Everything belongs: an essential part of healing and awakening

I assume that in each of us, there is a wish to belong. Something in us desire to belong to our family and our community, and also to the Earth and ultimately existence as a whole.

The good news is that we already belong. Although sometimes, we don’t notice because of our wounds, traumas, beliefs, and identifications.

Everything belongs. Everything belongs where and as it is.

Discovering this is an essential part of healing and also awakening.

In a conventional sense, we can find a community and a place where we feel we belong, and we can actively cultivate this sense of belonging.

Beyond this, we can find that we we belong to humanity, Earth and the universe since we grew out of it and are intrinsic parts of it. We are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We belong to existence. (Deep ecology, ecopsychology, Practices to Reconnect, Epic of Evolution, the Universe Story, Big History etc.)

We can find that all the parts of our human self belong to us. What we see in others and the world is also here. And we can get to know and create a partnership with these parts of us. (Parts work, Big Mind process, voice dialog etc.)

And we can find that everything that happens belongs. It’s all happening within and as what we are. (Headless experiments, Big Mind process, Living Inquiry etc.) Another angle is to say it’s all Spirit, or flavors of the divine, and expressions of the divine.

So how do we go about finding that it all belongs? In general, it’s a process of actively noticing and cultivating the belonging that’s already here, and seeing through and unraveling beliefs, emotional issues, and traumas telling us we don’t.

And, yes, even a feeling that we don’t belong belongs.

My early longing: a longing to return home to the divine

As a child, and I remember this best at elementary school age, I had a longing. I would wake up in the morning, feel this longing, and not know what it was for. I had my favorite food – cornflakes or bread with strawberry jam, I read my favorite comics (Carl Barks’ Donald Duck stories), I read my favorite books (Jules Verne, Sherlock Holmes, Hardy Boys, Famous Five), I spent time with my parents, I played with friends, and nothing did it. Nothing helped alleviate the longing.

When the awakening happened age sixteen, I finally understood what the longing was for. The longing was for coming home – to all as the divine. To recognize all, without exception, as the divine and the play and unfolding and exploration of the divine.

I imagine the longing had a more human element as well. I longed for a deeper and more real relationship with my parents. But a large part of the longing, perhaps fueled by this more human longing, was for coming home.

This longing was fulfilled, and is being fulfilled. It’s a process. Returning home is something we don’t need to since we are always here. And it’s also an ongoing unfolding process and exploration.

There are two ways to talk about this. One is that the longing is to return home to what I am – as capacity for the world as it appears to me, as what all my experiences happen within and as. The other is that this is a longing for a return to the divine, a return to recognizing all – without exceptions – as the divine and the unfolding and play of the divine. The first is what I call the small or psychological interpretation of awakening, and the second the big or spiritual interpretation of awakening. The awakening itself is the same, it’s just how we talk about it that’s different.

Lonesome path?

From a recent comment, which brought up some curiosity about it for myself:

No wonder gnostics are so alone, individual in their work.

It is true that any path of growing and waking up is alone work. It is something we have to do for ourselves. And it is an individual path as well, partly since our knots – in their configuration and emphasis – is particular to us.

Yet there is another side to it too.

Often, we can find teachers and groups that share our interest and aim. It is usually not a complete match, but that is a good thing since it brings it back to us. We are not able to mindlessly absorb and follow the group, since our own path has partly universal dynamics and is partly individual.

And while there may be periods where we do experience it as a lonesome path, the growing and waking up itself tends to invite in a great sense of belonging as well. Of finding in ourselves what we see in others – the wider world as a mirror for what is right here now. And of all as the play of awakeness itself.

We find (see, feel, appreciate) a shared humanity right here, which invites in a deepening connection with those we meet as a human being in the world. We find in ourselves what we see in the wider world. And we find all as this awakeness itself, untouched by the mental field overlay of I-Other.

Fish connections


As soon as we take ourselves to be an object in the world, there is an impulse to feel connected, to find that wholeness we feel – and rightly so – is missing.

One of the ways to find this sense of connection is through the Universe Story, with all its minor stories woven in at different size levels (holons in a holarchy) and areas of life. The history of the universe is our history. We are made up star stuff. All life on earth shares the same basic building blocks. We share the same ancestors. We are the ways the universe touches, sees, tastes, knows itself.

It is beautiful, poetic, scientific, aligned very much with spirituality (at least certain forms of it), and gives a deep sense of connection, belonging, shared existence, and meaning.

It also widens our circle of care, compassion and concern, our circle of us. If this human self is a local expression of this universe and its evolution, and the earth and its evolution, what can I leave out of my sense of us? There is really nothing that can be left out.

The more we learn about these connections, the deeper we can feel it. And one way we can learn about it is to read books like Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin. (On my reading list.)

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Feeling not quite at home

Over the last few weeks, I have noticed (again) the sense of not quite belonging to any one group or place or role or position in life. And there are several good reasons for this.

First, it is that way, I assume, for all of us. As who we are, or take ourselves to be (this human self/soul), we are far too rich and diverse to fit nicely into any one group. Some parts of us fit and are nurtured and acknowledged, and other parts left out, or even apparently at odds with the orientation and culture of the group.

Then, for myself I see a belief in a story of being an outsider, and an attachment to that identity, which automatically comes up – at some point – when I am in any group, no matter how well the match is. With that belief and identity, I look for evidence to support it, and it also becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy with me acting as an outsider, which provides me with even more evidence for the initial story.

And finally, as long as there is a belief in the core story of a separate self, of an I with an Other, something will always feel off. No matter how good the situation is, how well it matches our beliefs and identities, there is a subtle sense of something being not quite right. There is a sense of not being quite at home. And when the situation is at odds with our beliefs and identities, it is obviously not right.

The sense of not quite being at home, of something being just slightly off, is only resolved when the story of a separate I is resolved, when the I with an Other falls away, revealing the utter simplicity of what is, arising as this awake void and form always and already absent of any I with an Other.

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Increasingly alone at the surface, and at home in the depth

Writing the previous post, I realize that the process of loneliness and belonging happens on three levels…

First at our identity level, where we first move out of conventional identities and into more widely embracing ones, and then out of identities altogether. The identities are there, but not identified with. This can give a sense of social loneliness, of not being able to really believe in group or conventional identities anymore, because they are revealed as too narrow, and not being able to even believe in the solidity of the human drama… because we see through, and have found peace with, the drama in our own life.

Then, as human beings, where we deepen into more of who we are which is also our shared humanity. At this level, we find ourselves as part of the human community, recognizing in you what I find in me, and the other way around. This opens for a deepening recognition and empathy, which can be both painful and sweet. Here, there is deepening sense of belonging at our human level, below all the many surface manifestations and differences.

Finally, as Spirit, I find myself as awake emptiness and form absent of a separate self. There is only the Ground which already and always free to allow any and all surface manifestations. This is the final homecoming. The final release of any sense of I and Other.

Individuation and connections

As we mature and develop, we naturally grow beyond conventional identities, and eventually beyond identities themselves. First, we shed the conventional ones of gender, age, social norms, and so on. Eventually, our identification may go out of identities altogether, finding ourselves as awake emptiness allowing a fluidity of any and all identities.

Increasingly lonely

As this happens, we find ourselves increasingly alone, at least in a certain way…

  • We cannot find belonging or comfort through group identities or by blindly following social norms (nor in breaking them)
  • Our views and experiences are often not aligned with conventional views
  • We don’t play the game of narrow identification anymore
  • We don’t play the game of splits so much, seeing me as right and you as wrong
  • The typical human drama, with all its variations, has less and less charge for us (which sometimes makes us dull, although understanding, companions for those caught up in it)
  • We have to stand on our own feet

This process has many rewards, and we do find companions on the way. Freed from much of the drama, there is a new clarity and new aspects of existence and our human life opens up to us.

And deepening sense of belonging and connection

And although it may leave us lonely in some of these ways, not being able to believe in group identities and less caught up in the human drama, it also brings a deepening sense of belonging and connection.

As I learn about what I see in you in myself, as more and more of what I am is included in my conscious view on myself, I deepen into my own humanity, which is also our shared humanity. I find myself in you, and you in me. We are perfect mirrors for each other. There is a deepening into the sweetness, and sometimes pain, of our shared humanity.

And as identification goes out of identities altogether, finding myself as awake emptiness and form, and as emptiness as the Ground of it all, there is another deepening into intimacy. This one, as an intimacy with my life, with Existence itself. First, as a growing sense of no separation, as oneness. And then through the falling away of the core identity as a separate self, allowing wide open space for anything arising, without any sense of separation.

This is the deep homecoming. The final release of any sense of I and Other.

Increasingly lonely on the surface, and increasingly at home in the depth

So there is a process of being increasingly lonely on the surface of it, in society. Not being able to wholeheartedly play along with the games of separation anymore.

There is a process of a deepening and more intimate connection with oneself and others, through a widening embrace of who I am as a human being.

And a process of any sense of separation falling away, leaving only the wide open space for anything to arise, the void already and always allowing it all.

Feeling like myself

And here are some of the different ways of feeling like myself….

Usual identity

One is whenever life unfolds so I can be comfortable in my usual (limited) identity.

I am this and not that, and life does not question that identity right now, or, even better, life conforms to how I would like to see myself.

So I see myself as an introvert, and I have a quiet evening at home or with close friends. Or I see myself as clear and alert, and I happen to feel that way today. Or I would like to be warm and personable, and I happen to be in a situation where that comes out.

In each case, I feel like myself, aligned with my usual identity or what I would like my identity to be.

Being participation

Another is when we experience ourselves as whole. For instance as the whole that is beyond and includes body, energy, feelings, thoughts and soul.

This is what they call Being Participation in Breema. And the body/psyche whole is called the Centaur level in KWs framework.

We can shift into this when we are relaxed and alert, comfortable with ourselves and the world, and our (limited) identity falls more into the background. And our center of gravity is more stably here when our identity is more embracing and closer to include all of what we are as humans and soul and even Spirit.

Ground awakening

And yet another form is to feel like my Self, when the Ground of seeing and seen awakens to its own nature absent of any I. Here, everything in the seen and the seeing itself is revealed as Spirit, as emptiness dancing, as the Always Already.

When Ground awakens to itself, there is the final sense of “feeling like myself”. Spirit recognizes everything as itself, as the many forms of Spirit.

Coming home

In each of these cases, there is also a sense of coming home, deepening with each one.

As a kid, I remember sometimes waking up in the morning with a sense of longing, of longing for something I couldn’t quite identify, longing for a deeper sense of home. I tried everything, from reading Donald Duck comics, eating sandwiches with strawberry jam, drinking hot chocolate, spending time with my parents and brother, going outside, playing with friends, but nothing seemed to help. There was something really important missing, which I could not identity.

When the initial awakening came, out of the blue, in my mid-teens, I realized (later) that this is what I was longing for. This is what I knew was already there, but not noticed. This deep sense of belonging in and as part of all of Existence, of no separation, of everything, with no exceptions, as God and Spirit.

And later when I found Breema, I found another flavor of this sense of belonging and coming home. And again in the tastes of realized selflessness.