Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 41

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.

THE DARK NIGHT & LOSING WHAT I FOUND SAFETY IN

For the last fifteen years or so, I have been in a dark night.

It started even further back, when I got married the first time. (Late 1990s.) Then, it got much more dramatic with the return of severe CFS. (Mid/late 2000s.) And it went even deeper when I asked the divine to “show me what’s left” which brought up immense survival fear within a week or so. (Early 2010s.)

It seems a pretty classic dark night, judging from what I have heard from others, and especially what’s described in the “Dark night of the soul” chapter in Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism.

During this time, I have repeatedly lost what I earlier found safety in. I lost my health. (Severe CFS.) I lost my marriage. I lost my house and car. I lost just about all my belongings. (Including a library of 2000-3000 books about spirituality from all traditions and outside of traditions.) I lost the possibility to stay in my adopted country. (The US.) I lost my excellent memory. I lost my ability to think clearly. I lost friends. I lost my reputation. And so on.

Through all those losses, I have been invited to shift my center of gravity more fully and thoroughly into my nature. And out of holding onto identities for safety, since these come and go.

I have no idea where in that process my system is. I have no idea where in the dark night process my system is. (My guess is 80% through since it feels lighter now, but who knows.) I have no idea how far and thoroughly into my nature my center of gravity is. I have no idea how much is left.

And that’s completely OK. I prefer it that way. It’s aligned with reality since I don’t know any of this for certain. I can only guess, and guesses are just that, guesses. (And inherently painful if I try to pretend for myself they are more certain than they are.)

IS SOME KIND OF DARK NIGHT NECESSARY IN AN AWAKENING PROCESS?

I don’t know, but here is my guess right now:

No, it’s not necessary.

But the process it comes out of, and what it leads to, is necessary.

It’s necessary for everything in our mind-body that’s out of alignment with awakening – a conscious noticing and living from our nature – to align with this. It’s necessary for every part of our psyche to shift out of separation consciousness and into being aligned with our nature as oneness.

It’s necessary for every bit of thought and identity that our mind holds as true, in order to protect us, to wear off, for the charge in them to dissipate, for the mind to see through it and find what’s already more true for us.

And that may require one or more dark nights and one or more kinds of dark nights.

MISUNDERSTANDING PARTS LANGUAGE

When I use parts language, I sometimes experience that people misunderstand.

I may say: “I notice a part of me feels…”. (Hopeless, scared, angry, or something else.)

To me, it seems clear that this means exactly what I say. (a) I say “a part”, which means I know it’s one of innumerable parts of me. (b) I say “I notice”, which means it’s not something I am blindly or strongly identified with.

And it seems that the other sometimes understand it as the opposite. They take it to mean (a) all of me and (b) that I am identified with and as it.

I use parts language with people I assume will understand and are familiar with it, for instance, therapists or spiritual teachers or students, and most of the time, they do. (Especially if they are from Oregon or California where I lived for many years.)

And sometimes, I meet someone who doesn’t and they seem shocked, upset, argue against it, or even take it personally. (Especially, apparently, if they are from Norway. I have experienced it with both therapists and spiritual teachers here. And I notice a part of me feels disappointed and lonely when that happens.)

JULY 18, 2023

CFS AND MOVEMENT

It’s common for people with CFS to feel exhausted after taking a shower, and I have that experience as well.

I have also noticed something (obvious?) about it: It’s much easier if I use slow movements throughout the process, and if the shower is not too hot and is relatively brief.

Slow movements in general is very helpful for avoiding serious crashes and minimizing the impact of daily life activities.

JULY 25, 2023

ADAPTING DREAMS

When I was in my teens and early twenties, I was passionate about Jung and read everything I could find from him. (30-40 books?) I especially worked with projections and dreams.

To my surprise at the time, my dreams starting to become “Jungian” – full of archetypes and dynamics described by him.

It seems that the psyche adapts. If we are into the Jungian approach, we get those kinds of dreams. And, I assume, if we are into another approach, we’ll get those types of dreams.

Said another way, it’s as if the psyche wants to communicate with the conscious part of us, and it does so in whatever lanuage we best understand.

FOOD AND MEDITATION

A friend asked about food and meditation and I shared some of my experiences.

For instance, chocolate cake makes it difficult for me to focus. Onions and garlic makes my system feel a bit heavy. And so on.

There is no mystery here. Food impacts our body-mind and life in general, so it will also influence meditation and any inner work.

And how and to what degree it influences us is partly universal and partly individual.

For most of us, if we eat generally healthy, that’s sufficient. We can go about our daily life activities, including meditation, heart-centered practices, body-centered practices, and inquiry.

If we are more sensitive to certain foods, it’s good to pay attention that and reduce foods that impair our ability to function well.

And if we want to take our activity further and really go into it, it’s also good to pay attention to how food impacts us. Top athletes are careful with what they eat and drink and also when and how much. And that’s the same if you want to go deep in meditation or anything else.

JULY 26, 2023

WHAT WE ALL PRIMARILY ARE & MANY AND ONE ONENESSES

There are a lot of misconceptions about awakening.

As I see it, many of these can be cleared up if we learn to differentiate between a small (psychological) and big (spiritual) understanding of awakening.

For instance, are we one or many?

From a big understanding of awakening, we can say that the divine is one and yet takes innumerable forms, including as any and all beings. There is nothing wrong with that view. That’s how I see it too.

And yet, a small understanding of awakening adds something important.

Here, we focus more on our own experience and don’t assume that existence as a whole is as it appears to us.

To myself, I am consciousness and the world to me happens within and as the consciousness I am. This consciousness and experience of the world is one. I am the oneness the world, to me, happens within and as.

And I assume it’s the same for others. They too are fundamentally consciousness, operating through whatever body and psyche is there. They too are oneness to themselves.

From this view, we are all one. The world inevitably appears as one to us. We are many onenesses.

And we can also say that existence, most likely, in itself is one. It’s a seamless system. We can add the view from science, which tells us existence is a seamless system. And we can add the view from the big understanding of awakening, telling us it’s all Spirit, the divine, Brahman, and so on.

[Made into a regular article]

JULY 28, 2023

WHAT LOOKS DIFFERENT AFTER SOME DECADES

What looks different some decades after the initial oneness shift?

Initially, it all seemed amazing and mind-blowing. Now, it’s more ordinary. That’s how it is with anything, it becomes ordinary with time. And I still see the extraordinary and magical in that anything exists at all.

I have learned more about how others experience and describe it. When it happened here, this human self had no interest in spirituality and had not even heard about awakening. It took several years to find others – through books – that described it, and even more years before I found people talking about it in a clear and unfiltered way. (“Unfiltered” just means that it seems unfiltered to me since it comes from people who live in the same or similar culture as me.) I was happy when I found Douglas Harding, Adyashanti, and Byron Katie for that reason.

I have continued to explore it – through traditional and modern approaches. (Buddhist meditation, heart prayer, Christ meditation, tonglen, ho’oponopono, Headless experiments, The Work of Byron Katie, Kiloby Inquiries, and much else.)

This is, of course, all about how my human self relates to the oneness.

I also see that our human self tends to relate to the initial oneness shift in relatively predictable and universal ways, with some cultural and individual flavors. We tend to see it as special and extraordinary. (Certainly the case with me.) We may want to share it with others. (This was not the case with me, apart from the writings here.) Our human self may use it to compensate for a sense of lack and low self-esteem.

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