This is a post with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles, some may be a little rant-ish, and some of them may be made into a regular article in time.
Writing from a voice
If I am honest, I get a little bored writing from my regular persona. Or writing from my MoE blog persona. It gets predictable and the writing is careful and not so juicy.
So why not write from other sides of myself? Why not write from Big Mind, Or Big Heart, or as I imagine a specific person from history or fiction would write?
That’s how I can surprise myself and keep it more alive and juicy.
Recently, two stories caught my attention.
Kjell Aukrust, a beloved Norwegian artist and author, would write letters as one of his well-known imaginary characters. He even wrote business letters that way. I am sure he did it partly from playfulness. But he also had dyslexia so if he wrote as one of his characters, spelling and grammar wasn’t so important.
Mr. Rogers did something similar. When he needed to tell his children something difficult, for instance something he was angry with them about, he would do it in character as one of his puppets. The puppet could say some things that he – as their dad – found difficult.
The reason I was fascinated by these stories is probably that I need or want to do something similar right here, in this blog. I need to do it to liven it up and make it more fresh, interesting, and juicy.
Click READ MORE for the rest of the notes….
The way we express awakening depends on culture, situation, and personal inclination. A friend of mine once said that if people expressed awakening in almost any culture apart from our modern western one, they would be killed. I disagree.
Yes, if we are inflexible, not very socially savvy, and try to get in trouble, then we may indeed get ourselves into trouble.
But if we are a bit flexible and can adapt to their culture and situation, we can express it in a way that’s acceptable and perhaps even understandable – at least to some extent.
There are innumerable ways to express awakening. It’s true that in adapting it to a culture and situation, we lose some precision and we may find a more poetic or metaphorical way of expressing it. But we can still express it. It will be good enough. It may still be helpful to some or even many. And those who really want to know will seek it out and can receive more precise pointers in person. As I am sure many have throughout time and across cultures.
The initial awakening for me happened “out of the blue” and I was an atheist at the time (although interested in anything paranormal). It took a while for me to find anyone who seemed to know what it was about and spoke about it from direct experience. The first one I found was Meister Eckhart, in a book at the public library. (I still remember standing in front of the shelf reading in it and the joy and amazement of finding a kindred spirit.) At the same time, I noticed that he did phrase it in a way that was probably more acceptable within Christianity and the particular culture and subculture he lived in. There were a few veils between the clarity of the direct experience and his words.
As an aside: This was before internet became widely available and I lived in a small town in Norway. Both of which made it so it took a few years for me to find someone with a direct realization. The first one I found in person was my friend BH when I was nineteen, and the second Hanne Bertelsen when I was around twenty. (She was Jes Bertelsen’s wife at the time and has since changed her last name.)
Is it possible to be lost?
Obviously yes, in a conventional sense. As who we are, as this human being, we can be lost in a physical and metaphorical sense. And as what we are, as what our experience happens within and as, we are never lost. Lostness happens within and as what we are. But we can never be lost.
May 1, 2020
At an individual human level, death is experienced as sad and sometimes even tragic. And yet, without death we wouldn’t be here, this living planet wouldn’t be here, and even the universe as a whole wouldn’t exist.
If humans didn’t die, we would fill up the whole planet very quickly. If individuals from any animal or plant species wouldn’t die, they would all fill up the planet quickly. Even the death of species give opportunities to new species to evolve and fill up the available niches. The death of stars makes new starts and heavier elements possible, including most of the elements making up this planet and us. The death of any phase of the universe makes the next phase possible.
And, in a very real way, the death of any moment allows for the next.
Death gives way for new life. Something dies and gives the opportunity for something else to come about.
Death is the reason we are here. Death is the reason anything exists.
Everything we know and have ever known is here because of death.
Everything we love and have ever loved is here because of death.
Everything comes and goes within this timeless present.
The divine is a good healer
In a recent conversation, someone said “she is a good healer”. I responded “the Divine is a good healer, and she is a good channel”.
That’s always the case. With any form of medicine – mainstream or ancient or something else – it’s nature, life, or the Divine that’s the healer. We, as humans, just support it. We can do things to allow it to happen.
May 2, 2020
Emptiness or void
I don’t write much about emptiness or void these days, mainly because it doesn’t have that much practical importance.
For me, my direct perception is of all as – what mind can label – emptiness, or void. All experiences has appearance and also are ephemeral, insubstantial, and like nothing.
That’s the nature of consciousness, and since all experiences happens within and as consciousness, it’s also the nature of all experiences – of this human self and the world as it appears to me.
In some ways, I like Douglas Harding’s term capacity more. Capacity for the world. What I am is capacity for the world. (Douglas Harding developed the beautiful and simple Headless experiments.)
How to recognize awakening?
There several answers here.
If there is awakening here it’s pretty easy to recognize it in someone else. There is an instant or quick noticing that you are familiar with the same terrain. If you see energies, it’s even easier to recognize it. (For me, the easiest is to look at the energy system of another.)
If not, then explore several acknowledged awakened people. Look at their words and behavior. Find the universals. And use that to determine – roughly – where someone is at.
And finally, is it important? Perhaps it’s equally or more important to find tools and people who can help you heal your deepest wounds? Perhaps it’s equally or more important to find someone who has practical tools that can help you discover it for themselves? (Of course, if they do then they are likely to have discovered it too.)
The Mind can take itself to be anything within itself
The mind can take itself to be anything within itself, and it’s typically this human self. Why? Because this human self is here – in the sense fields – almost all of the time (with the exceptions of some dreams etc.). Others take us to be this human self. And it makes the most sense in a practical sense.
Sometimes, the mind may “forget” to take itself as this human self. It can happen when we relax or when we are in a flow state. It can happen in nature or under the night sky. It can also happen when we take some psychoactive plants or drugs (don’t take drugs). It can happen during prayer or meditation. It can happen just after we wake up in the morning before the mind has time to organize itself into identifying as this human being.
One of the times it happened for me was when I practiced a Breema bodywork sequence in a Breema class in Oregon. I was giving Breema to someone else, and my mind realized it didn’t know which body it was supposed to identify with. There were several bodies in the room. And which one was “me”? It didn’t take long before it remembered and “me” was again recognized as this body, but it was a telling moment.
There is an important distinction here in how the mind relates to this body. One is when it takes itself to be this human self and it seems true and not worth questioning. Another is when it assigns identity for a more pragmatic purpose. The mind knows what it is and that its final identity is not as this human self, but it knows that “I” and “me” refers to this human self because it makes more sense in daily life. It helps this human self to function in the world. It’s a lighter touch and it’s seen through.
As usual, there is a lot more to say about this. The dynamic I wrote about is also how we can feel we become an animal or something else in a shamanic journey. Or how we can “become” a part of an energy system when we do energy healing or certain energy practices. Or how we can feel we are the nature around us or the universe we see on a dark clear night.
Identification is the mind identifying with or as the viewpoint of a thought or – more commonly – a set of related thoughts. For instance, thoughts may say “I am this human self” and our system and mind holds it as true or not. Or that I am the I, me, doer, observer, or whatever it is. Often, the thoughts are in the form of mental images.
And there is a middle-ground in clarity and seeing through certain thoughts. One extreme is our system and mind taking itself to be this human self without questioning it. Another is a clear awakening where the mind is not identified with thoughts of being a human, me, I, observer, doer etc. And the middle ground is where some thoughts are seen through – for instance identification as a human being and a me – and others are still held as true like the thought of being an I and observer. This gives a direct taste of oneness but there is further to go. (It can always be more clear, new layers reveal themselves.)
I don’t use the term “higher consciousness” unless I write about the term, as I do here. It doesn’t quite make sense to me.
First, what does it mean? What is “higher consciousness”? Does it mean kindness towards all beings? A lot of insights? Recognizing all as the divine? A big picture view on life and reality? A deep time view? Awakening? And if awakening, what phase? And higher compared to what?
It also uses a lower-higher metaphor with lower implied as less or bad and higher as more and better. I don’t find that so useful. Why is higher better? It seems to come from a sky-god worldview.
We could equally well say that whatever “higher consciousness” refers to is lower consciousness. It’s more basic. More primal. More essential.
May 3, 2020
The problem with speaking mostly from or about Big Mind
Some spiritual teachers – mostly in the recent past and in non-dual circles in India and the western world – would speak mostly from or about Big Mind.
I understand the allure. It’s the part of who and what we are that’s the least familiar to most people. So why not focus on it?
And yet, it can easily give a misleading impression. We are not just Big Mind. We are also human. We are human and Big Mind at the same time, and a lot of other things too.
That’s why most spiritual teachers – coaches, guides – today include all of it, including body, relationships, trauma, and all the messiness that comes from recognizing and living more consciously from it all.
The last several years, I have been on a spirituality diet. I don’t take in much that has to do with spirituality. I generally don’t read books. I don’t listen to talks. I don’t go to events apart from Vortex Healing classes.
This is partly because of the chronic fatigue (CFS) and brain fog. It makes it difficult to take in and process information of any type.
And it’s partly because my system seems to need to be on a “spirituality diet”. For some years, I read one or more books a week and listened to hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hours of talks (mostly Adyashanti, Byron Katie, and Joel Morwood). So it’s natural and understandable if my system needs a break from this to digest. And it also allows me to see what comes more naturally and spontaneously out of my own system.
What we think we know about someone
What we think we know about someone is a minuscule part of who and what they are.
What we think we know is probably not that accurate in itself. And even if it is relatively accurate in a conventional sense, it refers to a very small piece of who and what they are and can be.
That goes for people in our life. And it also goes for ourselves.
I was reminded of this when I remembered an interaction with someone in Oslo (Vigdis G.) who sometimes takes on the role as a spiritual teachers. She spent almost the whole conversation talking about Buddhism and going after Buddhism in different ways. (Mostly saying things I have been aware of for a long time.)
It felt weird. Disappointing. And not a very helpful way to spent precious time and an opportunity to connect in a more real and useful way.
At the time, I was very confused. But after digesting the experience, I realize that she probably had been told I had spent some time at a Zen center (fifteen years earlier), and she made up an idea of me based on that tiny speck of information. She used the smallest piece of information to make up an idea of me as a whole being, and acted on it even if it didn’t fit or was very useful.
Of course, if I had caught on to it sooner, I could have pointed it out during the conversation. And even if I didn’t really understand what was going on I could have pointed that out.
May 4, 2020
Upsides and downsides to awakening out of the blue
In some cases, an initial spiritual opening or awakening happens out of the blue without any apparent intention or preparation.
What are some of the upsides and downsides?
One of the upsides is that if we have had little or no interest in spirituality or religion in advance, we start with a relatively clean slate. We can approach it in a more undogmatic way and find support from and resonance with any number of traditions or people outside of traditions. Also, it can seem that it happened “for free” since we didn’t actively work for it.
The main downside is that we may not be so well prepared. We may feel especially disoriented by the opening or awakening. We can feel alone since we may not have anyone in our network who understands or can relate to it. Our physical body and energetic system may not be so well prepared.
This is how it was for me. The opening or awakening came without any previous conscious interest in or preparation for it. (I labeled myself an atheist although with some interest in the paranormal.)
Although there was an infinite sense of being home, it was also confusing and disorienting for me as a human being.
And although in oneness we are – in a sense – not alone, I also felt very alone in my human life since nobody in my network were even remotely interested or understood.
It may also seem that we get it “for free” but in my experience, the work comes within the awakening. It comes in the form of clarifying, sorting, and differentiating. It comes through being a kind of guru to the parts of ourselves that were formed from, and often still lives within, painful separation consciousness. (Finding love for these and seeing these too are already love.) It comes through learning to live from and within and as oneness.
Looking a little closer
The conventional daily-life labels we use to describe what’s going on for someone, including ourselves, are rarely the most accurate. Usually, there are several other labels that capture the essence a little better.
For instance, in some situation, something is triggered in me that my conventional mind would label competitiveness. When I look a little closer, I see that it has to do with feeling not seen and understood. The competitiveness is an attempt to be seen and understood.
When I don’t notice this, my strategy to be seen and understood can take the form of competitiveness. And when I notice it, I can find another strategy that’s more likely to give me what I am looking for. For instance, I may say “I notice I don’t feel seen and understood” or “I notice I feel hurt because I don’t feel seen and understood”. That opens up for a different and possibly more saitsfying interaction with the other person. I can also give it to myself. I can see and understand myself and the hurt I am feeling. And I can find where I first remember feeling that way – usually early childhood and often with parents – and explore it.
What does introvert mean?
Introvert and extrovert are words I don’t use very much if at all, apart from here where I talk about the words themselves. People use and understand them in too many different ways so it seems better to chose other words.
In informal conversation, people can use introvert to refer to a variety of different things. It can mean enjoying smaller groups or quiet or being alone. Sometimes, it’s also another word for social anxiety or discomfort with larger groups or even discomfort with the noise and activity that can come with larger group.
Jung, who coined the term, used it in a different way. For him, it meant a tendency to focus on “internal” experiences – emotions, thoughts, sensations – rather than “external” ones. This means that we can be introvert as Jung understood it while being extrovert as most people use the word today. Or any other combination.
Another side is that internal or external as Jung used the words mainly make sense from separation consciousness. In oneness, all our experiences happens within and as oneness.
Even within a more conventional view, the two cannot so easily be separated. All our interpretation of the world comes from an overlay of mental images and words, and our mind often associates sensations with these, so even the “external” has a big overlay of the “internal”.
Being a guru to the parts of us living in separation consciousness
We can always be a better parent to different parts of us, and especially those that have been abandoned and even mistreated by us in the past.
And when there is some awakening here, we can also be a guru to these parts of us. We can help them realign with reality. We can meet them with love and recognize them as love. We can help through investigating stressful stories they operate from and finding what’s more true.
These parts of us were typically created at a time in our life when we operated from separation consciousness, and they often still do. Our relationship with them also tend to reflect how we were treated early in life. And how we relate to them, and these parts operating from separation consciousness, may also reflect generational trauma, collective trauma, and the trauma that comes from living within a certain culture.
All cultures operate partly from separation consciousness, and that in itself is somewhat traumatic.
Oneness and aloneness?
What’s the connection between oneness and aloneness?
When oneness wakes up to itself as all there is, there are several layers related to aloneness and loneliness.
One the one hand, if all is one there is no aloneness. What I am is what everything is.
At the same time, we – as a human being – may feel alone.
We may feel alone if we don’t have others in our life who understands. (I had this for the first few years after the initial opening or awakening.)
We may also have an emotional issue around loneliness that’s unhealed. (This has been quite strong for me at time, along with FOMA, although it’s less noticeable now after working on it.)
Oneness is also aloneness in a certain way. All is one so there is no other. (I personally feel this a little if I look for it but it’s not very strong.)
Myths and misconceptions about awakening
I have written about this before but thought I would revisit it briefly.
What are some of the common myths and misconceptions about awakening?
It’s something weird and mystical. Yes and no, but not really. It can be described and understood in down-to-earth terms and it can also be understood in a psychological or spiritual view (small and big interpretations).
It’s only for special people. Yes and no. It’s for people who are into it but many things are like that. Anyone can explore it and have a taste of it for themselves. And, again as with many other things, how far we take it depends on drive, talent, and opportunity.
Either you are awake or you are not. Yes and no. We can say that consciousness notices itself as all there is or it does not not. In that sense, it’s binary. But it’s also far more layered and fluid. And there is always further to go in clarification, deepening, healing, and living from it.
When it happens it’s stable. Not necessarily. There may be an initial opening which then apparently is “lost”. This may be because there are remaining identifications which come to the surface to be met with love, recognized as love, and seen through. It tends to also go away whenever we get caught in emotional issues, although even here there may be an awareness and noticing of what’s happening.
It will solve all my problems. Again, yes and no. It does put our human problems more in perspective so they are less devastating. But our human life and challenges continues, including many of our emotional issues and traumas. We can say that the context changes – which changes everything – but the content doesn’t magically all transform at once.
It comes with all sorts of magical and mystical powers. Yes and no. The most magical and mystical power is for what we are noticing itself and for this human self to live from it. It’s for love to recognize all as itself. It may also come with an ability to sense at a distance, have inclinations about the future, do distance healing, and so on. But those are side-effects of the awakening, they may happen without awakening, and they may also not happen within and awakening.
When awakening happens, that person automatically becomes an amazing spiritual teacher. Not really. It just depends on how their human selves is put together. Some have more inclinations, drive, and talent in that direction than others.
It’s the person that awakens. Yes, it looks that way to others. But from the first person view, it’s what we are – aka consciousness etc. – that wakes up to itself as all there is and out of exclusive identification as this human self.
What about the layers, fluidity, and complexity of awakening? Can you say more about it?
Yes, although it’s a big topic.
As I mentioned, there is always more clarification of the awakening, always further to go with healing of our human self, and always further to go in learning to live from it in different situations and areas of life. All of it seems like an ongoing process.
The awakeness is here whether it notices itself or not. That’s why Buddhists say that we all “have” – or are – Buddha nature. It’s just that in some cases it notices itself as all there is and in other cases it does not. And that can also shift over time.
We can have an opening or a glimpse and remember this even as we later get caught in identifications and beliefs again. We may have a relatively stable noticing but it goes in the background – and for others it may seem like it’s completely gone – as soon as we get caught in emotional issues. We may get partially caught in an emotional issue but notice what’s going on and avoid getting too caught in it. We may live from awakening in some situations in life and some areas of life and less so in other – because there are certain identifications and beliefs we haven’t identified or questioned. And so on.
Dialog with Big Heart
Dear Big Heart, can you tell me about love?
Yes, of course. What would you like to know?
I understand that all is love, although I sometimes forget when I get caught up in fearful stories. Can you say more about how all is love?
Yes, although this is mostly something you – you as me or me as you – need to explore for yourself. It’s a process of discovery and is very rewarding in itself.
In oneness, all is love. The mind can say all is consciousness, love, a gentle bliss, or whatever it may be. All experiences happen within and as love.
Also, when it comes to painful experiences, they too are love. Even emotional issues, hangups, and traumas are love. They come from your system trying to protect you as a human being. It’s the best your system knew how to do it when those issues were formed. When you examine them, even the ones you find most painful and sometimes troublesome, you’ll find they come from love. And that noticing, in itself, is healing. It may not be the full healing, but it’s an important part of the healing and supports the overall healing process greatly.
Divine energy healing within oneness
How does divine energy healing look within oneness?
In practice, when I do energy healing, it means noticing that it’s all happening within and as what I am. It’s all happening within and as consciousness.
That helps me have a lighter touch. It helps me remember that it’s the divine doing it and “I” – as a human self – is just a channel and support the process with my intention. And it makes the experience overall more relaxed, enjoyable, and even effective.
In the bigger picture, it’s the Divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself as all of what we see in the world and the universe, including as someone receiving energy healing and someone being a channel for it. It’s all happening within and as the Divine.
In my twenties, I had a period where I used polyphasic sleep. It worked very well. I remember sleeping every six hours, but can’t remember if it was for 1/2 hour or one hour at a time. I suspect 1/2 hour. The reason I didn’t continue was challenges with my social life, and perhaps especially girlfriend.
But if we have a relatively flexible and self-directed schedule, I see no reason why not exploring it. If I remember correctly, the theory behind it – which seemed accurate in my experience – is that polyphasic sleep allows us to go into deep and nourishing sleep more quickly so we overall need fewer hours of sleep.
CSS and tools
I went to a spiritual center (CSS) in Oregon when I lived there. Because of their history, they are very open to all spiritual traditions and religions and draw on insights and use practices from several of them. Their main practice is based on traditional Buddhist inquiry.
I have often wondered why they don’t make use of modern versions of these inquiries? Why don’t they make use of the Big Mind process? It’s a quick way to give people a direct taste of what awakening is about and it can be a great support on the awakening path? It’s also something that can be used with groups.
Why don’t they use Living Inquiries? This is an approach that shows us, very directly and in our own experience, how the mind creates its own experience of the world. It shows us how the mind creates identifications, and how our perception is when free from these.
One answer is that they may not have any teachers familiar with these approaches. But it’s relatively easy to try them out and get trained in using them. Or even ask someone to demonstrate.
Another, which seems a little more likely, is that although they don’t come from any particular tradition, they have their own tradition now. They have been around since the 90s and have found their form. This is understandable but also a missed opportunity.
Is tradition more important, even if it’s just a couple of decades old, or is using tools that work – and support people in their awakening process – primary?
Cats as role models
It’s well known that cats – and other animals – can be good teachers and role models for us humans. In what ways can cats be good role models?
They are very clear communicators. They show us exactly what they want and don’t want, and know we are able to deal with it. They don’t have any need to manipulate by sugarcoating, being indirect, or holding it in. They know they are not responsible for how we receive or respond to their communication. (Of course, we are more or less good at understanding this communication but that’s another issue.)
They rest when they need to. They don’t get caught up in thoughts of whether they should rest or not, or if they have been productive enough, or what others may think.
They seek out contact and affection when they want to. Again, they know we and other animals will leave – or put them down – if it’s too much. They don’t take it personally. And they don’t get caught in thoughts of whether they should or not, what the other being will think or do, and so on.
They play. Even older cats often enjoy playing.
It’s our birthright?
I saw an ad for a Norwegian mindfulness teacher saying “inner peace is our birthright”. I understand where it’s coming from. It is what we are born with and are. So why not find it and live from and as it?
And I understand that it is a play of words. We are born with – or as – it and the word “birthright” points to that.
At the same time, it does have connotations of rights, entitlement, and perhaps even shoulds. It’s not really that way. Whether we notice or not is OK either way. And whether we have the interest and opportunity to explore it, and stick with it, comes from innumerable causes – all really from “outside” of this human self.
Mindfulness for inner peace?
The same ad also talked about mindfulness helping us find inner peace.
Yes, it’s true that it can help us find a sense of center, grounding, and inner peace.
And it’s also true that it can do exactly the opposite. If we have trauma in our system, as we all do just from living in this culture, this trauma can come to the surface and be anything but peaceful.
Meditation tends to open our mind, and that means also opening our mind to unprocessed emotional material.
This doesn’t mean that nobody should do meditation or mindfulness practice. But it does mean that meditation and mindfulness instructors need to be trauma informed and know about this possibility, how to reduce the chances of it happening, and what to do if it happens.
May 7 2020
How we are seen on an awakening path
Most traditional cultures value a commitment to spirituality, however that looks in that particular culture.
In our modern western culture, many people value spirituality in some form. But a deeper commitment is sometimes viewed as suspicious.
It may be seen as naive. A misguided attempt to escape or deal with inner demons. A way to avoid responsibility. Or something else.
Yes, that can be true in some cases. And there may be elements of it for many. At the same time, there is often a real calling and commitment. And many take a pragmatic, grounded, and informed approach.
How do I deal with this?
I try to take a pragmatic, grounded, and informed approach. I think and talk about it in an as grounded way as possible. I try to bring it down to earth and use words and framing that makes sense to the one I talk with. All of this in a reflection of and adaption to the culture I live in, and I personally love a more grounded and pragmatic approach.
And when I notice I feel misunderstood, not seen, or something similar, I know something in me is triggered. I know it’s something unhealed in me, often from childhood, and something that wants my attention, kindness, and help with liberation from suffering. Sometimes, I get caught in it, and then explore it more intentionally in this way.
Making light of the problems of children
I listened to a podcast where the hosts made light of the problems of children. As Fred Rogers said, it’s important to remember how it is to be a child.
The problems we have as children are as big to us as when we are adults, and sometimes bigger because we can feel more powerless, we have fewer skills and experience to draw on, and we are less able to put it in perspective.
There is no reason to make light of the challenges of children because they are not light for the ones experiencing it.
Love within small interpretation of awakening
If all is the divine, then it’s all also love. That makes sense even if we only have glimpses or sense or intuit it.
But what if all is consciousness? What if we use a small interpretation of awakening? Is all still love? How do we explain it?
The realization or immediate experience is the same. And even the interpretation is the same or very similar, although perhaps with a slightly different terminology.
When we notice all is consciousness, we also – eventually or immediately – notice it’s all love. If all is one, all is love. It’s consciousness loving itself in all its many forms.
It may not be the conventional feeling of love. It may not be a feeling at all. It’s not sentimental. But it’s the love of two who have a deep bond between each other. It’s the love of the right hand removing a splinter from the left.
General phases of awakening
As with any processes in life, we can mentally divide the awakening process in innumerable different ways. The number of phases we include, what streams and themes we focus on, and how we describe it all is somewhat arbitrary and based on culture, who and what it’s for, and personal inclinations and interests. It’s all a mental overlay anyway. The terrain is always more than and different from the many maps that can be created to describe it.
If I were to create a map, here and now, I would make sure lila is the context. The play of the divine. Or the universe. Or life. Or consciousness. Depending on what we want to call it.
What we – the divine as local and temporary human beings – see as awakening is part of the ongoing exploration process of the divine. The divine expresses, explores, and experiences itself in always new ways, including – sometimes – through the awakening process.
A simple model
What’s the simplest model of awakening?
Perhaps it is this one with just three phases: (a) Glimpses and openings where we have a taste of our true nature or all as the divine. (b) Healing, clarification, and embodiment. And (c) a more stable and clear awakening and embodiment.
What if we want to fill in the details a bit? Then it may look something like this.
We can say that the first long phase is existence taking the form of this universe and the evolution of this universe into matter, suns, planetary systems, this living and evolving planet. This sets the stage for the drama of awakening happening through human life.
The next phase is life taking itself to be a separate being. As a fundamentally and ultimately separate being in a physical world. In our case, this is typically as a human being. (Although it could be as a soul, or a doer, or observer etc. I’ll get back to this.)
Then, there may be an interest in religion or spirituality. Or in knowing God or in awakening. This can be curiosity. An intuition. A sense. A longing. A beginning seeking. For many, it stays here and that’s perfectly fine. It’s part of lila and the play of life. (None of us follow up on or become passionate about every single one of our interests or curiosities.)
There may also be a glimpse or an opening. We may have a glimpse of all as the divine. This can come without any apparent preparation. Or through a practice like prayer, meditation, inquiry, or a shamanic process. Or through intention. Or through psychoactive plants or drugs. And we may interpret it through our existing framework and understanding.
Then there is often a more serious and dedicated exploration. Awakening – however we understand and phrase it – becomes a center in our life. It becomes our passion. Perhaps even obsession. We may explore different approaches to awakening. And, over time, we get more familiar with different approaches and the terrain. We may also have more glimpses and openings and get more familiar with that terrain as well.
At some point, there may be a more stable recognition of what we are. What we are recognizes itself more easily and in more and more situations in life. We learn to live more from within this.
As part of this process, we may identify and explore emotional issues, hangups, and identities. This helps our human self heal. The reduced “load” of identification allows what we are to more easily notice itself. It helps what we are to notice itself through more of the changing situations in daily life. And it allows our human self to live more consciously from this context in more and more situations in life.
Emotional issues, beliefs, and identifications are more or less synonyms. They create – and tend to draw the mind into – the trance of separation. And when triggered, consciousness may re-identify and temporarily lose noticing of what it is. That’s why – as I see it – emotional healing and awakening go hand in hand. Each one support the other.
I tend to write a lot about this since I suspect many are in this general phase, and it’s where I am. What I am notices itself relatively easily. And I keep working on old emotional issues and identifications so my human self can be more healed, so the noticing is more easily stable, and so I my human self can live more consciously from within oneness in more areas of life and more situations. It’s an ongoing process of healing, clarification, and embodiment.
It’s also a very humbling process. It brings us right back into our human existence with all its pain, hangups, and trauma.
I suspect there is a next phase where the awakening is generally clear and stable and lives through and as our human self more effortlessly. Even here, there will be emotional issues coming up to be healed and liberated. But it may happen in a generally less dramatic and more effortless way.
Dark nights and one type of dark night
A little over a century ago, Evelyn Underhill wrote a book called Mysticism. In it, she describes the general phases Christian mystics went through according to their own reports and that of others.
After the initial awakening phase and before the more stable oneness phase (she didn’t call it that), she includes the dark night of the soul.
There are many types of dark nights. In general, they happen when life rubs up against something in us – identifications, beliefs, emotional issues – not aligned with reality. Life shows us what in us is still not aligned with reality. That means that many of us experience mini-dark nights almost daily. And sometimes, a really big one comes up.
I happen to be most familiar with one type of dark night. And that’s the one where a lot of old emotional issues and traumas come to the surface, often as part of the awakening process. They come up to be healed, loved, and recognized as the divine.
It’s not fun. It’s not something we choose. It can last for several years. And it does offer an amazing opportunity for healing, clarifying, embodying, and becoming more ordinary human.
Sometimes, it’s a relatively clear phase. And it’s also a theme that runs through the whole process.
Small sensations, big experience
This is a pattern I have often noticed.
I have an ache in my heart right now and I can see how it comes from early in life. It’s a longing, soreness. I don’t know exactly what it’s about since I haven’t explored it in depth yet.
But I notice one thing. When I bring attention to the physical sensations and rest with them, I notice they are not strong. Physically, it’s mild.
And yet, my experience is of it as big. In my mind, it’s big. It means something. In my mind, it means something not good.
This, in itself, shows me something. It’s my mind – my interpretation and associations with the sensations – that makes it appear big.
So it helps to bring attention to the physical sensations. And it helps to explore the issue behind it more. Through resting with it and see what comes up. Bringing my presence into it. Perhaps through inquiry (Living Inquires.) And through Vortex Healing.
What does transpersonal mean?
It typically means something we are beyond our human self, and although it can sound hifalutin and abstract, it’s closer to us than we often know.
Consciousness itself is transpersonal. It’s what our experiences happens within and as, and what we are to ourselves in a more final and essential sense. The personal, which is basically anything relating to this human self, happens within and as consciousness. And consciousness itself is transpersonal. For example, not only this human self but also other people and the world as it appears to us happens within and as consciousness.
In that sense, what we are to ourselves is capacity for the world. We are capacity for consciousness and any and all experience – including of this human self, others, the world, and of being this human self or recognizing ourselves as this capacity.
What is transcendence?
Transcendence is when we find ourselves as that which is transpersonal or beyond our human self. (See above.)
It’s usually used to mean that we shift from being mostly identified as a human being to being mostly identified as the transpersonal. We go from one extreme to the other.
So it’s a bit one-sided and for that reason temporary.
It can be, and often is, an important part of the awakening process. It helps us explore and get familiar with the terrain of the transpersonal.
There are usually also some identifications there. The identifications as a human being are temporarily transcended and may be temporarily replaced with an identification as an observer or something similar.
Since it’s one-sided it’s a state and it eventually goes away. We are brought back into and as a human being. And that can be a bit of a shock. Often, the transcendent state seems like it would last forever and will never go away because there is a sense of timelessness and clarity there.
It’s not uncommon for us to shift from one to the other many times in an awakening process, although there can also be one longer transcendent state follower by a “decent” into our human messiness and a certain type of dark night of the soul.
The invitation in these swings to notice what all of this happens within and as. It’s all changing but something is not changing. What is it? Is that what I am?
May 10, 2020
“I am God”
When I lived in Oregon, someone in an online permaculture group seems to have had an opening or awakening, described it, and then wrote “I am God”.
I stay away from that wording. In speaking about what I find myself as, it seems to make more sense to use other terminology like consciousness, true nature, and Big Mind. The word “God” is very loaded, has lots of associations, and for me it seems most sane to not identify with it.
Yes, all is God. Yes, what I am is capacity for the world as it appears to me. And I keep the G word separate from the I word.
What doesn’t kill you make you stronger?
Nietzsche is often quoted as saying what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and there are many similar sayings. But what does it really mean?
I assume it means that we become more resilient and perhaps experience a sense of mastery or even something akin to post-traumatic growth.
And is it true?
Not always. If we cannot resolve the problem or deal with it in a productive way, we certainly don’t experience a sense of mastery. And if we cannot meet it in ourselves in a way that feels supportive and nurturing – and many don’t have the tools or experience to do so – then we won’t build resilience or have post-traumatic growth.
Growing “stronger” depends on successfully resolving the problem, meeting it and ourselves in a nurturing and supportive way, or finding our way through it in a way that gives us post-traumatic growth. And many don’t have the modeling, or skills, or inner and outer resources to do that.
I assume that people who say it – to themselves or others – mean it as encouraging. But is it?
Not necessarily. Again, it depends on our inner and outer resources. If we have the sufficient resources, then saying it may remind us of just that. But if we don’t, I assume it just reminds us of our (perceived) failure. It adds insult to injury.
I am writing this from a more conventional perspective. All of this can be picked apart if we look at it more closely or from other perspectives. But my point is that for people who are already struggling, the saying can be experienced as another blow.
I don’t use this quote or similar sayings, apart from perhaps as black humor. I don’t know if it’s true for me in any one particular situation. And I certainly don’t know if it’s true for someone else.
After writing this, I looked up Nietzsche’s quote and he said: What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. He kept it about himself, and that’s far more honest. As a man with a good deal of inner and outer resources, the quote probably reflected his experience. And he knew better than to generalize to other people.
The secret of happiness?
In the new BBC documentary about Peter Sellers, someone mentioned that he was always looking for the secret to happiness.
What’s the secret of happiness?
To explore this, we have to ask ourselves another question first:
Is happiness what we really want? What do we really want? Is it happiness? A sense of meaning? Feeling deeply loved? Relief from suffering? A sense of safety? A sense of belonging? Coming home? Something else?
Adyashanti has a simple inquiry to help us find what we really want: Make a list of your surface wants, from the big to the apparently small and frivolous. Then for each one, trace it back. Ask: what do I hope to get out of this? And then ask the same question about what you found until you arrive at something very basic and essential.
The essence of finding what we really want is to discover what we really are. This is not for everyone, but it is what our deepest desires are about.
If we want to discover what we really are, then a combination of meditation practice, heart-centered practice, inquiry, and other basic spiritual practices can be helpful.
And whether or not we are ready to go straight to the essence, some other things can be helpful for us to feel more satisfied in life, and there are tools to help us with each of these:
Find healing for central emotional issues and trauma.
Find meaning in your life. Find what’s meaningful to you. It may be a combination of several apparently very ordinary “small” things.
Find another way of being with your thoughts. Question them. (Inquiry.)
Find kindness towards yourself and others. Find ways to relate to yourself and your own experience with kindness. (Heart-centered practices.)
Find gratitude, either through regular gratitude practice or a more radical all-inclusive gratitude practice.
So, yes, I didn’t answer the initial question about the secret of happiness. But I did point to a few things that may be even more important for having a good and satisfying life.
How we interpret what we sense
We sense and feel a lot of things.
Some of it is from beliefs and emotional issues.
And some of it may be from sensing something at a distance. If all is one and the divine, then the existence of this form of sensing makes sense and many have experienced it. For some, it’s even part of daily life.
In either case, it’s helpful to differentiate what we feel and sense from our interpretation of it. We may feel that someone is angry. But is it anger? And if it is, is that person angry at me or someone else? What triggered the anger? What’s behind it? Perhaps fear or insecurity? It’s good to keep many options open and land on any one interpretation until we have a little more information. The sensing itself may be accurate. But our interpretation of it may not be.
Why do I write so much here?
If I am honest, it’s sometimes because it feels comforting. I am in a challenging life situation with chronic health issues (mostly housebound), lack of financial stability and security, and these days I am mostly alone. So writing – along with connecting with people virtually – gives me some comfort.
Since writing sometimes is a reaction to uncomfortable things going on in me, it’s a kind of compulsion. That’s also shown in that it would make more sense to write a few solid and comprehensive articles than literally thousands (about twelve thousand so far) of quick ones as I do.
May 11, 2020
How people treat animals
A common advice is to not get into a relationship with someone who mistreats animals (or waiters), and that’s one I agree with.
The way we treat animals reflects how we treat ourselves (and especially the animal we are as part of who we are) and also others.
When I several years ago worked at a mental health clinic in California, I realized the boss used punishment-oriented and cruel strategies to “train” his dogs. That was the first warning sign for me. Later, it turned out he engaged in systematic insurance fraud and a lot of other unsavory things. Of course, it’s easy to make those type of connections and they may not always be valid.
Wanting to kill someone
I talked with a friend who said she had fantasies of killing someone. She wouldn’t act on it, and felt there was perhaps something wrong with her for having those images. But I suspect it’s normal when someone in our life trigger a lot of suffering for us.
What we want to kill isn’t the person, it’s the suffering. And when we see this, we have the opportunity to channel the energy behind it into addressing the suffering more head-on. At least if we have the tools and resources to do so.
Whether the person is someone else or ourselves, it’s the same dynamic. What we really want to end is the suffering, not the person. It can be a relief to realize that, and it can also help us channel the energy into relieving suffering more directly.
Exploring brutally honest thoughts
In case no one told you today:– circulating on social media
Life is decay
You will always be truly alone
You are expendable
Nothing happens for a reason
You’re going to die
You will be forgotten
It will be like you never existed
I find this fascinating for several reasons.
It’s the type of thoughts most of us don’t want to hear or consider or take in.
There is some truth to each of these statements.
Taking in that truth can be very freeing. We tend to put so much effort into trying to be connected, valuable, stay alive, be remembered, and so on. So it’s freeing to allow ourselves to take in the truth of the opposite.
And, of course, there is truth to these statements and the reverse ones.
Life is decay. Everything dies. At the same time, life is growth and renewal.
We will always be truly alone. Even when we are with others, we are ultimately alone. Nobody can really understand us. We are always our own final authority. At the same time, we are more deeply connected than we often realize.
We are expendable. Everyone dies. And when any one dies, even the apparently most important ones, life goes on. The world goes on. At the same time, we are invaluable. There is nobody and has never been and will never be anyone like each one of us. We all have a unique way of being in the world and a unique way of experiencing the world. We may also be important to another person (human or animal), and perhaps invaluable and irreplaceable to them.
Nothing happens for a reason. There is no meaning inherent in reality. It’s something we add to it. At the same time, everything can be made meaningful to us. We can find meaning in it. We can make it meaningful.
We are all going to die. And we are alive now.
We will all be forgotten. In a hundred years. Or a thousand. Or a million years. Everyone we know will die. Humanity will die. This planet will die. This universe will die one way or another. It will all be gone. At the same time, we are remembered now.
It will be like we never existed. Life goes on. The world goes on. People go on. For the vast majority of the world, it’s already as if we never existed. At the same time, our existence is the most important thing. It’s not at all a given. It’s a miracle. It’s precious.
What have I learned from chronic fatigue?
Someone asked me this question. (More or less.)
One of the main things I have learned is the importance of rest. And of not tying my identity and sense of worth to what I am doing. In our culture, it’s so easy to think we are what we do. Our worth comes from our activities and what we tangibly produce in the world. And yet, we are so much more than that. Life is so much more than that. Our value comes from so much more than that. Our value is inherent in what we are, as it is inherent in everyone and everything.
In a culture obsessed with productivity, it’s important that someone experiences and speaks up for the opposite. And today, these are often people with Lyme, CFS, and other chronic illnesses.
The ones thrown into it become – if they take it that way – emissaries for the value or rest and the value of each of us independent of our activities.
May 12, 2020
The wisdom of no escape
It’s a long time since I read the wonderful book by Pema Chödrön by that name. I have forgotten the content but want to see comes up for me from that title.
It has a few different sides:
When it comes to emotional issues, I know I cannot really escape them. I can avoid them, pretend they are not there, try to make them into something else, and so on. But I cannot escape them. They are already here. They already influence how I perceive and act in the world, whether I notice or not. They will come up more clearly at some point. So why not address the central ones now? Why not address them sooner rather than later?
In a bigger picture, it’s the same for my life and experience. I cannot escape my life as it is. I cannot escape illness and death. I cannot escape the pain that comes with life. I may try to escape but there is no real escape. So why not face it?
When I examine my situation and see – through specific examples – that I cannot escape, it makes it easier to face what’s here. Meet it. Be present with it. Find a gentle curiosity about it. Change how I relate to it.
So yes, there is a wisdom in no escape. There is a wisdom in realizing there is no escape. It helps us face what’s here and get to know it.
What is collective trauma?
It’s trauma that’s shared or common within a group – whether it’s humanity as a whole, a culture and a time, or a subgroup within a culture.
Most trauma is shared and collective in one way or another.
The main trauma most of us live within is taking ourselves to be a separate being, and this is also a key in creating and maintaining additional traumas.
Why is awareness of collective trauma important?
It helps us see that some of our own trauma is shared with others. We are in it together. It’s perhaps not so personal as it seemed. And that means we can support each other in working through this trauma. We can share experiences and what we have found worked for us.
It also helps us recognize trauma behavior in society. As I see it, racism, sexism, elitism, violence, and so on are all expressions of reactions to trauma. They are strategies people use to deal with the pain of their traumas. It’s how some distract themselves from their own pain.
In the process they inflict pain on others, and that’s one way collective trauma is spread and maintained.
What are some examples of collective trauma?
It may happen through wars, famine, natural disasters, pandemics, and so on.
It may be passed on through childrearing practices and schooling.
It may be passed on through colonialism. (Invasion, slavery, extraction of resources, poverty.)
It may be passed on through religion and cultural beliefs and practices. (Ideas of original sin, caste system, female mutilation.)
It may be passed on through social structures maintaining and increasing poverty and social disparity.
It may be passed on through racism, sexism, elitism, and more.
It may be passed on through ideas about separation and power-over attitudes. (Separate from nature, power over nature, body, women, non-whites etc.)
Apart from natural disasters, these are expressions of trauma, they create trauma in others, and they are examples of the social mechanisms that maintain and pass on collective trauma.
What about collective healing?
When collective trauma is not recognized, it tends to be reproduced and passed on through the generations and sometimes even across cultures (wars, colonialism).
And conversely, the more people are aware of collective trauma and work on it in themselves and together, the more we will see collective healing.
How to deal with violence
Violence – or whatever label we want to put on it – is inherent in life.
So how do we deal with it?
We can use the world as a mirror and find it in ourselves. That helps us relate to it more consciously in ourselves, and it also helps us deal with it in the world more consciously and with less reactivity.
We can examine our thoughts around it and find what’s more true for us. This tends to give us less reactivity and free us to act when needed.
We can act to prevent harm from violence, help heal people and communities so there is less violence, and support social structures that reduces violence (good social safety nets, inclusion, and so on).
And then there is the warrior. When we work on violent impulses in ourselves, in relationships, and violence in society, we need to be a warrior. A warrior that has the power and strength that comes from the violent impulse, and where this is used to protect and act to the benefit of everyone.
As I explore this in myself, I see that reactivity is the issue, not really violence or anger. When I am reactive, it’s more likely I act in ways that are harmful. And when I am not, I tend to act more from sanity, clarity, and care. What’s the cure for reactivity? To see and meet what I react to in myself, which is often fear and painful thoughts.
May 14, 2020
Feel it as a flavor of the divine
I was in a Zoom meeting with other Vortex Healing practitioners yesterday. (People with EarthWorks IV created a divine funnel for Lima, Peru, and I and others supported the process.) At some point, one of the facilitators (EC) mentioned that if we sense something dense, grief, or anything else, then feel it as a flavor of the divine.
The other facilitator (DN) had earlier mentioned something similar. When these things come up, feel that and the light – the light of the divine – as one.
Vortex Healing is beautiful for me in many ways: It combines healing and awakening. It’s grounded and pragmatic even if it deals with things far outside of the mainstream. And there is a great deal of practical wisdom among the more senior and mature Vortex Healing practitioners. (Not senior in age, or even level in or time with VH, but in their own awakening, maturing, and experience.)
This resonated with me since I feel that one of the main “lessons” for me in the dark night is exactly this: to feel what comes up in me – despair, grief, discomfort, anger, sadness, hopelessness – as a flavor of the divine. I cannot say how beautiful this is for me, and it’s definitely a “growing edge” and something I keep exploring and becoming more familiar with.
All pointers are medicine for particular conditions. The “feel it as a flavor of the divine” pointer is helpful if we recognize all – in general – as the divine. And still don’t recognize – in a lived way – some of our experiences as a flavor of the divine.
Liberation is the end of the spiritual path?
I saw that a new book has this as its title.
First, what is liberation? I assume it means to be liberated from suffering. But even if we may have lived a while without experiencing suffering, do we know it’s the end of suffering? Isn’t it possible that some deep trauma surfaces and mind gets caught in it for a while?
Also, is it the end of the spiritual path? As I see it, there is no real end. There is always further to go in clarification, stabilization, deepening, allowing our human self to transform within it, and living from and as it.
As a side-note: What is really liberated? It’s not an I or a human being. In a sense, it’s the issue, belief, or identification that’s liberated from being taken as true and not recognized as consciousness, love, and the divine.
Do we really know?
It’s easy to think we know all sorts of things: That we have a lot to be grateful for. That we are not our thoughts or feelings. That the future and past only exist in our thoughts and ideas. And so on.
But do we really know it? Do we know it through and through? Do we know it in all different situations and areas of life? Are there ways and times we do not know it?
Controlling our thoughts?
If you don’t control your thoughts, your thoughts control you.
I saw this as a quote somewhere on social media. (Sorry, lost it and don’t have a reference.)
To me, this reflects some insight but it’s also misguided.
It’s not about controlling thoughts. That’s not possible. Who or what would control the thoughts? They happen on their own and live their own life. At most there is a thought after the thought saying “I thought that”.
What we can do is examine the thoughts. We can see through them. See they are not ultimately or finally true, and that there is validity in all their reversals. We can hold them much more lightly. They can, over time, lose their charge.
When they are held as true, anywhere in our system, they do indeed “control” us. We perceive and live as if they are true.
And when they are thoroughly seen through, and the charge in them lessens or falls away, they don’t have the same impact on us. They come and go, and – to the extent they are seen through – have less charge, we can relate to them more intentionally, and they “control” us less or not at all.
Our system holds thoughts as true at many levels. The normally conscious level is just the tip of the iceberg. So this examination needs to be thorough – through inquiry and perhaps body- and energy work.
The inside is already the divine
When I work on myself with Vortex Healing, I sometimes experience a shell around an organ (kidneys) or issue (fear of being seen). Initially, it’s as if the divine energy and consciousness cannot penetrate it and nothing seems to change very much.
One answer to this is to remind myself that the inside of the shell is the divine too, and the shell itself is the divine. It’s all flavors of the divine. And the divine inside of the shell and the divine as the shell can wake up and transform itself.
May 16, 2020
Definitions of God
Do you believe in God? The question has some assumptions built into it, often the conventional theistic ideas about God and that it’s about belief.
There are many different ideas and images of God. And for many, belief is not what it’s about.
What is God for me? From a third person view, I would say God is all of existence. God is capacity for all that is and is all that is. Synonyms for God are Big Mind, consciousness, love, Brahman, existence, and so on.
In immediacy, the divine is what’s here. It’s what’s capacity for this experience and the experience itself. It’s this one field of awakeness that experience happens within and as. It’s the oneness that ideas can divide into all sorts of things – an I, a me, a human being, the wider world – and those ideas can be used in a pragmatic way and recognized as thoughts, or the the mind can be mesmerized by these ideas and take them as true and reflecting something actually in reality.
When I had my first meeting with Joel, the main teacher at CSS in Eugene, Oregon, I mentioned the awakening process that started – if we can speak about any beginning – when I was fifteen. His first question was: “Do you experience any paradoxes?” I answered an honest “no” since I don’t seem to experience them. Based on that, it seems he decided there was no awakening here and he dropped the topic.
When I in hindsight look at the question, I see that he may have asked about an early side-effect of awakening. I know that some early on in the awakening process talk about paradoxes. When I think back, I remember that in immediacy there was only oneness and no paradoxes. But when I tried to write about it in my journal, I ran into paradoxes because words split the world and what I tried to express was oneness. I also didn’t have the modeling or experience to express it in words.
Thoughts are an overlay of interpretations and pointers to help us navigate and function in the world. They leave a lot out. They don’t capture our reality very well and really not at all.
In some ways, I find it odd that he asked about paradoxes since they only appear at the thought level while awakening is an immediacy that is without paradoxes. (Apart from within thought.)
I write this partly as a reminder to not jump to conclusions, at it seems he did. And also because this does trigger an issue in me around not being seen. Of course, I could have clarified but I didn’t so my inaction was a big part of why I may not have been seen in that situation.
Being a beginner
We are all beginners in an important sense. We are all exploring and discovering. What we think we know we don’t really know. It’s very helpful to approach anything with receptivity and grounded humility.
At the same time, in a conventional sense, we do have some experiences, skills, insights, and so on.
It’s good to acknowledge that as well – within the context of knowing we are all beginners in a more ultimate sense.
Knowing we love
We don’t need to feel love to love.
Now and then, when reactivity comes up in my system, I don’t feel love. But I still know I love my partner or whomever it may be. I can still say I love you. I have these things come up, and I may seem grumpy, and I still love you.
And that’s how it is with the love we are as well. When that love wakes up to itself, it’s not necessarily a feeling. It’s more oneness noticing itself as all there is, and this is reflected in how we perceive and live our life.
May 17, 2020
Changing our relationship with ourselves and the world
Spiritual practice is largely about changing our relationship with ourselves and the world. Our relationship with thoughts, discomfort, emotional issues, this human self, others, the world, and so on.
The main relationship, if we can call it that, is between what we take ourselves to be and the rest of existence. Is it fundamentally I-Other? Or is it all happening within and as the same?
This is the big context, and when that changes, the rest tends to change as well. Or, at the very least, it’s easier for the rest to change.
And whether the big context has changed or not, we can always explore and invite the other relationships to shift.
For instance, through meditation and inquiry, we tend to shift our relationship with our thoughts and sensations. (Notice and allow. Seeing that they come and go and live their own life. Some disidentification. A lighter touch.)
Through heart-centered practices, we may shift our relationship with just about everything, and especially that which we tend to see as bad, unwanted, or something to avoid or push away. (In the moment and deepening over time, a sense of befriending and also finding in ourselves what we see in others.)
Through body-centered practices, we change our relationship with our body and that tends to shift our relationship with everything else. (Over time, often increased presence, attentiveness, comfort, sense of safety, groundedness.)
Through some forms of inquiry (Headless experiments, Big Mind process, Living Inquiries), we may discover ourselves as that all our experience happens within and as, and this changes the big context and how we relate to everything. (We can say that oneness relates to everything as itself. This is really not a relationship but also is when lived in our human life.)
I am no expert on koans but I did work with them for a couple of years. It’s mostly true, as many say, that they have to be resolved from within oneness. But it’s not that simple. For each koan, there is one particular expression of our understanding of it that’s the solution, and that expression is mostly not verbal. It’s not enough to see and resolve it from oneness, it also has to be expressed through our human self and life. And, as far as I understand, there are groups of koans and each group has a certain type of resolution.
Exploring hope as a path to healing and awakening
In some nondual circles, hope is a dirty word. We only have hope if we haven’t seen through it and don’t realize that any ideas about the future happen here and now.
There is fortunately a bit more to it.
For most people, who have no interest in nonduality or investigating every single – or any – thought in-depth, hope is beautiful. It’s a reminder that the future can be better than now. If it’s a realistic hope and not a complete fantasy or denial, it’s helpful and sane.
We all have rough days and get through them and have easier and more enjoyable days again. And the same goes for society and humanity as a whole. In many cases, hope is just a reflection of knowing that life has its ups and downs and that this too passes.
And what about those of us who want to examine things more in-depth?
Sometimes hope is in the more realistic and grounded sense, in terms of knowing that things change. That’s fine.
If I notice I invest energy in hope and try to make a future scenario real to me, it’s a reminder to look a little closer. What am I trying to escape? What uncomfortable sensations? What scary thoughts and scenarios? What do I find when I explore this in more detail?
Also, what happens when I notice that my scary and hopeful images about the future happen here and now? What happens when I notice that I really don’t know what will happen? That nobody knows? (No matter what or how much information we have.)
So hope can be grounded and realistic and remind us that things change. It can help us meet what we want to avoid in ourselves and get more familiar with it. It’s a reminder that all our scenarios about the future – and past and even present – happen here and now. And it’s a reminder that we know nothing for certain and that uncertainty is familiar to us and our natural habitat.
The role of nature in healing and awakening
The Work and Living Inquiries
The Work of Byron Katie and the Living Inquiries complement each other in a very nice way. They provide two lenses into two slightly different aspects of beliefs and identifications. […]
Aligning with reality when channeling
not using my energy
How to deal with the pain in the world.
Divine energy healing within oneness.
Early awakening process.
Adapted to place.
Our deepest desire.
Loss and wounds.
Spirituality and pedestals.
The forms reacting to fear can take.
Losing ourselves to find ourselves.
Sometimes, we need to lose ourselves to find ourselves. We lose our familiar identities and ways of doing something. And we
Oneness in two varieties
(a) identified as an observer / I but not exclusively as this human self, includes all of the field of experience (middle ground), (b) more released identification as observer / I
Going deep in relationships. Willing to question everything. Heal anything.
Person vs situation. Always both.
National park & small mindedness.
Should more people be awake? I sometimes see people wishing more were awake. And yet, life obviously wants most people to live from less