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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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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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 47

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.

COMMUNICATING WITH NATURE SPIRITS

When we first saw Finca Milagros (then Santa Lucia), we were both stunned by the magic and beauty of the place, and we felt deeply that this land wanted us here to protect and support it. It was as if the divine and the nature spirit(s) of this land clearly communicated with us. I have not had that experience anywhere else before or since.

I felt strongly that we were meant to be here, but it seemed impossible to buy the land for a few different reasons. It seemed too big for us and it had no car access. We were able to find more financial help, and we were able to buy access with the help of a friend. All of it seemed like a miracle.

I have never experienced this particular connection with a land before, and I experience it all the time when I am here.

This morning, I sprinkled water on the land around the house to energetically clear the ground. (We channel into the water, and then sprinkle it.) This too felt like a clear guidance from the divine and the nature spirit(s) here, and when I walked around with the water, I was guided as to where to sprinkle and if some areas needed more. It feels like the divine and the nature spirit(s) here wanted me to do it so they could do their work through the water. My wife senses the same.

I also communicate with the nature spirit(s) here. I tell it our intention and plans. I ask for support and guidance. And there is a clear sense of two-way communication.

I know all of this can seem a bit weird, especially in our culture, and perhaps also for a well-educated science-oriented guy like me. For me, it’s so clear that I cannot ignore it.

Also, it fits with a more general sensing and communication. I can sense, to some extent, what’s going on in the system of others at a distance, and when I check, it’s accurate. I can see energies around people, animals, plants, and inanimate objects. I can see the level of awakening in someone’s system. I can invite in healing at a distance, and it often works well. And so on. Communicating with nature spirits is just a part of this general experience.

Why do I write nature spirit(s)? It’s because I sense the spirit of this land as one and many. It’s both at the same time, and it’s connected to the spirit of the larger region and of this living planet as a whole. It’s also an expression of the divine as anything else.

This is one of the things I don’t talk much about unless I meet someone else who also lives it.

WHEN IT BECOMES VISCERAL

It’s not uncommon for something to start as a mental understanding or a glimpse or taste, and then become more visceral as we get more familiar with it.

So also with our nature recognizing itself. Sometimes, it takes time. It takes time for it to explore itself and especially to explore how to have this human self live from and as it.

For instance, my world is happening within and as what I am. My world is created by my mind. It’s processing and interpreting everything and creating a more-or-less coherent world out of it. That’s a view aligned with mainstream psychology and neuroscience. (And common sense.)

In a more phenomenological sense, I can say that to myself, I am consciousness and the world to me happens within and as consciousness. It’s happening within the consciousness I am. The consciousness I am forms itself into any and all experience, into the world as it appears to me. In a very real way, it is me.

We can get this in different ways. We can get the idea of it, through mental representations. We can notice it when we look and things are not too triggered in us. And we can get it more viscerally and in more areas of life and daily life situations, even when something is triggered in us. There is a deepening here over time and with noticing and experience.

Also, at times, our system can shift into a state where this is strongly in the foreground and everything else is in the background, which helps us recognize it and become familiar with it. When these states fade, we may need to work more intentionally to notice and live from it, and deepen into it.

In this example, the noticing doesn’t necessarily change the experience itself. It changes the context of the experience. That can change how our human self relates to it, and the more viscerally we get it at a human level, the more it influences how our human self responds and relates.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 34

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.

ENJOYING DAILY LIFE EXPERIENCES

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.

– Friedrich Nietzshce

We don’t need to wait for bad memory. We can notice what’s actually happening.

The past and future only exist as images and other stories in our minds, often with some associations with sensations (emotions). Even the present only exists as sensory impressions and overlays of images and stories.

The more we perceive this, the more it becomes obvious that enjoying what’s here is the only thing that makes sense. It’s all we have, so why not find enjoyment in it.

“I AM NOT AFRAID TO DIE”

I heard someone say: “I am not afraid to die”.

My first thought is: How can you know?

You may not notice any fear now, likely because you don’t have the thought that your death is imminent. And how can you know there isn’t fear in you? How can you know that some situations won’t trigger fearful thoughts about dying, and with it fear?

It’s good to be humble about these things. What I am aware of in myself is only the very tip of the iceberg. Many parts of me perceive things very differently from my conscious view, the view I desire and identify with. And certain situations almost certainly can activate fear of dying.

This is the case for me as well. I don’t notice any fear of dying in me right now. And I know that parts of me likely have that fear and can be triggered by certain thoughts, which in turn can be triggered by certain situations.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 33

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 ESSENCE OF FREUD

Freud is often seen as old-fashioned and perhaps even outdated by many today.

And yet, the essence of Freud’s ideas is still very much valid and informative.

A lot of who we are and what we operate from is not conscious to us. What we are aware of is just the very tip of the iceberg.

We tend to internalize cultural ideas and shoulds, and use these to guide ourselves even if it sometimes goes against our authenticity and what we feel we more genuinely want. (Over ego, or “superego” in the weird terminology of the English translators of Freud.)

We disown parts of who we are (our psyche), and see them as “other” or “it”. Often, we see this in others and won’t admit to it in ourselves because it doesn’t fit our familiar or desired image of ourselves. (The “it” or “id”.)

It can be helpful to bring some of this into consciousness. It can help us relate to it more consciously. It can help us find more peace with it. And, if we allow, it can invite in healing of certain parts of us.

THE BIGGER PICTURE ON CONFLICTS AND DISAGREEMENTS

There is a bigger picture for conflicts and disagreements, and just about any social interactions.

And it’s the usual things I write about here.

At a human level, others are a mirror for me. I can take any story I have about them, turn it around to myself, and find specific and genuine examples of how it’s true. Usually, I can find examples from the moment I have the thought about others, and I can find examples from my past.

As what I am in my own first-person experience, I can capacity for the world as it appears to me. I am capacity for those human beings and this human being and anything else happening. It’s all happening within and as what I am. In my own first-person experience, there is no fundamental I or Other anywhere.

We can also look at this from the view of the universe, evolution, and society.

At a social level, we need different views, orientations, and life experiences. We need all of it to get a bigger picture of ourselves, how we can respond to challenges, and where we want to go as a society and humanity.

In the context of evolution, we find the same. We are different because it helps our collective survival. It has in the past. And, if we are smart, it will do so now.

From the view of the universe, all of this is existence and the universe exploring, expressing, and experiencing itself in always new ways. All the different human experiences and views and orientations are the universe, locally, having these experiences, views, and orientations.

From the view of the divine, it’s all the play of the divine. It’s the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in all of these ways. It’s all new. It’s fresh. It’s different.

THE PANDEMIC REVEALS IRRATIONALITY

The pandemic reveals irrational thinking in different ways.

Here are a couple of examples I have seen a few times:

Some read articles in less-than-reputable online journals, written by people with zero credentials in the field, and take it as solid information. Some do the same with one or a few people who have credentials, while the vast majority of other experts have a different view. (In any field, there will be individuals with different views than the mainstream. That’s normal and to be expected, and it doesn’t mean they are right. Most of the time, they are not.)

Some say “it’s a violation of my human rights” on the topic of vaccines and mask-wearing. Nobody is forcing you to take the vaccine, so it’s clearly not a violation of human rights. The ones enforcing vaccine passports are in their full right to do so. And wearing a mask is literally the least we can do and doesn’t harm anyone.

Civilization is built on rules and privileges. We already accept a lot of laws and rules, including wearing a seat belt, not driving drunk, and so on. So why not accept masks and vaccines? There is no categorical difference between what you already accept and what you now refuse. The only difference is that you are used to most of it and take it for granted, and the vaccine and masks are new to you so you chose to focus on those.

OUTSIDER IDENTITY

I suspect one of the dynamics behind the wellness world’s antipathy towards science, vaccines, and mask-wearing is an outsider identity. Many folks interested in alternative things see themselves as outsiders, and opposing common-sense measures adopted by the mainstream fit their outsider identity.

I have been in this alternative / wellness world my whole adult life, so this is my mainstream. When I follow the mainstream measures in these areas, it’s not only because it’s science, common sense, and the best course of action when we look at history and epidemiology. It’s also because this, for me, fits my outsider identity.

If my mainstream is the alternative world, following the mainstream makes me an outsider. And it’s comfortable since I too feel some comfort with the outsider identity.

AGREE WITH MANY OF THE POINTS AND NOT THE CONCLUSION

There are many essential points made by people in the anti-science world (anti-vaccines, anti-mask-wearing) and conspiracy world I agree with.

A lot of it is obvious: Corporations are all about profits, not helping people. Corporations often have a very strong influence on policies. Science is often used by corporations for profits, and sometimes in ways that are clearly not ethical. Media is often owned by the same corporations. Some have very serious reactions to vaccines. Vaccines are not 100% reliable in terms of preventing infection or serious illness. And so on.

All of that is valid and what any reasonably well-informed young teenager knows.

And yet, I don’t agree with the conclusions.

For me, the problems and solutions are systemic.

It’s not about secret groups of people. It’s not about some grand plan. What we are seeing in the world today is a natural consequence of the systems we function within. You and I and any average person living within these systems are part of the problem just because we function within these systems.

And it’s not about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, there are serious problems in our corporate-run world. And that doesn’t mean we need to throw it all out. Vaccines and mask-wearing, and other common-sense pandemic measures are still very valuable. They still help prevent hospitals from overflowing, they still prevent some illness and death, they still prevent some getting long-term effects of the infection, and so on.

What we need is a deep systemic change. We need an economic system that takes ecological realities into account. We need systems that are aimed at supporting all of life and not just a segment of the human population.

That’s not easy. It won’t happen until people recognize the systemic problems and recognize systems change as a solution. And that may never happen.

That said, conspiracy theories and anti-science attitudes are certainly not the solution. It’s as much part of the problem as neoliberal capitalism and the way our corporate-run world functions today.

It’s a misidentification of the problem. It’s a distraction from the far more serious problems in the world today we all already agree on. (Ecological crisis, poverty, too much corporate influence, and so on.) And it’s a distraction from the systemic nature of these problems and their solution.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 32

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.

AWAKENING DOESN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH SPIRITUALITY OR RELIGION

There is some truth to that statement, although it’s not the whole picture.

Yes, awakening doesn’t require spirituality or religion.

It’s about finding what we already are in our own first-person experience.

When I explore what I am in my experience, I find I am ultimately capacity for the world as it appears to me. I am what my world, all my experiences, happen within and as. And there isn’t any “I” there even if I often use that word to make it sound a bit more conventional and approachable.

Even if there was no spirituality or religion, it would be this way and people would happen upon this discovery.

Life would still notice this aspect of itself through humans and perhaps other beings in the universe.

And awakening is also obviously connected with spirituality and religion.

Many aspects of spirituality and religion reflect this discovery, at least to some extent.

Some forms of spirituality and religion guide us to mimic living from this noticing.

And some elements within spirituality and religions are aimed at guiding us to notice it for ourselves.

IS GOD HE, SHE, IT, NEITHER?

In our patriarchal culture, people have traditionally used “he” when referring to God.

Why? Likely because it makes more sense in a patriarchal culture, and whether it’s intentional or not, it has also likely justified patriarchy.

No matter the reason, it does tend to limit our understanding of God.

Why not use a more rich and fluid way to talk about God?

Why not sometimes call God she and highlight the more feminine characteristics of God and existence?

Why not sometimes call God it and highlight our (imagined) third-person relationship with the divine?

Why not sometimes call God mystery and highlight the mystery inherent in the divine and existence?

Why not switch between all of these and more, and highlight the multifaceted and fluid nature of God, existence, and ourselves?

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 31

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 I DON’T REFER TO VAGUS NERVES, QUANTUM PHYSICS & OTHER POPULAR TOPICS FROM SCIENCE

I rarely if ever refer to popular topics from science here, like the vagus nerve or quantum physics.

Why? If I love science and have spent a good amount of time exploring these and other topics, why don’t I refer more to it when I write here? (For instance, in my teens and twenties, I read everything I could find about the connection between quantum physics and spirituality/philosophy.)

The main reason is that our understanding of these topics is very specific to our time and place.

The content of science always changes. The way we think about the vagus nerve and quantum physics today will likely be outdated in a few years or decades, and even more so in a few centuries.

Similarly, our understanding of these topics is very incomplete. We are only seeing fragments of a bigger picture.

Some current views on quantum physics may tie in with some insights from perennial spirituality, and that may quickly change as we understand quantum physics differently in the years ahead. And the vagus nerve is probably important for regulating our nervous system and system in general, and it’s only one small piece of a much larger dynamic whole.

It doesn’t mean that these topics are not important. I love that people are studying and thinking about it, and share it with the rest of us. That’s how science works.

But it does mean that I won’t refer to it much here. I prefer to focus on what seems a bit more timeless. And I am aware that the way I see and talk about it will inevitably reflect my own time and culture.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things – vol. 30

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.

GRUMPINESS EARLY IN A CFS/ME CRASH

I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME), and one of the early signals of being in a crash is that I get a bit grumpy.

Usually, I crash if I am in some level of activity, and haven’t had water, food, or rest/sleep recently enough.

This seems common among people with CFS/ME and there is probably a biological/physiological component.

At the same time, I assume there is a psychological component as well. When I explore this for myself, I find anger there.

Some of the anger is probably directed towards the crashing itself and is rooted in fear. It’s unloved and unexamined fear taking the form of anger.

It may also be that crashing makes it difficult to manage the unloved and unexamined anger (always rooted in fear) in my system, so it comes up in those situations.

I have explored the contraction the grumpiness is/comes from, and it took a while but my relationship to it shifted. I see it more as an object now and can relate to it more intentionally.

There is more exploring to do, and we’ll see how this plays out in daily life in the future.

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WILLPOWER VS CLARITY

When we want to do something we have resistance towards, we can rely on willpower or clarity.

We can train willpower, as just about anything else. We can get used to override resistance, fear, and so on. And it works to some extent but not always. It’s also tiring, and a fight against ourselves.

The other option is to find clarity about what’s happening in us. If there is resistance, it usually comes from fear. What’s that fear? What are the fearful beliefs? What are the emotional wounds connected with it? What happens when I examine those beliefs and find what’s true for me? What happens if I invite in healing for those emotional wounds?

The first option may be attractive since our culture may tell us it’s the way forward, and it’s also a kind of shortcut. And we may not know any other way.

On the other hand, finding clarity opens up for more ease and less struggle. What we wanted to do may become far more effortless. Although we do need guidance or know how to do it on our own. Sometimes, the resolution can come relatively fast. Other times, it may take more time and work. And if we keep exploring it, we’ll notice shifts along the way.

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DOGEN: WE MUST MAKE ONE MISTAKE AFTER ANOTHER

There is the principle of the Way that we must make one mistake after another.

– Dogen’s Extensive Record, p. 132

I am not sure what Dogen meant by this. For me, it resonates in a few ways.

When we find what we are, we also realize that as a human being in the world, we can never live up to it. Our human self is too messy, too flawed, too scared, too caught up in old reactivity and survival mechanisms. Even if our human self was thoroughly healed and mature, we still couldn’t live up to it. In that sense, we make one mistake after another, and we are – often painfully – aware of it.

Trying to talk about this, we also make one mistake after another. Words differentiate, and what we are is oneness. Words will inevitably fall short and be misleading. And they can only be a pointer, even if they sometimes will be taken as what they point to.

In a more ordinary sense, we make mistakes and learn from it. Whenever we explore something new and enter unfamiliar territory, we make mistakes. That’s how we learn. That’s how we become familiar with a new territory. Exploring what we are and how to live from it is no different.

There is another side to it.

When we find what we are, we notice that our human self happens within and as what we are and it lives its own life. It’s all an expression of life, the universe, or Spirit. In that sense, there are no mistakes.

Although speaking about this is, in a sense, a mistake since it will inevitably fall short and be misunderstood, it’s also natural to speak about it – if someone is interested. That too, is not a mistake.

When we explore something new, mistakes become part of the process. They become the material we learn and mature from. In that sense, they are not really or fundamentally mistakes.

MAY 18, 2021

JESUS & CHRIST

I tend to see Jesus as the human and Christ as Christ consciousness. I don’t remember anymore where this differentiation comes from. It may be Jes Bertelsen or Rudolf Steiner, and there may be something about this in the Christian tradition as well.

We can say that Christ is the same as Big Mind or Brahman, and that’s not wrong. Christ is a symbol of what we are, and Jesus is a representation of us noticing what we are, living from it, and thoroughly transforming our human self and life within this.

At the same time, there is something more to Christ. Holy places have a distinct quality depending on the spiritual tradition they belong to. And Christ has a very distinct quality, different from what we find in Buddhism, Taoism, and other traditions.

Although I am familiar with this quality, I don’t know exactly how to put it into words.

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ALL PATHS LEADS TO THE SAME PLACE?

There are hundreds of paths going up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which one you take.

I saw this quote on social media, attributed to Hinduism.

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

It depends on what we mean by “same place”. Which place is it?

Is the “place” awakening and living from this awakening? If that’s the case, I wouldn’t say that all religions or spiritual approaches are equally well-suited. Some are certainly more effective than others, and more conducive for going all the way.

If the place is generally connection more with the divine, then yes, each religion and spiritual approach can probably help us.

What timeline are we talking about?

Is the timeline within this one life? If so, then again I would say that some approaches are more suitable and effective than others.

If they are talking about progress over multiple lifetimes, then yes, it probably matters less what we do in this life. We’ll always have future lives (or not!). Although, in reality, we only have here and now.

I have written in a general sense here, and there is another side to this. All main religions and most spiritual have glimmers of real wisdom within it. If we find that, and connect with the right guides, then each one can most likely lead us all the way.

So, in general, if our intention is to connect more with the divine, any traditions can be helpful. If we want to go all the way, then some are more conducive and effective. And if we are lucky and find the right person to guide us, we can most likely go all the way within any religion and many spiritual traditions.

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CRITICIZING SPIRITUAL TEACHERS

It’s easy to criticize, and it’s easy to criticize spiritual teachers.

They may not have a clear enough realization. They may not embody it enough. They may not be completely healthy at a human level. They may not be mature enough. They may be too impersonal or make it too much about them. They may not be skilled enough as a teacher or guide. They may not be able to meet the students where they are. They may focus on some aspects of the process and leave out aspects we see as important. And so on.

All of these are valid. We may or may not resonate with a certain teacher, and that shows us who we want to connect with. It may be interesting and valuable to explore the things we find to criticize. And in some cases, it may be good to discuss it with the teacher if possible.

At the same time, it’s a very tall order to be completely clear in the awakening, to be fully healthy and mature as a human being, to consistently embody the realization, to excel as a teacher and guide, and so on. None of us are perfect. And we all have different ideas about what makes a good teacher.

For me, the best use of this impulse is to find healing and clarity for myself.

I can use what I see in the teacher as a mirror.

What stories do I have about her or him? What do I find when I explore these? (The Work of Byron Katie.) What identities are triggered in me, and what do I find when I explore them? (Living Inquiries.) What fears come up in me? How is it to meet and get to know this fear?

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SPIRITUAL ONE-UPMANSHIP

When we operate from separation consciousness, it tends to create fear and a sense of lack. Somewhere in us, we feel we are not good enough. And one way we sometimes deal with this is trying to prove to ourselves and others that we are as good as others or better.

We’ll do this in any area of life that’s important for us. If spirituality is important to us, we may do it there, and that can lead to displays of spiritual one-upmanship.

We drop hints about where we are in the process and what special experiences we have had. We take secret delight in correcting others. We may secretly judge others for not being as far along as we think we are. And so on.

The essence of this is fear and specifically unloved fear and unloved fearful stories. Just like the trolls, it lives in the dark and bursts in the light. So the remedy is to bring it to light, find love for the fearful part of us, and examine the fearful stories behind it.

How can we do that? A good first step is to be aware of what’s happening and be honest with ourselves about it. If it feels right, we can also confess to someone else, if we trust they’ll understand and be good support for us. Then, connect with the sense of not being good enough and the fear behind it. Make friends with it. Get to know it. See it is there to protect us and comes from love. Thank it for protecting and for its love. We can then take it to (further) inquiry, dialog, or any other approach to help shift how we relate to this part of us and to invite it to heal.

If we approach it in this way, the initial spiritual one-upmanship can be a great source for healing, maturing, and finding more clarity.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XXIV

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BYRON KATIE: TRAUMA IS NOTHING MORE THAN BEING STUCK IN WHAT YOU BELIVE

Trauma is nothing more than being stuck in what you believe.

– Byron Katie

Yes, the essence of trauma is just this. At some level, our system holds a painful through – or set of thoughts – as true, and that recreates the trauma in the moment. It’s what creates it and holds it in place.

These beliefs may not be conscious. It’s thoughts often in the form of images. And a lot more is going on than “just” words and images. These beliefs and assumptions influence our perception, choices, and how we live our life. And they involve just about all of who we are as physical, emotional, mental, and social beings.

There are many ways of working with traumas. Talk therapy is typically unhelpful since it tends to unwittingly reinforce the painful stories, especially the painful underlying assumptions often shared with the therapist. Some of the best ones are non-verbal (releasing muscle tension, energy work, heart-centered practices). And it’s also possible to approach it through inquiry, as Byron Katie suggests. Inquiry is different from talk therapy in that it directly goes for dismantling the painful and trauma-inducing stories and underlying assumptions.

FEBRURARY 19, 2021

LUCID DREAMING AND INSIGHTS INTO OUR REALITY

As many have pointed out, there are several similarities between waking life and dreams.

We are capacity for our experiences. Any experience happens within and as what we are – which a thought may call consciousness, awake emptiness, or something else.

Whether it’s waking life or dream, it still happens within and as what we are. It still happens within and as what we may call consciousness or awakeness.

For this reason, some use lucid dreaming as a way to explore the dreamlike quality of all our experiences. It can be a stepping stone, in some cases. In lucid dreams, we may notice that our dreams are consciousness. They happen within and as consciousness. And then, we may find that in waking life as well. We may notice that all our experiences are like that, even if it’s something as apparently concrete and physical as stubbing our toe.

To me, going the path of lucid dreaming seems a bit cumbersome. I find it easier to explore it here and now through simple forms of inquiry like Headless experiments, the Big Mind process, and Living Inquiries.

And I also know that’s a personal preference. For some, lucid dreaming seems to work well. And it’s always helpful to explore something from many different angles. Each approach gives us some unique insights. Each one fills out the overall picture. Each one is a way for life to explore itself.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XXIII

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 a little rantish. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

ADYASHANTI, BYRON KATIE, DOUGLAS HARDING

For many years following the initial awakening, I couldn’t find anyone who seemed to express or understand what was alive for me.

I found some who were in the same general area – Meister Eckhart, some Buddhist teachers – but what they expressed didn’t always seem completely clear, and it was often clothed in culture and tradition so the clarity became a bit obscured.

It wasn’t until I first discovered Adyashanti (around 2002) and then Byron Katie and Douglas Harding (Headless Way), that I found someone who expressed the same – or very similar – insights as what had been revealed to me 15-20 years earlier.

For the first time, I heard someone say exactly – sometimes using almost the same words – as what I had written in my journals and occasionally mentioned to someone else if I thought they perhaps would resonate with it.

Some years before that, I was part of the group that first experienced the Big Mind Process (Genpo Roshi, Kanzeon Zen Center), and that too reflected what had been revealed.

Yes, all is one. Yes, the insights are there for anyone to discover. And yet, it does mean something at a personal level to find someone – even if it’s “just” a teacher that you may not even meet in person – who expressed and speaks and acts from the awakening that’s here too.

At the same time, I value immensely the many years of relative loneliness in this. It did help me explore it for myself and learn to rely on myself.

There are no mistakes. There is a value in being “alone” in it for a while, and there is value in being in a community.

I don’t pretend the same clarity or maturity or embodiment is here as is in Adyashanti or Byron Katie or was in Douglas Harding. I don’t know. And it doesn’t really matter. I just know some of what there is to continue to explore here, and that there is always further to go.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XXII

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 a little rantish. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

THE WORLD AND WHAT & WHO WE ARE

Everything we see in the world happens within us.

The world – as it appears to us – happens within and as what we are. We can notice and explore this through, for instance, Headless experiments and the Big Mind process.

The stories we have about it – labels, meaning etc. – happens within our own mental field. We can explore this by noticing what happens within our sense fields and how the mind combines them to create its experience, and we can do this in a more systematic way through, for instance, Living Inquiries.

The stories we have about the world and others equally well apply to ourselves – in the moment and we can find many other specific examples. At a very human level, the world mirror ourselves.

Why is this important? It’s not inherently important but it does seem to be how our world works, and it can be helpful to notice and explore this.

Finding what we are helps release identification with the content of experience – identifications, roles, and thoughts in general – and this can be a great liberation.

Noticing how our mind puts a mental field overlay on our world helps us recognize thoughts for what they are – guesses and questions about the world – and hold them more lightly.

And noticing the world as a mirror for ourselves helps us notice projections and find in ourselves what we see in the world and in others, and this helps us live from a bit more clarity and kindness and less from reactivity.

ONE TASTE

Some folks in the nondual/adveita world talks about “one taste”.

What does it mean?

I assume it mainly means noticing that all happens within and as what we are. Whatever the experience is – and they are all unique and different, they all happen within and as what we are. In their infinite variety, they share one taste.

How we notice this reflects the awakening process in general. We may have a glimpse. We may notice when we pay attention. We may notice most things in this way but “forget” when some issues are triggered in us, and then notice again when things calm down and we remember.

As the noticing becomes more stable, and as there is a deeper embodiment – AKA we relate to our issues differently and work through more of them – this one taste becomes more and more the water we swim in.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XXI

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BLAME VS DEEPER UNDERSTANDING

If we believe the thoughts passed on to us from our culture, we may go into blame – of others, life, ourselves.

And if we have a deeper understanding, we know that blame is a sidetrack and we may even have compassion with ourselves and others.

So what is this deeper understanding?

It has several facets, and here are a few.

A major one comes from knowing from ourselves what we see in others. I have done that too. I have reacted to my own stress and pain in ways that’s been unwise and painful to others. I have acted on my fears in ways I wish I hadn’t. We are in the same boat.

We are responsible for our own actions, and yet each of our choices and actions have innumerable causes. It comes from our culture, family, ancestors, biology, and much more. Our actions are, in a very real sense, the local actions of the whole of existence. When I see my own and others actions, I can have compassion knowing they have innumerable causes outside of the person. And, for my own health and sanity, I still need to take responsibility for my own actions.

If I feel a need to blame someone, I am – most likely – reacting to my own pain. I am trying to reduce my own stress, pain, or fear by blaming someone else. It doesn’t really work.

Any assumptions I have about the other are just that, assumptions. Through inquiry, I may find that I don’t know, the reasons may be far more innocent, and that I am just like what I see in the other.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XX

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 a little rantish. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

ULTIMATELY ALONE, AND NOT

One of the discoveries of life is that we are ultimately alone, and not.

We are alone in that we need to do some things on our own – learning, exams, work, making decisions, and so on. Although we can find support from others and be in a community, we are ultimately alone in all of this.

We are also ultimately alone in experiencing our own experiences and relating to our emotions and thoughts. Nobody can do this for us, and nobody can fully understand how it is for us.

We are our own final authority, even if we may try to tell ourselves otherwise.

There is a loneliness in all of this.

And there is also a kind of loneliness in oneness. (Although I feel some make too much out of this one.)

At the same time, we are not alone. We have (hopefully) friends and family. We can find support from others. We can receive guidance.

We are part of humanity, the Earth community, and the universe. We are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and emotions of the universe.

Within oneness, there is an immense richness. Although there is a certain loneliness in oneness, we are certainly not alone within oneness.

There is an immense richness within us, in a conventional sense (psychological) and as oneness.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XIX

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 a little rantish. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

BEING NATURE

In our western culture, we often have the idea that there is nature and us, and animals and us. We see ourselves apart from nature.

The obvious reality is that we are nature. Everything we are – as individuals and collectively – is a product of the evolution of this universe and this planet. It’s all, including our cities and civilization, emerging from the universe and this planet. As Carl Sagan said, we are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We are the universe locally bringing itself into consciousness.

Why is this important? Seeing ourselves as separate from nature allows for mindless destruction of nature, and it also alienates us from the parts of us we see as more nature – our body, feelings, instincts, sensuality, sexuality, and so on.

To the extent we see ourselves as nature, feel ourselves as nature, and live as part of nature, we are more likely to care for the Earth, future generations, and embrace and find comfort with the more primal parts of ourselves. It also opens for a deep sense of belonging – to all life, to this Earth, to the Universe, to Existence as a whole.

There is nothing new here. Many have pointed this out for a long time. And there is perhaps some general social movement in this direction, but it’s a good reminder.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XVIII

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 a little rantish. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

USING INSIGHTS TO FEEL SAFE

Someone on the periphery of my life came to my mind, and I thought: She is using her insights to feel safe.

She is someone who does have some insights, and her job is to consult and give advice to others.

At the same time, I have noticed that she latches onto a small piece of information and jumps to one her insights as a remedy, without having a fuller sense of the situation. She tends to insist that the other adopts her particular solution. And she does this uninvited.

So although I don’t know the full picture (!), I imagine she is using her insights to feel safe. She may latch onto them to feel safe, and she tries to get other to agree and adopt them so she feels it’s supported by others.

And, of course, this is me. I do this too. It’s a different and perhaps slightly amplified version of how I am.

I sometimes latch onto insights – aka ideas – to feel more safe. I am happy when I find others who agree and – sometimes unwittingly – support me in latching onto these ideas for safety. And I sometimes give unsolicited advice, perhaps not so often in real life but certainly in my mind.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XVII

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 a little rantish. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

NORMALIZING BELIEF MAKES US LEAVE REALITY MORE EASILY

When we normalize belief, we normalize leaving reality. We normalize saying that my opinion is as valid as yours, even if I know next to nothing about something and you are a scientist who have devoted your life to studying it.

We in the western world live in a Christian culture, and this is a culture where belief and faith is normalized.

In Christianity, we are asked to believe what someone tells us without having the ability to check it for ourselves. We are asked to take things on faith. And this belief and faith is praised and encouraged.

From there, it’s a small step to do the same in other areas of life.

A clear sign of this is that it’s common to use the word belief outside of religion, even when the topic is clearly something that belongs to science and not opinion or belief, or it belongs to expert advice and not opinions of random non-experts.

For instance, someone asked me do you believe in climate change? It’s not a matter of belief. It’s a matter of science, and just about all climate scientists – people who have devoted their lives to study it – agree on. It’s happening and it’s created by human fossil fuel consumption.

Another example is the question do you believe in UFOs? It’s phrased as if it’s a matter of belief, as if our belief somehow is important or relevant. In reality, UFOs are a question for science – or experience – and what we personally think or hope or fear or imagine is irrelevant. (Unless we take a psychological and sociological perspective, in which case it’s an interesting question.)

Would we see this era of conspiracy theories and fake news if Christianity hadn’t taught us to abandon rational thinking and instead believe? I am not sure. I can’t help wondering if it plays a role.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XVI

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 a little on the rant side. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

SPOCK: WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE NO LONGER EXISTS

What happened before no longer exists. What will happen next has not yet been written. We have only now. That is our greatest advantage. What we do now, here, in this moment has the power to determine the future.

– Spock in Star Trek: Discovery, S2:E11 Perpetual Infinity

This is undeniably true, even from a mainstream view. And, to the extent we take it in and allow it to inform our life, it’s profoundly liberating.

This is an example of how we know what’s real. Most of us know that the past and future doesn’t exist and that our ideas about it are our ideas. And yet, we often perceive and live as if the past and future exist. We mistake our ideas about the past and future as an actual past or future.

Not only does the past and future not exist outside of our ideas about it, these ideas are often biased and inaccurate. Taking this in and allowing it to inform us is one of the most healing things we can do. It can help us heal our past. It can help us be more flexible in how we approach the future. And it can help us see that our ideas about the present are also our ideas and not the present itself.

It’s also very good to see this in mainstream TV series and movies. It can serve as a reminder, plant a seed, or ignite curiosity about how our mind creates its own experience of the past, future, and even present.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XV

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 a little on the rant side. And some may be made into a regular article in time.

THE SUPERIORITY OF HUMANS?

His work is contentious, he says, because it calls into question the superiority of humans.

– from The secret life of plants: how they memorise, communicate, problem solve and socialise in The Guardian

Even since I was a kid, I have found the idea of inherent human superiority a bit (or a lot!) ridiculous.

The idea comes from our culture, and perhaps many cultures around the world. It comes from a power-over orientation and is used to support this power-over orientation. It’s how we tell ourselves it’s OK to imprison non-human beings, use them as slaves, eat them, torture them, and destroy their natural habitat.

The reality is that we are one species of animals among many. We happened to be one that developed symbolic language, technology, and more. And we are able to control and make use of other species for our own apparent benefit so we do, and we have found ways to justify it so we can pretend we feel better about it.

That’s about it. There is nothing inherently superior about humans. We are one of many species. We are a part of the living seamless whole of Earth as everything else. We are the local eyes, ears, feelings, and thoughts of the universe, as many other species are in their own way.

Last but not least, any sense of superiority comes from an idea of superiority. It’s not inherent in life or reality.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XIV

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THREE JEWELS

When we are uncomfortable or anything unpleasant happens, we look to take refuge in something. Usually, we turn to food, alcohol, sex, drugs, money, power, or relationships. But none of these things give us the lasting protection or satisfaction you’re looking for.

When you understand you can’t find lasting happiness in Samsara, then the desire to find true refuge becomes strong. In Buddhism, we take refuge in the three jewels—the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

The Buddha is like the doctor who understands your disease and knows how to treat it; the Dharma, his teachings, is the medicine he prescribes; and the Sangha is the spiritual community that helps you to take the medicine. To take refuge is to finally seek protection from suffering in a way that can really help you. When we think about the ultimate nature of reality and what causes us to suffer— this is the true meaning of refuge.

–  Keanu Reeves in Discovering Buddhism module 7, refuge in the three jewels, 2004

This is beautifully and clearly said, and it applies to awakening in general – not just Buddhism.

In a broader and more universal sense, the Buddha is any skilled and insightful coach who knows the terrain of who (human self) and what (Big Mind) we are. The Buddha is also what we are, Big Mind. The Dharma is any pointer that helps us navigate this terrain for ourselves and discover what we are. And the Sangha is any fellow explorers in this adventure.

Buddhism is one system aimed at helping us discover what we are and explore the terrain of who and what we are and how to live from and as it. There are many other systems. And there are many paths outside of any system. This noticing is not dependent on any system.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XIII

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COMPLETE HEAVEN

I am at our family cabin by a lake in the forest east of Oslo. It’s sunny, warm, a light breeze, and I can shift between warming myself in the sun, sitting in the shade, laying down in a cool and dark room, and going for a swim in the lake (24 degrees celcius). It’s complete heaven for this physical being to be able to shift so easily between all these situations. I can very easily be comfortable.

And then there is the nature, the birds, insects, flowers, trees. The beautiful sky. The amazing evening and morning sky. The light at night. Feeling a deep sense of belonging to this Earth community with all the other beings and the rocks and lake and sky and sun. It feels deeply nurturing and healing.

I know it’s an amazing privilege. On the one hand, it’s the type of environment we are made for and our ancestors sought out and lived their lives in. On the other hand, and especially today, it’s not at all a given to have this opportunity. I know I am privileged. I know how much I have to be grateful for, even in a very conventional sense. (And in spite of challenges and a challenging life situations due to health problems.)

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XII

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OPINIONS & IDENTITY

Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.

– Bill Bullard

This is expressed in a somewhat judgmental way but it does point to something important.

When I interact with others, what’s my main purpose for the interaction?

Is it to connect? If so, any topic is fine. I can set aside my opinions and focus on topics that help us connect. Perhaps about something shared or not so charged. Even better, I can ask questions about the other and get to know them. For instance, what does he or she love or love to do? What’s meaningful for them? What are they passionate about?

Is it to get to know the other? If so, questions are most helpful, and perhaps especially questions about what they love, find meaningful, is interested in, and so on. (My own opinions are not so relevant.)

Is it to explore a topic? If so, our experiences, orientations, and opinions may serve as a starting point and we can engage in an exploration that moves beyond our starting points. We may find a way to look at it that includes more experiences, orientations, and viewpoints.

Is it to display my identity and get a sense of the identity of the other? If so, then putting out our opinions is useful.

These questions can be very illuminating. After a conversation, we can ask ourselves these type of questions to see where we were coming from. And also where we would like to come from in future conversations. And what may derail us.

What derails us? Do we miss or lose sight of our deeper intention? Do we fall into a familiar pattern? Do we get caught in some insecurity, fear, and wanting to be liked?

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things XI

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THE HIGHEST ACHIEVEMENT: TO BE AN ORDINARY HUMAN BEING

I wrote an imagined dialog with someone who has lived for eons, and one of the things that came up – from all those lifetimes of experience – is that the highest achievement is to be an ordinary human being.

Many of us try to be someone special, to set ourselves apart – at least in our minds, and live up to a certain image of ourselves. All that is ordinary, of course. But to intentionally be an ordinary human being is different. This means to see through all these shoulds we put on ourselves, and allow them to wear off. And then discover who we are when we are a little more free from them.

It’s not so easy. It can take a long time to discover and see through these images and shoulds and allow them to wear off.

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Brief notes on healing and awakening and occasional personal things X

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THE EGO TOO IS THE DIVINE

The ego is a name for what comes from holding a thought as true. It’s the perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and actions that come when a thought is held as true.

Some talk about the “ego” as opposed to the divine. Some see it as something standing in way of finding or meeting the divine or awakening. Some even use a war metaphor for talking about the “ego”: it needs to be conquered and so on.

I understand where it comes from. Taking thoughts as true is what brings identification with particular content of experience and makes it difficult for us to notice what we are. It makes it more difficult to find ourselves as capacity for this human self and the wider world and all our experience.

At the same time, seeing it as a problem or even something that needs to be changed is part of that dynamic. It sets up the perception of a duality that’s not so helpful. These are ideas that come from separation consciousness and although they may be useful at a certain phase of the process, they also tend to reinforce separation consciousness.

We can say that they are half-true so they are half-useful. At most, they are useful as a stepping stone early on in the process. (And not really necessary even then.)

So what’s a more helpful way of looking at it?

Why not look at it more from within a oneness context? Or the context of all as the divine and the play of the divine? Or just in a more finely-grained way?

First, it’s helpful to drop the idea of “ego”. It’s much more dynamic and less of a thing than that.

Then, why not meet the parts of us that operate from separation consciousness? Why not get to know them? Explore? Listen to what they have to say? Thank them for protecting us? Find a genuine love for them?

Finally, through different forms of noticing and explorations, we may discover more about these dynamics that happen when the mind holds a thought as true. We may discover they come from innocence. They come from a wish to protect our human self. They and understandable and natural. They are universal. They happen within and as what we are. 

At a human level, they come from love. They are a way for our mind to protect our human self. And as what we are, they are what we are. They are love. 

They are not an obstacle. They are not a problem. Yes, they create suffering. And yet, it’s innocent. From the context of what we are, it looks different. There is a natural forgiveness. A natural relaxation. 

A natural welcoming of whatever parts of us still live in suffering and operate from within separation consciousness. A natural welcoming of them as always having been what we are – as human beings and capacity for the world. 

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