Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XXVII

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.


There are hundreds of paths going up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which one you take.

I saw this quote on social media, attributed to Hinduism.

Is it true? As so often, the answer may be yes, no, and it depends.

It depends on what we mean by “same place”. Which place is it?

Is the “place” awakening and living from this awakening? If that’s the case, I wouldn’t say that all religions or spiritual approaches are equally well-suited. Some are certainly more effective than others, and more conducive for going all the way.

If the place is generally connection more with the divine, then yes, each religion and spiritual approach can probably help us.

What timeline are we talking about?

Is the timeline within this one life? If so, then again I would say that some approaches are more suitable and effective than others.

If they are talking about progress over multiple lifetimes, then yes, it probably matters less what we do in this life. We’ll always have future lives (or not!). Although, in reality, we only have here and now.

I have written in a general sense here, and there is another side to this. All main religions and most spiritual have glimmers of real wisdom within it. If we find that, and connect with the right guides, then each one can most likely lead us all the way.

So, in general, if our intention is to connect more with the divine, any traditions can be helpful. If we want to go all the way, then some are more conducive and effective. And if we are lucky and find the right person to guide us, we can most likely go all the way within any religion and many spiritual traditions.


If Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is caused by a combination of factors – chronic infection, stress (physical, emotional), and perhaps more, then it’s possible that also childhood trauma can play a role, at least in some cases. It may set us up for later CFS if the other conditions come together.

For me, I am wondering if a particular childhood trauma plays a role. When I was an infant and young child, I was in a crib in a dark room, and my parents didn’t come if I cried. I remember crying for a long time without anyone coming, and it’s easy to imagine that this would lead to hopelessness and frozenness. It’s a natural response to not getting support when we need it. (My parents followed very misguided advice from a book.)

CFS is a kind of frozenness, so there may be a connection there. I am not sure, but I’ll work on that particular childhood trauma and see what happens. It’s worth a try, especially since it’s good to heal trauma for a number of other reasons.


Awakening can be underestimated in, at least, a couple of different ways.

We can underestimate the importance of it and how transformative it can be.

And we can underestimate what it requires from us to live from it.

We can also overestimate awakening. We may think it helps solve all our problems and challenges, that it puts us in a permanent state of happiness, that it gives us superpowers, and so on.


Approaches to healing and awakening tend to mimic how we naturally function when we are more clear.

Functioning from clarity and using practices mimicking this clarity helps us in a few different ways. It helps us heal existing emotional issues and also prevents new ones from forming. And it helps us notice what we are and keep noticing it.

Here are some examples from the practices I am most familiar with…

The Work of Byron Katie mimics how a clear mind naturally examines and relates to thoughts.

Living Inquiries is a version of traditional Buddhist inquiry and this too mimics how a clear mind examines the different sense fields and how thoughts combine with the other sense fields to create its experience of the world.

Heart-centered practices help us shift how we relate to ourselves, others, and life.


Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) uses simple exercises to nudge the natural trembling mechanisms of the body, designed to release stress. This can be an important component of healing.

[to be continued]

APRIL 27, 2021


I saw a page in a psychological textbook saying “mindfulness is used to reduce anxiety”.

Mindfulness is a word used to refer to a lot of different things, which is one of the reasons I don’t often use it here.

Some may use specific types of mindfulness practice to reduce anxiety, and it may work.

Some types of mindfulness practice can also “take the lid off” what’s in our psyche so anxiety and other things come full force to the surface.

It just depends, and it’s to be informed about the different options, what can happen, and what to do if more troublesome things does happen.


I used to be very active and engaged in the world (studies, work, learning, physical activity, community & sustainability work), and I read two or three books a week for many years.

Then, I got a much more serious case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and I have been unable to read much or take in much information for the last several years. (That’s one reason I don’t refer so much to books on this blog.)

For me, CFS has been a kind of retreat life put me in. I have had to work through a lot of stressful beliefs and identities that don’t fit with this new life. And I have had to rely on what’s in me and what I notice here and now. And neither of those are bad things.

Even if I would never consciously or willingly have chosen CFS, I can find the genuine gifts in it.


I had a dream where a movie director told me he was re-editing his old movies.

This can be seen as what I do when I do healing work for myself. I re-edit my movies about myself, the past, others, and life.

This is not just about replacing one story with another. It’s about finding what’s genuinely more true for me than the old painful stories, and it’s about seeing they are all stories and holding them lightly.

APRIL 29, 2021


How do we deal with an uncertain future? A future that’s always uncertain?

We can pretend we know what’s going to happen. We can decide what’s going to happen and talk about it as if we know.

The reality is that we don’t know. Anything can happen at any time, and often does.

So… take one step at a time, stay informed, keep the mind open, explore different options and hold them lightly, know that there may be other options we don’t know about yet, and when it’s time – see what makes the most sense for the next step.

If we are so inclined… Notice that we cannot find the future outside of an idea – anything we imagine about the future is a fantasy and happens here and now. Identify and investigate stressful thoughts about the future. Befriend any fear that comes up in us about the future. Invite in healing for any emotional issues behind it.

The gift in a situation that’s obviously uncertain is that it can help us realize that any situation is inherently uncertain. And it can help us find and be familiar with strategies to deal with it, including some of the ones above.


In Buddhism, there is a wow to save all beings.

I don’t know exactly how the different teachers and traditions understand this.

I also don’t know what it means for a being to be saved. As what we are, we don’t need to be saved. And as who we are, we cannot be saved. There is also a middle ground here where we can help and assist beings, and we can “save” them by recognizing their true nature and perhaps support them in noticing it for themselves.

When I explore it for myself, I can find a few different ways to see it.

We can take it as “saving” the different parts of us still operating from separation consciousness. These come to the surface, and we can recognize their true nature (same as our own), get to know them, and invite them to reorganize and align with oneness and reality. These parts of us are like beings, and – in a sense – they are devotees that come to us as a guru to be helped.

We can notice all phenomena as having the same nature as ourselves. They happen within and as what we are, so they naturally – to us – have the same nature as we do. In a sense, we are “saving” them by recognizing their true nature.

We can remind ourselves that the true nature of all beings is the same as our own. This opens for empathy and compassion for ourselves and others.

We can recognize that to us, everything happens within and as oneness. How is it to live from noticing this oneness?

We can make ourselves available to others if they ask for help, and in whatever way makes the most sense to help.

We can find a prayerful intention for all beings to wake up.

APRIL 30, 20201


When I was fifteen and sixteen, during the initial awakening, there were huge energies running through my system, and it lasted for several years. I also started seeing energies – auras – during this time.

Several times, especially at night, my cat at the time would look at something above my head and seemingly be transfixed by it. It seemed that the cat could see the energies around me and especially on top of and above my head, and that’s still my best guess about what happened.


Why do many of us tend to seek permanence? Something that’s safe and stays?

It may be partly cultural. In our western culture, we haven’t really embraced the changing nature of ourselves and the world. We like the fantasy of permanence.

It may be more universal as well. I assume most humans are not entirely comfortable with change and uncertainty, so we try to make things more certain.

At a practical level, it makes sense for us to make certain things as stable and lasting as possible, especially those that have to do with our survival. This is common sense, probably supported by a biological predisposition selected for through evolution.

I also wonder if this has to do with our true nature. This true nature isn’t an object or thing, it’s more the capacity for all our experiences and the world as it appears to us. In a sense, it is “permanent” since this awake capacity is always here to us.

MAY 3, 2021


I have a job with a company that creates computer games and online entertainment. I don’t really know what my role or job is and feel lost and rudderless.

The lost feeling is the main experience in this dream and I felt uncomfortable with it.

A few things come to mind: I received a deep Vortex Healing session the night before, and that may have reorganized and stirred up things in me. I could feel the energies of it when I woke up.

This dream also reminds me that a part of me feels a bit lost and aimless, partly because I am in a transition phase in my life and don’t know exactly what’s next.

Perhaps most importantly, the dream shows me that I am not comfortable with feeling this. I push it away slightly and would rather it wasn’t here. I am not a very good host for this experience. So how can I be a better host? How would it be to make friends with it?

I assume most of us have parts that feel lost and aimless. It’s a universal human experience. And it serves a function. It helps us to examine our life and see if we can be more engaged in moving our life in a certain direction. So why not befriend it?

MAY 4, 2021


I don’t remember many details from this dream, but I remember feeling included in some kind of community, and also engaged and free to be on my own side.

When I don’t feel free to be on my own side, when I let go of my own guidance and judgment in order to do what others want, that’s when I feel lost as in the dream from yesterday. And when I am on my own side, I am more engaged and also feel more included.


We can do inquiry on anything, and it’s often especially helpful to do inquiry on that which we think we can’t do inquiry on, for whatever reason. Things that seem given, not open for questioning.

One example is a physical illness. We can do inquiry on our label, assumptions, identities related to it, direct experience of it, and so on.

If I do The Work of Byron Katie, I write a Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet to find what to work on, for instance, a JYN on the illness itself. If I do Living Inquiries, I can explore labels, fears, identities, compulsions, and so on. These are starting points and the inquiry tends to reveal more things to explore, including underlying assumptions.

Several years ago, I did inquiry on my experience of fatigue and brain fog, and it made a big difference. I realized that neither was as I thought. They were something completely different, and that changed my relationship with it. And this is something I notice here and now.


I am listening to Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, and notice several similarities between climbing a very high mountain and having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). I am not talking about metaphors here, but concrete symptoms.

For instance, one of the climbers described being too physically exhausted to feel any emotions, and that’s what I notice when I am very drained. My system is so exhausted it doesn’t seem to have any energy left for feelings or emotions.


I spent some time over the last few days clearing and energizing my root chakra (base chakra, 1st chakra).

When I do the same with chakras two through five, there are often obvious emotional issues released. I notice them in the foreground, and it’s a reminder to slow down and not release too much at once.

Working on the first chakra seems different, at least so far. Here, there was more of a release of basic survival fear in the backgrund. It wasn’t so noticeable for me, but I have noticed the effects of it. I had a night where it was difficult sleeping, and I have been eating more!

Good to notice and be aware of, and it may – of course – change.


For most of my adult life, from my teens until about three years ago, I was thin. I have a strong built and am 184 centimeters tall, but my weight was in the low normal BMI range, typically between 65 and 70 kilos. No matter what I did with eating and strength training, I couldn’t put on weight.

About three years ago, I used Vortex Healing to reset the set-point for my weight to what would be optimal for my health. And within a week, I had put on weight without noticeably changing my diet. Suddenly, my body could do something it had been unable to do for my whole adult life: it could put on weight.

My weight got up to between 80 and 85 kilos, which is still within the healthy BMI range, and it’s is much more comfortable for me and feels more healthy.

Since then, I have had to be more attentive with what and how much I eat, but its been a very good shift.

MAY 7, 2021


Someone I know is sometimes in a semi-official role of a kind of spiritual advisor, and also takes on that role privately. A few things about this reminds me of what’s often not so helpful.

First, even if we are in a particular role in a particular setting, we don’t need to continue with it privately. It’s not helpful to anyone. It’s more helpful to just be a fellow human being.

Also, it’s not helpful to reinforce and fuel stressful beliefs. If someone speaks from a stressful belief, there is no need to join with it and pretend the stressful story is accurate. It’s more helpful to help the person feel what they are feeling, as it is, and stay in more clarity around the stories. (Of course, this requires that we have examined those stories for ourselves.)

And even if we have some psychic abilities, and sense things about the future, there is no need to present this as what’s going to happen. At most, we can say “this is how it seems to me, but anything can happen”. That’s honest and closer to reality. (Very often, I have experienced psychics tell me something desirable is definitely going to happen, and it doesn’t and reality goes in a different direction. This makes it look like wishful thinking on their part.)


Last night, I checked in with my inner voice about what I most need. It said “relax”.

At first, I thought “I am already relaxing quite a bit”.

Then I checked in with where the inner voice comes from, allowed it to guide me, and found that this is about a far more important way of relaxing.

It’s about embracing what’s here. Sinking into that embrace, I noticed a far deeper relaxing.

I am writing this as a little daily life snapshot. The inner voice is clear, simple, and free of drama or insistence, and when I follow it, I typically find gold.


This seems obvious, but it’s perhaps worth mentioning.

The practices and pointers I write about here are all, as far as I can tell, compatible with awakening and what we find in awakening.

I don’t bother so much with the ones that come from separation consciousness since these tend to reinforce separation consciousness.


I have had some anxiety coming up in my system today, perhaps from working on survival fear in the root chakra using Vortex Healing.

Earlier today, I notice and allowed it in a general way. I didn’t actively fight or struggle with it, and I also didn’t take time to really be with it.

Since it stayed, I thought I would explore it a bit further. So I set everything else aside and used some extra intention and attention to notice and allow it. And that makes all the difference.

Since parts of us habitually push away these types of experiences, and this often runs “in the background” without us being conscious of it, we sometimes need a little extra intention and attention to shift into noticing and allowing.

MAY 8, 2021


Since I have had CFS for a while now, I have experience with living with it and what works and doesn’t work for me, and also receiving and following advice from others.

One thing I have noticed is that many health practitioners and doctors will pretend to be more certain about something than they can be. They talk as if they know what will work for me, and many have told me that I’ll get much better if I follow their advice.

When I actually follow the advice, it either has very little or no effect, or I get worse.

And what I have discovered over decades of living with this illness for myself is what works the best:

Adjusting my activity level so I don’t crash. Get as much rest as possible to give my body a chance to recover. Shift how I relate to the illness and its consequences for my life. (Find peace with it.) Follow a diet that works for me. (Eat low on the food chain. Mostly organic and local if I can. Mostly fruits and vegetables with some grains. Very occasional fish or meat. Avoid dairy, wheat, and refined sugar.) Do low-intensity exercise, and only when I notice I have the energy for it. (Breema, walk in nature, TRE, easy yoga, etc.) Use adaptogens. I also find that energizing my system with Vortex Healing, and especially receiving it from a top-level practitioner, helps me recover from crashes and low energy and brings me back to functioning as well as I can within the limitations of the illness.

I’ll still try new things, especially if it seems that it may help me. But I don’t invest a lot of energy into dreams about it bringing me back to full health. And when I notice a health practitioner who says or promises things beyond what they can know, I tend to avoid them. If they are not grounded in reality in that area, they may not be grounded in reality in other areas.


When we notice what we are, and hear reports of what others find they are, we realize that this is what everyone are.

To ourselves, we are what all our experiences happen within and as. We are what this human self, anything connected with it, and the wider world happen within and as.

This means that although we also are this human being in the world, that’s not what we ultimately are.

And this softens or releases our identifications as this human self and any roles we have in the world.

Which, in turn, may soften any racism, sexism, ethnocentrism and so on in our system.

At a human level, we are a product of our culture and society, and to the extent we have these isms in our culture and society, we also have them in us.

The question is how aware we are of them, and the extent we have examined them and released identifications out of them.

In other words, awakening opens the space for releasing identification out of these isms. And the extent we actually do it depends on our intention, interest, and investigation. Which is how it is anyway.


I have a fear of being visible, and I am aware of childhood situations and dynamics this stems from.

Why do I fear being visible? It’s partly because of family patterns around the same. And partly because I was naturally quite visible as a child – I would almost always raise my hand to answer the teacher’s question, I always had some fun/weird/eccentric project going on (making my own language, building a treehouse, building a crossbow, having my own small blowgun army during the summer vacation, making a rocket out of match stick heads, and so on), and I was perhaps a bit socially awkward, and this made me a good target for other kids who would rather take their pain out on someone else than dealing it with directly. (Of course, they didn’t know how so that was their only realistic way to deal with it.)

One fear I notice when I write here is that what I write reveals my own limitations. There is no place to hide. For one with a little more insight and experience, my limitations will be very obvious. And that brings up some of that fear from childhood. It’s of course inevitable that people will see my limitations, just as I see the limitations of others. It’s a part of life. And there is a blessing in it. It helps me see my own limitations.


I sometimes talk about stressful or painful stories or thoughts.

It’s not completely accurate. Thoughts and stories are not inherently stressful or painful.

It’s how we relate to them that creates stress and discomfort. It’s holding them as true, identifying with their viewpoint, and perceiving and acting from it.


We all have humbling experiences.

I am in one right now. I have something come up in my system that I don’t even know exactly what it – intense discomfort mixed in with some fear and anger. It could be connected to Epstein-Barr or Lyme or a Lyme co-infection, or it could come from using Vortex Healing for a few days to clear things out of my root chakra. And it’s really difficult for me to deal with it in an as constructive way as I would like. I find myself using my “emergency” strategies for dealing with it – distractions (YouTube, movies), food, and physical activity within the limits of CFS.

A part of me is struggling with this discomfort, an old habitual pattern of struggle. I notice myself as capacity for it, and that makes it a bit easier, but there is also a part of me identified with the struggle.

I intentionally set out to befriend the experience, and find it difficult to find a way into it, even if I know a lot of different pointers and strategies.

For someone who writes so much about this, you would think I could do it “better” right now. And I also know that one of the reasons I write about it is that it’s what I need.

I also know that floundering is what we all do, in some situations and some phases of our life.

What I am experiencing right now is also a reminder of what happened some years ago when a huge amount of survival fear and trauma came to the surface. I may have some PTSD from that experience, and it’s been far more difficult for me to wholeheartedly say YES to whatever discomfort is in me since then. It used to be easy, and now it’s sometimes very difficult.

There is nothing wrong with any of this. As I often say, it’s natural, understandable, and ultimately innocent. I am struggling a bit, and that’s very human.

And there are some real upsides to it. I get to see my limitations as they are now. I get to see that even in the areas I write about a lot, I cannot always walk the talk or do it very effectively. I get to see that a part of me wants the discomfort to go away if I meet it in certain ways, and that this is using “meeting it” as a strategy to make it go away, which is misguided. It helps me more deeply recognize – and feel – that I am just an ordinary human being with all the universal experiences and struggles humans go through. It helps me see that all of this is part of meeting it – the struggle, apparent failures, misguided intentions, and recognizing these things.

Humility is to see things as close to reality as possible, and this invites me to do just that.


Since this is all happening within and as what we are, it’s difficult to find a simple and clear way of phrasing it. It tends to go in circles and bite its own tail.

– from a previous post

The ouroboros is a snake that bites its own tail. As usual, there are different ways to understand this.

One way is the dynamic between what and who we are. When we try to talk about this, it tends to go in circles and bite its own tail.

As what we are, we are capacity for the world, and our experiences – including of this human self and the wider world – happen within and as us. As who we are, we are a human being in the world.

And talking about the dynamics here tend to go in circles.

For instance, we can talk about the awakening process. This is Spirit temporarily taking itself as fundamentally a human being and then waking up to itself again. Or it’s what we are, temporarily taking itself as fundamentally this human self, again noticing itself.

May 11, 2021


We often think that our life is our own. We identify as this human being, so obviously this is our life.

The reality is a little different.

The reality is life is living this life. Existence is living this life. The universe is living this life. Gaia is living this life. Spirit is living this life.

Nothing here is our own. It all belongs to life, existence, the universe, Gaia, or Spirit.

This life is the larger whole living itself locally through and as this life, as it is here and now.

As Carl Sagan said, we are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe.

How can we explore this for ourselves? And if this is what we find, how can we make it a living reality for ourselves?

We can take even the smallest action or choice in our life and find a cause of it beyond this human self. And then another, and another. There is always one more. This shows us, in a very concrete way, that everything happening here, that may seem very personal, is not personal at all. It’s the larger whole living itself through and as this human life.

We can find ourselves as capacity for the world. We find ourselves as capacity for our whole field of experience, including this human life and the wider world. Here, we see that this human self and anything connected with it lives its own life.

And we can explore how it is to live from this.


When I was at the Center for Spiritual Sciences (CSC) in Oregon, I asked one of the teachers about the universe story and if there was a reason they didn’t include it in all the various approaches they used. The response was that it has no “exit door”, meaning that it stays within the realm of stories and doesn’t open up to us noticing what we are.

That’s valid in a certain limited sense, but it’s not the whole picture.

In my experience, the universe story leads right up to Big Mind and is a nice jumping-off point. It only requires an extra little pointer.

And more importantly, it helps us with embodiment. It can help us live from a sense of deep connection with all life and all of existence, and care for all life and all of existence.

Of course, when we notice what we are, we also notice the oneness of all as it appears to us. And the universe story, among many other things, helps us more deeply live from it.


Why do some talk about awakening in a relatively simple and grounded way, and others chose other approaches?

As usual, there may be several reasons.

First, what are some of these other approaches? We can use a more poetic language. We can use a more devotional language. And we can go beyond what we can honestly talk about based on our own direct noticing and experience.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of it. Each approach resonates with someone and can be an important stepping stone for them.

It depends on personality. Some have a more sober and grounded inclination, while a more poetic or devotional approach speaks to others, and these can also all co-exist and combine.

It depends on our culture and whatever spiritual tradition(s) we are familiar with. We tend to adopt the language we are familiar with.

It depends on where we are in the awakening process. In the beginning, it’s more common to be caught up in excitement about the new discovery and this will be reflected in how we talk about it. After a while, it all gets more familiar and perhaps more grounded, and we may naturally talk about it a more sober way.

It can be a strategy. I feel comfortable with both a small (psychological) and big (spiritual) interpretation of awakening, so sometimes use one or the other depending on the topic and the audience. Recently, I have mostly used a small interpretation since I want to keep it as honest and grounded as possible, and speak to people who may not have so much of a traditional spiritual orientation or interest.

To some extent, it depends on intellectual honesty. For me, the small or psychological interpretation of awakening is the most honest. It’s speaking about what we directly notice and that’s it. And it fits the big or spiritual tradition without needing to take that extra step. It’s not one or the other. They complement each other.

I obviously have my own biases here. I prefer a simple, grounded, and honest way of talking about it, although I also appreciate a wide range of other approaches. I love the poetry of Hafiz. I love some Christian and Islamic mystics. I love Taoism and early Zen. And I see the value in a lot of other approaches I personally don’t resonate with so much.


Some say that if you want to know how awake someone is, look at their behavior.

There is some truth to it, but it’s not the whole picture.

Awakening itself means to notice what we are, and finding our true nature doesn’t necessarily bring about dramatic changes and transformations in how we live our life. Many parts of our human self may still operate from separation consciousness – from wounds, hangups, beliefs, identifications, traumas, and so on.

Living from the awakening, and allowing our human self to be transformed within it, is also called embodiment. So if we look at someone’s life, we are seeing how much they have allowed their human self to be transformed by the awakening. We are seeing the embodiment.

We can say that this kind of embodiment is to be awake to thoughts, identifications, patterns, habits, conditioning, and so on. To the extent we are awake to it, we notice what’s going on, can see through it, and are able to relate to it more intentionally so we don’t have to automatically live from it or react to it.

And there is more. How we live our life is largely an expression of how healthy, healed, and mature we are, and our values and general orientation. Someone who lives a kind and wise life is more likely to be whole, healthy, and mature than awake.

So when we look at someone’s life, we are mainly seeing how healthy and mature they are in a conventional sense. And allowing awakening to transform our human self and life in the world helps us to become more healthy and perhaps even a bit more mature.


MAY 14, 2021


I have chronic fatigue (CFS), and what helps my health the most are some relatively simple and basic things.

Rest. Staying within the activity window so I avoid serious PEM / crashes.

Diet. Avoid dairy, wheat, and mostly refined sugar. Bone broth is surprisingly nourishing.

Water. Drink plenty of water. (For me, in the form of herbal and spice teas.)

Nature. Spend time in nature.

Reduce stress.

Engage in enjoyable activities.

Body-centered practices. Light yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema.

Herbal medicine. Especially adaptogens.


After doing Vortex Healing for myself to be able to put on weight, my weight went up around 15 kilos. (Both ends of that spectrum are within the normal BMI range.) I also find that I now am able to gain and lose weight more easily.

The most obvious I have found is that dairy, wheat, and sugar make me put on weight. And drinking lots of water (for me, herbal and spice tea), and eating mostly fruit, vegetables, some other grains, and some meat, helps me lose weight.


Some seem to use mind and psyche interchangeably.

I prefer to see mind as Big Mind, or even the mind of systems.

And I use the word psyche for our psychology.

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