Dream: inviting the woman nobody likes to a party to celebrate her

 

I am organizing a potluck party with friends and colleagues. (At a university?) I realize that a woman nobody likes has her birthday that day, so I decide that the party will be a surprise birthday party for her. Most people have arrived and she is not there so I go to her office to remind her about the party. She is taking with someone about her new poetry collection which consists of angry, bitter poems about violence and abuse. She says she won’t come (most likely because she knows nobody likes her), so I tell her the secret, that the party is for her and it would be nice if she could come for at least a short while. She seems happily surprised.

I had this dream the night after I started working on an old pattern in me which comes from my mother. (It’s a nagging dynamic which sometimes is triggered when I am tired and/or stressed. I experience as an inner pressure, slight constant panic, and that nothing is right. And sometimes, I express it in my words and actions. It’s not something I am proud of, and it’s time to explore it and perhaps clear it now.) The woman in the dream is this part of me, which I invited to a surprise party in her honor. She, the one nobody likes (the other parts of me don’t like), is included and celebrated.

When I invited in healing for it last night, using Vortex Healing (Vortex Therapy, Angelic Heart, de-networking etc.), it felt like a deep welcoming of a part that has been exiled in me. The dream seems to reflect this welcoming and reminds me that it can even be a celebration.

Healing past relationships

 
Star Trek Continues episode 4, “The White Iris”

How do we find healing for past relationships? This Star Trek Continues episode shows an approach that can be an important piece of the puzzle, and one I personally have found very helpful.

Captain Kirk is plagued by unresolved past relationships, and he finds resolution through revisiting the places and people (in the holodeck and in his mind) and a sincere and intimate dialog.

We may not have a holodeck to play out past relationships and situations, but we do have our mind and imagination. That’s where the past lives anyway. What I have found most helpful is to imagine and have a dialog with a healthy and awake version of the person. (Otherwise, I may just communicate with conditioning.)

For instance, I did this with some kids from my elementary and middle school. I revisited my uncomfortable experiences from that time. Imagined the most healthy and awake versions of those kids. Shared with them how I felt when they treated me as they sometimes did, how I wish they had treated me, and what I would like from them now. And they responded from a healthy and awake place, sharing their own pain, why they had behaved as they did, and their sincere well-wishing for me. I found it helpful to do this a few times, each time looking at different sides of the situation.

As a side note, I’ll mention that I just discovered Star Trek Continues (a fan-made follow-up to the original series), and find it as good and enjoyable as the original series. (And, of course, equally quirky, camp, and cheesy, and that’s part of the fun.)

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Why befriending life?

 

Why would we want to befriend life? Why would we want to befriend our experience, including the uncomfortable experiences? Why would we want to befriend different parts of ourselves?

The simple answer is that it’s more comfortable. Struggle is uncomfortable, and befriending is comfortable.

We may not see this at first. We may be trained – by our culture, parents, and friends – that struggle is the way to deal with our uncomfortable experiences. We try to avoid, fix, or get rid of it, and we do so both in immediacy (here and now) and in our life by seeking some situations and states and avoid other (which is generally a sane strategy).

We may accidentally befriend an uncomfortable experience and notice it’s actually not as scary as it seems and it comes with a lot of benefits. (Less struggle, more sense of wholeness and comfort.) This may open up something in us and we may find curiosity about befriending our experience. We may set out to explore it more intentionally, perhaps through mindfulness, natural rest, inquiry, heart-centered practices, yoga, tai chi, or something else.

We may also discover that struggle with our experience doesn’t really work. It doesn’t really go away. And we may be put in a situation where this is made very obvious to us, at least if we are open to seeing it.

Since we wish to avoid discomfort and seek comfort, the impulse to befriend is built into us. Of course, if and to what degree we notice and explore it varies. Sometimes, we are ready and drawn to it. Other times, we may not be. (And that’s OK.)

Another way to look at this is that in our own immediate experience, we and all of existence is one. What happens within each of our sense fields happens within and as consciousness, and in our immediate experience, we are all of it. We are all of existence as it appears to us.

So when we struggle with anything, we are struggling with ourselves. We pretend there is an absolute separation. And that’s uncomfortable.

If it appears that we are not this oneness, it’s because our mind is good at creating the appearance of a self and a world, and that we are this self and not the rest of the world. I assume this has an evolutionary function and has helped humanity to survive. It’s also an expression of the creativity of consciousness.

Usually, the transition from apparent separation to a more conscious oneness is gradual and goes over time (with some glimpses, jumps, apparent setbacks, rough patches etc.). And that’s not a bad thing since we need some time to reorient and figure out how to live in the world from oneness. We need to take the best from our life as apparently separate and bring it with us while also let go of the less helpful aspects of it. We need to learn how to function well and effectively in the world while also operating from oneness.

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A hole in us: filling it, seeing it’s not there, and living the opposite

 

Many of us experience that there is a hole in us. Something is lacking or missing. We are not quite enough. Not quite OK.

This is created by beliefs we have about ourselves and the world, and identifications. And it’s rooted in our culture, our family patterns, and our own journey through life.

We can approach this in a few different ways. Tracing the sense of lack back to a belief and identity, and seeing how it (most likely) was created early in life, can be helpful in itself. It helps us see it more as an object (a part of us) than a subject (what we are). Being honest about it with ourselves and others helps for the same reason, and it helps us see it’s a universal experience.

We can dialogue with these parts of us. Get to know them. Befriend them. Listen to what they want to say to us. Be a friend to them. Give them our kindness, wisdom, and love. (Parts work.)

We can give these parts of ourselves love through heart-centered practices such as ho’oponopno and tonglen. And we can do the same towards ourselves as a whole, and towards those who trigger these parts of us now and in the past.

We can seek out situations where we feel loved and cared for, by ourselves and others. We can seek out people and communities that genuinely love and care for us.

We can increase our overall sense of well being. For instance through mindful movement (yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema etc.). Training a more stable attention (e.g. by bringing attention to the sensations of the breath). Find gratitude for our life, both what we like and perhaps what we don’t so much like (all-inclusive gratitude practices). This creates a different context that makes it easier for the not-enough parts of us to reorient and heal. (Although the healing may require one or more of the other approaches as well.)

We can identify and investigate the beliefs creating a sense of lack and not-OKness, including underlying and related beliefs. We can come to find what’s more true for us (and more peacefully true) than these stressful beliefs. (The Work.)

We can explore how our mind creates its own experience of these beliefs, identities, and stressful situations triggering them. We can see how they appear in each of our sense fields (sensations, thoughts, images, sounds, taste, smell etc.), and how the sense fields combine to make them seem solid and real to us. And through this investigation, the “glue” looses its strength and the sensations appears more as sensations without (stressful) meaning, and the thoughts appears more as thoughts without (stressful) substance and reality. (Living Inquiries.)

We can use energy work (often combined with some insights or simple inquiry) to release these beliefs, emotional issues, and identifications. (For me, Vortex Healing.)

We can even shift into what we are (that which these experiences happens within and as), and notice that it’s all what a thought may call consciousness. It’s all happening within and as what we are. Sometimes, we call it the divine or the One. (Big Mind process, headless experiments.)

So when we experience a hole in ourselves, we can fill it through befriending this part of ourselves and giving it care and love, and we can see through it and see it’s ultimately not real in the way it seemed to be. And we can also live in a way that helps us reorient and rewire and shows that these parts of us are not who we are. (Living turnarounds in The Work of Byron Katie.)

Finally, we must all find our own way through this. The examples I gave above are just examples based on what am familiar with and have found helpful. And finding our own way often includes finding someone who has gone through it themselves and can guide us through it.

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The beauty of parts language, and when to use it and not

 

What is parts language? It’s when we are aware of parts of us, or we can call them sub-personalities, anything in us that are somewhat like their own little beings. And we acknowledge it to ourselves or someone else in words. 

For instance, I may say “a part of me is scared of this!” or “a part of me is angry that it didn’t happen”. 

When there is a mutual understanding of parts language, I find it very helpful. It signals that we are aware of something in us, and we are not so identified with it. There is enough space around it so we recognize it as a part, and we don’t feel compelled to believe what it tells us or act on it. It’s just an acknowledgment of something that’s here that we notice. 

When there is not a mutual understanding of parts language, it can be misunderstood. I have experienced this when I assume someone is familiar with parts language (a psychologist or therapist), I use parts language, and they respond as if they think I am completely identified with the view of the part I am noticing and giving words to. 

It can be quite dismaying. And I have also discovered it can be difficult to explain and clear up. 

For instance, when I went through my process of being officially diagnosed with CFS, I met with a psychologist and used parts language freely. I mentioned several parts I have noticed, and I saw it as innocent and completely ordinary since I am used to using parts language with therapists and the parts I mentioned are universal. Somehow, she saw it as if I was completely identified with these parts (why would I otherwise mention it?) and that they were strong (again, from her perspective, why would I otherwise mention it?). It led to complications and a longish process to clear it up which involved seeing specialists. Fortunately, they realized quickly that she had misunderstood and misread the situation. 

So why do we even mention what we notice? Especially if it’s not necessarily strong and we are not so identified with it? For me, it has to do with transparency. I notice something in me and wish to share. Also, when I put words on it, and especially if I speak it out loud, it removes some of the power and charge out of it. It is named. It becomes an object. Trolls burst in daylight. And it’s also a reminder to myself to perhaps later explore it more fully and invite in healing for it. 

Parts language can be very beautiful and helpful. And, as I have learned, it’s good to not automatically assume that the other understands it even if I a part of me thinks they should because they are a psychologist. I also need to remember that I lived most of my adult life on the west coast of the US (Orgegon and California), so when I talk to people in Norway – even if they are psychologists or therapists – they may not understand. Norway is, after all, often quite provincial when it comes to these things. And, yes, a part of me feels dismayed by it! 

Victim and victimizer

 

I am briefly revisiting this topic:

When we explore identities, it’s helpful to explore both ends of the polarity.

For instance, if we have chronic and bothersome issues in our lives, we may also have a victim identity connected with it. It’s helpful to explore this identity and perhaps find healing for it. At the same time, we have a victimizer part in us. We couldn’t have a victim part without the victimizer part. They depend on each other to exist, and they hold each other in place. If we only address the victim part, we only do half (or less) of the work and the release will be partial.

An example from my own life is the victim identity connected with the chronic fatigue (CFS). Yes, there is a victim identity and it’s helpful to inquire into it and invite healing and release for it (through inquiry, TRE, Vortex Healing etc.). But that’s less than half the picture. The rest is the internal victimizer that creates and holds the victim-identity in place. This one may be more difficult to notice since we tend to see it mostly “out there” in life, circumstances, or others. But it’s equally, or really, in here, in me. And that’s where I need to explore it if I wish to find more freedom around the whole victim-victimizer dynamic.

The freedom and relief that comes from this work makes it worth it in itself. And, who knows, it may even impact my physical health. The release may support my body in healing itself better. So it’s definitely worth the time and investment required to find some healing around this and many other identity-sets.

Note: When I have worked on my own internal victimizer using Vortex Healing, I have found it helpful to approach it from slightly different angles. For instance, intending to work on the victimizer, the bully, the self-cruelty, and more, one at a time.

Also, when I say that working on just one of the pair of parts or subpersonalities, it’s because there is the other half, and there is also the awareness and exploration of the dynamic within the pair. So if we work on just one of a pair, it’s less than half of what we need to explore to find a fuller release.

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Article: Ways to help children with the “critical critter”

 

5 Ways to Help Children Silence Negative Self-Talk – Shrinking The ‘Critical Critter’ (by Dr Hazel Harrison)

I am a little ambivalent about this article. On the one hand, it has several good approaches. It does help to see these voices in us as voices or subpersonalities or even beings. It does help to dialog with it.

And yet, in this particular approach, the voice remains a problem, an “other”, or even a subtle enemy. Something to keep at a distance. Something to be vigilant about. Something where we can’t really let down our guard. And that’s tiring and doesn’t lead to any real sense of resolution.

For me, the next step is befriending this part of me. Getting to know it. Listen to what it wishes to tell me. Find it’s deepest wish for me. And through that, perhaps see that it’s on my side. It may be here to protect me. It may be here out of kindness and love. It may wish to help but not really know how.

It just knows the harsh approach, which it may have learned from parents, teachers, and society in general. So through befriending, getting to know it, patience, respect, listening, and dialog, it may learn a different approach. I learn how to relate to it differently. And through that, there is an invitation for it to relate to me differently.

These parts of me want what I want. They want to be met, heard, loved, respected. They want to be understood. They want their deepest and real motivation heard and understood. They want space to be as they are, and change their approach on their own time.

So with children, the five approaches mentioned in the article may be a good start. And then, we can help children to get to know and befriend these part of themselves. They can see them as scared and frightened animals that wishes to be met with kindness, understanding, and love. Animals that over time will learn to relate to us differently, if we relate to them with kindness and patience.

In this way, we move from a kind of zero-sum approach where we learn to passify the voice (which, at best, is a temporary solution), to a win-win approach where we both get what we deep-down really want.

How would we do this practically? I assume we would have to experiment and see what works best, and also find different approaches for different children. Here are some possibilities:

How does the critical critter (cc) look? Can you make a drawing of it?

When the critical critter comes up, where do you feel it in your body? Can you feel those sensations? Rest with them? Let them be there as they are? And if there is fear of doing that, how does that feel?

How would it be if you made friends with it? How would it react? What would it do? Would it change?

What does the cc really want? Perhaps it wants your best but doesn’t know how? Perhaps it wants you to do better? For you to act so your teachers and parents approve?

Can you ask it if what it really wants is for you to do better? For people in your life to approve of you?

Can you ask it what it wants for you? What does it want you to know? If it could speak, what would it say?

Can you ask it how it can help you better? How would it change so it helps you better? Is it willing to try that?

Not having worked with children in this way, I don’t know exactly what would work the best but these are some things to try out.

Note: The next step would be to notice that all content of mind is mind itself (consciousness, awakeness).  I suspect that would be for a few especially interested, although I could be wrong.

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Discovering that troublesome parts of me are actually on my side

 

Again, a topic I am revisiting in life and here.

Some dynamics of the mind can seem like a problem, an “other”, and even an enemy. It may be uncomfortable emotions, distressing thoughts, compulsions, pain, or something else.

Seeing it as an enemy tends to create additional struggle and discomfort. So we can explore the triggering part of us. How is it get to know it? What happens if I befriend it?

I tend to use ho’oponopono or tonglen to befriend, and also dialogue or inquiry (The Work, Living Inquiries).

When I dialogue with this part, I tend to ask a series of questions. For instance: (a) What do you wish for him (me)? (b) What happens when you do as you do? (c) How could you do it differently? How can you do it in a way that helps you achieve what you really wish for him? (d) What do you want me to know? How can I be of assistance from my side? (The wholeness of my human self.)

What I find is that all these apparently unhelpful or uncomfortable dynamics are here to protect my human self. They are here to be of service. They are here out of kindness and love. The way they do it may be a bit unhelpful, but their intention is protection and care, and comes from love.

When I get to see that more clearly, perhaps through additional questions and explorations, I can genuinely say “thank you for your protection, thank you for your service, thank you for your love” to these dynamics.

On thing that happens here is that I see – and feel – that these dynamics come from a wish to protect and serve my human self, and we are on the same side. Before, they may have appeared as an “other”, a problem, or even an enemy. And now, I see that we are actually on the same side. We have the same intention for my human self. That in itself is a big shift. It’s a relief. It’s a new beginning. It’s a starting point for us – the dynamic and me as the wholeness of the human self – to work together in a more intentional and coordinated way.

Note: Are these really “parts” of me? In one way, yes. It can help the mind create an image of it when it’s called a part which can make a dialogue easier. They are more habital dynamics. Movements more than a thing.

Also, are they unhelpful or uncomfortable? Not inherently. They just operate as they do, and our minds says it’s helpful or not. And the minds struggle with it, with these parts of itself, is what creates the discomfort.

And this is something we tend to rediscover over and over, each time one of these dynamics surface. We often need to rediscover it with each new surfacing dynamic, although as we get more familiar with it it tends to be easier and quicker each time. Our system gets used to this new way of operating.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?