Why do people in this healing modality look young?

In a social media group for Vortex Healing, someone asked why Vortex Healing people seem young for their age.

Here are some answers that come up for me:

It may or may not be true. It may be selection and/or confirmation bias. We may have that idea and look for examples that fit. Or we know people who fit and assume that’s the case for everyone.

If it is true, it’s likely because people who are into healing work tend to live more healthy lives. We tend to value health and healthy living, so we may look a bit younger.

Also, the ones who are into Vortex Healing have resources – money, time, and the ability to focus on something else than day-to-day survival. We are privileged and that tends to be reflected in our lifestyle which, in turn, is reflected in how we look. Privileged people tend to look more healthy and younger.

It’s also possible that Vortex Healing itself – going to classes and giving and receiving healing – does something. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case. It works.

Another side of this is that our culture values youth. We are a culture of change so we value the young. In cultures that are more stable and where things don’t change so much, they tend to value old age and the experience that comes with age. So if we value a healing modality, it makes sense if we want it to do other things we value, like youth.

As usual, I am less interested in the conventional answer to the question (yes, no, because you can work on the telomeres, etc.) than how to think about it. It’s an opportunity to take a sober approach and include the bigger picture.

Image by me and Midjourney

A small synchronicity (?) the day after: I talked with someone who thought I was at least ten years younger than I am.

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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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Psych 101: We are more than and different from our labels

Here is another entry in the Psychology 101 (or Life 101) series.

We are more than and different from our labels.

LABELS AND US

Any label may be more or less accurate in a conventional sense. We can agree, or disagree, about how well any particular label fits a person.

If we look, we can usually find a genuine example of how the label fits us. When I apply a label to myself, there is usually a grain of truth in it, and it’s helpful for me to find it. It helps me see that I am in the same boat as others. It helps me be less defensive in response to the label.

And just like life, we are always more than and different from any label. By exploring what a wide range of labels and stories point to in ourselves, we can taste and get to know some of the immense richenss in all of us. Our richness goes far beyond even that, which we discover when we surprise ourselves and others. Any label is a mental construct and not what it points to. And we are ultimately a mystery even to ourselves.

LABELS CAN BE SEDUCTIVE

Since labels are mental constructs, it’s easy for us to mentally focus on a label. To our mind, they appear clear-cut, simple, mentally graspable, and tangible.

And it’s easy to mislead ourselves with labels for the same reason. We may assume a label is accurate when it’s not. We may assume it tells us more about a person than it does. We may assume it’s more or less the whole picture when it’s just a tiny part. We may assume that whatever context we use is the only one, while there are other contexts that make as much or more sense and will completely shift our view.

SOME REMEDIES

What’s the remedy for this bias?

One remedy is to remind ourselves of the times others have labeled us and it was not accurate, or they thought it said more about us than it did. If that happened to us, maybe we are doing the same when we label others?

Similarly, what are some examples of when I labeled others or a situation and it turned out to not be accurate, or it completely missed the bigger picture?

When I label myself or others, it’s helpful to remember that it’s a guess, it’s more or less accurate in a conventional sense, the person is more than and different from any label, and I may miss an important context and bigger picture completely.

AN EXAMPLE

Someone says I am stupid.

I can find examples of how that’s true.

I can find it in a universal sense. What I know and understand is very limited and only a fraction of all there is to understand. The wisdom and kindness I live from is a drop in the ocean compared to the potential we have. That’s how it is for all of us.

And I can find it specifically for me. (1) Yesterday morning, my wife wanted to talk with me about something important for her, and I didn’t take it seriously and didn’t address her concerns. My response was stupid. I was in an issue, and it’s not how I wish to respond. (2) I have made decisions in life I can call stupid, especially around relationships (not exploring the ones I am drawn to, staying too long in the ones that don’t feel right) and career. (3) When I think someone is stupid (for instance, Putin, conspiracy folks), I am acting in a somewhat stupid way. I make myself more stupid than I am. I know better.

At the same time, I know it’s a somewhat stupid (!) label since it’s not very specific or helpful. There are many times and areas of life where I am not so stupid – for instance when I engage in healing and taking responsibility for my own life and behavior. I am much more than what that label points to. Any label is a mental construct and not what it points to. And ultimately, I am a mystery to myself.

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Perceiving from within our biases and what’s familiar to us

One of the reasons I enjoy watching old movies is to see how our culture changes over time.

I watched an episode of MASH earlier today, and the change from then to now was pretty obvious. The episode was from the last season, so it was more heartfelt and touched on more serious issues, but it was still a child of its time.

With a few exceptions, MASH is written and seen from the white male perspective. Women, Koreans, and others all play more peripheral supporting roles.

If it was made today, it would likely focus a lot more on the lives and perspectives of women and Koreans, and that would make it far more rich, textured, and nuanced. It would open up story possibilities far beyond what they were able to do with their original and more narrow perspective.

It’s always this way. We are a child of our culture and times. We don’t see what we don’t see. We have our biases and expectations and what we are familiar with, and we are not familiar with what’s outside of that. In ten and twenty and a hundred years, we are the ones who are obviously stuck within too narrow views.

It’s not a bad thing. It’s natural and ultimately innocent. (Although it does have consequences for ourselves and others.) It’s inevitable. It creates a container for exploring life in a certain way. It sets the stage of explorations at the boundaries of what’s familiar to us. And it gives something new to each generation.

It’s an example of the universe, life, and existence expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways.

Thinking for oneself?

In our teens, thinking for ourselves often becomes an important theme, and for good reasons. It’s one of the things life – and to some extent society – asks of us as we enter adulthood.

CONVENTIONAL SENSE

What does it mean to think for ourselves?

Often, it means to exchange one set of views with another set of views. We may abandon some of the views we grew up with, and adopt the views of a subculture we resonate more with. This is more about resonance than “thinking for ourselves”.

Also, it means to learn about social issues and more at a story level, become familiar with a range of different ways of looking at these, and find an approach that makes more sense to us. Here, it’s more about digesting different views rather than “thinking for ourselves”.

EXAMINED MORE THOROUGHLY IN A CONVENTIONAL SENSE

If we want to examine this more in-depth, we can become familiar with valid and invalid arguments. Logic and logical fallacies. Media literacy. Various forms of social criticism. The many biases we inevitably operate from. (From culture, subculture, personal experiences, species, the nature of this universe.). And so on. This is where “thinking for ourselves” takes on a little more meaning.

GOING BEYOND THE CONVENTIONAL: HEALING & INQUIRY

We can also go beyond the conventional approaches.

We can invite in healing for our emotional issues and traumas that inevitably color our perception, views, choices, and life. In the places we are caught up in an issue, our view tends to be reactive and rigid. And the more healed we are, the more we tend to have a more fluid relationship to views and orientations and hold it all more lightly.

We can explore thoughts and the gifts and limitations of thoughts. We may find that thoughts are really questions about the world. They are guides to help us navigate the world. They are different in nature from what they point to. They have practical value only, and cannot give us any final or absolute answer.

We can learn how to systematically inquire into any thought we hold as true and find what’s more true for us. (The Work of Byron Katie.)

We can explore how our mind combines sense fields – including thought – to create an experience of the world.

We can explore our more fundamental nature, and find ourselves as that which our experiences – the world as it appears to us – happens within and as.

A MORE MATURE (?) VIEW

For me, a more mature view combines all of this and more.

We “think for ourselves” in a conventional sense and find views and orientations that resonate with us and makes more sense to us.

We learn about valid arguments, logical fallacies, media literacy, various forms of social criticism, and so on.

We explore and become more aware of our many inevitable biases and the sources of these biases.

We invite in healing for the wounded parts of us, allowing for a more fluid and light relationship to views and orientations.

We learn about the nature of thoughts, see them as questions about the world, recognize they have practical value only, and that they cannot hold any final or absolute truth.

We learn to inquire into any thought we hold as true, and find what’s more true for us. (Which includes that the thoughts don’t hold any final truth.)

We explore and become more familiar with how our sense fields, including the overlay of mental images and words, creates our experience of the world.

We explore our more fundamental nature, and find ourselves as what our experiences happen within and as.

THE LIMITS OF “THINKING FOR OURSELVES”

As part of this, we may see that “thinking for ourselves” is a term that only makes sense in a limited sense.

We never really “think for ourselves”. We often adopt views of a certain subculture. We operate from inumerable inevitable biases.

We may also find that, in the words of Carl Sagan, we are the eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We are the whole locally perceiving, thinking, and living as us.

That’s all perfectly fine. And it helps to recognize it and take it into account.

A NOTE

My brain fog is especially strong these days, particularly when it comes to writing. It means that these articles are more rudimentary and less well formed than they perhaps could be.

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Confirmation bias in healing and awakening: How confirmation bias holds mistaken assumptions in place and what we can do about it

In this video, Derek from Veritasium demonstrates an example of confirmation bias. We think we know how something is, so we look for confirmation instead of looking for instances where it may not be true.

CONFIRMATION BIAS

As with so much human, it’s natural, innocent, and it can sometimes get us into trouble if we are not aware of what’s happening. In an evolutionary context, it makes sense for us to try to find a theory that works, and continue operating from that theory until we organically encounter sometimes that doesn’t fit.

Often, we’ll need to encounter things that don’t fit several times, or one dramatic time, before we start questioning and revising our assumptions. And we’ll just hope that encountering something that doesn’t fit our assumptons don’t have too much of an adverse effect on our life.

The confirmation bias typically saves time and energy and is a pragmatic way to go about it. Sometimes, we create problems for ourselves and others because of it. And we may miss out of important discoveries.

That’s why an important part of science, as Derek says, is about disproving our ideas about how things work. We observe. We have an idea of how it works. We check to see that it fits our data. And then we set out to disprove it. If we can’t, it’s a useful idea. (In real life, scientists also fall into confirmation bias – for the sake of convenience, because of lack of resources, because they want to shine for a while, and so on.)

THE ROLE OF CONFIRMATION BIAS IN HEALING AND AWAKEING

What role does confirmation bias play in healing and awakening? How does it maintain stressful beliefs and the sense that we, most fundamentally, are a separate self? How can we apply some remedies for confirmation bias to find healing and what we more fundamentally are?

If my system holds the thought that I am a victim as true, then I’ll perceive and live as if it’s true. I’ll find lots of examples. I’ll reinforce and tell myself and others about those examples. I may even put myself in situations where I’ll get it confirmed.

If my system holds the sense of being a separate self as true, it will be the same. I’ll perceive and live as if it’s true, and that itself confirms it to me.

And that’s the same with any stressful belief – whether it creates and holds in place an emotional issue, painful identity, or a sense of being a separate self.

What’s the remedy?

The remedy is the usual one for confirmation bias. We are aware of confirmation bias and how it plays itself out in general and in each case. And we set out to disprove it.

I have the belief that I am a victim. What happens when I hold that as true? How would it be if it wasn’t here? What are the turnarounds, and can I find specific examples from my own life of how each of these are as or more true than the original thought? (The Work of Byron Katie.)

I assume I am this human self, which may not be wrong. But am I, in my own first-person experience, more fundamentally something else? What do I find when I look? What do I find if I explore this with the help of some structured pointers? (For instance, Headless experiments or the Big Mind process.)

In this way, examining our assumptions – held in place partly through confirmation bias – can help us find healing and notice what we more fundamentally are.

There is a twist here. When we find healing, and when we find what we more fundamentally are, we can question that too. Can I disprove it? Can I disprove I am not a victim? Can I disprove I am capacity for my world, and what my field of experience happens within and as?

This tends to strengthen and deepen the healing and the noticing of what we are. It addresses nagging doubts in the back of our mind.

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Life 101: How we think about the world (philosophy of science)

There are some essential Life 101 topics. Things that are fundamental to being human and can serve us for a lifetime.

One of these is learning how to think about the world, also known – when more formalized – as philosophy of science.

It’s something we all can explore for ourselves. And, as I see it, it’s a bit shocking it’s not included in a more systematic way at all levels of formal education – adapted to each age level and made fun, relevant, and with the ordinariness of it emphasized.

It’s what we already know, this is just a way to bring more awareness into it and investigate it more consciously.

Here are some ideas of what could be included in formal education.

When it comes to exploring the world, there is the basic approach of observation, hypothesis, testing, revising, testing by others, etc. And how each step is influenced by our underlying assumptions and worldviews. What are some examples of how we use these steps, often without thinking about it, in our own life? What are some examples in our history? What do we find if we apply this approach to an area of our own life?

Equally or more important is how we more broadly think about the world and our understanding of it.

We don’t know anything for certain. This goes for us as humanity, as a culture, and in our own life. Our statements or assumptions are practical guidelines for orienting and functioning in the world. They are questions. They are not the final word. What is an example of an assumption we made – about the world, ourselves, others, a situation – that we were convinced was true, and then it turned out it was not? What are some examples from history and science?

Our understanding of specific things in life changes over time. Our collective understanding changes, and our personal understanding changes. Over time, all of it may change. What are some examples of you seeing something a certain way, and then change your view? What are some examples from history?

Our worldview and most basic assumptions about the world change over time. What are some examples of worldviews changing over time? What are some examples of different worldviews from different cultures? What are the most basic assumptions about the world in our culture? Could these change in the future?

There are other understandings and other worldviews that may fit our experience (data) equally well as the ones we are familiar with, and some may even fit them better.

Our worldview and most basic assumptions about ourselves and the world is the water we swim in. It’s hard for us to notice these. And if we do, it’s often hard for us to question them. What are some basic assumptions we – in our society and culture – have about the world? What are some examples of assumptions that we usually wouldn’t even think of questioning? Are there taboos around questioning some of them?

Our background colors our understandings, values, and worldview. Our background – – as a species, culture, and individual – color what we see as important, what we see as right and wrong, and our assumptions about the world and ourselves. What are some examples of how our background influences how we see something? What are some examples of cultural differences? Imagine an intelligent species very different from us (bird, reptilian, fish, etc.). How would their perceptions, inclinations, and perhaps values differ from ours?

What is cognitive bias? What are the most typical cognitive biases? Take one and see how it plays a role in your own life. Is there a time you realized you made a wrong assumption because of bias? Which cognitive biases do we most see in our society? How can I be more aware of these? How can I counteract them? What may happen if I don’t notice or question my biases? And what are the benefits of noticing and questioning them?

How do we discuss well? Do we go into a conversation with the intention to learn from the other? Or do we just want to keep our initial ideas unchanged? (If so, what’s behind it?) What is the outcome of one and the other? Roleplay both and see how each one feels.

What are some common logical fallacies? What are some examples of logical fallacies in public discourse? And in our own life? How can we notice and counteract them in ourselves? How can we – with kindness and effectively – point it out when someone else uses a logical fallacy? When is it appropriate to do so?

This ties into trauma education since traumas often influence our perception, ideas about the world, and how we hold onto them (often for dear life when traumas are involved).

It would be a fun challenge to adapt this to each age level, and also develop (potentially) engaging, fun, and illuminating exercises and activities for each of the areas listed above. (And other areas I inevitably have left out.) Of course, it’s even better when the kids/teens develop this on their own.

And it is important to show that this is a fundamental part of being human. It’s something we already know and apply, at least to some extent. This is just a more organized exploration and application of it.

I personally learned some of these in school. Some on my own in my teens through reading books about science (especially the Fritjof Capra books). And some at university. (Philosophy of science courses are mandatory at universities in Norway, although why not at earlier levels?)

I am a bit surprised that this is not a more integral part of education at all levels. It’s useful in all areas of life and throughout life. Essential for nurturing a more well-functioning society. And today, with the internet echo-chambers, it’s more important than ever.

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No dogma? And the gifts of bias

A supported daily spiritual practice that allows intuition to flourish, with no form or dogma.

I read this in an interview online, and – predictably – it set off a couple of alarm bells for me.

We all have biases. As soon as we deny it, at least if we deny it to ourselves, they go into the shadow and operate without our conscious awareness.

So it makes more sense to just admit the obvious: We all have biases, it’s unavoidable, and it’s actually a good thing. We couldn’t function without it, and it adds to the richness of society and our human experience.

Where does bias come from? It’s the same as conditioning and comes from the the history and evolution of the universe (and us), the functions and structures of this universe, the history and evolution of this solar system and Earth, the history and evolution of this living Earth and our ancestors, the history of human culture and our own specific culture, social norms and perspectives, family history and views, and our own personal experience. All of this makes up our biases and conditioning. It makes us experience ourselves and life a certain way and have certain perspectives and preferences.

As mentioned above, it’s what allows us to function. And it’s what creates the richness of how the universe experiences itself through life, humans, and this one particular human.

Finally, I am aware that I may have used a straw man argument here. The interviewee may very well be aware of what I wrote about. He may just have used an informal way of saying “I intend to follow intuition and be influenced less by any conscious or intentional dogma. Even if I know I – obviously – have preferences and habits that inform where attention goes, how I perceive, and how I operate in the world”.

Obvious bias

There is an obvious bias in this blog.

It is mainly individual and view/cognition oriented, leaving out or de-emphasizing larger wholes and energy, heart, relationships, policies, culture and so on.

There is of course no reason that an individual and view orientation should be taken as more primary than any other approach. We can understand or tweak the system from anywhere.

It is interesting to notice that I started our much more whole-systems oriented. And then over time got into this individual + view orientation, mainly through traditions that emphasize that approach, such as (current western interpretations) of Buddhism.

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