No self or other?

 

It’s common – in some circles – to hear people talk about “no self and no other”.

It can sound very cryptic and mysterious if it’s not our immediate experience. And it’s very simple and obvious when it is.

This human self, others, and the world is still here. And yet, it’s all happening within and as awakeness.

When awakeness is identified with or as the human self, it’s really identified with certain thoughts and mental images saying (a) there is a human self and (b) that’s what “I” am.

And that identification happens through thoughts being associated with certain sensations. The sensations lend a sense of solidity, substance, and reality to the thoughts, and the thoughts lend a sense of meaning to the sensations (they mean “I am this human self”).

That makes it appear as if there is an “I” that’s this human self, and there are others who also are “I”s in their own experience, and a world full of objects and things. It seems very real and true. And it is, in a certain sense.

When awakeness is not identified with or as this human self, it’s all revealed as happening within and as awakeness. This human self, other beings, the whole world, happens within and as awakeness. There is no “I” in any of it. It’s all life happening as life.

This release of identification can happen temporarily as a transcendent experience (which will then turn into a memory), or it can happen more stably and thoroughly through a clear seeing through the mental dynamics holding the identification in place, and through a corresponding release of the energetic “veils” holding identification in place. When we explore this, we can work on it from either side – for instance through forms of inquiry (e.g. Living Inquiries, The Work) and energy work (e.g. Vortex Healing).

This is very simple, and it’s also an infinitely rich topic.

Realignment. For instance, as long as there is identification as this human self, it will align itself with the experience of separation, and that can be quite traumatic. So when there is a softening or release of identification, this human self is invited to realign with this “new” context of all as awakeness. And that realignment includes healing, maturing, and embodiment.

Whatever is unhealed is invited to heal (which can be quite challenging when unprocessed psychological material surfaces). Whatever is unloved is invited to be loved. Whatever is unseen is invited to be seen. Whatever is unfelt is invited to be felt.

There is also an invitation for this human self to life from this “new” context more consciously, stably, and in more and more situations. And there is an invitation for it to mature in a very ordinary and human sense, and the healing and embodiment is part of that maturing.

Localized. Awakening is, in a sense, localized. Everything is happening within and as awakeness. And yet, that “everything” is (mostly) sensory information received through this human self. In that sense, the awakening is localized.

Independent of traditions. This is independent of traditions. Spiritual traditions may talk about and offer insights and practices to help us explore this, and perhaps have a taste of it or invite a more thorough and stable awakening. But this is about reality and traditions are human made. They can offer pointers, at most. This is more than and different from any tradition, or anything we can put into words.

Ripening. Any opening or more stable awakening happens through ripening. That ripening can be invited through conscious explorations – through various forms of prayer, inquiry, meditation, body-oriented practices, relationships, social engagement, and more. And it seems that most, and really almost all, of the ripening happens outside of conscious awareness.

The ripening happens for innumerable reasons and with innumerable influences, and we are aware of only a tiny part. We could say that our conscious practices is only a small part of the influences on this ripening. We could also say that our conscious practices is an expression of this ripening that’s already happening.

And this ripening is living its own life and happens on its own schedule. How it looks and how fast it happens is independent of how our minds tells us it should be, and it’s often very different. It can be faster or slower, and is almost always very different in character.

Ongoing. Awareness of and releases of identifications is ongoing. Identifications may be released out of what’s more individual, and shift into something more universal. And that keeps happening. Reality keeps revealing itself to itself.

Different labels. There are different labels for what I here called “awakeness”. We can also call it Spirit, Big Mind, Buddha Mind, Brahman, Life, the Universe, or whatever else resonates with us. None of the labels are very accurate. They are all just pointers.

Lila. Is there a goal of “us” awakening? Is life a “school”? Not really, as far as I can tell. To me, this all seems more like the play of the divine. It’s life expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways. Identifications is part of it. As is a desire to awaken. And awakening itself. It’s all part of the play. Any other “reasons” for all of it happens within and as this play.

And any thoughts or ideas we have about it, including anything and everything written here, are all human notions. Reality doesn’t conform to our ideas. It’s more than and different from any of our ideas, however smart or intuitive or traditional or innovative or resonating they may seem.

Very ordinary. What happens to our human life in the world in all of this? There can be disruptions for different reasons (dark nights etc.). But mostly, and in the longer run, our human self continues to live it’s life in the world. And it tends to look very ordinary. It looks like an ordinary life, and ordinary healing, maturing, and whatever measure of clarity and wisdom is there. It’s all very ordinary and human. That may initially seem disappointing. And then, it may seem deeply fascinating, rich, and awe inspiring.

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The body wakes up

 

What is awakening?

We can answer that question in many different ways.

For instance, it’s what we are – that which our experience happens within and as – waking up to itself. An early awakening is when it notices itself. And a more stable awakening is when the “center of gravity” shifts there, when that’s what it takes itself to be more consistently.

That’s roughly accurate, in my experience.

Another way to say it, which is perhaps a bit more accurate, is that the body wakes up. The consciousness doesn’t need to. It’s what happens within experience – within and as what we are – that wakes up. And that is the body, including the energetic “bodies” (aka etheric, emotional, mental, spiritual etc. bodies).

It’s in these bodies the experience of being a separate self is created. It’s here consciousness is filtered so it creates an experience for itself of being a separate self. And when these filters are either transcended or lost, what it’s able to (effortlessly) notice what’s more real. It’s noticing itself as its whole experience, whether it’s labeled self or world, matter or consciousness, or anything else.

So awakening happens through the body, or – more accurately – through the bodies. It may happen through practices aimed at aligning the bodies (the self) more with reality. It may be boosted by transcendent experiences offering a glimpse of what’s more real than the apparently separate self. It happens through grace, and explorations preparing the ground for grace.

When it happens, there is still a self in the sense of these bodies. They are still here, and they operate much as before. And there is no self, in the sense that the experience of a separate self is revealed as created by the filters. It’s a temporary experience. It’s life exploring itself through the experience of separation, for a while.

The “filters” have an energy and consciousness side. And the thinning and loss of them happens as a process. (Although the loss of each one may happen suddenly, after a time of preparation and ripening.) As there

As there is spiritual practice, often combined with transcendent glimpses and/or loss of the filters, there is a gradual realignment and reorientation of the bodies. They gradually align more with reality. This is a process that typically include some wrinkles and detours, and these are all integral to the process. It’s a process of clarification, healing, maturing, and embodiment – learning to live more from what’s revealed.

And from the outside, from the perspective of the world, this process often looks like someone becoming a bit more sane, grounded, healed, and mature in a very ordinary and human way. It is very ordinary and human. It is a healing and realignment of the human self, of all the bodies.

I should also mention that when the bodies wake up, when the filters are lost, it’s as if the whole world wakes up. The real body is the whole world – the physical world and everything else that exists at different energetic levels. And all of that is revealed as Spirit. It’s all the play of Spirit as all of it, the whole world and all that is.

That is what wakes up to itself, as that, and it wakes up through loss of the (temporary) filters of this (temporary) self that has a physical body and a set of energetic bodies.

That’s why the historical Buddha said “I and the whole world awoke”. And that’s also why it didn’t happen automatically through the other bodies since the filters there were (and are) still in place.

As with anything else here, these words are meant as pointers for own exploration. There is nothing absolute or final about it. It’s just the way of looking at it that makes the most sense to me right now, based on own experience and how I have heard others talk about it. (And these include Buddhism, Ken Wilber, Adyashanti, and – more recently – Ric Weinman and Vortex Healing.)

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What is love?

 

Here is another topic I tend to revisit.

What is love?

The simplest may be to look at it in terms of what and who we are.

What we are is that which all experience happens within and as. (Variously called consciousness, awakeness, Big Mind, Spirit, Brahman etc.) Here, love is what we are. This is not neccesarily a felt love. But it is the love of the left hand removing a splinter from the right. They belong to the same whole, so nothing is more natural than helping out as appropriate. And that looks like love.

Who we are is our human self. Here, the love from what we are is filtered through beliefs and identifications, and that means it can look like love in an ordinary human sense, and also a lot of other things. Ordinary human love is often mixed in with a sense of lack, need, wants, insecurities, compensations, and more. Felt love is often from some of these filters.

Going one step further, we see that even what doesn’t at all look like love (in a conventional sense) comes from love. That too is filtered love.

For instance, lack comes from care for our human self. It comes from a wish, or attempt, or impulse, to take our our separate self. And that’s still love, but in a filtered form. The same goes for fear, anger, wounds, trauma, greed, insecurities, and a lot more that from a conventional view looks like anything but love. And still, when we examine it more closely, all of it can be traced back to love. It comes from care for our human self, and an attempt to take care of our human self. It’s love filtered through all sorts of beliefs and identifications.

Who and what we are go together and are inseperable. That’s why the two forms of love mentioned above are largely inseperable and mixed together in our actual human lives.

In an opening or awakening, the first one becomes more clear, and it can be lived to some extent. The more we examine and clear up beliefs and identifications, the more it is revealed and the more we tend to live from it in more situations.

Also, the more we examine filtered love, the more we reognize it’s from love, and the less we tend to battle it. And that removes a layer of additional filtering which is also helpful.

As usual, there is nothing wrong with this filtering of love. It’s just how life plays itself out through us. It’s also inherently stressful and uncomfortable, and we eventually get to a point where we wish to find another way. And that’s where we can start to find a different relationship with the filters (more kindness towards them which tends to allow identification with them to soften) and also find ways to invite them to clear and release.

An important part of this process is to find more peace with and kindness towards the filtering. We see that nothing is wrong. We see it comes from care for this human self, and love. Identification with the filtering tends to soften and even release, partly from finding more kindness towards it. And, in general, everything feels a bit easier. It doesn’t mean that the filtering is all gone, or that all identification with it is released, but it does mean it generally is a bit easier.

It’s an ongoing process, and it tends to become more enjoyable and lighter as we go along. And from the outside, it may look as if we live more and more from the what-we-are type of love. The one that’s like the left hand taking care of the right. And it also tends to look sane in a very ordinary way, and deeply human.

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How difficult things look from the perspective of awakening

 

How do difficult things look from the perspective of awakening?

How do tragedies look? Loss of all kinds, whether personal or collective?

It depends, of course. It depends on the level of clarity. It depends on how embodied and lived that clarity is. It depends on conditioning, tradition, and culture, both in how it’s perceived and expressed.

Here are a few things from my own experience.

It’s lila. The play of the divine. It’s all the divine – or life, the Universe – exploring, expressing, and experiencing itself.

It’s all Spirit. It’s happening within and as what we are and everything is. It’s happening within and as (what we may call) awakeness, consciousness, love, wisdom.

It’s not what it looks like. Partly because of lila. Partly because the way it looks, in a conventional sense, is filtered and created by believing stories and being identified with identities and stories. And many of these stories, especially when it comes to loss, are stressful.

When we examine these stressful stories, we may find that reality is kind. (As Byron Katie often points out.) And we can find this for ourselves, even in small ways, through inquiries such as The Work.

When it happens to someone else, there is empathy. We know very well how painful and distressing human experiences can be. We know from our own experience. We wish to be present with others going through it. We wish to be human with others. If appropriate and possible, we wish to alleviate the suffering. That’s all very natural.

And when something diffcult happens in our own life, we wish the same. To be present with what’s here as it is. To recognize the suffering as very natural. Recognize it as the play of the divine, and as Spirit. And if appropriate and possible, to alleviate the suffering. (In our own case, through presence, inquiry, love, and more.)

Mainly, it looks very human. In the best case, it looks like clarity and maturity in a very human way.

In other cases, our own wounds – areas in us not yet healed or on board with the clarity – are triggered and we act from these wounds and lack of clarity.

Often, there is a mix. There is clarity and lack of clarity. And that too is very human.

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It’s not what we are?

 

In non-duality circles, it’s popular to say that our emotions, thoughts, identities, body etc. is not who we are.

That’s true enough, but also a little simplistic and possibly a bit misleading.

First, there is typically an identification as (some of) our thoughts, emotions, and identities. We have stories that tells us that some of these are what we are, and there are sensations associated with these stories that give them charge and lend them a sense of substance and reality.

Then, we may realize that it’s not what we are. Emotions, thoughts, identities and everything else comes and goes. It lives its own life. It’s not what we are. We are not any content of experience. We are what it happens within.

And then, we may realize that we actually are it. What we are is what any content of experience happens within and as.

The first is identification with thoughts saying we are some emotions, thoughts, and identities. There is a duality where thoughts and sensations tells us we are this particular human being, and not the rest of the world. Looking at how people talk about it, we see that even awareness or consciousness (or “soul”) is seen as others. There are a lot of contradictions in this duality which are pretty easy to point out.

The second is still a duality. We are that which content of experience happens within. And this content is other. This is a more clean and simple duality.

The third is more aligned with reality. We are all of it – awareness and awareness taking the form of its own content of experience, whether we call this content this human being or the rest of the world.

So when nonduality folks say it’s not who (or what) we are, that’s partially correct. It’s a pointer that’s useful in a particular phase of the process. But there is no absolute or final truth to it. It does reflect a duality. And if held too tightly as a truth, it may temporarily prevent us from noticing that we actually are all of it. None of it is wrong at all. It’s all typical parts of the process.

For me, this process has been slightly unusual in some ways and typical in other ways. And that’s typical too (!). When I was 15, center of gravity was pulled out of identification as this human being and into consciousness as the witness. There was a clear and simple duality between what I experienced myself as, which was the observer or witness, and the rest which was this human self and the rest of the world. It was very strong and slightly disturbing. I went to a great number of doctors and specialists to see if they could figure out what was going on. I was convinced something was seriously wrong. (At the time, I was an atheist although I had a long standing interest in parapsychology.)

About a year later, there was a shift into everything being revealed as consciousness (Spirit, God), love, wisdom, and home. Everything without exception, although there was still a thin thread of identification as this human self and there was an awareness of that remaining identification still being there.

I had no interest in spirituality at the time, and although it was very clear that all is consciousness/Spirit/love/wisdom and it was profoundly familiar when it was revealed, it also took some adjusting at a human level. Both shifts were very sudden. The first happened over a few minutes January 1st around noon when I was out in the sun. The second happened at night, walking along a gravel road with the bright stars above me and a big wind blowing through (I think awe of the wind and the stars somehow triggered the shift.)

Since then, I have mostly just tried to learn to navigate and live from it. And over the last several years, there has been a “dark night of the soul” with a lot of unprocessed psychological material surfacing to be seen, felt, loved, recognized as Spirit, and healed.

And that too is a typical phase or part of the process.

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Healing & awakening = aligning with reality 

 

Healing and awakening is all about aligning with reality – at all levels of our being.

That’s a tall order. And it’s already what’s here.

In brief:

We are a local part and expression of life. We are already reality so from this perspective, no alignment needs to happen. We can’t align with what we already are.

And yet, as human beings, we are typically out of alignment in many ways. There is room for alignment and this alignment is an ongoing process of exploration and inquiry, healing and maturing as human beings, and embodying our discoveries and realizations.

How did we get out of alignment? We got out of alignment by holding our thoughts as solid, real, and true. We aligned with our thoughts more than being receptive to life as it is. We came to identify and experiencing ourselves as a being separate from the rest of existence. (Consiousness identified in that way, and took itself to be a being within the content of itself.) And this process built on itself so we came to create wounds, trauma, dynamics leading to some physical illnesses, relationship problems, and a culture and society out of tune with the larger living world.

Nothing is wrong. It’s all life expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself. And yet, it is uncomfortable so at some point, there is a motivation to coming back into alignment with life so we can find a sense of home, being in tune with reality, and being more at ease.

How do we get back into alignment? We do so by noticing what we are. That we already are (this local expression of) life and a whole that always is whole. We do so by healing and maturing as human beings. We do so by an ongoing process of clarifying and embodying.

That’s the short version.

And in more detail:

Already reality. We are, in a sense, already 100% aligned with reality. We are life, this local part of the Universe, all of us is already Spirit. We cannot help being 100% reality. We are more than aligned with reality, we are reality. We are this local thinking, feeling, experiencing part of reality. As what we are, we are already reality.

Room for realignment. And it’s a tall order. It’s an ongoing process. We’ll need to face a great deal that may be uncomfortable to us, mainly because we have habitually pushed it away and seen as scary. As who we are, this human being, there is a lot of room for realignment.

Out of alignment. How did we get out of alignment?

One answer is that we, as human beings, tend to believe our thoughts. We hold some of our thoughts as real and true representations of reality and perceive and live as if that’s the case. That inherently creates a sense of separation and of being a separate being, and temporarily veils what we already are. (Life experiencing itself through this local body and these local thoughts, feelings, and experiences.) This – combined with meeting difficult life situations – is also what creates contractions, wounds, and trauma, and the accumulated effects of different types of contractions.

Another answer is Lila, the play of the divine. It seems that Existence has an inherent drive to experience itself in always new ways. The universe is life expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways. And one aspect of that is creating beings and energetic/consciousness veils that create a temporary and local experience of separation. Nothing went wrong. There are no lessons to be learned, no redemption to be earned. It’s just the temporary play of the divine.

Into alignment. So how do we get back into alignment?

We get back into alignment by noticing that we already are life and whole as we are. We already are a wholeness that’s always whole. We can understand that in different ways, and the easiest may be to notice that all happens within and as awakeness or consciousness. And that’s always whole and undivided.

We also get back into alignment through healing and maturing as human beings. And by consciously living from whatever realizations we have about life, what we are, and who we are (aka embodiment).

Both of these are ongoing explorations. As what we are, we keep noticing and clarifying. As who we are, we keep healing, maturing, and embodying. And it’s not at all a linear path.

A few additional notes:

Christianity. I thought I would say a few words about Christianity. In some cultures, the idea of aligning with reality for healing and awakening is natural and comes in from birth. I assume Buddhist cultures, Taoist cultures, and many native cultures are this way.

In other cultures, and specifically Christian and perhaps Abrahamic or theistic cultures in general, it’s different. Here, nature, life, and reality is viewed with some ambivalence and perhaps suspicion.

In Christinanity, there is the idea of original sin which makes us question our own nature, we are suspicious of our natural drives (sex, eating, resting etc.). We may also be trained to be suspicious of nature and life since it can lead us into temptation. In a Christian culture, or one that was Christian for a long time, it can seem odd or questionable to want to align with reality. If we and nature is more or less inherently sinful, why would we align with it?

Maybe it’s better to push it away as much as we can? Or maybe it’s better to transcend? We may try transcending, and find it works for a while, but reality is whole so we are inevitably brought back here and now with what’s already here.

In this case, it’s good to take small steps. Try it out and see what happens. We can explore this through inquiry where we question stressful thougths and find what’s more true for us. We can also explore it through body-centered practices such as Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises where we use the natural and inherent mechanisms of the body to find healing. Through these explorations, we may see that aligning with nature and reality is healing and can give us a sense of coming home.  We gradually build trust.

Healing, awakening, & sustainability. As shines through what I wrote above, healing, awakening and sustainability are all about aligning with reality. That’s why the three – for me – are inseperable. The seeds of dis-ease, an unawakened experience, and a society out of tune with the larger living world, are all the same. And the basic remedy is the same as well – align with life and reality.

For healing, we can align through inquiry, TRE, Breema, yoga, meditation and more. For awakening, we can align through inquiry, meditation, prayer, and more (whatever helps us ripen). For sustainability, we can align with life through philosophical and economic frameworks that takes ecological realities into account (which none of the current mainstream ones do), and a generally worldview that does the same.

Psychotherapy. I intentionally left out psychotherapy from my (brief) list of ways we can find healing. That’s because psychotherapy can be healing or not depending on who’s doing it (the therapist) and the approach they are using. If the therapist’s view is inherently skeptical about life and reality, then any healing won’t go very deep. It may even be traumatizing. If their view and life is more deeply aligned with life and reality, and they have a deep trust in life, then the healing can go quite deep. Process Work is an excellent example of an approach that’s inherently trusting of and aligned with life.

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Awakening is multi-faceted

 

Awakening is multi-faceted.

What we are awakening to itself. One aspect is what we are awakening to itself as all there is, and out of identification with thoughts – and taking itself as a separate being in a wider world.  This can happen as an opening – as a preview or a temporary transcendence – or in a more stable way.

When it’s more stable, this awakening continues to open, clarify, and deepen over time.

Who we are realigning. Another aspect is how our human self operates within this new context. All the many parts of our human self is invited to realign within this new context. (The context itself is not new but the remembered and conscious recognition of it is.) This realigning is an ongoing process and takes the form of healing, maturing, and embodiment.

Sudden and process. The ripening leading to an awakening is a process that may have occurred over many lifetimes. Awakenings or openings are often sudden, although they sometimes occur gradually and almost imperceptibly. The continuing opening, clarifying and deepening is a process, as it the ongoing realignment – the healing and maturing of our human self, and the exploration of how to consciously and intentionally living from the awakening.

Consciousness, energetic, and lived. We can look at or describe the awakening process in different ways. We can describe it from the consciousness side, and this is most common in – for instance – the public face of Buddhism, Sufism, Christian Mysticism, and Advaita. We can also understand and describe it from the energetic side, which we see in Vortex Healing (see Awakening Through the Veils) and yogic traditions. And we can look at and describe it through how it’s lived and embodies. Each of these are equally valid and together paint a fuller picture.

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Home

 

Everyone on a spiritual path has a slightly different essential motivation or carrot. It can be love, or truth, or something else. (Wanting to escape suffering is a surface motivation, and there is a more real and essential motivation there as well.)

For me, it’s coming home.

In childhood, before school age, I had flashbacks and memories of how it was before incarnation. An infinite golden translucent light. Infinite love. Profound sense of being home. All as Spirit, wisdom, and love. All beings as formless. Formless beings as guides and expressions of this infinite wisdom and love. (And for me, some slight identification which was recognized as an artifact and not having any absolute or final reality or truth.)

In my childhood, I had a deep sense of longing. I would often wake up feeling it very strongly, and nothing seemed to satisfy it. I would go to my parents, play with friends, have strawberry jam sandwich with hot cocoa (my favorite thing), read Carl Barks stories, and nothing even touched it. I couldn’t figure out what it was about.

During elementary school, I became a die-hard atheist on my own accord. Christianity made absolutely no sense to me and seemed a crock, or a crutch for weak minded people. I did have an interest in parapsychology and read quite a bit about it.

When I was 15, the world withdrew and appeared very distant and as a dream. Much later, I realize that identification was most likely drawn into the “witness”. This lasted for about a year.

And when I was 16, everything without exception was revealed as Spirit (consciousness, love, intelligence). It was Spirit awakening to itself as everything, as the whole universe, and expressed through this tiny and young human form. Here too, there was some slight remaining identification, which was clearly an artifact and without any final or absolute reality. This was very strong for several years, and never went away. I couldn’t find many who seemed to

I couldn’t find many who seemed to live or talk from this. The closest I eventually found, after many years, was Adyashanti and Ramana Maharshi. They both live(d) and speak/spoke from this. Meister Eckhart did too, although intentionally clothed by necessity in Christian language.

At some point in this opening or awakening, I realized that this is what the earlier longing was about. I had longed for home, and this was home. Of course, this home was and is always here. We can never get away from it. But we don’t always notice it. In this opening or initial awakening, home was revealed as always here and what I am and everything is.

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Playing out conditioning

 

Our human life and interactions is conditioning playing itself out.

A simple way to explore this is to take any view we have or activity we are doing, and then find a cause behind it, and then another, and then another. They are innumerable, and stretch back to beginning of time and out to the widest extent of the universe.

When we see this, there is a softening of identification with our identities, views, and actions. They are not personal. They are universal in the sense that they (a) belong to the universe as a whole, and (b) we and everything live out conditioning.

It’s also quite beautiful. It allows the universe – including us – to exist and function. It creates a great deal of diversity and richness. And it allows us to find ourselves as that which all this happens within and as.

In daily life, we can notice this whenever we interact with others. We each perceive and live from our conditioning, and it can be helpful to notice or guess some specifics about it. For instance, I prefer quiet over loudness. What may have lead to that preference?

I grew up in an educated middle class home in Norway, and quiet is valued in that subculture and culture. Being quiet equals being considerate and a good person and citizen.

I am used to quiet at home. I prefer it because it’s familiar.

I feel nervous and restless if it’s not quiet. It’s uncomfortable.

I have CFS and had PTSD, both of which makes me more sensitive to sound. Silence feels deeply nurturing and healing.

I am a mammal, and mammals tend to prefer silence or quiet. Silence or near silence is part of our evolutionary history, and it also allows us to detect danger more easily. It’s built into us to prefer silence.

And so on. I could probably always find one more possible reason, and then another.

Another person may not have this preference, and may even prefer loudness. What are some possible reasons?

They may have grown up in a lively and loud home. It feels familiar and comforting to them.

They may not have sound sensitivities. Their consititution may be more robust.

Their ancestors may have been very comfortable with loundness, and passed on those characteristics. Those traits can give a survival advantage in some situations.

They may use it to drown out uncomfortable sensations and thoughts. It can feel like an escape for them, a way to find a sense of safety.

When I see this, there is more understanding and compassion for both of us. I see that we are both playing out conditioning. And, really, we are both conditioning being played out. I still have my preferences, and I’ll still seek more silence, but the identifications around it have softened a bit.

These lists of possible causes are just that, a list of possible causes. They are questions. In this context, it doesn’t matter how accurate they are. They just serve as a reminder of innumerable causes.

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Falling in and out of love – intentionally

 

I saw recent research where they found that people can intentionally fall in or out of love depending on what they focus on in the other person.

It’s seems pretty intuitive, and something we all (?) use more or less intentionally. When we focus on lovable aspects, we fall more in love. And when we focus on unlovable aspects, we fall more out of love.

This has several practical applications.

One is when we lose someone we love. If we idealize the person and only focus on the lovable and amazing aspects, we amplify the pain of the loss. And if we intentionally identify and include the unlovable, troublesome, and annoying aspects of the person, we get a more realistic picture and it can lessen the pain. It can help to make a list and do it somewhat regularly over time.

Conversely, if we are in a relationship and find ourselves falling out of love, we can rekindle the love by intentionally remind ourselves of the lovable aspects of the other person.

Another is self-love. Self-love can be allowing our current experience and meet it with some kindness. And it can also be finding and remind ourselves about lovable aspects of ourselves. The first focuses on the presence aspect of what we are (context), and the second our human self (content).

This also goes for life. If we focus on the less desirable aspects of our life and life in general, we tend to fall out of love with life. And if we focus on the lovable aspects of life, we tend to fall more in love with life.

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Resolution

 

If I am honest, I see that the reason I explore these things is I want some form of resolution.

This resolution can come in many forms.

I can resolve my relationship to whatever bothers or disturbs me. From seeing it as an enemy or a problem, I can befriend it. This in itself is a very real form of resolution. There is a sense of relief here.

There are also many variations here, for instance, I may see that an emotion, reaction, or pain comes from a wish to protect me, and that it comes from a deep caring and love. I may also dialog with it and listen to its perspective and experience so I better understand it and have empathy for it. I may rest with it. And more.

I can inquire into how my mind creates its experience of it. This tends to release or soften the charge in it, which also can be experienced as a very real form of resolution. I get to see that what seemed so solid and real is actually created by my mind through combining sensations (lending charge) and imaginations (lending a story).

It can be recognized as presence. Whatever bothers me is actually presence itself. It’s presence taking this particular appearance. It’s substance and what it’s made up of is presence. The bothering thing and what it bothers (me) both happen within and as presence.

Each of these is experienced as a form of resolution, and the sense of resolution goes deeper if two or three of these come together and are included.

Of course, seeking resolution often comes from seeing something as a problem or an enemy, not having seen how it’s created by the mind, and not recognizing it as presence. That in itself is something that can be explored in these ways so there is a sense of resolution about even wishing for resolution. Seeking resolution can become a bit less compulsive this way, more gentle, and coming more clearly from kindness.

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Love hurts?

 

Some say love hurts.

In my experience, love is love. It’s kindness to my own experience, others, and life.

What hurts is the very human parts of us that sometimes get caught up in it. The beliefs, wounds, identifications, expectations, insecurities, longing, and so on. Anything in us with a charge on it.

The two – the love and the human parts – are often intertwined in our life and experience, but they are actually distinct from each other. And we can unwind these two.

Eventually, we can more and more often allow love to be love, and our human hurts and hangups to be just that and be met in that love.

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We are love?

 

Some say we are love, and I would say that too.

Sometimes, love is felt. And always, love is what we are.

Say we are this presence that all experience happens within and as. Then acting from love is inherent in us. It’s as natural as one hand pulling out a splinter from the other.

The feeling of love comes and goes, as any experience does. And what we are doesn’t come and go. It just is unnoticed at times, when the mind is temporarily lost in its own self-created drama.

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Never know what’s left

 

I have found that I never know what’s left in terms of healing and awakening.

There always seems to be deeper layers asking for healing at a human level. Sometimes, it’s familiar and asking for a deeper healing, sometimes it’s more new and surprising.

And there is always an invitation for further clarification and deepening of the awakening. Sometimes, it’s familiar. Sometimes, it’s surprising and something I couldn’t have predicted.

Both are ongoing. And that’s how I would want it since it keeps things fresh and surprising.

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Awakening and what’s left

 

Chogyam Trungpa and many other spiritual teachers have shocked, puzzled, and baffled their followers with their apparently unenlightened behavior. It may be drinking, drug use, frequent affairs, bullying behavior, abuse of their followers, and more.

In our culture, we tend to have an image of awakened people as perfect. And yet, they so often are not. Why is that?

To me, it doesn’t seem so puzzling. In a way, it’s to be expected.

There can be a relatively clear awakening, and yet a lot left to heal at the human level.

If the person is receptive and open about it, then it can become a very helpful part of their teaching. It also helps their students know what they are getting into, and it helps the teacher to work on it if they are ready to do so.

And sometimes, there can be some degree of defensiveness around it, both on the part of the teacher and his or her followers.

The teacher may try to live up to an image or expectations from others. Admitting ordinary human flaws and hangups may not fit this image.

They may feel they are above criticism. (And perhaps lash out if they perceive criticism.)

They may justify their behavior, for instance as crazy wisdom or that they are above conventional expectations.

And really, they are just scared to admit it and look at it, as we all sometimes are. And they use all sorts of tactics to avoid facing it for themselves.

This is pretty universal. We all avoid facing certain things in ourselves because it seems too scary, and we use different tactics to avoid it. And this continues to some extent whether there is an awakening or not, and whether we happen to be in a teacher position or not.

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All as Spirit, and a deeper layer of what needs healing

 

When I was 16 and had the initial opening or awakening, all was recognized as Spirit and Love. The divine woke up to itself as everything without exception, and as consciousness, love, and the void it all also is. This was quite strong for several years.

At the same time, I knew that there was still a lot of healing needed for my human self and that the remaining unloved and unexamined parts of my human self created a pull for identification. I worked on this as well as I could, but it was difficult to access as deeply as I felt was necessary.

So what happened was a dark night of the soul. And that brought that material up to the surface without much filtering and without much opportunity to hold it back.

There are many ways to talk about this and many angles to approach it from. Each one with it’s own validity and value.

These parts want what I want, which is to be met in presence, kindness, patience, and understanding.

These parts do not yet know all as Spirit and love. They seek to know.

They seek to know their own deeper reality, which is presence, love, and even void.

Said another way, Spirit seeks to know itself as these parts of me. And to know these parts – the trauma, pain, sadness, anger, fear, grief – as presence, love, and void. As the divine and the play of the divine.

This allows for a deeper healing. And it allows for a deeper and more thorough alignment of more of my human self with reality. This is one of the ways an opening or awakening deepens.

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Awakening and healing go hand in hand

 

Awakening and healing go hand in hand.

What is awakening and healing? Awakening can be seen as what we are recognizing itself to some extent. And this “what” can be called presence, awakeness, consciousness, and behind that void. Healing means a healing of who we are, this human self.

It may be worth mentioning that what we are is not in need of healing since it cannot be harmed. And who we are can’t really awaken since an awakening means that what we are awakens out of an exclusive identification as who we are.

How do they hinder each other? When there is more healing to be done, it means there is velcro and beliefs in the system that can be activated by current situations. When these are activated, there is a strong pull towards identification. And that makes for a less stable or thorough awakening. Conversely, when there is no awakening or has been no openings, there is a deeper level of healing that’s less available. That deeper layer of healing happens when the trauma and it’s components (sensations + imagination) is recognized as presence itself, or love, or even void. What we are recognizes it as itself.

How do they support each other? A deeper and more thorough healing of our human self allows for a more stable and deepening awakening. There is less charge that can be activated, creating a strong pull towards identification and out of recognizing what we are. An opening or awakening allows or a deeper healing of our human self, partly through recognizing trauma and its components as presence, love, or void. And also through making it easier to meet shunned parts of our experience with kindness, rest, and love.

So awakening and healing go hand in hand. That’s partly why I am drawn to tools and explorations that invite in both healing and awakening. It makes sense to include both since they are so intertwined, and are really two sides of the same coin.

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Awakening and trauma

 

Awakening can happen whether we have worked through a lot of our human stuff or not.

When it does, it’s often followed by a transcendence of our human hangups and pain. We experience a honeymoon phase. We experience some relief from it.

At some point, the intensity of the awakening may fade, and life’s pressures can retrigger our human wounds and hangups again. It may feel like something went wrong, but it’s just life showing us what’s left.

It’s life saying, now you have a taste of what you are, so use that new context to invite healing into who you are, into your human self.

It’s sounds simple talking about it in this way. And it can be experienced as very messy and often confusing when we are in the middle of it. That’s why it can be very helpful to have someone in our life who knows this process and has gone through it themselves.

And it’s not something that happens only once, or in just one way. This clarity / realigning cycle happens over and over and in many different ways.

It’s part of our human life.

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This is who you are not

 

I am often a nine on the enneagram. I am an Aquarius with the moon in Leo. I score high on openness to experience. I have many identities in the world, from conventional to more fringy sources.

And that’s all what I am not.

It may be how I appear in the world. Some of it may point to how I operate as a human being. And yet, it changes. It changes over situations and with time. And it’s not who or what I am. It doesn’t limit me, unless I believe the identities and live from them as if they are true. Also, if I look for the peacemaker, or the Aquarius, or the one open to experience, can I find that one? Can I find that one, outside of my own images, words, and associated sensations?

It’s not either/or. These identities may fit, to a certain extent, in terms of how I am in the world. And yet, they are unable to limit me or anyone or anything. Life is not bound by our labels. And when I look, I cannot find any of these identities as a real tangible thing. It’s unfindable.

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Moving away = suffering

 

Moving away is suffering.

Moving away from what’s here is suffering. It’s a moving away from ourselves, from who and what we are. And that’s painful.

So why not try the opposite? Why not try to move in?

How do I do that?

Rest with what’s here. Notice. Allow. Shift from thinking to noticing.

Feel the sensations.

Inquire into the images, words, and sensations. See what’s already here.

Relate to it with kindness. Love. Kind presence.

Find the love behind identifications, and the results of identifications. It comes from deep caring. It is love. (Even if it’s confused or worried love.)

When we move into this, we move into who and what we are. We return home, and that’s a relief.

There is more to it, of course. I’ll address some of it below.

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We are what we fear

 

In the classic cave scene from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, Luke Skywalker meets his nemesis and representative of the dark side, Darth Vader. After a brief sword fight, Luke decapitates Darth Vader, and sees his own face inside of Darth’s helmet.

Luke is what he fears the most. He is the dark side.

That’s how it is for all of us. We are what we fear. And that’s true in a few different ways.

It’s happening within and as what I am. It’s all happening within my world. It’s happening within and as (my) awareness. When it’s here, in awareness, it’s what I am.

The world is my mirror. Whatever I see “out there” in the wider world or someone else, is what I know from myself. Whatever stories I have about the world and other people, I can turn them around to myself, and find specific examples of how it’s true. (It may not look the same, or be expressed the same way, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find the same here as I have stories about in others.)

It pushes back. When I try to push something away in myself, and in the world, it tends to push back. It wants in. It wants to be acknowledged. Life is kinder than allowing me to reject something for good.

And why? Because life invites me to see what’s more real and true than my initial beliefs about it.

Life invites me to…. Recognize it as happening within and as what I am. Find in myself, as a human being, what I see in others and the wider world. Realize we are all in the same boat.

Life invites me to…. Meet it – the fear and what I fear – with respect, kindness, curiosity. Take a closer look and examine by beliefs about it, and how my perception of it is created by my own mind.

Life invites me to see that what I fear is not how it initially appears. (That doesn’t mean we become passive bystanders to injustice or cruelty, or approve of it. On the contrary. We are in a much better position to do something the more clear and mature we are in our relationship to it.)

How does it push back? We may find ourselves in situations where we encounter it again. We may replay a situation in our minds. We may have certain qualities or emotions surface in ourselves.

For instance, if I see anger as bad and try to push it away, I’ll still find myself in situations where people are angry, perhaps even at me. I’ll still replay memories of people being angry, or imagine someone being angry with me in the future. I’ll still experience anger, even if it’s pushed down and perhaps comes out as frustration or restlessness, or even feeling flat. It doesn’t go away.

P.S. I am aware that the usual interpretation(s) of the cave scene is slightly different. I imagine the more standard interpretation is that Luke has the potential to go over to the dark side, just as his father did. He has the anger. The impulsiveness. The restlessness. He is his father’s son, in that way. The cave experience is a warning, and also an invitation for him to recognize this in himself and take it seriously.

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A richer oneness 

 

Oneness is simpler than any of our ideas about it. And also richer.

Oneness seems to continue to reveal itself to itself, in richer ways, through different facets and views, in simpler ways, and in more finely grained ways.

Here are some I keep exploring:

It’s all happening within and as awareness.  My world is happening within and as awareness. I am that which any experience happens within and as. And that world is the world that everyone is experiencing. There is nothing mystical or magical about the content. It’s the usual content of experience for us human beings. And yet, it’s all happening within and as awareness. It’s happening within and as what I am. In that sense, it’s all one. (It’s possible to imagine an “outside world” that’s material here, and yet those images are also happening within and as awareness. My world is still all awareness.)

A slight tweak to that is that the world itself is Spirit, or God, or awareness, or even wisdom and love. This is how it can seem when there is an opening, perhaps especially in what some call cosmic awareness. (It’s what opened itself to itself through me in my teens.) It’s also what we can get hints of through synchronicities, ESP and more. It does seem that the world itself is Spirit, and that’s what awakens to itself in this way (cosmic consciousness), and also in the way described above (all as awareness).

The story of the universe as told by current science tells us that all is one. It’s all a seamless system. In terms of the history of the universe, energy condensed to matter, matter to galaxies and stars, simple matter condensed to heavier matter through exploding stars creating solar systems with planets, this planet evolved into life, this life evolved into what we see today. We are made of star dust. We are – as Carl Sagan said – the local eyes, ears, thoughts and feelings of the universe bringing itself into awareness. This is also called the Universe Story, or the Great Story, and is also explored through ecospirituality. It’s a story happening within thought, and not as immediate of a realization as the two previous ones, but it can certainly lead to one or both of the two previous ones. It opens the door for it.

The first two on this list shows us that all is love. It’s an immediate recognition. And it can also be discovered in a more finely grained way.

All beings operate from deep caring – for themselves, those close to them, life. They operate from love. Even if that love is sometimes confused, or worried love.

Beliefs and identifications similarly comes from deep caring for the self, and from love. Again, often worried love.

All emotions created from beliefs, all reactive emotions, come from that same deep caring, and the same love. These include reactive anger, sadness, tantrums, distress, suffering, even wounds and trauma.

We may also discover that all situations, and everything I experience, is here to support me, and is from love. This is something we may discover through inquiry, such as The Work.

When I relate to what’s here with kindness and love, there is another sense of oneness. The sense of oneness that comes from relating to my experience, whatever it is, with kindness and love.

So in each of these ways, and many more, we discover a richer oneness. We deepen into oneness. We discover it in a more finely grained way. We discover it in different facets, and from different angles and views. And we keep discovering the diversity and richness within that oneness as well. Oneness doesn’t diminish the richness, it allows the richness, is the richness, and – when discovers itself as oneness – adds to it.

Note: I know that most don’t differentiate the two first. I am unsure why, although I know that the first can be experienced (or interpreted) as the second. The first one reveals all as awareness, including any ideas of a me or I or wider world. At the same time, it’s possible to acknowledge that this is “my world” appearing this way, and I don’t really know anything more. The second is more of an acknowledgment that the world, again as it appears to “me”, does seem to be awareness, love, intelligent, and Spirit or God. (Through many signs including ESP, synchronicities and more.)

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No-self & self

 

I read Nondualism: A Brief History of a Timeless Concept by Michael Taft, and thought it was very good.

One of the topics was self vs non-self, and I see that both have validity for me, in their own way. Reality seems to embrace both ends of any (imagined) polarity, and is also more than either, and less than either.

No-self. When I look, I cannot find a self. I look at images and words, and feel sensations, and cannot find a self here. I cannot find a self outside of what’s made up by words, images, and sensations. I cannot find a general self, and I cannot find specific selves – such as the body, deficient selves, or inflated selves. I also cannot find a “Self” as what I am, as awareness, or Spirit. It’s unfindable. (Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, only that it’s unfindable when I look systematically and thoroughly.)

Self #1. There is also a “self” here as what I am. As that which all experience happens within and as. As that which my world – my field of experience, the outer and inner world – happens within and as. That which a thought may call awareness, or presence, or Spirit, or even Brahman (if it wants to be more grandiose). This is the “ground of being”, the “ground” of any experience which also makes up any experience. It’s a “self” without an “other”, or which includes any ideas of a me and other, an outer and inner world, and any other content of experience. (I don’t like calling it a “self” since that word is often understood differently, as something separate and with an “other”.)

Self #2. This is the conventional self, our human self. The self that is a whole that includes (what we call) mind and body. The self that has an “other” in the wider world and other beings. The self that can be more or less healed, mature, and aligned with reality. (A reality that keeps revealing itself to us.)

So there is a self here, in two ways, and there is also no self to be found. Reality is more than either or all of these descriptions, it’s richer and fuller. And reality is also less than either or all of them, it’s simpler and more immediate than these ideas.

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Whose stuff?

 

Whose stuff is it?

When something appears in my awareness, perhaps something that feels uncomfortable, where does it come from? Is it all mine? Mine or yours? Humanity’s? Does it matter?

For me, it’s a yes to the three first and mostly no on the last.

It’s all mine. (a) It’s all happening in my world. It’s all happening within my awareness. It’s all happening as what I am here and now.

(b) It’s all reflecting what’s here in me. If I recognize it “out there” it’s because I know it from myself. It’s reminding me of what’s here in me, in my human self.

So it’s all mine as (a) what I am, that which all happens within and as for me, and (b) who I am, this human self.

It’s mine or yours. Some of it seems more clearly mine. It’s familiar to me. It’s from my own background, my own history. It’s familiar hangups, wounds, traumas. Some of it may seem more like yours. It’s familiar to you.

This is how we conventionally differentiate between mine and yours, and it can be quite helpful in some situations. It can, for instance, be used to prioritize.

And it’s all differentiated by my thoughts, somewhat arbitrarily, and based on my own assumptions. (And perhaps even fearful or wishful thinking, in an attempt to uphold a fearful or wishful identity for myself.)

It’s all of humanity’s. The more I am familiar with the dynamics in me, and also in others, I see it’s all quite universal. It belongs to humanity. It’s shared, and also personal since it appears here in me.

Does it matter? Not really, most of the time. If it’s here, I can take care of it. Can I find love for it? What do I find when I examine the beliefs responding to what’s here? Or even creating it? What do I find when I try to find the threat, or the deficient self, or the compulsion?

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Can I find myself outside of this field of experience?

 

Meeting what’s here with love is befriending ourselves. It’s befriending our experience, as it is here and now, which is what we are. (Can I find myself outside of this field of experience, as it is here and now?)

– from a previous post

It’s easy to think that I am something else than this experience. That I am the person having this experience, and parts of that experience – especially the uncomfortable parts – are perceived as “other”.

And yet, can I really find myself outside of this experience? Is it true that I am outside of this experience? That I am something else than this experience?

Isn’t it more true that I am this experience, as it is here and now?

And if that’s true, does it make sense to struggle with it? Wouldn’t it make more sense to notice and allow? To notice it’s already allowed? To meet this field of experience, whatever is here, with love?

I can explore this more systematically. Where do I find myself, here and now? What do I find when I look at the images, words, and sensations that come up? Are any of those me? Are any of them outside of my experience here and now? Can I find myself outside of my experience, here and now?

Spirit is….?

 

What is Spirit if not all there is? And wouldn’t that include our human messiness, as it is?

It’s natural, and even essential and healthy, to have our very human preferences.

We may prefer certain aspects of Spirit, or reality. We may prefer expansiveness, bliss, clarity, flow. That’s natural and understandable.

And yet, as we mature in our exploration of Spirit as all, there is a distinction here that becomes more clear for us. The distinction between all as Spirit, and our preferences.

At first, our preferences may be held as more solid and real. And after a while, there is an invitation for them to be seen for what they are – our human preferences – and held more lightly.

We see that what’s here is Spirit, even if it takes the form of our human messiness, or contractions, or pain, or whatever else we would prefer to not experience. We recognize this too as Spirit, every bit as much as anything else.

We find our way. We recognize what’s here as Spirit. Complete. Already allowed. Already even a form of love. And we recognize our preferences for what they are. Held lightly. Something we can act on, while still recognizing what’s here as Spirit, as already allowed.

We find our way, allowing both since they both are already here. All is Spirit, including our preferences. We recognize the pain in holding onto those preferences too tightly. We recognize the kindness in taking those preferences into consideration, and acting on them in a very ordinary way in daily life.

This is what so many have talked about and lived. Let Your will be done. While still living a very ordinary human life, kind to ourselves and others.

Early on, we may confuse Spirit with our human preferences. We may see Spirit as expansive, bliss, flow, love, and more. We may seek that aspect of reality, and seek to escape the rest. It doesn’t work very well. It’s painful. And at some point, we get to recognize that. We find a wider embrace of Spirit. We find a simpler Spirit, as what’s already here.

We recognize the pain in holding onto our preferences too tightly, and in confusing Spirit with our preferences. We recognize the freedom in recognizing Spirit as what’s here now, complete, with nothing missing.

Spirit right now is a slight buzz in the forehead, a contraction in the throat, a sense of weakness in the kidney areas, darkness, a bright screen, tapping, organ music, sounds of insects, these words. Noticed. Allowed.

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Broken

 

I haven’t done a poll of how many would say they feel or have felt broken, but it seems it could be a good number of people. Many of us feel broken in one or more areas of life, or have felt broken at some point in our life.

It’s true, and also not the whole picture. We may be broken in some ways. Whole in other ways. And the term doesn’t even apply in yet another way.

I am broken from feeling unloved and unlovable, feeling not included as a child and early teenager, from missing out of things that felt deeply important to me (mostly relationships), regrets, fears about the future. (And a pattern of first getting a “yes”, waiting too long, getting a “no”, and feeling the loss very deeply…. in relationships and education and work opportunities.) This does impact my life. It impacts how I perceive myself, others and the world, and how I live my life.

I am also whole in other ways. I experience myself as whole, as the wholeness body and mind are part of. I experience myself as a seamless whole. I am able to meet experiences with kindness and love (at least at times, when I remember and find a clear intention), and that gives a sense of wholeness. Even in the areas I experience myself as broken, I may experience myself as whole in some situations.

And the term doesn’t even apply. I cannot find an actual “brokenness” outside of images, words and sensations.

All of these are real. Each one is valid, in its own way. I cannot leave one out, or deny it. I cannot say that there is no brokenness, even if I feel whole in other ways, or the brokenness is unfindable. I also cannot say that the brokenness means that my wholeness is not there, or that it is findable as something real, solid and concrete.

Brokenness is an invitation. It’s an invitation to see myself as deeply human. To see and feel that we are all in the same boat, and that it’s part of the human experience. To meet what’s unloved in me with love. To meet my unquestioned stories with (somewhat systematic) curiosity. (The stories creating a sense of brokenness.) To notice what happens when I meet my brokenness in this way. To notice my wholeness, and that the brokenness is really unfindable. And to do this for others too, when they feel broken.

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The Lotus

 

The lotus has always had an important mystical meaning. Its roots are down in the slime and mud at the bottom of the lake and the flower unfolds on the surface of the water.

– Carl Jung, ETH, Page 113.

There are several ways of understanding this.

One is that our “roots” are in what’s hidden to us, and they feed and lead to what’s visible. That happens within content, where dynamics we are unaware of inform what’s visible. It also happens in that what we are – this no-thing that it all happens within and as – is the metaphorical “roots” of who we are, this form and human self.

In a more conventional sense, we can use difficulties (mud) to grow (flower). We can use challenging situations in life, or embracing and finding kindness towards inglorious sides of ourselves, to mature, be more fully human, find more empathy, be more real, find a more open heart, find resiliency and more.

And in another sense, we can explore the basic ideas of mud and flower. We may see that they are not as they initially seem.

For instance, I may find that the “mud” in me – perhaps anger, grief, confusion, tendency to isolate, neediness, hopelessness, arrogance – comes from a wish to protect the me, it comes from deep caring, it comes from love. The mud is perhaps really a flower. And the flowers, what I and perhaps others see as my “good qualities”, may turn to mud if I hold onto them and take them as too precious. They may create problems for me and others.

Also, when I look, can I find “mud” or “flower”? Can I find what I see these as referring to? Can I find it outside of words, images, sensations? Is it findable?

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Who and what we are, oneness, awakening

 

When I write what and who we are here, I mean something quite specific.

What I am is that which my whole field of experience – as it is here and now – happens within and as. It’s what I sometimes call awareness, or love, or even Spirit. It’s all there is, in experience, here and now. It’s always here, since it’s what I am. It’s very obvious. It’s very mundane. It’s easily overlooked that that’s what I am. And when that awakens to, or notices, itself it’s sometimes called awakening. That can seem quite extraordinary at first, and then that too becomes quite ordinary in a good way. (That’s why I tend to not use words like Spirit, or Brahman, or other fanciful words, since it often appears much simpler than that. Those words can be a little misleading.)

Who I am is part of content of experience. It’s this human self. It’s the emotions, thoughts, body, life of this human self. It’s the idea of a me or an I. It’s the idea of an observer, or doer. It doesn’t really have fixed boundaries, since it’s what a thought says is me, or I, or who I am. The boundary is somewhat flexible and fluid.

The wider world is the rest of content of experience. It’s what a thought says is “other” in a conventional sense. This boundary is also somewhat flexible and fluid, and can be experienced as more or less solid, more or less real. (It isn’t really real, since it’s created by thought as a way to navigate in the world.)

Who I am, and the wider world, is what makes up content of experience. And that happens within and as what I am. It happens within and as awareness. Within and as love. Within and as Spirit.

These can be seen as two, or three, or one. It all depends on how we decide to talk about it, and where we decide to draw imagined boundaries.

And the boundaries can be experienced as solid and real, or ephemeral, or just a thought with no substance beyond that. That depends on how clearly it’s seen, and even felt. It depends on how much “velcro” is stuck to those ideas. How much associated sensations seem “stuck” onto the words and images creating the boundaries.

When the associated sensations seem stuck onto the boundary images and words, the boundaries can seem quite real. When the sensations are felt as sensations, the images recognized as images, and the words recognized as words, the boundary images and words are recognized as just an imagined overlay, which has a practical function only. It’s not “real” beyond that, but it does help us navigate in the world, and communicate.

Oneness can also be understood in different ways.

One is the very immediate and practical oneness, where this field of awareness-experience is recognized as one. (Any ideas or even experiences of being a separate self is recognized as happening within this field, as any other content of experience.) The world is one, since it’s all recognized as happening within this field of awareness.

Another is the oneness of the world as a whole “out there”. (I realize that this distinction may seem subtle, or even unnecessary, but I find it helpful to differentiate this from the first one.) The world is one, and Spirit, or God, and I see that partly because of immediate experience, and partly through synchronicities, ESP, and more.

A third, which can be part of the previous one, is the oneness of the world as described by science. The universe was one field of energy at the Big Bang, and this field of energy partly condensed down into simple particles, which then condensed into heavier elements. We – and everything – has the same origin. We are quite literally star dust, as is the Earth as a whole. The Earth and the Universe is one seamless system.

Awakening is when what I am notices itself. This is an initial awakening, and it can also happen regularly and on a more ongoing basis. This noticing and recognition can clarify and become more stable. And who I am, this human self, can – and will? – reorganize within this recognition. It’s invited to heal and mature within this recognition, and align with it. That’s an ongoing process, and it doesn’t “end” as long as this human self is around.

Awakening then has three aspects. One is the initial recognition. Another is an ongoing clarification and “stabilization” of this recognition. And the third is the reorganization of our human self within this recognition.

All of them are ongoing. The awakening is here and now. The recognition and noticing is here and now. The reorganization within it is here and now.

There is no “end point”. Any idea of an end point happens here and now, within this.

This awakening doesn’t exclude or eliminate the full range of human experience. It doesn’t preclude sadness, grief, pain, anger, joy, hangups, wounds, trauma, or anything else that’s part of the human experience. What we are already allows the full range of human experience, although it often happens without us being conscious of it, and we may be in conscious opposition to it.

Awakening also allows the full range of human experience (since nothing else is possible), but there is now a conscious recognition of it, and often a more conscious alignment with it.

We are still very much human. We experience the full range of human emotions and experiences. We make mistakes. We have a limited understanding and perspective. We have our preferences and likes and dislikes. We make assumptions. We give bad advice. We don’t know how to do any number of things. Our understanding is faulty.

So there is a full allowing of any experience, as it always is, although now recognized more clearly, and perhaps aligned with more consciously. We experience the full range of human emotions and experiences. And there is an invitation for a healing, maturing, and reorganization within this. Things do change for our human self when awareness recognizes itself, and itself as this field of experience.

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Embracing the messiness of human life

 

What we are already embraces – and is – all there is.

An awakening process is, in many ways, a tour of some of the essentials of what we are. All as awareness. All as love. All as dispassionate. All as allowing what’s here. Expansion. Contraction. Bliss. Pain. Suffering. Being human with all that means, including the messiness of human life.

After an initial opening and perhaps even expansion, it’s natural to wish to stay there, to make it into a permanent state. It doesn’t quite work that way. Life may well invite us to recognize all as Spirit, including contractions, pain, and the messiness of human life.

That’s one type of dark nights. The one where we “lose” the bliss, opening, expansion, and may get to experience the reverse – contraction, and the still unloved wounds, pain, reactivity, and other very human parts of ourselves.

To the extent we struggle with this, it will feel even more painful. We add suffering to a process that’s in reality very kind and loving, and even wise. We struggle against it, because we don’t quite recognize this process too as Spirit, as love, as wisdom.

And when I say “we” I mean I, me.

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