A more restful way

Since the CFS returned strongly a few years ago, it’s been clear that I not only need to rest but also find a more restful way to do whatever I am doing. This goes for daily life, spiritual practices, and also healing work.

The “old” way comes with a sense of effort, pushing, and “personal will”. The “new” way is more restful, more from presence, receptivity, and trust, and is more aligned with reality and oneness.

This is especially obvious when I channel Vortex Healing. If I slip into a sense of effort, doing, and pushing, it tends to overload my system. When I relax, trust, know it’s the divine doing it, and do it more from oneness, there is a deeper relaxation and although the energies stretch my energy system it’s not at all exhausting or overwhelming.

The current pandemic is highlighting this for me. I wish to do preventative sessions for family and friends and also work on those who may be infected (two friends so far). If I do this from effort, I quickly bump up against overwhelm in my own system which makes it difficult for me to channel. And that is a strong incentive and motivation to find a more restful way to channel, and one that’s more aligned with reality and oneness.

I have explored this sufficiently so I know – more or less – my way around it. I can shift into this more restful approach, although I do still need to pay attention.

It’s certainly also helpful for me to further explore any beliefs, identities, and issues connected with this. For instance, what do I find if I examine beliefs saying “I” am doing it or that I need to push or put effort into it? What identities do I find behind the “doing” and pushing? (Doer, the one who needs to be in control, the one who wants the credit etc.) What emotional issues do I find? What do I fear would happen if I am not the “doer” or if I don’t put effort into it or (subtly) push? (Nothing will happen, it won’t work as well, I won’t be in control.)

In this way, Vortex Healing not only highlights a pattern in my life I am invited to examine and perhaps shift out of. It also becomes a laboratory where I can examine what in me creates the pushing and where I can explore another way of approaching it.

I have already explored this to some extent in my spiritual practice. I have partly emphasized approaches that inherently are more restful (natural rest, basic meditation), and partly found a way to do practices in a more restful way – more aligned with reality and oneness.

And who knows, perhaps the chronic fatigue is an invitation for me to examine this in daily life – and life as a whole – and find a more restful way to live. I have already found more restful ways to organize my daily life and do physical things. Perhaps it needs to go further and deeper.

As usual, there is a lot more to say about this topic:

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A more real rest: healing & awakening

How do we find rest?

We can find rest in the ways most of us find rest. Lie down, unwind, sleep. Receive bodywork. Spend time in nature. Go on a vacation. Slow down. Reduce your schedule. Do more of what you really enjoy. Take a few courses in mindfulness and mindful movement (yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema).

For most people, this is more than enough. It gives us the rest we need.

And yet, some of us are called to a path of deeper healing and awakening. And although this path can be intense, uncomfortable, and overwhelming at times (when unhealed emotional issues surface and our most cherished and basic identities are threatened and die), it does eventually bring a deeper and more real rest.

Taking ourselves to be a separate being is inherently stressful. Protecting the identities we take ourselves to be as an I and me is stressful. And unhealed emotional issues are stressful, whether they are triggered and active or resting and creating a more background level of stress.

All of this creates a level of ongoing tension and unease.

So as we find deeper healing for our emotional issues, there is a release of this tension and stress. And as there is an awakening out of taking ourselves to be a separate being, there is an even deeper release of tension and stress.

This deeper path of healing and awakening isn’t really something we choose. It’s chosen for us by life. It’s a calling. And although it can be immensely uncomfortable at times (to the extent we have trauma in our system and strongly hold onto certain identities for protection), it does eventually bring a deeper sense of relief and a deeper release of tension and unease.

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Experience is already resting II ***

I wanted to write about this in a more simple and brief way:

Experience is already resting.

And yes, it can seem that experience is anything but resting. It can seem in movement, in tension, struggle, excitement, distress, even suffering.

All of that comes from velcro. It comes from sensations that seems “stuck” on images and words, lending them a sense of reality and solidity.

As this velcro softens or falls away, what’s here – this experience as it is – is revealed as resting, and already resting. It rested even when it appeared very much to not rest.

For instance, there is a (very real) sense of tension here.

Look at the word “tension”. Is that word in tension? [Yes, it seems to. It feels that way.]

Feel that feeling. Allow it completely, as it is. When you are ready, see if there are any images there – maybe a memory, body image, shapes, colors. [I see a picture of my upper body and throat in tension.]

Look at that image. Look at the colors and lines. Is that image in tension? [No.]

Rest with the feeling. When you are ready, look at the word “tension”. Is that word in tension? [No. It’s a word, a picture.]

Feel the feeling again. Rest with it. Is that sensation tension? [No, it’s a sensation.]

Here, the words, images, and sensations were initially “stuck” together and the tension seemed very real. After some looking and resting, I got to see that the word is already resting, the image is already resting, and even the sensation is already resting.

When it seems to not be resting, it’s easy to get caught in that appearance. It’s easy to get caught in the apparent tension. When the parts are revealed as already resting, it’s easier to more consciously align with it. It’s easier to rest with it, since it’s already resting.

Note: In most cases the process is longer and a bit more involved than here. I shortened it a bit.

Experience is already resting

It can seem that experience is anything but resting. There is movement. Seeking. Tension. Contraction. Suffering. Identification.

And yet, when I look, I see that what’s really here is different. I find that images, words and sensations already are resting. It’s only the velcro that makes it appear differently.

It’s only when sensations seem “stuck” on images and words that it appears that what’s here is not resting.

When the velcro softens or falls away, what’s here – these images, words, and sensations – are revealed as resting, and already resting.

With velcro, they may appear as anything but, and it’s easy to get caught in the tension, struggle, seeking, or pushing and pulling. (The appearance of which is created by the velcro.) Without, it’s all revealed as already resting. Even the words, images, and sensations making up the apparent struggle, tension, pushing and pulling, and suffering are already resting.

That makes it much easier to rest with it.

As with similar things, it’s about noticing what’s already here, which makes it easier to align with it more consciously.

For instance, I notice a sense of pushing or seeking in the throat and forehead. I rest with the sensation. Is that sensation pushing? Is it seeking? I notice an image of the throat and forehead. Is that image pushing? Is it seeking? I look at the word “pushing”. Is that word pushing? I look at the word “seeking”. Is that word seeking? And so on, examining whatever makes up the experience of pushing or seeking, one simple thing at a time.

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Need for rest

I have experienced an unusual need for rest over the last few years, following many years of being very active.

This shift is connected with what some would label chronic fatigue and a dark night of the soul. And, yes, I realize that those labels can be helpful for communication and navigating what’s happening, and they may also be limiting and stressful if taken as too solid and real.

Why this need for rest? There may be several answers.

(a) The body & mind is exhausted and needs rest to recover. This exhaustion may be due to previous years of high energies, both in form of kundalini and in a more everyday sense. And also living with and relating to what was unloved and unexamined in me…. being stressed by it, setting it aside, wrestling with it.

(b) It’s a time for healing. A time for being with myself, for loving and examining the unloved and unexamined. It’s a retreat. It’s nature’s way of ensuring I get time and opportunity to do this, since I didn’t chose retreat on my own.

(c) It’s an invitation for natural rest. For allowing what’s here as it is, allowing this field of experience as it is here & now. And finding myself as that which already allows it, and is it, this field of experience as it is in immediacy. Perhaps first in through rest in a conventional sense, and then living this also in activity.

(d) It may also be related to identifications. (i) As mentioned above, identifications themselves can be tiring. They can lead to stress, unease, struggle and more. (ii) Also, there may be a sense that rest – and perhaps fatigue, isolation – is safer than being active and exposed in the world. Rest becomes a form of protection. An attempt to protect the imagined self. (iii) There may also be beliefs about the fatigue itself and what it means, which can solidify or amplify the sense of fatigue and need for rest.

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Two forms of rest

I find two main forms of rest.

One is the conventional one, a resting and relaxation of body and mind. This is a relaxation of the human self, a relaxation within content of experience.

Another is the rest that’s already here, life (mind, awareness) already allowing what’s here. It is a rest since all is allowed. Any content of experience is allowed, including stress, tension, drama, relaxation, and more.

The first form of rest may make it easier for the second form of rest to be noticed, especially at first, although it’s certainly not required.

The second form of rest, or rather the noticing of this second form of rest, may allow the first form of rest, although that’s just a side-effect and not really the point.

And this second form of rest can be noticed and recognized and even realized to different extent. In the beginning, it may be more of a noticing. Then, the “center of gravity” may shift into this allowing and this natural rest, more and more. Until this rest awakens to itself, as what’s already here, independent of any content of experience.

At first, it may seem like a “practice”, sometimes we do at special times, and when it’s remembered. And after a while, it’s just a recognizing – and perhaps realization – of what’s already here, and there is more of a living from this in daily life.

Inquiry comes in here too, apart from just the noticing. What is it that seems to prevent this allowing of what’s here, as it is? What seems to prevent this noticing? What do I find when I look at it? What do I find when I explore the images, words and sensations that appear to prevent this allowing or noticing? This may also seem like a practice at first, something done at special occasions, and then it’s revealed as a more natural curiosity, and a natural and simple looking and feeling in daily life.

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Dark nights and rest

I have watched a couple of videos on the dark night of the soul, including this one, and am reminded that it’s called a dark night for a reason.

It’s not only because it seems “dark” when we fight against it, or things happen that appear undesirable to our old views.

It’s also dark night because – just as a physical night – it’s a time for rest, and finding rest through surrendering…. to love, trust, and what is.

Is it true I can’t find peace with what is? If I knew it would last forever, how would it be to find peace with it?

Is it true it’s easier to struggle with it? Is it true I can struggle with it?

Is it true it will last forever? Is it true something “went wrong”? Is it true I did something wrong?

Is it true I can’t find trust? Is it true life (God, Spirit) doesn’t have my best interest at heart?

Is it true that what I am looking for (peace, trust, love, self-love) isn’t already here?

This rest has a “passive” component, in the surrender.

It also has an active component. For instance, I can intentionally stay with sensations instead of going into stories (if that’s possible, and perhaps supported by inquiry). I can actively pray and ask for… surrender, support, guidance, to be shown the way. I can explore my views on what’s happening through inquiry. All this can be, in a very real way, part of the rest and surrender.

Also, as the video above reminds us, when a dark night of the soul comes to completion, it typically leads to a quite active and engaged life, and at that point, we may wish we had taken the opportunity to deeply rest during the dark night phase. Of course, it’s never too late. And we can find deep rest also in activity and an active life.

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I thought I would give a brief update here. There is still a lot coming up for me, of previously unfelt, unloved, unseen material, and it’s sometimes challenging and sometimes quite moving. It’s all coming up with an invitation for it to be met, felt, loved, seen as what it is – in form and as the same as everything. Things keep falling apart in my outer life as well, perhaps as a reflection of a dismantling of inner patterns as Barry suggests. It’s also because I get caught in what surfaces and live it out, to some extent, and what surfaces is sometimes quite wounded and very young.

Some practices I find helpful these days:

The Living Inquiries. I am in the LI training program, so do the LIs most days, and sometimes several times a day. I find it very helpful, and it’s an approach that makes it easy to explore what I previously have looked into through more traditional (Buddhist) sense field explorations.

Tonglen & Ho’oponopono. I use both of these on anything that my mind takes as an “enemy”, wherever in my world this apparent enemy appears – subpersonalities, physical symptoms, emotions, resistance, life circumstances, other people, a dream figure or anything else. It helps shift how I relate to and see these. There is a curiosity and a question in this. Is it really an enemy? Is my perception of it as an enemy as true as it first appears? What’s my perception of it as I continue exploring it through tonglen and ho’o? (Maybe it’s even revealed as – what a thought may call – awareness and love?)

Holding satsang. I also hold satsang with subpersonalities and whatever else is here (anything can be taken as a subpersonality). You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. What would satisfy you forever? What are you really? 

Heart flame. I find and fan the flame of the heart with my attention and gratitude. Then – in my mind – place my whole body and being inside of this flame, allowing it to burn away anything that’s not similar to itself (clarity, love). It burns away any trance, any illness.

Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). I continue inviting in neurogenic tremors, often throughout daily life – when I sit in a chair, stand waiting for the tea water to boil, lie in bed etc. Sometimes, I also bring something stressful to mind to invite tension around that to release through the tremors.

The Work. I sometimes use The Work too. Right now, I have to admit I am more drawn to the Living Inquiries, although I see them as equal and complementary. They are both forms of inquiry. They both invite beliefs to be seen through and soften or fall apart. And yet, the Living Inquiries work on images, body images, and sensations more specifically, which I find helpful now. It’s as if it more directly goes to a more primal part of the mind.

Rest. Whenever I remember, I intentionally rest, allowing any experience to be as it is. Noticing the sensations, allowing them as they are. Noticing the sounds, images and words coming and going. Noticing it’s all already allowed. This is an alert form of resting. More accurately, it’s a resting from being caught up in images and words. They come and go, and are noticed as objects instead of being identified with…. and taken as a subject, as what I am. This is also called Shikantaza, or natural meditation, and it’s part of the Living Inquiries.

Stable attention. I sometimes also take time to bring attention to the sensations of the breath at the nostrils, or at one nostril. This invites attention to stabilize, and it becomes more pliable and a support for any activity in life (and just being). I am just getting more back into this, and wish to do it more again.

Prayer. I pray for guidance. For seeing through the trance. (Victim etc.) For support seeing through the trance. For support in meeting what’s here with love. For support in any way that’s most helpful for me. For support in living from love and clarity. For support in giving my life over to God (Spirit, Christ, Buddha Mind) wholeheartedly. For support in meeting any fear in me with love and clarity. For my life being in service of life.

Additional. I have also done some EFT and TFT. I go for walks in nature.  I make sure to drink plenty of water, usually in the form of different types of herbals teas, so my urine is pale or almost clear. (This really helps with any sense of energetic stagnation in my system.) I take some herbs and similar things (chulen, rhodiola, eleuthero, echinacea). I get plenty or rest and sleep.  I do things that sparks my passion (photography, drawing, reading). I connect with friends. (As or more important than much else here.) And so on.

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Notes about meditation

It looks like I’ll teach (show, guide) meditation for a group of teenagers, so I thought I would go over the basics again here, as a reminder for myself.

There are three basic forms of meditation: Stable attention, rest, and inquiry.

Stable attention / samatha. Attention can be trained. Untrained, it may easily be scattered and unruly. Trained, it can become stable and pliable, and a stable attention is helpful for almost any activity in our lives – from relationships to sports to learning and working. One way to train it is to bring attention to the breath, for instance the sensations at the nostrils as the breath naturally goes in and out. Attention may wander, and when that’s noticed, bring attention back to the breath. The noticing happens as grace.

Rest / shikantaza. Allow everything to be as it is. Notice it’s already allowed to be as it is. Notice what’s here – the sensations, sights, sounds, smell, taste, words and images. It all comes and goes. It lives it’s own life. Rest and notice what’s here. Even notice any resistance or trying. It’s all happening within and as the field of what’s here. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do. Just notice what’s already here.

Inquiry / vipassana. Insights into what the mind is, and how it works. These happen, to some extent, through the two previous ones. And they also happen through guided inquiry or exploration. such as sense field explorations, the Living Inquiries, The Work, the Big Mind process, and also holding satsang with what’s here.

Mutual support. Each of these support the others. A stable attention makes it easier to rest and do inquiry. Familiarity with rest makes it easier to explore a stable attention and inquiry from rest. And inquiry gives insights – and a release of identification with words and images – that supports a stable attention and rest.

Support of life. All these forms of meditation are in support of life. And there are, of course, many things that supports both life and meditation. Physical exercise is one, including forms of yoga (tai chi, chi gong, Breema), endurance and strength. Precepts is another, guidelines for how to live our lives. These give a preview of how it is to live from more clarity, they shows us what’s left (fears and beliefs that prevents us from living from clarity and love), and they support an easier and more stable relationship with others and ourselves. Different forms of therapies can also be very helpful in allowing our human self to align with clarity and love.

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Deep rest

When I ask myself what would satisfy me forever, and ask the same question from subpersonalities, what I or the part long for surfaces.

And one facet of this is deep rest. (Other labels may be home, love, deep acceptance, trust, aliveness.)

How do I find this deep rest? How does it find itself? Here are some pointers that are alive for me now.

Open to what’s here. Open to the discomfort, unease, restlessness, what appears the most dense and dark.

Notice it’s already opened to, before any intention by “me” to open or close to it.

Holding satsang with parts of me. Welcome them. Ask them how they would like me to be with them. Recognizing their innocence, their protection of “me”, their devotion to me, their love for me. Meeting them with love. Asking them their function. Asking them who they protect. Inviting them to explore who they really are.

Asking myself, is this opening that’s already here other than what I am? Is it true that this capacity for what’s here is other than what I am?