Soul retrieval

 

Soul retrieval. I only roughly know what it refers to in shamanism.

It’s a term that’s intuitive and visceral, and it makes sense even outside the world of shamanism.

For instance, I shun certain parts of my experience. They seem scary, so I avoid them or try to make them go away. These may be a painful story about the world, or myself, or emotions, or certain sensations including physical pain.

Since they are shunned, these parts of my experience are – in a sense – homeless, lost, or orphaned. They are parts of me and happen within and as presence, so they are not really lost or homeless, but they can certainly appear that way. From their perspective, they are lost and homeless, so they feel lost and homeless.

So how do I retrieve them? How do I invite them back? How do I give them a home? I can do that by doing the reverse of shunning them. I can invite them back. I can welcome them. I can meet them with kindness. I can relate to them as I would like to be met, with kindness, presence, patience. By allowing them as they are. By resting with them.

That’s how these parts of my experience are retrieved. That’s how they can return home.

(more…)

Pitfalls of parts language

 

I sometimes share little things I notice in me that are at the polar opposite end of the big picture situation. It feels honest, raw, and vulnerable. It feels deeply human to me, and I think that’s why I sometimes am attracted to it.

For instance, I may deeply love someone, and sometimes other things come up as it does for all of us. And to me, it feels good to share. It feels transparent, human, vulnerable. It can deepen a sense of intimacy.

It can also backfire, as I have experienced a few times. (I really wish to learn.) And this can especially happen if the person I am talking with is less familiar or comfortable with parts language.

For instance, a girlfriend some years ago was about to visit my parents. We had it all planned with dates and everything else and it felt deeply good and right to me. Unfortunately, in a moment of wanting to be extra transparent, I shared with her that a part of me felt nervous or scared about her visiting my parents. It triggered a deep wound in her (so it seems), she was convinced I didn’t want her to visit my parents, and she canceled her trip and told her friends and family that I didn’t want her to visit my parents. Nothing I said seemed to have an impact.

In hindsight, I see that I was too casual about how I said it. I was used to talking with people familiar with parts language, so I didn’t consider how people who were less familiar with it could take it. In this situation, it would probably have been better to not say it. And I also see that I assumed she knew how much it meant for me that she was coming, how much I genuinely looked forward to it, and how deeply right it felt. If I had said that explicitly first, that could also have prevented her reaction.

I had said all of those things to her in other situations, but not in this one. And that may have made all the difference. I realize that when these things are said in separate situations, the person may think I have changed my mind. And if they are said together, it’s easier for the person to see that they do indeed go together. They are both there. One is the big picture. (In this case, that it felt deeply right for her to meet my parents.) The other is a small part of me that sits on the other end of the polarity. (In this case, some nervousness.)  And that is how it is for all of us about just about anything, if we really look.

The yin-yang symbol reflects this. There may be one big picture and overriding orientation, for instance, something feels deeply right. And within that, there are small parts of us that are scared. It’s good to acknowledge both.

In hindsight, I also see that if I could have shared the reason a small part of me felt nervous: She and my family both meant a lot to me, and I really wanted them to like each other and get along well. I realize that she may have had another story about this nervousness. (One I still don’t know what was.)

As a friend said, we never know what we will do or say that will trigger deep wounds in someone else. That’s why people who are skillful communicators are extra conscious to frame things so the right meaning is more likely to get across. (Even then, there are no guarantees.)

Abandonment

 

Often, a current situation triggers an old wound.

For instance, we felt abandoned early in life. It felt life threatening. All encompassing. It made a deep impression. And the current situation triggers this old wound.

What we often do is to abandon the abandoned part of ourselves. We abandon the part of us that feels abandoned. We abandon the abandonment wound. We repeat the initial situation.

The remedy is to not abandon it. To be present with it. Patient. Kind towards it. As we would a scared child or animal. Presence, patience, and kindness heal. It makes this part of us feel held, supported, understood, met. It gives this part of us what it needs to relax, heal, and feel more comfortable.

There is more to say about abandonment. It helps if we can recognize it for what it is: Created by the mind. Inherently without substance. Made up by energies and imaginations. We can do this by looking at each element at a time, and take time to feel the sensations as physical sensations. That helps the mind see it for what it is and the power drains out of it.

(more…)

Repeating a trauma or giving it what it really wants

 

When the part of me that feels abandoned surfaces, it’s easy to want to shy away from it and abandon it again. If I do that, I repeat the situation that created it in the first place. I do exactly what it fears. If I am aware of this, I can instead meet it with presence, patience, love, and interest. And the more I do so, the more it becomes a new habit.

– From a previous (and so far unpublished) post.

With trauma, we tend to either avoid or repeat situations similar to the initially traumatic situation.

In this case, both are often at play.

We seek to avoid situations where we may feel abandoned.

And when the feeling of being abandoned is triggered, in spite of our best effort, we tend to repeat the abandoment pattern. We ourselves avoid and abandon the abandoned part of us in pain. We shy away from it.

The remedy is to be aware of this dynamic. And turn 180 degrees and instead meet this abandoned part of us with presence, patience, kindness, love, and curiosity. The more we do so, the more it becomes a new habit. And the less this part of us feels abandoned and in pain.

(more…)

Victim identity: A cry for attention and love

 

For some of us, the victim identity can be very strong. The mind may even hold onto it as if it’s a matter of life and death.

Why is the need to hold onto something so painful so strong? What is the real need or wish within it? It must be something that our minds holds as very important. So important that it’s willing to create suffering for itself in the hopes of getting it.

To me, it seems that it comes from a deep need and wish for love and presence. For attention, understanding, comfort, love and presence. As long as that’s not met, the victim identification will continue to be fueled by the mind. In it’s trance, it may see it as the best or only way to get what it really needs and wants, which is that presence and love.

It works to some extent. When we go into victim identification, other people may give us some attention, understanding, and love. We may even have been trained by our parents that that’s how we get attention and love. And yet, it doesn’t really work. People may give it to us sometimes and not other times. And even if we get that presence and love from them, it’s not enough as long as we don’t give it to ourselves. We cannot truly take it in and experience it until we give it to ourselves.

So that’s the remedy. Our own presence and love is the remedy.

How do we give it to ourselves? There are a few different ways.

Natural rest. Notice and allow. Notice what’s here in experience and allow it. (Notice it’s already noticed and allowed.) Being present with it. This presence itself is a form of love.

Say “thank you for protecting me” to the part of us in pain. It’s here to protect us.

Say “I love you” to the part of us in pain. Say “you are allowed to be as you are”. Say “I am here with you and I love you”. Say “I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.”. Say any one of these over and over until it becomes a felt experience.

Imagine ourselves, or the hurting part of us, sitting in front of us. Do tonglen. Visualize that person’s suffering as dark smoke and breathe it in on the inbreath. Breathe out light (love, presence) and into the other person on the outbreath. See the person light up. Repeat many times until you really and deeply feel it.

Examine stressful and painful stories and identities. Use inquiry. (The Work, Living Inquiries. Something else.) This is also a form of presence and love. It cannot be done if there isn’t presence. And it’s a loving attention and examination, which may also reveal love when the painful stories and identities are seen more clearly for what they are.

Take care of the body. Do something soothing. Take a bath. Eat nourishing food. Drink plenty of water. Go for a walk. Be in nature. Be kind to yourself. Do yoga, tai chi, chi gong, Breema, TRE. (All of which are forms of presence and love.)

These are all ways we can shift how we relate to those parts of ourselves in pain. If we suffer, it’s because we tend to avoid or try to push these parts away. They are like animals or children who are ignored, avoided, struggled with, or even bullied. No wonder they suffer and are in pain. No wonder they cry out for our presence and love.

When we meet them in presence and love, they feel seen and honored and can relax. This takes time. We need to stay with it for a while. We need to return to it frequently, especially if these parts of us are used to being ignored or struggled with. An animal or child whose needs have been neglected needs time to learn to trust and relax, and that’s how it also is with these parts of ourselves. Giving our presence and love means giving of our time.

As mentioned above, one way to meet them in presence and love is through inquiry. Inquiry is a form of love. The process of inquiry is a process of presence and kind attention. And the outcome is that we see that what we thought was so solid and real (and painful) may not really be so solid and real. What’s more real and true is also more kind.

(more…)

Beings wishing for their own liberation

 

Every aspect of our experience can be seen as a being.

We welcome some. Are indifferent about others. And actively ignore, reject, or battle some.

The ones we ignore, reject or battle wish for what all beings wish for.

They wish to be treated with respect. Kindness. They wish to be acknowledged. Listened to. Rested with. They wish to be liberated from their own suffering. They wish to be liberated from being treated unkindly.

They come with that wish. And I am the one who can do it for them. I am the one who can treat them with respect, kindness. I am the one who can rest with them, in kind presence.

I am the one who can ask simple questions about the stories creating their suffering, and helping it liberate.

I can do this with any aspect of my experience. Any of these beings, whether they are called sadness, anger, grief, fear, discomfort, pain, suffering, or anything else.

We all have a shared wish to be treated with kindness. So why not give that to these parts of my experience. After all, they are what I am. They are me. It’s a kindness towards me.

A shared wish to be treated with kindness

 

I have been reminded of this again:

It can be very helpful to relate to parts of my experience as a being, perhaps even as a child or an animal. Sometimes, a scared child or animal, one that feels rejected, bullied, unloved, hounded.

When a part of me seems to suffer, I can see it as a being that wishes to be free from that suffering.

It’s a being that may have been met with my rejection, struggle, disrespect, lack of love, and more, for perhaps a lifetime.

It’s a being that wishes for love, respect, attention, space, safety, rest, freedom from being struggled with, freedom from disrespect, freedom from me trying to make it go away.

It’s a being that wishes for what all beings wish for. Its wish for itself is my wish for myself.

In recognizing that, something shifts in me.

There is a shift to a natural empathy. A natural kindness. I wish the same for it as it wishes for itself. It wishes for itself what I wish for myself. It wishes for what all beings wish for.

When I now rest with it, and perhaps ask some simple question to see more clearly what’s already there, I may be coming from a slightly different place. Perhaps a place of service. Of gentleness. Of respect. Of love even.

At the very least, there is a shift in that direction. Those are more accessible to me.

What are some of these parts of my experience? It’s sometimes fear, anger, grief, emotional pain, physical pain, struggle, distress, discomfort, and more. These are the experiences I have rejected. Pushed away. Seen as wrong. Been scared of. Disrespected. Ignored. Bullied. Battled.

How did I learn to treat them so poorly? I did what I saw others do. Sometimes, I experienced that sense of rejection, being unloved etc. And I passed it on to parts of myself. I treated these parts in that way. So now, there is an opportunity to do something different. To recognize these parts of my experience as a being that wishes for what we all wish for. A being that wishes to be loved, respected, find rest and a sense of safety. And I can give it that. I can do it, with intention. I can do it, when I recognize that that’s what it wishes for. I can do it, when I recognize that it’s what’s the most kind for all of us – that part of me, myself, and other people in my life.

So what can I do? What can I do to make up for it? What can I do that will give us all what we really wish for?

I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. 

Resting with what’s here. The pain. Discomfort. Contractions. Notice. Allow.

Asking simple questions to see more clearly what’s already here.

(more…)

Scared animal

 

I find it helpful to look at parts of me as an animal. Whether these parts are emotions, impulses, sensations, or the body.

Some of these animals have been rejected, pushed away, battled, wounded, and traumatized. Some of them have been rejected my whole life. They are scared.

So how would I relate to a scared animal? With kindness. Patience. Love. Respect.

Why not relate to these parts of me as if they were a scared animal? Why not relate to them with kindness. Patience. Love. Respect.

It may be especially challenging at first. It means going against an old habit, and one that society (for the most part) has taught us is the way to do it. It’s a bit like going into a jungle or zoo full of scared and wounded animals.

It may be helpful to start, and sometimes continue, with the guidance of certain practices, such as tonglen, loving kindness, ho’oponopono, and natural rest. (Natural rest is a form of love. It’s noticing and allowing. It’s the reverse of rejecting and pushing away. It’s an alignment with the allowing that’s already here.)

And it does change. It’s transformative. My inner world changes. The animals relax through this patient attention, presence, and love. There is a softening.

 

Finding love for what’s here

 

Some things that come to mind about finding love for what’s here:

It’s about finding love for my experience, as it is here and now. For sensations, images, words, sounds and more.

When it’s resisted, it resists back. It wants to be seen, loved, met, recognized for what it really is. If it’s not met and loved it will ask for my attention, in whatever ways it can. And when it asks for my attention, there is often synchronicities at play (it seems), outer circumstances tend to play along inviting me to meet and find love for my experience. It will even, at times, “run the show” with an invitation for me to meet it, understand it, and find love for it.

When it’s met and loved, it relaxes. Softens. It joins the team. It doesn’t run the show as it may have before.

How can I find love for it? I can…..

Use loving kindness towards these parts of me and my experience. I wish you ease. I wish you love.

Do the same using tonglen, ho’oponopono, any other similar practices.

Dialog with it. Get to know how it experiences me and the world. See how it’s there to protect (the imagined) me. See how it’s coming from love. (Even when it takes a form that, at first, may not seem loving.) When I see it comes from love for me, it’s natural for me to find love for it.

Why would I find love for it? I would find love for it because……

It’s awareness. It’s already love. It is part of what I already am. It is not “other”. (What I am.)

It wishes to protect me (the imagined me). It comes from love. (Who I am.)

It feels good. There is a softening. A deepening. A maturing. An alignment with who and what I really am. It helps me live a life less or not run by a disowned part of me. (Pragmatic.)

And if a part of me wants to find love for it for a reason, as a strategy to get something, that too is very understandable. That too comes from love, and I can find love for that too.

This is an all-inclusive practice or exploration or way of life. Nothing is left out.

(more…)

Wounds and identification

 

Some things about wounds and identification:

Wounds from beliefs. A wound comes from a belief. I thought that something wrong happened, that I am not enough, etc., and mind taking that thought as true. This gives the appearance of a wound, and “wound’ is also a thought, a label, which can be taken as true or not. Something terrible happened. My mother didn’t love me. I lost the person who completed me. I am not enough.

Dormant wounds. It’s possible for wounds to be here and not be noticed much. They may be below the surface, not triggered.

Identification with wounds. When these wounds surface, the default may be identification with these wounds. They are created from identification with certain stories, so when they surface, mind tends to identify with them.

Intentionally meeting wounds. I can meet wounds, for instance by “holding satsang” with them or inquiring into the stressful thoughts making them up. Here, a couple of things may happen.

(a) There may be a sense of healing or resolution of the wound. I may see that the wound is here to protect me, it comes from love, and I may find love for it. Or I may see that what I thought happened didn’t.

(b) There may be a release of identification with the wound, and this may happen in a couple of different ways too. (i) I see it’s a wound, a part of me, it’s not who I am. (ii) Or there is a release of identification with the wound-thoughts through seeing they are not true.

So wounds are created from taking certain thoughts as true. They may lay dormant for a while, untriggered. They may be triggered, and there may be a tendency to identify with them at first. And they may be met in a more intentional way, through for instance satsang or inquiry. This may lead to a healing or resolution of the wound. And it may also lead to a release of identification with the wound-thoughts, either by seeing that the wound is just a part of me, or by seeing that the wound-thoughts are not true.

 

Meeting the disappointed one

 

What do I think I want? What are the wants I find in myself?

What I want, is….

More education. A nurturing and rewarding job. Abundance in terms of money. A beautiful house. A wonderful and deeply nurturing relationship. Passion. Enlightenment. Following my guidance. Following my heart. A life in integrity. Nurturing friendships. Mutual support. (And I have some of this, and really all of it when I look.)

What I really want, is….

Love for what is. Love for my images and thoughts. Recognizing what’s here as love. Meeting it as love. Inviting to recognize itself as love. Inviting it to recognize what it really is.

I notice some disappointment in me when I see this. It seems less glamorous. Less amazing. So I can meet this part of me too. I can begin with this part of me.

To the disappointed part, the one disappointed that what I really want seems less glamorous:

You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your devotion to me. Thank you for your love for me. I love you.

What do you really want? What would satisfy you forever?

What are you really?

(more…)

From identification to sage II

 

I keep noticing this:

When there is identification with a part of the psyche, then I think that “I am sad”, “I need her/his love” and so on, and I try to get it from others and the wider world.

When I notice it’s a part, I become the one who can give to the part what it needs and is looking for. It comes so I can meet it as a sage, with love, understanding, availability.

Sadness comes up. When identified with, I think I am sad and I may try to alleviate or change it through activities or spending time with other people. I use the wider world to try to deal with the sadness. When I meet it as a sage, I see it’s from love, it is love, and I can meet it with love. I become the one giving it what it’s looking for.

Uneasiness comes up. When identified with, I think I am uneasy and try to alleviate it through mental or physical activities. I try to use the world to alleviate it. When I meet it as a sage, I can find in me and give to it respect, love and understanding, that which it deeply wishes for.

From identification to sage

 

I keep noticing this, and today with loneliness:

1) Loneliness comes up.

2) There is identification with this loneliness, this part of the psyche. I am alone. I am sad. I will be lonely in the future. I am a victim. I need others so I am not alone anymore. I need him/her to make me not alone, to make this experience (part) go away. There is discomfort, and a struggle with loneliness. Loneliness means something terrible has happened. It means there is something wrong with me. I am not lovable. I want it to go away.

3) Through grace, there is a shift. I find the role of the sage, and meet this part of the psyche in satsang. I recognize it as a part, a guest, a visitor. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your devotion to me. Thank you for your love for me. I love you. What would satisfy you forever (what is your deepest longing)? What are you really? There is a softening. Gratitude. Appreciation. A more open heart. Receptivity.

When there is identification, I am at the mercy of others and circumstances. I need something from others, and it’s up to them – and life – if I get it or not, and how and for how long.

When there is grace and a shift into the role of the sage, I give to this part of the psyche what it longs for.

Note: (a) All of this is grace. Identification is a more gritty form of grace. The discomfort inherent in it shows me that something is not recognized, the conscious view is somewhat out of alignment with reality. There is struggle. Shifting into the sage is a perhaps more obvious form of grace, and still not any more or less grace than identification. (b) Giving this part of me what it deeply longs for (in this case giving loneliness love) doesn’t preclude enjoying the company of others, and appreciating and taking in their love. (c) Thanks to Pamela Wilson for the terminology and details of this approach, and to the many who have explored parts and subpersonality work now and in the past.

(more…)

Parts work

 

With friends, and also in sessions with a therapist/teacher, I sometimes name or speak on behalf of parts of me. And often, these parts are quite small and almost not noticeable compared with the whole of who I am, and the (literally infinite) richness of what I am.

For me, it’s clear it’s a part and that “I” as a whole is quite different. I also know that as long as the part is disowned, it will either hide and work behind the scenes or it will demand attention. And that when it’s met, welcomed, met with gratitude and love, and invited to notice what it really is, something shifts. It reveals itself as something quite different.

Still, when I speak a parts language, it’s sometimes misinterpreted. The person I talk with, including some therapists and teachers, seem to identify the whole of me with the part I name, notice and welcome, and that can lead to misunderstandings. (These misunderstandings seem to happen more frequently in Europe, and rarely on the US West Coast.)

I want to be more conscious of this, more kind to myself and others, and not assume everyone is familiar with this. I want to explain this more explicitly, if that seems helpful.

(more…)

Coming to find liberation

 

I keep seeing how there may be a relative clarity at the global level, and how parts may still be confused, caught up in beliefs, and suffering.

These confused and suffering parts come to visit. And we – as the global whole – can meet them with respect, understanding, and love, and invite them to find what they really are. In this way, they can find their own liberation.

Love addiction

 

Most of us are – to varying degrees – addicted to love.

And most of us try to find that love from a partner, family, friends, animals and so on.

The deepest desire for this love addiction is… love, and the best way to give it to this part of ourselves is to meet that part with respect, understanding and love, and meet all the other parts of us in the same way when they come to visit.

A deep desire for all these parts of our experience is to be met with respect, understanding and love, and to be recognized as love – sometimes worried love. Another deep desire for these parts is to recognize themselves not only as love, but also as awakeness itself, and that which allows all of these and also the labels and images of of love and awakeness.

When I hold satsang with parts of my experience, I find that their deepest desire is to align more closely and consciously with reality. Love addiction shows the way to noticing all as already love, meeting it with love, and for it to look even closer and find itself as (what a thought would call) awakeness itself.

Meeting what’s here with love

 

I keep noticing and exploring this:

For me, there was initially a “global” clarity where reality noticed itself. That which is and goes beyond all that is woke up to itself, still functioning through this human self. Then, there was a honey moon phase that lasted for several years. And then the beginning of the dark night of the soul, gradually and then quite intense and complete. And this dark night is an invitation for the different parts of the psyche to align with reality, and recognize themselves as reality. There is an invitation to recognize these parts as love, meet them with respect and love, and invite these to recognize their deepest longing and what they really are.

And that’s a process which can be very helpful at any time. A part of the psyche comes up, and it’s in pain because a belief says it’s something to push away or cling to. The part feels isolated and rejected, because it is, so when it surfaces “I” – the whole – experience the pain of that isolation and rejection. So the remedy is to notice it’s already allowed, welcome it, thank it for protecting, finding curiosity about how it protects and what it protects (the image of a me or I), asking it how it would like me to meet it, ask it what it’s deepest desire it – what would satisfy it forever, and invite it to explore what it really is (what a thought may label awakeness). When this part feels respected and loved, and recognizes who it is (it’s deepest desire) and what it is (awakeness), the whole experiences this love and respect. The part and the whole allows itself to relax. There is a sense of well being and contentment.

This is a practical, simple way of giving ourselves what we seek in others. It’s a practical, simple way of exploring “unconditional” love. How is it to welcome what’s here? Recognize it’s here to protect me? Recognize it’s love? Notice my own love for it? Meet it with respect? Ask it what it’s deepest desire is? Ask it what it really is.

Another question is, how does this influence how I relate to the wider world? How is it when I find more familiarity with meeting what comes up in me in this way? To be a sage holding satsang with what’s here? How is it when I recognize that the wider world is not different? That it’s all part of my world of images? All this awakeness? That which allows this awakeness and its many forms?

One thing is a global clarity. Another is to welcome and invite all the parts of the psyche to find this clarity for themselves. Realign with this clarity, with reality.

(more…)

The part that shuts down

 

Yesterday, the part that shuts down came up strongly a couple of times. It’s the part that holds onto painful beliefs as if it’s a matter of life and death. (Which it is, in a sense, for that identification.) In the moment, I may go for a walk, watch something entertaining on YouTube, or do something else until the storm passes. I may also write down beliefs that come up and do some shaking.

Later, such as this afternoon, I find it helpful to do ho’oponopono on that part of me (in the situation it came up), hold satsang with it, and take these beliefs to inquiry.

Fragmentation

 

Here is something I notice these days:

When several subpersonalities surface, each with their own beliefs and worldviews formed in different situations (and recreated and maintained now), there may be a sense of fragmentation. And, in a sense, many or all of these subpersonalities are insane. They operate from certain beliefs which “I”, as a global whole, recognize as insane. There is insanity here when these surface, and yet “I” as a whole, this clear awakeness, is not insane.

It’s a strange situation, with all of this which a thought may label fragmentation and insanity. And yet this too is very natural. It’s the suffering parts of the mind surfacing to be seen, felt and loved. They surface to find liberation from their own suffering. They surface to align with clarity, love and reality, and integrate in a different and more mature way into the psyche as a whole.

(more…)

Fear of being trapped, fear of being alone

 

I keep noticing these parts of me, and hold satsang with them:

There is a fear of being trapped – in a relationship, work, place. A fear that if I go into something, I will have to stay in for the rest of my life.

There is a fear of being alone (unlovable, unloved). A fear of missing out.

There is a fear of being paralyzed, numbed, by these two other fears. A fear of not being able to move on (resolve it, heal it).

So I can hold satsang with each of these, one at a time.

Note: This is also a reminder that parts of me comes in pairs, as parts of a polarity, and that there is also a part watching it with it’s own concerns. All of these wish to be met with respect and love, they wish for their own healing and alignment with reality.

(more…)

Aspects of me feeling rejected or welcome

 

I keep noticing this:

When I reject parts of me – emotions, images, thoughts, identification, sensations etc. – these, quite naturally, experience themselves as rejected. They feel unloved, isolated, lost. And since they are parts of me, I feel that way.

And when I instead welcome them, thank them, find love for them, recognize them as love, invite them to recognize themselves for what they are, then they feel welcome, loved, at home, liberated. And I feel the same, since they are parts of me.

It’s very obvious. And yet, since most of us are trained to push away parts of ourselves and our experience, it may not be so obvious until there is an intentional exploration of this.

As usual, there is a lot more to explore here. What is this “I” rejecting or welcoming? Is there just rejecting or welcoming? And what is this rejecting and welcoming? Is it really what it at first appears to be? It is possible to reject, is it true?

Inquiry, prayer, meditation, therapy, life

 

Holding satsang with aspect of the psyche is inquiry, prayer, meditation, therapy and life all in one.

It’s curiosity, exploration, inquiry. It’s taking a closer look to see what’s there.

It’s devotion, gratitude, humility. It’s a form of prayer.

It’s noting that which is already open to what’s here, and finding what I am as that. It’s basic meditation.

It benefits from and supports a more stable attention. It’s a form of training a more stable attention.

It invites subpersonalities to heal, liberate, and notice what they really are. It has some of the same effects as therapy.

And it’s life. All of it is an expression of life. And daily life brings subpersonalities into awareness, and is where any changes are lived.

Realizing the nature of illusion and reality, at global and local levels

 

I keep returning to this these days:

It seems that there are two things that can be realized: The nature of illusion, the dynamics around taking images and thoughts as true. And the nature of reality, what we are, which can be labelled presence, love, awakeness, all of this appearing as form, and capacity for all of this.

This realization is ongoing, reality keeps revealing itself to itself.

And it can be realized at two levels: At a global level, as the whole of what’s here, the whole field of awareness. And at a local level, by subpersonalities, aspects of the psyche.

This realization by subpersonalities is especially interesting for me now.

The way they operate is often formed early in life, and – for most of us – within a worldview of separation. They  operate as if there is a separate self here to protect and take care of. And this made perfect sense at the time, and as long as the nature of illusion/reality is not to some extent realized.

At some point, after there is some realization of the nature of illusion/reality, these subpersonalities surface to find their own liberation. They wish to find liberation from their unease and beliefs. They wish to rest.

And this can be done by holding satsang with them.

As Pamela Wilson also points out: Before, they protected me. Now, they invite me to become a sage.

Tense, lost, alienated vs welcome, loved, at home

 

It seems astonishing when first discovered, and also very simple and obvious.

For most of my life, I have pushed away and struggled with my experience. I have trained myself in pushing away, and I have created a good deal of suffering for myself that way. I tie myself up in a knot.

There is a simple dynamic at play here: I push away parts of myself and my experience, these feel tense, lost and alienated, so I feel tense, lost and alienated.

It’s amazing how simple and powerful it is to instead welcome what’s here. It seems so natural, so healing. I find the love I am seeking, the sense of coming home I have longed for.

I welcome what’s here, thank it for protecting me, thank it for it’s love for me, and perhaps thank it for it’s courage in relaxing, and let it know I need it’s strength.

And there is a simple dynamic at play here too: It feels welcome. Appreciated. Recognized for what it is. (A strategy of protecting, coming from love). It feels welcome, loved and at home, so I feel welcome, loved, and at home.

This supports me in living from this in my life – in how I relate to myself, others, and the world.

And it invites my creative and kind intelligence to be lived through my life, in how I relate to myself, others, and the world.

Devotion

 

I see how identified mind is devoted to me. It’s devoted to my protection, my safety. It loves me deeply. (And the “me” here is it’s image of me.)

It’s innocence, it’s worried love, and it’s doing its best.

I also see that meeting it this way feels honest and real. The more I get to know it, the more I see it is – honestly, genuinely – innocence. It is worried love. It is devoted to me. It’s there to protect me.

I find genuine appreciation, gratitude and love for it.

Getting more familiar with it, I also see how it was formed – most likely – in very early childhood. And it was formed from observing what others were doing, specifically my parents and older brother. And that too is innocence. It’s love.

(more…)

Masks can hide & reveal

 

I am staying at a friend of a friend’s house in Marin, and he has a large mask collection on the wall – from many different cultures and traditions. Some of these are actively used by him at different events.

It reminds me that masks can be seen as hiding something, and are sometimes used this way.

They can be used to reveal something, to bring something out.

And they can do both. They can hide our ordinary and conventional identity. And this may free us up to reveal other identities in us, other ways of being in the world. It’s quite beautiful, and perhaps one of the reasons why masks play such a big role in many traditional cultures around the world.

Awakening process

 

Here are perhaps a few characteristic phases and elements of the awakening process, some from own experience (A-D) and some from what I have heard from others (E).

(A) An initial draw, interest, curiosity. This may happen through a crisis of some sort, or just be a curiosity. I didn’t have this phase, or you could say it was initiated by (C) and happened parallel with the other ones.

(B) A dismemberment, reorganization, setting the ground for (C). This one happened for a year before (C) for me, in the form of a mysterious illness, and continued in a more intensified form within (C). This is also called a dark night of the senses and may be experienced as being pulled apart and put together differently.

(C) An initial awakening, glimpse, opening or expansion. This is the carrot, the honeymoon. For me, this happened early in life, was intense and lasted for many years.

(more…)