Working on vs allowing inner transformation

As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter.

– Eckhart Tolle

This quote is medicine for a condition. It’s medicine for the idea that we need to work on inner transformation for it to happen. It’s medicine for holding onto that position too tightly.

And that means that while the quote is accurate, it’s not the whole picture.

Yes, creating a space for grace and love to enter is what allows for a deep transformation and healing. This happens most deeply when we notice our nature, notice ourselves as oneness and love, and notice and allow anything in us that needs healing and transformation and holds it within this space of oneness and love.

And yet, we can also do a few things to support this process and help unlock some of the locks that hold wounds and identifications in place.

We can identify and explore painful beliefs and identifications.

We can identify and find love for unloved parts of us.

We can dialogue with wounded parts of us. Hear what they have to say and how they perceive us and life. Ask what they need from us. Help them recognize reality. And so on.

We can intentionally explore noticing and allowing our experiences, including of wounded and unhealed parts.

We can notice that these, and all our experiences, are already noticed and allowed and more consciously align ourselves with this primal noticing and allowing. They are already noticed by consciousness before that’s reflected in an intentional noticing. And they are already allowed – by mind, space, and life – even before any intentional allowing. This noticing and allowing is built into our nature. We cannot avoid it.

We can invite in shifts in the energetics of the hangup, through different types of energy work and inner yoga.

And so on.

The quote is not wrong. It’s medicine for a condition. And it’s not the whole picture.

And that applies to just about any quote and pointer.

Let’s be scared together!

In a recent Star Trek Discovery episode (S04E08), Stamets and Culber have a dialog.

Culber is experiencing guilt and anxiety, and instead of trying to make it go away, Stamets lists the reasons he too experiences anxiety and says: Let’s be scared together! (Paraphrased.)

It’s beautiful to see this type of mature interaction in a TV series or movie and shows that at least one of the writers on the series has some good psychological insight. It does reflect a fashionable approach within psychology, especially on the US west coast, and it also reflects timeless human wisdom.

When we are experiencing something difficult, what we often most need is just to be with someone. We don’t necessarily need to fix it. We may not need solutions. At least not right away. And we definitely don’t need someone to minimize it, pretend it’s not valid, or “fix” it with an overly sunny look at the situation. We need company.

And that’s how it is with our inner community as well. When we have anxiety, distress, anger, or something else coming up, what these parts of us most need – at first – is for us to be with them. To allow. Witness. Know that it’s OK to experience these things. And so on.

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Labeling emotions

How do we relate to our emotions?

And do we need to differentiate a wide range of emotions to have a healthy relationship to them?

I sometimes ask myself that question when I see people who seem a bit obsessive in differentiating and mapping out a huge number of different emotions.

LABELING EMOTIONS

It can obviously be helpful to name emotions or emotional states.

It helps communication with ourselves and others.

Labeling the emotions for myself helps me see them as an object within my experience, and that helps me disidentify from them a bit.

And when I communicate it to others, it helps them understand a bit more what’s going on with me.

HOW MUCH DIFFERENTIATION IS NEEDED?

For myself, I find just a few general labels necessary.

For instance… I feel sadness. Anger. Joy. Elation. Hopelessness. Grief. Frustration.

In order to label an emotional state, I really just need the word “emotion” or “state”. That’s enough to recognize it more easily as an object happening within and as what I am. It’s a guest. Something passing through.

And if I want to differentiate a bit further, just a few categories are necessary.

THE STORIES THAT CREATE EMOTIONS

What’s more important for me is to identify the stressful stories that create certain emotions and emotional states when something in me holds them as true. This is where I personally find differentiating and precision helpful.

Pinpointing these stories helps me recognize why I feel a certain way. And it helps me explore them further. It helps me inquiry into them and find what’s more true for me, and it helps me see how my mind creates its own experience by associating certain sensations and stories.

MORE IMMEDIATELY: BEFRIENDING EMOTIONS

For me, the most helpful way of relating to emotions doesn’t require any labeling at all.

And that is to befriend them. Get to know them. Spend time with them. Be with them as I would a frightened animal or child. Listen to what they have to say. Ask them how they would like me to relate to them. Find the stories behind them. And perhaps even notice their nature (which is the same as my nature, and the nature of the world as it appears to me.)

THE ROLE OF LABELING EMOTIONS

For me, labeling emotions in a simple way is helpful, as outlined above.

What’s more important is to befriend and get to know them, whatever label they have. And identify and explore possible stressful stories creating them.

And I am completely open for discovering that labeling emotions themselves in a more precise and differentiated way can be helpful. It’s just that I haven’t seen it yet, in my 35 years of exploring these things.

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Adyashanti: When you welcome all of experience into your awareness, a certain type of stillness starts to emerge organically

When you welcome all of experience into your awareness, a certain type of stillness starts to emerge organically.

– Adyashanti

All of my experiences already happen within and as what I am. So when I welcome it all more consciously, I am more aligned with what I already am.

That, in itself, brings in stillness. It’s the end of my struggle, at least for now.

And equally important, what I am is stillness. It’s the stillness all activity happens within and as. So when I am more aligned with this, I more easily notice the inherent stillness of what I am.

The different parts of us have real needs, and we are the one in position to give them what they need

We all have many subpersonalitites or parts, and these are often operating from a need, want, and sense of lack.

When we identify with them, we feel that we have those needs, wants, and lack, which is not wrong since these are parts of us.

We often try to fulfill the needs and wants through something in the wider world – love and acceptance from others, success and status, and so on. This is also not wrong, ahough it’s precarious and doesn’t really give these parts of what what they need and want. And it doesn’t resolve the sense of lack.

We are the only one in the position to really give these parts of us what they need and want, and help them find a deeper resolution for the sense of lack.

ONE WAY TO EXPLORE THIS

How do we find these parts of us, identify what they need, and give it to them? And how do we help them resolve the sense of lack?

Finding the contraction

I notice a sense of unease, a contraction, or a need, want, or sense or lack. I can also bring this up by reminding myself of a situation that triggered it in the past, or through words resonating with something less than peaceful in us – for instance, “I am alone”, “I won’t have what I need”, and so on.

This is how I find the contraction.

Noticing the physical sensations

Where do I feel it in my body? What are the physical sensations? How do I experience it? (How is it to find some curiosity about it?)

In this way, I anchor my attention in the bodily sensations, while still being aware of the mental images and words connected with it.

Allowing and welcoming

I can say: You are welcome here. Stay as long as you want. Get as big as you want.

I can also notice it’s already allowe – by life, mind, space. It’s already here. All I am doing is more consciously joining with that allowing.

This helps shift out of any habitual pattern of wanting to push it away.

Finding the need and want

I can ask: What do you want? What do you need? What would make you content?

I can also explore some of the triggering situations to find what it wants and needs.

And I can go through some of the universals – love, safety, acceptance, and so on – and see which one resonates and helps it relax.

Giving it what it needs and wants

I then give it what it wants and needs.

How is it to…. Give it love? Be a safe harbor for it? Welcome and allow it? Accept it as it is? Or whatever else it may want and need?

How is it to give it to it, as I would like to receive it? As I would give it to a frightened animal? A scared child?

Finding the lack

What’s behing the need and want? What’s the sense of lack?

What’s the story in that sense of lack? What’s the painful story?

What’s my first memory of feeling that? Of having that story?

Is it true? (We can also take this to a more thorough inquiry.)

Seeing it’s here to protect me

At some point in this process, perhaps here, I notice it’s here to protect me. It’s innocent. It’s often from a child’s view on the world. It was created to protect me.

This helps me welcome it more genuinely, and it also helps me find more genuine love for it, wish to be a safe harbor for it, and so on.

Finding its nature

I notice the nature of what I am. I find myself as capacity for the world as it appears to me. I find myself as what my sense fields – including this human self, the contraction, and the wider world – happens within and as. I notice it’s seamless. I notice the inherent stillness and silence in it, and how that stillness and silence takes all these forms.

What’s the nature of the contraction? How is it to notice it? Rest in that noticing?

I can also ask the contraction: Do you know your nature?

I can allow the contraction notice it’s nature and unravel and rest in and as that noticing.

This part of the process can be supported by headless experiments (Headless Way, Douglas Harding) or a quick dip into the Big Mind process.

A NEW ORIENTATION

This process helps us find healing for our different human wounds, and it can also help us heal out of separation consciousness.

And the magic happens in doing it and exploring it. These are just pointers and medicines for specific conditions. What works for me may not be what works for you. And what works will change a bit with each process, and we’ll discover more as we keep exploring it.

It’s something we do here and now, whenever these suffering parts of us come up. (Or as soon as we have the opportunity.)

And over time, it becomes a new orientation and a new habit. It becomes a new way of being with ourselves and these facets of life. It becomes second nature, although it will always require some attention – especially when more ingrained suffering comes up.

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Let it breathe

When a house or room is stale, it helps to air it out.

And the same with our mind.

When something is stale in us, it helps to air it out. To bring attention to it, notice the space it happens within (and as), allow it to expand and take up as much space as it wants, see what it is about, notice it’s nature, and invite it to notice its nature.

Our tendency is often to keep it enclosed. To join in with stale areas in us and reinforce the containment. Or to react to it, and reinforce the containment that way. To get caught up in guilt and shame, and contain it for those reasons. To get caught up in our fear about it, and contain it.

And sometimes, we may not even know how to air it out. To bring sun, wind, and the open space into it. This is where it can be helpful with a more structured process, or at least a guide who can lead us through it. Until it gets more familiar to us, a new habit, and eventually second nature.

What are these stale parts of us? It’s anything that’s unresolved. Any painful belief. Any limiting identity. (And any belief is ultimately painful, and any identity we identify with is limiting.)

It’s what happens when we don’t notice our nature, as capacity for our world, as what our experiences happen within and as, as oneness, love, and stillness and silence. It’s what happens when we don’t notice the nature of our contractions and experiences, and when these don’t notice their own true nature.

It is fully possible to air it all out, especially with some guidance from someone familiar with airing all this out.

And nature, literal fresh air, and physical movement all support this process.

A sweet zone for working with what comes up

I have had some strong unprocessed material come up recently, in the typical “bubbles of separation consciousness” fashion where they come up, peak, and then subside.

When these are very strong, I often shift between distracting myself and meeting what’s coming up, and it’s a way to explore how to relate to strong energies. I often don’t feel I get to explore what’s coming up in detail when this happens. (I imagine some are able to, and I sometimes am too – especially if I have the support of someone else.)

When they have subsided and gone mostly dormant again, I can still explore them although they are less alive and I may be motivated to spend my time on something else. (Again, it’s very possible to explore mostly dormant issues in-depth, it’s just that I find I not always do.)

For me, there is a kind of sweet zone inbetween these two. It has passed it’s peak, and it’s still here, so I am motivated to explore it and it’s still alive in my experience. It’s easy to connect with.

This morning, I spent some time with a couple of things that had peaked yesterday – unloved and unsafe. And it was very beautiful to explore these and hold space for them to unwind. They were still alive for me. I was motivated due to the peak yesterday. And they were not so strong that I mostly had to focus on the reactivity that came up in me in response to them.

This is just me right now, although I suspect it’s relatively universal.

At the same time, as I mentioned, it’s fully possible to explore this in-depth while they are strong, and we also get to explore any reactivity that comes up in us in response to the intensity. And it’s fully possible to explore more dormant energies and issues.

Befriending life… through befriending our contractions

How do we respond to and meet contractions in ourselves? Do we struggle with them? (Avoid, join in, try go make go away.) Or do we befriend them? (Notice, allow, welcome, get to know.)

And what are these contractions? They are body-mind contractions. They are muscle contractions and have a physical component. And they are mind contractions, in the form of beliefs, identifications, hangups, wounds, and trauma. (All names for the same dynamics.) The two go together and come from the same overall contractions.

THE STRUGGLE

If we struggle with these when they surface, they tend to be reinforced. We relate to them as if the stressful stories within them are real and true and possibly threatening, so we reinforce the impression that they are real, true, and threatening.

And we can struggle with them in many different ways. We try to avoid them, distract ourselves from them, pretend they are not there, and so on. We join in with them and their stressful stories, and fuel and elaborate on the stressful stories and see the world from their view. We try to make it go away by fixing and healing it, and do from a compulsive place.

We meet contractions from a contracted place, and that reinforces the contractions all around.

THE BEFRIENDING

If we befriend these contractions, they have the opportunity to relax and unwind.

How do we befriend them? By noticing, allowing, welcoming, and meeting them with respect, patience, and a gentle curiosity, as we would a suffering friend, child, or animal.

We notice they are here. We accept they are here, since they already are here. We allow them to be as they are, and notice they are already here as they are. We can actively welcome them. (“You are welcome here”.) We can treat them with respect. We can honor them as they are. We have patience with them. They have their own processes and life.

We can have a gentle curiosity about them. We can listen to what they have to tell us. (“If it could speak, what would it say?”) We can listen for their advice. (“What advice does it have for X? (X=this human self.)) We can find the stressful story or stories behind it, and find what’s genuinely more true for us.

We can recognize that they are here to protect us, to protect this human self. Many of them were created in childhood, to protect us, and they were created from that child’s way of looking at the world. They come from innocence. And they come from care and love. In a very real way, they are confused love.

Through seeing they come from love, we may more easily meet them with genuine love.

We may notice they are created by sensations and mental images and words. The sensations give a sense of solidity and even truth to the stories, and the stories give a sense of meaning to the sensations. If we pay attention to one side of this at a time, we learn to differentiate the two and the “glue” holding them together tends to weaken and soften.

We may notice they happpen within and as our sense fields. They happen within and as what we are. They have the same true nature as ourselves. (They are capacity for themselves, they are awake space.)

LIKE CREATES LIKE

When contractions are met from a contracted place, they are reinforced. We reinforce their scary nature for ourselves.

And when they are befriended, they are allowed to relax and unravel.

WHAT A CLEAR AND KIND MIND NATURALLY DOES

When we befriend our experiences, and especially the contractions in our system, we meet them as a good friend, as a good parent meets a scared child, as we would meet a frightened animal.

We also meet our experiences as awakening naturally does. As we do when we notice what we are, and notice these contractions as happening within and as what we are. We are mimicking something that naturally happens within awakening.

This is all a very natural process, and since most of us don’t always do this naturally – for instance, when especially scary contractions come up in us – it’s often something we need to explore more intentionally.

We need to get familiar with how to befriend our experiences, and especially the more (apparently) scary ones.

We may even need some training wheels, in the form of specific practices. And then, as we get more familiar with it, it gets simpler and more natural. It gets more intimate.

HEALING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH LIFE

This is a very simple process (although not always easy!) that heals our relationship with our experiences, and it invites in healing for our human self.

And if we are interested in noticing what we are, it helps us notice that even these contractions are what we are. They happen within and as our sense fields. They happen within and as what we are, and we share the same true nature. And this makes it easier to notice what we are even when these contractions surface.

Befriending our experiences, and in particular our contractions, in this way… is simple, natural, heals our relationship with our experiences, invites in healing for our human self, and supports noticing what we are.

We find healing for our relationship with life, all around.

Life finds healing for its relationship with itself.

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Shifting our relationship with ourselves

What does it mean to shift our relationship with ourselves?

At first, it can seem it has to do with shifting our relationship with ourselves as a whole and the different parts and subpersonalities in us. But it goes beyond that. It includes all our experiences, as they are, and that includes the whole world.

Ways to shift our relationship with ourselves / our experience / existence

How do we shift our relationship with our experience, as it is?

At the risk of repeating myself to a ridiculous degree, for me, the most effective approaches have been…

Curiosity and sincerity in the exploration. Our orientation to the exploration is essential and includes honesty with ourselves.

Inquiry into beliefs and identifications (The Work of Byron Katie, Living Inquiries). Beliefs and identifications are innocent and natural, and they also split our world and split what’s inherently whole.

Imagined dialog with subpersonalities, experiences, and so on.

Working with projections, using the world as a mirror. For me, inquiry is one of the most effective ways to work on projections.

Body-centered approaches (tai chi, chigong, yoga, etc.). This helps me get a visceral experience of the wholeness of who I am as a human being, including body and psyche.

Heart-centered approaches (tonglen, ho’o). This helps me befriend myself, the different parts of me, others, and the world as it is.

Inquiry to notice what I am (Headless experiments, Big Mind process). Here, my relationship to all my experiences naturally shifts. I notice all my experiences happen within and as what I am.

Basic meditation – notice and allow what’s here. This too helps soften identification with the content of experience (really, the viewpoint of thoughts saying I am this or that, or the world is this or that), and it makes it easier to find myself as what my experiences happen within and as.

When we notice what we are, there are also some variations of this. For instance, when an experience comes up and I notice my personality reacts to it and wants it to go away, I can ask… Is this too the divine/ What is the true nature of this experience? Is its true nature the same as what I find for myself? I can also ask it, what is your true nature?

Adyashanti: whatever you resist disturbs you, and whatever you accept cannot disturb you

Meditation shows you, again and again, a very simple yet powerful reality, that whatever you resist disturbs you, and whatever you accept cannot disturb you.

– Adyashanti from The Art of Meditation

Meditation is a laboratory. We get to see the patterns of how our minds work.

One of the things we notice early is that when we fight with an experience, we add to the discomfort and what we mentally battle is not going away through battling it.

And if we, through grace, find peace with what’s here, even if it’s exactly the same as what we previously fought, then we have peace with it.

The experience we either fight or find peace with can be an uncomfortable feeling, an unpleasant or disturbing memory, physical pain or discomfort, our reaction to a sound, or anything else.

We may notice this early on. We may notice that it’s grace when we find peace with what’s here, it’s not something we can decide or make happen on command. A key is to notice, allow, and accept the part of us wanting to fight with what’s here. There is always more to discover around this process. And if others are like me, then any shifts around this, in meditation and daily life, tend to happen over time and is an ongoing process. It’s not something that happens once and for all, even if some part of us wish it was that way.

We can support this process through more active inquiry, through working on related emotional issues, through noticing what we are, and through heart-centered practices.

David Steindl-Rast: May we never forget the crippled, wind-beaten trees, how they, too, bud, green and bloom

May we never forget the crippled, wind-beaten trees, how they, too, bud, green and bloom. May we, too, take courage to bloom where we are planted.

– Brother David Steindl-Rast

Everything in nature – plants, animals, ecosystems – quietly accepts their condition and circumstances and makes the best out of it.

We are part of nature. This is in us as well.

And because we are so fascinated by our thoughts, we sometimes get sidetracked. We get caught up in ideas of how it could have been or should have been, and mentally fight with what is.

Sometimes, one of the things most difficult for us humans is to remember and rediscover what all of nature, except us, already know and do, and what’s in our nature or know and do. And that is to bud, green, and bloom where we are planted, with the conditions and circumstances that are here.

After the initial struggle, most of us are able to make the best out of our circumstances. We haven’t completely forgotten. We know it makes sense. And yet, many of us also spend a good deal of time and energy on mentally fighting with what is.

I like that Steindl-Rast uses the word courage. It does take courage to shift out of this mental battle and instead allow what’s here. (It’s already allowed by life and here so it’s the only thing that makes sense.) It’s a kind of betrayal of old (apparently) useless mental dynamics learned from our parents and culture. It’s the courage to be as the rest of nature.

Byron Katie: Whatever you’re experiencing, it has a right to live

Whatever you’re experiencing, it has a right to live

– Byron Katie

This is a simple and beautiful pointer.

When I fight with my experience, I create discomfort and drama for myself, and I tend to get caught up in reactivity to the experience and sometimes acting on it even if I wouldn’t if I was more clear and kind.

When I give it its right to live, I make it much easier for myself. There is more space to relate to it intentionally. There is space for me to respond more consciously to it.

Whatever I am experiencing is not “mine”. It belongs to life. In one sense, it reflects the whole evolution of the universe, this solar system, this living planet, all living ancestors going back to the first cell, and all my human ancestors and how they were formed by life. In another sense, it just happens – out of the blue. Who am I to say it doesn’t have a right to live?

If I try to change or eliminate my experience, it’s an exercise in futility. I cannot. It’s too late. The experience that’s here is already gone.

How I respond to my experience is also part of my experience, and that too has a right to live. I can find some understanding and compassion for myself when I respond to my experience in ways I perhaps wouldn’t if I acted from more kindness, clarity, and wisdom. That understanding and compassion creates some space for doing it differently.

So it makes a lot more sense to give it its right to live. It already has that right, so I am just aligning with reality. It reduces a lot of the drama and discomfort in my life. And it makes it easier to relate to my experience more consciously, and respond to it with a bit more clarity, maturity, and kindness.

Tom Compton: Notice your presence when you are open to complete helplessness

Helplessness is one of those things most of us are trained to avoid. We don’t allow ourselves to open to helplessness. We struggle and wrestle with it.

So when we allow ourselves to open to it, what happens?

What happens if you open to your helplessness now?

I notice it opens to spaciousness and a sense of wholeness. It’s a relief. A certain pressure – the one that came from seing helplessness as “other” – is gone.

The reality is that we are completely helpless. We are completely dependent on the universe, Earth, the Earth community, the human community, and the kindness of strangers and friends and family. It’s a relief to open to this. (At the same time, we are not completely helpless. We can act. We can be good stewards of our own life. We can relate more consciously to our inner and outer world. And so on.)

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The experience we fight, fights back

The essence of this is basic and simple, as so much here. And as so much here, it’s something I rediscover regularly, and I keep finding slightly new and different wrinkles to it.

When I fight my experience, it metaphorically fights back.

What specifically do I fight?

When I say “fight my experience” it usually means fighting sensations in my body and thoughts associated with it. These sensation-thoughts may be triggered by a situation, but what I react to is these sensations and the thoughts my mind associate them with.

How do I try to fight it?

I can use a range of different strategies to fight it, including wanting to push the sensation away, distract myself from it, go into compulsions (the fighting itself is a compulsion), deny it’s here, try to intellectualize it away, try to transcend it, try to fix it through healing, and so on.

What happens when I try to fight my experience?

I act on and reinforce the idea that the story behind the sensation is true. By fighting it, I tell myself the scary story behind it is true and needs to be taken seriously and fought.

I reinforce the belief in me that it is scary. I reinforce the belief that I cannot co-exist with it, and that it’s dangerous to get to know it, allow it to be here, and befriend it. I reinforce the view in me that it is “other” and I keep it other.

And it doesn’t go away. It’s still here no matter how much I try to distract myself from it or change it or transcend it.

In what way does it fight back?

It fights back by remaining here. When I fight something that doesn’t go away, it easily appears to me that it fights back.

More importantly, when I struggle with it – and tell myself it’s strong and important and true and real and worth struggling with – it’s reinforced. and by being reinforced through my own struggle with it. The scary stories behind it and about it are reinforced.

What’s the alternative?

The alternative is to befriend my experience, whatever it is – even the impulse to fight it.

How can I learn to do this? It can help to use pointers and a more structured approach to get into it, at least until it becomes more familiar and second nature. And even when it is more familiar, a more structureed approach is sometimes helpful, especially when we get caught up in something strong.

Basic meditation is a way to get familiar with noticing and allowing what’s here, whatever it is. Doing this in the “labarotory” of meditation sessions makes it a little easier to do the same – notice and allow – when uncomfortable things come up in us in daily life situations.

Natural Rest is a variation of this basic meditation, and it has some pointers that helps bring it into daily life situations.

We can also dialog with whatever comes up, listen to what it has to tell us, get to know it, and find some empathy with it. This helps befriending it and shifting out of the struggle.

Heart-centered approaches like tonglen and ho’oponopono helps us reoritent towards our experiences in general, and we can also use them specifically with our own discomfort and ourselves in that situation.

We can identify and examine the stressful and scary thoughts behind the uncomfortable sensations, the situation triggering it, and about it all. (The Work of Byron Katie.)

It’s especially helpful to look at the fear of befriending our experience as it is. What do I fear would happen? What’s the worst that can happen?

We can examine how our mind creates its experience of the disocmfort, of it as scary and something we need to struggle with, the struggle itself, and any fears, compulsions, and identities connected with it. (Living Inquiries.)

We can find what we are – that which this and any experience happens within and as – which, in turn, helps notice and allow it all. (Headless experiments, Big Mind process.)

For me, it also really helps to have “wastness buddies” as a friend of mine calls it. Someone we can call when something strong comes up in us, and who can help us shift out of the struggle and into br

What’s the benefit of befriending our experience?

When we fight our experience, it ties up a lot of energy and attention, and it also tends to lead us to make life decisions out of reacivity rather than a more open receptivity. It’s uncomfortable and tiring to chronically struggle.

When we shift out of the struggle, we shift out of the battle and can find a different peace. A peace that allows what’s here, in my experience, to be here. It’s a sense of coming home. It opens for love for what’s here, as it is. It opens for a whole new way – one that’s fuller, rof being in the world.

What’s this not about?

It’s not about not fighting in life. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to fight – or fight for – things in life. It’s appropriate to fight for what’s kind and benefits life. (As we see it, from our limited perspective.)

Why do I write about this now?

The virus behind the chronic fatigue seems to get activated through physical exertion and/or stress, and that happened a few days ago. When it happens, it creates a toxic and very uncomfortable feeling through my whole system, and it also impacts my emotions. And I sometimes struggle with it and try to fight it. When I notice what’s happening, an I have struggled enough, there is a shift into allowing what’s here. And that changes everything. It’s like returning to my home and lover after an absence.

Universal themes: finding a better way, and learning to love

As I wrote this article, there were a couple of minor song-synchronicites. When I wrote about the alternative, the song said “You can learn to love me, given time”. (Sting, A Practical Arrangement.) And when I wrote about the benefits of befriending our experience, “While fighting was useful…. there has to be a better way than this.” (Sting, The Pugalist.)

I don’t really take these as a synchronicities, more a reminder that this – the dynamic of learning to love and finding a better way than fighting – are universal themes.

And, of course, that I gravitate to musicians and song writers who have a general similar orientation to life as me.

Gandalf: A wizard is never late

A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.

Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings

How is that possible? Is it because he knows in advance when we will arrive? Is it because his schedule is never upset by unpredictable events? Is it because he will never admit to being late even if he is? Is it because he wants to mess with Frodo’s mind?

Or is it something else?

Perhaps a wizard trusts life and the divine and knows that no matter when he arrives, it’s exactly when it should be?

Perhaps a wizard knows that ideas of early and late only exist in our mind. And that we miss a great deal when we get caught up in shoulds?

Perhaps he wants what’s here? Perhaps he has discovered that nothing constructive comes out of struggling with what’s here, that it makes more sense to want what’s already here, and that this does not preclude decisive action when needed.

My bet is on something like the last three.

Fixing vs allowing orientation

When we meet a human being in distress (friend, family, client) or a part of ourselves in distress, how do we respond?

Do we want to fix it? Change it? Make it better? Find a solution? Make it go away?

Or do we meet it with a more gentle curiosity? Allow it to be as it is? Listen? Be present with it? See what the person or part wants? Ask what they most need here and now?

The first can feel invasive and frustrating for one or both parts. The second can feel like a relief and what we need.

Of course, it depends on the situation. Sometimes, there is something very specific that needs to be done and we can help with that. But most of the time, taking time and be present with a gentle curiosity is what’s more needed.

If we feel compelled to fix, it can be good to explore where it comes from. Have we made a fixer identity for ourselves? Do we automatically assume that’s our role in the situation? Do we assume that’s what the other wants from us? Have we made fixing a way avoid our own discomfort with the situation? Do we assume we’ll be loved and accepted if we can fix the other? Is there a fear behind it all? A fear that hasn’t been met, listened to, loved?

I notice a voice in me saying: “Make a connection between this and the power-over and power-with orientations. Write that the first approach is more connected with a power-over orientation and the second is more power-with”. It’s not wrong. But it’s perhaps also not so helpful since it can come with some judgment and shoulds. I prefer to leave it out, or include it in this way (!)

Feeding our fears

There are two ways to feed our fears. One makes it stronger and makes us more identified with it. The other helps it calm down and we can relate to it more consciously as a part of us (and not all of who or what we are).

In the first case, we feed the fear in the sense of fueling the fearful stories and our reactivity to it. We indulge in the scary stories. Make them more catastrophic. Make them seem more real. Avoid seriously questioning them. Indulge in our reactivity to them and whatever avoidance strategy we use.

In the second case, we feed the fear in the sense of nurturing it so it can relax. We meet it. Listen to what it has to say. Investigate the scary stories and find what’s more true for us. Notice the physical sensations in the body we call fear. Befriend it. See it comes from love and a wish to protect us. Even find love for it and for its innocence.

Nausicaä & Teto

In Nausicaä of The Valley of the Wind, Nausicaaä meets a vicious fox-squirrel. It jumps on her shoulder and bites into her finger. She remains calm and says “there is nothing to fear”. The fox-squirrel calms down and eventually becomes her friend. She says “you were just a little scared, weren’t you”. (About 12:25 into the movie.)

This is similar to befriending scared parts of ourselves. They can seem vicious, reactive, and fearsome. Our tendency may be to recoil and pull back – or to struggle with them in another way. And that tends to reinforce the reactivity dynamic and the cycle repeats.

If we instead – as Nausicaä – relate to these parts of us with some understanding, kindness, and curiosity, we may shift out of the old cycle. These parts of us may feel more understood and safe, allowing them to relax a bit. We may get to know them a little better. We may even befriend them. And the whole dynamic changes.

The main key is our orientation. Our understanding that fear is behind both the scary parts of us and how we have habitually reacted to them, and when it was initially formed it came from an intention to protect us. Despite surface appearances, it comes from a kind intention. This understanding allows us to meet it with some kindness, curiosity, and patience.

Another key is to notice and allow. Notice what’s here – what’s surfacing and how I react to it. Allow it as it is. And, depending on my experience and practice, explore the different components of what’s happening and see how they work together.

This topic is also a reminder of something else: How I relate to nature and other beings reflect how I relate to myself. As I find more kindness towards myself and the different parts of me, it tends to shift how I relate to nature as a whole and other beings in general.

P.S. Nausicaä of The Valley of the Wind is an early Hayao Miyazaki movie. While the animation is a little rough and the music at times terrible, the story is powerful.

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From pushing to allowing

I notice a (familiar) frustration with my body’s lack of energy. I want to do more but am unable to.

Along with this is a sense of pushing. Wanting to push through. Push so I can get things done. Push life so my health improves.

I notice this and know it comes from beliefs, identifications, and something that’s not felt and seen.

So I take a step back. Notice what’s here. Open to it. Allow it. Take time with it.

And notice a curiosity about what’s behind it. I notice fear. I open to this fear. Allow it. Notice where in my body I feel it and the sensations connected with it. Notice it happens in infinite space.

I also notice any fear of this fear, or feeling or opening to this fear, and include that in what I open to and allow. Whatever is here is included in what’s allowed and welcomed.

I notice a curiosity about this fear. It seems to be a fear of not being enough. Of being judged. Of not being able to take care of what needs to be taken care of. It’s a survival fear.

In the moment, this is enough. Connecting with, allowing, and befriending this more primal survival fear is enough. Something profound shifts. There is a sense of returning home, returning to what’s more real. It’s a relief. The initial frustration and pushing makes sense in a different way and identification with it softens and falls away.

I know I can keep exploring, and probably will at some point. I continue noticing any associated sensations, images, and labels. I can explore my first memories of feeling this frustration or pushing, and – more to the point – this primal survival fear.

I see it’s innocent. It’s very understandable and human. This primal fear is essential to most or nearly all living beings. It’s what has kept us alive for all these generations going back to very early organisms. It’s what has kept me alive. It’s a friend and it’s a big relief to actually and finally get to know it and befriend it.

Running away from it is innocent too and very natural. And it creates stress, pushing, a fighting with what’s here, and make me overlook the innocence in it and the primal fear behind it, and I miss out of seeing all this and making friends and peace with it.

The sweetness of being with what’s here

This morning, a strong sadness came up. I don’t know exactly where it is from or what it is about (although I do remember it from childhood mixed with a longing), and I don’t really need to know. 

My initial impulse was to wish it wasn’t there. It was uncomfortable. It brought up uncomfortable thoughts.

And then there was a kind of surrender into it. It’s here so I may as well be with it. There isn’t really much else to do. And I know from experience that initially uncomfortable experiences reveal something else if I can meet it and relate to it more intentionally. 

Notice the sadness-sensations in the body. Notice the mental images and words. Notice the (very human) reactions to it. Notice it’s all already allowed. (It’s already allowed by space, mind, life.) 

Rest attention with the sensations in the body. Notice the space around it, and it all happening within and as space. Notice it’s already allowed. Rest with it, as it is. 

I know from earlier experiences that this is the way through it, and a part of me wanted through it.

At the same time, another part just wanted to be with it. Feel it. Allow it. This is a part of me, of life. It’s visiting. It’s life meeting life.

Yet another part knows that this – the sadness and being with it – works on me. There is a deepening. Something happens and is processed, and although I don’t know exactly what it is or what’s happening, it’s welcome and feels deeply right. 

Now, a few hours later, there is a spaciousness and sweetness mixing in with the sadness. A warm fullness. Earthiness. Receptivity. A deeply felt sense of the resilience, fragility, and immense beauty of all life. 

I often don’t write about this. It’s wordless so finding the right words are difficult. At the same time, I know it’s valuable to share so I’ll do it even if it falls a bit short. 

Three guidelines in how I relate to issues with a charge

When I work with issues with a charge, whether it’s for myself or a client, I notice I often use three overarching guidelines. And when I talk about issues with a charge, I mean any issues with a charge, whether it’s an identification, a belief, a compulsion, or something else.

Here are the three guidelines or reminders.

Allowing. The context is allowing. Reality already allows what’s here so it makes sense for us to do the same. And resting with, feeling, and seeing what we have avoided is an important part of healing.

Intention to clear. When I have an intention to clear an issue, it helps me be more diligent, honest, and more thorough.

Reduce charge. In a pragmatic everyday sense, I am happy if the charge of an issue is reduced. It helps us relate to it differently, with more intention, clarity, and kindness.

During a session, I tend to adjust whether I emphasize the allowing or the clearing. If I am working on an issue that the person (I or a client) has avoided, it’s good to emphasize allowing and resting with it, especially initially and when we hit new aspects of it. If I notice the issue is relatively easy to rest with, and it doesn’t seem to move much, it can be helpful to emphasize the clearing as a guide to be more thorough and complete.

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Welcome, God

Earlier today, I noticed some slight discomfort, sadness, and impulse for it to change.

And then welcome, God. To the discomfort, sadness, and impulse for it to change. And as a reminder to myself that it’s all Spirit. It’s happening within and as awakeness. It’s the play of life. It’s life experiencing life.

It’s also a reminder of how spiritual practices are made. Something happens spontaneously, as welcome, God did. We find it helpful to ourselves. And sometimes, it’s passed on to others. To be more useful, it’s often made into a structure or a kind of prescription. And sometimes, it’s helpful to someone else, and sometimes not.

Either way, it’s something that initially happens spontaneously. Is found to be helpful. There is an impulse to pass it on to someone else. (Often as a kindness.) It is made into something slightly more structured. And it is then helpful or not, depending on the person and the situation they are in.

This particular one is helpful if we have seen (as a glimpse) or continue to see (when we look) all as Spirit. But we sometimes need a reminder that some manifestations of Spirit – such as discomfort or an impulse for something to change – also are Spirit. So we can then try welcome, God as a reminder, and see what happens.

Note: We can say welcome, God to anything. Situations. People. Emotions. Thoughts. Whatever it may be that we initially don’t recognize as Spirit. Whatever we don’t automatically recognize as Spirit due to old habits of calling some thing bad, undesirable, or just not the divine.

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Meet it more intentionally

A few days ago, I had a sense of dread and fear in my belly.

I recognized that feeling from going to elementary school. I sometimes had it walking to school in the mornings.

Back then, I didn’t know what to do about it. Nobody had shown me.

And now, somebody has shown me and I can relate to it more intentionally. I can meet with presence, kindness, allowing, patience. I can give it what it really needs and wants. I can meet it as it wishes to be met. And that makes all the difference.

It’s such a simple shift, and it changes the situation from feeling victimized by that dread to befriending it.

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Allowing vs healing

For me, allowing and healing go hand in hand.

What’s here is already allowed. This experience, as it is, is already allowed – by life, mind, space, awareness. There is an allowing of what’s here inherent in existence and what we are. Our conscious view may or may not be aligned with this allowing, and this alignment may change from situation to situation, and that’s allowed as well.

When we don’t notice this allowing, and instead are caught in beliefs saying what’s here is wrong, bad, and shouldn’t be, we struggle with what is. And that’s suffering. It can be very helpful to notice and then align more consciously with this allowing. It’s a relief. It is, in a very real sense, a coming home. We are coming home to a central characteristic of what we already are, which is this inherent allowing.

One of the innumerable things that are allowed is a wish for something to be different. If we don’t notice the allowing, then wishing for something to be different can become compulsive and add another layer to the suffering. If we do notice the allowing, then the movement for change can become much lighter, more of a natural movement than a compulsion. In either case, the wish for something to be different is very natural, very human, and sometimes even kind and healthy. It can be a kindness to our human self and perhaps to others as well.

This topic sometimes comes up in an inquiry context. The allowing invites a natural healing, and it also allows us to work towards this healing. Say I feel unloved. I can notice it’s all already allowed. The sensations, images, and words making up the sense of being unloved is already allowed. And just resting in that noticing is very healing. I rest with each of the components of “unloved” while noticing the boundless space it’s happening within and as, the presence it’s happening within and as, and the inherent allowing of it all.

And I can also explore it more thoroughly and intentionally through inquiry. I can ask simple questions about each component of “unloved” to see what’s really there. I can look at the early situations in my life where that identify was initially created. I can do some mining on the body contraction supporting the sense of being unloved and see what additional stories are connected with it. All of this too invites in healing.

When I notice and align more consciously with the inherent allowing, I get to notice and align with what I am. When I invite in healing, I do something very natural and kind for my human self.

Note: The topic of this post became more clear to me as I wrote. If I was to rewrite it, which I probably will in another post, it would probably be more clear, simple, and direct. That’s one of the benefits of writing. If it starts out fuzzy, it does tend to become a bit more clear as I write.

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Treat our experience as we would like to be treated

How would I like to be met when I am distressed? With kindness, patience, and presence. Listened to. Given full permission to be exactly as I am in the moment.

And that’s how the distressed parts of me want to be treated by me as well.

If they are treated with avoidance, disrespect, and wanting it to change, it only reinforces the struggle and suffering.

If they are met with kindness, patience, presence, then they tend to relax and soften.

These distressed parts of my experience are just like me. They want to be treated as I would like to be treated when I am in distress.

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How I escape meeting what’s here

When I experience discomfort, and especially if it’s strong, here are some ways I sometimes avoid meeting it:

Connecting with friends and family.

Talking about what’s happening with someone.

Internet. Videos. News. Reading.

Nature. Walking. Photography.

Inquiry. Vortex Healing. Other forms of healing modalities that I hope will reduce the suffering.

If it’s especially strong: Readings, I Ching. (To feel I know about the future.)

And longer term:

Relationships. Education. Work. Stable situation.

There is nothing wrong with any of these. Many of them are very helpful and just part of a human life. But they can be used in a compulsive way to avoid being with what’s here, to avoid feeling the uncomfortable sensations. A good way to do it is to (a) notice what’s happening. (Uncomfortable feelings/thoughts + wish to avoid.) (b) Take time to rest with and feel the uncomfortable sensations. (For a while, for instance until how I relate to it shifts and then a little longer.) And (c) then do any of these other things if the wish is still there.

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Let it be true

Let it be true.

That’s been my main pointer lately.

When I notice even slightly uncomfortable thoughts or sensations, and I remember, I remind myself let it be true.

There is a great relief in this. So much energy goes into resisting or disproving uncomfortable thoughts or sensations, and often it’s not even conscious. This pointer is an invitation to do the opposite. Let it be true, and rest in it being true for a few moments.

Whenever a thought is even slightly uncomfortable, it’s because we have thoughts about it saying it’s bad or undesirable and there is resistance to it. And the same goes for sensations. Whenever sensations seem even slightly uncomfortable, it’s because it’s because a thought says it means something, and that meaning is bad or undesirable, so there is resistance to it.

It’s helpful to take time resting in it being true. Notice what happens. Is there a sense of relief? Anything else?

After a while, we can explore it further in gentle inquiry. What images are there? Words? What (other) sensations? Look at the images and words. Feel the sensations. Perhaps ask a few simple questions to clarify what’s already and really there.

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Give it a warm bath

Whenever I feel discomfort, emotional or physical pain, a craving or whatever it may be, I can give it a warm bath.

A friend (SL) shared this one with me. When I first heard it, it sounded a bit simplistic and even silly for about half a second until I gave it a second thought and tried it out for myself.

Here is what I discover when I do it. Giving it a warm bath…..

  • Allows it to be as it is. There is a built-in allowing.
  • There is kindness towards it. A built in kindness.
  • It’s somatic. It invites feeling the sensations.
  • It’s visceral and it’s simple. We all know how it feels to take a warm bath, so we know how to give it to the experience. We don’t need to understand or know anything more.

As usual, this is not to make it “go away”. It’s more so it’s easier for me to feel it, and look at the images and words associated with it. It’s also so I can reverse my old habit of wanting to push away any unpleasant or uncomfortable experience, and instead meet it, and notice it’s already allowed and already noticed.

Quote: Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge

Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.

– attributed to CG Jung on the internet

This may or may not be an actual quote from Jung. My guess is that it isn’t a quote by him since it doesn’t quite sound like something he would say. It sounds too judgmental!

I would rather say that familiarity is what dissolved judgment. When I understand and am familiar with another person’s history and situation, it’s difficult to judge. For instance, after working with several people with trauma and addictions, judgment doesn’t really come up. It just seems very understandable why they are struggling the way they do. And the same for me, with the ways I struggle. And the same for other people I know. We are all in the same boat here.

At another level, I would say that feeling is difficult, that’s why we judge. When I want to escape an uncomfortable feeling, one of the ways I do that is by judging myself, others, and life. And when I notice, meet, and feel that feeling, and open to it, the need to escape it tends to soften and dissolve, as does the impulse to judge.

Why is it difficult to feel certain feelings? It’s not due to the feeling itself. That’s just a sensation. It’s because of the images and words the mind associated with these feelings, and the mind taking these are scary and real. That’s what makes a sensation or feeling scary, and something we want to avoid at almost any cost. And one of the ways we avoid feeling is by going into thought, and sometimes into judgment of ourselves, others, or the world.

Welcome with the intention of having it go away

There is a common phase where we (a) recognize it doesn’t work to try to make something (a painful experience or part of us) go away, (b) shift our strategy to welcome it, find love for it, meet in in inquiry, and (c) do it with the intention of having it go away.

We basically say welcome, now go away.

No wonder it doesn’t work. We still want it to go away. And what we are trying to get rid of knows. It says I know what you are up do. It’s not going to work. 

It knows what we are trying to do. It’s not fooled. And the reason it knows is that it’s me. Whatever is here, is who and what I am.

So what’s the solution? It’s to include the wish for it to go away. To include it in the welcoming, the resting, the inquiry.

It’s to welcome the desire to have it go away. To see it’s already here. It’s already allowed.

It’s here to protect me. It comes from a deep concern for me. It comes from kindness. It comes from love. This recognition makes it easier for me to return the favor. To meet it with kindness. Meet it with love.

Rest with it. Notice. Allow. Rest with it in kind presence.

Inquire into it. What’s the belief behind it? What to do I find when I examine it? (The Work.) Can I find the perceived threat in the apparently threatening experience? (Living Inquiries.)

This help shift us into the next phase. A phase where we more genuinely welcome what’s here. Find love for it. Rest with it. Inquire into it, to see what’s really there.

It’s a phase where we recognize more genuinely that what’s here is OK. It really doesn’t have to go away.

First, there is a more conventional phase where we battle what’s here, where we try to make whatever seems uncomfortable go away. Then, we sneakily try to make it go away by welcoming it, allowing it, resting with it. And then, we see that it really doesn’t have to go away. We find peace with it, as it is. We more genuinely welcome it. Rest with it. Inquire into it to see what’s already here.

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What if it would never change?

What if it would never change?

I was reminded of this question yesterday, when I noticed the impulse in me for some of my symptoms to go away. (Especially the weird energetic feeling in/around forehead, poor executive functions, etc..)

What if it would never change? Then what?

How would it be to find peace with it? Learn to live with it? Function with it? Rest with it? Even find love for it?

It’s a shift from the victim perspective and struggling against it to finding peace with it and working with it.

It also highlights the victim dynamic. The question makes it more visible. Can I see how the victim dynamic is here to protect (the imagined) me? That it comes from love? How is it to see, and feel, that it’s a form of protection, and comes from deep caring and love? How is it to rest with that too, and find love for it?

It also reminds me that what’s here now is all there is. Anything else is just a thought, perhaps connected with a feeling in the body. It highlights any tendency to invest an imagined future with hopes or fears, and I can do the same with this. I can notice. Rest with it. Find love for it. See it’s there in an attempt to protect me, and comes from deep caring and love.

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What would I have to feel?

What would I have to feel if I didn’t (do this addictive/compulsive thing)?

What would I have to feel if I didn’t….. reach for the phone, listened to a podcast, called a friend….. right now?

And then feel it. Drop into the feeling. Notice any associated images and words, while still feeling it.

I have run away from these uncomfortable feelings most of my life. Why not do the opposite? Why not feel them? Why not welcome them?

You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. I love you.

Included in this is the discomfort itself, and also the impulse to do something about it, fix it, run away. Any reaction to what’s here, and any reaction to this reaction, is included.

All is included. Whatever is here is included.

Why it doesn’t have to go away

I have written a couple of other posts on this topic, but find I am drawn to writing something again.

Why doesn’t this experience have to go away?

It’s me. It’s who and what I am, here and now. (And here and now is all there is. Any thoughts of past, future, or present happens here and now.) Why would I want to push parts of me away? Why would I want the pain of rejecting parts of me?

It’s here to protect me. When I look, I find that anger, sadness, discomfort, joy….. it’s all here to protect me. It’s all here to protect this human self, and the (literally) imagined self. I notice that here and now, and I also see that these impulses are put in me through evolution, and is what has made the survival of all my ancestors possible.

It’s from love. It’s here to protect me, so it’s from love.

It is love. It’s a form of love. (See the two previous points.)

It’s awareness. When I look, I find it’s all awareness. Any experience is awareness. It’s all – all of what a thought may call a me, experiencer, emotion, sensation -part of a seamless field of awareness. (And when I look for awareness, that’s unfindable.)

It’s already allowed. This experience is already allowed…. by life, mind, existence. It doesn’t work to try to change that.

Anything else is painful. Trying to push it away is painful. It’s suffering. It’s struggle. It’s futile.

It’s a relief. It’s a relief to notice that what’s here is already allowed. It’s already welcome. It’s already love. It’s already who and what I am. The experience itself softens. There is a sense of coming home. There is a quiet, soft, deep sense of satisfaction.

P.S. One way to explore if an experience really has to go away, is is to ask oneself: Is it true this experience has to go away? 

It doesn’t have to go away

This is a very basic living realization, and one that is – in many ways – a turning point. (One of many turning points, or new chapters, in our experience of life.)

It doesn’t have to go away.

We are trained to think that we need to try to escape certain experiences or make them go away….. through distractions, going into thought, eating, finding pleasure, and more.

And yet, is that true? Most of us have tried this for a lifetime, and although it may seem to work for a while, it doesn’t really work. If I am honest with myself, I have to admit it doesn’t really work.

What if I tried something else? What if I tried the reverse? What if I felt the sensations, and found curiosity about the words, images, and sensations that seem connected into an unpleasant experience.

What I find here is that it doesn’t have to go away. When I hold it in presence, find love for it, feel the sensations, and inquire into the images and words, I see that it’s all OK. It can really be there. It’s already here so why not?

Also, I see that whatever is my experience here and now, is who and what I am. If I try to push it away, I am pushing parts of myself away. I am rejecting parts of who and what I am. Why not instead see what happens if I hold it in presence, meet in in love, feel the sensations, and inquiry into the words and images?

One of the things that happens if I do this, is that there is a softening or release of identification with the unpleasant experience. It happens, and I don’t have to act from reactiveness. I can find a more sane way of relating to it. I can find a more sane way of living my life.

Another is that I realize how much of the suffering (all of it?) was created through trying to escape from it, or make it go away. The suffering came from the struggle. And it was experienced as suffering, in a very basic sense, because I was struggling with myself, with who and what I am in the moment.

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I love you

Another simple exploration is I love you.

I can bring any part of me to mind, and say I love you, and especially those parts previously or habitually unloved.

Here is a couple of variations:

You are welcome here. I love you.

You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. I love you.

And….

What would satisfy you forever?

What are you really?

Often, being met with love is what these parts really want. Some of them have been rejected, dismissed, and seen as wrong or bad, for a long time. As they are finally met with love, something in them may soften and relax.

When I feel unloved, it’s because a part of me feels unloved, so I can turn around and meet it with love. And this turning around is in two ways. First, by turning towards this part of me. And then by turning from rejecting or ignoring it, to finding love for it. This also helps me see that it is a part of me. It’s not the final word about who I am as a human being, and it’s not who I am as a whole.

By welcoming it, I may notice it’s already allowed (by life, awareness), and there is a more intentional alignment with this allowing. By thanking it for protecting me, I may find that it’s there to protect me, or an image of me, a literally imagined me. Asking what would satisfy it forever, allows me to find that in myself, for this part of me. And asking what it really is may help me see what it’s made up of, which a thought may call awareness, or presence, or even love.

Allowing, including impulses

A common suggestion is to see how it is to allow what’s here, this experience as it is.

And also to notice it’s already allowed and align more consciously with that allowing.

As with so much else, the general pointer is simple, and the refinements endless.

For instance, I can shift into allowing this field of experience – these sensations, words, images – as it is. I can notice it’s already allowed, by life, mind, awareness. That is quite simple. (Although not always easy.)

Within this content may be impulses to act. Relating to these requires more discrimination and experience.

Some of these impulses may be a quiet guidance. And I can follow that if it seems appropriate, and kind.

Others of these may be reactive, they may come from identifications, beliefs and wounds. I can meet these with love and curiosity, without acting on them.

It may be like this during intentional sessions, and it’s often not like this in everyday life. And that’s OK. This is an exploration. How is it to do this in sessions? And how is it when I instead act on reactivity? Or do not act on guidance? What are the consequences?

Over time, with this practice and noticing, there may be a shift. What I do in intentional sessions may seep out into daily life. It becomes a new habit. A new groove. And the wish for that to happen is also something to allow, and perhaps meet with love and curiosity.   Read More

Why welcome it

Why welcome what’s here? Why welcome any experience? Any words, images, sensations, sounds? Why welcome the experience of emotional and physical pain (when it’s already here)? Why rest with and allow our experience here and now, as it is?

I see a few reasons:

(a) Closer alignment with reality, with what’s already happening. It’s already allowed by life, mind and awareness.

(b) Pragmatic. It gives less discomfort, and can open for a new enjoyment.

(c) As an experiment. From curiosity. To see what happens. To do something different. (If what we have tried, and learned from parents and culture, gives distress, why not try something different? Why not try the opposite? If battling it doesn’t work, why not try welcoming it?)

(d) Because it’s what happens, it’s where life moves.

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Fear of what will happen if I allow what’s here

This seems to be one of my core fears…. The fear of what will happen if I allow what’s here.

It doesn’t quite make sense, since what’s here is already allowed, and any mental gymnastics cannot change it.

And yet, the fear is here. It’s real, as long as it’s taken as real. It’s real to me.

One way to explore this is to try it out. What happens if I recognize that what’s here, this experience as it is, is already allowed? What happens if I sink into this experience, allow it as it is – with discomfort, apparent resistance, and everything else? Does something terrible happen?

Another is to look at my beliefs about it. Something terrible will happen. I won’t function. I’ll be overwhelmed. I’ll be out of control. I won’t know how to function. Life will be out of control. Life needs to be controlled. I can’t trust life. I can’t trust what’s here. 

And yet another is to explore what a thought would call resistance, or fear, or escape, or avoidance. How is each of these created in my own mind? What do I find when I look at the images, words and sensations making these up? Are they as real and solid as they appear? Can the image making up resistance resist? Is the word “fear” afraid? Can the sensations of avoidance avoid anything? Is the image of an I a real I?

 

Fixing, love, allowing, noticing

Some ways of relating to what’s here:

Fixing & Healing

I can wish to fix it, heal it.

This can come from a wish to avoid feeling what’s here, which in turn comes from assumptions about what’s here and what it means.

Or from love and noticing what’s here.

Love

I can find love for what’s here.

This is a medicine for a habit of resisting what’s here and see it as bad. Some tools include metta, tonglen, ho’oponopono, and the heart prayer.

I can notice it’s already love.

This is a medicine for not noticing what’s here as love. Any beliefs and reactive emotions are innocent, come from love, and are love. Also, consciousness and it’s content is love.

I can find myself as love, loving presence for what’s here.

A shift into finding myself as love, and the loving presence it’s happening within and as.

Allowing

I can allow what’s here.

A shift into allowing what’s here.

I can notice what’s here is already allowed.

It’s already allowed. It’s effortlessly here. Is it true it’s not already allowed? (Even this resistance?)

This can shift into finding myself as the allowing and what’s allowed.

This third option is what happens when the images, words and sensations making up an appearance of a doer and observer are recognized as images, words and sensations, and identification is released out of it and back into consciousness and all of its content. It’s a shift from relating to what’s here, to being it, being the whole field of consciousness. Or, more precisely, from appearing to be an observer and doer relating to what’s here, to the whole field of consciousness and it’s content noticing itself as just that.

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