In Buddhism, Breema and Waking Down, there is an emphasis on relaxing into our experiences.
Relaxing into them as they are right now, independent on how we habitually relate to them (push away or cling to).
This helps us go beyond our regular blind dualism, where we fragment the world and ourselves. Where we, based on ideas of "right" and "wrong", choose to cling to some aspects of ourselves (identified with) and push other aspects away (shadow, identify others with).
When we relax into our experiences, there is no separation. We bring it into awareness, as part of ourselves - as part of our shared humanity. And we can move beyond. We create a situation where we can mature as rich and whole human being.
And we find the gold in what we used to push away - through increased empathy (seeing in others what we recongnize in ourselves), energy (released from not having to push it away anymore) and clarity.
Update Jan 31
I read Raphael Cushnir's book "Unconditional Bliss" yesterday (sitting in the sun by the river), and it gave a quite beautiful and simple outline of the process. (a) Bring into awareness your experience right now, and (b) ask yourself "can I be with what I am experiencing now?".
As he mentions, reality is as it is. Resistance only drains energy.
And when we relax into our experiences as they are, we gain both energy and clarity. No separation gives rise to - ironically - some distance and perspective. We are in a better position to relate to our situation in a more fruitful and constructive way.
Breaking Down vs. Breaking Open
When we resist intense and/or difficult experiences, we can break down. When we relax into them, we break open.
When I am present, I experience the magic of life. And I can become present through a variety of ways including regular meditation and/or Breema practice, and long walks in nature.
When I am present, the timeless is right here now.
Chairs & Floor
In Western culture, it has been important to emphasize the difference between humans and other animals. One way of demonstrating this difference is through chairs. No other animals sit on chairs.
Sitting on the floor, on the other hand, emphasizes our connection with the earth and the soil. It also reminds us of our similarities with other animals. When we sit on the floor, we are on their level.
I have for a long time wanted to set up spaces for sitting on the floor, and Breema has given me an excuse. We now have padding under the carpet in the livingroom (in front of the woodstove/fireplace), and have moved the coach over to the side. I find that sitting and lying on the floor while reading, talking and relaxing is far more pleasureable than even the most comfortable coach or chair.
Breema & Transdual
Breema seems to open for a genuine transdual experience.
For me, Breema opens up for a direct experience of...
- No separation
Mind/body, myself/other, me/universe
Everything is experienced as always new (always in flux/impermanent)
The pathway to this transdual experience is mostly likely through bringing me to the present. To my breath, body and mind right here now. Free from attachments to ideas. With a receptive mind and supportive emotions.
This is one of my major blinds spots:
I am aware of (and experience to varying degrees) existence as seamless - everything has the same source. All beings, and everything else, are manifestations of Spirit/God/Buddha mind etc. All sounds are the voice of Spirit/God/Buddha mind.
At the same time, I have hangups when it comes to sounds, especially human made noise in its many manifestations: machines (leaf blowers, lawn movers etc), slamming doors, load music, eating noisily... Any noise that seems unnecessary, "extra", and born from a certain amount of unconsciousness. It seems that at the core of it, it is the unconsciousness I react towards.
So I know, and experience, that all sounds are expressions of Spirit/God/Buddha mind. At the same time, there is sometimes a strong discomfort with certain sounds, and I allow it to overwhelm me. Instead of relaxing into the experience, allowing it to unfold and give it space, I sometimes resist it which leads to an escalating cycle of resistance, emotional reactiveness and mental justifications.
This tension is a natural part of human existence. It's a tension we experience in many ways every day, and at the core - it seems to be the tension between the transdual and the dualistic. The seamless whole and the parts. And it is a tension that brings our attention to itself, and a path towards the more trans-dual and integrated.
We can continually deepen our experience of both poles of the polarity, and of the polarity itself.
I went back to my files, and found some feedback I received from Breema recipients (I gave about 60 hour-long free Breema sessions last July, August and September). Beyond being nurtured from giving, this is an additional reward.
Thank you for your Breema sessions. No matter what my state of mind going into them, I often find myself feeling present, relaxed and back in balance afterwards. I especially appreciate your professional and focused approach which has me feel at ease, trusting and open to the process. I look forward to doing more Breema with you and have no doubt that what you are offering is a great gift!
I so appreciate your Breema sessions! You are able to create a wonderful atmosphere of nurturing, comfort and something more that I find hard to define! Afterwards, I always feel renewed, relaxed and rebalanced. And it’s all so effortless on my part! Thank you for sharing this healing gift with me.
I wanted to say thank you for the Breema sessions. You bring calming and sweet energy to your work. What a great way to help heal humanity.
A quick note to most deeply thank you for the wonderful relaxation you allowed for during the Breema session. Can I drop off some greens from my garden for you guys?
You are a gifted Breema practitioner. Your presence and support gave me the feeling of deep peace, as if the whole of the universe were still. It was so wonderfully relaxing!
Thanks so much for letting me experience Breema. I had no previous exposure to the practice and came eager to see if it might help relieve my chronic problems with emotional anxiety and back stiffness.
Generally I have a hard time keeping my mind focused and not wandering off into distraction, which is very frustrating. I found the gentle, rhythmic motions of Breema helped me keep my attention on my breath without drifting away (except the couple of times I was so relaxed I dozed off!).
I felt you were transmitting peace into me, sending a peaceful signal directly to the core of my being. A kind of floaty and ethereal sensation—very nice. I definitely felt mentally and emotionally calmed, and at the same time I came away from each session also feeling enlivened and much more present in my body, more attuned to the moment.
I appreciate the special accommodations you made for my back problem by using knee pillows and adding an extra stretch at the end of the session. My back is bothering me a lot less in the mornings now, which I attribute to the Breema treatments.
Your firm gentleness, your strong hands, your accepting and caring approach, all helped me let go and relax. I found you to be very warm, respectful, unobtrusive, and caring. I especially appreciated your nonjudgmental attitude about my size and weight, something I’ve learned can’t always be expected.
Thanks very much,
We know that all muscles in the body needs exercise to stay fit and healthy. We also know that the brain is remarkably responsive to training - creating new pathways and connections.
We have a cultural "blindspot" when it comes to vision improvement. Most of the common vision problems are connected to (a) muscles related to the eye and/or (b) how the brain interprets the signals. Still, few engage in active excercises to keep their vision healthy and improve poor vision.
Many techniques have been developed, and most of them are quite similar to each other. Some come from Taoist and Indian yoga, other from the West (the Bates techniques, Feldenkrais, etc). As with all techniques and therapies, they work very well for some, relatively well for many, and not so well for a few (in this case, about 10-15%).
Association of Vision Educators
Natural Vision Improvement, Janet Goodrich (the book that helped me)
Meir Schneider (book, video, training)
I was moderately nearsighted and had frequent eye related headaches, and through Taoist yoga, Feldenkrais and the Bates method improved my vision from 20/40 to 20/15 and with no headaches. When I feel strain coming, I have techniques that work.
In our current culture, much seems to conspire to prevent us from connecting with ourselves and the world in a real and grounded way.
One way to re-connect is to learn the basic skills for everyday living: growing food, cooking, building, pottery, woodcraft, etc.
It is rewarding in many ways: through the products that come out of it, the connections with others we make in the process (learning and working), the connections we make with the world, and the satisfaction of knowing useful skills and how to make the products we use every day. We will of course not provide for all our needs, but just knowing how to do it is immensely rewarding.
[Photo of a shaker table I made this winter]
As with all the Breema principles, No Extra can be explored in all areas of life and there is always new insights - or rather more to peal away. What comes up for me these days, is how No Extra also means not putting off what needs to be done. The extra comes in when I put something off, have to remind myself to do it in the future, and experience some stress around it. Doing it now, is No Extra.
The many food fads (diets, theories, etc) seems to be a reflection of how disembodied people are in our culture. When we are in touch with ourselves as physical beings, when we know we are body, and can access the wisdom there, we need no books or experts to tell us what to eat. Our bodies tells us, clearly and accurately. We are so diverse, and in so different situations, that our own bodies are the only reliable source of this information.
For me, what I need changes with the seasons and my current situation. In the summer, my body wants fresh and light food. In the winter, heavier and cooked food. And it wants diversity - not too much of anything, and nothing over too long periods of a time. Fermented foods are typically good for me, as are less processed foods. And beyond this, what my body wants changes over the weeks and months, seemingly independent of seasons and other situations.
Current food habits:
- Miso soup (seaweed, vegetables, miso) - for breakfast, lunch or with dinner
- Tempeh, slow fried
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruit
- Some nuts
- Teas (variations of herbal and spice, including green, yogi and chai)
- Some grains (moderate amounts of any grains)
- Some dairy (moderate amounts of cheese, mainly feta)
- Oatmeal (breakfast, some days)
- Meat (very infrequent, mostly local organic)
- Wine (infrequent small amounts with food)
I went to Norway over the holidays, and - as usual - had an opportunity to reflect on the differences between US and Norwegian culture. In the big picture, they are obviously very similar to each other, but as a person living in one culture or the other, there are some significant differences as well.
The main difference I experience is the level of maturity in the mainstream culture. In Norway, there is a fusion of head and heart in a grounded way. In the US, head is separated from heart, and often not very grounded.
In Norway, they take the side of the underdog and the weak in society. They see themselves as a part of an international community, and have a genuine interest in the international community. They typically use compassion and openness when they view different situations and individuals. Solidarity is a strong value - solidarity with those in Norwegian and international community who are in a difficult situation, solidarity with future generations (they save up billions of dollars in an oil fund for future generations). Politicians are regular people, live regular lives, and look out for regular people. It is respected and seen as a mark of maturity to admit mistakes openly.
In the US, they support the strong and punish the weak. They are not very aware of the larger world. Judgment is rampant. Solidarity and compassion are seen as weakness. Problems are pushed onto future generations (an enormous national debt). Politicians come from the few wealthy and look out for the wealthy. Admitting mistakes is seen as a weakness.
This is of course a somewhat simplified and polarized view, but the general trends described above are accurate as I experience them.
There is obviously a reason why I live in the US as well: diversity.
In Norway, the culture as a whole is quite progressive, but the leading edge developments are often not found there or are found only in a very small group of people. This is probably due to (a) the small total population in Norway, (b) the homogeneity of the culture, and (c) that life is typically very good in Norway. Most people enjoy their life and their work.
In the US, mainstream culture is relatively backwards, but there are significant numbers of people working on leading edge insights and tools. This must be due to the large total population (and similar minded people tend to cluster), the diversity of the culture, and that life for many is not so good in the US so there is an incentive to develop alternatives.
Some leading edge developments: holistic health and health psychology, holistic design (incl. permaculture), alternative health (process oriented psychology, Breema etc), Community Supported Agriculture, and much more.
Health & Systems
The Universe is a seamless whole, beyond and embracing all polarities. And it can be seen as a holarchy - systems nested within systems, where everything is simultaneously a whole and a part in a larger whole.
Looking at human health from this perspective, we see that all areas impacts our health. We also see that some areas with a significant impact on our health is often given less attention in this context than they deserve. Two of these areas are ecology and economy.
The health of the Earth as a whole, and its various ecosystems, is intimately connected with human health. Healthy (diverse, resilient, large in mass) ecosystems are necessary for healthy humans. We depend on these ecosystems for our lives and our quality of life, on both physical and psychological levels. Human-made toxins released into ecosystems also go into the human body. Unraveling ecosystems is an unraveling of our life support systems.
And the health of our economical systems is also intimately connected with human health. Healthy economical systems (diverse, resilient, fair) are necessary for healthy humans.
And for both of these areas, corporate globalization is the greatest threat, and thus a great threat to our own health and well being. The few benefiting, or appearing to benefit, from corporate globalization, are only postponing the impact. And the many are already suffering.
Comfortable ::: Healing
I more and more experience healing as being about being comfortable with oneself. Deeply comfortable with all one's unique and deeply human experiences and characteristics. Comfortable, in a place beyond and including body/mind... This of course reflects my current process...
Comfort = experience of no separation = inclusion in one's experience of oneself and the world = healing / making one's experience of oneself and the world more whole.
It gives a sense of grounding, centering, relaxation. What I see in others I recognize in myself. I don't need to be attached to having to defend anything, prove anything. I can live my life fully. I experience a deepening sense of connection, meaning and direction. There is no separation.
As they say in Breema: True health is harmony with existence.
And as with everything else, both ends of the polarity needs to be included. We need to experience comfort with ourselves and the rest of existence, with all the flaws and everything else. And we need a vision of where we want to go (even if that is just the process of peeling off the extra).