When things are what I am

This quote describes what seems common when our nature starts recognizing itself.

The consciousness we are is used to taking itself to be something small within its own content and then starts to intuit or glimpse that it’s all happening within and as itself.

I haven’t heard this interview, so will just write a few things that come up for me.

WHO AND WHAT I AM

As I often say, it’s not wrong that I am this human self in the world. For most practical purposes, it’s true enough. In my experience, this human self is mostly here (apart from in some dreams and visions) so it makes sense to make that assumption. It’s an assumption that works relatively well in daily life. It’s also an assumption that creates stress since it’s out of alignment with what’s more true.

More fundamentally, I find I am what the whole field of experience happens within and as. To myself, I am what a thought may label consciousness, and any experience – of the wider world, of this human self –happens within and as the consciousness I am.

THE EXPERIENCE IN EACH CASE

The consciousness I am can create the temporary experience for itself of fundamentally being this human self. Here, “it” is not “me”. A tree is not me, it’s a tree over there.

This is true in a conventional sense no matter what, and it can feel deeply and obviously true if the consciousness we are is fundamentally identified as this human self.

The consciousness I am can also recognize itself, and that it forms itself into any experience. It’s all happening within and as what I am. The consciousness I am forms itself into (the experience of) a tree, this human self, stars, and anything else.

Here too, we can differentiate between a tree there and this human self here, and it’s all recognized as happening within and as what we are.

THE SHIFT

The shift itself can be gradual or sudden.

GRADUAL

The shift can be gradual, as it seems was the case for the person quoted.

The consciousness we are takes itself to fundamentally be this human self. There is a transition where there is a sense that something else may be more true. And then there is a more clear recognition of its nature and everything happening within itself.

In the middle phase, a lot of things can happen, including what’s described in the quote. There is a sense that the tree over there is me2. That it’s enveloped in love. That there is no difference. And so on.

It may happen in daily life, in meditation or during a spiritual retreat, it may happen in a psychedelic vision, it can happen in a dream, and in any other situation.

This transition can happen through intuitions, glimpses, having a sense of it, and more.

First, the center of gravity stays in the assumption of fundamentally being this human self while something else breaks through and in. Then, the center of gravity shifts into our nature recognizing itself. It happens through seeing it all as within itself. Finding love for it all within the context of oneness, a love independent of fleeting feelings and states. And our human self and psyche reorganizing itself within this context and getting it more viscerally.

SUDDEN

The shift can also be sudden, as it was for me. See below for more details.

When the shift is sudden, it doesn’t mean that it necessarily is as clear and thorough as it can be. It can always be more clear. More stable. More lived. More thorough in terms of the reorganization of the human self and the psyche. And so on.

MY EXPERIENCE

For me, this shift happened in my teens.

THE WORLD WENT DISTANT

On January 1st when I was fifteen, it was as if the world went very far away1. I still remember it. I was outside my parents’ house, talking with some friends. It happened over just some seconds or perhaps minutes. The world – wider world, this human self, thoughts, emotions – all seemed very distant.

This was profoundly disturbing to this human self, and the doctors couldn’t find an explanation. Later, I understood that this was a kind of observer-observed split. Identification went into the observer construct, and everything else seemed very distant. There was a disidentification with everything except the observer construct.

In a way, this is the reverse of what the quote above describes.

ALL AS THE DIVINE

One year later, there was another shift, this time into oneness. I walked along the dirt path to the house in the dark, with a big wind going through the landscape and the sky full of stars. This was between Christmas and New Year. I looked up at the stars and felt the extra expansiveness from the wind going through it all. Suddenly, there was a shift. All was revealed as God. Everything, without exception, is God. Nothing was left out.

This was home. This is home in the most profound sense. It’s more than familiar. At the same time, although very much secondary, it was a shock and surprise to this human self. He was an atheist, and then this? And it’s what always is here and just wasn’t noticed?

In my case, all was revealed as God, as the divine, as Spirit. There wasn’t so much the interpretation that “that is me”, although that is included in it. (The “that is me” idea still assumes that the idea of me and it has some substance and reality to it, which it doesn’t really.)

NOTES

(1) The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome started at the same time, somehow the two seem intertwined although I am not sure exactly how. My human self was under a lot of stress at the time, so it may be that the observer-observes split became a safety value, and the CFS may also have been a safety valve.

(2) For whatever reason, a lot of people use a tree as an example for this. Maybe that’s how it often starts for people? Is it because trees are quite noticeable, stand still, and are alive, and that makes the shift easier?

The image is created by me and Midjourney

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More real than waking life

It was/is more real than waking life. It’s not uncommon to hear people say that when there has been or is a glimpse into our nature.

That makes sense.

THE DREAMLIKE CONTENT OF EXPERIENCE

The content of my experience is real enough2. At the same time, it’s like a dream. It’s always changing and what’s here now becomes a mental image. It happens within and as the consciousness I am. Waking life is the same as a night dream in that sense.

WHAT I MORE FUNDAMENTALLY AM

What I more fundamentally am – what this field of experience happens within and as – is always here.

It’s all I have ever known, even when it takes the form of this always-changing content of experience.

When my nature recognizes itself, there is a profound sense of coming home.

It’s profoundly familiar, even if it’s also new and sometimes disorienting to the psyche and conditioning of this human self.

MORE REAL THAN WAKING LIFE

When my nature notices itself, it’s more real than any of the dreamlike content of experience.

NOTES

(1) If my nature notices itself, and identification goes back into thought, it can become primarily a memory and an experience in time, even if it’s still what I more fundamentally am.

(2) It’s real to me since it’s here in the field of experience. It’s also a kind of virtual reality created by the mind. It’s a combination of interpretations of sensory input and mental field representations. It’s far from an accurate representation of some external world as it is.

The image is created by me and Midjourney

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Nothings

Is this how awakening is?

Not really, but there is a grain of truth in it.

Awakening shifts our relationships with identities – as a human, a self, a man or woman, a victim, a doer, an observer, and so on. It helps us see that these are roles our human self sometimes plays. It’s not what we more fundamentally are. It helps us release, soften, or at least question our identification with all of these identities. We find ourselves as what we more fundamentally are, which is what all of this and everything else in our world happens within and as.

We realize we are inherently empty of any identification, which is what allows the appearance of any identification, and it allows us to take on and play roles for a while.

We are fundamentally nothing full of everything, full of the whole world, sometimes full of this particular human self.

In that way, we are inherently nothing. Although that realization can be a bit shocking to our human self and our habitual patterns, it doesn’t necessarily look like the cartoon above…! In my case, it was immensely familiar. It was like coming home. It was revealed as all I had ever known, without realizing it. My human self and psyche had reactions to it, and it was somewhat disorienting to my psyche, but not like in that cartoon.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 49

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

EVERYONE IS A WHOLE WORLD

Every being is a world. When someone is born, a new world is here. When someone dies, a world is gone.

If we are a conscious being, then to ourselves, we are that consciousness. The world, to us, is created within and as the consciousness we are. It’s a unique world. That world doesn’t exist anywhere else. It doesn’t exist before or after. The world, as it’s experienced by any one consciousness, is one of a kind.

That goes for every single being. An ant is as much consciousness to itself as anyone else. It is as much a world as anyone else.

What’s different is the body it operates through and as and the world it creates for itself. Each of us perceives the world differently. We have a particular body and sensory organs, we are in a unique place in the world, we have our world we bring with us from the past. The world we create for ourselves is different.

Our fundamental nature to ourselves is the same. (Very likely, judging from reports and what makes sense.) The body and content of the world is unique.

What a beautiful combination.

Image by me and Midjourney

CG JUNG: THE BRIGHTER THE LIGHT

The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

– CG Jung

What is Jung referring to here? I am not sure, but I can find where the quote seems accurate.

The more I am identified with desirable qualities, and the more I see them as exclusive, the more the rest of me will go into the shadow. It’s something I see in others and not (so much) in myself.

There is another dynamic here and I am not sure how to talk about it: The more light, the stronger the shadow. When my system goes “up” it’s followed by going “down”. There is a sense of a lot of light coming into my system, it tends to bring up new layers of what’s unprocessed in me. This can happen, for instance, after focusing on heart-centered practices and so on.

The invitation for me here is to engage in these practices differently, in a way that opens to all of me – what’s desirable and not to my personality, what my culture sees as “light” and “dark”. In a way where there is less identification with the “light” side of me and more of a conscious embrace of all of it, including the “dark” sides.

I am exploring these dynamics right now. After the Amma experience some weeks ago, and after going into heart-centered practices, it was as if new layers of unprocessed material came up quite strongly. It’s clear that the more I wish for the light and try to hold onto it, the more the dark comes up and it feels challenging and unwanted. The more I recognize all of it as expressions of the divine and the mind, and the more I can intentionally embrace it all, the easier it is. That’s when it all can work on me and make me more consciously whole and aligned with reality and what’s already here.

What specifically has been coming up? First, grief and pain from Merlina dying. Then, a lot of anger and I didn’t always deal with that anger gracefully. Likely because I never really learned to deal with and work with anger from my birth family, and because a part of me tells me it’s bad and wrong and my mind still believes it to some extent. In addition to this, just generally feeling uncomfortable, which may be discomfort about underlying anger. The anger is partly from me not taking care of my own needs in my life and also recently.

Right now, how is it to fully embrace the anger that’s here? How is it to embrace the fear behind the anger? How is it to embrace the discomfort? How is it to embrace the messiness? How is it to embrace anything in me reacting to what’s coming up?

You are welcome here. You can stay as long as you want. Thank you for protecting me.

Image by me and Midjourney

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A secular view on awakening

Awakening has traditionally been understood in a religious or spiritual context.

All of existence is Spirit and the divine, and the awakening is Spirit becoming conscious of itself and its nature locally. It’s Spirit locally conscious of itself while operating through the vehicle of this particular human self.

These days, it makes sense to also use a more secular understanding of awakening. We live in a more secular society, so why not see it in a secular context? After all, awakening and our nature is not going away.

I have written about this several times before so I’ll make it short.

OUR MORE FUNDAMENTAL NATURE

If we “have” consciousness, then what are we to ourselves? We are not primarily anything within consciousness, we are consciousness itself. There is no way around it. It has to be that way. Whether we notice or not, and independent of whatever conscious worldview we happen to use, to ourselves, we are primarily consciousness. Since the world, to us, happens within and as consciousness, it happens within and as the consciousness we are.

To ourselves, we are primarily conciousness.1 And the world – any content of consciousness – happens within and as the consciousness we are.

THE DREAMLIKE NATURE OF THE WORLD

That means that to us, the world is not so different from a dream. A dream happens within the consciousness we are while this human self is alseep. Waking life happens within and as the consciousness we are while this human self is awake.

ONENESS

Consciousess does not have boundaries. It doesn’t begin or end anywhere. It doesn’t have inherent dividing lines. There is no outside. It’s one. What we are is one. That means that the world, to us, is one whether we notice or not.

TRAINED ITSELF TO NOT NOTICE

Most of the time, the consciousness we are doesn’t notice this. It doesn’t need to. It trains itself to not notice, in a way, since most others don’t seem to notice. It trains itself to operate based on assumptions picked up from others: I am primarily this human self. Consciousness is a kind of add-on. Others and the world are separate from me. The world is more or less as it appears to me.

This is natural and innocent, and since the perception is out of alignment with reality, it comes with some inherent friction and discomfort.

WHEN WE NOTICE OUR NATURE

Sometimes, the consciousness we are may have glimpses of what it is and how the world, to it, is. We may feel or experience a connection with all. We may go into a flow state and forget our identity as this human self and of separation. This happens to many or most in daily life, at least now and then.

Occasionally, this is even more clear.2 There may be a shift so everything is revealed as consciousness. Consciousness becomes aware of itself as everything it’s experiencing and everything it has ever experienced. It becomes aware of itself as consciousness and of its world as happening within and as itself.

A SECULAR VIEW ON AWAKENING

Nothing “spiritual” is required to understand this. We don’t need to refer to God, the divine, Spirit, Brahman, or any of that.

We can understand it in a much more simple way, and a way that fits most (nearly all) worldviews: To ourselves, we are consciousness. The world, to us, happens within and as the consciousness we are.

Sometimes, the consciousness we are doesn’t notice itself. (It’s lost in identifying primarily as this human self, as something within the content of experience).

Sometimes, it recognizes itself. When it does, we call it awakening.

It’s all a process. It’s an exploration. It’s something we can keep clarifying, deepening into, become more familiar with, and mature into and within.3

THE ESSENCE OF EACH VIEW

What’s the essence of the secular and spiritual views on awakening?

To me, it has to do with our nature and the nature of reality itself.

Both views see our fundamental nature as consciousness. That’s not in question since it makes logical sense and is something we can check out for ourselves.

The difference is that the secular view does not make assumptions about the nature of reality itself. It leaves it open. The spiritual view, on the other hand, assumes that our nature – consciousness – is also the nature of reality itself and all there is.

COMPLEMENTARY VIEWS

The spiritual and secular views on awakening are complementary. They fill in what the other is missing, and they each have upsides and drawbacks.

The secular view is compatible with just about any worldview. It’s compatible with the view of Western science. It doesn’t rely on anything mystical or magical. It doesn’t rely on belief. It’s something we can check out for ourselves. It fits with the descriptions from people (mystics) throughout history and across traditions. It helps us find the lowest common denominators of awakening. It can give us a language independent of traditions, and that can help communication across traditions. It can help us find the essence of awakening. It keeps it simple, sober and grounded. It doesn’t say anything about the nature of reality itself and leaves it open. To me, these are all upsides. The downside is that it can seem a bit uninspiring to some.4

The spiritual view has more of a tradition. It may be more familiar to many. It may be more inspiring. On the other hand, it’s often bogged down in terminology, hierarchy, and misconceptions.

Which one is more accurate? The secular view is quite accurate in terms of our own experience and what we can check out for ourselves. And I suspect the spiritual one may be more accurate in the bigger picture. Many hints suggest it.5 (Although these can also be understood in other ways.)

NOTES

(1) I left out something that we even more fundamentally are. When we find ourselves as consciousness, we may also notice something else about our nature. At some level, I am this human self in the world. That’s an assumption that works well in daily life and I have to include it to function in the world. More fundamentally, and in my own first-person experience, I am consciousness. Even more fundamentally, I find I am capacity for it all. I am capacity for any and all of the experiences that are here. I am even capacity for consciousness itself.

(2) In my case, there was a dramatic shift when I was sixteen. Everything without exception was revealed as God or the divine. This human self and anything connected with it was the temporary and local play of the divine. That language was the language this human self used to make sense of it at the time. Today, I would more likely replace “God” and “the divine” with consciousness.

(3) This process is not always easy. For instance, for most of us, our psyche is formed within separation consciousness and it has wounds that operate from separation consciousness. To align with the reality of what we are (consciousness, oneness), these have to surface and be seen, felt, loved, and recognized as consciousness. The consciousness we are has to recognize itself as it. That’s not always an easy or comfortable process. Depending on how much trauma we have, it can be overwhelming, confusing, and we may not always deal with it gracefully. (Speaking from own experience here.)

(4) What are some of these hints? Sensing and healing at a distance, relatively solid reincarnation stories, undeniable chains of extraordinary synchronicities, and so on. None of these have been examined well enough by Western science yet. Each one can also be explained in other ways. Still, together, they suggest that the spiritual view on awakening may be accurate in the bigger picture.

(5) There are definitely ways to make it inspiring while still grounding it in modern science. We can, for instance, bring in the Universe Story and the Epic of Evolution. In the words of Carl Sagan: We are the universe bringing itself into consciousness. We are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We can call the wholeness of all there is for God.

Image by me and Midjourney.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 48

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON?

The human mind wants to make sense of things. That’s natural and healthy. It helps us survive.

It can also go a bit further. Our mind can assume that things happen for a reason, and try to find that reason.

That’s often not so helpful, unless we channel it in a constructive way.

Someone dies. And to cope with the grief and pain, our mind may go to just these kinds of thoughts. Why did it happen? Did I do something wrong? Is it a sign? Does life or the divine want to send me a message? That’s the spin of thoughts. That’s our mind trying to make sense out of a difficult situation.

Whatever ideas we come up with are imaginations. It’s not reality.

It’s futile since we cannot know.

Fortunately, there is a more constructive approach. We can make it meaningful for ourselves. We can use the situation and what comes up in us in a meaningful way.

How that looks is up to us.

We can use it to identify and question painful thoughts and identities.

We can use it to deepen empathy with ourselves and others.

We can use it to deepen into following our inner guidance and what feels right to us.

We can use it to reprioritize, to examine our priorities and find our more real and essential priorities.

We can use it as a reminder that we are it, and notice what shifts. If I am this situation – the whole field of experience – what happens with the impulse to make sense of it? (I find it diminishes and looses its charge. It loses identification.)

JANUARY 26, 2024

GRATEFUL TO BE HERE / WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK

Yes, that sums up my experience pretty well.

I am immensely grateful to be here. Life is amazing. Reality is amazing. Magical. Awe-inspiring. Just that there is anything at all is baffling and beyond comprehension.

At the same time, it’s often challenging. Painful. Confusing. Overwhelming. Humbling. In my case, perhaps especially because of old trauma.

ALL IS OK, ALL IS NOT OK

As consciousness, all is OK. I find myself as primarily consciousness, and that consciousness is always OK. It cannot be touched by its own experience.

As consciousness forming itself into my experience of the world, all is not OK. Being suffer. We have an ecocidal and suicidal civilization. I have made choices in my life I would have done differently if I could.

As usual, there is a lot more to say about this.

It can seem like a paradox at a superficial word level. It’s all OK and not OK at the same time.

And yet, it’s not a paradox since they refer to different things. As consciousness, it’s all inherently OK. As my experience of the world that the consciousness I am forms itself into, there is definitely room for improvement.

My ideas about improvement have both a universal and personal flavor. Beings don’t like to suffer. We can do what we can to create a society that’s more beneficial for everyone in society, our ecosystems, non-human beings, and future generations.

There is also a difference between the big and small interpretation of awakening here, and there is something valuable in the small version.

In the small interpretation of awakening, I know that I cannot assume that my nature is the nature of all of existence. As consciousness here, all may be OK in a certain way. But I cannot assume that all of existence is consciousness (AKA the divine, God) and that all of existence is OK in the same way. To me, that’s an upside since it requires me to be engaged and do my best – in whatever limited way I can – to make things a little better in the world. (For instance, in my case, through working on regeneration right now.)

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Do more awaken these days?

I have written about this before and will briefly revisit it:

Some folks seem to think that more people awaken these days compared to the past.

IS IT TRUE?

It’s impossible to know if it’s true or not.

To know, we would have to (a) have a solid and reliable definition and way of sorting people into one category or the other, and (b) have done global studies at different times through history using representative samples. We would also have to assume that all of this yields solid data, which is unlikely.

That has not happened, and likely won’t happen unless there is a major shift within academia and our collective worldview and priorities.

WHY MAY IT APPEAR THAT WAY?

What are some reasons why it appears that more awaken these days?

It may be selection or confirmation bias.

(a) We know about more people who awaken than before because of global communication and the internet. Anyone these days can have a blog like this one, or join the many online groups and communities on these topics.

(b) Also, the vast majority of the ones who were awake in the past are likely unknown to us. Information about them is lost to time. We only know of the rare few who happened to become public personalities and whom we still have records of. (Today, a very small fraction of the many who awaken are publicly known, and there is no reason to think that was different in the past.)

There are more people in the world, so it makes sense if more awaken. The percentage may be the same or similar to before, which means a higher number.

More may actually awaken for whatever reason. For instance, because there is easier access to teachers and effective methods these days. If we are in a situation where our system is primed for awakening, there are more resources to help shift the system into that state.

MAKING USE OF THE QUESTION

As usual, I am less interested in the conventional answer to the question and more interested in how I can make practical use of it.

The question is an invitation for me to think about it soberly. To identify my hopes and fears and biases, and think about it in an honest and grounded way, as much as is possible for me.

It’s also an invitation to look more directly at my stories and projections.

As mentioned, it may be wishful thinking. Do I hope it’s that way? What do I hope would come out of it? If I tell myself more awaken, what do I find when I examine that thought? If I tell myself it would be better, what do I find when I examine that thought? What am I afraid would happen if it’s not true?

It can also be another form of projection. It may happen here, and I may not notice it fully, so I imagine it in the world instead. I imagine in the world what’s happening here.

WHO OR WHAT AWAKENS?

I am writing about awakening here as someone who awakens.

That’s understandable and not wrong, and yet it’s also not the whole picture.

To most, it may look like someone who awakens. It’s lived through and as a person. And if the other is identified primarily as their human self, then they’ll tend to see others that way as well. To them, it looks like a person who awakens.

To ourselves, it’s a release of identification out of being anything in particular within content of consciousness. What we are awakens to itself and out of these more limited identifications. It’s the consciousness we are, or the wholeness we are, that awakens to itself.

I would say that it’s the consciousness we are that awakens to itself. It’s consciousnesses awakening to itself, or not.

Another side to this is that it’s not one or the other. It’s a process with a lot of nuances and wrinkles.

I tend to see it more as a degree of awakeness in a system. It’s more or less stable through daily life and different situations. More or less of our psyche is on board with it. Our center of gravity is more or less in our nature recognizing itself. We have more or less maturity in how we live from and as it. Our human self is more or less healed and mature in a conventional sense. And so on.

Image by me and Midjourney

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A core veil experience

In Vortex Healing, the definition of awakening is that the core veil is gone, where the core veil refers to a component of our energetic system that sits in the heart area.

This is a different definition than what most use, which would be some variation of our nature recognizing itself and living from and as it (embodiment). That’s part of the Vortex Healing view as well, but not used as a definition of awakening.

A few weeks or months after I took my first Vortex Healing class, I asked my teacher (GC) about my core veil. She said, “It’s hanging on by a thread”.

For years, I had experienced something very uncomfortable in my heart area. I saw Jeannie Zandie talking about experiencing a “shard of glass in the heart” during a phase in her process, and that was my experience as well. It was there more or less constantly, felt like it was energetic more than emotional, and was almost unbearable.

During the final transmission in the Core Veil class1, that experience went away. It has not returned.

This makes me guess that the strong discomfort in my heart area came from the fragments of the core veil that was left in my heart area. It was there before the core veil transmission and gone after.

For me, that in itself made taking the Vortex Healing classes worth it!

(1) London December 2017 according to my calendar.

The image is created by me and Midjourney and is utter nonsense in terms of the energy system

Awakening and trauma and the apparent gap between the two

There is an apparent gap between my nature – as consciousness – and the trauma that’s in my very human system.

ONENESS AND TRAUMA

As what I am, as consciousness, I am oneness. And that oneness takes the form of a kind of love that’s independent of states and feelings.

As who I am, I am this very flawed human being. I have hangups, issues, and traumas. I have unloved parts of me. Unexamined beliefs. And so on. Here, I sometimes act from reactivity and it looks like (unloved) fear and reactivity and not love or oneness.

There seems to be a big gap there. And that’s true and not true in different ways.

THE GAP IS REAL

It’s true in that these parts of me – the wounded and traumatized parts – were formed within separation consciousness and they perceive and operate from separation consciousness. They are not aware of the oneness they exist within and are part of. They behave as if separation is most fundamental, and for them it is.

These parts of me color my perception and life even if they are not obviously triggered.

When they are more obviously triggered, a couple of things can happen.

The consciousness I am can get caught up in this part of me and join in with its outlook and the scary stories it operates from. I – as a whole – become this part of me for a while, until the storm passes. (Sometimes, it means getting caught up in a part reacting to a reacting part!)

The consciousness I am can notice what’s happening without getting caught up in it. I notice what’s happening. I notice reactivity. I notice the pattern. I notice it’s happening within and as what I am. My human self can relate to it more intentionally and deal with it without getting caught up in it or reacting to it.

Or there is a mix of the two, which also happens.

THE GAP IS APPARENT

At the same time, the gap is only apparent.

My human self and all its hangups happen within and as the consciousness and oneness I am.

Even getting caught up in it or not happens within and as the consciousness and oneness I am.

Noticing that is helpful. It’s helpful in the moment something is triggered. It helps me find what’s not caught up in it. And it’s helpful when I take time to rest with and explore these wounded parts of me. It gives a different context to the exploration. It helps me see that these parts of me have my nature. What I am forms itself into it and takes that form.

EXPLORING THE GAP

How can I explore the gap? How can I invite more of me to align with oneness? (With the oneness I am noticing itself?)

A big part of it may be regular trauma work and different forms of trauma-informed therapies.

Another is to train myself to notice when “I” as a whole gets caught up in it and help myself to shift out of it again. Seeing that it’s natural and, in many ways, innocent, helps here. The more peace with it, the easier to notice and shift back into what I am.

WHAT MAKES IT EASIER

In general, it seems easier

The more I can embrace all of it and the messiness of it and find some peace with it.

The more I understand what’s happening. These are scared and sometimes terrified parts of me. They were formed within separation consciousness and still live that way. They are here to try to protect me. They come fundamentally from love. They have the same nature as I do as a whole.

The more I am with others who understand and have some love and humor about it all.

The more experience I have in seeing the patterns and dealing with them. That includes the times I – as a whole – get caught up in it and act as if I am that scared part of me. And the times when I notice what’s happening and can relate to it more consciously and intentionally.

The more I can admit to it to myself and others (when it feels appropriate). Admitting it is very human and creates more understanding and connections.

The more I can find the humor in it. It is all more than a little absurd.

The more I know that there is no finishing line. It’s all about the process. I cannot know what will happen and it doesn’t matter. It’s easier and more comfortable to rest in (and as) not knowing.

The more I see that this is all the play of… the consciousness I am, life, existence, the divine, Spirit. It’s existence expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in this way here and now. It has a beauty.

The more I see that this is universal. We are all fundamentally consciousness to ourselves. And we all have this self in the world with all sorts of hangups, wounds, and traumas. We are all in it together. We are all in the same boat. (And it’s all also unique. It all takes unique forms for each of us and in each moment.)

The more I see it’s not easy. It’s often *&%$# hard. It’s painful. Confusing. Sometimes overwhelming. It brings up fear, frustration, and anger. It sometimes brings up shame and regret. That too is universal, natural, and ultimately innocent. It’s OK.

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No awakening without dealing with trauma

There is no awakening without dealing with trauma.

At some point, the awakening process requires us to deal with our trauma and anything unresolved in us.

It seems inevitable given enough time, and it may not in all cases happen in this lifetime.

AWAKENING BEFORE DEALING WITH THE TRAUMA

Of course, our nature can recognize itself without dealing with trauma or anything else unresolved in us. It can keep noticing itself and even live from and as it through this human self in many situations. We can be in a temporary transcendent state. Our old psychological mechanisms may still be intact enough to push our traumas aside or keep them under the surface as much as that is possible.

In this situation, what’s unresolved in us will inevitably color our perception and life, and it will get triggered more actively in some situations and areas of life. It will always be with us and shape our life. 

It’s not a situation that can last forever. At some point, anything unresolved in our body-mind has to come to the surface to be seen, felt, loved, and recognized as happening within and as what we are. We have to learn to relate to it more consciously and for what it is (scared and wounded parts of us) and invite in healing for it. 

TRAUMA AND WOUNDS LIVE IN SEPARATION CONSCIOUSNESS

What’s the problem with traumas in this context, and generally what’s unresolved in us?

It’s not actually a problem. They are part of the process. It’s natural and even innocent. It provides material for exploration, grounding, humbling, maturing, and so on.

At the same time, these parts of us are out of alignment with the awakening. These parts of us were formed from separation consciousness and life within and from separation consciousness. And, as mentioned above, they will inevitably color our perception and life. As long as they are here, we will live partly from and as these parts of us.

WHAT MAKES IT EASIER AND MORE DIFFICULT

Some things make this process easier: We may have a relatively small trauma load, or just a little comes up at once. We may already have good habits in how to relate to it. We may already be relatively healthy, grounded, and mature. We may find ourselves among people who understand and support the process. In short, we have the resources to deal with it and what’s coming up may not be big enough to overwhelm us. 

And the reverse seems to make this process more difficult: We have a larger and more difficult trauma load. A lot is coming up at once. We may feel overwhelmed and not know how to deal with it. We may not be so healthy, grounded, and mature. We may not find ourselves in an understanding and supportive environment. We may not have the inner and outer resources to effectively deal with it, and what comes up overwhelms us. 

THE EMBODIMENT ASPECT OF THE PROCESS

This is really about embodiment, which is part of the awakening process.

It’s about bringing it into life in a more consistent, grounded, mature, and healthy way.

For that to happen, we need to deal with our trauma and anything unresolved in us, and it’s an ongoing process.

I doubt there is ever a finishing line, at least in this lifetime or as long as we are incarnated.

AWAKENING AS A PROCESS

The essential part of awakening is not technically a process. It’s our nature recognizing itself and that happens here and now.

And everything else is a process. What leads up to it, and how it unfolds within and as that noticing.

IS IT WORTH IT?

Is it worth it?

It is, in a way, a nonsensical question. It’s not up to us as an individual. What’s happening here locally is part of the process of all of existence. Everything has infinite causes stretching out to the widest extent of existence and the beginning of time.

Also, it depends on how we look at it. It can be tremendously difficult and painful, as I know from my own experience. It can seriously impact and complicate our lives.

Not dealing with trauma is not necessarily any easier. That comes with its own pain and challenges and it lasts a lot longer.

HOW IT HAS BEEN FOR ME

I am writing from my own experience here so someone else will talk about it differently.

For me, the initial oneness shift happened when I was sixteen and didn’t go away. My human self lived in a kind of honeymoon state for about ten years where the unprocessed human stuff was set aside or buried. Not intentionally, since I was deeply fascinated by psychology (especially Jung and depth psychology) and did regular therapy. But my system had mechanisms in place to keep it manageable.

Then, a dark night started. First, through a profound sense of being off track in life (I made a life decision that went against my clear inner guidance and knowing). And then, about ten years later, through the “lid” being taken off what was unprocessed in my system. That seemed to have happened through a combination of (a) six months in a clear no-self state, (b) my body-mind being severely weakened by a chronic illness CFS), and (c) a “dangerous prayer” where I sincerely and deeply asked the divine to “show me what’s left” (a deep and overwhelming survival fear came up one or two weeks after). An aspect of this is that a lot has been falling apart in my life, over and over, sometimes because of the way I have dealt with the trauma.

I am still in that darker phase of the dark night, although the form of it keeps changing.

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Health crisis & shifting the center of gravity into my nature as a safety valve

Close to summer solstice 2022, I found myself with sepsis and in acute septic shock and rushed to the hospital.

WHAT HAPPENED

I was in Ski, having just returned from the Andes mountains. A tooth broke followed by a strong infection in my jaw and face. I received antibiotics from the emergency dentist. (This happened on a weekend.) It didn’t seem to do anything. That Monday, I went back to the dentist for more work on the tooth, and on my way back to the house, I blacked out.

Somehow I was able to walk the ten minutes back to the house, but I cannot remember anything about it.

I came back to consciousness naked on the couch in the basement of my parents house, sweating profusely, ice cold, and shaking so strongly it was close to impossible to use my phone to contact anyone. With a lot of struggle, I was able to leave a message for my wife (who was sick with covid in the guesthouse) and my brother.

My brother eventually came, didn’t seem to take it very seriously (he disappeared into the bathroom for what seemed an eternity and didn’t tell me where he was), and eventually took me to the emergency room.

They relatively quickly suspected septic shock, called an ambulance, and I was rushed to A-Hus in Oslo. They put ten or fifteen tubes and cables in me, informed me that my kidneys had collapsed, and put me under observation for 24 hours. After that, I stayed in a corridor in the infection section of the hospital for a week. (With people screaming and dying in the rooms I was outside of.) It was quite an experience.

I wrote about this episode in a couple of other articles: It’s all a bonus and My recent health crisis.

FEAR

Between regaining consciousness in my parents’ basement and receiving the diagnosis, fear came up. I realized something serious was happening. I had no idea what it was. I had fear of something seriously happening to me that would affect me for the rest of my life. And I also noticed that a fear of dying did not come up, that seemed OK.

GRATITUDE

I also had a profound gratitude to the nurses and doctors and the healthcare system in Norway. I could not have had a better experience. (Apart from the infection wing of the hospital being full due to a surge in covid, which has more to do with the priorities of politicians and voters than anything else.)

MY NATURE

It seems that the safety valve for my system is to shift the center of gravity more strongly into my nature.

During this whole process, I found myself strongly in and as consciousness. Consciousness was strongly in the foreground and whatever happened within and as consciousness – the symptoms, the events, the people, this human self, sensations, thoughts, and emotions – was all much more in the background. It was happening, but what it happened within and as was much more clear and strong.

That also happened when I had a heat stroke in Oregon several years ago. (Likely because my doctor told me to eat less salt, I was already eating very little salt, and it was a very hot summer.)

I also suspect it’s how the initial oneness shift happened when I was sixteen. My human self was under a lot of stress at the time (to an extreme and overwhelming level), and I suspect my system dealt with it by shifting the center of gravity into consciousness itself.

Initially, when I was fifteen, there was a shift into an observer-observed duality where I found myself as consciousness (without having those words for it) and the whole world – this human self, others, thoughts, feelings, and so on – seemed very far away.

A year later, there was a shift into all – without exception – as God. This human self, thoughts, feelings, ideas of being this human self, ideas of separation, and so on, was all recognized as the play of God, as God taking all those forms. That was the language and interpretation of this human self at the time. These days, I would say it in a slightly different way. There was a shift of the center of gravity into consciousness, into the consciousness I am, and all content of consciousness was recognized as that, as happening within and as the consciousness I am.

SHIFTS IN CENTER OF GRAVITY AND ATTENTION

That initial oneness shift stayed. The shifts have more been in how much in the foreground or background my nature is. I have gone through phases where it has been very much in the foreground – the first ten years or so, during a period when the no-self aspect was in the foreground, and I would also say now. And in daily life, it also depends on where attention goes – to my nature or specific content of experience.

SAFETY VALVE

In my case, the shift into my nature recognizing itself did definitely not happen because I was especially noble or into spiritual practice or had prayed for it or anything of that kind. It happened because my human self was so messed up and needed a safety valve, and – for whatever reason – shifting the center of gravity into my nature turned out to be that safety valve.

My human self had absolutely no interest in spirituality at the time, and even now, I prefer to avoid language related to spirituality as much as possible.

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Awakening: Why is it difficult to put into words?

Why is it difficult to put awakening into words? Or anything related to our more fundamental nature?

There are a few different reasons.

IT’S NOT BECAUSE IT’S SO SPECIAL

It’s not because it’s unfamiliar, distant, or special, or for someone special.

It’s what’s already most familiar to us, whether we recognize it or not.

THE GIFTS & LIMITS OF LANGUAGE

Mental representations serve an important function. They help us orient and function in the world, and to communicate with ourselves and others.

They are questions about the world. They can serve as pointers.

At the same time, they have limits. Words cannot properly capture anything.

It’s the nature of words that makes it difficult to put our nature – and anything else – into words.

Our nature is not a special case.

WHEN WE ALREADY ARE THERE

Words and mental representations are maps.

They help us orient and navigate in the world, and they help us communicate with ourselves and others.

Say we have a map of a place we haven’t been to. The map can give us a rough and abstract sense of the place, but not much more. We fill it in with our imagination and past experience, and that imagination is bound to get a lot wrong. It’s bound to get everything a bit wrong, and some a lot wrong.

If we are there, then the map can help us explore it more in detail and discover more about it.

That’s another reason it’s difficult to put awakening into words. If someone is not there, no words are sufficient to describe or explain it. If someone is there, then words can help them explore new aspects within it.

Here, the limitations are in where we are, and that’s the same with everything. If we are familiar with it, then words can serve as practical pointers. If not, the words remain more abstract and we imagine more into it.

WORDS DIVIDE

Words operate on distinctions, they create imaginary boundaries and divisions. That’s how they are useful.

Our nature is one. It’s what forms itself into any and all of our experience, without exception. It’s all we have ever known.

That’s another reason why it’s difficult to put it into language.

Often, the best we can do is to say what it’s not and use poetic expressions to point to it.

IT’S NOT IN OUR SHARED CULTURE

If we lived in a culture where exploring our nature was common and a part of our culture, we would have more of a shared language for it.

In the Western world, we don’t live in that kind of culture (unless we are in the Bay Area!) and we don’t have a shared language, apart from what we borrow from other cultures and a few mystics from our own.

I am trying to talk about it in a language that’s natural to me, simple, mostly free of jargon, and that reflects my direct noticing as much as possible.

FAIL WELL?

I know I am bound to fail in trying to capture any of this in words.

In the best case, it may be slightly interesting, create a frame, or serve as a pointer or reminder.

It always falls short. That’s OK. That’s how it is.

There is a gift there. It’s a blessing that we cannot capture any of this – or anything at all – in words.

It leaves us with one option, and that is to experience it for ourselves. We have to explore the terrain for ourselves.

There is no substitute. The experience of others is not a substitute. Words – no matter how beautiful or apparently insightful – are no substitute.

That’s how I can attempt to fail well: I know words cannot capture it, and I know there is a beautiful blessing and pointer in just that.

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Understanding awakening independent of spirituality and most worldviews

How do we understand awakening?

Do we tie it to spirituality or a particular approach to spirituality?

Do we tie it to a particular worldview that’s incompatible with other common worldviews?

Or do we find the lowest common denominator in understanding awakening? Do we choose an understanding that’s compatible with a wide range of worldviews?

Personally, I prefer an understanding that’s honest, simple, has the fewest assumptions within it, and is compatible with the widest range of worldviews. (Including those free of spirituality.)

A SIMPLE UNDERSTANDING OF AWAKENING

So what is this simple understanding of awakening?

We can approach it in two ways.

NOTICING: TO OURSELVES, WE ARE CONSCIOUSNESS

We can approach it through direct noticing.

It’s not wrong that I am this human self in the world. But when I look, I find I am more fundamentally something else.

I am what the world, to me, happens within and as. I am capacity for all of it.

We can quite easily get at least a glimpse of this through different forms of inquiry, including the Headless experiments and the Big Mind process.

LOGIC: TO OURSELVES, WE ARE CONSCIOUSNESS

We can also approach this through logic.

In our culture, people often say that we “have” consciousness. That makes it sound as if consciousness is a kind of appendix, and that we are a kind of object somehow receiving info from this consciousness. That’s one take on a third-person view, which is fine, but here I am more interested in our first-person experience.

So what’s a first-person view?

If I “have” consciousness, then to myself, I have to BE consciousness.

Said another way: Any experience has to happen within consciousness. It’s consciousness forming itself into that experience. And what’s experiencing has to similarly be consciousness. None of it would be experienced if it all didn’t happen within and as consciousness.

What’s experiencing and what’s experienced are aspects of the same. All of it is consciousness.

Here, we may also find that…

If we ARE consciousness, then to us, the world – the whole field of experience – happens within and as the consciousness we are.

Consciousness is seamless. It doesn’t have borders or divisions or even an outer boundary. To us, the world happens within and as the oneness we are. (“The world” here means any content of experience, including anything associated with this human self – sensations, emotions, thoughts, ideas of identities, ideas of being a doer, an observer, and so on.)

Understanding this logically can be interesting in itself, and it can be an invitation to explore it through direct noticing.

THE WORLD APPEARS AS CONSCIOUSNESS

If the world, to me, happens within and as the consciousness I am, then – to me – the world appears AS consciousness.

If the world appears as consciousness, then it appears alive and conscious, and it’s very easy to call that the divine, Spirit, God, Allah, Brahman, and so on.

SHARED WITH MYSTICS ACROSS TIME AND TRADITIONS

Through logic and direct noticing, we arrive at what mystics through time and across traditions have described.

The essence is: I am consciousness. The world, to me, happens within and as the consciousness I am. The world, to me, happens within and as the oneness I am. The world, to me, appears as consciousness (AKA the divine, Spirit, God, etc.) since it happens within and as the consciousness I am.

Of course, the mystics use language that reflects their tradition, culture, and time, and they often interpret their direct noticing using a certain understanding and worldview. But the essence is the same.

FREE OF SPIRITUALITY AND INDEPENDENT OF MOST WORLDVIEWS

I like this approach.

It’s logical. It’s something we can find for ourselves through direct noticing.

It’s free of spirituality and spiritual traditions.

It’s compatible with a wide range of worldviews.

It’s a kind of lowest common denominator in understanding awakening.

That means it can be used by people from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of worldviews. It can be used as a simple form of communication across traditions. It can be used by academics and researchers.

We are personally free to add whatever we want to it. We can add a wide range of worldviews and traditions if we want. And it can help us hold all of that more lightly. We see that they are add-ons and essentially questions about the world.

A FEW NOTES

SMALL AND BIG UNDERSTANDINGS OF AWAKENING

When I have written about this in the past, I have often talked about a small and big understanding of awakening.

What I outlined above is the small approach. It’s simple, stays close to our experience, doesn’t philosophize too much, and is compatible with a range of worldviews. We explore our own nature, and don’t assume that’s also the nature of all of existence. The downside of this one is that it can seem a bit boring. (Although it’s anything but.) The upside is that it’s a kind of lowest common denominator. It can be used as a universal language.

The big understanding of awakening is the more traditional one. Here, we assume that our nature is the nature of all of existence. All of existence is consciousness AKA Spirit, God, Allah, Brahman, and so on. The downside here is that we may go into assumptions and fantasies beyond what we can check for ourselves. The upside is that it can be more familiar to many and it can seem more inspiring.

The small understanding is more accurate in the sense that’s it’s more sober, grounded, and honest. And I suspect the big understanding is more accurate in the big picture.

WHO IS USING THIS APPROACH?

If we mean a first-person exploration without too much philosophizing, it’s similar to the Headless Way, Zen, and Adveita.

If we mean using both a small (psychological) and big (spiritual) understanding of awakening, depending on what makes most sense in the situation, then I am not sure. I haven’t seen it myself, although I have also been out of the loop for 10-15 years due to my illness.

WHY ISN’T THIS APPROACH USED MORE COMMONLY?

As with so many things, I wonder why more people don’t use this approach. It seems simple, fits our modern views, and has many benefits.

We may be wedded to a spiritual tradition, and we may be used to a more spiritual language. We may prefer it, for whatever reason, even if it’s more exclusive and some of it goes beyond what we can check out for ourselves.

We may also want the comfort that certain ideas from spirituality give us. When I explore this, I find it doesn’t really give me comfort since I know – somewhere – what’s happening. I am indulging in a fantasy. One that’s possibly reasonably accurate, and one I cannot easily check out for myself or know for certain. Even if I have certain experiences, I know they can be interpreted and understood in many ways and they can fit into many different worldviews in different ways.

MY NATURE VS NATURE OF ALL OF EXISTENCE

Behind this approach – the small understanding of awakening – is a basic assumption: I can find and explore my own nature, and that doesn’t mean that the nature of all existence is the same as my nature. I cannot know for certain what the nature of all of existence is. I can assume it’s all the divine, Spirit, God, and so on, and there may be hints suggesting it’s like that, but I cannot know for certain. If I am honest with myself, I know I cannot know for certain.

For me, it’s more peaceful than trying to create, hold onto, and defend a certain worldview saying all of existence is a certain way.

ABOUT THE LOGIC

I wanted to add a few more words about the logical approach to understanding our first-person nature. I know that some will disagree with this logic, and I made almost no effort to make this particular presentation solid and tight. I just informally hit on some of the highlights.

I also know very well that this logic, in my case, comes from and reflects direct noticing. The noticing came first, and then the logic. It may be more difficult to go the other way, especially if we are already invested in another way of looking at it.

Also, I imagine some will say: Yes, it may be logical. To ourselves, we must be consciousness. But that’s not my experience, and I don’t think it’s possible to experience it. My brain won’t allow it.

That’s fair. And I would invite that person to check it out for themselves. The most effective way to explore it is likely to be facilitated by someone experienced in the Big Mind process. It may take just five minutes to get a real taste of it.

WHY AM I DRAWN TO THIS APPROACH?

I am not sure. Differentiating between a small and big understanding seems more honest. Using a small understanding is more inclusive. I like the fluidity in choosing a small or big interpretation depending on what makes more sense in the situation.

In general, I don’t like being wedded to just one way of looking at something since there is always validity in a range of views and they together give a slightly fuller and richer picture.

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Two sides of an unexpected oneness shift: Profoundly at home, profoundly alone – my story

When I was fifteen, there was a shift where the whole world – thoughts, feelings, sensations, others, the wider world – seemed very distant and far away. One year later, there was a shift into oneness where all – without exception – was revealed as God.

THE SITUATION

This human self was an atheist at the time, although with some curiosity about what’s outside of our conventional worldview – ESP, quantum physics, and similar things. I lived in a small town in Norway, and it was the ’80s before the web, so I knew nothing about anything related to this. I knew nobody who was interested in it. There was no web to go on to find info. I couldn’t even find any books since the local library didn’t have anything about it, and I didn’t even know what search terms to use.

RETURNING HOME

So on the one hand, it was a profound sense of coming home. It was a homecoming to something completely unexpected (to this human self) and profoundly familiar (to my nature). It was clear, it was obvious. Everything is God, without exception. And that includes this human self and any sense of being this human self. It was all what God has formed itself into. In this, there is no room for problems.

TURMOIL

At the same time, at my human level, there were a lot of problems. I had a mysterious disease. (Later identified as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.) I had a lot of anxiety and hangups due to family and school dynamics. Huge amounts of energy was running through my system 24/7 for years, it felt like high voltage being sent through ordinary housing wires. I had nobody to talk about these things with at all.

FINDING OTHERS

It wasn’t until that I found a book by Meister Eckhart in the main library in Oslo, where I saw glimmers of someone who had recognized the same, filtered by another time and culture and said by someone who obviously wanted to be careful about how he expressed it. (1) I also met a couple of people (BH & HB) who immediately recognized it in me and where I recognized it in them. That happened when I was nineteen and twenty and was a big relief for this human self. And I found Taoism and read just about everything I could find there. Again, the writings typically reflected something similar but didn’t explicitly talk about the shift that had happened here.

In general, my human life changed significantly for the better after I left high school, moved to Oslo, and started art school there. I found new friends. I found new communities. I was able to explore everything with more breathing space. Things started falling into place.

THE TWO SIDES

So there were two sides to this. As what I am – what a thought may call consciousness, oneness – there was just a returning home that what’s always here. As who I am – as this confused and wounded human being – it was a wild mix of surprise, excitement, confusion, bewilderment, aloneness, and much more.

And that’s all, of course, happening within and as what I am. It’s all happening within and as what a thought may call consciousness, oneness, or any number of things.

NOTES

(1) In my teens, I also read a lot about systems views, mainly by Fritjof Capra and the people he referenced, that hinted at it but didn’t seem to come from a direct noticing. And I also read a lot of books by C.G. Jung which also hinted at it, but again were not written from a direct noticing. They hinted at oneness, the oneness revealed in the shift, and I loved it. I also loved systems views for how important they are for our world today. (Although most still don’t use them, for whatever reason.) And I loved Jung for his understanding of how to find more wholeness at a human level.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 46

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

THE NOW THAT’S ALWAYS HERE

It’s difficult to talk about our nature, and also the present or now.

It’s not because it’s more mysterious than anything else, or distant or something we are unfamiliar with.

It’s because words are designed to make distinctions, and this is what all distinctions happen within and as. It’s because most of us, including me, are not used to talking about it. And it’s also because it’s so familiar to us it may be difficult to recognize. It’s all we have ever known.

So how to talk about now?

It’s easy to say what it’s not. It’s not my mental images and representations about the past or future.

It’s what these mental representations happen within and as. It’s what anything I have ever experienced happen within and as.

The now that’s here is the now that’s always been here.

We can say that it’s always changing, which is not wrong. And yet, I only know about that change by comparing mental images of what’s here now (or just passed), and what was a few moments ago, and perhaps even what may happen in the immediate future.

That’s where it gets a little difficult to talk about.

Maybe it’s easier to say that…

The whole field of experience happens within and as what I am. That includes any mental representations of past, future, and present. It also includes any mental representations of change, and of an always changing now, that comes about by comparing mental representations of what’s here, what just was, and what may very soon be.

Or…. I am space for what’s here, which includes my ideas of past, future, and present. And what’s here is always changing. It’s never the same. It’s always new, fresh, and different.

It’s very simple. It’s what I already am most familiar with. And yet, I find it difficult to put into words. For the words to be more accurate, they also tend to get convoluted, at least when I try to do it.

THE TWO SIDES OF AN UNEXPECTED ONENESS SHIFT

When I was fifteen, there was a shift where the whole world – thoughts, feelings, sensations, others, the wider world – seemed very distant and far away. One year later, there was a shift into oneness where all – without exception – was revealed as God.

This human self was an atheist at the time, although with some curiosity about ESP and similar things. I lived in a small town in Norway, and it was the ’80s before the web, so I knew nothing about anything related to this. I knew nobody interested in it. There was no internet to go on to find info. I couldn’t even find any books since the local library didn’t have anything about it, and I didn’t even know what search terms to use.

So on the one hand, it was a profound sense of coming home. It was a homecoming to something completely unexpected (to this human self) and profoundly familiar (to my nature). It was clear, it was obvious. Everything is God, without exception. And that includes this human self and any sense of being this human self. It was all what God has formed itself into. In this, there is no room for problems.

At the same time, at my human level, there were a lot of problems. I had a mysterious disease. (Which later was identified as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.) I had a huge amount of anxiety and hangups due to family and school dynamics. Huge amounts of energy was running through my system 24/7 for years, it felt like high voltage being sent through ordinary housing wires. I had nobody to talk about these things with at all.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I found a book by Meister Eckhart in the main library in Oslo, where I saw glimmers of someone who had recognized the same, filtered by another time and culture and said by someone who obviously wanted to be careful about how he expressed it. (1) I also met a couple of people who immediately recognized it in me from themselves, and where I recognized it in them from myself. That happened when I was nineteen and twenty and was a big relief for this human self.

(1) I also read a lot about systems view, mainly by Fritjof Capra, that hinted at it but didn’t seem to come from a direct noticing. And I also read a lot of books by C.G. Jung which also hinted at it, but again were not written from a direct noticing.

Image by me and Midjourney.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 45

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

OCTOBER 14, 2023

SUPERSTITIONS WE ALL ENGAGE IN

There is a solar eclipse today where I am, and someone told me to not go outside during the eclipse because it will damage my health. Apparently, that’s what some in India think.

To me, with my Western mind, it doesn’t quite make sense.

If it were true, we would see an upswing in illnesses following a solar eclipse, which would be picked up by the healthcare system. And I am not aware of that. There is nothing in the medical journals, apart from a predictable upswing in eye damage. (There is a small change that there is something in the data that nobody has explored statistically in connection with eclipses, or that there is a delayed manifestation of the illnesses.)

Also, it doesn’t quite make logical sense. A solar eclipse is just the moon getting between the Earth and the sun for a brief period, so a shade is cast on the ground. I don’t see how that could influence us. (Unless there is something in the brief line-up that has nothing to do with the eclipse itself as we experience it with an occultation of the sun.)

To my Western mind, this seems like a superstition someone started to reduce the cases of eye damage at a time before easy access to eclipse glasses. They noticed eye damage from people looking at the sun during an eclipse and started and propagated this rumor to shape people’s behavior. In some cultures, I assume it would be reasonably effective.

Or it’s just the typical old-fashioned superstitions where people make up stories around phenomena they don’t understand. (In this case, where they made up stores before science explained it to us.)

Of course, we still do that. We still individually and collectively make up stories about things we don’t fully understand, whether it’s about ourselves, others, the behavior of someone in our life, the world, or anything else. We try to make sense of things, so we make guesses about the world. These guesses are more or less grounded in solid logic and data. And the world is always more than and different from our stories about it.

OCTOBER 16, 2023

STORIES ABOUT HEALING & AWAKENING

Our minds seem to love to make up stories about healing and awakening, and especially of those we are invested in one way or another.

This session was so powerful! My old issue is completely transformed. This transmission shifts your system in that way. This awakening is forever. And so on.

Personally, I am happy to entertain the possibility of all these things. But I also know that I don’t know. I cannot know for certain. A lot of different things can explain what I observe. And it’s very tempting for the mind to create happy stories so it can feel better about itself, life, and what’s happening.

I also realize that early in the journey, and perhaps with some things, it’s comforting to hold onto desirable stories about what’s happening. And, at some point, it’s more comfortable to hold hold it lightly.

For me, what’s more honest is that I don’t know. I notice I am draw to something, and I do it or don’t do it, and that’s enough. I receive healing sessions from certain people for certain issues at certain times, because it feels right. And that’s enough. I don’t need to create a lot of others stories around it.

HAVE TO / WANT TO

I removed “have to” from my vocabulary a long time ago.

In our culture, “have to” is something we use to make it look as if we didn’t make a choice. Don’t blame me, I am doing it because I have to!

For me, it’s more honest to say that I want to. I don’t “have to” do anything. But I want to do some things.

Someone points a gun at me and tells me to do something, and I choose to do it or not. I pay taxes because I want to, not because I have to. I emerge from diving underwater because I want to breathe air, not because I have to. I rest because I want to, not because I have to. I do things to keep this human self alive and comfortable and avoid too much trouble because I want to, not because I have to.

[Read on for more of these.]

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Divine awareness is in all things?

Divine awareness is in all things

– NW in a Vortex Healing forum

These kinds of simple statements can be fertile ground for exploration.

MENTAL & PERCEPTION

When people say these things, it can come from two places.

It can come from a mental representation, often formed by exposure to what others say and write.

And it can come from a direct noticing.

In this case, I know the person who wrote it so I assume it comes from a combination. He directly perceives it and is also guided by what he has heard others say.

WE ARE CONSCIOUSNESS

Where does that perception come from?

Rationally, we see that we are consciousness. If we “have” consciousness, then – to ourselves – we ARE consciousness. And that also means that the world, to us, happens within and as the consciousness we are.

We can also find this in direct perception. Yes, in some ways, I am this human self in the world as others see it and my passport suggests. When I take a closer look, I find something else. I find I more fundamentally am what this whole field of experience happens within and as. I am what – to me – the world and this human self and any content of experience happens within and as. And that can be called consciousness.

When the world, to me, happens within and as what I am AKA consciousness, then the world, to me, appears to be made up of consciousness. The consciousness I am forms itself into the whole field of experience, including of the wider world. The world, to me, appears as consciousness. It appears as a night dream since both night dreams and waking life happen within and as consciousness.

And from there, it’s easy to also call it the divine or Spirit. The world, to me, inevitably appears to have the characteristics of the divine. It’s one. It’s consciousness. It’s “alive” in that sense.

SMALL AND BIG INTERPRETATIONS

So what’s really going on here?

If the world, to me, inevitably APPEARS as consciousness, does that mean the world, in itself, IS consciousness? That it is what we can call Spirit or the divine?

Most mystics will say so, and many spiritual traditions say so as well. But that’s just what someone says.

There are also many hints suggesting all is Spirit. For instance, sensing at a distance, distance healing, seeing energies, amazing synchronicities, reports of near-death experiences, memories from before this life, and so on. All of this fits into seeing all as Spirit, but it can also be understood in other ways. It’s not conclusive.

So for me, it makes sense to use two different understandings of what’s going on.

One is the small interpretation. It’s based on what’s described in the previous section: to ourselves, we inevitably are consciousness, and the world, to us, inevitably appears as consciousness. That’s all we can say for certain. Anything else is speculation and assumptions, although some views may be more compatible with the data than other views.

It’s possible that the materialistic view is correct. In an outside and third-person view, we and the rest of existence may fundamentally be matter and it just appears to us as if all things are consciousness.

It’s also possible that all is Spirit, and our nature and the nature of all things is the same. We cannot know for certain. We hold the possibilities open.

The upside of this view is that it’s honest. It allows for a range of possibilities when it comes to the nature of all things. It leaves the door open for anyone to explore their own nature independent of their existing worldview. (A Marxist or materialist can do it as well as a Christian or Hindu.) The downside is that it can seem a little dry. (Although not to me, I find it fascinating.)

The other is the big interpretation. The nature of reality itself is the same as my own nature. Not only does all things appear as consciousness, it also IS consciousness. It’s all Spirit, the divine, Brahman, Allah, and so on. The upside of this view is that it’s inspiring, and it’s familiar and fits what mystics and many spiritual traditions say. The downside is that it can put some people off, and it taken as is, it may not be entirely honest.

USING BOTH VIEWS

To me, what makes the most sense is to use both of these views. They complement each other. Each one has upsides and downsides. And it just feels more comfortable and honest.

The small view is more inviting for a wider range of people, and it also fits better in an academic context. It makes it easier to study awakening and the experience of mystics in an academic setting.

The big view is more familiar to many, fits many traditions, fits more data, and is often more inspiring.

As I see it, the small view is more honest to our own experience. And the big view may be more accurate in the bigger picture.

WHY IS THIS MORE INCLUSIVE VIEW NOT MORE COMMON?

Why don’t more people differentiate between these two views? (I actually don’t know of anyone who does, although I am sure there must be many out there. This is just something that makes sense to me.)

This view seems so obvious to me and makes so much sense, so I am honestly a little baffled why others don’t seem to talk about it.

The obvious answer is that many do, I just don’t know about it. I have been out of touch with these kinds of explorations in the wider world for several years due to my health.

Also, some may talk about it outside of the public view. They may see it as a refinement not necessary for most explorers, and something that may confuse people starting out on their own exploration. (I see it as something that could clarify and guide.)

Some may use these views for themselves without speaking about it very much. (I usually don’t mention it apart from in these writings.)

Some may find comfort in using the traditional language and ways of talking about it.

And some may not have explored this very much. They may not find it interesting or useful. (I obviously find it both useful and interesting. Also, exploring the sense fields and projections has been a central part of my path since my teens so this may come more naturally to me. I am biased in this direction.)

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 44

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

FORGIVENESS

Why would I want to forgive? For me, the answer is that it feels better.

Does forgiveness mean not having boundaries? Not at all. Forgiveness and boundaries go hand in hand.

How can I find forgiveness?

One answer is specific approaches like understanding, heart-centered practices (tonglen, ho’o, metta), inquiry like The Work of Byron Katie, and so on.

Another answer is more general. I find it through finding forgiveness for myself. The more I can forgive myself, and live in that forgiveness, the more I can find forgiveness for others.

Is it easy? Not necessarily. Wounds can go deep, and wounds make it difficult to find genuine forgiveness. Healing opens up for forgiveness. Those two too go hand in hand.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2023

BRAIN FOG

How do I experience the brain fog?

It has several aspects.

It feels like cotton in and around my head.

It makes it difficult to remember.

It makes it difficult to take in information. (And my brain gets tired quickly.)

It makes it difficult to process information.

It makes it difficult to string words together and communicate.

In general, the more drained and exhausted my system is, the less energy there is for my executive cognitive functions. (Thinking, talking, making decisions, intentionally relating to what’s coming up, etc.)

It really seems that life wants to experience brain fog through and as me these days.

The baseline brain fog is from the onset of CFS in my teens, following a mono-infection.

When the CFS dramatically worsened 10-15 years ago, following severe and long-lasting pneumonia, it got a lot worse. My memory got a lot worse after Covid last year. (Teflon brain.)

And I suspect severe Lyme some years ago and septic shock last summer also play a role.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 43

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

IS WHAT I WRITE ABOUT HERE MY WHOLE LIFE?

I mostly write about awakening, healing, and CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) here. So if you know me just from these writings, it may seem that this is my whole life.

Of course, from my perspective, it’s quite different. These are aspects of my life, and far from my whole life. Most of the time, I am just living an ordinary life where I go to the store, talk with people about practical things or nothing very important, make or laugh at a joke, enjoy simple things in daily life, deal with ordinary life challenges, and so on.

LIVING WITH A DISABILITY

I live with a disability. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / CFS.)

It doesn’t mean that it’s who or what I am.

It doesn’t mean it defines me as a whole or fully.

It’s not even close to being all of my life.

It’s a part of my life. It’s something I live with.

That’s just about it.

It’s the same with a lot of other things in my life: my gender, ethnicity, age, education, politics, and so on. It’s part of my life, but it doesn’t define me and it’s not even close to being all of who or what I am.

And none of it is what I more fundamentally am. What I am is what allows all of it, and forms itself into all of it.

POINTER OR PHILOSOPHY?

When I write about my nature, is it philosophy?

In a sense, yes. Anything that’s mirrored in our mental field becomes philosophy.

And a more real answer is that it depends. It depends on the receiver.

If we use it as a practical pointer to look and expore here and now, then it’s a practical pointer.

If we let it stay in the realm of mental representations, then it’s a philosophy.

It’s up to each of us if it’s one or the other.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 42

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

CONSCIOUSNESS AS A MOVIE SCREEN?

Some people like to use the movie screen analogy for consciousness.

Just like a movie is projected onto a screen without affecting the screen, our consciousness experiences all sorts of things without being affected.

That’s true enough, and the analogy may be useful to highlight just that.

But, in general, I prefer not to use the analogy. It can mislead more than enlighten.

For instance, a screen is physical and consciousness is not. And the light hitting the screen comes from somewhere else while consciousness forms itself into its own experience.

I prefer to use dreams since it’s an example and not an analogy.

To ourselves, we are consciousness, and to us, the world happens within and as the consciousness we are. That happens in dreams and it happens in waking life. Waking life is, in that way, no different from a dream. The difference is that it tends to be a bit more consistent than dreams. There is more continuity there.

WILL AWAKENING TAKE CARE OF TRAUMAS?

Does awakening take care of traumas?

Not necessarily, and perhaps not even typically.

I suspect most still need to actively work on emotional issues and traumas, even within our nature recognizing itself.

At least, that’s how it has been for me. My nature recognizing itself does not give me a free pass.

COMPLETELY HEALED?

I sometimes talk with people early in an awakening or healing process who says: “it’s completely healed”, “it’s gone”, “this technique healed it completely”. (When I say “early”, it may be within the first five or ten or fifteen years of the process depending on a lot of things.)

To me, that seems like wishful thinking. It brings to mind I Ching’s Youthful Folly hexagram.

How can you know? Yes, a certain issue may not seem to be up right now, but how do you know it’s healed? How do you know it won’t come up again later? How do you know there are not more layers? How do you know it’s not connected to a much larger network of similar and supporting issues?

My sense is that with maturity, we learn to hold all of this with a grain of sand. We see it more as questions than statements. We know that the mind sometimes wants things to be over and goes into wishful thinking. (Which can be comforting on the surface and for a while, and also makes the contrast stronger when life goes in another direction. It may also go against our deeper knowing.) We know that life has a way of surprising us.

And we may also see that this is what’s happening during a certain phase of the process. It’s innocent and natural. It’s not wrong. It’s part of the process.

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Dream: A more nuanced Buddha

I am with an English Buddhist group. They have two images of Buddha side-by-side. One is a grey and white tone image with not much details. The other is the same, but with colors and a lot more details. It shows an attention to the nuances and details of awakening and living from and as our nature noticing itself.

I connected by accident with an English-affiliated Buddhist group in Oslo. (I walked along a street, saw it, walked in, and had a very good conversation with the guy running it.) I liked their approach. They seem pragmatic and down-to-earth without losing the essence of what it’s about. The group in the dream has a similar vibe.

The images are similar to Roy Lichtenstein paintings: large blow-up versions of printed comic books where you can see the dots making up the images. The first is white and grey with a little yellow. The second is exactly the same but with a lot of details within each of the dots making up the main image, and with more and brighter colors.

I love both the simple picture of awakening and going into the details. Over the last few months, I have explored the simple image in my writings here. Maybe the dream is inviting me to go back to explore the details and nuances more?

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The banality of awakening

There is a certain banality to awakening.

THE BANALITY OF IT

It’s what we are noticing itself. It’s our nature awakening to itself. And our nature is completely ordinary. It’s all we have ever known and all we will ever know.

When our nature recognizes itself and gets used to it, it becomes ordinary. It can even, at times, seem a bit banal. (That’s part of how our human self may relate to it.)

It’s also banal in that it’s not so difficult to notice. Through guidance and pointers, just about anyone can notice it and get a taste of it. The most effective approaches I have found are The Big Mind process and the Headless experiments. These can give a direct taste within minutes or seconds. The Kiloby Inquiries (based on traditional Buddhist inquiry) are also effective, although it’s often a slightly longer process.

So it’s banal in that it’s our nature – what we already are – noticing itself. It’s banal in that this too gets ordinary over time. And it’s banal in that it’s not so difficult to find and notice, with the right guidance.

AWAKENING

What’s awakening about?

In a conventional sense, we are this human self living its life in the world. That’s not wrong, and it’s an assumption that works relatively well. It matches reality well enough. And the ways it doesn’t match is where it that assumption creates discomfort and unease and perhaps even suffering.

More fundamentally, we are something else.

In my own immediate experience, I find I am more fundamentally capacity for any and all experience. I am what the whole field of experience, all content of experience, happens within and as. This human self and the wider world happen within and as what I am.

Logically, I find the same. If I “have” consciousness, it means I – to myself – AM consciousness. And it also means that, to me, the world happens within and as what I am. I am this field of consciousness any and all experience happens within and as. Logically, it cannot be any other way.

When we find ourselves as more fundamentally consciousness, we also notice what mystics across time and cultures describe. We find oneness. We find that the world, inevitably, appears as consciousness, and if we are so inclined we may call that the divine, Spirit, God, Brahman, and so on. (The world appears as consciousness to me since, to me, it happens within and as the consciousness I am. That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the nature of all that exists.) We find a love that’s all-inclusive and doesn’t depend on emotions or shifting content of experience. (And which may be covered up or sidetracked by the hangups and biases of this human self.)

What’s my connection with this human self? There is a special connection with this particular human self. I receive sense information through the physical senses of this human self. It seems that thoughts and emotions are connected with – and perhaps generated by – this human self. This human self is around all the time during (what we call) waking consciousness. This human self is what many others see me as. In a way, it’s my vehicle in the world. And it’s not what I most fundamentally am, in my own experience.

THE EXTRAORDINARINESS OF IT

There is also something extraordinary to it.

There is something extraordinary in that anything exists at all. How come there is something rather than nothing? How come there is consciousness? How come there is an apparent world? That’s completely baffling to me and the question stops my mind. (1)

If the oneness we are has taken itself as something in particular within its field of experience (this human self, an observer, a doer, etc.), and it recognizes its nature, then it tends to be experienced as amazing and extraordinary. It’s typically both very familiar and feels like coming home and it’s something we have always, somehow, known, and it also seems completely amazing and extraordinary. And it does become ordinary after a while, which is good since it allows us to focus on something else instead of being distracted by our experience of the extraordinariness of it.

As with just about anything else, there is no end to wrinkles and intricacies of awakening and how to explore and live from it. In that sense, it’s anything but banal.

MY EXPERIENCE

When the oneness shift happened when I was sixteen, it did seem absolutely amazing. It turned my (experience of) the world and myself inside-out and upside-down. My human self and psyche responded to it by seeing it as amazing and extraordinary for many years, even as I kept exploring it. (My nature, how it interfaces with my human self, how to live from and as it, and so on). It took some years before I found anyone talking about this or describing it, and although what I found at first was filtered through a culture different from my own, I found it fascinating to see how people talked about it.

After a while, it became more ordinary – and sometimes even banal. This took a couple of decades in my case (!), perhaps because this human self tends to be fascinated by the mystery of it all. It’s an ongoing process that’s always new and fresh and keeps revealing new sides of itself.

I am still baffled that anything exists, and I continue to be fascinated by the intricacies and the ongoing exploration process. (Part of that exploration process is to invite more of my human self and psyche to align with the awakening. This too is an ongoing, and sometimes challenging, process.)

(1) Some misunderstand and say: “It’s because it’s created by God”. But God too is something rather than nothing.

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

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

THE DARK NIGHT & LOSING WHAT I FOUND SAFETY IN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, it’s not necessary.

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

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

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

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

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Awakening is “permanent”?

Some talk as if awakening is somehow “permanent”.

I understand why.

When the noticing is here and stable, it seems obvious and unmissable. It seems it will never go away.

Time happens within and as what we are, so how could this go away?

Also, some may go into the thought that it’s permanent to find comfort. They want it to stay, so they tell themselves it will.

And yet, is it true?

Permanence is the story of a future.

I cannot know.

So for me, it’s more peaceful to hold it lightly and keep it open.

Also, I know that there is often an awakening shift, then it goes away (which can be experienced as one kind of dark night), and then it’s refound in a different and more thorough way.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 40

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

IS AWAKENING “PERMANENT”?

Some talk as if awakening is somehow “permanent”.

I understand why.

When the noticing is here and stable, it seems obvious and unmissable. It seems it will never go away.

Time happens within and as what we are, so how could this go away?

Also, some may go into the thought that it’s permanent to find comfort. They want it to stay, so they tell themselves it will.

And yet, is it true?

Permanence is the story of a future.

I cannot know.

So for me, it’s more peaceful to hold it lightly and keep it open.

Also, I know that there is often an awakening shift, then it goes away (which can be experienced as one kind of dark night), and then it’s refound in a different and more thorough way.

[Made into a regular article]

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 39

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

A LIVING REALITY BEFORE HEARING ABOUT IT

One of the things I am most grateful for on my path is that I lived the essence of what I am writing about here before I read or heard about it. The initial oneness shift happened when I was sixteen, an atheist, and just before World Wide Web (the Internet is older), so it took several years for me to find someone talking or writing about it. And when I did, there was a kind of distance there from the culture and times of the people I found. (It wasn’t until I discovered Adyashanti, Byron Katie, and Douglas Harding many years later that I found someone describing what I had discovered and there was less of a cultural barrier between us.) I had those years just to myself, which gave me the opportunity to explore it without any influences from others.

Almost all of what I write about here is what I discovered or what was revealed to me during that time, with the exception of specific terminology, jargon, and practices.

IT’S ALL IMAGINATION

This is pretty obvious, and it can take some exploration to get it viscerally:

It’s all literally imagination.

We imagine the past. We imagine the future. I can only find the past and the future in my imagination, in my mental field.

We even imagine the present. I have things happening in my sense fields, and my mental field creates an overlay of labels, boundaries, stories, and so on. What happens in the sense fields is a kind of imagination. It’s our brain creating a certain experience based on sensory input. And the mental field overlay is also clearly imagination.

We also imagine ourselves. We have images and stories about who and what we are, and our mind combines these with certain physical sensations that lend it a sense of substance, solidity, and reality.

All our content of experience is imagined.

And that’s fine.

This is often a very useful imagination. It helps us orient and function in the world.

If we don’t recognize it as imagination, we tend to get ourselves into trouble. (Stress, discomfort, misjudgment, and so on.)

And when we recognize it as imagination, we can hold it all more lightly. We use it for what it’s here for, which is to help us orient and navigate in the world. And we don’t assume it holds any final, full, or absolute truth.

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If we lived for eons, would awakening be inevitable?

Through having lived as many lives I have, I notice that all sorts of experiences and states come and go. I have experienced millennia of mostly “ordinary” states with times of profound despair, mind-shattering pain, and amazing bliss. I have noticed that what I am is that which all this happens within and as. Experiences come and go and what I am doesn’t come and go. Of course, I am whatever state is here but it doesn’t last. Only being capacity for all of it runs through it all.

If you want to call that awakening, be my guest. But it’s really very simple. It doesn’t require fancy words, or rituals, or mythology, or even labels.

– from Dialog with someone who has lived innumerable lives in many places in the cosmos

To me, it seems that awakening is inevitable (?) if we just lived long enough, perhaps for centuries or millennia. And it wouldn’t seem like anything special. It would just be a natural part of maturing and having lived for a while.

Over time, we get to see that any and all content of experience comes and goes, including anything we think we are, and any identifications we may have. We dream, and are someone different. We have an identity for ourselves and in the world, and something happens and it goes away. We think we are something in particular, and those thoughts go away for a while and we are still here.

So if we are not fundamentally anything within all this that comes and goes, what are we?

What are we more fundamentally? When I look, I find I more fundamentally am capacity for the experience of all of this. I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.

This is what we may discover through basic meditation, and also what we may – inevitably? – discover if we would be around for a few millennia.

Basic meditation is, in many ways, a condensed micro-version of this. We compress what would happen naturally, over many many years, into minutes, hours, days, and months.

And we can support that process through other explorations, including inquiry.

Here are two dialogs on this topic: Dialog with someone who has lived innumerable lives in many places in the cosmos | Dialog with one who has lived eons and has a mystic streak

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 38

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

WHAT’S THE MEANING OF LIFE?

This is a question that, in a way, comes from the idea that we are different from the rest of existence.

What’s the meaning of a tree? A star? Water? Air? A dandelion?

The meaning of a tree is to be a tree. The meaning of a star is to be a star.

And the meaning of us is to be us.

It can be quite simple.

We can also say that…

Asking for the meaning suggests that we are not fully engaged in our life. We are not fully enlivened. So what would make us come more alive?

We can find a deep sense of meaning by finding our intimate connection with the rest of existence, with the larger whole.

The meaning of life is for each of us to find what’s meaningful to us. What makes you come alive? What feels deeply right to you? If you could not fail, what would you do?

The question itself is worth looking into. What do I find when I examine the question? Or underlying thoughts, like: “My life is not meaningful”, “I am not enough”.

SEEKING AWAKENING?

Seeking awakening is often not (only) about seeking awakening.

What do I hope to get out of awakening? And out of that? And out of that?

It can be helpful to identify what we imagine we’ll get out of it, and look at our strategies for finding that.

Maybe there are other strategies that make as much or more sense?

For instance, we may wish to find love, acceptance, peace, rest, coming home, freedom from discomfort, and so on.

If that’s the case, shifting our relationship with our content of experience, in general, is often a more direct and effective strategy.

Finding healing for our relationship with anything, inviting in healing for our traumas and wounds, and questioning our stressful thoughts, is more likely to get us what we want.

And to deeply do this, it does help to find our more fundamental nature. It creates a different context for these explorations.

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

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

INNER GUIDANCE VS DIVINE WILL

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

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

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

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

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

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Everyone is already enlightened?

I was curious about a book and saw a review on Amazon that said: “Everyone is already enlightened”.

As usual, I would say “yes” and “no” and “it depends”.

There may be a few more nuances than what the simple statement suggests.

YES(ISH)

Everyone is Buddha Nature. To ourselves, we are consciousness. The world, to us, happens within and as the consciousness we are. And that consciousness is Buddha Nature.

So yes, we are Buddha Nature, although few would call that “enlightened”.

NO

In most cases, the consciousness we are doesn’t fully recognize its own nature. It tends to assume it’s something within its content, typically this human self and mental representation of an I, me, doer, observer, and so on.

For the oneness we are to recognize itself and its nature typically takes some intention, effort, sincerity, and guidance.

To keep recognizing it is the same.

Learning how to live from it requires the same dedication and engagement.

And allowing our human self and psyche to transform and align within this new context is an even longer process that requires dedication, courage, honesty, sincerity, and work.

IT DEPENDS

So it depends. It mostly depends on what we mean by the words.

For me, the simplest is to say that all beings already are Buddha Nature. To ourselves, we all are most fundamentally consciousness whether we notice or not.

The consciousness we are typically doesn’t fully recognize its nature, and may not perceive it clearly even if there are glimpses.

It typically takes work for the consciousness we are to recognize itself. And it’s a long process to keep recognizing this through situations and states, explore how to live from and as it, and allow this human self to transform within it.

It’s a process that appears to not have any finishing line.

ENLIGHTENMENT?

I don’t really know what’s meant by “enlightenment”.

Maybe it means what happens when most of our human self and psyche is on board with the awakening?

If so, it’s not something I am familiar with so I can’t say much about it.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 36

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

WHY DO SOME NOT LIKE PSYCHOLOGY OR THERAPY?

A long time ago, I mentioned to my father that I planned to study psychology, and he responded: “People who study psychology or go to therapy often get weird”. He likely meant that they often live a life more free of shoulds and social norms, and are less invested in following shoulds and social norms. And that seemed threatening to him.

To me, weird is wonderful. (As Adya’s mum told him.) And being free of shoulds and social norms seems like a good deal as well. I can be free of them, or more free of them, and still follow my inner guidance, what makes sense, what seems most kind, and so on.

In general, why do some not like psychology or therapy?

I assume there may be many reasons.

They may be familiar with approaches to psychology that reflect a cynical view of humans. In that case, I would be cautious as well. These approaches tend to be outdated.

They may know that they harbor unprocessed psychological material they are not ready to face, and even the thought of psychology or therapy seems scary to them. That’s completely fine. There is a time for everything. And it’s also good to be honest about it.

They may suspect it can bring about major life changes, and they are not prepared to make those changes. They prefer to live their life-lie. Again, this is completely fine. There is a time and place for everything.

They may, as my father, see therapy as a way for people to be freer from shoulds and norms, and if they are invested in shoulds and norms and have made an identity and ideology out of following them, then that can seem threatening.

They may assume that therapy involves the therapist imposing a different way of thinking, feeling, and living on them, and they want to keep their autonomy. Some therapists may try to do this, but good ones don’t. They invite you to find your own way and what works for you. They support you in becoming more you.

Just to be clear, I don’t think therapy is for everyone, and any one approach to therapy is certainly not for everyone. But I do think it’s helpful to clarify these things and be reasonably honest about it.

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The musician and the shaman: Different levels of awakeness in their systems

I had the good fortune to see my favorite musician – Mari Boine – play tonight, at a book discussion in Oslo about the Sami and Christianity. (Many good stories, including about the Jesus child taking on the form of a cloudberry to hide from his mother but it didn’t work because he was too full of light.)

One of the people asking a question was a shaman, and it made me curious about his energy system. When I checked in, his energy system was a bit unusual although not particularly awake.

I then checked the musician’s energy system (I sat directly behind her when she didn’t sing), and her system was far more awake. Not like Adyashanti or people like that, but close.

It’s not surprising. People who are into spirituality or work in that area don’t necessarily have a very awake system, although many do. And they can still do very good work. (This shaman can still be very skilled and effective.) Conversely, people who are not explicitly into spirituality can have an unusually awake system, often without knowing it or having any inclination to put that label on it. (Thank God!)

I suspect this is a big part of why I love her music. It reflects the awakeness in her system.

Note: This is obviously just my perception, although when I checked with someone else good at sensing these things, she found the same. In general, if I check with others without first telling them what I sense, we sense the same or something very similar. If I check an energy system in person, and if I check the level of awakening in the system, it seems very accurate, and it’s still often accurate although a little less so when it comes to other topics and at a distance. And I am also very aware that my perception is not reality itself – it’s filtered through my system and consciousness.

Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 35

This is one in a series of posts with brief notes on healing, awakening, and personal things. These are more spontaneous and less comprehensive than the regular articles. Some may be made into a regular article in time.

AGE OR LIFESTYLE?

Since early in life, I have suspected that what many attribute to age is really about lifestyle, whether it’s poor memory, bad physical shape, being set in one’s ways, or similar.

As kids, we learn every day and are physically active every day. (At least most are, biking, running, climbing trees, and so on.) We train ourselves to learn, and we stay physically fit. We try out new things and seek out new experiences.

Later in life, many don’t learn as much and are less physically active, so there is no wonder if this is reflected in our mind and body.

Also, I suspect much of what we think of as typical for older age has to do with the weight of wound-conditioning that’s been with us for decades – traumas, emotional issues, unquestioned painful beliefs, limiting identities, and so on. (These are all names for essentially the same dynamics.)The longer we carry these with us, the more strongly they impact our mind and body.

RURAL VS CITY LIVING AND MY SLEEP & WAKE CYCLE

Since early in life, I have noticed that my sleep patterns are quite different in nature versus in the city.

If I am in nature, for instance at the cabin in Norway or at Finca Milagros, I naturally go to sleep early and wake up early. I tend to wake up around 5am. (This is even more pronounced the times I sleep in nature in a tent or outside.)

If I am in a more urban environment, it’s more tempting for me to stay up late and wake up later. (It’s a tendency, and one I often intentionally counter since I feel better if I wake up early after a good night’s sleep.)

This is not a very profound insight, and it’s probably something many have noticed. But it is interesting.

I imagine our ancestors slowed down and slept when it got dark, and woke up when it got light to make full use of daylight hours. That pattern kicks in when we live in nature, even if we live indoors in nature.

And it gets skewed by city living and a stronger disconnect from nature.

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Awakening as a safety valve

Why did the awakening shift happen when I was sixteen?

I am not sure. I hadn’t done any of the things that often go before such a shift. I had no interest in spirituality. I had done no spiritual practice.

What was happening was an unusual amount of teenage angst. It may have been strong enough so my system needed another way to deal with it, and that was where my system went most easily.

At my human level, and in my psyche, it got to be too much. So my system shifted from being identified with all of that to releasing identification with it and found itself as its more fundamental nature. As consciousness. As the consciousness all our experiences happen within and as. As the oneness all of it and the world to us happens within and as.

In that particular case, that was the safety value. And the stress and overwhelm at the human level were strong enough to propel my system into the awakening shift in a relatively strong and lasting way.

That’s the simple story, and it’s not quite as simple as that.

One year earlier, there had been another shift. A shift from the usual separation consciousness to a simple observer and observed duality. On January 1st, I experienced a fog coming in, as if I had cotton in my head. It was as if the world, including my human self and anything to do with my human self, was far away. Very far away. And “I” was the one observing it all. I went to my doctor and many specialists, and nobody could find anything wrong. It was quite distressing, and it really did feel as if something had gone very wrong.

And after almost exactly one year, between Christmas and New Year, there was another shift. This time into oneness. Into finding myself and any and all experiences as consciousness. Or, as I thought of it at the time, of God revealed as all without exceptions. God was this human self as it was everything. God was even the impulse to temporarily take itself as this human self, and then suddenly and out of the blue remember itself as all.

It’s not a glorious story. It’s messy and human. There is absolutely nothing there my human self can take credit for. And it seems to be one way our nature notices itself, or the divine remembers itself as all.

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.

AWAKE WITHOUT KNOWING

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.

TASTES WITHOUT KNOWING

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.)

WHO & WHAT WE ARE

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.

A RANGE

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.

The future of awakening

There are many ways to envision the future of awakening.

We may explore how it fits into maps of the mind and society (integral maps). We can see it as a part of the evolution of the universe. We can explore ideas of collective awakening. And so on.

Here is how I imagine it may look in society, if or when awakening is commonly accepted and is an ordinary part of our collective life.

I’ll write from the perspective of someone living in that world.

ACCEPTED

Awakening is commonly accepted as real and valuable. Since scientists and academia accept it, and many know people who have benefited from exploring it, most people in society also accept it.

Of course, people are interested in it to varying degrees, as with anything else. That’s good since we need people to specialize in different things.

UNDERSTOOD IN DIFFERENT CONTEXTS

And there are a few different ways to understand it, which is also good.

Some see it in a spiritual context, or in the context of their own religion.

Others understand it in a more secular and psychological way.

And for those interested, there is a lot to learn from each of these perspectives. Each of them contributes something valuable and unique, at least to some extent and in some areas.

DEMYSTIFIED

Awakening is also generally demystified, at least to the extent that anything can be demystified.

Most people understand the general theory behind it.

The general understanding is a variation of this:

We don’t “have” consciousness. If we “have” consciousness, then to ourselves we ARE consciousness. It can’t be any other way.

Similarly, to us the world happens within consciousness. It happens within and as the consciousness we are.

To us, the waking world is similar to night dreams in that it all happens within and as consciousness.

The consciousness we are is one. It’s a seamless whole. So to us, the world and all of our experiences happen within and as oneness. (We may not notice since we get caught up in mental representations of boundaries, but the reality that’s always here for us is oneness.)

The consciousness we are is a no-thing that allows our experience of all things.

The consciousness we are may take itself to be an object within its field of experience, and as a separate self in the world. Or it can recognize itself and metaphorically “wake up” to itself as consciousness and oneness, and what the world – to itself – happens within and as. And its metaphorical center of gravity can shift from the first to the second, often over time and through intentional exploration and living from this noticing.

Of course, most may not be interested or familiar with all of the intricacies here, but they have a very general and rough understanding of it.

THE ESSENCE OF WHAT MYSTICS DESCRIBE

It’s also generally understood that awakening is what mystics across times and cultures have described.

The essence of awakening is the same, and the way it’s talked about varies across traditions and cultures.

AVAILABLE TO ANYONE

Awakening is available to anyone. As much as playing the piano or learning any skill is available to anyone.

It’s something we can explore. It’s something we can have a taste of for ourselves. And having a taste is not necessarily very difficult or something that takes a lot of time. It can happen easily and within minutes, if guided by someone familiar with the terrain and effective techniques.

And as with anything else, getting proficient with it takes dedication and time. Those drawn to it can get very familiar with the ins and outs of the awakening process.

COACHES

In the past, awakening was typically the domain of certain religions and spiritual traditions.

These days, it’s treated more as learning anything else. Depending on how we approach it and what our intention with it is, it’s treated similarly to learning a sport, painting or drawing, playing an instrument, or even learning a profession.

We approach it with a combination of theory and practice, typically with the guidance of a coach, someone familiar with the terrain and how to guide others. And exactly how that looks depends on how much in-depth we wish to go, and if it’s for our own sake, to use as an element in our profession (therapy, education, etc.), or if it’s part of training to become a coach.

We have a collective exploration of which approaches and techniques are most effective and appropriate to different groups and individuals. Coaches are generally expected to keep up with this and to learn and apply current best practices. There are, of course, individual differences and flavors, and some specialize in some aspects of awakening, in working with particular groups, or in using and developing some particular approaches.

This process is also, to a large extent, demystified and secularized.

The traditional approaches are still around and available, although just as the secular approach is informed by the traditions, the traditions are now often informed by the secular approach. They often include some of the approaches and techniques developed by the secular approach.

RESEARCH AND ACADEMIA

Awakening is generally studied by a few different branches of academia, including psychology, medicine, sociology, anthropology, and religious studies. Most universities have also created departments specifically to study awakening, and these are typically interdisciplinary and use an integral approach.

They study any and all aspects of awakening: Psychology. (Mechanisms and dynamics, common phases and aspects, challenges, benefits, how it can transform people’s perception and lives, and so on.) Biology. (Changes to the brain and nervous system, changes to any part of the body.) How do most effectively coach and support people in the process. And so on.

EDUCATION AND ECOLOGY

Meditation and approaches to give students a taste of awakening is incorporated in many schools. For most schools, it’s one of many topics the students explore, and other schools specialize in it and make it more central. Students who want to go deeper have electives or can find classes and coaches in the community.

Awakening is also often used as an aspect of sustainability and understanding of ecology. It helps people have a direct taste of oneness, which tends to transform how we perceive and relate to the wider world.

THE BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS OF DEMYSTIFYING

There is also an ongoing discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of demystifying awakening and approaching it in a more secularized way.

The benefits are obvious: It makes awakening available to more people. It removes some of the old misconceptions about awakening. It grounds our understanding and approach.

And it does have some drawbacks. The traditions do have valuable insights and ways of doing things (praxis) that may not be picked up by the secular approach. Some assume that secular understanding is accurate and sufficient and limit their perception and explorations.

That’s why there is a smaller movement to revive and support the traditional approaches, and this is very helpful in the bigger picture. The traditional approaches are (in)valuable aspects of the larger exploration of awakening.

ABOUT THIS VISION

What are some of the limitations and benefits to envision these kinds of futures?

One of the limitations is that we cannot predict the future. This particular vision is an extrapolation of what we are already seeing in some western cultures, especially on the west coast of the US. (Where I lived for a while and was involved in these types of communities.) It assumes a kind of linear progression, and what unfolds is rarely linear.

If one thing is (mostly) certain, it’s that the future won’t be like this. Reality is far more messy. For instance, we may see this in some subcultures and some areas of the world, while other subcultures and other areas of the world may be completely different. That’s the diversity we have seen so far through history so we can assume it will be like that in the future as well.

This is not about predicting the future. This is about envisioning itself. It’s about bringing up in me what I would like to see in the world. It’s a way to inspire me to help bring it about, even if it’s in very small ways.

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Why do most scientists and psychologists ignore our nature?

To me, there is something that seems clear, both from direct noticing and logic.

And that is what we are to ourselves, and what the world is to us. It’s our own nature, and the nature of the world as it appears to us.

WHAT I AM IN MY OWN NOTICING

In one sense, I am a human being in the world. That’s not wrong, and it’s an assumption that helps this human self orient and function in the world.

And yet, in my own direct noticing, it is what I most fundamentally am?

When I look, I find I am something else.

I find I am more fundamentally capacity for any and all experience. I am what allows and takes the form of any and all of my experiences. I am what allows and takes the form of what happens in all of my sense fields, in sight, sound, sensation, smell, taste, and the mental field. (And any other sense fields we can differentiate out through our mental overlays.)

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

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

We can call this different things. For instance, consciousness.

And that brings us to the logic side of this.

WHAT I AM LOGICALLY

In our culture, most say that “we have consciousness” as if it’s a kind of appendix we happen to have. There is an assumption here that we are primarily a physical object and this physical object somehow has consciousness as it happens to have arms, legs, and physical organs.

This is a third-person view, and it doesn’t really matter in this context how accurate it is.

The more interesting question for me is: What are we to ourselves, in our own immediate experience?

Logically, if we “have” consciousness, we have to BE consciousness. There is nothing outside of consciousness somehow experiencing consciousness. What experiences and has the idea of consciousness is consciousness itself. Not anything outside of it.

Any experience happens within and as consciousness. It’s consciousness taking the form of that experience.

So to us, the world happens within and as consciousness.

The world, and any experience, happens within and as what we are.

We ARE consciousness and the world and any content of experience happens within and as consciousness, within and as what we are.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF WHAT WE ARE

Both direct noticing and (this particular) logic arrives at the same answer for what we are to ourselves, and it also arrives at the same answer for the characteristics of what we are.

What are some of the characteristics of what we are to ourselves?

What are some of the characteristics of consciousness?

To me, what I am has no beginning or end in space. It also has no beginning or end in time. Any experience of space and time happens within and as what I am.

To me, I am one. I am the oneness the world happens within and as. I am what my field of experience, which my mental field differentiates in many different ways, happens within and as.

To me, I am the world and the world is me. The world happens within and as what I am.

To me, the world happens within and as consciousness. It’s like a dream in that way.

To me, any and all content of experience comes and goes. And this includes any ideas of what I may be within the content of experience (this human self) and what these ideas refer to. In some cases, I may not take myself to be this particular human self, for instance in a dream, and what I more fundamentally am is still here. What any and all experiences happens within and as is still here. (Including shifting ideas of what I am as an object in the world.)

When what I am notices itself, I find that my nature is what can be called love. It’s a love that’s not dependent on shifting states or emotions. It’s the love of the left hand removing a splinter from the right. And this love is often obscured by separation consciousness, by dynamics and patterns created from when I took myself most fundamentally as a separate object in the world.

IS THIS WHAT I “REALLY” AM?

So is this what I really am?

Yes, it is. It’s what I am in my own direct noticing.

Outside of that, I don’t know. I don’t know what my nature more fundamentally happens to be from some kind of outside third-person view. And that’s also less important, at least in my daily life.

WHY DON’T WE ALWAYS NOTICE?

If this is so obvious both in terms of noticing and logic, why don’t we always notice or take this into account?

Most likely, because we live in a culture and world where most don’t. When we grow up, we do as others do. We learn to take on and operate from separation consciousness. And that can be very convincing, at least until we start examining our assumptions – about what we are and what the world is to us – a little more closely.

IS IT IMPORTANT?

Yes and no. We humans obviously get by without noticing or examining our nature.

And yet, when the oneness we are notices itself, keeps noticing itself, and explores how to live from this noticing, it can be profoundly transforming.

It can be profoundly transforming for our perception, sense of fundamental identity, life in the world, and our human psychology.

WHY DO MANY OVERLOOK OR DENY THIS?

If this is so obvious, both in terms of noticing and logic, why do so many ignore or deny this?

Most people are not so interested in the question of what they more fundamentally are in their own immediate experience. That’s fine. They get by anyway. They have more immediate concerns to focus on and take care of.

And yet, for some people, this is their job. For scientists and especially psychologists, this is essential to their job and (I assume) interests.

So why don’t more of them explore this? Why don’t more of them take it seriously?

I am not sure.

The essential answer may be the same as above: We live in a world where we are trained in separation consciousness from we are born. It becomes the norm, so we don’t even consider questioning it. And if we do, we feel we are somehow transgressing and entering dangerous waters so we don’t take it very far or speak about it.

To elaborate a bit:

Exploring these things is a kind of taboo in our culture, especially in academic circles. It goes against our shared worldview. It goes against standard norms. (Although all of that is changing.)

Our western culture, and especially our scientific culture, value the more “objective” third-person view over first-person explorations. Again, this has been different in the past and will very likely be different in the future.

If you work as a scientist in academia or as a psychologist, you typically cannot stray too far from the mainstream. As a scientist, you risk losing (or not getting) funding. You even risk losing your job if you get too weird. And as a psychologist, you risk losing your license. (In Norway, psychologists have lost their license for exploring the possibility of past lives in therapy sessions, even if these explorations obviously deal with projections and don’t say whether or not the past lives were real or not.)

In short, cultures are systems and systems want to stay mostly stable. There are many mechanisms operating to preserve some kind of stability. There are many incentives to not explore this, and not so many opportunities or invitations to do so. (Which, again, is fortunately changing.)

At a more personal level, many people may not have the curiosity or passion for exploring this. They are happy exploring other things, and that’s fine. Not everyone needs to explore these things.

WILL THIS CHANGE?

Will this change?

It is already changing. More and more people, including in science and psychology, are interested in a more transpersonal approach and understanding.

I envision a future where the third-person and first-person approaches exist side-by-side and even hand-in-hand, including in science and psychology.

It will be a far more rich exploration of our human experience, and one that reflects a little more of the bigger picture.

ACKNOWLEDGING THE VALIDITY OF WHAT MYSTICS DESCRIBE

If or when this shift happens, something else will happen as well.

And that is an acknowledgment – in science and our culture – of the validity in what mystics across times and cultures have described.

If we look at the essence of what mystics describe, it’s exactly this.

We are consciousness, and the world to us is consciousness.

We are the oneness the world, to us, happens within and as.

Image: Created by me and Midjourney (AI image)

Awakening and self-esteem

In a social media group, someone asked if awakening helps with low self-esteem.

My answer – as usual – would be yes, no, and it depends.

NO – ISSUES DON’T NECESSARILY GO AWAY

Low self-esteem comes from emotional issues. They come from beliefs creating an identity and emotional issues. Those may not go away even if our nature notices itself.

It’s perfectly possible, and very normal, for our nature to notice itself and for us to generally live from and as that noticing, and still have many emotional issues. These will inevitably color our perception and life in the world, even if there is a general kind of awakening here.

YES – IT CAN HELP US RELATE TO IT DIFFERENTLY

Yes, awakening may help.

Awakeness helps us relate to what comes up – including those issues – differently. It’s easier to recognize them as issues and not get so caught up in them.

It’s also easier to recognize their nature, and that they have and are our nature, which also helps us shift how we relate to them. This gives us that interesting experience of oneness (it’s what I am and everything is to me) and distinction (it happens within and as what I am, it’s an emotional issue).

And, as mentioned above, these issues will still inevitably color our perception and life, and we may still get caught up in them.

HEALING AND AWAKENING GO HAND IN HAND

This is why healing and awakening go hand in hand.

Healing makes it easier for the oneness we are to keep noticing itself without getting distracted by issues. The fewer issues, the fewer of these distractions. (And these apparently distractions are really life bringing our attention to something that needs healing.)

Healing helps us operate from fewer issues coloring our perception and life. Any dormant issue will color our perception and life. (As is obvious when you look at the life of many who generally live from awakening.)

And awakening makes it easier for us to relate to our issues more consciously, to recognize them as expressions of the oneness we are, and invite them to reorganize within a conscious noticing of this oneness. This requires intention and skill and doesn’t come on its own.

IT DEPENDS

And that’s where “it depends” comes in.

Whether awakening helps us with our emotional issues, including low self-esteem, depends on how we make use of the awakening. It depends on intention, experience, training, and skill.

It doesn’t come on its own. It doesn’t come for free. It requires work.

And it’s ongoing. It’s not something that’s fixed once and for all.

There is no place where we arrive and where this is not a theme anymore. (At least not in this life.)

Returning to the basics

I find myself returning to the basics, and in the context of this website, this is the basics of awakening and healing.

A FEW BASICS

When it comes to awakening, what are some of these basics?

Our nature and how to notice and explore it for ourselves.

How to live from this noticing.

The pitfalls on the path, including the misconceptions some have.

The wrinkles that come from our very human messiness.

And also some of the basic structured explorations that support this. In my case, inquiry to notice my nature (Headless experiments, Big Mind process), basic meditation, training more stable attention, sense field explorations, heart-centered practices (tonglen, ho’o), inquiry into beliefs (The Work), and so on.

WHY THE BASICS?

I find that returning to the basics helps me in several ways.

It helps me refine and clarify.

It helps me discover something more essential. (Than I was previously aware of.)

It invites me to explore if there are basics I have left out.

It helps me balance out any tendency to go into complexity. (Which also has its place.)

It helps me ground. (And not get too caught up in intellectualizing and fanciful complexities.)

It helps me prioritize and focus. (And not get too lost in the periphery.)

It helps me communicate a little better with myself and others.

Personally, I also find it helps me stay in contact with the childlike in me, with curiosity, awe, and wonder.

SIMPLICITY AND COMPLEXITY

The basics here mean what’s essential.

Is that the same as simplicity?

Yes and no.

The basics are simple in that the essence of it is often simple. And the basics offer simple pointers and reminders.

At the same time, there is an infinite complexity there as with anything else. There is always more to discover and explore. There are always new perspectives and angles we can take on it. There are always new contexts we can understand it within. And so on.

In this exploration, following the basics typically leads to insights into the complexity. The basics help ground our exploration. And getting lost in the complexity and forgetting the essentials can be fun for a while but is ultimately a distraction.

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Aspects of awakening

I keep revisiting the topic of awakening, and especially the basics since that helps keep it grounded.

So what are some of the basic aspects of awakening?

NOTICING MY NATURE

It is to notice our nature.

In one sense, I am this human self in the world. It’s what people, my passport, and my own thoughts often tell me. And it’s not wrong. It’s an assumption that works relatively well in daily life, although it does come with some inherent stress and discomfort.

Another question is: What am I in my own first-person experience? What am I more fundamentally?

Here, I find I am more fundamentally capacity for the world as it appears to me, for any content of experience, for anything that happens in any of my sense fields. I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.

In the first, I am in the world, and in the second, the world is in me. Both are valid and useful, and the second is more fundamental to what I am in my own experience.

KEEP NOTICING

Noticing our nature is obviously an essential aspect of awakening.

Another is to keep noticing.

If we noticed in the past, it becomes a memory – a mental image and words – and a kind of reference point, which is useful. It can be a reminder to notice it here and now.

And the real juice is in noticing here and now. With time, as we keep noticing, it becomes a new habit. We deepen the groove.

ASPECTS OF WHAT WE ARE

As we keep noticing our nature and live more in that landscape, we tend to discover more aspects of our nature.

I find I am capacity for the world as it appears to me, for any content of experience.

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

I find I am what a thought may call consciousness, and the world to me happens within and as this consciousness.

Another aspect of oneness is love. It’s the love of the left hand removing a splinter from the right. It’s a love independent of any states or feelings. It’s an unsentimental and practical love. (And it’s easily covered up when I get caught in my very human hangups, issues, and traumas.)

I also find there is a quiet joy in this, a joy also independent of changing states, feelings, and experiences.

And there is more here. Any content of experience is an aspect of what I am. It happens within and as what I am. The world, as it appears to me here and now, is an aspect of what I am. You are an aspect of what I am. Any thought, feeling, sensation, smell, or sight that’s here is an aspect of what I am.

This human self is also an aspect of what I am. It too happens within and as what I am. And I find I have a special connection to this human self since it’s here, in my experience, most of the time, and it serves as a sensory organ for me in the world and I have inside information about this human self.

EXPLORE LIVING FROM IT

As we get more used to noticing our nature, we naturally explore living from it.

How is to live from noticing my nature? How is it to live from noticing oneness?

How is it to live from this noticing in this situation?

How is it to live from this noticing in more and more situations? Including the ones that are difficult for my human self?

How is it to live from this noticing in more and more areas of life?

SEE, LOVE, VISCERAL

When I notice my nature, I metaphorically see it.

I can find love for all as the divine and/or happening within and as what I am.

And I can viscerally get that all is the divine, including that which my personality doesn’t like.

In my experience, all of this is an ongoing and deepening process.

HEALING AND REALIGNMENT OF MY HUMAN SELF

And that process of living from noticing my nature, and seeing, loving, and viscerally getting all as the divine, requires and leads to a transformation of my human self.

Many and most aspects of my psyche were formed within separation consciousness. They operate on the assumption of separation, and that’s also the essence of emotional issues, hangups, traumas, and painful beliefs (all beliefs are ultimately painful since they are out of alignment with reality).

At a human level, I am programmed to largely operate as if separation is my most fundamental nature. So living from a conscious noticing of my nature requires healing and transformation of my human self and how I am in the world.

And that’s not an easy process. It takes time, it’s ongoing, and life will show me where I am still stuck.

It requires facing unprocessed materials (including the Jungian shadow), and that can at times be overwhelming, confusing, and scary.

It’s a very human and messy process, and at the same time beautiful.

NOT COMPLETE

This is obviously a very limited and cursory list of the aspects of awakening.

It’s just what comes to mind to me now, and the aspects I happen to be most drawn to based on my own conditioning and experiences.

Another important aspect is community. If we are lucky, this is a process we share with others. We are our own ultimate authority, and at the same time, it’s something we can explore with others in whatever form that takes.

There are also the side-effects of awakening which can include bliss, a sense of cosmic consciousness (a flavor of the oneness we are), extra-sensory perception, the ability to do distance healing, some level of precognition, and so on. For me, these are fun and interesting but not central – or essential – to awakening.

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