Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XXIII

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.

ADYASHANTI, BYRON KATIE, DOUGLAS HARDING

For many years following the initial awakening, I couldn’t find anyone who seemed to express or understand what was alive for me.

I found some who were in the same general area – Meister Eckhart, some Buddhist teachers – but what they expressed didn’t always seem completely clear, and it was often clothed in culture and tradition so the clarity became a bit obscured.

It wasn’t until I first discovered Adyashanti (around 2002) and then Byron Katie and Douglas Harding (Headless Way), that I found someone who expressed the same – or very similar – insights as what had been revealed to me 15-20 years earlier.

For the first time, I heard someone say exactly – sometimes using almost the same words – as what I had written in my journals and occasionally mentioned to someone else if I thought they perhaps would resonate with it.

Some years before that, I was part of the group that first experienced the Big Mind Process (Genpo Roshi, Kanzeon Zen Center), and that too reflected what had been revealed.

Yes, all is one. Yes, the insights are there for anyone to discover. And yet, it does mean something at a personal level to find someone – even if it’s “just” a teacher that you may not even meet in person – who expressed and speaks and acts from the awakening that’s here too.

At the same time, I value immensely the many years of relative loneliness in this. It did help me explore it for myself and learn to rely on myself.

There are no mistakes. There is a value in being “alone” in it for a while, and there is value in being in a community.

I don’t pretend the same clarity or maturity or embodiment is here as is in Adyashanti or Byron Katie or was in Douglas Harding. I don’t know. And it doesn’t really matter. I just know some of what there is to continue to explore here, and that there is always further to go.

JANUARY 23, 2021

“SUPERNATURAL” THINGS THAT ARE PART OF MY DAILY LIFE

[made into regular article]

JANUARY 25, 2021

WHERE ARE PEOPLE ON THE SPIRAL DYNAMICS SCALE?

Since I got into some integral and spiral dynamics group online (many years ago now), I noticed that some seem very interested in where other people are on the scale.

I understand that it can be helpful if we are learning about Spiral Dynamics and how the different levels look in real life.

But it also seems simplistic, and I suspect other motivations sometimes come in.

We all have all the different levels in us – either more explicitly or as a seed. And we all shift between several depending on the situation, whether any emotional issues are triggered, and so on.

And I suspect that if we are very interested in where others are on the scale, and we imagine ourselves at “second tier”, there is something else going on. For instance, we use our – imagined – “elevated” status to feel better about ourselves.

What I see in others is what I have in myself, whether it’s the different SD levels or people using it to feel better about themselves. (I do that too, for instance when I judge people for doing just that!)

And it is a model. It’s a map. It’s imagined. Yes, there may be some validity to it. It may be useful in some ways, depending on how and when we use it. And yet, it’s ultimately imagined.

JANUARY 26, 2021

GOD IS ONLY EMPTY SPACE?

Have the courage and the clarity to see that God neither cares nor even knows about suffering. Suffering is resistance, and God – eternal, infinite awareness – like empty space, knows no resistance and therefore cannot know suffering.

– Rupert Spira, The Ashes of Love

All pointers are medicine for a particular condition. And this one is medicine for those who are at the very beginning of exploring what they are. It’s a stepping stone.

And he is, of course, free to define “God” as eternal, infinite awareness, like empty space. That is one aspect of God or reality. It’s what most need to get more familiar with in order to have a fuller picture and experience of what they are.

And yet, it’s only one aspect. It’s a bit more accurate to say that what we really are is two or three-fold. It’s (a) what all our experience happens within and as, which is what his words points to. (b) All the content of our experience – this human self and the wider world as it appears to us. And (c), in a more conventional sense, this human self.

His pointer is exactly that: a pointer. It is medicine for a particular condition. And it’s not something I personally would use since it’s a bit too partial and too easily can create misconceptions.

JANUARY 28, 2021

IDENTITIES AND FLEXIBILITY

How do I see myself? And how does this influence my life?

I find that the more lightly I hold my identities in a particular area of life, the more flexibility and freedom I have in my perception, choices, and actions.

A simple example is music. If I see myself as mainly a classical music guy, and I have built up and invested in that identity, it may be difficult to enjoy other types of music. If my music-related identities and beliefs are more flexible, I am freer to enjoy just about any type of music. In my late teens and twenties, I used to listen to mostly early music, along with African, throat singing, and indigenous music from around the world, and I had built up an identity around it. Now, I listen to music from just about any time and genre and my music-related identity is more flexible and inclusive. It’s freeing and feels more sane and enjoyable.

This is not only about the identity we have for ourselves, it’s also about how we imagine others see us and will respond if we go outside of the image they have about us, and how we respond to their actual response.

For instance, I read an article about a Norwegian heavy metal musician who secretly composed country and western music. It took many years before he made it public because he was concerned it didn’t fit his established heavy metal image. His own image was flexible enough to allow him to do it as long as others didn’t know about it, but he was concerned about how others – who may hold a more tight identity for him – would respond.

This applies to just about any area of life. Where do I have a more tight identity? How does it influence my choices and life? How would it be to hold it more lightly so I can explore outside of the initial boundaries of that identity?

It applies to music, food, movies, and art. It applies to sexual orientation and preference (more and more people find fluidity here). It applies to work and hobbies. It applies to what we do on our vacation. It applies to the friends we seek out and bring into our life.

Ultimately, it applies to what we take ourselves to be. Do I take myself to be an object within my experience? Do I take myself to be this human self? Do I take myself to be anything at all?

In most cases, we can’t choose to “drop” identification with an identity. These identifications happen at a much deeper level. But we can notice our identities, how we hold them, what the effect is, and what we get out of a narrow identity. We can choose to imagine how it would be to step outside of the boundaries of the identities. And we can find safeish ways to explore just outside the boundaries and see how it is.

This seems to be a common experience. We do a lot of inner work and perhaps assume we won’t get as triggered in the future, and then find issues triggered again.

Why? It may be that my approach needs some fine-tuning – whether it’s the tool or my orientation when I use it. Perhaps I have avoided working on my more central issues? The issues I had or have with our parents, and the issues that come up in daily life. Or it may just be that a lot has healed in me but there is more left. It’s an ongoing process, and it’s easy to overlook the changes that have happened.

This also invites us to look at our expectations and assumptions. Do I engage in inner work to get rid of something? Perhaps discomfort now and in the future? Or do I do it to get to know what’s here, and perhaps change how I relate to it (and the triggers), without too many expectations of what (else) will change?

JANUARY 30, 2021

THE PROBLEM OF EVIL?

In my teens, I read a trilogy by one of my then-favorite authors (Jens Bjørneboe) about the problem of evil. If there is a God, why does she allow evil? As far as I remember, the books didn’t really address this question in a satisfactory way.

I have only found one satisfactory answer. It’s one I didn’t look for but rather came to me, and that is that existence is one. God is one. God is all there is.

Everything happens within and as the divine. Existence is the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways. And one of these ways is as and through innumerable different beings, all with their own view of life and their own experiences. This includes, sometimes, suffering, and it includes, sometimes, locally and temporarily taking itself to be separate.

There are a few wrinkles to this, and here are some that come to mind:

Thinking this or believing it or having a direct perception of it, doesn’t preclude acting to alleviate suffering – in ourselves and others, in whatever way makes most sense in the situation.

There is a night-and-day difference between thinking or believing this, and direct perception. Thinking or believing it relies on a thought, it comes from and always references thoughts. Direct perception is different and more transforming.

If we have a direct perception of this, it’s a local perception of all as one and consciousness. To us, it may appear that all of existence is one and is consciousness because that’s how it is here. That doesn’t automatically mean that all of existence is one and consciousness. Although it does seem very likely based on a number of clues. (I have written about this under “who and what I am” and “big and small interpretation of awakening”.)

MEME: WHEN YOU FINALLY INTEGRATE THE SHADOW

Yes, when we befriend something in our shadow, it can look a bit like this. What is/was in the shadow comes out in the daylight and has a better and more friendly and enjoyable environment. It can be used in a more conscious and constructive way in our life.

In this case, it looks like Dart Vader is enjoying himself and I imagine his power mostly can be used for good.

There are a a couple of more things to say here:

We often talk about “the shadow” although it’s not at all a uniform thing. It’s made up of a lot of different qualities and characteristics, and these are more or less excluded or rejected from our conscious self-image.

For me, it’s not as binary as it sometimes sounds. It’s more of a spectrum. Some of my rejected parts may be relatively unknown and unacknowledged by me. I may be aware of some although still react to and from them. And I may have more thoroughly befriended others and they have become parts of me I more consciously include and use in my daily life.

THE RICHNESS OF THE OTHER

This seems very obvious to me, and I also know it’s not for everyone.

There is an immense richness in our diversity. We all have shared and unique life experiences. We all have valuable insights. We all have a valuable perspective on the world. We can enlighten each other’s blind spots. We all share most or all of our most basic values, although the way we interpret and express these may look very different.

We all mirror each other. What I see in you is what I have in myself and something I am in touch with right now – whether I am aware of it or not. By getting to know you, and understand you better, I get to know and understand myself better.

This doesn’t at all mean that I need to agree with you on everything or anything. It doesn’t mean I need to condone what you do. It doesn’t mean that how you express your values is something I agree with or want to support.

It does mean that when I go a little deeper than surface expressions, I can understand you and find where we share deeper values and orientation.

For instance, you may wish to support life. And you may interpret that as supporting “your people” which may be a group that many are excluded from, and you may choose a strategy of hatred and violence. I share your value of supporting life, but I don’t at all agree with your exclusive view and harmful strategies. If life puts me in a situation where it’s up to me to speak up against you or act to stop your actions, and I have the possibility to do so, I will.

How can I deepen in this? By continuing to work on myself. Through exploring parts of me, I find that what on the surface seems – and is –reactive and harmful is rooted in love. It’s just filtered through painful beliefs and emotional wounds and traumas. By exploring it and finding its real roots, I find something innocent and I find constructive and even beautiful values. And through this work, I can find this in others whether they themselves are aware of it or not. (Usually, they are not and that’s not a problem.)

This also helps me in exploring and guessing at social dynamics that fuel harmful behavior, and look for alternatives. For instance, I imagine Trump and some of his supporters express a form of collective trauma (damage from authoritarian fathers, fragile sense of self-worth), and there are things we can do as a society to invite people to heal from this and there are things we can do to prevent this among young people today.

FEBRUARY 3, 2021

Yes, that’s true in a couple of different ways.

In a historical view, this present – this time in history – was unimaginable to past generations. We can make educated guesses about the future, and we may get some things generally right, but there is also a lot that we didn’t, and perhaps couldn’t have, predicted.

In another sense, this present is always unimaginable. Any images we have about the future, even the next second, is not it. Images are categorically different from the actual present, just like a map is different from the terrain. The present is always unimaginable, even to our images here and now.

WANTING THE WORLD TO BE MORE LOVING

I saw someone talking about her project of “raising the vibration of love in the world”.

On the surface, it’s a noble project, and there are a lot worse things we could spend our time and energy on.

At the same time, there are a few more things going on here.

If we try to change others, we are mostly doomed to failure, with a couple of exceptions. One is to support people who already want change. And the other is to work on changing the circumstances of people’s lives – which in turn tends to change their lives. (For instance, universal healthcare, tax-funded higher education, and good social safety nets tend to create safer and more peaceful societies.)

More importantly, what we think others and the world needs is our prescription for ourselves. We are the ones who need that medicine. So why not take care of that first? Why not find ways to genuinely love ourselves as we are, and our experience as it is? That’s how we change our world, the world as it appears to us. And that’s how – through example and ripple effects – we may actually bring change to the world, even if that’s not the intention.

To be fair, I assume this person is mostly aware of all of this. She just chose to word it in a certain way.

FEBRUARY 10, 2021

DREAM: KIDNAPPING SOMEONE TO KEEP THEM SAFE

I am with four or five others. We know of a plan that will put many people in danger in one or two days, and we kidnap two who unwittingly are located right at the center of where it will happen. We take them with us on a tram, they are initially scared but see that we are friendly, and we tell them just enough so they understand what is going on. After a while, we drop them off at the station closest to where they live.

This is somewhere in England, and the tram is charming and old. The two we kidnap are initially scared and angry, but then relax when they see we mean them no harm and we explain a little of what’s happening.

Before falling asleep, I listened to an audiobook with some of these elements – England, some decades ago, trying to keep people safe from a nefarious plot.

What does it mean metaphorically to kidnap parts of me? I can see it in two different ways.

One is to kidnap parts of me, to remove them from the action, to keep them safe. When I was little, I was happy, active, and myself – which was a little out of the norm. I was quirky, had a good sense of humor, was passionate about anything that came my way, loved to read and learn, loved nature, loved to draw, and so on. I almost always knew the answer to whatever the teacher asked and loved to answer. And that made me, and some others, the target of some kids in my class. Over time, I learned to suppress and hide these parts of me to stay safe. I would either do it and hide it, or stop doing some of it. After high school, I again flourished. And I then got into a marriage where I felt I had to suppress many parts of me – the most joyous and engaged, in order to stay safe. (She felt threatened and out of her comfort zone if I engaged in my passion for learning, art, music, and so on.) In each of these cases, I kidnapped parts of me to keep them safe. I hid them.

There is also a reverse way to look at this. Sometimes, I kidnap hidden parts of me and bring them out in the light and into more freedom. Other parts of me tell me it’s not safe (see above), but I know it’s for the best of all of us – me and these parts – if they come out into the light and engagement more.

EARLY AWAKENING: THE LESS CLEAR, THE MORE FLASHY

A more clear awakening is what we are noticing itself. What we are is capacity for this experience and the experience itself. We are what our experience happens within and as. A thought can label this capacity, consciousness, or something else, although any label can be a bit misleading.

It’s what’s always here and what we always are, but what we are may temporarily be caught up in taking itself as content within its experience. It may believe assumptions and thoughts saying it’s this human self, or a soul, or the observer and so on, and then perceive as if that’s the case.

For a mind caught up in taking itself as content within its experience, this can sound too boring, or abstract, or distant. And even if we get interested in it and learn to grasp it at an idea level, that’s categorically different from the actual noticing.

Between taking ourselves to be an object within our experience (e.g. this human self) and what we are noticing itself, there may be a lot of different experiences.

For instance, we may take ourselves to be this human self, and we may also intuit, sense, or perceive that all is the divine or God or consciousness. This is a stepping stone to noticing what we are, and what we are noticing itself as all there is. This can be expressed at nature mysticism, or it may be interpreted in a more nondual way although it’s not as clear as it can be.

There tends to be some charge in this since it’s not completely clear. And any early glimpse or awakening tends to have a charge in it since what’s discovered may seem amazing and something we want to hold onto. This charge tends to make it seem more flashy. There are more bells and whistles in how we experience it and express it.

As this settles and clarifies and any separation is seen through, this all tends to become more ordinary. It may be expressed in life in a way that seems very ordinary, and it may be expressed in words in ways that seem a bit cold, or neutral, or abstract.

All of this makes the more flashy stepping stone seem more attractive to most people. It’s easier to relate to. It seems more fascinating to someone perceiving they are a separate being. (It can be used to adorn this separate being.) And all of that is good. It’s the next stepping stone for most people, so it’s appropriate that they are more drawn to it.

FEBRUARY 15, 2021

WANTING TO KNOW THE FUTURE

Sometimes, we want to know the future. And sometimes, if we think we can, we may even try.

I have in some periods of my life, and usually when life seemed especially unpredictable, when I had difficult choices to make, and the stakes seemed high.

When this impulse to know the future comes up, and it feels a bit compulsive, it’s a sign of something in us that’s worth looking at. What are the stressful beliefs behind this impulse? What’s the perceived threat? What’s the experience of lack in me? And then explore this through inquiry (The Work, Living Inquiries), subpersonality work, heart-centered practices, other modalities.

Also, there is a reason why the future is unpredictable. We may guess at some things, based on our understanding of how the world works. We may try to take “shortcuts” through talking with psychics, consulting I Ching, or something else. And sometimes, this may seem to work. And yet, as we all know, the future is inherently unpredictable to us. As Yoda said: “always in motion is the future”. After all, the future and past don’t exist outside of our ideas about it. And it does point us back to ourselves here and now, including what in us makes us feel we need to know something certain about the future.

What are the different experiences people have in using psychics, tarot, I Ching and so on in trying to get information about the future? I am sure it’s varied, and it obviously depends on how it’s done. If it’s done to get information about what will happen, it’s a good guess that it’s often inaccurate. If it’s used to reflect something in us here and now, then it can be more useful.

In my teens and early twenties, I did use I Ching sometimes for information about the future, and what I found was that the hexagrams that came up reflected my own mindset as I asked the question. They showed me how I was in the moment. They held up a mirror to me, and that was very helpful. It didn’t say anything about the future, but what it did was perhaps as or more helpful.

As for talking with psychics, my experience is that whatever they sense or say about the future is often wrong. In general, it seems they tap into my own – or their own and universal human – hopes and wishes, and their predictions tend to reflect these. While, in reality, things often turn out differently.

This is more about me, but the typical pattern in my case is that something desirable is about to happen or is already happening, if I ask a psychic they mirror this, and then something comes in – often outside of my control – so it falls apart.

ENERGY HEALING IS AN ADDITION

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THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN WAKING AND GROWING UP

This is something I have written about often, and I thought I would revisit it briefly.

What does waking and growing up mean?

Waking up means noticing what we already are: that which our experiences happen within and as. And with “our experiences” I mean the content of our experience here and now, including of the wider world and this human self.

Waking up means that what we are notices itself as what these experiences happen within and as. It means living from and as this in daily life and the situation we are in. And it also means for the parts of our human self to reorganize within this new conscious context, to find healing and join in with the awakening. These last two are also referred to as embodiment.

Growing up means to mature as a human being. It means to find healing for wounded parts of us. Shift how we relate to ourselves and our experience (befriend). And develop in the different ways we can develop as human beings.

What are some of the connections between waking and growing up?

Waking up makes it easier for our human self to heal, mature, and develop. It creates more space for this happen. It makes it easier for us to meet the wounded parts of us with more patience, understanding, kindness, and love. It makes it easier for us to notice that this human self, the world, and all our experiences are – inherently – love, no matter what form they take.

It makes it easier to invite what we may call the divine to notice itself and wake up to itself as our current experience, including as the wounded parts of ourselves.

Similarly, growing up can support waking up. The more healed and mature we are as human beings, the easier it is to notice what we are through daily life situations and live from this.

If we have an unhealed wound, and an unhealed way to relate to this wound, then it’s easy to be hijacked by both. We go into and get absorbed into the fearful and unexamined stories creating it. If how we relate to the wound and the wound itself is more healed, it’s easier to notice what we are even if it’s triggered. We can relate to it in a more conscious way.

Growing up supports waking up in innumerable other ways. The more mature and healed we are as human beings, the more grounded, sane, and pragmatic we tend to be in how we approach waking up. We can find more effective approaches. We relate to it in a more grounded and level-headed way. We can move through some of the pitfalls and honey-moon quirks more quickly, or perhaps even skip over them.

In short, there is mutual support between waking and growing up. Not least since waking up provided a good environment for growing up, and growing up gives us a more level-headed way to approach waking up.

This is just a general overview. There are innumerable ways waking up and growing up interact, since they are part of the same system, and I may go more into it in other articles.

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