reasonably large and diverse groups of people. 

And due to the Native American history with Europeans, they are understandably sensitive to how they are treated and depicted. If they were and had been the “top dog” in the relationship, they would probably see it as mildly amusing, but as it is, it’s understandable if some or many of them are more sensitive to this. 

(When I see how Norwegians, or vikings, are depicted in popular culture outside of Norway, I see the misconceptions and often find it amusing. And that’s because it’s not a sensitive topic for me. Norwegians do well, and there is no history there for me that would make it a sensitive topic.) 

It’s understandable if this is quite emotional for some, and come out in the form of anger. 

It may hurt even more since what’s happening *can* be seen as a continued colonization. White people use the imagined Native American as subject of books, movies, music and visual art, and make it into entertainment, and also make money on it. That may be experienced, by some, as rubbing salt in the wound. 

There is another aspect to this. For many of European heritage, and especially those who idolize or feel connected to the (imagined?) Native American, it’s well intentioned. They see something there that’s attractive and they would like to bring more alive in their own life. It could be a simple life, connected to and in tune with nature, and with close connections to your tribe. All of that is lacking for many in the modern world, so no wonder that many wish for it, and the traditional Native American is a good projection object for this type of life. 

It may not be entirely accurate. It may sometimes be experienced as offensive. And yet, it’s often well intentioned, and comes from caring about a certain way of life. 

In other cases, the projection will be more of a shadow projection, as in the old west books and movies where Native Americans are the primitive savages. I assume that’s happening even now, through stereotypes of contemporary Native Americans on reservations as lazy, or alcoholics, or running ethically dubious operations such as casinos.

One may even shift into the other, for some. Some who idealize the wise and nature-connected Native American may be disappointed by the reality today, and even get caught in shadow projections. And the reverse may be possible too.

I imagine there are a few ways for Native Americans to relate to this. In a reactive way, publicly rejecting it and seeing these people as having malicious intent. Rejecting it from seeing it as misguided and not “getting it”. Ignoring it, as much as possible, and perhaps only talking about it in private. Actively educating people about the reality, as you see and experience it. Recognizing it as projections. And I am sure there are other ways too.

I am very aware that what I have written here can also be seen as offensive. For instance, I could have used the term First Nations instead of Native Americans. I make many assumptions here, which may not be accurate. I am getting into a topic that’s not really my business. (Apart from being aware of my own imaginations and projections, and how it may be perceived.) And I am exploring this without having checked with people of Native American heritage. (Their responses would probably make me change how I write about this, and would probably also be quite varied.)

It’s all here

 

Some spiritual teachers and teachings makes it sound either/or, or black and white.

The other side of it, is that it’s all here.

Whatever I see out there, in others or the past or future, is already here. What any concept refers to is already here. It may appear small, and take some looking, but it’s here. At least, that’s been my experience so far.

Both ends of any polarity is here. It happens within and as life, awareness, what I am.

Either of these ways of talking about it – as either/or or all here – are teaching strategies. Both have truth in them. Either one can be helpful for some people in some situations. Neither is, or even points to, any absolute or final truth.

And for me, the it’s all here pointers resonate the most, and is more interesting and juicy as an exploration. At least so far.

Putting fear and hope out there

 

It’s sometimes easy to put fears “out there” in others, or the future. And also to do the same with hope.

And we do it in many different ways, including these:

It’s difficult now, but it will lead to something good, because…..

A woman will save me. A good job will save me. More money will save me. God will save me.

Technology will save us. Sustainability will save us. God will save us.

One I know from myself……

I am in a dark night of the soul, a kundalini process, an awakening process. It’s difficult now, but will lead to something good sometimes in the future.

And another from people into new age thinking:

Humanity is in an awakening process. It’s difficult now, but it will lead to a bright future.

Human evolution will bring us into a golden age, one of peace and prosperity.

When I notice I do this, I can ask myself: What is it I don’t want to feel right now? What would I have to feel if I didn’t go into these stories? And then feel it, rest with the sensations.

Also, I can see if I can find this future anywhere in immediate experience. Can I find it outside of these images, words, and sensations?

I can ask myself: Is it true? Can I know for certain it’s true?

I can examine what happens when I believe those thoughts. How do I live my life? What is it I avoid feeling or doing?

I can turn the statements around, and find specific examples of how that may be as or more true. For instance, what are some of the specific and realistic options for what may happen to humanity, ranging from what I hope for and fear the most? Can I really know? And does it really matter if I cannot know?

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Conspiracies

 

I sometimes run into people who have strong feelings about certain possible conspiracies.

A couple of things strike me about this:

If there is a charge around it for the person, it’s a sign of projections. (AKA velcro, identifications.) That’s fine, but good to notice. And I can use it as a mirror for myself in two ways: (a) How am I doing the same, perhaps even in my view of them? (b) What does it say about me? What does it say about me that I sometimes have to endure such people?

The conspiracies many are focused on often seem (a) questionable and unsubstantiated, and (b) minor. Why not instead focus on the conspiracies that are (a) undeniable, and (b) major? Why not focus on the influence multi-national corporations have on international and national policies? Why not focus on wars started, for a large part, to benefit corporations? (Such as the Iraq war.) Why not focus on the influence of money on politics? Why not focus on the fact that we all participate in destroying our own life support system? Why not focus on how our current ways of organizing society is harming future generations?

I realize that there are answers to these questions. Some just want an outlet for their frustration, and quirky conspiracy theories does that. In some cases, there may be a grain of truth -or more – in their views. Many don’t resonate with a bigger picture view – one that includes the Earth as a whole and a timeline that span generations. Essentially, going into conspiracy theories – with a charge behind it, comes from attempting to not feel what’s here.

Reincarnation

 

I don’t have much interest in reincarnation in a conventional sense. I see it as (a) so far unfounded in science, (b) a good projection object, and (c) equally well explained otherwise.

Going a bit further, here are some ways of looking at it:

There is the conventional view, where an entity of sorts (AKA soul) passes from one life to another. This is certainly (in theory) possible. And although this soul is “me” as this human self is it, neither is what I am (that which all happens within and as, including human self and a possible soul).

The information a real past life may be picked up in another way. For instance, some suggest elements from past lives are reorganized into current lives but not in a “one to one” fashion (Jac O’Keefe). Other suggest that souls mentor babies and pass on memories of their past lives that way (Lorna Byrne). It’s also possible that the information about real past lives are passed on in another way, either in a way well known or less known or understood by us today.

Whatever else is going on, there is an element of projection here. We imagine something in the past or future, and also imagine time and space that this takes place within, and take it as real or not. And all of those images are happening here and now. (We can also say that a form of “reincarnation” is happening over small time spans. Patterns are “reborn” anew here and now. And this too requires ideas of time and space etc.)

It’s a good topic for research and scientific studies. No matter what we find, it will help us learn more about the world. (Either what happens – if anything – after death, and also about culture and how we relate to our fears and hopes.)

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Inquiry: A relationship will save me, complete me

 

Even during the initial opening, it was clear that any hope and fear is a projection. Anything that appears “out there” and not also “in here” is a projection. Any idea of a being, existence, separation, is a projection.

Any idea that anything can save me, or that there is anyone who needs to or can be saved, is a projection. Any idea of lack of completeness, someone or something that can complete me, is a projection.

It’s all created by images and words, apparently stuck onto sensations, and made to appear solid and real that way.

I have seen this for a while now.

I also notice that any idea that I can find fulfillment or completion in a nice house, car, education, work, travel and so on are seen and felt to not be true. At least to a large extent.

What’s left right now is the idea that a relationship can or will save me, make me complete, and make me come alive.

There is a partial truth to this. A relationship, and perhaps especially a new one, can trigger all of these experiences. Still, it doesn’t last. And it’s like taking a pill, it’s dependency on something to make it happen. (Neither is wrong or bad at all, it’s just an inherent limitation.)

The invitation is to examine these identifications and beliefs. And often it’s the pain of relationship loss that brings us to it in a more whole hearted and sincere way.

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Things to keep an eye out for in the awakening

 

Early on in an awakening, and even much later, there may be several things that are a bit “off”, and that’s part of the process too. It seems that most or all (?) of it is from (a) holding certain ideas as true, and (b) projections. Here are some of these:

I am here to save people, the world. They need me to save them. They need to be saved. (Don’t recognize that no-one really needs to be “saved”, and that a simpler way is to make myself available to support when asked.)

I need to share my insights. I need to tell others about it. I need them to “get it” too. (An attempt to hold onto and solidify any insights and seeing that’s here. Fear of losing it.)

I am awake, they are not. (Don’t recognize it’s all already awakeness, and that awake is an idea.)

Humanity is on the verge of mass awakening. (Projection of what’s here. A projection of the awakening here onto “the world out there”.)

I am special, chosen. They are not. (Don’t recognize how we are all chosen, in a sense.)

Other people bore me. They are caught in delusion. I don’t find them interesting. (Projection of delusion on others.)

There is only emptiness. Only awareness. (Holding ideas of emptiness, awareness etc. as solid and true. “Stuck in the absolute”.)

Life will take care of me. I don’t need to take care of my own life the way society tells me to. (Don’t recognize that we are still invited to be a good steward for our own life.)

This is “it”. I have arrived. This is a full awakening. There is nothing more. (The mind is trying to find a sense of security and safety in these stories of “permanence” and having “arrived”. Don’t recognize that (a) we don’t know, and (b) the unfolding – of reality revealing itself to itself – seems to be ongoing.)

It’s possible, and even quite common, for there to be a mix of awakening (reality awake to itself, to some extent) and beliefs, wounds and deficiency stories. These wounds, beliefs and deficiency stories seek the light, they seek to be loved, felt, and seen through. Note: I listened to an online satsang, and saw a few of these from both the main person and the people calling in. It’s all happening within my own world of images. It’s all reflecting me as a human being. It’s all for me to look at here, and in my own life. (more…)

My tradition is the best

 

Why do some think that their tradition or practice is the best?

I can think of a few different reasons:

It’s the typical in-group / out-group dynamic.

This creates a sense of cohesion within the group. We are better than them. We know how things are. We are the chosen ones.

It also makes people feel better about themselves. I am with the right group. I’ll be saved.

It may come from ignorance. People may be misinformed about other traditions, or may not know much about them.

They may have a good point. Each tradition has its strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths may well be stronger than in some other traditions.

It also seems that this attitude may be increasingly more difficult to maintain, for a few different reasons.

We are better informed about other traditions and practices.

We encounter more frequently people from other traditions and practices, and see that they are as smart as us.

It simply looks pretty stupid to think that your tradition is the best (!). Especially considering that most people know that such an assumption is typically (a) used to keep people in the tradition, and (b) is often based in fear and insecurity, and is an attempt to feel better about ourselves.

I have always been eclectic in my approach, and see the value in all the main spiritual traditions and a wide range of practices. They are all medicine for people with different backgrounds, from different cultures, and at different phases in their process. So although I seek out practices that seem the most effective for me, I also realize that they are not inherently or absolutely “better” than other practices out there. And they are definitely not better than what’s possible, and what will most likely be developed in the future.

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Mirror

 

There are two ways of using situations and other people as mirrors.

What do I see out there? How would I describe it? Where do I find it in myself?

What does that situation say about me? What does it bring up in me?

For instance, I see someone as fearful and demanding. Can I find that in myself? Can I meet those parts of me with love?

And, I see someone as fearful and demanding. What does it say about me?

The first one is the typical “world as mirror” approach. The second is used in the Living Inquiries. And both can be very helpful.

Highly sensitive

 

As part of a spiritual emergency, it’s common for people to be highly sensitive – to the energies of other people, places, the land, food and more.

I have certainly experienced my share of it.

There is a gift in this sensitivity, since it provides us guidance (what to do, what not to do), it can give us insights and inspiration (for writing, art), and it can help us help others.

It can also be very challenging – and even painful – at times.

Here are some things I have found helpful:

 Recognizing the difference between the sensitivity, and my reaction to or relationship with it. The sensitivity itself is OK. It’s my reaction to it that sometimes is stressful and painful (and it comes from my own wounding and unexamined assumptions).

Inquiring into my stories about what’s going on, including the trigger and what’s triggered. Help myself see more clearly what’s really going on.

Finding in myself what I see as “out there”. Owning it. Embracing it. Healing and finding my own wholeness as a human being.

Taking care of myself. Allowing myself to leave situations that feel uncomfortable, if that seems the most kind choice. (And owning that I am doing so at least partly because I am not quite healed and whole yet.) For instance, if I sit next to someone on the train whose energy triggers something in me, I give myself permission to stand up and go somewhere else.

Spending time in nature. Healing physically and emotionally. Finding nurturing environments, people, activities etc. Find grounding psychologically (healing, wholeness) and energetically (nature, gardening, tai chi etc.). Allowing the soul level to work on me – through prayer and meditation – infusing my human self and inviting it to heal and find its own wholeness.

Byron Katie: Pain is a projection

 

Pain is a total projection, and it prevents us from noticing that it’s all love.

– Byron Katie, paraphrased from a webcast

I see this for myself, and these days especially when I use the living inquiries.

When words, images and sensations combine into the appearance of pain, it’s experienced as painful, whether it’s emotional or physical pain.

Examining each of these separately, I see there is no threat in the words, in the images, or in the sensations. (And if there appear to be, I can – for instance – look for underlying images and ask if there is a threat there.) The stickiness of the idea or experience of “pain” is reduced or falls away.

There may still be words, images and sensations, and more of an allowing of these, and a noticing that they are already allowed. The sticky conglomerate of words, images and sensations called “pain” is not there anymore, or it’s faded and in the background.

I get to see that “pain” is a projection, and that what’s here is love.

 

 

This is it

 

This is it, for two reasons.

What’s here is all there is. What’s here includes my images of past, future and present, of time and space. Any images of something somewhere else, or in the past or future, is here.

What’s here includes (the essence of) what I desire. When I track back my wishes and desires to their essence, I find that their essence is some variation of love, trust, rest, engagement, connection, aliveness or some other characteristic of what we are. Is it true that love is not already here? Is it true that trust is not already here? Is it true that aliveness is not already here?

So this is it, because (a) this is all there is, and (b) what I desire is here.

These are questions and pointers, at most. And they may also serve to bring up beliefs for inquiry.

There is something out there. Where is my evidence?

What’s here is not as good as what I wish for. It’s better when it comes from someone else. What do I find when I look into this? Is this really not as good? Can I get anything from someone else?