Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XXVIII

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 is the principle of the Way that we must make one mistake after another.

– Dogen’s Extensive Record, p. 132

I am not sure what Dogen meant by this. For me, it resonates in a few ways.

When we find what we are, we also realize that as a human being in the world, we can never live up to it. Our human self is too messy, too flawed, too scared, too caught up in old reactivity and survival mechanisms. Even if our human self was thoroughly healed and mature, we still couldn’t live up to it. In that sense, we make one mistake after another, and we are – often painfully – aware of it.

Trying to talk about this, we also make one mistake after another. Words differentiate, and what we are is oneness. Words will inevitably fall short and be misleading. And they can only be a pointer, even if they sometimes will be taken as what they point to.

In a more ordinary sense, we make mistakes and learn from it. Whenever we explore something new and enter unfamiliar territory, we make mistakes. That’s how we learn. That’s how we become familiar with a new territory. Exploring what we are and how to live from it is no different.

There is another side to it.

When we find what we are, we notice that our human self happens within and as what we are and it lives its own life. It’s all an expression of life, the universe, or Spirit. In that sense, there are no mistakes.

Although speaking about this is, in a sense, a mistake since it will inevitably fall short and be misunderstood, it’s also natural to speak about it – if someone is interested. That too, is not a mistake.

When we explore something new, mistakes become part of the process. They become the material we learn and mature from. In that sense, they are not really or fundamentally mistakes.

MAY 18, 2021


I tend to see Jesus as the human and Christ as Christ consciousness. I don’t remember anymore where this differentiation comes from. It may be Jes Bertelsen or Rudolf Steiner, and there may be something about this in the Christian tradition as well.

We can say that Christ is the same as Big Mind or Brahman, and that’s not wrong. Christ is a symbol of what we are, and Jesus is a representation of us noticing what we are, living from it, and thoroughly transforming our human self and life within this.

At the same time, there is something more to Christ. Holy places have a distinct quality depending on the spiritual tradition they belong to. And Christ has a very distinct quality, different from what we find in Buddhism, Taoism, and other traditions.

Although I am familiar with this quality, I don’t know exactly how to put it into words.


Some folks into spirituality talk about freedom.

It’s never been my main focus so I am curious about what they – or we – may mean with freedom.

What types of freedom are there?

There is the obvious one. In the world, we can have different forms of freedom – to vote, to travel, to speak up. It can also be the freedom to have an education, to have health care, to have our human rights respected, to have enough money and resources to have a decent life, and so on.

The freedom that especially speaks to me is the freedom to experience what’s here. The freedom to find a YES to what’s here, including the “no” that’s inevitably sometimes here in our human self.

There is also freedom from the apparent limitations of certain types of conditioning, habits, stressful beliefs, and emotional issues. I imagine this is what many refer to when they talk about freedom. For me, healing work seems more appropriate here, and although it may be freeing to find healing for certain issues, our human self IS conditioning. It’s not something we can ever escape, and if we recognized that this world of form IS conditioning we wouldn’t want to.

We could also say there is a freedom in noticing what we are. We find ourselves as capacity for the world, and what our field of experience happens within and as. If our ultimate identity is not as this human self, then we may imagine that we are free of this human self, but that’s not accurate. We are free to allow it as it is.

So we can find the freedom to experience what’s here. We can find ourselves as capacity for all our experiences, including this human self. And we can work on emotional issues and so on.

And if I am honest, spirituality is not about freedom for me, apart from perhaps finding the freedom to experience and allow what’s here.


I use the term awakening, but am not completely comfortable with it. It’s too much.

What awakening is referring to is noticing what we are, and perhaps keeping noticing it and living from it, and allowing our human self to transform within it.

The awakeness that’s inherent in consciousness is the same whether we notice what we are or not.

The content of our experience is the same whether we notice it or not.

Our true nature is the same whether we notice it or not.

The only thing that’s different is whether we consciously notice what we are or not.

To me, the word awakening seems a bit too much for that noticing.

And it can also easily be misleading. We may metaphorically wake up to what we are. But the awakeness that’s inherent in consciousness doesn’t change, nor do the other things mentioned above.

What’s a good alternative? I am not sure. I usually use the word noticing since that seems more accurate. In the Headless world, they talk about seeing which I like.

The only upside about the word awakening is that it’s widely used, which is also why I use it.


Some dark nights involve a collapse of our ability to keep it together.

I am not sure why this happens. Perhaps it’s because old structures from separation consciousness fall apart, and that impacts our ability to hold it together. Sometimes, this may be combined with a lot of unprocessed psychological material surfaces to be seen, felt, loved, and healed.

This happened in my life. I was generally very good at keeping it together and keeping an even keel. Then, some years ago, I asked life / the divine to “show me what’s left”, and within a week this keeping-it-together ability in me collapsed and a huge amount of previously unprocessed material came to the surface.

MAY 21, 2021


A client mentioned to me that she had completely forgotten what she did inquiry on a couple of weeks ago.

This is something I have noticed for myself. I do The Work of Byron Katie on some issue that seems charged and important, and then completely forget what the inquiry was about.

When the charge goes out of it, our memory of it sometimes also goes.


What do we all seek? Absence of discomfort? Contentment? Love? Feeling deeply at home? Truth?

Perhaps all of those, and they are all connected and some a few layers deeper than the others.

One of the things we probably all are seeking, often without knowing it, is comfort with discomfort.

Discomfort is a part of life. So why not find comfort with it? Why not befriend it?

This is, of course, easier said than done. It may not be difficult when what’s here and coming up in our system isn’t too strong or too scary to us. And when it gets stronger and feels more scary, it’s far more challenging. That’s when it brings us to our knees. In a sense, that’s its function. That’s its gift.

We can do all sorts of practices and healing modalities, and these help shift our relationship with what comes up and can also release some of the intensity out of it. At the same time, these practices often have a component of trying to control our experience: If I do these practices, and change these habitual patterns, I’ll get more of what I want and less of what I don’t want.

And yet, at some point, we may come up against something that brings us to our knees. And that’s part of the process. It’s deeply humbling. It breaks through some of the old beliefs and identities we clung to, somewhere in our system. It opens up for a bit more receptivity, gratitude, and humility, in areas of our life where we still held onto something that was out of alignment with life.


Over the recent years, I have lost a lot of things: health, house, money, belongings, opportunities, and so on. If I think these things were mine, it hurts.

And when I realize they were never mine, it’s not such a big deal. Everything comes and goes. None of it is mine. I just happened to be in the same time and more-or-less the same place as these, and then they and I moved along.

[made into regular article]


We all take on the views of our culture and society, whether it makes sense or ot, and we consciously agree with them or not.

I listened to the most recent episode of the Outside podcast, where they interviewed a trans woman.

As she described her experience in school, I notice a reaction in me, one that was judgmental, wanting to pull away, and saying “pull yourself together” and “just be the gender you were born as”.

This is very far from my conscious view and how I want to be, but it’s in me because of my culture and society. Growing up, I heard people say these types of things about people who were not straight and conventional about their gender and sexuality.

Why did a part of me take this on, even if I didn’t agree with it? Probably out of fear. And even now, I notice a fear behind and within that voice in me.

It’s good to be aware of this. Even if we have a very different conscious view, we may still have these more bigoted views in us as well. Even the people they apply to may have them. And when I say may, I mean will.

I am also reminded that when Freud talked about the superego, the above-I, he partly meant this internalization of cultural and social views.


When I notice my mind goes into a story as a refuge, I also notice a fear behind it.

Something triggers fear in me. Instead of meeting the fear, the mind goes to a story for protection. If I don’t notice this, my mind may keep going to that story for safety. And if I notice, then I can meet the fear instead of going into the story for safety.


This is perhaps obvious, but since I mentioned it in a recent post, I thought I would say a few more words about it.

When we relate to another person, we partly – and sometimes mainly – relate to our images of that person. And that’s how it is with most things. We relate partly to our images of a person, a situation, a thing, and so on, including ourselves.

When we realize this, it opens up a lot for us.

We can notice these images and how we relate to them. This can help us to hold our images a little more lightly, and perhaps find some receptivity and curiosity for who or what in the world our images are about.

One way to identify and examine these images, and how we relate to them, is through structured inquiry.

We can examine our mental field directly – and how it combines with other sense fields and how we relate to it all – through sense field exporations from traditional Buddhist inquiry or modern versions like the Living Inquiries.

We can also use The Work of Byron Katie to identify our images and related stories, see what happens when we hold them as true, and find what’s more true for us.

We can intentionally find healing for our images. Through inquiry or heart-centered practices, we can find healing for our images, and that makes a big difference for ourselves (more peace) and how we relate in the world to what the images are about.


In our culture, many want to be famous, admired, looked up to, and so on.

There are some obvious downsides to this.

We don’t know if people want to be around us because we are famous or admired, or just because we are who we are.

We lose our anonymity. We become a public figure, even in private.

People may take what we say or do as a model for their life, whether that’s wise or not.

We may seek and thrive on fame and admiration in order to cover up our own insecurities.

People relate to their image of us, and if we take it to be about us, we may get overly invested in – and dependent on – how they relate to this image of us.

MAY 26, 2021


I have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) since I was fifteen, so for many years I have tried a huge amount of different approaches and had sessions with a great deal of practitioners.

In general, what really helps is the simple things I discovered for myself very early on: Avoid wheat, dairy, and refined sugar. Eat low on the food chain. Eat local, organic, and fresh as much as possible. Get enough rest. Avoid doing too much. (Avoid crashes.) When possible, do gentle physical activity. (Walk, swim, yoga, Breema, etc.). I also find that what I write about on this website is helpful: Heart-centered practices, inquiry, TRE, and so on. Some herbal medicine is helpful (Stangelands urteteer, adaptogens). And receiving energization from a top-level Vortex Healing practitioner is very helpful.

What different practitioners have advised me to do, or have done for me, has either not helped at all, or helped just a bit.

It seems that I have a general baseline of energy and clarity, and that this varies a bit over months, years, and decades. If I drop below this baseline, then paying extra attention to the things I mentioned above helps bring me back to the baseline – even if it sometimes can take weeks and months. But nothing seems to bring my health above this baseline.

When I check in with my energy system, what has always stood out since I got CFS is my brain. The energy system of my brain feels obviously off in a way that’s difficult to describe. That also fits a psychic friend of mine who is usually accurate and more recently told me that the nerve threads in parts of my brain look fried to her. It fits some research that has found nerve damage in the brain stem in people with CFS. And it may also explain why I can get up to a certain baseline and not beyond.


I am in the US to receive my vaccine. My head somehow got detached, and was then re-attached. I sleep in a room with a lot of other people.

I don’t remember much from this dream beyond what I wrote above. My partner is in the US these days to receive her covid vaccine, so that may be the seed for that part of the dream.

Why did my head get detached and re-attached? I am not sure. I have had stronger brain fog for the last few days, so I am wondering if there is a connection there. (If I think about it, it’s easy to imagine it has something to do with over-reliance of thought, going out of it, and then back into it. But that doesn’t fit my feeling or sense in the dream.)

Traveling and sleeping in a room with several others is a theme from other recent dreams. Since I have been mostly on my own for over a year now (pandemic), this may be my psyche creating a different experience for my than I have in my daily life – perhaps to create some balance.

MAY 28, 2021


I am at a kind of conference where people play retro games on a big screen, and mostly space invaders. It seems I am there by accident, but I enjoy it immensely. There are lots of people there, I talk with several, and I remember the pandemic and since nobody keeps any distance or has a mask, I assume I may have gotten the virus.

Interacting with a lot of people is the typical pandemic dream for me, as is realizing none of us are doing anything to prevent transmission of the virus and that I likely have gotten infected. The interactions and everything else is as normal before the pandemic, and this realization is only there in the back of my mind.

I am not sure about the retro and computer game theme. I love most retro things and used to play computer games (and make some) in my early teens although haven’t since. Perhaps the dream is reminding me of simple and mindless pleasures, and that’s these are OK too.


I see some nondual spiritual teachers downplay or dismiss the role of emotions.

That’s not how I see it. For me, emotions are part of the richness and adventure of being a human self in the world. I am capacity for that too, and they are not in any way wrong or even a problem. They too are an expression of life and the divine.

I guess I just see them as most people see them. They have an evolutionary function. They help us live our life. They add to the richness of life.

It’s good to have an intentional relationship with them. It’s good to explore them and get to know them. If I blindly react to or act on emotions, and the stories behind them, it’s good to investigate my relationship with them. And so on.

MAY 29, 2021


I am part of a kind of reality TV series with four or five others. We are doing a new series where we engage in a series of different tasks and competitions testing our balance, agility, strength, and so on. Some of the tasks involve going head-to-head with one of the others, including wrestling. After a long process of planning, and as we start filming, I realize I cannot do these tasks. My fatigue and current health condition doesn’t allow it. I feel deeply ashamed that I hadn’t been honest about this from the start. I feel I am disappointing the others and the production team. I also realize that if I had been honest about this from the start, we could have found a way of doing the program that would make everyone happy and meet the needs of everyone involved. I am filled with remorse.

For whatever reason, John Cena is one of the participants. They are all friends of mine and we have worked together before. When I realize I am unable to participate as planned, I also realize that if I had been more honest up front, we could have found another way. For instance, we could have focused more on teamwork and cooperative games, or I could have had another role in the series or production.

This reflects what’s going on in my daily life. Because of a chronic illness (CFS), I am unable to do much at all. And I still sometimes plan as if I could do a lot more than I can. Right now, I live a relatively isolated life so it doesn’t impact others very much. But I have promised too much in the past, and disappointed myself and (I imagine) others.

There have been times in the past where I have committed to something, not been completely honest with myself and others about my ability to do it, disappointed myself and others, and there would have been a much better way of doing it which would have opened up if I had been more honest from the start.

One example is when I got married in my twenties. She wanted to move to another state in the US, and I went along with it even if it meant abandoning graduate studies I felt deeply passionate about, abandoning a community where I felt profoundly at home, leaving my friends, leaving a place where I felt the most at home that I have ever felt anywhere, and basically leaving just about everything that was most meaningful in my life. I knew it felt profoundly wrong for me, and even destructive at a deep level, but I wasn’t completely honest about it with myself and her. I wanted it to work. I wanted her to have what she wanted. And it turned out to be just as destructive for me as I had sensed. If I had been more honest, and taken all of this more seriously, we – or perhaps just I – could have found another way that would have felt much more right and would have met both of our needs more deeply.


In a conversation at the end of the day yesterday, I heard myself saying: I didn’t do much useful, I was just taking care of myself. I was just resting and sitting in the sun now and then.

As I said it, I noticed that I slipped into a conventional view on what’s useful. And I did it mostly because I imagined how she could see it, and I felt a need to preemptively judge my day of rest.

In reality, on that day, the most useful thing I could do was taking care of myself and resting. I didn’t have anything urgent that HAD to be done that day, and rest is one of the essentials for taking care of my health and myself. That day, as it is most or all days for me, rest was the most useful thing I could do.

And in general, taking care of ourselves is one of the essential most useful things we can do.

In my Northern and Western European culture, with its protestant work ethic, we are often trained to think that activity and productivity is what’s useful. We may have to eat, sleep, rest, and take care of ourselves, although we often see it as being in service to being productive. Productivity is primary, and it’s often central to our identity and sense of self-worth. I know it was for me, and I still notice it in me.

Of course, there is something more here than the protestant work ethic. We are animals in a world with resources that don’t always fall into our lap, so we have needed to be productive in order to have food, water, shelter, and so on. We collectively need to be productive, to a certain extent, in order to survive.

When it comes to rest, we can see it in two or more ways. We can see it as taking care of ourselves so we’ll be able to be productive, which is not wrong. Or we can see it as valuable in itself since just existing is inherently valuable and meaningful.

This is one of the gifts in chronic illness. It helps us recognize these identities and how they are formed early in life because of our culture. It helps us find what’s more essential and true for us. And it helps us identify our current priorities and reprioritize and find what’s really important to us.

In my case, it’s helped me see that my value is not dependent on what or how much I do. That taking care of myself is one of the most useful things I can do. And that a simple life that mostly consists of rest can still be deeply meaningful.

This is an ongoing process since I had quite strongly internalized the protestant work ethic. I was someone who felt I had to be productive to the fullest, to the extent that I chose “productive activity” over just about anything else. I even did multi-phasic sleeping for a while so I could cut down on the amount I needed to sleep (down to two hours). In my case, the productive activity were things I deeply enjoyed – studies, reading, meditation, prayer, art, photography, sustainability and community work, and so on – but it was still quite compulsive since I did it to feel better about myself.

The bigger picture includes all of this and more. There is nothing wrong with engaging in activities we find deeply meaningful, or working to take care of ourselves and our family, or working on behalf of society, nature, and future generations. We can be good stewards of our life and balance rest and activity. We can find a genuine sense of self-worth independent on our activities in the world. We can identify and examine beliefs around this and what drives us. And we can reprioritize and find what’s really important to us.

MAY 30, 2021


I meet Odd Nerdrum again, and he is happy to see me and talk with me, and is interested in what I have to say.

In waking life, I was an apprentice of his when I was around 20 years old and quite shy. When we meet again in this dream, he is genuinely interested in what I have to say.

On and off, I struggle a bit with losing what I had in my twenties and the possibilities I had back then. (This all fell apart when I went against a very clear and strong inner guidance and left most of what was important to me to support my then-wife and moved to a place where there was nothing for me.) In my dream, it is as if Odd Nerdrum is telling me I still have a lot to contribute.


There are several sides to my path: An initial awakening “out of the blue” at age sixteen, without any previous interest in spirituality or awakening. Exploring pointers and practices from a range of different spiritual traditions. Exploring awakening and how to live from it on my own, as honestly as I can. And also exploring a range of healing modalities.

From the beginning, I have seen that the essence of this – my own noticing and what I discover through exploring pointers – is the essence of what mystics from all traditions and no traditions describe.

And after a while of exploring this, I also see that what I arrive at is very similar to basic Buddhism.

Love and insight are two sides of the same coin. Suffering comes from holding a thought as true, and there is a way out of it. Basic meditation helps us notice that all our experiences live their own life, and it helps us notice what we are. We are already very familiar with what we are, we just don’t recognize it as that. And at a very human level, finding genuine love for ourself and others is what we really seek and what helps us the most.

I can find myself as capacity for the world, and what my field of experiences happen within and as. That’s what I more fundamentally are, and my true nature. (This is one of the meanings of sunyata, the emptiness that allows any and all experiences.)

There are two reasons why I find myself arriving at basic Buddhism. One is that basic Buddhism is sound and reflects a combination of genuinely noticing what we are, innumerable people exploring how to live from. it, and a practical wisdom for what helps people at any phase of the path. The other is that I am familiar with Buddhism and resonate with it, and that will inevitably color how I see and make sense of these things for myself.

JUNE 1, 2021


I am back in the 1980s, meet Arne Næss, and tell him how much his writing and ideas mean for me. We have a good connection and stay in touch until he dies.

A couple of decades later, I meet his son. He tells me how difficult it was to be his son. I say I know several children of very talented or famous people, and they all struggle. He shows me some of the correspondence between me and Arne Næss, although he only has a few postcards.

I am in our time and learn that the son committed suicide some years earlier. I talk to a couple of people in their 30s. They talk about 80s values and how they are completely outdated today. I realize I still have 80s values and am completely out of step with the time. The younger men in their 30s mention human rights, democracy, and nature rights as examples of these outdated 80s values. They see them as quaint, unrealistic, and belonging to dreamers.

In waking life, I did see Arne Næss and did correspond a bit with him, but not to the extent I did in the dream. And in waking life, he didn’t have children. The dream has scenes from three time periods.

The essence of the dream is that it’s difficult to have very successful or famous parents, and that 80s values – human rights, democracy, and so on – are outdated and seen as naive and quaint these days.

I have those values, so in the dream I was surprised, felt out of step, and wanted to learn more about how people see things today, and especially young intellectuals and activists.

Does this mean that I need to revise my 80s assumptions and dreams? That I am already out of step with them, without realizing it? In some ways, it’s true. Because of my health situation, I haven’t been able to live my dreams and hopes from back then.

I had some very successful sides of me in my late teens and twenties. I wonder if other sides of me felt they were in the shade of these sides, to the extent they withered and died?

One of the seeds of this dream is probably what I see in the world today, with an apparent erosion of values it seemed most of us agreed on some while back. (Perhaps most obviously democracy and the type of discourse essential for a democracy.)


A friend of mine from a long time back has strong psychic abilities, and I have also talked with other psychics now and then. All of them have a reputation of being highly accurate.

My experience is that when they have said something about my near future, it’s been very encouraging. I have typically stood at a crossroads or at the beginning of a new phase in my life, and they tell me it will be very good in several different ways. In reality, what happens is typically some form of collapse of the plans and my dreams, often due to larger situations outside of my control. (Usually, a weird combination of several things). And this makes me wonder if they connect with my hopes and dreams, and what seems reasonable to expect (and what I expect as well), and not what actually is about to happen.

I wouldn’t mention it if it wasn’t for noticing this as a clear pattern over years and decades.

Of course, we are not meant to know about the future and we cannot. Always in motion is the future (Yoda). And that brings us back to what’s here and now, which is all we have. It brings us back to taking one step at a time.


This may seem weird to those unfamiliar with it, but some have a very clear sensing of what’s happening in others, even at a distance. When this sensing is of what’s happening in people close to them, and this is combined with deep insecurity and jumping to conclusions, it can create drama.

There are two or three remedies.

The most obvious is clear communication from both sides.

And in addition to this, working on the insecurity, and learning to differentiate the sensing from our interpretation of it, and holding the interpretations lightly.


When I don’t have much energy, it’s more difficult to intentionally manage whatever is coming up in me. And there is a gift here.

Right now, I have unusually strong fatigue and brain fog, and some deep primal survival anxiety come up. This combination makes it very difficult to intentionally relate to what’s coming up, and using any of the usual pointers or approaches.

What I am left with is that there is no place to find refuge. I notice what I am, but that’s not a refuge. I pray, and that’s not a refuge. I may use heart-centered practices, and that’s not a refuge. And so on.

I can see that all of them are ways to try to change the experience. They are all ways I try to find refuge.

And they are all ways to try to escape what’s here. This is about something else. This is about realizing there is no refuge. None of those pointers or approaches lead to a real refuge. They are ways to try to manipulate and control experience.

This is not new. It has visited many times before. And each time, it is new and different. And the only place I find it is here now.

When I see there is no refuge, and that whatever I do is not a real refuge but just a place to try to unsuccessfully hide, there is a shift. Something opens up. It’s as if I am gently sinking into my whole field of experience. There is a sweetness and beauty here.

JUNE 2, 2021


An important part of chronic illness is to see how what we do in life influences our health. For instance, does the weather influence my health, and what climate works the best for me?

For me, it’s quite clear. I function far better in dry and warm weather and climates. I had my best health when I lived in Utah, in the summer in Western Oregon, in California, and one unusually dry and warm summer in Norway. And I feel the worst in humid weather and climates.

The difference is dramatic. When it’s dry and warm, I am able to function closer to normal. And when it’s humid, my system is closer to collapsing. In one setting, I can do what I need to do, go for walks, and my mood is much more optimistic. In the other, I am in bed most of the time and don’t feel very good all around.


Right now, it’s early morning. I notice I can eat, but the hunger is also not so prominent. I am very happy to have a banana and some cups of delicious (herbal/spice) tea.

I know that when I have a larger breakfast (fruit salad), I’ll enjoy it, and it will also wake up hunger in me. I will want to eat more and that hunger lasts for a while.

I assume this is from evolution. Our ancestors didn’t always have food. So there may be something in my system saying “he is eating, that means there is food, so we’ll make sure he eats more”.

If I want to drop a couple of kilos, I make intentional use of this. I’ll more often just have a piece of fruit, and I make sure to drink plenty of water, and wait a bit with the larger meal since I know that will trigger a desire to continue eating. Also, I make sure to drink a lot of water and mostly eat fruits and vegetables – which is what I enjoy the most anyway. (I largely leave out wheat, dairy, and refined sugar in my daily diet, and pay even more attention to this if I want to drop a couple of kilos.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.