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The essence of The Secret Sunday, October 29, 2006 |

Well, I keep being reminded of The Law of Attraction around here (in a small hippie town on the US West Coast, which incidentally reminds me that it would be nice to live in a larger city where more people are a little more sophisticated...!)

Apart from anything else that can be said about the law of attraction, the essence of it seems to be this:

One want: Spirit

There is one want behind all our diverse wants, and that is Spirit.

Or more accurately, it is the happiness, contentment, abundance, sense of coming home and freedom from circumstances and suffering that comes from shifting the center of gravity into the Witness, from tasting Oneness, and finally to realize selflessness.

And this Spirit, as Ground of seeing and seen absent of any I anywhere, is always here now. Indeed, what is experienced as a separate I is Spirit itself temporarily mistaking itself for a segment of itself.

All the many wants of Spirit boils down to one: for it to remember itself, who it really, already and always is. The Ground of seeing and seen, of experiencing and experiencer, absent of I anywhere. The Big Mind beyond and including all and any polarities. The emptiness that is form, and form that is emptiness. The freedom from form that is the fullness of form. The emptiness full of the whole world.

Unraveling wants, and notice what I want right here

For me, I see I have a huge diversity of wants and wishes, and when I explore these I find that each one leads to the same essential wants: happiness, and freedom from suffering.

And is it true that this is not already here? When I look for it, I can find it in the wakeful clarity that is always here, independent of an unstained by the always shifting content of experiences.

By noticing this, over and over, I can become more familiar with it. From being more in the background, often unnoticed, it can shift more into the foreground. I can notice it, independent of whatever else is going on. I can find myself as it, then as the oneness of seeing and seen, then as seeing and seen already absent of any I anywhere.


Integrity: beliefs and quiet voice Friday, October 27, 2006 |

What does it mean to act from integrity?

Just a couple of things for now:


The most superficial layer is integrity as consistency with beliefs. There is a belief in an idea, and then the attempt to live according to it. This is a form of integrity driven largely by shoulds and fears.

The quiet little voice

Then there is the quiet little voice. The one that is there, and remains quiet and steady, independent of how we relate to it. The one that our life proves right.

When there is a lot of beliefs present, especially of a type that contradicts this voice, it may be difficult to notice and act according to it. It may get drowned out in the confusion, or caught up in the ambivalence of being torn between following beliefs or the quiet voice.

As there are fewer and less strong beliefs and more clarity, this voice goes into the foreground and it becomes easier to act on it, it may even be effortless and just happen on its own - without even any awareness of a choice.


Layering of beliefs, the quiet little voice, bliss, and clarity |

Since a long time back, I have noticed this layering...

Surface layer of thoughts and beliefs

There is the layer of thoughts coming and going on their own. This layer is innocent and very useful in daily life (essential for our human life).

To the extent these thoughts are believed in and attached to, they morph into something quite different. Now they shout, whisper, should, lure, talk into, contradict and confuse. They guide by fear, and this (false) guidance tend to bring only more confusion.

Quiet little voice

There is the quiet little voice - the inner voice, intuition, which calmly gives advice. It is always available, even if ignored or clouded over by the confusion from beliefs. It also always gets the last word without seeking it, because life validates it, the proof is in the pudding.

This is the quiet voice of the soul, the quiet guidance. If followed, it brings a sense of fullness and flowering. If not followed, there may be stress and a sense of something being off, derailed. (And even here, it is readily available, allowing us to get back on track.)

Although it is always available, it may be temporarily clouded over by the confusion of beliefs. It may be hidden within the drama from beliefs, or beliefs may contradict it which makes a choice difficult. As the noise from the beliefs fall away, the quiet voice emerge more into the foreground and it becomes easier to act on its guidance. The more clarity and the less attachment to thoughts, the easier and more effortlessly we live from this guidance.

Quiet stream of bliss

There is the always present quiet stream of joy and bliss, independent of any content of experience, any content of experience, of any situation, whether there is chatter of beliefs or not, whether the quiet voice is followed or not, whether there is suffering or joy at these more transient layers.

This is the stream of joy and bliss that is always here, the bliss of Spirit unfolding and experiencing itself, independent of any content of experience.

As the quiet voice, the quiet bliss is always available.

When there is resistance to experience, the struggle of the resistance goes to the foreground and the layer of quiet bliss goes into the background and may be hidden. When resistance to experience falls away, this stream of quiet bliss emerges to the foreground.

Ground clarity

Then there is the Ground clarity, the awakeness and brilliance that any content arises within and as. It is the Ground clarity that thoughts, beliefs, confusion, the quiet voice and the steady stream of bliss arises within and as. That which all this arises within and as. The Ground of emptiness, awareness and the stream of forms.


So there is the layer of thoughts, living their own life, serving us very well through innocent questions about the world.

Believed in, there is stress and confusion, and this may cloud up or make it difficult to act on the guidance from the quiet voice.

As beliefs fall away, the clarity allows the quiet voice to emerge into the foreground, and it can be acted on with more ease.

Independent of all this, there is a layer of quiet bliss, the bliss of Spirit experiencing itself independent of the particulars of experience.

And all this unfolds within and as the Ground awakeness and clarity, the Ground of seeing and seen.

All this is alive in immediate awareness, right here now.

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Headlessness and radical subjectivity Thursday, October 26, 2006 |

The focus of the upper left quadrant of the aqal model, the individual and inner, is on what is alive in immediate awareness.

And the various practices here, such as meditation, prayer and especially self-inquiry, are all about radical subjectivity: what is alive right here and now, outside of any filters of thoughts - such as ideas, expectations, memories?


Headlessness is one way to explore this radical subjectivity. Is there really a head here in immediate experience?

All I can find are some sensations arising in space, coming and going, and a fuzzy pink blob where others see my nose, but there is no head here. The idea of a head is just that, an idea superimposed on an area of space. There is just space here, allowing anything and everything to arise, to come and go on their own: sensations, sounds, sights, thoughts, this body, arms, hands, desk, screen, window, a dog barking. There is capacity for the world, and the world arising.

Deepening familiarity

And as there is a deepening into this exploration, through meditation, prayer or self-inquiry, there is a deepening familiarity with what we find:

The seen, including this human self, is within space and time, come and go on its own, and there is no I to be found anywhere. How can there be an I there, if it is seen? If there is an I anywhere, it must be in the seeing itself.

The seeing transcends yet embraces time, space and the seen. It is free from the seen, from space and time. It is free from this human self. At the same time, is there really a separation here? Where do I as seeing end and Other as the seen begin? I cannot find that line anywhere.

So there is an early noticing of the Oneness of seeing and seen. They distinct from each other, yet not quite two.

When the sense of I was placed on the seen, there was a sense of I and Other within the seen, within form. Now, when the sense of I is placed on the seeing, there is a sense of I and Other as seeing and seen. Yet, the boundary between the two is not to be found anywhere. Maybe the whole sense of I is superimposed on the seeing and seen? Maybe it comes from the belief in the idea of I, which then the seeing and the seen is filtered through in different ways?

As this is explored, and it becomes more clear how the mechanisms of samsara (a sense of I and Other, of duality) functions and that there is no I to be found anywhere in seeing or seen, it sets the stage for a Ground awakening.

The Ground awakens to itself, as the Ground of seeing and seen, as emptiness and form, as emptiness dancing, absent of I anywhere. The whole sense of an I and a center falls away, and there is only the totality - without center anywhere, so with a center everywhere.

Always already

The irony is that this is what was alive in immediate awareness all the time. It was never not alive to itself.

Yet, since it was not taken seriously, since what was alive in radical subjectivity was not trusted, it remained in the background, overshadowed and (apparently) blocked out by a sense of I and Other, created by the belief in the idea of I, formed by what was being taught by society and those around us.

What is always already here, in immediate awareness, in radical subjectivity, was not trusted, so could not emerge into the foreground. Until it had been explored so thoroughly that the sense and filter of I fell away.

Radical subjectivity

In this sense, spiritual practice is all about radical subjectivity.

What is alive in immediate awareness? What is already alive here now, free from expectations, beliefs, ideas, memories, stories? How does it look when I gradually learn to differentiate what already is from how it is colored by ideas? How does it look, when thoughts arise as just thoughts, along with everything else?

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Dream: new house and old identity |

My partner and I am moving into a new house. It is in a Frank Lloyd-Wright style, beautiful and high quality all around, and situated in a beautiful high desert in the Four Corners area (Utah or New Mexico). A company is approaching us to take care of all our needs: tickets to concerts, walking our dog, paying bills and doing the taxes, cleaning, groceries, and anything else practical. (I notice I need film for my camera, and they have the correct film right there.) The house and the service is affordable and well within our range.

There is also a slight sense of uneasiness, of shifting out of an old identity and into a new one. Now, there is a flash-back into my old life. It is a Chicago in the 1930s setting, with poverty and crime all around. We witness a crime. The gangsters and corrupt police kill any witnesses, so we flee and hide. There is a sense of the possibility of shifting back into this life, but only if we are not able to let the old identity and life go. And we are already living the new life.

Another dream where the message seems close to the surface. We are moving into a new life, a new identity, a new house, slightly beyond the horizon of our old life and identity. And there is a slight uneasiness there. Isn't this abundance outside of what we can afford? Yet, it is really well within what is possible and affordable to us, in fact - we are already living it. There is just some time needed to get familiar and comfortable with it. And the alternative is to shrink back into the old identity and life, which does not seem all that attractive in comparison (the only thing it has going for it is familiarity).

This is of course what happens any time we shift out of our old identity: a slight uneasiness by finding ourselves outside of the bubble we had made up for ourselves, yet also an excitement of the new possibilities, and the comparison with how it used to be.

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Aspects of Self-Realization Wednesday, October 25, 2006 |

If Enlightenment is Ground awakening or Big Mind awakening to its nature of emptiness and form absent of I anywhere, then Self-Realization can be seen as the continuing unfolding of the world of form, specifically as an individual Being of soul and human self.

It is Big Mind awakened to itself, functioning through an individual and evolving soul and developing human self, in the context of an evolving universe.

And while the awakening to realized selflessness has a sense of finality, the unfolding of the world of form continues. It is Spirit manifesting, exploring and experiencing itself in always new ways, including as evolution and development. (Evolution and development is one of the ways that Spirit prevents itself from repeating itself. Not that it could anyway.)

Here are some of the possible aspects of this Self-Realization...

Part of evolution of form

Independent of anything else, any human self is inherently a part of the evolution of form in general. Whatever happens with and in this human self has infinite causes, and these causes go back to the beginning of time and extend out to the limits (if any) of this universe.

This human self is the local manifestation of the world of form as a whole, and of the totality embracing emptiness and all of form. It is inherently part of the evolution of form, no matter how that shows up.

Skillful means in general

There can be a continuing development of skillful means, exploring how to live from realized selflessness in a particular culture and circumstances.

Skillful means in teaching

And there can be a continuing development of skillful means in teaching, in exploring how to express and convey the awakening in ways that helps Big Mind (when functionally connected with other human selves) awaken to its own nature.


Then there is the healing of the human self: working through wounds so that this realized selflessness can be expressed and live through a more (conventionally) healthy human self.

Realized selflessness is realized selflessness independent of the state of the human self it functions through, but why not allow this vehicle to continue to heal in conventional terms as well? That only adds to the richness of it, and can also make the wisdom and compassion to come through in a clearer way.

The state of the human self filters the stainless clarity of awakening, so why not allow this filter to be more healthy in a relative sense.

Allowing it and its to become me and mine

An aspect of all of the above, from Spirit exploring itself to skillful means to health, is allowing it and its to become me and mine. (As Freud and his successors, including Ken Wilber, point out.)

Within realized selflessness, any quality and characteristic arise freely, as emptiness dancing. At the same time, they can be disowned by and foreign to our human self, or familiar and used in daily life.

If disowned, they cannot very easily become a part of the repertoire of our human self. It does not know how to use them in daily life in any effective, skillful or elegant way. They become holes in the ways this human self can function and relate to others. They are tools that could be available and useful to our human self, but are not since it is not familiar with how to use them.

Even as they arise as Spirit, and recognized by Spirit as Spirit, they also appear as third or second person, as an it or at best an you. There is little or no familiarity with it as an I, me or mine, with how to live it or live from it, how to use it - effortlessly, seamlessly, effectively and with elegance, in daily life and interactions.

By becoming familiar with these qualities on a human level, they gradually become more me and mine, more of a useful and available tool. And this helps Spirit to experience itself in a different, and maybe fuller and richer way. It becomes included in our available skillful means. And it helps our human self to heal.

Maturing and developing

And then there is the conventional (and less conventional) forms of maturing and developing.

Maturing, for me, means to become more fully human, to mature into what it means to be human as well as Big Mind. Or as they say in Breema: being participation, allowing more of all of us to participate - which influences our human self to mature and deepen over time.

In addition, there are innumerable areas we can develop in as human beings: cognitive (what we are aware of), emotional, relational, aesthetical (our appreciation of beauty), and more specific areas such as skills and insights into music, writing, teaching, kayaking, photography, science, engineering, romance, coziness, yogas, group dynamics, cooking, energy work, medicine, bodywork, mind-body connections, and so on. There is no lack of areas where we can develop and hone our skills and understanding.

An aspect of human development is, as Ken Wilber points out, catching up with evolution in general. How far has human evolution currently gone in any of these areas? Where is the leading edge? And how can I allow this human self to catch up with it, and then be part of the leading edge of this wave of evolution - at least in one or some areas?

Combinations and degrees

These are just a few of the many ways Self-Realization can unfold.

For any given individual at any given time, each of these is emphasized to different degrees.

In some cases, the human self may be happy to just passively take part in the general evolution of the world of form, to go along for the ride.

In other cases, there may be more of a conscious emphasis in some or all of these areas. An active and engaged exploration of what Self-Realization means, in the areas of teaching, skillful means, healing, bringing its into mine, maturing, and/or developing along specific lines.

And our culture and time seems to be one where a more actively engaged Self-Realization is emphasized. A Ground awakening itself is of course fine, but it gets fuller and richer in a different way when these forms of Self-Realization are actively brought alive and explored.

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Watching the human self |

When there is a disidentification with our human self, as a momentary taste or more stably, there is the watching of this human self living its own life.

There is a thought, followed by a behavior. Words come out of the mouth. Decisions happen.

There is doing, but no doer anywhere in it.

There never was. And it is OK.

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Is it possible to make a mistake? |

Here is one way of looking at the question of mistakes from different filters...

Ground and Big Mind

Ground is inherently free from any notions of mistakes or no mistakes. It allows any forms to come and go as Ground itself, as emptiness dancing.

Big Mind, as Ground as emptiness and form, is similarly absent of any notions of mistakes. It is beyond, yet includes, any ideas of mistakes or no mistakes, and anything these ideas point to.

When Big Mind awakens to its own nature, there is the realization that any and all forms are inherently free from mistakes/no mistakes.

Spirit exploring itself

Moving slightly into the relative, yet informed by the absolute, we can say that everything is Spirit exploring and experiencing itself.

I eat icecream, I stub my toe, I sleep, I miss a deadline, I get praise, I forget the name of a Breema sequence when teaching, I decided to stay in the US instead of going back to Norway, I get sick and can't do much for a couple of days, I fail a test of some sort.

All of these, and anything else in any human life and existence as a whole, is Spirit manifesting, exploring and experiencing itself - as emptiness and form, experiencer and experienced, seeing and seen.

And this happens independent of the particulars of the content. No matter what form is doing, it is still Spirit experiencing itself. There is no mistake there. It is inherently free from the possibility of mistake.


The sense or experience of mistakes only come in, and is inevitable, when there is a belief in thoughts. Existence should look this way, so if it conforms, it is no mistake, and if it does not, there must be a mistake somewhere: you made a mistake, I made a mistake, God made a mistake.

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Getting what we want: excitement and falling away of desire |

In writing seeking and nonseeking, I realize that I left out a component of what happens when we get what we want: excitement.

There is a chain of a desire or a want, getting what I want, contentment from desire falling into the background for a while, along with the excitement of getting what I wanted.

Getting what it sought after, seeking mind goes on vacation for a few seconds, or minutes, or maybe hours, or sometimes even days, allowing nonseeking mind to surface and come into the foreground, with its sense of fullness, completeness and contentment. In the absence of desire, there is fullness and contentment.

And the excitement can come in two ways: By getting what I want in a conventional sense, which is somewhat short lived and not always so certain. And by noticing that what I (really) want is already here, it was never anywhere else. Is it true that what I am seeking is not already here?


Jnana and bhakti as 1+3 and 1+2 Tuesday, October 24, 2006 |

Using the three perspectives of first (I, me, mine), second (you, we) and third (it, its) person, the relationship of jnana and bhakti becomes quite simple.

Jnana, or love of wisdom, can be seen as a combination of first and third person. It is Big Mind as first person, yet looking at and studying itself as third person.

Bhakti, or devotion, is a combination of first and second person. It is Spirit as first person, yet relating to itself as second person in devotion.

In both cases, there is love: of Spirit as it, an object of study, and Spirit as You, an object of love.

In both cases, there is knowledge: love of knowledge, and knowledge through love.

In both cases, Spirit is exploring itself through devotion and wisdom.

Both cases includes a first person perspective, I as that without an Other.

Jnana and bhakti: 1+2+3

And all are present simultaneously as well.

Spirit as first person, as I without an Other. As Big Mind awakened to its own nature. As the Ground of seeing and seen, inherently absent of any I.

Spirit as second person. Spirit relating to itself as Thou, as the whole of itself, an object of devotion. Spirit relating to itself as other, as a being of flesh and blood, an object of love and compassion. Spirit relating to itself as us, beings of flesh and blood, all divine and human, in it together.

Spirit as third person, as itself as an it, an object of exploration through study, inquiry and wisdom.

Together, there is infinite richness in how Spirit explores and experiences itself.

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Freedom filtered |

Some of the many ways to filter freedom...

Big Mind: absent of freedom and no freedom

Big Mind, beyond and including any polarities, is absent of freedom and no freedom, yet allows for and embraces each. It is emptiness dancing, distinct from freedom or no freedom. It is all Brahman, all Spirit, all God. There is nothing to be free from.

This is freedom with and within the world of form, as it arises. It is the freedom of Spirit to manifest in the myriad ways it does, including as awakening or delusion, as realized selflessness or a sense of I.

(In the awakening process, when Big Mind awakens to its own nature, there may for a while be a sense of freedom from exclusive identification with any aspect of what arises. It is freedom from blind identification, from a sense of I and Other, and from the drama that comes with it. Yet as it matures, the Ground of realized selflessness and a sense of I allows for either freely.)


(Here, there is still a vague sense of I, yet also a taste of the larger whole, or the Ground, of seeing and seen. There is a freedom from a blind identification with seeing or seen, although not quite yet the freedom of Ground, of emptiness dancing.)


When Big Mind identifies with one of its aspects, there is freedom from and to something.

In this case, there is an identification with seeing, so there is freedom from the seen. There is a freedom from this human self and its circumstances and anything coming up in this human self. There is a freedom from the personality, and there is a freedom to rest as the impersonal seeing.

This freedom is somewhat precarious as it depends on resting in or as one aspect of what is: the seeing, as opposed to the seeing.


Identified with the seen, with the aspect of the seen that is our human self, the sense of reality of freedom and no freedom is even stronger and takes many more forms.

Freedom can be freedom from constrictions of this personality, or freedom from pain and suffering. It can be freedom for this personality to have its way and to live according to certain identities and beliefs.

This freedom is even more precarious as it is dependent on circumstances inherently outside of the control of the personality or our human self.

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Trusting the human self to do its thing |

I see that one way of holding back from Ground awakening is a lack of trust in our human self.

This human self needs an identification with it to function

Or rather, an attachment to a thought that this human self needs identification with it, it needs a center of gravity in it to function and operate in the world.

Is that true?

Happening on its own

No. When there is a Ground awakening, there is also the realization that this human self - as anything else in the world of form, just happens. It lives its own life. There is no I inherent in any of it. There never was an I inherent in this human self, even while there appeared to be. It was just an illusion from the beginning, created from an overlay from a belief in an idea of I and of agency. And that belief made it seem very real.

This human self, as anything else in the world of form, is more than capable to function with no identification with it, with no overlay of a belief in the idea of I. There was never an I there in the first place.

Absent of a sense of I: freedom from confusion and drama

With an overlay of a sense of I, there is immediate confusion and drama. In the absence of this overlay, it functions more freely, in more clarity, from more unhindered wisdom and compassion.

So in realized selflessness, it all turns upside-down: While there is still a sense of I there, there is the fear that this human self will not function very well without a sense of I. It can't do it on its own. When there is realized selflessness, there is the clear seeing of this human self functioning far better, even in relative terms, in this new context - absent of confusion and drama.


I notice this daily now as I do the seen/seeing inquiry. I notice the seen coming and going on its own living its own life, just happening. I notice the seeing of it, free from coming and going. And there is the noticing of both seen and seeing as being inherently free from any I.

Then, there is the noticing of the belief that this human self needs an identification with it to function. And some fear coming up around that.

I also notice how the idea of an I becomes like a cardboard cutout that is placed on one thing after another: the seen such as sensations or thoughts, or the seeing of it. It has no substance in itself, and moves around according to what is most plausible and convenient in the situation.

Sometimes, it is even placed on the seeing of absence of I anywhere. There is this cardboard cutout of "I" seeing that seen and seeing is inherently absent of I (!).

And that too is OK. That too is inherently absent of any I.

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Seeking and nonseeking |

Adyashanti likes to talk about what happens when wanting falls away: We want something, get it, and experience the fullness and contentment that is there when the wanting goes into the background for a while.

Of course, his point is that the absence of wanting is what gives this sense of fullness and contentment, not getting what we (think we) want. What we think we want may be an object, but what we really want is to experience the fullness and contentment always here, and coming into the foreground when the wanting is in the background.

What do I really want?

One way to explore what we really want behind our surface wants is to make a list, and then for each want ask what do I hope to get out of this? And then the same question, until we arrive at something that is not reducible to something else.

A simple sequence may look something like this: I want money >> security, safety, freedom >> happiness, freedom from suffering, freedom from and not victim of circumstances.

Is it true it is not already here?

Having found this, we can ask ourselves is it true that what I seek is not already here?

Happiness: yes, I can find that right here. When there is a simple quiet being with whatever is experienced, there is a quiet happiness and bliss here, independent of whatever else is experienced. Freedom from suffering: yes, I can find that too here. There is something here always free from suffering and any other content. Something not touched by content. A wakefulness, clarity, capacity for everything to arise within. Seeing free from any of the particulars of the seen. Freedom from circumstances: yes, that too is right here, in the same stainless wakefulness and seeing.

Big Mind process

Through the Big Mind process, we discover the same but with more differentiation.

We see how seeking mind is immensely useful in many ways, including on a purely practical human everyday level. Yet, if seeking mind is typically in the foreground, there will be a chronic sense of dissatisfaction. There is always something to seek that is just around the corner, just over the next hill, just into the future or over there.

When nonseeking mind comes into the foreground, there is a sense of fullness, quiet, contentment. Here, we notice that what we seek is already here.

They both have their functions: Seeking mind on a practical relative level, and nonseeking mind as a reminder of the absolute.

In the relative, there may indeed be lack and something to gain. In the absolute, there is nothing missing. Both are needed.

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Reporters Without Borders Index for 2006 |

Reporters Without Borders have released their review of the state of press freedom around the world. Not surprisingly, the US ranking is falling under the Bush government.

The United States (53rd) has fallen nine places since last year, after being in 17th position in the first year of the Index, in 2002. Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his “war on terrorism.” The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognise the media’s right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism.

Freelance journalist and blogger Josh Wolf was imprisoned when he refused to hand over his video archives. Sudanese cameraman Sami al-Haj, who works for the pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera, has been held without trial since June 2002 at the US military base at Guantanamo, and Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held by US authorities in Iraq since April this year.



How to deal with thoughts? |

Some of the ways we relate to thoughts...

Believing in or not

In general, we can believe in them or not.

As long as there is a belief in any thought, there is a belief in the basic thought of "I" and a corresponding identity. We believe in some thoughts and not others, and with different degrees of attachment.

This creates a sense of I and other, an identity that defines who I am and am not, a discrepancy between beliefs and the inner and outer world as it arises, and a sense of struggle and drama.

When there is realized selflessness, beliefs in thoughts fall away as well. Or we can say that when the belief in "I" as a segment of what is falls away, so does beliefs in other thoughts as well. Without a sense of I, no attachment to thoughts.

(I have to say that in some cases of alleged realized selflessness, it certainly appears - when looking at words and actions - that there is still a belief in certain thoughts. What the human self does seems remarkably limited and frozen if all beliefs indeed had dropped away.)

Awakening to thoughts as related to stress

We can awaken, in different ways, to thoughts as related to stress.

We notice that being absorbed in thoughts, or attaching to thoughts, or trying to push thoughts away, brings disassociation or stress.

And although this is true for all thoughts (at least all the ones I have explored so far), it may appear as if it is true for only some of them.

And although it is the belief in thoughts that brings stress, it may appear as if thoughts themselves are a problem.

:: See thoughts themselves as the source

If we see thoughts themselves as a problem, we set ourselves up for failure.

We may engage in strategies to pacify or remove thoughts, such as drugs, sleep, entertainment or other forms of distractions. If we are a little more sophisticated, we may engage in practices that manipulate attention (visualizations, "good thoughts"). Although these strategies may give short term relief, it is ultimately a recipe for failure as thoughts come and go on their own and live their own life.

:: See beliefs as the source

We can recognize beliefs as the source, and inquire into the beliefs - allowing the attachment to the thought to erode and eventually fall away.

:: See the sense of I as the source

We can recognize the belief in the thought "I" as the source, as that which all other beliefs hinges on.

So we may engage in practices that temporarily shift attention away from the sense of I, giving a taste of how it is to be free from the story of I and everything that comes with it. These practices include, again, drugs, sex and entertainment. And also being in nature, prayer, meditation, and Breema.

We can inquire into any stressful belief that comes up, allowing one thread of the tapestry of beliefs to unravel at a time, until it all falls away taking the belief in the idea of "I" with it.

Or we can go directly for the belief in the idea of I through other forms of inquiry, mainly various forms of Atma Vichara such as the Big Mind process, labeling, and noticing the seen and the seeing as inherently absent of I. (And allowing what is seen to seep through our whole being, allowing it all to reorganize around it, be affected by it.)

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Embracing the wanting-to-change-self/other polarity Monday, October 23, 2006 |

How does it look when we embrace both ends of the wanting-to-change-self/other polarity?

One end is to just notice the other as a mirror for myself. Whatever advice comes up is really for myself. And it only takes one, and a good deal of differentiated clarity, to be happy. This is what we do through the The Work, and it does work.

The other end of the polarity is changing the other, or at least wanting and trying to. This can work to some extent, but if this is all we do, it typically brings a great deal of frustration and is not ultimately satisfying.

Including both ends of the polarity

So how does it look when both are included?

Well, I work with the projections, find some clarity, see that the advice is for myself and take my own advice, and resolve the struggle right here.

At the same time, I may talk about it with the other person.

:: Reading our judgements about the other to the other

For instance, in The Work, we write a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on the other person, and then read it to her or him (if she/he is receptive!)

And what we find, most or nearly all of the time, is that what one person wants for the other (a projection, when it has a charge) is what that person actually wants for her/himself. For each of us, we both want the same. There is no difference there.

So the gift is triple (or more): The person writing and reading the worksheet get to become more familiar with their advice for the other (judgments) and apply the advice to themselves. The person listening gets to see that they - most often, want the same for themselves. And it certainly relieves shadow-pressures in the relationship, and opens for a deeper sense of intimacy.

:: Picking up a dream process in the other

In Process Work, there is a very similar process.

As a facilitator, I may pick up something "in the field" and bring it out through words or movement, and see how the other responds. Whatever I pick up about the other, may be something that wants to come out in them. I may be dreamed up by the other and our shared field, to bring it up and into the open. And the feedback from the other tells me if it is really about the other, or just about me.

So by noticing what comes up in me and bringing it out in the open, I offer the other the gift of seeing if it is also in them. On my end, I will of course relate to it in my own way, so it is also a gift for myself.

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Soul Practices |

There are probably as many, or more, ways to deepen into the soul level as to Big Mind.

For me, the heart prayer, Christ meditation and Breema are the ways I work with the soul level.

The heart prayer and Christ meditation is a second person practice, awakening Spirit - in its Christ aspect - as Thou, and also awakening soul as first person, as I or me.

Breema is a first person practice, awakening soul as I, me or mine.

With the Christ centered practices, there is a sense of deep fullness and richness, of unspeakable beauty, bliss, pain, longing, joy, and sometimes of losing any sense of separate self in an immensity and infinity of bliss and radiance.

In Breema, there is a similar sense of fullness, depth and richness, yet with an absence of the longing, pain, and intensity of the prayer. There is just a sense of calm fullness, of being home, of no separation, a quiet bliss and joy, and of being participation - of all of me participating.

So the fullness and quiet bliss of soul is there in both cases, yet with the Christ practices more intense and transcendent (although also very much in and through the body), and with Breema more quiet and body centered.

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Music and prayer Sunday, October 22, 2006 |

As with just about anything else, my draw to food, movies and music goes through the usual fractal cycles (longer cycles over years, seasons, months and weeks, with short cycles overlaid going over weeks, days and hours).

So my music listening goes from 60s lounge to baroque (Bach, Marin Marais) to world (Mari Boine, Carlos Nakai, Hun Huur Tu, Yossou N'Dour), to renaissance (Palestrina, Victoria) to pop (Sting, Kate Bush, Stereolab) to religious (Rachmaninov's Vesper, Sister Marie Keyrouz, Russian Orthodox) to folk music (Agnes Buen Garnås) to contemporary (Jan Garbarek, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Arvo Pärt) to romatic (Shubert) to other genres.

Music as prayer

This weekend, I got into an Arvo Pärt phase, and am reminded of music as prayer.

His compositions, such as Passio, Arbos, Tablua Rasa, Te Deum and others, are prayer in the form of music, and they resonate with and awaken prayer in the (receptive) listener. Wherever our center of gravity is, the music closely mirrors, reflects and awakens our relation with Spirit as a Thou.

For me, listening to Pärt brings me right into the deep, full, rich and all-pervading sense of mystery, awe, unspeakable beauty, longing, pain, passion, joy, bliss, and disappearing of any separate I as any heart-centered and deeply felt prayer do, such as the heart prayer and Christ meditation.

While our center of gravity is still in a segment of the totality, prayer in any form - including music, can help us shift out of it and taste selflessness.

And after the awakening to selflessness, prayer and music can awaken the same sense of awe, beauty, longing, pain, joy and bliss, and work in and throughout our human self, allowing it to mature, deepen, become even more of a vehicle for Spirit-awake-to-itself in the world of phenomena.

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The many forms of oneness Saturday, October 21, 2006 |

I have talked with a couple of people lately who have mentioned oneness, and it reminded me of how this too looks differently depending on the center of gravity of identification and the whole aqal context as well.

Identification with a segment of the seen: oneness as emotional merging or a taste

When there is an exclusive identification with our human self, the idea of oneness typically remains just an idea. We may try some form of emotional merging, or feeling into the oneness, but that is about it. It does not go very far, and typically includes effort and fantasy.

Sometimes, there can also be a taste of oneness when I is temporarily forgotten (or more precisely when the idea of I is forgotten - and there is not the attachment to or building up of the idea of I). The sense of I goes into the background or falls away for a while, revealing all there is as a seamless whole. This can happen through sex, drugs (food, alcohol, recreational drugs), rock'n roll (entertainment) and relaxation (meditation, receiving Breema).

Identification with the seeing: the world of form as a seamless whole

When the center of gravity shifts out of the seen and into the seeing, when we find ourselves as pure awareness, as Witness, as that which the seen arises to and within, oneness takes a different form.

Now, the seen is revealed as an always a seamless whole, as one if you like.

This human self appeared as inner and the rest of the world as outer, and now, inner and outer is revealed as created by the exclusive identification with our human self. It is not inherent in the world of form.

The whole world of form arises within and to awareness, as a seamless always changing whole. It is one.

Noticing that seeing and seen are not two: a taste of oneness of seeing and seen

After a while (or sometimes right away) there is the noticing of the seen as arising to, within and now also as awareness. The seeing and the seen are both awareness. The seen are not so different from the seeing. They are not two.

The boundary between first I as seen and Other as seeing, and then I as seeing and Other as seen, now starts to erode. It is the early realization of the absence of I anywhere. The sense of I is merely created by an attachment to the idea of I as a segment of what is. I and other are not inherent in neither the seeing nor the seen.

Here, there is a taste of the oneness of seeing and seen.

Absent of I: absent of oneness and manyness, yet including both

The next shift is into realized selflessness.

Here, the inherent absence of I in seeing and seen is fully realized.

The Ground of seeing and seen is inherently absent of oneness or manyness, yet also allows and includes both.

That is why the whole game of hide and seek could play itself out in the first place: from exclusive identification with the seen, with the human self, to include - or shift to - the seeing itself, to a hunch of the absence of I anywhere, to realized selflessness.

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Surrender Friday, October 20, 2006 |

Surrender has come up for me recently.

When life kicks us around enough, there is little choice but to surrender - at least to some extent. And I see how the surrendering itself is a gift, independent of whether it helps us through with less stress or not, and what other gifts we may discover through the surrender.

Of course, the surrender itself is just an appearance, although this one too can seem very real.

Resistance and struggle

Whenever there is a belief in ideas, there is resistance to what is, to life as it shows up in the present. And this shows up as struggle, as a sense of I and Other, right and wrong, likes and dislikes.

The totality (Spirit, God, Buddha Mind) temporarily identifies with a segment of itself, with ideas and a human self, and creates a sense of struggle with the rest of itself.

So when the center of gravity is in ideas and the human self in this way, there is a sense of my will as different from, and sometimes opposed to, the will of the world. And there is a living from this as if it is real. There is resistance, and with it drama, struggle and stress.

And even this resistance is the local manifestation of the totality. It is Ground allowing the form of resistance, as it allows any other forms arising. Resistance is inherently total surrender, emptiness dancing, although it is certainly not experienced that way.

Totality awakening to itself

The only resolution and release is when the totality awakens to its own nature and any temporary exclusive identifications falls away. When this happens, there is no longer any my will and thou will. There is no doer anymore, everything is just happening. This human self and everything around it are local expressions of the totality.

Two forms of surrender

In the first case, when the center of gravity is still in the human self, there is a dipping into surrender. Situations arise that are not to this human self's liking. When they cannot easily be changed and persist for a while, resistance tends to wear down - although not quite to nothing.

In the second case, when totality has awakened to its own nature while still functionally connected with a particular human self, the whole issue of surrendering falls away.

It is, in a way, the ultimate surrendering to what is, to all the many ways the world of form arise. And since everything is just happening as expressions of the totality, absent of any I anywhere, it is also absent of any surrender.


Awakening: what may change and what may not |

I listened to a talk with Adyashanti last night, where he mentioned briefly some of the things that change - and don't - in awakening (horizontal awakening, realized selflessness).

Content independent of Ground awakening

In theory (whatever that means!), nothing needs to change for or within awakening. The content, the seen, experiences can stay the same. It is only the Ground awakening to itself, as the Ground of seen and seeing, absent of I anywhere, or as the I embracing all there is and absent of Other.

Reorganization of human self

At the same time, something does change in the seen, in the content, and specifically in our human self. It goes through a process of reorganizing and realigning to this new context of realized selflessness. The sense of drama goes out, the struggle from blind identification with aspects of the totality is gone, the stress from I and Other falls away. There is a deepening relaxation and unwinding of the human self, from body through energies, emotions and thoughts.

(Yet, there may also be a period of whatever had not been seen in our human self surfacing - all the facets hidden away surface to be seen and consciously acknowledged.)

Since this is a Ground awakening, everything revealed as Spirit, God, Buddha Mind, Brahman, absent of I anywhere, it will also be naturally expressed through our human self in ways that appear as compassion. (It appears as compassion when seen, by Spirit not awakened to its own nature, as one human being helping others.)

It is as natural and effortless as the right hand scratching the chin - there is itching and then scratching, spontaneously. The hand belongs to the same body as the chin, and one human self - when functioning within the context of realized selflessness, is awake to the larger body which is the whole world of form, including all beings.

What may not change

Then there are some things that may or may not change.

Our personality does reorganize to a certain extent, mostly through an absence of drama, but some flavor remains. If it had a good sense of humor before awakening, it is likely to have a good sense of humor after. If it liked strawberry milkshake before, it is likely to enjoy it after as well. If if was more yin or more yang, it is likely to still be more yin or yang. If it was into scholarship, it will most likely still be into scholarship. And so on.

The psychograph, or the level of development in the many lines, remains. If we were at a certain level in a particular line, it will still be there after the awakening. Before and after awakening, there is an invitation for these lines to continue to develop and mature. And it seems that the awakening itself, with its absence of drama and confusion, can serve as a catalyst for the deepening, maturing and development of these lines.

And then there is the thorny issue of health. If our human self was unhealthy in certain areas before awakening, it is possible that there will be a reorganization and healing within the awakening. But it is also possible that some issues remain - that there is not the insights, receptivity or willingness for these to reorganize and heal, even within the context of awakening. Adi Da and Andrew Cohen may be examples of this, and I am sure there are many others.

The filter of an unhealthy human self can easily distort how the inherent clarity and wisdom of the awakening is presented in the world.

And in a teaching content, this can easily be justified - by anyone involved, as just an expression of skillful means. He abuses me out of wisdom and compassion, so that I can awaken.

Sure. It is just that there are so many examples of teachers who do not do this, and yet have students wake up. It is not needed.

In the contemporary western world, with our increased sensitivity to signs of power abuse and psychological unhealthy patterns, there is luckily less tolerance for this. Teachers, in any tradition, who are blind to their own unhealthy psychological patterns, set themselves up for a fall.

And this crash and burn is just the reminder from existence to itself saying that even within the context of awakening, there may be something you didn't look at. So here is your chance to take a look at it now.

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Law of attraction and quadrants Thursday, October 19, 2006 |

A simpler, and aqal informed, view on the law of attraction.

Right quadrants goals

The law of attraction (LoA) is one of the many ways we can use to change things in the right hand quadrants, the outer world. We can use money, charm, connections, power, status, cunning, deception, and also the law of attraction. It is fine for that, as a tool used for purely pragmatic purposes and right quadrant goals.

It is one of the many tools in the toolbox for the right hand quadrants.

Upper left quadrant goals

But if we use it for upper left (UL) quadrant goals, and in particular to find lasting happiness and contentment, it is likely to fail, as all the other right quadrant tools fail there.

UL Tools

There are far better tools for the UL, including self-inquiry.

As Adyashanti suggests, we can make a list of all the things we want, including those that seem completely unspiritual and those we may be ashamed of. Then go through each goal, and ask what am I hoping to get out of this?, and then ask the same question of what you find until what you arrive at cannot be divided any further. This helps us find what we really want, and see the pure innocence in it.

Finding these underlying, and more real, goals, we can then ask: is it true that what I am seeking is not already here? Alive in immediate awareness?

Tools used for UL and R goals

As an aside, I see that other tools can be used for UL or R goals.

For instance, I can use prayer, visualization and intention for UL goals such as horizontal and vertical awakening: realizing selflessness and Self-Realization. They can be used as an aid to bridge, erode and see through the apparent boundary of I and Other, in this case God. And they can be included among the many ways to facilitate healing, maturation and development along any of the lines.

And I can use them for R goals. Again, if these goals are really R goals, just pragmatic and practical, then its fine. If they are really UL goals, or more accurately R goals as a means to achieve UL goals, then I'll be disappointed, because it won't work.

I can get the good job, the perfect looking or even my soul-mate, the money, and so on, and it can certainly make my human life more comfortable and soften some triggers for stress. But will it give me lasting satisfaction and contentment? It can't. Only UL goals, and specifically realized selflessness, can do that.


Widening worldcentric |

For the lines which goes from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric, mainly the cognitive (view) and moral (care), our leading collective edge seems to rapidly widen and deepen within the worldcentric.

Widening circles of care

For the care line, we see that...

Human rights is a given in the mainstream, at least in most modern western societies (with the exception of Bush, pushing ethnocentric/amber views to erode some of the worldcentric/orange focus on human rights, using fear as a driver.)

A concern for nonhuman species, ecosystems, the Earth as a whole, and future generations is emerging on a larger scale, with climate change and other well-publicized issues as a catalyst.

From we being all human beings alive today, it slowly grows to includes we as the Earth as a whole and future generations.

Moral line fed by the cognitive

And the widening circles of care and compassion is fed by the widening circles of the cognitive line. We know, from science and daily experience, that the Earth as a whole is a single seamless system, and that our own immediate health and well-being is intimately connected with the health and well-being of the larger social and ecological systems.

In today's world, we cannot afford to not be concerned with the health and well-being of the larger whole, because it impacts us so directly locally.

Deepening into

As these circles widen, there is also a corresponding maturing and deepening coming from lived experience and new information. We become more familiar what it means, collectively and individually, to live from these widening circles of view and care.

Widening into the cosmoscentric

Another leading edge here is within the worldcentric, from the gaiacentric to the cosmoscentric phase. With the public interest in Star Trek and other sci-fi stories, and the public interest and participation in discovering planets and SETI (through PlanetQuest and SETI@home), this phase of the worldcentric is rapidly becoming more real.

For now, since we haven't made contact with any galactic neighbors, it is mostly the cognitive line exploring the cosmoscentric. If there is contact one way or another, the moral line will be included.


And how will we react if there is contact? It will of course depend on the type of contact: detecting a distant signal will be very different from initiating a dialogue, which will be very different from - the far more unlikely - direct physical contact.

And it will also depend on where we are at the care line of development. At ethnocentric, we are more likely to react with suspicion and fear. At the deepening worldcentric, with interest and curiosity (although hopefully not naively).

Cosmocentric benefits

Already now, by exploring the cognitive cosmoscentric through science and the Universe Story, and the cognitive and moral cosmoscentric through sci-fi, there are some benefits of the cosmocentric.

It helps unseat any assumptions of absolutes in who we are and how we view the world. It helps us open up for a sense of connection with and belonging to the universe as a whole. It helps us open up for a sense of awe of the enormity and beauty of the universe. It helps us open for how unbelievable and astonishing it is that anything exists at all.

Maybe most importantly, widening beyond the Earthcentric makes it easier for us to see the Earth as one small intimate whole. A miracle of life floating in the immensity of space.

It helps us deepen our care and concern for all of us - all humans, all beings, all ecosystems, the Earth as a whole, future generations.

(And then there is of course the kosmocentric, of realizing selflessness and that Existence has a center everywhere and nowhere.)

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Inquiry: something is wrong |

Something is wrong.

  1. Is it true?

    It certainly feels true.

  2. Can I absolutely know it is true?

    No. The sense of something is wrong only comes from thoughts. From a very limited view and arbitrary guidelines.

  3. How do I react when I have that belief?

    I look for evidence. I see that wherever attention happens to go, I look for and can find evidence. You are wrong. I am wrong. The world is wrong. God is wrong.

    I need to identify what is wrong and how it is wrong, and then try to change it.

    There is also a sense of hopelessness since I cannot know for sure what is wrong. I know my views are not in any way absolutes.

    Where and how do I experience it in the body?

    There is a sense of contraction throughout the body. Of uneasiness. Discomfort. This discomfort comes from the belief, and it is also used as a reminder to look for what is wrong - wherever my attention happens to go.

    How do I treat others?

    As potentially wrong, and as somebody to find something wrong about - in their looks, behaviors, views, history, future and so on. As somebody who should change, and I may take it upon myself to try to change them.

    How do I treat myself?

    As somebody who needs to identify what is wrong, so it can be seen and ideally corrected. As somebody who is wrong in different ways - views, behavior, looks, history, future.

    When did I first have that belief?

    In my childhood, probably at a very early age.

    What do I get out of holding onto that belief?

    I get to be somebody who is looking for right and wrong, who wants to make the world and myself right, who is on the side of the right - even if I don't know what it is.

    I experience frustration and confusion in trying to identify what is wrong.

    And when I feel I know what is wrong, there is a sense of separation, of something to protect, of having to protect myself from what is wrong. There is fear and loneliness.

  4. Who or what would I be without the belief?

    At ease. Peace. Sense of connection and intimacy with myself, others and the world. Sense of seamlessness. No separation. Interest and curiosity. Discernment absent of separation (and absent of needing to create a sense of separation.) Being on the side of anyone, even while not seeing it quite the same way as them.

    There is anything, absent of wrongness. Pain, change of plans, absent of wrongness.

    It is very simple. Clear. Sense of ease.

  5. Turnarounds

    (a) Everything is right

    Yes, as or more true. Absent of believing in thoughts, there is no right or wrong to be found. Also, when there is an exploration of what thoughts appear to say about the world, I seem to always find truth in any turnarounds.

    (b) My thoughts are wrong.

    Well, if there is a belief in them, and especially in the thought that something is wrong, then something certainly appears to be wrong. It makes that experience come alive. But that too is not inherently wrong.


Becoming whole: Star Trek, women and brains Monday, October 16, 2006 |

As part my cultural education, I watched Spock's Brain from the Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) last night.

Common themes: what to do with powerful women, and rationality and sentiment

From the few episodes of TOS I have seen, there seem to be some common themes.

In Spock's Brain, it is powerful (although sometimes vacuous) women, and how to relate to and deal with them. In The Galileo Seven, the relationship between rationality and sentiment as played out between Spock and his shipmates.

Fascination with polarities, and how it looks in daily life when embraced

In both cases, and I am sure many others (which I would discover by watching more episodes), there is a fascination and curiosity with polarities, and an active attempt to reconcile the poles with each other.

What is the relationship between men and women, and the masculine and feminine, when women gains more power in society, when men must learn to share power with women, when women find the masculine in themselves and men ind the feminine in themselves? What is the relationship between rationality and sentiment, between head and body, and how does it look when both are included? How does it play itself out in real life? How does it look in the grittiness in our daily interactions?

Mirroring at cultural and individual levels

This is pretty obvious: those themes, and many others from TOS, were very much alive in the mid and late 1960s, at both collective and individual levels.

As a culture, the leading edge in the western world of the 60s was at green, shifting into the postmodern, pluralism, a widening circle of concern that includes women, other ethnicities, and the Earth as a whole. It was the larger scale birth of the ecology movement, the human potential movement and deepening feminism.

And along with this, as a rough parallel on a personal level, there was a shift into the centaur level, finding ourselves, in our own immediate experience and daily life, as the whole beyond and including body and psyche. This was the larger scale birth of the western fascination with and exploration of mediation, yoga, projection work, and innumerable (other) mind-body practices.

Star Trek picked this up, which may be one of the reasons there is still an active interest in the original series (apart from nostalgia, and its quirkiness and humor.)

Shift: found and worked at

Any shift from having the center of gravity in one end of a polarity to embrace the polarity as a whole, has two aspects.

:: Found

One is the discovery and the noticing of the polarity. It has always been there, it just looked fragmented when there was an exclusive identification with one end.

Men and women have always had both masculine and feminine qualities. It is just that culture and gender identity has filtered these qualities so that some come out and are embraced, and others remain hidden and excluded.

And there is always the whole of psyche and body: of rationality and feelings, of feminine and masculine, of persona and shadow. It is always there, although again may not be noticed if the conscious identification is with only aspects of this whole.

All that is needed here is just to notice what already is. Nothing needs to change, apart from this noticing.

I can just notice that there are indeed feminine and masculine qualities in me, independent of my biological sex and cultural gender. I can notice the whole beyond and embracing my whole human self, including psyche and body, the feminine and masculine, persona and shadow.

:: Worked at

At the same there, there is an aspect of exploration, discovery, testing out, seeing how it plays itself out in real life.

How does it look in society when women and men are more equal in terms of power? How does it look in my life if I find myself as the larger whole which includes the feminine and masculine, the rational and feelings, persona and shadow? What are the roles of these aspects in this new situations? How does it play itself out? How does it change and mature over time, as I become more familiar with all of these aspects, these ways of being in the world?

And this exploration is what some of the TOS episodes seem to mirror: how does it look at collective and individual levels, when we embrace more of what we already are?

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Law of attraction? Sunday, October 15, 2006 |

These days, there is a lot of local buzz around a movie called The Secret, apparently about the law of attraction...

I haven't seen it yet, but I can still explore some things that come up for me around the general topic of the law of attraction. (Slightly one-sided.)

Drawback one: relative truth only

The first drawback is an obvious one: the law of attraction only serves as one of many tools to get what our personality wants, such as comfort, money, career, a partner, and so on. Instead of money to buy it, we use the law of attraction. It is at best good for our human self, yet does not give ultimate satisfaction, contentment or happiness.

So it is of course fine to use the law of attraction to get things, just as we use money, attractiveness, status, power and whatever else we have available to get our way. The only problem comes when we think this will actually give us anything more than temporary satisfaction.

Drawback two: something is wrong!

Underlying the interest in the law of attraction is the belief that something is wrong: something is wrong with me, you, the world and/or God.

So if we use the law of attraction to set something right, according to our personality, we act from and reinforce this sense of wrongness. We deepen the groove of wrongness, the sense that something is wrong - with me, you, the world, God.

And with it, we fuel a basic distrust in the world as it shows up, as it is.

As usual, there is no lack of supporting beliefs for the core one of something is wrong. (A good one is God needs me to tell him/her/it how things should be.)

Drawback three: preferences from limited view

Another drawback, for me, is that I wouldn't know what to ask for or set out to attract.

Whatever I set out to attract is what my personality wants. It comes out of a very limited view and understanding. And, yes, out of a basic mistrust in the world as it shows up on its own.

(More precisely, what I want and desire all comes out of beliefs. These beliefs that makes up my limited - and ultimately false - identity and large portions of this personality. Beliefs that, as we discover pretty quickly by inquire into them, have no basis in reality. A set of random and conditioned beliefs are identified with and taken as I, and then used as a guide for how to operate in life.)

The preferences of my personality is a poor guide for what to attract, which is clear even from the perspective of these preferences themselves.

My life is full of examples of things happening that my personality initially didn't like at all. Yet these situations later appeared as exactly what I needed, as a great gift. And there are as many examples of getting what this personality wanted, which later appeared - to the same personality, as a misfortune.

It is difficult to know in advance what is fortune and misfortune. The same situation can appear either way, at any time, and it can change over time. It really just depends on the view.

Drawback four: my will be done

Reality, or God, is what serves up this human life. Who am I, as identified with the preferences of this personality, to think I know better?

Put another way, the law of attraction is another form of my will be done. But can I know more than God?

It is of course fine to live from my will be done. It is what we do when there are beliefs and an identification with our personality. It is just more of the same.

Drawback five: fear and the shadow

Another thing that can happen is that we become paranoid about what thoughts arise and which ones we put energy into.

As we discover quickly through meditation, if not much sooner, thoughts happen. They live their own life. They come out of the blue and vanish back into open space. They are a surprise guest or visitor, entering and then equally surprising leaving again. There is no way to hold thoughts back. They come on their own accord, and trying to filter them is a futile, and quite stressful and energy consuming, endeavor.

There may be the appearance of choosing which thoughts to fuel and which not, but that too really happens on its own.

So depending on how we are put together, if there is an attachment to the idea of the law of attraction, there may be a good deal of frustration and fear coming up as well. Oh, I thought about a car accident: that means I will get in one! I can't think about anything dark, because it means it is more likely to happen, but these thoughts still seem to come in even if I fight them! Those people always talk about negative things, so those thoughts enter my mind as well, and will attract it to my life!

Sounds stressful to me. As soon as we go into these dynamics, what we feared has already happened...! I got into the law of attraction to find happiness and avoid unpleasantness, but it only gives me the unpleasantness that I tried to avoid, even before anything has been manifested.

If anything, what happens is that our shadow only fills up with more and more stuff, and become denser as well, less explored and invited into awareness.

The grain of truth: seeking those and that which agrees with me

What seems accurate about the law of attraction is that I have a set of beliefs, and then seek out people that agree with me and situations that confirms what I already know (that align with these beliefs).

So, as I did during some years in childhood, I believe I am unlikeable, and seek out people who agree - and don't like me! They may not like me, but they at least agree with me - they don't upset my worldview, and that is more important.

I believe I don't deserve money, so act accordingly to make sure I don't get too much of it. I believe I deserve abundance, so act in ways that brings money into my life.

I believe people are mean, treat them from suspicion, and then respond by withdrawing and acting in ways I interpret as mean. I believe people are friendly, act in a friendly way towards them, and receive friendly responses.

Our belief system permeates our whole life: it forms our outlook and worldview, it informs what we notice and don't notice, it fuels emotions and behaviors. We act as if our beliefs are true, which makes them appear true to us. We look for and collect evidence for these beliefs. We interpret what happens according to these beliefs. And we act in ways that makes them appear to come true, including in the ways listed above.

So in that sense, there is a "law of attraction", but there is nothing mysterious about it. It is commonplace, what we notice and live from daily. This form of law of attraction is simply that we live as if our beliefs are true and we live to make them appear true, so it tends to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. This is also widely known from mainstream psychology.

This garden variety form of self-fulfilling prophesy already permeates our lives, so there is no need to make it into anything more weird. At the same time, it seems that weird explanations for simple things helps people bring attention to it, so in that way it may be helpful for them.

If people become aware of and start question their beliefs, even if they do so from an unusual starting point, then why not?

Integration: intention and surrender

There is also a possibility for an integration here, which is what I tend to do in my own life.

I may set an intention, and even visualize for something to occur, yet within a context of Thy will be done, a context of surrendering to what happens as the will of God, of reality.

Also, as beliefs are questioned there is a natural shift from my will be done to Thy will be done.

The preferences of this personality becomes less important. Thoughts are revealed as just thoughts, questions more than statements about the world. Whatever happens is OK, and then more than OK.

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Clarity and quiet bliss when fully experienced |

This is one of the many opens secrets: when something is fully experienced, there is a clarity and a quiet bliss and joy there.

When resistance falls away to whatever arises in immediate awareness, it reveals a clarity and quiet bliss which seems inherent in experience, and this is independent of what is experienced - pain, grief, joy, sadness, anger, enthusiasm or whatever else it may be.

Looking at this for myself, I find that...

Resistance comes from the belief in the thought I, and a set of beliefs in additional thoughts which creates an exclusive and limited identity. Whatever does not fit is then resisted, it is made "other", and gives rise to a sense of drama and struggle.

The resistance itself seems to take the form of (a) an attachment to a belief that what is should be different, (b) a sensation, (c) shifting attention away from what arises, at least temporarily, and (d) a behavior meant to distract attention or make whatever is resisted change or go away. Resistance really only kicks up a lot of dust, temporarily hiding - at best, what is resisted.

Absence of resistance allows whatever is to be. This reveals the bliss and joy that seems inherent in experience, always. It may reveal what is resisted to not be nearly as frightening or threatening as it initially seemed, and maybe not as what it seemed at all. It also allows what is resisted to live its own life, to unfold, change, as it does anyway.

Pain as an example

A good example is pain, whether physical or emotional.

:: Pain resisted

When resisted, it may look something like this...

  1. There is a belief in the idea of I as a segment of what is, as limited, somehow separate from the rest of the world of form and/or awareness.

  2. A sensation arises. This sensation is labeled pain.

  3. Then, beliefs kick in which says that this pain is not me, undesirable, something that should not be there. Now, there is a sense of I being exposed to pain as Other, and an unwanted Other.

  4. This leads to resistance. There is a rehearsal of the initial beliefs making pain wrong and of a list of additional and supporting beliefs.

  5. From this comes various sensations, and a sense of drama and turmoil and various emotions, which themselves may be resisted as the pain is.
:: Pain not resisted

Resistance can fall away at different points of that chain...

l1. The resistance of the idea of I falls away

If the resistance falls away at its root, with the attachment of the idea of I, the sensation/emotions arise freely as awareness, as Big Mind, as Spirit. There is no resistance, no sense of drama. Just clarity and a sense of ease.

l2. The resistance of the story of pain falls away

If the resistance falls away at the story of the sensation/emotion, there is just a sensation or emotion arising, and a story arising, yet no connection between the two. Again, there is no drama. Just clarity and a sense of ease.

l3. The resistance of the story of pain is bad falls away

Here, the additional beliefs - making pain not me, bad, wrong and so on, falls away. Again, no drama, just clarity and ease (although maybe a little more precarious, because there may be a large number of stories making pain wrong).

l4. The resistance to the effects of the stories of I, pain, and pain is wrong falls away

The chain of events has gone all the way to the effects of the stories of I, pain, and pain is wrong, so there is a sense of drama and turmoil. But all is not lost: here, we can allow the resistance to these effects to fall away, to allow the effects unfold in awareness. I can ask myself, can I be with what I am experiencing right now?

The interesting thing here is that this in itself can unravel the previous chain, all the way back to the initial story of I. Simply being with an experience, initially labeled pain, can unravel the chain of the stories of pain is wrong, pain, and I.

How far back the chain unravels seems somewhat related to where our usual center of gravity is located, and how intense the experience is.

What could have been pain is now something different, and reveals clarity and bliss

In each of these cases, what could have been pain is now revealed as something different, and something that reveals clarity and quiet bliss and joy.

In the first two cases, it never arises as pain in the first place, just as one of the forms of Spirit or an experience. In the third case, it may appear as pain, but is OK and welcomed. In the fourth case, the chain is allowed to unravel - possibly all the way back to the story of I.

How to

How do we allow resistance to fall away at each of those points of the chain?

The beliefs in the stories can unravel through The Work, the connection between sensations/emotions and stories can unravel through labeling practice, and the effects of the stories can allow to unfold through asking myself can I be with what I am experiencing right now?


Intention as practice |

I find intention to be an invaluable part of my practice.

And it is maybe most helpful in allowing insights and hidden beliefs to surface and be seen.

I notice curiosity arise around an issue, or some area where there seem to be hidden beliefs, and set the intention to allow an insight into this to surface. This intention is simple and quiet, and can take the form of a prayer, and the seed is planted, allowing the plant surfaces a little later.


Beliefs hidden in the shadow of conscious views |

I notice how beliefs sometimes are hidden in the shadow of my conscious views. They may not fit my conscious view, they may seem old-fashioned or outlandish, they may seem completely contrary to my conscious views, so I overlook them, ignore them, or dismiss them as fodder for inquiry.

One long-standing, and embarrassing, issue for me is being annoyed when people eat noisily. Even as a kid, I had discomfort come up when people ate with open mouth and lots of sounds.

My conscious thoughts are that it is unsophisticated, disrespectful, uncivilized, and just plain gross. Yet, if there ever was much attachment to those thoughts, there is certainly not much anymore. They don't seem to hold much truth or charge for me. But the reaction still comes up, so there must be other beliefs behind there somewhere, most likely hidden in the shadows of my conscious worldview.

So I can go in and connect with my experience in those situations, and invite beliefs to surface around it - in innocence, allowing anything to come up and be seen, independent of how outlandish or not me they appear.

What I find, to my surprise, are beliefs such as... People shouldn't enjoy or take pleasure in their food. Eating is shameful. Body functions are shameful. Enjoying eating is indulgent (which is bad.)

In my conscious view, these are outrageous statements, coming from a puritan and twisted worldview. Yet at the same time, they seem to be alive and well in me, hidden in the dungeons of the mind. As long as they remain hidden and unquestioned, they also remain an active - and apparently mysterious - influence in my life.

Maybe it is not so surprising that they are there. I grew up in Western Europe, where these or similar beliefs are part of the culture and tradition. It may be centuries since they were much alive in the surface culture, openly expressed and accepted, but their ghosts are still around in different ways. Specifically, I can see traces of these views in my parent's birth families. And as a kid, I most likely noticed them and took them to heart.

So eating is shameful, is it true?

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Invitation to find for oneself |

Of the many things I appreciate about Adyashanti, and maybe especially how there is always the invitation to find what is true for oneself.

He speaks from what he has explored thoroughly for himself, from what is alive for him right now, and in ways that invites the listeners to find it for themselves right now - in their own immediate awareness. His talk becomes a set of questions for inquiry.

There is a tremendous freshness, openness, immediacy and aliveness in this.


Clarity, and choice falls away Friday, October 13, 2006 |

I wrote the entry on the various forms of motivation yesterday, without realizing (at the time) that it exactly mirrored what was going on for me in my personal life.

The choice: Adyashanti or Waking Down

I had the choice of going to a second satsang with Adyashanti, this time in Ashland, or a Waking Down in Mutuality event in Portland, and there was a good deal of agonizing in trying to make a decision.

I thoroughly enjoyed the satsang with Adyashanti last weekend and noticed a shift for me after it. At the same time, I felt that the WD event would maybe deepen my process somehow, or that I would learn something that is currently outside of my horizon.

Clarity through inquiry, and the decision makes itself

Last night, while exploring this through inquiry, I saw that wanting to go to the Adyashanti event came from a sense of joy and connection, while my motivation for wanting to go to the WD event was fear and a sense of separation: If I don't go, I will miss out on something crucial. I will never get the opportunity again. I will develop in a lopsided way. I will be blind to something essential. They know something I don't know and need to know.

In seeing this more clearly, the confusion and sense of burden in trying to make a decision gave way to a sense of relief and lightness: Going to the Adyashanti event comes from joy and excitement, going to the WD event comes from fear motivation. There is no decision to be made anymore.

Exploring the beliefs behind the decision process allowed me to see more clearly what was already there. It allowed me to notice with more clarity what I already knew, what was already alive in immediate awareness. And it took the whole sense of choice out of it.

Confusion, a sense of having to make a decision, and agonizing

In the confusion, there was a definite sense of choice and of agonizing in trying to make a decision.

Clarity, the choice falls away, and action

In the clarity, the sense of choice falls away. There is just clarity, and action.


Feeling like myself |

And here are some of the different ways of feeling like myself....

Usual identity

One is whenever life unfolds so I can be comfortable in my usual (limited) identity.

I am this and not that,
and life does not question that identity right now, or, even better, life conforms to how I would like to see myself.

So I see myself as an introvert, and I have a quiet evening at home or with close friends. Or I see myself as clear and alert, and I happen to feel that way today. Or I would like to be warm and personable, and I happen to be in a situation where that comes out.

In each case, I feel like myself, aligned with my usual identity or what I would like my identity to be.

Being participation

Another is when we experience ourselves as whole. For instance as the whole that is beyond and includes body, energy, feelings, thoughts and soul.

This is what they call Being Participation in Breema. And the body/psyche whole is called the Centaur level in KWs framework.

We can shift into this when we are relaxed and alert, comfortable with ourselves and the world, and our (limited) identity falls more into the background. And our center of gravity is more stably here when our identity is more embracing and closer to include all of what we are as humans and soul and even Spirit.

Ground awakening

And yet another form is to feel like my Self, when the Ground of seeing and seen awakens to its own nature absent of any I. Here, everything in the seen and the seeing itself is revealed as Spirit, as emptiness dancing, as the Always Already.

When Ground awakens to itself, there is the final sense of "feeling like myself". Spirit recognizes everything as itself, as the many forms of Spirit.

Coming home

In each of these cases, there is also a sense of coming home, deepening with each one.

As a kid, I remember sometimes waking up in the morning with a sense of longing, of longing for something I couldn't quite identify, longing for a deeper sense of home. I tried everything, from reading Donald Duck comics, eating sandwiches with strawberry jam, drinking hot chocolate, spending time with my parents and brother, going outside, playing with friends, but nothing seemed to help. There was something really important missing, which I could not identity.

When the initial awakening came, out of the blue, in my mid-teens, I realized (later) that this is what I was longing for. This is what I knew was already there, but not noticed. This deep sense of belonging in and as part of all of Existence, of no separation, of everything, with no exceptions, as God and Spirit.

And later when I found Breema, I found another flavor of this sense of belonging and coming home. And again in the tastes of realized selflessness.

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