Brief pointers


My writing here tends to consist of brief and simple pointers.

Why? I suspect it’s a combination of reasons. Perhaps it’s because that’s what I seem to benefit the most from myself. Perhaps because it requires less effort. Perhaps because it leaves more room for own exploration and discovery.

And for others, and for me at other times, I know that something else may be more interesting and helpful. Perhaps more flowing and personal writing. Or more poetic and heartfelt writing. Or more detailed and comprehensive writing.


Donate to Mystery of Existence


Due to a relatively high volume of visitors to this site, combined with having chosen to not put any advertisement here, it does cost more than I expected to host this website.

So, if you find the content here helpful or interesting, or something you would like to see around so others can benefit from it, would you consider making a donation? Any amount is welcome.

Thank you in advance! And, of course, I appreciate you as a visitor either way.

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Brief update


I am writing less now than I have previously. It’s not planned. It’s just what’s happening.

As usual, I can make up stories about it. I can say it’s because my system needs more rest and healing. Or I am prioritizing practical things in my life. Or I have said most of what I wanted to say. Or I am getting a bit bored with my own writing, I am not surprising myself as much as I would like to.

There may be something to each of those, but the reality is that I don’t know and I don’t really need to know. Life happens. I have stories about it. And it’s OK to see that those stories can be helpful while also not being “it”.

Blog update


Dear reader

Just a brief update to say I am still here. I seem to go through cycles of posting, and find myself in a more quiet phase where most of my time is spent on Vortex Healing for myself and others. I do have topics and ideas for several new posts and they will come up in the next few days and weeks. Also, if you have feedback or ideas for topics, send me a message.

Absent of I


What does “absent of I” mean?

Simply, it means that what I take myself to be is, when I look, unfindable. Whether what I take myself to be is a me or an I, a human self, a body, a deficient or inflated self, a doer, an observer, a soul, awareness, Spirit, or something else.

When I look, I cannot find any of these outside of images, words, or sensations. And those aren’t “it” either.

Unfindable doesn’t mean doesn’t exist. It just means unfindable.

P.S. The URL for this blog is

How I benefit from what others share


Whatever stories are here – about experiences, insights, pointers etc. – are really questions.

And when I share – or have an impulse to share – these, I sometimes notice hesitation.

Here are some of the fears and beliefs behind this hesitation:

 I am not qualified to share this. Others can do it better. What I say/write may put someone on a wrong track. It’s not an absolute truth, so there is no point sharing it. It’s better to be quiet. I am responsible for how it’s received. (What if what I write here is wrong, puts someone on the wrong track? I know everything here is provisional, stepping stones, so why write about it at all?) 

When these beliefs come up, I can take each one to inquiry and see what I find. And I also sometimes remind myself of how I benefit from what others say or write.

Here are some of the ways I benefit from what others share:

(a) I sometimes feel connected, it’s a relief to see that others are on a similar path.

(b) I may get pointers that are valuable to me.

(c) I sometimes explore the topic by fleshing it out for myself, use different perspectives, take it a step further, etc.

(d) I sometimes go to the TAs of what’s been said and find examples of how these are as or more true.

(e) I sometimes imagine beliefs behind what’s said or written, find a situation where I had those thoughts, and do inquiry.

These and some related inquiries brings me back to myself and reminds me that what I share is for my own benefit. And since I do it for myself, I wish it to be as clear and sincere as possible.


Putting thoughts on paper


Often, the best advice is what we already know: It helps to put thoughts down on paper.

When I am caught up in stressful or churning thoughts, it helps to write them down. And when I experience a sense of unease or distress, it helps to identify the fearful and stressful thoughts behind it and write these down. Identifying the fearful thoughts behind unease brings what was nebulous into focus. Some stressful thoughts may appear a bit silly when put on paper, and the edge is taken off them. Writing stressful thoughts down relieves the mind from thinking it has to keep rehearsing and churning on them. And now that these thoughts are on paper, I can take them to inquiry.

It’s similar with insights. When I don’t write them down, the mind sometimes tells itself it needs to rehearse and remember them. When I write them down, the mind is more free to move on. (Of course, if I believe it’s an insight, it’s important etc., the mind will still stay somewhat glued to it.)


Old blogs and rants


I just added a link to my old blogs in the about section, and thought I would add them here too.

Here is a list of my my old blogs, where the most interesting one may be the Rants. It’s mostly about US politics, and I see  lots of beliefs there!

I also have a few old essays listed, and these are also included and more easily read on this site.

Ecospirituality – an outline for a presentation I gave in Madison, Wisconsin.

Ecospirituality: an outline of a worldview – text fragments for an older website.

Ecopsychology, ecospirituality, deep ecology and health – a letter translated from Norwegian.

Økopsykologi, økospiritualityet, dypøkologi og helse – et åpent brev

Absent of I


Absent of I.


(a) The sense of I is gone.

(Has happened at times.)

(b) Identification with the image of I is gone.

(Happens now and then.)

(c) Identification may be here, and recognized as simply identification.

(More current.)

(d) Identification is here, sometimes recognized as simply identification and sometimes not.


Writing from and for the most unclear parts


I sometimes write from a more wise, experienced and clear part of me, and notice it doesn’t feel quite right. What’s more interesting to me now is to welcome and write from and to the confused parts. One form that takes is asking myself, how is it to meet this with kindness? Another is through identifying beliefs, write them down (here and on paper), and take them to inquiry (most often in person with someone).

This blog


I notice that I hesitate publishing most of the posts I write here, and leave them as unpublished drafts.

When I look further, I find two reasons, two unexamined beliefs.

I need to be careful about what I write. Yes, that is true. Some folks will take whatever they read or hear as true, just because they want to. It is good to be responsible, try to be as accurate and consientious as possible, and make it as useful as possible. But I can also trust that just like me, most people are discriminating and actively wrestle with and process what they read and hear. And whether we actively digest or not, life will hold up a mirror to us and present us with feedback and opportunities to notice, learn, and grow.

I need to be better informed, more experience, and further digest the material before I put it down. Yes, that is true as well. I write about things I am not trained in, and have not explored nearly as much as I could. It is good to notice and acknowledge to myself and others. And yet, these are just personal explorations. And it is fine to write from a place that is somewhat uninformed, inexperienced, and half-digested. It is inevitable in a relative and conventional sense, since someone – usually a large group of people – are more experienced, better informed, and have digested whatever it may be far more thoroughly than I have. And it is inevitable in an absolute sense in that we all, even the most experienced and insightful, just barely scratch the surface of what is there.

This is all part of my conscious view on the world. But somewhere in me, it hasn’t quite sunk in. It is still not quite processed and there is still some lack of clarity. there is room for allowing it to sink in, and for more parts to reorganize and realign.


Simplicity for simple minded folks


Very occasionally, I go to my Feedly and enjoy taking a look at a variety of blogs, including some on integral and Buddhist topics.

It is a good reminder that all blogs find their own niche. Many Buddhist and integral blogs do sophisticated and in-depth analysis of a variety topics, and offer an important and compassionate service that way. I enjoy reading it, and find a great deal of appreciation for what they do.

And in some ways, it makes it clearer to me that this blog is more about simplicity. Simple and often obvious reminders, which is what I need in my own life right now.


Why this blog?


Why am I writing this blog?

The honest answer is that I don’t know. So it is good I don’t really need to know.

I used to have a paper journal, and then decided to move it to this blog to see what would happen. Would I connect with like minded people? Would I get “hey stupid” type comments, or at least alternative perspectives, which would help me recognize something new about a topic or myself? Would it help me move beyond where I am?

I did make some connections. Disappointingly few leave “hey stupid” type comments, so not much to learn there. And I am not sure if it has helped me move beyond where I am, although it may have in some areas.


Self-indulgent, and also universal?


A rambling post…..

Blogs – including this one – can easily be seen as self-indulgent and self-absorbed, an expression of our individualistic and navel-gazing contemporary culture, and so on. All of that may be true. I often have the thought that this blog is way too self-absorbed.

And yet, if it also is universal – a mirror for what is going on here and for also for others – it may be interesting and even at times helpful.

It also seems that there are two ways of being self-absorbed.


WordPress housekeeping



MoE mysteriously went down last night, and it turned out to be a simple problem: 

After several years of use, the MySQL tables needed repair.

I had neglected doing this (even if I do it regularly when I work on desktop databases), problems accumulated behind the scenes, and something eventually broke down giving me a message to upgrade the database…

Database Upgrade Required. Your WordPress database is out-of-date, and must be upgraded before you can continue. The upgrade process may take a while, so please be patient.

And then a long list of error messages when I did…

WordPress database error: [MySQL server has gone away]

The fix is simple and explained here: How To Quickie: Repair MySQL Tables.

(Thank God for friendly and helpful folks at the WP user forum.)

donations now accepted



From my days in the non-profit world, I learned that there are many out there who have surplus money and look for somewhere to invest it. So here it goes: an opportunity to donate to Mystery of Existence. And I thought, if I am going to welcome donations, why not offer a wide range of options.


I should be honest here and say that I although I live frugally (by choice), I have what I need materially. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t appreciate a surprise which pays for another year of blog hosting, a cup of tea, or a retreat…!




I am upgrading to WP 2.7 so things may go out of whack for a few hours.

I did a manual upgrade this time (have used Fantastico in the past), and it was painless and quick. Was able to do it while waiting for the dinner to be ready, with time to spare. And the new admin interface looks great. 

If you are looking for a blog platform, you can’t go wrong with WordPress – either using their free hosting system at or installing WP with your own domain name and using a paid hosting service.

Absent of i-dentification


When I first decided on the URL for this blog, I saw it as refering to an absence of a sense of I.
I now realize that a simpler and more clear way of looking at it is as absence of i-dentification.
If I look for an absence of a sense of I, I am looking for something happening within content of experience. There will be times when there is no sense of I, but it is within content of experience. And as any content of experience, it comes and goes as a guest, on its own.
So absent of i-dentification is a little simpler and clearer. There is an absence of identification with content of experience, whatever that is, because what we are recognizes itself in all of it.
For me now, there is a vague sense of an “I” here. It is a gestalt made up of a set of sensations in the head area and the images of a center and an I with an Other. But when I look at it, I see that it is just like any other content of experience. It has form but no substance. It is the Ground of no-thing taking a form while never being anything else than no-thing. It is awakeness itself taking this particular form.
There is still some identification with this gestalt, but that too is awakeness itself.
Identification or not are both expressions of awakeness. When there is identification with experience, it doesn’t quite notice itself as awakeness and all forms as itself. And when it is awake to itself within and as whatever happens, there is a release of this identification. Either way is fine. Both are expressions of this awakeness. Awakeness exploring itself in a richness of ways. Although one tends to bring a slight sense of dissatisfaction and an impulse for a shift into the other. 

Migration done


I finished migrating the blog to a new server and it looks OK from this end. If you see anything that doesn’t seem to work, let me know. Also, it would be fun to hear from readers in general – about anything at all or just a simple hi!

The host is now a small orange, which have good prices, reliable service and excellent tech support. And as before, it is run on WordPress and uses the Foliage template.

Journal on vacation


The journal is still on vacation, apart from possibly finishing a couple of draft posts. My sense is that something needs to shift (not necessarily anything major), so it seems right to go in “neutral” for a while. There is still a great number of posts here to look through, if you find it of value.

Update: There will be some occasional posts from now on, although less frequent than before.

Blogisattva Award Nominees


The Blogisattva Award Nominees have been announced!

Here are the blog of the year nominees:

Michael died last month, so I find it especially poignant to read through his blog… a good reminder of impermanence, and of the courage available to us even in difficult times.

I also see that Mystery of Existence is honored with four nominations! Best achievement blogging on Buddhist practice or Dharma, best achievement blogging on matters philosophical and psychological, and twice under best philosophy or psychology post.

This blog


A few things about this blog…

I write it for my own sake, to get down on paper whatever comes up for me so I can move on, so I don’t have to try to think about or remember it anymore. I use it as a way to explore topics. A way to describe experience and (temporary) insights. A way to, hopefully, notice where I am stuck. I way to record whatever comes up when I plant seeds for myself in the form of questions or a topic.

And as for whomever may read it, it may serve as a pointer for something they can investigate for themselves. It may help clarify what is true for them, in experience or beliefs, even if it is very different from what is here. It may point folks in the direction of practices that work for them. (Any of those would be great.)

And most importantly, whatever is written here is only a question. Something to explore further. A starting point for investigation.

And from limited experience.

This blog and how to break out


For a long time, there has been voices whispering in my ear about this blog… it is too repetitive, too serious, too obsessive, too much about figuring things out which cannot be pinned down, too narrow focus, too much of an isolated island, too much of an attempt to be balanced which also takes the spice out of it…

It is of course what comes up, and I am just the scribe… but now, the impulse to break out of it is coming up stronger.

And since I also want to break out from the island, why not include others? Maybe others want to break out from their islands as well?

Here is an idea that came up in a chat with deepsurface last night:

Set up a blog that is specifically for taking other perspectives than the ones we usually take… it will be an exercise in letting go, in finding valid points in what are usually the opposite views, for some it would be an exploration of different addresses in the aqal model, and could even be a good deal of fun.

Some ideas for guidelines:

  • Take a different view from your usual one (a reversal, or if you want to be more specific, then as defined by the aqal model… decide on a level, line, quadrant and/or type)
  • Find good points, and keep it short (write intelligently and succinctly from the perspective)
  • Have fun, remember it is only a game.

And as a side-discussion, we can talk about our experiences with it, what we discovered, how well we stayed with the chosen perspective, and so on.