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Monday, February 28, 2005 |

Projections

Projections is one of the main ways Existence helps us fuel awareness.

The inner and outer worlds are parts of a seamless whole. They are fluid manifestations born from and held in the same existence. All qualities and characteristics that we are aware of are both in the inner and the outer world.

Basic Split

When we operate from a fragmented worldview, or rather worldexperience, as most of us do, we split polarities. The basic split is between the inner and the outer world, and from this basic split follows many other processes.

We see the inner world as "I" and the outer world as everything else - "it", "they", "you" etc. There is a separation and clear difference between the inner and the outer worlds. And we identify strongly with the manifestations of the inner world (sensations, emotions, thoughts) and less so or not at all with various aspects of the outer world. From this, it becomes important to stay with a relatively stable sense of identity, and to boost our self-esteem. How do this personality ("I") compare to everything and everyone else out there?

Projections

We see one end of a polarity as opposed to the other end, relate to one with aversion and the other with attraction, and have ideologies and sets of values that justify this way of relating to the world. These ideologies come from our culture and subcultures and are further modified by our personal experiences.

When we see in ourselves the "good" end of the polarity, and in others the "bad" end, we feel good about ourselves. If it is the other way around, our self-image is hurt. It is a precarious situation, so there is little wonder that we tend to play many games with ourselves to maintain our self-image. We do this mainly through different types of coping mechanisms, which are all useful and invaluable when we operate from a basic split.

Awareness

Throughout life, most of us learn that life is not as black and white as it may have seemed. We realize that we are all human, all in the same boat. What I see in others are qualities I also recognize in myself. They may be expressed in different ways, at a different level of intensity, or maybe not at all, but they are there. Eventually, we may come to see - and directly experience - that everything in the outer world is also there in the inner.

Tools

This may come through just living our lives. But it can also be the product of a conscious process. We can learn to use attractions and aversions as guideposts for split polarities.

What specifically do I experience attraction/aversion towards in this situation? Can I see those qualities in myself? How do I experience them in the inner world? How do I relate to them? How do I express them
?

With time, attractions and aversions become triggers for this process. We use the outer world as a reminder for what is in the inner world, and the other way around.

Effects

As we stay with the process, the sense of split softens. The inner and outer worlds are experienced more as a seamless whole. There is a growing sense of connection, belonging and of deepened empathy, gratitude and humility. There is a growing sense of no separation - within the inner world, and between the inner and outer world.

We also move from less awareness, being at the mercy of blind attractions and aversions, to awareness and increased conscious choice. The first brings with it much suffering, the second an ability to relate to situations in a more clear-headed way.

And, it is a process of softening our blind attachments in general, including to our self-image. From a narrow and rigid perception of ourselves, we move towards a more fluid and inclusive perception of ourselves. This allows for more choice and for relating to situations in a more fluid and responsive way.

Larger Picture

This whole process is a part of the larger process of...

  • Softening blind identification with the inner world.
  • Seeing all relative phenomena as one seamless and fluid whole (no separation).
  • Bringing center of gravity to include awareness, witness, observer - the luminous and spacious awareness beyond temporal and changing phenomena.
  • And allow for a deepening and direct experience of Existence beyond all dualities. Of the seamless whole of fluid phenomena and luminous spacious awareness.
Personal

My own projections include...
  • Lack of awareness
    And related qualities such as loadness, noise, crudeness, lack of consideration of others
  • Injustice
    Abuse of power, misleading the public, etc.
So my question is, can I see these qualities in myself? Whenever these reactions come up, I have an opportunity to be with the experience, relax into it, and discover these qualities in the inner world as well as the outer.

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Differently Transdual

There a different forms, or levels, of transdual views. Each of these can be a state, a temporary glimpse, or a level, a more permanent way of experiencing the world.

Emerging Transdual: Cognitive
An emerging transdual view on the cognitive level, often formed through studies and application of more transdual maps, such as systems theories, deep ecology, new cosmology, the Integral Model and spiritual maps such as Tibetan Buddhism. The center of gravity is on the cognitive level, although it can prepare the ground for more direct transdual experiences.

Emerging Transdual: Experiential
An emerging experiential transdual view. This can come through practices such as yoga, tai chi, chi gong, meditation, breema, deep ecology and more. This is experienced by awareness and/or the whole being (body/mind), although at a low level, more as a hunch or a feeling.

Awake Transdual: w. center
This is a direct experience of Existence, beyond and embracing all dualities, but with the personality as a center. It can come through a meditation/prayer practice, or spontaneously. We have a direct experience of Existence beyond and embracing all dualities, such as absolute (luminous space/ground) and relative (all fluid phenomena in inner/outer world), existence and nonexistence, living and inanimate, mind and body, etc. We directly see how these all arise from luminous space, and have the same essence. They are all fluid expressions of Existence, Spirit, God etc. At the same time, the awareness has a focus in the personality, this one aspect of the manifestations of Existence.

Awake Transdual: no center
This is similar to the previous type, although more full blown and without any center. There is only luminous mind/ground/space and the myriad manifestations, but no center in any particular phenomenon or personality. We can have glimpses of this in meditation, but it would be difficult to function as a human being from this level... If we have a center of gravity in the previous level, then this reminds us that there is something even beyond that.

For humans, it seems that our role and task is to deeply integrate an increasingly deepened transdual experience with our human existence. To weave together the absolute and relative, through this body and personality, and to live it fully in the world.

Saturday, February 26, 2005 |

Meanings of Spirituality

Ken Wilber describes four meanings of spirituality - four ways the term is used.

  1. Experiences/States
    We can have spiritual experiences/states. These arise and then fade, but can have a lasting impression and trigger deep transformations (or not).

  2. Levels
    Higher levels tends to be perceived as more "spiritual". As our center of gravity moves up the levels, there is a transition from (a) fragmentation to integration/transduality, (b) self-centered care to universal/worldcare, (c) blindly caught up in emotions/ideas to spacious and clear awareness.

  3. Lines
    Spirituality as a line separate from all the others (cognitive, interpersonal, etc). It is possible to have profound spiritual insights while being relatively undeveloped in the interpersonal and other lines.

  4. Attitude/Orientation
    Spirituality as an orientation can be found at any level, although it is more typical of the higher levels. It is a basic orientation of openness, being with experiences, empathy, gratitude, humility, etc.
There are some common characteristics in the expression of all these types of spirituality, some noted above.

Circle of Concern

Our circle of concern widens. It goes from our individual physical survival (non-human species, humans in extreme crisis situation), to include a small group of humans (tribal), to include all humans independent of ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation etc. (human rights in all its variations), to include all life (animal rights, ecosystems, gaia orientation), to include all of Existence (all fluid inner/outer phenomena).

Another way of describing this is to say that our loose identity, who/what we include when we say "us", expands to include increasingly more of all relative phenomena.

It seems that when we include a new group in our circle of concern, there is first a period of a "hunch", followed/accompanied with a cognitive understanding, and glimpses/periods/situations where this is also experienced and expressed more directly. As we become more comfortable with our new orientation, it becomes more of a direct and stable experience, more and more integrated into our being (our other aspects becomes oriented/aligned with our new orientation), and it is applied in more and more situations.

From being "special" it becomes ordinary and more stable.

Awareness

There is also an increased awareness and "identification" with awareness and the witness. From being blindly caught up in emotions and thoughts/ideas/self-identity, we fuel awareness which gives more space, a "disidentification" with emotions/cognitions.

When we are caught in emotions/cognitions, we are also caught in habitual patterns. We react more than respond to the situation.

As there is more spacious awareness, there is also an increased choice in how we relate to the inner/outer world. We see what is happening, and can choose how to relate to it and act on it. We respond more freely and in a way more appropriate to the specific situation.

Contractions & Openings

Another way to describe this is a move from habitual contractions to more habitual openings. It is part of the human condition to contract, to resist our experiences and inner/outer situation., and we all have habitual patterns of contraction on all our levels (physical, emotional, cognitive).
For me, it is expressed in shallow breath, tension in calf and shoulder muscles, emotional reactiveness and/or resentment, and cognitive judgment and repetitive thought patterns.

When we recognize this, we fuel awareness. We include awareness/witness in our identification, and loosen our identification with sensations, emotions and cognitive patterns.

We learn how to be with our experiences, to melt and relax into them. To allow them to arise, unfold and dissolve. And we realize that this is typically far less threatening than it seems when we are in the resistance mode. There is a release of energy previoulsy used to resist, and a new spaciousness and clarity. We experience life more fully, and participate with/in life more fully. Slowly, new habits are formed of being with whatever arises. It is of course a practice, something to engage in consciously, until it becomes more stable and ordinary for us.

All four types of spirituality is characterized by more habitual openings, by an quicker recognition of when we contract, and increased skill in moving contractions into openings by being with, or just being, what we experience here/now...

Eventually, there is a also a recognition and relaxation into a more transdual experience. Awareness and phenomena are seen as distinct, yet part of one fluid and seamless whole.

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Pre/trans

I am listening to Ken Wilber's Kosmic Consciousness (10 CD series), and it is a good review of many of the insights/maps I have been working with/explored since my late teens.

One of the basic ones is of course the pre-rational, rational and post/trans-rational levels of development and views... (the confusion of which Wilber calls the pre/trans fallacy).

Development

Prerational level: Infants are possibly in a state of undifferentiated one-ness, but there is not much awareness there and little or no differentiation. Children and animals may live in the now, and children may not differentiate much, but it is because they are not capable of anything else... There is at best a low level awareness of oneness.

Rational level: As humans grow up, there is some more awareness and we learn to differentiate. We become good at seeing the parts but are less able to see the whole (and even less able to experience the seamless whole). We see the ends of the polarities rather than the polarities themselves, and have are often caught up in attractions to one pole and aversion to the other. It is a fundamentally fragmented worldview/experience. There is a half-awake awareness of differentiation and parts.

Transrational level: There are different transrational levels, with differing degrees of transdualness. Some humans reach a fully transdual view, where there is a more fully awakened awareness, and embrace of both the seamless whole and the parts (oneness and differentiation). We see, and directly experience, the polarities as well as both ends of each polarity. The rational level is baked into this, but not taken as being even close to the full picture. We experience the whole and the parts.


Views

Topic: Crop Circles, UFOs, astrology, anything paranormal

Pre rational view: Unquestioned belief in one answer that is not fully supported by data/research. This can be blind faith or blind rejection of certain theories/ideas about what is behind a certain phenomenon. For instance, those seeing crop circles as messages from extraterrestials or nature spirits, and those seeing them as obviously hoaxes, both fall into this category as the data is inconclusive and the research limited.

Rational view: Scientific and open-minded research and exploration of the phenomena.

Transrational view: Exploration of these phenomena as symbolic, reflecting something in the human psyche. Leaving open the question of the physical explanations, and recognizing them as irrelevant for/independent of their inner meaning for humans.

Friday, February 25, 2005 |

Spiral Dynamics

Here is a brief summary of the key points of Sprial Dynamics, for my own benefit...

Main points

  • Each individual and group of individuals (subcultures, nations, etc) have their center of gravity mostly on one particular level. Life is of course more than and different from - and more fluid and complex than - any map.

  • Each level has its own meme, its own associated values and worldview.

  • The observed progression is from a lower level to the next higher, without skipping any (although we can progress faster or slower through each).

  • Level 1 through 6 are first tier and tend to see their view as the only legitimate one. They get into conflicts with folks with a center of gravity at other levels. Level 6 and 7 are second tier and acknowledge, seek and sort out the (limited) truth and validity of each of the other levels.

  • Moving up the levels, there is a movement...
    (a) From narrow concern with self to an increasing circle of concern.
    (b) From fragmentation to a systems and integral approach.
    (c) From blind identification with personality (sensations, emotions, thougths/ideas) to the center of gravity including awareness/witness.

  • Each level has its healthy and unhealthy expressions. It has strengths, insights and approaches valuable in specific situations, and its potential "diseases", its less enlightened/helpful expressions.

Levels
  • Level 8 - Integral
    Keywords: Cosmic spirituality
    Examples: Ken Wilber, Big Mind, many/some spiritual traditions
    Concern: Universal in broad/deep sense, fully transdual. No experience/phenomenon in the outer/inner world is excluded, resisted or seen as "other".
    Chakra: 7th/crown
    Healthy: Cosmic, integral view. Acknowledges the value of all previous levels, and applies principles from each when appropriate.
    Unhealthy: Inflation, the "guru disease", not acknowledging the problems of the personality. Can also have an unbalanced view of the absolute/relative, emphasizing the absolute over the relative.
    Missing: Deepening exploration of each end of the polarity: transdual experience and embodied experience. Deepening integration of a fully transdual view into this body/personality/world. And probably something more as well.

  • Level 7 - Ecological
    Keywords: systems, multiple realities, seamless whole
    Examples: systems view approach, Fritjof Capra, Prototista
    Concern: Universal in broad sense, systems view
    Chakra: 5+6th, throat/third eye
    Healthy: Systems and holistic view. Integral.
    Unhealthy: Can be one-sided and emphasize systems over parts (holistic rather than integral/systems approach). Can deny the existence/value of higher levels.
    Missing: a cosmic spiritual view, more fully transdual.

  • Level 6 - Egalitarian
    Keywords: plurality, authenticity, community, inclusive compassion (self, other, earth, future generations), informational age
    Examples: Cultural Creatives, Greens, sustainability, seven generations view, Yes! Magazine, Utne Reader
    Concern: Human rights, civil rights, gay rights, animal rights etc. All life, all species.
    Chakra: 4th/heart (some 5th/6th)
    Healthy: The circle of compassion includes all life. Makes choices that seem to benefit all life.
    Unhealthy: Can deny the value of the other approaches. Can try to apply level 6 solutions when rational/scientific (level 5), rule based (level 4) or other level approaches are more appropriate (for instance when you are dealing with people operating from those levels). When there is a crisis, or you're dealing with a gang, a strong leader or strong rules may be more appropriate than consensus and endless meetings.
    Missing: a second tier approach that sees the value in approaches from all precious levels.

  • Level 5 - Modern
    Keywords: progress, materialism, success, image, status, growth
    Examples: mainstream business, New York Times, Bill Clinton, industrialism
    Concern: universal care extended to humanity, human rights
    Chakra: 3rd/hara (some 4th/heart)
    Healthy: focus on science and research, rational approach.
    Unhealthy: focus on growth while resources are limited, blind to long-term/far-reaching consequences due to fragmented worldview.
    Missing: inclusiveness of all human perspectives, and care for the whole system, including society and ecosystems.

  • Level 4 - Morality
    Keywords: rules, discipline, lives for later (reward in the beyond)
    Examples: GW Bush, conservatives in most religions, agrarian
    Concern: own group, those with views aligned with ones own, some universal care
    Chakra: 3rd/hara (some 4th/5th)
    Healthy: rules and morality has its place, valuable in some situations.
    Unhealthy: inflexible, rigid, not able to see the value in other points of view, self-righteousness, harsh treatment of those who do not follow the rules.
    Missing: disidentification from rigid rules, universal humanitarian ethics.

  • Level 3 - Power
    Keywords: gratification, conquest, action, impulse, lives for now
    Examples: some US soldiers, some youth, some business people, gangs
    Concern: Self, gang
    Chakra: 2nd/sexual
    Healthy: taking care of oneself, life-force.
    Unhealthy: single-minded focus on self, lack of consideration for others.
    Missing: rules and guidelines that takes the welfare of others into account.

  • Level 2 - Tribal
    Keywords: rituals, taboos, superstitions, lore, tribal
    Examples: some tribes?
    Concern: self and small circle/tribe
    Chakra: 1st/root (some 2nd)
    Healthy: tribal connections, strong bonds.
    Unhealthy: irrational, strong sense of "us" vs. "them", narrow circle of concern.
    Missing: individuality, sense of separate identity

  • Level 1 - Survival
    Keywords: protection, staying alive, food, water, procreation, warmth
    Examples: seen during extreme emergencies/crisis, and in most/all non-human species
    Concern: Physical self + few close others
    Chakra: 1st/root
    Healthy: survival, taking care of oneself.
    Unhealthy: narrow focus, ignore other human/own needs, very narrow circle of concern.
    Missing: sense of community, of "us".

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Change

Prior to a "breakthrough" or shift to a new way of experiencing the world, there is often a period of frustration. There is either a sense of a "plateau", of nothing new happening, or a clear experience of the "old" ways not being sufficient/appropriate anymore.

With Breema, I find myself in the second experience. It is abundantly clear to me that the way the sequences manifests for me now, is not where it can be. There is a very large gap between what manifests, and what I know in my whole being can manifest.

My awareness tells me that there is a gap, and I notice the personality wanting to "push"...

But I know it is simple. Come to the breath, the weight of the body... Follow the direction of the principles... Allow the movements to happen... Allow myself to relax into my experience... Allow myself to deepen the connection to the body/breath/principles/Existence...

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Spiral Dynamics

In a conversation about Spiral Dynamics yesterday, I was reminded of one possible reason for the (often significant) differences between the outlook of mainstream folks in the US vs. those in Western Europe.

For us to move up the levels, the inner and outer situation needs to be conducive/supportive for such a shift to occur. Externally, our basic needs must be met. Internally, we need to realize the shortcomings of our current ways of relating to the world.

Mainstream US seem to be on level 4 and 5. Level 5 indicates a focus on materialistic, consumerism, image, success and growth, and corresponds to the "moderns" in the Cultural Creative terminology. Mainstream Democrats are on this level. Level 4 is a focus on meaning, discipline, traditions, morality and rules, and corresponds to the "traditionalists" in the Cultural Creatives terminology. Many Republicans operate from this level.

In Western Europe, most people are on level 5 and 6. There are many who share the focus on consumerism etc. that characterizes level 5. And there are many on level 6, with their focus on egalitarianism, feelings, authenticity, sharing, community and care for the Earth and future generations - the "cultural creatives".

Why is Western Europe as a whole about one level "ahead" of the US? There are obviously many reasons, and one may be the difference in a sense of security.

In the US, a significant number of people are a few paychecks, and one or two major diseases, away from being bankrupt and homeless. There is a sense of raw survival of the fittest, even among those with currently good income, which brings focus to individual survival. There is a sense of narrow self-interest and exclusiveness.

In Western Europe, there is a sense of basic security from living in a society where the basic needs are met collectively. We have universal healthcare, free education (including at the highest levels), longer vacations, and various social safety nets. This frees up energy so we can go beyond our own narrow self-interests to include others, the Earth and future generations. There is a stronger sense of generosity and inclusiveness.

This also helps us see why those on level 6 often take a different approach in the two cultures. Those in Western Europe have the direct support of a larger segment of the population, and many more are sympathetic to their views, even among those on level 5. They live in an environment with others on the same level, and one level away. This means they can more easily take a partnership and non-adversarial approach. In the US, those on level 6 are furter removed from the larger culture, especially mainstream media which is strongly level 5 and 4 with little or no ackowledgement of level 6. There is a stronger sense of alienation, which can lead to despair, hopelessness, going into a victim role, and an adversarial approach (as exemplified here in Eugene). It is more of a constipated expression of level 6 partly related to the larger distance to mainstream culture.

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Witness

It has been interesting to explore/discover how Breema relates to other approaches, such as Zen and Big Mind...

Some of the effects of Breema, when it is engaged in as a regular practice...

  • Witness
    Through being present and coming to the breath and the weight of the body, the "witness" is engaged. We deepen our experience of awareness as separate (yet inseparable) from all relative phenomena in the outer/inner world. There is a dual point of gravity, one in pure awareness, the other in the relative phenomena.

    This is of course similar to most true spiritual approaches, such as Buddhist practice, Big Mind, and many others. It is also similar to what occurs when we relax into our experiences, with no separation - there is a strong sense of both the witness/awareness, and the relative phenomena, both being different and yet parts of the same seamless flow.

  • Absolute & Relative
    From activating the witness and simultaneously merging into phenomena, there is a direct experience of the absolute (the ground, timeless) and the relative (all fluid manifestations). There is a direct experience of the difference between the two, the absolute being unborn and the relative always in flux, and yet how they are two aspects of one fluid and seamless whole. It is a truly transdual practice in that regard.

  • No Separation
    Breema also activates a direct experience of no separation, and it manifests on many levels. There is an experience of no separation between giver and receiver - one body, simultaneous giving and receiving, life giving to life. There is also an experience of no separation between the bodies and the surroundings - all phenomena, sounds, smells, visual impressions, becomes part of the exchange. There is an experience of no separation between all inner/outer phenomena and Existence - the whole of Existence is right here/now. And there is an experience of no separation between all fluid phenomena manifesting in the Now (relative), and the timeless awareness and source/ground (absolute).

  • Mind Training
    Breema also has a strong mind training component. When we come to the breath and the weight of the body, and allow our awareness to come to the present, there is a shift on all levels. This shift takes the form of decrystallization, moving from habitual patterns to fluid responsiveness, and in increased awareness, moving from being blindly caught up in phenomena to awareness.

    Our physical body moves from rigidity to fluidity. Emotions move from their habitual patterns of being reactive (blind aversion/attraction) to becoming supportive. Cognitions move from habitual patterns of criticism and being caught in past/future, to becoming receptive. And awareness is activated so we can allow inner/outer phenomena to unfold without being blindly lost/caught up in them.

    In my experience, the bodywork and self-breemas creates an "atmosphere" in my being that allows me to come to my breath/body and the present relatively easily, either through just allowing my awareness to come to the body, or also by using one or more of the nine principles.

    Beyond this, the mind training also occurs in other ways...

    (a) A direct experience of no separation allows us to see the same qualities in the inner and outer world. When we see a quality in one, it allows us to discover/experience it in the other, thus integrating/defusing projections. This allows us to let go of blind attractions/aversions, and open up for genuine empathy with others through recognition and a direct experience of being in the same boat, the same basic human condition.

    (b) Moving a point of gravity to awareness/witness, along with a direct experience of the dance between the relative and absolute, allows us to relate to the inner/outer world with more awareness, sense of spaciousness, less blind attachments, and more choice.

    (c) Directly experiencing the same source in/behind all fluid phenomena also allows us to diffuse blind attachments.

    (d) The sense of deep pleasure, bliss and centering that comes from Breema, allows us to relate to the world with more equanimity and friendliness, and also to engage more fully with the world.

    (e) Decrystallization on all levels allows us to move from rigidity to fluidity in ideas, thought patterns and sense of identity - in a way more responsive to the current situation.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 |

Analogies

My first sense of the magic of Existence came through watching Cosmos by Carl Sagan. It gave me a deep sense of the mysteries of existence, and of the Universe as a seamless whole. My own existence is integral to that of the whole Universe...

In terms of human exploration of our existence, there is a parallel exploration of the outer and inner aspects of the world. We explore the human mind, and we explore the Earth and the Universe. Within the natural diversity - different emphasis for different cultures and from individual to individual - there is a parallel exploration process.

From a Jungian perspective, we can possibly see the exploration of the Earth as a whole (systems perspective) as an analogy of a discovery of the Self - or the Centaur level in Ken Wilber's terminology. We are growing into an awareness of Earth as a whole, and of ourselves as a whole, beyond and including body, energy, emotions and cognition. To emerge into this awareness, we must let go of fixed ideas and identities, and be willing to see both ends of all polarities (and each quality/characteristic) in both the outer and the inner world.

The exploration of the solar system and the Universe as a whole, can be seen as paralleling an emergence into a more cosmic/transdual consciousness. Only a few humans live on that level currently, and the exploration of the Universe is also in its early beginnings.

SETI is an interesting example. The search for life (awareness) in the outer reaches of the Universe may be a parallel to awakening of awareness of "peripheral" areas of the mind - going from small to big mind. (For me, Contact - a story of the exploration of awareness in the outer Universe - beautifully captures some of the awe, mystery and bliss I have experienced in explorations of the inner Universe).

The Universe is awakening into awareness of itself as a whole, and it manifests in what we experience as the outer and the inner world. And into an awareness of the seamless whole of Existence, beyond inner and outer.

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Beyond Choice & Conditioning

Humans have a natural interest in choice/freedom and conditioning/restraints. And as with everything else, we experience it differently according to our basic world experience/view.

Dualistic
When we operate from a blindly dualistic view, we experience the fragments and poles and not the wholes and polarities. The world is fragmented and consists of separate entities, and we are concerned with how we relate to these entities and how they relate to us. Freedom and choice comes from being able to control these relationships.

Complete control is of course not possible, so there is a natural tension and stress in this way of operating. Eventually, we realize that this way of operating does not quite work... The world is too complex for us to have the amount of control we need to be "safe" and "free".

Awareness
Still in the somewhat dualistic and control mode, we realize that we can control how we relate to the inner/outer world rather than the inner/outer world itself. We can bring energy and focus to awareness, and work with different mind training techniques. There is a sense of freedom from our past conditioning, through creating a new pattern of conditioning(!). We repattern ourselves so we relate to situations in a way that nurture rather than drain.

Eventually, we come to a point where most situations/experiences are fuel for compassion, gratitude and humility. There is a stream of bliss, even in the most difficult and painful situations.

But even this view contains some discontent. There is a sense that it is not complete, and there is an impulse to move to a more complete view...

Transduality
From a fully transdual view, we see that Existence is a fluid and seamless whole. There is no freedom, and no restraints... It is all movements of the seamless whole.

And since it is a transdual view, we also appreciate the reality of the previous ways of experiencing the world. The world is composed of parts that interact in various ways, and we have some amount of "control" of how the world plays itself out on this level. And we can nurture our awareness of how we relate to the inner/outer world, repattern ourselves, and relate to the world in a more nurturing way. As long as we are human, all levels are present.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 |

Changes

During the first half of the Breema intensive, I experienced many changes and effects including a strong experience of fire in the hara (clear borders and effects throughout the system). During the second half of the intensive, there were fewer obvious changes - although the Breema atmosphere deepened still.

Now, after the intensive, I have a strong experience of the personality (including body) being fluid and spacious. There is fluid personality, and space and timelessness, and there is no separation. Manifestations and the absolute are fluidly woven together... Space, awareness, body, personality - all there, fluid expressions of Existence.

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Dream

I received Breema from Jon Schreiber, and experienced myself in a new way. It was profoundly natural, simple, fluid, no seperation. All crystallizations of the personality melted away into fluid and responsive manifestations. There was no seperation between the absolute and the relative - awareness and inner/outer phenomena. All of Existence was a fluid and seamless whole.

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Monday, February 21, 2005 |

Projections, No Separation & Breema

A direct experience of No Separation, either low level or full blown transdual, allows projections to integrate. We have a direct experience of any characteristic or quality in both the outer and the inner world. One becomes a reminder of the other.

My personality still has reactions coming up (aversions) to people who are noisy from lack of awareness. It means that my conscious identity not yet has expanded to include these characteristics. I see them in others, and not in myself. And I relate to these qualities with aversion in both the inner and outer world.

I am practicing placing myself in situations with noisy/boisterous/unaware people around, and asking myself "can I experience these qualities in myself?". It is painful, but also expanding. I have a stronger/different sense of no separation when I do this. More qualities in the world are included in the no separation, and my sense of this personality expands as well.

Breema is a wonderful support in this process. I can stay with body comfortable and no extra, while opening myself to experience in myself what I am seeing in the other, in this Now...

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Contractions & Openings

For the human mind, life is a continual dance between contractions and openings. These dynamic processes and tendencies goes over lifetimes, years and months (macro level), and over the course of the day and between every changing Now (micro levels).

What (characteristics)

Contractions

  • Crystallized pride and seriousness.
  • Resisting our experiences (life as it unfolds in the Now).
  • Breaking down during intense experiences.
  • Crystallization/rigidity on all levels: body, emotions, cognition etc.
  • Going/identified with the thoughts, emotions and sensations, and reduced choice in how we relate to the inner/outer world.
  • Attachments to ideas and identity, and rigid ideas/identity. Reduced awareness of that which is experiencing makes the ideas and thoughts themselves of prime importance.
  • There is a sense of strong separation between the outer and inner world. Qualities and characteristics are seen in one and not the other, and there is a strong identification with the (conscious) processes of the inner world.
  • The view tends to be fragmented and blindly dualistic.
  • Thoughts tend to be critical. Emotions reactive. There is a strong identification with both.
Openings
  • Deepening gratitude, humility and empathy.
  • Relaxing into our experiences (Existence as it manifests in the Now).
  • Breaking open during intense experiences.
  • Increased fluidity/flow on all levels: body, emotions, congnitions etc.
  • Awareness of and space around the thoughts, emotions and sensations. Increased choice in how we relate to the inner/outer world.
  • Direct experience and awareness is as important as, or more important than, the shifting content. More fluid ideas/identity, and reduced attachments to ideas/identity.
  • There is an awareness of the changing processes of the inner/outer world, and a sense of no separation between the two. We see all qualities and characteristics equally in the outer and inner world (the one reminds us of the other).
  • The view is of no separation and seeing the polarities as well as the poles.
  • Thoughts tends to be receptive, emotions supportive. There is awareness of both (space rather than identification).

How (tools)

Contractions and openings are an integral part of human existence. Still, we do have a choice in how we relate to our experiences, and have tools to invite contractions into openings.
  • Awareness
    (a) Of all relative phenomena (inner/outer world)
    (b) Of awareness as different from relative phenomena (different, yet no separation)
  • Being in the present
    (a) Coming to the body and breath
    (b) Being with our current experiences
  • Relaxing into our experiences
    Can I be with what I am experiencing? This helps us open up, let go of resistance, and truly benefit from our experiences independent of whether they are comfortable or not.

  • Breema (tai chi, chi gong, yoga, etc)
  • Meditation
  • Lo Jong: Mind training
  • Projections

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Breema Intensive

I just returned from an eight day Breema intensive in Oakland. Some experiences/reflections...

Atmosphere
The Breema atmosphere is very alive and the same no matter where I do Breema and which class/workshop/intensive I go to. It is a wonderful support to come to the present, to deepen my connection with the body, to be more deeply comfortable with all experiences, and to work with the nine principles...

The atmosphere is also one of deep sincerity and a pure and open heart...

More

  • I experienced the infitine richness in every detail and every changing Now... There are infinite worlds in the smallest details.
  • When I am present, all Existence is right here now. There is no separation. No resistance.
  • I experienced the structure that the Breema Center sets up (during the intensive as well as for practitioners and instructors) as deeply supportive and from deep wisdom and a truly open heart.
  • I could more easily map the Breema terminology onto my own experiences (and the maps I have from Buddhism and Ken Wilber).
  • I experienced clearly that each phenomenon has a personality (relative), and the same essence (absolute). And that I can shift my focus from the personality to also include the essence, especially with the support from Breema - the bodywork, self-breemas and the principles.
  • I deepened my experience of how Breema is deeply transformative on all levels - body, energy, emotional, cognitive, etc. How it transforms my relationship with the inner and outer world, with Existence.
  • I deepened my experience of the dance between contractions and openings, and how simple awareness gives the space to invite contractions to become openings.
  • I deepened my understanding of how I can move from the idea of doing to resting in the experience of allowing it to happen.
  • I see how my personality has likes and dislikes, and that I can make choices from awareness rather than the likes/dislikes. Instead of only practicing the sequences that my personality has an affinity to, I can practice sequences independent of my preferences and allow myself to discover what each has to offer.
  • I renewed my experience of how, when my personality reacts with aversion to another personality, it changes when I (a) get to know the person and especially (b) when I exchange or do Breema with the person.
  • I experience the personality & body as fluid - with space within and around.
  • I deepened my understanding of (a) how experience comes before verbal expressions, and also (b) how verbal expressions can deepen the experience. Experience and expression support each other.

Thursday, February 10, 2005 |

Most Amazing

The most amazing, the most profound mystery, is that anything exists at all.

How can that be? What did it emerge from? What went before? Where does space come from? These are questions natural for humans, but they only reflect our limited perceptions of the world. We are finite creatures living on a small time/space scale. Our brains are developed for dealing with our human situation, not for a clear overview of the universe.

And still, we can experience existence from a transdual view, from a more inclusive "big picture". From this view, we see - directly experience - that everything is beyond dualities. Beyond existence and nonexistence, mind and matter, subject and object, and beyond any human concerns of good and evil, right and wrong, truth and false. Existence is beyond all polarities, and embracing all polarities. There is no before and after. Everything just is.

And from this view, it all makes sense while the mystery is only more profound.

How can it be that anything exists at all?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005 |

Dream

I saw myself in the future - as I can be. A deep and detailed integration, with a full transdual awareness (through the whole universe) deeply integrated into the physical body. It was a whole new way of being, another stage.

The integration had a fractal and textured/granualted quality: it occured on innumerable levels from large scale to infinite details. It was simple, grounded, integrated and ordinary.

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Saturday, February 05, 2005 |

Health & Tranformation

For any true healing to occur, it has to go through awareness and transform the person's relationship with the (outer/inner) world...

Friday, February 04, 2005 |

Health & Quadrants

For any healing process to have deeper and more lasting effects, it has to be holistic. If we use Ken Wilber's model, the approach has to take into account all four quadrants.

  1. I >> Individual Self and Consiousness
  2. It >> Individual Organism
  3. Its >> Society and Ecology
  4. We >> Collective Culture and Worldview
Any comprehensive approach to health must take into account the structures, processes and relationships in each of these quadrants.

Even if we focus on healing on an individual level, we need to address how this person relates to all four quadrants. What are the relationships, and in what ways do they contribute to (or hinder) health and well-being? Any approach that only focuses on one quadrant is bound to have limited effect and usefulness.

Some approaches, such as meditation, Breema, Process Work, etc. works on the whole person, and do have effects far beyond. They seem to be truly transformative practices and tools.

Other approaches, such as acupuncture, may have more limited effects and use. For instance, if acupuncture only focuses on balancing out all levels of the person (mind, body, spirit), but do not work actively with the awareness of the person, the imbalances will most likely return. It is just a band-aid. A temporary fix, and of limited usefulness.

For real change to occur, it has to go through awareness. We have to bring our habitual patterns, and our relationships with all the four quadrants, into awareness - and a deeper transformation has to occur through insights and realizations. A deep transformation has to occur in how the person relates to all quadrants in their everyday life.

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Tools that Work

There are several tools that work well in terms of helping us find contentment, fulfillment and happiness. It seems that the most valuable lesson for anyone to learn is how to apply one or more of these tools - it is worth more than any external wealth...

  • Rejoycing in other's happiness (lo-jong)
  • Asking ourselves "can I be with what I am experiencing right now?" (R. Cushnir)
  • Using our own difficult situations/intense experiences to break open rather than breaking down, through being with what we are experiencing (letting go of resistance, experiencing it fully)
  • Using our own experience of pain to deepen our empathy with other's suffering
  • Coming to our bodies and the present through yoga, Breema, tai chi, etc.
  • Clarifying our mind through meditation practice (under guidance of a qualified teacher)
  • Exploring and choosing actions that benefits others as well as ourselves
  • Softening - letting go of attachments to habits, ideas, etc. through Breema, meditation, etc.
  • Bringing more of ourselves into awareness through working with projections. Whatever I see in the outer world is also there in the inner world. When I experience attachments to anything in the outer world (attraction or aversion), I can use it as a reminder to explore and become familiar with those qualities in my self and my own life.
  • Deepen our awareness of how we relate to the world. The way we relate to the outer world is also the way we relate to the inner world. The patterns I feed in how I relate to others, are the patterns strengthened in how I relate to myself. If I relate to others with empathy and compassion, I relate to my self with empathy and compassion. If I seek to benefit life, I seek to benefit others and myself. There is no separation.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005 |

Three Dimensions

Waking Down does a good job of mapping out three essential components of any comprehensive spiritual practice...

  1. Waking Up
    Opening to a transdual experience of the world. We directly experience Existence as beyond and embracing all dualities, and we continually deepen our experience of both the absolute and the relative, and the dance between the two. Both ends of all polarities are seen as integral to Existence, one no more important, spiritual or real than the other.

  2. Waking Down
    (a) We ground and integrate the transdual view into our everyday life. We explore how to live continually more fully from this view.
    (b) We explore our psyche, and especially the areas we see as "other" - those we, for one reason or another - have closed ourselves off from and fragments our world. This includes a good deal of projection work: seeing in ourselves what we see in the outer world. And the guideposts for this work is attractions and aversions to qualities in others and the rest of the world, both of which tells us that we are not as familiar with those qualities in ourselves as we could be.

  3. In Mutuality
    And all this is company of others on the path, both guides - those a little further along - and companions. We explore our own path in the company of others, through guidance, conversations, rubbing against each other, and in honest exploration. Our Sangha is our laboratory for clarifying and for testing out how to live from a more transdual view. What does it mean in our everyday lives? How can I live it in company with others? Where are my blind spots? Where are my wounds that need to be brought into awareness.