Working with dreams

 

I thought I would do a series of articles on how different approaches to healing and awakening work. So here is one on dreams.

In my experience, dreams are the mind digesting either what happened the day before (often more fragmented dreams) or an emotional issue (often more of an unfolding story and sometimes archetypal). I wonder if not this digesting happens most or all of the time, and it just happens to take the form of dreams while we sleep.

Everything in the dream is me. It’s all created by my mind and reflects parts of me and the dynamics between these parts.

The digesting inherent in dreams is likely helpful in itself, and I suspect I don’t even need to remember the dream for it to have some effect in terms of processing, healing, and gaining some insights from it.

And yet, I sometimes also explore the dream more actively, especially if it’s a strong or more archetypal dream.

Here are some of the approaches I find helpful:

Active imagination comes out of Jungian dream work, and here we go back into the dream (imagine ourselves back in it) and interact with the different elements of the dream. For instance, I can take an action and see what the response is, or I can engage in a dialogue with the different dream characters and get a sense of who they are and what they want (both on the surface and what would deeply satisfy them). There is no limit and it can yield a lot of helpful insights. Often, these insights are just at the edge of what we are conscious of, and active imagination can help make them more conscious. (I typically avoid formulaic dream interpretations since dreams seem more juicy, fluid, and sometimes individual than that.)

Active imagination is a form for parts (subpersonality) work, and if we are familiar with a form of parts work, we can use that one.(For me, Voice Dialog and the Big Mind process.)

And then there are the approaches I often write about here.

I can explore the dream through inquiry. For instance, I can do inquiry on any stressful beliefs I had in the dream or about it after waking up (The Work). I can also explore any identities the dream brought up in me, any fears, or any compulsions in the dream or after I woke up (Living Inquiries).

I can use heart-centered practices for anyone (or any thing) in the dream that seemed hurt or uncomfortable in any way. (Ho’o, tonglen, metta.)

I can use energy healing on any emotional issue brought up by the dream, or anything else the dream pointed to as needing resolution or healing. For instance, last year I had a dream about a lake being polluted, so I could intend healing for what that lake represents in me. (Vortex Healing.)

I can do some therapeutic trembling to release any tension from the dream. (TRE)

And I can use any other approach I know and find helpful.

The key is that I can explore dreams as I would anything in daily life, and I can also explore daily life as I would a dream(!). It’s the same mind creating our experience of both.

For instance, active imagination is traditionally used specifically for dreams, although it can be helpful to use it in other areas of life as well. We can use it for situations from past, present, or the imagined future, and it can help us see what these situations mean to us, how we relate to them and find other ways of understanding the situations and relating to them.

When spiritual teachers say stupid things

 

I am against organ donations because organ transplants take resources away from other health services.

Paraphrased from Ric W. on FB

Ric is the main teacher of one of the modalities I find most helpful, and when he talks about healing or awakening, it usually makes complete sense to me. But when he posts about social issues, I often find I disagree. Sometimes, I even think his views seem a bit naive.

In this case, he posted this to an international Facebook group which makes it seem as if he is making a broad statement that applies to all countries and situations. In Norway, people get the health care they need even if some with organ transplants need a small portion of the health care resources available. Even in the US where he lives, it’s hard to see that it’s true. Insurance companies pay for the health services people need and have paid for through their insurance, whether it’s organ transplants or something else.

Also, he is using the “divide and conquer” argument where he sets two vital issues up against each other while we, as a society, can afford both. We spend a huge amount of money and resources on far less important things. (In the US, on a ridiculously large and bloated military budget.) It’s the argument politicians use when they want to set groups up against each other, for instance by saying “society spends resources on immigrants that retired people should have had”.

Of course, it is true that organ transplants increase the overall cost of healthcare in a society. But it’s negligible. It’s a cost most of us agree is worth it. And a lot of other and less vital things bring up the cost as well. In the US, privatization increases the overall cost dramatically. In most countries, doctors perform or prescribe costly treatments they know won’t work or are ineffective.

It is also true that, as he said, that in the big picture, life and death is not so important. But it is important to us as humans. And I want to live in a society that’s kind and honors life.

So what do we do when spiritual teachers or guides say stupid things?

First, is there something in it? Does he see something I don’t? In this case, I haven’t found it yet but I am open to it.

Then, I can be relieved. He is just a human being. He may have knee-jerk ideas about things. He may not think everything through. His social views may, at times, seem unnecessarily harsh. He is a human as we all are. He is not perfect. He has his own issues and limitations. It’s a gift that he shows me this.

Finally, it helps me see my own issues. Something in me got triggered when I saw what he wrote. I reacted to what he said, considered it for a while, and then – as part of the reactivity – decided that what he said seemed stupid, harsh, and uninformed. It was my way of dealing with the discomfort it brought up in me.

I can do inquiry (The Work) on the stressful thoughts it brought up in me. (He is stupid. He should be more responsible in what he says. He may influence others to not support organ transplants. His view is harsh, heartless, and uninformed. I don’t know if I can trust his views on anything now.)

I can do inquiry (Living Inquiries) to see how my mind creates the reactivity, and also see how it creates what it reacts against and when it was initially formed in my life. And, in the process, invite sensations and thoughts to separate so the charge may go out of these issues (beliefs, identifications, traumas) in me.

I can do Vortex Healing for what it brought up in me, even if I don’t know exactly what it was.

And much more.

So when spiritual teachers say stupid things, it can come with many benefits. I may find the grain of truth in it, or it may help me see something from a different perspective or a different context. It brings him down from the pedestal and among us humans, as I see him. And it helps me find my own emotional issues, triggered by what he said, so I get to explore and perhaps find resolution for these.

I want to add a few words about the “life and death is not important” view. In the big picture, it is true. It’s all the play of the divine. The different masks of the divine. And yet, one of the pitfalls of spirituality is to dismiss the human. We go into Big Mind, and find ourselves as Big Mind, and dismiss or value less the human views and perspectives. (If this happens, it’s often a way to try to protect ourselves of the pain inherent in our human existence. It doesn’t work, but it can give a sense of temporary relief.)

As I see it, a more mature view is to include both and embrace the human, including our valuing of life. To me, that’s one of the most beautiful things about humans. We value life. And few things are as beautiful as a society that values life. In this case, that values life enough to give people organ transplants when they need it and follow up so they can stay healthy as long as possible.

Finally, I should add that I know that Ric may say these things precisely to initiate a process in people just like it did me. It may be, unconsciously or consciously, a teaching tool. Outside of when he talks about healing and awakening, where he seems amazingly precise and insightful, he may allow himself to say controversial things in order to stir things up a little. I imagine I would be tempted to do the same if I was in his position.

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Parliament: Testify

 

Once I was a hollow man
In which a lonely heart did dwell
You know love came creeping upon me
Bringing life to an empty shell

Now I heard so many times before
That your love could be so bad
I just want to tell you people
It’s the best love I ever had

Don’t you know that 
I just want to testify
What your love has done for me
I just want to testify
What your love has done for me

Ooh, ooh luscious
Sure been delicious to me
Ooh, ooh luscious
Sure been delicious to me

I just want to testify
What your love has done for me
I just want to testify
What your love has done for me

Parliament, Deron Taylor / George S Clinton, Testify

I listened to this song by Parliament and realized it falls into place more for me when I turn it around to myself. (When I hear songs or watch movies or read stories or look at the world, I find it interesting to explore it as I would a dream, as if all aspects are in myself.)

I can understand the lyrics of Testify in a conventional sense, as someone who comes alive through the love of someone else. I allow myself to come alive because I tell myself I am loved and lovable.

And when I see that, I also realize I can give myself that love.

How can I give myself that love?

I can do loving things for myself (take a bath, make a good meal etc.).

More importantly, I can find love for whatever parts of myself come up, and especially those parts I previously have shunned and pushed away. I can find love for my experience as it is here and now, even if it’s uncomfortable and something I previously have shunned.

To get started, I can do this with the help of a structure. It can be a basic meditation such as natural rest. When I notice and allow my experience, as it is here and now, it’s a deep expression of love. It can also be a heart-centered practice such as ho’oponopno, tonglen, or metta. Or I can do it through a simple inquiry such as the Headless experiments or the Big Mind / Big Heart process.

If I want to be more thorough, I can also find and investigate any beliefs that prevent me from finding a deep and lasting love for myself. I can do this, for instance, through The Work or Living Inquiries. A common thought is that I am not worthy of love or I am unlovable. One of my thoughts is that the love of someone else (preferably a woman beautiful inside and out) is more important or worth more than my own love.

These are all very natural and understandable thoughts, and it can be a great relief and open up a whole new dimension of the world when the charge goes out of them (Living Inquiries) or we find what’s more true for us (The Work).

Mirroring in two ways 

 

When we use mirroring in inquiry, it can be done in at least two ways.

For instance, say I see someone as lazy, trying to get away with minimum effort, just going through the motions. How does he mirror me?

I can find what I see in himself in me. The easiest is perhaps to write down what I see in him, turn it around to myself, and then find specific examples of how it applies to me – in that situation, and other situations.

I am lazy. Ex1: I am lazy in the same way as him. I too sometimes go on the internet instead of doing my task. Ex2: I am lazy in how I see him and me. I put a label on both of us, and didn’t initially question it. Ex3: I am sometimes lazy when I do inquiry. I go to familiar answers, instead of looking afresh and seeing what’s really there. I sometimes am satisfied by just casually and intellectually finding answers, instead of letting it really sink in and change me.

What does it say about me? He is lazy, just going through the motions. What does it say about me? What person am I in relation to him, when he is that way? I am better. I am conscientious. I do the right thing. I am more likeable. More dependable. In this case, these may be inflated selves, and I can explore these in inquiry.

The first is a reversal of what I tell myself about him. It may help me see myself as the same boat as him. This is one element of The Work.

The second is exploring how I see myself in relation to him. This is an exploration of deficient or inflated selves. This is an element in the Living Inquiries. (A boomerang, used to find a self we can then look for through the Unfindable Inquiry.)

In both cases, I use how I see him – and me in relation to him – to find what’s more true than my initial assumptions. I get to see how I create these assumptions out of unquestioned and unloved fears.

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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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In the same boat

 

Whether I work with clients or teach a group, or am a client or student, there is often a sense that we are all in the same boat.

The roles, there and then, are different. One is a facilitator, the other a client. One is an instructor, the others students. After the session or the class, the roles change. They even change during the session or class, sometimes.

Behind the shifting roles, we are all human beings. We are all exploring universal dynamics. What I see in you is what I know from myself.

When I work with someone, as a facilitator or client, it’s often with a sense of a shared exploration of universal dynamics.

Of course, it may be that the person in the facilitator or instructor role has more experience or skill in a certain area. But even that may not be the case.

This makes it much easier. We are in the same boat. I don’t need to pretend.

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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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It’s all here

 

Some spiritual teachers and teachings makes it sound either/or, or black and white.

The other side of it, is that it’s all here.

Whatever I see out there, in others or the past or future, is already here. What any concept refers to is already here. It may appear small, and take some looking, but it’s here. At least, that’s been my experience so far.

Both ends of any polarity is here. It happens within and as life, awareness, what I am.

Either of these ways of talking about it – as either/or or all here – are teaching strategies. Both have truth in them. Either one can be helpful for some people in some situations. Neither is, or even points to, any absolute or final truth.

And for me, the it’s all here pointers resonate the most, and is more interesting and juicy as an exploration. At least so far.

Mirror

 

There are two ways of using situations and other people as mirrors.

What do I see out there? How would I describe it? Where do I find it in myself?

What does that situation say about me? What does it bring up in me?

For instance, I see someone as fearful and demanding. Can I find that in myself? Can I meet those parts of me with love?

And, I see someone as fearful and demanding. What does it say about me?

The first one is the typical “world as mirror” approach. The second is used in the Living Inquiries. And both can be very helpful.

Friends with mediocrity

 

It was so wonderful when I really understood I was mediocre.
– Byron Katie

A few ways that I am mediocre:

(a) What I see in others and the wider world is also here. The stories I have about the wider world also fits me, and I can find specific examples of how they do. The images and thoughts I have about the world are my world, and they are – quite literally – me. The world is my mirror. In that sense, it’s all balanced and I am completely mediocre.

(b)  Everything in this field of experience is awakeness, presence, love. It’s all made up of the same. What a thought may label the world, others, me, I, it’s all appearances of awakeness, presence, love.

(c) In very much in life, I am mediocre in a very ordinary sense. There are innumerable things I am not very good at. And in that, I am just like anyone else.

(d) What I don’t know and am not familiar with is, most likely, infinitely much larger than what I do know and am familiar with. In that, I am also like anyone else.

(d) Whatever is familiar to me is mediocre, in my experience. I may be very skilled in something, and yet, through being skilled and familiar to it, it becomes mediocre to me. There is always further to go.

In each of these cases, it’s a huge relief to find how I am mediocre. It dissolves the appearance of separation. It humbles me in a very good way. It shows me there is further to go.

Cleaning out the world

 

I keep seeing this:

The process of finding clarity is a cleaning out of the whole world.

It’s a cleaning out of my whole world, which is a cleaning out of the whole world – as it appears to me.

Everything I see in the world….

(a) Mirrors what’s here. Thoughts I see out there in others mirror what’s here. The tendency to take thoughts as true I see out there mirrors what’s here. The emotions I imagine out there mirror the emotions here, and so on. The clarity or confusion I imagine in others mirrors what’s here. The suffering or peace I imagine in others mirrors what’s here.

(b) Happens within my own world of images The world, as it appears to me, appears that way due to my own world of images, my own innocent questions about the world. My world is created by my own images, labels, assumptions and stories about the world, about everything and everyone.

(c) Happens within and as awareness. It’s all the play of Spirit.

So any thorough cleaning out is, in a very real sense, a cleaning out of the whole world. It’s a cleaning out of the whole world as it appears to me, since the world as it appears to me is me.

In one way, it’s an endless process. The world has an apparently endless supply of beliefs, suffering, confusion.

And in another way, it’s not endless.

Unraveling one belief may unravel several others. As I get more familiar with the dynamics of beliefs, thoughts in general tend to have less stickiness. As I find my way into welcoming emotions, and notice that any boundary between “it” and “me” is imagined, they have a way to be seen, felt, loved, release, and flow through with less or no (identified with) resistance.

As I find what’s more true for me than the most basic labels – emotions, pain, suffering, clarity, beings, the world, me, I – these too are less sticky, they find less or no foothold. And that also goes for very basic assumptions, such as clarity is better than confusion, peace is better than suffering, and so on.

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Cleaning out the whole world

 

What I am seeing is that the dark nights are a cleaning out of my whole world, which is – to me, in my experience – a cleaning out of the whole world.

All the suffering in my world comes up to be seen, felt, loved, to have it’s life. And that means – to me, in my experience – all the suffering in the world, any suffering any being has ever experienced, as it appears to me.

All beliefs in my world surface to be seen, felt, loved, identified, inquired into, and released from being taken as true. And that means – to me – all the beliefs in the whole world, every beliefs I imagine any being ever having had or being able to have.

The distinction between personal and shared/universal can be useful in some situations. And it’s also not really true. All I see out there in the world – in history, in movies, in mythology – every last bit of it is here. It’s all happening within my own world of images. It’s all reflecting dynamics, suffering, beliefs that’s right here.

It’s all what eventually, sooner or later, want’s to surface here to be seen, felt, loved, recognized as love, liberated from being taken as true.

So to me, the cleaning out of my world, is – in my experience – quite literally a cleaning out of the whole world. It’s a cleaning out of my whole world, including everything I see and imagine out there in the wider world, in history, in scenarios about the future, in this world in the present, in other beings whether historical or mythological.

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Individual and collective

 

I received an email from Barry where he suggests that much of what’s surfacing for me now is collective more than individual.

I can find where that’s true for me. It’s obviously collective in the sense of shared and universal. The emotions, experiences and beliefs surfacing here are shared by many, they belong to the human experience.

Also, what I see in others happens within and as awareness, it happens within and as my world. It’s labeled, interpreted and understood through my images and stories. And what these labels and stories refer to mirror what’s right here in me at a human level. It’s all Big Mind/Heart, and the wider world mirrors me as a human being.

So individual or collective doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter so much if what’s surfacing here can be labeled one or the other.

In either case, they are emotions and experiences wishing to be seen, felt and loved. Wishing to be met with and recognized as love.

In either case, they are thoughts taken as true, wishing to be inquired into and live more in clarity.

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Hess

 

I listened to The Psychiatrist and Rudolph Hess, a BBC Witness podcast, and it seems the British psychiatrist evaluating Hess was quite eager to label him insane and even weak. I wonder if this comes from a desire to see him as much as possible as “other”? It seems that some try to do something similar with Breivik.

It’s understandable, and yet, the drawback is that the normalcy of it may be overlooked. Their actions makes a great deal of sense from within their worldview. It’s quite logical, as it is for most of us. And both of them mirror each of us. When I turn around each of my beliefs about them, I’ll find examples of how I do the same. (Of course expressed, on the surface, in a different form.)

Feels completely ordinary

 

What happens here really feels completely ordinary.

The world is a mirror. What I see in the world is right here. It mirrors what’s right here, and this field of awareness it’s all happening within is right here. And what’s here is also a mirror for each other being. It goes both ways.

It’s also a process of healing, maturing and aligning with reality as a human being in the world, and a process of clarifying and identifications releasing. And that too is completely ordinary. It’s universally human.

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Knowing you know

 

Some teachers seem to come from a sense of curiosity, receptivity and shared exploration.

They know you know, even if you don’t always yet know it yourself. You just need a reminder, a pointer to rediscover it for yourself.

Adyashanti and Byron Katie are good examples of this, as are Douglas Harding/Richard Lang and more locally for me, Todd and Barry. The Big Mind process, along with The Work and the headless experiments, are also seem to reflect this approach.

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What I describe is myself

 

Whenever I describe anything – other people, world events, the universe, mythology, dreams – I describe myself.

I describe my own world of images and interpretations, my own mental overlay of what’s happening.

The world is a mirror for me and what’s already here – qualities, characteristics, dynamics. What I see out there is what’s alive here, and I place it “out there” through a story.

And I describe my own field of experience, what happens within and as what I am – awareness, capacity for experience and awareness.

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Mirror both ways

 

One of the reminders I keep returning to:

What I see “out there” – in the wider world, in the past or future – is right here.

And what I see right here is also “out there” – at least as a potential.

What I see “out there” is filtered through my own images and interpretations, my own mental field overlay. I can notice this when I close my eyes, bring attention to what’s in the other sense fields (sensations, sound, sight, taste, smell) and then bring attention to the mental field overlay, the images that organize, located and interpret what’s appearing in each sense field. I can also create images of the room, the building, the neighborhood, people, places, events, past and future – and see how these are all mental field creations.

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Two-way mirror

 

I keep coming back to this:

The world is my mirror, and it goes both ways.

1. What I see out there, is also here.

(a) The stories I have about the wider world, equally apply to me. Whatever qualities, characteristics and dynamics I see out there, in others and the wider world, are right here. I can find specific examples of this to ground it and make it more real for myself, and I can always find one more. Whatever story I have about someone else or the wider world, apply to me, and not only at times in the past, but right now in how I relate to the ones I have this story about.

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Release of others

 

Release of others through self-familiarity.

As I get more familiar with myself, there is a natural release of others from my expectations and shoulds.

There are several ways this happens:

I respond to my own images and beliefs, not to what others do or what life comes up with. I even trigger my beliefs through my stories of what is happening. And that’s how it is for others as well. I trigger my own beliefs. They trigger theirs. I take responsibility for my own choices and actions, aim at acting with as much kindness and wisdom as possible, and can be there for others. But how they respond and relate to it is their responsibility. Again, it’s their process and learning.

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Gifts of projections

 

There are many gifts in projections.

The most obvious is that projections allows us to orient and navigate in the world. Our world of images create a sense of space and time, places whatever happens in the sense fields in space. connects images of past, present, and future events, places boundaries to create the appearance of objects, filters, interprets, and makes sense of it all. This can most easily be noticed through simple sense field explorations. Without our world of images, we wouldn’t function.

This world of images also creates an infinitely rich world. We can place boundaries anywhere. Find connections anywhere. Look at any (imagined) object from any number of perspectives. Create any number of contexts which dramatically changes how we see something. We quite literally create our own worlds through the images we place on top of the sense fields.

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Creating a problem, selling the solution

 

It is one of the oldest tricks in the book: Create a problem, then sell the solution.

Or more often, create the appearance of a problem.

Christianity creates the problem of sin, and offer the solution of salvation.

Buddhism creates the problem of delusion, and offer the solution of awakening. (Of course, you can also say that the suffering is real, and awakening is one solution – but it is not by any means the only practical solution.)

The fashion and body industry creates an impossible ideal, and offers makeup, jewelry, clothes and dieting and exercise programs as the solution.

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Healing and maturing beyond the mirror

 

Exploring the world as a mirror is a great way to invite in maturing and healing. I see dynamics or characteristics in others, and see, feel and eventually find appreciation for it in myself.

The next step – going beyond the mirror – is equally interesting, and takes the maturing and healing to another level.

I notice that my world is my own world of images. The overlay of images on pure perception that makes sense of the world. The overlay that filters, interprets, sets imagined boundaries, imagined labels and so on. That is what creates my world.

So maturing and healing has to happen there too, in that world of images. It is, in a quite literal sense, a healing and maturing of those images.

As I notice that – in immediacy, as it happens – there is already an invitation for healing and maturing.

And as I work with it further – through inquiry, visualization, prayer and so on – there is an invitation for even further healing and maturing.

And even an invitation for what I am to notice itself more clearly, to become familiar with itself, for the center of gravity of what I take myself to be to shift into what already is.

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Don’t look outside of yourself

 

Don’t look outside of yourself for answers, or for something to complete yourself.

It is common advice, and can be understood in a few different ways.

First, in a conventional sense, it is an invitation to find in myself what I am looking for outside of myself. I may be looking for advice, and remember to (also) ask myself and find it in myself. I may be looking for something to complete me, and remember to give it to myself and find it in myself. It is a way to learn to trust what is here, see that it is already here, and that something outside of myself – teachings, people, situations – can remind me of what is already here. The world is my mirror.

It is an invitation to not get caught up in blind projections, in blind attractions and aversions. I may get advice from others, and enjoy things I am attracted to in others, but also remember to find it right here now. I can see it. Feel it. Find appreciation for it.

Then, I can notice that it is already happening. It is already that way. I may be looking for answers outside of myself, I may be looking outside of myself for something to complete me, and it may be outside of myself in a conventional sense, but is it really outside of myself?

It is all happening within my own world of images. The wider world and me that I see all this in is my own world of images. There is no outside and inside here.

The qualities and dynamics these images refer to are also here now. The wider world is a reminder, a mirror, of what is already here now. There is an inside and outside, but they mirror each other instantly and perfectly in this way.

And it is all happening as what I am and everything is. As that which all experience happens within, as and as an expression of.

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Wholeness

 

I can find wholeness as who and what I am.

As who I am, this human self, I can find wholeness by noticing here what I see in the wider world. I can see, feel into and eventually find appreciation for it, whatever it is. The world is my mirror.

And when what I am notices itself, I find that there is already a wholeness there. It is that which all happens within and as.

To the extent I find the first form of wholeness, there is less neediness, less looking for something to complete me, less being caught up in attractions and aversions. This is an ongoing process before and within what I am noticing itself.

Life as is invites such a reorganization, it invites us to grow up. And when what I am notices itself, the invitation is even more pronounced.

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All for me

 

A few ways it is all for myself…

Whatever I do, I (already) do it for myself. I only need to notice.

When I help others or live in a way that seems good for the larger whole, I see that I do it for my own satisfaction. It feels good. It gives me joy. I do it for my sake.

Even when I follow a belief I have, I do it for my sake. A story seems true for me, so I act as if it is true because it seems right. As I find what is more true for me than the initial belief, I may change my actions or not, but I still do it for my sake. (The Work.)

And when I complain about something I am doing, I can do a simple inquiry.

For instance, I can make a list of things I do that I complain about, in a “have to” format. I have to pay taxes. I can then go through the list and change it to I want to… because. I want to pay taxes, because… I don’t want the consequences of not paying. (I am actually happy to pay taxes, but it is an example.)

So here I am seeing that I am already doing it for myself. I thought I was doing it because the government made me do it, but I now realize I am doing it out of kindness to myself – I don’t want the fines and possible jail time for not paying taxes. As I become more clear in this way, I may continue to do what I am doing, I may change the strategy, or I may decide to not do it anymore.  (This inquiry comes from Marshall Rosenberg.)

Also, any advice that comes up for me is for myself, even if initially a story tells me it is for someone else. He should be more open hearted > I should be more open hearted. That feels more true. That is what I want for myself.

This goes for advice I tell myself comes from myself, and advice that comes from someone else – even if it appears to be for yet another person. It doesn’t matter. It it all for me. I can always find how it is true for me, and how I want it for myself.

And anything happening is an invitation for me to grow and wake up, it is for myself. For instance, anything happening is an invitation for me to investigate my beliefs around it, and find what is (already) more true for me.

It doesn’t matter what it is, where it is, or who it apparently is happening to. It is still all for me, as an invitation to grow and wake up.

And finally, all is the play of God, for God. All is the play of what I am – that which all happens within and as, for what I am.

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Forgive oneself

 

One of the basic pointers in growing and waking up (or at least align with awakening) is to forgive oneself. 

When I forgive myself, I forgive – and heal – images of myself. Images from specific situations in the past, and images of aspects of me here now. 

And forgiving myself and others mirror each other. How I relate to one is how I relate to the other. 

It all happens within my own world of images. The wounds, healing, forgiveness all happens within my own world of images. 

It all reflects qualities and dynamics right here, in this human self. 

It is all what I am and what everything/one is. 

Through this, I can heal and mature as a human self in the world. 

And my conscious view and life is more aligned with what I am. My life is a little more aligned with what I am everything already is. 

That alignment can happen even if what I am does not notice itself. It can happen while it notices itself and identification is still in stories and (parts of) content of experience. And it can happen in the context of awakeness awake to itself, and identification shifted out of stories and into the field of awakeness/form.  

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Own world of images

 

The world I see and relate to is my own world of images. It is what happens in the sense fields, with an overlay of images to help this human self orient and function in the world.

This mental field overlay creates a sense of extent (space) and continuity (time) and places whatever happens within that sense of space and time. It creates images of a me as this human self, and images of others and a wider world. And it creates images of a separate I as a doer or observer.

All of this is my own world of images, helping this human self to make sense of and function in the world.

And I can notice it as it happens. I can notice that overlay of time and space. Of a me relating to other people and the wider world in general. Of an I doing as this human self, or observing as awareness itself.

I also notice how all drama happens within this world of images. It comes from images of me/I relating to images of others and the wider world in a certain way. It comes from relationships between images of me and the wider world, when these relationships do not align with images of how it should be.

It is amazing and beautiful.

And I notice how I see myself in three ways here…

I see and relate to my own world of images, whether I recognize them as an imagined overlay or take them as true.

I see qualities and dynamics out there, in the wider world and the past and future, that are also here, in this human self.

And all I see is awakeness itself. What happens in the sense fields and the overlay of images, including the images of me and I, is all the play of awakeness.

There is a great freedom in noticing this, especially as it happens in daily life. I notice that all I relate to is my own world of images. So I can make use of it a practical way. I can use this world of images as a temporary guide for this human self in the world. But I don’t have to take it seriously. I know it is only my own world of images. There is no truth in it.

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Crazy talk

 

I sometimes see teachers being asked convoluted and long-winded questions, and students making themselves unavailable to the clarity of the teacher by continuing to be caught up in them. And sometimes, I see people on the street talking to themselves in crazy ways.

In both of those cases, there is gratitude because it is a reminder of what is happening here when I get absorbed into stories. I tell the same stories to myself, over and over. I rehearse them. Elaborate. Flesh them out. Cycle through them over and over. Make myself unavailable to the clarity that is already here.

In other words, attention goes to the knot, inviting me to see it. Inviting me to inquire into it. What is the belief? What happens when I get caught up in it? What is more true for me? Can I find myself as that which is (already) not caught up in it?

When do I get caught up in stories, making myself unavailable to the clarity that is here?

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Beliefs and dehumanization

 

I watched the Terminator last night, and wondered why there are so many sci-fi movies about cold, calculating, apparently unstoppable robotic and/or alien adversaries. What is so fascinating about them?

Of course, it can be exiting – and useful – to get in touch with the clarity and energy of our basic survival instincts. There is a sense of all of us, all humanity, being in the same boat. There is comfort in the simplicity of having a clear enemy and knowing what to do, and entertainment in the openness of not quite knowing how to do it. And it is enjoyable to vicariously experience drama without being part of it ourselves.

Then, if I see these movies as a dream, with all parts mirroring something in me, what in myself do these characters remind me of? 

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Seeing ourselves in others ii

 

There are many flavors of seeing ourselves in others…

At the level of who I am – my human self…

  • I project stories out there – in the wider world, into the past or future
    • There is a mental field overlay, interpreting what is happening, creating scenarios about the future, creating memories of the past. 
    • If I recognize this overlay, it becomes a very helpful tool for my human self to function in the world. (I can recognize this in an immediate way, as it happens.) 
    • If I don’t recognize it as an overlay, I take it as substantial and out there in the world. I take it as true, and act as if it was true. (Inevitably creating problems for myself.) 
  • I project qualities and dynamics out there
    • Whatever qualities and dynamics I see in the wider world – in others, nature, movies – are qualities and dynamics I am familiar with right here. 
    • If I take them as true, I overlook information that doesn’t fit. 
    • If I take them as only out there, I get caught up in blind attractions and aversions. 
    • If I recognize these qualities and dynamics (also) right here, there is a sense of us. I am also less needy, less of a victim. 
    • If I recognize them as stories, I am free to first find in myself what I see out there. And then to see them as innocent questions about others, myself, the world. Maybe they serve as useful temporary guidelines, maybe not. 
  • I project advice out on others
    • Advice comes up 
    • If I see this advice as (only) for others, I get caught up in how they live their lives. 
    • If I see this advice as (also, mainly) for myself, there is a sense of relief and direction. I am relieved because I recognize where the advice belongs. And I have something to work with. A question. Something to explore for myself. A temporary guideline for action. 

World as mirror

 

A few ways the world is, in a lose sense, a mirror…

First, I can notice the overlay of images on all of the sense fields. These images interpret the sense fields, and are – in a very real sense – the world I relate to. Whenever I see a quality or dynamic in the world, what I am seeing is what an image tells me is going on. I am seeing, and relating to, my own overlay. So in that sense, what I am seeing in the world is my own overlay right here.

If I take this overlay as real and substantial, it appears to be inherent in the world. I project it out on the world and take it as real out there. When I notice the overlay itself, for instance through sense field explorations, I see that it is a creation of my own mind. It is, quite literally, imagined. It can be very helpful for functioning in the world, but it is also imagined and happening right here.

What I see in the world is a mirror of my stories of it right here. When the world is brought into stories, those stories are right here.

Then, I also find that whatever those stories point to is something I can find right here. The dynamics and characteristics they tell me about is something I can find right here in my own human self. I recognize something in the wider world, or in the past or future, and it is right here too.

When I see it only out there, and overlook it right here, it is easy to get blindly caught up in projections. I see desirable and undesirable qualities out in the wider world, or in the past and future, and not also right here, so I get blindly caught up in attraction and aversion. When I recognize those qualities and dynamics also right here, there is more of a freedom from being caught up in blind attractions and aversions. After all, what I see in the wider world is also here. I find myself as less needy. Less of a victim.

Finally, there can be the noticing of whatever happening as Ground, as already empty/awake. It is all God without any I and other. God is a mirror for itself.

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Seeing ourselves in others

 

At our human level, we see ourselves in others and the wider world in general. The world is a mirror for what is right here.

And it is interesting to note that the same happens in awakening. When what we are awakens to itself, there is the recognition that – now quite obviously – all is already awake. Only that it doesn’t always recognize it.

There is a human self here functioning within the context of awakeness awake to itself. And someone there where the awakeness does not – yet – notice itself. At least not as what it and everything really is.

So in awakening, it is as if the whole world awakens. It awakens to itself as already awake.

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