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 rantish. And some may be made into a regular article in time.
In our western culture, we often have the idea that there is nature and us, and animals and us. We see ourselves apart from nature.
The obvious reality is that we are nature. Everything we are – as individuals and collectively – is a product of the evolution of this universe and this planet. It’s all, including our cities and civilization, emerging from the universe and this planet. As Carl Sagan said, we are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We are the universe locally bringing itself into consciousness.
Why is this important? Seeing ourselves as separate from nature allows for mindless destruction of nature, and it also alienates us from the parts of us we see as more nature – our body, feelings, instincts, sensuality, sexuality, and so on.
To the extent we see ourselves as nature, feel ourselves as nature, and live as part of nature, we are more likely to care for the Earth, future generations, and embrace and find comfort with the more primal parts of ourselves. It also opens for a deep sense of belonging – to all life, to this Earth, to the Universe, to Existence as a whole.
There is nothing new here. Many have pointed this out for a long time. And there is perhaps some general social movement in this direction, but it’s a good reminder.
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Why are we drawn to drama?
Drama is created when we believe a thought. Or, more accurately, when we believe a set of thoughts that together create drama.
And beliefs are created when the mind associates a thought with sensations. The sensations makes the thought seem solid, real, and true, and the thought gives a sense of meaning to the sensations. Together, they create a belief.
Our mind is drawn into its own beliefs. They seem real. They seem to tell us something important. And they create drama.
In a sense, we are not really drawn to drama itself. We are drawn to thoughts that seem real because they then seem important. And that dynamic creates drama.
There is also more to it. Drama serves as a distraction from feeling sensations we don’t want to feel, and, more importantly, a distraction from being reminded of the stressful beliefs connected with them. Drama can help us reinforce familiar and apparently comforting identities. Drama can temporarily pull us out of a numb and/or (apparently) boring life.
I AM NOT NEEDED!
When I had to reduce my involvement in sustainability and community work for health reasons, one of the things I had to face in myself was the idea that I was needed.
It seems obvious now, in hindsight. It’s clear that I am not needed. And that’s a very good thing! There are others doing what I wanted to do or perhaps would have done. There are new generations of passionate, intelligent, and loving people.
Even if there wasn’t, I still wouldn’t be needed. The world goes on without me.
There is a beauty in that none of us are needed.
THE MOTIVATION BEHIND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
It seems clear that the surface motivation behind spiritual practice and wanting to awaken often is avoidance. We want to avoid our discomfort.
Depending on our approach, we seek to transcend this discomfort, wish for it to go away through an imagined future awakening, pretend it’s not there or doesn’t impact us through nondual ideology, make it go away through healing it, make it easier for us through befriending it, and so on.
This is natural and understandable and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. But it is good to be honest about it. This honesty can help guide our approach.
How can we explore this?
One approach is, perhaps ironically, the most basic of all forms of meditation. Notice what’s here. Allow it. And notice it’s already allowed, whatever it is. (Basic meditation, Natural Rest.)
Feel the sensations as they are. Notice and allow.
Another is to examine the scary thoughts associated with these sensations. (Living Inquiries, The Work of Byron Katie.)
Another variation is to befriend what’s here. The discomfort. The subpersonalities. Get to know them. Listen to what they want us to know. Find some understanding for them. Respect. Perhaps even love for them, as they are.
And we can also use heart-centered practices towards the discomfort in ourselves and what triggers it in the world. (Ho’oponopno, tonglen, metta etc.)
What happens when we explore our discomfort?
We may find more comfort with it, as it is. It may take away some of the drive behind our compulsions, including for spiritual awakening. And that, in turn, is very good news. We get to see if there is still a draw towards spiritual practice and/or awakening, and we can then engage in it in a more grounded way.
WHY DOES EXISTENCE APPEAR DIVINE IN AN AWAKENING?
Why does existence appear divine when we notice – or even intuit – what we are?
One answer is that we notice all happening within and as consciousness. Matter is not matter anymore as we experience it in separation consciousness. It’s far more dream-like in the sense that it’s all consciousness. It’s form without substance. It’s something happening within and as nothing.
The world, as it appears to us, happens within and as what we are – as consciousness. All is this, without exceptions.
When we notice what we are, and what we are notices itself as all, it opens for love and a particular form of wisdom. In a sense, all is not only consciousness but also wisdom and love.
So it makes sense if we want to call this – and all of existence – Spirit, God, or the divine. It’s ephemeral. It’s nothing appearing as something. It’s dreamlike. It’s consciousness. It’s love. It’s wisdom. Nothing is left out.
IS OUR PURPOSE TO HEAL?
When we are in the healing phase of the awakening, it’s easy to feel or think that our main purpose is to heal. After all, life is bringing up a lot in us to heal and it’s an essential part of the awakening and embodiment process.
It’s not necessarily wrong. It is what’s coming up, and there is an invitation there to actively engage in the healing process.
But it’s not the whole picture. The main “purpose” of life – or Spirit or existence – is to explore, express, and experience itself as it is here and now. We can consciously join in with this and enjoy what’s here, as it is.
THE CONVENTIONAL & AWAKENING
One of the nice things about awakening is that we don’t need to abandon the conventional. We may hold it lighter. We may see it in a different context. But we don’t need to abandon it wholesale.
An awakening is noticing what we are. We wake up out of the exclusive identification with this human self. The context changes. But the content doesn’t need to change. It often does, since the context changes and we hold our ideas more gently, but it doesn’t have to.
In what way may the conventional continue within an awakening?
It may continue in several different ways. We can still aim at being good stewards of our own life. Treat ourselves and others with kindness. Be engaged in whatever social issues draws us. Have preferences. Have dreams and goals. Use conventional guidelines for how to behave. And so on.
Why do some think it’s required or appropriate to abandon the conventional?
I am not sure. It may come from hearing non-dual teachings and taking it literally or as an ideology (rather than as questions and pointers for own exploration). It may come from being “stuck in the absolute” for a while, for instance through identifying with (an idea of) the nothing everything happens within and as. It may come from realizing no thought has any final or absolute truth, and so going too far in the other direction and wanting to abandon any conventional pointers.
Isn’t it appropriate to abandon some of what’s conventional?
Yes, certainly. For instance anything that directly goes against our heart and oneness. That’s why I wrote “hold it lighter”.
HOW DO I WORK ON ISSUES THESE DAYS?
I write a lot about inquiry here, so is that the approach I mainly use these days? Not really. It was my main approach for the last 10-15 years, and I still use it in an informal way in daily life.
So what is my main approach? And why don’t I write about it more?
I don’t write about it so much because I don’t quite know how to write about it, and I also don’t know how useful it would be to others.
In short: I help the issue – as it appears in my mind – awaken and notice itself as the divine.
An issue comes up. (I recognize the usual symptoms: physical contraction, mental contraction, defensiveness, insistence, and so on.)
I notice and allow the sensations. I may use some additional things to help shift this, for instance “you are welcome here” (to the sensations), “feel it as a flavor of the divine” (to me).
I notice it’s all happening within and as space. I notice it’s all consciousness. I notice it’s all what I already am. I notice – to use more poetic words – that it’s the divine, it’s Spirit.
I invite Spirit to recognize itself as the contraction. As the ball of separation consciousness. As the ball made up of sensations (physical contractions) and the painful stories connected with it.
I stay with it for a while. I may return to it later. I often revisit it several times over a few days.
I may also find my first memory of feeling it, or the time in my life it was the strongest (almost always childhood or teens), and then be with myself as I was then, talk with me, listen to what I have to say, and help the one I was then awaken to the issue and help the issue awaken. This is subpersonality or parts work.
AWAKENING ISSUES – HOKEY OR PRAGMATIC?
When we talk about awakening our issues, it can sound woo woo but it’s in reality pragmatic.
To me, my own issues – and the world as it appears to me – happens within and as consciousness. Often, these issues live in a “separation consciousness” bubble. They operate from separation consciousness, and that’s why they are still unresolved.
So when I work on myself, I can invite in a more “awakened” view into these bubbles of separation consciousness. I can help them align more with a bigger reality, and that’s how they heal.
Is yoga support for awakening and embodiment? Or is it for stretching and feeling good?
It’s of course both. It just depends on what we want to get out of it, and the context we are practicing it in.
We can certainly use it as support for spiritual practice, awakening, and embodiment. It can help us get in a better space for meditation, inquiry, and other practices. It can also be a support – one of many – for us to notice what we are, and live from it.
And it’s completely fine to use it for relaxation, stretching, and feeling better.
OCTOBER 6, 2020
HEALING, AWAKENING, AND DISILLUSIONMENT
Disillusionment is central to both awakening and emotional healing.
When we are caught in a trance – whether it’s taking ourselves to ultimately be a separate being or an emotional issues – we are not consciously aligned with reality. We are caught up in painful stories and hold them as true.
So healing from emotional issues requires sobering up, as does awakening.
A part of us wants to hold onto the illusion. It’s familiar. It may seem safe, in a weird way. It may be supported by others around us and, sometimes, our culture. And it seems to feel good, in the moment, even if it also comes with discomfort and suffering.
It doesn’t really feel good, and seeing that is one of the keys to release. The key is to take a sober and close look at what’s actually happening when we indulge in illusions.
I find it’s much easier to redefine a concept for myself than pretending to reject it.
Perfection in a traditional sense means being and acting a certain way. If we adopt it as a should for ourselves, we’ll be in constant struggle with ourselves and we’ll struggle with presenting a certain image to others and ourselves. It’s a recipe for unhappiness.
So why not redefine perfection? For me, perfection is what is. It’s being a flawed and messy and lovable human being. It’s being someone who has all the universally human in me. It’s being me as I am.
I can do that.
DARK NIGHTS, DEEPENING & STRIPPING AWAY
There are different types of “dark nights”. We can go through one in regular life for whatever reason. They happen as part of an awakening process. And we can also say that they happen, in miniature form, in daily life for most of us.
AVERSION TO NOISE
I have had aversion to noise since early childhood. This is a combination to aversion to loud noise (machines, music etc.) and the typical misophonia aversions.
Right now, as I write this, the closest neighbor is about to tear down the house and build two new ones. It will be several months of construction noise ten meters away from where I live. (I am often bed-bound because of my health.) In this normally peaceful residential neighborhood, it’s been near constant construction for ten years now.
So, how to work with it? This is not about the noise itself, obviously. It’s about me. It’s about trauma and stressful beliefs.
Sometimes, I go into the stressful reactions in me and get caught up in it.
Sometimes, I explore practical solutions – noise cancelling headphones, going somewhere else for a while.
I release tension through therapeutic trembling. I identify and investigate stressful thoughts and underlying assumptions (mental images and words).
I notice the contraction and issue in me, recognize it as what I am, and invite it to align with reality (oneness).
I take the situation to encourage healing and awakening.
I notice the sounds are, almost literally, the voice of God or the divine. The sounds are the divine. My reaction is the divine. It’s all happening within and as the divine.
WHAT AWAKENING IS ABOUT IS MORE FUNDAMENTAL THAN SPIRITUALITY
It’s easy to think that awakening has to do with spirituality, however we see spirituality. It’s not wrong. But it’s also not entirely right.
Awakening means to awaken out of the trance of taking thoughts and mental images as true. It means to notice that what we are is what all our experiences happen within and as. It means for what we are to notice itself and wake up out of the trance.
And that’s not exclusive to any spiritual tradition or spirituality in general. It belongs to life. It’s more fundamental than any tradition or anything humans do or talk about.
OCTOBER 14, 2020
IF YOU COMPARE, YOU LOSE
As soon as we get into the game of comparing ourselves with others and assigning inherent worth based on those comparisons, we lose. We may find someone we are “better” than, according to the ideas we have. And we’ll also find others – many – that we are “worse” than, according to the ideas we have.
Although it may temporarily feel good to compare ourselves with others, it’s a false comfort. It’s a losing game. It’s a game that’s rigged for us to lose. And that’s a very good thing.
THAT’S HOW SHE REALLY IS?
Someone said about someone else, in response to their trauma-behavior: That’s how she really is.
I don’t see it that way. Trauma behavior may take up a big part of someone’s life, or it may come to the surface now and then, but it’s not how someone “really is”. It’s trauma behavior. It’s a way for that person to cope with their trauma and pain. It’s relatively superficial when it comes to who and what we are.
We may want to tell ourselves “that’s how she is” to protect ourselves. But it’s more aligned with reality to see it as trauma behavior.
The way we “really” are is a whole human being (who we are), and what all our experiences happen within and as (what we are).
20 OCTOBER, 2020
WHAT TRE DOES AND DOESN’T DO
For trauma, it can be very helpful to learn TRE (Tension & Trauma Release Exercises). This is a way to access the inbuilt trembling mechanism in the body, which helps release tension related to stress and trauma out of the system. It’s as if you remove the fuel for the issues. It’s not necessarily a quick fix, but it can be a part of everyday life (initiating the trembling while sitting or lying down, not necessarily the exercises), and it can – or will – make a big difference over time. It’s important to start small and with guidance from someone who is trained in it.
I wrote this in an email and I see this as an important point about TRE.
In itself, it doesn’t necessarily resolve trauma. But it does remove the fuel from it, and that’s a big help and can make it easier to work with other approaches that are more aimed at resolving the roots of the trauma.
DARK NIGHT OF TRAUMA
[made into regular article]
OCTOBER 22, 2020
WE ARE A PIECE OF DIVINE REAL ESTATE
We are a piece of divine real estate that we are put in charge of.
We are divine property we are invited to be a good steward of.
Of course, it’s all the divine – our human life, who or what we take ourselves to be, and so on. There is no real difference between the two and they are not really two. But this pointer can help us reorient to be more kind to ourselves and take better care of our life.
HEALING FROM ONENESS
In the awakening in my mid-teens, all was revealed as Spirit or God or the divine. Any sense of being a separate self or being was revealed as Spirit temporarily and locally taking itself to be just that, as part of the play of Spirit. Within this, I also noticed that “I” could do healing for myself and others, and this healing happened within and as oneness.
I have done this form of healing off and on since, and have recently explored it a bit more intentionally.
How does healing from oneness look?
It happens within noticing all as Spirit.
One aspect is recognizing what’s healed as Spirit. It’s a flavor of the divine. A temporary form of Spirit or consciousness or what I am.
Another is to invite Spirit to wake up to itself as what’s healed. Spirit can wake up to itself as that.
Both invite in forms of healing.
There are also two ways to look at this.
To me, I am consciousness and all the content of my experiences – including this human self, any sense of an I or me and so on – happen within and as what I am. I can notice this generally and “globally”, and there are still bubbles of separation consciousness in me. (Beliefs, identifications, emotional issues, trauma etc.). When these come up, I can recognize these as what I am, I can invite them to recognize themselves as that, and I can invite them to realign within a more conscious noticing of what they are and oneness.
This is a healing of myself, and it happens within a noticing of what I am to myself. I am that which all my experiences happen within and as, and if I am to label it I can call it consciousness. (Or awake emptiness full of the world, or something like that.) This makes sense within a small or psychological interpretation of awakening. All I am saying something about is my own true nature, as it appears to me.
Beyond this, we can talk about the true nature of all of existence. Is that too the same? Is that too consciousness? Awake nothingness full of the world? Yes, that’s how it seems. And distance healing seems to fit this big or spiritual interpretation of awakening.
When I do healing for others – whether it’s for an emotional or physical issue – I also do healing from oneness. I connect with the issue. Recognize it as Spirit. Invite Spirit in the temporary and local form of the issue to recognize itself. And stay with it for a while.
Why haven’t I written about this more before?
As usual with these things, it’s a little difficult to put it into words. But that’s not the real reason. I am not exactly sure why. Perhaps it’s because it’s been very natural for me to do it this way, and I haven’t heard so many others talk about it, for whatever reason. So I have also chosen to not speak about it very much.
OCTOBER 27, 2020
I WILL DISSAPOINT YOU
If we idealize, we’ll sooner or later be disappointed. It’s built into the process. And it’s a good thing since it’s an invitation for us to notice several things. It’s an invitation to notice that we idealize. When we idealize. That the idealization comes from us and is not inherent in reality. That reality is more messy than the ideas we have about it. That we idealize for a reason, perhaps to find a sense of safety in relying on something outside of ourselves. And that we already are our own final authority, no matter how much we would like to tell ourselves otherwise.
When we notice someone idealizing us – whether it’s a student, client, partner, or even friend – it’s good to point it out and let them know that we will disappoint them. That’s our job. We can’t help it. And it’s good to know it will happen, why, and what the benefits of it may be.
FROM SUBJECT TO OBJECT
An important part of healing, maturing, and waking up, is the shift from taking something as a subject to relating to it as an object.
This something may look like many different things, but the essence of it is a thought. We can identify with a thought and its viewpoint and live as if it’s true and what we are. And we can then notice the thought as an object, relate to it more intentionally, and recognize that although it’s happening within us it’s not what we ultimately are.
This shift supports and is a vital part of healing, maturing, and awakening.