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The question of evil Tuesday, November 28, 2006 |

Some of the many ways of looking at evil, in the context of Spirit as beyond and including all polarities.

Confusion

Evil comes out of confusion. It comes out of believing in the idea of I, placing it on this human self, and then creating a more elaborate identity that needs to be defended.

I see myself as an object in finite space and time, and need to protect myself. I take as I, and believe in, the more elaborate identity of this human self, and this also needs to be protected.

And since it is a death-and-life matter, I am willing to use death-and-life means.

Expressions of Spirit

It is an expression of Spirit. It is Spirit expressing, exploring and experiencing itself, in yet another flavor. It is awake emptiness and form, in one of its many expressions, inherently absent of good and bad, good and evil, better or worse.

Drama

It ads to the drama of Spirit expressing, exploring and experiencing itself. Spirit creates a sense of I and Other, place the I on this human self and Other on anything else, and the drama is in motion. There is more juice, more engagement, more liveliness, if it appears as a life-and-death drama.

Evolution and development

Souls develop over incarnations, and human selves develop within its lifetime.

Evil actions is simply the actions of an immature soul or human self, when pressed to its limits. When nothing else seems available.

Or we can say that evil actions happen when our circle of care, compassion and concern is exclusive. It may be that we see a strong boundary between we and them, dehumanize the Others, and see it in our interest to harm them, directly or indirectly. Or it may be that we are simply oblivious to the effects our actions have on others, although this is typically not seen as evil.

Over the course of the development of the human self, its circle of care, compassion and concern gets wider and wider. The circle of we and us expands to include more and more people, groups of people, species and systems. It can go from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric and even to Kosmocentric, depending on the inner and outer conditions.

In egocentric, my circle only goes around me and maybe those most immediate to me. In ethnocentric, it includes my group, however it is defined - my nation, religion, ethnicity, age, political affiliation, and so on. In worldcentric, it includes all of us - which can be all of us human beings, all of us beings on this planet, all of this planetary ecosystem, all of us in past, present and future. And in Kosmocentric, it includes all of Existence, beyond and including all polarities. It includes all of Spirit as awake emptiness and the whole world of form.

Belief in an idea

Evil can be seen as coming from a belief in an idea. We believe in the idea of good and evil, create a definition for it (usually coming from culture or religion), and place it on the world.

We place it on top of something that is inherently free from good and evil, and then we act as if it is really there - because it is, for us.

Conventional views as a guidelines

And then there are the many conventional views on ethics, law and so on, which are all very useful (essential) in our daily life. They serve as guidelines for our own behavior, and also for how we will allow others to treat others.

All together

Each of these views, and many more, have a good point. They are each true in their own way. They are each useful. But if we get stuck in just one, something else is left out and what we leave out will most likely come back to bit us. We act from a filter that removes most of the spectrum, and lose much of the information available to us.

We see it all as Spirit, and disregard conventional views, guidelines and laws. We stick only to our beliefs, and ourselves end up acting in less compassionate ways. We see it all as drama, and stoke the drama instead of helping people find relief from suffering and awakening.

The more of the spectrum included, the more we can see, and the more informed, and hopefully compassionate, our actions can be.

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Free Will II - a difference between realizing and believing in ideas |

There is of course a big difference between realizing and believing in the complementarity of the freedom of awake emptiness, and the absence of I and free will in the world of form - in our case, as a human being.

Realizing absence of freedom

Realizing it is Spirit awakening to itself as awake emptiness and form, inherently absent of I anywhere - and as a whole as an I. This is liberation. It is a liberation from an exclusive identity as a segment of this field, it is a liberation from seeing this human self and its actions as an I, it is a liberation for this human self from having a sense of I placed on top of it.

Believing in absence of freedom

Believing in it, just attaching to ideas about it, is quite different. This happens when there is still very much a sense of I there, placed on the local causality of this human self such as thoughts, decisions and actions. It is still taken and experienced as an I, yet there is a belief in infinite causes, in an absence of free will in this human self, maybe in an absence of I.

And this can take different forms.

Believing, yet still acting as if there is free will

One, and the more healthy variation, is to take it as a spur to practice, to explore this, is it really true? Can I find it in my own experience? Are there really infinite causes to anything I think, do, and experience? Is there an absence of I in this human self?

In exploring this, we take our experience seriously in two ways.

First, we take our findings seriously. We explore seriously, in detail, over and over, and take what we find seriously. We explore the implications of what we find, we feel into what it would mean to live more fully from it.

And, equally important, we take our current experience seriously in the context of our daily life. If there is still a sense of an I here in daily life, then I live from that as before. I take responsibility for my actions. I sincerely try to make the most informed and compassionate choices. I live as if I have a free will, because it seems I do.

Even if we don't explore it further, it is a good thing to act as if we have free will. It does help in making our lives easier on us and others.

Yet, this too, this acting as if we have free will, is the local expressions of the movements of the whole. This too has infinite causes. This too is inherently absent of an I and free will. It may be good to realize that, but also keep it in the background. Acting as if there is free will is in the foreground, realizing that this too is absent of free will, that this too is grace, can go in the background.

Believing, and making wrong conclusions

The other, less healthy, way, is to take a nihilistic approach and abandon any sense of responsibility. Of course, what we are really doing here is to first attach to a belief of an absence of free will, and then attach to an idea that this means nihilism and abandoning responsibility. This is miles away from what happens in a real awakening, when there is a real realization.

How it unfolds when realized

In a real realization, this human self continues to operate much as before. It still explores options and alternatives. It still tries to make informed and compassionate decisions. It is still very much active and engaged in the world. If anything, there is more of an incentive to making informed decisions, to live from compassion, and to be engaged in the world.

The only difference is that now, there is no sense of an I there anymore. There are thoughts, choices and actions, yet no I there anywhere. It is just an expression of awake emptiness and form, as anything else happening.

There is very much doing, but no doer anymore.

Grace, and also planting seeds

All of this, believing naively there is free will, taking on a nihilistic attitude, Spirit awakening to itself, all of this is also absent of any I or free will. It is the local expressions of the movements of the whole, it is Spirit expressing, exploring and experiencing itself in various ways. It is all God's will. It is all Grace.

At the same time, there is a planting of seeds in the world of form that allows these things to happen and unfold. There is a planting of a seed that spurs someone to explore for themselves, and some guidelines for how to do it. There is a set-up that brings someone into cynicism and nihilism when they read something like this. There is the infinite causes coming together so that someone still acts as if there is free will, even if he realizes, to some extent, that it cannot be.

Anything happening in and through us has infinite causes, and we can plant seeds for ourselves and others. We can plant seeds for happiness, release from suffering and awakening. And we can plant seeds for misery. We do both.

And both are themselves the fruits of infinite causes.

But here too, it is a good idea to act as if there is free will.

And around and around it goes, until Spirit awakens to itself.

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The mutuality of emptiness and form |

This came up again when I read a quote by Jnaneshvar:

Unity becomes strengthened by the expansion of diversity.

The more emptiness is realized, the more we can wholeheartedly engage in form, and the more we wholeheartedly engage in form, the more we need and are invited to realize emptiness.

Emptiness is the awake emptiness that is here now, reading these words. Timeless. Unchangeable. Unstained. Always already. Distinct from form, yet also arising as form.

And form is the world of form, and in our case, specifically this human self and its wider world.

Identified as this human self, and resistance

When this field of seeing and seen, of awake emptiness and form, takes itself as a segment of itself, there is immediately resistance.

It identifies as this human self, there is a sense of I and Other, there is a sense of an exclusive and comprehensive identity, and there is something to push away and something to hold onto.

There are experiences, people, places and situations to hold onto, and there are experiences, people, places and situations to push away. In short, there is resistance - to what is, to what may be.

There is drama, confusion, and resistance.

And with resistance, there is a holding back, or a pushing forward.

I hold back from engaging, from experiencing. I try to distract myself, change the situation, modify my experience. I am ambivalent. Half-hearted.

Or I push forward, I push into situation, into experiences, into the world. Which is just another way of resisting.

Field awakening to itself, realizing emptiness and allowing engagement in form

If this field of emptiness, awakeness and form awakens to itself as this field, absent of I anywhere, it all changes.

Now, there is a realization of being awake emptiness, inherently free from the world of form, unharmed by it. Always here, timeless.

There is also the realization of being form, not just this human self but all form, this whole seamless field of form. Anything arising is this field itself. It is just another expression of this same field.

And there is the realization that awake emptiness arises as this field of form. Form arises within, to and as this awake emptiness. They are not two, although they can be discerned as two.

So in that sense, there is full engagement in the world of form since the field realizies it is not separate from form. It is awake emptiness and form. It is beyond full engagement. It is it.

At the same time, and more interesting here, is what happens for this human self. It is realized as having no inherent I. It is just an aspect of this field of awake emptiness and form, which has no I in it anywhere (or we could say it as a whole is an I).

This means that there is no longer anything to resist. With the absence of I and Other, there is also absence of resistance. It falls away.

And this allows for a more wholehearted engagement in the world of form for this human self. It can more wholeheartedly engage with its experiences, and it can more wholeheartedly engage with the wider world.

With no resistance, a more full and wholehearted engagement, all around.

Mutuality of emptiness and form

So the more fully emptiness is realized, the more wholehearted our engagement in the world of form can be. And a more wholehearted engagement requires and invites a more full realization of emptiness.

Engagement without realizing emptiness is painful. The only solution is realizing emptiness, and when emptiness is first tasted, a more full engagement - and the tastes of pain that comes from not fully realizing form as also emptiness, invites and encourages us to more fully realize emptiness, and form as emptiness.

The two go hand in hand. They are two sides of the same coin. They mutually invite and encourage each other.

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Free will - how the question arises and can be resolved |

When there is a sense of I in this human self, the question of free will becomes very important. Do I, as this human self, have free will, or not, or is there a mix?

Spirit awakening to itself, realizing infinite causes in the world of form

But when Spirit awakens to itself as the Ground of seeing or seen, or the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere, it becomes different.

Now, the whole world of form is revealed as a seamless field, and any change in any part of this field is a an expressions of the movements of the whole of this field. Or we can say that any change in any aspect of the world of form, including our human self, has infinite causes and infinite effects.

So even here, there is a taste of no "free will" in the world of form.

And when the field of seeing and seen, which includes the world of form, is revealed as inherently absent of any I anywhere, it becomes even clearer. If there is no "I" in the world of form - not in this human self, not in the soul, not anywhere, how can there be free will? There is no room for free will, there is nowhere for it to be.

This human self and everything else in the world of form just happens. It is the expressions of the movements of the whole, it is Spirit manifesting as form. It all lives its own life.

The field identifying as a segment of itself, the question of free will arises

What is happening when there is the question of free will is a belief in the idea of I as a segment of this field of seeing and seen. And the most plausible candidate for what to place this idea or sense of I on is this human self. Now there is a sense of I as this human self, and Other as anything else. There is an identification with an object which is finite in time and space. Which has a birth and death. Which interacts and relates with the wider world of form.

There are thoughts arising. Decisions made. Behaviors. There is a thought arising, then a decision, then a behavior, following mostly predictably and logically from the thought and the decision.

And when there is a sense of "I" placed on top of all this, there is the sense of "I" thinking, deciding, acting. I think, decide, act.

So then there must be a free will, right? After all, I am the one doing all this.

Yet, logic says that anything has a cause. And that has a cause. And anything may have infinite causes, each of which has infinite causes, which suggests causality and no free will.

So which one is right?

That is how the question arises.

Spirit awakening to itself, resolving the question in two ways

Yet, when Spirit awakens to itself as the Ground of seeing and seen, or the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere, it is revealed in a different way.

There is no free will in the world of form, due to infinite causes of anything, and also that there is, and never was, any "I" there in the first place.

Yet as the Ground, as emptiness and awakeness, there is complete freedom. It is free from form. Unstained by it. Unimpinged by form. Distinct from form. Free from any of the many polarities within form, such as freedom and no freedom.

And as Spirit, there is no I and Other. There is no Other to be free from.

The whole question falls away in two ways.

There is full freedom as awake emptiness, and no freedom within and as form.

And there is no Other to be free from. It is all Spirit.

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Dream: cut down to size Monday, November 27, 2006 |

I am with Ken Wilber at his office, and he mentions that he has seen my blog and is going to write some responses to what I have written. He informs me, in a genuinely friendly way, that there is much he does not quite agree with. I can see clearly how what I have written is from confusion and lack of maturity, and how it may appear from his vantage point.

After a while, he detects some emotional patterns in me and breaks off from his writing to help me work through it. He asks me to look at things I have never looked at before, and in ways I have not even heard about, and even less considered or worked with.

He is coming from a whole other level or refinement, insight and maturity than what I am even aware of is possible.

Eventually, it is time for me to leave and he shows me out the door. It is up a steep staircase, and just an opening in the ceiling. He shows me how to get out the door, which requires much acrobatics and strengths, and has to be done in several phases. I follow after him, with much difficulty and work, but I do get out eventually.

Well, this is a wiser part of me showing that I need to deflate my inflation through seeing myself more accurately (just as what I wrote an entry about a couple of days ago.)

The whole dream was a very humbling experience, but it also felt good because I know it is true. I need to be cut down to size. I need to see myself more accurately, be more transparent with myself and others, more honest, more genuinely humble through more accurately seeing myself.

As I wrote up the dream, I also realized that my exit points to the possibility of this. The exit was at the top of a long and steep staircase, as an opening in the ceiling, and I could get through it with effort, stepwise, and guided by someone who has gone before me and intimately knows the path, having explored back and forth several times.

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Adi Da, Avatars and God-Men |

Hm... My dreams are telling me that it is time to reveal my ignorance (even) more openly, to deflate whatever inflation is here, so here is one in maybe many more entries revealing my ignorance... As if not all the entries here do that...!

When I looked up shaktipat online, I found a page with excerpts from Adi Da on shaktipat.

Which reminded me how little I know about Adi Da, his teachings, and also the whole idea of Avatars, and that whenever I hear about Avatars, God-Men and the like, I am confused.

In my worldview, everything and everyone is emptiness, awakeness and form. So no difference there. And it also means that all beings are Buddhas, although not consciously awakened as Buddhas yet (this of course reveals my Buddhist filter and bias.)

Questions about the term Avatar

If Avatar is used to simply mean an incarnation of God, then everyone and everything is an Avatar. Why single out some incarnations?

If Avatar is used to mean a being that embodies Big Mind (God) having awakened to itself as Big Mind, then why not just call it an awakened one, as they do in Buddhism? Seems less pretentious.

If Avatar is used to mean a highly developed soul incarnating, the term makes more sense. But the way Avatar is used seems to indicate a difference in kind not in degree, and a more or less developed soul seems to be a difference in degree, not so much in mind.

Implying a difference in kind opens it up for all sorts of misconceptions and projections that are not so easily integrated. (Buddhism also opens up for projections, but since it is emphasized that you too are a Buddha, a sleeping one that can and will awaken, these projections are more easily recognized, worked with, and integrated into a full awakening and recognizing this as the Buddha Mind.)

The term God-Man seems to have the same questionable attributes as Avatar... And Adi Da's use of these terms on himself is one of the many things that have raised red flags for me and held me back from reading much by him so far (although I understand he is highly respected by many who's opinion I respect.)

No matter what, he too is emptiness, awakeness and form, although that form may be more highly developed than for many others, and the realizations expressed through this form may be highly refined realizations.

A question about Adi Da

Still, in the back of my mind, I do question if there is not a remaining identification with this form (at soul and human levels) in the case of Adi Da. An identification that is not only blind (not recognized as attachment to beliefs), but also tightly held onto.

If emptiness and awakeness has awakened to itself as Ground and clearly recognize itself as Ground, and any attachments to beliefs and form are recognized as attachments to beliefs and form (even as they are still there), then it comes out as genuine humility as we see in many Buddhist teachers, maybe especially Tibetan ones.

If this attachment is not recognized as attachment, and even made into a tightly held onto belief, it seems that it can come out in a form of weirdness similar to the weirdness of Adi Da.

When Big Mind more fully awakens to itself, it recognizes that the soul and human self it is functionally connected with is absent of an I, as all form is absent of an I. No matter how this soul and human self shows up in the world, there is no need to make it into anything special.

It seems that with Adi Da, there is the (accurate) recognition that the soul and human self is highly developed, but it is still taken as an "I" to some extent, which makes it into something slightly weird, inflated and grandiose.

Belief in ideas and/or human self problems

A remaining belief in ideas can explain some of the weirdness.

Another way to look at it, or maybe the other side of it, is that the human self can also have some remaining problems, as Ken Wilber points out, even as there is an awakening to realized selflessness. But it seems that for these to be played out, at least in any extreme or (conventionally) harmful forms, there still has to be an overlay of beliefs in ideas which then amplifies the problems at the human level.

To me, it seems that it is likely that there is still an attachment to beliefs there, whenever the weirdness takes the form of apparent inflation and something to protect and defend, as it seems to do with Adi Da.

If there is no attachment to beliefs, if the emptiness is clearly realized and in the foreground, there is also nothing to defend - and this may take the form of receptivity. Somebody says something about me, and I can take time to find the truth in it. No matter what the description is, there is always some truth in it, and I can find it in myself, own it, take responsibility for it, and allow for changes. And I can do this before and after realized selflessness.

A mirror for myself

Which is a reminder to see how this weirdness, inflation and grandiosity shows up in this life.

Some of the ways it shows up, here and now, is when I see the weirdness in him and not in myself.

When I believe that my view of him and what I write here has any form of absolute truth in it.

When I believe that I can see something about avatars that generations of mystics haven't seen. (If that is not grandiose, I don't know what is.)

When I believe that I can know that I see him more clearly than he sees himself...!

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Ocean and wave Saturday, November 25, 2006 |

One of the common analogies for the relationship between Big Mind and the human self is that of the ocean to the wave. They are one substance, and the wave is a local and temporary manifestation of the whole.

Sometimes, when people talk about it, they place the center of gravity in the wave even after it awakens as the ocean, as if the wave awakens to itself as the ocean.

But the wave doesn't awaken. If it appears to, it is just a preliminary awakening. It still sees itself as a unit, as an "I", and sense or taste or have an intuition of oneness with the ocean. The boundaries may blur and appear not so real anymore, but there is still a sense of I there, overlaid on the wave.

What really awakens is the ocean. It awakens to itself as the ocean, manifesting as that particular wave and all other waves. It realizes that it was only temporarily misidentified as a wave.

For the ocean identified as other local waves, it may appear as if that particular wave awakened. But it is always the ocean awakening to itself, and expressing it through that wave.

Whatever changes in the wave is just a reflection of the ocean awakening to itself while functioning through the wave.

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Shaktipat |

In my (superficial) explorations of different traditions, I discovered that the general category that diksha falls under is called shaktipat, a transfer of energy which facilitates awakening.

It is used systematically, by many teachers, in the Indian traditions, and probably more or less systematically, sometimes even accidentally, by some teachers in many other traditions.

Shakti means energy and pat means touch, and it seems to typically be done through touch, by laying on of hands or even hugging (Amma), but it can also be transfered through gazing or even at a distance - either through an intentional transfer from the giver, or through intention and prayer from the recipient's side.

Shaktipat and energy healing

There are of course several parallels between this and the (in the west) more familiar faith/energy healing.

In both cases, the "giver" functions as a catalyst for the energy (channeling or awakening it), and the energy itself functions as a catalyst for either healing or awakening. The energy works on and in the energy field of the recipient, allowing the physical and/or consciousness aspects to reorganize. Where energy healing facilitates healing, shaktipat facilitates awakening.

Diksha

What does seem somewhat new in diksha is its predictability and universality. It seems that just about anyone can go through the three week process to become a diksha giver, and that the process unfolds in generally the same way for the recipients, up until awakening to realized selflessness.

From what I hear, and experience myself, it also seems that the different diksha givers transmit their own flavor of the diksha, emphasizing different aspects of the awakening process (for instance endarkenment.)

Other traditions

Muktananda and Adi Da are known for their use of shaktipat, and it is also an important element in Waking Down (not surprisingly, since Saniel Bonder was a student of Adi Da.)

Amma seem to transfer a heart-awakening shaktipat through hugs.

There is a possibility that some Christians do something similar through laying on of hands, although I am not sure about that.

The Tibetans probably have it in their repertoire as well, as they seem to have a very comprehensive and inclusive toolbox.

And, as mentioned, some teachers in any tradition probably use it, either accidentally or more intentionally. Sometimes even by just being in the same room as their students.

Studies etc.

Especially in the west, there is a natural and healthy skepticism about both shaktipat and energy healing, and the only way to get some more clarity around it is to put it to the test through scientific studies (double-blind, using physiologically and psychological measures of changes) and also by trying it out personally.

It is also interesting to look at the different factors involved. Some of the effect does seem to be through the energy transfer, allowing the energy aspect of the recipient to change which in turn invites the physical and/or consciousness aspects to shift. The other aspects certainly include the expectation and receptivity of the recipient, which in itself can allow for significant shifts.

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Experiment: who am I without the story? |

Here is a simple experiment that comes out of The Work and other similar forms of self-inquiry:

Whenever I notice a contraction, I ask myself who would I be without the story?

A few things that seem helpful...

  • Seeing it as an experiment, a game, or even role-playing
  • Allowing myself to do it for only a short period of time, maybe just a minute or two, and then go back to the familiar old patterns
  • Repeat now and then
  • Do it in daily situations, real-time
  • Allowing any longer-term shifts to happen on their own
  • Using a role-model, imagining somebody who function well and do not seem to have that particular story. How would it be if that was the case for me?
  • Seeing the familiar symptoms of attachment to a story as an invitation to experiment (the symptoms include a sense of contraction, a stuckness in a particular position, a sense of separation, a sense of I and Other, sense of being right, sense of urgency, a sense of conflict or drama.)

......................

[Initial write-up]

This is an experiment that comes directly out of The Work and other similar forms of self-inquiry:

Who am I without ... the story, these judgments, reactions, positions?

Say I easily am bothered by noise (as is sometimes the case for me), then I can ask myself, who would I be if I couldn't have that reaction? How would it be if I am not bothered by noise at all? If I actually enjoy it?

I can take it as an experiment, a game, an exploration, even as role playing. If I, just for a minute, was not at all bothered by noise, how would that be?

If I think I have to let go of it forever, I may hesitate even tasting it. But if I see it as a short-term experiment, as a game, I may try it more whole-heartedly, just for a minute or two. Just to taste it.

And in tasting it, I may find that it is actually enjoyable, freeing, and I can still function as well as before, if not better. I try it on for size, and may find that it fits me even better than the old outfit, the old identity, the old patterns.

This is another of the many practices that can be seamlessly applied throughout our daily life.

I notice a contraction come up. I notice what the contraction seem to be about. I play a game for a short while, trying out how it would be without the contraction, without the judgments, without the usual identity.

I may even imagine somebody I know who do not seem to have these patterns, and function very well without them, and see how that would be for me - right here and now.

For me, I see that if I aim at trying the experiment for just a minute or two, and (this seems important) give myself full and honest permission to go back to the old patterns, it seems to work quite well. In most cases, I am able to shift and have a taste of how it would be without the story. And so I don't push it too far, or try to trick myself, I allow myself fully to go back into the familiar patterns, also so I can see the contrast more clearly.

Then I leave it, and may find that I naturally gravitate towards the more spacious and new way of being, without clinging so much to the old story. It is more pleasant, and nothing is really lost, so why not?

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Tracing subject and object |

Here are three ways subject and object may appear...

Subject and object: this human self and the wider world of form

When there is an exclusive identification with this human self, this human self appears as a subject and the wider world of form appears as an object.

There is the field of seeing and seen, absent of I. It believes in the idea of I, and this human self seems to be the most likely candidate. After all, there is a functional connection with this particular human self, and the perceptual inputs comes through it.

If there is an I anywhere, it is most natural to first put it on this human self.

Subject and object: seeing and the whole world of form as object

Then, we may notice that the seen is always changing, so how can there be an I there? How can this human self be an I, when it just consists of fleeting components such as sights, sounds, sensations and thoughts? They all come and go, but something does not come and go, and that is the seeing itself.

So then the sense of I is placed on the seeing itself.

The seeing appears as a subject, and the whole world of form becomes the object.

As a side effect, the whole world of form is revealed as a seamless field. There is no longer any inside or outside. It is all just one field. This human self and the wider world of form is a seamless field, with no absolute boundaries anywhere. There is a disidentification with this human self, and thoughts, sensations, choices, behaviors and anything else arises just as clouds, mountains, rain, sunshine. It all comes and goes on its own, living its own life.

Whole field of seeing and seen as absent of subject and object, and as a whole as subject and object

Finally, when the field awakens to itself as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere, the whole sense subject and object falls away.

When there is no sense of I and Other, there is no sense of subject or object.

Or we can say that the field as a whole becomes subject and object. It is, as a whole, its own subject and object.

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Tracing humility |

Another exploration of the "many forms of ...", this time of humility.

Field identified with a segment of itself, creating inflation and shadow

It all starts with this field of seeing and seen, right here now, inherently absent of I anywhere. A field without a center, where nothing is a subject or object, and where everything is a subject and object.

In most cases, a belief in the idea of I is then placed on a segment of this field, usually this human self.

Then, a large set of associated beliefs form an exclusive identity. Meat is put on this skeleton of "I" in the form of a more elaborate identity, such as I am a man, I am Chinese, I am a software engineer, I am Christian, I am a good person, I am a father, I believe that people shouldn't lie, free markets are good, and so on.

So here, there is first an identification with this particular human self, set apart from other human selves. Then, an exclusive identity is formed, setting me apart even more. And all of this is also associated with a large number of value judgments.

People shouldn't lie. I don't lie. So I am a good person, better than all of those who lies.

Free markets are good. I am for free markets. People against free markets are not only wrong, but misinformed, misguided, dangerous, maybe even evil. I am right, they are wrong. I know and want what is best for people, they don't know or don't want to do what is best for people.

This inevitably leads to the idea, and lived experience, that I am both better and worse than others. I am better because I am and believe all these things, which are good. And I am worse, because I am not or don't do, what is good although some others do.

In addition to this, we form a self-identity which (typically) consist mostly of the "good" traits, and we push most of what don't fit out of awareness, into the Shadow in Jungian terms.

There is inflation, in that I see myself as this human self and better than others. And there is a Shadow, composed of all the qualities in me I don't want to see here.

So there is the rollercoaster ride of being reminded of various things in my identity that is better and worse than what I see in others. There is the tension between conscious identity and all of us that does not fit this identity. And there is the tension in daily being confronted with the difference between my identity and the identity I put on others, especially when they mirror back to me my own Shadow.

Humility as stories I tell myself

In this situation, humility often means that I tell myself stories about how I am equally or not as good as others, and that this is good. It is good to be humble. I tell myself stories that make me appear humble in my own and other's eyes, so I can feel good about it.

(Or I can tell myself stories about humility as not good, so I don't see myself as or needing to appear humble.)

Humility as realistic perception, deflating the inflation with the Shadow

Going a little further, humility can simply mean realistic perception. I see myself more accurately, more as others would see me, more as I appear in the context of the widest range of human possibilities.

And this means looking at and integrating Shadow elements into my conscious view of myself, my conscious identity. I lie too, in my own way, as much as anyone else. I am selfish too, in many different ways.

Whatever I see out there, in others and the rest of the world, I can find here as well. The question is only how it shows up, and by looking at that in detail, over and over, and feeling into it, it gradually gets integrated into my conscious view and experience of myself.

I deflate the (false) inflation by recognizing and integrating more and more of the Shadow elements. I gain a more accurate perception of myself, more as an outside and dispassionate observer would see it.

This is a continuing process. As long as there is any identity, there is by necessity a Shadow. Any identity is an exclusive identity, and what is excluded goes into the Shadow.

In this process, our view, and our experience of ourselves and the wider world, naturally goes from dualistic to less dualistic and more nondual or transdual.

There is less and less absolute differences between myself and others, in fact, the wider world mirrors what is right here.

My identity becomes more and more inclusive and porous.

And the different qualities and characteristics are more and more revealed as not inherently good or bad.

Realized selflessness, all as Spirit, and the world mirroring my human self

Eventually, the field of seeing and seen awakens to itself as a field, inherently absent of I anywhere. It is a field of seeing and seen, absent of I, with no center anywhere. There is no subject or object, yet the field as a whole is both subject and object.

The field of seeing and seen is all Spirit. It is Spirit waking up to itself, as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere.

Any ideas of humility or not fall away and cannot touch this. Yet, it can also be seen as the ultimate humility, the ultimate falling away of I and Other, of attachment to ideas of better and worse.

It is all Spirit. There is no I and Other, no better and worse.

All levels included: Spirit, shadow and levels and lines

When Spirit awakens to its own nature as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I, the previous levels are also included.

First, all is recognized as Spirit with no I and Other. This goes into the foreground.

At the same time, Spirit is still functionally connected with this human self. And the wider world is still mirroring qualities in this human self. Any quality or characteristic in the wider world is also found right here, in this particular human self.

For this human self to function in a more whole, mature and integrated way, there is a need to still actively find the qualities out there also in here.

This human self is revealed as inherently absent of any I, as anything else, but it can still function in a less or more mature way.

In addition to all of this, there are the lines and levels of development.

Humility, or accurate perception, includes an awareness of the lines and levels of development as they show up in this human self right now. How well is it developed along the different lines? Which lines are further ahead, and which ones are left behind? What does this mean for how this human self functions in the world? How does an awareness of this change how this human self functions in the world? Which lines need special attention right now?

The maturing and development of this human self as the primary skillful means

As I have mentioned before, the maturing and development of this human self is part of skillful means.

In many traditions, developing skillful means following an awakening is emphasized so that this human self can serve as a catalyst for awakening. And the main tool is this human self, which means that the maturing and development of this human self is the main and essential skillful means.

Awakening and human selves

Spirit awakens to itself as the field of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere, yet also functionally connected with a particular human self. And Spirit may not have awakened to itself while being functionally connected with other human selves.

So this is where a life of service, and possibly aiding Spirit to awaken while functionally connected with some of these other human selves, comes in. It is simply Spirit aiding itself to awaken to itself. Just for the heck of it.

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Gratitude and stories we tell ourselves Friday, November 24, 2006 |

The most profound truths are often the simplest ones as well, and sometimes the most difficult ones to realize (such as selflessness) and practice.

One of these simple truths is gratitude: practice gratitude, and you'll be happy. Practice ingratitude, and you'll make yourself miserable.

It is the power of the stories we tell ourselves.

Stories we tell ourselves, bringing misery or happiness

I can tell myself stories of how what I have is less good than how it used to be, how it can or could be, how it is for others, and so on. I can compare my intelligence to the most intelligent, my money to the most wealthy, my house to the most elegant homes, my education to the best education, my looks to the most beautiful, my skills to the most skillful, and I am bound to find myself lacking and make myself miserable.

Or I can reverse it by looking at what I can be grateful for. I can be grateful for health, friends, family, community, house, food, education, free time, access to nature, peace in my community, and so on.

A daily practice

Just as I can easily find a million reasons to make myself miserable, I can find infinite reasons for gratitude. There is always one more, and one more.

Making ingratitude into a practice, I find contraction, anger, resentment, guilt, shame, fear, depression, fatigue, holding on, and misery.

Making gratitude into a practice, I find receptivity, joy, peace, appreciation, well-being, passion, letting go, and happiness.

It is as easy as taking time to look for what I can be thankful for, throughout my day, and it is easy to find.

Why stories work: because I believe in them

Whether I tell myself stories of ingratitude or gratitude, one is as true or untrue as the other. The reason they impact me as they do, is that I believe in them to a certain extent, and I believe in stories about what they mean.

I have money, and that means that ..., and that is good. I have less money than many others, and that means that ..., and that is not good.

The core belief: the idea of I

Ultimately, the stories have power because of the core belief in each of our lives: the belief in the idea of I, as separate from others, as a unit in space and time, subject to birth and death, joy and happiness, health and disease, fortune and misfortune.

What is already alive in our immediate awareness is simply the field of seeing and seen, inherently absent of any I anywhere, yet also with an overlay of a sense of I placed on this human self.

And this overlay, this belief in the idea of I placed on just a segment of this field, is the root of the misery, and it is the reason why stories of ingratitude create misery and stories of gratitude create happiness.

When Ground awakens to itself, the belief in the idea of I falls away

When this field awakens to itself as a field, absent of I anywhere, with no center, with no subject and no object, with everything as subject and object, then these stories are seen as what they are - just stories, with no substance, absent of any absolute truth in them.

It is all Spirit, in all its many forms, and Spirit is in the foreground independent of what particular form it takes. It is Spirit experiencing Spirit. There is only a quiet joy, along with whatever else arises.

There is natural gratitude, independent of stories.

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Time out of the timeless, space out of the spaceless |



I noticed the DVD set of Cosmos at the library a few days ago, and thought it would be fun to watch one or two episodes again (it made a big impact on me when I watched it as a kid.)

The episode I watched was The Edge of Forever where Carl Sagan explores some of the most basic and universal questions about our existence, such as where does the universe come from? When did it start, or did it have a beginning? How will it end, or will it end? Does it have an edge or boundary? What happens if we continue infinitely in one direction? Will we end up where we started?

He spends a great deal of time on the Vedic cosmology, which in many ways parallels modern scientific cosmology.

So how did the universe, or space and time, begin?

Emptiness, awakeness and form

When I look at it for myself, right here now, I find that space and time arise within and as the timeless.

There is empty awakeness here, which time and space and all forms arise within, to and as. And this empty awakeness has a definite sense of timelessness and spacelessness. It is distinct from time and space, not touched by time and space, which is why it can allow time and space and any forms to arise within, to and as itself.

It is very simple, and (most likely) alive in the immediate awareness of all of us, yet we typically don't notice it, or we only notice it as a glimpse, which is then covered up by attachment to the many different stories about who we are and how the world is.

And I also notice that the world of form is in flux. Nothing stays the same. It is always fresh, new and different, and that is especially alive when the empty awakeness is aware of itself. When timelessness comes more to the foreground, the transient nature of forms similarly comes to the foreground.

So in a sense, the universe is born right here now. It continuously dies as it was, and is reborn in a fresh and different way. (There is obviously enough continuity in the processes of the world of form so we can use ideas to orient, make models, predict and analyze what is going on.)

If we assume that the universe as a whole, as it unfolds in space and time, follows a similar process, then there are two pretty obvious options for how form relates to the formless.

Existence "started" with this timeless empty awakeness as a "ground" state. Then, the form aspect emerged from it and the universe was born. At the large scale, form was birthed from the formless, as it is right here now in immediate awareness. Here, there was of course not any "before" because form (and space and time) did not exist then.

Or, emptiness, awakeness and form have always been. The timeless and time, the spaceless and space, the changeless and changing, the formless and form, the empty awakeness arising as the world of phenomena, always are, as two aspects of the same whole, beyond and including all polarities.

Both of these versions are independent on any specifics about how the form aspect unfolds. Today, the Big Bang (or inflation) models are most frequently used, and these easily fits into both of the views mentioned above.

In both versions, we account for the empty and awake and the form aspects of Existence, which is beyond and includes any and all polarities.

And in both versions, we extrapolate from what is alive in immediate awareness to the larger scale, here the birth and cycles of the universe as a whole. (This is of course what many of the spiritual and mystical traditions do, in many more areas than just cosmology.)

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Forms of integral Thursday, November 23, 2006 |

Some good postings recently on an integral view beyond Ken Wilber. (Thanks to eBuddha for spotting and linking to them!)

We have integral cognition people (David Jon)

Integralisms (Chris Dierkes, Indistinct Union)

The diversity of the integral movement (Open Integral)

Two kinds of criticisms of integral: internal and external (Joe Perez, Until)

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The many meanings of transpersonal |

I am reading The Modern Alchemist, which is a good introduction and overview of the general alchemical process, but also has some quirks.

It also reminds me of the many possible uses of the word transpersonal. I have never quite understood what is meant by it, so I have avoided using the word, but this is an opportunity to explore some of the ways it can be used.

Transpersonal as universal at human and soul levels

In The Modern Alchemist, the word transpersonal seems to be used, at least some times, as meaning universal. Something is transpersonal if it is a universal psychological pattern or process.

It can also be expanded beyond the human level to the soul level. At both levels, there are universal patterns and processes, universally human and universally soul.

This is a horizontal transpersonal, going beyond the individual to include the collective.

Transpersonal as beyond the human, as soul and Spirit

Transpersonal can also be used as meaning the soul and Spirit. This is a vertical transpersonal, transcending the individual human into the soul and Spirit realms.

More generally, transpersonal can mean a shift beyond where we usually place our sense of I. If there is a sense of I there, it is typically placed on a combinations of segments of our human self and soul. And we may, temporarily or more stably, go beyond this in what we experience as ourselves. This is another form of transpersonal.

Transpersonal as absent of I

And transpersonal can mean absent of I. When there is a sense of I there, placed on our human self or soul, it is taken as personal.

Yet, the human self and the soul, as anything else in the world of form, is inherently absent of any I. When this is realized, when Spirit awakens to itself, it is a shift beyond the personal into the transpersonal. It is all recognized as not being personal, and never having been personal.

This is probably the less typical way to use the term (I don't think I have ever seen anyone use it in this way), but it is another way of going beyond the personal, of shifting into the transpersonal.

The meanings of personal

It may also be interesting to explore what personal means.

Personal could mean anything that is individual, such as this human self and soul.

Personal can also mean an experience of this human self and soul as personal. This is an experience of personal that comes from identification. When there is a sense of I here, placed on our human self and/or soul, it can be taken and experienced as intensely personal.

When what this I is placed on becomes a me or mine, when it goes from an apparent subject to object, it is a little less personal. And when this me or mine is within the context of realized selflessness, any sense of it being personal goes away.

And personal can also refer to the unique flavor of this human self and soul. Everything about is may be universally human and soul, but it still has a unique flavor. It is still icecream, but its particular flavor is strawberry-kiwi. The flavor is there before and after realized selflessness.

The problems with the word transpersonal

One problem with the word transpersonal is that it can be used in so many different ways, probably many more than mentioned here. That is of course the case with many other words we use, such as ego, so that, in itself, is only a problem if the definition is not made explicit.

And there are also some problems with the specific definitions above.

If it used as meaning universally human or soul, that it is a problem. I have not found anything in me that does not appear universal. It seems that anything happening - any process and any pattern, in any of us, is a reflection of universal patterns and processes. How could it be otherwise? If it is all universal, as it appears to be, how can we make a differentiation between personal and transpersonal in this way?

If it is used as meaning soul or Spirit levels, it appears a little more clear-cut, although there are a couple of things to keep in mind. It may be that the soul level continues after the human self dies, so there is a differentiation there. But in our daily life, where exactly is the boundary? And although we can certainly differentiate out our human self and soul from the larger world of form, they are still Spirit.

Also, and more problematic, the soul level is still very much personal. It is part of the world of form (although not physical) and it is individual, just as the human self is. And we can certainly place a sense of I on it, just as we can with our human self. So why call it transpersonal? Only Spirit is truly beyond the personal soul and human self, as emptiness, awakeness and all form.

If transpersonal is used in a very general way, to mean a shift beyond our sense of what is personal, it gets even more nebulous, as this sense of I can be placed on just about anything, including any combinations of segments of our human self and soul.

If it is used to describe the shift from a sense of I to realized selflessness, it is even more clear cut, but probably not very useful. There are already many other, and more familiar, terms for this.

And more generally, if nothing is really personal - if it is all universal patterns and processes, inherently absent of I - how can anything be transpersonal?

So transpersonal cannot easily be used to refer to what is universally human or soul, since all seems to be. It cannot easily be used to refer to the soul level, since that is individual and in form, just as the human self, and thus can be seen as personal too. And if nothing is really personal at all - if it is all universal patterns and processes absent of any I, how can anything be transpersonal?

I guess this very cursory outline shows why the word transpersonal is not all that useful for me, unless I can find some definitions that make more sense and have some practical use. (To me, it seems that the term comes out of a general idea of what is personal and what goes beyond, without having thought much about it.)

Finally, I have to admit that I am not very familiar with how the term is used by others so this whole discussion may be unfair, and it is certainly uninformed. And it probably also duplicates what many others have said, and probably resolved long time ago.

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Mini Process Work session: from frantically running to embracing heaven and earth Wednesday, November 22, 2006 |

I am sometimes bothered by (what I perceive as) frantic behavior in others, especially when I can't seem to easily get away from it. I know of course that it is a projection, that I am not fully comfortable with this frantic and fragmented quality in my own life, but this too is something that has to be known in more detail and felt more fully for it to resolve. Sometimes, especially with long standing patterns, it has to be explored over and over, in many different ways, until I can more fully own it, more fully see it as me, more fully find peace with it in myself and others.

This afternoon, I was exposed to this frantic, fragmented energy in somebody again, and decided to try a mini-Process Work session with it (on my own, alone). I went into the frantic quality, and allowed it into movement. My feet started running in place, my head went down and out leading the body, my arms went around in circles like crazy. It felt good to be the quality, although I could also see how it is very fragmented and divorced from any real body-connection and Being Participation (the whole being included).

What caught my interest was especially the frantic and small circling arm movements, almost as a parody of somebody running in a contracted way and very fast. I allowed myself to amplify that movement, and it quickly released into larger circling movements, until the movements became very large, open and inclusive. There was a sense of celebration instead of contraction, and of embracing the whole of heaven and earth.

So hidden within the frantic, contracted state is an impulse to open up, to relax, to bring in my whole being, to embrace heaven and earth.

From this new perspective, I could see how small I make myself when I go into the contracted state, and how unnecessary it seems. There is another way of relating with this frantic energy, and that is to bring in Being Participation (as they say in Breema), to embrace it all and not contract my identity down to the little frantic fragment.

I can see the frantic quality and the contraction in others and myself, and use it as a reminder to find Being Participation. To notice it is already here.

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Ego as organizing principle, and attachment to idea of I |

Reading some Jung again, triggered by the alchemical images coming up in waking and sleep processes, I am reminded of the two meanings of the word ego.

One meaning is as an organizing principle for our human self. It is that which differentiates and allows this human self to function in the world. It is the operating system of this human self, in a way. This is the realm of conventional western psychology.

The other meaning comes from eastern philosophies, and also from the informal use of the word as in he has a big ego. This comes from a belief in the idea of I and a particular identity to flesh it out. From this comes a sense of I, an experience of I and Other, a sense of being different, of being better or worse than, of pushing something away and holding onto something else, of something to protect, and so on.

The psychological ego is essential for the human self to function well in the world, before and after awakening to selflessness. It needs to be mature, differentiated, well developed.

The other ego is just a sense of an I, placed on top of something inherently and already absent of an I. There is no I there, anywhere, so although this sense of I appears very real, and certainly influences how the human self operates in the world (with a great deal of drama), it is inherently innocent. Even the sense of I does not have any I in it.

So in our lives, we want to develop the psychological ego, and we may want to take a closer look at the other ego - the sense of I. What do I get from holding onto this sense of I? What are the consequences? Is there really an I there? Can I find it anywhere? Who or what would I be without it? What would I be if the content of awareness is the same, but with no I there anywhere?

We may find, as Sakyamuni Buddha did, that the source of suffering is the sense of I, that release from suffering is for the field of seeing and seen to awaken to its own nature absent of any I, and that there is a path from one to the other.

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Spirit as 1st and then 3rd person |

This is something I have been curious about for a while...

I have seen, and hear about, settings where somebody talks about Spirit as 1st person, the listeners get confused, and then they continue to just talk about it - only making people even more confused and up in their heads.

Jen is taking the foundations course at Center for Sacred Sciences, and last time, they talked about the First Fundamental:

  1. Consciousness alone is absolutely real
    The appearance of an objective world distinguishable from a subjective self is but the imaginary form in which Consciousness Perfectly Realizes Itself.

If we don't have an immediate taste of it, it won't make sense. And then it just goes into the realm of ideas and spins around and around, as it apparently did in the discussion about this principle.

And something similar is happening at the Breema Center. The head teacher talks about the Ocean (Spirit, Big Mind) while people sit and listen. But it is difficult to see that it does much for the listeners. I know it does just about nothing for me, because it is just somebody talking about it, and in a relatively abstract and removed way, using words that does not invite it to come alive in immediate awareness.

So why not use one of the many ways to help people find it for themselves, to notice that it is already alive in immediate awareness? There is no shortage of methods that really work out there, and also anyone for whom it is alive can without too much trouble find words that are fresh, alive, immediate, and invite a fresh, alive and immediate realization in the listener.

There are pointing out instructions in many traditions. And maybe even more helpful, there are many forms of inquiry which, in a step-by-step fashion, allows people to discover it for themselves right there and then.

We can ask when you close your eyes and try to find yourself, here in this moment, who or what do you discover yourself to be?

Or we can guide through an exploration of the seen, the seeing, and then both absent of any I. (Notice sights, sounds, tastes, sensations, thoughts. Notice how they all come and go. Can you find an "I" anywhere in this changing world of form? What is it that does not change? What is this awareness that all of this unfolds within and to? Is this awareness within time or is time within it? Is it within space, or is space within it? Can you find any color, form, extent, beginning, end to this awareness? Where does the seen end and the seeing begin? Can you find a boundary between the seen and the seeing? Can you find an I anywhere in all of this?)

Another, very similar and more systematized approach, is the Big Mind process which also allows it to come to the foreground of awareness within just a few minutes.

Instead of talking about it first, and then expect people to find it, why not allow people to have a taste first, and then explore it through language. First, going to Spirit as 1st person, then include Spirit as third person.

If we want people to know about apples, it makes sense to first allow them to have a taste, and then we can explore it through language as much as we want - exploring its texture, sweetness, crunchiness, biology, how to grow them, the history of apples in the human civilization, and so on.

To be fair, both CSS and the Breema Center do allow people the taste as well, in other settings. And that is actually their focus. But it just seems odd to me in the particular situations where it all goes to the head, and stays there, going around and around in the realm of ideas, when it could be grounded in a real taste right there and then.

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Dreams where the stage stays the same and the play and the characters change |

My partner told me something interesting about her dream life yesterday.

Apparently, for her whole life she has had dreams set in five very specific locations, while the stories and the characters change from each dream. The stage is the same, the play and actors different.

These five locations are very familiar to her in the dream, she knows them very well, and they appear in the dreams in very detailed ways. They are all older cities or town. One in Europe with a river running through it and a green park. Another in Asia, a little more dilapidated. Yet another is a Spanish or Portuguese colonial town in an arid landscape. And each location has stayed the same throughout her life, arise in the dreams with great detail and vividness, and are as familiar with her as any place in daily life where she has spent a great deal of time.

There is something very beautiful about this to me, and also very interesting, especially as just about everything in my dreams change from dream to dream. I wonder what insights Jungians or Process Workers have about this, and what would come up if we do some more active explorations of this.

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Dream: taking action to clear it up |

I am alone on the second floor of a building used for lectures, art, body oriented practices and similar. The architecture of the building, and the atmosphere and orientation, seems quite similar to anthroposophy, and the room is used for a form of body-oriented practice similar to Eurythmy, although this form is more full, inclusive and fluid.

A larger group of students (all male?) are about to enter the room, and I am there to clear something up. They have been misinformed about, or have misinterpreted, something I have done, and I am in danger if I meet them unprepared.

So when they come up the stairs to the room, I hold them at gunpoint and ask them to move over to another end of the room.

When they are all gathered there, I explain the situation to them, and they soften, change their attitude about me and what I have done, and welcome me. The situation was resolved quickly and ends in a sense of warm connections and inclusiveness.


Another shadow dream, but this one where the apparent conflict between me and the shadow is quite easily resolved, partly because I take action and make a container for it to be resolved.

This dream reminds me of my favorite shadow-work story from when I got interested in these things in my teens: An evil queen dragon has kidnapped a large number of children. These are rescued and instead of killing the dragon, she is contained and placed in a large cage. After a while of being contained, she turns into a golden dragon of wisdom. (Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver by Michael Ende.)

By containing the shadow, as I did in the dream, it is given a chance to transform.

If we give it free reign, it can easily hurt us and others. If we combat with it, it only grows in strength and can also easily harm us and others. If we ignore it, it does potentially harmful things behind our backs. If we kill it (as it is in so many stories), it is only reborn in a different form.

The only real solution is to face it, take whatever measures necessary to contain it, and allow it to transform in its own time.

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Dream: up on a mountain, then ground of a city |

I am climbing up a large rounded mountain overlooking a bay, and is helped up the last part by someone on the top. Then, my body floats down to the bay and becomes the ground of a city, with buildings, transportation systems and people growing from and as the body.

This was a dream that happened as I was falling asleep. The mountain overlooked the Bay area, and the city was San Fransisco. This is another heaven and earth theme, yang and yin, light and dark, emptiness and fullness, weaving the two together.

Update: anthropos

The image of a man being the ground of landscapes, cities and people is anthropos, representing wholeness in gnostic and alchemical traditions.

(It is interesting, although probably not very significant, how I first sent an email off to a Process Work friend of mine asking for the name of this image, then had another dream about anthroposophy, and then received a reply back reminding me that it is called anthropos.)

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Feeling into |

After the dream yesterday, I have had several periods of feeling into a parade of things coming up, from shadow aspects to memories to sensations. There is a sense of fullness tinged with bliss and a new deepening, and it seems to be part of the endarkenment process. Different forms of shadow work, such as The Work, includes an owning of the shadow and a feeling into it, but there is a new deepening into it this time.

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Levels of oneness: all as Spirit, and everything I see out there is also in here Tuesday, November 21, 2006 |

Some levels of Oneness...

All as Spirit

Ultimately, it is all Spirit. The field of seeing and seeing is Spirit, absent of any I. The Ground of seeing and seen is Spirit, absent of any I.

And we can have a glimpse of this, maybe interpreted as an experience of oneness between I (as this human self) and Other (as nature, God, Spirit).

We can have an intuition or a sense of it, again typically interpreted as a sense of Oneness of I and Other.

There can be an immediate and more stable experience of this Oneness, that it is all Spirit.

Also here, there can be a sense of I and Other overlaid on the sense of Oneness. The volume of both can be turned up or down, one going into the foreground and the other in the background, shifting back and forth.

Finally, there is a realization that the field of seeing and seen is inherently absent of an I. There is no I anywhere, just a field of Spirit as Ground, seeing and seen. The sense of center falls away. The sense of subject and object falls away. Spirit as the field of seeing and seen, as a whole, is its own subject and object.

It is not touched by oneness and multitude, yet arises and can be seen as either and both.

And it is still functionally connected with a particular human self, which now arises as anything else. It is just part of the field, living its own life, just like clouds moving across the sky, cars passing on the street, other people living their own life, the world living its own life. It is Spirit as form, unfolding on its own, absent of any I anywhere.

Human level: deepening into knowing myself as an individual

Since Spirit, in our case, is functionally connected with a particular human self, and lives through and as this human self before and after awakening to itself, the forms oneness takes in our human life is also interesting.

At the ultimate level, all is Spirit independent of its particulars as form.

And at our human level, everything I see in the world is also here in me. This is a deepening of knowing myself as a human being.

Every quality and characteristic I see out there, in the world - in the universe, in the Earth, ecosystems, animals, plants, humans, cities, stories, mythologies, movies, fantasies, dreams, they are all also in here, in my own human life.

It is a deepening of knowing myself as a human being, and also a deepening of the realization of all as one. In my human life, all I see in the wider world is also right here, closer than my own breath.

At the most disowned, Spirit can recognize all arising as Spirit, but still see some qualities arising in other human selves and not in this one. This makes for a less complete, less human and more frozen way for this human self to function in the world. It makes for a less healthy and mature vehicle for Spirit in the world, even as Spirit has awakened to itself.

A little less disowned, Spirit can recognize all arising as Spirit, recognize in this human self what is sees in the wider world, but not be much familiar with it in this human self. It is acknowledged, but there is not much familiarity with it. Again, it limits how this human self can show up in the world, it limits its repertoire and what is familiar to it.

As these aspects become more owned, as they move from "it" to "me" and "mine", there is greater and greater familiarity with it, not only out there, but also in how it shows up in this life.

It becomes known in a far richer way, and with a different (more conventional) sense of intimacy. It becomes part of the daily repertoire of the human self, available when needed.

There is a sense of deepening humanity, a more intimate connection with others, and more juiciness in life in general.

It is even a part of developing skillful means, since this human life is the tool of Spirit in the world, even after it awakens to itself.

Human level: deepening into knowing ourselves as us

Spirit also shows up as Us, as the multitude of beings and all of our many relationships, and this is another deepening into oneness.

When Spirit awakens to itself, what does that mean for all of the relationships of this human self to other people, to animals, plants, ecosystems, the Earth as a whole, past and future generations?

What does it mean to relate to those where Spirit has not (yet) awakened to itself? What does it mean for groups where Spirit has awakened to itself, to varying degrees, in many of us?

Again, as with the deepening into seeing everything in the wider world also in my human self, this is an infinite exploration process. As long as there is the world of form, and a vehicle in this world of form, it has no end. It continues to richen, deepen, mature, develop, evolve and change.

Deepening intimacy

In all of these ways, there is a deepening intimacy.

At the Spirit level, it is beyond intimacy since it is all Spirit. It is the most intimate.

At the individual human level, there is the deepening intimacy of finding and knowing in myself, in greater and greater richness and depth, any and all of the qualities I see in the wider world.

At our collective human level, there is the exploration of the infinite ways Spirit shows up as Us, in all of our many and varied relationships.

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Spirit pretending twice: first to be a segment of itself, then imitating what is really is |

Another symmetry, this one of Spirit pretending in two different ways.

Spirit pretending to believe in ideas

Spirit, as emptiness, awakeness and form, pretends to believe in ideas and makes a limited identity for itself. The field of seeing and seen makes itself appear as a segment of itself, it makes itself appear as I and Other. Its true nature, as the Ground of seeing and seen absent of I anywhere, is still alive in immediate awareness, but ignored due to the beliefs. And it is really just pretending to believe, although it makes it seem very real to itself.

The core belief is in the idea of I as a segment of the field of seeing and seen, and the peripheral beliefs are all the ones that makes up identity: human being, Asian, five foot six, libertarian, heterosexual, likes to drink beer, roots for the Wildcats, a computer programmer, and so on. (That is not me, by the way...!)

Spirit pretending to be what it really is

Through this first level of pretending, Spirit makes itself appear as a segment of itself, in our case, as a human being. I am this human self, and Other is the rest of the world, other people, nature, awareness, God, Spirit, and so on.

As there is still the immediate awareness of being the Ground of seeing and seen, absent of I anywhere, there is a longing for coming home - for this "unity" absent of the boundaries of I and Other. And this plays itself out in innumerable ways, in any of the ways we see in human seeking for approval, money, status, relationships, happiness, freedom from suffering, and so on.

One of the ways it plays itself out is in longing for God, for Spirit, for truly coming Home.

And at some point, this longing takes the form of practice, spiritual practice: prayer, meditation, compassion, ethical behavior.

And the funny thing is, each of these practices is just another form of pretending. It is Spirit pretending to be who it really is...!

Or more precisely, it is Spirit imitating what comes naturally when it lives through a human life and has awakened to itself. And through this imitation, it allows its human self to reorganize so the real shift can happen spontaneously, in its own time.

Through prayer, we seek to dissolve the separation of I and Other, or to allow (the sense of) I to dissolve so God can be. We taste, over and over, how it is when God is and "I" am not. When Spirit has awakened to itself, and there is no sense of I and Other anymore.

Through meditation, we seek to allow anything to come and go on its own, as Ground already does. We try to imitate Ground.

Through ethical behavior, we seek to mimic how Spirit lives through a human live when it has awakened to itself. By effort and imitation, we seek to find what is effortless and spontaneous when Spirit has awakened to itself.

All of this imitation and mimicking is essential. As silly as it is from one perspective, it is also essential in another way. It does prepare the ground for a more real awakening. It does allow our human self to reorganize and realign so Spirit can more easily awaken to itself, and more easily live from that awakening through this one particular human life.

:: Pretending, yet experienced as very real

There is a pretending involved. First in Spirit pretending to be just a segment of itself, and then imitating itself as it functions through a human life when it has awakened to itself. Yet, it all also becomes very real in immediate experience.

The identification as a human self appears very real, and gives birth of the whole sense of drama in our lives - in longing, seeking, avoiding, surviving, finding joy, avoiding suffering.

And the seeking of God appears just as real, because it is a part of the same drama. It is the final phase of the drama, and involves the drama of the spiritual seeker and its adventures, misadventures and final release from the drama.

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Dream: telling the truth || feeling into the truth of the shadow |

I had been the third speaker for a group of people, and noticed how people had been steadily trickling out throughout each of the three sessions. A woman behind me said "no wonder people left, you are not a very good public speaker." I noticed a part of me wanted to protest, but also how true it felt and how good it felt to be with that truth. How it nurtures, in a deep way.

After I woke up, I allowed myself to continue to feel into this, and then to feel into anything else that I don't want to see about myself. It all felt full and nurturing, and as a new shift into owning more parts of my shadow. I have done this before, including through The Work, but to feel into it in this way, so deeply, fully and tinged with bliss, was new.

The day before, what they call Being Participation in Breema had been especially alive for me and in the foreground. Allowing my whole being to participate in whatever I am doing (noticing that it already is), and the fullness and sense of nurturing and quiet bliss that comes with it.

And this is just one more aspect of Being Participation. Allowing my whole being to participate in feeling into the truth held by the shadow. I am a failure. I look weird. I am noisy. I am crude. I am unaware. I am inconsiderate. I am blind. I am, in a very specific way, anything I see in the world.

There is a truth in all of these statements, as there is in any statement. There is a truth in all of these statements which do not align with how I would like to see myself, or how my culture is telling me I should see myself. There is a grain of truth there, at the very least.

And to feel into it is to own it in a deepening way. To be with it, feel into it, allowing all of me to participate, allowing more of all of me to be felt as me.

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Seeing and feeling all as Spirit |

With enlightenment, even an early form of it, there is a seeing of everything as Spirit. This is not necessarily a literal seeing (although it can be that too, in seeing the energy and consciousness aspect of all physical forms), but more of an immediate recognition of everything as emptiness and luminosity. Something arises, and it arises as Spirit and to Spirit. It is Spirit arising to itself.

Endarkenment seems to allow for a feeling of everything as Spirit. I have noticed this over the last several days. In addition to seeing it all as Spirit, to various extents (through for instance shifting into Big Mind), there is a feeling of it all as Spirit as well. And it is most noticeable in situations where the feelings have not been aligned in this way in the past.

When everything is seen as Spirit, that of course also includes emotions. There may be a situation, say somebody being noisy (a good example for me!), an emotional reaction, and everything here is seen as Spirit, as emptiness, awakeness, luminosity and form. It doesn't change the emotional reaction or the emotional patterns, and in a sense, it doesn't have to. It is all Spirit anyway, so it is all OK.

But the endarkenment do seem to allow the emotional patterns to change. So for instance yesterday, when I was doing things in different parts of town, there were situations that triggered some emotional reactions now and then, probably especially since I was quite sleep deprived and "raw". At the same time, there was a clear feeling of it all as Spirit. The situation, the people, their behavior, everything was felt as Spirit, deeply, fully, richly. In an earthy and nurturing way, with the same sense of smooth fullness. I noticed I could allow this feeling of all as Spirit to envelop everything more fully. The emotional reactions were still there, to some extent, but now arising more as echoes of old patterns. And all of this is of course a process, something that unfolds over time.

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Dream: Informed on a central criminal, and hunted by his friends Monday, November 20, 2006 |

I informed on a central, powerful and influential man, with enough information to have him put away for life. His friends were after Jen and I, and we did our best not to be found.

We lived in a beautiful terrased apartment complex, and had moved from one top level apartment to another a few weeks before. His henchmen had broken into our old apartment around noon the same day, only hours after I had informed and the head crook put away. Unfortunately, our names and the number of our new apartment was listed at the ground level, and they had seen it and would come back.

The apartment or building (?) complex was up on a hillside, in Mediterranean style white-washed stucco, and had a beautiful and expansive view. Many interesting characters lived there, including the head teacher at the Breema Center and many artists and musicians.

A while before all this happened, we had invited friends and neighbors over to a party in our apartment that afternoon. They all arrived and enjoyed themselves, with much music, food and dancing. But Jen and I were concerned, planned what to do next, and we also informed our friends that they may be in danger just by knowing us. We knew our friends and family may be in danger, as harming them was one way the crooks could harm us.

Early in the evening, the party disbanded and Jen and I left the apartment, taking all our personal belongings with us - especially anything could give more information about us, our families or our friends.

There was a sense of nobody there who could substantially help us, not even the police. There was also a sense of foreboding, and of dread and terror. I said at one point "this is going to change our lives forever."


There is a lot of things going on here, and I am not even sure where to start.

Some things that comes up for now:

Making beliefs into crooks

There was a clear sense of the head crook as representing beliefs, especially as I have worked on exploring beliefs so much lately through various forms of self-inquiry. The dream reminds me of something I am already aware of (although obviously not enough): I am making beliefs into criminals...! In my own mind, I make beliefs into criminals, someone to be locked away for good. And the chief criminal is of course the belief in the idea of I.

Seeking realization very easily makes anything apparently hindering realization into an Other, and even into an enemy or a crook. And this of course is just another way to create and reinforce a split, a duality, an I and Other.

The dream is reminding me of this. If I am too attached to the light, the dark will not go away, and it may even take a sinister appearance and go after me - to the point of killing me, as representing the dualistic attitude.

(Less importantly, the dream says that the head crook has been informed on and put away for good. What I have made into the chief crook here is the sense of I, the belief in the idea of I, and I have certainly spent a good deal of time informing on him, doing my best to put him away for life...!)

Embracing the light and the dark

I did a quick Process Work explorations of this, using vector work.

The two main elements in the dream is the criminals and our beautiful life in the apartment building.

The line of the criminals is dark, has a heavy and ominous feeling, and goes to the north-northwest (sunset).

The line of our life in the apartment building, with the nice expansive view and artists and the head Breema teacher, is light and luminous, and goes to the east-northeast (sunrise).

And the line that combines them both, embraces the dark and the light, the shadow and the conscious identity, heaven and earth, crooks and saints, the endarkenment and the enlightenment.

Getting the general idea is one thing, and working on the specifics of it, over and over, in always new ways as it shows up in life, is another.

Fear when shifting (or letting go of) identities

Another aspect of all of this may be the fear that comes up when we shift, or let go of, identities. Who am I if I am not ... (a belief in an idea)? How will my life look without it? Will I be able to function? It is only natural that fear comes up as we reach this threshold, and that some terror may come up immediately after it has been crossed.

I let go of this identity. Won't something terrible happen? Isn't the sky going to fall? Am I not going to be struck by a thunderbolt?

Invitation to a deeper shift

The dynamics of this whole process, played out in the dream, is very typical. It is the experienced struggle of light and dark, and the process of integrating them both in our lives, in always deeper ways.

It is a process that leads up to realized selflessness, and one that - if we are open to it - is ongoing even after realized selflessness.

It can always deepen and be more inclusive. It can always be lived more fully. There is always more "its" in this human self that can be made into a "me" and "mine". And there are always me and mines that can be deepened, explored in new ways, lived in more full and inclusive ways.

Before and after realized selflessness, our human self can continue to heal, mature, develop, and continue to own and embrace "its" and made them more fully and deeply into "mine".

It is just part of the game, part of the infinite creativity of Spirit, part of the unfolding and evolution of Spirit in its form aspect.

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