A childlike orientation

Whenever we set out to do something in life, it’s supported by having certain orientations. And what those are depends, to some extent, on what we set out to do. 

So which orientations are helpful in spirituality? Which orientations seem especially helpful when we set out to explore our relationship with life – and perhaps what we are to ourselves, how to live from this noticing, and how we relate to life and our experiences? 

For me, the central one is a more childlike orientation.


How does a healthy child relate to the world?

A child is often curious, receptive, free of preconceptions, honest, sincere. There is a natural humility, and a natural willingness to test out what others share.

A child is often absorbed in what they are doing, and diligent in exploring. They can do the same for hours.

They are here and now. There is no idea of not doing something because we did it in the past, or putting off something because we can do it in the future.

Children often have a natural reverence and awe for life. All is new.


How does this translate to us?

We are that child. We never left childhood, even if we are also adults. We still have it in us.

We can find that curiosity. Receptivity.

A certain innocence that sets aside, at least for a while, what thoughts and memories tell us about what we are.

Honesty about what we find, how we are, and so on.

Some diligence in exploring all of this. An ability to keep exploring, and with this, some patience.

The kind of urgency that comes from noticing, and taking in, that all I have is what’s here now. I cannot find past or future outside of my ideas about past and future.

Humility because we know we don’t know. A willingness to test out what others share with us, and especially those more familiar with something than we are.

Some reverence for life and the whole process. And awe since all is new.


There are two general ways to find this childlike orientation.

We can find it in ourselves here and now since it never went away. It may have been covered up by us trying to be good adults. And it’s still here.

The other is to examine what prevents us from finding or living from it.

What in me covers it up? In most cases, what covers it up is a kind of coping mechanism we used to deal with fear. We adopted beliefs and identifications in order to feel more safe. We abandoned parts of ourselves because they seemed scary or didn’t fit who we thought we needed to be to be safe and loved.

How can we find healing for this?

These parts of us are, in some ways, like scared and confused children. So the answer is to meet these parts of us as we would scared and hurting children.

We can meet them with respect, kindness, patience, and curiosity. We can get to know them. Listen to what they have to say. Help them examine their scary stories and find what’s already more true. Be a safe habor for them. Remember they have their own process and timing.

Find love for them and their process, and for ourselves being a parent to them.

Read More

Gospel of Thomas (v22): When you make the two into one

(1) Jesus saw infants being suckled.
(2) He said to his disciples: “These little ones being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom.”
(3) They said to him: “Then will we enter the kingdom as little ones?”
(4) Jesus said to them: “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the below —
(5) that is, to make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male will not be male and the female will not be female —
(6) and when you make eyes instead of an eye and a hand instead of a hand and a foot instead of a foot, an image instead of an image,
(7) then you will enter [the kingdom].”

– Gospel of Thomas, verse 22

(1) Jesus comes up with an analogy he wants to share with his disciples.

(2) To enter the kingdom, we have to become like little children. We need to set aside conventional views and what we think we know about ourselves and the world, explore with sincerity and curiosity, and be honest with ourselves about what we find.

(3) Do the disciples misunderstand? Or do they get it and just want more pointers?

(4+5) When we find ourselves as capacity for the world, and what all phenomena happen within and as, then these are all aspects of oneness. Here, we directly perceive two as one, inside as the outside, above as below, female as male. They all happen within and as what we are.

(6) Not sure about this one. My own limitation? Or translation problems?

(7) When we find ourselves as what all our experiences happen within and as, we enter the kingdom. We consciously enter the kingdom that’s always here and we always are.

Byron Katie: Not knowing is the way to understanding

Not knowing is the way to understanding.

– Byron Katie

This can be understood in a few different ways.

When we set out to learn something, knowing that we don’t know much or anything about it is a very good start. We are receptive. Have some insight into our own lack of understanding. And from here can seek out learning and get experience and learn. It puts us in the right mindset for learning.

After we have a great deal of experience, understanding, and skill, it’s still this way. Knowing that we don’t know everything about it puts us in the right frame of mind for continued learning. It opens for receptivity, curiosity, and continued exploration.

We may also find that we don’t know anything for certain. This applies to even our most basic assumptions about ourselves, others, and the world, and it opens for an even wider receptivity, curiosity, and exploration.

It also opens for an understanding of the nature of knowing. We don’t know anything for certain. Any thought or map has some validity in it, we just need to find how. Thoughts are questions about the world. They help us orient and function in the world and have a great practical value. And their value is limited to the practical. Their function is not to give us any final or ultimate truth because they can’t.

Finally, it can help us to notice what we are. To the extent we grok that we cannot know anything for certain about anything, including who and what we are and what the world is, this opens up for noticing what we are. It opens up for finding ourselves as capacity for the world, for our experience of this human self and the wider world.

Not knowing is the way to understanding. When we start out learning something, knowing we don’t know puts us in the right frame of mind for learning. Even after we get far more experience and skills, the same applies. Knowing there is a lot we don’t know helps us find the receptivity and curiosity to continue to learn. Knowing we don’t know anything for certain widens this receptivity and curiosity to anything and everything. And getting that thoroughly opens us to notice what we are.

Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven

it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God

– New Testament, Matthew 19:24

We can interpret these pointers in a myriad of ways, and when we do, we usually make them fit our existing views on life and reality.

I do that too. I tend to take this one as complementing this pointer:

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

– New Testament, Matthew 18:3

If we are rich in deep-seated assumptions and beliefs about what we are, it’s not easy to enter the metaphorical kingdom of God. We need to find the place in us that’s receptive and innocent as a little child to enter that kingdom.

What is the kingdom of God?

For me, it’s noticing that all is the divine, and that what’s seeing and hearing and sensing here is the divine.

Said another way, it’s to find ourselves as capacity for the world. My world happens within and as what I am. My true nature is this awake space full of the world.

How do we enter it?

To notice what we are, we need to temporarily set aside our assumptions of what we are, find receptivity and innocence, and be honest with ourselves about what we find. We need to become like a child. We need to set aside the riches we have in our world of ideas and assumptions.

How do we become like a child?

It can seem almost impossible to do this. How do I set aside my assumptions about what I am and reality?

For me, one answer is practical pointers, and the best ones I have found so far are the Big Mind process and Headless experiments. These can help us become like a child and notice what we are.

It’s very helpful to be guided by someone familiar with the terrain and skilled in using the pointers. This is helpful in the beginning and also at times later on in the process to help clarify and look more closely.

These practical pointers are like training wheels helping us notice what’s already here.

The kingdom of heaven makes us like children

Entering the kingdom in this way also tends to make us like children.

Of course, we still have whatever maturity, development, experiences, and skills we as adults have.

At the same time, the kingdom of heaven invites us to be childlike.

It opens us up to live more from receptivity, curiosity, awe, and a heart open to the world.

A common pitfall: “I know, it’s obvious”

I once listened to a podcast where one of the hosts – who is typically quite intellectual and takes pride in it – talked about his experience with mindfulness. He had taken a course and said he didn’t get much out of it. Why? Because the instructor said things he already knew and were obvious, for instance that “we are not our thoughts”.

Knowing about versus direct noticing

Yes, we all know we are not our thoughts, at least intellectually and from our own understanding of what it means. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about exploring it for ourselves. When we look, what do we find? What do we find in our immediate experience, outside of thought? That’s very different from knowing something intellectually.

Memory versus direct noticing

At some point, we may have a direct experience of how we are not our thoughts. This may be reflected in our thoughts. (We think about it, talk about it with ourselves.) And after, we may know it through memory. And that too is very different from noticing it here and now. Whatever the memory points to will be new, fresh, and different as we explore it here and now.

We can discover more when we set aside the idea that “I know”

In this case, with the “we are not our thoughts” pointer, it may also be that he would discover something surprising had he only set aside his “knowing mind” and explored it for himself with some receptivity and curiosity.

Perhaps he thought he was this human self, and not his thoughts? Perhaps he would have found that he instead is capacity for the world as it appears to him, including this human self? Perhaps he would have discovered that what he is, is what all his experience – including this human self, thoughts, and the world as it appears to him – happens within and as?

Perhaps he would have discovered that when we are identified with something, for instance this human self, it’s actually an identification with or as the viewpoint of a thought? On the surface, it may seem silly to say “we are not our thoughts” if we think we are this human self. But, in reality, our identifications are with thoughts – including the thought of being this human self. We assume we are the the thoughts, although we may not always notice it.

Wherever we are in the process, and however much we have discovered, there is a world of difference between the memory and thought and the immediate noticing, and there is always more to discover. If we explore something with sincerity and receptivity, we may find that we surprise ourselves.

The terrain is different from the map

As many have pointed out, this is the difference between the map and the terrain. Or reading a menu and eating the food. Or hearing about a place and being there.

I may know a lot about a place through second hand information. I may be able to talk about it as if I have been there. But that’s very different from actually being there. And even if I am personally very familiar with a place, there is always more and new things to discover.

The terrain is always more than and different from any map. The maps are different in nature from the terrain. And even within their realm of ideas, the maps all come from a certain limited point of view, reflect a certain limited worldview, and highlight certain limited aspects of the terrain. No matter how familiar we are with the terrain, they also reflect a very limited experience.

In real life: often a combination

When I write here, I notice there is often a combination. I notice something in immediacy and I write partly from memory (phrases, points) and partly from immediate noticing. They go hand-in-hand.

And it’s good to set aside the pointers for a while, even if it’s just a little while, and be with the immediacy of what it points to. It will be fresh and new, and we may discover something we hadn’t discovered before.

Reactivity makes us more stupid than we are

Reactivity makes us more stupid than we are.

When we are more receptive, curious, and have an open mind and heart, we learn, explore, see a situation from several angels, and we are less invested in a partcular view or in defending something or an identity. This means our natural intelligence can be put to work and yield some fruits.

When we are more reactive and want to uphold or defend an idea or identity, it tends to cloud over our natural curiosity, receptivity, and intelligence. In other words, we make ourselves more stupid than we are.

In general, receptivity and curiosity allows for our natural intelligence to function more fully, and reactivity and defensiveness clouds this over and we become a slave to our reactivity and its agenda.

When I notice I get caught in my own reactivity, this is one of the reminders that is helpful for me. Do I want to go down the reactivity path, make myself more stupid than I am, and perhaps say or do things I’ll later regret? Or do I want to give my natural intelligence a chance, be courageous and break with the reactivity pattern, and be more as I really want to be – for my own sake and the sake of the world?

This is also a reminder for me to connect with the fear behind the reactivity impulse. I notice reactivity in me and the temptation to join with it and follow it. Instead, I can connect with the fear behind the reactivity. I can find the fear. Acknowledge it’s there. Take some time – even just a few seconds – to feel it and notice where it is in my body. I can notice any fearful images or stories connected with it.

Breathe. Notice the space it all happens within, and the space within it.

And I can admit all of this to myself. Yes, I notice reactivity in myself. I notice the temptation to go with it. And I notice the fear it comes from. If it’s the right time and situation, I can even mention it to the other person if someone else is involved.

This helps me take a step back and give my receptivity and natural intelligence a chance.

The whole situation of life

In order to develop love ~ universal love, cosmic love, whatever you would like to call it ~ one must accept the whole situation of life as it is, both the light and the dark, the good and the bad. One must open oneself to life, communicate with it.
– Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

Need a little help

Tank: Got him! He’s on the run.
Neo: Mr. Wizard, get me the hell out of here.
Tank: Got a patch on an old exit, Wabash and Lake.
Neo: Oh shit…. Help. Need a little help.
Tank: Door…. Door on your left. No, your other left…. Back door.
– The Matrix (transscript)

When I first watched The Matrix, I was touched by this moment of honesty and humanity. It is a little out of character for a hard-core action movie, but then The Matrix is more than that.

As always, it is a reminder and a question.

Read More

All for me

A few ways it is all for myself…

Whatever I do, I (already) do it for myself. I only need to notice.

When I help others or live in a way that seems good for the larger whole, I see that I do it for my own satisfaction. It feels good. It gives me joy. I do it for my sake.

Even when I follow a belief I have, I do it for my sake. A story seems true for me, so I act as if it is true because it seems right. As I find what is more true for me than the initial belief, I may change my actions or not, but I still do it for my sake. (The Work.)

And when I complain about something I am doing, I can do a simple inquiry.

For instance, I can make a list of things I do that I complain about, in a “have to” format. I have to pay taxes. I can then go through the list and change it to I want to… because. I want to pay taxes, because… I don’t want the consequences of not paying. (I am actually happy to pay taxes, but it is an example.)

So here I am seeing that I am already doing it for myself. I thought I was doing it because the government made me do it, but I now realize I am doing it out of kindness to myself – I don’t want the fines and possible jail time for not paying taxes. As I become more clear in this way, I may continue to do what I am doing, I may change the strategy, or I may decide to not do it anymore.  (This inquiry comes from Marshall Rosenberg.)

Also, any advice that comes up for me is for myself, even if initially a story tells me it is for someone else. He should be more open hearted > I should be more open hearted. That feels more true. That is what I want for myself.

This goes for advice I tell myself comes from myself, and advice that comes from someone else – even if it appears to be for yet another person. It doesn’t matter. It it all for me. I can always find how it is true for me, and how I want it for myself.

And anything happening is an invitation for me to grow and wake up, it is for myself. For instance, anything happening is an invitation for me to investigate my beliefs around it, and find what is (already) more true for me.

It doesn’t matter what it is, where it is, or who it apparently is happening to. It is still all for me, as an invitation to grow and wake up.

And finally, all is the play of God, for God. All is the play of what I am – that which all happens within and as, for what I am.

Read More

Appreciation and differentiation

When I differentiate, it can happen within the context of appreciation or not.

If I differentiate – using thought to sort things out – within appreciation, I find that it tends to invite in curiosity and receptivity. I am more free to explore different views and takes on the topic, find the validity in each, and ways these views may fit together into a larger picture. If I am engaging with someone else, there tends to also be more of a sense of us and a recognition of myself in the other. A sense of exploration and partnership, whether the other person is open to that or not.

If I differentiate and it is not within a context of appreciation, it can be quite neutral. But the stage is also set for more easily going in the direction of a rigid view and a closed heart. Instead of a more open exploration, I may go into justifying or defending a particular view. I may go into polarization. I may experience separation to others and the views they happen to use as a guideline.

Either one is of course fine. And the differentiation without appreciation may be an effective tool in some specific situations. (Tough love, but there can be appreciation even there, just not expressed so directly.)

But in general, differentiation within the context of appreciation seems to be more helpful. When the heart comes in and supports the mind, there is more receptivity and curiosity there, and a willingness to explore the validity in a wider range of views. In some ways, there is a certain intelligence that comes from the heart supporting the mind.

Even when the differentiation comes up with the same in both cases, it is at least more enjoyable to do it within the context of appreciation and a deeper sense of us.

Read More


Exploring Bernadette Roberts’ views on the different traditions yesterday was an uncomfortable experience for me. There was a sense of contraction and tension coming up, obviously because I have some beliefs about how she should relate to those traditions.

I had the thought that she should be more receptive and have more appreciation, as I know from my own  teachers and friends – and sometimes myself. And then I saw that the advice was for myself.

It reminded me of how important receptivity is for me and in my own process. A receptivity of mind, heart and body, and in relationships to myself, others and the wider world.

I notice over and over the shift from tension to receptivity, and what happens there.

When there is a receptivity of mind, there is a quiet sincerity in exploring the truth in any statement and view, the truth in their reversals, and also a receptivity in seeing it all as a mental field creation. These stories are invaluable in a practical way, for my life in the world, and are free from value beyond that.

When there is a receptivity of heart, it is there for whatever arises… this human self, others, life, situations. There is a receptive kindness there, independent of the likes and dislikes of the personality.

When there is a receptivity of body, there is an allowing of experience and emotions, and this gives a sense of nurturing fullness, and of healing at an emotional level.

And from all of this, there is appreciation. Appreciation for my human self, with all its quirks and wounds. Appreciation for others, as they are. Appreciaiton for stories, for the grain of truth in each of them. Appreciation for situations and experiences, including the most difficult ones in my past.

Receptivity of heart, mind and feelings

When I revisit old inquiries, I sometimes notice how there is more receptivity of heart, mind and feelings.

It is as if the initial inquiry opened the door just a little, and this allowed, over time, the door to open more fully.

An example is this inquiry, which I just went back to because of a comment posted there, and realizing that there is more receptivity of heart, mind and feelings here now, around this topic.

This prompted me to explore one of the turnarounds again, from what is alive here now, finding it far richer this time, and feeling, loving and seeing it more fully and clearly.

Blessed are the meek

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5.5)

It’s fun to explore different saying of Jesus, and see what comes up… How is this true for me, in my own experience?

Meekness for me, in this context, means humility, receptivity, sincerity, a willingness to go outside of the familiar, to question what I take as true and real. A willingness to be wrong.

Specifically, it means to fully allow experience, and then allow it to work on me.

It means to find my beliefs, inquire into them, and find what is more true for me than the initial belief.

It means to embrace more of all of who I am at my human level, the good with the bad, the light with the shadows. Using the wider world as a mirror of what is right here, in my human self.

It means to explore what I really am, trusting what I discover even if it goes against what the whole world, and my past experience, is telling me. To discover that I am built open for the world, as Douglas Harding says. Built wide open for the world, for any experience, anything happening, any content of experience.

Inherit the world. This is what is invited in from this form of meekness.

I inherit the world in fully allowing experience, independent of its content. This allows for an appreciation of the fullness of experience, and the sweet nurturing fullness that is revealed when experience is not resisted.

I inherit the world in embracing more of all of what I am at my human level, allowing and living from more of the amazing richness here, mirroring the wider world. Whatever quality and dynamics I see out there are also right here, in my human self, either as a potential or more fully developed.

I inherit the world in finding what I already am, this no-thing full of the whole world. This field of awakeness of form inherently absent of an I with an Other, already and always allowing the whole world. The sense of an I with an Other falls away, revealing the whole world of form as an I without an Other.

And this is all a blessing. It is a blessing that this can be invited in through practices. It is a blessing that we already have and are this richness of our human self, and of what we are. It is a blessing that we can discover this for ourselves. And the journey itself, however it shows up, is a blessing.


There are many ways to define or talk about wisdom, each one revealing our own personal bias on what is important in our human life.

One way to define it is that wisdom happens when head (view, insight), belly (felt-sensed nurturing fullness), heart (love), and action (skillful means) come together.

Or said another way, it happens when there is receptivity and engagement at each center.

At the head center, there is receptivity to the truth in the reversals of any view and perspective, there is engagement in actively exploring these, and the freedom to use any one of these more actively in a situation.

At the belly center, there is a receptivity which allows for a sense of nurturing fullness. The emotional level goes from reactivity to a stable sense of nurturing fullness, and of trust.

At the heart center, there is receptivity to all of existence, however it shows up. Our heart stays open, or at least can be invited to open.

And our actions reflect skillful means, from experience and brought forth by the receptivity at the three centers, engagement in situations, and the freedom to stay engaged without getting blindly caught up in whatever happens.

Of course, this all gets hopelessly abstract to the point of being pretty useless. But there is a real experience behind all of it, and each of these points can be explored in more detail so they come more alive for us. We can find it in our own life, even if it is only a tendency and not caricatured and full-blown as described here.

When I look at my view, I can find many times there were rigidity there, and with a rigidity of view – attaching to one particular view as true and denying the truth in its reversals – there is not much wisdom. If my view is more fluid, and I actively explore the grain of truth in each reversal, there is sometimes a sense of wisdom, especially if the heart is included, and even more so if there is a sense of nurturing fullness, and it all is reflected in actions.

Looking at my heart, again I see that when my heart is closed, there is not much wisdom available to me. I act from habits at best, and more likely also from reactivity. But if my heart is open to life – to myself and others involved – there is sometimes a sense of wisdom there, especially if the view is included, and even more so if the nurturing fullness and actions are there as well.

In terms of the emotions, I find that when there is reactivity there, there is most often reactivity in view as well, and my heart is closed off. None of those allows much wisdom to be present. But if there is a stable nurturing fullness there, this fullness and the sense of trust that comes with it allows for receptivity at the other centers. My view can be more fluid, my heart more open, my actions more receptive to and engaged with the situation.

The same with my actions as these reflect what is going on at the three centers. If my view is receptive and fluid, my heart open, my emotions nurturing, and this comes out through actions informed by experience and whatever skillful means available to me, there may be some wisdom reflected there as well.

Of course, wisdom is relative to where we are at in terms of insight, receptivity of heart, nurturing fullness, and experience. It reflects how healed, mature, and developed this human self is. Sometimes, we act from less wisdom than what is available to us, and other times – when these centers are more receptive and engaged – we can act more from whatever wisdom is available to us, wherever we are in terms of healing, maturing and development.

We can always go further. Whatever we do, there is always room for improvement. And I guess that is another aspect of wisdom: acknowledging that we are acting from a limited insight and set of experiences, and looking out for feedback to learn from. Here too, in terms of learning from our actions, there is receptivity, engagement and freedom of the three centers.

Marcel Marceau


It was an unforgettable experience to see Marcel Marceau live a few years back. More than almost anyone I can think of, he was able to remind me of the magic of everyday life, and evoke the wonder and awe of the innocent child that is still here in each of us – revealed when the grip on beliefs and identities are released for a moment.

In the receptive mind and heart is appreciation for life, as it is here and now. And we love those who remind us of that.

I know, you don’t

How are the different permutations of I know and you don’t true…?

Let’s take the most interesting ones first:

You know, and I don’t

  • In a conventional sense, there is an endless amount of things others know and I don’t.
    • They know how it is to be them, and how life is experienced over there, and I don’t. (Even if I think I do, I don’t. It can only be a projection of what I know from over here.)
    • They know skills and information I don’t know, in an infinite amount of areas.
    • They have experiences and a history I don’t have, which means they have unique insights I don’t have.

You know, and I know

  • This is true too. In an conventional sense, there are many things all or most of us share knowledge of.
    • For instance, the human patterns and dynamics are far more alike than different, so we share knowledge of those.
    • We know what happens when we believe a thought, for instance of being a separate self.
    • And we know what happens when there is friction between what beliefs tells us should be and what is. We may not know all the different ways it can play itself out, from first hand experience, but we certainly have a good idea of the general patterns.
  • In a different sense, we all know what we really are.
    • We all know, somewhere, that we are awareness and whatever arises within and as awareness. And this comes into the foreground for all of us, sometimes.
    • It may be clouded over at times as well, and that is also something all or most of us share an experience of.

You don’t know, and I don’t know

  • This one is also true. In a conventional sense, neither of us really know anything for certain.
    • We have all sorts of ideas, thoughts and maps about the world, and they work more or less well for us in a practical way, but that is about it. We can never have full certainty about anything our thoughts tells us.
  • When we find ourselves as awareness, and the content of awareness as awareness itself, there is a different not knowing.
    • Thoughts arise as just thoughts, and there is a freedom from taking them as anything more, so there is also a freedom from knowing.
    • Whether this is noticed or not, it is what is already and always here. There is already and always a ground of not knowing, and whether it is noticed or not is just the decoration on that cake.

I know, and you don’t

  • Well, also true, as a reversal of the first statement I explored.
    • I may know certain things in a conventional sense that many others don’t. (Also realizing that even if I don’t know about it, there are probably many others there with a similar insight or knowledge, and, most likely an insight and knowledge far beyond what is coming up here.)
    • Awareness may notice itself in a more clear way than for most others. (Realizing that this is just a difference of the surface ripples, on top of an ocean of us all already being awareness and knowing it at some level.)

When all of this is explored thoroughly, and becomes a lived experience, the whole sense of I know and you don’t, or of a particular identification with another one of those permutations, tends to fall away. There is an easy sense of shared life, humility, recognition, receptivity of heart and mind.

Directed and open

In a conversation between one of our local diskha givers and myself, we talked about how we found it easiest and most comfortable and effective in leaving the outcome open when we do respectively diksha and bodywork.

We get out of our own way, and allow whatever needs to come through to come through. There is a trust in the inherent intelligence in the diksha energy, in the natural healing processes of the body, and in life itself.

This made me explore how this balance between direction and openess looks in different areas of life….

  • When I pray, it is usually an open prayer, one of communion and of thy will be done. Sometimes, there is an intention, for instance for healing and/or awakening for myself or others, but even here within the context of You (life, existence, God, Big Mind) know best and Thy will be done.
  • When I do bodywork, there is just an intention of being with my own body, finding comfort, noticing extra and allowing it to fall away or into the background, and so on. Here, I (what I experience as a separate self) gets out of the way, allowing the intelligence behind the form and inherent in our human selves and life to unfold and take the process where it needs to go. I don’t need to know, as long as I follow the form, stay present with my own body, and select sequences based on what comes up for me – intuition.
  • When I do energy healing, there is often an intention of healing, within the context of may what is in the highest interest of the other and all of us happen, within the context of Thy will be done. I notice that the more intention there is, the more it is possible to “force” something to happen, but there is also a backlash for myself, and possibly the other. If I leave the outcome open, apart from Thy will be done, there is just a sense of spaciousness, rest, comfort, clarity, and an unfolding of whatever needs to happen.
  • In daily life tasks, it it obviously good to have a clear intention, which for me often includes visualizing the task and outcome in advance, and it happening with ease and clarity. But even here, there is an openness in the form of receptivity to the situation and what it seems to call for, which may change as the project unfolds.
  • In terms of the direction of my life, there is often a balance between intention, and openness and receptivity. There may be a clear intention in some areas, with a visualization of the outcome, but also an openness, receptivity and humility, and Thy will be done.

Together, there is the focus and direction of intention. This, especially when combined with visualization, allows for a reorganization here now of my human self at many levels (emotions, mental) which allows the process to unfold more easily and with more clarity.

And there is the openess, receptivity and humility. The humility is an acknowledgment that I certainly do not know what is best, not can I control what happens beyond a very modest extent. The receptivity allows me to stay with the always changing situation, allowing my direction and strategies to change as called for. And there is the openness to whatever may happen, and whatever happens as God’s will. It doesn’t mean that I passively go along with whatever happens, only that there is a release from resistance to it, and a more humble and receptive approach when I engage in certain actions and aim at certain outcomes.

Well-wishing and fear

The practice of well-wishing, in any form, has many effects, and one of these is a sense of trust and reduced fear.

When there is a lack of well-wishing for others, there is often a caught-upness in stories about them, which includes different clashes between stories of what should be and what is (a.k.a. criticism, judgment). In the absence of an open heart, these stories tends to come more easily in the foreground.

This creates a sense of uneasiness in many ways.

First, engaging in a general atmosphere of judgment and criticism spares no-one, including myself.

Then, a discomfort in engaging in these thoughts about them, without them knowing, and what they would say or do if they knew.

And finally, discomfort from projections in two forms.

One is simply an assumption that since I engage in judgment of them, they will do the same towards me. I cannot help but to see in the world what is alive here and now. I own it, and it colors how I see the world.

The other is judgment arising, not fitting with my image of myself, and then seeing it in others and not so much in myself. I disown it, and project it on others and see it as directed towards myself. In both cases, it creates a sense of others judging me, which brings up uneasiness… and fear.

And fear also comes up in another form here: a fear of what would happen if I didn’t engage in criticism and judgment. A fear of becoming like them, or of the parts in my that shouldn’t be there, according to my stories about them, taking over.

When there is a well-wising for others, this all reverses. The same mechanisms play themselves out, but now with opposite effects.

I inevitably include myself in this atmosphere of well-wishing, and I see it in others – either as already there or at least as a potential. In my well-wishing for others and myself, as see all of us as we can be, as whole, with an open and receptive heart. This creates a sense of well-being, and a sense of basic trust and reduced fear.

And even if the surface manifestation is different, I know that this is how we all can be, and are when knots unravel. As Byron Katie says, I know everyone loves me, I just don’t expect them to realize it yet.

Engaging in well-wishing, my heart and mind become more receptive.

My heart opens to myself and others. There is empathy, recognition, finding the universally human in what comes up in any of us, and a sense of the health and wholeness of each of us – at our human level – when knots are allowed to dissolve. (Knots are created by shoulds and narrow identities, creating the appearance of splits at our human level, and these are allowed to dissolve through an open heart.)

And my mind opens as well, becoming more receptive to the views of others, and the (limited) truth in all stories and views, so I can more easily meet people where they are at.

The empathy and recognition of an open heart invites an open mind, and the receptivity of an open mind invites the empathy and recognition of an open heart.

Receptivity, generosity and the three centers.

There are many facets of the deepening into who (individual humans) and what (awake emptiness) we are, and one of these is generosity.

A deepening into who and what we are involves receptivity at the three centers, and the other side of the coin of receptivity is generosity…

  • At the head center, receptivity takes the form of sincerity, an interest in the truths of each of the different reversals of any statement, and also a noticing of the inherent neutrality of any situation. And the generosity here is in not staying with any fixed view or perspective, but sincerely exploring the truth in whatever views and perspectives come up in others. The views of others are very often some variation of the reversals of the stories that more often come up in ourselves. There is a generosity in sincerely acknowledging the truth in the views of others, and including that in our own view, allowing ourselves to be more fluid among the different reversals of any story.
  • At the heart center, receptivity takes the form of recognition and empathy, and this too is a form of generosity. There is a generosity in finding ourselves in others, and others in ourselves, and allowing empathy come up from that recognition. And there is also a generosity in seeing all as Spirit, as God’s will, as the fluid form aspect of God itself.
  • At the belly center, receptivity takes the form of a deep felt-sense trust in life and existence. And here too there is generosity, in its sense of deeply nurturing fullness and abundance (and in the absence of the core fear, reactivity, and a separate self to protect).

In terms of activity in the world, this receptivity and generosity is expressed in the ways mentioned above, and also in terms of generosity of time and energy. As there is less and less of a sense of a separate self, fever and fever stuck views, fever situations and people the heart is closed towards, and less emotional reactivity, there is naturally a life lived for life itself… in whatever ways that come up in the situation.

Our circle of care, concern and compassion widens, the boundary between the health and well-being of the larger (social/ecological) whole and ourselves (as this individual) dissolves. Our actions becomes, naturally, more and more self-less (without a reference to fixed views and identifications), as we realize more and more that there is no separate self here.

In the absence of identifications, life is expressed in our own life as love for itself – as love for life.

Receptivity and the three centers

A change in one of the three centers invites a corresponding change in the other two…

  • Receptivity at the head center invites a seeing of the truths in the reversals of any stories, and of all as Spirit. And this in turn invites a sense of connection with others, and a felt-sense of life as safe and OK.
  • Receptivity at the heart center invites a sense of connection with others (with anything seen as other), and a loving of all as Spirit. This invites more fluidity of view, and a felt-sense of all as Spirit.
  • Receptivity at the belly center invites a sense of safety, nurturing, and trust in life, and a felt-sense of all as Spirit. This invites fluidity of view, a sense of connection with other, and loving all as Spirit.

Similarly, practices at each center influences each other center either directly or indirectly…

  • Head center practices invites us to see more clearly what is already more true for us.
  • Heart center practices invites an open heart, empathy, gratitude, loving all as Spirit.
  • Belly center practices invites a felt sense of safety, deep nurturing, trust in life and existence, and of all as God’s will and Spirit itself.

These changes allow us to deepen into who we are as individual humans and souls, making it easier to be who we temporarily take ourselves to be, and inviting a continuing healing, maturing and development of our human self. And they make it easier for what we are to notice itself, for Big Mind to awaken to itself, even while functionally connected with this human self.

It all goes together, threads in one tapestry.

Read More

Ragged guests

Sometimes the guests that come through are pretty ragged… (Guests here meaning any content of experience, including emotions, reactivity, wounds, etc.) And if we try to push them away, ignore them, call the police, pretend they are not there, or end up wailing or running frantically around with them, they stay ragged.

The other option is to be with them in an heartfelt way, to allow whatever comes up from them, listen to it, feel into it, and even love it. That is how people in our life often can heal, and that is often how these guests can heal as well.

Again, nothing new here. We know it from our own life… seeing it in the world of humans and other beings, and the inner world of emotions, reactivity, wounds, and so on. At our human level, the outer and the inner mirror each other.

We can explore it quite simply in this way… just being with what comes up, in an heartfelt way. And we can also explore it more in detail through for instance voice dialog or the Big Mind process. Listening to disowned voices, the ones that are hurt in different ways, allowing them as they are, not needing them to change, not using them as something to manipulate or as a gateway into something else. Being interested in who they are, their history, being receptive to them, respecting them as they are, seeing and allowing them, feeling into what they say, and even loving them as they are. Even shifting into Big Heart and embracing them from Big Heart.

In terms of the three centers, there is receptivity at the head center (seeing), belly center (feeling, felt-sense), and heart center (love)… in short, a heartfelt seeing.

When we resist them (identify with the resistance), we not only rehearse the (apparent) split between I and Other but the guests also stay as they are, in misery, coming back later wanting to be let in.

Compassion includes guests in any form and shape, whether they show up in flesh and blood or in the form of emotions, reactivity, frustration, grief, sadness, anger, irritability, restlessness, wanting to be somewhere else.

Freedom to play with stories

Tom’s comment on the post on cults brought up some genuinely good points, and put the finger on something that has been in the back of my mind for a while.

We can of course play around with stories and find the grain of truth in each of their reversals. And the value in this is for me to explore my own beliefs and identities around it, to find more clarity there, allowing the grip on any one story to release, and have less to defend. I find a more fluid relationship with the story and its reversals.

What it also does is to take out any absolute truth in any story and thoroughly pull the rug out from under the issue. Which is also the point. It helps reveal that they are all just stories, placed upon a situation that is inherently neutral.

So any charge and rigidity around it, from my side, is diffused. There is a lighter touch there. More receptivity of mind and heart…. seeing the truth in the turnarounds, and allowing for a more genuine connection with others. There is more fluidity.

Which then allows me to play and engage with the conventional views in a more clear, differentiated and receptive way, with less to protect, less rigidity.

So in the case of cults, the exploration allows me to find it in myself, and also how it is not true, opening up some space. Which in turn allows me to use the term in a conventional way with less to protect, less personal investment in it, and so – possibly – with more clarity and in a more differentiated way.

Tom used the example of a murderer, and it is the same there. I can easily find how I am a murderer (eating animals and plants, stepping on bugs, eliminating people in my thoughts, and so on). And I can also find how people labeled a murderer, by society, are not (they were victims of circumstances, their actions local effects of infinite causes, they were blindly caught up in beliefs which triggered the actions without them being able to stop it, and so on).

If I don’t engage in this exploration, it is far too easy to be caught up in blind beliefs about it… which brings with it blind emotions and reactivity. And these are not a good place to come from if I want to make more clear decisions.

Having engaged in the exploration, finding the truth in how we all are and are not murderers, I find myself in the same boat as the person labeled murderer by society. There is more genuine empathy, more of a sense of connection. I am not able to dehumanize him or her so easily.

I am now able to use the conventional definitions of a murderer with more clarity, with a more receptive mind and heart, and hopefully with more differentiation and wisdom.

It does not mean that I will support freeing anyone labeled a murderer (most likely, I won’t). But it does mean that I am able to explore the definition, and make it more nuanced for myself. It means I may be less caught up in blind emotionality and reactivity, which makes it less likely that I would want to see someone sentenced based on flimsy evidence (less scapegoating), and it also makes it less likely that I will support sentences that are mainly revenge based.

I am more free to support a fair trial and fair and appropriate sentencing, and to explore what that really means, all the while experiencing a genuine connection with and empathy for anyone involved, including the one who committed the crime.

There is nothing new here. It is something we all (I assume) know from our own life. In a way, it is just old fashioned common sense… at least the one that comes more from differentiated clarity and compassion.

Gifts of confusion

What are some of the gifts of confusion…?

(That question came up in a conversation today with a friend, who tends to get contracted when she is confused.)

This is a somewhat confused and exploratory post, so more after the jump.

Read More

Receptivity II

Existence is God, Spirit, Buddha Mind, Big Mind. When we resist Existence, there is confusion and suffering. When we make ourselves available to Existence, there is clarity and bliss.

And the way we resist Existence, is through believing in thoughts. When we believe in thoughts, we believe a story about Existence rather than being receptive to what is – to the way it manifests here/now. We resist what is, because it does not – and cannot – conform to our story. And this resistance creates confusion and suffering.

When we are released from believing in the thoughts, we make ourselves available to Existence as it manifests here/now, in the seamless whole of the inner and outer world. And we can make ourselves available to this release through inquiring into the beliefs, or by experiencing ourselves as so much more than our thoughts. When we know ourselves as spacious awareness, and as a whole body/mind, thoughts just appear within the field of awareness. And when we stay in this field – this space around the thoughts – we can engage in them, or not, without being caught up in them.


This came up strongly during sitting this morning…

When we are fully receptive to Existence, when we fully surrender to Existence, we make ourselves available to all the gifts it offers to us. When we let go of resistance, there is a sweetness even in the pain, confusion and suffering.

And we see that there is really no separation. The outside and inside is a seamless whole, or rather – there is no outside and inside. We are enlightened by the ten thousand dharmas.


In any process towards healing (and awakening), deepening sincerity and honesty towards oneself is needed. When we can relax into what is – with all our fears, worries, tension, hangups, attachments, delusion, the pain triggered in ourselves and others by our actions – then it is allowed to transform and heal. As long as we deny it, there is a separation which makes healing difficult… Nakedness – just being a naked human being – is what we are invited into in this process… Just being who we are, allowing the filters of thoughts and ideas to drop… Surrendering to Existence, to what is – as it appears in the inner and outer world.

Nothing to Defend

As we inquire into beliefs – and awaken to the nature of mind – we are moving in the direction of nothing to defend.

When we are stuck in a particular view, there is rigidity, contraction and right and wrong. We are attached to and clouded by an abstraction. Our identity is fixed and limited. Buttons are pushed in everyday life. The nature of mind is covered up.

When we are free from stuckness, there is fluidity, openness, and multiple perspectives. We are free from believing in abstractions. Our identity is fluid and unrestrained. There are no buttons to push. The nature of mind is revealed as spacious clarity, as unfixed compassion and wisdom.

We are fully engaged in the world, clearly discerning and allowing choices to emerge, experiencing and acting free from any particular fixed view or identity.

Free of stuckness and stuck-upness, there is nothing to defend. Nothing to live up to. For any possible statement, we can say “yes, that is true of me as well”.

And as mentioned, this is a direction – something we taste and gradually live more fully. As long as mind functions through a human being, there is always room for improvement.