How I visualize when I channel for distance healing

When I channel for myself or others, how do I experience and visualize it?

VISUALIZATION

If I channel for someone else, I ask and visualize the divine doing the work. I make myself and my system available, set an intention, notice what happens to adjust the intention, and the divine is doing all the actual work. (It’s of course doing all the work since it’s all of it including what I take as me.)

I also visualize who or what (an organ, issue, etc.) I am channeling for as the divine, and the divine reorganizing itself. It’s the divine – in the form of what I am channeling for – reorganizing itself.

EXPERIENCE

The experience changes a bit over time and during the session.

I usually get a sense of what I am channeling for through a combination of sensations in my own body and visual images. During the healing session, I usually get different types of information and a sense of what’s happening.

I usually experience the intensity of the energy through the strength of the sensations in my body. And I know that what I am sensing is how the energy is running through my own system and what blocks it’s hitting here. It’s not necessarily saying anything about how strong it is for the recipient.

ONENESS

To me, this is all happening within and as the oneness I am.

There is not any distance inherent in it.

When I sense, I sense sensations in my own body.

And even when I visualize the healing happening “over there”, that “over there” is also happening here and now. It’s happening in my visual images. And it’s happening within and as what I am.

Of course, outside of my experience, there may well be a person here and a person here. And yet, to me, it’s all happening within and as the oneness I am.

TEENS AND NOW

I discovered I could see and sense energies, pick up information at a distance, and invite the divine to reorganize itself “over there” (distance healing) in my mid-teens.

It came as part of the shift into the oneness I am noticing itself, and noticing the world as it appears to me as happening within and as the oneness I am.

I did some healing off and on for some years, but only rarely and for close family and friends. I rarely talked about it.

Some years ago, I got into Vortex Healing and I have channeled more since then. The essence of how I visualize and experience it is the same now and then, as I best can tell.

DESCRIPTIVE NOT PRESCRIPTIVE

This is obviously just my experience and what I write about here is a description.

It’s not an instruction or how anyone else should do it, needs to do it, or even what works best.

It’s how it happens to be for me and it may well shift and change.

How old am I?

I had a birthday yesterday, and it brings up the topic of age.

How old am I?

It’s a simple question, and if I take it seriously, it can reveal a lot about my nature.

THE AGE ON MY PASSPORT

In a conventional sense, I am the age my passport tells me. It’s the age in my official documents, and the answer most people expect if they ask the question. It’s not wrong, but it’s a small part of a much bigger picture.

MY BODY’S AGE

In another sense, my body has a certain biological age. Depending on genetics and lifestyle, it can be older or younger than my conventional age. This age has some importance in terms of my health. (And depending on how it’s measured and what criteria are used, it will likely change somewhat.)

THE AGE OF THE UNIVERSE

In yet another sense, I am the age of this universe. According to current science, I am roughly 13.7 billion years old. This can sound like an answer that’s meant to be cute or clever, but it’s far more real than that.

Everything I am as a human being is the product of 13.7 billion years of evolution of this universe.

Every molecule is the product of this evolution, most having been forged in ancient stars blowing up and reforming into this planet which formed itself into all of us and this living evolving world.

Every dynamic in me is the product of the evolution of this seamless system we call the universe.

As Carl Sagan said, and I often quote: We are the ears, eyes, thoughts and feeling of the universe. We are the universe bringing itself into consciousness.

Everything I am as a human being is the product of the evolution of this larger seamless system I am a local and temporary expression of.

In a very real sense, I am the age of this universe. Everything I am as a human is the age of this universe.

This age is important since it’s a reminder of the reality of the oneness of the universe. It’s a reminder of what current science tells us about our more fundamental identity and nature.

TIMELESS

All of that has some validity to it. And yet, am I most fundamentally this human self? Or even a local and temporary expression of this seamless and evolving larger whole?

If I look in my own first-person experience, what am I more fundamentally?

I find I am more fundamentally capacity for any and all experiences. I am capacity for the world as it appears to me, including this human self and anything connected with it. I am capacity even for any thought or sense that I am fundamentally this human self.

I find that any experience – of the wider world or this human self – happens within and as my sense fields. (Sight, sound, sensations, taste, smell, mental images and words.)

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

This is my more fundamental nature, in my own immediate experience.

Here, I find I am what any ideas or experience of time happens within and as. My nature is timeless, allowing and forming itself into ideas and experiences of time and change.

LAYERED

My age is layered.

As a human being, I am the age in my passport and my body’s biological age.

As a local and temporary expression of this larger seamless evolving system, I have the age of this universe. (And that will change somewhat depending on what science says.)

And in my own first-person experience, I find my nature is timeless. I am the timelessness any ideas and experience of age happen within and as.

I love the richness of my age. I love that there are many answers and that some change over time.

I love that each one makes sense in its own way.

WHY DON’T WE USE OUR UNIVERSE AGE MORE OFTEN?

If science tells us we all are 13.7 billion years old, why don’t we use that age more often?

It may seem a silly question, but it’s actually a very important one. Science tells us our more fundamental age is 13.7 billion years, so why don’t we collectively take it more seriously?

It may be because this story is still relatively new so it hasn’t had time to sink in yet.

Also, we are used to using our age in our passport so most people stick with that. Much in society is dependent on separating us by age. (School, tickets, pension, and so on.) And many seem to like to follow that orientation.

For me, it’s beautiful and important that this is an age we all share. Everything that exists has the same age. That’s amazing and wonderful to me. It’s a reminder of what ties us together and that we are all local and temporary expressions of the same seamless evolving whole.

That’s far more fundamental and important than the age we happen to have as local and temporary expressions of this whole.

WHY DON’T WE ACKNOWLEDGE OUR TIMELESS NATURE MORE OFTEN?

Similarly, why don’t we acknowledge our timeless nature more often?

It’s not because it’s not here to be noticed. Based on my own noticing and what I hear from others, it seems we all have this nature. (It’s the nature of the consciousness we all inevitably are to ourselves.) (1)

It’s not even because it’s difficult to find. I assume most can find it with guidance and within minutes.

So why don’t more people acknowledge this?

I assume there are many answers here too. The obvious one is that we live in a society that tells us – directly and indirectly – that we most fundamentally are this human self, an object within the field of our experience. As we grow up, we see that this is what others do so we do the same. In our innocence, which is very beautiful, we train ourselves to do as others do.

There are also many misconceptions about this. Many traditions suggest that finding our nature is difficult or takes a long time, or that it’s for special people, or that it’s about something distant, or that it gives us special powers.

In reality, it’s right here. It’s not only what we are most familiar with, it’s the only thing we are familiar with. It’s what all our experience consists of.

Since it’s about noticing what we already are, it’s for all of us.

It doesn’t give us any special powers, it’s just a noticing of our nature. (And that can be profoundly transforming for our perception and life in the world.)

And with good guidance, most of us can find it within a relatively short time.

How can we find it? The best approaches I am familiar with (so far) are the Headless experiments and the Big Mind process.

Of course, finding it is just the first step. It’s just a glimpse. If we want to continue exploring it, we need to refind it here and now. We need to explore how to live from this noticing. We need to investigate anything in us out of alignment with it, anything created and operating from separation consciousness.

And that takes dedication, passion, and a lifetime. (Or more if there are more.)

(1) Why don’t we acknowledge our timeless nature more often? It’s not even because it’s illogical. Based on logic, we find that in our own experience, we have to be consciousness. If we “have” consciousness, we inevitably and most fundamentally have to BE consciousness in our own experience. And the world, to us, happens within and as the consciousness we are.

We have all of the characteristics of consciousness, and since the world to us happens within and as the consciousness we are, that too – to us – have those characteristics.

We are what’s inherently free of time and space and that our experience of time and space happens within and as. We are the oneness any sense of distinction and separation happens within and as. And so on.

This just says something about our own nature in our own first-person experience, it doesn’t say anything about the nature of existence or the universe. And that’s more than enough. If we are led – by existence – to take it seriously, that’s profoundly transforming.

Image: A look at the distant relatives we call the “Cosmic Cliffs” in the Carina Nebula. (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI.)

Our inherent wisdom in scary situations

Adventure cat

When we moved to our tiny house about a month ago, our cat Merlina came with us. Our backyard is 15 hectares of semi-wilderness.

She has been in the countryside before and is always careful at first, but is more careful this time. Likely because there are smells and sounds of many wild animals here. These include Jaguarundis – cats related to cougars and cheetahs, porcupines, marsupials, and other species unfamiliar to her.

It makes sense to be cautious until she is more familiar with this place and its animals.

She spends a lot of time in the house sleeping, and also listening to and smelling what’s outside. When she goes out, she stays close to the house and expands out slowly in small widening circles. She also likes to go out with us since that makes her feel safer, and I like going out with her.

This is all very wise, and it’s a reminder of the wisdom we all have in us.

When in a new place, get to know the place. Take time. Don’t push yourself.

And when you go into scary places, or fear is triggered in you, take it easy. Here also, don’t push yourself. Go into it gently and for only short periods so it’s not overwhelming.

We humans, with our more complex mental constructions and tendency to make identities out of them, often do it differently. We may push aside the fear and pretend it’s not here. We may push ourselves into fear and feel overwhelmed and maybe even traumatized. Or we may get stuck in the safe zone without exploring and opening our world.

Animals remind us of our inherent wisdom, the wisdom that’s here when we are less distracted by our mental constructions.

This is very important in trauma work. If you are going to explore traumas, it makes sense to work with someone you trust, and someone who won’t push you. It makes sense to go slowly and gradually. It makes sense to go into it for short periods of time (seconds, minutes) and then retreat so you don’t get overwhelmed. It makes sense to work primarily with the body and not go into the stories around it so much. (At least, at first.)

An additional theme for this website: Rewilding

The focus for the articles on this website has always centered on healing and awakening, with occasional articles on culture, society, sustainability, art, and other topics I find interesting.

From now on, I will also include more articles on rewilding and regeneration.

It’s not a new interest to me. I have been fascinated by and passionate about nature and sustainability since I was little, and that includes what’s covered by rewilding and regeneration.

On this winter solstice (2022), we moved into our tiny house with a large backyard on Finca Milagros. This backyard is fifteen hectares in Cañon del Chicamocha. And I wish to devote a good part of my life to supporting this land to become a more thriving and diverse habitat for plants, insects, birds, and animals.

That will, by necessity, be reflected here since I tend to write about what I am interested in and what I am currently exploring and living.

The rewilding posts will be a kind of chronicle of what we are doing here, and they may be interesting to or useful for others.

And, yes, I know that rewilding is a problematic term. It cannot be done in a literal and complete way, and it’s not possible (or even desirable) to bring this ecosystem back to how it was in precolonial times or even before humans came here. When I use the term rewilding, it’s in a much more loose sense. For me, it’s about supporting the ecosystem to thrive, become more diverse, and become a good habitat for the insects, birds, and animals that are here. I wish to support it in becoming wilder.

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A brief rewilding update

We had the first meeting today with one of the people (JL) who will help Finca Milagros rewild, and it makes me happy to finally take this step in helping the land return to a diverse and vibrant state. It feels good to talk with someone who is knowledgeable, pragmatic, and has both a vision and a grounded approach.

Here are some thoughts and plans so far:

We need to educate and closely follow up anyone doing work on the land. These are local people with a very different mindset from an ecological one. For instance, they see any thorny plants as a weed to remove, while they in reality are essential for helping the land recover. These pioneers provide the conditions for other plants to grow and thrive.

It’s much better to do some minimal pruning than to remove plants completely. Pruning can support the plants, in some cases.

We can use plants to clear up the water in a large pond on the land. For instance, these can be on a raft and can be removed when they have done their work. (These are non-native non-invasive plants.)

We need to prevent further erosion in some areas of land severely impacted by grazing. We can do this with rocks and plants.

A natural and healthy ecosystem is diverse. It is layered with large and smaller trees, bushes, and even smaller plants. These layers help keep the water in the local ecosystem. (If all trees are the same height, which they often are if planted, the water evaporates more quickly.)

Focusing only on tree planting, which many do here, is not enough and can be a bit misguided. A planted forest can be a monoculture just like any other monoculture. It’s important to focus on the diversity of the whole ecosystem which includes many other types plants, each serving important functions.

There are several engaged species here (we saw a red-light bird after a few minutes by the pond), so one priority is to protect their habitat and create more of the habitat they need.

We have a dry river going through the land. Neighbors higher up are likely taking the water. We need to identify the problem, and possible get to know the neighbors and see if we can find a solution that works for everyone. This is a longer term project.

I knew or suspected what’s listed above since I have been passionate about sustainability and ecology for decades. And it is a blessing to meet and be guided by someone far more knowledgeable than me, and someone who knows this particular ecosystem and has experience with rewilding and regeneration here.

The land is 15 hectares. One or two hectares are closer to the road and perfect for building and food production, and the rest will be wild and mostly left to itself with a few smaller interventions here and there. And we will move slowly and get to know the land, connect with more people in the area working on similar projects, and learn as we go.

Our first project was a tiny house where we will live while we get to know the land better. It’s good to go slowly, be informed, allow possibilities and visions to mature, and think through things thoroughly before doing anything more that impacts the land.

I wish to create wildlife gardens around this and future buildings. Gardens with native plants feeding and attractibg local wildlife, and especially insects and birds.

A shift to the Andes mountains

When I was four or five (?) years old, I had a strong dream. I was in the jungle with a black jaguar (black panther). We lived together, did everything together, communicated closely, and the black jaguar was my best friend, mentor, and guide.

In a Vortex Healing class some years ago, we did one session for shifting where we internally live in the sister realm – in the realm of nature. We were told that we all live in a particular location, and it may not be optimal for our health and life, so this session was a transmission to shift to a more optimal location and environment. In this session, I experienced a shift from the damp jungle and the jaguar to the drier and higher Andes mountains and the condors. I experienced – and still experience – a deep connection with the condor. (The hairs all over my body stand on end when I am reminded of them.)

At the time, I had no idea that this would not only mean an inner shift but also an outer one.

A couple of years after this, I met the woman who is now my wife. She is from Latin America, and we bought land in the Andes mountains – up the wall of one of the largest canyons in the world. This is the land I was shifted into in that VH class session, and it’s the land of the condors.

I experience a strong draw to bring the condors back to this land. Everything in me resonates with it.

As it turns out, my wife has close friends in Argentina working on bringing the condors back and protecting them, and we are invited to visit.

And who knows what will unfold. I would love if it includes playing a small part in bringing the condors back here. It would be the greatest honor for me.

Image: A condor created by me and Midjourney

Finding an easier way: chronic illness as a guide

Some years ago, my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) shifted into a more severe phase. That meant I had to find an easier way to do many things in life.

How can I do this in a way that’s more comfortable? Require less energy? Take my situation into consideration? Is kind to me and hopefully others?

Here are some examples.

FINDING MY VALUE

I have explored and found my value independent of my actions and activities in the world. Before this happened, I put at least some of my value on my actions and what I produced. (After all, I am a child of the western culture where this is a feature.) Where is my value if all I can do is rest? If I cannot produce or do much?

One answer is that we see a baby as having value, and they mostly eat, poop, and make sounds. If a baby has value, why is that not the case with me and anyone else independent of age and production?

Another answer is in noticing my nature, and that the world to me happens within and as what I am. Here, nothing is missing. It’s complete as it is.

And yet another answer lies in examining any stressful thoughts around lack and finding what’s genuinely more true for me. (As I did for several years through The Work of Byron Katie.)

ASKING FOR HELP

I learned to ask for help.

Before this, I took pride in not asking much for help and created an identity around it.

After this happened, I had to ask for help. And it helped me soften that identification and see the value and beauty both in receiving and giving and in allowing others to give. (Especially as long as they feel free to say no.)

I am not doing this perfectly, whatever that means, but I am exploring and learning.

FINDING A YES OR NO BY NOTICING MY BODY’S RESPONSE

I have learned to find a more genuine yes and no, not only through inquiry but also by noticing my body’s response.

For instance, if I am wondering whether to do an activity or not, I can say to myself: I can choose to do this or not, and I chose to do it. And then notice my body’s response. Does it relax? Does it sigh in relief? Then I say to myself: I can choose to do this or not, and I choose not to. And again notice my body’s response.

The genuine yes is reflected in my body relaxing, in a sigh of relief. Sometimes it’s a yes to the activity, and sometimes it’s a no to the activity.

(How does this work? It may be because the more unfiltered and honest part of my mind is intimately connected with my physical body. Or more accurately, because any tension in my mind is reflected in tension in my physical body, and tension always happens when we are not completely honest with ourselves.)

FINDING ESSENTIAL NEEDS AND MOTIVATIONS

What are some of my surface wishes and motivations? Taking one of them, what do I hope to get out of it? And what do I hope to get out of that? And that? What’s the most essential wish and motivation behind it? How can I give that to myself? In life? How is it to give it to that part of me here and now, within myself? (From Adyashanti.)

This is another way to simplify my life. On the surface, I have innumerable wishes and motivations. And when I trace them back to their essence, I find just a few and perhaps really just one.

This helps me prioritize and find and give myself what I really wish for and need.

It also helps me differentiate my genuine needs and motivations, and the strategies I use to find and give it to myself. It helps me explore a variety of ways to give it to myself. (NVC.)

For instance, I may have a surface wish for money. When I trace it back, I find it’s more essentially a wish for safety. Can I offer a sense of safety to the part(s) of me that wish for safety? Can I find ways to feel safer in life? (I can also explore ways to be a good steward of my life in terms of finances. What are some ways to have more stable finances? What are some ways to have a little more money in my life?)

I may have a surface wish for ice cream. When I trace it back, I find it’s more essentially a wish for love, comfort, and enjoyment, and even more essentially love. Can I give love to those parts of me wishing for love? Can I give comfort to the parts wishing for comfort? Can I give enjoyment to my inner community? Can I find ways to give this to myself in life? (And I can, of course, still eat ice cream if I wish.)

SIMPLIFYING MY LIFE

I have always loved simple living, and leading simple living groups was part of my actual job for a while. CFS has encouraged me to simplify even more.

What can I prune in my life? What can I say no to? (Which is a yes to me.) What drains energy? What do I really enjoy? What gives me a boost? What’s worth spending energy on, even if it has a cost?

What has life pruned for me? And can I join in with it? Can I find where it’s a genuine gift?

FINDING PEACE WITH SAYING NO

Like many in my culture, I have been programmed to think I should say “no” as little as possible. A part of me wants to please others to avoid discomfort. I should answer calls. I should say “yes” if I am invited somewhere.

So I have had to explore this and find more peace with saying no, and sometimes really enjoy saying no.

As Byron Katie says, a genuine “no” is a yes to me. Right there, I find more peace with it and even joy.

I see the benefits of learning to say no. It helps me take care of myself and my health. It helps me prune away activities (and sometimes people) that don’t feel right to have in my life. It leaves room for what’s more enjoyable, nourishing, and meaningful. I find that the space itself is enjoyable, nourishing, and meaningful (!).

Feeling free to say a genuine yes or no is easier through good communication and some education. I am working on being better at explaining my situation to people in my life. The more they understand, the easier it is for all of us to have our needs met. We can more easily find strategies that work.

FINDING AND GIVING TO MYSELF WHAT’S NOURISHING

What’s deeply nourishing for me?

In my case, I find it’s a wide range of things and activities.

Bone broth (!) is deeply nourishing for my body and thus for all of me. Whole food low on the food chain is typically the same. (I find refined foods draining.) Warm herbal tea, and sometimes spice tea, is often nourishing, along with dark miso broth.

Nature and being in nature is deeply nourishing for me. (It can be just sitting in a garden, enjoying the sun, clouds, wind, chirping birds, the sound of the wind in the trees, and so on.)

Some relationships are deeply nourishing, especially at certain times.

This type of exploration is nourishing to me, when I have the energy.

Some input – podcasts, interviews, articles, videos, movies, and music – is nourishing for me, at the right time.

Breema is deeply nourishing for me, whether it’s receiving, giving (when I have enough energy), or doing Self-Breema.

Receiving Vortex Healing for energizing is deeply nourishing for my system. It especially helps if I feel very drained or in a crash.

MORE EASE IN THE EXPLORATIONS: BASIC MEDITATION AND MORE

I used to put extra effort into my meditation practice, whether it was training a more stable attention, noticing my nature, or something else. In my teens and twenties, I would often meditate or hours at a time. I would go fully into the Tibetan Ngöndro practice. I would practice as if my hair was on fire, as they say in Buddhism. I found I couldn’t do that anymore. I had to find an easier and simpler way.

What was this easier way? I have mostly focused on basic meditation, noticing and allowing what’s here, and noticing that any content of experience is already noticed and allowed. By noticing what’s already here, I scale back the effort to the essentials.

I found that the essence of the Headless experiments is also helpful since that too is about noticing what’s already here.

Also, I kept some simple heart-centered practices like tonglen and ho’oponopono.

And I have, in periods, done simple forms of inquiry like the Big Mind process, and The Work of Byron Katie, the Kiloby/Living inquiries.

INQUIRY AND HEART-CENTERED PRACTICES

Inquiry and heart-centered practices help me find more ease.

Stressful stories are only partially true and my system is spending a lot of energy maintaining them and reacting to them. Identifying and examining these stories, and finding what’s more genuinely true for me, opens up space for more ease and presence. I find The Work of Byron Katie and the Kiloby/Living inquiries most helpful for this.

Heart-centered practices shift how I relate to anything – discomfort, myself, others, situations, life, and more. (And really, my images of all of these.) They help me shift from seeing them as enemies, struggling with them, and so on, to genuinely befriending them and perhaps even finding genuine gratitude for them. This too opens up space and opens up for more ease and peace with what is. The practices I am most familiar with are tonglen, ho’oponopono, and the Jesus/Heart prayer.

FINDING WHAT I AM

Finding what I am helps me find an essential simplicity.

In the world, I am this human self in the world. That’s not wrong.

Is that also what I am in my own first-person experience? I find I more fundamentally am capacity for the word as it appears to me, for any and all content of experience. I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.

And here, there is an essential simplicity. It’s the simplicity that allows and takes the form of all the richness of experience. It’s what’s free of tension and stress, and is free to take the form of what a thought may label tension and stress.

THE NATURE OF MY EXPERIENCES IS THE SAME AS MY OWN NATURE

This is perhaps a bit obscure and marginal for most but important to me.

When I experience discomfort, the habitual response in my system is to react to it. To try to push it away. Distract myself from it, often by going into compulsions. Make it go away, sometimes by healing and transforming it away. And so on.

My system responds as if it’s “other”. As if it’s a kind of enemy or problem. As if is a foreign element.

In reality, I am capacity for it. It happens within and as what I am.

Noticing this, and resting in that noticing, helps to shift out of this pattern. And that too gives more of a sense of ease and peace. It initially takes a bit of effort, and it really frees up a lot of energy tied up in the struggle from the old habitual response.

How do I do that? The easiest for me is to remind myself of my headlessness, notice my nature directly, and then notice and rest in the noticing of the nature of (what my thoughts label) the discomfort.

INVITED TO BE MORE SINCERE AND THOROUGH

Very little of this was new to me. These were all things I have explored since my teens or twenties. But the more severe phase of the CFS invited me to be more sincere and thorough in the exploration of all of it. Life created a kind of boundary for me and I needed to go deeper within that boundary. I could get away with less. I couldn’t so easily get away with being approximate and sloppy. I needed to be more sincere and precise.

It almost goes without saying, but a part of this sincerity is to find what’s genuinely true for me. Tricking myself doesn’t work since a part of me (all parts, really) know what’s going on. It has to be genuine to have any value.

OFTEN MESSY

By writing it like this, it can look as if I have it all sorted.

The reality is far more messy and human. I am not by any means perfect in any of this, whatever we imagine “perfect” means. I am winging it. I am learning a few things as I go along, often slowly. I forget and then remember again. I have a lot of issues and traumas that sometimes obscure and confuse any clarity that’s here. I don’t have any final or full answers. And as with most of these posts, I am writing this as a reminder to myself. As an invitation to myself to bring it alive here and now and explore it further.

It’s all very much a work in progress. And an adventure.

Note: What I have written here applies to some extent to many forms of chronic illness. This includes different forms of long-covid, some of which are similar to CFS. Long-covid is a post-viral disease and CFS is often a post-viral disease.

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From seeing to visceral

For some years, inquiry was the center of my focus and something I did daily, whether it was The Work of Byron Katie, the Kiloby (Living) Inquiries, the Big Mind process, or just old-fashioned Buddhist sense field exploration inquiry. (This was mostly from around 2000 to 2018.)

I’ll still do more formal inquiry when I am drawn to it, but my focus these days is more on direct noticing and energy healing.

And I also notice a shift. For instance, when I did The Work on a topic in the past, it was sometimes a seeing of what was more true for me a certain topic, and my visceral experience hadn’t quite caught up. These days, I more often notice the visceral experience.

I imagine it may be more of my system catching up to the seeing, and it happens and deepens over time.

For instance, I saw the “I know everyone loves me, I just don’t expect them to realize it” quote from Byron Katie this morning, and I notice it resonates viscerally with me. Not with all of me since there are still psychological parts that don’t realize it, but more of me get it viscerally. The overall experience is of getting it more viscerally. When I first saw that quote many years ago, I remember seeing the truth of it but not getting it so viscerally.

And, of course, there is always further to go. There is a lot I haven’t examined yet, and there are many parts of me that have not caught up with the seeing.

A brief update

I thought I would write a brief update.

Although I have put down a lot of ideas for articles, I have only written and published a few. That’s mainly because I have been busy with traveling, classes, moving, the new land and house, and resting and taking care of my health.

CLASSES

I finished a Vortex Healing class (Awakening to Divinity) a couple of weeks ago. Combined with receiving a couple of healing sessions, it seems to have shifted things in me.

I mainly notice that I experience sensing and channeling differently.

When I sense into someone’s system, I sense space with just a few bits of ethereal pieces floating around here and there. I suspect I need to get used to this new way of sensing, and my sensing will likely keep unfolding and revealing more things. (Previously, I could sense the physicality more and I would also get more images providing information.)

My sense of channeling has also changed. I used to sense the energy in my own system quite clearly, maybe because it would run up against things in my own system. Now, there is mainly a sense of space. Perhaps my system has more capacity now? And I am no longer experiencing the friction?

When I do distance healing, there is also much more of a direct and visceral sense of it happening from void and oneness. It’s happening within and as whatever I am doing healing for. It seems to be happening from the inside-out of what I intend healing for.

And that’s not really the right language. It’s all happening within and as the divine. It’s the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself as all of this and the way this process – and everything – is unfolding.

LAND

We are stewards of 15 hectares in the Andes mountains, and it’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I feel a deep connection with it and I am very grateful to have it in my life. It’s a lifelong dream I wasn’t even that conscious of coming alive, at least for now.

We finalized the payment for the big piece two weeks ago and will finalize the payment for the small piece in a few days. And the first tiny house is almost finished.

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A few of my favorite music albums

I always enjoy discovering new music, including through people’s lists of favorites. So I thought I would return the favor and list some of my own favorite albums here.

CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL

Arvo Pärt: Passio, Miserere, Arbos, Te Deum, Da Pacem, Creator Spiritus, Alina (ECM recordings, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Paul Hillier)

Philip Glass: Akhnaten, Satyagraha, Glassworks

Meredith Monk: Book of Days

Steve Reich: Different Trains, Music for 18 Musicians, Reich/Richter

John Adams: Shaker Loops

EUROPEAN CLASSICAL

Jordi Savall (performer): Tous les matins du monde

JS Bach: Die Kunst der Fuge (Keller Quartet)

Rachmaninov: Vespers (Paul Hillier)

Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli, Missa Aeterna Christi Munea, Stabat Mater

Allegri: Miserere (Tallis Scholars)

Marin Marais: Pieces de Viole du Second Livre (Jordi Savall)

Canteloube: Songs of the Auvergne (Dawn Upshaw) 

NORDIC

Mari Boine:  Eight Seasons, Goaskinviellja / Ørnebror, Leahkastin

Agnes Buen Garnås & Jan Garbarek: Rosensfole

Jaga Jazzist: Starfire, Magazine, Stix, What We Must

Kings of Convenience: Riot on an Empty Street, Quiet is the New Loud, Declaration of Dependence, Peace or Love

EUROPE

Bulgarian Women’s Choir: Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, Bulgarian Custom Songs, Ritual

Maria Salgado: Siete Modos De Guisar Las Berenjenas

Kila: Tog e go bog e, Gambler’s Ballet, Luna Park

CONTEMPORARY POPULAR

Kate Bush: Hounds of Love, Aerial part II, The Sensual World

Sting: Nothing Like the Sun, Ten Summoner’s Tales, Mercury Falling, Brand New Day 

Mathieu Chedid – M

LOUNGE, ELECTRO-SWING, NUJAZZ, JAZZ

Kojato: All About Jazz

Bahama Soul Club: The Cuban Tapes

Caravan Palace: <|°_°|> (Robot Face), Chronologic

Stereolab: Dots & Loops, Cobra & Phases, Sound Dust

Bitter:Sweet: Drama, The Mating Game

Django Reinhart

NORTH AMERICA

Bela Fleck: The Bluegrass Sessions, Tales from the Acoustic Planet

Carlos Nakai: Carry the Gift, Canyon Trilogy

William Eaton: Where Rivers Meet

SOUTH AMERICA

João Gilberto, Elis Regina, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Sabrina Melheiros

Compilation: Bossa Nova and the Rise of Brazilian Music in the 1960s

AFRICA

Ayub Ogada: En Mana Kuoyo

Youssou N’dour: Eyes Open, The Guide, Set, Egypt

Sona Jobarteh: Badinyaa Kumoo, Fasiya

MIDDLE-EAST

Axiom of Choice: Niya Yesh, Unfolding

Peter Gabriel: Passion: Music for the Last Temptation of Christ

The Musicians of the Nile: Egypte – Les Musiciens du Nil

Seiur Marie Keyrouz: Chant Byzantin, Canticles de L’Orient

ASIA

Huun Huur Tu: If I’d Been Born an Eagle, Where Young Grass Grows

Sainkho Namtchylak: Naked Spirit

Shakuhachi – The Japanese Flute

SOUNDTRACKS

Bruno Coulas: Himalaya

Hans Zimmer: Interstellar

Sweet & Lowdown

Vangelis: Bladerunner

ELECTRONIC / AMBIENT

Boris Blank: Electrified

Brian Eno: Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks

Jean-Michel Jarre: Oxygene, Zoolook, Amazônia

Vangelis: Albedo 0.39

And, in general, anything from Putumayo.

See also this playlist on Spotify, and a slightly more comprehensive list.

An eye related synchronicity

I optimized my eyes this morning using Vortex Healing, went to a coffee shop, and noticed this message from the barista after I had finished the cup.

It’s definitely synchronicity – a meaningful coincidence.

It could be that optimizing my eyes made them more beautiful. Optimizing any organ or system helps them function better, energizes them, and clears any blocks in the energy channels in and to that organ or system.

And it was certainly a beautiful message to receive. It’s a reminder of how much apparently small acts of kindness can mean to others and oneself.

I have experienced these types of things several times before.

One memorable experience was when I lived in Oregon and spent some days or weeks deepening into the Christ meditation and the ongoing Jesus / Heart prayer. When I do that, the presence of Christ throughout my system becomes very noticeable. I sat on a bus. The woman in front of me turned around without having looked at me first. And said: Are you Jesus?

I laughed and said “no”, but it would perhaps have been more useful and validating to say “no, but I have done a lot of prayers lately so I sense that Christ is here”.

A brief personal history

I love biographies in general, and I am also fascinated by the awakening process and how it unfolds in each case.

So why not write briefly about my own process?

BRIEF OVERVIEW

I was born and grew up in Ski, Norway, and have since then lived in Oslo, Utah, Oregon, California, and most recently Colombia.

In terms of notable events and shifts, I had flashbacks to the time before this life when I was little. I became an atheist in elementary school although was fascinated by parapsychology. When I was fifteen, there was an observer-observed shift. A year later, a shift into oneness which didn’t go away. I was in a honeymoon phase for about a decade, which shifted into a kind of dark night when I went against my inner guidance on a major life decision. About ten years later, there were more shifts and deepenings, including a few months in a strong no-self state. This led to a much darker dark night with a lot of losses in many areas of life and deep survival fear and old traumas surfacing, and am still in this to some extent, although it is lightening up.

INFANT: FLOATING

My earliest memory is of seeing my parents and brother walking on the sidewalk toward our house. I see it from above, perhaps 15-20 meters up. They have a pram and I suspect I am in it. It’s a beautiful sunny day, although a little chilly judging from the clothes. They walk up the short gravel road to the house, and in front of the house is something large and rectangular. I then float around inside, following my parents and brother. I see old yellowish flowery wallpaper in the large bedroom, and parts of it are torn off.

I had this memory throughout my childhood and eventually asked my parents about it later in my teens. (And again just a couple of weeks ago.) This was the day we moved from our old house to this one, and they did walk between the houses since it was just a ten-minute walk. The white rectangle in front of the house was the moving van. And the wallpaper in the large bedroom did look like that and they put a kind of burlap on the wall and painted it white in the days after we moved.

I assume this was an out-of-body experience, perhaps triggered by some anxiety about moving house.

Otherwise, I relatively quickly learned to walk, run, and speak, and I was an active child curious about everything like most others.

I still remember being four or five, sitting in a chair by the western window in the living room, looking at a Donald Duck comic (I didn’t know how to read yet), and suddenly becoming conscious that I was conscious. Somehow, that was a deeply impactful and moving experience.

This all happened in my parent’s house in Ski, Norway. I lived there until I was 18 or 19 when I moved to Oslo. And I am writing this in the log cabin on their property since I am here on a summer visit.

BEFORE SCHOOL AGE: FLASHBACKS

Before school age, I repeatedly had a kind of flashback.

I remember being outside on a warm day, in the garden on the southwestern side of the house, under some beautiful tall birch trees, and the bright sunlight filtered through the moving leaves.

Suddenly, there is a shift and I remember how it was before this life. I am brought back to that life.

All is golden light. I am consciousness without any body. There is a profound sense of being home. All is love and consciousness. There are occasionally some other consciousnesses that seem infinitely loving wise communicating with me. There is a sense of timelessness or of time moving very faintly in the distance. The strongest part of this is that profound sense of home and infinite love.

It’s impossible to put this into words even now. As a child, it never occurred to me to mention this to anyone. And I definitely didn’t make any connection between this and what I heard about religion or God. (What they talked about seemed dry and abstract, and these flashbacks were anything but.)

Looking back, I assume this is an actual memory of life between lives. It closely fits what people report from near-death experiences. And it was more of a flashback – being brought back there – than a regular memory.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: ATHEIST & SCIENCE

In elementary school, I had to take one hour of Christianity classes a week and immediately disliked it and how it was presented. To me, it seemed silly or impossible to pretend to believe something just because someone else said it was so. Why rely on second or third-hand info? Also, religion to me seemed mostly a crutch for people who had trouble dealing with life. So at some point, I decided I was an atheist.

I had no interest in religion or spirituality, although I was fascinated by the paranormal. I loved reading about research into mind-reading and telekinesis, about ghosts, and so on, and I engaged in my own experiments with mind-reading and telekinesis. (With very limited results, although the mind reading – using the classic cards with symbols – sometimes seemed to work.)

In general, I was most fascinated by nature and science and I wanted to be a zoologist and ideally work with animals in Africa. I loved the nature documentaries by Sverre M. Fjelstad and David Attenborough and I was profoundly impacted and moved by Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

I remember walking out into the garden after a Cosmos episode, looking up at the starry sky, and viscerally feeling that I was the universe bringing itself into consciousness. I am the local ears, eyes, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. Even now, that’s a visceral experience and gives me shivers down the spine.

During this time, I was also up in the mountains in Norway with my father and brother. We slept outside during the night, under the dark starry sky, and could see for perhaps hundreds of miles and get a sense of the curvature of the planet. Here too, I had a profound sense of being part of the universe. I was the universe being conscious of itself.

I would also often wake up in the morning with a profound longing. I tried the things I enjoyed the most – being with family or friends, eating strawberry jam sandwiches, drinking hot chocolate, reading Donald Duck comics, and so on, and nothing helped. I had no idea what the longing was for.

MID-TEENS: MYSTERIOUS ILLNESS AND DISTANCE TO THE WORLD

I was a socially awkward teenager (still somewhat socially awkward) with a lot of teenage angst.

One day when I was fifteen, something shifted. It was as if the world went infinitely far away, and that included this human self. And I also had fatigue and other symptoms. The doctors and specialists couldn’t find anything, and it was a difficult and scary period in my life.

Later, I realized that two things happened here.

At a health level, I got Chronic Fatigue Syndrome following mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr) a few months earlier. In Norway at the time, nobody seemed to know about this diagnosis or illness.

And at a mind level, there was a neat split between the observed (any content of experience) and the observer. The oneness I am was identified with the observer and the rest – the world and this human self – seemed infinitely far away.

MID-TEENS: ONENESS SHIFT

One year later, when I was sixteen, another shift happened.

I walked on the small gravel road to the house. It was between Christmas and New Year. A big wind went through the landscape. The night sky was dark and littered with stars. And suddenly – perhaps triggered by the expansiveness of it all – there was a shift.

There was a shift from taking myself as most fundamentally this awkward angsty teenager to finding myself as everything without exception. God woke up to itself as all there is – the stars, wind, trees, this awkward teenager, and everything.

My psychology responded to this with awe and amazement. There were no words that could even begin to describe it.

This shift didn’t go away. I lived the following years in continued amazement, awe, gratitude, and even pain because this was so immensely beautiful and there was no way to share it and I couldn’t find anyone who seemed even remotely interested or had any taste of it for themselves.

Why did it happen? Looking back, I see that the year of observer-observed duality may have prepared the ground for it. I wonder it may have happened partly as a kind of safety valve for my teenage angst and stress. And the processes in me that otherwise prepared the ground for it are probably hidden from me.

MID-TO-LATE TEENS: PROCESSING THE SHIFT

For several years, and even now, there is a processing of all of this at a human level.

I remember at some point sitting down with a sheet of paper, making a dot on the paper, and realizing that was way too much. (And too little.) This may have been a few months after the shift.

I knew nobody who was even remotely interested in this. And since this happened a few years before the internet took off, I tried to find books written by someone who had experienced a similar shift.

I found several books that touched on it, but they seemed to be written through a lot of veils at the same time. Later in my teens, I was in the main library in Oslo, looked at a collection of sermons from Meister Eckhart, and finally found someone who seemed to understand. Although even here, there were filters – in this case, Christian theology and the difference between our times.

There was a recognition of the irony of this happening to someone who had been a self-described atheist for years. That wasn’t a big deal, but it was slightly amusing.

At a human level, I felt very lonely in all of this. The first person I met who understood this from her own experience was Birgitte H.. We did a tai chi class together when I was nineteen, she stood behind me and saw my energy system and aura, and knew what had happened. We started talking and became good friends, and she was an immense support for me. (She was eight years older and had a bit more experience living with and from it.) The next I met was the then-wife of Jes Bertelsen, who similarly recognized it immediately through looking at my energy system, and she too became an important part of my life for a while.

MID-TO-LATE TEENS AND EARLY TWENTIES: STRONG ENERGIES AND CONTINUED SHIFTS

Along with the two major shifts mentioned above, there were many smaller ones.

SEEING ENERGIES

In the summer about half a year after the initial observer-observed shift, I was sitting outside (in the same area as where the flashbacks often happened) reading a book.

I remember looking up at the beautiful birch trees, and seeing a kind of light around the leaves as they contrasted with the sky. I wrote it off as an optical illusion having to do with the eye and brain. The next day, I saw it again. It kept getting stronger over the next several days, and I noticed I saw the light around not only leaves contrasting the sky but everything – people, animals, plants, and even inanimate objects, especially when they contrasted an even surface.

The light around inanimate objects was slightly fainter and not very differentiated. Around plants, a little stronger and with more layers. And around animals – including humans – even stronger and more differentiated around the different body parts and as it extends out away from the body.

This light around everything went out indefinitely far and got fainter further out from the body or object.

I am still seeing this light, and it’s especially helpful to see how awake the system of different people is. With some, it’s awake to itself indefinitely far out. And in most cases, most of the system is not very awake to itself or not at all awake to itself. In an early awakening, the light tends to be very bright. As the awakening matures, the light becomes finer and more – for lack of a better word – subtle. Even closer to the body, it becomes subtle like the faintest light further away from the body.

If people engage in body-oriented practices, like tai chi or chi gong, the light closest to their body – perhaps one or two centimeters out – tends to be strong and bright.

STRONG ENERGIES RUNNING THROUGH MY SYSTEM

Following the oneness shift, I experienced what seemed like enormous amounts of energy running through my system. This went on for many years, almost a decade. It felt like high voltage running through regular housing wires.

INSIGHTS AND INSPIRATIONS

During this time, there was also an enormous among of insights coming through. Most of what I write about here initially came to me in my mid-to-late teens. (Apart from specific names and approaches from different traditions, which I was not aware of at the time.) I would write down whatever came to me, often just minutes apart.

There was also an enormous amount of inspiration that came through in terms of visual art and music. Often, it would come through fully formed but my technical skill wasn’t always up to translating it into something in the world. (A self-portrait in charcoal I made when I was sixteen was admitted to Høstutstillingen, a prestigious annual exhibit in Norway.)

Here is some music I made when I was fifteen, during the observer-observed phase. For a week, I borrowed a sound module I connected to my Amiga computer and I composed one a day. I didn’t have any music training so I just did what came to me. (Here too, what I heard was far richer than what came out due to my limited technical knowledge.)

CYCLES OF UPS AND DOWNS

During this time, there were also strong cycles of ups and downs. I would “join in” with the euphoria that came from what was revealed to me, and then there would be similar downs. (I don’t quite remember the exact nature of those downs, just that it was unpleasant.)

The oneness I am became caught up in the euphoria from the initial awakening shift, and then swung into the opposite for a while to balance it out. This wore off after a while. It becomes tiresome to swing like this. And what it’s about is what it all happens within and as, not any particular content of experience. The swings invited me to find myself as what it all happens within and as even more clearly, and find a more neutral approach to whatever content of experience is here.

TEENS AND EARLY TWENTIES: INFLUENCES

I had many inspirations and passions during my teens and early twenties.

As mentioned earlier, when I was about ten, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos – both the TV series and the book – had a profound influence on me.

In middle school, Erik Damman’s Bak Tid og Rom had a similar profound influence on me. I was already fascinated by parapsychology, and this rooted it in science.

This led to a voracious reading of anything by Fritjof Carpa.

And later in my teens, books by Carl Jung. (I must have read most of what was published by him, and later started reading anything I could find from his close students.)

During my teens, I also read a large number of other books. This eclectic and somewhat random selection ranged from Shirley MacLaine to Edward Bach, Richard Bach, Viktor Frankl, Erich Fromm, and Lin Yutan, to Gregory Bateson.

When I was 17 or 18, I got into Taoist literature. I read my copy of I Ching until it started to fall apart, and read any of the Taoist classics I could get my hands on.

In my late teens, I discovered the books by Jes Bertelsen and was very grateful to find a fellow Scandinavian who was into the same as me and approached it with unusual clarity, thoroughness, and grounded discernment. He even combined the different areas I was most passionate about – Jung, Taoist practices, Christian prayer and meditation, and Buddhism.

I also devoured anything I could find about the history and philosophy of science, logic and valid arguments, and scientific methods. And I loved Arne Næss and his writings on philosophy, deep ecology, and simple living.

In general, in my teens, twenties, and thirties, I read a good amount of books, often two or three a week.

EARLY ADULTHOOD: HONEYMOON AND CONTINUED EXPLORATION

Moving to Oslo after high school, I started more formal practices to continue the exploration.

I practiced Tai Chi daily for a few years and also did some Chi Gong.

I started the Ngöndro practice at the local Tibetan Buddhist Center.

And on my own, I also practiced Christian prayer and meditation daily, often for an hour or more. This was mostly the Heart Prayer (Jesus Prayer), which became an ongoing practice through the day. And also the Christ meditation where I visualized Christ a couple of meters above, below, in front, behind, and on each side of me, and also in my heart.

I explored the practices Jes Bertelsen outlined in some of his books, which seemed similar to Taoist practices. And I explored several practices from Mantak Chia which all were powerful for me.

During this time, I studied art (for a time with Odd Nerdrum) and later psychology at the University of Oslo.

When I was 24, I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, to continue my psychology studies there. (I went there partly because they had professors focusing on a systems approach to psychology and also health and environmental psychology.)

Within a few months, I became a resident at Kanzeon Zen Center and followed the daily practice and the retreats there. I loved this practice and Utah and my time there in general.

My late teens and early twenties were filled with synchronicities of all kinds. (One of the early ones happened when I was in a tram in Oslo, reading Jung’s book on synchronicities where he described a series of fish synchronicities. Someone sat down in the seat opposite me and put down a plastic bag with the painting of a big fish on it.)

This was a kind of honeymoon for me. And it did transition, mainly because I went against my clear inner guidance as described next.

DARK NIGHTS

I have gone through different kinds of dark nights.

In my teens, I experienced a strong version of the usual teenage angst, and also a great deal of social anxiety. At a human level, I felt very alone for the first several years after the oneness shift. This is a kind of dark night, or at least something challenging.

The cycles of ups and downs for the first few years after the shift is another kind of challenge. In a way, this was a thread of a dark night during a period that was anything but a dark night.

In my late twenties, I got married (which seemed OK) and decided to abandon my own life to support my wife in her continued education. (We moved geographically.) By doing this, I went against a very clear inner guidance. My guidance told me to not move there. And we did. This was the beginning of a long period where I lost my passion, I felt I lost my direction in life, I felt profoundly off track, and so on. This was the beginning of a long dark night.

After a geographical move and renewed passion for these explorations, there were new shifts. (I’ll write about those in the next session.) And about six months after a deep no-self shift, the dark night returned and took a much stronger form. The Chronic Fatigue from my teens (which had never completely gone away) returned very strongly, and I ended up in a dark room for months unable to function. (It came after strong pneumonia a few months earlier, and was likely also triggered from living in a house with a mold problem.)

This dark night has gone through many different phases, and I am still somewhat in it. I have written about some elements of it in articles here as it happened.

For a few months, I experienced a huge amount of different archetypes moving through me. At one point, I saw evil characters from human mythologies – from all times and cultures – moving in a parade in front of me. As each one arrived, I found myself as that character, as if seeing through a mask with their face. Then, the next one came and I found myself as that character. This went on for a few hours.

I got a little better, moved back to Norway, and things seemed to get easier.

I remember asking the divine to “show me what’s left” (AKA dangerous prayer), and within a week, I was plunged into another phase of this dark night. A profound primal survival fear surfaced, along with old traumas. It felt absolutely overwhelming and unbearable, and it went on like this for about nine months before it lessened slightly in intensity. During this time, I was only able to sleep for perhaps one or two hours a night. And during the day, all I could do was walk for hours in the nearby forest (Hebekkskogen) while listening to Adyashanti.

During this time – and during this dark night in general – there were a large number of losses. Of health, dreams, friends, property, and more. My life got stripped bare. (I also ended up in a small log cabin on my parent’s property, which I realize is pretty classic.)

For a few years, I also had a strong discomfort in my heart. I heard someone else describing her experience, during a dark night, as a shard of glass in the heart. That’s how it felt for me. This went away when I did the Core Veil class in Vortex Healing, and I suspect that the “shard of glass” experience may have been a fragment of the core veil that was still there and then went during the class. The class was a big relief for me.

Over these years, and less now than when it started, I also felt very disorganized and fragmented. It was as if something in me was shattered. And I acted and made choices from this confused state, often in amazement seeing myself behaving out of character.

For a few years in the beginning of the darkest part of this dark night, I would have a sense of losing all anchor points when I turned the light off in the evening. It was as if there was nothing to hold onto.

A lot more happened during this period. It started when I went against my guidance on a major life decision. It was punctuated by six months of very clear no-self, and then plunged into much stronger darkness with illness, losses in all areas of life, a deep primal fear and trauma surfacing, and so on. And it has tapered off gradually over the last few years. The darkest phase started about eleven years ago.

THE THIRTIES: RENEWED EXPLORATIONS AND NEW SHIFTS

In my thirties, we moved again, this time to an area that felt right to me. (Oregon.) And here, I refound my passion for these explorations. I started meditating regularly again. I got into The Work of Byron Katie. I discovered the Headless experiments from Douglas Harding. I started offering informal Big Mind sessions for friends and whoever was interested. I got deeply into Breema and gave Breema bodywork sessions almost daily for many years. (And also started instructing with an amazing group of other instructors.)

After getting into more serious meditation practice again, several things started shifting.

My focus had always been very stable. (I could easily follow my breath for several hundreds of breaths.) And now, my focus became far more laser-like.

I remember sitting in meditation, and any sense of continuity fell away. The part of my mind creating a sense of continuity was set aside or disabled. There were still sounds, sensations, and so on, but no sense of continuity. It was just what was here now and nothing else. This showed me, in a visceral way, that my mind creates a sense of continuity.

This is just one of many similar experiences that highlighted different aspects of my nature and the function of my mind to me.

I also noticed that my ability to see energies got much stronger, to the point that I could see the energy of people, plants, and things in the pitch dark. I started tasting amazing tastes independent of having eaten or drinking anything. I had periods of a strong taste of the dark feminine divine within and as everything. And much more.

At some point, I did one of the Headless experiments. (Make a circular hole in a sheet of paper, look through it and notice it’s full of the world and also empty and both at the same time, bring the hole up to your face, and notice you are full of the world and empty.) This shifted something dramatically in me and led to six months in a very clear and strong no-self state.

And this, in turn, shifted into a much darker period of the dark night, as outlined above.

CURRENTLY

I am not sure what to say about what’s happening currently.

I am relatively focused on my life in the world these days. I got married last year to an amazing woman with whom there is deep resonance and similar life paths. We bought fifteen beautiful hectares in the Andes mountain and are building a house there designed with the sun and climate in mind, and using traditional methods (rammed earth) and local materials. We wish to help bring the land back to a more vibrant state. (It’s already pretty good, but has been grazed in some areas.) And so on.

In terms of my explorations, the current ones are reflected in what I write about here. It’s a big relief for me that noticing my nature feels ordinary and effortless. I have lived with it for long enough so it’s not new or amazing in that sense. It feels more like old comfortable shoes.

And there is of course always further to go, especially in terms of inviting more parts of me to join in with this noticing.

ABOUT THIS WRITING

This website is mostly about healing and awakening so that’s the context and filter for what I have included and left out.

What I write is inevitably colored by my own history, culture, and experiences. And what I write about my past is inevitably colored by how I see things these days, and also what I happen to remember and forget.

Still, writing this down is somewhat helpful for me since it reminds me of what’s left to explore. (Some unhealed traumas, especially from early in life.). And since my process is a human process, someone else may find something that resonates with their own experiences.

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Our ecological bottleneck and personal decisions

Since my teens, I have been passionate about sustainability, deep ecology, simple living, and so on. (And worked in that area for several years.)

For decades, we have known that we are creating an ecological bottleneck for ourselves and what we have seen so far is only the beginning. We are entering an era of continuous ecological crises with extreme weather, continued extinction of species, unraveling ecosystems, famine, mass migration, and so on. And a lot of people will die, perhaps most of humanity. (And, as usual, those already worst off will be hit the hardest.)

So what do we do at a personal level?

In my case, there is a lot of grieving, also from seeing the loss of ecological vibrancy and diversity in the areas I know the best, including at the cabin in Norway which is in the middle of a large forested area. (Which soon hopefully will become a national park.)

I have chosen a relatively simple life, relying on less than most people do. (Although I do travel, and I love delicious simple food.)

I have learned to grow my own food, build with local materials and traditions, and so on.

And I am planning for the future. My partner and I have land in the Andes mountains where we can cover most of life’s essentials locally. We are building using local materials and building techniques. We have water and will provide for more natural water storage. We’ll grow food. We are creating good connections with the neighbors and the local community, which is our greatest and most essential resource. We live in a place where heating and cooling is not necessary. (Especially with good building design.)

We are very fortunate in that we have resources to choose where to live, buy land, build a house, and do all of this. Most people in the world are unable to do that, either because they don’t have the resources or because they are tied to where they already are for family or work reasons.

In addition to this (and perhaps it’s a bit excessive), we are going to a place in Europe next week to check it out. It’s a place that’s geographically isolated. They have plenty of water. The soil is very fertile. It’s relatively protected from sea level rise. (Which will be several meters or tens of meters this century.) And here too, there is no need for heating or cooling. It may be another place to live as the current ecological and humanitarian crisis worsens.

Personally, I cannot do much about the bigger picture. But I can make good decisions for myself and my family. And I can create mutually beneficial ties with those in the local community. And that’s perhaps enough.

There is also another thing I am doing, and that’s what I typically write about here. The less I am caught up in issues and traumas, I am better able to deal with change, and I am hopefully able to make slightly better decisions.

A FEW WORDS ABOUT OUR HUMAN-MADE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS

Why are we in this situation?

And why does it seem unlikely that we can prevent massive ecological and social problems?

Many like to talk about greed, blame others, and so on.

To me, it looks different and much simpler.

We live in a system where much of what’s destructive for our planet is easy and inexpensive to do, at individual and collective levels. So just by living our daily lives we contribute to the destruction of our ecosystems. (And our future.)

Why did these systems come in place? Not because of any malevolent intention, but because they made sense at the time they were created. They come about centuries ago when nature, for all practical purposes, was unlimited. It was an unlimited source of resources, and it had an unlimited capacity to absorb waste.

What’s the solution?

The solution is to create systems – economic systems and systems of transportation, production, energy, and so on – where what’s easy and attractive to do is also beneficial for our ecosystems. It’s very possible to do this. Many people have developed and explored ways to do it.

What we need is the collective will.

Are we going to find this collective will? Certainly not soon enough to avoid a lot of problems, because that “soon enough” was several decades ago.

Will we find it at all? I am not sure.

As long as we misdiagnose the problem (through blaming greed, others, etc.), we won’t find the real solutions. And as long as we assume that piecemeal solutions (recycling, electric cars) are enough, we won’t find the collective will.

My guess is that most of humanity will have to die off before the ones left collectively seriously address the real causes and start implementing real solutions, and even then we may not since our reduced numbers again allow us to use human systems that don’t take ecological systems into account.

It’s all very simple. Our human systems exists within, depend on, and are part of the larger ecological systems. That means that our human systems – at all levels – need to take ecological realities into account.

If they don’t – and if we have a large population and powerful technology– we will inevitably damage and destroy large parts of the ecological systems we are part of and depend on.

Why don’t more people do more about it?

I suspect many feel they can’t do much on their own so they choose to focus on their own day-to-day lives instead. They may trust that if their leaders don’t take it seriously, it’s because it’s not necessary (yet). Politicians are typically elected for just a few years at a time, so they focus on that timeframe rather than a timeframe that goes over decades or centuries.

I also suspect that more are concerned about this than is sometimes apparent. To others, it may appear that I too am just living a day-to-day life without too much concern about this. (Which is partially true.) What they may not know is the grief I am experiencing over what’s happening with the ecosystems and what will happen with humanity. And they may also not know that when we bought land in the Andes and are building a house there, and are also considering buying something in a location in Europe, it’s with this in mind.

Why do I call it ecological bottleneck?

Because we are in a metaphorical bottleneck right now, and it will continue to tighten in the next decades and perhaps centuries. It’s a bottleneck created by our current economic and other systems which do not take ecological realities into account. Many species won’t survive. (Many are already lost.) Many ecosystems will be severely degraded and damaged, and some will be gone. And as mentioned above, I suspect much of humanity won’t make it through either.

Post-doom

In a sense, the doom is certain. We are already in it and it will get worse. The question is how we will deal with it. I suspect many countries will close down their borders, perhaps even within the EU. A lot of collective and individual resources will be used to deal with an ongoing series of ecological crises. And as usual in a time of crisis, many will focus mostly on their own survival while some will look at the bigger picture and try to find solutions that work for everyone, and there will likely be an increased polarization between the two.

Waking up issues, parts, and subpersonalities

I enjoy using the befriend & awaken process these days, as I have written about in other articles. (It’s a process that draws on elements from a range of approaches, others have come up with similar processes, this one is one I have developed for myself since it seems to work the best for me, and I don’t think anyone else calls it “befriend & awaken”.)

One of the last steps in that process is to awaken issues or parts and subpersonalities.

What does it mean to awaken issues? Or awaken parts and subpersonalities?

THE PROCESS

When I do this part of the process, I go through a few steps.

I connect with the issue or subpersonality through the previous steps, feel the sensation aspect of it, connect with the painful story behind it, and so on.

I notice my own nature and that I am capacity for the world as it appears to me, and that the world as it appears to me happens within and as what I am. (I find myself as what a thought may call consciousness, and that the world to me happens within and as consciousness.)

I notice that the nature of the issue or part is the same as mine. It happens within and as what I am, so it – by necessity – has the same nature as me.

I rest in that noticing.

I invite the issue or part to recognize its own nature and rest in that noticing.

I invite whatever shifts to shift, to reorganize within this conscious noticing of what’s already here.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

How does this work? What is it that happens?

As mentioned, this is all already happening within and as what I am. Any issue, part, and subpersonality – and any content of experience – already happens within and as what I am. It already has the same nature as I do.

When they were formed, they were typically formed within separation consciousness. They were formed when the whole of me, or most of what I am, operated from separation consciousness. And they still function and operate within separation consciousness. That’s why they are issues. That’s why they seek some form of resolution.

By consciously noticing their nature, and resting in and as that noticing, I – as a whole – recognize their nature. This shifts how I relate to them. I recognize them as myself. I recognize them as having the same nature as I do. This is part of the befriending. This helps me shift out of reactivity and reacting to them from habitual patterns, which also come from separation consciousness.

I then invite these parts of me to notice their own nature and rest in that noticing. This shifts how this part of consciousness relates to itself. It wakes up to its own nature. It wakes up to itself having taken the form of the issue or the part and subpersonality. And that sets something in motion. The part tends to reorganize and align with a more conscious noticing of itself as oneness. (AKA healing.)

On the one hand, it all happens here and now, and any ideas of past, future and present happen here and now. And on the other hand, this is a process. The more time I spend resting in this noticing, and resting in inviting these parts of me to notice their nature, the more there is a realignment.

Exactly what happens is always a bit of a surprise. It lives its own life. I – as the whole – just notice it shift, unravel, and realign.

And, as so often, the way this is presented makes it sound like a clean and orderly process. It’s often not. It’s often messy. These parts of us are tied up in knots, and the unknotting process isn’t always so tidy or clean.

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The field

How do I experience myself?

Mainly, as a field. The field my experiences – right now of this room, this body, the computer, the sounds of the keys, and so on – happen within and as.

Sometimes, the focus goes more into the human self. I am the field, and there is a kind of focus on the human self. It stands out a little more.

And I am also very aware that many parts of my psychology still operate from separation consciousness. They too happen within and as the field, and they seem to assume they are separate.

All of that is part of the richness of what’s here.

SEEING VS VISCERAL EXPERIENCE

This is also where the difference between seeing and a visceral experience comes in.

For me, it’s inevitable to find myself as this field in terms of seeing. That is the visceral experience most of the time. And sometimes, when parts of me operating from separation consciousness are triggered, the visceral experience shifts into a sense of being separate.

That too is part of the richness that is here. The field takes that form too, sometimes.

COLORING

And when I look more closely, I find that these parts of my psychology experiencing and operating from separation consciousness color everything even when they are not triggered. It may appear to not be very obvious, but it’s here.

Until all parts are liberated, the whole is not fully liberated.

And that’s OK and more than OK. It’s all how the field and the whole expresses, explores, and experiences itself. It’s part of the richness.

THE FIELD

What is this field?

It’s what I most fundamentally am. It’s what takes the form of all content of experience – the whole world as it appears to me. It’s more familiar to me than any particular content of experience. In reality, it’s all I have ever known since it’s what takes the form of all content of experience.

Thoughts can label it consciousness, or oneness, or love, or Big Mind / Big Heart, or – if we want to be more fanciful – Spirit, the divine, Brahman, and so on. And as with anything else, labels can only point to it.

How can we find it for ourselves?

In one sense, we are this human self in the world. It’s how most others see us, it’s what our passport tells us, it’s what our own thoughts may tell us since we have learned it from others. It’s not wrong and it’s an assumption that works reasonably well. Although it does have some inevitable drawbacks since it’s partially out of alignment with reality. (It tends to create an underlying sense of something being off, and – to the extent our system pretends it’s true – it tends to create discomfort.)

And yet, is that what we more fundamentally are in our own first-person experience? And how can we explore this for ourselves?

We can explore it through basic meditation. Notice and allow what’s here in this field of experience, and notice it’s already noticed and allowed. Through this, we may get a visceral sense of how any and all content of experience comes and goes. And yet, something doesn’t come and go. What is that? Is that what I more fundamentally am? How is it to find myself as that?

We can explore it by investigating our sense fields, and especially how our mental field combines with the other fields to make sense of the world and help us function in the world. (And how it also can create a sense of fundamentally being something within our field of experience, this human self, even if that’s not the full picture.)

We can perhaps most easily and directly explore it through guided noticing. The most effective approaches I have found are Headless experiments (from Douglas Harding) and the Big Mind process (Genpo Roshi).

Update

I have written less lately so thought I would give a brief update.

My time in Norway is coming to an end for this time. It was an unusual summer, with both my parents and myself ending up at the same hospital for different reasons. (Heart, covid, septic shock.) They are also planning to sell their house, which is the one I grew up in, so there is a lot to go through and many decisions to make. These days, my wife and I are having a house built – in the traditional technique and with local materials – on the land we are stewards of in the Andes mountains and we will go there in not too long.

For all of these reasons, I haven’t written much here. That may change in not too long. We’ll see.

For now, I thought I would add a list of notes for possible articles with the most recent ones first. I may still make some of them into articles. The list is below.

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The place where the shift happened

My parents are selling the house where I grew up, so it’s been coming to me to make a little video of the place where the oneness shift happened. The shift where oneness recognized itself as all there is, without exception.

As I have written about in a couple of other articles, this happened when I was sixteen years old, after a year of an observer-observed duality that was confusing and disturbing to my human self. I was an atheist at the time with no interest in religion or spirituality, and I assume the shift happened partly as a kind of “safety valve” for teenage angst, awkwardness, and social anxiety.

I walked along a gravel path to the house where I lived with my parents. A big wind went through the landscape. The stars lit up the dark sky above me. And from one moment to the next, I went from being a nerdy teenager to finding myself as the oneness it all happened within and as.

The scenery has changed quite a bit since then. Back then, birch trees lined the road. The road itself was a beautiful gravel road with puddles after rain. The sides of the road were wider and had lots of wildflowers. The modern-looking building was just a regular house. The garbage bins were not there. And I am sure the night sky was a lot darker than it is now. (The roof of my parent’s house can be glimpsed at the end of the short road to the left.)

Also, the shift happened late in the evening between Christmas and New Year, and this video is taken a morning in July!

Why did I make this video and post it here? It’s obviously not anything important, and the answer is that I just felt like it. For a long time, I mostly left out anything person in these writings so it may be time to include a few more personal stories.

Zig Ziglar: The chief cause of unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now

The chief cause of unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now.

– Zig Ziglar

Combined with a dream I just had, this quote – which I just saw on social media – helps me see that I have a pattern of doing just that. I have often traded “good enough” or things that are easy and attractive enough for what I really want.

In my twenties, I abandoned a life I deeply loved and that felt deeply right in order to support my new wife in her career and ambitions. Looking back, I see ways I could have done both but I didn’t.

In that process, I abandoned a prestigious PhD (equivalent) program in clinical psychology which deeply felt like the right track for me. Again, I could have taken a short break and picked it up again, but didn’t and waited too long.

These days, I often feel I miss a spiritual community of like-minded people. I have tried out different groups with at most moderate success. At the same time, I know there are groups I resonate deeply with, for instance, Jes Bertelsen’s Vækstcenter in Denmark and the international Headless community, but I have not followed up on either of those. I can easily join online meetings in the Headless community and haven’t so far. (I plan to in the near future.) I can also attend courses at Vækstcenteret relatively easily.

I love Breema and it feels deeply nourishing and whole-making for me, and I haven’t done it much for the last several years, mainly for lack of a local community of practitioners. (I used to live in Eugene, Oregon, with a very active community and was much more involved there.) There is no reason I can’t join the online offerings, plan on going to the Breema Center again, and also offer classes where I am.

I sometimes meet people I feel a resonance with and want to get to know better, but don’t nurture these connections for whatever reason. Sometimes, I think they won’t be interested in hanging out with me and that I am not “good enough”.

It’s not that my life feels deeply off track (as it has at times in the past due to my own decisions based on fear). It’s more that some adjustments are needed, as my dream this morning showed me as well.

So what’s most important to me? And how can I bring more of it into my life?

The most important: Finding my nature and living from this. Truth. Love. Authenticity. Sincerity.

Other important things: Nature and be in nature. Community of like-minded people. Taking care of relationships that feel right and good to me. Meaningful activities – art, community work, sustainability. In short, nurture nurturing relationships and activities.

Also, very important: Being a good steward of my life. Making good decisions for me now and for my future self (as best I can from what I know now).

And some that come to mind appear superficial but there is more to it than meets the eye: Wearing clothes I really like. (I sometimes “save” these and wear OK clothes instead.) Eating the best quality food. When I bring things into my life, choosing high-quality things I really like. (Relatively good with that one.)

What it comes down to is clarifying my priorities with honesty and sincerity. (And setting aside for a while what my personality considers practical or possible.) And living from sincerity and authenticity.

Note: Several things this morning came together to nudge me to take a closer look at this. A friend from the Zen center in the US moved to an affiliated Zen center in The Netherlands a year ago, is very happy with the decision, and encouraged others to follow their dreams. A quote by Sting said something about being willing to risk. And the dream was maybe the main nudge. (In the dream, a Danish woman in Portland, Oregon – which is one of my favorite places – invited us to live in her beautiful house. And I met another woman I felt a deep resonance with who wanted to join our marriage and it felt deeply right for all of us.)

A few notes on writing

I am under no illusion of being a very good writer, but I have discovered a few things based on my own experience.

The best approach to writing for me seems to be:

  1. Write down the topic with a few ideas that come right away.
  2. Set it aside and let it digest. During this time, I typically investigate the topic in my direct experience and write down a few words about what I notice. Apart from that, I don’t think about it very much if at all.
  3. When the topic feels sufficiently digested, I write an outline and sometimes add to it as new insights and ideas comes to me.
  4. And when it feels sufficiently digested for an article, write the article. If I allow time for digesting in this way, the writing typically happens quickly and easily.

The time for digestion varies but usually goes over a few days. And sometimes, I combine step one and two and change the outline later after some digestion and exploring,

When I find myself satisfied about what I have written, it’s usually when I wrote the final text fast and easily after allowing enough time for digestion and expiration.

If I struggle with a text and have to revisit and rewrite, it usually means I didn’t allow enough time for digestion, direct investigation, and outlining. No matter how much I rewrite, it typically feels disjointed and as if written by committee.

It often helps to set it aside completely and go back to the beginning. I may do a new outline. I explore it in my direct experience. And I write the article from scratch. Then, it often comes out fast and easily and feels much better.

And sometimes, I write fast and easily without this process, and I am initially happy with it. As the topic has more time to digest in me, I typically realize I left out something important or I wish I had organized the text differently. And I may rewrite it.

The digestion process leads to a better product. And equally or more important, it allows me to explore the topic more thoroughly and discover something new and surprising to me, which feels far more satisfying. Surprising myself, even in a small way, makes it worth it.

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My recent health crisis

I am just back after a few days at the hospital in Oslo.

I broke a tooth. The infection in the root spread to the face. I felt surprisingly unwell and, without knowing it, had the beginnings of sepsis. And following a dentist appointment, my system went into septic shock. There is about an hour I can’t remember, and I woke up sweating profusely, shaking uncontrollably, and without being able to think much at all. Fortunately, I relatively quickly got sent to the hospital in an ambulance and received critical care, was then under observation for a day, and then spent a couple of days in the infection section of the hospital.

It was a dramatic and scary experience, I am profoundly grateful for modern medicine and for being able to receive such good care so quickly. Without it, I may not have been be here today.

SHIFTING INTO BIG MIND

I also noticed what seems to be a natural tendency in my system. In a crisis, the “center of gravity” shifts into Big Mind. I far more strongly and clearly and unmissably find myself as Big Mind, as what this human self and the wider world happens within and as.

I can see it as a kind of safety valve. Or my system may not have the energy or ability to operate closer to the human side of the equation so this is what’s left. Or it just makes sense. In these types of crises, it’s helpful to function a bit more from and as Big Mind.

In daily life, I always find myself as Big Mind. It’s always there. It’s easy to notice. And yet, the “center of gravity” tends to shift around a bit on that spectrum from the human self to Big Mind. Sometimes, its more over to the human side, sometimes more over on the Big Mind side. It depends on the situation and where attention is and what’s required, and also if anything is triggered in me and how much I get caught up in it.

THE EFFECTS OF BIG MIND

How did I notice the effects of having Big Mind more strongly in the foreground?

The most obvious is that in my immediate experience, what I am is this crystal clarity anything happens within and as. Any ideas of boundaries or time or space or divisions between this human self and the wider world and so on happen within and as this crystal clarity.

I found myself surprisingly OK with the whole situation. At one level, my human self did its best to get the care needed and to tell the nurses and doctors the symptoms and what had happened. At another level, there was just a noticing of it all and a slight curiosity about how it would all unfold. Would he survive? How would it be to die? What’s on the other side of death, if anything? How is that big adventure?

I also noticed that things that normally would annoy this human self, like a nurse talking unnecessarily loudly in the middle of the night or someone making a lot of slime-related sounds, were fine.

And I noticed and experienced the whole situation as love. The words and actions of the nurses and doctors were love. The iv was love. The cardiovascular monitor was love. The ten tubes and cables attached to my body is an expression of love. All the work innumerable people have engaged in for all of this to exist was love. I know that, for them, it may “just” be a job. And, for me, it was love. It’s an expression of care. It’s what helped me survive and get back to health.

CHALLENGES

That said, there are also some challenges at the human level.

For instance, the first night at home was riddled with restless dreams bordering of nightmares, involving imagery from the hospital stay – including wanting to not move too much because of all the tubes and wires connected to my body. I was also generally disoriented.

At the hospital, I spent the last two days in the infection ward. Since they didn’t have enough rooms, they put me in the corridor. The first afternoon and evening, my bed was next to the room of a woman dying. The nurses said it was best to stop treatment so she could die sooner since there was nothing they could do for her.

My bed was moved down the corridor for the night, in between two isolation rooms. The people in both rooms were screaming in agony – or confusion? – through the night. Groups of nurses went in and out of the rooms most of the night, dressing in and out of their protective astronaut outfits.

In spite of having been close to death just a day or two earlier, I was one of the healthier people there. It really felt like one of the first circles of hell – hearing and imagining the agony of some of the patients and seeing the nurses literally running around to try to keep up with everything while somehow and miraculously still being attentive, with a smile, and often a good-hearted joke.

My body and mind function as if I was ninety years old and in bad shape even for that age, although I know it will change. And I imagine I will enjoy the small pleasures of life even a bit more. I already do.

I get even a bit more viscerally that life is change. Nothing that’s here will last. Enjoy it while you can.

Note: After I came back to the house, I have been in bed most of the time. Just now, I went outside in the beautiful summer afternoon and had dinner in the garden. It literally felt like being reborn into this life.

Note 2: I suspect I may have had this infection for a while, and wasn’t able to have it taken care of it because of a confluence of reasons including the pandemic. It may explain why my body has seemed to struggle and has felt especially weighed down for a while now.

Note 3: I have had a couple of infection-related dreams. A day or so after returning from the hospital, I dreamt that some ruthless burglars wanted to break into my car and there was nothing I could do. Last night, July 5, I dreamt a fake male nurse wanted to put poison into my iv to kill me. The first is a typical infection dream, and it’s a good sign it was my car and not my house. (It seems to suggest that my mobility will be impaired, which it was.) The second seems to mirror the poisoning of my blood that did happen, and perhaps that I am not out of the woods yet. I am still on antibiotics and will take another step to remove the source of the infection. (And, of course, I can explore these dreams in a more psychological-mirror way as well.)

Note 4: I noticed my misophonia went away during this experience. Sounds that usually would trigger stress in me were just sounds. Maybe because of the stronger shift into Big Mind?

Note 5: It’s now a week after I returned from the hospital, and I still feel like I have been hit by a truck – with fatigue and brain fog as the strongest symptoms. (On top of what I already have from the CFS.) This means I am not writing so much here, and that may change in time.

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The experience of my human self when I notice my nature 

I had lunch with family today (father’s day) and experimented a bit with shifting identification and where my center of gravity is in terms of identification.

THE FREEDOM OF FINDING THIS HUMAN SELF WITHIN WHAT I AM

Normally, I notice that the whole landscape – of this human self, others, and the wider world – happens within and as what I am. The field of sight, sound, smell, taste, sensations, and thoughts happen within and as what I am. It’s all happening within and as consciousness. It’s happening as a dream in that it’s created by consciousness and its nature, to me, is consciousness. To me, my world and all I am is consciousness.

This is freeing. It allows a noticing of this human self as he listens, speaks, feels, thinks, does, and so on. It allows a noticing of this human self as he lives his own life.

THE CLAUSTROPHOBIA OF BEING INSIDE THIS HUMAN SELF

I then tried to consciously shift identification more exclusively to this human self. How is it to imagine me as only this human self? Inside this skull? Looking out of these two openings in the skull onto others and the world.

For me, that immediately feels claustrophobic. I feel locked in. Looking out. The world feels more threatening. My social anxiety goes up several levels. I more easily become self-conscious in an uncomfortable way.

Note: I have written similar articles on distancemovementtime, the physical, and doership.

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My intuition lights things up

Over time, I notice how my intuition – or inner guidance – communicates in different ways.

In my teens and twenties, it was mostly with words. It would say a word or simple sentence, and the voice was unmistakable. (Clear, direct, without emotion.)

These days, it seems to often work by visually highlighting things. I see a menu, and an item stands out as if highlighted. Today, we went to look at cars, and one was – in a sense – lit up as soon as I came into the room, and that turned out to be the one we all liked the most.

It can also work through a more visceral feeling. When we looked at land some months ago, I didn’t notice much when we visited different places until we came to the land we ended up buying. As soon as we entered the land, I experienced a profound sense of connection and even love for that land. It felt deeply right. It felt like the land had chosen us, more than the other way around. And in spite of obstacles that seemed unsurpassable (the land was “landlocked” with no access to a road), we did end up becoming stewards of just that land.

It seems that if the choice has to do with something visual, the “lighting up” happens. If it’s not visual, it’s often still with words. (For instance, just now, my inner guidance said “take off your hat”, which was probably good advice since I started feeling hot without noticing it too much.) And sometimes, it’s more visceral as with the land.

Is this inner guidance reliable? Yes, it seems so. It hasn’t been off so far. The only thing that’s been off is my ability to follow it. In most cases, I can follow it with no problem. But, for instance, when it came to one major life decision many years ago, I was too caught up in fears and frozenness to be able to follow it, and it was not a good experience. It led me to feel profoundly off track in life until I got it corrected later on. And even after correcting it, it has taken time to start feeling more on track again. (This had to do with marriage and geography.)

How do I recognize it? For whatever reason, my guidance seems to speak clearly so I haven’t had much trouble recognizing it so far. In general, I practice listening to and following it in small situations in daily life, for instance when it comes to when and what to drink or eat, or other smaller – and sometimes larger – choices in daily life. The more I listen to and follow it, the clearer it seems to speak and the easier it is to follow it. I build trust by listening to it and following it.

Is it all peaches when I follow my guidance? Often, following my guidance does lead to an experience of flow. But if following my guidance means that fears and painful beliefs are triggered in me, that can of course be challenging. And when it comes to bigger projects, there are obviously moments and situations that are challenging even if I follow my guidance. For instance, with the land, we have had minor crises and challenging situations. (So far, these have been resolved without too much trouble.)

Why I am drawn to a psychological interpretation of awakening

There are benefits to both a big (spiritual) and small (psychological) interpretation of awakening.

Here, I’ll revisit some of the upsides and downsides of both, and say a few words about why I am more drawn to the small interpretation these days.

WHAT IS AWAKENING?

In a conventional sense and to others, I am this human self in the world. This is also what I may imagine myself to be if I take on what others tell me I am. This is not wrong, but it’s not what I more fundamentally am in my own first-person experience.

When I look in my own first-person experience, I may find something else. I find that my nature is capacity for the world as it appears to me. It’s what allows any and all experience. And I find I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.

Both are valid in their own way. One is who I am in the world. The other is what I am in my own first-person experience.

THE BIG AND SMALL INTERPRETATIONS OF AWAKENING

We can leave it there and that’s the small or psychological interpretation of awakening.

Logically, I find that to myself, I have to be consciousness. And the world, to me, happens within and as this consciousness. To me, the world happens within and as what I am.

And that’s also what I find when I look in my own experience. I find I am capacity for the world as it appears to me, and what the world – to me – happens within and as.

We can also take this one step further, and that’s the big or spiritual interpretation of awakening.

We can say that the nature of existence and reality is the same as my nature. All of existence is consciousness AKA Spirit, God, Brahman, and so on.

Since the world, to me happens within and as what I am, it will inevitably appear to me as if the nature of existence is the same as my nature. It will appear as if the world IS consciousness. And we can take a leap and say that this appearance is how it is: The nature of all of existence and reality is the same as my nature and what we can call Spirit or God.

A FEW UPSIDES AND DOWNSIDES TO EACH

Each of these two interpretations has upsides and downsides.

What are some of the upsides of the big or spiritual interpretation of awakening? It may be more inspiring. It’s often expressed in a more poetic way. In terms of language, it’s what we are more familiar with from the different spiritual traditions. Ultimately, it may also be closer to reality.

What are some of the downsides to the big or spiritual interpretation? Mainly, it tends to encourage misconceptions about awakening. It can make it sound special, distant, for just a few, and so on.

The small or psychological interpretation of awakening also has upsides and downsides. It generally takes a more grounded and sober approach to awakening and makes it closer and more ordinary. It may also make it sound a bit more dry and boring. (Which I, personally, see as a benefit. It counteracts some of the common misconceptions about awakening.)

WHY I PREFER THE SMALL INTERPRETATION THESE DAYS

For a few years following the initial awakening shift in my teens, I definitely used the big or spiritual interpretation of awakening.

After all, to me, all of existence clearly was consciousness and what I called Spirit and God.

And now, I am more drawn to exploring the small interpretation of awakening.

Why has this shifted for me?

It may be a natural shift from one end of this polarity to the other so I’ll get more familiar with both.

Another reason is that the big or spiritual interpretation is more mainstream. Spiritual traditions and mystics have typically used the big interpretation of awakenings, and the small one is a slightly less explored ground, both historically and for myself. And that makes it more interesting to me.

I also see many benefits to it, as I suggested above.

The big interpretation of awakening tends to come with misconceptions. We may think it’s special, distant from us, for just a few. We may assume it comes with special powers. We may assume it’s a state or that it will solve all our problems. We may get seduced and mislead by the many fanciful stories about awakening, or the wishful thinking we often see among those drawn to it. (The connection between the big interpretation and misconceptions is not inevitable.)

The small interpretation tends to be more grounded and sober. It shows us it’s about what we are which is already here and now. It shows us that it’s not about a state. It’s not about anything within content of experience. It won’t give us any special powers.

The small interpretation is more compatible with a range of worldviews. Here, awakening is about finding what we already are in our own first-person experience. It’s about finding and exploring how to live from noticing our nature. It doesn’t say anything about the nature of the rest of existence and reality.

The small interpretation makes awakening more available to more people, for some of the reasons mentioned above. It’s more logical. It doesn’t say anything about the nature of reality or existence as a whole. It’s more honest. It points to something we all can explore and find where and now, with some pointers and perhaps with the guidance of someone familiar with this terrain.

Since it talks about our own first-person experience, it can provide common ground – and a kind of smallest common denominator – for people exploring awakening from a range of different spiritual traditions and religions.

The small interpretation appears more logical. If we think about it logically, we see that to ourselves we have to be consciousness, and to us, the world has to appear within and as this consciousness. We can take this through a few steps: (1) There is conscusness here. (2) No matter who or what we are in a more objective sense, to ourselves we have to be this consciousness. (3) Any content of experience, including this human self and the wider world, has to happen within and as this consciousness. (4) To us, the world happens within and as what we are. (5) We are oneness and to us, the world happens withi and as this oneness. Again, this doesn’t say anything about the nature of the rest of existence. This is just about how it is to ourselves when we look more closely.

The small interpretation is more honest for me. It’s what I can say something about without leaps of faith. It’s more honest for me to differentiate between the small and big interpretation of awakening, and look at the upsides and limitations of both.

That said, I love that both the big and small interpretations exist and that there are variations of both. They both have their value and usefulness.

Note: Because of my health and brain fog, I have been out of the loop for more than a decade when it comes to what others say about these things. So I am not sure who else talks about this, although I assume there must be several. If you are reading this and know about others, please leave a comment 🙂

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Condors and childhood fascinations

As a child, I was fascinated by nature and nature documentaries and dreamt of working with wild animals when I grew up.

My life took a different course, and instead I had some years as an artist, studied psychology for several years, and later worked with sustainability and then as a therapist.

Now, this childhood dream is again surfacing. Becoming a steward of the land in the Andes comes with the wish to help the land regenerate and rewild and become a refuge for a wide range of beings.

And with this comes another dream: bringing the condors back to this beautiful canyon in the Andes mountains.

Others have done it in other places. They have experience they can share with me. And the land seems good for this project. So why not?

It’s more than a dream. It feels like a calling. It’s something that came and stayed rather than being consciously created.

If it is at all possible, I imagine it will require a lot of time and engagement: Learning about the process. Setting up a local non-profit organization. Finding local allies and people who can join the project. Working with the local government and organizations. Educating the locals and, when possible, getting them onboard to whatever extent they are interested. Finding local bird specialists who can consult. Getting required permits (?). Getting and releasing the condors. Follow-up. And perhaps repeating with a new batch. It may be a decades-long project for all I know.

I don’t know if this will happen. It may not be possible. It may be that the canyon doesn’t provide the right habitat, due to human activity. (Just one poisoned carcass could kill them all.) And the ones who care for the few condors available may have better habitats in mind. If this project is possible, a lot of things still will have to fall in place. And if it does fall into place, it will likely involve far more than I imagine.

Why do I write about this?

Because our childhood fascinations are important. They never go away. When we follow them, it can take any number of outward forms. And you never know when an opportunity comes up to engage in these fascinations and bring them to life in new projects.

For me, engaging in my childhood fascination in this way feels deeply meaningful and aligned with the depth of who I am.

In general, following my fascinations seem important. It’s what brought me on this journey of exploring who and what I am. It’s what brought me into art and then psychology. It’s what gave me the opportunity to work on sustainability with a group of amazing people. It’s what brought me to the zen center many years ago, and the community there. Following my fascinations brings aliveness, meaning, and a sense of deep alignment.

In this case, this dream connects me with my childhood fascination. It may be that this particular project doesn’t come to fruition, but the reconnection in me may lead to something else.

Note: During a kind of shamanic journey some years ago, in a Vortex Healing class, I saw myself in the Andes mountains with condors. They seemed to be my guides. It was an experience that resonated deeply with me. This was a while before I met my now-wife and had any plans of going to Latin America, let alone buying land in the Andes mountains.

Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) – a brief overview

I thought I would write a bit about Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) again.

A little over a decade ago, a friend introduced me to it and I was instantly hooked, started including it in my daily life, and did the training.

WHAT IS TRE ABOUT?

All mammals naturally shake after stress. It’s a built-in mechanism to help us prevent longer-lasting trauma, and we see it antelopes after being chased by a lion, a cat after waking up from anesthesia, and in many more situations.

We also have this mechanism built into our system, but most of us don’t make use of it. Likely because our culture tells us that shaking and trembling is a sign of weakness or of losing control, or people don’t understand it and scare themselves with their stories about it. Early in our lives, most of us learn that spontaneous shaking & trembling is no good. We learn to hold it back and suppress it.

This spontaneous shaking and tremoring is also called neurogenic tremoring. (Initiated by the nervous system.)

WHAT IS TRE?

TRE is a set of simple exercises that helps us get in contact with this natural trembling mechanism. The first helps warm up the feet, ankles, and legs. The second and third fatigues the calves and thighs. The fourth stretch the legs. And the fifth and sixth invite in the trembling. There is an official TRE app that takes you through these exercises.

That said, it’s best to learn it with a certified facilitator, especially if you have a history of trauma. It can be done in person or over video conferencing if you don’t have a facilitator nearby.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The simple answer is that the trembling initiated by our system helps release tension from our tissues. It’s a kind of natural internal massage. And since our system is a whole that we only in thought can divide into psyche and body, this helps release both physical and psychological tension.

This does not only take the form of trembling and shaking. Our system releases tension in many ways, including crying, laughing, sounds, spontaneous stretching, bouncing, and so on, and all of that can and often does happen in a TRE session.

A CAVEAT FOR US DUMB HUMANS

If we allowed this spontaneous tension-release shaking and trembling from early childhood on, we wouldn’t accumulate nearly as much tension as many of us do over the years and decades.

Since many of us have accumulated a lot of tension, we need to progress with some care when it comes to this neurogenic tremoring. It’s good to have the guidance of someone more experienced, for instance, a certified facilitator. It’s good to do only a very few minutes at first to see how our system responds and we get familiar with it. And if we have trauma in our system, it’s good to work with a therapist as well in this process.

IS IT A MIRACLE CURE?

Yes and no.

It’s effective in releasing tension, whether we think of this tension as primarily psychological or physical.

It’s very simple and natural. We are just making use of the natural trembling mechanism of our bodies.

It’s easy to do in daily life, even if it’s just a few seconds or minutes at a time.

At the same time, it may not be enough to deeply and thoroughly find healing for trauma. Sometimes, we also need a more psychological and social approach.

My personal favorite is a combination of heart-centered approaches (ho’oponopono, tonglen) and different forms of inquiry that focuses on the more basic elements in us creating the trauma. (More basic than the often stressful conventional story level.)

HOW DO I USE IT?

So how do I use neurogenic tremoring?

Since I have done this for a while now, it’s easy for me to initiate the tremoring. I intentionally start tremoring, and my body takes over and does it more spontaneously.

I typically do it for some seconds or a few minutes at different times during the day, whether sitting, standing, or lying down. And through tensing and relaxing different parts of the body, and placing my body in different positions, I can invite the tremoring to go to different parts of my body.

When it comes to the positions, I find that standing helps the trembling move through the whole body. It allows the shaking to move through my skeleton, and it gives me a sense of grounding and strength. Sitting towards the front of a chair with my back free invites shaking and release in the upper body, including the shoulders, arms, neck, and jaw. And lying down in the final exercise position helps the trembling happen in the hip area and it helps with relaxation and letting go.

This doesn’t mean the exercises are not useful and don’t play a role. When I do the exercises, I notice the tremoring goes deeper and into new areas.

In general, I experience it as an enjoyable, natural, and fluid process that’s relatively effortlessly woven into daily life. During a session, the trembling naturally goes in cycles with some periods of rest. And in my life, I notice the same type of cycles. In some periods, I do it more often, and in other periods less often. That too seems to have a natural rhythm.

TRE & CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

Neurogenic tremoring helps my general health and well-being.

And it also seems to free up more energy for my system to use for healing and daily life.

My system uses energy to maintain tension. Tension binds energy. So releasing this tension frees up energy for other tasks, including healing and daily life living.

That, in itself, is sufficient for explaining why TRE helps with my general health and the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

When it comes to CFS, we know it’s typically initiated by an infection. And there may be more factors at play, for instance, a combination of genetic predisposition and stress.

It’s also possible to speculate beyond this. For instance, is CFS also connected to a kind of chronic freeze or collapse response? It may be a part of the puzzle, but I don’t know. In my case, it does fit since one of my patterns from early in life is to freeze. (In some situations, I would go into a freeze response since flight or fight were not available to me.) One step further than freeze is collapse, and acute CFS does feel like a kind of collapse.

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Befriend & Awaken: The essence of many healing and awakening traditions

The befriend and awaken process is what I use the most these days as a practice.

It’s simple, direct, and effective. It includes essential elements from traditional psychological and spiritual approaches.

And it goes straight to the heart of emotional healing, awakening, and embodiment.

It allows for healing and relaxation of parts of me caught up in painful separation consciousness. It allows more part of me to align with a conscious noticing of my nature. And it makes it easier for me to live from this noticing in more areas of my life and situations in my life.

Here is a very brief outline.

NOTICE THE CONTRACTION

I notice a contraction.

I recognize it through one or more of the telltale signs: reactivity, defensiveness, one-sided views, feeling like a victim, being paralyzed, and so on.

I notice the contraction in the body. I notice the sensations. Feel the sensations. Recognize them as physical bodily sensations.

I rest with this noticing.

A PART OF ME

I recognize the contraction as a part of me.

It’s a part caught up in painful separation consciousness. It’s caught up in and operates from painful beliefs, identifications. It’s wounded.

Although it may seem big and overwhelming when I am caught up in it or a struggle with it, it’s not even close to all of who and what I am.

THANK YOU FOR PROTECTING ME

I thank the contraction for protecting me.

Thank you for protecting me.

Thank you for your love for me.

I repeat this and rest in this noticing.

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

I explore what the essential need of this part of me may be.

Is it being seen and understood? Love? Safety? Support?

I give it these in turn and notice which ones allow it to relax and rest, and I rest with the ones that resonate.

WHAT’S THE PAINFUL STORY YOU OPERATE FROM?

What’s the painful story this part of me is operating from?

What’s the essence of it?

What are some of the underlying and more essential stories?

Is it true? What’s more true?

What happens when you believe it’s true? Is there validity in the reversals? Can I find specific examples of how they are as or more true?

WHAT’S YOUR NATURE?

I notice the contraction as a flavor of the divine.

And in more detail:

I recognize my nature as capacity for the world as it appears to me.

I am capacity for this contraction. It happens within and as what I am.

I notice that my nature is the same as its nature, and rest in and as that noticing.

IN PRACTICE

In daily life, I may not go through all of these steps in one go.

If I have time, I typically notice the contraction, thank it, notice what it needs and give that to it, get a sense of the painful story, and rest in noticing the nature of the contraction. Later, I may investigate the painful story more thoroughly, although I have done a lot of inquiry so it tends to happen more automatically.

And if I don’t have so much time, or am in the middle of an activity, I may just notice the physical sensations and thank it for protecting me. And then explore it more thoroughly later (or not).

The sequence is not set in stone, and the particular steps are not set in stone. I use whatever works.

ADVANCED PRACTICE?

Is this an advanced practice? Yes and no.

Anyone can benefit from exploring several of these steps.

And for me, I notice they rest on a lot of practice that I have done in the past.

Noticing the contractions come mostly from Living Inquiries / Kiloby inquiry.

Noticing it as a part comes from parts work.

Thanking it for protecting me comes from parts work and dialogue explorations, and it has elements of ho’oponopono.

Giving it what it needs comes from… I am not sure. It seems a part of a lot of other explorations, including Non-Violent Communication.

Identifying and exploring the painful story comes from The Work of Byron KAtie.

Recognizing its nature and resting in this noticing comes from any exploration of my own nature, including the Big Mind process and Headless experiments, along with basic meditation.

For me, this, simple befriend & awaken process rests on decades of other explorations. So I am honestly not sure how suited it is for people who are not so familiar with these other approaches. I would tend to recommend these more basic ones first, and then this one as people get more familiar with the terrain.

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Bone broth

I have been using bone broth off and on for the last couple of decades after I shifted from a vegetarian to a flexitarian diet.

Bone broth is one of the things I have found that significantly and consistently improves my health and well-being. It helps with my energy level, digestion, cravings, and the CFS.

(Other things that help with my general well-being and energy levels are: good sleep, drinking plenty of water – often in the form of herbal infusions, eating nourishing foods in general, eating and drinking regularly, eating with the seasons, some adaptogenic herbs, Vortex Healing energizing, Breema, and generally learning to understand and follow the signals of my body.)

I started again with bone broth last week, after some months without taking it, and it’s easy to notice how it nourishes my body and fills up deeper layers of my energy system. 

I notice the familiar difference between chicken broth and beef broth. Beef broth fills up deeper layers of my system. (I am sure this is different for different people. I am often drawn to the stronger medicine.) 

Bone broth helps my digestion in an amazing way. My digestive system is much more stable and seems better able to deal with a range of foods.

I notice how I am less drawn to meat when I have bone broth. The ideal diet for my system seems to be bone broth from beef and otherwise eating low on the food chain. Ironically, bone broth makes it easier for me to eat a more vegetarian diet. 

And I notice how cravings – for sugar and other less-than-healthy foods – go away when I have bone broth daily. I even have a slight aversion to those foods, likely because my system is more balanced and nourished. 

I should mention that I have tried bone broth powder. It has some effect but not even close to the bone broth I make myself.

I typically cook beef bones for two or three days on low heat in a slow cooker, with some vinegar to draw out the nutrients. (Update: I now started to use a pressure cooker, and it seems a good time is 15-20 hours to get the nice dark golden color.)

There is another side to this. One of my issues in life is not feeling deeply nourished – both psychologically and physically. So the deep nourishment that comes from bone broth seems especially helpful and important to me. That’s also why I am drawn to practices like Breema that have a deeply nourishing quality. 

Note: The photos above are from beef bone broth cooked 15-20 hours in a pressure cooker. It’s smooth, rich, delicious, and feels deeply nurturing.

Note 2: Gelatin powder has a similar effect to bone broth, although not quite as deeply and richly nourishing. I take neutral (unflavored) gelatin powder in hot water, often in the morning. It doesn’t quite replace bone broth, but it’s a nice emergency measure when traveling or when I run out of bone broth before having made a new batch.

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Rafael

We said goodbye to Rafael today. 

We met him in a mall in the countryside in the Andes. Someone had abandoned him and put a superman scarf on him, and we adopted him. He was old, sick, and almost blind and needed us, and I think we needed him. After treatment for cancer, he did much better. He had a lot of energy and vitality, although he also got tired after walks. And he got much more attached to us and we to him. 

Last night, his health took a dramatic turn, and we learned that his abdomen was full of cancer. 

We had three good months together. He experienced a lot of love and we experienced his love in return. And he likely had a good life before we met him, judging from his personality. 

And I also notice some of the questions and regrets that many experiences when someone close to us dies. Could we have done more for him? Maybe we could have made his last three months even better? (We would have done more of his favorite things if we had known we only would have three months with him.) And I also know we did what made sense and it was pretty good. We gave him cancer treatment. We spent a lot of time with him. We cuddled with him and gave him attention and love. We took him for walks. My partner sang for him. We gave him the best food, although we would have given him more of his favorite food if we had known.

It was heartbreaking and beautiful to spend the last minutes with him. I am deeply grateful for having known him. 

And it also brings up the question of what happens after death? Will something move on? Will what we are, at some level between the physical and absolute, meet what he is again? I don’t know and am at peace with not knowing. There is beauty there. 

And I also notice the beauty in grief. Grief is what happens when we love someone and they are lost to us. Grief is an expression of love. Grief and tears come and go and live their own life, just like any other experience. 

Update a few days later: As with any strong experience, a lot more has been going on.

I experienced a deepened empathy with all life. We are all going to die. We all essentially wish for the same – happiness, contentment, connection, love, safety, freedom from suffering.

It’s a reminder that we’ll all die. Death is necessary for new life. It creates the space and conditions for new life. The death of stars creates elements used in new solar systems and life. The death of a species allows space for other species. The death of an individual creates space for new individuals. Remembering this makes it a little easier to relate to the death of those close to us.

His death made me look at how we treated him when he was with us. Could I have done more? What would I have done differently if I had known we would have such a short time together? How does this apply to how I live my life and treat the ones in my life now? Knowing we all have a short time together, what do I wish to do differently?

I have experienced the presence of Rafael waxing and waning at different times, and this corresponds with what my partner has reported.

For the first five or six hours after he died, he seemed far away which was a bit surprising to me. Then, his presence was very strong and he seemed happy. I wondered if he had spent those hours with his initial family, which he may have lived with for eight or nine years so it makes sense if his bond with them was (and is?) stronger. 

Now, a few days after, it’s as if he is everywhere, which I know is a common experience when someone close to you dies. Why is this? One explanation is that he is with me in my own mind, so to me he seems to be everywhere – in the sky, the room, and so on. 

Christ wakes up to itself as all of it

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to be part of a beautiful healing session. My partner and I did an in-person session with a client, and since the client asked for Christ to be invited in the healing, that’s what we did.

At one level, Christ is an expression of divinity and a symbol of oneness (what we are) and our wholeness as a human self (who we are when more healed and clear). At another level, Christ has a very distinct quality and energy, different from any other expressions of the divine.

I shared the traditional Christ meditation where we visualize Christ in our heart, in front of us, at the back of us, at either side of us, above us, and below us (about 1.5m out), and rest in that noticing and the presence of Christ. (This visualization of Christ can be as a light, the figure of Christ, or the presence, or whatever else resonates with us.) We all did this during the healing session.

I chose to do the healing as I did it in my teens before I had any exposure to how others did it.

I tuned into her system and saw it as Christ. All of her system – with the kind of wounds, identifications, hangups, and more that we all have, and the specific ones she wanted to work on – is all Christ. It’s all Christ taking all of these forms, as Christ and the divine takes the form of everything we know and all there is.

And I invited Christ to wake up to itself as all of it and rested in that noticing and invitation.

Nothing needs to change. Christ and the divine can wake up to itself as all there is in our system. And that, in itself, is deeply transforming.

It was a powerful session for all of us. And our client told us the following day that continuing to do the Christ meditation had been very helpful for her.

I feel deeply grateful for this session for several reasons. One is the opportunity to rest in the presence of the divine with others in such a clear way. Another is that it reminded me of my love of this Christ meditation in my late teens and early twenties, and of the simplicity of the healing I did then. Now, it’s again coming back – as it has several times – and I love it as much.

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Finca Brisa

I thought I would include some posts about one of the current projects in my life.

My wife and I find ourselves as the stewards of several hectares in the Andes mountains. Although most of it is forested, the land has been impacted by centuries of small-scale farming and grazing. So in addition to building a small house there – using local materials and traditional building techniques – we want to help the land. We want to help bring it to a vibrant state which will be the home to innumerable living beings — microorganisms, plants, insects, birds, and four-legged creatures.

I’ll post a few updates here, using the “finca brisa” tag which is the preliminary name for the land. See also “rewilding” and “regeneration”.

These photos are from a meeting with some of our design and building team. This is the first meeting where we had plans for the house.

Each being is a world

After my partner and I became stewards of some beautiful land, this has been more in the foreground of my mind.

Each being is a world.

On that piece of land, millions or billions of beings (depending on whether you want to include microbes), live their whole life or significant parts of their lives (birds, mammals).

In each case, there will never exist a being like that again. Each one is a unique occurrence.

And each of them experiences the world in their own way. They are, quite literally, their own unique world. A world that has never existed before, does not exist anywhere else, and will never exist again.

Remembering this is very moving for me. It fills me with reverence to be a temporary steward of this land and do my part in protecting it and supporting it to regenerate and rewild.

Happy because he doesn’t have thoughts saying blindness and cancer is wrong

This is Rafael. He is a sweet old dog we adopted last month.

A few weeks ago, he was abandoned in a shopping center in a nearby town, perhaps because he is old, mostly blind, and has cancer. We happened to be there, saw him at the information booth, and decided to adopt him if nobody came for him. The first few days after he came to us, he seemed sad and mostly rested.

And now, he is now doing much better. He has received successful treatments for cancer, he is happy to be with us and have a new home, and he has much more energy.

HAPPY BECAUSE HE DOESN’T HAVE THOUGHTS SAYING IT’S WRONG

One thing that’s very obvious is that even if he is mostly blind, he is still very happy and friendly. And he is very excited to go for walks, even if he bumps into things occasionally.

He is happy because he doesn’t know anything is wrong.

I shouldn’t be blind. I should see. I am worse off than others who can see.

He is incapable to have those thoughts. They don’t exist for him. So he is happy.

OUR OPTION: FIND WHAT’S HONESTLY MORE TRUE

We are capable to have those types of thoughts, and most of us do. So what can we do?

We cannot choose to not have them. But we can choose to investigate them thoroughly and sincerely and find what’s honestly more true for us. And here, there is a similar peace.

If we are incapable of having a stressful thought, it’s peace. If we are capable of having it, and do, and hold it as true, there is stress. And if we investigate and find what’s more true for us, there is again peace.

And for most of us, that investigation continues throughout our life. We have adopted a large number of stressful thoughts from our culture and society so new ones may crop up. And it does become easier over time. The weight of thoughts lightens, we become familiar with more categories and types of thoughts and recognize them when they come up, and we are more familiar with how to investigate the news ones that surface.

CLARITY OPENS FOR KIND ACTION

One of the stressful thoughts we may have adopted from society is:

If I am OK with what’s happening, I won’t do anything to change it.

If we pretend we are OK with what’s happening without actually being OK with it, then that may be the case. We may use ideologies and shoulds to pretend we are OK with something when we are not, and we may misguidedly go into inaction.

Clarity is different. In my experience, when I find more clarity, I am more at peace with what is, and I am more available for kind action. I am more receptive to what the situation calls for.

In this case, I am OK with Rafael having cancer and being blind. It’s how life plays itself out in that case. At the same time, I take him to treatment for cancer every week and follow the instructions from the veterinarian. And when that’s done, we’ll take him to an eye doctor to see what can be done for his eyes.

He is OK with being blind. We are OK with him being blind. And wouldn’t it be amazing if he could see again?

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Investing energy into certain images short term

I usually write about my own more intentional explorations here, and not so much about what’s happening spontaneously. So I thought I would make an exception.

THE PAST AND FUTURE AS IMAGES

For a few weeks now, if I talk about the past or future, it’s even more clear that I am talking about mental images and stories. I am reporting on my own mental images and words, and not anything else.

Sometimes, a slight sensation accompanies these stories, and they are recognized as sensations, although I also know what emotion label I can put on them and that these sometimes reflect unresolved issues in me.

INVESTING ENERGY INTO TEMPORARY STORIES

I don’t know if it’s directly related, but over the last few weeks, I notice something else very clearly.

When I need to do something, I intentionally invest energy into that story so I can remember it, and when it’s no longer needed, it lingers for a few minutes. It creates an odd experience of parallel worlds for a little while.

For instance, we have a cat that’s been an indoor city cat for most of her life. Now that we are in the countryside, she is more outside but often under a bit of supervision. If she is gone, I create a mental image of her somewhere outside and me finding her, and my mind invests some energy into this image since it’s relatively important to me.

After she returns or I find her, I see her in front of me, and I also see my mental images of her roaming somewhere. She is here. And my images of her not being here is here. As I mentioned, the images fade after a few minutes, but for a little while, there is a clear and odd experience of parallel worlds.

This happens any time I create mental images of needing to do something or go somewhere, and that’s no longer necessary. The images retain some energy for a few minutes and then it fades, and there is that experience of parallel worlds.

FAMILIAR AND NEW

None of this is really new to me. It’s very familiar. It’s something I have explored and noticed for a long time.

And yet, something is different. I am more acutely aware of it, and it happens without any intention.

This may mean it’s more in my bones and more of a habit. And it likely also reflects another shift in me I am not completely aware of.

INTENTIONAL EXPLORATION VS SPONTANEOUS SHIFTS

I mentioned these two in the introduction and wanted to say a little bit more about their dynamic.

In a conventional sense, these two go hand in hand. Intentional explorations may lead to apparently spontaneous shifts, and spontaneous shifts may lead to further and intentional explorations.

And in a more real sense, this is all happening within and as what we are. We are capacity for both, and intentional explorations and spontaneous shifts happen within and as what we are. They are part of the creativity of the mind.

In a bigger sense, this is life taking these forms. Life engages in intentional explorations and produces spontaneous shifts.

And we can also say it’s all part of the play of the divine.

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13.8 billion years old

It’s my birthday.

How old am I?

Am I the age my passport tells me? In a conventional sense, that’s my age.

Am I the age of this universe, if it really has a beginning? Am I 13.8 billion years old? That’s equally or more valid. Everything I am as a human being is the product of 13.8 billion years of evolution. I am the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. I am a local expression of what the universe has spent 13.8 billion years to form itself into.

Am I timeless? I can find that too. When I look, I find I am capacity for the world as it appears to me, and what forms itself into my experience of the world – including time and space.

As an individual, I am few decades old. Everything I am – all the dynamics, patterns, and processes I am – are the result of 13.8 billion years of evolution. And I find myself as timeless and capacity for time and all of these stories.

Photo: Crab Nebula (Messier 1), NASA / ESA.

Unable to read and finding blessings in it

I used to read on average three books a week for about 25 years, mostly Christian mysticism, Jung, Process Work, Adyashanti, Chögyam Trungpa, AH Almaas, and so on.

Several years ago, the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome got significantly worse (following severe pneumonia), and I have been unable to read much since. I can read quotes and skim through brief articles, and that’s about it.

It’s obviously been difficult to adjust to a new kind of life.

And I also see some genuine blessings in it.

My reading and taking in information was somewhat compulsive, and it became a distraction from facing certain things in myself. Now, I more honestly find my value independent of what I do in the world.

Less reading means more time to rest, be, and do other and simpler things. It has freed up space in my life.

After taking in a lot of information, it’s natural to need time to rest and digest. My health challenges have supported that phase in my life.

Although I have always written from my own direct experience, the way I write about it may be slightly more “me” and drawn from my own resources. Of course, I know I am still a child of my times and culture, and I am influenced by all the words and pointers I have taken in previously.

I have also found some ways of talking about it that I don’t remember reading or hearing from others. For instance, the difference between who (human self) and what (capacity, Big Mind) I am. And the differentiation between small (psychological) and big (spiritual) interpretations of awakenings.

Note: CFS and brain fog make it difficult to focus on anything for more than a few minutes. It makes it difficult to process information. And it leads to increased fatigue and PEM. And this makes it difficult to read and even to listen to audiobooks and watch movies, unless it’s for a short period of time or requires very little processing. It also makes it difficult to write the type of articles I would like to write here, which go a little more in depth and looks more at connections. I have started hundreds of articles which I then had to abandon because of the CFS and brain fog. And what’s left are mainly the simple ones that don’t require much from me to write.

Putting energy into something that’s temporary

I am about to embark on a relatively large and long-term rewilding project. And I notice one small voice in me saying: Why do it when it may all be temporary? As soon as you are no longer in charge of this land, someone else will take it over and that person may make it all into farmland or housing development.

Yes, that’s true. And yet, all is temporary. Everything I put energy into is temporary. This universe and everything it makes itself into – including all beings and all human culture and achievements – is temporary.

This is no different.

If I was not to put energy into something that’s temporary, I would end up putting energy into nothing at all.

I prefer to play the game. To put energy into something that’s temporary, including this regeneration and rewilding project.

It feels deeply right. The land is calling to me. I cannot find any good reason to not do it. So why not do it? Why not enjoy the project – with all the challenges and joys that come with it?

In this case, at the very least, it will benefit the many beings that live and will live on this land for the coming years. That, in itself, makes it more than worth it.

European in Latin America during the pandemic

I am currently in a small village in Latin America and notice to my dismay that most of the other Europeans here have bought into the harebrained anti-mask, anti-vaccine ideas related to the pandemic.

It means that Europeans tend to have a deservedly bad reputation among the locals. And it means I feel ashamed of being European here.

No matter what my personal opinion on mask-wearing and vaccines is, I would always use a mask and take the vaccine out of respect for the country I am in and the people living here. It’s the least I can do in terms of being a respectful visitor. It’s the least I can do to be a good citizen, no matter where I am.

Certain things are far more important than my own personal idiosyncratic views and opinions on things like mask-wearing, vaccines, and the pandemic in general. And one of these is to be respectful to others and a responsible citizen in whatever society I find myself in.

In general, people who are against mask-wearing and vaccines seem to not care about the illness and suffering of others, including the many who will get long-covid (the pandemic within and after this pandemic), and the many healthcare workers who sacrifice an enormous amount to care for the sick.

They prioritize immature reactivity and their own opinions over the life and well-being of others.

Personally, if there is even the smallest chance that wearing a mask in public and taking the vaccine would prevent long-covid for even one person, or the indirect death of someone, or overflowing hospitals and overworked healthcare workers, I would do it. Even if it’s slightly uncomfortable (masks), or a slight risk (vaccine), or it goes against my personal preferences. Those considerations pale in comparison to what using a mask and taking the vaccine can do for others.

This is all about the precautionary principle, not for me but for others and society as a whole.

As an aside: Many of the Europeans here have some kind of hippie orientation. And although it’s early life-centered, it also tends to be quite immature in many areas of life. It’s a view that often prioritizes oneself over others and society, and one’s own harebrained opinions over those of people who have devoted their lives to study and work within a particular field. It’s an orientation that often lacks nuance and throws the baby out with the bathwater. It’s an orientation less open to the validity in any orientation and view, and is often unable to include it all into an overall and more mature orientation.

A Vortex Healing view on Covid

I thought I would mention a few words on the most common view on Covid in the Vortex Healing community.

Here are a few highlights.

(a) The initial virus could be treated relatively easily with the VH infection protocol. This means a dramatic shortening of the duration of the illness, and often a lessening of the severity.

(b) The delta virus is much more difficult to treat with VH, likely because it multiplies in the system far more rapidly. (I imagine the same is the case with the newish omicron.)

(c) If you are vaccinated, the delta virus can be treated as effectively as the initial variant. Again, this is likely the same with the omicron variant.

(d) The mRNA vaccines are safe for the vast majority of people and highly recommended. As with any vaccine, it gives the immune system a chance to train itself to deal with the real virus and be far more effective if or when it is exposed to the real virus. (The background here is that the mRNA vaccines have been developed and tested for twenty years so we know how it works, and – of course – as with any vaccine, a few will have serious reactions to the vaccine. Still, the vaccine is far preferable to the actual illness.)

This view is shared among the teachers and most of the students. It’s based on direct sensing and experience in treating innumerable people with Covid using VH tools.

Exploring contractions & why the term is useful

These days, I mostly explore contractions – by making friends with them and rest in recognizing their nature.

Why? The simple and honest answer is that I am, for whatever reason, drawn to it.

Another answer is that it’s direct, intimate, simple, and effective. It draws on essential dynamics I am familiar with, including through a diverse set of practices. And it supports healing, awakening, and living from awakening.

A USEFUL TERM

I like the term contraction for several reasons.

Contraction seems an accurate description of what’s happening. It refers to a contraction in our system, which is reflected in our psyche (reactivity, defensiveness, etc.), body (muscle contractions), and perhaps even in the energy system.

For many, the word contraction has less baggage than related terms like emotional issue, trauma, hangup, and so on.

It’s direct and visceral. It’s often something we can find and connect with here and now, without too much difficulty.

It gets to what’s in the way of emotional and human healing, awakening, and living from awakening.

It captures more of the whole of what’s going on, while some other terms refer to aspects of the dynamic.

It doesn’t require any reference to healing or awakening.

SUPPORTS HEALING, AWAKENING, AND LIVING FROM AWAKENING

When we work with a contraction, we work on something that distracts us – and our system – from healing, awakening, and living from awakening.

Befriending contractions opens for healing as a human being. And resting in noticing its nature supports that healing, and also makes it easier for us to more consistently notice our nature in general and live from that noticing.

A contraction is a psychological issue. When contractions come up that we haven’t befriended, we tend to act on them or react to them, which means reinforcing the contraction. We tell ourselves its substantial, that the stressful story creating it is true, and so on. We get caught up in it, and go out of a more healthy way of responding and living. And if we generally notice our nature, we tend to “forget” that this contraction too has the same nature. We get distracted from noticing our nature and living from our nature.

SOME COMPONENTS OF CONTRACTIONS

Contractions in our system are expressed psychologically as reactivity, defensiveness, hangups, compulsions, persistent emotional states, and more. They are expressed as chronic or recurrent muscle contractions in our body. And if we work with energies, we may notice them as blocks in our energy system.

In a sense, contractions are created when we believe a thought. When we identify with the viewpoint of a thought. This creates a sense of I and Other, and a view and self that needs to be defended and protected. And that, in turn, creates a psychological, physical, and energetic contraction.

ONE WAY TO EXPLORE CONTRACTIONS

There are innumerable ways of working with contractions. Any healing modality that works, works with contractions. And anything that supports noticing what we are and living from it tends to directly or indirectly work with contractions.

These days, I am enjoying a simplified way of exploring my own contractions.

I notice the contraction – perhaps in the form of reactivity, stress, discomfort, defensiveness, compulsions, or similar.

This is a remedy for not noticing the contraction (!), and for getting caught up in it or in reactivity to it.

I notice the physical sensations making up the contraction. This helps “anchoring” my attention there, while also being aware of the other aspects of the contraction.

This is a remedy for getting caught up in the stressful stories related to the contraction, and getting caught up in reactivity.

I befriend it. I intentionally allow and welcome it, and notice it’s already allowed. (By life, mind, space.) I thank it for protecting me. I allow it to get as big as it wants. I rest with each of these as long as is needed for a shift to happen into genuinely welcome, thanking, and so on.

These are remedies for how we often respond to contractions – by wanting it to go away, seeing it as a problem, wanting to contain it, and so on.

I check out what it needs and wants. This comes from a sense of lack and is typically something essential and universal like love, safety, support, being seen, and so on. I do this by saying each word and noticing how the contraction responds. Does it relax? If so, I rest with it and allow it to receive what it needs. I do this for quite a while until I feel it has relaxed more deeply.

I notice its nature. I tend to first notice my own nature, perhaps with a dip into headless experiments or the big mind process. Then notice the nature of the contraction. And that its nature is my nature and the nature of everything in my world. I rest in this noticing until I notice a good shift. And then I invite the contraction to notice its own nature and rest in that noticing.

This is the simplified version, and there is a lot more to it depending on what seems helpful for the contraction in the moment. For instance, any contraction has a stressful belief within it creating and maintaining it, so I may find this belief and see if a more thorough inquiry into that belief is helpful. And when I notice the nature of the contraction, it seems that noticing and resting with the stillness and silence aspect of our / its nature is especially helpful.

I often explore contractions before falling asleep, if I wake up during the night, and after waking up in the morning. Sometimes, I take my time and go more in-depth. Other times, for instance in daily life situations, I just do the first two or three steps. I especially find “thank you for protecting me” helpful in shifting me out of getting caught in the contraction or in reacting to the contraction.

I find that this is an effective process, it’s intimate, and I can draw on a lot of what I am familiar with from having exploring these dynamics through a range of practices.

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