Health crisis & shifting the center of gravity into my nature as a safety valve

Close to summer solstice 2022, I found myself with sepsis and in acute septic shock and rushed to the hospital.

WHAT HAPPENED

I was in Ski, having just returned from the Andes mountains. A tooth broke followed by a strong infection in my jaw and face. I received antibiotics from the emergency dentist. (This happened on a weekend.) It didn’t seem to do anything. That Monday, I went back to the dentist for more work on the tooth, and on my way back to the house, I blacked out.

Somehow I was able to walk the ten minutes back to the house, but I cannot remember anything about it.

I came back to consciousness naked on the couch in the basement of my parents house, sweating profusely, ice cold, and shaking so strongly it was close to impossible to use my phone to contact anyone. With a lot of struggle, I was able to leave a message for my wife (who was sick with covid in the guesthouse) and my brother.

My brother eventually came, didn’t seem to take it very seriously (he disappeared into the bathroom for what seemed an eternity and didn’t tell me where he was), and eventually took me to the emergency room.

They relatively quickly suspected septic shock, called an ambulance, and I was rushed to A-Hus in Oslo. They put ten or fifteen tubes and cables in me, informed me that my kidneys had collapsed, and put me under observation for 24 hours. After that, I stayed in a corridor in the infection section of the hospital for a week. (With people screaming and dying in the rooms I was outside of.) It was quite an experience.

I wrote about this episode in a couple of other articles: It’s all a bonus and My recent health crisis.

FEAR

Between regaining consciousness in my parents’ basement and receiving the diagnosis, fear came up. I realized something serious was happening. I had no idea what it was. I had fear of something seriously happening to me that would affect me for the rest of my life. And I also noticed that a fear of dying did not come up, that seemed OK.

GRATITUDE

I also had a profound gratitude to the nurses and doctors and the healthcare system in Norway. I could not have had a better experience. (Apart from the infection wing of the hospital being full due to a surge in covid, which has more to do with the priorities of politicians and voters than anything else.)

MY NATURE

It seems that the safety valve for my system is to shift the center of gravity more strongly into my nature.

During this whole process, I found myself strongly in and as consciousness. Consciousness was strongly in the foreground and whatever happened within and as consciousness – the symptoms, the events, the people, this human self, sensations, thoughts, and emotions – was all much more in the background. It was happening, but what it happened within and as was much more clear and strong.

That also happened when I had a heat stroke in Oregon several years ago. (Likely because my doctor told me to eat less salt, I was already eating very little salt, and it was a very hot summer.)

I also suspect it’s how the initial oneness shift happened when I was sixteen. My human self was under a lot of stress at the time (to an extreme and overwhelming level), and I suspect my system dealt with it by shifting the center of gravity into consciousness itself.

Initially, when I was fifteen, there was a shift into an observer-observed duality where I found myself as consciousness (without having those words for it) and the whole world – this human self, others, thoughts, feelings, and so on – seemed very far away.

A year later, there was a shift into all – without exception – as God. This human self, thoughts, feelings, ideas of being this human self, ideas of separation, and so on, was all recognized as the play of God, as God taking all those forms. That was the language and interpretation of this human self at the time. These days, I would say it in a slightly different way. There was a shift of the center of gravity into consciousness, into the consciousness I am, and all content of consciousness was recognized as that, as happening within and as the consciousness I am.

SHIFTS IN CENTER OF GRAVITY AND ATTENTION

That initial oneness shift stayed. The shifts have more been in how much in the foreground or background my nature is. I have gone through phases where it has been very much in the foreground – the first ten years or so, during a period when the no-self aspect was in the foreground, and I would also say now. And in daily life, it also depends on where attention goes – to my nature or specific content of experience.

SAFETY VALVE

In my case, the shift into my nature recognizing itself did definitely not happen because I was especially noble or into spiritual practice or had prayed for it or anything of that kind. It happened because my human self was so messed up and needed a safety valve, and – for whatever reason – shifting the center of gravity into my nature turned out to be that safety valve.

My human self had absolutely no interest in spirituality at the time, and even now, I prefer to avoid language related to spirituality as much as possible.

Image by me and Midjourney

Read More

Awakening as a safety valve

Why did the awakening shift happen when I was sixteen?

I am not sure. I hadn’t done any of the things that often go before such a shift. I had no interest in spirituality. I had done no spiritual practice.

What was happening was an unusual amount of teenage angst. It may have been strong enough so my system needed another way to deal with it, and that was where my system went most easily.

At my human level, and in my psyche, it got to be too much. So my system shifted from being identified with all of that to releasing identification with it and found itself as its more fundamental nature. As consciousness. As the consciousness all our experiences happen within and as. As the oneness all of it and the world to us happens within and as.

In that particular case, that was the safety value. And the stress and overwhelm at the human level were strong enough to propel my system into the awakening shift in a relatively strong and lasting way.

That’s the simple story, and it’s not quite as simple as that.

One year earlier, there had been another shift. A shift from the usual separation consciousness to a simple observer and observed duality. On January 1st, I experienced a fog coming in, as if I had cotton in my head. It was as if the world, including my human self and anything to do with my human self, was far away. Very far away. And “I” was the one observing it all. I went to my doctor and many specialists, and nobody could find anything wrong. It was quite distressing, and it really did feel as if something had gone very wrong.

And after almost exactly one year, between Christmas and New Year, there was another shift. This time into oneness. Into finding myself and any and all experiences as consciousness. Or, as I thought of it at the time, of God revealed as all without exceptions. God was this human self as it was everything. God was even the impulse to temporarily take itself as this human self, and then suddenly and out of the blue remember itself as all.

It’s not a glorious story. It’s messy and human. There is absolutely nothing there my human self can take credit for. And it seems to be one way our nature notices itself, or the divine remembers itself as all.