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 made into a regular article in time.
CRITICIZING SPIRITUAL TEACHERS
It’s easy to criticize, and it’s easy to criticize spiritual teachers.
They may not have a clear enough realization. They may not embody it enough. They may not be completely healthy at a human level. They may not be mature enough. They may be too impersonal or make it too much about them. They may not be skilled enough as a teacher or guide. They may not be able to meet the students where they are. They may focus on some aspects of the process and leave out aspects we see as important. And so on.
All of these are valid. We may or may not resonate with a certain teacher, and that shows us who we want to connect with. It may be interesting and valuable to explore the things we find to criticize. And in some cases, it may be good to discuss it with the teacher if possible.
At the same time, it’s a very tall order to be completely clear in the awakening, to be fully healthy and mature as a human being, to consistently embody the realization, to excel as a teacher and guide, and so on. None of us are perfect. And we all have different ideas about what makes a good teacher.
For me, the best use of this impulse is to find healing and clarity for myself.
I can use what I see in the teacher as a mirror.
What stories do I have about her or him? What do I find when I explore these? (The Work of Byron Katie.) What identities are triggered in me, and what do I find when I explore them? (Living Inquiries.) What fears come up in me? How is it to meet and get to know this fear?
INFECTIONS INFLUENCE MOOD
I have had two persistent and recurrent infections – Lyme and Epstein-Barr. For a few years, the Lyme infection would be dormant for a few months and then return. And for years, even now, it’s the same with the Epstein-Barr infection.
I have noticed a couple of possible patterns.
The most obvious one is that when these infections come up, it changes my mood and my thought patterns. I tend to feel fatigued, hopeless and have related feelings and thoughts.
The other one, which I am not certain about, is that when I experience a lot of stress – both physical and psychological – the infection tends to come up.
NATURAL RESPONSE & ACTION VS HOPELESS, DEPRESSED
When we are faced with the destruction of ecosystems, people living in poverty, injustice, and so on, how do we respond?
Do we allow the natural emotions to move through us and act if that’s appropriate?
Or do we get bogged down in hopelessness, depression, and so on?
The first one is how it looks when we are connected while not having our own issues triggered. We have a natural human response, and act when we are called to it.
In the second case, we are most likely having our own painful beliefs and issues triggered by what we see. The external situation triggers stressful beliefs and old issues, which then brings up our own sense of hopelessness, depression, or whatever it may be.
WHY ARE WE IN SPIRITUALITY? FOR AWAKENING? OR HEALING?
Many who are into spirituality want their pain to go away. And while awakening can help us relate to the pain a little better, it doesn’t make it go away.
That’s why I emphasize healing as much as awakening.
If we are honest, we wish to reduce the pain and find some contentment and joy in life. And healing and awakening go hand-in-hand here. Healing can reduce a lot of the pain, and awakening helps us relate to it differently.
There is, of course, a lot more to it.
Our pain and suffering come from painful beliefs (all beliefs are ultimately painful), emotional issues, and traumas. So emotional healing is a vital part of reducing this pain.
How we relate to life – ourselves, others, situations, thoughts, emotions, discomfort, pain – is another part of it, and we can shift this from fighting with to befriending it. Heart-centered practices are especially useful here.
And then there is what we take ourselves to be. If we take ourselves to be a separate being in the world, then that’s painful in itself and it tends to create a way to relate to life that’s painful. If we find ourselves as capacity for the world, it creates a different and slightly easier relationship with our experiences and life.
A couple of notes: Beliefs create and are an important component of emotional issues and trauma, and trauma can be seen as a stronger version of what we typically call an emotional issue. Also, when we find ourselves as capacity for the world, it means the world as it appears to us, our world, and that includes any experience – thoughts, sensations, issues, relationships, others, the wider world, and life in general.
APRIL 11, 20201
SLOW IS FAST
We often hear some variation of this: Slower is faster. To go fast, slow down.
There is a lot of truth to this. In many areas of life, slower is faster. If we slow down to do things well, we’ll progress faster. We take care of the basics. Learn the foundations. Make it less likely we overlook something essential.
And that’s the case with healing work and awakening as well. Slow down. Do it well. Find the essentials and make sure that’s in place. Take care of the central and most fundamental emotional issues. Learn the basics of spiritual practice – train a more stable mind, get used to noticing and allowing what’s here, invite your relationship with life to shift, notice what you are and get familiar with it and explore how to live from it.
NOBODY IS AFRAID OF DEATH
Nobody is afraid of death. It’s typically something else, and we’ll discover it if we explore it a little more closely. What we may discover is a fear of loss, fear of pain and suffering, fear of the unknown, or fear of whatever else we associate with death.
SUICIDE IS ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE
On a similar theme as the previous post: a suicidal impulse is not really about wanting to end our life. It’s about wanting to end our suffering. Seeing that can be very helpful. We differentiate our need (ending suffering) and strategies to achieve that. And there are ways to reduce our pain and suffering so it’s more manageable.
A SIMPLE WAY TO REDUCE NAUSEA
A long time ago, I was shown a simple – and for me effective – way of reducing nausea, so I thought I would share it here. I am not exactly sure where it comes from but assume it’s a form of acupressure.
Find your belly button and apply light pressure on the four points above, below, and on either side of the belly button, about 2-3cm from the belly button.
For instance, place the index finger of your left hand 3cm below the belly button, and the thumb of the same hand the same distance above the belly button. Place the index finger of your right hand 3cm on the left side of the belly button and the thumb the same distance to the right.
For me, this tends to immediately reduce the nausea, and others report the same.
FIGHT OR SURRENDER
Someone is currently experiencing that “everything” is going wrong in her life, and she asked me:
What can I do?
The answer is fight or surrender. There are no other options.
It’s perhaps simple but it’s certainly not easy. It’s not something we can choose and then make happen. We can set the stage for surrender, and we can support it in several different ways, but that’s about it.
We can shift how we relate to life, for instance through heart-centered practices. We can identify what in us mentally fights with life and explore it. We can identify and investigate the stressful beliefs behind it, and find healing for the emotional issues behind the fight. We can find ourselves as capacity for life, and see that life – the situations and the fight in us – lives its own life and are inherently “surrendered”. And the fight in us with life may also have to wear itself out.
I have lived with this for several years – a combination of being weakened by illness and having things repeatedly go “wrong” and not as hoped for or planned. It’s what brings us to our knees. And I feel like just about the worst in finding the surrender in me.
I should mention that it’s good to be able to fight. In some situations in life, we need to fight. What I am talking about here is mentally fighting with life itself, with our situation as it already is.
COMFORTING BELIEFS AS A STEPPING STONE
Until we discover what we are, we need comforting beliefs as a stepping stone. We need some delusions to keep going in life. As Ibsen said, “If you take the life lie from an average man, you take away his happiness as well”.
The other side of the coin is that these beliefs and delusions are what prevent us from noticing what we are. They distract us from noticing that we are capacity for all our experiences, including these thoughts.
The more we notice and live from what we are, the more these comforting beliefs and delusions can thin out. And the more we thin out these comforting beliefs and delusions, the easier it is to notice what we are.
Even when we are more familiar with noticing what we are and living from it, we’ll still have parts of us operating from separation consciousness. These may color our perceptions and actions without us noticing. And they tend to be triggered and come to the surface so we can notice them, get to know them, and support them in joining with the awakening.
It’s a process, as so much else.
What are some examples of these beliefs and delusions? It can be just about anything. A belief that we’ll be saved in the future. God is good. We are better than others. We know something. Our fundamental nature is as this human being. And so on. It can even be obviously stressful beliefs since these too give us a sense that we know how things are, they are familiar to us, and they are – in some ways – comforting to us.
APRIL 12, 2021
BE RIGHT OR HAPPY?
Some say we can be right or happy, and there is some truth to it.
If we disagree with someone, and we both are equally convinced our view is the right one, we can try to convince them of the correctness of our own view, which – most likely – doesn’t make anyone very happy. Or we can let it go and avoid the unnecessary struggle.
There is also more to this, and there is a way I can be more “right” AND happy, or at least content which may be equally or more important.
For instance, if I examine my own views more closely, and also see where they come from, I’ll see that it’s not as true as I initially thought. I may understand it’s coming from my own conditioning. It may be a reaction to some fear in me. Holding onto it as true certainly comes from a reaction to (unmet, unloved) fear in me. I can find specific examples of how it’s not (always) true, and specific examples of the validity in the reversals. I may also find that I cannot know for certain. It’s a thought I held as true, nothing more. And as any thought, it may have some practical uses for some people in some situations, and less so for other people and in other situations.
Through this examination, I can be “right” in the sense that I see my own views and reactivity more clearly and I find what’s more true for me, and that tends to lead to a sense of relief and contentment. It may not always make me happy, but it’s better than pretending a thought is true when it isn’t – or at least isn’t in the way I initially thought.
Through having had chronic fatigue for a good number of years, and having trying a wide range of possible treatments, I have had many tell me “this will cure you” or “this will make you much better”.
I have often been puzzled by this. How can they know? And if they can’t, why do they say it? Is it because they want to be encouraging? Or bait me into trying something specific?
The reality is that they can’t know, they pretend they do, and they set the person – in this case me – up for disappointment and disillusionment.
The reality is also that in each of these cases, it’s only helped to a minuscule extent or not at all. What really helps me – warm and dry climate, certain foods, and adjusting my activity level – is what I have known about almost from the beginning.
And the reality is that I set myself up for disappointment and disillusionment. I chose to take what they say – when they say “this will cure you” and “you’ll be much better” – seriously while I know they cannot possibly know. I cannot know either, which is why it’s still worthwhile trying new things that have a chance of helping.
APRIL 14, 2021
HOW CAN WE KNOW AN ISSUE HAS BEEN HEALED?
I sometimes hear people talking about an issue “leaving” when they experience symptoms, or that they have cleared an issue, and so on. Some of it may come from insights and experience, and sometimes – when people go beyond what they can honestly say something about – there may be an element of wishful thinking.
How can we know if an issue has healed or how far it has healed?
We can notice a shift in insights, in how we relate to what’s triggered in us and the triggering situation, we can intentionally try to trigger it to see what’s left, and all of that can give us some hints.
And yet, it seems that there are often more layers of any issue and these may come up in the future to be healed. And we cannot know anything for certain. It’s good to hold all of this lightly.
WHAT SHIFTS AS WE CONTINUE TO EXPLORE WHAT WE ARE
What shifts as we explore what we are? And as we keep inviting in healing in this context?
It’s not that challenges in our life go away, or even the pain that we deal with. It’s more a shift into trust. We know the dynamics. We know we can shift in how we relate to what’s surfacing. We know we can invite in healing for what’s surfaces in us, even if it can take time. We know that whatever happens is an invitation for healing, maturing, clarifying, and deepening.
SIMPLIFIED OVER TIME
I notice a lot simplifies over time for me.
For instance, when I work with dreams, I now often just find the essence of the dream – the central simple theme – and work on that. I dream that a cat is lost, so I work on my own issues around loss.
If there is a challenging situation, I notice how I relate to this slice of life – the situation, the people, myself, and what comes up in me – and invite in a shift in how I relate to it.
If an uncomfortable experience comes up, I notice it as Spirit and invite it to notice its own true nature.
If a stressful belief comes up, I notice it’s a thought and that I cannot know.
It seems that the more I explore these things, the simpler it tends to come. And, of course, sometimes, it’s worth continue to explore it and explore it in more detail.
THE TRUE NATURE OF OUR EXPERIENCE
When we notice our true nature, we can use it to notice the true nature of anything in our experience. And that can be very helpful, including in shifting how we relate to our experience and inviting in healing for what in us is still operating from separation consciousness.
When we experience anything, we can ask ourselves: what’s its true nature? This can be a thought, emotion, sensation, sight and so on.
I can also ask it what it’s true nature is. This too seems helpful.
An emotion may come up, I can meet it with some respect and curiosity, and ask: what’s your true nature?
CG JUNG: EVERYTHING GOOD IS COSTLY
Everything good is costly, and the development of personality is one of the most costly of all things. It is a matter of saying yes to oneself, of taking oneself as the most serious of tasks, of being conscious of everything one does, and keeping it constantly before one’s eyes in all its dubious aspects.– CG Jung on The Secret of the Golden Flower
I saw an incorrect version of this in social media, where it says it will cost your innocence. That’s not true and felt off, so I found the original version above.
What does Jung mean when he says “development of personality”? I assume he means individuation, becoming whole as a human being.
How do we do this? One aspect of it is working with projections and use the world as a mirror for ourselves. Another is shifting our relationship with ourselves, to befriend ourselves, the different parts of us, and our experience as it is.
IS THE TRUE NATURE OF EXISTENCE THE SAME AS OUR OWN TRUE NATURE?
When we look, we find that we are capacity for our world. We are what our experiences happen within and as. That is, in a sense, our true nature.
Is that also the true nature of existence?
Well, existence must be capacity for itself, otherwise nothing would exist.
Is it also awake capacity? I am not sure. Perhaps some is awake and some is less so?
We can imperfectly label our true nature consciousness. Is all of existence consciousness? It certainly seems that way to me, but it has to since (a) that’s what I am and (b) to me, the world happens within and as what I am. I am not sure.
There are hints that suggest mostly a yes to the second and a yes to the third question – synchronicities, healing at a distance, sensing at a distance, and so on.
LOSS, LIMITATIONS, AND WHAT’S ESSENTIAL
The more we face loss and limitations, the more we find that we need to rely on the essentials. That’s the gift in these universal experiences.
So what’s essential?
In a conventional sense, it’s the simple basics of what we need to life – shelter, food, clothes. It’s family and good friends. It’s love and caring for each other.
It’s finding our most essential values and what’s most important to us. It’s reprioritizing and leaving out what’s less important so there is more time, energy, and space for what’s really important for us. It’s finding joy and enjoyment in simple everyday activities and experiences.
It may be using these experiences to find healing and maturing as a human being and living a life that takes the larger whole into account.
It’s also connections with all of life, nature, and the universe. This is where we find an even more basic belonging. We are part of life, part of nature, and part of this universe. We are part of these evolving systems. We are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe.
And it’s also what we are. In some cases, loss and limitations invite us to explore and notice what we are. They can help us find ourselves as capacity for our world, what all our experiences – including these – happen within and as.
WHAT’S THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS PAIN?
I have a headache, so I can ask myself: What’s the true nature of this pain? Of this experience that inherently is free of any label?
And I can ask that experience: What’s your true nature?
By doing this, I get to see what it is, and that – in itself – is a relief.
IDEAS OF SOUL MATES, TWIN FLAMES ETC.
I have never been a fan of the ideas of soul mate, twin flame, and so on.
I can’t know if those ideas are accurate or not. I wouldn’t be honest with myself if I pretended those ideas were true.
They don’t seem necessary at all. If there is a connection between two people, and the circumstances are right, they’ll get together anyway.
They have downsides. They can create an artificial pressure or ideas about what should or shouldn’t be, and this may be out of alignment with reality and how life flows.
Also, it doesn’t make sense to me if these ideas are applied only to couples. If I were to pay attention to them – I would include everything. Anything and everything can be a soul mate or twin flame, whether it’s a cloud, the wind, a leaf, or anything else.
In a more real sense, the whole of existence is my soul mate or twin flame, whether I notice or not. All within existence are mutual soul mates and twin flames.
This is a helpful pointer, in some situations, since it helps me shift how I relate to what’s here. Whatever is here is my soul mate or twin flame, whether I notice or not and whether my personality likes it or not.
SINCERE AND PLAYFUL IN EXPLORING HEALING AND AWAKENING
With awakening, I tend to take a more sincere and playful approach. When I investigate it, I hold it lightly and I find approaches that are more playful like the Headless experiments.
With healing, I notice I often take a more serious approach, and it can feel a bit heavy. It’s perhaps not surprising since emotional issues are created from taking things seriously, so it’s easy to do the same when we invite in healing for these issues. That’s also why a more playful approach, in itself, can support the healing. And we find this in some approaches to healing. Process Work is one example.
So how can I shift how I approach my physical and emotional healing? It’s more a matter of orientation than of modality. Any modality can be used in a sincere and playful way – with curiosity and a light touch.
What do I find behind my tendency to take a serious and heavy-handed approach to my healing?
What I find is… A fear in me in relating to my own emotional issues. There is fear about the pain inside of it. Fear of the fear inside of it. Fear of the impact the issue has on my life. Some concern about how my life will change without the emotional issue.
I also notice that I did have a much more playful and light approach to this in my twenties and later. That’s a big reason I was into Process Work and took so many courses and workshops. This changed about ten years ago when the darkest phase of the dark night started and a huge and overwhelming amount of survival fear came up for months and years. The fear, and especially the fear behind how I related to it, made me contract and hold it all more tightly. And that’s what I still notice.
HUMAN AND ONENESS
As capacity for the world, our experiences happen within and as what we are. The world as it appears to us, including this human self and everything connected with it, happens within and as what we are. To us, the world is one. There are distinctions but no inherent dividing lines anywhere.
At the same time, there is this human self here living its life in the world. And that human self has a personality, a history, likes and dislikes, hangups, emotional issues, is more or less mature, and so on.
The two happen simultaneously. They are two sides of the same coin.
So why even mention it? Because we, depending on where we are in the process, tend to emphasize one over the other. Most people obviously emphasize the human over what they are since that’s the identification they live from. And some in the early phase of a more explicit awakening path may emphasize what they are over who they are as this human self in the world.
Both are natural, understandable, and innocent. Most emphasize who they are because that’s all they consciously know and identify as. And some, early on in the conscious awakening process, emphasize what they are since that’s more new and unfamiliar to them. It’s a way to get to know it.
After a while, both are here and have a generally equal emphasis and importance, with some variations depending on where our attention is and what’s required of us at the moment.
practice -> noun
1. the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.
2. the customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing something.
Why do we call it spiritual practice?
Because, as the definition above suggests, it’s about putting something into practice and creating new habits.
We put pointers and guidelines into practice. We practice basic meditation, or heart-centered practices, or something else. We may do it during periods we set aside for this, and then bring it into the rest of our daily life. And in that way, we create new habits.
If we think it’s about practicing for a later situation, we are missing something. Spiritual practice is what we do and notice here and now, and it’s training new habits here and now.
HOW DO I SEE SPIRAL DYNAMICS?
I was deeply into Spiral Dynamics (SD) and Ken Wilber’s integral philosophy in my teens and twenties, and also deeply into systems theories, Fritjof Capra, quantum physics and eastern philosophy, and so on.
It’s been a while since I read about this, so I can’t say too much about SD.
It’s certainly a compelling model of one side of adult human development. It gives a simple framework we can use to put just about anything we see in society and groups and individuals into.
The downside of simple and compelling models is that we can use them to think we get something more than we actually do. In our minds, it’s so simple, elegant, and obvious, so we take the next step and assume that’s how reality is as well.
As with any model, if you take it too literally and hold it too tightly, it becomes a bit naive and simplistic. Real life is far more complex.
I also have a sense that some in the integral world use it to put themselves at second-tier to feel better about themselves. I am second tier, I am more evolved than you.
And it also seems that Ken Wilber and some of his followers use it to make the Green level into some kind of bogeyman. It looks like an obvious shadow projection. I can’t help wondering if this is about KW’s personal hangup, and some of his followers adopted it for themselves. (I personally love Green – there is a lot of very beautiful things about it, although it too has limitations like everything else.)
For some of these reasons, I removed myself a bit from the Ken Wilber integral world. It seemed they used some models in a heavy-handed way. Some used it to elevate themselves. And some used it for shadow projection. In addition, I kept noticing how Ken Wilber consistently misrepresented people and maps I have personal familiarity with.
So I keep the Spiral Dynamic and integral models in the back of my mind. I know these are maps as anything else with their usefulness and limitations. I hold it all very lightly. And I don’t talk about it very much.
APRIL 16, 2021
GUT FEELING? INTUITION?
We have an inner guidance – a quiet inner voice – that offers good pointers. And we sometimes have a gut feeling that can tell us something important.
We also have a lot of cultural conditioning, emotional issues, traumas, hangups, unmet fears, and so on, and these can sometimes get confused with intuition and a more accurate gut feeling.
So it’s important to hold all of this lightly, pay attention to when an inner guidance is accurate or not, and examine what seems like an inner guidance.
In my experience, the real inner guidance is quiet, doesn’t insist, and isn’t fear driven. I may have fear when I consider following it or not, but the actual voice itself is free of fear.
I can also ask myself…. Is there a good reason to not follow it?
And if I suspect the inner voice is coming from conditioning or issues, I can see if there is an unmet fear behind it, or stressful beliefs, and look at these.
WHY AWAKENING AND HEALING GO HAND IN HAND
For me, awakening and healing go hand in hand.
One reason is that, to live from the awakening, we need to heal emotional issues at a human level.
Said another way: if we want to deepen into alignment with reality, we need both. Awakening is about finding our true nature. And aligning with reality is what allows for healing at a human level.
Another side of this is what we most want. Truth? Love? Contentment? Enjoyment? Whether it’s any of these, awakening and healing are ways to explore it.
HOW WE RELATE TO LIFE
Awakening and healing shift how we relate to life. So it’s perhaps not surprising that a key to healing and awakening is to invite in a similar shift in how we relate to life.
I’ll first talk about awakening, and then how healing comes into the picture.
How does awakening shift how we relate to life?
Awakening comes from a radical shift out of identities that come from thoughts and into noticing ourselves as capacity for the world. The content of our experience doesn’t necessarily change, but how we relate to it does fundamentally change. It goes from exclusively relating to our experience to finding ourselves as what they happen within and as. In oneness there is, in a sense, no relating. At the same time, we still do relate to our experiences, and we relate to them as what we are and something that has the same true nature as ourselves.
Said in a more conventional language, we go from struggling with our experience to befriending it. We shift from trying to hold onto or avoid the experience that’s here to notice and allowing it, and notice it’s already allowed by life and the mind.
In real life, it’s more messy than this. At a human level, we are likely still caught in old conditioning and habits of holding onto or avoiding certain experiences. Parts of us operate from separation consciousness. And this is something we can then meet, befriend, and notice as having the same true nature as ourselves.
Invite in through mimicking
Many spiritual practices invite in awakening through mimicking how we function from awakening. In essence, fake it until you make it.
The most direct approach is to notice what we are, for instance through simple guided inquiry like the Headless experiments and the Big Mind process. Here, we can get more familiar with what we are, how existence and the world look in this context, and how to live from it in different situations.
In this category, we also find heart-centered practices that shift how we relate to the world – any aspect of it – from struggle to meeting and befriending it and even finding love for it. I especially resonate with tonglen and ho’oponopono, and also the Jesus (Heart) Prayer, although there are many approaches out there.
Invite in through exploring blocks
We can also shift our relationship to life through exploring what prevents us from befriending experiences and noticing what we are. The approaches that work the best for me are The Work of Byron Katie and Living Inquiries (a modernized version of traditional Buddhist inquiry).
How does this relate to healing?
Emotional issues are created from separation consciousness, and these parts of us still operate and live from separation consciousness. The more they can realign with reality (oneness), the deeper the healing.
There are (at least) three components to healing emotional issues, each one makes the healing a bit more thorough: (a) Shifting how we relate to the issue. (b) Inviting in healing through examining this part of us – get to know it, dialog with it, inquire into the scary stories behind it, befriend the sensations, and so on. And (c) inviting the wounded part of us to realign within oneness and to find its own true nature. A fourth is living as if this part of us is already healed, which can help move the process along and we get to see what’s left to be healed.
Similar to what I wrote above, we can invite in a shift in how we relate to the issue and the triggers (other people, situations) through heart-centered practices, inquiry, and other approaches. Through exploring and getting to know it, we naturally shift how we relate to it. And when we notice what we are, we find that these issues and the triggers happen within and as what we are, and their true nature is the same as our own. By noticing this and allowing this part of us as it is, it can realign within and with oneness.
Struggling with the issue and what triggers it is one of the ways it’s kept in place. Through healing how we relate to this part of us and the triggers, in the ways outlined above, we set the stage for the healing of this part of us as well.
Awakening & healing: two sides of the same coin
Awakening support healing through shifting how we relate to the wounded parts of us.
And healing wounded parts of us supports awakening and living from this awakening. A wound tends to distract us from noticing what we are, especially when it’s triggered, so when it’s healed the noticing of our true nature has a chance to be a bit more stable. When it’s healed, it also means that we can live from the awakening in the situations that previously triggered the issue and may have pulled us back into separation consciousness.
[to be continued]
I AM NOT NEEDED!
Earlier in life, I had the sense that the world needed me. I was needed to do writing and workshops about ecopsychology and climate psychology. I was needed for those around me. And so on.
This did fade over time, and at some point, I also did The Work of Byron Katie on it, and found a huge relief in seeing that I am not needed.
The world goes on without me. Other people write about ecopsychology and climate psychology. Other people are teachers in the topics I write about here. Other people paint the way I did and wanted to paint. Other people do good photography. The ones in my life will have a (good) life without me. I am not needed in any way.
And that’s a huge relief. I am not needed! This frees me up. It removes a burden from my life. And I get to see that life takes care of what’s needed in the world through others than me.
WHAT’S BETWEEN SEPARATION CONSCIOUSNESS AND ONENESS
Most people life from separation consciousness, a few from oneness, and there is a spectrum between those two.
What do we find in that spectrum?
It depends on what we include, but some highlights may be…
Flow or peak states where we “forget” separation consciousness and have a taste of what we are without consciously realizing what it is.
An interest or intuition about the divine (in whatever way people understand the divine) or in oneness.
Tastes and glimpses of the divine, the divine as all, or oneness.
Nature mysticism – perceiving Spirit in nature or all of existence.
Deity mysticism – an experienced immediate connection with the divine.
Perceiving oneness as other, from a sense of being a separate being.
Finding ourselves as oneness although with still a sense of I.
Finding ourselves as oneness, realizing that parts of our human self still operate from separation consciousness, and inviting these to reorient and join in with the oneness as they surface.
Each awakening process has some universals and also things unique to that process. The ones mentioned above is not necessarily a progression. Not all have to happen. And whatever happens, is OK and natural.
Why do we see this spectrum?
Because we typically don’t go directly from being caught in separation consciousness to oneness and having all parts of our psyche aligned with oneness.
Often, the veil gets thinner over time, perhaps aided by periods of more clarity and temporary transcendence. And that gives rise to the perceptions mentioned above.
What is this veil?
People have different ways of talking about this veil. Some focus on the energetics of it, the energetic structures holding it all in place.
I tend to focus on the identification side of it since it’s what I have explored. The stronger and more unquestioned these identifications, the more we live in separation consciousness and tend to see anything else as a fantasy. As these soften, and especially as the core ones soften (consciousness, observer, I, me, human being, man/woman, etc.), the more the metaphorical veil metaphorically thins out, and the easier it is to intuit or sense or perceive oneness.
Some things can also temporarily thin the veil – near-death experiences, peak experiences, meditation-induced states, psychoactive plants or drugs, and so on.
What is the oneness?
When we find ourselves as capacity for the world, and as what our experiences happen within and as, we find ourselves as oneness. To us, the world as we perceive it – including this human self and everything connected with it – happens within and as what we are. To us, the world is a seamless whole.
APRIL 21, 2021
DOUGLAS HARDING: YOU ARE THE SOLUTION LOOKING AT THE PROBLEM
You are the solution looking at the problem.– Douglas Harding, quoted by Amaranatho in Interview with Amarantho
What we are is the solution, and we are looking at is our human self with its confusion and messiness.
NOTICING WE HAVE NO HEAD
I talked with someone about the Headless Way, and the person asked: It’s about imagining you don’t have a head?
No, it’s much better than that. It’s noticing that in our first-person experience, we don’t have a head. We never did. On the contrary, we imagine we have a head.
This is something we can all notice for ourselves, and it makes all the difference.
WHAT ARE MY VALUES?
If someone asked me this, and if I was going to be honest, I would have to say that I don’t know.
Of course, I have some conscious values, but I know these are just the tip of the iceberg and there is a lot more going on. My life is the result of my actual values, and these may not fit my conscious ones.
Many parts of me as a human being have their own values, they are often formed in an attempt to protect me, and they tend to point in many different directions.
This question reminds me of the few times I have gone to a psychologist in Norway, for instance as part of my TRE training. They ask a question like this, I answer in my most honest way – which would be something like this, and they tend to get upset because my answer doesn’t fall into the pattern they expect. Often, they don’t even seem to understand even if these things seem pretty obvious.
APRIL 23, 20201
I have written about this before, but thought I would mention it again.
Since early on in the pandemic, just about all the dreams I remember have had a similar setting: urban and with several or lots of people.
In my waking life, I am not in an urban setting and there are not many people. I haven’t traveled, even locally, since the pandemic started. And I see very few people physically.
This makes me wonder if my mind compensates with producing dreams in an urban and busy setting. Perhaps it’s an attempt to balance out the one-sidedness of my waking life?
DREAM: PAST VS CURRENT LIFE
I am visiting a town I used to live in, somewhere in the US. I decide to also visit a housing co-op I used to live in when I was in a previous relationship, more than ten years ago. The area of the house I used to live in hasn’t been maintained and is unlivable now. I am then with my current partner, we are in the audience of a small performance, and I happen to look out of the large windows to the side. The view is towards amazing nature with mountains, forests, animals, birds, all bathed in a beautiful golden color from the sun shining through some light clouds.
As usual in my dreams, the setting isn’t one from my waking life. This town is more in the eastern part of the US (I lived mostly on the west coast), and the housing co-op isn’t one I know from waking life. One thing that stood out to me in the dream was that the cat we used to have, which we did have in waking life, was not there anymore. It’s been many years and I realized she was probably not alive anymore.
There was a general sense that this part of my life was a very, very long time ago and not alive anymore.
Immediately after waking up, the meaning of the dream wasn’t very clear to me. But now, some of it seems more clear.
The part of my life connected to that past life has been unoccupied and nobody lives there anymore. And my current life is far more alive and beautiful.
EASIER TO LOVE SOMEONE WHO IS NOT PERFECT
It’s ironic how we, in our society, often want and try to be “perfect” whatever that means, and do so in order to find approval and perhaps love from others.
In reality, it’s much easier to love someone who is real and “imperfect” than someone trying to live up to an image of perfection.
And, more to the point, it’s easier to find love for ourselves if we are real and imperfect with ourselves (and others).
SPIRITUAL PRACTICES THAT MIMIC HOW WE FUNCTION FROM CLARITY
Many spiritual practices mimic how we naturally function when there is more clarity here.
They mimic some aspect of how we naturally function when we notice our true nature, live from it, and the different parts of us – at a human level – are aligned with this and oneness.
Inquiry into beliefs mimics how the mind naturally examine thoughts when it’s more clear.
Inquiry into the sense fields – and how thoughts combine with sensations and other fields to create our experience of the world – mimics how the mind examine and perceive these sense fields when it’s more clear.
Heart-centered practices mimic how we relate to the world – to situations, others, ourselves, our experience – when our mind and heart is more clear and open.
Dialog with parts of us – subpersonalities, viewpoints, experiences – mimics how we naturally relate to and interact with these when there is more receptivity, curiosity, and clarity.
Inquiries into what we are and our true nature mimic what we naturally notice when there is more clarity there.
And so on.
NOT KNOWING IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR INACTIVITY
We may realize that we don’t know anything for certain. Even our most basic assumptions may not be entirely correct in the way we think they are. Our worldview as a whole is subject to change in light of new information and insights.
And that’s no excuse for inactivity or lack of engagement.
The world calls us to action and engagement, in whatever way makes most sense to us.
MEME: WHEN YOUR DOG EATS YOUR PHILOSOPHY HOMEWORK
I realize this probably refers to a dog eating the philosophy homework and then ponder its existence.
When I saw it, it had a different meaning to me: When your dog eats your philosophy homework, you are free to enjoy and be in awe of the beauty of existence.