C.G. Jung: The shadow is the first manifestation of our future inner wholeness

THE SHADOW AND OUR WHOLENESS

The shadow is the parts of us that don’t fit into our conscious self-image.

It’s not an entity or anything like that. It’s just whatever is here where we say “that’s not me”.

For that reason, we tend to see it in others and not in ourselves. When we see it in others, we are often annoyed by it. We dislike it.

So what we dislike in others, and obviously in ourselves, is a manifestation of our own wholeness.

It’s a part of the wholeness we already are, it’s just not yet the wholeness we consciously recognize, embrace, and relate to as part of ourselves.

In that sense, the shadow – and anything that annoys us in others – is a reminder of what can be our own future conscious wholeness.

It’s the wholeness we already are. And it can be the wholeness we embrace if we have the receptivity and willingness to explore and embrace it.

We push it away because it doesn’t fit our self-image, and it doesn’t seem desirable to us. And, in reality, there are great gifts in it. It helps us find more of our wholeness. And the essence of it is always useful in our life.

AN EXAMPLE

What are some examples of this?

One thing that sometimes annoys me in others is being noisy. I see them as inconsiderate and unconscious.

When I can find that in myself, I see that I am often inconsiderate – for instance in my mind when I see them that way. I am often, and really always, unconscious. There is always a lot in myself I am not conscious of, and there is a vast amount I am not conscious of when it comes to others and the world. Most of what is – in the world, others, and myself – are things I inevitably am not conscious of.

When I have those thoughts about someone else, I am describing myself and I am describing myself as I am in that moment.

Also, how would it be for me to be more free to sometimes be noisy? Maybe it would feel liberating? Natural? Maybe I would find another side of myself I would actually enjoy, at least now and then?

Why is (what we discover through) awakening difficult to put into words?

What we find through awakening – our more fundamental nature – is notoriously difficult to put into words.

It’s not because it’s far removed. (Our nature is what’s most familiar to us and what we already are.) Or that it’s so amazing that words don’t do it justice. (It’s becomes very ordinary as we get more familiar with noticing it and living from it, although it’s also extraordinary.)

It’s because words have another function.

WHAT ARE WORDS?

Words are mental representations.

They are questions about the world. They are maps of the world.

They are made up of mental images and sounds. And when we hear or read the words of others, we have our own mental images and words that helps us make sense of them.

Words helps us communicate with ourselves and others. They even allow us to communicate with people we will never meet or people who live long after we are gone.

THE FUNCTION OF WORDS

Our experience is, whether we notice or not, as seamless whole. To us, the world – this human self, others, the wider world – is a seamless whole that happens within our sense fields.

To orient and function as human beings in the world, we need mental representations that splits this whole into parts. We mentally differentiate within this seamless whole in order to make sense of the world.

This helps us orient and function in the world, and also communicate with ourselves and others.

That’s the magic and amazing gift of words and mental representations in general.

THE LIMITS OF WORDS

At the same time, words and mental representations have their limits.

They cannot hold any final, full or fundamental truth for several reasons.

They are different in kind from what they point to. They are maps, and maps are not the terrain.

They are simplified representations. Reality is always more than and different from our ideas about it. And it’s also simpler.

And they are also guesses about the world. Sometimes educated guesses, and still guesses.

These are some of the limitations inherent in mental representations, including words.

There is another limitation of mental representations that is more to the point here. And that is that they differentiate within oneness. 

To ourselves, we are oneness, whether we notice or not. And the function of words is to split the world, not to represent oneness. 

That means they are not very good at describing what we are. They can point to it. They can orient us to notice it for ourselves. And they cannot describe oneness itself very successfully.

THE BEST WAY TO USE WORDS

The best way to use words is to recognize their function and limits. 

We can recognize they are questions about the world. They are provisional maps. 

They help us orient and function in the world. 

They cannot capture any final, full, or absolute truth. 

And when it comes to awakening, they can guide us to notice what we are. Either indirectly through various practices, or more directly through different forms of inquiry. 

UNDERSTANDING THE STORY VS NOTICING FOR OURSELVES

We can use words to – very inadequately – describe our nature

For instance, here is how I sometimes describe it:

My nature is capacity for the world as it appears to me. And the world as it appears to me – this human self, the wider world, and anything else – happens within and as what I am.

That’s the best I can do. These types of inadequate descriptions can be one of several pointers for others to find it for themselves, although more structured guided inquiry is far more effective and to the point.

There is also a drawback inherent in these types of descriptions. We can understand the words, at a conceptual level, and that’s different from finding it for ourselves.

A conceptual understanding doesn’t, in itself, lead to any transformation. And finding it for ourselves, and keeping noticing and exploring how to live from it, can be profoundly transforming – for our sense of fundamental identity, perception, how we live our life, and our human self and psyche.

At most, these types of descriptions are a good first step. They can wet the appetite for exploring it for ourselves.

And when we notice our nature for ourselves, we see that – or whether – the words fit.

Read More

Wholesome

The most recent episode of the Unmade podcast is a wholesome episode, and it seems that the hosts see “wholesome” as meaning saccharine and slightly patronizing and contrived. (Which is why I initially didn’t get through more than the first one or two minutes.)

I see wholesome a bit different.

DEFINITION OF WHOLESOME

Here are some definitions of wholesome:

1 : promoting health or well-being of mind or spirit. 2 : promoting health of body. 3a : sound in body, mind, or morals. b : having the simple health or vigor of normal domesticity.

And something about the origin of the word whole.

whole (adj.) – Old English hal “entire, whole; unhurt, uninjured, safe; healthy, sound; genuine, straightforward,” from Proto-Germanic *haila- “undamaged”, from PIE *kailo- “whole, uninjured, of good omen” (see health).

THE REVERSE – PARTIAL & DAMAGED

The reverse of wholesome is partial, unhealthy, and damaged.

If we have wounds, emotional issues, and hangups, and live from these, we tend to behave in a not so wholesome way. We may get caught up in anger, sadness, reactivity, compulsions, and so on.

If we are more healed and have found more of the wholeness of who and what we are, and especially if we relate to life in a more healthy way, we’ll tend to behave in a more wholesome way.

We can find wholeness in three general areas: as a human being in the world, as what we are, and perhaps most importantly in how we relate to life.

FINDING WHOLENESS AS A HUMAN BEING

I can find wholeness as a human being through finding healing for my emotional issues, hangups, wounds, and traumas.

And I can find wholeness as a human being through intentionally working on projections. Whenever there is a charge in how I relate to someone else, a situation, or the world – whether it’s attraction or aversion, I can explore what it points to in myself, and find and befriend in myself what I see in the wider world.

These two are related since thoroughly finding healing for emotional issues typically requires projection work.

FINDING WHOLENESS AS WHAT WE ARE

Human wholeness is one type of wholeness, and it’s not the whole picture.

I can find what I more fundamentally am than this human self.

I can find myself as capacity for the world, and what my field of experience happens within and as.

Here, I notice that any sense of boundaries comes from an overlay of mental images and words. They are not inherent in the world. To me, my field of experience – which includes anything relating to this human self and the wider world – is one.

And this is another form of wholeness.

FINDING A MORE HEALTHY WAY TO RELATE TO LIFE

Wholesomeness is ultimately about how we relate to life.

It’s found in how we relate to ourselves, others, situations, and life in general.

We can find ways to have a more healthy relationship with life.

We can do this even if we are not completely healed as a human being, and even if we don’t notice what we are.

And there is a mutuality here. Finding a more healthy way to relate to life supports healing as a human being, and it can make it a little easier to notice what we are and living from it. Similarly, healing as a human being and noticing what we are supports finding a more healthy way of relating to life.

WHAT IS WHOLESOME?

So what is wholesome?

For me, it comes from relating to life in a more healthy way, supported by finding healing as a human being and perhaps also noticing what we are.

Wholesomeness comes from a generally healthy way of relating to life, and it’s real and authentic.

Read More

Adyashanti: Experiencing many dimensions of being allows you to be more fluid

Experiencing many dimensions of being allows you to be more fluid and not be stuck in unity, fullness, emptiness, or the eternal.

– Adyashanti in The Fluidity of Consciousness

Yes, we cannot really prevent this fluidity anyway. And it’s far more interesting to allow it.

THE FLUIDITY OF WHO I AM

As who I am, as this human being in the world, I have innumerable parts and sides to me. Here too, it’s easier and more real and interesting to allow the richness of who I am and have some fluidity in what I access and even live from. Different situations call for different sides of me.

As a human being, the world is my mirror. Whatever stories I have about someone or something in the world, I can turn these stories around to myself and find examples of where they are true. This allows me to consciously recognize and embrace more sides of myself and find some fluidity in how I relate to them.

THE FLUIDITY OF WHAT I AM

As what I am, I also have several aspects. I can find myself as capacity for it all, which helps soften identification as anything in particular within the content of my field of experience.

I can find myself as what my field of experience happens within and as. Here, I find that my field of experience is one, and any distinctions come from an overlay of thought. This human self and the wider world happens within the same seamless field of experience. It’s one. And I find myself as oneness. This helps me shift out of my familiar identity as a human self with a wider world as other.

I can explore different facets or expressions of what I am. As oneness, I am also love – not a felt love but the love of the left hand removing a splinter of the right. I can find myself as the void allowing it all. I can find myself as wisdom – at least the wisdom of noticing what I am. I can find myself as the wisdom that comes when I examine when the mind gets caught up in a thought, and what’s more true for me. I can find myself as fierceness in cutting through my own delusion when it comes up. And so on.

THE FLUIDITY OF WHO AND WHAT I AM TOGETHER

Even when we find ourselves as what we are, we are still also this human self in the world. It’s just not our most fundamental identity. A big part of this is exploring noticing what we are while we live our human life in the world. How is it to live from that noticing in this situation? How is it to invite this part of me still operating from separation consciousness to realign within this noticing?

In daily life, noticing what I am is something more intentional and in the foreground, and sometimes it’s more in the background, especially if I focus on daily life tasks that require more attention. And as a human being in the world, different parts of me come up in different situations, either because the situation calls for it or because something unhealed in me got triggered.

There is a natural and inevitable fluidity here.

WHERE WE ACTUALLY GET STUCK

We don’t really get stuck in unity, fullness, or anything else. It’s not possible.

In reality, we get stuck in the viewpoint of a thought. We identify as it, and we seek temporary refuge in the viewpoint of a thought.

Why? Mainly because it helps us not face a particular fear – the unmet feeling of the fear, and the unexamined fearful thoughts behind it.

Even if we hold onto an idea of what we are, and perceive and live as if it’s true, we cannot make it true. We are still the wholeness of what and who we are, and there is an inherent fluidity in this that cannot be stopped. We only pretend we can.

EXAMPLES OF GETTING STUCK

Adya mentioned a few examples of where we may appear to get stuck.

Most people get “stuck” in their identification as a human being, and taking themselves to most fundamentally be this human being. Even here, there is some fluidity. What we are is still here, and we are familiar with it even if we don’t recognize what it is. We still find ourselves as it in some situations, for instance in flow states.

As a human self, we can get a bit stuck in certain identities – gender, age, nationality, political orientation, positions on all sorts of things, abilities, skills, better or worse than others, and so on.

When we get interested in what we are, we can get stuck in ideas about this too.

We can take ourselves as capacity for the world, and downplay oneness or our human life in the world. We can focus on oneness, and downplay capacity or the importance of distinctions. We can emphasize love and overlook the importance of being a good steward of our human life and set clear – and loving – boundaries.

When we get stuck in these ideas about who and what we are, it’s innocent. It’s understandable and natural. We are flailing a bit. We scare ourselves, and tell ourselves it’s safer this way.

EXPLORING FLUIDITY AND STUCKNESS

One way to explore the natural and inevitable fluidity in all of this is to notice the fluidity that’s already here.

As a human being, I am already far more fluid than any of my identities. I inevitably perceive and live from far more sides of me than I am consciously aware of.

As what I am, all the different aspects mentioned above – and innumerable other – are already here. I can notice and explore this too.

We can also explore this in a more structured way, for instance through the Big Mind process which is explicitly designed to help us discover and explore all these facets of who and what we are, how we relate to each one, what advice they have for us, how it is to perceive and live from and as each one, and so on.

And finding this fluidity is also a function of identifying and exploring any belief or identity we notice we have, for instance through The Work of Byron Katie or the Living Inquiries.

IS IT A PROBLEM TO BE STUCK?

Not really. It’s natural, understandable, and innocent.

It’s part of being human, and it’s part of the awakening process and exploring how to live from it.

As mentioned above, we cannot prevent the inherent fluidity in who and what we are. But we can pretend we are just or mainly something a thought tells us we are. And this is inevitably smaller and more one-dimensional than the immense richness and variety of who and what we are. We perceive and live as if we are less than we are, and that’s inherently uncomfortable.

Our three-part nature

When we find what we are and explore living from it, we may find we have a three-part nature. I mentioned this in a previous post and thought I would say a few more words about it.

What we are to ourselves

We may take ourselves to most fundamentally be this human self, but if we look, we may find something else.

We may find that to ourselves, we are capacity for the world, and what all our experiences – including of this human self and the wider world – happens within and as.

Three distinctions

There are three distinct things going on here.

In a conventional sense, and to others, we are a human being in the world. This is not wrong, it’s just not our most fundamental nature.

When we find our true nature, and we notice that all our experiences happen within and as what we are, we also notice that all phenomena to us are one. Any distinctions come from an overlay of thought. When it comes to our field of experience, we are all of it and also not fundamentally any of it. Said another way, we are the always shifting oneness, and not fundamentally any it.

And as capacity for the world, we are what it all happens within and as. This is our true nature.

When we find this for ourselves, we may see that all three are here and part of what we notice and live from and as. We find ourselves as a human being in the world, as oneness, and as capacity for it all.

The value of wholeness

Most people focus on just one of these aspects: who we are in the world. And that’s understandable, natural, and innocent. Although it does leave out some of the richness of the wholeness of who and what we are.

Some spiritual traditions and teachers (e.g. Neo-Advaita) tend to focus on another aspect: what we are, or even a part of what we are. As a human being in the world, they too have to live their life and take care of that life, but they sometimes downplay or minimize this in how they talk about it.

I like to embrace the wholeness of it. What I find is that I am capacity for the world. The world as it appears to me happens within and as what I am, as oneness. And in a conventional sense, and to others, I am a human being in the world.

And more

Any distinction comes from an overlay of thought, and we can make other, different, and additional distinctions depending on what we want to highlight.

For instance, as our true nature, we can find that we are awake no-thing and that this is what allows any and all of the experiences we have. This is something we can bring attention to and explore, and there are specific practices that help us explore this facet of what we are. Exploring this can be interesting since it is, in a sense, the polar opposite of the conventional view, and it can bring about shifts and transformation. It’s a place to visit and then return to the wholeness.

How do we find peace?

There are many ways to find peace. Here are some approaches I have found helpful.

We can create a certain life. A life that feels right, nurturing, and meaningful. A life where we have nurturing relationships. Meaningful work and activities. A life aligned with our values and what’s important to us. A part of this is to heal and mend – as far as possible – any challenging relationships.

We can invite in healing. We can invite in healing for parts of us not in peace. We can invite in healing for trauma and emotional issues.

We can reorient. We can learn to befriend our experience as it is, including the experience of lack of peace (!). In this process, we also learn to befriend (more of) the world as it is.

We can find ourselves (more) as our human wholeness. As we find ourselves as the wholeness of who we are as a human being, there is a sense of groundedness and peace even as life and thoughts and emotions goes on. This is an ongoing process, perhaps including body-centered mindfulness and projection work, and the peace is of a different kind.

We can explore our need for peace. If we feel a neediness around peace, what’s going on? Do we have stressful beliefs about living without peace? Do we have identities rubbing up against the reality of sometimes lack of peace? Is there a trauma or emotional issue telling us we need peace? Examining this and find some resolution for whatever may be behind a need for peace can, in itself, help us find more peace.

It’s stressful to feel we need peace and fight with a world that doesn’t always give us the conditions we may think we need for peace. And it is, perhaps ironically, more peaceful to find peace with life as it is.

We can live with (more) integrity. Living with integrity gives us a sense of peace, even when life is challenging. Living with integrity means to clarify and follow what’s important to us, and to live with some sincerity and honesty – especially towards ourselves.

We can follow our own inner guidance. Following our inner guidance – in smaller and bigger things – connects us with an inner quiet and peace, even when life is stormy. We can learn to follow our inner guidance through experience. And it’s also helpful to notice when we connect with our inner guidance and don’t follow it, and examine what fears and stressful beliefs in us made it difficult for us to follow it.

We can connect with the larger whole. This larger whole comes in three related forms. One is the larger whole of who we are as a human being (mentioned above). Another is the larger whole of the Earth and the universe. We can connect with this through Earth-centered practices, the Universe Story, and more. The third is what we are.

We can explore and get to know what we are. What we are is what our experience happens within and as. As we learn to find ourselves as that, there is a different kind of peace. The peace of being like the sky that clouds, storms, clear weather and anything else passes through.

Each of these is an ongoing process and exploration. It’s not a place we arrive at for good and don’t have to pay attention to again.

The kind of peace we find in each of these ways is somewhat different. In a sense, they complement each other.

As for how to find these types of peace, there are many approaches and I’ll mention a few here.

To heal, I have found parts (subpersonality) work, inquiry, heart-centered practices, TRE, Vortex Healing and more to be helpful. To reorient, I have found ho’oponopno, tonglen, and all-inclusive gratitude practice to be helpful. To find myself as my human wholeness, I have found body-centered mindfulness (yoga, tai chi, chigong, Breema) and projection work (inquiry, shadow work) helpful. To explore any neediness around peace, I have found inquiry to be helpful. To live more with integrity, it’s helpful to explore what in me (usually a fear, stressful belief, trauma) takes me away from living with integrity in any specific situation. To follow my inner guidance, it’s helpful to practice in smaller situations and likewise explore what in me (fears etc.) takes me away from it. To connect with the larger whole of the Earth and Universe, it’s helpful to use the Practices to Reconnect (Joanna Macy), Universe Story, and similar approaches. To explore what we are, I have found Headless experiments, Living Inquiries, and the Big Mind process to be helpful.

Photo: Flowers from Zürich ca. 2013.

What is wholeness?

What is wholeness?

There are several forms of wholeness, all part of the main form of wholeness.

There is the wholeness of what we are. We are that which the content of our experience happens within and as, whether we call this awakeness, consciousness, or something else. This makes our experience into a seamless whole, whether we notice or not.

As soon as the mind believes its thoughts and latches onto the viewpoints of some of these thoughts, there is an experience of fragmentation and it’s more difficult to notice what we are.

The process of what we are noticing itself is called awakening. And the process of living from this in more situations in our life is called embodiment.

There is also a wholeness of who we are, as this human self. Again, the wholeness is already here. And yet, there is also a sense of fragmentation since we tend to identify with some of who we are and disown or ignore other parts of who we are. The process of finding our wholeness as who we are is what Jung called individuation.

There is also the wholeness of the world and the universe. The Earth is one seamless living and evolving system. The universe is also one seamless evolving system. And we – as human individuals and species with our culture – are an intrinsic part of those systems.

Finally, there is the wholeness of all of existence. Whether we use a small (psychological) or big (spiritual) interpretation of awakening, we can say that all of existence is one. We can also say that everything is existence exploring, expressing, and experiencing itself.

How do we explore these forms of wholeness? I have written many articles on each of them but I’ll say a few words here.

To explore the wholeness of what we are, we can use inquiry (Headless experiments, Big Mind Process, Living Inquiries, etc.), often combined with meditation (basic meditation, quiet prayer, training stable attention), and perhaps mindful movement (yoga, taichi, Breema, etc.).

To explore the wholeness of who we are, we can use psychology (parts work, shadow work, projection work), bodywork, relationship work, and more.

When we explore the wholeness of Earth and the universe, we can use systems views and integral (aqal) maps.

And what about the wholeness of all of existence? It includes all of the above, although we can most directly explore it as we explore what we are.

Note: The examples of approaches above are just the ones I have found useful. What works for you may be different, and what I use in the future will probably also change as I discover other approaches.

Read More

Wholeness vs perfection

In our society, we are trained to strive towards perfection. There can be many benefits and gifts in aiming at improving our skills in different areas of life. And – as we all know – striving too hard for perfection has its downsides. We may never feel we measure up, and we are chasing a moving goal.

It can be good to balance this with wholeness. And that wholeness can be found in a few different ways.

One is a wholeness that’s already here. This is the wholeness of presence allowing our experience as it is. The wholeness of what we are. It’s wholeness since it’s all inclusive of our current experience. (Natural rest, shikantaza.)

The other is the wholeness related to identity. An identity that’s more open, flexible, and inclusive. And identity that adapts and grows from finding in myself what I see in others, whatever it may be. There is a wholeness here since it can grow to include both ends of more and more polarities, and there is a gradual deepening here as well. These polarities can be body and mind, spirit and psyche, good and bad, male and female, smart and stupid, and so on. (Shadow work, The Work, parts work, body-mind practices etc.)

A third is wholeness from our connections with the larger social and ecological whole, and how we see ourselves in relationship to this larger whole. A friendly relationship to this larger whole gives us a sense of wholeness. And our identity can also be permeable and inclusive enough to include this wholeness. (Practices to reconnect, universe story, the epic of evolution.)

The first of these forms of wholeness is part of the next two. When we notice our experience as presence, we also notice our human self and the wider world as presence. And there is a wholeness inherent in that presence.

Each of these forms of wholeness is already here, and they are waiting to be brought into conscious awareness. The first require noticing and resting with it. And they all require some engagement and work.

Read More

More or less whole in a relationship

Relationships sometimes make us feel more whole or less whole. And in that is the often seductively addictive and illusive nature of them.

Is this true for you? Are you really less or more whole in various relationships? Check it out.

– Lisa M. on FB

I know that I can experience myself more or less whole in different relationships, and also in different places and circumstances.

If I don’t already feel whole, I may feel more whole with some people, in some places, and doing some activities. And likewise, with others, I may feel more fragmented and less whole.

Is it true that I can be more or less whole? If I feel more whole, is it true I am? If I feel less whole, is it true I am?

What’s happening is that some people brings up my wholeness for me, and others brings up my sense of fragmentation. If it’s unquestioned, it really appears – and feels – as I am getting more whole with some people, and less whole with others. And that makes it especially painful when I lose people who brings up that sense of wholeness in me. I am not only losing that person, but my own wholeness. It feels like I am losing myself.

So this is an inquiry that can be very helpful in everyday life.

I feel more whole. Does it mean I am really more whole?

I feel less whole. Does it mean I am really less whole?

Is it true that the wholeness I am looking for is not here?

Love your enemies – as medicine

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. – Luke 6:27.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. – Luke 6:35.

Love your enemies. It sounds like a should, but it’s really medicine. It’s a prescription for finding wholeness and well being of myself, which in turn benefits those around me.

Who or what are my enemies? It’s anything in my world I don’t like. Anything I see as undesirable, bad, that shouldn’t be there. It can be an emotion, pain, discomfort, a person, an illness, war, delusion, a political party, noise, or anything else.

How do I find love for it? I have found these helpful:

I wish you love. I wish you ease. (Loving Kindness, Metta).

Tonglen. Ho’oponopono.

Holding satsang with what’s here. (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?)

All-inclusive gratitude practice. I am grateful for…. (Anything in my life, including and especially that which I don’t at first like.)

Placing myself in the heart flame. (When it’s something in me I perceive as an enemy.)

Christ meditation. Visualizing Christ at the seven points (in my heart, above and below me, in front and back of me, either side of me.) I sometimes also do this for others, and the Earth.

Inquiry into anything – any stories, perceptions, assumptions – that I use to close down my love for myself and others. Any stories of enemies. Any stories of love not being here. Any fearful stories about love.

What’s the effect of finding love for my enemies? For me, it’s a sense of wholeness and love for myself and others. A sense of coming home, and of deep well being and nurturing.

Why does this work? If life is love already, and we are life and love, then this is a way for us to come home to ourselves.

In a very real sense, love may be the medicine we are all looking for. If we had a choice, would chose to be free of a particular situation or illness, or find deep and genuine love for it? Perhaps a healing of our relationship to ourselves and the world is the healing we really wish for. (It’s not one or the other. We can find deep love for an illness, and still go to the doctor and follow her prescriptions. We can find deep love for a person, and still not allow him to hurt others if we can help it.)

Finding deep and genuine love for what’s here may even open up for our natural fearless wisdom and intelligence, allowing us to act with more kindness and clarity in the world.

Read More

Highly sensitive

As part of a spiritual emergency, it’s common for people to be highly sensitive – to the energies of other people, places, the land, food and more.

I have certainly experienced my share of it.

There is a gift in this sensitivity, since it provides us guidance (what to do, what not to do), it can give us insights and inspiration (for writing, art), and it can help us help others.

It can also be very challenging – and even painful – at times.

Here are some things I have found helpful:

 Recognizing the difference between the sensitivity, and my reaction to or relationship with it. The sensitivity itself is OK. It’s my reaction to it that sometimes is stressful and painful (and it comes from my own wounding and unexamined assumptions).

Inquiring into my stories about what’s going on, including the trigger and what’s triggered. Help myself see more clearly what’s really going on.

Finding in myself what I see as “out there”. Owning it. Embracing it. Healing and finding my own wholeness as a human being.

Taking care of myself. Allowing myself to leave situations that feel uncomfortable, if that seems the most kind choice. (And owning that I am doing so at least partly because I am not quite healed and whole yet.) For instance, if I sit next to someone on the train whose energy triggers something in me, I give myself permission to stand up and go somewhere else.

Spending time in nature. Healing physically and emotionally. Finding nurturing environments, people, activities etc. Find grounding psychologically (healing, wholeness) and energetically (nature, gardening, tai chi etc.). Allowing the soul level to work on me – through prayer and meditation – infusing my human self and inviting it to heal and find its own wholeness.

Wholeness

Heal (v). O.E. hælan “cure; save; make whole, sound and well,” from P.Gmc. *hailjan (cf. O.S. helian, O.N. heila, O.Fris. hela, Du. helen, Ger. heilen, Goth. ga-hailjan “to heal, cure”), lit. “to make whole”

The meaning of the word heal is to make whole.

How am I made whole, in my own experience?

I find wholeness through noticing the wholeness that’s already here. I can ask myself, is it true the wholeness I am seeking is not already here? 

I can also engage in activities that may help me notice the wholeness that’s here – a walk in nature, inquiry, Breema, TRE, a nurturing conversation with a friend.

Through this, I notice that the noticing or experience of wholeness can come into the foreground even in the midst of illness, unease or confusion. Wholeness can and does coexist with whatever is here.

There is also another way I can find wholeness, and that is through the “creation” of wholeness. I can take medicines, receive surgery, do therapy and so on, and in all these ways my body-mind may find healing and integration in a conventional sense.

The noticing of wholeness is at the level of what I am (that which all experience happens within/as) and also at the level of who I am (this human self). And the creation of wholeness/healing is at the level of who I am.

Read More

Morphine and finding right here

I received a couple of doses of morphine that interesting night at the ER, and I was curious about its effects. Mainly, it took the edge off the pain in a very effective way. And there was also a physical sense of warm and fuzzy wholeness.

The experience reminded me of the experience of body-mind wholeness (centaur) in general, and also of the shifts that happens when I do bodywork and work with projections. 

In all of those cases, there is a sense of wholeness, nurturing fullness, being home. 

There may be a shift from a sense of lack, neediness and being a victim, and into that sense of nurturing wholeness and fullness. (0ver time, the baseline tends to move so that shift may be more subtle.) 

When I explore it through the three centers, I find…

In view, there is a recognition right here of what I see out there – in the wider world, the past or the future. I see and feel it right there, in this human self. 

There is a more open heart, which in itself is nurturing and quietly joyful and satisfying. 

At the belly, there is a felt-sense of a nurturing fullness, nurturing all of me – body and mind – as a human self. 

Read More

It is gold, so why wait?

Here is a slight variation on a common topic…

Our stories create a limited identity for us, and to the extent we identify with it, we are at odds with reality.

There is an identity to justify, defend and prop up. Someone may see something in us that doesn’t fit, and we feel a need to defend against it. Or our human self may do something that doesn’t fit, and we feel a need to defend our identity there too. We are at odds with life as it is, and there is a sense of drama and struggle.

So whenever this happens, it is a great opportunity to notice our identification with a particular identity. We take the offended identity as true, but what is more true for us? What do I find when I explore it for myself.

Someone may say “you are …” (fill in the blank). I notice a reaction to it, a movement to defending an identity, and this is a sure sign that I identify with and take a story as true. There may be stress. Tension. Hurt. Defensiveness. Reactiveness. Getting caught up in stories.

And I can meet and explore this in different ways. I can allow and meet the experience, and the fear behind it. I can notice the belief behind it, and find what is more true for me. I can feel and see the characteristic in me, as a part of my human wholeness, and our shared humanity.

In each case, what I find is that behind the initial reaction, there is pure gold. I find another piece of my lost wholeness as a human being. I am released out of a false – and too narrow – identity. I find another aspect of our shared humanity right here. I experience more of the fullness of who I already am.

If I get caught up in defending the threatened identity, all the usual things happen. A sense of stress. Tension. Conflict. Separation. (To myself and others.) Getting caught up in obsessive thoughts. Hurt. And more than that, I miss out of pure gold. I miss out of finding a previously excluded piece of my own wholeness.

The only problem is that most of the time, I don’t know what people think about me. They just don’t tell, at least not if it is anything they see as unfavorable. I miss out of the gold because it doesn’t happen that often. So what can I do?

Fortunately, there is a way around it. I can use any statement that comes my way, no matter who or what it is about and where it comes from (including my own thoughts), and turn it around to myself.

How is it true for me? Can I find it right here? What happens when I inquire into the beliefs and identities preventing me from feeling and seeing it in my human self? What happens when I allow myself to feel and see it right here?

Whatever statement comes up, I can turn it around to find it in myself.

This process leads to a healing and maturing of who I am, as this human self. And it releases identification out of stories, which makes it easier for what I am to notice itself.

It is pure gold, so why wait?

Read More

Chased by our wholeness

I read about the hoop snake of North American folklore, which seems to have fascinated generations.The hoop snake bites its own tale, as the ouroboros, to form a circle and then roll down a hill like a wheel towards a hapless victim, who is then skewered on its tail.

We like scary stories with vivid imagery in general, and this one may have more to it as well.

The ouroboros is a universal symbol and reflection of wholeness, including the wholeness of who and what we already are. The wholeness of who we are, as a human being, independent of how fractured it may seem to us. And the wholeness of what we are, this awake emptiness within and to which all form arises, inherently absent of an I with an Other, and absent of beginning and end, outside and inside, and so on.

So how it is that our own wholeness charges after us and viscously skewers us on itself?

In general, whenever there is a sense of disturbance, it is our own wholeness calling us, and since we don’t like it (it is a disturbance after all), it can be experienced as being chased by it and skewered on it.

We are happy with our beliefs and identities, and life shows up outside of these beliefs and identities, inviting us to discover ourselves as more than and different from what we took ourselves to be. But since there is safety in the familiar, we cling to it and may even reinforce the apparent boundary between I and Other. Life doesn’t give up, so the disturbance persist. And the more we resist it, the more discomfort we experience, and the more the whole dynamic is experienced as being viscously chased and skewered by an Other.

The irony is that we are on both sides of the boundary, chasing and skewering ourselves.

We as the wholeness of this human self offer an invitation to discover ourself as more than what we take ourselves to be, outside of familiar identities. And we, as awake void and form, absent of I and Other, invite who we take ourselves to be to discover ourselves as already and always this awake void and form.

And another irony is that although a lot is happening in the world of form, nothing is really happening.

Everything happening within the world of form seems very real and substantial as long as we take ourselves to be form, and only form. But when this field of awakeness & form awakens to itself as this field, it is all revealed as the play of awakeness. It is all this awakeness appearing in temporary forms, while never stopping being just awakeness, insubstantial and inherently untouched by any forms it creates itself into.

A great deal is happening within the world of form, but since it is all the play of awakeness, from the view awakeness nothing is really happening. In the midst of everything happening, nothing really happens.