Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 37

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.

INNER GUIDANCE VS DIVINE WILL

Is our inner guidance the voice of divine will? Yes and no.

In my experience, my inner guidance shows me what’s right for me, and what’s in alignment with me and my path and life. It’s what’s kind and wise in the moment. It tends to be an easier path, not because it is free of challenges (there may still be challenges), but because it feels deeply right. It’s often aligned with what makes sense to me consciously. And sometimes, it’s different, and if I follow it, it will eventually make sense.

Divine will is different. Divine will is what happens and what is. Whatever is, is the divine will.

Sometimes, the divine will is for me to follow my guidance.

And sometimes, the divine will is for me to not follow my guidance. In my case, typically when I am caught up in unloved fears and unexamined painful beliefs and identities.

A VERY LARGE WORLD

I keep being reminded of something that seems obvious but is not always so obvious to us.

The world is big and full of possibilities. Our life is big, rich, and full of possibilities.

And we sometimes get stuck in a painfully small way of looking at the world and our life. When we do, we typically create misery and stress for ourselves. We may obsess about something that didn’t go the way we wanted, scary thoughts about the future, or something about ourselves we don’t like so much.

When I notice that impulse in me, to get stuck in a very small perspective, I remind myself that my life is much bigger and more rich, and the world is infinitely large and rich.

It doesn’t change the content of those particular stressful thoughts, but it does change the context. And that makes a big difference.

WHAT DOES “PSYCHOLOGICAL” REFER TO IN “SPIRITUAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERPRETATIONS OF AWAKENING”?

The couple of times I have mentioned small and big, or psychological and spiritual understanding of awakening, the response has been: “It depends on the framework of psychology you are talking about”.

That misses the point. When I say “psychological” I mean it as referring to something within the realm of psychology. The subject matter is psychological and not spiritual. And this is independent of any particular tradition within psychology.

A small or psychological approach to awakening looks at it as a psychological phenomenon.

In terms of logic: We “have” consciousness”. If we “have” consciousness, then to ourselves we ARE consciousness. If we are consciousness, then the world to us happens within and as the consciousness we are. And that consciousness has all the characteristics mystics from all times and traditions describe: Oneneness, love, quiet bliss, and it forms itself into any and all experiences.

And in terms of our own noticing: In one sense, I am this human self in the world. And when I look more closely, I find I am more fundamentally something else. To myself, I am more fundamentally capacity for any experience. I am what any and all experience happens within and as. I am what a thought may label consciousness.

And this is very much within the realm of psychology. This is a psychological approach to awakening. We can understand it without referring to spirituality. (Although we can find a lot to explore within spiritual traditions.)

[Made into a regular article]

JUNE 11, 2023

I DON’T LIKE SPIRITUALITY

I saw Penn Jillette say: “I never liked magic, and still don’t.”

And although I am no Penn Jillette, it’s similar for me. I never liked spirituality, and still don’t.

I write about it a lot here. I try to find a way to write about it that makes sense to me and that I enjoy.

And I don’t really like spirituality. I don’t like a lot of what’s labeled spirituality. I don’t like the label very much. I certainly don’t like it as an identity. I don’t like most spiritual groups very much. I can get quite annoyed by people who are into spirituality.

I called myself an atheist in elementary school, after lessons in Christianity in school and having some Christian relatives. I saw religion as a crutch. Often dishonest. Something you pretend to believe in order to get something out of it. (Find safety.) As something you are supposed to take on faith without being able to check it out for yourself.

I still had that identity when the oneness shift happened when I was sixteen.

And I still have that orientation at heart. I want to be able to check things out for myself. I don’t want to take someone’s word for it. I want to take a sober, grounded, and honest approach to it.

What is it I don’t like about spirituality?

I don’t like the label. To me, spirituality is a pragmatic exploration of the mind. It’s sober, grounded, and an adventure. It’s not about believing anything. And the word “spirituality” is often associated with believing in something, whether it’s what a guru says, karma, reincarnation, astrology, angels, twin flames, ghosts, fairies, and so on.

That’s also what I don’t like about the identity, and some spiritual communities and people. I don’t like the aspect of taking something on faith without being able to check it out for yourself. And I want to be honest about taking on beliefs and identities in order to feel safe, which I inevitably do – likely without being aware of it. (Most of these are likely not in the “spiritual” category at all.)

And, of course, there are people who take a sober and pragmatic approach to spirituality.

JUNE 12, 2023

THE CONFIDENCE OF A 25-YEAR-OLD LIFE COACH

This is funny because it’s often true. Some of the most confident people I have met have been life coaches in their 20s.

It doesn’t really have to do with age. It has to do with strategies – coping strategies and business strategies.

If we feel insecure and lacking, one strategy to try to mask it and make up for it is to appear confident, and perhaps to tell ourselves and others we have the answers.

And I am not saying that life coaches with that strategy won’t have anything of value to contribute. They may well help their clients.

It’s just that it’s often more comfortable to use a slightly different strategy. To admit to ourselves (and perhaps others) our own insecurity and sense of lack, find ways to befriend and embrace it, and allow that in itself to be a guide for others.

BONUS

It’s coming up to one year since I had septic shock and survived because of luck, modern medicine, and a good healthcare system. (It happened when I was close to the main hospital in Norway, and I got there quickly.)

In a recent conversation with my wife, I was about to say: My life after this feels like a bonus.

And although it’s true, it’s not completely accurate.

In reality, all of my life is a bonus. All of existence is a bonus.

It’s all a miracle.

I cannot take any of it for granted.

[Made into a regular article]

GOOD STARTING POINT, WRONG CONCLUSION

People who get into spirituality sometimes absorb and try to believe certain ideas, and then arrive at misguided conclusions. If it’s all at the idea level, it’s almost inevitable.

For instance, someone may hear – or even sense – that everything is OK as it is. For instance, it’s all God’s will. It’s lila, the play of the divine. And so on.

And from here, it may get a little weird. For instance, they may use it as a justification for not helping people when they could be helped. Or for social injustice. Or something similar.

They use it as an excuse for being passive or even cruel.

For instance, I talked with someone who doesn’t like modern medicine. When I said that modern medicine does help many people and that I would almost certainly not be here without it, her response was that it’s fine if people die.

Of course it’s fine. There is nothing wrong with it. And that doesn’t mean that we can’t act with some compassion, kindness, and wisdom. We can still do what we can to help people.

Both can be true at the same time.

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