A typical day these days – a visiting bird, meetings, insect bites, delicious lunch

Yesterday was a more-or-less typical day these days, and slightly crazy in mostly a good way. We have these days and then fortunately more quiet days mixed in.

In the morning, we discovered that our car had a flat tire. We got it replaced with the emergency tire and got the original tire fixed this morning.

The guacharaca resting in the brush outside the house

We also discovered a guacharaca outside that seemed tame and followed my wife around. We realized it was likely the guacharaca from our neighbor to the west. They adopted her last year as a young orphan and she has lived with them since. A phone call confirmed that theirs was missing. She had gone on an adventure with some hens, got lost, and had been missing for a couple of days.

I gave her pieces of a ripe banana to eat. Our cat was very interested and started stalking her, so I had to keep an eye on both of them to make sure they didn’t get into trouble. The guacharaca spent the morning variously in a tree next to the house and eating small pieces of banana.

At this point, my wife got bitten twice by an (invisible) insect. The bites were strong and she developed a strong allergic reaction.

I received an email from Anthony, one of the Vortex Healing teachers. He responded to a question I had about my lungs and what I can do to make it easier for me to do pranic breathing, which is necessary for some things in Vortex Healing. My system tends to react strongly to that type of breathing – it may release trauma – so I have minimized it. (I also don’t need to do it for regular healing sessions, I need it mostly for future EarthWorks classes.) What he said makes a lot of sense to me, including the need for extra integration and catch-ups after the sessions.

I communicated briefly on Whatsapp about visiting a regeneration project on the other side of town (postponed because of the flat tire) and a meeting here on Saturday for garden design. The garden design will focus on supporting a vibrant and diverse native ecosystem which will provide a habitat for the local fauna. We will also focus on soil regeneration and long-term planning for where to plant larger native trees.)

A few of the sample photos from Maria, the architect, showing options for the house. Personally, I like a balance between the refined and the rustic, and I would like it to be slightly more rustic than these photos since this is a house in rugged nature and for a bull of a man who is both refined and rustic. The second photo shows the stone walls that will be used in some areas, the third a door detail, the fourth shows how the wood columns can be cone-shaped at the bottom with a metal casing, and the fifth is a lighting option for the outside walls. Everything is traditional except the columns ending in a metal cone, which I love since it’s good to include one or two unusual and slightly eccentric things.

At 9am, we had a Zoom meeting with the architect to decide on materials for my wife’s father’s house that will be built soon. The materials and techniques are all local and traditional. (Rammed earth, reclaimed wood, locally made tiles, and so on.) We had the usual connection problems but were able to get through it to the satisfaction (mostly) of everyone. This meeting lasted at least three hours, including interruptions for technical reasons.

During the meeting, I had to keep an eye on our visitor and cat and prevent possible trouble. We also noticed that our cat seemed jealous and complained if we paid attention to or fed the guaracha.

We made a delicious lunch together. This consisted of sausages, scrambled eggs, and a salad. The sausages are made by a woman in town and are possibly the best either of us has ever tasted. The eggs are fresh and local. The salad was made of greens and herbs from our garden mixed with olive oil, local organic cherry tomatoes, pieces of oranges from our neighbor Francisco, and more. I cooked the sausages in water in a cast iron pan and then let them brown after the water evaporated, and also made the scrambled eggs. She made the salad.

One of the filtration engineers with the guacharaca

As we finished the lunch, two young engineers arrived. We talked about the different options for water purification systems, both for our small house and for the coming two or three houses here. The guacharaca fell in love with one of them and spent the meeting with him. It seemed that she wanted company and affection. This meeting lasted a couple of hours.

The guacharaca making herself at home

As they left, the guacharaca was flying around, knocking over a few things and breaking a plate. (Which is fine, it was just a generic plate and we can get handmade local ones that we like more.) She then followed my wife around for a bit, flew up in a tree, and then sat on the roof for a while. Eventually, she ended up in the storage room. I tried to help her out of that room but she seemed happy to be there.

Our neighbors came at dusk to get her. I assume they were all happy to be reunited, as we were on their behalf. It was fun to have her here, but also a bit challenging.

At this point, my wife’s insect bites had gotten hot, big, and inflamed. She had fear come up since her body sometimes has strong allergic reactions to these types of bites. We debated whether we should take her to the hospital, and we probably would if the car didn’t have a flat tire. We called a local taxi but they didn’t answer. We decided to wait and see how things unfolded. This morning, the red area was bigger but less inflamed. I encouraged her to see an allergy specialist so she can be better prepared for the next time something like this happens, including with medications and possibly an Epipen. These types of strong allergic reactions can suddenly get worse, and it’s best to be prepared.

After being away for some months, the house has a lot of ants exploring and looking for food. There seem to be three types of ants – a tiny one (1mm), a big one (7-10mm), and a medium (3-4mm). I sprayed some non-toxic locally made mosquito repellent in these areas to discourage them. It doesn’t hurt them but they don’t like it, and they are mostly gone this morning. We love ants. They have a very important function in this ecosystem and are valuable partners in regenerating the soil and land. We just don’t need them in the house, and they don’t need to be here either. They have plenty of food outside.

In the evening, I felt fried and cooked. Some of that may be the healing Anthony had done for me earlier in the day. It had that feeling.

The sunset yesterday seen from the terrace

I fell asleep quickly and briefly woke up a few times, noticing some old trauma surfacing in my system. (Survival fear, sadness, grief, and so on.) Because of a long day yesterday, I slept longer than usual and didn’t wake up for real until 6 or 7am.

Merlina sleeping next to me in the early morning a couple of days ago

Our cat is often very loving in the mornings and was especially so this morning. She slept close to me and on top of me most of the early morning.

Read More

Adapting to climate: Warm weather construction and lifestyle

We live in a warm climate (dry tropical forest) where day temperatures typically are between 25 and 30 degrees.

So what do we do to stay comfortable?

We built using rammed earth (tapia pisada) construction, which is traditional here. The thick walls evens out the temperatures and cools down the house during the day.

We built among trees which provide shade. We are also planting a lot around the house and in layers to lower the temperature further.

We have ceiling fans.

We can open up large sections of the wall (AKA large doors) on both sides of the house to create an easy flow of air and wind through the house if we wish.

We have an outdoor shower so we can cool down that way if necessary. (We may also construct a small swimming pool in the future.)

I drink a lot of liquids. During the day, it’s mostly water with hydration salts (electrolytes). In the morning and evening, often herbal teas.

I also find that I take on more of a crepuscular lifestyle here. I typically get up around dawn and am active for a few hours. During the hot time of day, from around mid-day to mid-afternoon, I rest. In the late afternoon, I am more active again until I go to bed early. If we have meetings or activities, we usually schedule them for early morning or late afternoon. It’s not uncommon for me to go to bed around 8pm and get up at 4 or 5am, and then rest from 11am or noon to 3 or 4pm.

None of this is new or something I came up with. The house construction is traditional here because it works well in this climate. The stores close from noon to 3pm because that’s the hot time of day and it makes sense to rest during that time. The locals get up at dawn just like me.

The image shows the thickness of the rammed earth wall (about 50cm), and also how we have used reclaimed and natural wood.

Read More

How to make Nordic winters enjoyable

I love the Nordic winters. It’s just that my system and health don’t love it quite so much.

I love candles when it’s dark and cold outside.

I love sitting by the wood stove or fireplace.

I love having a cup of something hot.

I love reading a good book.

I love going skiing and skating when that’s possible.

I love going for walks with friends.

I love my little sun-mimicking lamp.

I love warm comfort food. (Baked vegetables, a nice stew, etc.)

I love thick socks and a sheepskin behind my back or under my feet.

I love going to a nice cozy café.

I love the sunrise and sunset and the sun low on the horizon.

I love wearing warm wool clothes outside. I love the layers so I can be comfortable.

I love long wool underwear.

I love making snowmen, sledding, and making miniature ski jumps for bottles.

I love strings of lights inside and outside.

I love walking around in the neighborhood and looking at the houses and sometimes into the windows and smelling the cooking.

I love the quiet that comes with a blanket of snow.

I love putting food out for the birds and watching them eat.

I love looking at the traces of birds and animals in the snow.

I love skiing through a forest to a public cabin where I can sit by the fireplace with hot chocolate and a warm waffle with strawberry jam.

I love taking a rest from cross-country skiing with chocolate and oranges.

I love cross-country skiing through a snow-covered forest and stopping frequently to listen and take in the views.

I love skating on a lake when the ice is free of snow.

I love the outdoor winter craft fair at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History.

I love taking a ferry on the Oslo fiord with the low sun and winter landscape.

I love walking through the botanical garden with the naked trees.

I love sitting in the charming café at the old Ås train station.

I love winter photography.

I love making use of the long winter nights for night photography.

I love dinner with friends with candles, good music, and a woodstove or fireplace.

Read More

What is trauma?

A common definition of trauma is that it’s what happens when our system cannot process what’s happening with us. It becomes overwhelmed and deals with it by creating trauma.


That makes sense to me. Trauma is clearly a coping mechanism, as is any hangup or emotional issue. In the situation, it’s the best way our system knows how to survive and manage.


We can look at it through the lens of beliefs. Our system creates painful beliefs in order to find a sense of safety. A situation is overwhelming and scary, it creates some beliefs for iself to find a sense of safety, and those beliefs are often painful.

Why do beliefs seem safe? I assume it’s because they give us a sense of certainty. Our mind can tell itself it knows. It knows how something is. That may seem preferable to not knowing and being at the mercy of life.


It seems a little silly when it’s laid out like this.

Holding a thought as true doesn’t provide any safety at all. If anything, it makes us less receptive and flexible. It creates a fixed view and identity which makes us rigid and less able to respond well to life and situations. In many ways, that’s less safe than knowing that we don’t know for certain.

Holding a thought as true is also inevitably uncomfortable. It creates friction, stress, and distress. Life will inevitably rub up against any belief and identity we have, and that’s stressful. Also, our mind needs to spend a lot of energy to maintain it. It needs to remind itself about it. It needs to prop it up. It needs to defend it. It often elaborates on it. It needs to look for evidence for its truth. And so on.


What happens when our mind holds a thought as true? It identifies with the viewpoint of the thought. It creates an identity for itself out of the thought. In a sense, it becomes the thought. It perceives and lives as if it is the thought.


All of this is hidden from the mind unless it takes a closer look and examines what’s really going on. We live it without realizing what’s going on. When we take a closer look, we can relate to all of this a little more intentionally. A thorough examination may even lead to some of these identifications to fall away. The thought is still here, and recognized as a thought and not true in the way our mind initially saw it.


I should also mention that it’s not that straightforward. Different parts of our psyche tend to hold onto different thoughts as true. Several parts of me believe thoughts that I – as a whole – do not subscribe to, and they inevitably color my perception and life. That’s why a practice to identify these beliefs can be helpful. If I notice something triggered in me, it’s helpful to identify the thought or thoughts behind it, see if I can find related and underlying thoughts, and then investigate these.


Of course, there are many other aspects to trauma and many other lenses we can use to understand it.

For instance, we can still explore beliefs and identifications, but we can examine it through our sense fields. We can look at how our mind associates certain thoughts with certain sensations, and how the sensations give a sense of solidity, reality, and truth to the thoughts, and the thoughts give a sense of meaning to the sensations. As we keep peeking behind the metaphorical wizard’s curtain, the illusion tends to lose it’s reality.


Exploring the sense fields in this way also gives us some hints about how traumas – and emotional issues in general – tend to create body tension. Our mind needs sensations to lend a sense of solidity and truth to thoughts, so to have those sensations available it seems to tense up certain muscles to create tension and sensations that go with certain thoughts. Each thought has its own tension pattern, and these seem to have a mix of universality and individuality. If a belief or set of beliefs is regularly activated and perceived from and lived on, it’s likely that it’s associated with a chronic tension pattern in the body.


If we are to explore this, and we have trauma in our system (as most of us do), it’s important to do it in a good setting: Guided by someone experienced, and someone we like and trust. Having enough time to explore, process, and settle after. Knowing we can stop it ourselves at any moment, and be encouraged to do so. Doing it in very small portions at a time. Doing it in an atmosphere of safety, understanding, and support. Avoid overwhelming our system again.


If we are drawn to it, this is something we can explore in different ways.

I find The Work of Byron Katie to be very helpful in identifying and examining stressful beliefs. The Kiloby Inquiries (KI) is excellent for exploring how it all unfolds in the sense fields. Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) is an excellent way to release chronic tension from the body. I also know that many love Somatic Experiencing (I have less experience with that approach although have found the books useful).

Personally, I have mostly used the three first approaches. I started with The Work of Byron Katie almost twenty years ago and did it daily for many years. I have been the client and facilitator for many KI sessions over the years, including with many clients. And I have used TRE regularly for several years, and still use it off and on.

Image by me and Midjourney

Read More

I love tonglen

Tonglen has been one of my favorite practices since my late teens.

I use it towards myself, my parents, my brother, my partner, the people behind the neighborhood hotel project (which is so destructive in so many ways), the neighbors playing loud music the whole day, politicians, soldiers, humanity as a whole, animals suffering, all beings, and so on.

I visualize the person or group of people in front of me. I visualize their suffering as black smoke. I breathe in that black smoke. I see it transform into light. I breathe out that light and into the person. I repeat until there is a real shift in how I relate to and perceive the person. And I return to it2.

It’s a beautiful practice. I remember reading – way back in my teens or twenties – that some traditions within Tibetan Buddhism say it’s the only practice we need. That seems true enough to me.

In a way, it’s beside the point how it works1. It’s about the effect, and that’s something for each of us to explore and notice.

(1) That said, here are some things I notice: (a) It helps me recognize that my world is created within and by my own mind. It’s the consciousness I am forming itself into all of it, whether I imagine something or tell myself I experience it directly. (b) It helps me recognize what I see in the other also in myself, at a human level. I can find it here as well. That reduces any sense of separation or of being better/worse than the other. (c) It helps me see the potential in the other (and myself). (d) It helps me find genuine well-wishing and compassion for the other (and myself).

(2) Sometimes, I do tonglen with a series of people or groups. I do one breath with one and move on if it feels relatively open and without too much charge. After a while, I may return to whatever I feel needs more work. I wouldn’t recommend this more causal approach to someone new to tonglen. If you are new, it’s best to stick with the traditional approach and stay with one person or group for a while and deepen into it.

Image by me and Midjourney

The simplest view

There is a view that explains nearly all of the big questions humans have, and does so in a simple, logical, and elegant way.

That view is that all is Spirit, all is God, the divine, Brahman, Allah1.

The world and all of existence is the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways. What we take ourselves to be is a local expression of the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself.

It explains just about all the big questions and does so in a satisfying way.

As a bonus, it also happens to fit our own immediate noticing when we find our more fundamental nature2.

It explains the question of evil, our relationship with the divine, what the meaning of life is, and much more3.

The main question it doesn’t explain is how there is something rather than nothing4. To me, that’s completely baffling. It stops my mind and I cannot find even the beginning of an answer.

It also doesn’t really explain what happens after the death of this human self. To myself, I am the timeless that time happens within, I am what the appearance of birth and death happens within and as. And yet, that doesn’t mean that the consciousenss I am continues after the death of this human self. It may continue and it may disappear with the body. I cannot know for certain. It’s tempting to say that consciousness continues but if I am honest, I have to admit I don’t know and cannot know.

It leaves some things open, which is how it should be. It leaves the things I don’t need to know now open. It leaves it to be discovered at another time, or not.

And, as any view, it’s a question about the world. It’s something for us to explore.

(1) To some with a Western materialistic mindset, it may seem fantastical and unnecessary. And yet, is it any more amazing that all is God than that all is matter? To me, they seem about equally improbable and fantastical, and the former is – in many ways – more logical. (This also has to do with what we mean by God and what images we have of God. I am not talking about the standard Christian or theistic God here.)

(2) I find I am what my field of experience happens within and as. I am the consciousness that forms itself into any and all experiences that happen here. To me, the world is the play of consciousness. It’s lila.

(3) Evil = part of the play of the divine. Our relationship with the divine = we are a part of the larger divine whole. The meaning of life = for the divine to experience itself as and through us and everything.

(4) Some say it’s because of God, but that’s not an answer since God is something rather than nothing. Some also say that it is all nothing, which is technically true in that all appears as consciousness and not a “thing”. That too is missing the point since there are still appearances. When I say “something” I include appearances, anything that’s not a complete absence.

Image by me and Midjourney

Read More

Allowing the weirdness

I often feel weird in different ways – brain fog, energies moving, old issues surfacing, feeling like I am on drugs or psychedelics, and so on. Even normal food often makes me feel like I am on drugs, with a different effect on my mind and system from each type of food.

When that happens and I am with others, a part of me wants to push it away. It struggles with it and doesn’t want it to be there. This comes from a fear that others will see me as weird, reject me, and say and do terrible things to me. (My psyche internalized this fear from my parents, and it was reinforced through elementary and middle school.)

I become more weird if I join in with that resistance and fear. If I get caught up in the struggle, I inevitably start to act more weird. I become reclusive. I don’t say much. I want to hide. I become self-conscious.

When I notice and allow it all, and find some compassion for the part of me that feels scared, it’s easier to find space to relate to it with more intention. I can relate to the weirdness and the part of me struggling with it in a more conscious way.

I have explored these dynamics since my teens, and it always feels new and fresh. Even today, I had an opportunity to notice. I felt weird this morning. A part of me was scared that my wife would reject me. I partly joined in with the resistance to and fear of the weirdness, without consciously noticing. She asked me, I noticed what was happening, and was able to shift more into noticing and allowing it all. I found a more conscious way of noticing and relating to it all. Instead of creating division between us, it led to more understanding, connection, and intimacy. More to the point, the same happens in how I relate to myself – to the different parts of me and my experience.


There is always more to say about these things.

For instance, I have many different parts of my psyche that relate to this weirdness in different ways.

The one that resists out of fear is a relatively prominent and familiar one for me, and it was – as mentioned above – created in my childhood.

I can join in with it and take on its beliefs, perspective, and orientation. I can, in a sense, become it for a while.

And when I notice what’s happening and shift into allowing it, there is a shift in identification. Identification shifts out of this part of me and either into another part (allowing) or into what I more fundamentally am, which is what it all happens within and as.

I remember Adyashanti talking about how his mother used to tell him: Weird is wonderful. That’s a good pointer for me. I can be a good parent to myself and remind myself of that. Weird is wonderful.

It’s worth questioning my ideas about weirdness. Do parts of me see it as bad or wrong? Does the label really fit? What do I find when I identify and examine thoughts about it that parts of me hold as true?

I’ll do a quick inquiry now and make some notes here:

Read More

Why I love vultures

A few days ago, I saw a dead dove near our house on Finca Milagros. It had been there for some hours and the vultures likely wouldn’t touch since it was too close to people. I moved the dove up the hill and put up a wildlife camera, and the vultures came after half an hour for their meal.


Why do vultures have a bad reputation in some cultures?

I suspect it serves a function. Vultures are connected with dead animals and rotting meat. We are built differently and rotting meat tends to make us sick. So it makes sense, to some extent, for cultures to instill a revulsion against scavengers in general, including vultures.

The downside is that it can make us blind to their right to life just like us and how they serve us and nature in general.


Why do I love vultures?

Vultures serve important functions in the ecosystem. They clean up rotting meat which benefits us, other animals, and the ecosystem as a whole.

As mentioned above, they sometimes have a bad reputation. Where we are in the Andes mountains, farmers sometimes put out poisoned meat to kill them. (This seems oddly self-defeating. It puts poison into the food chain which is bad for all of us, and the presence of vultures in our ecosystem directly helps us. Vultures are on our side.) I have a personality that tends to support and defend underdogs. I want to stand up for them and give them a voice.

They are likely consciousness like me. To themselves, they are very likely consciousness, and just like me, they function through a body. The only difference is the type of body. (They are pure consciousness, and the form it takes depends on the bodymind, the particular senses, the nervous system, and so on.)

They are living beings like me. Like me, they wish to avoid suffering and find (their form of) happiness.

They are expressions of this living planet, just like me. They are part of the same seamless living planet.

They are expressions of the universe, just like me. They too are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. They are the universe bringing itself into consciousness.


I posted a vulture video from my wildlife camera on social media, and received this story:

The Parsis of India depend on vultures to dispose of the dead. Soil is sacred so they can’t defile it by burying a corpse. Fire is sacred so they don’t cremate. Water is sacred so they don’t put bodies in water. Air is sacred so they don’t leave bodies to rot. The vultures are the ultimate recyclers.

Of course, this likely has a practical function as well. It obviously makes sense to not put dead bodies in water. As for the rest, I am not sure. Perhaps they didn’t want to use valuable food-producing land for cemeteries. Perhaps they wanted to use valuable firewood for the living. Offering dead bodies to vultures makes sense, it’s a good practical solution.

At the same time, the traditional explanation above doesn’t quite make sense. Is a dead body not sacred? Are vultures not sacred? I imagine there are annoying people in their culture pointing that out.

The video is from the wildlife camera I set up with a view to the dead dove

Read More

Another Amma experience – let there be light

I wanted to share another Amma experience that happened just now. 

I used to invite Amma to help when I do group healings, and I have thought of visiting her ashram, but I have not felt a deep and personal connection. That all changed with what happened Monday night and I feel her with me all the time. 

This morning, I was working on a flashlight/headlamp that wouldn’t turn on. I tried everything without result, had given up, and was ready to order another one. As a last resort, I asked Amma for help. A part of me thought it was too small to bother her, but I then reminded myself that it’s more about deepening the connection. After asking Amma, I clicked the “on” button and – through a miracle – it turned on! It seems to be back to normal working order now.

It’s small and it’s not small at all. It’s not small to me.

Read More

I love Western medicine

I love Western medicine. It has certainly saved my life. I wouldn’t be here without it.

I love the germ theory and sanitation. It has improved the lives of millions, including me.

I love antibiotics. (And phage therapy even if I have not tried it.)

I love the diagnostic methods.

I love epidemiology and what we learn from epidemiology.

I love that the learnings from epidemiology were put to good use during the recent pandemic.

I love the doctors and nurses who have helped me through the years.

I love the limits it has. It has limits like anything else.

Why am I saying this? I went to the hospital last night after a cat bite and received wound cleaning and antibiotics and am profoundly grateful for it. I know from experience how terrible an infection a cat bite can cause. Twice this morning, I heard someone saying they hate something related to Western medicine. One said he hates antibiotics. The other, that he hates hospitals and doctors.

I love it. I love what it has done for the world, especially in terms of sanitation and the prevention of illnesses. I love that it saved my life. (Although if I had died, that would have been OK too.)

In daily life, I don’t make active use of Western medicine. (Apart from benefiting hugely from the germ theory and sanitation.) I don’t take any medicines. Instead, I much prefer herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, energy healing, using food as medicine, bodymind practices, and so on. And when I need it, when there is a health crisis, I love Western medicine and make use of it. I love that it’s here, even if it’s imperfect. (Just like anything is imperfect.)

Western medicine has a lot to learn. It operates from a very limited worldview. It doesn’t understand much of how other approaches work. It’s very young and in its infancy. As anything else, it’s caught up in our current economic system and there are a lot of terrible things in how it works and how the pharmaceutical industry works. That reflects our current economic system and not medicine itself.

And yet, I love it. It has done so much for us, and it has a lot of potential.

Read More

More intentionally using Non-Violent Communication

My wife and I are using the essence of Non-Violent Communication (NVC) more these days.

I learned it 15-20 years ago in Oregon – read books, went to workshops, and also a weekly practice group.

It’s amazing what it does. Situations that could escalate because of poor communication, hurt, and fear, now lead to closer connection and intimacy.

It seems so simple. It is simple when we do it.


What’s the essence of NVC?

It’s been a while since I heard or read anything about it so it’s filtered by time and what I find interesting.

To me, it’s to use some version of “I feel… because…” and to be as sincere as possible.

For me, I find fear under almost anything – anger, frustration, sadness, and so on. So I may say “I feel angry because… and really, I feel fear, I am scared because….”.

Similarly, when I say “because….” I can mention a trigger in the situation, and I may also add what’s really going on which is a painful belief I have or an old emotional issue.

So for me, it often takes the form of: “I feel X because of Y, and it’s really fear because of this painful belief and this old issue from childhood”.

This is not about a specific language or formula. It’s more about being aware of (a) what I feel and (b) some things about why, and then communicating it in whatever way is real and seems helpful in the situation. The “I feel… because…” formula may be a good support at first and in more charged situations, and as we get more used to it, it becomes more organic and we find our own way with it.

This tends to defuse the situation. The other may say “thank you” and share what they feel and what triggered it.


The other essence of NVC for me is to differentiate needs and strategies to meet those needs. We can get overly focused (and obsessed) with a particular strategy without recognizing or exploring other strategies that may work as well or better. We may also not be very aware of what the need is.

So I can first identify my need and then explore a range of strategies to meet that need. That makes it easier for two or more to find strategies that work for both or everyone.

I find that my needs are usually quite essential and universal. At one level, it may be food, water, shelter, rest. And at another level, safety, love, being seen and understood, and so on.

Image by me and Midjourney

Read More

Why things have been going wrong

For the last 10-15 years, there has been a pattern of something amazing coming into my life – a fulfillment of a dream – and then falling apart relatively quickly. In reality, that’s been a pattern my whole adult life, it’s just that it seems to have intensified for the last decade or so.


Of course, all is change. This is something everyone experiences. What comes together falls apart.

I am aware of that and it gives me a more universal context for what’s happening in my own life, which is freeing.

At the same time, it does seem to happen a lot here. Especially over the last decade, it seems to have happened more consistently, frequently, and dramatically than what’s usual.


When I asked the main Vortex Healing teacher about it, he said he couldn’t find specific emotional issues and that it looked more karmic.

That is likely generally true. It’s possible that through grace, Amma helped me with this. (We’ll see how it unfolds.)


When I look at each specific situation, I also see things I could have done differently and some issues that prevented me from acting more decisively and being a good steward of my life.

What are some of these issues? The ones I am aware of seem to fit into a general theme.

Not wanting to be seen/wanting to be seen. A strategy of wanting to hide and be invisible fueled by a fear of being visible and what others may say or do. I dropped out of one or two careers I loved, was passionate about, and was good at, because of this (art and sustainability/community organizing). When I write here, I do it anonymously so nobody needs to know who is writing it. Few people in my life know about these articles.

Not being able to stand up for myself/imposing my wishes too strongly. The first is a strategy of not wanting to upset or hurt others, which comes from a fear of their reaction and anger. The second is a compensation by sometimes imposing my wants on others, which comes out of a fear of my wishes being ignored. If I suggest something, and it’s rejected, I often quickly give up. Often, I don’t even speak up. Sometimes, I put more energy than I need behind something as a compensation.

Seeing myself as less than/more than. The low self-esteem may be a strategy to stay invisible and out of harm’s way, and it’s compensated for by seeing myself as better than others. I tell myself that what I can contribute is worthless and banal, and also secretly judge others for not being as good as me at something or not seeing something I see. When I write here, a voice in me tells me it’s banal and obvious, while I sometimes indirectly criticize others for not getting it.

There are many others, but these seem quite central. When I write them out like this, it seems pretty terrible but it’s good to be open about it.

I likely internalized these from my birth family out of innocence, in order to do as others do, and in order to stay safe in that environment. I also see how they were formed (or reinforced) to help me deal with specific and repeated types of situations in my family and with peers while growing up.

Read More

Living from the oneness I am is respectively impossible & inevitable (and that’s not a paradox)

It’s impossible for me to fully live from the oneness I am, and it’s also inevitable.

That’s not a paradox since they point to two different things.


I find myself as consciousness AKA oneness, and it’s possible for me to imagine how it would look to consistently live from and as that recognition of oneness.

At the same time, it’s impossible for me to fully do it in real life. My human self has too many biases, hangups, issues, identifications, and traumas. My perception and life will always be colored by these.

That’s OK. It’s understandable and natural. It’s a process. There is always further to go.

More parts of my psyche can heal and align more closely with oneness consciously recognizing itself. More painful beliefs can be identified and examined. There is always more maturing, learning, and exploration happening.


It’s also impossible to not live from and as the consciousness and oneness I am. It happens whether I notice or not and is independent of how my human self is.

To me, my human self happens within and as the consciousness and oneness I am. The consciousness I am forms itself into it all, including the hangups and trauma, and my human self living from these hangups and trauma.


There is a beauty here. It’s rich. It’s endlessly fascinating.

Life set the stage for this richness. In this case, life (consciousness AKA divinity) sets the stage for an endless exploration of itself through and as the richness of who and what we are – our human self in the world and the consciousness we more fundamentally are.


What I write about above are two different things.

One is consciously living from and as oneness recognizing itself. This is filtered through a human self that has biases, hangups, and so on, so it will be imperfect according to how we may imagine it.

The other is what inevitably and always happens. The consciousness and oneness we are always live through and as this human self whether we notice or not (and for as long as this human self is around!).


As hinted at above, this may appear as a paradox but they are really two different things.

It appears as a paradox because of language. We can present it in a way that uses language to present it as if it’s a paradox. This happens if we stay at the level of mental abstractions.

If we come from immediate noticing, we see it’s really two different things and we can talk about and present it as two distinct things. Here, there is no paradox.

In my experience, that’s how most apparent paradoxes are. It may look like a paradox if we are in language and abstractions, and when we look a little more closely, it’s separated out into two or more distinct things and the apparent paradox falls away.

Image by me and Midjourney

Read More

At the start of every disaster movie is a scientist being ignored

At the start of every disaster movie is a scientist being ignored.

– Paraphrased tweet by Neil deGrasse-Tyson

Yes, that’s true for many movies.

It’s also true for us collectively in real life right now.

When it comes to climate change, scientists are being ignored in two different ways. One is that some deny the findings and think they know better. The other is that we accept it but collectively don’t make the required changes.

Similarly, scientists talk about global ecological overshoot. That’s a bigger picture that includes climate change and is far more serious and important. We support our civilization by using the metaphorical savings of Earth, which looks fine for a while until we hit the bottom of the savings account and all – ecosystems and our civilization – come crashing down. This too is being ignored by most people.

This has been one of my main concerns and focus – and sometimes work – since my teens in the ’80s. For a while, I thought society and humanity would be smart enough to take it seriously before we were in the middle of the crisis. Now, I am not so sure. And really, I cannot know. I cannot know how it all will unfold. All I can do is to be a small part of the solution and act in my own life in the ways I can – voting for parties taking this seriously (in my case, the Green Party in Norway), protecting and helping to regenerate the land we have here in the Andes (and also collect water, use solar energy and create a food forest), talking with people about it if they are interested and receptive, eat mostly local and organic, and so on.

Image by me and Midjourney

Read More

Hans Børli: I see and know that I see / Jeg ser og vet at jeg ser

I see
And know that I see
So simply is happiness created

Jeg ser.
Og vet at jeg ser.
Så enkelt blir en lykke til.

– Hans Børli

The consciousness I am sees and the consciousness I am knows that it’s seeing. The consciousness I am forms itself into all of it – what’s seen, what sees, what knows the seeing. Noticing that is like coming home and brings up a kind of quiet bliss and happiness.

An Amma experience: no words

This is one of the more remarkable experiences so far in my process. Below is what I wrote just after it happened, and I’ll leave it as it is since it is quite raw and naked. I may write a more organized summary at some point. I’ll also add updates.


I have experienced quite a lot of distress today, from coming face-to-face again with the pattern of something very good happening in my life, and then it falls apart. I felt I was brought to my knees.

I wrote the main Vortex Healing teacher (Ric) about this pattern to see if he had any insights or pointers. (His pointers and insights are usually very helpful to me.) His response was that he could not find an emotional issue behind it, that it was likely karmic, and to pray for support.

My wife and I then asked Amma for help, while laying in bed.

First, I saw Amma in the distance. There were several light grey cutouts between me and Amma, so I asked her to remove all the obstacles.

She did, and was here in energetic form through and in and around my system, working on it.

She was no longer human. She showed herself in an energy form.

It shifted, and there was no division between Amma and my system. Amma was my system, my system was Amma. It was as if my system was made up of small diamonds.

There were many shifts for the next two hours or so.

I saw my system in infinite space and made up of small diamonds.

There were tears for most of the time and periods of strong breathing.

I saw and experienced what seemed like the real yantras that the drawings try to depict. My system was these yantras, and they were my system.

There was a cosmic phase. Infinite space. Stars.

There was a phase with the presence of aliens (!).

There was a softening and the aliveness and presence of this land was strong, along with infinite space, stars, and the center of the earth.

A lot of the time, I think I sounded like Ellie from Contact when she was going through the wormhole (!).

No words. I don’t know anything. Everything. Nothing. So beautiful.

During the cosmic phase and the stars: This is home.

I took a photo of myself after this was over, to send to Ric, and the photo looks very different from any other of me. During the process, Amma and I were no longer human. We were energies, space, and consciousness, and that shows in the photo.

My wife sensed the same as me throughout this process. She would report what I experienced.

Apart from the first few minutes, I experienced all as energies and infinite space.

This lasted from about 10 pm when I read Ric’s email to close to midnight.

It took some minutes for my human presence to return, and it’s mostly but not quite back an hour later.

It was as if everything that happened today led to this, including channeling into water to clear and protect the land, and sprinkling it along the edges of Finca Milagros. (The road and Camino Real.)


A few words in the morning: I woke up with some sadness, maybe because of what’s happening in this neighborhood. My system feels quite different and familiar at the same time. Spacious and cosmic, in a way. I still have no idea what it was about. Was it a healing for this land? Was karma removed from my system? My wife says she feels it was a lineage that was created.

I remember that early in the process last night, I asked Amma if this was for me. After all, I have a lot of trauma and struggles at a human level. She waved it away as if she waved away a fly. It felt as if it was determined a long time ago.

From the middle of the process, or earlier, it was all very cosmic. It was as if the whole of the cosmos was here with stars, planets, beings from other places in the cosmos. Later, they were here with this land and the spirit and spirits of this land and the beings here.

Everything happened within and as energy and consciousness – the whole process, Amma, space, cosmos, stars, this land, this (“my”) system, the little diamonds making up this system.

The infinity and space was dark through the process, happening as energies and consciousness, with stars and the cosmos and what else was happening through the process.

Tears ran for just about the whole process. (And also this morning.)

Here is a summary I wrote for one of the Vortex teachers, asking if she could sense what happened: I am writing mainly because we asked Amma for help last night, and it started a two-hour profound process for me. A. sensed it too, and she sensed what was happening as it was happening. It was as if the whole cosmos was here, and everything was energies and consciousness. Anything human was left behind.


Update two days later: I was very tired yesterday and rested and slept the whole afternoon and evening and slept through the night.

When I noticed some old personality patterns, they didn’t seem to fit so much anymore.

Looking back to the two-hour Amma process, what stands out is that Amma is not most fundamentally human and I am also not. (We are consciousness and energies, and Amma also revealed herself and me as emptiness and more.)

I remember the complete impossibility of living from what was revealed. (And the impossibility of not living as it since it’s what we are).

And also that there are no words. No words can even get close to describing any of it.

A thought can say that none of that is really “new”. I wrote the same in my teens from direct experience and noticing. And yet, it’s always new. And this version and packaging of it was also new to me.


This is a reminder of why I am not so interested in psychedelics. This cosmic journey was as strong and profound as I imagine just about any psychedelic journey. Variations of these kinds of shifts and journeys have been part of my life since early childhood.


It’s now one week later, and Amma is still here. In my experience, she appears within and as my system and within and as everything. She is also here in healing sessions and when I ask for healing and transformation for myself.

I find I like to rest in and as this noticing and giving everything that’s here, my whole field and system, to Amma and the divine. This is not so different from what I have done since my teens, but it is different in that the Amma quality is here everywhere now. It’s a different flavor of the divine.

When I do healing now, it also has a different flavor. A more cosmic flavor and all as Amma. It’s also happening from emptiness, which again is not so different from how it was even in my teens, but that emptiness somehow also has an Amma flavor now.

During the cosmic journey a week ago, Amma revealed herself in energetic form, as all of Cosmos and existence, and as the emptiness all comes from and which forms itself into all of it. It makes sense since everything is all of this, and she knows she is all of it.

Rural challenges

We all live within an ecocidal civilization, and we all notice and are marked by it in different ways.


In my case, I have a regeneration project in the Andes mountains. We built our tiny house here. We will plant nearly a thousand native trees in the next few weeks. We wish to make this land into even more of a paradise than it is. We live in a peaceful and magical neighborhood with just a few small farmers and people like us with regeneration and rewilding projects.

There are snakes in paradise, as so often. In this case, the main snake is a huge hotel project being built right across from where we are, in full sight of our house, and where we had more buildings imagined. They are planning an open party and event building right there, which will likely produce a lot of noise. They are also planning the hotel with hundreds of rooms, several swimming pools, a replica of a traditional town, chain stores, and a shopping center.

This is all madness in this neighborhood. It will create a lot of noise. It will increase the traffic here, on a tiny road where two cars already have trouble meeting. It will take business from innumerable small family-owned businesses. They will deplete the groundwater which will impact all of us in the neighborhood and the ecosystem here. (The trees and vegetation are dependent on a good groundwater level.) Almost nobody wants them here. And the project was approved by the former mayor through a not-very-transparent process.

These kinds of destructive projects are symptoms of our ecocidal civilization. None of us can escape it. (Unless we are apparently very lucky or have enough money to buy our own island, and even then we are impacted.)


How am I dealing with it?

It’s not just one way.

We are in conversation with lawyers, community organizers, and the new mayor.

We are looking at our own personal options and a range of options. (Including at our land.)

I know that this, to me, is all happening within and as the consciousness I am. The consciousness I am is forming itself into it. I am doing ho’oponopono for the hotel project and the ones behind it, and also the distressed parts of myself. (Of course, that it’s happening within the consciousness I am doesn’t mean it isn’t also happening in an outer world in a conventional sense. I have to assume that’s the case. And I am open to the possibility that it’s all happening within and as the divine. No matter what, it’s lila. It’s the play of the consciousness I am. It’s the play of life and the evolution of this living planet and the universe. It’s the play within the divine forming itself into all of this, whether we call the universe the divine or assume all of existence is divine consciousness.)

I am also using tonglen with the people behind the hotel project.

We are using a lot using different Vortex Healing tools and approaches to move the situation in a direction better for the neighborhood and nature here.

I am working on the issues in me that reflect and mirror these kinds of situations. Since the dark part of the dark night started 10-15 years ago, projects and my life in general have repeatedly fallen apart in amazing ways. Something happens that’s a dream for me, it’s starting, and then it falls apart. That has happened over and over in many areas of life. (I lost my health. I lost my dream job. I lost my house and all my belongings. I lost the opportunity to do an amazing PhD in exactly the area I wanted. I lost an amazing relationship that looked perfect. I lost the opportunity to become a US citizen and even lost my residency due to a weird combination of a vital project I needed to finish in Norway, the pandemic, and because Norway was one of the last countries in the world to allow dual citizenship. If I buy something I really like, it often gets destroyed almost immediately. (For reasons outside of my control.) And so on and so on. It seems endless. What parts in me have a charge around this drama and loss? How is it to invite in healing or those parts of me?

How do I see these people? The people behind the destructive project? The corruption? Can I find it in myself? Can I take the stories I have about them, turn it to myself, and find specific and genuine examples for how it’s true? Can I relate to it with kindness and understanding in myself? Can I find peace with it in myself? Can I relate to it more intentionally in myself?


As mentioned above, I see this as lila. The play of the consciousness I am. The play of this evolving living planet and universe. The play of the divine, in whatever way we understand that. (As the universe, as a consciousness that forms itself into all there is.) It’s an opportunity to deepen into that recognition.

It’s also an opportunity to ground even more in my nature as consciousness and all of this happening within and as what I am, and temporarily forming itself into all of this.

It’s an opportunity to find genuine love for the parts of me coming up (reactivity, sadness, grief, anger) that want to protect me and are forms of love.

It’s an opportunity to take action in my personal life and the community.

It’s an opportunity to invite in healing for issues in me mirrored in what’s happening. (Anything in me that has a charge around and connects with loss and drama.)

It’s an opportunity to find in myself what I see in them and relate to it with more kindness and more intentionally.


Everything is involved in this situation – our ecocidal civilization, the worldview behind it of separation and power-over orientation, politics, corruption, sustainability, community, emotional issues, taking action, prayer, divine support, and it’s even a small part in how our civilization and how humanity unfolds.

The question is: How do I deal with it? How do I wish to deal with it?


We have received amazing support from the Vortex Healing community in working with the land and situation here energetically. I am very grateful and curious to see how it unfolds. Amma has also been involved in an amazing way.

Making regeneration valuable

Regeneration and rewilding is obviously immensely valuable to the beings making their home in that location, for the local and regional ecosystems, for our living planet, for our climate, and for future generations.

So how can we also make it valuable to locals and the people owning the land? How can we make it more valuable for the owners and the locals to keep the forest rather than cutting it down?

One answer is food forests and silvopasture. We set it up so it produces enough food to give a good income. Another answer is ecotourism. Many tourists and visitors are interested in seeing these projects, especially if they are diverse and include different types of ecosystems. Yet another is to have a nursery within the forest to sell trees and food plants to neighbors and others.

We set it up so the interests are aligned between the owners and the locals, and the many beings living there, ecosystems, and future generations. So that what’s easy and attractive to do is also good for life as a whole.

It’s not only very possible, it’s happening around the world. The next step is to do this with our economic system and civilization as a whole. That’s also possible if we can find the collective will.

Image by me and Midjourney, a food forest in Cañon del Chicamocha.

All-inclusive gratitude practice

I am doing an all-inclusive gratitude practice again these days. It’s based on Make Miracles in 40 Days by Melody Beattie, and I am doing it with a friend in Oregon. (We don’t know each other that well but we have a similar orientation, so it’s a good match for this.) I have done this a few times before with other people, and it’s always been meaningful and rewarding.

It’s quite simple. Each day, we write a list and send it to each other. Each item starts with “I am grateful for..” and then something in my life my personality easily is grateful for or not. Everything is included.

Why would I write “I am grateful for…” and then something my personality doesn’t like? Because it opens my mind. It opens my mind and heart to the possibility that there is something there to find genuine gratitude for. It opens my heart and mind to look for genuine gifts in it.

I love the simplicity of it. I love that I can include everything, including what’s most difficult for me in my life. I love that I don’t need to try to figure out what I am supposed to be grateful for or not…! I love that the lists can be short or long depending on what comes up as I write. I love the shifts that happen over time through this daily practice. I love I have the opportunity to do this with others in an unfiltered way.

Image created by me and Midjourney

Health crisis & shifting the center of gravity into my nature as a safety valve

Close to summer solstice 2022, I found myself with sepsis and in acute septic shock and rushed to the hospital.


I was in Ski, having just returned from the Andes mountains. A tooth broke followed by a strong infection in my jaw and face. I received antibiotics from the emergency dentist. (This happened on a weekend.) It didn’t seem to do anything. That Monday, I went back to the dentist for more work on the tooth, and on my way back to the house, I blacked out.

Somehow I was able to walk the ten minutes back to the house, but I cannot remember anything about it.

I came back to consciousness naked on the couch in the basement of my parents house, sweating profusely, ice cold, and shaking so strongly it was close to impossible to use my phone to contact anyone. With a lot of struggle, I was able to leave a message for my wife (who was sick with covid in the guesthouse) and my brother.

My brother eventually came, didn’t seem to take it very seriously (he disappeared into the bathroom for what seemed an eternity and didn’t tell me where he was), and eventually took me to the emergency room.

They relatively quickly suspected septic shock, called an ambulance, and I was rushed to A-Hus in Oslo. They put ten or fifteen tubes and cables in me, informed me that my kidneys had collapsed, and put me under observation for 24 hours. After that, I stayed in a corridor in the infection section of the hospital for a week. (With people screaming and dying in the rooms I was outside of.) It was quite an experience.

I wrote about this episode in a couple of other articles: It’s all a bonus and My recent health crisis.


Between regaining consciousness in my parents’ basement and receiving the diagnosis, fear came up. I realized something serious was happening. I had no idea what it was. I had fear of something seriously happening to me that would affect me for the rest of my life. And I also noticed that a fear of dying did not come up, that seemed OK.


I also had a profound gratitude to the nurses and doctors and the healthcare system in Norway. I could not have had a better experience. (Apart from the infection wing of the hospital being full due to a surge in covid, which has more to do with the priorities of politicians and voters than anything else.)


It seems that the safety valve for my system is to shift the center of gravity more strongly into my nature.

During this whole process, I found myself strongly in and as consciousness. Consciousness was strongly in the foreground and whatever happened within and as consciousness – the symptoms, the events, the people, this human self, sensations, thoughts, and emotions – was all much more in the background. It was happening, but what it happened within and as was much more clear and strong.

That also happened when I had a heat stroke in Oregon several years ago. (Likely because my doctor told me to eat less salt, I was already eating very little salt, and it was a very hot summer.)

I also suspect it’s how the initial oneness shift happened when I was sixteen. My human self was under a lot of stress at the time (to an extreme and overwhelming level), and I suspect my system dealt with it by shifting the center of gravity into consciousness itself.

Initially, when I was fifteen, there was a shift into an observer-observed duality where I found myself as consciousness (without having those words for it) and the whole world – this human self, others, thoughts, feelings, and so on – seemed very far away.

A year later, there was a shift into all – without exception – as God. This human self, thoughts, feelings, ideas of being this human self, ideas of separation, and so on, was all recognized as the play of God, as God taking all those forms. That was the language and interpretation of this human self at the time. These days, I would say it in a slightly different way. There was a shift of the center of gravity into consciousness, into the consciousness I am, and all content of consciousness was recognized as that, as happening within and as the consciousness I am.


That initial oneness shift stayed. The shifts have more been in how much in the foreground or background my nature is. I have gone through phases where it has been very much in the foreground – the first ten years or so, during a period when the no-self aspect was in the foreground, and I would also say now. And in daily life, it also depends on where attention goes – to my nature or specific content of experience.


In my case, the shift into my nature recognizing itself did definitely not happen because I was especially noble or into spiritual practice or had prayed for it or anything of that kind. It happened because my human self was so messed up and needed a safety valve, and – for whatever reason – shifting the center of gravity into my nature turned out to be that safety valve.

My human self had absolutely no interest in spirituality at the time, and even now, I prefer to avoid language related to spirituality as much as possible.

Image by me and Midjourney

Read More

The princes in the tower: Buying into Tudor views on Richard III and what it says about us

I have been following Philippa Langley’s work for about a decade now, after initially hearing about her fascinating story of how she found Richard III in a car park in Leicester. Yesterday, I listened to a Gone Medieval podcast episode where she talks about her research into what happened with the princes in the tower.

For centuries, historians and the public at large have largely bought into Tudor propaganda about Richard III, including that he had the princes in the tower killed because they were rivals to his throne. While all the time, there was an absence of contemporary documents suggesting they died at that time, and other documents strongly suggesting that the princes lived for years later.


Why am I interested in this?

It’s not because I am particularly interested in Richard III, although I am generally interested in history.

It’s because it says something about us – individually and collectively.


In this case, we have the Tudor family that violently took over the throne of England. They were concerned about their perceived legitimacy, so they wanted to bolster their image by depicting Richard III – the king they disposed of – as a shady character. They received support in this project from many who saw the benefit of being on their good side, including Shakespeare.

Historians apparently largely bought into this propaganda, including the story of Richard III having the princess in the tower killed. They were happy to base it on works of fiction and the popular view without closely examining the data supporting or contradicting that story.


We all do this. We all buy into certain stories because it’s a popular view or because it gives us something. We often do it without closely examining the stories and what supports or contradicts them.

We do it collectively, and we do it in our own life.

Fortunately, we all also have a Philippa Langley in us. We have a part of us willing and able to investigate to find what’s genuinely more true for us.


I’ll give a couple of examples of how we collectively seem to be doing this today. These are my typical bee-in-the-bonnet examples (!).


One popular view is that we most fundamentally are this human self. We are fundamentally this person, a doer, an observer, and so on. Even most philosophers and psychologists seem to buy into this view without apparently examining it very closely through phenomenology or logic. It may or may not be accurate in a third-person view, but is it what we most fundamentally are in a first-person view?

What I find is that to myself, I am more fundamentally consciousness and the world to me happens within and as that consciousness. And I am capacity for all of that – I am capacity for the consciousness I am and all that it forms itself into.

We can find the same through logic. If we “have” consciousness, then to ourselves we must BE consciousness. And if the world to us happens within and as consciousness, it happens within and as the consciousness we are. The consciousness we are forms itself into our whole field of experience. It’s all we have ever known. This consciousness has no outer edge. To us, we are oneness and the world happens within and as oneness. We are even more fundamentally capacity for all of this. And so on.


Another is a set of collective assumptions about our ecological crisis. For instance, that it’s mostly about climate change, we still have time to deal with it, someone else will do it, and we can solve it through technology or peripheral tweaks to how we collectively organize ourselves.

This is obviously a naive view. We have been in a global ecological overshoot for decades. We would need more than two Earths to support our current collective consumption. That means that we are spending from our ecological “savings account”. This looks more or less OK for a while until we hit the bottom, and then our lifestyle collapses. In this case, it’s the planet’s ecosystems that collapse and our civilization with it. It’s inevitable when we are in ecological overshoot. There is no other way it can end.


Why do we collectively buy into these stories even if the data is available to show us something else?

I assume it’s similar to why historians have bought into the Tudor propaganda about Richard III.

It’s the popular view so it’s more convenient and comfortable to buy into it. We may be socialized into these views and don’t find a reason to question them.

Going against it is often inconvenient and uncomfortable. We’ll find ourselves in the minority. We’ll meet resistance. Our views may be dismissed and ridiculed.

We may not feel we have the time or energy to investigate closely. Something else seems more important, interesting, comfortable, and so on.

We have other priorities. We may prioritize agreeing with the popular views and being included. We may prioritize living our life without adding extra revolutions and changes. We may prioritize something else over what we would find is more true for us. We may prioritize comfort.


How can we find and harness the Philippa Langley in us?

One is to examine our priorities. What’s most important to me? To hold onto my views or to find what’s more true for me? To stay with what’s familiar or to open myself up to something new and different and something my mind may not be able to predict in advance?

Another is to examine my fears around it. What do I fear would happen if I prioritize what’s more true for me? What do I fear would happen if that happens? And so on. How likely is it to happen? Am I willing to have it happen? Would I be able to deal with it?

In general, I find that inquiry is very helpful here combined with sincerity and a willingness to prioritize reality over my personal preferences and wishes and fears. Of course, that’s not something I can always do in all areas of life. But I can investigate one area and one line of assumptions at a time, and do it with as much sincerity I can find in me. And I can use my experience of friction – discomfort and stress – as a pointer to when and where I am holding onto assumptions that are out of alignment with reality. In find that the Work of Byron Katie is very helpful here, as are the Kiloby Inquiries.

Why would we do this? Isn’t it more comfortable to just go along with our current ideas of how things are?

It may seem more comfortable. What I find, through examination, is that it’s actually more comfortable to find what’s more true and honest for me. Living is a fantasy is inherently uncomfortable. It’s something my mind needs to create and defend. It’s out of alignment with reality so there is inevitably friction between my views and reality. Finding what’s more true for me is more peaceful since there is less to defend and there is less inherent friction. (There will always be some friction since there is always more layers and and more to examine.)

Read More

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

When we say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it can mean at least two things.

It can mean that it’s subjective, which is true enough.

It also means something more fundamental. It means that we are the one who brings beauty to something. The way we see and perceive brings beauty – or not – to something.


What makes something beautiful to me?

The more I am open to wonder and awe, the more it seems beautiful.

The more I know and understand about it, the more beautiful it is.

The more I realize we are intimately connected, the more beautiful.

The more I am free of stressful and unquestioned thoughts about it, the more beautiful.

The more awe there is that anything exists at all, the more beautiful anything is.


There are also layers in what makes something beautiful to me.

Something appears beautiful because of my biology, culture, and personality. I love certain landscapes, flowers, animals, birds, and people. Because of the conditioning of my human self, it’s easy to see the beauty in it.

Something or someone may also be beautiful in other ways. I love the vultures here because they are living beings like me, they are important in this ecosystem, they serve very important functions, they are often despised by others. To themselves, they are very likely consciousness like me. All of that helps me see their beauty. I love them for those reasons.


What about disease? Suffering? War? Death? The end of civilizations? The end of humanity? The end of all we know?

I can find the beauty there too, although it takes a little more transformation of my perception since it goes against what I learned from culture.

Death is necessary for life. Death is what allows anything to be. It opens space for something new. It creates the conditions for something new. The death of stars created the matter we and this living planet is made of. The death of species allows for new species. The death of individuals opens space for new individuals. The death of civilizations opens for new civilizations. The death of one phase of life opens space for another.

I have a chronic illness. Can I find the beauty there too? Yes. Now and then, I experience grief, sadness, frustration, fear, and so on in relation to it. And I also find the genuine beauty in it. It has helped me see that life moves in other directions than my personal wishes and desires, and that’s OK. It’s to be expected. It has opened up a lot for me. It has helped me release identification with the idea of me as productive, smart, someone who excels in academia, someone with a future in academia, and so on. It has opened up time for me. It has helped me find a genuine appreciation for rest. It has helped me be more sincere and transparent with others. And much more. There are many genuine gifts in it. (And I wouldn’t choose it, of course, if I had a choice.)

What about suffering? Suffering too has gifts in it. At one level, it shows me what to avoid in life. It shows me to avoid what brings physical pain and illness, noise, certain people and situations, and so on. It’s a guide built into me from evolution and my ancestors. At another level, it shows me when I hold onto painful and unexamined stories. It’s a pointer to painful stories and an invitation to examine them and find what’s more true for me. These may be stories holding me back from making necessary and kind changes, and it may be stories making me struggle with what is. I won’t choose suffering, and parts of me still don’t like suffering, but when it’s here, I can use it as a pointer and find genuine appreciation for it. I can see the beauty in it.

Is there beauty in war and violence? As terrible as it is, and as much as I want to prevent it, there is some kind of beauty here too. It’s a part of humanity working things out for themselves. It seems to be part of the process we are collectively living. It’s part of evolution. It’s part of how this living planet and how this universe evolves and explores itself through and as us.


So beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am the one perceiving beauty.

My mind creates the beauty I see.

And the more my heart and mind are open, the more I understand, and the more I examine my stories, the more easily I find beauty in anything, including what’s terrible according to my personality and what I previously learned from my culture.

Image created by me and Midjourney

Read More

Dream: Roshi is promoted to the highest level of teacher

I am back in Salt Lake City and am sitting in a café in the university and/or Avenues area. By coincidence, I catch a glimpse of Genpo Roshi wearing an odd-looking traditional Japanese outfit. He has a tall spiraling reddish wig, wears an elaborate and colorful kimono, and looks a bit nervous. He leaves. I see where he is going and follow him. As I enter the a building near the old Zen center, I see him in a room full of Japanese Zen masters. In the next room are several westerners I know from my time at the Zen center. Genpo Roshi is being promoted to a very high level of teacher, traditionally seen as having a kind of cosmic significance.

Yesterday and the day before, I saw a photo on social media from the time I was at Kanzeon Zen Center in the ’90s. I was reminded of that time, also because I saw comments from several I know from that time. Also, there is a small Zoom group of people from that time meeting regularly, and I am invited. I haven’t joined yet, mostly because of social anxiety and feeling a bit ashamed I didn’t continue that particular path. I deeply loved being there and the practice, and saw myself continuing and deepening indefinitely in that practice and path.

That did not happen. I got married and she, as she informed me the day after our marriage, refused to stay in SLC. I wanted to support her, in spite of her springing this to me after we were married and earlier having pretended she was open to stay, especially since she knew how much I loved being there. So I left what was most important to me – the Zen center, my friends there, my studies at the university – and felt profoundly and deeply off track. (I woke up with nightmares and panic for that reason for months after.) My life is still profoundly impacted by that decision and I still feel off track from it.

All of that was brought up by this dream.

What is the dream about? My old Zen teacher is receiving the highest level of acknowledgment from the traditional Zen community in Japan. It’s a level I hadn’t even heard about, so rare is it. It brings up regret in me that I didn’t continue the path. I loved it so deeply. Maybe it’s a reminder of my longing to work with a teacher and group again more deeply? Maybe it’s an invitation to connect with Genpo Roshi again and that sangha?

There is also an aspect of theater to organized spirituality and religion, and it’s very much there in Zen. Roshi’s outfit was theatrical and a reminder of this theatricality. It’s something that’s a bit fun and entertaining, but I am unable to take it very seriously. For me, it’s mostly a distraction.

What if all are parts of me? I often tell myself that what I write about and my life and orientations are not much different from how it was in my teens. I wrote about more or less the same in my journal then as I do here. My favorite composer is the same (Arvo Pärt.) My views on the world and politics are much the same. My priorities are much the same. I don’t seem to have developed or matured much since then. If anything, I had a passion and determination that I seem to have lost – from feeling so deeply off track and from the CFS.

Maybe the dream is pointing to that something in me has maturity and has matured? I don’t really see it consciously, but that may be the function of the dream.

I also remember one of my last thoughts before falling asleep last night. My (current) wife said something and it reminded me of Genpo Roshi going through a dark night while I was there. Back then, I couldn’t relate to it. But now, I definitely can. I have gone through a dark night of my own for the last several years, and what I saw in him then is what I know from myself now. Maybe the dream is telling me that this too is a kind of maturing? Or, at least, that it can be used to mature? Not that I seem to have much choice in the matter.

I don’t know. As usual, I’ll stay with the dream for a while and let it work on me, and see if anything comes up.

I told my wife about it, and she showed me The Hierophant from the Tarot. On the card, The Hierophant has a crown with the same shape as the wig in the dream. She said I often show up in readings with this card. I don’t know much about that card and plan on reading about it.

Image created by me and Midjourney

Reflections on society, politics and nature – vol. 68

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on society, politics, and nature. I sometimes include short personal notes as well. Click “read more” to see all the entries.


Yes, it seems that many who are into conspiracy theories don’t know much about history or society. They seem to overlook the well-known and obvious, or they present it as if it weren’t universally known. (Likely because they didn’t know about it before so it looks new to them.) And they often overlook far more serious things than what they are focused on. For instance, they may think that the problem is some group of people or corporations, while the actual problem is in the system as a whole. The system that we all are part of. We all participate in it. We are all part of the problem. It’s not just someone else.

There is something real and well-known that’s far more serious than what just about any conspiracy theory is about, and that is our ecocidal and suicidal civilization. We have lived in global ecological overshoot for decades, and at some point, we’ll hit the end of the metaphorical savings account and it will all come crashing down. Nothing is more serious than that. It’s well-known and out in the open. Why not be focused on that instead?


I see some folks on social media posting this and implying or assuming that the directionality goes less religion -> peace. To me, that seems a bit simplistic. Getting rid of religion is not only impossible, but it’s very unlikely to bring more peace. Most conflicts that go along religious lines have little to do with religion and everything to do with ordinary politics and history. For instance, the conflicts in Northern Ireland are not about religion, it’s about the Irish wanting their country back from English occupiers, and they just happen to have different religions. Similarly, when you see Islamic extremist groups, it has little to do with religion and a lot to do with understandable desperation and anger due to the effects of Western imperialism. (I am sure there are some examples where religion is more at the core as well, but they are not so common and even there, it’s often really about politics and history.)

To me, the other directionality makes a lot more sense. Peace -> less religion. In more peaceful countries with better education, less poverty, and better social safety nets, there is less need for religion. People tend to be less religious because they don’t need it so much in their lives. They are doing fine without it.

Read More

Sting: You could be me in another life, in another set of circumstances

Don’t judge me
You could be me
In another life In another set of circumstances

– Sting in Tomorrow we’ll see

This refrain from Sting frequently comes to mind when I see people in different situations and with other values and orientations from me.

I could be them, in another life, in another set of circumstances.

We are both the product of a slightly different set of infinite causes going back to the beginning of time and out to the widest extent of existence.

Their life, my life, are both expressions of existence, of this universe. We are expressions of this living planet. We are expressions of the same seamless whole.

I can find them in me. I could be them.

In a very real sense, I am them. Whatever story I have about them, I can turn around to myself and find genuine and specific examples of where it’s true. To me, they happen within and as the consciousness I am. The consciousness I am forms itself into my experience of them and all I see in them. It’s me.

Awakening: Why is it difficult to put into words?

Why is it difficult to put awakening into words? Or anything related to our more fundamental nature?

There are a few different reasons.


It’s not because it’s unfamiliar, distant, or special, or for someone special.

It’s what’s already most familiar to us, whether we recognize it or not.


Mental representations serve an important function. They help us orient and function in the world, and to communicate with ourselves and others.

They are questions about the world. They can serve as pointers.

At the same time, they have limits. Words cannot properly capture anything.

It’s the nature of words that makes it difficult to put our nature – and anything else – into words.

Our nature is not a special case.


Words and mental representations are maps.

They help us orient and navigate in the world, and they help us communicate with ourselves and others.

Say we have a map of a place we haven’t been to. The map can give us a rough and abstract sense of the place, but not much more. We fill it in with our imagination and past experience, and that imagination is bound to get a lot wrong. It’s bound to get everything a bit wrong, and some a lot wrong.

If we are there, then the map can help us explore it more in detail and discover more about it.

That’s another reason it’s difficult to put awakening into words. If someone is not there, no words are sufficient to describe or explain it. If someone is there, then words can help them explore new aspects within it.

Here, the limitations are in where we are, and that’s the same with everything. If we are familiar with it, then words can serve as practical pointers. If not, the words remain more abstract and we imagine more into it.


Words operate on distinctions, they create imaginary boundaries and divisions. That’s how they are useful.

Our nature is one. It’s what forms itself into any and all of our experience, without exception. It’s all we have ever known.

That’s another reason why it’s difficult to put it into language.

Often, the best we can do is to say what it’s not and use poetic expressions to point to it.


If we lived in a culture where exploring our nature was common and a part of our culture, we would have more of a shared language for it.

In the Western world, we don’t live in that kind of culture (unless we are in the Bay Area!) and we don’t have a shared language, apart from what we borrow from other cultures and a few mystics from our own.

I am trying to talk about it in a language that’s natural to me, simple, mostly free of jargon, and that reflects my direct noticing as much as possible.


I know I am bound to fail in trying to capture any of this in words.

In the best case, it may be slightly interesting, create a frame, or serve as a pointer or reminder.

It always falls short. That’s OK. That’s how it is.

There is a gift there. It’s a blessing that we cannot capture any of this – or anything at all – in words.

It leaves us with one option, and that is to experience it for ourselves. We have to explore the terrain for ourselves.

There is no substitute. The experience of others is not a substitute. Words – no matter how beautiful or apparently insightful – are no substitute.

That’s how I can attempt to fail well: I know words cannot capture it, and I know there is a beautiful blessing and pointer in just that.

Image by me and Midjourney

Read More

A kincentric view on life

This kincentric – or life-centric – view on life is far more aligned with reality than our traditional anthropocentric view. It’s informed by ecology, experience, and common sense.

It’s also crucial for our survival. We need to transform the systems of our civilization to align with ecological realities, and a kincentric view will help us do that.

For more from Enrique Salmón, see Kincentric Ecology: Indigenous Perceptions of the Human-Nature Relationship | I Want the Earth to Know Me as a Friend

Wanting – and waiting – to be saved

Hindus have been waiting for Kalki for 3,700 years.
Buddhists have been waiting for Maitreya for 2,600 years.
The Jews have been waiting for the Messiah for 2,500 years.
Christians have been waiting for Jesus for 2,000 years.
The Sunnah has been waiting for Prophet Issa for 1,400 years.
Muslims have been waiting for a Messiah from the line of Muhammad for 1,300 years.
The Shiites have been waiting for the Mahdi for 1,080 years.
Druze have been waiting for Hamza Ibn Ali for 1,000 years.

Most embrace the idea of a “savior” and claim that the world will remain full of wickedness until this savior comes and fills it with goodness and justice.

Maybe our problem on this planet is that people are waiting for someone else to come and solve their problems, rather than doing it themselves.

– Imtiaz Mahmood

Why do we feel a need to be saved? It must be because what’s here is uncomfortable, sometimes even apparently unbearable. If we envision something as big as divinity saving us, it must be because our discomfort appears equally big. (I am obviously talking very generally here.)


It’s also interesting how our human mind often wants to be saved by something “out there” – somewhere else and/or in the future. It’s understandable, of course. It would be nice. And most of us did experience something similar in infancy so it is perhaps deeply ingrained in us.

There is some truth to it too. We may find something or someone that makes us feel better for a while. We may find some comfort, love, safety, and so on. That’s wonderful.

And yet, it comes with some inherent drawbacks. It won’t last. It’s dependent on circumstances. It doesn’t go quite as deep as we really wish for. And it may not happen in the first place.


So what’s the solution?

I can only speak for myself and as it looks to me now, and as so often, the answer may appear a bit boring and sobering.

The answer is that I am my own savior. I am the one I have been looking for. My mind is projecting this part of myself out there in space or time, while it’s here all along.

Why can it seem like a disappointing answer? It may not seem true to us. We may think there is some truth to it, but we don’t know how to do it. We try and it doesn’t seem to do much. Or perhaps our mind has invested so much energy into images of saviors out there that anything else seems pale in comparison.

Yet, it is true in my limited experience. (Our experience is always limited, no matter how much we have explored something.) And it’s also what others report.


How do I save myself?

It depends on the situation, to some extent.

In some situations, action is required to make a change. In this case, I can (partially) save myself by taking action or asking someone to take action on my behalf. Sometimes, I save myself by asking for help.

And parallel with that, it’s in how I meet my own experience.

When I experience distress, I often ask myself: How would a good – wise, kind – parent comfort a child in this situation? What would she or he say? How would he or she meet the child? And then relate to the suffering parts of myself in that way.

These parts of us are here to try to protect me. So I say: Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. You are allowed to be here. Stay as long as you want.

I sometimes dialog with these parts of me. How do they see me? What function do they have? How would they like me to treat them? What do they need from me? The Big Mind process is very good for this.

I have done a lot of heart-centered practices, including towards myself and these painful parts of me. Two of my favorites are ho’o and tonglen.

What I am trying to be saved from is typically stressful thoughts and associated unpleasant sensations, so I can identify and investigate these thoughts (The Work of Byron Katie) and notice and allow the sensations. I can also investigate more thoroughly how thoughts and sensations combine, and how the mind creates identifications out of it, for instance through the Kiloby Inquiries.

I invite in healing for these parts of me – the wounded, scared, traumatized parts – in whatever ways work for me.

I notice my nature and rest in and as it. I can notice that these parts of me, the scary thoughts and uncomfortable sensations, have the same nature as me. It’s consciousness, the consciousness I am, forming itself into all of it. What happens if I rest in and as that noticing?

There is usually an immediate shift from these explorations. And my experience is that it also takes time. My system mirrors a culture and family that trained me to look outside myself for solutions and did not always show me how to meet myself and my experience with kindness. So it takes time to turn the ship. It’s ongoing. But it does get fuller, deeper, and richer over time.


None of these are mutually exclusive. I can save myself in a variety of ways.

If I find some of what I am looking for in someone or something, I can enjoy that. (Knowing it depends on circumstances and may not last.)

And I can also give myself more directly what I need and be my own savior in that way. I can take action, and I can be a better friend and parent to myself and my own experience.

Image by me and Midjourney

Read More

How do I keep my heart open with all the terrible things happening in the world?

Finding it in myself is one path to keeping my heart open.

If I only see it “out there”, it’s difficult to keep my heart open. It’s too easy to go into judgment, separation, self-righteousness, and so on.

If I recognize in myself what I see in others, with concrete examples and viscerally, my heart opens to myself and others.


The Work of Byron Katie is one of the most effective ways I have found, especially with the guidance of an experienced facilitator. (When done with sincerity and specificity, and allowing ourselves to take in what we find.)

Tonglen is also effective, as is ho’oponopno.

Other forms of inquiry can also be helpful like the Kiloby Inquiries or even the Big Mind process if skilfully facilitated.


For me, the answer is that it’s more comfortable.

It’s more comfortable to have an open heart to myself and others.

It also helps me respond with more skill and discernment, and less from reactivity. It makes me slightly less annoying and more effective in the world.


Is it easy? No, obviously not.

It’s easy when I feel generally good and somewhat removed from what’s happening, and I am doing these practices in the comfort of my home or a spiritual center.

And it’s not so easy when I am in the thick of it and my own hangups, traumas, and painful beliefs are triggered. Going into my old habitual patterns is sometimes easier, at least for a while until the storm fades and I can relate to things with a little more clarity and kindness again.

That’s part of the process. It’s messy.

I can open my heart to that too – to my own struggle and the struggle of others. There too, we are in the same boat.

Being capacity for the world

I find I am fundamentally capacity for the world as it appears to me.


I am fundamentally what allows any and all content in this field of experience.

This capacity is everywhere in my experience. It’s as if it’s inherent in all experience. It’s as if it forms itself into any experience.

It’s as if it makes itself into consciousness itself, which in turn makes itself into any experience.


There isn’t much to say about it. It’s just something to notice, and not even notice but kind of touching on noticing since this is not directly content of experience.

It’s always here. Sometimes, it comes to the foreground of attention. Sometimes, it’s more in the background while attention is on something else. (And even then, it’s kind of noticed.)

Sometimes, it’s even more in the foreground and everything else goes into the background. In my case, it happens during some shifts in meditation. And it also happens when there is consciousness through dreamless sleep.


Words come short in describing it, as words come short in describing anything. (Not because it’s so unusual or mysterious or unfamiliar, but because of the nature of thoughts. Thoughts can only point to something, they cannot capture it.)

When I look for words here and now, I can say it’s absolute stillness, a kind of absolute stillness that’s in and takes the form of everything.


It’s not special. I assume any “conscious being”, to themselves, are consciousness, and also are capacity in this way. It’s likely universal. It’s difficult to see that it can be any other way.

Here, it’s been consciously noticed for about 37 years so this human self is used to it. It’s familiar to this human self. That too makes it not so much to talk about.


Is it important? It’s important since there would be no experience without it. It’s what allows any experience. It’s what takes the form of any experience. It’s even what seems to allow and take the form of consciousness itself. It’s kind of a scent that permeates everything.

Is it important to notice it? Or for it to kind of notice itself? Apparently not since it doesn’t seem to be something most consciousnesses focus much on. If it was important to life and existence, it would be noticed a lot more. It seems that it’s perfectly fine for it to be in the background and not consciously noticed or recognized so much.

For this consciousness, it’s fun and interesting to notice, and here too, it’s very rarely talked about. Very occasionally, there may be some words written to reflect it, and I don’t think I have talked to anyone about it unless briefly when it’s clear we both recognize it, as a kind of nod.


Finding myself as most fundamentally capacity also means I am not most fundamentally human. That’s fine. My human layer is one of many layers, and I am most fundamentally capacity for all of it. I am what forms itself into all of it.

Is this what Buddhists call emptiness? It may be. I see how the label could fit, but I prefer the word capacity which I think Douglas Harding used. It fits a bit more.

I used “as if” and “kind of” phrases above. I am sure I could find clearer ways of saying it, but it also works. It shows that the words here are just pointers and approximations. They are trying to reflect something that’s here in immediacy but is also a bit elusive.

The image was created by me and Midjourney.

Read More

Danielle LaPorte: Right now there are Tibetan Buddhist monks in a temple in the Himalayas endlessly reciting mantras for the cessation of your suffering

Right now: There are Tibetan Buddhist monks in a temple in the Himalayas endlessly reciting mantras for the cessation of your suffering and for the flourishing of your happiness. Someone you haven’t met yet is already dreaming of adoring you. Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life. Nuns in the Alps are in endless vigil, praying for the Holy Spirit to alight the hearts of all of God’s children. A farmer is looking at his organic crops and whispering, “nourish them.” Someone wants to kiss you, to hold you, to make tea for you. Someone is willing to lend you money, wants to know what your favourite food is, and treat you to a movie. Someone in your orbit has something immensely valuable to give you — for free. Something is being invented this year that will change how your generation lives, communicates, heals and passes on. The next great song is being rehearsed.

Thousands of people are doing yoga right now intentionally sending light out from their heart chakras and wrapping it around the earth. Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and will always be that way. — Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they’ll be thriving like never before. They just can’t see it from where they’re at.

Someone who is craving to be partnered, to be acknowledged, to ARRIVE, will get precisely what they want — and even more. And because that gift will be so fantastical in its reach and sweetness, it will quite magically alter their memory of angsty longing and render it all “So worth the wait.”

Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche — this luminosity is floating in the ether, and is accessible to everyone.

Someone, just this second, wished for world peace, in earnest.

Someone is fighting the fight so that you don’t have to. Some civil servant is making sure that you get your mail, and your garbage is picked up, that the trains are running on time, and that you are generally safe. Someone is dedicating their days to protecting your civil liberties and clean drinking water.

Someone is regaining their sanity. Someone is coming back from the dead. Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable. Someone is curing the incurable.


Danielle LaPorte

This is beautiful because it’s true.

Of course, I may not be the one doing these things. Some of this may happen to someone else. Someone I haven’t met may dream of adoring me, and we may not meet. I may not resonate with yogis and heart chakras. None of it may directly have anything to do with me. That’s not the point. The point is that this too is the world we are living in, and it’s part of what makes it beautiful and precious. And if some of it happens in my life, that’s icing on the cake.

Regeneration update – Nov. 2023

We have started a regeneration partnership with Fundación Guayacanal. They are doing amazing work and seem to have a very good approach to regeneration – pragmatic, informed, grounded, and effective. Milagros is part of a larger initiative in the area that involves several properties.

It’s a ten-year project where they will be responsible for the planting and maintenance of the plants. Each tree will need three years of follow-up. As I write this, we are in the design and planning phase and they will do the first plantings in a couple of weeks. This first phase is in the most degraded areas and will consist of nearly one thousand (!) trees. The second phase will be adding diversity to less degraded areas.

The main focus is on planting a native forest, with a couple of additions. We have a main path going through the land – from the big pond along the ridge to the peak and down to Camino Real. That may be made into a kind of food forest corridor, and we will plant flowering bushes along it as well. It may eventually be part of an ecotourism experience, for instance, a self-guided tour along different ecosystems at different levels of regeneration with information and viewpoints along the way.

Receiving this kind of expert help feels like a miracle. It will transform the land over the coming years. As mentioned above, their focus is on naive tree planting, with some food-producing trees and flowering perennials. That will provide an amazing context for us to add plants here and there. I would love to add to the food forest with nut-producing bushes and more, and add more flowering plants.

We obviously won’t recreate the original natural ecosystem here (1). That’s gone. But we will help the land back to a diverse and vibrant state, and it will hopefully become an even better habitat for a large number of insects, birds, and animals. The second phase of plantings will include currently grassy areas, and as the trees grow and create shade, the grass will hopefully mostly go away.

I have used the terms regeneration and rewilding to talk about this before and I’ll probably differentiate a bit more going forward. What we are doing now is regeneration, helping bring the land back to a more vibrant and healthy state. That includes a natural rewilding since it will bring back more insects, birds, and animals. I also love the term rewilding to refer to our own internal rewilding. And, who knows, perhaps we’ll do some actual rewilding in the future and bring back some animals. For now, I’ll probably use regeneration mostly when talking about this project.

I am very aware that this neighborhood will change over the coming years. Already, they are building a large hotel down the hillside and on the other side of the main road. I suspect many more people will move here, gradually displacing the local farmers who have lived here for generations. (This is sad and has its own problems and downsides, and we very much are part of that dynamic – we bought from a family that had owned the land for generations.) Hopefully, we’ll also see more neighbors engaging in regeneration projects.

Images: [1-3] The three first are from a survey of the more degraded areas. The people from FG geolocated the boundaries of these areas and calculated how many trees to plant there in the first phase. [4] Then a view of Cañon del Chicamocha from one of the viewpoints. [5] A large tree by the main pond, and [6] a giant cactus close to the house. [7-8] Two examples of erosion from the more degraded areas. [9] A hat. And [10] silvery leaves found on the ground. Nature made these, maybe through some kind of chemical reaction? Click on any image for a larger version.

(1) There are many reasons for that. It would be difficult to know what time period we are trying to recreate, and even how it looked back then. What was is gone, always. It would also be very difficult to try to recreate something from the past and impossible to actually do. So it’s much better to focus on supporting a vibrant ecosystem that includes mostly native plants and some non-natives already here that fit well into the ecosystem.

Understanding awakening independent of spirituality and most worldviews

How do we understand awakening?

Do we tie it to spirituality or a particular approach to spirituality?

Do we tie it to a particular worldview that’s incompatible with other common worldviews?

Or do we find the lowest common denominator in understanding awakening? Do we choose an understanding that’s compatible with a wide range of worldviews?

Personally, I prefer an understanding that’s honest, simple, has the fewest assumptions within it, and is compatible with the widest range of worldviews. (Including those free of spirituality.)


So what is this simple understanding of awakening?

We can approach it in two ways.


We can approach it through direct noticing.

It’s not wrong that I am this human self in the world. But when I look, I find I am more fundamentally something else.

I am what the world, to me, happens within and as. I am capacity for all of it.

We can quite easily get at least a glimpse of this through different forms of inquiry, including the Headless experiments and the Big Mind process.


We can also approach this through logic.

In our culture, people often say that we “have” consciousness. That makes it sound as if consciousness is a kind of appendix, and that we are a kind of object somehow receiving info from this consciousness. That’s one take on a third-person view, which is fine, but here I am more interested in our first-person experience.

So what’s a first-person view?

If I “have” consciousness, then to myself, I have to BE consciousness.

Said another way: Any experience has to happen within consciousness. It’s consciousness forming itself into that experience. And what’s experiencing has to similarly be consciousness. None of it would be experienced if it all didn’t happen within and as consciousness.

What’s experiencing and what’s experienced are aspects of the same. All of it is consciousness.

Here, we may also find that…

If we ARE consciousness, then to us, the world – the whole field of experience – happens within and as the consciousness we are.

Consciousness is seamless. It doesn’t have borders or divisions or even an outer boundary. To us, the world happens within and as the oneness we are. (“The world” here means any content of experience, including anything associated with this human self – sensations, emotions, thoughts, ideas of identities, ideas of being a doer, an observer, and so on.)

Understanding this logically can be interesting in itself, and it can be an invitation to explore it through direct noticing.


If the world, to me, happens within and as the consciousness I am, then – to me – the world appears AS consciousness.

If the world appears as consciousness, then it appears alive and conscious, and it’s very easy to call that the divine, Spirit, God, Allah, Brahman, and so on.


Through logic and direct noticing, we arrive at what mystics through time and across traditions have described.

The essence is: I am consciousness. The world, to me, happens within and as the consciousness I am. The world, to me, happens within and as the oneness I am. The world, to me, appears as consciousness (AKA the divine, Spirit, God, etc.) since it happens within and as the consciousness I am.

Of course, the mystics use language that reflects their tradition, culture, and time, and they often interpret their direct noticing using a certain understanding and worldview. But the essence is the same.


I like this approach.

It’s logical. It’s something we can find for ourselves through direct noticing.

It’s free of spirituality and spiritual traditions.

It’s compatible with a wide range of worldviews.

It’s a kind of lowest common denominator in understanding awakening.

That means it can be used by people from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of worldviews. It can be used as a simple form of communication across traditions. It can be used by academics and researchers.

We are personally free to add whatever we want to it. We can add a wide range of worldviews and traditions if we want. And it can help us hold all of that more lightly. We see that they are add-ons and essentially questions about the world.



When I have written about this in the past, I have often talked about a small and big understanding of awakening.

What I outlined above is the small approach. It’s simple, stays close to our experience, doesn’t philosophize too much, and is compatible with a range of worldviews. We explore our own nature, and don’t assume that’s also the nature of all of existence. The downside of this one is that it can seem a bit boring. (Although it’s anything but.) The upside is that it’s a kind of lowest common denominator. It can be used as a universal language.

The big understanding of awakening is the more traditional one. Here, we assume that our nature is the nature of all of existence. All of existence is consciousness AKA Spirit, God, Allah, Brahman, and so on. The downside here is that we may go into assumptions and fantasies beyond what we can check for ourselves. The upside is that it can be more familiar to many and it can seem more inspiring.

The small understanding is more accurate in the sense that’s it’s more sober, grounded, and honest. And I suspect the big understanding is more accurate in the big picture.


If we mean a first-person exploration without too much philosophizing, it’s similar to the Headless Way, Zen, and Adveita.

If we mean using both a small (psychological) and big (spiritual) understanding of awakening, depending on what makes most sense in the situation, then I am not sure. I haven’t seen it myself, although I have also been out of the loop for 10-15 years due to my illness.


As with so many things, I wonder why more people don’t use this approach. It seems simple, fits our modern views, and has many benefits.

We may be wedded to a spiritual tradition, and we may be used to a more spiritual language. We may prefer it, for whatever reason, even if it’s more exclusive and some of it goes beyond what we can check out for ourselves.

We may also want the comfort that certain ideas from spirituality give us. When I explore this, I find it doesn’t really give me comfort since I know – somewhere – what’s happening. I am indulging in a fantasy. One that’s possibly reasonably accurate, and one I cannot easily check out for myself or know for certain. Even if I have certain experiences, I know they can be interpreted and understood in many ways and they can fit into many different worldviews in different ways.


Behind this approach – the small understanding of awakening – is a basic assumption: I can find and explore my own nature, and that doesn’t mean that the nature of all existence is the same as my nature. I cannot know for certain what the nature of all of existence is. I can assume it’s all the divine, Spirit, God, and so on, and there may be hints suggesting it’s like that, but I cannot know for certain. If I am honest with myself, I know I cannot know for certain.

For me, it’s more peaceful than trying to create, hold onto, and defend a certain worldview saying all of existence is a certain way.


I wanted to add a few more words about the logical approach to understanding our first-person nature. I know that some will disagree with this logic, and I made almost no effort to make this particular presentation solid and tight. I just informally hit on some of the highlights.

I also know very well that this logic, in my case, comes from and reflects direct noticing. The noticing came first, and then the logic. It may be more difficult to go the other way, especially if we are already invested in another way of looking at it.

Also, I imagine some will say: Yes, it may be logical. To ourselves, we must be consciousness. But that’s not my experience, and I don’t think it’s possible to experience it. My brain won’t allow it.

That’s fair. And I would invite that person to check it out for themselves. The most effective way to explore it is likely to be facilitated by someone experienced in the Big Mind process. It may take just five minutes to get a real taste of it.


I am not sure. Differentiating between a small and big understanding seems more honest. Using a small understanding is more inclusive. I like the fluidity in choosing a small or big interpretation depending on what makes more sense in the situation.

In general, I don’t like being wedded to just one way of looking at something since there is always validity in a range of views and they together give a slightly fuller and richer picture.

Image by me and Midjourney

Read More

My nature and the nature of thoughts reveal each other

What I have seen – over and over – for the last 35 years is that my nature and the nature of thoughts reveal each other. When my nature recognizes itself, the nature of thoughts is revealed. And when the nature of thoughts is revealed, my nature recognizes itself.

It’s that simple, and not that simple. And the exploration and living from it is an ongoing process.


When I find myself as what the field of experience happens within and as, identification is released out of the content of experience. More accurately, it’s released out of thoughts. Out of identifying with the viewpoint of a thought, and holding the thought as true.

That makes it easier to recognize the nature of thoughts. I recognize thoughts as thoughts. They live their own life. They are questions about the world. Their function is to help this human self navigate and operate in the world. They cannot hold any full, final, or absolute truth. That’s not their function.


I can also examine the nature of my thoughts and use that as a way to clarify how I notice my nature.

A general intellectual understanding is not going to do much. The magic happens in specific, grounded, and thorough examination of my most cherished thoughts.

I have often used The Work of Byron Katie to identify and examine specific thoughts and find what’s more true for me.

And I have also used sense field explorations to see how the mental field creates outlines, labels, and so on about everything to help my mind make sense of it, and to thoroughly examine specific identifications. I find the Kiloby Inquiries especially helpful here.

Both of these tend to reveal my nature, although it can take time and require a thorough examination of my most basic assumptions and priced thoughts and identities.


In my experience, these two explorations go hand-in-hand and mutually benefit each other.

Finding my nature helps me recognize the general nature of thoughts, and resting in and as my nature while exploring specific identifications can help the charge to release out of these.

Examining my thoughts helps to clarify my nature and to live from it in more situations. There will always be parts of me holding onto certain (often painful) thoughts as true. These inevitably color my perception and life and are sometimes triggered more strongly. So it helps to examine these more thoroughly. It reduces the “separation consciousness” load in my system.


I thought I would add a few words about my nature and the nature of my thoughts, even if I have written about it in other articles.


It’s not wrong that I am this human self in the world. This particular human self has a special relationship with what I more fundamentally am.

And I am more fundamentally something else. (I don’t even need to look because it’s right here.) I am more fundamentally what it all happens within and as. To me, the content of the field of experience – this human self, others, and the wider world happen – happens within and as what I am.

Said another way, I am consciousness, and the world, to me, happens within and as this consciousness.

This is not just an idea. It’s a direct and inescapable noticing.


The nature of thoughts is also what anyone would say who has looked into it.

Thoughts are here to help me orient and navigate in the world. This mind creates mental representations as a kind of map of the world and uses that to help orient which, in turn, helps this human self function in the world.

Thoughts are questions about the world. They are different in kind from what they point to. (Unless they happen to point to other mental representations.) They function as a kind of map of the world. They are abstractions. They are more or less valid and accurate in a conventional sense. They inevitably highlight, distort, and leave out. They cannot hold any final, full, or absolute truth – that’s not their function.

The world is always more than and different from our ideas about it, and also less.

And this goes for any and all mental representations, even the ones we may take the most for granted like ideas about who and what we are, this human self, that there is a doer and observer here, that matter exists, that we and the world are – more or less – as we think they are, that others did something to us, our needs and desires, and so on. They are all questions about the world, here to help us orient and guide.

Read More

Thinking for ourselves?

I sometimes see people talking about the importance of thinking for ourselves.

What does it mean?


I was into it too in my mid-teens, as most teenagers are. (It was a big topic in my middle and high school to the point where it became an ongoing joke.)

It’s natural for us to branch out and explore ideas, information, and worldviews outside of what we grew up with. It’s part of growing up. And it’s good to examine and re-examine our own ideas, assumptions, worldview, and the information we operate on.

What’s typically happening is that we exchange one set of ideas, orientations and sometimes worldviews for another, and one that better matches us and our situation. We adopt views, orientations, and worldviews from other subcultures and sometimes other cultures.

In this sense, it’s not possible to completely “think for ourselves”. It’s always influenced by others and our wider culture and civilization.


We can also examine our thoughts themselves, for instance, through inquiry.

We can learn to identify and examine our thoughts and beliefs and find what’s more true for us. The Work of Byron Katie is excellent for this.

We can also examine how our mental field creates an overlay on the world which helps us orient and navigate, and how our mind associates certain mental field representations with certain sensations. The thoughts give meaning to the sensations, and the sensations lend a sense of solidity, reality, and truth to the thoughts. We can use traditional Buddhist sense-field inquiry to explore this, or modern versions like the Kiloby Inquiries.

Through these kinds of explorations, we can find the nature, gifts, and limits of thoughts, and that can be very helpful. We recognize that thoughts – including our most basic assumptions about ourselves, others, and the world – are questions about the world. They are here to help us navigate and function in the world. They can be more or less accurate in a limited and conventional sense. The world is always more than and different from our assumptions about it, and also less. And thoughts cannot hold any final, full, or absolute truth. That’s not their function.


In general, it’s good to be aware of our biases.

Our personal experiences, subcultures, culture, biology, evolutionary history, and so on all color our perceptions, views, values, worldviews, and life.

We cannot escape it, and why would we? It’s part of the richness of the world. But we can be aware of it. We can be aware that everything about us and our history shapes our perception and orientation. We can also be aware of how our biases color some specific views and orientations, especially when we compare ours with those of others.


We may find that we are never “thinking for ourselves”.

Thoughts happen. They live their own life as anything else.

We can notice a thought appearing. Where did it come from? Then it goes away. Where is it going? They just seem to happen and live their own life.

This is easiest to notice when identification releases out of content of experience and we notice what we more fundamentally are. (That which any content of experience happens within and as.) When identification releases out of thoughts, we notice they happen on their own and live their own life.

We can explore and get a taste of this through inquiries like the Headless experiments and the Big Mind process.


We may find that anything appears to have infinite causes. We can always find one more, and one more, stretching back to the beginning of time and out to the widest extent of space.

In that sense, “we” are not thinking. It’s all of existence thinking locally here in and as this mind.


This all comes to mind when I hear people talk about “thinking for ourselves”.

In a conventional sense, it means to explore and examine and variety of ideas, assumptions, information, and worldviews, and find the one(s) that makes the most sense to me now. This is all always up for revision, of course. It’s good to notice that it’s all coming from somewhere else, we are not really “thinking for ourselves”.

It means to be aware that we have innumerable biases and be on outlook to identify some of them and how they color our perception and life.

It means to examine thoughts themselves. What’s their function? Their gifts? Their limits? What do I find when I examine specific thoughts and assumptions? What do I find when I explore the mental field and how it interacts with the other sense fields, and especially body sensations?

How is it to notice that thoughts live their own life? That they happen on their own?

How is it to notice that they, like anything else, have infinite causes? That it’s really all of existence thinking here, locally?

Image created by me and Midjourney

Read More

Two sides of an unexpected oneness shift – my story

When I was fifteen, there was a shift where the whole world – thoughts, feelings, sensations, others, the wider world – seemed very distant and far away. One year later, there was a shift into oneness where all – without exception – was revealed as God.


This human self was an atheist at the time, although with some curiosity about what’s outside of our conventional worldview – ESP, quantum physics, and similar things. I lived in a small town in Norway, and it was the ’80s before the web, so I knew nothing about anything related to this. I knew nobody who was interested in it. There was no web to go on to find info. I couldn’t even find any books since the local library didn’t have anything about it, and I didn’t even know what search terms to use.


So on the one hand, it was a profound sense of coming home. It was a homecoming to something completely unexpected (to this human self) and profoundly familiar (to my nature). It was clear, it was obvious. Everything is God, without exception. And that includes this human self and any sense of being this human self. It was all what God has formed itself into. In this, there is no room for problems.


At the same time, at my human level, there were a lot of problems. I had a mysterious disease. (Later identified as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.) I had a lot of anxiety and hangups due to family and school dynamics. Huge amounts of energy was running through my system 24/7 for years, it felt like high voltage being sent through ordinary housing wires. I had nobody to talk about these things with at all.


It wasn’t until that I found a book by Meister Eckhart in the main library in Oslo, where I saw glimmers of someone who had recognized the same, filtered by another time and culture and said by someone who obviously wanted to be careful about how he expressed it. (1) I also met a couple of people (BH & HB) who immediately recognized it in me and where I recognized it in them. That happened when I was nineteen and twenty and was a big relief for this human self. And I found Taoism and read just about everything I could find there. Again, the writings typically reflected something similar but didn’t explicitly talk about the shift that had happened here.

In general, my human life changed significantly for the better after I left high school, moved to Oslo, and started art school there. I found new friends. I found new communities. I was able to explore everything with more breathing space. Things started falling into place.


So there were two sides to this. As what I am – what a thought may call consciousness, oneness – there was just a returning home that what’s always here. As who I am – as this confused and wounded human being – it was a wild mix of surprise, excitement, confusion, bewilderment, aloneness, and much more.

And that’s all, of course, happening within and as what I am. It’s all happening within and as what a thought may call consciousness, oneness, or any number of things.


(1) In my teens, I also read a lot about systems views, mainly by Fritjof Capra and the people he referenced, that hinted at it but didn’t seem to come from a direct noticing. And I also read a lot of books by C.G. Jung which also hinted at it, but again were not written from a direct noticing. They hinted at oneness, the oneness revealed in the shift, and I loved it. I also loved systems views for how important they are for our world today. (Although most still don’t use them, for whatever reason.) And I loved Jung for his understanding of how to find more wholeness at a human level.

Image created by me and Midjourney

Read More

Why do we focus on climate change and not global ecological overshoot?

Why do so many focus on climate change these days?

It’s good that ecological issues get attention, of course, and it is an important topic.

At the same time, it is a kind of distraction.


The bigger overarching issue is global ecological overshoot.

We have been in overshoot for decades already, and we haven’t seen the real consequences of it yet since we have been living off the “savings” provided by our planet. (To not deplete our ecological “savings” we would need two Earths to support our global population, and more than five if everyone lived as Westerners.)

We have not yet reached the bottom of the savings account.

When we do, we can expect massive unraveling and collapse of ecosystems and human civilization.

There is no other way it can end.


So why don’t more people focus on ecological overshoot?

After all, overshoot is easy to understand. It’s undeniable. It’s far more relevant and serious than climate change and just about any issue imaginable.

I honestly don’t know. A superficial answer may be that people don’t know about overshoot, which is true enough. But the fundamental idea of overshoot is very easy to grasp, it is something anyone with a bank account knows firsthand and relates to on a daily basis. And many in the world do know about it and talk about it, but it does not make it into mainstream discussion.

The real question is: Why doesn’t it make it into mainstream discussion? Why is there an apparent resistance to it? It’s obviously a hugely important topic, more so than just about any topic already in our collective mainstream dialog and conversation.

Maybe it’s too big? Maybe it’s obvious that our usual solutions are not enough?

Maybe it’s more comfortable to focus on something more peripheral and less serious?

That may be one reason why climate change is getting so much attention. It’s apparently more debatable, more peripheral, and less serious. We can tell ourselves it has easier and more peripheral solutions. (Of course, none of that is really true. Climate change itself is serious and requires a profound transformation of our civilization and the worldviews we operate from.)


We live in an ecocidal civilization that assumes infinite nature – infinite natural resources and infinite capacity of nature to absorb waste and toxins.

One of many expressions of this is climate change.

Global ecological overshoot is far more fundamental and far more serious.

And the only real solution to all of it is a deep and thorough transformation of our civilization and our most fundamental assumptions about ourselves, nature, and our relationship to this living planet.

(One practical expression of that would be a transformation of our economic system to take ecological realities and the limits of nature into account.)

Image created by me and Midjourney

Read More

How we align ourselves in international conflicts, and with international law & human rights

It’s interesting to see how people respond to the current wars in Ukraine and Gaza.

Some align themselves with the official mainstream US view. They support Ukraine and Israel.

Some align themselves with the reverse and support or justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and support the Palestinians.

Some align themselves with the underdogs – Ukraine and the Palestinians. (I tend to have sympathy with the underdogs and it’s also a common Norwegian view.)

Some may even support Russia & Israel. I imagine some jews in Russia would.

The above is more of a tribal orientation. Our priority is to support one or the other for ideological, identity, or strategic reasons. And it leads us to sometimes overlook or minimize clear violations of international law and human rights.

Some align themselves with human rights and international law and prioritize these over any other sympathies and affiliations. All sides in these conflicts have likely committed war crimes and human rights violations, and it cannot be justified. This is, obviously, more of a modern orientation.

Where am I in this? It’s probably clear from how I write. I am definitely in the last category. I am on the side of international law and human rights, and on the side of the civilians.

Russia is clearly breaking international law by invading Ukraine and committing war crimes. (I am all for supporting Ukraine in defending itself, that’s what I would want for Norway if we were attacked.) The horrific Hamas attack on Israeli civilians is clearly against international law. Israel has committed systematic human rights violations against Palestinians for decades. (Which has fueled a lot of resentment and hatred.) The international community has allowed them to do it, which is clearly very problematic. And Israel is violating international law and committing war crimes in their current and equally horrific attacks on civilians in Gaza. We can understand some of the background for what’s happening – for instance, historically and through a collective trauma lens. And there is absolutely no justification for these actions.

Of course, I am a child of my culture as much as anyone else. These views reflect the views of many in Norway. We tend to be on the side of the underdogs since we often have been the underdogs historically. International law and human rights are highly valued. We want to support Ukraine since we would want to be supported if we were invaded. And there has been a long tradition of sympathy with the plight of the Palestinians in Norway.

Why do I write about this? It may seem obvious to me and many others and it’s still a vital reminder. The essentials cannot be repeated too often, and it’s especially important at a time when tribalism of different types seems to thrive. And even more so because we live in a time when our civilization is under increasing pressure, especially from collapsing ecosystems, and we can expect even more tribalism in response.

This is a time when valuing human life – and prioritizing it over tribalism, ideologies, identities, and desire for revenge – is more important than ever. Not just for their sake, but for our own sake. And not just because escalating the cycle of violence eventually comes back to hurt us, but because it hurts us immediately.

We dehumanize ourselves when we dehumanize others. We hurt ourselves when we hurt others. That’s not just a poetic or wishful way to look at it. It actually happens and we’ll find it when we look.

Image by me and Midjourney

Reflections on society, politics and nature – vol. 67

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on society, politics, and nature. I sometimes include short personal notes as well. Click “read more” to see all the entries.


I posted this quote on social media without any comments and (unsurprisingly) received a comment about what’s happening between Israel and Palestine now. The question was: What would you do if you were the prime minister of Israel?

Here is my response:

There are many layers here.

First, I have posted this quote before (years ago, I think), because I love it and it’s a helpful pointer for me. I initially posted it again for that reason, then realized some may take it as an indirect commentary on what’s happening in the Middle East, so I unposted it, and then posted it again because I am not responsible for how other people interpret things.

I have also written something about how I see the situation.

As for your question, I would not be prime minister there for many reasons, including that my views are too far removed from those of the majority living in Israel. If I – through a miracle and against my will – was prime minister there, my first move would be to respect international law and human rights, and remove some of the reasons for the current hatred against Israel and the Israeli people. I would work on prevention, first of all, by trying to improve the lives of people both within Israel and also Palestinians and those in Gaza.

If I woke up today as the prime minister there, what would I say to those who want revenge? Probably, go screw yourself ? You won’t get it from me. (In the form of: “I understand your anger and pain, I am also angry and in pain from what happened, but more violence is not the answer”.)

Read More

I love you, but I love our ecocidal civilization more

For decades, we have been in a global ecological overshoot.

If we continue, it can only end one way: A dramatic ecological collapse, and with it the collapse of our civilization. (We are in an escalating phase of that ecological collapse now.)

So why don’t more people take it seriously?

Why do so many, in effect, say to their children: “I love you, but I love our ecocidal and suicidal civilization more”?


The crux of this situation is not – as many think – greed, corporations, governments, lack of technology, or similar. These all exist within a system that’s out of alignment with ecological realities. People are just fulfilling their roles in this ecocidal and ultimately suicidal system.

The crux is the system itself and the worldview it comes out of.

We have a civilization out of alignment with ecological realities.

For instance, our economic system assumes unlimited natural resources and an unlimited ability of nature to absorb our waste and toxins. This system was developed at a time when we had few enough people and simple enough technology so we could make those assumptions. These days, with billions more people and far more advanced and effective technology, it’s ecocidal and suicidal.

What type of worldview does this come out of? We have a worldview that assumes separation. We don’t viscerally get that our own health and well-being is intimately related to the health and well-being of our larger social and ecological whole. We assume, as mentioned above, unlimited nature while we live as part of a limited planet.

Even more fundamentally, we have a civilization that reflects a power-over orientation. We seek power over ourselves (just look at the orientation in many self-help books), others, and nature. And one that assumes that divinity is a sky-god removed from us, nature, and the universe. By removing divinity from ourselves and nature, we open it all for abuse.

The alternative is a power-with orientation where we seek partnership and cooperation with ourselves, others, and nature. And seeing divinity in nature and the universe, which leads to relating to it all with more reverence, respect, and gratitude.

There are workable alternatives. It is fully possible to have an individual and collective worldview that treats ourselves, others, and nature with reverence. And it’s very possible to have a system where what’s easy and attractive to do, individually and collectively, is also what supports society, ecosystems, and the lives and well-being of other species and future generations of all species. It’s a matter of priorities and collective will.


So why do so many – through their words and actions – prioritize supporting this clearly suicidal civilization over the lives and well-being of their children and grandchildren? Why do they continue to vote for the same politicians? Why do they feed themselves and their children food grown with poison? Why do they clean their houses with toxins? Why do they use pesticides in their garden? Why do they have a sterile lawn instead of a natural garden that supports life? Why do they continue to live as if we are not in a massive ecological crisis?

As usual, there are many possible answers.

We live within this system so it’s difficult to break out of it and live very differently. Our system makes what’s easy and attractive to do also, often, damaging to our life-support systems.

Many have enough with their daily lives. We don’t feel we have the resources to deal with the bigger picture or long-term thinking.

It requires intention and effort to change our worldview, way of life, and who we vote for with our money and ballots. It’s easier to put it off.

The change required may go against our identity. We have built up an identity around a certain political orientation and way of life, changing it all requires us to go outside of that identity, and that seems difficult and scary.

We live in denial in different ways. We tell ourselves that…. nothing is happening, we have time, others will take care of it, we’ll find a technological solution. We distract ourselves (being busy, entertainment, scapegoating, going into harebrained conspiracy theories, and so on.)

Many misdiagnose the situation. As mentioned above, they think it’s about greed, human nature, corporations, governments, lack of technology, and similar things existing within the system. In reality, it’s about the system itself and the worldview it reflects. Some also seem to think our crisis is mostly about climate change while it’s far more fundamental than that. In theory, we can solve climate change, and we’ll still go into ecological collapse if we don’t solve the overshoot problem itself.


I don’t know. We can just do our best and see how it unfolds.

Our current civilization will end, as they all do. In the best case, it will transform into a more ecologically sound civilization.

Very likely, we’ll have to live through a massive ecological collapse first. It seems difficult to avoid, considering how far we already are into it, and how most people distract themselves with literally anything else.

And that means a massive loss of different types of species, and – again in the best case – a massive reduction in the size of humanity.

So what do we do individually?


Here is some of what I have done.

I have educated myself about the situation. Early on in life, I learned about overshoot and ecological footprints, studied systems views, and so on.

I aim to orient myself to reality. I try to take a sober and informed view of our situation while also knowing I cannot know for certain how it all will unfold.

I find joy and meaning in my connection with the larger whole, through the Universe Story, the Great Story, the Epic of Evolution, Deep Ecology, and the Practices to Reconnect.

I am working on transforming my worldview – intellectually and viscerally – in the same way, and also through different forms of inquiry.

I have made myself somewhat familiar with what happens when civilizations decline and end. What we see in the world today is partly typical for our civilization, and partly what we would expect when it’s in decline. (That includes people distracting themselves with conspiracy theories, or attaching to super-optimistic views of a coming golden age, lots of people waking up, and so on.)

I take small actions in my daily life. I eat organic, local, low on the food chain, and with the seasons as far as possible. For many years, I only bought (very cool and high-quality) second-hand clothes. When it’s possible, I buy food from local farmers. And so on. Doing this helps me feel that it’s possible to change and that I am contributing, in a small way, to the solution.

I have also been involved in other ways. For several years, my self-created job was to coordinate a relatively large group of people with a passion for sustainability. We used a consistent partnership-oriented and solution-focused approach. These days, I am the steward of 15 hectares in the Andes mountains and we work on a long-term regeneration project there to help the land back to a more diverse and vibrant state.

I remind myself of what I am grateful for. At times, I have done a daily all-inclusive gratitude practice. (Write and send a list to a partner that includes what it’s easy to find gratitude for and what’s challenging, this helps open the mind to find the genuine gifts in anything that’s happening in my life.) Other times, it happens more spontaneously in daily life.

I know that endings, change, and death is what opens space for something new. The early relatively uniform state of the universe gave way for particles and matter. The death of stars provided more complex molecules that formed themselves into this planet and us. The death of species opens space for other species. The death of previous civilizations created space for ours. The death of individuals creates room for new individuals. Another civilization may come after ours. Eventually, after humanity is gone, other species may develop their own civilization. And so on. I know this intellectually and am deepening into a visceral knowing of it.

I have sought out communities of like-minded people. I was involved with an amazing sustainability organization in Madison, Wisconsin. I was active in natural building and permaculture groups. I did a work trade at an organic CSA farm in Wisconsin.

I notice my more fundamental nature. I bring my more fundamental nature to the foreground of attention. I find myself as what the world – to me – happens within and as. I find myself as capacity for it all. That helps to release some entrenched identification with this human self, a sense of doer or observer, and so on. I sometimes use Headless experiments or the Big Mind process to explore this further. In the past, I did a lot of basic meditation (notice and allow what’s here in the field of experience) to invite my more fundamental nature to notice itself and rest in and as that noticing. This too is something my system is viscerally deepening into.

I have done a lot of inquiry on stressful beliefs and identifications (The Work of Byron Katie), and on my sense fields to soften the charge in identifications (Kiloby Inquiries).

I use heart-centered practices to help shift how I relate to whatever is here – thoughts, emotions, sensations, others, situations – and so on. Mostly ho’oponopono and tonglen.

I have done a lot of body-centered practices like taichi, chigong, yoga, and Breema. This helps shift how I relate to my body and myself and life and helps me find more nourishment and grounding.

I have also done a lot of practice to train a more stable attention. Mostly, bringing attention to the sensations in the nose from the breath.

I have done and am doing healing and trauma work to help shift how I relate to whatever is here in experience and invite healing for issues in themselves. I find Trauma and tension Release Exercises (neurogenic tremors and movements) very helpful. And these days, I mostly use Vortex Healing.

I am sure there is a lot more that doesn’t come to mind right now.