Outline for a book – 2024

An outline for a book.

DEMYSTIFYING MYSTICISM

SIMPLIFIED OUTLINE

  • Preface
  • Essence
    • Who & what we are
    • Big & small understanding
    • Process
    • Practices
  • Additional
    • Nature of thoughts
    • Wounds, traumas, etc.
    • Biases
    • Projections
    • Two forms of oneness
    • Mystery
  • My own story

INITIAL OUTLINE

  • Preface
    • Share my own experiences 
    • One person’s journey, descriptive 
    • I love reading accounts of other journeys, so I thought I would return the favor and make mine available to whoever would be interested
    • Is the story of an ordinary unremarkable person, which may be as useful as the stories of “spiritual exemplars” and people who are well known, exactly for that reason, it’s more ordinary
    • Is a question mark after each sentence whether it’s easily visible or not  
    • Can be read in different ways
      • Entertainment / curiosity
      • See how it’s similar / different to other journeys, maybe your own 
      • Pointers, explore for yourself, see what you find 
    • I tend to take a pragmatic approach, what works, how it looks to me now 
      • Have explored and learned from several traditions, but not tied to any one in particular, although most affinity with taoism, Buddhism (especially Tibetan and Zen), mysticism within the theistic religions, and also the ones outside of any particular religion or tradition since that’s similar to my path in this life
    • We are all our own final authority
      • Cannot take anyone’s word for it, if we are on a sincere path
      • Knowing about it is a good start, but what it’s about is exploring it for ourselves
    • The proof is in the pudding
      • What we notice for ourselves + how we live in the world is the pudding
  • Who and what
    • Find it a useful distinction
    • Who, human self and psyche 
      • Who we are in the world, who the passport tells us we are, who most people would say we are
      • Works reasonably well
      • And yet come with inherent stress since it’s out of alignment with reality
    • What, what we more fundamentally are
      • Find I am more fundamentally what this field of experience happens within and as
      • What forms itself into the whole field of experience 
      • Capacity for it all 
  • Our nature noticing itself
    • What mystics through time and across traditions describe 
      • To us, all is consciousness (AKA God in big understanding)
      • Oneness, no boundaries, no inside/outside and nothing outside of all of it
      • A kind of love from our nature noticing itself, independent of feelings and states
      • A profound sense of coming home, have always know about it without being consciously aware of it
      • Is the water we have always been swimming in, is all we have ever known without noticing it
    • The process of noticing and living from and as that noticing
      • Curiosity 
        • Often starts with curiosity, interest,
        • Maybe mixed with longing and/or desperation
      • Experience 
        • Get more experience and familiarity
        • Form new habits of noticing + living
      • Glimpses 
        • Our nature glimpses itself
        • Can go through “got it, lost it” cycles
        • Interpret these glimpses in different ways
      • More stable noticing, new habit 
        • Clarifying
        • Notice through more states and situations in daily life
        • Becomes more and more part of daily life, less and less difference between intentional meditation and daily life
      • Inviting our human self to realign 
        • Most of us have many parts of us formed within and operating from separation consciousness, even if our nature recognizes itself in general
        • Can invite these to realign within this new context, within oneness
        • Often come up anyway, to be seen, felt, loved, recognized as having the same nature as us
      • Dark nights at any time
        • A kind of crisis, our old way of identifying/understanding doesn’t work anymore 
        • Many kinds of dark nights
          • Realize cannot find a satisfying or stable satisfaction in the world
          • “dry” periods where (connection with) God seems gone, lost it
          • Trauma surfacing, invited to recognize as having the same nature as us
    • The role of states
      • Content of experience is always changing, comes and goes, including states
      • Can have states where noticing our nature comes strongly in the foreground, cannot be missed, and then these states go away
      • The invitation is for our nature to notice itself through states
    • Misconceptions about awakening 
      • Is a state, eternal bliss
      • Will solve all our problems, as a human in the world
      • Will profoundly and immediately transform this human self
      • Teachers or someone else can do the work for you (would miss out on a lot if that was the case)
  • Big and small understanding of awakening 
    • Big
      • My nature is also the nature of all of existence
      • Spiritual understanding
      • Upsides: Familiar, inspiring, may be more accurate in the big picture
      • Downsides: Makes a big assumption, exclude people not comfortable with that language + assumption
    • Small
      • The nature of all of existence is not necessarily the same as mine
      • Leaves it open, allows for a wide range of worldviews
      • Psychological understanding
      • Upsides: Accurate to our experience, honest, leaves room for wide range of worldview, provides a shared lowest-common-denominator language
      • Downsides: May be less inspiring to some,
    • Using both
      • Gives flexibility
      • Helps us in talking with people from different backgrounds
      • Can reap the benefits of each view, not just one
  • The nature of thoughts
    • More or less accurate in a conventional sense 
    • Different kinds of truths in thoughts
      • Conventional sense 
      • Projection, can turn around and find it here and now  
    • Different in nature from what it points to, map & terrain
    • Questions about the world
    • Pointers for own exploration 
    • Reality is always more than, different from, and also less than (simpler) 
    • No full, final, absolute truth 
    • Will understand differently in different contexts, within different worldviews
    • Relate to, shift from identifying with and as to relating to more intentionally 
  • Different kinds of projections
    • See out there what’s also in here 
      • Turn around, find here
      • Familiar with out there first, then can find it (also) in here
    • Overlay of mental representations 
      • Make sense of the world
  • Wounds, trauma, hangups
  • Biases
    • We all inevitably have innumerable biases
    • We live within this universe, we have this particular physical body, we have this particular psychology (formed by Earth, evolution), we live in a particular culture, grew up in a particular setting (often family), have our individual experiences + traits
    • Good to notice and take into account
  • Two forms of oneness
    • Our nature noticing itself
      • The world to us appears as a seamless whole
    • In the world, seamless system
      • Universe story, epic of evolution, systems views, practices to reconect
      • At a story level, using stories to feel it viscerally
  • Mystery
    • Nature of thoughts 
    • Always more to learn 
    • Don’t know anything for certain 
    • Reality always more than, different from, less than 
    • Shifts in worldviews / context 
    • Reading in and as mystery, while also making use of information, knowledge, experience etc in conventional sense, pragmatic 
  • Practices
    • A more stable attention 
      • Helps with anything in life
      • Supports the other practices
    • Basic meditation 
      • Notice & allow
      • Notice it’s already noticed and allowed (simpler, less effort, nothing to manufacture)
    • Heart 
      • Tonglen
      • Ho’oponopno
      • Heart Prayer
      • Christ meditation
    • Inquiry
      • Structured inquiries, like training wheels for the attention
      • Big Mind and Headlessness, two that are simple and direct and we can experience with a facilitator and also learn to do for ourselves
    • Insight
      • Insight, comes from any exploration over time, kind of side-effect
        • Examples…
        • Attention wander, often goes into thoughts with a charge
        • All content of experience is change, so can I more fundamentally be anything there? What’s always here?
        • I am responsible for my own world – projections, mental overlay, happens within and as what I am
    • Befriend & awaken
      • Thank you for protecting me. I love you. Stay as long as you want. What’s your nature? What are you made of?
    • Body
      • Stable attention, well being,
    • Energies
      • Get familiar with, cultivate/transform
    • Pragmatic approach
      • What works
      • Guidance by someone more familiar, a coach
      • Not different from other explorations 
  • My story
    • Childhood 
    • Teens
    • Dark night 
  • Resources