Not knowing which part of the field I am


Right now, as I am sitting here, I see two arms and hands, the screen on a phone, a table, a cup, flowers, a lake, and a few other things. And I notice a low-grade effort telling me that, for practical purposes, “I” am this body sitting here writing on the phone. (I am not all the other things in the sense fields.) It’s something that’s added to what’s happening and it helps me function in the world.

At times, this effort is even more obvious. For instance earlier today, there was a moment where “I” didn’t know which part of the sender fields I was supposed to be. The bucket of water? The cup? The arms moving? It lasted only a fraction of a second, but I could clearly see the mind working to place a pragmatic sense of I or me on something in the sense fields.

This is a common experience for me. There are things in my sense fields, it all happens within and as consciousness, and often there is no need to put the I or me labels on anything. It’s all just happening and functioning on its own.

“I” can pay attention to what this happens within and as, and notice that this never goes away. In that sense, it seems to be what “I” am. And for practical purposes, “I” sometimes places the I or me on this body and the one others see me as. In both cases. It’s clear that the I or me is just a label put on top of what’s here, in all the sense fields, which is living its own life.

I assume this is common in an awakening process. The mind has to work actively, for all of us, to create and assign and remember the I and me labels. And when there is more awakeness here, that process may become more transparent and visible. And sometimes, “we” notice the mind scrambling for å fraction of a second to assign the labels.

Senseless, sensible, coming to our senses


Senseless: Lacking common sense, wildly foolish.

Oxford Dictionary

Sensible: Done or chosen in accordance with wisdom or prudence, likely to be of benefit.

Oxford Dictionary

Come to your senses: to start to understand that you have been behaving stupidly.

Cambridge Dictionary

There is often wisdom in traditional sayings and expressions and even embedded in everyday words.

What does it mean to come to our senses? In an everyday use, it means to perceive and act in a more grounded and sensible way. There is a literal truth in that expression. When we are caught in thoughts, we can get a bit loopy and insane. We live in abstractions. We take our own imaginations, our own mental images and words, as reality. We make ourselves crazy that way.

Coming to our senses means to bring attention to our senses, to sensations, sights, sounds, smell, and taste. And also to our imaginations as what they are, recognizing them as mental images and words (imagined sounds and mental images). When we bring attention to our senses, the mind is incapable of simultaneously be caught up in stories and content of thought. It’s either one or the other. (Unless we do both half way, in which case we are still caught in stories and imagination.)

The more we bring attention to our senses, the more we make it into a new habit, and the more we have an actual freedom in shifting attention between our senses and occasionally into stories. Now and then, we do need to bring attention into stories to function in the world. Using stories in this practical sense is natural and kind. And we can do it as needed and while recognizing these stories as imaginations.

There is some effort here in terms of intentionally bringing attention to our senses. And over time, it becomes more and more effortless. Even the recognition of imagination as imagined becomes more effortless more often.

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When I look at my own memories, here is what I find…..

They are mental representations of the senses – sight (images), sound, taste, smell, touch.

They are mentally inserted on a mental representation of a timeline, and among other mental representations taken as memories.

A thought says they are true, or not. It really happened, or not.

This is why memories are notoriously unreliable. Since they are mental representations they are, quite literally, imagined. And it’s very easy (read: inevitable) for them to change over time, for pure imagination to be inserted into the timeline and be taken as true, and even for “accurate” representations to be taken as something that didn’t happen. It’s also very easy for these mental representations, these imaginations, to be influenced by what we hear and see, or even the questions someone is asking us. (Questions will inevitably reflect the assumptions of the person asking the questions, and this influences the form the mental representations takes of the one asked the questions).

And that’s why memories “recovered” through hypnosis are unreliable at best, created at worst, and can also be (unnecessarily) distressing to the client.

From subject to object


Our conventional experience is that there are objects – out there in the world – and a subject somewhere here.

When I look for myself, I see that the boundary is fuzzy and changing. For instance, my body is – in some instances – an object for me, and other times more of a subject, something I am. Fear may be an object to me, and it may also be a subject, what I am. I am afraid.

I also see how everything that appears as a subject is really an object. It’s all happening within content of experience. And when I notice that it’s happening within content of experience, it becomes an object to me. For instance, I may take certain sensations in my throat, inner mouth and head area as me, as a subject. And when I look, I see they are sensations – combined with words and images. These sensations goes from appearing as a subject, to being recognized as objects.

Through this process of looking, more and more of what appeared as subjects are revealed as objects. I took myself to be certain words, images and sensations, and when I look, I see they are words, images and sensations, and there is a softening or release of identification with – or as – them.

Said another way, something appears as a subject as long as it’s unexamined. When it’s examined, it’s revealed as – typically – a collection of words, images and sensations. It’s revealed as a collection of objects.

It’s not what I am, in the sense of taking some collections of words, images and sensations as a subject in contrast to other words, images and sensations that are taken as an object. And at the same time, the whole field of experience – including any words, images and sensations, are revealed as what “I” am.

So as there is an exploration of this, there is a shift from some collections of words, images and sensations appearing as objects and some as subjects (identified with or as) to more and more of the collections appearing as subjects being revealed as objects. Eventually, all is revealed as objects – happening within and as experience, and all is revealed as subjects – as what I am.

Another thing I see is that this is what many mystics and teachers from a wide range of spiritual traditions talks about, and since it’s difficult to put into words, it often appears as mystical or airy fairy. It can also be very practical and down to earth, and we have tools to explore this in a very pragmatic and practical way, for instance through the Living Inquiries. Perhaps that is a gift of this age, making what may appear mystical and elusive very practical and pragmatic. (I know that many traditions do have very pragmatic ways of exploring this, and yet, now, it’s at least more widely available. And it’s in a language and form that fits better the modern western mentality and mind.)

Meeting dullness


Sometimes, a belief creates obvious emotions such as anger, fear, sadness or joy, and there is an apparent intensification of experience.

Other times, it may go the other direction. A belief may create a sense of dullness, stagnation or numbness, and there is an apparent reduction of experience.

In either case, the sensations are something I can meet with curiosity.

I can stay with the sensations and breathe, and notice any shifts or changes, any images or thoughts behind the sensations.

I can meet it in satsang: You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. How would you like me to be with you? What would satisfy you forever? What are you really?

I can do a simple inquiry. What’s here in sensations? What’s here as a label? What’s here as an image, a thought (about what it is, what is means etc.) What happens when these come together, and are taken as true? What happens when I stay with the sensations alone? How is it to question the labels and thoughts? Is it really pain, fear, anger, dullness? Does it really mean something terrible has happened?

Sometimes, I invite my relationship to it to shift through ho’oponopono: I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.

For me, it’s easier to remember to meet a sensation intentionally when it’s an intensified sensation or experience such as anger, sadness, or pain. And it’s easier to “forget”, at least for a while, if it’s a reduction in experience, such as a sense of dullness, stagnation or numbness.

Meeting it is an invitation to see what’s really here. Is it really what it appears to be? Does it mean what my thoughts says it means? Is it true it’s not already allowed?

And it’s an invitation to explore how it is to shift how it’s met. What happens when mind tries to run away from it, or get rid of it, or put a lid on it? What are the fears/beliefs behind this impulse? How is it to meet it more intentionally, with curiosity and respect?



It may be obvious, and yet perhaps not completely for most of us. It may not be seen thoroughly, felt thoroughly, and lived thoroughly. There is always more to explore and let sink in.

God is a projection. God is an image that’s here. The qualities and characteristics it refers to is here. The image of me and God is here. The image of here and there is here.

And the same with the world. That too is a projection.

My world is a projection. My God is a projection. The image and what it refers to, and all the other images it rests and depends on, they are all here.

And the same with time and space. And me and I. My perception of time and space, my perception of a me and I, are all filtered through my own world of images. Whatever image I have of it all is my images. The images are here. What they refer to is here.

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Befriending heartache


Heartache has come up the last few days.

When I notice it as only sensations, I see that the sensations themselves are quite mild. Other sensations – in the throat and solar plexus – are stronger.

It’s the beliefs about what these sensations mean that makes it painful, and amazingly painful at times.

Here are some of these beliefs:

It’s heartache.

She doesn’t love me. I am unlovable. I will never be loved.

My life is doomed. My life is in ruins.

Something terrible has happened.

Note: In one sense, this heartache is old. It may well be from early infancy. And more accurately, it’s here now. It’s fresh.

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Investigating basic body labels


I keep exploring basic sensations and labels while in bed, before falling asleep.

Last night, the label pain – and headache – came up.

Staying with the sensations, what’s there?

Can if find where the turnaround, it’s pleasure, is equally or more true?

Exploring this, it’s as if I am looking behind the veils of the initial beliefs. When I stop at the initial label – it’s pain – it looks a certain way. It seems solid, real, “out there” in the world, and it triggers a range of additional beliefs including another experience is better, I want it to go away, I am a victim. When I look at what’s there in sensations, something else is revealed. It’s something that the label doesn’t fit on anymore. The sensations are revealed as awareness itself. I find how the turnaround – it’s pleasure – is genuinely true for me.

In the beginning, it required going to this exploration intentionally and it felt like “work”. Now, after being more familiar with it, it’s more available, it’s more familiar. And it’s different and fresh each time. What’s really here, in sensations? Can I find how the turnaround is equally or more true, here and now?

Body and awareness


I had a conversation with someone who mentioned bodywork within a nondual context. It seems quite natural for me, although there is obviously more to explore! When I investigate my body through the different sense fields, I find sight, sensations, sound, taste, smell and images. Each of these are awareness, they happen within and as awareness. There is no substance there. And there is also no substance there when they come together, and there is the label “my body” or “a body”.

That’s the context any bodywork happens within as well. When I do Breema, my body and the recipient’s body are both awareness. They happen as awareness, and as the play of awareness. The image of an I – as a doer, observer – happens within the mental field, and is also awareness. Taken as true, the mind is temporarily identified as an I, and it appears real. And even then, nonidentified mind is here. It’s identified mind –> it’s nonidentified mind. Can I find where that’s true for me, here and now?

Here are some thoughts it’ can be interesting to look into:

There is a body. I have a body. It’s a body. The body is real.

This body is …. years old. This body is made of matter. This body has been born. This body will die.

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Three facets of thought: Page, letters, meaning


A book has three essential parts: The white pages, the ink and letters on the pages, and the content and meaning of the words.

And that’s how it is with images and thoughts – mental field activity – as well.

There is ink and letters – the images and thoughts themselves, as images and thoughts. It’s what I notice when I label images images, and thoughts thoughts. An image comes up, it’s labeled image. A thought comes up, it’s labeled thought.

There is a content to these images and thoughts, they have a meaning. An image is of a bird. A thought says it’s a magpie, and it’s standing at the doorstep looking in.

And it’s all happening on and as a white page. Images and thoughts happen as awareness, it’s the play of awareness taking a temporary form as an image or a thought. It’s “substance” or “material” is awareness itself.

So when there is an image or a thought here, the experience of it may be quite different depending on where attention goes.

(a) If attention goes to the content of the story, that’s what’s in the foreground. If attention is absorbed into the content of the story, and the story is taken as true, what it tells me will seem quite real, substantial and solid. And if the content is recognized as an innocent question about the world, as an image or thought and not reflecting any absolute or final truth, this content can be very helpful in a practical and pragmatic, sense as an aid to orient and navigate in the world.

(b) If attention goes to the image as an image, or the thought as a thought, for instance through labeling, then that’s what’s in the foreground. The image here is recognized as an image. The thought that’s here is recognized as a thought. Attention is freed from being absorbed into the content of the image or the thought, although there is awareness of this content.

(c) If attention goes to it all as awareness itself, as the play of awareness, then that’s what’s in the foreground. It’s all happening within and as what I am. And this includes any images or thoughts about a me as this human self, and an I as an observer or doer. A variation of this is bringing attention to the image that’s here, or the thought that’s here, as also love.

Again, this is perhaps most effectively explored through various forms of inquiry, investigating what’s here now in immediacy.


Primary and secondary


I may also notice that what’s here – awareness as sensations, sounds, sights, tastes, smells, thoughts and images – are primary, and the content of images and thoughts and images are secondary, they respond and react to what’s primary. They are always a bit slower, they happen within and as what I am. Even who I am – the images and a man of a particular age, with a name and nationality etc. – is secondary. It happens as an afterthought, within what I am, or simply what is.

This is from a previous post. What’s here is all primary, of course. It’s all happening within and as awareness, within and as what I am. Sensations, sounds, sights, tastes, smells, images and thoughts all happens within and as awareness, within and as what I am (awareness, the play of awareness, capacity for all of it).

And yet, the mental field reactions and responses to it – the content of images and thoughts reflecting, labeling and making a story out of it – is, in a sense, secondary. It happens after the fact, and it’s quite literally an afterthought. Even the images and thoughts of a me experiencing it and an I observing and acting is, in the same sense, secondary and an afterthought.

How can I notice and explore this? The most helpful approach, for me, is investigating the sense fields, and also using The Work.



Confusion, fear, anger as love


In what way is confusion, fear, anger etc. love?

(a) It’s a sign that a thought is taken as true. It’s an invitation to look again, to find what’s more true than the initial thought. This sign is love.

(b) It’s confused love. Believing the thought creating confusion, fear, anger etc. is confused love. It’s an attempt to find what we (think we) want or need – security, love etc.

(c) It’s made up of love. It’s the substance of love. (i) When I look, I see it’s all happening within and as awareness (love). (ii) Through the Big Mind process, I find it’s all Big Heart. (iii) If all is God/love, then isn’t this too – confusion, fear, anger – love?

And as usual, the really helpful explorations are detailed and on what’s here now, or – in the case of The Work – on a specific thought in a specific situation. That’s where this comes alive, where it sinks in. Where it’s seen in some detail, with real, simple, and specific examples, inviting in feeling it as love, love for it as love, and living it as love.

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This is not God, is it true?


The truth is that until we love cancer, we can’t love God. It doesn’t matter what symbols we use—poverty, loneliness, loss—it’s the concepts of good and bad that we attach to them that make us suffer.
– Byron Katie

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
– Matthew 5:43-44

Anything thoughts tell me is wrong, bad, not God, becomes an enemy for me, in my mind, when those thoughts are taken as true.

It’s uncomfortable, painful, it’s how I create suffering for myself.

So what can I do? Here are a few approaches I find interesting and helpful: Prayer for he/she/it, ho’o, tonglen, The Work, sense field explorations, the Big Mind Process, Headless experiments, and more. And all are supported by inviting in a more stable attention, perhaps by bringing attention to the breath, or through body-centered practices such as yoga, tai chi, chi gong, or Breema.

All of this helps me shift into finding genuine love for he/she/it, and it may even help me notice it’s already love. It never was anything but love.

And I do it for my own sake. It’s a relief. I function from more clarity. I function from more kindness. There is a sense of coming home.

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Sounds and aftertoughts


When I sit with the Zen question who hears the sounds?, or explore the sense fields, I notice that what’s here is already here. It seems quite obvious.

Sounds are already heard. Sights already seen. Tastes already tasted. Sensations already sensed. Thoughts already thought.

It’s all already here, crystal clear, as awareness.

A sound appears. It’s already heard.

Then, there is a gap in time, and an image comes up, perhaps of a bird. It labels the sound. It’s an innocent question. Bird?

Then, another gap in time, and thoughts come up. It’s morning. It’s a small bird. And these are also innocent questions. Morning? Small bird?

By the time images label, and thoughts tell a story, the sound itself is gone. All this happens afterwards, as an afterthought.

Then there are some other thoughts.

The sound is heard by me, by this human self.

It’s heard by I, this doer, listener.

And these too happens afterward. A sound appears. There is an image, a label. There are thoughts, telling a story. And there is an image of a me hearing it, and I listening.

As this is seen, it’s almost comical. What I sometimes take as so solid and real – the label and the stories, the me and I listening – is, quite literally, an afterthought. It happens quite a bit later, after the sound itself is gone. It’s constructed.

When it’s taken as real and true, it seems real, substantial and true. It’s experienced that way. And when it’s seen to be just an afterthought – images and stories happening after the sound is already gone – it’s seen as an afterthought. It looses its sense of solidity. The label, the stories of the sound and a me and I are recognized as images and stories.

The same happens when I explore sensations, tastes, sights, and even mental activity itself. Who senses these sensations? Who tastes the taste? Who thinks these images? Who thinks these thoughts? In each case, I find it’s happening, crystal clear, as awareness, and there is a gap in time until there is an image and stories labeling and explaining what’s happening.

Hunger, tiredness, physical pain


From an earlier post:

Basic physical experiences such as hunger, tiredness and pain are very interesting to explore in this way, and I notice I prefer to do it while the sensations are quite subtle and then move on to the stronger ones if or when they visit.

With hunger and tiredness, I find that certain beliefs tends to trigger and/or fuel the experience of hunger or tiredness. For instance, the thought that I’ll have food soon tends to trigger hunger. And thoughts such as I need to be rested, I won’t get enough rest tends to trigger an experience of tiredness.

Not surprisingly, resistant thoughts to the hunger, tiredness or pain tends to make the experience unpleasant. These may include I need food, I can’t function without food, I need sleep, I won’t function without more rest, I need to be rested, and pain is terrible, I can’t function with this pain, this pain is all-encompassing, pain means something is wrong, pain means something terrible will happen.

Labeling the sensations, and taking these thoughts as true, also has a role. Believing labels – even simple ones such as hunger, tiredness and pain – does a couple of things. It solidifies the experience of hunger, tiredness or pain, making it seem more real and substantial, more like a thing. And it triggers additional thoughts and stories about what it means.

So it can be quite interesting and helpful to investigate each of these types of beliefs. They each help to find what’s really there, in immediate experience, and not just what appears to be there when I believe certain thoughts about it.

Staying with sensations


It’s easy to say open to the emotion, welcome it, be with it. 

And yet, the question is, how can I do it?

Here are some ways I find helpful:

1. Find fears and resistant thoughts that come up when I consider opening to an intense emotion, and inquire into these. Some beliefs may be: It’s too much. I’ll be overwhelmed. This emotions means something terrible has happened/will happen. This emotion reflects reality. The thought behind it is true. 

2. As I open to the emotion, I can ask myself: Is it true, it’s too much? Is it true, it’s overwhelming? Is it true, I cannot do it? Is it true, it’s not already allowed?

3. Find where in the body I experience the emotion, and bring attention to the sensations there. Bringing attention to the sensation side of the emotion feels more manageable, and it’s also inquiry. I notice how it is to bring attention to the sensation side of the emotion. It may show me the distinction between the sensation side of an emotion, and the image/thought side. And the automatic coupling between those two may lessen and fall away over time. As an emotion arises, I may notice it’s a sensation, and some stories about it – it’s fear, it means something terrible will happen – are simply just thoughts, innocent questions about the world, not necessarily true.

4. When I bring attention to the sensations, notice how the sensations/emotions change over time, how new emerge – perhaps with their own stories, and so on. As Brandon Bays points out, this may eventually lead into the void.

5. As attention is distracted, bring it back to the sensations. Also, notice the thought attention is distracted by/into, and perhaps thoughts about distraction itself. Make a note of it and take this thought to inquiry later. The thoughts attention is distracted by may be the same as under #1 above, and the thoughts about distraction itself may be of the self-judgment kind.

6. As in TRE and other explorations, touch can be very helpful here. Someone holding my hand, or putting his/her hands on my shoulder, or the belly, or feet, may be a great support in staying with intense emotions as they surface. It’s a reminder that someone else is here in the world, and of kindness.

7. I can also do ho’oponopono on the situation: On the person or situation the emotion appears to be about, here and now.  On the emotion itself, seen as an enemy and struggled against. On myself, struggling with how to relate to the intense emotion. And perhaps, if I trace the wound/fear/belief back, on an early childhood situation relating to what’s surfacing now.

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A brief how-to: sense field exploration


I find sense field explorations interesting and helpful.

Here is a very simple version I use for myself:

To stabilize attention, bring attention to the sensations of the breath at the nostrils. Just notice the sensations. Nothing else is required. If attention strays to thoughts, bring it back. It’s all fine. Just notice when it strays, and gently bring it back to the sensations at the nostrils.

After a while, when attention seems more stable, bring attention to sounds, to whatever sounds are here. Notice the sounds. There is no need to do anything about them, just notice.

Then notice sensations in the body. Notice the sensations up and down the body. Noticing is all that’s needed.

Now notice taste. Just notice. And now, smells. Notice the smells that are here.

Notice sight. Even if the eyes are closed, something is there in the visual field. Notice it. It’s all very relaxed, just notice what’s there.

With the eyes closed, notice the images that are here. The images of your body. The images of what you are sitting or laying on. The images of the room. The images of the building. Of other people. Of the city. The sky. Trees. The country. The earth. Notice all these images. They are all images, all imagination.

To explore how the mental field overlays other fields:

Now bring attention back to the sensations in the body, and notice how the images of your body helps locate these sensations. There is a sensation, an image of your right calf, and a thought that the sensation is an itch on the right calf.

Notice the sounds. Again, notice how your images helps locate the sounds in space, and offer an interpretation. There is a sound, an image of where it comes from, and an image of children playing.

Exploring space and time:

Now notice how there is an image of space, and how other images are placed on this image of space. There is an image of space, and overlaid on this image is an image of your body, the room, the building, the garden, a street with cars, the city, the country, the Earth.

Think of something that happened this morning. Notice it’s an image, it’s imagination. Think of something that may happen later today. Notice it’s an image. Think of what’s here now. Notice that’s an image too. Now notice the image of time that tells you that one is from this morning, in the past, one is about later today, in the future, and one is about what’s here now. Is this an image of a continuum? Does it contain divisions of past, future, and present? Are these divisions solid or a bit fuzzy?

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Get a load off my chest: Body-related metaphors and inquiry


Metaphors are images in my mind, and they can be taken as true or not.

To the extent they are taken as true, they influence my view, feelings and life. I perceive, feel and live as if it’s true.

And that’s true for body-related metaphors as well.

I have a weight on my shoulders. Cotton in my head. Butterflies in the stomach. It was as getting a knife in the stomach. I want to get a load off my chest. I feel lighter. A weight lifted from me. 

An experiment

This morning, I noticed my mind felt a bit slow, and was reminded of the cotton in my head metaphor. As an experiment, I labeled it cotton in my head and intentionally solidified the experience. How would it be if I take the story of cotton in my head as true and real?

I noticed the sensations that made up the experience, and then the image that went with it. The feeling of cotton in my head seems entirely made up of (a) certain sensations in my head area, especially a slight pressure/tension at the temples and forehead, and (b) an image of wooliness or cotton in and a bit around the head. Outside of that, I cannot find it. It’s quite funny, in a way, how it’s only sensations and an image that create the experience.

I have explored this before, with this and other body-related labels, so cotton in my head doesn’t feel real or solid anymore, even when I don’t intentionally investigate it this way.

Before investigating, the experience of cotton in my head and other labels – including the more basic ones of pain, hunger, dizziness and so on – seem quite real and solid. I have stories of what it means, and tend to take these as true as well. When these metaphors and labels are investigated – perhaps several times and over time – they don’t seem so real, true or solid anymore. It’s clear that it’s made up of a set of sensations, and – if it even comes up – a label. The label may come up only when it seems helpful, for instance in conversation. And even then, it’s not taken as true.

With this, the stories of what it means tends to fall away as well. And it can also be helpful and interesting to investigate these. I have cotton in my head, and that means…. (I won’t function as well, I will have to avoid mental tasks). I have cotton in my head, because…. (I have cf, I didn’t sleep well). 

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Being present


It’s popular in certain circles to talk about being present. What does it mean?

I don’t really know, but imagine two things:

One is in the meaning of intentionally being aware of what’s here and now. The simplest way of practicing this  may be through training a stable attention, for instance bringing attention to physical sensations, whether it’s the sensations at the nostrils of the in- and out-breath, the sensations within any other imagined boundary on or in the body, the sensations of movement or weight, and so on. This also makes it easier to intentionally bring attention to what’s here in everyday life – sensations, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and images and thoughts. I assume this is what’s sometimes referred to as mindfulness.

As any other practice, this is also inquiry. What happens when attention is brought to sensations? (It goes out of thoughts, which may be experienced as liberating.) Can I notice when attention is absorbed on the “inside” of thoughts, and bring it back to sensations? What thoughts did attention go to? (What do I find when I take these to inquiry?) Do I have thoughts about wandering attention? (It’s not good, I am not doing a good job.) What do I find when I take these to inquiry?

Another is to notice that whatever is here in the field of awareness, or whatever attention goes to, is already here and now. Sensations, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, thoughts are all here and now.

I sometimes ask myself a simple question: Is it true this – including images of past, future and present – is not already here and now? 

To explore this further, I sometimes explore the sense fields to see how the mental field creates images of time (as a continuum) and future, present and past (discrete times), and places other images (memories, scenarios) on these images. Sometimes, it’s taken as real, solid and really “out there” in the past, future or present. Other times, it’s all recognized as happening within the mental field in immediacy. Any sense of time then “collapses” into what’s here in immediacy. Whatever is here – my field of experience – is all happening within and as awareness, including images of time, and images overlaid on the other sense fields such as images of space, images of a me and I, images of an inner and outer world, and so on.

This helps me see – and feel – that time (as a continuum) and the three times (past, future, present) cannot be found outside of my images. Images placed on these images of time (memories, scenarios) lose a sense of really being “out there” in time, in past, future or present. And it’s all – images of time, of space, of a me and I – more easily noticed as happening within and as awareness.

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Quantum physics and inquiry


In my teens and early twenties, I was quite interested in quantum physics and especially it’s connection with spirituality. I read just about any book published on it at the time – by Fritjof Capra and others. Most writers seem to present the connection between quantum physics and spirituality (typically Taoism and Buddhism) in a more theoretical way. And it can also be presented in the context of inquiry.

For instance, in some quantum physics experiments, time and space doesn’t seem to function the way we are used to in conventional experience. This suggests that time and space may not “really” be as we typically perceive it. It’s perhaps not inherent in the world as we perceive it. I can find the same by exploring the sense fields, and notice how time and space only appears due to my overlay of images of time and space on my sense fields. There is no time or space found outside of these images. There is no evidence for time or space existing “out there” or being inherent in the world or reality.

The same is the case with causality. Some quantum physics experiments throws our conventional ideas of causality into question. The way we typically experience causality may not be inherent in the world “all the way down and all the way up”. Exploring my everyday experience of causality through the sense fields, I find the same.

So referring to quantum physics in this context may invite or inspire to own investigation, and this may be very helpful. It may inspire more scientifically minded folks to investigate their own immediate experience of reality.

The potential drawback is that it makes it all sound more abstract and foreign that it needs to be. And it’s also likely that our current understanding of quantum physics and it’s experiments will change over time, and we don’t know how, so it may be a bit unfortunate to create too strong of a mental connection between quantum physics and spirituality (as Ken Wilber has pointed out).

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Head pleasure


I noticed what I could label headache after a long day in the sun.

Can I find where the turnaround is equally true for me?

It’s headpleasure.

Asking this as a sincere question, with curiosity, I did find where it genuinely is that.

I stayed with it for a while, with curiosity.

And I also saw how the labels pain and pleasure are both labels.

They are not inherent in the sensations.

They are added on later.

What’s there is neither.

Looking at it again some minutes later, the first label that came up was pleasure.

– 0 –

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I woke up with a sense of dread this morning, perhaps brought to the surface from some shaking yesterday.


Still in bed, I brought attention to the sensations. What’s here in sensations? What is the sensation component of the experience of dread?

By doing this, I find that the image/label/story component of dread becomes more clear as well. I recognize it as an image, label and stories.

Images, labels and beliefs

I also made a note of some of those labels and stories.

It’s dread. It means something terrible has happened. It means something terrible will happen. 

Just by noticing these and asking myself is it true? there was a shift. I saw that the label dread is simply a label. There are sensations, a label of “dread”, which then creates an experience of dread. Dread is entirely created by this combination of sensations and a label. On top of this are stories of what dread means – something terrible has happened, something terrible will happen. And this is also entirely created by images and stories.

Some additional beliefs surfacing for me now: I won’t be able to take care of myself (due to the cf). I will be alone, lost. I am a disappointment to myself, others, God/life. 

I can take these to a more full inquiry to see what I find.


While still in bed, I did some shaking while bringing attention to the dread and it’s associated fears and beliefs. After getting up, I drank plenty of water, did some self-Breema and yoga, and did a bit more shaking (standing and on the floor) while bringing the feeling of dread and it’s related fears and beliefs to mind.

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Stability practice and inquiry


I have noticed that my attention has been a bit scattered during inquiry recently, so it may be time to strengthen those stability muscles again.

Stability practice and inquiry traditionally go hand-in-hand in Buddhism, and for good reasons.

Training a more stable attention seems almost universally helpful for whatever activity I engage in, whether I talk with a friend, cook food, study, work, or pray or engage in inquiry.

And inquiry can support stability practice. I can find and inquire into beliefs about stability practice, such as it takes effort, it takes too much time, there is resistance to it, there is an I doing it. 

It’s also interesting to explore how stability practice appears in the sense fields. (For me, right now, noticing an image guiding size and location of attention, an image of a me, an image of an observer or doer, and noticing the shifts between identification and softening/release of identification with the images of a me and I.)

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Exploring tiredness & vitality


I have been drawn to exploring tiredness recently.

In short: It’s tiredness —> it’s vitality.

It’s vitality. What do I find?

Exploring sense fields

When I label something as tiredness (fatigue, exhaustion), what’s really here? What’s here in sensation, as pure sensation? (When I put this back into words, right now, I find tingling in my body, a slight pressure on the forehead.)

What happens when the mental field comes in with a label (interpretation, story) of tiredness? (It appears as tiredness, it seems real, substantial, I feel tired, other stories around tiredness comes in, hopelessness, I feel I need to rest.)

The Work

Two of my beliefs here are my health is not so good, and it’s tiredness. 

The turnarounds are my health is good, and it’s vitality. 

I find that when the story of tiredness comes up, attention goes to symptoms of tiredness. There is fear here, and stories about what tiredness means, what it may lead to, and that I need to rest. When I believe the story of tiredness, there is a sense of fatigue and tiredness. Working with the turnarounds in daily life, staying with them to see what may come up, I find many examples that my health is good (my medical results are very good, people tell me they see me as healthy, I get up in the morning and do everyday activities, I seek to find clarity around thoughts, I travel, I visit friends, I take photos, I study and learn).

Combining sense field exploration and The Work

Exploring it’s vitality, I stay with what I have taken as symptoms of tiredness – how are these symptoms of vitality? It’s energy, a warm vibration through the body, aliveness. It’s vitality. As I stay with it, the label of vitality seems genuinely as or more true. What’s here are simple sensations untouchable by any label. And the vitality label is as or more true. I stay with this to see what more may reveal itself.

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The Work & Sense Fields


Two of the forms of inquiry I have found most helpful are The Work and exploring the sense fields, and they are very similar.

In The Work, I get to explore what happens when a thought is believed and when it’s not.

And by exploring the sense fields, I get to see how the mental field (images, stories) combine with the other sense fields, and what happens when these images and stories (labels, interpretations) are taken as real and true or not.

The two approaches are very similar. They are both meditation. They both investigate what happens when stories are taken as true or not. They both invite identification to release out of stories and viewpoints, including – eventually – the story and viewpoint of me (object) and I (an apparent subject which then is recognized as an object).

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How is it possible to believe a stressful thought?


How is it possible to believe any particular thought? (Which then becomes stressful.) What are the mechanics behind it?

What happens in images and thoughts? What happens in the body to support this? (Tension, numb?)

So far, I have found explorations of the sense fields to be very helpful, and also The Work, with support from practices to invite a more stable attention (samatha) and body-inclusive explorations such as TRE and Breema. I am not going into details here since there is enough materials there for a book (or a library), it’s more helpful to discover it for oneself, and also because some other posts have more on that topic.

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Interpretation of experience


I still have some of what appears as a very early childhood wound surfacing – a sense of heartache and an image of being alone in a crib in a dark room at night.

I see how there are stories about……

The heartache – it’s huge, it’s too big, it’s unbearable, it’s heartache. These stories makes the experience of heartache seem unbearable and unapproachable, and yet, when I look at the actual experience it’s quite different. It’s the quality of the experience (the emotion, feeling) that triggers those stories and makes it appear a certain way, and this only happens when I believe the stories and don’t look at what’s actually here.

Relationships – nobody loves me, I am abandoned, I am alone, I am lost. These stories are also projected into the future.

What’s surfacing – it’s a childhood wound. This story solidifies something that’s not solid at all, and puts in the past what’s actually here now.

When I look directly at the heartache, I see it’s quite ephemeral and quiet, and heartache is only a label.

When I look at the stories – examine them through inquiry – I see something else is more true for me.

When I look at what’s happening – the heartache and the images and stories that comes with it – it’s all right here now. Any image of past, future, or present is here now, as is any image of what’s in either of those three times.

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I find I don’t use the word projections much anymore.

It’s obviously useful since it’s a well known term. It refers to imagining something that’s here – in me, out there in the wider world.

And as with so many terms, it makes less sense the closer I look at it and the more I get familiar with it.

It’s really all happening within my images of the world.

There is an image of a me here and a wider world out there. A story of qualities or something else. An image of these qualities out there in the world and not (so much) in here. An image of space it all happens within. An image of a timeline with past, present and future. An image of an I as an observer or doer.

And it’s all happening within and as my world of images. It’s all happening right here.

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Thoughts create my world


How do my thoughts create my world?

I find that my images and thoughts label and interpret my sense fields.

So any image or thought of what’s happening is from my own thoughts. Nothing else.

And these in turn create feelings and emotions.

Which in turn influence how I am in the world.

The world may then accommodate my labels and interpretations (self-fulfilling prophecy), and that is just another interpretation.

Water analogy


Is it true it needs to be different?

Is it true what I am looking for isn’t already here?

Exploring these questions, there is a shift – the field of awareness/experience notices itself as a field….. and whatever happens within/as it – sensations, thoughts, the images of me and I – is recognized as happening within/as it. It’s seen in its true context, as Karen Richards puts it.

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Thoughts creating the experience of tiredness and hunger


I recently had a clearer experience of how thoughts create the experience of hunger and tiredness.

I went without food a few days, and the two times I thought I would eat soon I got very hungry. The rest of the time, not knowing when I would eat again, I felt fine. There were certain sensations in the body and stomach area, but it was not hunger.

At another time, I had the thoughts “I won’t get enough sleep” and “I need to be alert & rested”, and felt fatigued and tired. As soon as those thoughts went away, I felt fine.

With tiredness, I can see that the mind is a faithful servant to beliefs. There is the belief that I need to be rested, and may not get enough sleep, so I feel tired – which is how the mind supports me in finding rest and sleep.

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Identification and solidity


Something about the perception of solidity:

As soon as there is identification with a view, there is identification as a separate I. And with this comes the appearance of being an object in a world of objects, all appearing quite solid and real.

With this identification as something within content of experience, what this experience happens within and as goes into the background. It’s notices less or not much at all, and if it’s noticed then it may appear as an “other”. And what experience happen within and as is awareness, and capacity for awareness and it’s play as appearances. It’s what shows that appearances are not solid and real.

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Embracing what’s disowned in the field


Here is one of the explorations I am called to these days:

I notice the field of experience.

Is there anything there is resistance to?

Is there anything in the field of experience there is a slight “no” to?

How is it to consciously include this? Embrace it? Meet it with a yes?

How is it to open my heart to it?

What happens?

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Happening inside


Here are some simple questions:

Where do I find a sense of me as this human self? Where are it’s boundaries? Are they fuzzy? Clear? Do they change? What’s inside? What’s outside?

Do these boundaries happen within me? Do they happen within this field of awareness?

Is it true that what’s outside of these boundaries is not inside of me? Is it true it’s not happening within this field of awareness?

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Sensations and interpretations


I felt tired today walking around Oslo, and again was curious about sensations and images.

What’s here in sensations? How does the tiredness appear as sensations?

What’s here in images? What images are overlaid on those sensations?

What happens when the sensations and images are combined into one, and I take the images to be substantial, real and true?

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Belief – fear


Sometimes, and quite often while in bed, inquiry is wordless.

I notice identification with an image. It’s used as true. I notice the symptoms – unease, tension, an image to defend as true, sense of separation etc.

Is the image or story true?

Is there a fear behind it? How is it to notice the fear, allow it, welcome it?

What’s the image or story behind the fear? Is it true?

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Why I am 13.7 billion years old


My birthday is coming up (again!) later this month, and I get curious about my age again.

I first notice that here and now, in immediacy, there is timelessness. Whatever happens in the sense fields happen within timelessness, and that includes any thoughts about past, future and present. Those are all labels. Interpretations. Ways to organize and make sense of what’s happening in the sense fields.

Among those stories of time, I find the most basic one is the story of time itself. A story saying there is a time line with past, future and present. This one helps place events where they seem to belong, and this helps me – as a human being in the world – to function and operate. It is not a flawless system (I edit and even make up memories of the past, and sometimes actually believe my own stories about time and what happened, happens, and will happen), but it generally works pretty well. It’s functional.

One of these stories of time says I was born so and so many years ago. It’s the story that’s reflected in my passport and birth certificate, and what most people in my culture use for themselves and when they think about how old I am.

Another of these stories is the deep time story. This universe was “born” about 13.7 billion years ago, and that’s how old I am. Again, in our culture, this doesn’t quite make sense. I am a human being, not the universe. But it actually makes a great deal of sense from another perspective. Everything I am, as this human being, is quite literally 13.7 billion years old. It is the product of the 13.7 billion year old evolution of this universe.

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