Conspiracy theories – why people get into them & a few more reflections

I see people getting caught up in things that – even if true – are typically far less important than what we know is happening in the world. We know our civilization is in the middle of a massive ecological crisis. We know our civilization is currently ecocidal and suicidal. We know we need a deep transformation to survive. So why choose to get caught up in something more peripheral?

I have written about conspiracy theories before and thought I would briefly revisit the topic.


Why have I taken time to write about conspiracy theories?

There are several reasons.

If a number of people are caught up in (poorly supported) conspiracy theories, it threatens our collective ability to make grounded and informed decisions.

Conspiracy theories generally distract us from far more important issues. What we know is going on in the world today – unraveling ecosystems, massive overuse of Earht’s resources, grotesque social inequalities, and so on – is far more important than what most conspiracy theories are about.

The phenomenon is interesting from historical, social, and psychological perspectives. It tells us something about how we function individually and collectively, including in times of crisis.

Analyzing conspiracy theories is a great way to learn history, psychology, valid reasoning, scientific methods, evaluating the solidity of data, and so on.

What I see in people, including those caught in conspiracy theories, mirrors something me. It mirrors dynamics I can find in myself. It won’t take the same form, but the same dynamics are inevitably here in me. It’s an opportunity for me to discover more about myself.

Questioning my judgments about conspiracy theorists helps me find clarity around those and similar thoughts, and find what’s more true for me. This helps me relate to myself, others, and conspiracy theories in the world in a more clear and effective way.


What are some of the conspiracy theories?

Here is just a small selection of the old, recent, or current ones:

Flat Earth. This ignores a huge amount of data that shows that the Earth is round, including people flying and sailing around the world, the curved horizon and things disappearing behind the horizon, the simple stick-and-shadow experiment of Eratosthenes that anyone can do for themselves, the shape of the shadow of Earth when it falls on the moon, the shape of all other large objects in space and what gravity inevitably does to large masses (make them round), and so on. It also ignores that a huge number of people will have to be in on the conspiracy, including pilots, sailors, astronomers, astronauts, and so on.

The Covid vaccine is designed to kill off most people in the world. It hasn’t happened yet, and there is no reason why it should.

Covid doesn’t exist. It’s a variation of a well-known type of virus. There is nothing about it very much out of the ordinary. Also, pandemics happen about once a century so this one was right on schedule. There was nothing surprising about a pandemic coming about this time.

The pandemic measures implemented by governments are designed to remove people’s freedoms and will not be reversed. These are common-sense pandemic measures that we know from history work. They are standard recommendations from epidemiology. There is nothing unusual or surprising about them. And there is absolutely no reason to assume they are anything but temporary. (Most if not all have already been removed.)

Climate change is not happening, or it’s not generated by human activities. What we see in the world today closely fits climate change models from the early 1970s. Nothing about it is surprising. The general physics is also simple: We collectively put a lot of gasses into the atmosphere that allow sunlight in, this light is converted to heat when it hits the Earth, and these gasses then trap that heat. That’s why they are called greenhouse gasses, it functions like a greenhouse.

The sexual allegations against Russel Brand are staged to discredit him since he speaks truth to power and is a danger to those in power. What he says is nothing new and nothing unique. It’s pretty banal and he is often missing the bigger picture. And no matter what, he is certainly no threat to the current system. There is no need to fabricate any allegations against him. Also, what happened was broadcast and captured on tape minutes after it happened. And fueling these kinds of conspiracy theories only makes it more difficult for women to speak up against sexual abuse, and it’s already more than difficult enough for them.

Vaccines are dangerous. This is perhaps not in itself a conspiracy theory but it’s often mixed in with them. Yes, of course, vaccines are dangerous. All medications are. Some bodies react strongly to vaccines, as they likely would to the actual virus, and they can get seriously ill or even die. Anybody who is minimally informed knows that. It’s a matter of weighing the risks and benefits and making up your own mind. Nobody is forcing you to do anything. It’s up to you to be informed and make the best choices for you.

The Covid-19 vaccine doesn’t work. Again, not exactly a conspiracy theory in itself but often mixed in with them. If you live in the uninformed illusion that vaccines always prevent a disease 100%, then I understand why you may see it that way. But in the real world, they definitely work. They prevent serious illness, which innumerable studies show. They protect the ones most at risk for serious illness and death.

Anti-woke views are similarly not a conspiracy theory in itself but are often mixed in with them. They come from the far-right and are adopted by some who generally have a left-wing or progressive orientation.

I know very well that any and all counter-arguments or counter-data to these conspiracy theories are expected by the ones into them and they have their own counter-counter arguments and counter-counter data. The question is, how solid is the logic? How solid is the data? Would it hold up in a court of law? If not, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong, but it may be good to examine it more closely and perhaps hold it more lightly.

Of course, some conspiracy theories turn out to be true. When conspiracies have been revealed in the past, it’s been through the work of diligent reporters and historians. And they have been uncovered through finding a good amount of solid data that can be verified by anyone.


What do I see in people caught in conspiracy theories? What are my judgments? What do I imagine is going on?

Here are some examples, and not all apply in all cases.

Some seem not very well informed about history. For instance, we know from history that times of collective crisis tend to fuel conspiracy theories. Pandemics inevitably lead to conspiracy theories. There is scapegoating and attempts to blame someone for the pandemic. There is denial – it’s not happening or it’s not as serious as people say. There is resistance to the common-sense measures implemented to reduce the impact of the pandemic. All of this is typical and predictable, and yet people repeat patterns from history without knowing that that’s what they are doing.

Some may go into conspiracy theories to feel better about themselves. They can tell themselves they know, while others don’t. They know something most others don’t. They see through the scam while others don’t. In this way, they can boost their self-esteem.

Some may prefer a simple answer over the complexity, unpredictability, and messiness of the world, even if that simple answer is a stressful story. They prefer to have someone to blame rather than admitting that a lot of problems are systemic and we are all part of it, or that life sometimes is just random.

Some may go into conspiracy theories because it fits their identity. They have created an identity for themselves as an outsider, against the mainstream, critical of power, and so on. Conspiracy theories fit into this, so they adopt them because they fit and reinforce their familiar identity. (Conspiracy theories become mainstream to them.)

Some may want to poke at the “elite”. Their main motivation is to go against the political, academic, and scientific community and get a reaction. That’s more important to them than reality and grounded arguments and data. Reactivity trumps reality. (They don’t bother doing the work to argue against the “elite” in a more grounded and solid way that actually could bring about more lasting change.)

Some may follow someone they trust. They may know and look up to someone, for instance, a media personality, teacher, or friend. That person goes into it. So they go into it too.

Some may have a desire to split apart communities. For whatever reason, they seek to split apart families, friend groups, organizations, and even whole countries. This may come from reactivity. It may be a strategic political reason. Or a combination.

Some may paint themselves into a corner, and find it difficult to back out. They may realize, at some point, some of the craziness of the conspiracy world, and they find it difficult to leave. They would have to leave a community. They would have to admit they allowed themselves to be duped. They would have to admit they based it on poor data and reasoning. They would lose a certain identity. And so on.

Some may not be very familiar with the dark side of how the world works. They take little pieces of information that are new to them and blow up their significance. They don’t see it in perspective and the bigger picture. For instance, corporations and commercial media are obviously in it for profit. That doesn’t mean they are part of some grand intentional conspiracy to mislead people. Biases and misleading people inevitably happen anyway for a variety of reasons.

Some want to blame individuals and organizations instead of looking at our systems. A lot of what’s happening in the world comes out of the way our systems are set up. There is no need for individuals and organizations to do anything intentionally to make it happen. For instance, our economic system was set up at a time when nature was – for all practical purposes – limitless. With our current numbers and technology, this system is inevitably destructive to nature and suicidal to ourselves. Similarly, our social system (politics, economy, education, etc.) is set up to largely preserve the status quo, including the privileges of the already privileged. That’s how any system works. No grand scheme is needed. (And all of it can and will change, that’s inevitable too.)

Some may wish for community. They find a community of like-minded conspiracy folks. They feel they belong. They feel seen and understood. (Even if the seeing and understanding are mostly just people reflecting conspiracy theories back to each other.) They have an outer enemy which reinforces and justifies their community and cohesion.

Some may go into conspiracy theories for entertainment, either consciously or because they are compelled to seek entertainment (and distraction from something in themselves or their life). They like the sense of discovery, drama, and excitement.

Some may feel their mind has been opened up to things outside of the “mainstream”, so they get into anything outside of what they see as mainstream. They don’t realize they have joined a new mainstream.

Some base their arguments on weak data without realizing how weak the data is. They latch onto outlier data and assume these are true while 99.9% of other research and data are not. They ignore that outlier data exist in all fields of science and that these are 99.9% of the time based on faulty data and interpretations. Or they find articles that sound and look scientific but are written by non-experts in the field and published on questionable websites and then pretend these are more solid than research and articles done by experts and published in reputable journals.

Some seem unfamiliar with valid reasoning and logical fallacies. They typically commit a series of well-known logical fallacies in their reasoning. For instance, some said that limited and common-sense pandemic measures (that we know work from history) are a violation of human rights. Human rights have nothing to do with wearing a mask or quarantining yourself if you are sick. You already accept a large number of guidelines and laws created to make our society work. These are just a few minor and temporary ones, so why get upset about them?

Some use pieces of information from science without understanding how little they understand. They pick up bits and take them as solid data or solid logic because they are not familiar with the bigger picture. They are not experts in the field. They don’t know how to examine data well. They don’t know how to detect fallacies in the arguments. They don’t examine the source well enough. They don’t have the maturity in the field to realize how little they know. In short, they assume they understand more about a field than experts who have devoted decades of their lives to it

Some may not be aware of the inconsistencies in their views. If they need their car repaired, they go to a car mechanic. If they need a kidney transplant, they go to a kidney specialist and surgeon. If they need a bridge designed and built, they go to an engineer. And yet, when it comes to whatever their conspiracy is about, they suddenly distrust a whole field of experts. They don’t trust climate scientists if they are into a climate change conspiracy. They don’t trust epidemiologists about pandemics. They don’t trust geographers (and many other fields of science) if they think the planet is flat.

Some may start with the conclusion. They fit whatever comes up into their existing conspiracy worldview. For instance, someone pointing out weaknesses in their logic is obviously brainwashed or part of the conspiracy.

Some seem to live in an apparently horrific worldview. For instance, how do you experience the world if you assume that normal airplane condensation trails are meant to poison people? (And that pilots, airlines, and so on are in on it.) Or if vaccines are meant to kill people? (And again, where a large number of people are in on it. In this case, diverse governments around the world, WHO, pharmaceutical companies, and perhaps even doctors and nurses.) What kind of world is that? What kind of view do you have on humans?

Some may not personally know the types of people they have conspiracy ideas about. If they knew more of these people, they would probably realize that they are people just like them, and most of them would never agree to be part of anything like it. It’s easy to project the shadow onto a mostly blank slate, and far more difficult if you actually know these kinds of people. (And these kinds of people are the normal kinds of people, like you.)

Some don’t realize the immense privilege they have, and that the privilege allows them to go into certain views and conspiracy theories. For example, we live in a society (relatively) free of many serious diseases because of vaccines. And the people currently holding anti-vaccine views benefit hugely from decades of vaccines without apparently realizing it.

Some may be caught up in blind shadow projections. They imagine terrible things in the world without recognizing it’s a projection. They don’t recognize the characteristics and dynamics in themselves. (Of course, it’s often in the world too, one way or another, although perhaps not exactly the way we imagine it.)

Some may use conspiracy theories as a distraction. They get into conspiracy theories because they are compelling and distracts them from their own discomfort and what they don’t like about their own life.

Some may use conspiracy theories to intentionally mislead others. Either because it gives them some personal satisfaction. Or as a more intentional strategy to confuse a social issue and create division between people. (Sowing doubt is often effective in preventing or slowing down collective action. We see that with climate change, as we saw it with the tobacco industry a few decades ago. Polarizing a population is an effective way to weaken a country, as we see with Russian troll farms targeting the US and Western democracies.)

Several conspiracy theories and certain related views (anti-vaccination, anti-pandemic measures, anti-woke, etc.) start at the far right and are then adopted by people with a traditional left-wing or progressive orientation. This is well known, and people still adopt these views as if they don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know that they, in many cases, are intentionally being duped and manipulated. (See “Everything you have been told is a lie!” Inside the wellness to fascism pipeline,
The dark side of wellness: the overlap between spiritual thinking and far-right conspiracies, and other articles on this topic.)

Finally and more to the point, I see people getting caught up in things that – even if true – are typically far less important than what we know is happening in the world. We know our civilization is in the middle of a massive ecological crisis. We know our civilization is currently ecocidal and suicidal. We know we need a deep transformation to survive. So why choose to get caught up in something more peripheral?


The question then is, how does this mirror me? How and when do I do the same?

The short answer is that I can likely find all of this in how I see and relate to conspiracy folks

Just writing this list helps me recognize when I do something similar.

I have done more systematic inquiries, mostly using The Work of Byron Katie, and plan to do more.

Images: Created by me and Midjourney with the exception of the cartoon

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Psychology 101: My culture is inside me

Throughout my daily life, I notice parts of me responding to situations, people, and trains of thought. Mostly, these parts respond with judgments. They are not aligned with my “global” or conscious view. And they come from my culture.

I notice them. Flash on where they come from. Notice what’s more true for me. And they are gone.


As mentioned, these thoughts are mostly judgments.

She is fat. (And that’s bad.) He is ugly. (Bad.)

She is young, slim, and attractive. (Good.) He is well dressed. (Good.)

If I eat fast food, I am one of those people. (Bad.)

They are at that restaurant, so they must be sophisticated. (Good.)

He is Muslim. (Dangerous.) She looks unkept. (Not good.)

And so on.


So why does this happen?

It’s because we learn from others. Our mind absorbs whatever is out there in the culture – from family, school, friends, media, movies, books, lyrics, and so on.

And the more often we are exposed to it, and the more charge it has (even if we just see it having charge for the other person), the more likely it is to go in and come up again.

The job of our mind is to absorb it all and then give it back to us whenever it’s relevant. (And sometimes when it’s not obviously relevant!)

It’s natural and essentially innocent.


Although if we join in with these thoughts and act on them, that can be quite harmful to ourselves (psychologically) and others (in life and society).

So it’s good to find a more conscious relationship to these dynamics.

I can notice these thoughts and reactions in me.

And I can find what’s more true for me than the stereotypes these thoughts typically reflect.

I can relate more intentionally to the way different parts of me respond to something.


There is a bigger picture here.

The world is my mirror. Whatever characteristics and dynamics I see “out there” in others and the world are also here in me. They may be expressed in different situations and in different ways. And the essence is the same. (For instance, whenever I react with aversion to someone or something, the essence of that reaction is often the same as what I am reacting to. I am doing the same as what I see out there in that moment.)

And it’s all happening within my sense fields. To me, others and the world happen within and as my mental field and sometimes my other sense fields. It’s happening within and as what I am. It’s happening within and as the consciousness I am. “Out there” is really “here”. “He she it they” is really “me”.


I like to use simple and ordinary language and avoid jargon, but I want to mention a couple of things.

This is often called internalization. We internalize our culture and it lives on in us. It’s how culture is passed on and it’s how we can have a culture in the first place.

And it’s also what Freud called the over-I or – through mistranslation – the superego. The essence of his insights is often valuable, although some of what comes from him are specific to his own culture, and there are simpler and more effective ways to do therapy.

Note: After writing this, a video on this topic popped up on YouTube. From 1-10 how racists are you (Cut). It’s good to see that many these days are aware of unconscious biases that we pick up and learn from the society we live in, and actively seek to be aware of them and counter them.

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The world in me

There are – at least – two ways the world is in me.

And I can find both here and now in my own direct experience.


If someone asks me if I feel or experience something, I almost always can find it and say “yes”. (And in the past, before I learned to not assume that everyone understands this, that has gotten me in trouble.)

Why is that?

It’s because I find that my psychology has innumerable parts. Whatever I see in the world, I can find in myself here and now.

There is always one part of me that has the characteristics I see out there. There is always one part that right now is experiencing what I see out there. It may not be very strong but it’s there, and it’s there at the very least as a potential.

I discovered this first in my teens, and since then daily and over and over.

And it also makes sense. If I imagine a characteristic or experience in someone else, it’s because I can connect with it in myself here and now. I am already connecting with it as soon as I imagine it in others.

Sometimes, what I see out in the world may be somewhat unfamiliar to me. I am not used to finding it in myself, and then the exploration may have to be a bit more thorough and detailed. Sometimes supported by a form of structured inquiry like The Work of Byron Katie or the Kiloby Inquiries.

So the world mirrors me. I can find what I can see in the world in me here and now.


There is also another way I can find the world in me. And that is to see that the world is literally in me.

In one sense, I am a human being in the world. That’s not wrong. And when I look more closely, I find I more fundamentally – in my own first-person experience – am something else. I find I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.

I can also find this by examining my sense fields. I notice what’s in each sense field. (E.g. sound, smell, taste, sensation, thought.) I notice that any experience happens within one or more sense fields. (And that the sense fields are all one, the distinction between them happens only in my mental field.) I find that the world, to me, happens within and as the sense fields. I find that the world, to me, happens within and as what I am.

Said another way, and a little more from the logic side, to myself I am consciousness. If I think “I have consciousness” it means that to myself, I am consciousness. And that also means that the world, to me, happens within and as consciousness. It happens within and as what I am. It happens within and as the oneness I am.

When someone says “I am not in the world, the world is in me” or talks about “oneness”, then that’s something I don’t need to take anyone’s word for. I can find it here and now in my own direct noticing.


This is about noticing what’s already here. Nothing needs to be fabricated. We don’t need to tell ourselves any stories about it, or rely on or trust those stories. We can find it here and now.

Our imagination may tell us we are separate. We may have images of ourselves as separate, and those images are inherited from our parents, teachers, and ultimately the culture we live within. We are told we are separate, and that we most fundamentally are this human self, so in our innocence and from our kind heart, we take it on. We do as others do. We learn to pretend that’s how it is.

And that has consequences. We naturally feel somewhat isolated, alone, separate from others, perhaps separate from our body and nature, we learn to be defensive, and so on.

Noticing that the world is in me, in the two ways mentioned above, and noticing it here and now, also has consequences.

Using the world as a mirror helps me get in touch with more of the natural richness I am. It opens up for recognizing in myself what I see in others in more situations, and that opens for a natural empathy.

Finding the world in me helps me see I am not most fundamentally this human self. It helps me relate to any content of experience a little more consciously. It helps me live a little more from this noticing and from the oneness I am.

Mostly, this noticing is a kind of seed and who knows what comes out of it. There are no formulas here. It’s an adventure. It’s something parts of us already and naturally are curious about and even fascinated by.

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Odysseus & Calypso

I read many of the classics from around the world in my teens and twenties, and have not been able to read much the last ten or fifteen years because of brain fog (CFS). It’s been a blessing, in many ways, to not be able to read much. I used to read between one and three books a week – mostly within psychology and mysticism – and it was a big part of my identity. Now, I have to find who I am without that identity, which is another adventure. And it’s also an invitation to stand more on my own two feet without too much input from books and talks.

That said, I am reading a few graphic novels these days since it’s easier for me. Right now, it’s The Odyssey illustrated by Gareth Hinds.

Any story is a reflection of dynamics in ourselves and our lives, and so also the story of Odysseus and Calypso. She is an immortal nymph who fell in love with Odysseus. She kept him captive while promising him immortality and freedom from the suffering of sickness, old age, and death. Zeus ordered her to allow him his freedom. And given the choice, he chose to go back to his wife. He chose to abandon immortality, knowing that he would have to experience no end to struggles and sorrows, including old age and death.

What does this reflect in me?


In terms of the awakening process, we can understand this in (at least) two ways.

He found his nature. He discovered himself as what the world, to him, happens within and as. We can call this immortality in the sense that it’s what time and change happens within and as. It’s the timeless we always are, whether we notice or not, and no matter what happens with this human self over time.

The first way to understand the Odysseus & Calypso story is that he abandons the commitment to noticing and living from a conscious noticing of his nature. He goes back to the exclusive identification as a human self in the world, and noticing his nature becomes a memory.

That often happens, and it’s not wrong or bad. Our nature remains the same, whether we notice it or not. And it sometimes happens for a while and we are moved to keep exploring our nature again.

I find the other way to see it more interesting.

Here, Odysseus chooses to embrace his humanness more fully without abandoning a conscious noticing of his nature. The oneness we are notices itself and lives from and as that noticing. And yet, there is also a more full embrace of our rich, messy, and flawed human life.

This is often a sign of maturity. It appears we have a choice to remain mostly identified with and as our nature, with and as Big Mind. And we chose to abandon that identification and instead embrace all of what’s here including the flawed richness of this human and his or her life in the world.

And it’s not really a choice.

The oneness we are may identify exclusively as this human self. Then, it discovers its nature and identifies with and as a partial image of its nature. (Out of habit and out of a habitual impulse to protect itself against discomfort.) And then that identification has to go, and we have to find ourselves more nakedly and raw as what we are and what’s here, and that very much includes anything and anything that’s part of our human self and life in the world and in time.

It also and especially includes what’s part of this human self and our life that our personality doesn’t like. That too is part of the wild richness of what we are. That too happens within and as the oneness we are. That too happens within and as the timelessness we are.

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The outer is (also) inner

This is one of the Life 101 topics many talk about.

The outer is (also) the inner.


The outer world – and the dynamics we experience with others – reflect something in us.

We have the dynamic in ourselves, and we have what we see in others in ourselves.

For instance, we may have an identity as a victim. We see ourselves as a victim of others, situations, life, or even God. That’s one side of it. And the other side is that we also have a victimizer in us. We have a part of ourselves that play the role of the victimizer. Otherwise, we wouldn’t and couldn’t feel like a victim. We couldn’t maintain that identity over time and through various situations, including when the outer victimizer is not present.

In a practical sense, that means that if I work on finding healing for (my relationship with) the victim in me, I also need to work on finding healing for (my relationship with) my inner victimizer. I need to notice and get to know each, find healing for my relationship with each and their dynamic, and possibly also invite healing for both of these parts of me.

This is the conventional view: The world is a mirror. Whatever we see in the outer world is also in us. Whatever story I have about others or the world, I can turn that story to myself and find genuine and specific examples of how it’s valid.


There is another layer to this, and that is that it’s all happening within and as what I am.

My mental field creates an overlay of mental images and words that makes sense of the world for me. This overlay is where any and all labels and stories happens. All my interpretations happens here. And it’s all happening within my mental field. Any ideas of victimizer and victim, and any ideas of inner and outer, you and me, and so on, happens within my mental field. And I can notice this in real time as it happens.

Also, in one sense, I am this human self in the world. That’s an assumption that works reasonably well. And when I examine what I am in my own first-person experience, I find something else. I find I more fundamentally am capacity for the world and any content of experience. And I find that the world, to me, happens within and as what I am. Any content of experience happens within and as what I am.


So there are several layers to this.

The world is a mirror. Whatever I see out there is also within me, including all the roles and identities I try to exclude. Those too are here. I have an inner victimizer as much as I have an inner victim. And that goes for any and all of the polarities I see in the world.

My interpretation of the world – labels, stories, and so on – happen within my own mental field. It’s all created by my mental images and words to make sense of the world. It helps me orient and function in the world. So any stories about victimizer and victim, and anything else, happens within my mental field. (That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen “out there” in the world as well, just that my stories about it are mine.)

To me, the world – and any content of experience including of this human self – happens within and as what I am.

All of this are things I can explore for myself in my own immediate noticing. It’s all something I can notice here and now, in real time since that’s the only place it happens.


How can we explore these layers?

Personally, I explore the mirror dynamics through projection work, including The Work of Byron Katie.

I get to know the mental field through examining my sense fields and how they interact, for instance through traditional Buddhist inquiry or modern versions like the Kiloby Inquiries.

And I find myself as what it all happens within and as through inquiries like the Headless experiments and the Big Mind process.

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Recurrent dream: Russian invasion

Over the last few months, I have had several dreams on the same theme: I am in Norway and Russia is attacking with rockets.

This obviously connects with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which I have followed in the media and which has impacted me as it has most others in Europe.

Consciously, I don’t really have fears of Russia attacking Norway. (1)

So what are these dreams about?

They may tell me that I have stronger fears than I am consciously aware of or want to admit to. Consciously, I don’t see any attack as realistic, and at some level I may still have fears I am not aware of and that the dreams invite me to get in contact with.

There is also a small chance they are premonitory. (2)

And the world is my mirror, independent of all that. The world and my dreams mirror parts and dynamics in me. Whenever I go into a belief, I go to war within myself. I go to war with reality and I tend to go into reactivity, defense, blame, and so on.

For instance, whenever I believe something about my partner, and especially something obviously painful, I go to war within the relationship whether it comes out in an obvious way or not. (Usually, it does eventually so I get to see it more clearly.)

So the dreams may reflect a fear I am not fully aware of or admit to. They may be premonitory, although I wouldn’t put money on it. And they definitely reflect wars within myself that happen as soon as I attach to stories as true, which is especially clear with obviously painful stories.

Holding any story as true, even the most apparently benign ones, is ultimately uncomfortable and painful because it’s at odds with reality. It’s a kind of war that comes with defense, attacks, suffering, and so on.


In the recurrent dream, I am outside the house on the southwestern side. Earlier today, I was outside on that side of the house, and a fighter jet flew low over the house from the southwest to the northeast, just like in the dreams. It was a strange experience and a kind of synchronicity, although I don’t know what it’s about if anything. It’s very rare to see fighter jets here.

These days, with a continued weakened Russian military, any kind of conventional war between Russia and NATO seems less likely than ever. And it also seems very unlikely that Putin would use nuclear weapons since it’s clearly suicidal. (Although his rationality and connection with reality is questionable.) So that makes any premonition seem even less likely than it was.

So why the recurrent dream, and this real-life mirroring of the dream?

There may be something here I am still not seeing. For instance, I often experience a kind of invasion from someone in my life (who wants to dictate my behavior and even internal state so s/he can be more comfortable and not have their own issues triggered). It’s something I tend to dismiss or downplay in my own mind. Maybe these dreams are inviting me to notice it and take it more seriously and do something about it.


(1) It wouldn’t make much sense. (Although the invasion of Ukraine also didn’t make much if any sense, at any level, so that’s not really an argument.) They don’t have conventional military resources to engage in any successful invasions and especially not NATO countries. (In terms of conventional weapons and military, Russia is a mosquito compared to NATO and wouldn’t stand a chance.) If they were to attack targets in Norway, it would mean that WW3 had already started. And it would probably mean the use of (at least smaller) nuclear weapons.

(2) My whole life, I have had dreams of things that later happened – sometimes years later. (For instance, a dream in my teens of living in Oregon, which happened fifteen years later. A dream of living in Latin America, which happened maybe three decades later. A dream of my cat being killed in an accident, which happened a week later. And so on.) By invading Ukraine, Putin and Russia created a volatile situation that can escalate and eventually involve NATO – and Norway – more directly.

It may not be that Russia literally will fire rockets toward the Oslo area. That seems very unlikely. But the rockets in the dream may be more metaphorical and suggest a more direct involvement of NATO and Norway.

I should mention that when the war started in February, I had an unusually bad feeling about it. I had a sense that it would (or could) have worse consequences than most suspected. (I wrote about it back then.)

That feeling rarely happens, and when it does – about world events – it’s often accurate.

When I checked in more closely with my sense, at the beginning of the war, I saw a kind of black cloud moving out from Ukraine and towards the west into other countries. At the time, I want sure what it cold be. And later, I realized it may best fit radiation from a damaged nuclear reactor. I hope that will not happen.

Grounding speculations in what’s here and now

Some stories are clearly speculation. For instance, any kind of cosmology, ideas about an afterlife or spiritual entities, and so on.

And yet, there is a way we can ground it in what’s here and now.

We can use these stories as a mirror. We can find what they point to here and now in ourselves.


How can we find the stories here and now?

The most immediate way is to find them in our mental field.

What are the mental representations I have that make up the story? What are the mental images? The words? How is it to rest in noticing the mental images? How is it to rest in looking at (or hearing) the words?

We can also take this a step further.

What are the physical sensations associated with these images and words? Where do I feel it in my body? How is it to rest in noticing those sensations? How is it to notice them as physical sensations?

What other images and words come up? What are the associations? How is it to rest in noticing these?


This can seem obvious. Of course, any story happens as mental representations and in our mental field. And yet, a part of us don’t always know it. A part of us confuses the mental representations for what they point to. And that’s why it can be very helpful to consciously notice these mental representations, recognize them for what they are, and rest in that noticing so our system can take it in.

Any time a story has a charge for us, it’s because our mind associates sensations with the story. These sensations lend a sense of charge to the story, a sense of solidity and substance. And the stories give these sensations a sense of meaning. When we rest in noticing the mental representations as mental representations, and the sensations as sensations, we see through the illusion. We recognize the stories more easily as stories and the sensations as sensations. And we confuse the stories less with reality.


We can also use the stories as mirrors.

What’s the story? What do I find if I turn it to myself? Can I find specific and genuine examples of how and when it’s true? (The Work of Byron Katie.)

Through this process, we also ground speculations. We find what they point to here and now and in ourselves.


To the extent I see and feel in myself something I see in others and the world, there is less sense of I and Other on this topic. There is more of a sense of being in the same boat. There is more of a sense of our shared humanity.

This also means I am less reactive about it. If I only recognize a characteristic in others and not myself, or the other way around, I tend to be caught up in issues and reactivity around it. And when I recognize it both there and here, I have more space for relating to it more consciously. I am able to act more from clarity and kindness and less from reactivity.


There is another useful step here.

And that is to notice my nature and that these stories and any content of my experience happen within and as my nature.

In a conventional sense, I am a human self in the world. Is this what I most fundamentally am in my own first-person experience? What do I find when I explore my own immediate experience?

I find I am more fundamentally capacity for the world. My nature allows any and all experiences.

I find I am what the world to me happens within and as.

These stories, what I imagine they point to, and what this brings up in me, happen within and as what I am. To me, my nature is their nature.


What’s the effect of recognizing the shared nature of myself and these stories and what they point to and anything that brings up in me?

To the extent I notice and allow this noticing to work on me, there is even less of a sense of I and Other, and it’s easier to recognize my mental representations as mental representations. And this gives even more space for relating to it all more consciously, from less reactivity, and with more clarity and kindness.


Here are some general examples from cosmology and ideas about spiritual entities. (I took parts of this section from a previous article, which was also the seed for this one.)

If I imagine the universe and all of existence as a seamless whole, as one system, can I find that here now? I can find the mental representations of this here and now, in my mental field. I can also find the seamless whole here. As a human self, I am a seamless whole and I keep discovering more about this seamless whole. As what I am, I am also a seamless whole and the world to me happens within and as this seamless whole.

I imagine all of existence as consciousness (AKA Spirit, God, Brahman, Big Mind). I can find that too here. To me, I am fundamentally consciousness. And the world, to me, happens within and as this consciousness. To me, the world is like a dream in that it happens within and as consciousness.

I imagine all of existence as consciousness somehow aware of everything that’s happening. I can find that too. There is a background awareness of anything that happens within and as consciousness. When something happens within the content of my experience, there is a kind of awareness of it before there is a conscious (and perhaps self-conscious) awareness of it.

I imagine spiritual beings with certain qualities and characteristics. I can find these here in myself. It’s not all I am, they may not be what I live from in every moment, but the characteristics are here. For instance, if I imagine certain entities (angels, avatars, etc.), can find what I imagine in them also here – love, wisdom, devotion to the divine, support, and so on. And if I imagine other entities (devil, demons), I can find that too here. I can find it when I react to my own pain in a way that inflicts more pain on myself and others.

I imagine life between lives as disembodied, oneness, and love. When I explore what I am in my own first-person experience, I find I am what the world to me happens within and as. I find I am disembodied (I am not most fundamentally a body), oneness, and when oneness notices itself it’s expressed as love.

I imagine the universe as without any edge or boundary. When I notice what I am, I can also not find an edge or boundary. Any edge or boundary comes from a mental representation, and they happen within and as what I am.

I imagine the universe starting as uniform and then forming itself into atoms, molecules, solar systems, and all we know. When I look for it here, I find that consciousness – the consciousness I am and which is all I know – is uniform, and it forms itself into a wild diversity of content of experience.

These are just a few very general examples. A real exploration would be more thorough, with specific and genuine examples, and with time to take it in and let it work on me.


This, of course, is more universal. It doesn’t just apply to obvious speculations. It applies to any story we have about anyone or anything.

Any story is a question about the word. Any story is a mental representation.

We can find the mental representation here and now, and any physical sensations our mind associates it with. We can use any story as a mirror and find what it points to here and now.

No matter how valid a story is in a conventional sense, or how speculative, we can ground it in this way. We can use it as a pointer for what’s already here.

We can use it as a pointer to learn to recognize mental representations as mental representations. (And not what they supposedly point to.) We can get to know more of the immense richness of who we are. (As who we are, we are as rich as humanity and the world.) We can use it to notice what we are and also recognize that our nature is the same as the nature of our experience, including these mental representations and what they point to and any reactions that come up in us.

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Exploring the world like a dream

I like to explore the world similar to how I would explore a dream.


The simple answer is that they both mirror me at a human level. And, to me, they both happen within and as what I am.


Any content of my experience is a mirror for me.

My experience of dreams and waking life both show me what’s happening in my mental field. It shows me my assumptions, stories, and beliefs about others, myself, and the world.

I can take my story about anyone or anything, turn it to myself, and find specific and genuine examples of where and how it’s true.

Anything within my experience, whether it’s a dream or waking life, mirrors parts and dynamics in myself at a human level.


Dreams and waking life both happen within my experience.

They happen within my sense fields. They happen within and as this consciousness.

They happen within and as what I am.

In a conventional sense, and to others, I am this human self in the world. And when I look more closely in my own first-person experience, I find my nature is more fundamentally capacity for the world as it appears to me. I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.

I am what any content of experience – night dreams and waking life – happen within and as.


I won’t go into this in detail here since there are many other articles on this topic.

Depending on the approach, I explore what comes up in me in relation to something in a dream or waking life, or I use dreams or waking life as a mirror to identify and explore parts of myself.

I typically use some form of inquiry. For instance, The Work on painful stories related to what’s happening. Or sense field explorations (Living/Kiloby Inquiries) on anything coming up or mirrored including identities, anxiety, or compulsions. Dialog with parts of me triggered or mirrored in dreams or the world. Heart-centered practices towards someone in the world, dreams, or parts of me (tonglen, ho’oponopno). I may identify issues and work on them with energy healing (Vortex Healing). And so on.

And I use some forms of structured inquiry – Headless experiments and the Big Mind process – to find myself as what the world to me happens within and as. (Some like to use lucid dreaming to notice that night dreams happen within and as consciousness, and then see if they can notice that in waking life as well. In my case, I prefer a more direct approach.)

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From fundamentalist to agnostic to taking the stories as mirrors

I listened to a podcast with someone who went from Christian fundamentalist to agnostic to taking the Jesus stories as a mirror.

It’s a nice illustration of some of the ways we can relate to religion and spiritual stories and mythology in general.

Do we take it as literal truth? If we do, we inevitably come up against logical inconsistencies. And by holding anything as any full, final, or absolute truth, we take a position not aligned with reality and this is inherently filled with conflicts, a need to defend and prop up our position, and discomfort.

Do we still think of it as a literal truth or not and say: I don’t know. I take an agnostic view.

Do we see the stories as useful metaphors for our life? As saying something universal about humans and ourselves?

Or do we go one step further and see the stories and mythologies as we would a dream? Do we see it all as reflecting parts and dynamics of ourselves? Here, it doesn’t matter so much if Jesus – or other religious figures – were historical persons or not, or whether or not the stories actually happened. What’s important is what they can show us about ourselves and our own process.

For instance, we can see Jesus as an image of the clarity and love we all have in us and ultimately are. Or the wholeness of our human self when it’s more healed and we are conscious of more of it. Or someone who lives from noticing his nature as capacity and what his world happens within and as.

We can see the virgin birth as an image of how the world, to us, happens within and as what we are. Our world – including this human self – is born from nothing, from virgin territory.

We can see the death & resurrection as the death of our beliefs and the resurrection on the other side of these beliefs. This can happen in smaller (and still significant) ways when we see through old beliefs and identifications and find a less limited and more receptive way of being on the other side. And it can happen in a more dramatic way when our identity as something within content of experience falls away and we find ourselves as capacity and what the world, to us, happens within and as.

We can see Judas as the dynamic in us abandoning truth, clarity, and love for the benefit of reactivity to fear and unquestioned stories.

And so on. Any story within religion and mythology can be explored in this way.

Two of my favorite books on this topic are Resurrecting Jesus by Adyashanti and The Jesus Mysteries by Tim Freke and Peter Gandy.

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Here be dragons

Early European mapmakers famously drew in dragons, monsters, and weird creatures in lesser-known or unknown areas of the map.


And that’s what we do as well.

We sometimes imagine monsters in areas of the world we don’t know well. Conspiracy theories are one example of this. Another is hearing something about someone we don’t know, imagining it’s true, and then realizing it wasn’t true – or wasn’t the whole picture – when we get to know that person


And these maps also mirror us.

We sometimes have metaphorical dragons, monsters, and weird creatures in unknown and unmapped areas of ourselves.

As with maps in general, these dragon maps – whether they are the old literal ones or the ones we create for ourselves in daily life – are projections in two ways.

First, as a mental construct that we imagine out there in the world and that helps us orient in and navigate in the world. (And sometimes not!)

And second, they are a projection in terms of characteristics and dynamics. We imagine characteristics and dynamics out there in the world, and they are also here in us. Maps may or may not describe the world, and they certainly describe us. What’s the story I have about something or someone in the world? What do I find when I turn this story to myself? Can I find genuine and specific examples, here and now and from my past?


What’s the practical use of this?

We can be aware of this tendency to metaphorically draw monsters and dragons into what’s unknown to us. This helps us notice when it happens and counteract it.

And we can use this to actively explore the dragons and monsters in unmapped areas of ourselves. When and how do I imagine monsters in the world? How does that mirror me? When am I like that? Can I find specific examples here and now and from my past? How is it to recognize this? How is it to include it in the image I have about myself? How is it to recognize in me more of what I see in others and the world?

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Mother’s day

It’s mother’s day in some countries today.

We can look at mother in many ways, including literally, as a projection, and metaphorically.

And although much of it may be pretty obvious, it can also help us shift our perspective. We may be able to shift out of habitual views and into views that are more new and fresh to us, and hold them all more lightly.

And that, in itself, is often valuable. 


The most obvious is our own human mothers – whether it’s our biological one or the one(s) who raised us.

Can I find love for my human mother even if she wasn’t perfect?

The more we resolve any issues with our mother and those in our early life, the more we tend to resolve many of the more central issues we have. If you wonder what to find healing for, a good place to start – and end – is your mother and father and anyone important in your early life.

The more we find healing for our relationship with our mother, the more we can find genuine gratitude for her, as she was and is.

Another side to this is that, to us, our mother is as much or more in here as out there. Finding healing for our relationship with our mother (and father) helps us heal parts of ourselves.


There is also the lineage of mothers.

This lineage goes through all our human mothers through the centuries and in many geographical locations, going back to the early human migration(s) from Africa.

It goes back through our non-human humanoid ancestors. The ones that may be somewhat similar to primates today.

It goes back to our non-human and non-primate mammal ancestors. The small ones that lived during the dinosaur era and even further back.

It goes back beyond this, to our non-mammal ancestors. The ones who left the ocean for land, and the ones who lived in the ocean.

It goes back to the very simple organisms that were the pioneer lifeforms in the oceans.

And it goes back to the very first single-celled organism that’s the ancestor of all life today.

All of these are our mothers. They tie us to all Earth life.

Without them, we wouldn’t exist and the amazing living planet we are part of wouldn’t exist.


We also have the mother in all of us.

These are the mother qualities of nurturing, understanding, fierce protection, and so on, and also the distorted version of these.

When I see mother qualities in others, whether nurturing or protective or more distorted, can I find it in myself? What stories do I have about my own mother and other mothers? WHat do I find when I turn this story to myself? Can I find specific and genuine examples of how each one is true?


We think of mothers as mothers of children. Is the reverse also true?

Yes, in a sense, our children are our mothers. They are part of making us who we are.

Can I find appreciation and gratitude for this as well? 


At first glance, it may look as if the situations I am in are my mother.

The universe, planet, ecosystem, culture, subcultures, and family I grow up and live in form and shape who I am.

All my experiences – whether I call them small or big – are my mother.


When I look more closely, I find something else is more true for me.

It’s the way I relate to my experiences that forms and shapes me and who I am in the world.

The way I relate to my experiences – the way I relate to myself, others, situations, and so on – is my mother.


Nature is our mother in a very real sense.

Without this living planet, we wouldn’t exist. Every molecule in our bodies comes from the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the food we eat. All of it comes from the wider ecosystems we are part of.

We are an intrinsic part of this living system and a local expression of this living system.

Our own health and well-being, individually and collectively, is dependent on the health and well-being of our mother, of this living system we call planet Earth. 


Similarly, the universe is our mother.

All of existence, going back to the beginning of time (if there is any) and stretching out to the widest extent (if there is any boundary), is our mother.

We depend on all of it for our own existence.

Without the whole, just as it is, we wouldn’t be.


The reverse is also true here. We are the mothers of the universe.

We bring existence into form and life – locally and through and as our experiences and life.

We are the local expressions of existence as a whole. We are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe.

As Meister Eckart said, we are the mothers of God.


There is also the mother of existence, which is what allows it all – as it appears to me – to happen.

When I look at what I more fundamentally am in my own first-person experience, I find my nature is capacity for the world as it appears to me.

I am capacity for any and all experience – whether it’s of this human self, the wider world, or anything else.

This capacity is the mother of the world as it appears to me. 

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What is omniscient and omnipresent? Turning the story around and see what we find

Some have the idea that God or the divine is omniscient and omnipresent.

As with any map, cosmology, and story, we can turn it around and see if we can find it here and now in our own experience. We can use it as a mirror for ourselves, for who or what we are, for our human self or our nature.

This particular story seems to more obviously reflect my nature than dynamics at a human level, and the “God” part of the story hints at that as well.


First, what is my nature? When I look in my own first-person experience, what do I find? 

At one level, I am this human self in the world. That’s not wrong, but it’s not the whole picture and it’s not what I more fundamentally am in my own first-person experience.

I find that more fundamentally, my nature is capacity for the world as it appears to me. I am what allows any and all experiences including of this human self, the wider world, and anything else. 

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


Here, I also find that my nature, to me, is omnipresent. I am what the world – all content of experience – happens within and as. My nature, to me, is everywhere and everything.


Similarly, I find that my nature is inherently omniscient.

There is a knowing of any experience before this knowing is reflected in thoughts and any conscious reflection on the experience.


How can we find this for ourselves?

For me, the most effective way is guided and somewhat structured inquiry, initially guided by someone more experienced. The Big Mind process and the Headless experiments are two of the most direct and effective ones I have found. 

The initial noticing can happen relatively quickly and without much preparation. Continuing to notice it and live from it is where the work is. 


When we hear the words “omniscience” and “omnipresence” we may associate them with special powers.

In reality, it’s inherent in our nature. It’s what’s most familiar and ordinary to us, even if we may not consciously notice. And it looks quite different from what our thoughts and fantasies initially may have told us. 

At the same time, there is something extraordinary in this. Thee is an extraordinariness inherent in existence and our nature and the nature of all beings.


I prefer to not put too many labels on our nature. Labels can help us mentally get it, and that’s not what this is about. It’s about what we find in our own noticing. 

And if we are to use more direct labels, one is consciousness. 

To ourselves, we are consciousness, and this human self and the world happen within and as this consciousness. All the content of our experience happens within and as what we are. 

To us, as this consciousness, our nature is everywhere. The world happens within and as what we are. Consciousness, to us, is omnipresent. 

And this consciousness knows any and all of its content, before any of it is more consciously reflected on and reflected in thought. It’s inherently and effortlessly omniscient. 

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The world is my mirror here and now

If I react to something in the world, typically in another person, I can find the same in me. 

I can find it here and now. And I can find examples in the past. 

For instance, I get annoyed by people being inconsiderate and playing loud music in the neighborhood. So how am I doing the same as what I see in them? How am I inconsiderate at that moment? Right now, I am in the countryside outside of a small town in the Andes mountains. The ones playing the radio at high volume at 5 am are farmers or do other manual labor. They get up early to do their work, and this is one of the enjoyments they have in a generally difficult life. So without knowing the fuller picture, it’s a good guess that judging them for playing loud music, and wanting them to stop, is – in some ways – inconsiderate towards them. They, most likely, would see it that way. I am doing what I see them as doing. That doesn’t mean I can’t talk with them about it to see if we can find a solution that works better for everyone. But it does mean that I likely will be a bit less reactive and a bit more understanding in how I relate to them – and myself.

Another example is how I sometimes react to people who go into conspiracy theories. I feel frustrated, angry, and disappointed. These are all signs of reactivity, unexamined beliefs, and that I have the same here that I see in them. So what’s my conspiracy theory at that moment? One of my favorite ones is that they are pretending, they can’t be that stupid, they must know they are just repeating patterns from history, they know their stories are founded in bad logic and bad data, they are saying these things just to rile others up. This is the unexamined conspiracy theory I have about them, and since this story is out of alignment with reality, it’s part of the reason for my reactivity. I am telling myself they are pretending, knowing that many of them may actually believe and feel that their stories are true.

I do the same when I see many spiritual and even nondual teachers. I see a lack of clarity. A lack of differentiation. What looks like immature views. And I tell myself they know better but for an unknown reason chose to present it that way. They have to know better. They have to have more clarity than that. When I tell myself those stories, I am doing what I see in them. I am pretending. I know better but chose to make myself dumber than I am. Somewhere in me, I know they are probably just doing their best.

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“I am picking up feelings that aren’t mine”

I sometimes hear people talking about picking up feelings and energies that are not theirs.

I understand where they are coming from. I understand how being around certain people, or doing some kind of healing work with them, can bring up certain feelings and states in us. And that the mind can come up with stories saying: “Those are not my feelings, states, energies. I picked them up from that person.”

And it’s not how I see it.


When I notice feelings and states come up in me in these situations, I could tell myself that I “picked up” something from the other person.

And I also know that what’s coming up in me is from my own reaction to the situation and person.

Something in me reacts to the other person, and that triggers these feelings and states.

My reaction is always mine, and what’s coming up in me is mine. It doesn’t belong to the other person.


This is an invaluable opportunity to learn something about myself, find healing for how I relate to the world and myself, and find healing for old issues in myself.

Why would I give that away by telling myself: “I am picking up the other persons feelings and states”? Why would I assign it to someone else?

If I did, it would not only be intellectually dishonest. It would be like giving away an invaluable opportunity to get to know and embrace more of my inner community, find healing for how I relate to myself and the world, find healing for wounded parts of me, and clarify who and what I am.


As usual, there are some grains of truth in the conventional view.

It is possible to sense, to some extent, what’s happening in another person. People who do distance healing, including me, do it regularly. This is a sensing similar to seeing or hearing something. It’s inherently neutral. There is no sense of being “invaded” by anything.

If that happens, it’s because of my own reaction. It’s the consequences of my stories – conscious or not – about what I sense or what I imagine in the other person.

And, of course, what’s triggered in me may reflect something in the other. If he or she is experiencing and expressing anger, my reaction to it can easily trigger anger in me.


There is more to this as well.

The world is my mirror. What I see in others – and in the world in general – is also here in me.

I can take any story about anyone or anything in the world, turn it to myself, and find genuine examples of how it’s true now and in the past.

If I attach too strongly to ideas of “yours” and “mine”, and don’t use you as a mirror for what’s already here in me, I miss out of an invaluable opportunity to get to know what’s here and use it to explore and find healing, maturing, and clarification of what I am.

And to me, the world happens within and as what I am. Anything within the content of my experience – this human self, you, the wider world, and anything else – happens within and as what I am.

Here too, it doesn’t make sense to divide the world too strongly into “me” and “you”. Of course, there is a me and you in a limited and conventional sense. And more fundamentally, it’s all happening within and as what I am.

Here, it’s more about finding healing for how I relate to it all, whether it’s in me or others or the world.

It’s more about finding it all in me.

It’s more about finding healing for it in myself.

And it’s more about recognizing it all as the divine and forms the divine happens to take here and now. 

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“I am picking up emotions that aren’t mine!”

I sometimes see people talk about picking up feelings and energies that aren’t theirs.

I understand the desire to distance ourselves from or get rid of certain unpleasant experiences. And to tell myself it’s “not mine” seems an attempt at just that.

So what may be going on when we tell ourselves we are “picking up” on emotions – or anything else – that isn’t ours?


When people say this, they seem to talk about their reactions to a situation they find themselves in.

When I am surrounded by people who experience fear, I may respond with my own fear. And so on.

And my reaction is always mine. It doesn’t belong to anyone else.


If something feels uncomfortable, that discomfort comes from my own reaction to a situation and experience.

And when reactivity comes up in me, it’s an invaluable opportunity to see more of what’s here. Where in me does it come from? How is it to get to know it? Befriend it? Shift how I relate to it? What are some of the underlying and related beliefs and issues? How is it to invite in healing and maturing around the whole thing?

Whatever is going on, if I am bothered by something, it points to something unresolved in me. And this is an opportunity for exploration and healing.


There is more to this as well.

The world is my mirror.

What I see in others or out there in the world is also here in me. I can take any story about anyone or anything in the world, turn it to myself, and find genuine examples of how it’s true now and in the past.

If I divide too strongly in “yours” and “mine”, I miss out on an invaluable opportunity to “own” what’s here and use it to explore and find healing, maturing, and clarification of what I am.

If I see something in you and call it “yours”, it reflects something similar in me I can call “mine”.


When I look, I find that the world, as it appears to me, happens within and as what I am.

Here, there is no fundamental “you” or “me”. It’s all, in a very real sense, me.

From here, it becomes clear that if I perceive fundamental divisions, or if I relate to something with anything other than love, it’s a reminder to take a closer look. I am operating from unquestioned beliefs and unloved parts of me.


So my reaction to something is my reaction.

What I see in the world mirrors something in me at a human level.

As what I am, the world – including other people and what’s going on in them and me – happens within and as what I am.

And any reactivity is an opportunity for healing, maturing, and clarifying what I am. Why would I want it to belong to someone else when it can be so valuable to me?

Of course, this all depends on our orientation and how far we want to go.

How far do I want to go in exploring who and what I am? In healing? In clarifying what I am in my own first-person experience? In seeing how it is to live from this noticing?

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Upanishads: Who sees all beings in her own self and her self in all beings, looses all fear

Who sees all beings in her own self and her self in all beings, looses all fear.


As usual, we can see this in a couple of different ways.


As a human being, the world is my mirror.

I can take whatever story I have about anyone or anything, turn it to myself, and find genuine examples of how it’s true. I can explore this systematically, for instance through The Work of Byron Katie. In this sense, I can find all beings in myself.

Similarly, whatever I know from myself, I can see or imagine in others, at the very least as a potential. I can see myself in all beings.


In one sense, I am this human being in the world. But is it what I more fundamentally am, in my own immediate experience?

When I take a closer look, I find that the world to me happens within my sense fields.

And beyond this, the world to me happens within and as what I am.

I find that my nature is capacity for the world as it appears to me, and the world happens within and as what I am.

I can explore this and get a direct taste of it through Headless experiments, the Big Mind process, and other forms of inquiry.

All beings and any content of experience happens within what I am. To me, all beings happen within this Self.

And since they happen within and as what I am, I see my Self in all beings. To me, all beings and all of the world has the same nature as this Self.


I am not sure why this quote focuses on loosing fear. Why single that out when this transforms us in so many other ways? Perhaps it makes sense in the context? Or is it a marketing strategy?

We may still have normal functional fear, for instance if we are about to fall from something high.

And the fear driven by emotional issues may indeed fall away, at least to the extent these emotional issues are transformed within this seeing.

We may notice what we are, keep noticing through different situations, and explore how to live from it. And many parts of us may still operate from separation consciousness, unloved fear, and unexamined fear-generating stories. These parts of us need to join in with the noticing, and transform within this noticing, and that can take intention and some time.


The quote is accurate enough, in my experience.

Recognizing the world as my mirror reduces fear created by unexamined beliefs. Beliefs require duality to exist, so when we recognize the same out there and in here, they tend to soften and may even fall away.

Finding that the world, to me, happens within and as what I am does the same. It tends to dissolve unloved and unexamined fear.

The caveat is that this doesn’t happen all at once. We may have many fear-inducing beliefs that need examination. We may have many parts of us operating from separation consciousness and unloved fear.

Examining these beliefs, and inviting the different parts of us to join in with the noticing, is a process.

I suspect it’s a lifelong process. There will always be more coming up.

And that’s not wrong or bad. It’s a fascinating process.

Note: I changed “him” to “her” in the quote, just to balance it out a bit. We have had patriarchical civilizations for long enough.

Image: Three Pujarins by Jamini Roy

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The play of life (lila) & finding ourselves as capacity for our world

If we more thoroughly explore lila, we are invited to find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us. And finding ourselves as capacity makes it easier to notice all as lila.

Our maps and descriptions of the world reflect something in ourselves. They say something about who we are, as a human being in the world, and they may say something about what we are. And so also lila – the play of life or the divine.


Our mind is almost infinitely creative. It takes sensory input from a range of senses and creates the impression of a world. It uses mental images and words to create stories of all kinds, from labels to stories about ourselves and the rest of the world. It can hold these stories as true or not.

It can pretend, for a while and to some extent, that its imaginations about this human self and the wider world are true. It can perceive and live as if these stories are true.

It can recognize itself as capacity for all the content of experience. As what our content of experience – this human self, the wider world, and anything else – happens within and as.

Everything we know and experience is the mind expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways.

This is the lila of our mind, of what we are to ourselves.


We know the lila of the mind since that’s what we are. And we can imagine that the actual wider world is the same.

We can see the evolution of the universe metaphorically as an expression of the creativity of the universe, the play of the universe. Everything that’s ever existed, everything we know, and everything we are individually and collectively, is an expression of the play of the universe.

We can also frame this differently. If we like, we can say that everything – all of existence including all we are and experience – is the play of the divine. It’s the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways.


Whether we see lila as the play of the mind, or the play of the universe or existence, or the play of the divine, it reflects something here and now.

How can we explore this for ourselves?

There are many ways, and I’ll mention just a few.

We can use the story of lila to frame our experiences – and existence in general – as the mind and existence expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself in always new ways. This can help us hold it all more lightly and approach it with more curiosity, receptivity, and even playfulness.

We can also explore the particular creativity of thought and how it colors our perception, choices, and life.

For instance, we can explore what happens when a belief is believed, and what happens when we recognize a thought as a thought. (The Work of Byron Katie.)

And we can explore how the mind associates inputs from different sense fields and creates an experience for itself. For instance, it can associate certain thoughts with certain physical sensations so the sensations give a sense of solidity and truth to the thoughts, and the thoughts give apparent meaning to the sensations.


There is a mutuality between exploring lila and finding ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us.

If we explore lila, we’ll recognize that all content of experience is part of the play. In this, there is an invitation to find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us.

And finding ourselves as capacity makes it easier to notice all as lila.

In a bit more detail:

If all content of experience is part of the play of mind and existence, including any sense experiences and ideas we have about this human self, we may see that this human self cannot be what we more fundamentally are in our own first-person experience. So what are we, more fundamentally, and in our own experience?

We may find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us, and what our experiences happen within and as. (Perhaps aided by structured inquiries like Headless experiments and the Big Mind process.)

This, in turn, allows us to more clearly see all content of experience – including this human self and any thoughts and mental images – as the play of the mind and existence.


Seeing lila this way makes it less dependent on any particular worldview.

If we are more psychologically inclined, we recognize it as the play and creativity of the mind, and something we know here and imagine onto the rest of existence.

If we take a more cosmological view, we may see it as the metaphorical play and creativity of the universe.

If we have a more spiritual view, we may see it as the play of the divine, and the divine exploring and experiencing itself as all there is and in always new ways.

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I am the mountain?

When mystics (or wannabe mystics!) say “I am the mountain”, “I am you”, “be the river”, and so on, what do they mean?

I don’t really know, and I assume it will vary with the person.

When I explore it for myself, I find a few different possibilities.


Some may use those phrases to acknowledge the oneness in the physical world. We are all parts of the same living seamless systems, so – in a metaphorical or poetic sense – I am you and you are me.

I would phrase it differently, but I understand where it is coming from. We are all part of the oneness of the world. We are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe.


The world is my mirror.

I can imagine being a mountain, a river, and so on. I can find the part in me that corresponds to it and notice how it feels, how it views the world, and so on. I can have a dialog with that part of me and get to know it.

Similarly, what I see out there reflects something in me.The stories I have about anything in the wider world also apply to me, and I can find specific examples in each case. I can use how I see the world to get to know myself.


To me, any experience – of this human self, the wider world, and anything else – happens within my sense fields. It happens within sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, mental representations, and so on. In that sense, what I experience is what I am at that moment.

To me, all experiences happen within and as what I am. In a very immediate and literal sense, I am the content of my experience. I am what I am experiencing, as I am experiencing it. I am the mountain, the river, you, and anything else. This is the oneness that’s already here in my experience if I notice.


In a conventional sense, I am of course this human self in the world. That co-exists easily with all the other ones, and which one is in the foreground depends on the situation and where the attention is.


These ways of looking at it are all pragmatic and relatively down-to-earth, and it’s even mundane in a good way We can explore it for ourselves. It doesn’t require anything very mystical or removed from our immediate experience as it already is – if we just notice.

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Some reflections on a recent Vortex Healing class

In a recent Vortex Healing course, a few things came up for me. I thought I would write down some of these and see how it is to use them as a mirror for myself.


Some students seem to take the teacher’s words as the gospel truth. He says something, and they repeat it as fact even if it’s something they cannot check for themselves.

I prefer to put it on the “he said” and “maybe” shelves. If I cannot check it for myself, and it doesn’t have any practical importance, I don’t pay much attention to it.

One example is when the teacher says that Vortex Healing students at a certain level likely won’t have more incarnations. I have no possibility of checking that at this point, it sounds a lot like the unverifiable claims almost all traditions make about their own process, and it makes no practical difference, so I leave it.

I am sure many other students also hold what he says lightly, for similar or other reasons. And I know that, to some, it may be important for them to believe it for a while. It may give them some comfort, even if they somewhere know they cannot know and are in practice deceiving themselves.


Similarly, I notice that some students seem to take temporary experiences as signs of something more. They may feel lighter, elated, or something apparently unusual, and see it as a sign of deep and lasting shifts.

Again, I prefer to hold it all lightly. The content of my experience always changes and sometimes changes a lot, and I have no idea if it represents anything else. During class, I experience all sorts of things, and I cannot know if it reflects any deeper shifts or not. For me, it’s more peaceful to notice and leave it at that.

I am sure many other students hold this too lightly. And I understand that some may feel a need to make assumptions about temporary shifts in order to feel a bit better, even if they cannot know and it may not be accurate.


For whatever reason, the teacher singled out Buddhism for repeated stabs.

Here is a small selection of what he said: “Buddhism is veeeery slow”, “there is no energy transmissions or energetic support in Buddhism”, “there is no differentiation between consciousness and awareness in Buddhism”.

Most of the time, he referred to a very simplistic caricature of Buddhism. It may be accurate in some outlying cases, but Buddhism itself is immensely diverse and what he said is in no way true for Buddhism in general.

Buddhist practice can be fast, especially in terms of allowing us to notice what we are. It can also support living from this noticing in a deep and thorough way.

There is definitely energy transmissions and energetic support (for awakening and embodiment) in Buddhism, and especially in the more shamanic and tantric influenced branches.

And there is obviously a differentiation between what the VH teacher calls consciousness and awareness. Buddhism has very detailed maps of the mind, how it works in unawake and awake states, and the process from one to the other.

Why did he feel a need to take these stabs at Buddhism? Why did he feel a need to present a simplistic caricature of Buddhism? (Straw man arguments.) Is it because he feels insecure? Does he feel that Buddhism is a threat to Vortex Healing? Does he worry that Buddhism is inherently more mature, differentiated, and in many ways more effective than Vortex Healing? (Which it is, in my experience.)

This did trigger something in me. Not so much because it was about Buddhism, but because it seemed unfair and many VH students take his words as gospel truth and may get a distorted impression of another tradition.

Note: I find it interesting that this teacher seems to love Adyashanti. Adyashanti is pure Buddhism. (I trained in the same lineage as him for a while and we had the same teacher’s teacher.) And the teacher seems to feel a need to put down Buddhism. It doesn’t seem very consistent.


I have also seen this teacher refer to information from mainstream medicine, and he clearly doesn’t have a very good grasp of it. For instance, in a VH course that relates to genetics, the way he presents mainstream genetics is almost painfully inaccurate. (Medical doctors in VH also point this out.)

He has no background in medicine, so why does he refer to information from medicine? Why does he use this information when he clearly doesn’t have a very good grasp of it?

It may be because he wants to give legitimacy to VH and because he mostly can get away with it since more VH students understand even less about these topics than he does.

It doesn’t matter so much since VH is very different from mainstream medicine. But this, and how he talks about Buddhism, does tend to undermine his authority on any topic.


All of this is a mirror for me.

I get to see my own reaction, which comes from my own unexamined assumptions and unhealed parts of me.

And I get to see myself in them.

I sometimes take what someone says as the gospel truth. This especially happens with what I tell myself. I tell myself something, take it as gospel truth, and perceive, feel, and act as if it’s true. I tell myself the teacher shouldn’t misrepresent another tradition and take that thought as true.

I sometimes tell myself stories about my own fleeting experiences and take them as true and meaning something far more than what may actually go on. I have a CFS crash, and my life seems darker and more hopeless. In the past, I have noticed a shift after a session (inquiry, energy healing), and told myself it meant there was a real and perhaps lasting shift.

I sometimes misrepresent someone else or even myself. My thoughts sometimes exaggerate to fit a wound I have. I get triggered by someone, and have a one-sided view of them and what they did. I tell myself the VH teacher tries to elevate VH by putting down Buddhism and does so due to his own insecurity. (While, in reality, I cannot know.) In my own life, I sometimes tell myself everything good falls away in my life. When I am on the threshold of something that feels deeply right, something happens so it all collapses. And so on.

I sometimes pretend to know more about something than I do. Every single article I have written here is an example of that. I pretend something is a certain way while, in reality, I cannot know. I am just guessing. (As I assume we all do, which is also a guess.)

This is a very rudimentary start. To go deeper requires working directly with the contractions coming up in me in these situations, identifying and examining the stories, looking at how it plays itself out in the sense fields, using tonglen, and so on.

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Using Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) as a pointer for what’s here

I listened to an interview with Dr. Jeffrey Long, a Near-Death Experience (NDE) researcher. And although the topic is familiar to me, it was a reminder that the NDEs are all pointing to what’s already here.

Any story, and any cosmology, is pointing to what’s already here in our experience.

What are some common features of NDEs? And what do I find if I use them as pointers for what’s here?


A common experience in NDEs is of all as the divine, and beyond what we can easily put words on.

It may seem very different from our daily life experience, but we can find the essence of it here and now and bring the noticing to life and allow it to transform us.

In a conventional sense, we are this human self. That’s not wrong.

And yet, is it what we most fundamentally are in our own first-person experience? What do we find when we look a little closer?

We may find we are capacity for the world as it appears to us, and what all our experiences happen within and as. We can make this noticing into a habit and explore how to live from it. And we can allow this to transform our perception, life, and human self in the world.

The easiest approach to finding this may be through some simple structured inquiries, guided by someone familiar with the terrain and guiding others. Personally, I find the Big Mind process and Headless experiments most effective here.


Most report a sense of infinite love, of profoundly coming home, a deep peace, and a deep acceptance.

When we find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us, and what all our experiences happen within and as, we find these as characteristics of what we are and this noticing.

All our experiences happen within our sense fields, and they are part of a seamless whole. Noticing this oneness invites a love independent of feelings and states. Since this is what we more fundamentally are and always have been, there is a profound sense of finding home. And there is also an inherent acceptance in this since it already allows and takes the form of whatever is here.


People with NDEs often report panoramic vision, a vision free from depending on the two eyeballs, and generally sensing free from physical sense organs.

When we find that all our experiences are happening within our sense fields, we may also find that it’s all happening within and as what we are. Here, we notice that all our experiences are happening within our seamless field of experience. In a conventional sense, we still see with eyes, hear with ears, and so on. But in our direct experience, it’s all much more immediate.

The thought that we see through the eyes, hear through the ears, sense with the skin, and so on, is still correct in a conventional sense. But it becomes peripheral and the more immediate experience and noticing of what’s here in the sense fields take center stage.


Some report a kind of life review. They get to see a series of instances from their life and the impact their actions had on themselves and others.

Our mind always seeks to process unprocessed material and experiences. It brings it up in daily life and dreams. Often not as explicit memory, but in the form of contractions and reactivity. We may not even notice it, or we notice just a feeling or discomfort without recognizing what’s behind it. And often, the resolution and healing process doesn’t go further unless we actively engage with it and allow and invite deeper and more thorough processing.

In this sense, the life review is ongoing. And we can engage with it more intentionally through therapy, inquiry, and so on.


A few who experience NDEs report a kind of hellish experience. It may be turmoil, despair, confusion, anger, struggle, and so on.

This too is part of our daily life experience. If we look for it, most of us can even find it here and now even if it’s at a very low level.

It’s what happens anytime we identify with a struggle with what’s here in our experience.


Following an NDE, many say their life is transformed.

It leads to changing our priorities and putting what’s most important – typically connections, love, service – at the center, and the rest more in the periphery.

It leads to appreciating life in a fresh way. They find a deeper appreciation of life as it is.

It leads to a realization that we are not, most fundamentally, this human self.

If we explore what’s on this list and make it into a part of our daily life, that too leads to this type of transformation. It transforms our perception, orientation, and life in the world.


These types of NDEs are found across cultures. There is a universality to them.

And the same universality is here when it comes to finding what we most fundamentally are in our own experience, and the rest on this list.


I imagine it’s easy to look at this list and think: Yeah, this is contrived and an intellectual exercise. The two – NDEs and what’s here now – are obviously very different.

So how close is the match between the two?

On the surface, it can certainly seem like an intellectual exercise – until we engage with it ourselves, examine it, and actually find it all here and now. Then, we see that the essence is the same. What’s in an NDE is no different from what’s already here, and what we can find when we look.

And finding this in daily life can be as transformative as any NDE experience.


I have been fascinated by NDEs since I first heard about it when I was eight or ten years old. I read anything I could find about it, even back then.

Why? At the time, I didn’t really know. I was just fascinated by it.

Later, I have seen some connections.

When I was little, before school age, I had flashbacks to an earlier time. There was a profound sense of being home, infinite love, all as consciousness, profound understanding, and so on. I was without body, and there were other beings there – infinitely loving and wise – I communicated with now and then. It was all golden light and consciousness. These flashbacks would often happen when I sat outside and saw the light filtered through the leaves of birch trees.

Later, when I was in my teens, I realized that this seemed like flashbacks to a time before this incarnation. I realized that this was very similar to what people describe in NDEs.

And when the initial awakening shift happened in my mid-teens (age sixteen), I also realized that the essence of these flashbacks pointed to what’s already here, and what was revealed in the awakening shift.

A pragmatic approach to religions and religious topics

I understand that for many, religious topics are for religions. They are a matter of belief and taking someone’s word for it.

For me, religious topics are for science.

Does consciousness, what we more essentially are, continue after the death of this human self? What data is there? What different interpretations of that data can we make? What can we say something about, and what’s unknown and/or speculation?

If a religion encourage certain beliefs, what are the effects of those beliefs at a social and individual level?

What are the effects of the different practices each religion offer or encourage? What practices works for different people, and different phases of the process? What are the drawbacks and things to keep an eye on? If we see practices as medicines for certain conditions, how effective are they?

And even…. how can we make use of the different cosmologies as a mirror? How can we use them as pointers to find what they refer to here and now?

This is how I personally prefer to relate to religions. I look at the effects of certain orientations and views. I explore the effects of the different practices. I take their cosmologies as a mirror for myself.

For instance, several religions and teachers talk about reincarnation. For me, that’s just what someone says and I put it on the “someone said it and I don’t know” shelf in my mind. I find the serious research into what may happen after this life, and reincarnation, very interesting. And I am interested in the different ways we can interpret the data they come up with.

I personally have what seems like memories from the time between lives and before this incarnation (these came in the form of flashbacks before school age), and I also have what seems like memories of certain past lives. (Especially one from Russia in the 1800s.) And these, I put in the “seems like memories but they are really just mental images and I don’t know” category.

Mainly, I use these images as pointers to find what’s here now. I can find the images here and now, and some sensations my mind associated with each of them. I can find what the images point to, here and now.

I can find what the images from between lives point to here and now – all as consciousness, a deep sense of being home, a gentle bliss, and so on.

And I can find what the Russian images point to – the kind-of-radical views, wanting to speak up against injustice, and feeling terrified of the possible consequences of speaking up. Whether or not those images were from a real past life, they certainly point to dynamics and issues in my life now and that’s more important.

In short, I prefer to take a pragmatic approach to religons and topics often found in religions. What’s the most honest way for me to see it? What can I say something about (typically very little), and what’s speculation? How can I make use of it? What happens when I engage in the different practices? What conditions is each one medicine for? How can I use the different cosmologies as a mirror for what’s here now?

And it gets a lot more finely grained than this.

“How many awake people are there in the world?”

I have seen this question a few times on social media, and most recently in the Vortex Healing group on FB.

This is fertile ground for exploration.


First, what do we mean by awakening?

If we have noticed what we are once, is that awakening? Or if we used to notice?

If we notice what we are now, is that awakening?

If we are in the habit of mostly noticing what we are, even if it’s sometimes in the background of our attention, is that awakening?

If we intentionally explore bringing more of ourselves onboard with awakening, is that awakening?

If we mostly recognize our bubbles of separation consciousness for what they are, and invite them to rest as what they are, is that awakening?

Is awakening something else, like having the “core veil” gone as they talk about in Vortex Healing, is that awakening? Is it really awakening, even if that person still mostly operates from separation consciousness? (Most would probably say no.)

Also, how can we tell? What measures would we use? Would we do some kind of larger-scale study? Would we trust what someone tells us based on psychic sensing? If people give different numbers, who would we trust? And why? (Personally, I wouldn’t trust any specific numbers, apart for perhaps from a conventional larger-scale study.)

There is also an element of in-group bias here. For instance, Vortex Healing folks tend to use the “no core veil” definition and assume that a significant portion of awake people are found within Vortex Healing. (Even if many of these mostly operate from separation consciousness.) And other groups will tend to do the same.


Having an answer to the literal question may be interesting, but it doesn’t really do much for us.

So we can turn the focus around. What does the question say about me? Where does it come from? What can I discover?

What needs and wants are behind the question? Is there a sense of lack?

What are my fears and hopes? What do I fear and hope on behalf of humanity and the world?

And closer to home, what are my fears and hopes about awakening? what do I hope to get out of it? What do I fear will happen if it’s not here? (Or if it is here?)

I call also explore this more in-depth through more structured inquiry. I can use The Work to identify and examine stressful thoughts around the topic. And Living Inquiries to examine identities, compulsions, and fears.


The question itself may be unanswerable because it depends so much on the definition, and we don’t have any accurate way to get a number.

But we can make use of the question. It helps us explore what we mean by “awake”. It can help us explore how we would go about finding a number. What sample would we use that would be representative of humanity as a whole? (Seems unlikely it would be.) What measures would we use for “awake”? (Questionnaire? Interviews? Brain scans? A combination?)

And, most importantly, we can see where the question comes from in ourselves. What are my needs and wants behind it? Is there a sense of lack? How can I invite in healing for this in myself?

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Finding the one

I rewatched the 1984 version of Dune, and am reminded of the savior theme.

Paul is the one, the savior, the messiah. As was Luke in Star Wars, Neo in the Matrix, Jesus in Christianity, and many others across cultures.

Why are we collectively fascinated with the savior?

The obvious answer is that we want to be saved, and we may think someone else can save us. Perhaps it’s a special human, or a divine entity.

And there is another answer.

We are that savior. The world is our mirror, and the savior we see out there was here all along.

This savior can also take many forms.

It can be finding genuine care and love for ourselves and our experiences.

Becoming a good and loving parent for ourselves.

Becoming a safe haven for ourselves.

Finding more of the wholeness of what we are as a human being.

Learning to find healing for our wounds and traumas.

Finding what we are – capacity for the world, and what our field of experience happens within and as.

And perhaps a combination of all of these and more.

How do you think the universe was created?

I saw this on social media, and there may be some truth to each of these.


Created by God. If we see all of existence as God, then God creates the universe here and now. Spirit creates itself into all there is here and now.

Has been there forever. It may also well be that existence, and perhaps the universe, has no beginning or end in time. It may have been here forever. Perhaps our ideas about beginning and end in time don’t apply.

From the Big Bang. It seems likely that there was a kind of big bang, a rapid expansion around 13-14 billion years ago. This particular version of the universe may have, in a sense, been created then.

Simulated by intelligent beings. We don’t know if our universe is simulated in a conventional sense. But there is another we know for certain it’s simulated. Our experience of the universe is simulated by our body, brain, and mind. Our senses take in a (very limited) range of signals, our brain processes these, we have a certain experience, and this experience is, in a very real sense, simulated. We are the intelligent beings simulating the universe for ourselves so we can make sense of it.


Any story we have about the world, including any cosmology, is a mirror for ourselves. We can turn the story around to ourselves and find what it points to here and now.

Cosmology is a story of the whole, all of existence. And this points back to our wholeness and all of what we are.

What is this wholeness?

When we find what we are, we find ourselves as capacity for the world, and what our field of experience happens within and as. We can imperfectly label this consciousness.

Created by God. As what we are, as this consciousness, we create the universe here and now. Consciousness creates the universe as it appears to us here and now. Our experience is an expression of the creativity of what we are.

Has been there forever. As what we are, we are – in our experience – timeless. Any sense of time and space happens within and as what we are. In a sense, time and space and the universe happens within and as the timeless.

From the Big Bang. We can find our story of a big bang here and now. In a sense, our early childhood is also a big bang, a gradual complexification of something very simple, although that’s also a story to us and not something happening here and now. What is happening here and now is that we, as the simplicity of capacity for our world, are also the complexity of our experience here and now. This is the no-thing taking the form of the immense complexity of our experiences here and now and the world and the universe as it appears to us.

Simulated by intelligent beings. Our experience of the universe is a simulation. We receive information in our sense fields, and our mental field labels, interprets, and comes up with stories about it. This creates a simulated universe for us and it’s the universe we relate to. This is also what allows us to orient and function in the world.


Independent of our cosmology, this topic leads us to the ultimate mystery.

Why is there anything at all? How come there is something rather than nothing?


Our cosmology, and any story we have about anything, is a projection.

And it’s a projection in a few different ways.

The most basic is our mental field overlay. We take in information through our senses, and our mental field creates an overlay of labels and distinctions, and comes up with stories about it. That’s how we make sense of what otherwise would be something undifferentiated we wouldn’t know what to do with. Similarly, our mental field creates the wider world, anything that’s not here in our sense perception, including the wider world and the past and future. This is a kind of projection since we mentally put images and words on top of the world to make sense of it.

When we have a story about anything in the world, we can turn the story back to ourselves and find specific examples of how it’s as or more true. This is another type of projection. Our stories say something about us as a human self in the world.

Sometimes, we are aware of how the story applies to us as well as what it’s apparently about. And sometimes we are not aware of how it equally or more applies to ourselves.

Similarly, sometimes our stories about something in the world are relatively accurate in a conventional sense. And other times, they are more clearly fabrications not grounded in consensus reality.

If I can’t find love for something, what is it I actually can’t find love for?

When I can’t find love for someone or something, is that the whole story?

If I take a closer look, what do I find? What is it I am actually unable to find love for?

There are several answers here, and they are all sides of the same.

The conventional view

On the surface, it can seem that we can’t find love for a person, situation, place, or something else. We perceive and live as if that’s how it is, and it will seem that way to others as well.

What’s actually happening

When I look a little closer, I find something else.

The world is my mirror. The way I relate to a quality or characteristic in the wider world is the way I relate to the same in myself. If I can’t find love for something in the wider world, I can’t find love for it in myself.

When I relate to something in the world, I am actually relating to my mental images and stories about it. I tell myself that someone or something is a particular way, that it doesn’t deserve my love, so I block my love and am unable to find the love that’s already here for it.

When I find myself as capacity for the world, and all my experiences – of anything at all – happening within and as what I am, I find something else. I find that what I am unable to find love for, whatever it is in a more conventional sense, is what I am. I am unable to find love for something happening within and as what I am. I am unable to find love for what I am, and an expression of what I am.

I can also say that I am life unable to find love for myself in that particular form. I am existence unable to find love for myself in a form I take as “other”.

We can also call this the divine or Spirit. What I am unable to find love for is an expression of Spirit or the divine, and Spirit or the divine itself. I am Spirit unable to find love for itself, in a particular form. I am the divine unable to find love for itself.

Seeing this helps me be curious about my lack of love, identify what in me clouds over the love that’s already here and I am, and perhaps open for this love that I am.

In real life

One side of this is finding myself as love and finding love for whatever.

The other side is how I live my life and how I practically relate to what I find love for in the world.

I don’t have to marry everything or everyone I find love for. I can have clear boundaries. I can take action to prevent someone from harming someone else. And so on. I can do all the conventional things to be a good steward of my life and, when necessary, protect and prevent harm.

And if I don’t, that’s another invitation for me to find what in myself – beliefs, identifications, hangups – is stopping me.

How we interpret the behavior of others

I have a covid patient in my life, and a nurse told her: “you may be OK now but you can get worse and die at any moment”. In that vulnerable situation, this was understandably experienced as unnecessary and frightening by the patient.

How do we interpret the nurse’s behavior? Do we assume the nurse scared the patient intentionally? And if so, that she is cruel, sadistic, stupid, or something else?

Or do we acknowledge that we don’t know? We don’t know much about her or her intention. Nor do we know much about her life or the situation she is in. She may have had the best of intentions and not realized how it could be received. It may be that she is frightened and stressed, and said it in a way she wouldn’t if she was in a different situation and state. Even if this is a pattern for her behavior, it’s very likely a response to her own fear, stress, frightening stories, and perhaps trauma.

Whenever we are drawn to judging someone, it’s good to remember that we know very little about the person and their situation and history. It’s good to remember that situations often play a bigger role in people’s behavior than “who they are” as a person. (If we broaden the definition of “situation” to their history, culture, biology, evolution, and so on, it explains most or all of our behavior.) And it’s good to remember that even what many would judge as heartless or cruel is people’s reaction to their own pain, fear, and trauma.

The more we get to know ourselves and how we respond to our pain fear, stress, and trauma, the more we find empathy and understanding for others and how they behave. We relate to others as we relate to ourselves.

Of course, none of this is an excuse for inappropriate, unprofessional, or unkind behavior. It’s important to point it out when this behavior happens and take steps to make it less likely to happen in the future. But if we keep this in mind, we can do it with a little more kindness and perhaps wisdom.

And if we can’t find that empathy and understanding in the moment, that’s a reason for finding empathy with ourselves. We may be caught up in our reactions to our own fear and pain.

Projections are how I (imagine I) know others & the world

We know others through projections. Or, rather, we imagine the other through our projections.

There is nothing wrong in this. On the contrary, it’s how we are able to function in the world.

This projection can be blind or conscious.

Imagining other people

Say I imagine someone is angry. I project that onto them in my own imagination. And several things may be going on here. She may actually be angry, in her own experience, in which case the projection is relatively accurate and helpful. She may not experience anger, and if she tells me I can revise my imagination of what’s going. I may or may not be aware of anger in myself. Perhaps I too experience anger in that situation?

I may or may not be aware of this as a projection or imagination. If I am aware of it as a projection, I hold it lighter and as a question. I am more receptive and able to change or refine it in the light of new information. I am also more open to see the same in myself as I imagine in the other person.

If I am not aware of it as a projection, I tend to hold it more firmly. I may not be receptive to adjust how I imagine the other person, and I may not be open to seeing in myself what I imagine in the other.

Imagining the world

We project not just on other people but on the whole world. I imagine the world as it is outside of what’s here in my sense fields, and I also put an imagination overlay on what’s here in what I see, hear, feel, smell, taste, and so on.

The same goes here. If I am aware of these projections and that I imagine it, I hold it more lightly, I am more receptive to adjust it, and I can more easily find in myself what I project out.

For instance, I have an image of New York and I project it out onto the world – I imagine it a third around the world and to the west. I am not in New York so it’s clearly an imagination and a projection. Along with this basic image of the city, I have many other images and stories that tell me how (I imagine) New York is and was and may be and my personal experiences with it through being there, talking with people about it, and seeing it in movies.

If I am aware of this as images and projections, I see these as just my current imagination and questions about the city and I am receptive to other information about it. I can also find in myself the qualities and dynamics I imagine in New York. Perhaps I see it as tough, busy, driven, art-oriented, and so on, and I can find all of that in myself.

If I am not aware of this as my imagination and projections, I may be less receptive to information that doesn’t fit my current images, and I may not see in myself what I see in the city.

Everything has tiger

Hamaro kamungka turuwati / everything has tiger is a saying from the Arawak people in Colombia.

I don’t know what they mean by it, although this book suggests it means there is a potential threat everywhere.

That makes sense, but it got me curious about other ways to explore this saying.

What does it mean for me?

All happens within and as what I am

What the tiger is, is what all is.

To me, the tiger and everything else happens within and as what I am.

This is the small interpretation of awakening. It assumes that to me, everything inevitably happens within and as my true nature. As awake capacity for the world.

All happens within and as the divine

The divine is tiger and everything else. It’s all the divine.

This is the big interpretation of awakening and assumes my true nature is the true nature of everything.

It’s a mirror for me and colors my perception

I can find the tiger in me. What the tiger represents to me – its characteristics and dynamics – are also here in me.

And since it’s in me, it colors the whole world for me. I can find the tiger everywhere.

This is the projection side of it.

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The role of intellectual honesty in spirituality

For me, intellectual honesty seems an intrinsic part of spirituality. After all, spirituality is an exploration of reality, and intellectual honesty guides and supports that process.

This is another large topic perhaps better suited for a book, but I’ll say a few words about it.

Intellectual honesty is intellectual honesty no matter what the topic is. In general, there seems to be some universals to it and some universal findings. And there may also be some universal findings when it comes to spirituality.

How does intellectual honesty look for me in general?

I don’t know anything for certain.

Thoughts are questions about reality.

Thoughts help me orient and function in the world. They can be more or less valid in a conventional sense, and it’s not their function to give any final or absolute truth.

Life is ultimately a mystery, including what we think we understand or know something about.

How does intellectual honesty look for me when applied to psychology?

The world is my mirror.

(a) My mental overlay of the world creates all the maps, separation lines, labels, interpretations and so on that I operate from as a human being in the world. Anything I can put into words or images is just that, my own words and images. It’s not inherent in the world.

(b) Also, what I see “out there” reflects dynamics and characteristics in myself. Whatever I can put into words about someone or something else also applies to me. When I look, I can find specific examples of how it applies to me.

I am my own final authority. I cannot give it away, no matter how much I try.

I operate from a wide range of underlying assumptions. It’s good to bring these to awareness, as far as I can, and question them.

How does intellectual honesty look for me when applied to spirituality?

Awakening can be understood in a small and psychological or big and spiritual way. In both cases, it’s about what we are noticing itself and then living this human life in that context. We are capacity for the world as it appears to us. Any content of experience happens within and as what we are.

In the small interpretation, we say that this is MY or perhaps OUR nature. In the big interpretation, we go one step further and say it’s the nature of EVERYTHING.

What we can say for certain is that it seems to be our nature. And although saying it’s the nature of everything is a leap, there are some hints that this may be the case. (I have written more about this in other articles.)

What are the benefits of intellectual honesty?

It helps us stay honest, on track, and grounded. And it helps us avoid detours created by wishful or fearful thinking. (Although these detours become part of our path and have their own function.) It helps us – individually and collectively – to make better decisions.

Why is intellectual honesty important in spirituality?

I have mentioned a few things about this above.

Spirituality is about reality. It’s about noticing what we already are and living from it. It’s about seeing through our assumptions about ourselves and the world. And in that process, intellectual honesty is invaluable and essential. It keeps us on track. It helps us see through what’s not aligned with reality.

Can intellectual honesty be learned or trained?

Yes, absolutely, although it does require readiness and willingness. We can learn about cognitive bias, logical fallacies, and so on, and learn to recognize them in our own thinking. There is always more work to do in these areas for all of us, and especially in recognizing it in ourselves.

Does intellectual honesty preclude trust, devotion, or poetic expression?

Not at all.

I can trust an approach or a guide, at least for a while and to some extent.

I can engage in devotion and devotional practices towards the divine.

I can enjoy poetic expressions and even engage in my own.

Are the examples above all there is to it?

No, these are just some examples that come to mind. There are a lot more out there and variations and clarifications of these. And probably a lot I am not aware of and won’t be aware of in this lifetime.

Are the examples above examples universal?

They do not represent any final or absolute truth, although it seems that many of these are relatively universal. And it’s always possible to go further with each one of these and other insights and pointers.

The examples I gave above apply to the part of the terrain of reality I am exploring. If we explore other parts of the terrain, there will be some other ones that applies specifically to that terrain. For instance, if we see ourselves as a more conventional Christian, we may chose to “believe” something while also admitting we don’t know.

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Dream: A spiritual guide and joining the inner and outer

A spiritual guide is with my partner and I. He or she shows us what’s in us that we see in ourselves, what’s in us that we see in the world, and how we can see all of it in ourselves. We see a symbol with an outline of us, and two circles in each of us, one representing what we already see in ourselves and the other what’s in us that we see in the world.

This is one of the dreams that spells things out quite clearly. We each have two circles in us, one representing what we see in ourselves and “own” as our own, and the other representing what we see in the world that’s also in us but we may not be aware (yet) as being in. The guide helped us see both in ourselves.

Why would I have this dream? At a conscious level, I know it’s this way. And yet, last night I got caught up in some inner drama where I “forgot” it. The situation I had a struggle with mirrors something in me.

Why is the dream about me and my partner? Perhaps because the situation that triggered me last night also triggered her in a similar way, and it’s a shared situation for us. In a sense, the dream is for us both.

The stories I have about this outer situation also fit and describe me, and it helps me to examine it more in detail and find specific examples of how it’s true. I can use the outer situation to find in myself what I see there.

In my dream, the spiritual guide was a large figure without any clear features, and it was neither female or male and also had characteristics of both.

I should also mention that this is an example of the more explicit dreams I have written about before. During the first few years when I was really into Jung (in my teens and early twenties), I would have typical Jungian dreams. Then, I asked the dream-maker in me to sometimes skip the symbolism and make the dreams more explicit, and that’s what largely happened.


What is ho’oponopono?

Ho’oponopno comes from an ancient healing practice from Hawaii and other South Pacific islands. It’s a powerful practice that can transform and heal our relationship with ourselves, others, and the world.

In its modern version, it consists of four sentences:

I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.

How can I explore it for myself?

Say the four sentences to anything or anyone you wish to heal your relationship with. Visualize them in front of you. Say it out loud or silently.

(This practice is for yourself so if you are doing it for someone in your life, you don’t need to mention to them that you are doing this.)

You can say it during a time set aside for this, before falling asleep or after waking up, or any time during the day. Repeat several times.

Over time, it can become a continuous and mostly wordless prayer.

You can do it for people in your life, both the ones you like and dislike. For yourself as a whole. For parts of you like physical issues, your body, emotions, emotional issues, or a repeating behavior. For challenging situations, whether they are personal or in the wider world. For Earth as a whole and all life. And for anyone suffering.

It may be easier to first do it for someone in your life you easily like and love, and when you are familiar with the process do it for yourself and anything and anyone else. It can be especially powerful and transformative to do it for anyone suffering and for whatever in your world you dislike or have trouble with.

If you wish, take it as an experiment. Try it and see what happens.

What do I do if I notice resistance?

We may notice some resistance when we do this for someone or something we have a troubled relationship with. It’s natural and part of the process. It shows us that healing is needed and – likely – happening as part of doing ho’o for it.

If the resistance is strong, you can shift and do ho’o for this resistance. When you notice your relationship to the resistance has healed a bit and feels softer, you can go back to what you initially did ho’o for.

What’s the effect?

In my experience, it helps me heal my relationship with whatever I do it for. It feels right. There is a sense of peace. It’s easier to have some understanding for myself and/or the other.

I can still take action when and as needed. I can still act to prevent harm. We don’t need to condone any harmful behavior. It’s about me finding more peace with what is and this helps me take more clear and decisive actions.

It helps me, and it also helps the world. I become less of a nuisance. I may show that there is another way of being. I may act in ways helpful to others.

Ho’o is something I do for myself and the world.

How does ho’oponopno work?

It’s mainly about trying it for ourselves and see what happens. So the question of how it works is perhaps less important but I’ll mention a few things.

It helps me shift into forgiveness and love. It opens that possibility. And that, in itself, is healing.

It helps me heal my relationship with whatever I do it for, and that feels right and healing.

As a human being, the world as it appears to me is a mirror of me. So it makes sense to take responsibility for it all and find healing in how I relate to it.

If I find healing for my relationship to someone or something in the wider world, it tends to heal my relationship to whatever is similar in myself. And the other way around.

As capacity for the world, the world – as it appears to me – happens within and as what I am. So it makes sense to ask for forgiveness when I see suffering and let these parts of my world know I love them.

How do you see ho’oponopno in relation to other practices?

Ho’oponopono is one of several heart-centered practices – similar to tonglen, metta, heart prayer, and more.

For me, these heart practices are central. They can be profoundly transforming, and they support healing, awakening, embodiment, and being a slightly more helpful part of the world.

How do you use it?

I have gone through periods where I use it a lot throughout the day and other periods where I use it now and then. When I use it a lot, it tends to become an ongoing and often silent prayer. These days, I tend to use it when I notice I have an uneasy relationship with someone or something.

It doesn’t mean all my relationships are healed. There is always more. And it certainly doesn’t mean I am perfect, whatever that means. But it does mean that I have a tool that can be very helpful in challenging situations. And it means I am working on a lot of what’s coming up in my life.

Image by me and Midjourney, 2023

How to live in an insane world?

If we hadn’t noticed earlier, in some point in the awakening process we realize that we are living in an insane world. Not the natural world, which is beautiful although in many ways merciless, but the human world.

A world where what we are doesn’t notice itself and take itself to be a separate human being. A world where people actually believe their thoughts. A world where people create a great deal of suffering for themselves and others only because they happen to believe crazy thoughts.

So what do we do? How do we live within this insane world?

For me, the answer is the usual one. Go further. Look more closely. Use it as a mirror for yourself.

Examine your thoughts about this insane world. Identify your beliefs about it. See what’s more true for you.

Identify emotional issues triggered by this. Invite in healing for these.

Reorient. See how it is to find love for what is triggered in you around this. See how it is to find love for these people and the suffering they create for themselves.

Learn more about the mechanisms behind this suffering and learn more about trauma and trauma behavior by exploring it in yourself.

Instead of feeling like a victim (which comes from a belief and emotional issues), why not do what you would like to see more of in the world? Why not do something, even if it’s small and local, to support life?

When we see insanity in the world, we see our own insanity. It’s an invitation to go further in our own healing and awakening and bring a little more into the world of what we would like to see in it.

Note: I intentionally wrote the two first paragraphs from the view of someone seeing the world as insane. It’s not so difficult for me since I went through that experience during the first few years after the awakening, and still connect with it now and then.

Conspiracy theory literacy

I thought I would write a few words about conspiracy theories.

What’s my personal relationship with conspiracy theories?

In general, I don’t have much time for them. But I am interested in the psychology behind conspiracy theories.

How do I see the bigger picture around conspiracy theories?

Historically, actually conspiracies have been uncovered by investigative reporters or government officials. Not by smallish online communities.

What we know is going on in the world is far more serious than the topic of most or all conspiracy theories. We know we are in the middle of an ecological crisis. We know huge portions of humanity lives in poverty while others have more than they need. We know large corporations influence policies to benefit themselves at the cost of nearly everyone else. We know we live within an economic system that doesn’t take ecological realities into account. All of this deserve our attention far more than most or all conspiracy theories.

How do I see them reflecting us?

I wonder if not conspiracy theories serve emotional needs.

For instance….

Does it feel better to think I know something others don’t? That I am a part of a small select group that knows?

Does it feel better to blame someone?

Does it feel better to think that a small group of people have done something instead of social and economic structures? (For instance, economic inequality, poverty, lack of political power.)

Does it feel better to think a few humans have done something instead of the randomness of nature? (For instance, the C19 virus.)

Does it feel better to think we know instead of not knowing? (Even if we cannot know anything for certain.)

Do the scary conspiracy stories feed into a familiar identity or set of beliefs? For instance, that I am a victim? Powerless? Abused? That those in authority always abuse their power. That important things happen that I don’t know about?

And I wonder if conspiracy theories mirror something in us that deserve attention.

For instance….

What are my stressful beliefs connected with conspiracy theories, or a particular theory? Whether I believe it, fear it, or am frustrated that people seem to believe it. What do I find when I investigate these thoughts? (The Work of Byron Katie.)

What does it say about me? That I am a victim? Powerless? Abused by those in power? Smarter than those who go into conspiracy theories? What do I find when I explore how my mind creates these identities? What do I find when I explore fears around this? What do I find when I explore compulsions in relation to this? (Living Inquiries.)

How can we relate to conspiracy theories in a way that makes more sense?

Media literacy is crucial here, along with awareness of cognitive biases and emotional reasoning.

Also, as mentioned above, if conspiracy theories trigger something in us – whether we get caught in them or react to them as nonsense – it’s good to take a look at what they trigger.

What’s the even bigger picture?

The even bigger picture is that all of this is the play of life, the universe, or the divine. It’s all part of life, the universe, or the divine expressing, exploring, and experiencing itself – also as conspiracy theories and how we relate to them.

Reminding ourselves of this can help us shift out of us vs them thinking and into all of us thinking. It can give us a slightly different context that can make all the difference – whether we chose to pursue conspiracy theories or not and whatever we think about them.

See below….

For my initial and more detailed drafts of this article. I chose to make this version simpler where the essence isn’t buried in details.

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My advice is for myself

My advice is for myself.

What I write on this website are reminders and explorations for myself. And if it resonates with someone else, that’s icing on the cake.

Even when someone asks me for advice, I am aware that my advice is the advice I would give myself in the situation I imagine they are in. If the advice resonates and is helpful for the other person, that’s a bonus and not a given. We are all different. We need different things.

If I think my advice – whether spoken or not – is for someone else, I create an impossible situation for myself. I expect or want the other to follow it. I get frustrated if she or he doesn’t. And they often won’t for whatever reason, including that my advice didn’t fit their situation. It wasn’t for them. It was for me imagining myself in their situation – as I imagined their situation was.

I also see that most of my advice for others is unspoken. Right now, my advice for the neighbor is to be more quiet and considerate. It’s not spoken and probably won’t be spoken. And if I think it’s for him, I frustrate myself. The advice is for me. I am the one who enjoys being considerate of others and not make much or any noise. I am the one who can benefit from my mind quieting down about the neighbor, and be less noisy in my thoughts about him.

If I want to share with him that I would enjoy and really appreciate more quiet, I need to tell him. I can’t expect him to know if I don’t share it with him. It doesn’t feel right or necessary in this situation, so what’s left is my advice to myself.

I cannot go too far in seeing that my advice is for myself. But I can be one-sided. I sometimes withhold pointers or information from others even if it could be helpful for them. And that’s also not the most kind. When I notice this, I typically ask if they would like to hear what I have found helpful in similar situations. If they say yes, I’ll share. If they say no, then I am grateful they are able to say an honest “no” and I know it’s not the right time or place. (I am grateful that some of my friends are good at saying “no”. It means they trust that it’s OK for me.)

I have written this as it came to me without planning it out in advance. That means it’s more wordy and less structured than it could be, but I’ll leave it as is.

Working with dreams

I thought I would do a series of articles on how different approaches to healing and awakening work. So here is one on dreams.

In my experience, dreams are the mind digesting either what happened the day before (often more fragmented dreams) or an emotional issue (often more of an unfolding story and sometimes archetypal). I wonder if not this digesting happens most or all of the time, and it just happens to take the form of dreams while we sleep.

Everything in the dream is me. It’s all created by my mind and reflects parts of me and the dynamics between these parts.

The digesting inherent in dreams is likely helpful in itself, and I suspect I don’t even need to remember the dream for it to have some effect in terms of processing, healing, and gaining some insights from it.

And yet, I sometimes also explore the dream more actively, especially if it’s a strong or more archetypal dream.

Here are some of the approaches I find helpful:

Active imagination comes out of Jungian dream work, and here we go back into the dream (imagine ourselves back in it) and interact with the different elements of the dream. For instance, I can take an action and see what the response is, or I can engage in a dialogue with the different dream characters and get a sense of who they are and what they want (both on the surface and what would deeply satisfy them). There is no limit and it can yield a lot of helpful insights. Often, these insights are just at the edge of what we are conscious of, and active imagination can help make them more conscious. (I typically avoid formulaic dream interpretations since dreams seem more juicy, fluid, and sometimes individual than that.)

Active imagination is a form for parts (subpersonality) work, and if we are familiar with a form of parts work, we can use that one.(For me, Voice Dialog and the Big Mind process.)

And then there are the approaches I often write about here.

I can explore the dream through inquiry. For instance, I can do inquiry on any stressful beliefs I had in the dream or about it after waking up (The Work). I can also explore any identities the dream brought up in me, any fears, or any compulsions in the dream or after I woke up (Living Inquiries).

I can use heart-centered practices for anyone (or any thing) in the dream that seemed hurt or uncomfortable in any way. (Ho’o, tonglen, metta.)

I can use energy healing on any emotional issue brought up by the dream, or anything else the dream pointed to as needing resolution or healing. For instance, last year I had a dream about a lake being polluted, so I could intend healing for what that lake represents in me. (Vortex Healing.)

I can do some therapeutic trembling to release any tension from the dream. (TRE)

And I can use any other approach I know and find helpful.

The key is that I can explore dreams as I would anything in daily life, and I can also explore daily life as I would a dream(!). It’s the same mind creating our experience of both.

For instance, active imagination is traditionally used specifically for dreams, although it can be helpful to use it in other areas of life as well. We can use it for situations from past, present, or the imagined future, and it can help us see what these situations mean to us, how we relate to them and find other ways of understanding the situations and relating to them.

When spiritual teachers say stupid things

I am against organ donations because organ transplants take resources away from other health services.

Paraphrased from Ric W. on FB

Ric is the main teacher of one of the modalities I find most helpful, and when he talks about healing or awakening, it usually makes complete sense to me. But when he posts about social issues, I often find I disagree. Sometimes, I even think his views seem a bit naive.

In this case, he posted this to an international Facebook group which makes it seem as if he is making a broad statement that applies to all countries and situations. In Norway, people get the health care they need even if some with organ transplants need a small portion of the health care resources available. Even in the US where he lives, it’s hard to see that it’s true. Insurance companies pay for the health services people need and have paid for through their insurance, whether it’s organ transplants or something else.

Also, he is using the “divide and conquer” argument where he sets two vital issues up against each other while we, as a society, can afford both. We spend a huge amount of money and resources on far less important things. (In the US, on a ridiculously large and bloated military budget.) It’s the argument politicians use when they want to set groups up against each other, for instance by saying “society spends resources on immigrants that retired people should have had”.

Of course, it is true that organ transplants increase the overall cost of healthcare in a society. But it’s negligible. It’s a cost most of us agree is worth it. And a lot of other and less vital things bring up the cost as well. In the US, privatization increases the overall cost dramatically. In most countries, doctors perform or prescribe costly treatments they know won’t work or are ineffective.

It is also true that, as he said, that in the big picture, life and death is not so important. But it is important to us as humans. And I want to live in a society that’s kind and honors life.

So what do we do when spiritual teachers or guides say stupid things?

First, is there something in it? Does he see something I don’t? In this case, I haven’t found it yet but I am open to it.

Then, I can be relieved. He is just a human being. He may have knee-jerk ideas about things. He may not think everything through. His social views may, at times, seem unnecessarily harsh. He is a human as we all are. He is not perfect. He has his own issues and limitations. It’s a gift that he shows me this.

Finally, it helps me see my own issues. Something in me got triggered when I saw what he wrote. I reacted to what he said, considered it for a while, and then – as part of the reactivity – decided that what he said seemed stupid, harsh, and uninformed. It was my way of dealing with the discomfort it brought up in me.

I can do inquiry (The Work) on the stressful thoughts it brought up in me. (He is stupid. He should be more responsible in what he says. He may influence others to not support organ transplants. His view is harsh, heartless, and uninformed. I don’t know if I can trust his views on anything now.)

I can do inquiry (Living Inquiries) to see how my mind creates the reactivity, and also see how it creates what it reacts against and when it was initially formed in my life. And, in the process, invite sensations and thoughts to separate so the charge may go out of these issues (beliefs, identifications, traumas) in me.

I can do Vortex Healing for what it brought up in me, even if I don’t know exactly what it was.

And much more.

So when spiritual teachers say stupid things, it can come with many benefits. I may find the grain of truth in it, or it may help me see something from a different perspective or a different context. It brings him down from the pedestal and among us humans, as I see him. And it helps me find my own emotional issues, triggered by what he said, so I get to explore and perhaps find resolution for these.

I want to add a few words about the “life and death is not important” view. In the big picture, it is true. It’s all the play of the divine. The different masks of the divine. And yet, one of the pitfalls of spirituality is to dismiss the human. We go into Big Mind, and find ourselves as Big Mind, and dismiss or value less the human views and perspectives. (If this happens, it’s often a way to try to protect ourselves of the pain inherent in our human existence. It doesn’t work, but it can give a sense of temporary relief.)

As I see it, a more mature view is to include both and embrace the human, including our valuing of life. To me, that’s one of the most beautiful things about humans. We value life. And few things are as beautiful as a society that values life. In this case, that values life enough to give people organ transplants when they need it and follow up so they can stay healthy as long as possible.

Finally, I should add that I know that Ric may say these things precisely to initiate a process in people just like it did me. It may be, unconsciously or consciously, a teaching tool. Outside of when he talks about healing and awakening, where he seems amazingly precise and insightful, he may allow himself to say controversial things in order to stir things up a little. I imagine I would be tempted to do the same if I was in his position.

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Parliament: Testify

Once I was a hollow man
In which a lonely heart did dwell
You know love came creeping upon me
Bringing life to an empty shell

Now I heard so many times before
That your love could be so bad
I just want to tell you people
It’s the best love I ever had

Don’t you know that 
I just want to testify
What your love has done for me
I just want to testify
What your love has done for me

Ooh, ooh luscious
Sure been delicious to me
Ooh, ooh luscious
Sure been delicious to me

I just want to testify
What your love has done for me
I just want to testify
What your love has done for me

Parliament, Deron Taylor / George S Clinton, Testify

I listened to this song by Parliament and realized it falls into place more for me when I turn it around to myself. (When I hear songs or watch movies or read stories or look at the world, I find it interesting to explore it as I would a dream, as if all aspects are in myself.)

I can understand the lyrics of Testify in a conventional sense, as someone who comes alive through the love of someone else. I allow myself to come alive because I tell myself I am loved and lovable.

And when I see that, I also realize I can give myself that love.

How can I give myself that love?

I can do loving things for myself (take a bath, make a good meal etc.).

More importantly, I can find love for whatever parts of myself come up, and especially those parts I previously have shunned and pushed away. I can find love for my experience as it is here and now, even if it’s uncomfortable and something I previously have shunned.

To get started, I can do this with the help of a structure. It can be a basic meditation such as natural rest. When I notice and allow my experience, as it is here and now, it’s a deep expression of love. It can also be a heart-centered practice such as ho’oponopno, tonglen, or metta. Or I can do it through a simple inquiry such as the Headless experiments or the Big Mind / Big Heart process.

If I want to be more thorough, I can also find and investigate any beliefs that prevent me from finding a deep and lasting love for myself. I can do this, for instance, through The Work or Living Inquiries. A common thought is that I am not worthy of love or I am unlovable. One of my thoughts is that the love of someone else (preferably a woman beautiful inside and out) is more important or worth more than my own love.

These are all very natural and understandable thoughts, and it can be a great relief and open up a whole new dimension of the world when the charge goes out of them (Living Inquiries) or we find what’s more true for us (The Work).

Mirroring in two ways 

When we use mirroring in inquiry, it can be done in at least two ways.

For instance, say I see someone as lazy, trying to get away with minimum effort, just going through the motions. How does he mirror me?

I can find what I see in himself in me. The easiest is perhaps to write down what I see in him, turn it around to myself, and then find specific examples of how it applies to me – in that situation, and other situations.

I am lazy. Ex1: I am lazy in the same way as him. I too sometimes go on the internet instead of doing my task. Ex2: I am lazy in how I see him and me. I put a label on both of us, and didn’t initially question it. Ex3: I am sometimes lazy when I do inquiry. I go to familiar answers, instead of looking afresh and seeing what’s really there. I sometimes am satisfied by just casually and intellectually finding answers, instead of letting it really sink in and change me.

What does it say about me? He is lazy, just going through the motions. What does it say about me? What person am I in relation to him, when he is that way? I am better. I am conscientious. I do the right thing. I am more likeable. More dependable. In this case, these may be inflated selves, and I can explore these in inquiry.

The first is a reversal of what I tell myself about him. It may help me see myself as the same boat as him. This is one element of The Work.

The second is exploring how I see myself in relation to him. This is an exploration of deficient or inflated selves. This is an element in the Living Inquiries. (A boomerang, used to find a self we can then look for through the Unfindable Inquiry.)

In both cases, I use how I see him – and me in relation to him – to find what’s more true than my initial assumptions. I get to see how I create these assumptions out of unquestioned and unloved fears.

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We are what we fear

In the classic cave scene from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, Luke Skywalker meets his nemesis and representative of the dark side, Darth Vader. After a brief sword fight, Luke decapitates Darth Vader, and sees his own face inside of Darth’s helmet.

Luke is what he fears the most. He is the dark side.

That’s how it is for all of us. We are what we fear. And that’s true in a few different ways.

It’s happening within and as what I am. It’s all happening within my world. It’s happening within and as (my) awareness. When it’s here, in awareness, it’s what I am.

The world is my mirror. Whatever I see “out there” in the wider world or someone else, is what I know from myself. Whatever stories I have about the world and other people, I can turn them around to myself, and find specific examples of how it’s true. (It may not look the same, or be expressed the same way, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find the same here as I have stories about in others.)

It pushes back. When I try to push something away in myself, and in the world, it tends to push back. It wants in. It wants to be acknowledged. Life is kinder than allowing me to reject something for good.

And why? Because life invites me to see what’s more real and true than my initial beliefs about it.

Life invites me to…. Recognize it as happening within and as what I am. Find in myself, as a human being, what I see in others and the wider world. Realize we are all in the same boat.

Life invites me to…. Meet it – the fear and what I fear – with respect, kindness, curiosity. Take a closer look and examine by beliefs about it, and how my perception of it is created by my own mind.

Life invites me to see that what I fear is not how it initially appears. (That doesn’t mean we become passive bystanders to injustice or cruelty, or approve of it. On the contrary. We are in a much better position to do something the more clear and mature we are in our relationship to it.)

How does it push back? We may find ourselves in situations where we encounter it again. We may replay a situation in our minds. We may have certain qualities or emotions surface in ourselves.

For instance, if I see anger as bad and try to push it away, I’ll still find myself in situations where people are angry, perhaps even at me. I’ll still replay memories of people being angry, or imagine someone being angry with me in the future. I’ll still experience anger, even if it’s pushed down and perhaps comes out as frustration or restlessness, or even feeling flat. It doesn’t go away.

P.S. I am aware that the usual interpretation(s) of the cave scene is slightly different. I imagine the more standard interpretation is that Luke has the potential to go over to the dark side, just as his father did. He has the anger. The impulsiveness. The restlessness. He is his father’s son, in that way. The cave experience is a warning, and also an invitation for him to recognize this in himself and take it seriously.

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In the same boat

Whether I work with clients or teach a group, or am a client or student, there is often a sense that we are all in the same boat.

The roles, there and then, are different. One is a facilitator, the other a client. One is an instructor, the others students. After the session or the class, the roles change. They even change during the session or class, sometimes.

Behind the shifting roles, we are all human beings. We are all exploring universal dynamics. What I see in you is what I know from myself.

When I work with someone, as a facilitator or client, it’s often with a sense of a shared exploration of universal dynamics.

Of course, it may be that the person in the facilitator or instructor role has more experience or skill in a certain area. But even that may not be the case.

This makes it much easier. We are in the same boat. I don’t need to pretend.

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