When grounding in reality = censorship and lack of fun

I am part of a Facebook group for one of the healing modalities I use.

A few days ago, one of the members announced he had set up a new group for the same modality and invited people to join. His reason for setting up the group was the “censorship and lack of fun” in the existing group.

This made me and others curious. We haven’t noticed any censorship or lack of fun. Any topic is allowed, and there are frequent posts with (often quite funny) memes and jokes.

That’s obviously not what he means. So what is he referring to? Why does he experience the group as censoring and not fun?

Most likely, because he has posted conspiracy theories, and those posts predictably receive comments disagreeing and pointing out logical fallacies and poor or non-existent data and documentation.

That’s one of the reasons I like the group. Many there are sober, grounded, and invested in reality. We want to stay as close to reality as possible, which means analyzing statements and claims and pointing out weaknesses in the logic and data.

For him, that may feel like censorship. And, of course, it isn’t. If you post something in a public forum, you have to expect people to disagree with you and pick apart your argument. Especially when your argument is not very strong and is not backed up by solid data.

It may also feel like “lack of fun”. For him, it may be fun to indulge in conspiracy theories without being hampered by more sober views.

For me, it’s important to point this out. What he calls censorship is just normal pushback when you make big claims without being able to back them up. And what he calls a lack of fun is what you experience when you want to indulge in speculation and meet a more sober approach.

It may seem tempting to create another group that has the rules you want it to have. (Or lack of rules.) But there will be challenges in that group too, and if you have loose or nonexistent rules, you may discover why well-functioning groups have clear rules. In addition, you risk splintering the community which comes with its own consequences. (As I have seen from being involved in community groups for a few decades.)

Personally, I am not in that group for “fun”. I am there to pick up tips about how to better use the healing modality and to ask questions if there is something I am unsure about. Censorship doesn’t really apply, and if I want fun I find it somewhere else.

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Robin Wall Kimmerer: We say that humans have the least experience with how to live and thus the most to learn

In the Western tradition there is a recognized hierarchy of beings, with, of course, the human being on top—the pinnacle of evolution, the darling of Creation—and the plants at the bottom. But in Native ways of knowing, human people are often referred to as “the younger brothers of Creation.” We say that humans have the least experience with how to live and thus the most to learn—we must look to our teachers among the other species for guidance. Their wisdom is apparent in the way that they live. They teach us by example. They’ve been on the earth far longer than we have been, and have had time to figure things out.

– Robin Wall Kimmerer

That’s how I see it too.


In some essential ways, we are all the same. We all share ancestors going back to the first living Earth being. We are all parts of the same evolving living planet and the same evolving universe. We are all part of the same larger seamless whole. We are all the expression of the universe, just like any being and anything else.


And yet, as a species, we are very young.

We are especially young when it comes to dealing with civilization and advanced technology. We have a lot to learn from how ecosystems work and other species, especially since most of them have been around far longer than we have. Mainly, we urgently need to learn to take ecological realities into account in how we organize ourselves and how we see the world.


As a species learning to use mental representations in a complex manner, we are also young. We are still in the early phase of learning to relate to these mental representations intentionally and consciously.

It’s a new(ish) tool, and it takes time for us to figure out how to use it effectively. As it is now, we partially put it to good use, and we partially misuse it.

How do we misuse it? Mainly by not recognizing our mental representations for what they are, and taking them as more true than they can ever be.

And how can we learn to use this tool better? The essence is simple. By learning to recognize our mental representations for what they are: They are mental representations. They are not inherent in what we project them onto. They are questions about the world. They are provisional. They are here to help us orient and navigate. They cannot hold any full, final, or absolute truth.

Although the essence of this is simple, actually doing it sometimes requires a lot of examination and untangling, individually in our own lives and collectively as a culture and civilization.

And that is something we, as a species, largely have to figure out on our own.


Many of the challenges we collectively (and individually) face today come from being a young species. There are many things we haven’t figured out yet.

We have an economic system – and a civilization – built on the assumption that nature is limitless. That’s understandable considering our history with far fewer humans and far less efficient technology. Today, with billions of us and efficient technology, it’s clearly suicidal.

And we tend to hold some of our mental representations as truth, which creates a lot of distress and conflict – with ourselves, with others, and even with the rest of this living planet.

Image: Midjourney scene of a jungle

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Language includes body language

YouTube suggested this short to me, and I thought it was a great example of how language includes body language. If we are bilingual, and the languages belong to relatively different cultures, then switching language also means switching body language.

In this case, she gesticulates when she speaks English and becomes far more still when she speaks Japanese, even if she speaks with the same person and in the same setting. She also does the little bow I associate with Japan and their body language. You can see the switch about 38 seconds into the clip.

We are endlessly fascinating creatures.

Why I don’t drink coffee

Some say that caffeine gives us energy, so why don’t I drink coffee or tea?


The simple answer is that I don’t like the effects of coffee. I enjoy the taste well enough, especially when it’s good quality and well made. But I don’t like the effects in my system, I don’t like how it feels. And it also doesn’t really give me anything I want. So it’s an easy choice. I’d rather drink something else.


More to the point, caffeine is a stimulant. It makes me feel wired, and my mind can use this wiredness to ignore my body’s signals to slow down and rest. That’s not good for any of us. It can lead us to ignore these signals for too long, which can lead to burnout and crashes. I have even less wiggle room here since I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). If I ignore my body’s signals, I’ll crash quickly.


So what about the meme above? Why do some experience the effect of caffeine as anxiety?

I assume it’s because our mind notices the effects of the stimulant, and then interprets it as energy or anxiety. If we are not so conscious of it as a stimulant, we may call it something else.


What do I drink instead? In, daily life, I typically drink herbal or spice infusions.

And if I want something that actually gives me (deep) energy, I’ll drink bone broth. (Ideally made from beef bones cooked for a couple of days in a pressure cooker or slow cooker.)


Real energy calms down my system, and it gives me better and deeper sleep. I assume this is because my system has the energy to do what it needs, so it can relax. (If my energy is depleted, I can feel wired and have trouble sleeping.)

The quickest way for me to bring up my energy is through energizing with Vortex Healing. And this has shown me, many times, the difference between feeling depleted and wired, and the deeper relaxation that comes with real energy.

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Reflections from an abstract expressionist exhibition

I went to an exhibit of early abstract expressionist art at the Munch museum today, and it brought up a few things. These are perhaps not very important but at least slightly interesting to me.


When I was in the art world, in my late teens and early twenties, I noticed a pattern. Some created an identity for themselves that excluded certain categories of art. They rejected whole categories of art and didn’t seem interested in exploring or learning from it.

To me, that doesn’t make sense. Yes, since we have limited energy and time, we do need to limit what we do. (Although we can still explore a range of techniques, styles, and topics.)

But that doesn’t mean we need to limit what we appreciate and learn from.

Personally, I find art across times and cultures fascinating and often beautiful. I find nature in all its variety fascinating and often beautiful. And I find a lot of “accidental” art fascinating and beautiful. (Including urban spaces, junk yards, dilapidated buildings, and so on.) Visually, I learn from all of it.


I posted a detail from an abstract painting on Facebook, and someone commented: “I can paint that”.

Yes, you can paint an abstract painting. But you cannot paint it three generations ago when that one was painted, and it was a new and revolutionary way of seeing and a new and revolutionary of thinking about and doing art.

The art in this particular exhibition is interesting because of the time and place and historical context. It’s interesting because these were the pioneers. I found only a few paintings interesting visually, and even fewer beautiful. But that’s not the point. They are records of a big change in how we collectively look and what we (most of us) appreciate visually.

It opened up a whole new world to us. And I would assume it opened up a lot more appreciation of what we find around us of “accidental abstract art”. I know I have a great appreciation for it, and I assume it has something to do with living in a culture where abstract art has been around for a while.


Abstract art is not new. It’s just new-ish in European art.

We can find abstract art from a range of times and cultures.

And we can find abstract art in any art. If we zoom in on sections of figurative paintings (and sculptures), we find abstract colors and patterns. More in general, any representation is inherently an abstraction. It’s a representation of something else, and it is by necessity a simplification. It highlights some things and leaves a lot out.

The European abstract movement only highlighted and emphasized the abstraction inherent in nature and any art. And by doing so, it expanded the possibilities of how we do anything visual. It added something and didn’t take anything away. All the other ways of doing art are still here.

Personally, I only find a few examples of abstract art very interesting or beautiful. But I am very happy it exists.


I overheard a child say these classic words, unwittingly repeating what thousands of others have said before her.

A response came up in my mind: It’s not mainly about understanding it. It’s about what moods and feelings you have when you see it. Or what it reminds you of. (Perhaps an old painted door or something in nature?) It’s about opening our minds and hearts to the beauty in the visual abstractions all around us, whether we are in a human-made or natural environment. It’s about the historical context of the art and what the artists experienced and responded to.


I have to admit I thoroughly dislike the new Munch Museum building. Not because it’s edgy or innovative or unusual, because it’s none of those. It’s because it’s thoroughly boring. (And it blocks the view of the fiord from certain areas of Oslo which should be forbidden.) Even the Oslo airport and the main hospital in Oslo are more interesting and beautiful.

It is possible to make an innovative and beautiful building that people love. The Oslo Opera House next door, and the Astrup-Fernley museum across the harbor, are good examples. So why did they choose such a boring option? I am not sure. (Perhaps the architects were too persuasive for their own good?)

I would much prefer a lower building, perhaps partially underground. One that feels more human scale. One that uses more natural materials. (Stone, wood.) And one where many of the rooms are smaller and more intimate. I also enjoy spaces that have more angles and/or flowing forms.

The upside is that the curators and exhibition space designers seem to be doing a good job. Several exhibition rooms have low lighting, which creates a more calm atmosphere and highlights the art. And some of the walls are dark in color, which also highlights the art. (Some walls even complement the colors in the painting, for instance when a reddish-orange painting is on a wall that’s dark greyish blue.)


At the exhibit, they showed movie segments with a few early abstract expressionist artists. What struck me was how serious they all seemed to take it.

Why? It likely has to do with image. Appearing serious signals to others that this is serious business and should be taken seriously by others as well. Since they did go against previous European art, and against what much of the mainstream liked and wanted, that was perhaps even more important to them.

For me, artistic expression is also fun, play, and adventure. And I am sure many of these artists saw it that way as well, at least when they were out of the public eye and the cameras were not rolling.

Images: Detail of an early abstract expressionist painting. Detail from “Vampire” by Munch. (An abstract section of a figurative painting.) And two photos from the exhibit space.

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Awe and our nature

A recent study found that most people experience awe twice a week.

I assume this refers to bigger experiences of awe, perhaps triggered by nature, a baby, music, and so on.

For me, I would say that awe is always here. I may be focused on something else. And it may not be a label I consciously put on it. But it’s always here. There is always quiet awe here, and it seems connected with what I more fundamentally am. (And especially noticing what I more fundamentally am.)


If the oneness we are takes itself as primarily a human being, as something particular within the field of experience, then awe for us is likely something that comes and goes. It’s more about the bigger experience of awe, and that comes and goes as any other experience.


If the oneness we are recognizes itself, it seems a bit different.

Here, I find myself as the whole field of experience. I am what it all happens within and as. I am what the world, to me, happens within and as. That opens for a natural receptivity, and also a natural quiet sense of awe. It seems quietly inherent in our nature noticing itself. (Of course, it can be temporarily obscured by human reactivity, hangups, and so on.)


As far as I can tell, the awe is the same in these two instances, it’s more the expression that’s different.

One expression is the awe that comes and goes and is triggered by different things. This awe has a volume button and is connected with certain experiences and situations.

The other is a quiet awe that’s more in the background and always here, and it seems connected with noticing my more fundamental nature.

And both are here at the same time. There is a quiet awe in the background and the awe that has a volume button and becomes stronger in some situations.


There is also a special trigger of awe for me, and that’s the awe of anything existing at all.

How come there is something rather than nothing?

This stops my mind since it cannot find even the beginning of an answer anywhere.

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How will future generations look at CFS?

How will future generations look at Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME)?

Of course, nobody knows. But it’s possible to make some educated guesses.


It’s not much of a stretch to assume that CFS will go down in history as yet another illness that the medical profession – and society as a whole – didn’t take seriously enough.

Anyone with a more direct connection with CFS knows it’s a serious, debilitating, and very real illness, and one that often comes after a viral infection.


So why has the medical profession not taken it more seriously? Why doesn’t society take it more seriously?

There are several likely answers:

It impacts more women than men, and “women’s diseases” have traditionally not been taken as seriously as the diseases that impact men.

We don’t have an easy method for detecting CFS. It’s an exclusion diagnosis. We need to exclude a lot of other diseases it could be and are then left with CFS.

We don’t have a clear understanding of the mechanisms behind it. It’s easy for some doctors to assume it’s psychological. Or it’s something they don’t want to deal with because it’s difficult to diagnose and they can’t do much about it.

It may not be so attractive to most researchers. They may not know where to start. And even if they did find some answers, there hasn’t been much money in it. (That may change now that so many have some form of long covid.)

Those with CFS are typically in no position to speak up in a strong or well-organized way. We don’t have the energy or resources.


We knew that the covid-pandemic likely would lead to a lot more people with CFS, and that has turned out to be the case. The media is giving it more attention. And I assume there is more research now than before the pandemic, although the research is likely focused specifically on long-covid.

Long-covid is a post-viral syndrome and a form of CFS. It can take different forms, as can CFS in general. It often comes with fatigue, post-exertion malaise (PEM), and brain fog, as does CFS in general. And it does sometimes have characteristics more unique to covid, like lung damage. (In my experience, it impacted my memory and gave me Teflon brain, which CFS from the EB virus didn’t do in the same way.)


What is the mechanism behind CFS?

Nobody really knows. We may find one clear mechanism, and even then, I assume we’ll find a lot of factors that play a role. (In my case, I assume the trigger may have been a combination of genetics, stress, mold, and the Epstein-Barr virus. The second time I got strong CFS, it was following pneumonia.)


What will the solution be?

I have no idea. We may eventually find a medical treatment that works wonders. In the meantime, the best approach seems to be a combination of nutrition, herbs, rest, and cognitive and behavioral strategies to deal with the condition in the best way possible.

Chronic fatigue and what people see and don’t see

Yesterday, I met with two friends from art school that I haven’t seen for many years.

From their perspective, and if they didn’t know better, they met someone who looked and seemed well and engaged. And it’s easy for them to extrapolate and assume that’s how I am all or most of the time.

The reality is quite different. I rested for days before this meeting. The meeting was brief enough so I was able to stay engaged most of the time. (In groups, I also have a strategy of allowing others to talk while I rest.) And I am spending today in bed.

This is one of the classics for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME). We are often able to mobilize for short periods. (Especially if we can plan ahead and schedule rest before, during, and after.) And if someone only knows us through those glimpses, it’s easy for them to assume we are doing pretty well while the bigger picture is quite different.

I don’t always say anything about this to people. But if someone is a little more central to my life, I tell them what’s going on: I am able to mobilize now and then, especially if I can plan ahead and rest before, during, and after. It does cost, and it’s often worth it.

The same goes for what I write here, in its own way. I am only able to write now and then, often for a few minutes early in the day. Most posts are written in a few minutes. And I chose topics that are the easiest for me. Topics I know well from my own experience and where I don’t need to look up any background information.

Finca Milagros - view

A rich and simple life: going to evolution for clues

How do we live a life that we experience as rich, fulfilling, and meaningful?

I often go to evolution for clues to these kinds of questions.


How did we evolve? It obviously depends on the time and location, but in general… We evolved in small communities with close ties between the members. We evolved mostly in nature, with all our senses naturally engaged. We evolved interacting with nature in different ways, including foraging, planting, and tending to animals. We evolved working with our hands: Climbing, digging, throwing, planting, weeding, cooking, sowing, making simple pottery, and so on. We evolved being relatively active physically, doing daily tasks. We evolved helping others and our community. (And receiving help from them.)

We are made for that type of life. So it’s a good guess that something similar is what we will experience as natural, fulfilling, and even meaningful.


That’s how it is for me. During times when I am in nature and doing these kinds of tasks and activities, I feel naturally fulfilled and connected. This happens when I am at the cabin, which is in a forest and by a lake, without (much) electricity, where the heat comes from a fireplace, and where I need to chop wood and carry water. (If I am there by myself, I start missing people after one or two weeks.) It also happened when I lived in the countryside in Wisconsin (Mt Horeb), in an old farmhouse with a vegetable garden, where I got much of our food from working at a neighboring CSA farm one morning a week, and where just about all the food (vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat) came from neighbors I personally knew. (During this time, I was also involved in many meaningful community projects.)

Now, at Finca Milagros, this is even deeper in some ways. The house is mostly open to the elements. (The climate allows and encourages it.) We are planting a lot of food plants and other plants. We get more of our food from the local community and people we know. (And will get more as we make more connections.) We are engaging with the land and the local ecosystem in an even deeper way: we are supporting it to regenerate and rewild. There is a deeper sense of partnership with the land and nature there. And it’s also deeply fulfilling to know that this work will, hopefully, create the conditions for a better life for literally millions of beings.

When I have this kind of life, I find I don’t need very much. I mostly need the basics: shelter, water, food, and connections with a few people. (And for the latter, I appreciate the internet which is a kind of essential these days, even if I obviously could get by without it.)

When I don’t, during the times when I feel more disconnected from nature and people, I don’t feel very fulfilled. And that’s when things like compulsions, distractions, and consumerism come in.


Of course, this is very simplified. A sense of deficiency and lack also has a belief, identity, and emotional component. And not everyone is drawn to this type of life. But I would guess that the essence of this applies to most or all of us. We feel more fulfilled the more we are connected – to ourselves, others, and nature. And many of us feel more fulfilled when we are physically active and do and make things with our hands. (Which could take the form of yoga practice or a pottery class Thursday nights.)


The question then is: How can I bring more of this into my life now? How would my ideal (connected, engaged, meaningful) life look? And can I make a change in that direction?

These can be small steps: Take up yoga or tai chi. Grow some plants in the kitchen or on the balcony. Do a form of gentle mindfulness to connect with the body. Go for walks. Start up a book club with your neighbors. Adopt a cat. (Which is huge for the cat.) Join a pottery class. Learn about native edibles and wild foraging.

See below for more.

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Experience of time and age

Earlier today, I met with two friends (BB and KL) I haven’t seen for a very long time. It felt like no time had passed. And it was also obvious that we all have lived a full life between then and now.

In the beginning, we also talked a bit about our experience of time and age.

It’s common for people to feel they are still young, even in old age. And that’s not surprising.

Fundamentally, to ourselves, we are consciousness, and consciousness has no age. This is more fundamental to us than our human self which obviously does go through life and ages.

I find I fundamentally am consciousness, and the world to me happens within and as consciousness. Time and space and anything else happen within and as what I am. I am what’s free of time (aka timelessness) that time happens within and as. I am what’s free of space (spacelessness) that space happens within and as. I am what’s free of things (no-thing) that things happen within and as. And so on.

CG Jung: Among those in the second half of life… there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life

I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those in the second half of life – that is to say, over 35 – there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook.

– CG Jung

I don’t know exactly how Jung understands the term “religious outlook” and I won’t speak for him.

For me, I understand it in the widest sense possible. I would perhaps say “meaning, purpose, and connection with the larger whole”.

We all seem to have a deep need for meaning, purpose, and a sense of connection.

Why? Because existence is already a seamless whole. If we don’t consciously notice that, we will have a sense that something is missing. What’s missing is our conscious recognition of the connections that are already here, and perhaps the conscious cultivation of connections that are especially meaningful and important to us.

That connection is with ourselves as who we are, as a human being with a body and psyche. The connections here are with our body, subpersonalities, deepest needs and wishes (which tend to be simple and universal), and so on.

The connection is with our nature, with what we are. With our fundamental nature as consciousness, and noticing that the word to us happens within and as this consciousness. (And oneness.)

The connection is also with others, social systems, ecosystems, Earth as a living and evolving whole, the universe as an evolving seamless system, and existence as a whole. (I would call existence as a whole God.)

All of this is already a seamless whole. We are already in a relationship with it all. And as what we are, it’s all already happening within and as what we are. And if we are not consciously noticing these connections – and how it’s happening within and as what we are, we’ll feel we are missing something.

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A few recent examples of when my sense about something is especially strong

I am aware of and often follow my inner guidance or knowing in many areas of daily life. I have a choice, perhaps about what to eat which path to take if I am walking, or calling a friend, and follow it. In most cases, I don’t see any reason not to do so. (It’s aligned with what makes sense to me, or it’s on a topic that doesn’t seem hugely consequential.) Sometimes, I get caught up in my own fears and issues and are unable to follow it. (And get to see and live the consequences of that, which are typically not so pleasant.)

And occasionally, it stands out more. Perhaps it’s stronger or more clear. Perhaps it doesn’t quite make logical sense.

Over the last year and a half, this has happened a few times.


One was when I first saw Finca Milagros. We had seen several properties and they all seemed fine in their own way. And when I first put my foot on Finca Milagros, it was completely different. I deeply felt that this land had chosen us. This land wanted us there to protect it and help it thrive. I have not had that sense ever before. It also didn’t make much sense since it was much larger than what we had decided to look for. (15-30 times larger.) We didn’t really have the money. And, as we later learned, the land didn’t even have car access. But the feeling or knowing stayed, and it all somehow and miraculously fell into place. This was probably the strongest knowing.


During the process of getting to know the land, finding solutions, and signing the papers, we rented a house in the neighborhood. When I first drove down the road to the house, I saw a school and immediately had a flashback to a strong dream from my teens.

In my teens, in the middle of the initial awakening shift, I had three strong dreams. One was of what seemed like a previous life. (1) Another was a dream that clearly seemed to be about my future and came true fifteen years later. (2)

And the third was similar to the previous one. In this dream, I saw myself in the future with a partner from South America and living in a location in northern South America. Here too, I saw the location on a map in the dream. And I saw myself involved in the local school, not as a teacher but in terms of helping the school with resources and giving a better education and experience for the children.

The school on that road was the school from my dream. I was in complete shock. The only difference was that the school from my dreams had three buildings, and the one in reality had one. (Maybe the two extra buildings will be built.)

After we moved into our tiny house a year later, I realized I can see that school from the house. It’s perhaps just 400 meters away. And we now know one of the children going there.

This example is slightly different. It’s about a dream that seemed to show me the future. And the future in the dream is still in the future in terms of my life, so we’ll see how it unfolds. I do have a strong inner guidance to help the school and the children there, but between now and then is still some time.


Another example from about a year ago is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. When these things happen in the world, my sense is usually that it’s bad for the ones involved but it won’t spread very much into the rest of the world. I am usually at peace with it in that way. And in this case, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I had a very bad feeling about it. My inner guidance showed it spreading out from Ukraine.

Consciously and intellectually, it didn’t make so much sense. I too, as most others, thought Russia would quickly take over Ukraine. It would obviously be a terrible quagmire for Russia, and the west would condemn it, but it wouldn’t lead to much more. (Apart from encouraging Russia to continue swallowing up its neighbors as is its habit.)

But my inner knowing said something else. It said that this would be a bad situation that would spread further and involve larger parts of Europe. I didn’t know exactly how or why, but it makes more sense now looking back at how the situation has unfolded.

I obviously don’t know how it will continue to unfold, but I still have an especially bad feeling about it. What’s already happened fits the dream, and it’s not over. (3)

(1) I was an intellectual in Russia in the 1850s and was occasionally in Paris. Back in Russia, I was part of an informal anarchist group. I said I would do anything in my power to stop my fellow anarchist friends’ plans to use violence. I was later killed by one of them for that reason. When I shaved my head ten years ago, I found a birthmark exactly where I was shot in my dream and in this possible previous life.

(2) In the dream, I saw myself in the future living in the US Northwest and being involved in sustainability-oriented communities. In this dream, I saw the location on a map. When I woke up, I checked an atlas and realized it must be Oregon. The dream had a very strong sense of being about my future, which didn’t make sense at the time because I disliked US mainstream culture and politics. (And still do.)

(3) I don’t blame the western countries for supporting Ukraine. Putin has to be stopped. Otherwise, he’ll keep going with his project of recreating a Russian empire by taking over neighbors. And I definitely don’t blame Ukraine for fighting back. It’s the most understandable reaction to being invaded, and especially when the invader is an authoritarian country that will most certainly take away your democracy. (A flawed democracy but still a democracy.)

Dogen Zenji: When buddhas are truly buddhas, they are not necessarily aware of themselves as buddhas

When buddhas are truly buddhas, they are not necessarily aware of themselves as buddhas.

– Dogen Zenji in Genjo Koan

In some cases, the oneness we are recognizes itself and lives its life through and as a human being, and there is no awareness of it being unusual or having a name. It may not ever have heard about it, or it has heard about it but doesn’t apply it to itself. It’s just a natural and uncontrived living from and as itself as oneness.

In some cases, the oneness we are recognizes itself and there is an awareness of it as having a name, but it’s not a focus, and it’s mostly forgotten. The metaphorical center of gravity is mostly in oneness, it knows full well about labels and perhaps maps of the process, and labels are not important in daily life.

It’s mostly when the oneness we are has a tenuous conscious grasp on its own nature that it feels a need to hold onto labels and to remind itself about those labels. And that’s not wrong. It’s natural and innocent and a part of the process.

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Claude Monet: Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love

Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.

– Claude Monet

How would it be to set aside the impulse to understand, and instead find love for what’s here?

How would it be to find love for what’s here as an expression of life or existence?

Or find love for it as happening within and as the consciousness I am? (As it appears to me.)

And in this context, we can explore how to understand it.

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Dream: Finding eight minerals on the land and their essence

I am at Finca Milagros with several people at different ages. We participate in a kind of challenge or game, and our task is to find eight types of minerals on the land. We will identify and collect a sample of each, and purify them through a chemical reaction. The process is slightly different for each mineral, and will bring out its essence. We can work individually or as a team, and we are initially somewhat disorganized. I take charge of the process to help us all work together and get it done in an easier and more efficient way.

I see a couple of themes here. One is to extract the essence, in this case of something from the land. Another is to support a group in getting organized and doing the task in a more easy and efficient way.

Why Finca Milagros? I am not sure. I experience a deep connection with this magical land, and from the first second I saw and stepped on it, I sensed (?) it wanted me there to protect it. (That’s something I have not experienced before or since.)

Why disorganized and then take charge? I assume this mirrors being internally slightly disorganized and finding some order by taking charge.

Why extract the essence? In the topics I explore here, I like finding the essence and simplifying. (While also knowing there is value in the complexity and in each of the different layers.)

Why minerals? I love the minerals at Finca Milagros. They are beautiful and diverse and include fossils and crystals. I have collected a few special ones.

Why eight? Again, I am not sure. When I return to the dream, what comes up is that there are four cardinal directions, and eight may be the cardinal directions plus the four in between. My sense is that it has to do with fullness.

I’ll stay with this dream and see what more comes up.

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Adyashanti: The ego is waiting for a cosmic finish line: “I’ll be really really conscious so I can cross the finish line, then I don’t have to be conscious anymore”

The ego is waiting for a cosmic finish line: “I’ll be really really conscious so I can cross the finish line, then I don’t have to be conscious anymore.”

– Adyashanti

This fits my experience.

A part of me is scared and tired of having to deal with things all the time, so it wants it all to be finished. It wants the challenges to be finished. This can take many forms, including ideas about awakening or enlightenment being that finishing line.

That’s natural and innocent.

And it’s good to be aware of. It helps me see that this is a part of me. It feels scared and tired. It wishes for some comfort and care. And I can give it that. I can be with it. I can understand. I can find love for it. I can notice that its nature is the same as my nature.

What is the “ego”? As far as I can tell, it’s the dynamics that happen when we – or a part of us – hold a story as true. The oneness we are takes on the perspective of the story, identifies with and as it, and perceives and lives (to some extent) as if it’s true. That’s inherently stressful since it’s out of alignment with reality. That stress may lead to that part of us wanting it all to be over, perhaps through a kind of cosmic finishing line.

These parts of me wish for liberation. And I am the one who can give it to them. I can be their friend and guide.

I can be there for them. Listen to the painful story they operate from. Identify the painful story. Examine it to find what’s genuinely more true for me. Feel what these parts of me are feeling. Meet it with kindness and love. Recognize that these parts of me come from love, they wish to protect me. Give them what they really want. (Often a variation of something simple and universal like a sense of safety, being loved, understood, or supported.) Recognize that their nature is the same as mine. (AKA consciousness.) And rest in and as this and allow that to transform me, it, and our relationship.

The Lost King – following your passion, trusting your guidance, and don’t judge a book by its cover

About a decade ago, Philippa Langley found the grave of Richard III. And there is a lot to this story I find fascinating.

She has CFS/ME, like me. And she found a way to still do what she loved and was guided to do.

She followed her passion, which – when done with some discernment – can lead to a deeply fulfilling life.

She followed, trusted, and followed up on her inner guidance. (She sensed where his grave was. Trusted it because it fitted what she knew from history and guidance from sympathetic historians. Followed through by raising money and asking the archaeologists to dig out a skeleton they found there. And found Richard III.)

She wanted to redeem someone vilified by history, and she went against the agreed-upon view of most historians. (Richard III was vilified by the following Tudors, and most historians took their presentation of him as accurate, even if it goes against contemporary accounts of him.) She showed kindness, even if it was for someone who lived several hundred years ago, and she had the courage to stand for what made sense to her.

The story is a reminder of an unfortunate tendency in our culture (or humanity), and that is to judge a book by its cover. Many stories, including the Tudor and Shakespearian story of Richard III, equates a physical distortion or unattractiveness with psychological distortion or unattractiveness. That’s obviously not how life is. And it’s unfortunate that some contemporary movies and books still use this lazy and outdated association. Why is this seen as OK when sexism and bigotry are not? They all fall into the same category. They are false equivalences that hurt people.

I saw The Lost King a few days ago, which is a fiction movie based on this story, and I thought it was an enjoyable watch.

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Welcome to Mystery of Existence

This is an exploration into the mystery of existence with a focus on healing, awakening, culture change, and more. When it comes to healing and awakening, the articles are a mix of personal sharing, practical pointers, and attempts at mapping the healing and awakening process. What I write will inevitably reflect my own process, although I also have a focus on what’s more essential and universal.

There are many posts so you may want to start with a few selected articles or follow the tags or do a search on a topic you are interested in. You can also use the essential articles tag (only recent ones) or use the article finder.

If you are on Facebook, I have a pointers page with brief quotes from a range of sources, an articles page highlighting a few articles from here, and a more interactive group.

Please free to leave comments or send me a message. I’ll almost always respond.

Enjoy 🙂

Idealism, realism, our economic system and ecological reality

In Norway, there is a tradition of calling it “idealism” when someone cares for the Earth or works for social justice. I have always found that odd.

To me, creating a society that takes ecological realities into account is realism, not idealism.

It’s our only way forward.

If anything, business as usual is idealism. It’s based on the fantasy that we can continue to ignore ecological realities or that small tweaks are sufficient.


We have an economic system that was developed at a time when we didn’t need to take ecological realities into account. For all practical purposes, we had unlimited natural resources, and nature had an unlimited capacity to absorb our waste. Humanity was small enough, and we had poor enough technology, so we could afford that luxury.

These days, with our much larger numbers and much more efficient technology, we still use an economic system that has those assumptions built into it. And that’s insanity. It’s suicidal.

That’s why we find ourselves in a situation where our scientists – and common sense – tell us we have to make drastic changes now in order to survive. We cannot afford to wait any longer.

And this is not just about our economic system. This is about all our human systems and institutions. All of it needs to deeply transform to reflect ecological realities. That’s the only way we can survive and thrive in the long term.


We developed our current economic system in a way that made sense to us back then, over the last few hundred years.

And we can develop another system. One that takes the limits of nature into account. One where the actual cost is included in the calculations. One where what’s easy and attractive to do is also what’s good for our ecosystems and future generations.

And one where as many as possible, preferably everyone, has at least their basic needs met. That too is required for a more stable society that takes ecological realities into account. Desperate people create instability, and content people allow for stability. (Also, it just feels better for all of us to know that others have what they need.)


Why don’t more of us take this seriously? Why do most live as if nothing special is happening? Why don’t politicians take it seriously? Why do people continue to call it “idealism” instead of realism?

The general answer is that this is how systems work. Systems have many mechanisms to stay dynamically stable and only shift when enough builds up so it has to.

And in this case, there are many of these mechanisms at play.

We have evolved to take seriously what’s clearly immediate and impacts our daily life. And so far, the consequences of the current ecological unraveling seem distant. (In other locations or in the future.) We can explain them away. (Occasional extreme weather.) Or it’s slow enough so we get used to it. (Loss of biodiversity.)

We have evolved to operate on the timespan of weeks, months, or a few years. We typically don’t operate on the timespan of decades or centuries, and that’s the perspective we need to realize and take in ecological changes.

Politicians operate on the timespan of one or two election cycles. To them, it makes more sense to focus on what’s more immediate and short-term. They have few to no incentives to operate on larger timespans. (This is built into our political system and not their personal fault.)

Non-human species, ecosystems, and future generations don’t have a voice in our system. They are voiceless. And they are hugely impacted by our current ecological unraveling. Including their voice in our system in a real way – in our economy, politics, and business operations – would make a big difference. We can do this by giving them legal rights and advocates with power.

We take our cues from others. We see others living their lives as normal, so we assume all is fine and we don’t need to take things too seriously.

We assume we still have time. Things are fine now, and we’ll take care of it later when it’s more urgent. In this situation, we are not seeing the consequences of what we are doing until decades later. And we will have to live with the consequences for centuries if not millennia. It has been urgent for decades already, and many don’t seem to realize it because they have not yet seen or lived with the consequences. (When we do, it will be too late to stop what’s already set in motion, but we can make an effort to keep it from getting even worse.)

We assume someone else will do something. Politicians will do something. Or business leaders. Or activists. Or our children and future generations. That’s not how it works. This is the responsibility of each of us. This is about you and me. Not just others.


I don’t know what will happen any more than anyone else.

I imagine we’ll have to go much further into the crisis before we collectively take it more seriously. The words of scientists are not enough, it seems. And at that time, we’ll be far into dramatic changes that we’ll have to live with for centuries and millennia.

I imagine a lot of our resources will be tied up in dealing with the immediate dramatic consequences. It’s now that we still have the resources to make the bigger picture changes without too much hardship, so doing it now makes the most sense.

It may be a bottleneck for our civilization. I imagine many will die, especially those with the least resources.

I imagine there will be a diversity of responses, just as we see today. Many will just try to get by and focus on the immediate situation. Some will operate from a zero-sum view of the world. Some will take a bigger picture, a longer view, and focus on win-win solutions.

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Roshi Shunryu Suzuki: When you feel the oneness of everything, you naturally don’t want to harm anything

When you feel the oneness of everything, you naturally don’t want to harm anything.

– Roshi Shunryu Suzuki

I love exploring quotes. What do I find when I look at this one?


First, why does he use the word “feel” in this quote?

After all, when our nature recognizes itself, it’s not a feeling. As they say in Zen, it’s the love of the left hand removing a splinter from the right. It’s a love that’s not dependent on shifting states and feelings.

I imagine he may phrase it so it’s more relatable. He knows it’s not a feeling, but it’s an easy shorthand even if it’s also a bit misleading. And quotes always come in a context where it may make more sense.

He could also refer to a sense of oneness, a kind of intuition of oneness. That’s something that can happen before there is a more clear and direct noticing. That too would make it more relatable to more people.


There can be feelings related to our nature recognizing itself. When it happened here, there were many, probably partly because this human self was an angsty teenager not at all prepared for it.

From what I remember, it was first mostly just recognition and a sense of finally coming home to the reality that’s always been and that I have always known even without consciously knowing it.

And then a little later a mix of amazement, wonder, awe, overwhelm, shock, enthusiasm, and more. These were my human reactions to it, the response from my human self. And they were very much colored by the personal situation and make-up of my human self.

There was also another feeling created by these responses and one that’s difficult to describe in words. It was a kind of very comfortable bliss, like a kind of blanket. And for a while, I got a bit attached to this feeling. (This particular feeling went away later.)

And there is also another kind of bliss inherent in this recognition, or in our nature. This is a quiet bliss that seems less related to my human response to it.


There is another side to this, and that is what happens when the recognition matures us into it. As we get more familiar with this new terrain, and as more parts of us align with it, we get it more viscerally. We get it more with our whole being. Our center of gravity shifts into it.

This too is not really a feeling in the way we typically use the word, but since it’s more visceral it also fits.


All of this is peripheral to what the quote really refers to.


In a conventional sense, we are a human being in the world. That’s an assumption that works for most practical purposes. Here, not wanting to harm anything depends on conditioning, empathy, feelings, and so on.

When we explore what we are in our own first-person experience, we may find something else.

I find I more fundamentally am capacity for what happens in my sense fields, my content of experience. I am more fundamentally capacity for the world, for any sight, sound, sensation, smell, taste, and mental image and word. I am more fundamentally capacity for anything any thought or sense may tell me I am.

I find I am what the world, to me, happens within and as. I am what any content of experience happens within and as.

Said with other words, I find I am what a thought may call consciousness, and the world to me happens within and as the consciousness I am.


Here, there is oneness. The world to me is one.

And when the oneness I am recognizes itself, and explores how it is to live from this recognition, it’s natural to not want to harm anything. It would be like harming myself. It wouldn’t make sense.

This is not dependent on any changing feeling or state. It’s just dependent on the recognition. (Which is, in a way, a state – a state of recognition.)


And yet, that’s not all that’s in play here.

Our nature may recognize itself, and doing harm may not make any sense.

And life is more complicated. In some situations, doing what seems the most right may bring some harm. For instance, right now, I have a family situation that requires me to be away from my cat. I know it brings her distress but something else takes priority. That’s just a simple example, but it’s the kind of situation we often find ourselves in.

Also, our human self may not be completely on board with oneness.

Our psyche and personality were typically formed within separation consciousness, and many parts of us may still operate from separation consciousness even after there is a more general recognition of oneness.

These parts of us inevitably color our perception and actions in the world. They sometimes get triggered more strongly. And we may even get caught up in them in some areas of life and at some times.

That’s part of the process too.


There is an interesting mirroring here.

When the oneness we are takes itself to most fundamentally be something within itself, a separate self, then not wanting to harm depends on conditioning, empathy, and so on.

And when it recognizes itself, then conditioning tends to interfere with living from and as oneness.

Of course, it’s not that black and white. In the first case, the oneness we are shines through often enough. And in the second case, much of our conditioning does support living from not wanting to harm ourselves or others.


Then there is something peripheral that I have been curious about from the first day of getting into Zen when I was twenty-four in Salt Lake City.

Why do we put the title after the name? Why do most say “Shunryu Suzuki Roshi”? It’s like saying “John Smith, priest” instead of “priest John Smith”.

Yes, they may do it in Japan, but that’s because several languages in Asia use a reverse order from us.

I like to put Roshi first.

And yes, I know this has to do with a few different parts of me. One that wants things to make sense to myself and others. A part of me that likes to investigate and look at things from different angles. And also a slightly contrarian part of me that ties into the two others.

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Byron Katie: “I don’t know” is a lot of freedom

“I don’t know” is a lot of freedom

– Byron Katie

There is a lot to explore in these types of quotes.


It’s accurate that I don’t know. I don’t know anything for certain.

Any story is more or less accurate in a conventional sense. They fit the data more or less well.

Even if they seem relatively accurate, they highlight some features and leave a lot out.

They always come from a certain perspective and worldview. And there are inevitably many other perspectives and worldviews that make as much or more sense. Some would make as much or more sense to us now if we knew about them. Some may make as much or more sense to us in the future, with a bit more experience. And some of these would even turn our perception upside-down and inside-out.

Stories are different in kind from what they are about. (Unless they happen to be about mental representations). And that means they are inherently imperfect in terms of capturing anything in its fullness or in a very accurate way.

Reality is always more than and different from any map. (Any story – any mental representation whether it’s a mental image or words – is a map).

Stories cannot hold any final, full, or absolute truth. That’s not their function.

Any story I have about the world is provisional and a question.

It’s here to help me navigate and function in the world.

That’s why it’s helpful to examine any story we hold as true at some level in our being. And it’s good when we are able to hold them lightly.


“I don’t know” gives me freedom.

It frees up more of my natural receptivity and curiosity. It gives me the freedom to explore the validity in a range of different stories about the same topic.

It gives me the freedom to relate to these stories more intentionally and make use of them in whatever way makes the most sense in the situation.


At the same time, I know some things.

In a provisional and conventional sense, I know certain things.

I know what name I go by in this world. I know some about my history. I know how to read and write. I know, to some extent, how to take decent photos and make decent drawings. I know a few things about meditation and many spiritual practices, both from my own experience and from what others say about it. I know some things about the world. I know some things about ecology and sustainability. I know some things about what I feel and think and experience here and now. I know some of my preferences and likes and dislikes. And so on.

I can have an inner knowing or intuition. This too is a question about the world. (Although it often turns out to have wisdom and kindness in it.)

Also, it’s possible to know some things about my nature. I directly perceive something about what I more fundamentally am. I find myself as capacity for the field of experience, and what this field of experience happens within and as. And that is also provisional and a question. I know that this too can be turned upside-down and inside-out at any moment. I know there is always infinitely further to go.


“I don’t know” can also be used to hide.

We can use it to hide from others what we know. We say “I don’t know” when we actually do know something but don’t want to share it for whatever reason. Or we just stay silent when it would be more appropriate to share something.

And we can use it to hide from ourselves what we know. We know something we don’t want to know, and pretend to ourselves we don’t know. Or we distract ourselves from it, perhaps by going into compulsions.

In my case, a part of me wants to hide in general to feel more safe. This is a response to challenging situations from early in life, and I still live out that pattern in some situations and areas of life. For instance, I don’t use my name on this website, and I very rarely talk with anyone about the topics I write about here, even if they are central to my life. (I hide to stay more safe, but it doesn’t work. If anything, it just leads to frustration in the long run.)

In some situations, we can use “I don’t know” as a shield or a weapon. (And when that happens, we know.)

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Is it possible to directly perceive change?

I remember my old Zen teacher (GR) saying that meditation helps us directly perceive impermanence.

But is that true?

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


At some level, basic meditation does help us recognize impermanence. We notice that all content of experience, including what we take ourselves to be within the content of experience, comes and goes.

Over time, we may get a more visceral sense of impermanence. We know it with our being.

As mentioned in a previous article, this can help us appreciate what’s here since everything is a guest, it can help us orient so we can find more peace with the changing nature of everything, and it also points to our more fundamental nature.


This one is equally interesting to me.

When I explore this in my own experience, I realize I cannot have a direct perception of impermanence. It’s always filtered through my mental field.

Any sense of change or impermanence comes from comparing my images of what’s in my sense fields now with images of what was in my sense fields a moment ago. It comes from comparing mental representations.

Of course, I directly perceive these mental representations. But I am not directly perceiving change or impermanence. That’s something that only comes through comparing different mental images.

Without this overlay and comparing of mental images, what’s here is just what’s here without any ideas of past, future, or even present, and without any idea or sense of change.

During meditation, there have been times when this mental overlay drops away and any sense of continuity or even of change falls away with it. For instance, I had music on when this shift happened, and the music fell away. There was just a sound here and now without any experience of continuity or past notes. This state highlighted certain aspects of how my mind works and motivated me to later explore it more intentionally through inquiry.


So it depends.

We can certainly have the experience of directly noticing impermanence. And we directly perceive the concepts that give us an experience of change and impermanence.

At the same time, when I look a little closer (or when it’s shown to me through shifting states), I realize I cannot directly perceive change or impermanence. I can only get a sense of it by comparing mental images – labeled now and then – happening in immediacy.

It depends on what we mean. Do we mean a more general and somewhat unexamined experience? Or do we mean what we find when we look a little closer?

Note: I can’t remember hearing anyone talk specifically about this, but I am sure it must be a common noticing. People may not talk about it very much because other things are more important, or because this is something we discover for ourselves in time. To me, it is somewhat important since it shows me – through direct noticing – something about how my mind works.

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Impermanence – good to remember, the great cleanser, happening here and now & pointing to our nature

To the extinct, the lost and the forgotten. Everything that comes together is destined to fall apart.

– Yuval Noah Harari in the foreword to Spaiens, the Spanish graphic novel version

Everything that comes together falls apart.


It’s good to remember.

It helps us appreciate what’s here even more. Anything in my life now, and anything in my direct experience, is a guest. It all comes and goes. And it will never be here in the same way again.

It can also help us find more peace with all that inevitably falls apart, which is everything. Everything and everyone we know will fall apart. All of what we know will be forgotten.


Impermanence is the great cleanser.

Existence takes a certain form, and then another, and everything that went before is gone.

At most, it exists for a while in our imagination, but that will eventually be gone too. Impermanence wipes the slate clean to allow itself to take new forms.

Without death, there cannot be new life. Without the death of individuals, there would not be room for new individuals. Without the death of species, there would not be room for new species. Without the death of stars, none of what we know would be here. (Apart from stars and space.) Without the death of this moment, there would be no new moment.


We can find impermanence in stories, as described above. We know from our life, history, and science that everything changes.

And we can also find impermanence in our immediate noticing, or at least in a combination of our immediate noticing and our mental representations.

What’s here is here. I can find the previous moment in my mental images and stories. And I notice that what’s here is different from what happened previously.

What’s here is here. What’s here is always fresh and new. It’s never been here before. It will never be here again. It’s different in kind from any idea about past or future since those are ideas. (1)


Impermanence points to my more fundamental nature.

I assume that’s why impermanence is such a focus in Buddhism. It’s not just to help us appreciate what’s here or psychologically prepare for all falling apart, which is valuable in itself. It helps us find what we more fundamentally are.

Apart from some types of inquiry, basic meditation may be the most direct and effective way to explore impermanence.

We notice and allow what’s here. (We fail. And notice that what’s here in our field of experience is already noticed and allowed.)

Over time, we notice that any and all content of experience comes and goes, including whatever we assume we are. Everything related to this human self comes and goes in experience. Everything related to anything we can take ourselves to be – a doer, an observer, etc. – comes and goes in experience.

I cannot most fundamentally be any of that since all of it comes and goes in experience. Anything within the content of experience comes and goes.

We have discovered what we are not, and out of habit we may still look for what we are within the content of experience. Finding what we more fundamentally are requires a figure-ground shift. And this can be guided by some forms of inquiry. (Headless experiments, the Big Mind process, and so on.)

I find I more fundamentally am (what a thought may call) capacity. I am capacity for the whole field of experience. I am what the field of experience happens within and as.

And any ideas of that happens within the content of experience, come and go, and is not what I more fundamentally am.


(1) Really… What’s here is here. Anything else is a mental image. I cannot find the past or future outside of my mental representations. I cannot even find the idea of “present” outside of my mental representations.

I cannot find impermanence in my immediate noticing. I can only find when I compare my mental representations of what’s here with my mental images of what was just here. And that’s often very helpful. It gives us a more visceral sense of impermanence and that it’s ongoing.

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The world doesn’t fit categories

It seems pretty obvious. The world doesn’t fit neat little categories.

So why do I even mention it?

Because it points to something important about how our minds work.


Our experience can be distinguished into sense fields. We can say that these sense fields are physical sensations, sight, sound, taste, smell, the mental field, and so on. (That distinction itself is made up of categories and we can imagine other ways to make that differentiation. It’s made up for convenience.)

Our mental field functions as a kind of overlay on the world. We make sense of the world through an overlay of mental images and words. And we can say that this overlay consists of labels, imaginary boundaries, stories, and so on. (That too is a somewhat arbitrary distinction made for convenience.)

These mental field overlays are created by our minds. None of it is inherent in the world.

That seems obvious too.


And yet, there is another layer here.

Our immediate experience of the world is filtered through this mental overlay.

And what’s not here in our immediate experience – the whole rest of the world – only exists to us in our mental field.

There is a whole lot of imagination going on here.

We imagine boundaries, distinctions, labels, categories, stories, and so on. And we imagine anything that’s not here in immediate experience. We imagine the whole rest of the world.


In a sense, all this mental field overlay is doing is categorizing. It creates imaginary divisions, labels, stories, and so on. And it’s all a way to categorize the world.

What’s the function of this?

It’s all to help us orient and function in the world.

Without it, we wouldn’t be able to function. It’s all essential for our life in the world.


Thoughts have some characteristics.

They function as a map of the world, to help us orient and navigate.

They help us explore possibilities before we act in the world.

They are questions about the world. They are always provisional and up for revision. (Even what may seem the most solid to us is that way, including what comes from what we see as the most authoritative source. And the idea of authority is another question about the world.)

They cannot hold any final, full, or absolute truth. That’s not their function.


And the world is always more than and different from our maps.

Our mental field overlay is an overlay created by our mind. The distinctions, labels, and stories are not inherent in the world. It’s ours.


Again, all of this may seem obvious. So why even mention it?

It’s because it may be obvious to us in a general sense and intellectually, but is it obvious to us at a more visceral level?

Often not. Our mind and system tend to hold onto some stories as true, often without even realizing it.

And that’s what creates hangups, closed minds, a closed heart, rigidity, contraction, tension, and stress. Taken to the extreme, it’s what creates fundamentalism, bigotry, and intentionally harmful behavior.


How can we explore the parts of us holding onto stories as true?

Inquiry is one way, and especially structured inquiry guided by someone familiar with that terrain.

What I have found most effective is The Work of Byron Katie, Kiloby Inquiries, and perhaps also the Big Mind process.

Another approach is any form of therapy we are drawn to and that works for us. That too can help us identify and find some freedom from taking stories as true.


Why do we have such an apparently unhealthy relationship with our mental field?

Why do we hold onto some stories as true even if they are obviously painful and not as true as we pretend they are?

The simple answer may be that we do as others do. As we grow up, we do what we see others do.

Another answer is that we try to find safety in holding certain thoughts as true. It seems to give us an advantage. We can pretend we know how things are. We don’t need to stay open and receptive, at least not in the area of life covered by that particular story.

The reality is quite different. Holding onto these stories is out of alignment with reality. We pretend something that’s not true. And somewhere in us, we know what’s going on. We cannot trick ourselves. And that creates stress.

Holding onto stories as true creates stress in other ways as well. It is created by our mental field so we need to remember, rehearse, and prop up the story. We need to defend it when life or others inevitably show us something out of alignment with the story. We create rigidity in our perception and life. We miss out on options in life. We may get into conflicts with others just because we hold different and apparently incompatible stories as true.


We can take these explorations further.

We may realize that even our ideas about who or what we are are ideas. They do not reflect reality in an accurate or complete way. We can even examine each of these stories and find what’s more true for us.

So what are we more fundamentally?

When I look, I find I am more fundamentally capacity. I am capacity for the world as it appears to me. I am capacity for the sense fields and anything happening within content of experience.

I am the field all of it happens within and as, including any sense impressions that my mental field says is this human self, any ideas of what I am or am not, and any tendency to hold any one of those ideas as true or not.

Dream: I am black

I am at Finca Milagros and have been here for a long time. (Playing my small role in supporting the land to become more vibrant and diverse.) As I pass a mirror, I see my face and am surprised. My face – and likely my whole body – is black and sinevy. I am surprised that people recognize me since I almost don’t recognize myself. The transformation is completely fine with me. It’s just what happens naturally by being here.

The sun in Finca Milagros is strong and regular, and it did recently go through my mind that I would get a lot darker by spending time here. I also sense that I will be thoroughly transformed by this land, just as I am supporting the land in transforming.

The dream may reflect this, and perhaps a knowing in me that it may or will happen. And it’s completely OK with me. A part of me is even enjoying it and wants it. It’s what happens by being here. The land transforms me.

I help the land regenerate and rewild, and the land may help me in a similar way. There is a mutuality here.

AI images & what people like

Which one of these do you like most?

When I started getting into art in my teens, it was quickly clear that what most people like is often quite different from what the creator themselves like. And I am reminded of that again, with the AI images I have had fun creating over the last few weeks.

For instance, I recently posted one series of painted wood toys and another series of sacred sculptures. (See an example from each above.) I personally easily prefer the sculptures. They are far more interesting to me. And although I wouldn’t call the AI images I help generate “art”, I also know that these sculptures – if hand-crafted in real life – would be considered interesting and perhaps even good art. The wood toys, on the other hand, would be more playthings and curiosities and not terribly interesting.

When I post these, the response from others is the reverse. I typically get very little response to the sculptures, and people love the wood toys. On the main Facebook group for sharing Midjurney images, the wood toys got 300+ likes, and the sculptures one (!).

Why is that?

It may be because the wood toy is more relatable. It’s colorful. It’s something you can imagine having yourself. It’s more ordinary and familiar. And it’s easier to take in quickly since it is more colorful and familiar. On a social media feed, it “pops” more.

The sculpture, on the other hand, doesn’t stand out in the same way. It’s dark. It’s not colorful. It’s less familiar. It requires time and attention to take it in.

We see this in the art world too. Classic artworks are curated by experts, and people will go to museums to see them. They see some of the best classic art exactly because it’s curated by experts.

With contemporary art, it’s often a bit different. It’s not curated in the same way. And most people like art that’s relatable, pop, and easy and quick to take in. That’s not necessarily the most amazing art. For that reason, the best contemporary artists are often less known and less popular.

Note: As I have written before, I enjoy exploring AI images right now. It’s fascinating, and I can get out some of the images in my mind that I wouldn’t be able to create by hand. (I used to do art full-time in my teens and early twenties, but life took a different direction, and because of my disability it’s been difficult to take it up again to the extent I would like.)

I also see AI art as a reminder that all art is collective. The author is really humanity or existence as a whole. The AI is fed thousands or millions of images created by thousands or millions of people, and the prompts just get out some of the immense potential stored in the AI. I cannot take much credit for what comes out. All I am doing is coming up with the instructions, refining them, and curating the results.

Existence as a whole is the real creator. As is the case with anything the universe is creating through its local and temporary expressions we call humanity, culture, and individual humans.

Awake without realizing it?

Is it possible to be awake without realizing it?

Is it possible for the oneness we are to recognize itself without realizing it?

It sounds almost like a contradiction, but I would say yes.


Without having any statistics, I assume many who would be considered awake are not aware of it. They may have been born that way and live their lives mostly from it, without realizing it has any labels and without being interested in any labels.

The oneness they are recognizes itself and lives from that noticing.

It recognizes itself as the field that any and all experiences happen within, including of this human self.

It may not be that conscious all of the time. There may not be the realization that this is different from how most other onenesses perceive and life. It may not happen all of the time.

And yet, there is a general awakening without realizing that’s what it is or that it has any name.

To others, and maybe to themselves, they likely just seem like a normal and relatively healthy, sane, and kind human being.


Similarly, most or all of us have tastes of it without realizing that’s what it is, or what’s going on.

The oneness we are recognizes itself without perhaps being very conscious of it or having any names for it.

It’s just something that happens. It may happen more easily in certain situations, and we may attribute it to those situations. What happens is that we forget about ourselves. We literally forget to identify as this separate self and find ourselves as what’s left – this open field of experience. This can happen any time we are absorbed in what’s happening, for instance reading a book, doing art, being in a flow state, sex, drugs, music, yoga, martial art, sports, or something else.

When the oneness we are recognizes itself, it’s not really a state. It’s the field that any and all experiences happen within and as that recognizes itself. And yet, it may seem like a state since it comes and goes in time. It’s interpreted as a state. (That’s not entirely wrong. In this case, it is a state in that it comes and goes. And it is the state of the oneness we are recognizing itself.)


I’ll give a brief background, even if this is included in a lot of other articles here.

In one sense, we are this human being in the world. That’s what the passport tells us, it’s what others tell us, and it’s what our thoughts may tell us. It seems real, and it’s not wrong.

And yet, to ourselves, in our own first-person experience, we may find we are something else. When I look in my own first-person experience, I find I am more fundamentally capacity for the whole field of experience that’s here. I find I am what this whole field of experience happens within and as.

This is what’s often labeled awakening.

It can happen as an intuition or a glimpse. Recognizing it can be a habit. Our metaphorical center of gravity can shift from taking ourselves as this human self (a separate self) to finding ourselves as this field. We can explore to life from this noticing. We can invite the different parts of our psyche, often formed within and operating from separation consciousness, to join this oneness. And so on.


This article points to a range of different things. It can be the oneness we are intuiting itself. Our center of gravity being shifted towards oneness. Mostly living from – and as – oneness. Or any combination of these. And without being very consciously aware of what’s going on or having any labels or theoretical maps for it.

That’s wonderful. It’s just as wonderful and interesting as having maps.

And it’s perhaps simpler and less contrived, which has its own beauty.

When something I don’t like happens, what stories do I tell myself about it?

When something we don’t like happens, what stories do we tell ourselves about it?


There have been recent reports on how the massive losses of Russian soldiers in Ukraine leads to increased support for the war among Russians.

It’s not so surprising. It’s a classic way for us to deal with cognitive dissonance.

A large number of people die in the war, including many Russian men. (They are poorly trained, have poor equipment, and are often poorly led. And the ones who survive will be scared for life, bringing their traumas back into Russian society.)

So Russians, and especially the ones directly impacted, have a choice.

They can see it as meaningless and an enormous waste of human lives and resources. This would be painful, which would perhaps be OK if they had the support of the people around them. In this case, it would put their views at odds with the majority of the people around them and the views of the Russian government and media. Voicing it would also put them at risk of going to prison.

Or they can use it to fuel their support for the war. They can justify it in their own minds, and align with the majority view and the view of the government.

Many will choose the latter. They can tell themselves that the deaths are justified and necessary since the war is justified and necessary. And they can fit in with the majority view around them and of the government and media.


When something happens that I see as unfortunate, what stories do I tell myself about it?

Do I try to find a meaningful reason for it? Do I tell myself stories about karma, that everything happens for a reason, and so on? When I imagine into this, I find stress. Somewhere in me, I know what’s going on. I know I am telling myself stories to feel better about what happened, and that I cannot know if they are true.

Do I tell myself obviously stressful stories about it? It’s a tragedy. I made a mistake. I did something wrong. This is obviously stressful and a way for me to torture myself. And here too, I know somewhere that these are stories I tell myself. I am trying to make sense of what happened by making it worse in my own mind and blaming myself. And I cannot really know.

Do I recognize that these stories are stories? That I don’t really know? For me, this is more peaceful. It’s aligned with reality. And here, there is another option and that is to make conscious use of what happened. I can make use of the situation to find healing, mature, be more engaged in the world, and so on.

I know that any story I tell myself about it is a story and I cannot really know. And I know I can make conscious use of what happened to grow.

What does it take for us to arrive at the third option? I assume it depends on a lot of different things. We may have seen other modeling that option, and it looks attractive to us. We may have access to practical guidance on how to do it. (A friend, therapist, inquiry facilitator, etc.) We may have suffered enough from the two first options and be ready for something different.

Dream: Friends from childhood

I am in South America and see several school mates from elementary school in a roadside restaurant. One of them is SES, a good friend from that time. We talk. He has his son with him and as they walk down a path, they visually almost disappear. Their bright yellow and orange t-shirts with a chess square pattern blends in with the orange light and the pattern from the sun filtered through the leaves. It’s fascinating to me how they become camouflaged.

In a post yesterday, I wrote about how I have done healing for a childhood situation where I felt bullied. I noticed that my memory focused on being bullied, and of some friends turning on me when the bullies were present.

SES from this dream was a friend who never turned on me. He was consistently a good friend, which this dream reminds me of. When I focus on the bullies, my mind sometimes camouflages the ones who were good friends, just like in the dream.

My sense is that this dream reminds me of the bigger picture. I had good friends, and my mind sometimes overlooks that when I focus on the bullies.

Memory consists of mental images and words happening here and now. It’s created and recreated in each moment. Memory is imagination that we label memory, it’s our interpretation of what happened, and is more or less accurate in a conventional sense. It’s not an accurate representation of what happened.

Visualize the other as healed, whole, wise, and kind, and have a dialog

Dialog is an important part of many approaches to healing.

And this includes a dialog with parts of ourselves, or with people from our past, in the world, creatures from mythology, dream characters, animals, plants, landscapes, or anything else. These all represent current parts of ourselves.


I have a version I find very helpful:

Identify someone from your past (or present) you have a difficult or unresolved relationship with.

Visualize that person as healed, whole, wise, and kind. Visualize a mature version of that person.

Dialog with that person. Tell her or him how you feel about your relationship or what happened in the past. Listen for their answer. Continue with the dialog as it naturally unfolds.

Ask them about their experience and listen to their answer. Ask them how they experienced you. Ask them how they would like your relationship to be. And so on.

Keep it real and authentic, and remember that the other is stably healed, whole, wise, and kind.

You can also spend time in silence with that person, or hug and rest in that for a while.

Continue until you experience a deeper resolution and perhaps even peace.


I did this with some bullies from school and was surprised by some of what they said, how authentic it all felt, and the sense of resolution that came out of it. (They told me about their own pain from family problems, that they saw me as rejecting them, and so on.)

It obviously didn’t heal everything around the situation. In response to the original situation, my mind created deeper coping patterns (wanting to hide, etc.) that require more exploration. But it did shift how I consciously relate to the original situation and people.

When I look back at it now, it feels and seems quite different. I have far more peace with it.


I imagine some may say: But it’s not true. The other person is not like that. It’s fake. If I do this, I would just deceive myself.

Yes, it may not be true in a conventional sense and in the world. The other person may not be like that. And that’s fine. This is about your own inner process.

The other person represents a side of you. And that side of you has the potential to be whole, healed, kind, and wise. You are tapping into that potential. You are helping that side of you find how it is when it’s more whole, healed, kind, and wise, and you get a sense of how it is.

Also, this is about gaining insight into the situation. How would a whole, healed, kind, and wise person see the situation? What would she or he say? What would that person say, if she or he was healed, kind, and mature?

Finally, we all have the potential to be that way. All the different sides of us have that potential. And each of us as an individual has that potential. It’s in us all. This exploration reminds us of that.

Distance healing: Strengthen your inner guidance


Distance healing March 11 & 12, 2023 

We offer two healing sessions to help you connect with and follow your inner guidance. (AKA intuition, inner voice, the voice of the heart.) 

The energetic work will focus on clearing the path for you to connect with and follow your guidance in daily life. 

And we will also have conversations and exercises to help you connect with and follow your guidance in daily life. 

We will have one session on each of the two days, each of approximately one hour. During these sessions, we will focus on clearing as much conditioning as we are allowed in your system, in order to support you to (a) connect with your inner guidance and (b) follow your inner guidance. 

Specifically, we will channel to energize and relax your energetic systems. Awaken and transform identifications, identities, and personality pieces related to the central themes. Integrate and nourish your system. Outside of the two sessions, will also do two planetary pujas to support the process, and you will be in the grid for these two days. We will also do practical exercises. 

This is the schedule: 

March 11, 2023. 9 am New York time.

First session:

  • Angelic heart to relax and center
  • Repair divine and vital web lines
  • Peace in the center of the heart 
  • Vortex Energy to energize your systems
  • Clean and energize energy pathways
  • MIJI Mantra to awaken identities related to the main issue in your systems that is not allowing you to have a connection with your inner guide and follow your inner guide
  • Clear in the chakras the main issue in your systems that is not allowing you to have a connection with your inner guide and follow your inner guide
  • Clear in the mental body the main issue in your systems that is not allowing you to have a connection with your inner guide and follow your inner guide
  • Clear in the emotional body the main issue in your systems that is not allowing you to have a connection with your inner guide and follow your inner guide
  • Crystal-gem treatment (lasts 20 more minutes in your system)

March 12, 2023, 9 am New York time

Second session:

  • Angelic heart to relax and center
  • Vortex power to energize your systems
  • MIJI Mantra to awaken what is most stuck in relation to the main issue in your systems that is not allowing you to have a connection with your internal guidance and follow your internal guidance
  • MIJI Mantra to awaken conditioning in relation to the main issue in your systems that is not allowing you to have a connection with your inner guide and follow your inner guide
  • Clean the organ that is most conditioned in relation to the main issue in your systems that is not allowing you to have a connection with your internal guide and follow your internal guide
  • Grid and angelic heart to integrate the system as a whole
  • Energy of the Divine Mother to integrate
  • Gems and crystal treatment (lasts 20 more minutes in your systems)

Channelers: Alejandra Lobelo (MI) and Pedro Lund (UAP)

Limited spaces. 

Price: 50 USD or the equivalent

Location: Where you are. This is distance healing.

How do I receive the sessions?

Find a quiet place where you can be undisturbed for the session. You can sit or lie down. You can also have a candle during the session, and music conducive to staying present and relaxed. 

What may I experience during and after the sessions?

Each person has a different energy system. For this reason, the reactions and sensations during and after the sessions may be very different. You may experience tingling in their bodies during the sessions, a feeling of deep relaxation, drowsiness, a sensation of levitating, you can feel the presence of ascended masters such as Christ, Buddha, or Amma, or an angelic presence. You may experience being cold or hot. You may experience peace, love, and joy. Or you may experience dizziness or nausea. All this can happen together, or individually. Some may also not experience any of this. 

Drink plenty of water after healing and the following day. It can also be good to take an Epson salt bath and walk in nature. 

Feedback: Please feel free to send us your questions and feedback, and we will also give you feedback following each session. 

Thank you for being in this work that we do for the good of each one of us and all that exists. 

For more information and to sign up, email ale.sanarconenergia@gmail.com or send a message to WhatsApp +573156163693 

Please share this with anyone who may be interested. If you invite someone to join, you will get a 50% discount for your own participation. 

Ibn ‘Arabi: O Lord, increase my perplexity concerning Thee!

O Lord, increase my perplexity concerning Thee!

– Ibn ‘Arabi in Fusus al-Hikem and quoted in The Honesty of the Perplexed: Derrida and Ibn ‘Arabi on “Bewilderment”

Why would we ask for perplexity?

The simple answer is that it helps us with receptivity, and it’s closer aligned with reality.


This is not about creating perplexity.

It’s about noticing that everything is ultimately mystery.


What we think we know is just that, what we think we know.

Any thought is a question about the world.

Thoughts are maps to help us orient and function in the world.

They are provisional and always up for revision.

They will change with experience and information.

And there are other contexts and worldview that fit the data as well or better, and will make as much or more sense to us, and that will turn everything inside out and upside down for us.

They cannot hold any final, full, or absolute truth.

The world is always more than and different from any map.

And that leaves the mystery. The mystery that’s already here.


This is not only about God. This applies to everything.

And if we call everything God, then it is only about God.


Why is this important?

As mentioned above, it’s closer aligned with reality. It comes from noticing what’s already here.

And it helps open us to be a little more receptive. It helps us find curiosity and go outside of what we already think we know.


It’s also a kind of prerequisite for noticing our nature. The more we shift out of any ideas of being anything in particular, or that any view has any real truth in it, the more we can find what we more fundamentally are.

As soon as we hold onto any ideas of being anything in particular, we identify with an identity, we identify with the viewpoint of that story, we take ourselves to be something within the content of experience. And what we more fundamentally are is something else. We are capacity for it all, and we are what it all happens within and as.

Holding onto that as an idea does the same, it ties us to a particular view and we take ourselves as something particular within the field of experience instead of the field itself.

The solution here is noticing what’s already here. Noticing what we already are. Noticing what we already are most familiar with. Noticing what’s all we have ever known.

And to notice with some guidance from someone familiar with that particular terrain.

Read More

Nature documentaries & systems views

I loved the David Attenborough nature documentaries when I grew up, and I love David Attenborough for what he has done to awaken a love for nature in generations of TV viewers.

At the same time, something has struck me about the regular approach to nature documentaries.

They typically take a serial focus on isolated species, with a few prominent examples of interactions with other species or their environment.

They rarely take a systems view. They tend to not emphasize nature as a system and look at dynamics within that system. (Which, of course, includes humans and human civilization.)

To me, that would be far more interesting.

They could still highlight species and draw in people that way. And they could certainly include far more of a whole system view. I imagine that would be fascinating to many viewers.

And it’s hugely important, especially today. It’s enormously important to help people understand and start thinking at a systems level. It’s the only way we can effectively deal with the ecological crisis we find ourselves in the early phases of. (It started hundreds and really thousands of years ago, and we are quickly heading into its culmination.)

I would love to see a series that takes a systems view of nature in general. And, even more, I would love a series that takes a systems view on human history, human interactions with the rest of nature, and the effects on human civilization and local, regional, and global ecosystems.

I have wanted to see that for decades, since my teens when I got deeply into system views (Fritjof Capra and others) and the “green history” of the world.

Back then, I remember I thought that change would happen within a few years, but as far as I can tell it hasn’t yet. The caveat here and that is that I don’t watch TV so there may be series out there taking a systems view that I don’t know about.

The pandemic, epidemiology, and the importance of historical knowledge

I have written about this several times and thought I would revisit it briefly.


Since childhood, I have been fascinated by epidemiology. I read articles and books about it growing up, I learned about it in school, and it’s one of the topics I studied at university.

I found the history of it fascinating: How people have understood diseases throughout history and in different cultures. How people have tried to prevent or lessen the impact of spreading diseases. How ships were quarantined, even centuries before we had an understanding of germs. The early modern investigations into the spread of diseases, for instance, the infected well in London spreading cholera. The initial treatment of Semmelweis and others who argued for hygiene. How simple things like clean water, hygiene, and a better diet are responsible for most of the improvements in health we have seen over the last century.

And when it comes to pandemics: What has historically worked and not worked in times of pandemics. (Limiting travel and contact, quarantine, and good hygiene.) And how people tend to react in times of pandemics. (Some groups will react by fueling blame, scapegoating, and conspiracy theories.)


When the pandemic came a few years ago, I was not surprised. Pandemics typically come once a century, and this came just on schedule. (About one hundred years after the last major one, the Spanish Flu.)

I was also not surprised by the measures put in place by governments around the world. These are the typical measures put in place in times of pandemics, and the ones we know work based on what we have learned from history. Most governments followed established best practices. (WIth China and Brazil as notable exceptions.)

And I was not really surprised by the surge in conspiracy theories. That’s how some people react in times of pandemics. They want to find a scapegoat. They distrust the government. They oppose common-sense measures to prevent the impact of the pandemic. Even if these are temporary, protect vulnerable groups, and we know from history that these measures work. (I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed when people I personally know chose this way of reacting to the pandemic.) (1)


I also have some guesses about why some went into conspiracy theories.

They may not know much about the history of pandemics or of epidemiology. They may not know or understand – or want to understand – how and why the standard pandemic measures work.

They may not understand science and scientific methods very well. They may not know how to evaluate scientific articles and research. They may not know much about valid reasoning or how to avoid logical fallacies. (Most of the conspiracy folks I have seen use both bad data and bad logic.) (2)

Some may prioritize other things over being intellectually honest.

They may have a pre-existing distrust in governments, authority, and possibly science. (Even if just about everything that works in their lives is made possible by governments and science.)

They may want to reinforce an existing identity as an outsider and rebel. They may want to boost their self-esteem by telling themselves they know something most others don’t.

They may just have discovered something disturbing about how society works and draw exaggerated and hasty conclusions because they are not very familiar with the topic.

They may be naturally gullible. They may have heard things from people they think they should trust, and believe it.

Because of the pandemic, some found time to go into internet rabbit holes and spend time in virtual echo chambers.

Some intentionally took on the roles of trolls and fueled conspiracy theories they personally saw as ludicrous. (Some were paid to do this, others did it for more personal reasons.)

And most probably saw themselves as being on the side of truth and the good. (Even if it, in most cases, was misguided.)


This is an example of why knowledge of history is important. It’s important for the decisions we make today.

These situations – that have to do with science and public policy – tend to look very different depending on how familiar we are with history and science. Knowing a bit about history and science vaccinates us against being misled by paranoia, weak data, and weak logic.


There is, of course, a grain of truth to a lot of the criticism and the essence of some of the conspiracy theories.

Most governments winged it, with some guidance from doctors and epidemiologists. They made mistakes. They over-reacted and under-reacted at different times and in different situations. They would have done some things differently if they had more time to prepare or had known more than they did at the time. That’s to be expected. We live in an imperfect world. We all wing it, to some extent.

The medical industry is in it for the money. Medical research is often funded by big pharma. Multi-national corporations own a wide range of companies, including medical and media companies. There is a lot of money influence in politics. That’s also to be expected. It’s not news.

And, at the same time, it doesn’t mean that the measures put in place by most governments did not make sense. They did, based on history and what we know works in times of pandemics.

(1) Why did some resist taking simple common-sense measures to slow down the spread of the virus? To me, this didn’t make sense. The main purpose was to prevent hospitals from being overloaded and we saw the consequence of overloaded hospitals in certain areas of the world. Did they want hospitals to get to the point where they had to turn people away? (Including, possibly you or your close family.) Did they assume the measures didn’t work? (Even if they obviously do. None of them are perfect, but they are not meant to the perfect. They are just meant to reduce the rate of transmission. And to reduce the viral load when someone gets infected, which is one of the main predictors of how serious the illness will get.) Did they act out of ignorance, reactivity, and lack of compassion for their fellow humans? Did they allow their reactivity to override their compassion?

(2) For instance, some refer to articles published on less-than-reputable websites, often written by people with no training or expertise in the field, and present it as if it’s solid science. Or they refer to an outlier article that goes against the mainstream view and presents it as if it means something. (Outlier articles and views are found in all fields of science. They need to be backed up with a lot more research to have any real weight or meaning.)

Some set up a false dichotomy and pretended that the measures had to be perfect or rejected. None of the measures are perfect. They are not meant to be. As I mentioned above, they were meant to slow down the spread of the virus so the hospitals wouldn’t get overloaded and had to turn people away. (Including people ill for other reasons.) And they were meant to reduce the viral load when we get infected, which is one of the main predictors of how sick someone gets. (Masks, for instance, hold back the spit that naturally comes out when we talk, this reduces the viral load when someone gets infected, and that can make all the difference for some people.)

Or they pretended that common temporary measures in a pandemic were going to be permanent. Or they presented themselves as victims just because they were asked to take a few common-sense measures to help prevent the hospitals from being overloaded. (This reaction was especially weird to me since we all already take a lot of measures to help society as a whole, including paying taxes, wearing a seat belt, driving on the correct side of the road, washing our hands, and so on.)

Some talk about “rights” when they seem to conveniently forget that we also have duties. In a time of crisis, duty comes into the foreground. In this case, our duty is to be responsible citizens and do our small part in keeping the hospitals functional and reducing the risk of serious illness for other people.

The conspiracy theory crowd seemed naive to me for several reasons. Not the least because they actively fueled distractions from the major and real crisis we are in: our ecological crisis. This is the one we need to focus on and do something about. So why allow yourself to get distracted in that way?

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The beauty in the imperfect

Due to erosion, a large cactus fell over on our land and broke into several pieces. This is one of those broken pieces, and we decide to plant it at the entrance to the house.

Why? Most people wouldn’t plant a broken piece of cactus in such a prominent place.

For me, the answer is simple.

There is beauty in the imperfect. And there is beauty in new life coming from what’s broken.

It may not be what you see in Home & Garden magazines, but this is something that has character, history, and a lived life, and I find that far more beautiful and interesting.

Form is emptiness, emptiness is form

This fits my direct experience.

To me, it’s as if the world is a dream. It happens within and as consciousness. It happens within and as the consciousness I am.

Just like a dream is without substance and solidity, the world to me seems without substance and solidity. It’s empty of substance and solidity.

Similarly, I find that what I am allows any content of experience. I am fundamentally empty of being anything, which allows the experience of everything.

Said another way:

The consciousness I am is empty. It’s fundamentally empty of form which means it can take on any and all forms. And it’s empty in the way night dreams are empty, without inherent substance.

And the consciousness I am is form, in that it takes on the forms of experience that’s here.

The quote “form is emptiness and emptiness is form” is a direct reflection of what I notice.


At one level, I am a human being in the world. That’s not wrong and it’s an assumption that works pretty well.

And in my own first-person experience, I find that I more fundamentally am something else.

I find I am capacity for the world. I am capacity for anything within my field of experience.

I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.

This also matches what I find logically.

If I “have” consciousness, it means that I have to BE consciousness. And if I have an experience it has to happen within consciousness. To me, the world happens within and as the consciousness I am.

Waking life, night dreams, and any state and experience happens within and as the consciousness I am.


Here, the statement reflects a direct and immediate noticing.

As consciousness, I am empty. I am inherently empty of anything. I am free to allow any and all experiences to come and go. It’s my nature. It’s inevitable.

As consciousness, I am also what forms itself into any and all experience. The consciousness I am forms itself into my experience of the world, as it appears here and now.

As consciousness, I am capacity (emptiness) and I am the field of experience (form) as it is here and now.

So form is emptiness. And emptiness is form.


This is how it always and already is.

So why does it sometimes appear differently?

When the oneness we are takes itself as (most fundamentally) an object in the world, then it seems that we are an object in a world full of objects.

And from here, the statement – form is emptiness and emptiness is form – doesn’t make much sense.

It seems abstract. Philosophical. Puzzling. A paradox. Nonsensical.

And when the oneness we are notices itself, the statement is just a direct reporting of what we notice.


The oneness we are can “get” this in different ways.

We can see it. We can get it more viscerally.

Our metaphorical “center of gravity” can be mostly in separation consciousness or shift into oneness. (This is what we viscerally take ourselves to be.)

We can get it more or less thoroughly. We may get it in a general and “global” way, and we can also get it when it comes to specific states and content of experience, and especially that which our personality habitually doesn’t like.


In my mid-teens, there was a oneness shift that happened “out of the blue” and this (form=emptiness) was something I directly noticed. I had no familiarity with Buddhism or spirituality in general, so when I tried to write about it in my journal, I used different words.

All, without exception, is God. Even a sense of being this human self is God, locally and temporarily, creating that experience for itself.

All is God, all is God’s consciousness. All is consciousness.

And if I had known about the empty/form language, I would perhaps have written:

Consciousness is inherently empty, and this emptiness allows it to take any and all forms.

And all the forms of consciousness, all experiences and the whole world, is inherently empty.

It’s all form and emptiness, just like a night dream.

It took several years before I found anyone who seemed to have had the same shift that turned everything upside-down and inside-out. The first time was reading a book of sermons by Meister Eckhart at the main library in Oslo.

Some while after that, in my late teens or early twenties, I got into Buddhism and heard this elegant reporting of direct noticing: form is emptiness and emptiness is form.

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AI images: Art deco wood figures and toys

A selection of art deco wood figures and toys. Virtually designed, carved, glued, and painted by me and Midjourney. I enjoy making things I wouldn’t mind having myself.

In this case, they are perhaps not the most amazing, inventive, or crazy, and that’s fine. That’s life too.

See more of my AI explorations on Instagram.


I saw Tarkovsky’s Solaris in a movie theater in Oslo when I was around twenty and it made a big impression on me. I LOVED it. 

Here was a movie that reflected how we relate to our own unprocessed psychological material. 

On an ocean planet, there is a human research station. If people there have something unresolved with someone important from their past, the ocean will manifest these people. It’s impossible to get rid of them since they just come back, and it’s impossible to leave since it’s a research station far from Earth. It’s the perfect alchemical vessel. Some can’t deal with it and go crazy, and others take it as an opportunity to process and find a resolution. 

That’s a metaphor for life. Life (in the form of our mind) will always bring up what’s unprocessed in us, and we can relate to it in a few different ways. We can try to ignore it and pretend it’s not there. We can struggle with it and try to make it go away. And we can meet it, process it, find some kind of resolution, and perhaps even grow from it. 

At the time – in my teens and early twenties – I was deeply into Jung. I read everything the bookstores in Oslo (Norli, Tanum) could get from him, which was a few dozen books, and absorbed it like a sponge. And Solaris, of course, fits perfectly with exploring our shadow and finding healing for old unresolved issues.

I haven’t seen Solaris since then so perhaps it’s time to rewatch it. I have also wanted to read the story it’s based on, written by Stanislav Lem. 

P.S. I see the movie is available on YT now.

P.P.S. It’s now a few days later and I have listened to the audiobook and rewatched the movie. The story is certainly very Jungian and about the shadow, and full of reflections and metaphors. I still love the essence and that aspect of it. And I also see that this is something I loved at that time, in early adulthood, and I am now drawn to slightly different kinds of movies and books. (More gentle and heartfelt ones.)