This is one in a series of posts 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 on the rant side. And some may be made into a regular article in time.
AN EXERCISE TO DEAL WITH REGRETS AND NOSTALGIA
Sometimes, we get a bit stuck in longing for the past or what could have been. There is one simple exercise that can be helpful in these situations.
Make a list of all the genuine not-so-good things about the situation or what could have been.
For instance, say a relationship ended and we long for what was. It’s easy for the mind to paint a rosy picture of what was to support this longing – and torture itself more effectively. Was it really so rosy? Make a list of genuine examples of what you didn’t like. What were the things that were not so easy? What did you wish was different? What was the reverse side of the rosy image?
Do it honestly and sincerely. Take time with it. Take it in. Be gently brutally honest with yourself.
We can’t trick our own mind so find genuine examples. You can also ask someone else to help you find things you missed.
Click READ MORE to see more of these brief notes.
WANTING WHAT’S HERE
I listened to On Having No Head by Douglas Harding (I read it for the first time in the mid ’00s) where he talks about some stages of headlessness. The last is actively wanting what’s here.
Why would we want what’s here?
Because we are capacity for it and it happens within and as what we are. It’s us in whatever form it happens to take here and now.
And also because what’s here is here. It’s too late to do something about. So why struggle with it? Struggle only creates suffering. It makes more sense to actively want what’s here.
How does it look?
We can actively want what’s here – including our very human reactions to whatever is happening – and at the same time be engaged and work on changing whatever situation we are in. The two go hand in hand.
Wanting what’s here frees us up to be more receptive and engaged, and to be responsive more than reactive.
Is it really so clear cut?
I am not sure. I assume these are just general stages and even in this wanting-what’s-here stage there are moments when we get caught in old issues, although I assume they often pass relatively quickly.
Also, it’s not like we suddenly arrive at this stage. Judging from what I have seen from myself and others, we can know about this for a while and work on it actively, gradually get more familiar with it, and gradually shift into it more consistently.
JUNE 4, 2020
Maitreya is the name of the future Buddha.
Of course, everything and everyone is Buddha already, but Maitreya will supposedly be a future world teacher.
We can make up all sorts of stories about this and most of them are probably not very helpful. Will it be one person? Will it be many? Is it us on an awakening path now?
To me, it doesn’t matter. I find it more helpful to see if I have any charged thoughts about this and look at those. And also notice how the idea happens within my own mental field.
JUNE 5, 2020
THE HEADLESSNESS OF OTHERS
The community of practitioners/explorers has been important in most or nearly all spiritual traditions. We are on the same path. Share experiences and insights. Support each other. (Ideally!) And so on. And, yet, the practices themselves are often more solitary.
I know this is an area of exploration in many modern spiritual practices and groups, and I wish I had more experience with it and was more part of this exploration.
So realizing this is not an area I am not at all up to date with, what are some ways to explore the headlessness of others and of each other?
One is obviously sharing our experiences with each other and learning from each other.
Another is movement together and touch from within headlessness, which I got to experience in a Headless workshop.
Yet another may be to intentionally notice the headlessness of others. This is obviously partly a projection, but it can also be very helpful.
Based on my own experience, can I notice that the other person is awakeness although just temporarily caught in the dream or trance of separation consciousness? Or awakeness noticing itself? How does this change how I relate to them?
THE ORDINARINESS OF AWAKENING
Because of culture, many of us have misconceptions about awakening. We may see it as something special. Hard to achieve. For special people. Something that gives us eternal peace. And something we can use to adorn our human self and seem special to other people.
These are all cultural ideas and not inherent in awakening or what it is about. It’s not difficult to imagine another culture where awakening would be seen as ordinary and unremarkable, although very much appreciated.
In what way is awakening ordinary?
We are all in an awakening process. It’s just that it may not look that way in a conventional view.
Awakening is what we are noticing itself. It’s what we already are noticing itself. It’s what’s already here noticing itself. It’s what our ordinary experiences happens within and as noticing itself.
It’s often not as far from ordinary consciousness as many think. When we are more relaxed or in a flow state or something similar, we are not far from it. Many have probably noticed what they are at some point, and then forgotten about it or dismissed it as a temporary state or even a glitch.
Any one of us can notice what we are. With the help of pointers, most of us can notice it. (Headless experiments, Big Mind process, Living Inquiries.) We can even learn to notice it more frequently in daily life, and allow our human self to live within this conscious noticing more often.
Our ordinary mundane life and states are perfect for noticing what we are, and for what we are noticing itself. We don’t need any special or unusual experiences or states. They may even be a distraction.
Our human life tends to continue in a very ordinary way within the awakening. Over time, we may even get more and more throughly human and ordinary.
Awakening happens more frequently than it may seem. The ones we see publicly – teachers, guides, authors – are just the tiny tip of the iceberg.
Within the awakening, we may notice several additional things that helps us see the ordinariness of who and what we are.
Awakening is what we are waking up out of the idea of being (exclusively) this human self. We are capacity for this human self and the world as it appears to us. (Said another way, this human self doesn’t have a separate ultimate identity or existence.)
Our ideas about this human self, other people, and the world all happen within and as our own mental field. None of it is really “other” and none of these ideas are inherent in what they apparently are about. They are questions about the world. They have the practical function of organizing the world for us.
What we see in others is also here, and the other way around. Any qualities, characteristics, and dynamics I see in others and the wider world is also here. This human self is not inherently special in any way. (Apart from being unique, although we all are unique so that’s not special.) It can take some work to really “get” and embody this since old charged identities depend on not seeing this to exist.
THAT’S HOW SHE/HE REALLY IS (?)
Ah, that’s how she really is.
I sometimes hear people say that when someone acts in an undesirable or confused way. If we assume that the reactiveness, pain, and confusion in someone is how they really are, we operate from a cynical view on people.
And that, in itself, is painful because it’s not true.
Are people really one way or another? And if there is some such thing as how we really are, what’s the definition?
Is it the way we behave under pressure? And which situations and what type of pressure?
Is it how we are when we feel more relaxed and ourselves?
Is it how we are with others? Or how we are when we are alone?
Is it all of how we are in the different situations we find ourselves in?
Is it how we are when we are sincere and honest with ourselves?
Is it how we are when we are more authentic in our life? And authentic in what sense? (Some mistake reactiveness for authenticity.)
Is it how we would be if we were fully healed, whatever that means? Or how we would be if we operated from within awakeness?
JUNE 6, 2020
WITNESS AND ONENESS
When I was fifteen, something shifted over just a few minutes. It was as if the world – this human self and the rest of the world – went far away and I was observing it. I became the observing. It was weird and somewhat distressing, and I went to doctors and specialists who couldn’t find anything wrong.
Almost exactly one year later, there was a shift into oneness. All was revealed as God, without exception. It was clear that any ideas of being (exclusively) this human self was God temporarily taking itself to be that. It was part of God expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in a myriad of ways.
Looking back, it seems that the initial shift was into the most basic duality of world vs observing, which then shifted into oneness. In the first case, there was still identification with an “I” as observing, and in the second even that was released.
THE BEST “REVENGE”: USE IT FOR HEALING
If we feel mistreated, wronged, or hurt, it’s of course good to do whatever – if anything – is needed with the situation to clear it up.
Apart from that, what’s the best “revenge”?
To me, it’s to use it as fuel for healing.
Whenever something happens that brings up hurt, wounds, or reactivity, it shows us what’s left in us to heal and awaken. So why not use the opportunity?
When we use it to transform, whatever happened becomes gold. We become more whole and healed. Future situations may not impact us in the same way, and we may be better able to respond to it and deal with it as it happens. And we may even find genuine gratitude for what happened.
PRAYER: ALLOW THIS TO TRANSFORM ME
When I am in a difficult situation, one of my prayers is to allow it to transform me. To allow me to heal, awaken, mature, and find in me whatever is needed in response to the situation.
WILLINGNESS TO WORK ON ANYTHING
One of the most important things I am looking for in a relationship is a willingness for both of us to work on anything that comes up – in each of us and together. This willingness makes challenging situations a lot easier (it removes the extra challenge of not wanting to work on certain things), and it makes whatever happens fodder for healing, awakening, and deepening the relationship.
Of course, we don’t know how we will respond to what will surface in us in the future. And we may not always be ready to work on something triggered when it’s strong and feels scary. But this is about the general orientation and a willingness to work on whatever comes up – at least when things calm down a bit and we come more back to our wholeness.
And when I say “anything” it’s often issues that goes back to our early childhood and has to do with our parents – and sometimes other important people in our early life. I know this sounds a bit Freudian but most of our emotional issues were initially created early in life, as a protection and way to deal with difficult and perhaps scary situations.
SILENCE AND TRAUMA
When we have trauma coming up in our system, silence can be difficult. I imagine most of us have experienced this one time or another.
So what do we do? It depends on the situation, of course. If we wish to meditate but find it difficult because of the trauma and distress in us, there are other approaches we can use. For instance, tonglen, ho’oponopno, walking meditation, yoga / tai chi / chigong, prayer / mantras / chanting, energy work, or other practices that involve more inner or outer movement.
After having a good deal of old trauma surface some years ago, I found it difficult to do my usual silent meditation. So I switched to these other ones, and I have not regretted it for a second. It’s been enriching, and I still have the silent meditation when that feels right.
JUNE 7, 2020
READING NOT SO MUCH TO FIND AS TO SEE IF THEY GOT IT
After the initial awakening, I started seeking out and reading a lot of literature on mysticism, awakening, and oneness. I didn’t read so much to find anything in particular. I read to see if the people writing got it, and also to see how they expressed it.
It took many years before I found anyone who clearly got it. Really, it took almost twenty years since Adyashanti was the first one I found that I felt really got it. (Before then, there was Jes Bertelsen. Although I love his writing and approach, he isn’t quite as clear as Adyashanti.)
Of course, when I explored this literature I was always on the lookout to see if they pointed to something I hadn’t discovered yet.
WHY DO SOME SPIRITUAL TEACHERS FOCUS ON WHAT WE ARE AND MUCH LESS ON WHO WE ARE OR THE WHOLENESS OF IT?
Why do some spiritual teachers, especially in the neo-Advaita world, focus so much on what we are? Why do they take such a dualistic approach? Why don’t they focus more on the fullness of who and what we are? Why not more on the process of who we are reorienting within a conscious noticing of what we are?
Maybe they take a one-sided approach as medicine to the conventional view that’s one-sided in the other direction? Maybe they focus on what we are since society as a whole tends to focus on who we are?
Maybe they are caught up in an ideology? And they filter their experience and emphasize what we are from that ideology?
Maybe they know that some people are drawn to teachers who focus on what we are since it sounds more mysterious and further away from most people’s ordinary experience? Maybe it’s a sales gimmick?
WHY DO SOME SPIRITUAL TEACHERS JUST TALK ABOUT WHAT WE ARE INSTEAD OF GUIDING PEOPLE TO NOTICE IT FOR THEMSELVES?
On a similar topic as the previous post, why do some spiritual teachers just drone away and talk when they could – far more effectively – lead people to have their own direct noticing of what they are through a series of simple questions?
Why don’t they use simple and effective pointers? Why don’t they lead people to the water instead of just talking about the water?
I don’t have a good answer for this. Yes, they may not be familiar with the tools to do this, but that’s not really an excuse. In today’s world, it’s easy to learn simple and effective approaches to do just this.
JUNE 7, 2020
HOW TO FIND MEANING
In a social media group for chronic fatigue (CFS), someone asks what we find in ourselves to keep going. The answer that resonated most with me was one that said meaning and mindfulness. In spite of not being able to do much, she has found meaningful things she can do from her home, and she engages in mediation and perhaps other explorations of who and what she is.
We all find meaning and purpose in our own way. And when we are unable to do as much as we would like in life, and perhaps even unable to leave the house, we are invited to find meaning in what’s here and perhaps what’s simple.
It could be in spirituality – meditation, inquiry, prayer, heart practices. Heart practices especially give me a sense of meaning. (Ho’oponopno, tonglen, heart prayer.)
It can be through using the opportunity to find healing for parts of me living in suffering. When these come up, I can get to know them, see what they want from me, and – when they are ready – invite in healing for them.
It can be through the simple things in life. For me, a quiet morning, a cup of tea, conversations with family and friends.
And it can be through doing small acts of service for others and the world. Perhaps just letting a bumble bee out. Or listening to a friend going through a challenge. Or, in my case, although what I write here is more of a journal for myself, it’s adds to the meaningfulness if just one person gets something out of what’s here.