Why do these approaches work on so many issues?

 

When I talk about the approaches I use to healing and awakening, I am often aware that it sometimes can sound too good to be true. They seem to work on a wide range of issues and work pretty well – at least if used with skill and over some time.

So why do they work on such a wide range of issues? The simple answer is that they tend to address underlying issues and dynamics. They go below the surface, so they work on a wide range of surface manifestations.

And are they too good to be true? Yes and no. As mentioned above, they tend to work well if used with skill and over time. But it does take work. And if an issue is entrenched, it can take time to clear it.

Here are some examples:

TRE – Tension & Trauma Release Exercises. Therapeutic trembling releases tension out of the body and mind, and that has a wide range of effects. It tends to reduce anxiety, depression, and compulsions. It improves sleep. It can give us a different and more healthy experience of ourselves and the world, and improve our relationship to ourselves, others, and the world.

Inquiry. In inquiry, we examine our beliefs and identifications. Since we often have a layer of beliefs and identifications on top of how we perceive ourselves, others, and life, we can address just about any issue with inquiry. Inquiry can help us release whatever charge is there in our experience of anything. And that means that this too can reduce anxiety, depression, compulsions, and more, especially in relation to something specific.

Vortex Healing. Any issue has a consciousness and energy side. Inquiry tends to approach something from the consciousness side and has an effect on the energy side. Vortex Healing approaches it from the energy side and has an effect on the consciousness side. Vortex Healing can work on emotional or physical issues, relationships, and situations. The deeper reason is that Vortex Healing is divine energy guided by divine consciousness, and since everything is already the divine, only the divine can allow for a deep and thorough healing and clearing of something.

Heart approaches. Ho’oponopono, tonglen, heart prayer, and all-inclusive gratitude practices tend to change our relationship with ourselves, others, and the world. This can be deeply healing and also aligns us with awakening.

My inclination is to seek out approaches that are effective and multi-purpose. Approaches that can be used to work on a wide range of issues, and also invite in healing, awakening, and embodiment. The ones I have mentioned above are among the most powerful I have found so far. (TRE tends to work mostly on healing, although it’s an excellent way to support embodiment of whatever awakening is here.)

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All inclusive practices

 

I tend to be drawn to all-inclusive practices. For instance, ho’oponopono or tonglen where we open the heart to everyone and everything, gratitude practices where nothing is left out, or inquiry where we “leave no stone unturned”.

It makes sense for two reasons. First, all is Spirit. And second, it allows for a more thorough healing, awakening, and embodiment.

Of course, it’s more an orientation than something we can completely do. But it does seem to be a helpful orientation and guideline.

Taking responsibility for what shows up in my life

 

In the ho’oponopno world, they talk about taking complete responsibility for what shows up in our life.

It seems radical and perhaps nonsensical or even ill advised or dangerous. And yet, when we take full responsibility – for instance through ho’oponopono or tonglen – we may discover something else. We may find that it’s deeply healing and frees us up to engage in life with more clarity and heart.

Whatever is here that’s stressful, painful, or uncomfortable, it’s something I can do ho’oponopono or tonglen with.

I am sorry.

Please forgive me.

I love you.

Thank you.

Say this to the person, situation, or part of yourself you experience as troubling. Repeat over and over until something shifts, and do it some more. Notice any fears that come up, and say the words to these fears before returning to the initial object. I sometimes stay with one sentence for a while and then move on to another. They don’t have to be in sequence.

Alternately, visualize the person you experience as troubling sitting in front of you. When you breathe in, visualize their pain and suffering as dark smoke and breathe it in. When you breathe out, visualize clarity, peace, and love coming out of you and entering the person. (I like to imagine the pain transforming into clarity and love in me, moving over and entering the other person, and filling the other person completely and so it pours and radiates out of the person.) Repeat many times.

In both cases, say it until you feel it more deeply and it gradually becomes a sweet experience. Eventually, it will feel sweet and natural. There will be ease. (When there is a deeply ingrained pattern of seeing someone or something as an enemy, this may take time but it does eventually happen.)

My world is my world. My world is happening within and as this mind, within and as this presence. My world is my images of the world. It’s created by this mind. My experience of my relationship to anyone (including myself) and anything is happening within and created by my mind. My experience of anyone and anything is happening within and is created by my mind.

So using ho’o or tonglen is taking responsibility for how my mind creates its experience of the world. And it’s a healing of my own images and experiences of the world. It’s a deep healing. A deep reconciliation. A deep release of stressful and painful images and stories. A deep alignment with my heart, presence, and reality.

Sometimes, it’s easy to do this. Sometimes, it takes time to get to the point when I am ready to do it. And sometimes, I do it even when something in me fears it – and first with this very natural and understandable fear.

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Dark nights of the soul & trauma

 

There are different varieties of dark nights in a spiritual process. In some ways, there are as many varieties as there are dark nights since each one is somewhat unique.

Still, there seems to be some general categories or facets of dark nights. One category or facet is a dryness or lack of meaning and enthusiasm. Another is an experience of loss of God’s presence or an expansive state. And one is where the lid is taken off of our unprocessed stuff and it emerges to heal and be recognized as spirit itself.

I imagine that each dark night is really an adaption to a new emerging phase, and it’s difficult to the extent we struggle against it and try to hold onto beliefs and identities not compatible with this new phase.

The type where the lid is taken off our unprocessed stuff is especially interesting to me. It seems that it’s mainly connected with trauma. A lifetime of trauma surfaces to be seen, felt, loved, healed, and for spirit to recognize it as itself. And it’s not only one lifetime of trauma, but several. Trauma from our ancestors is passed on through the generations (behavior and epigenetics) and our culture. Trauma may even be passed on from past lives. No wonder such a process can be intense and feel unbearable.

I find it helpful to think of it in a trauma perspective. It makes it more grounded and concrete and points to some ways we can work on it and ease some of the pain inherent in it.

It does seem that the process needs to run its course and lives its own life. And it also seems that we can work on certain elements of what’s happening and make the process a little easier on ourselves.

I have found the following helpful for myself:

Therapeutic tremoring (TRE) to release tension and trauma out of the body.

Inquiry (The Work, Living Inquiries) to support release of beliefs and identifications. (These create a struggle with what’s happening, and they are also what hold trauma in place.)

Natural rest. Notice and allow.

Heart centered practices. Ho’oponopono. Tonglen. Metta. Towards myself, suffering parts of myself, and others.

Service and work, as I am able to. (There has been times when all I could do was survive, and other times when service and work has been possible and very helpful for my own process.)

Body-inclusive practices such as Breema, yoga, tai chi, and chi gong.

Nature. Good diet. Herbal medicine. Supportive friends. Gentle exercise.

Understanding of the process. Guidance from someone who has gone through it themselves.

More recently, I have found Vortex Healing to be helpful for me in this process and in general.

Why does the trauma surface in this way, and sometimes in such a dramatic fashion? To me, it seems that life is impatient in clearing us and making us better vessels for whatever awakening is here. Any trauma in our system will prevent a deepening and stable awakening, and an expression of the clarity and love that’s recognized in the awakening. It’s also a very humbling process, which means that identifications are stripped off and we become a little more aligned with reality.

Note: When I wrote “categories or facets of dark nights” it’s because these characteristics sometimes seem to appear one at a time (categories) and sometimes several at once (facets).

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Love your enemies

 

Love your enemies. 

I keep rediscovering and relearning how healing this is.

What my mind makes into an “enemy” can be a person, a situation, a part of myself, an experience, or anything else. As soon as my mind makes anything into an enemy, there is struggle, a sense of separation, and suffering (even if just slight). It’s uncomfortable. It creates unease. It’s how suffering, wounds, and trauma are held in place.

When the mind finds love for it’s “enemies” there is a relaxation, a healing, a reconciliation, a sense of connection (or no separation at all), and receptivity.

So how can we do this? There are many ways to help the mind shift into this.

Tonglen. Give and take. Visualize the “enemy” – whatever it is. See its suffering as dark smoke. Breathe it in. Breathe out light and see it go into and light up the other. (This can feel scary at first. If it does, do tonglen for the scared part. Include it.)

Ho’oponopono. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Say it many times towards the other. Repeat until the sense of separation and sense of it being an enemy softens and dissolves. Here too, if there is fear or resistance coming up, do ho’o towards these parts of the mind.

Prayer. Pray for the health and well-being of the other.

Inquiry. Examine any sense of threat and a threatened one, any sense of solidity of the other (and yourself), any command to see the other as an enemy or not. (Living Inquiries.) This will help soften or dissolve any sense of solidity of what you are examining and it tends to open for receptivity, understanding, kindness, and love.

Love seems to be at the core of healing. Love. Reconciliation. And helping softening and dissolving any sense of solidity of the components (threat, separation, commands) creating a sense of an enemy.

As I have said before, to me the love your enemy pointer is more a pointer for healing than anything else. Although I also see how it can be helpful if it’s taken more as a pointer for how to behave.

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Love your enemy

 

Love your enemy.

I don’t see this as a commandment or even primarily morals.
It has more to do with healing my relationship to what I perceive as an enemy, whether it’s a person, a situation, an illness, a state of experience, or something else.
More accurately, it’s my mind healing it’s own relationship to it’s own imaginations.
When my mind perceives an enemy, there is an imagined separate self and an imagined “other” made into an enemy. And this is painful. My mind is in a futile struggle with itself. (I am not saying that “it’s all in the mind”, I am just focusing on how my mind creates its own experience.)
The alternative is for the mind to find love for it’s own imaginations, independent of what these imaginations are. This allows for reduced struggle and suffering, and relating to life in a more intentional, kind, and even more effective way.
So how can I love my enemy? Or rather, how can I remove the obstacles to love? How can I look through the appearance of an enemy?
I have found different forms of inquiry helpful (The Work, Living Inquiries). Along with releasing trauma from the body through therapeutic trembling (trauma can fuel anxiety and enemy images). And heart-centered practices such as ho’oponopono and tonglen.

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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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All inclusive gratitude, prayer, inquiry

 

I notice how helpful I find all-inclusive practices.

An all-inclusive gratitude practice helps me shift out of a split perception. I write or say I am grateful for….. [anything in my life, what I initially like and don’t like]. It helps me open up for the grace in it all. It invites me to gently and quietly question my assumptions about what went right and wrong, what’s good and bad fortune. It invites me to find the gold in whatever is here.

An all-inclusive prayer helps me find love for my enemies, whether these are things I at first don’t like in myself or the wider world. I pray for the health and well-being of myself, suffering parts of me, others, all beings in the three times, and the Earth, and especially those I have closed down my heart to. This helps me open my heart to all of me and all of life. It helps me open my heart to my whole field of experience, finding love for it. Loving kindness (metta), tonglen, ho’oponopono, Heart Prayer, placing myself and others in the heart flame, and other practices can also be very helpful here.

An all-inclusive inquiry practice helps me leave no stone unturned. I examine even my most basic and cherished assumptions about myself, the world, life and reality. I can use The Work to question any stressful story in my life. I can use the Living Inquiries to question anything that seems real and solid to me. And there are many other forms of inquiry as well.

The reason these practices can be helpful and powerful is that they reflect reality. Reality is one. It’s Spirit. It’s love. It’s aliveness. It’s life. And all-inclusive practices, such as these, invite this seamless whole that we are to recognize itself more fully. It helps shed assumptions about reality, especially about separation, and notice what’s already here and what we already are.

Note: Whatever these practices brings up of wounds, fear, apparent resistance etc. can be brought into the practice. If a wound or fear comes up during the gratitude practice, include it. If it comes up during prayer, pray for that too. If it comes up during inquiry, look at what it is.

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Love is the universal healer

 

Love is the universal healer.

If it doesn’t heal the situation (an illness, circumstances), it heals our relationship to it. And that’s the healing we all deeply crave.

Love can be a feeling, and this can be found through practices such as prayer, loving kindness, tonglen, ho’oponopono, Heart Prayer, Christ meditation, heart flame visualization, and more.

Love can also be independent of feeling, through a falling away of delusion, and Spirit recognizing itself as all there is. This love is a lived love, independent of fleeting feelings.

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Purgatory and love

 

A dark night is a form of purgatory, a cleansing out.

And it’s as much or more about love.

What’s surfacing seeks to be recognized as love, and met with love. It seeks a loving presence.

It seeks to be seen, felt and loved.

It seeks for the believed stories that created it and maintains it to be seen through.

It seeks to be felt as is, and for it’s sensation component to be felt as sensations.

It seeks to be recognized as love, coming from confused love and a wish to protect the apparent separate self, and to be met with love.

It seeks it’s own liberation.

What’s triggering these wounded parts of us also seeks love.

Any situation in the world bringing these parts up in us also seeks love. It seeks to be recognized as love, and met with love.

Any person bringing this up in me comes with an invitation to be met with love.

Any perceived challenging situation is a potential purgatory, in this sense. It comes with an invitation for us to see through our stories about it, feel it, and find love for it.

It comes with an invitation for me to see through any of my stories about it. (Head center.) Recognize it as love, and find love for it. (Heart center.) And feel it. (Belly center.)

And for the heart facet of this, simple practices can be very helpful.

Prayer. Prayer for guidance. Prayer for the well being of myself and others. Prayer for love for me, suffering parts of me, and others. Prayer for receptivity. Prayer for support in meeting what’s here with love.

A simple loving kindness practice. I wish you love. I wish you ease. Said to myself or parts of me (my heart, pain), and others.

Tonglen. Ho’oponopono. (With me, parts of me, others.)

All-inclusive gratitude practice. I am grateful for….. (anything, what’s its easy to be grateful for, and especially what it’s less easy to find gratitude for.)

Seeing myself in the heart flame. Seeing others, and the world, in the heart flame. (Fanning the heart flame with my attention and devotion. Then seeing myself – body and mind – inside of it, allowing it to burn away anything not like itself, anything not real, anything not like clarity and love.)

Christ meditation, visualizing Christ in my heart, above and below me, in front and behind me, and on either side of me.

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The simplest self-love

 

I see that what I seek from (some) others is love. And that I have a sense of not being filled up enough with love. So why not give it to myself?

I can visualize myself, or a suffering part of me, or my heart, and…..

I wish you love. I wish you ease. (Metta, loving kindness.)

Breathe in my suffering. Breathe out love and clarity to myself. (Tonglen.)

I love you. Please forgive me. I am sorry. (Ho’oponopono.)

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Tonglen

 

I did a lot of tonglen in my late teens and twenties, and now seem to get back into it.

It’s one of the simplest and most powerful (effective) practices I know.

Visualize another person sitting in front of you, facing you.

See their suffering as black smoke. When you breathe in, you breathe in their suffering in the form of black smoke. I see it as going from heart to heart.

See it transform into light in your own body. When you breathe out, you breathe out love and clarity in the form of this light. It goes into the other and fills him or her with light. (Again, from heart to heart.)

Repeat.

There is a concern that some have that you will somehow “take on” the suffering of the other. That’s not my experience. And it’s good to remember that it’s all happening within my own world of images. What’s happening is really a healing of my own images of myself, others and the world.

The other can be…. (a) Yourself, your suffering self, or a suffering part of you. (b) Someone you love. (c) Someone neutral to you.  (d) Someone you don’t like, or even an “enemy”. It can also be one or a group, an animal or a human, an ecosystem, the earth as a whole, all beings throughout the universe (whomever they may be), dream figures, and so on. Whom- or whatever appears in your world is fair game. I often start with myself, then a small series or a group of people close to me, then a small series or a group of people my personality don’t like (Bush etc.), then the earth as a whole, and all beings throughout all space and time. It’s also fine to do just one or a few. It’s good to not overdo it (so you don’t overexert yourself.)

Some in the Tibetan tradition say (as far as I remember) that this practice is complete in itself, and will take you all the way. I can certainly see how that may be true.

I also notice some of the effects of this practice for me. It makes the universal human condition alive for me – the suffering, the desire for contentment, and our true nature of love and consciousness. It brings a sense of earthiness and grounding. It increases the sense of light in (or as) my mind and body. It brings a sense of fearlessness.

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Currently

 

I thought I would give a brief update here. There is still a lot coming up for me, of previously unfelt, unloved, unseen material, and it’s sometimes challenging and sometimes quite moving. It’s all coming up with an invitation for it to be met, felt, loved, seen as what it is – in form and as the same as everything. Things keep falling apart in my outer life as well, perhaps as a reflection of a dismantling of inner patterns as Barry suggests. It’s also because I get caught in what surfaces and live it out, to some extent, and what surfaces is sometimes quite wounded and very young.

Some practices I find helpful these days:

The Living Inquiries. I am in the LI training program, so do the LIs most days, and sometimes several times a day. I find it very helpful, and it’s an approach that makes it easy to explore what I previously have looked into through more traditional (Buddhist) sense field explorations.

Tonglen & Ho’oponopono. I use both of these on anything that my mind takes as an “enemy”, wherever in my world this apparent enemy appears – subpersonalities, physical symptoms, emotions, resistance, life circumstances, other people, a dream figure or anything else. It helps shift how I relate to and see these. There is a curiosity and a question in this. Is it really an enemy? Is my perception of it as an enemy as true as it first appears? What’s my perception of it as I continue exploring it through tonglen and ho’o? (Maybe it’s even revealed as – what a thought may call – awareness and love?)

Holding satsang. I also hold satsang with subpersonalities and whatever else is here (anything can be taken as a subpersonality). You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. What would satisfy you forever? What are you really? 

Heart flame. I find and fan the flame of the heart with my attention and gratitude. Then – in my mind – place my whole body and being inside of this flame, allowing it to burn away anything that’s not similar to itself (clarity, love). It burns away any trance, any illness.

Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). I continue inviting in neurogenic tremors, often throughout daily life – when I sit in a chair, stand waiting for the tea water to boil, lie in bed etc. Sometimes, I also bring something stressful to mind to invite tension around that to release through the tremors.

The Work. I sometimes use The Work too. Right now, I have to admit I am more drawn to the Living Inquiries, although I see them as equal and complementary. They are both forms of inquiry. They both invite beliefs to be seen through and soften or fall apart. And yet, the Living Inquiries work on images, body images, and sensations more specifically, which I find helpful now. It’s as if it more directly goes to a more primal part of the mind.

Rest. Whenever I remember, I intentionally rest, allowing any experience to be as it is. Noticing the sensations, allowing them as they are. Noticing the sounds, images and words coming and going. Noticing it’s all already allowed. This is an alert form of resting. More accurately, it’s a resting from being caught up in images and words. They come and go, and are noticed as objects instead of being identified with…. and taken as a subject, as what I am. This is also called Shikantaza, or natural meditation, and it’s part of the Living Inquiries.

Stable attention. I sometimes also take time to bring attention to the sensations of the breath at the nostrils, or at one nostril. This invites attention to stabilize, and it becomes more pliable and a support for any activity in life (and just being). I am just getting more back into this, and wish to do it more again.

Prayer. I pray for guidance. For seeing through the trance. (Victim etc.) For support seeing through the trance. For support in meeting what’s here with love. For support in any way that’s most helpful for me. For support in living from love and clarity. For support in giving my life over to God (Spirit, Christ, Buddha Mind) wholeheartedly. For support in meeting any fear in me with love and clarity. For my life being in service of life.

Additional. I have also done some EFT and TFT. I go for walks in nature.  I make sure to drink plenty of water, usually in the form of different types of herbals teas, so my urine is pale or almost clear. (This really helps with any sense of energetic stagnation in my system.) I take some herbs and similar things (chulen, rhodiola, eleuthero, echinacea). I get plenty or rest and sleep.  I do things that sparks my passion (photography, drawing, reading). I connect with friends. (As or more important than much else here.) And so on.

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Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver

 

Simplified terribly, there are three ways of dealing with apparent evil:

(a) Let it have its way. Stay passive.

(b) Kill it off. Get rid of it.

(c) Treat it with respect and kindness, and contain it, prevent it from doing harm.

Most stories – whether fairy tales, mythology or contemporary movies, take the second approach. Some describe the first as a cautionary tale. And a few take the third approach, the more wise and mature (?) one.

One of the stories that take the third approach is Jim Button and Luke the Engine driver.

Instead of killing the evil dragon, as is described in so many other stories, they capture the dragon. They treat her with respect, contain her fury, and prevent her from doing harm. And she turns into a golden wisdom dragon. If they had let her have her way, or if they had killed her, she and they would never have benefited from her transformation.

For me, doing The Work and other forms of inquiry, and also holding satsang, doing ho’oponopono and tonglen, are all examples of capturing the dragon, treating it with respect and curiosity, prevent it from doing harm, and giving it space to transform into a golden wisdom dragon – if that’s what will happen.

It’s interesting to note that in western cultures (at least in western Europe), we generally take the third approach at the social level. We are, after all, civilized. And yet, when it comes to things in ourselves a thought may label “bad”, “undesirable”, or even “evil”, we are often trained to take the second approach. We try to get rid of it, or at least put a lid on it. That’s why simple processes such as The Work, holding satsang, and ho’oponopono may seem revolutionary. They are very simple and even natural ways of relating to what’s here in us, and yet they go against – to some extent – what we have been trained to do.

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Exploring the little things

 

I enjoy exploring the apparently little things. It may be a minor annoyance, a small physical pain, slight tiredness, or a quietly nagging sense of discomfort.

What are some of the benefits of exploring the little things?

When I explore an apparently small thing, I get to….

Explore the label minor and major. Is it true it’s minor? Is it true this other situation is major?

Explore it in relative peace, free from the drama and turmoil that’s sometimes here around situations I see as major.

Identify and investigate thoughts I put on this minor situation, and see that I may put the same thoughts on other situations as well, including the ones I see as major. When I take a thought as true, I put it on any situation, whether thoughts label it minor or major, and the dynamics are similar or the same.

Invite in a shift in how I relate to it, which may shift how I relate to other people, states or situations in my life.

Become more familiar with the process, deepen the groove of relating to it in a different way. This may make it easier when minor and major things come up in the future.

Explore what’s here now, no matter what it is, free from thinking I need to wait for something major to appear.

And what are some of the ways I can explore these little things?

I can….

Inquire into my stressful thoughts about it, and find what’s more true for me than the initial thought.

Explore it through the sense fields. What’s there in sensation, in sight, in taste, in smell, in sound? What’s there in the mental field, in the form of images, thoughts? How is it when these images and thoughts are taken as “real” and solid, representing reality? How is it to differentiate the mental sense field from the others, and see images and thoughts as mental field activities?

Pray for my “enemies” – whether it’s a person, a state or a situation, which includes shifting into well wishing for it, as it is, and recognizing it as already God, Spirit, awareness, love.

Do tonglen or ho’o on the person, state or situation, including myself.

Confess to myself, and perhaps another, about what’s happening for me around this.

Shake (neurogenic tremors, TRE) with the situation in mind.

And in each of these cases, I can be open to whatever images or memories come up. For instance, what are some of the early situations where I remember having the same stressful thought?

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This is not God, is it true?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mini-inquiry: I need them to see me as OK

 

I did an inquiry yesterday on I need them to see me as OK. The situation was a group in Oregon where I spoke up and felt misunderstood, and also in elementary school where I raised my hand and got “the look” from a couple of class mates.

Here is the first turnaround:

I need me to see me as OK.

I found several examples of how this is as or more true than the initial statement (I need them to see me as OK).

It’s more peaceful, I am available to take care of myself, I am more friendly to myself and others, I find love for myself, I am more engaged, there is a sense of connection (with myself, others, life), there is more receptivity, there is a sense of coming home.

And how can I do it?

(a) When I come from honesty, I see myself as OK. When I am honest with myself and others, and live in integrity. In this particular inquiry situation, when I speak honestly and respond honestly.

(b) When I find love for others (my “enemy”), there is a relief and I experience myself as OK. When I pray for others – especially those I tell myself am not giving me what I want – and myself. When I do ho’o or tonglen. When I inquire into my thoughts about others, and find what’s more true for me. In these ways, I find or shift into love for others and myself. I may also see it’s all already love.

(c) When I inquire into a belief and find what’s more true for me, I see – through simple, real, and honest examples – I am OK, and that others and life is OK. At least, that’s been my experience so far.

(d) In the specific situation I did inquiry on, I see that we like each other, he seemed to have the best of intentions, and it was most likely an innocent misunderstanding. Also, we are all there to explore together, so whatever I say from honesty is completely fine. It’s where I am at. That’s why we are there.

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What can be trained: previous blind spots in mainstream western culture

 

Mainstream western culture has had some blind spots about what can be trained and what cannot, and that’s already changing.

For instance, from spiritual traditions from around the world, including western ones, we know that we can train (a) a stable attention (supports almost any activity), (b) empathy and an open heart (tonglen, prayer, ho’o), (c) opening to the experience that’s here (inquiry, true meditation, tonglen, prayer, ho’o), (d) what we are recognizing itself (true meditation, inquiry, prayer), and (e) that we can inquire into our most basic assumptions and find what’s more true for us. Many newer versions of these practices are also available now, including headless experiments and the Big Mind process (what we are noticing itself), and The Work (inquiry into our beliefs, including our most basic assumptions).

And some traditions also shows us that we can train more “mundane” things such as our eyes and sight (sometimes recover from or prevent eye problems), our body so it has a good chance of staying supple and healthy throughout life (yoga, tai chi, Breema), and even our ability to notice and support a flow of subtle energy in and around our body for ourselves (chi gong) and sometimes others.

This is a training and a practice, although it’s equally much an exploration and investigation. What happens when I engage in these activities?

Like and love

 

There is a big difference between like and love, and perhaps also not such a difference.

Love

With love, I can (a) develop or find love for anyone/thing, and (b) notice it’s already loved, it’s already love. The first may happen through prayer, tonglen, ho’o and other practices. The second may happen through any of the previous ones, and also inquiry. And I don’t really “develop” love, of course. I may invite in a feeling or state of love, which comes and goes as a guest as any other feelings and states, and that may be very helpful. It may even be helpful in noticing that I am and everyone/thing already is love. In my experience, beliefs is what stops me from noticing my love for everyone/thing, and noticing I and it all is already love. So inquiry is a good tool to invite beliefs to unravel, revealing all as already love. This is a love that’s not a feeling, not a state, although recognizing it can – in a sense – be called a state, a state of recognition.

Like

In terms of liking, I may (a) initially like someone or not, (b) then like the person because I find love, and (c) still want or not want to spend time with that person, and like or not in that sense. Initially, I like someone, something or a situation, or not, and that may come (partly, mostly?) from personality and/or beliefs. Then, as I develop or find love for him/her/it, I like because of that love. And if it’s a person, I notice I still am free to be with that person or not, and like or not in that sense.

He/she/it

When I write someone/thing or he/she/it here, it’s because the “object” is just about anything in the world. It can be a person. An emotion, pain, memory, wound. A thought, including my images of the world, others, and myself. A situation. Taking a thought as true. Or anything else.

Summary

So I can be oblivious to my love for someone. I can develop love for that person, including through different practices. I can notice my love that’s already here, and that the person and I already are love.

I may initially like that person or not. I may then like the person because of finding my love for him or her. And I will still chose to spend time with that person, or not, and in that sense like him or her, or not.

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Healing it here

 

A draft…..

There are many approaches to healing here what I see in the world. It may not “need” healing in an ultimate sense, but wishing for healing is a natural impulse. It feels good and right, and may even reduce suffering for myself and others, and make it a little easier for us to make more wise choices.

I have recently explored ho’oponopono, a new and revised version of an ancient shamanic practice from Hawaii and other pacific islands. I see something in the world that needs healing – coming out of suffering and confusion. I find in myself what creates this, connect with it, and forgive myself for it. I forgive myself for having created the causes that brought this about. One way of doing this is to say I am sorry, I love you, thank you. Or simply, I forgive myself for having created this. Ho’o may sound odd, but it makes immediate intuitive sense to me.

The essence is (a) to take complete responsibility, and (b) invite clearing of what creates suffering and confusion. This is similar to other approaches such as The Work, the Big Mind Process, tonglen, bearing witness, and perhaps even techniques such as TRE if done with the same intention.

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Reincarnation – all happening here now

 

Reincarnation holds a particular fascination for many. After all, if I am someone, then what will happen to this someone after death, and what – if anything – was it up to before this birth?

And as usual, it can be very helpful to see what is going on here now.

What I find is that any fantasies I may have about these things (have to create them intentionally since I am not very interested in it!), mirror something here now. That is the case whether someone else tells me about past/future lives, or it comes up for myself in dreams, regression therapy or some other way.

The characteristics and dynamics of those stories mirror something here now. And also, when I take stories about past and future lives as real, I take stories alive here now and tell myself they are (a) about the past or future, and (b) are about something substantial and real. I project characteristics and dynamics out into those stories, and I project a mental field activity out in the past/future and as substantial and real.

In general, stories about reincarnation mirrors how we – and content of experience in general – continually dies as what it was and is reborn as something else. In that sense, the process of reincarnation is happening here now, always.

And more in particular, whatever I imagine into past or future lives – who I was, what life I lived and so on – also mirrors something here now. Typically, it mirrors my fears (shadow) or my hopes. Qualities and characteristics present here now, which I am not completely aware of so can more easily see out there in someone else, in the past or future. (Usually things that are here, but do not fit my conscious self-image, who I am in the world.)

So it can be very useful to work with imaginations around reincarnation, and I find that I can do it in any of the ways I work with anything else.

I can dialog with figures – who I was or others in that life. Who are they? What do they want? What do they need? What do they want to tell me? How can I help them? How can they help me? What can I learn from them? How do I relate to them? How can I relate to them in a more skillful way? How can I notice them more in my own life, or bring them more out? What is a healthy expression of the qualities I see in them?

I can do tong-len with these figures, especially the ones that suffer.

I can find the figures that appear as demons to me (troublesome) and go through the feeding the demons process.

I can allow the experience that comes up, as it is, including any resistance to it. I can find myself as that which already holds and allows all of it. And I can do it with kindness and compassion for my human self who may have trouble dealing with it.

I can find any beliefs I have around particular stories about past lives, and inquire into them. What happens when I hold onto those beliefs? Who am I without them? What is the grain of truth in their reversals?

I can explore it through the sense fields. When I activate stories about past or future lives, what do I find in the different sense fields? What do I find in the mental field? Can I see it all happening within and as this timeless present, as activities in the mental field – sometimes combining with sensations and other sense fields?

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Tong len

 

Some of the things I notice when I do tong-len

  • It works with projections. Whatever I see over there – and especially shadow material – I find right here. I find in myself the suffering I more easily see in others. And I also find right here the causes of suffering, confusion and all its expressions.
  • I see all of that as not or less personal. I see that it is shared, it is a part of human life. I also see that it is all an object, content of experience, coming and going on its own.
  • There is a shift from a sense of I-Other split to a sense of us. We are all in the same boat here. We all experience confusion and its many effects.
  • In the taking in of suffering and giving of clarity, there is a shift from confusion to clarity. I gradually get familiar with and come to trust that shift. I know, deeply, that it is possible. This helps me remember in daily life, and invite it in.
  • There is an opening of the heart towards others and myself. A shift into kindness. Holding us all, including my own human self, in kindness.
  • There is a shift into a sense of nurturing fullness, and out of reactiveness.
  • There is a shift into a more receptive view, and out of rigidity.
  • There is a release of identification with content, and an easier shift into finding myself as Big Mind/Heart. I see content as shared and coming and going on its, and there is less of a sense of a separate I.
  • There is a shift into more engagement in daily life. There is a release from fear. Less sense of separation. A shift into kindness. And all of this is naturally expressed in engagement.

Tong Len

 

Tong Len is one of the most powerful and simple practices, one of the many from the Tibetan tradition.

1. Breathe in the suffering of others in the form of black smoke.
2. Allow it to transform in yourself, from darkness (suffering) to golden light (clarity and wisdom).
3. Breathe out clarity and wisdom in the form of golden light, and see how it transforms those receiving it.

It is often recommended to start with oneself and those close to oneself, and then expand out to the whole Earth and universe. It is profoundly transformative.

I sometimes find that if I stay with the focus on the inbreath for several breaths, and then the outbreath for several breaths, it helps me deepen the experience. I can then shift to the exchange following every breath.

There is often some resistance when people first encounter this practice. And this resistance comes from awareness being exclusively identified with the small self. From this view, there is this one small self wanting to resist the suffering of others and hold onto the little clarity and wisdom it seems to have. When it awakens to Big Mind, we see that nothing really happens. You – as Big Mind – already is all the suffering and all the clarity and wisdom.