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Prayer and the indwelling God Wednesday, January 31, 2007 |

My prayers have been quite different since the alive presence in the heart area came up around Christmas. This alive presence which is infinitely loving, intelligent, intimate, personal, receptive, and responsive. A fragment of God right here, for this individual. The indwelling God.

My old prayers were directed outward in space, and had a yang quality, as talking. Now, these forms of prayer seem a little noisy. Instead, there is just a very quiet and simple going to the alive presence in the heart, and an equally quiet and simple intention, more like a whisper.

The content of the prayers is maybe not so different, but their quality is. Going to the alive presence in the heart area. Quiet, still, like an intimate whisper.

Praying for knots to unravel, for a deepening into humanity and awakening, for living a life benefiting all beings, for all beings being freed from suffering, for all beings awakening and blossoming deeply, fully and richly.

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Journey: blue stone and deep silence |

After waking up this morning, I lied in bed for a few minutes just being with whatever was present - sensations, dreams, feelings. My attention went to the heart area, and the image and sense of a deep blue brilliant stone surfaced. I stayed with it for a little while, and also chose to not go further with it right then as I had to get up.

Late in the afternoon, I sat down to relax, my attention again went to the heart area, and the same image of a a deep blue brilliant stone in the heart area came up. Now, I go into it.

I see and sense the deep blue brilliant stone in the physical heart space. It has the qualities of a gemstone, and has a translucent thin blue sphere around it. It sits on top of a small horizontal dark blue or black circle, surrounded by deep blue still water.

The blue has a deep and profound stillness... It is a vast void, timeless and spaceless, with no forms or objects arising anywhere. It is profoundly quiet and still.

There is a death of everything here, of any form, any objects, including any sense of me and I, and anything this sense could be placed on. There is a stirring of fear (and an allowing of the fear, and of the profound silence and stillness.)

The vast deep silence is now arising as everything, and all form arises as and within this profound silence and stillness.

This vast silence and stillness, arising as and within everything, stays with me. Everything is arising as and within this profound silence. It is a different ground of everything.

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Shifting of who and what in foreground Tuesday, January 30, 2007 |

I am noticing how who and what I am shift in being in the foreground.

When who I am (individual) is in the foreground, the what (Spirit/Ground) is either less noticed, or comes up as a context, a sense of time/spacelessness. The personal arises within and as the universal.

When what I am is in the foreground, the individual arises within the field, as a grain of sand in the Sahara, or one thread in a vast tapestry. There is a sense of the impersonal and universal even in the individual.

The shifts are usually quite gentle and happen throughout the day, especially if I sometimes remind myself of headlessness - as capacity for the world. Then the personal is in the foreground as I am engaged in different tasks, shifting into the impersonal in the foreground as I notice my headlessness.

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The fluidity of being with |

A rambling, unedited, stream-of-consciousness post (as most of these are), and a reminder to sometime organize this a little better, looking in more detail at some of these connections...

I talked with a friend of mine earlier today, and the conversation went into being with whatever we are experiencing.

Resistance to being with

For me, that is so much a part of my daily life that it was a good reminder of how it can be experienced in the beginning, if we are in the habit of (trying to) resisting experiences. There is often fear coming up around it, including for me with some experiences (if they are very intense, or it goes against a familiar pattern). It may seem scary, potentially overwhelming. What if it takes over? What if I loose control?

Everything included, including resistance

The beauty of just being with whatever I am experiencing, right now, is that everything is included. Whatever arises, whether fear or bliss or contractions of longing, I can simply be with it. Allow it, as it is, as it unfolds, in however way it naturally unfolds. It is very simple (which in my case is a good thing.)

Nothing is left out. Not even fear and resistance to the being with. That too is an experience I can be with.

Resistance in the form of identifications with identities

Resistance to experiences comes from identification with beliefs and identities, including the core one of a separate self. And this resistance to experiences, to what is, this sense of I and Other, creates suffering. We try to wall off experiences, wall of an aspect of what is, of existence itself, and this naturally is stressful, unpleasant, miserable. Ultimately, it is miserable because we wall off aspects of who (as individuals) and what (as Spirit) we already are. We are split against ourselves. And somewhere, we know this.

Who and what I am

There is this field of seeing and seen arising... This awake emptiness arising as form, as the landscape, the tree, sunlight, stove, lamp, sounds of the cars, sensations of the body, taste, words.

When I wall myself off from who I am, as an individual soul and human self, I may wall myself off from this alive presence, the luminous blackness, anger, fear, frustration, joy, or whatever else does not fit into the identities I identify with right now.

When I wall myself off from what I am, as Spirit (Big Mind, Brahman, Tao), I wall myself off from the rest of the field, the landscape, the trees, the awake emptiness, awake emptiness arising as form, absent of I anywhere.

Fullness, nurturing, and quiet bliss

When everything is allowed, these identifications naturally soften, become more transparent, are released, and may even completely fall away. And whatever is experienced, independent of its particular content (even great pain), gives a sense of fullness, a quiet joy and bliss, and of nourishment. Without resistance, there is rest, independent of what arises.

Relaxation and release from identifications

Identification with identities is creating walls, boxing ourselves in, putting ourselves in a cage. It is resistance to what is. So when it is all allowed, there is a relaxation and release of our basic identities, of being male or female, young or old, human, and so on. And there is also a relaxation and even release of our core identity as a separate self.

Fluidity of first person

And this allows for a fluidity of what is experienced as I and Other... What appeared as second or third person (you or it) may become first person. I may find myself as this pain, or as the alive presence, or as whatever else arises. Released from conventional identities, the sense of I can be placed on any aspect of the field arising, or as the field as a whole, without a center anywhere.

Identities without identification

Identities are still there, arising when they need to, used for practical purposes in daily life, but there is no real identification with them anymore. They are just tools for this human self to function in the world. Who I am knows how to work with them, even when there is not an ultimate identification with them.

New aliveness

When there is resistance, there is also a deadening. A deadening of experience, of life, of who and what we already are, in our fullness.

In the relaxation of resistance, there is a new aliveness. We awaken to more of the fullness of who and what we are, to what is arising here and now. And we may even work with this in a more intentional way... Who am I in my fullness, as this individual soul, this alive presence, and as this human self, finding in myself any and every quality I see in the wider world? What am I in my fullness, as this awake emptiness and the world of form arising as this awake emptiness?

Forms of active and passive

The being with whatever arises is in a way the ultimate yin approach, just allowing what already is. It is a mimicking of Ground, which already allows anything (and which is part of what we already are.) Yet it is also active, it is an active being with. It includes awareness of what is happening, and an active being with of whatever arises - that which we habitually push away, the impulse to pushing away, the resistance... whatever arises.

So being with has a passive and active element to it, yet overall it is passive. It is simply being with what already is, as it is.

Yet there is another active element that complements it. The active exploration of who and what I am, the active living of who I am within the context of what I am, and the active placing of my human self under the influence of soul and Spirit.

Exploring who and what I am

Exploring who I am as an individual human being, I can use the wider world as a mirror. Whatever qualities I see out there, in other people, animals, fictional and dream characters, in the landscape, the universe, these are qualities I already know and am familiar with - to some extent - in myself. And I can become even more familiar with these, own them (in the sense of including them in my active identity as a human being), befriend them, embrace them, explore them in my life and relationships with others and the wider world.

Exploring who I am as an individual soul, I can find myself as this alive presence, as luminous blackness, as fertile nurturing darkness, as the indwelling God, and so on. I can explore how the human self transforms within this new context, placed under the influence of this soul. How it softens, deepens, matures, becomes more fully human. I can explore how it is when the soul level is present in several of us together, how it influences our relationships,how it learns to recognize itself through mirroring itself in others (just as we do on our human level), how it unfolds in presence and relationship with others where it is alive (as individual flames coming together creating a larger fire).

Exploring what I am as awake emptiness and form, I find myself as the field of wakeful form, as it arises here and now, centerless and selfless. The I without an Other. Arising, for right now, also as this particular human self.

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Ecological Footprint Monday, January 29, 2007 |

I tried a simplified Ecological Footprint calculator again, and got a number that seems a little low. (From more comprehensive calculators I have used in the past, I suspect that the number may be more in the 10-15 acre range.)

CATEGORY : ACRES
FOOD : 2.2
MOBILITY : 0.2
SHELTER : 1.2
GOODS/SERVICES : 1
TOTAL FOOTPRINT : 5

IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER PERSON.

WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON.

IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 1.1 PLANETS.

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Why people focus on refuting Ken Wilber? |

WH's speedlinking for today has a link to a post on why so many focus on refuting Wilber (although the post itself seems to have vanished.)

When I saw that brief description of the post, what immediately came to mind is KW's personality. His writings reflects a personality that invites, if not begs, people to tear him (and his theories) down a few notches. Whenever a particular identity and image is held onto and presented as strongly as in KW's case (of being macho, smart and hip), it invites others to punch holes in it and tear it town. It is quite beautiful in a way, although can get ugly as well: if he doesn't do it himself, others will do it for him, reminding him of his own task.

I am not saying that he is not macho, smart and hip. He is very much all of those, and genuinely so. There is just a very strong air of it being a particular image as well, and one that he spends a great deal of energy building up and presenting. And that draws some people to tear it down as flies are drawn to honey.

There are of course other aspects to all of this as well: inaccuracies in how he presents the views of others (it seems that he sometimes almost deliberately misrepresents the views of others), the way he puts down people criticizing or questioning his theories and models (sometimes harshly and with little compassion), his status as one of the most brilliant thinkers of our times (which in itself is reason enough for some to focus on punching some holes there), how he has a God-like status among some (again, a good reason for some to bring him down a few notches), and probably genuine holes in the theories and models themselves.

So in a way, it may all be part of a natural compensating process. He strongly holds onto a certain image so others want to deflate it, showing that it is only an image. He misrepresents certain views of others, so others naturally react. He puts others down, and this attitude is then mirrored back at him. Some of his followers are a little too enamored by him, so certain folks want to show that he is not quite the god some make him into.

It is all a natural, inevitable, process. One that is beautiful in the way everything is a perfect mirror, inviting us all to see in ourselves what we would rather not see. And one that also can get quite ugly through our resistance to this process.

If I hold onto a certain image, others will try to deflate it. This is an invitation to myself to see how I am holding onto the image, and let go of it. If I resist, it gets ugly and everything only intensifies.

There is a reason this happens with Ken Wilber, and not people like Dalai Lama, or Douglas Harding, or Adyashanti. And it goes beyond just his role as innovator and theory builder. In their cases, there is no resistance, so no need to punch holes in their image or theories, and no need to pull them down a few notches. In KW's case, there is resistance, and this invites attacks.

To me, it is not so difficult to image someone developing the exact same theories and models as KW, but with no identification with a particular identity, and no resistance. In this case, there will still be questions and criticism of his work, but it will (mostly) happen in a far more uneventful and less dramatic way. And probably with more of a sense of partnership and collaboration, at least from his side, than of advesarial positions.

That is not to say that it would be better that way. When we are attached to a particular identity, then drama is good. It helps us see our identifications. And it even helps develop the theories, although sometimes in less comfortable ways.

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Magic |

My partner and I went to see David Copperfield last night. He is a great performer, and it was very entertaining. And part of the entertainment is of course to try to figure out how it is done.

Here are some ways it could be done...

Transporting to Perth

What we see: We are shown live footage from a beach near Perth, and DC promises to bring someone with him there and back during the course of the evening. The woman is pre-selected, and we watch a brief video explaining that her estranged father wants to re-establish connection. A randomly selected audience member chooses two letters, and DC writes them on his forearm. He also takes a polariod photo of a group of audience members holding a postcard written by a couple of them. DC and the young woman is hidden behind curtains, then vanishes, and a little later shows up on the live footage from the beach near Perth. The woman runs into the water, and DC shows the letters on his arm and the polaroid photo they brought with them.

How it can be done: The woman and DC have doubles on the beach in Perth. Before the transportation, DC's double writes the two letters on his arm, learning which two letters to write via a communication link from back-stage, and the polariod is digitally transfered and printed on the beach.

Guessing numbers in advance

What we see: DC tells us has audience members select random numbers and answer a personal question, which he writes on a large screen on stage. Then, he opens a well sealed box, takes out a large piece of paper and an audio cassette, walks over to the edge of the stage (with his back touching the black curtains there), unfolds the piece of paper, and puts the cassette into a tape player. Amazingly, on the piece of paper is written the numbers and information given by the audience members, and the audio tape has him saying the numbers out loud. He also shows two license plates with the numbers on them.

How it can be done: Someone back-stage writes the numbers on a piece of paper and a voice-double reads them in on a tape. When DC walks up the black curtain, he is given the paper and tape and switches them with the ones he pulled out from the box, distracting the audience and using sleight-of-hand. A machine back-stage puts the numbers on blank license plates.

Vanishing audience members

What we see: A group of randomly selected audience members sit on a platform on stage, curtains are drawn around them, and they shine of the curtain with flashlights. When the curtains are raised, they are gone.

How it can be done: The group is led out through the black back curtains as soon as the curtains are lowered around them. The flashlights are simulated by a simple mechanical and electronic device behind the curtains, creating the appearance of the volunteers still being there. (The only question is, what do you do if a stubborn volunteer refuses to go...?)

None of this takes anything away from the performance or the entertainment, if anything, trying to figure it out only adds to it. Especially since none of us knows how he really does it.

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Buddha and the Ecological Footprint Sunday, January 28, 2007 |

Here is another topic from Erik Pema Kunsang's blog:

How do you take small or large steps in your life to avoid unnecessarily leaving casualties in your wake?

For me, it means to look at the inner (attitude, heart) and the outer, the local and global, and then find and use approaches that appear good at all levels. The inner is my attitude and heart. The outer is my life, those close to me, my local community and ecosystem, the global social and ecological systems, and (not the least) future generations of any species. The local is the immediate results, and the global are the far reaching and long term results.

Dealing with such as complex situation, essentially embracing all of my own life and the life of the Earth as a whole, it is obviously a work in progress, subject to change with new information and new situations.

Often, it is not so hard as it may seem, and I also don't expect anything close to perfection. Approximation is OK, along with moving in the direction of better informed and more deeply compassionate choices.

For my own inner life, I find many different ways of working with an open heart, including recognizing and integrating projections. The more I see how we are all in the same boat, the more my heart naturally opens - to myself and others. And the more I realize how profoundly interconnected all of our lives are, on many different levels, the more I am motivated to act in ways that benefit us all, including other species, ecosystems and future generations. A healthy social and ecological system, on local and global levels, is essential for my own health and well-being. My own self-interest and the interest of the larger whole are not so different.



In terms of a general guideline for choices, I have found the Ecological Footprint to be the most useful tool. What size land and sea area is needed to support my current lifestyle? The smaller my own EF, the more resources are (in theory) available for other humans, other species, and future generations. In the western industrialized world, our EF is typically four or five times larger than our fair Earth share, which is what is available to each of us if resources were divided equally among all humans, and some is left to other species.



Globally, we are currently using more resources than can be replenished by the ecosystems. In economical terms, we are living off the principal and not just the interest. This situation of overshoot seems fine for a while. After all, there are more money in the bank and we can support our lifestyle with it just fine (at least those fortunate enough to have access to the account.) But the less principal, the less interest, and the quicker the money are depleted. It is a long crash. For a while, it does not impact our life at all, or very little. But then, suddenly, it is all too obvious. And too late. As Al Gore said, we are like someone with homemade wings jumping off a cliff. For a while we are in the air and it seems that we are flying... until we hit the ground.

Back to what we can do in our own lives: there are several EF calculators out there, showing which areas of my life has the most impact on my EF. For most of us, it is air travel, and then the other usual suspects such as car use, food, and so on.

In EF terms, my guideline of finding solutions that appear good at all levels, becomes the question how can I increase my quality of life while minimizing my ecological footprint?

Some of the answers for me is to...

Try to reduce air travel as much as possible, by taking fewer trips, use train or bus whenever possible, and vacationing locally (lots of opportunities for that here in the Northwest.)

Reduce car use, by walking and biking (which gives fresh air and exercise) and use public transportation (which gives me a sense of belonging in a more real way to the community, and also an opportunity to explore projections sometimes.)

Buy used clothing (I can find high-quality and interesting clothes for far less money, the pesticides are already washed out of the fabric, and I don't give my money to corporations that use sweatshop labor - which almost all clothing manufacturers do these days.)

Have a small house (takes up less space, less use of materials, easier to heat, less space to fill with things.) In town (so I can walk, bike, and use public transportation locally.) And share with housemates (which is often enjoyable, and also helps our personal economy.)

Eat locally produced food (supports the local economy, gives me a connection with the farmers, reduces energy needed to transport food, and provides me with me seasonal, fresh and vital food) and organic when possible (although local is more important.)

Eat mostly low on the food chain (it takes far more land and resources to produce meat than grains, fruits and vegetables.)

Try to minimize money given to large corporations, and especially those using sweatshop labor (buying used, fair trade, or make my own - such as furniture.)

All in all, these things gives me more of a real connection to my local community and ecosystems (by walking, biking, using public transportation, buying local, vacationing locally), it is good for my health (exercise, fresh seasonal food), and also gives me a sense of solidarity with people around the world, other species, and future generations. There is a sense of us all being in the same boat, on the same side - the side of supporting life.

Readings Erik's post, I am also struck by how the guidelines for ethical living must change with changing times. In traditional Buddhist communities, their impact was only immediate and local. It made sense to focus on one's immediate relations with humans and other species, because that is all there was (unless you cut down all the trees or did something else that would impact future generations.)

But today, our situation is very different. Our local and daily actions have a very real and significant impact around the world and for future generations. We can be nice to the local critters all we want, even buy fish and release them in the thousands, but it pales in comparison to the impact a large ecological footprint has on our global social and ecological systems.

Today, the global impact of our actions has to be taken into consideration.

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Four aspects of the view Saturday, January 27, 2007 |

I recently discovered the Tricycle blogs, and found a nice little entry by Eric Pema Kunsang on what makes a Buddhist. Essentially, it is the view below. I am not sure which one of (a) believing in it (as an idea), (b) examining it in own experience, or (c) actualize it as living realization is sufficient to be considered a Buddhist, not that it matters. Here are the four aspects of the view, with my (unschooled) commentary below.

  1. Everything conditioned is impermanent
    All form is change, including any experiences and states.

  2. All tainted states are painful
    Whenever there is a belief in an idea, we are at odds with what is, and there is suffering. (This includes the idea of a separate I.)

  3. All phenomena are empty and devoid of self-entity
    This one can be understood in different ways.

    One is that the field of form is a seamless whole, with any boundary superimposed and ultimately arbitrary. This also means that any local effect is really the result of the movements and activities of the whole, having infinite causes. So everything is empty of a real boundary, of a separate I, and also of a local cause of anything happening.

    Another is the immediate realization, or noticing, of emptiness, of every form as awake emptiness. This one is difficult to explain as logically as the previous one, but actually easier to notice here and now - for instance through headless experiments and the Big Mind process.

  4. Nirvana is peace
    I am actually not quite sure what nirvana refers to, but assume it is either the awakening as awake emptiness, as the formless, or the next-door neighbor of awakening as awake emptiness and form as no other than awake emptiness. The content of awakeness, the forms arising within and to awakeness, is no other than awakeness itself. In both cases, there is a release from identification with aspects of form, so also a release from suffering.

    Another way to put it is that this awakening is the awakening to selflessness, of no separate self anywhere in the field of awakeness and form, so no I and Other, so rest and peace.

    And then there is the reminder that nirvana is samsara and samara nirvana. In this awakening, there is the realization that there was never anything besides this. There was always this field of awake emptiness and form. It only appeared differently due to a belief in the idea of a separate I, usually placed on this human self.

    They are both the same field, in one case awakened to itself as a field, and in the other case forgetful of its true nature, believing in ideas, taking itself to be only a segment of itself.
Of course, implied in this is that we are only awakening to what we already are, and this happens within, or even outside of, any tradition. It may be about being a good Buddhist, but is really about just seeing what already is.

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The intimacy of the inner and outer |

I notice an intimacy of the inner and outer in two ways...

First, the intimacy of no separation, of a seamless field of the inner and outer. This is what already and always is, and what we notice through headless experiments, the Big Mind process, or more spontaneously. There is this field of wakefulness spanning that which is inside and outside of this human self. A tapestry, of which this human self is one strand.

Then, the intimacy of synchronicity, of the outer mirroring the inner in its content. Of dreams and whatever else may be surfacing from the inner, reflected in music, words, situations in the outer, in details and very specific ways.

And it seems that the two go together. An awakening of the intimacy of no separation seems to bring about the intimacy of synchronicity, and the other way around.

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Sounds from home |

Sometimes my longing for home comes up more strongly than other times, such as today, sparked by an article in the Observer, Arctic Magic, about yoik and also Adjagas.

Yes, this is the physical original home, my birth place (not home as who I am, the fullness of this individual, nor home as what I am, as Spirit)...

So in terms of music reminding me of home, here is one of my favorite Norwegian music videos (sweetly and charmingly human and innocent) , and a good song as well.



I'd Rather Dance with You, Kings of Convenience. Their other videos are also worth a look and listen: Misread, Failure, Cayman Islands.

And other music from Norway I often (or sometimes, with the ones further down the list) listen to...

Mari Boine
- Sami traditional song woven into contemporary music.

Jaga Jazzist - experimental jazz (a friend of mine played in this one a while back.)

Jan Garbarek - experimental jazz.

Salvatore, ambient punk band with a classmate and friend of mine from high school (myspace).

Röyksopp - ambient, electronic.

Bel Canto - ambient, electronic (myspace).



Remind Me from Röyksopp (a great way of showing interconnectedness, this one at the mid-range of the holarchy.)



Eple from Röyksopp (this one giving a taste of the seamlessness of the world, again at the mid-range.)

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The game of the little guy |

I think Douglas Harding (and probably others) mentioned the game of the little guy. The game of being caught up in the identities of our individual selves, propping it up, making it into something.

I know I am, and some times more than others. It is good to notice and be aware of. And the tell-tale signs is when something feels really important and real, when there are certain ideas and identities that appears to need to be defended, any sense of contraction, any sense of a substantial I and Other (whether the Other is a situation, a person, an idea, a sensation, or anything else.)

And it may also be good to notice this in those we set up in the role as a teacher. Is the teacher caught up in the game of the little guy? If so, how, and how does it affect the teachings?

This is obviously quite subjective, just my impressions from their writings and sometimes audio/video, and probably says far more about me than anyone else, but some teachers I detect a "caught upness" in the game of the little guy are... Ken Wilber (macho, hip identity that needs to be propped up and defended), Andrew Cohen, Adi Da, Surya Das.

And the ones where I do not detect it include... Douglas Harding, Byron Katie, Joel Morwood (Center for Sacred Sciences), Adyashanti, Pema Chodron, most Tibetan teachers, Almaas (?).

What I see in each of these says more about me than anyone else. And at the same time, when it comes to choosing a teacher, there are some signs in the world to keep an eye out for as well: which teachers are surrounded by scandals and drama? If they are, they may be caught up in the game of the little guy (or something else may be going on), and in my case, it means that I usually choose to keep my distance. I can still appreciate and learn from them, but when it comes to choose someone as a guide and a more intimate influence for myself, I choose those where I detect less or none of the caught-upness in the game of little guy, and where there are fewer, milder or no external scandals.

It is of course just a general guideline. I am not surprised by some caught-upness in the game and some external (at least mild) scandals, and that is OK. We are all just humans, even if that particular human is a vehicle for reality having awakened to itself. We have to give ourselves and others, including our teachers, some slack.

And at the same time, when the game and scandals are there, we can look at the degree of the game and the scandals, and especially how the teacher deals with it. Do they defend, justify and deny (bad signs...!). Are they receptive, transparent, appearing genuinely repentive and willing to change (approach, organizational structure)? If so, and the degree is relatively mild, then why not give them a second chance (but maybe not a third or a fourth.)

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Some effects of the dark night |

In a loose sense, we experience a dark night any time there is a sense of loss, any time we believe that something should be here - either what was or what could be - but is not.

And in a more narrow sense, the dark night (of the soul) is a loss of God. Of an alive presence of the divine, of seeing/realizing all as God, of awake empty luminosity, or in whatever form it came up. It is of course not a real "loss", just an experience of loss, or maybe the loss of an experience.

I seems to have gone through a quite typical dark night of the soul. And it may not be the only one. They seem to come at different times, at different levels of intensity, and with different flavors. (I didn't realize how typical and ordinary my experience of it was until I read Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill, where the chapter on the dark night describes, often in detail, what I also went through.)

Some of the effects I notice, now more of the tail end of it, are...

A burning away of identities, or rather identification with identities (although there are certainly some left.) In the dark night, there is a loss not only of God, but often of lots of other things in our life. For me, anything that gave me comfort was lost, either externally or internally, and with this went any identities that gave me comfort. My experience of myself and my life was so completely at odds with these identities, so the identification with them (as a good Zen student, as someone awakened to all as God, as someone who could deal with difficult situations and experiences, as someone good at you name it) gradually wore off, although in my case with a lot of reluctance, resistance and kicking and screaming (which only made it more difficult for me). I should say that they are not really burnt away, just lessened in intensity and solidity.

A fearlessness. Again, not a 100% fearlessness, just more of it from a sense of transparency of fears. In the dark night, everything worthwhile and valuable seems lost, and it lasts for a while. There is plenty of time to get used to it. So what is there to fear? I am already used to loss, even of what was at the center of my life and gave my life meaning, so what more is there to fear? This is a reduction or loss of the existential fear, so there is still the more mundane fears here, but even those are more transparent, space.

A sense of it all, whatever happens, no matter how amazing or terrible, as unremarkable. We have gone through the highest ecstasies before the dark night, and the darkest loss and despair in the dark night, so anything that happens now have a sense of ordinariness and of being unremarkable, including the most unusual states and awakenings. Or more accurately, they may be experienced as remarkable and surprising for a little while, but somehow against the background of it all being unremarkable. As space, transparent to it as unremarkable.

A surrender. This is the thread that runs through any of the other outcomes of the dark night. Surrender... to what is, to whatever may come. The loss of identification with identities is a surrender of the identification, but also a surrender of wanting things to be a certain way. Now, whatever happens is more OK. Before, whatever happened was OK as long as I didn't loose God (the apparently stable awakening to all as God.) Now, whatever happens is more OK, including exactly that.

For all of these - identities, fear, a sense of it being remarkable, resistance - there is not a complete burning through. They are still there, only lessened in intensity, not so substantial, more transparent, more as just space.

And finally Ground awakening. The dark night paves the way for a Ground awakening. An awakening independent of any content, any state, any experience, and allowing them all.

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Corrections: desire, fusion and shadows Friday, January 26, 2007 |

Some of the recent posts have been more than a little approximate...!

Big Mind does not desire, but is desire (when it arises)

For instance, in the posts on desire and insatiability, the distinction between Big Mind and desire is not quite clear. To put it simply, Big Mind does not desire (there is no Other to desire, and in its formless aspect it is free from form). Yet it also is desire, when desire arises in an individual. At that moment, Big Mind arises as desire.

So when desire arises in an individual for a full human life and awakening arises, which seems to be our deepest desire (at least for me), then Big Mind is free from it, yet also arises as the desire.

We can say that Big Mind is the desire for it to experience itself through and as a full human life, and also as Big Mind awake to itself.

In a very approximate (and anthropomorphizing) way, we can say that Big Mind (or God) desires to experience and explore itself as finite, through and as an individual human life. And not only that, but as finite in the form of this universe, as galaxies, solar systems, planets, planets becoming alive, ecosystems, social systems, cultures, industry, subcultures, neighborhoods, families, couples, and so on.

The formless desires to experience itself as form, and form desires the formless. The infinite desires to experience itself as finite, and the finite desires the infinite.

It is a catchy and poetic way of putting it. It sounds good at that level. But it is also very imprecise. It gives the impression that God (or Big Mind) desires, yet when there is only the I without the Other, there is no desire. Only rest. Peace (even in the midst of the worst storms and the strongest desires).

Fusion

In the same post on desire, the word fusion is used, and this fusion is just one of the relationships between Spirit, soul and human self. Ultimately, it is all Spirit, all God, the centerless and selfless field of seeing and seen.

But within this, there is a fusion of the three, an infusion of Spirit awake to itself into the individual, and an infusion of soul into the human self. The previous post is on this topic.

Collective shadows

And then the post on a journey into collective shadows. Collective shadows? No. Again that is just a poetic, a little more catchy, and very approximate way of talking about it.

My journey was very much through my own individual shadow, of the many and varied dark characters that puts a face on what is there.

But this individual shadow is formed within a culture where most people put many of the same things into their shadow. Even if there is individual variations, there are also many commonalities, and that is where the idea of a collective shadow comes from. Even for humanity as a whole, across cultures, many of the same things are put in our individual shadows.

And the faces put on what is in my individual shadow is of course influenced by everything I have experienced, including dark and shadowy characters from my own culture and many other cultures.

So the immediate experience of the journey is one of journeying through our collective shadow, the shadow of humanity. But, realistically, it is of course just this individual one reflecting what is out there, in our world culture.

It doesn't really matter for the impact the experience has on me. What was important was the experiencing of each of these dark creatures from the inside, living and breathing their life, and at the same time seeing that it is the one transcendent I which is the I of all of these.

But it is still good to make the distinction.

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Distinct, fused and not two |

We can split what and who we are into two, and then three.

Spirit, then individual

First, what we are as Spirit, the field of awake emptiness and form absent of center and separate I. This is what is absent of I, or the I without an Other.

Then, who we are as an individual, which in turn is an individual soul and human self. This is the individual self that is inherently selfless, as the rest of the world of form is inherently selfless. It is that little speck within the form aspect of Spirit that it, somehow, mysteriously, is functionally connected with, its vehicle in the world of form.

In other words, we can say that what and who we are is Big Mind (Buddha Mind, Brahman, Tao), soul (alive presence) and human self (personality). And all of it is inherently selfless.

In my own experience of this, I am struck by how these three are simultaneously distinct, fused, and also not two.

Distinct

Each of these three are distinct.

Spirit is this field of clear awake emptiness and form, with no center, no separate self. It is a what. Impersonal. Universal. The I without an Other. The field of seeing and seen, as a field, without any center.

Then there is the individual soul, which is experience as an alive presence and can be filtered in many ways. As infinitely loving and intelligent. Infinitely receptive and responsive. As luminous blackness. As the indwelling God, an alive presence in the heart region. As the alive full presence around and in this physical body. And so on.

And then this human self. This body-mind, functioning within the world of physical form, and with a particular personality. This brings the joys and stress of being physical, including the longing, seeking, wanting, fear, happiness, sensual pleasures, contractions, hangups, and much more. It is the little vulnerable animal trying to make its way in the world.

Fused

In addition to being experienced as distinct, they are also fused.

Spirit infuses the individual soul and human self, especially as it awakens to itself as Spirit. It realizes that all form, including the individual, is no other than itself. The blind identification is taken out of the individual, allowing the individual to reorganize free from the burden of being identified with and in the context of all as Spirit.

The soul, the alive presence, infuses the human self, allowing it to untie knots, heal, mature, and develop in a far deeper way, into a more mature, whole and rounded human being. Ironically, the soul presence, brought into the human self, allows the human self to become more deeply and thoroughly human. It gives the safety and sense of nurturing which allows the human self to relax, to give up some or all of its struggle with itself, and to become more familiar with all of what it is, and embrace and own it all.

And the human self is infused with Spirit awake to itself, and with soul, working on and within it.

Not two

At the same time, there is no I and Other here. These are not two, nor three.

They are all just Spirit, the field of awake emptiness and form, arising as Spirit awake to itself, and functionally connected with this individual soul and human self. Already and always centerless and selfless.

Trinity

These three are a trinity, such as the trikaya of Buddhism. One yet distinct.

And with the potential of being more deeply fused, placing our individual soul and human self under the influence of Spirit, and our human self under the influence of the soul.

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Deepening into the ordinariness of what and who I am |

Our path is in many ways one of continuously discovering more of what and who we are, which can seem remarkable at first, and then deepening into the ordinariness of it.

Discovering, and then deepening into the ordinariness, of what we are, as the field of seeing and seen, of awake emptiness and form, centerless and selfless... allowing our individual self to reorganize, mature and develop within this context.

And of who we are and can be, as individual souls and human selves, embracing the whole of it right now, and as it unfolds and develops over time. At our human level, it means deepening into the ordinariness of being human, embracing and owning more of what we are, which is not so different from what we all are.

Together, there is the ordinariness of Big Mind awake to itself, functioning through an individual soul and human self. And the ordinariness of this human self, as increasingly more mature, rounded and deeply human.

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Profoundly ordinary Thursday, January 25, 2007 |

During the initial awakening (in my teens) where many of the things happening now happened in a more dramatic way, there was both a realization that all is God, and also a sense of how remarkable it was... which seems to indicate that the final veils of a sense of I had not been seen through.

Now, there is just a profound sense of ordinariness about it, of how unremarkable it is, and also a deeply felt sense that this is just the middle ground, an early middle ground... There is infinitely further to go in the areas I write about here, and obviously much further to go in all of the other areas of life.

Seeing this brings a more genuine humility at all levels... A humility that comes from seeing things more realistically, and not only see it, but also deeply feel it in the body, and love it.

And some of the things to see, feel, and love is that...

  • All already is God, so in the absence of Other there is not much room for pride or arrogance, nor for a sense of inferiority.

  • At my individual level, there is infinitely further to go in maturing, developing, exploring, discovering, in all areas of life.

  • There are many, many areas I, as an individual, am not very well developed in, compared to where many are at today.

  • And everything I see in here is also out there, and the other way around, at my individual level. They are there at least as seeds, possibilities, and often far more fully bloomed.
Today is one of those days where I feel firmly held so I can see this, take it in more fully, allow my whole being to more thoroughly organize within this... All as God, and at my individual level, there is infinitely further to go, there are many areas I am not well developed in compared to many others today, and the outer and the inner mirror each other perfectly.

It is deeply sobering, and even shakes me to the core... shakes up everything not aligned with this... everything formed within a context of separation and ideas of better and worse.

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A journey through collective shadows |

I did a source code session last night, designed to facilitate a release from "negative influences" such as the collective unconscious. It was very powerful as it happened, and even now, with a very strong sense of alive intelligent presence and luminosity around and in me.

As I was about to fall asleep, a very vivid journey started on its own...

There is a parade of dark and evil figures from all cultures and times, one after another. I experience each of them from the inside, living and breathing their life, and I see how there is the One "I" in everyone and everything, how they all are Big Mind... (and how they appear as dark and evil because they represent things that are disowned.) There is an incredible sense of depth, grittiness and fullness there, and also a deep sense of peace, of God already being it all (and nothing other than God), so just peace, rest.

It is all very beautiful and peaceful, even in the midst of the most horrifying creatures and images.. Just beauty. And freedom from it all, since they do not appear as an Other anymore, and since they are all already God.

Throughout this, the alive luminous intelligent loving presence is very strongly around and in my body, working in and on the body, especially in the kidneys (!).

This was clearly a journey through the collective shadows of humanity, from any culture and time... very vivid, real, living and breathing the life of all of these creatures from the inside, and realizing that there is only the one "I" in all of it, the one Eye, Spirit, Big Mind... as the inside seeing and subjective "I" experience of each creature, the form of creatures themselves, and the seeing of the creatures as Other. They came one after another, as a parade, human like, animal like, huge, tiny, one and many. All cast in the role of the villain. All representing things we rather would not see as ourselves as individuals, and also often don't recognize as the I of the One I.

And in the living of their life from the inside, and seeing that the "I" of each of them, the inside experience of each of them, is the One "I" of everyone and everything, there is a release from all of this. They are no longer Other, at an individual or Spirit level, so a release from them. Just rest, peace.

I am not sure what the activity in the kidneys was about, although I know they are associated with fear in Chinese medicine, and throughout this journey there was a deep absence of fear... Where there is no Other, on individual (projection) and Spirit (Big Mind) levels, there is an absence of fear.

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Dream: guide on a pilgrim circuit |



I am in Kirkenes in Northern Norway, north of the arctic circle. I am shown that I am to be the guide on a pilgrim circuit, linking together several new churches and science centers. Everything has a sense of clarity, luminosity and beauty... the landscape, the wildlife, the people, the buildings. There is a sense of new inner clarity, maturity, depth and responsibility, reflected in my new outer role as a guide for those in the region, as well as visitors from other areas.

The name Kirkenes means Church peninsula. And while I have rarely been in the arctic regions, I have always been attracted to the stark beauty and the clear light.

In the dream, I lead groups on a pilgrimage circuit connecting several new churches and science centers, the two main realms of human knowing... spirituality and science. There is a sense of the seamlessness of the two... a church, then a science center, then a church.. as beads on a string. Exploring existence from different angles, informing each other, applying scientific methods in spiritual practice, studying the effects of spiritual practice through science.

There is also a sense of it all being new, unspoiled, virgin... the buildings, the settlements, the landscape, the climate. All new, luminous, clear. And with it, this sense of new depth, solidity, maturity, responsibilities... emerging from the inside, reflected in my role in the outside.

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The gifts of off-days Wednesday, January 24, 2007 |

One of the things I appreciate, usually in hindsight, about off-days is how they help me notice things about myself I usually don't notice, or don't want to notice, or at least don't want to explore in much detail.

These off-days are like the ghosts of Christmas showing Scrooge his life, and especially those parts he didn't want to see. The parts he needed someone else to show him. It may not be comfortable to go through, but it can also lead to a shift, if we allow it to.

For me, seeing what I don't want to see about myself especially happens when something is off physically. There is less energy to maintain a desired persona, and maybe even less energy to try to change it, mask it or disengage from it by using a technique or practice.

Yesterday

Yesterday, I certainly noticed some of these (often well hidden) patterns such as going into a state where everything feels utterly wrong (my life, my day, etc.), and some family patterns around a martyr role: the noble quiet suffering, silently blaming the world for my misery.

I guess that is very Norwegian...! The quiet noble suffering, bearing it without complaining too much, and then often not even consciously blaming the world for it being that way. Just bearing it... until it - and my life - is over(!). No wonder that is kept safely in my shadow.

Three effects of physical problems

I also see how physical problems usually have one of three effects for me...

With pain, or apparently heat exhaustion, I tend to find myself as awakeness, as crystal clear awareness. Not by trying, it just happens on its own. I guess the misery is too intense and sharp, so there is a shift out of (exclusive) identification with it and into awakeness, the crystal clear witness of whatever is happening.

Physical reactions to certain foods (food intolerance) or exertion brings out the shadow, in the ways described above. They tend to lead to contractions and reinforce a separate-self sense.

And sometimes, when I am in a phase where headlessness or Big Mind is more strongly in the foreground, then whatever happens to this body-mind just happens, as Big Mind.

A spectrum of what we can find ourselves as

Writing it up this way, I see how these three reflect the span of what or who we can find ourselves as.

At one end of the scale is pure awareness, awake emptiness, crystal clear awake space. The crystal clear awake space is in the foreground, and when form arises (as it often does), it arises within and as this awake space, but as distant, just a small speck within the vastness of awake space.

Then, we can find ourselves as Big Mind, as awake emptiness and form, the awake emptiness arising as form. Here, awake emptiness and form are equally pronounced. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

And at the other end of the spectrum, form is in the foreground, and the awake emptiness is in the background, sometimes so far distant that it is not even noticed. There is usually an exclusive identification with our human self here, a forgetting of everything else that we also are. It can be great - fun, ecstatic, an adventure, but it is also where we can feel trapped, confined, helpless, without control, in misery. We are at the mercy of an exclusively finite existence.

Cycling through, inviting greater familiarity

And for me, at least now, there is a cycling through of each of these. One after another, presenting themselves, inviting me to find myself as each of them, to become more familiar with each, more intimate, to know each of their landscapes in more detail.

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Exertion, health and dreams |

Since childhood, I have experienced an unusual pattern where strong physical exertion is followed by being nonfunctional for about a day (and no, this is not the usual tiredness that comes after exercise.) I usually have no choice but to go to bed and sleep it out.

It is workable in the sense that it has a predictable pattern: It only happens when I exert myself at 80-90% (or beyond) of what I am capable of, independent of what shape I am in. This means that I have been able to mostly avoid it by doing gentler forms of exercise like hiking, biking and swimming, and avoiding the forms of exercise where I more easily go into over-exertion, such as running.

But even if I am mindful of this, I now and then go over the invisible boundary and reap the consequences, and yesterday was one of those days. I chopped firewood Monday night, and must have gotten a little too enthusiastic about it.

That same night, there was a sense of something physically off, and nothing I did - water, food, self-breemas - seemed to correct it. And waking up the morning after, all of the usual symptoms of over-exertion were there. (Although since this has not happened for a while, I didn't make the connection until much later in the day when it started to clear up.)

It is as if the body-mind wants to shut down, a sense of stagnation throughout, and a feeling that everything is off and wrong. At the mind level, there is a strong sense of dullness and I go easier into contractions, such as irritability and grumpiness over things not going my way (the good part about that is that I not only get to see parts of my shadow more clearly, but also experience it from the inside, becoming it.) At the physical level, my body wants to shut down and sleep, and when I do, it is almost as if going into a coma. I usually shift out of it within 8-12 hours, typically after a nap, and I often feel stronger and clearer afterwards than I did before it happened (maybe due to the rest.)

This time, I noticed two dreams I though were interesting, especially as they seem to reflect entering into and moving out of the collapse phase.

Dream Tuesday morning: I am in a house that is not quite home

I am in a house which is very close to home, in the neighborhood of home, but not quite home. And there are many slightly odd things happening there, including problems with communication. I try to call someone, but the phone doesn't work. I talk with people, and there is miscommunication. Everything seems a little off, and nothing I do seems to change it.

Dream Tuesday evening: someone tells me it has cleared

Towards the end of a nap, I am dreaming that someone tells me that there has been a shift into being healed. Waking up, I did experience a noticeable shift and felt much better, as if the fog had cleared, although some things were still being worked out.

Dreams faithfully reflecting what is going on

The house dream reflects entering into the pattern, of being close to home (same body-mind) but not quite at home (not functioning in a familiar way, or according to my - ideal - self-image.) And the healing dream reflects shifting out of it.

Maybe the most interesting part of this to me is that I didn't seem to need the dreams to tell me about these shifts... both were abundantly clear in my waking state. But the dreams even then did their job faithfully and sincerely, reflecting what is going on in this body-mind.

If anything, seeing this makes me appreciate their work even more.

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Wings of Desire Monday, January 22, 2007 |

I finally watched Wings of Desire tonight, and besides being a beautifully filmed, poetic and deeply human story, it also has some parallels to some of the things I have written about here recently.

The angels in the movie bear witness to human lives, and also consoles, they provide a gentle and quiet presence. And this reflects the wakeful aspect of Spirit, as pure awareness, and also how (it seems) we experience the soul, or essence, as an alive presence, tangible, quiet, supporting, nourishing.

At the same time, there is nothing more (some of) these angels wants than to fully experience an embodied human life, and many of them do as Peter Falk mentions. And we also see one of the main characters choose a human life.

There is a desire for Spirit and soul (essence) to fuse into human life, for all three to be alive as one, in this individual life. For it to awaken to what it is (Spirit), and who it is (individual soul and human), alive, fused, deepening and maturing into and as this human life.

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Wise avoidance |

A rambling post with many loose ends and without an conclusion...

I chopped firewood earlier this evening, and the few times I got a split that was difficult (hitting a knot or a twist in the grain) I saw that I either pushed through with the split, or turned the log to find a different split.

And that is what I do in my life as well. Sometimes, I continue with something that is obviously difficult and does not seem to go so well, and other times I change course. I have even, several times, stopped doing something (even deeply) rewarding because it was too easy for me...!

It is something that is a continuing issue for me: when is it wise to turn around, or change course? and when is it OK to continue, in spite of obstacles, or even intuitions that it may not be the best thing?

Of course, some things are obviously worth pursuing in spite of obstacles and difficulties. Sometimes, these are just part of the path, making it richer and more real for us. There may be a course correction here and there, but the overall direction remains much the same.

But what if the particular course is not only difficult, but also makes me miserable? I have continued some paths like this, and will of course never know what would have happened if I had chosen an easier, and more pleasant, and even rewarding, path. Even here, there is a quiet stream of bliss in the experience, although that seems to be there no matter what is going on, so that is not much of a guide...! And even, or maybe especially, here, there is much to learn. A lot of food for digestion, for deepening into my humanity.

In Buddhism there is the term wise avoidance, meaning that we need discernment about what situations to put ourselves in. What is too much? Which food is too hard to digest for me right now? Knowing also that food not easily digestible for me now, may turn out to be exactly the food and nourishment I need later on.

Well, this is just some rambling on this topic, which may help it clarify later on (or not.)

One thing seems clear, and that is if others suffer for a path I choose, it may be a good thing to stop, reevaluate, and take a course correction.

Food and digestion |

My partner is watching a movie for a language class she is taking, and the movie - with its violence and sense of impending doom - does not sit so well with her. And at the same time, she is smart enough to see that it is less about the movie itself, and more about how she receives it.

The analogy with food and digestion seems quite close...

Any experience is food, and how we relate to the experiences is how this food is digested.

So if our coping mechanisms are not so well developed, then many types of experiences will be difficult for us, even traumatic. And the more developed they are, the more types of food are OK, or even nourishing.

Ultimately, any type of experience can be deeply nourishing, although this requires not only that we awaken to what we are (realized selflessness) but also a great deal of maturity in who we are, as an individual.

If there is only an awakening to what we are, then the experience just sails through us with few or no hooks. It is teflon land. But it does not mean that it is deeply nourishing on a human level.

For it to be deeply nourishing, we need to digest it also as who we are, as an individual. Use it to mature as a soul and human being, to become more deeply human.

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Context and content |

In my late teens, I got into Jung and read a good portion of the Bollingen series (his works translated into English.)

I noticed early on that as I got more into Jung's world view... is insights, views, experiences and examples of work with clients, the more my own dreams resembled the dreams, archetypes and dynamics he described and wrote about. My dreams became, in some cases, textbook Jungian dreams. And why not?

The whole of us wants to communicate with that which we take ourselves to be, and it will use whatever language is most readily understood. It is as if it is saying: if the guy is attuned to a Jungian language of archetypes, let's use that to reach him.

During my time at the Zen center, I did some regression therapy sessions, and as I was immersed in a group focused on the whole human/Big Mind dynamic, that was the main themes coming up in the sessions, along with the more usual rt material (which seemed peripheral.) The strongest session was one where I saw the innumerable cycles of incarnation of my individual self, the shifts and swings between being incarnated and disincarnate.

As I got into Process Work, the themes in my PW sessions where typical PW material and dynamics, weaving into the small me (my conscious view of myself) more pieces of Big me (the whole of who I am, and can be, as an individual).

Then there was a period of more outward focus, working with sustainability on a community level, and my dreams were more free ranging, less conforming to any particular approach (since I was not consciously focused on much inward related at the time.)

Nowadays, being into the two (closely related) streams of working with the three centers and the essence, and realized selflessness, the shifts in my waking life and my dreams tend to reflect these themes, and use a language available to me from Barry and Karen (the local diksha givers) and now also Almaas (since I have started reading some of his books.)

The whole of what/who we are, using a language familiar to us

One way to look at this is that the whole of who (individual soul/human) and what (Spirit, Big Mind, Brahman) we are wants us to...

(a) awaken to what we are (realized selflessness),

(b) embrace all of who we are (the fullness of who we are, as individuals, right now), and

(c) unfold as who and what we can be (heal, mature, develop as individuals.)

And it is using whatever language (a) is available to it (dreams, inner images, synchronicities, and even sensations and feelings), and (b) is most easily understood by who we take ourselves to be (our conscious world view, what we are consciously familiar with.)

Interpretation

The other level here is interpretation. Whatever arises will naturally be interpreted through whatever filters we have, from the basic makeup of this universe to the astronomical context of our planet, our ecology, our biology, culture, family, subcultures, conscious world view, and other influences.

Familiar language, and interpretation

So if we live in a Hindu culture, the symbols and themes in for instance our dreams (or visions, or Process Work processes, or journeying) may take a Hindu themed form. And even if they do not take an explicitly Hindu form, they may still be interpreted in that context.

Instead of Hindu, it may be any other worldspace or combinations of worldspaces, such as Freudian, Christian, pagan, socialist, Sufi, cognitive psychology, evolution, sci-fi, classic literature, or whatever else we are into - consciously or subconsciously.

Dialog

There seems to be a dialog between the fullness of what and who we are (and can be) and what we take ourselves to be. The fullness seems to be using a language as available to us as possible, and our conscious view tends to aligned more with the direction our fullness takes us, if we allow it.

Some effects of the filters

This filter... of the basic makeup of the universe, the astronomical context of our planet, the ecology of our planet, evolutionary history, biology, culture, individual history, current situation, and so on... seems to have many different influences.

There may very well be processes and dynamics deeper than for instance any cultural, and even biological, and maybe even physical differences. And for each of us, they appear to us filtered through all of these layers. So I may have a glimpse of what I really am, and it takes the form of an encounter with Christ or Krishna, or finding myself as Big Mind, or something else. If I am an individual somewhere else in the universe, with an entirely different planetary context, biology and culture, I may still have this glimpse, but filtered in a quite different way.

A full blown awakening may have the same basic features, such as the field of awake emptiness and form awakening to itself, inherently centerless and selfless, but even this one will be heavily filtered in how it is expressed and lived.

At the same time, these filters may determine - to a lesser or larger degree - which processes and dynamics are available to us, and how. For instance, if we are deeply entrenched in a view that upholds the ultimate reality of a separate self (for instance theistic traditions), we may not so easily drop into realized selflessness. Or if our view is strongly materialistic, we may not so easily notice ourselves as pure wakefulness, and the content of this wakefulness as no other than wakefulness itself. Or if our orientation is strongly transcendent, we may not so easily drop into endarkenment and the belly awakening.

And these filters certainly influence our interpretation of whatever happens. They are our interpretation of whatever happens.

So they filter how deeper and more universal processes arise in our individual life, to some extent they filter which processes are available, and they determine our experience and interpretation of these as well.

All the way up and down, it is all filtered by the makeup of this universe as a whole, including its very local characteristics of planet, ecology, biology, culture, individual history, and current situation.

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The one taste of fully experiencing |

My partner mentioned something earlier today which reminded me of the one taste of fully experiencing... It seems that whenever I fully experience something, there is a sense of fullness and expansiveness, and it is tinged with bliss. And this is there independent of what is fully experienced... pain, joy, sadness, longing, bliss, dullness, fear, anger, frustration, excitement...

What is experienced colors the overall experience, of course, but it is almost secondary to the fullness, expansiveness and quiet stream of bliss that is there when it is fully experienced...

It is another form of one taste.

One Taste of Buddhism

And it is not that different from the One Taste of Buddhism either, as fully experiencing allows Spirit to awaken to itself, to notice itself as the field of seeing & seen, inherently absent of boundaries, of I and Other, of any separate I. It releases attachment to resistance, and since resistance is what gives rise to the separate-self sense in the first place, the sense of a separate I falls away along with the attachment to resistance.

Real life

This doesn't mean that just being with our experiences automatically pops us into full awakening. Mainly because it is very difficult (for me at least) to fully be with my experiences. There is usually some trace of resistance... of attachment to resistance... left.

But whenever I am with my experiences, quietly, without adding more stories to it, there is certainly a taste of it. A glimpse of how it is when the separate-self sense fades into the background, and the fullness of what is comes into the foreground.

It is a way to get more familiar with it, dip our toes in the water. Until there is a more clear and stable shift.

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Insatiable as who and what I am |

Both as what (Spirit) and who (individual soul/human) we are, we seem to be insatiable...

I notice this most recently in exploring music (through Last.fm, online radio, and other sources).

There is a deep and quiet exitment and satisfaction in exploring all this music from all over the world, having it at my fingertips, in my living room, being able to share it with others who have similar taste (or not.)

As who I am

As who I am, part of the satisfaction is to explore different parts of myself through this music, especially that of other cultures. I experience myself differently through this music, as I experience myself differently through the larger world in general... any situation, any relationship, any interaction, any engagement, any music, literature, theater, movie... all of these allows me to experience myself and the world differently... bringing new aspects and qualities out.

As what I am

And as what I am, it is the same. The infinite variety of the world of form allows me, as awake emptiness and form, to experience myself in, through and as this infinite variety. Why would awake emptiness arise as form, if not to experience itself as form...?

Awakening to what I am, while embracing who I am

By the way, this is where many approaches to spirituality seem to be a little one-sided. It is true that to awaken as what we (already) are, we need to disidentify with all our (fixed, limited) identities, to die to what we have taken ourselves as, to let go of beliefs in thoughts and ideas.

But this does not exclude living a full life. On the contrary, it allows us to live a far more full life, as who and what we are, in and through this human life. It is fully possible to disidentify from fixed identities, and let go of beliefs, in the midst of a full life.

Awakening to what I am, and experiencing without holding on

What they got right is that to explore life only as who we are does not give any lasting or complete satisfaction. Something will always seem to be missing, and that is awakening to what we are. And in awakening to what we are, we allow anything... There is an absence of holding on, no pushing away, of anything in the world of form.

We can be insatiable, just allowing what arises to arise, without holding on, without pushing away. Just experiencing (and enjoying) our form aspect, as this individual and the wider world, independent of its particulars.

Insatiable?

The word insatiable has connotations of craving, desiring, clinging. When these are blind, it means that we have not yet awakened to what we are.

Here, I am using insatiable in a more free and loose sense, to include Spirit arising as, and experiencing and exploring itself as form. Spirit is "insatiable" only in that it arises as and in innumerable forms, always as new. But since there is no Other here, there is also no clinging.

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Journeying: hardness and energetic hole Sunday, January 21, 2007 |

I did a journeying (for lack of a better term) this morning, after waking up. I noticed a sense of hardness in me, and stayed with it to see what (if anything) would happen...

Hard shining black pearls

There is a small black pearl in my heart area, although a little behind my back. Now, many small black pearls throughout the heart area, of slightly different sizes and forms, all hard and shining. Then a very large one, with a center in the heart area but going far beyond this physical body.

All of the pearls are hard and shiny. They seem far too hard. They are inert, with no interaction with the human self or anything else. I am staying with this hardness.

Sinking into dark crumbly soil

The large pearl sinks into a dark crumbly soil, which is from the belly down. It is slowly softening.

Luminous black infinity

Then there is a sense of unbelievable vastness everywhere, as a luminous blackness, somehow centered in the heart region. It is black, shining, everywhere, infinite, in all directions. It has the shiny black quality of the initial pearls, but is also a void, empty, allowing anything within it.

Fear of nothing to hold onto

Fear and disorientation comes up. There is nothing to hold onto in this infinity, no ground, nothing fixed.

Attention stays with the fear, and it shows up as a knot (or a fist) in the belly. I stay with the knot.

Space below, and dark crumbly soil

After a while, it softens and expands. There is a sense of space in the belly area, the whole lower area of the torso. A soft expansive space.

The space opens up below, allowing the whole of earth... Soft, crumbly soil. Dark, quiet, nourishing, earthy. It is like a womb, nurturing everywhere.

There is an incredible sense of spaciousness and fullness below. Dark, nourishing, spacious and full.

Infinite luminous blackness, and my human self torn into pieces by the infinity

Attention goes back to the infinite luminous blackness, everywhere yet also centered in the heart area.

There is an image of my human self floating in this infinity, and being torn in all directions by the infinite. Fear comes up again. (I see how my identification with this human self, with something decidedly finite, prevents me from going into the infinite luminous blackness, finding myself as it. Being identified with my human self, there is a sense of it being torn into pieces when I go into the infinite.)

The fear is a form of resistance to this infinity, to finding myself as this infinity.

An image of armor comes up, as an armadillo, a Japanese warrior, a tank. (This is the resistance.)

Lower spine

Attention goes to the spine in the lower back, from the tailbone to the end of the ribcage. There is a sense of an energetic hole there, a weakness, impoverished, depleted of energy. The center of the hole seems to be just below the navel (tan tien area.)

I stay with this weakened spine area. (I am also aware of the vast, spacious crumbly soil below, and of the infinite luminous blackness everywhere.)

[I get up an shower, then take a few minutes to go into this again.]

Specks of golden light, and nurturing full blackness

I continue staying with the energetic hole in the spine. After a while, numerous small specks of golden light start working in the spine area, reorganizing and healing. Then, the soft nourishing blackness fills the same area, nurturing the spine and everything else there.

I am with the golden specks and the nurturing full blackness, and sense the fullness and healing in a very tangible way.

After a while, a light gray inner lining of the spine is pulled out through the bottom of the spine. Where the lining used to be, a luminous golden blackness comes up. Healing, working.

[to be continued]

Themes

The dark crumbly vast soil below, from belly down, and somehow centered in the belly.

The luminous blackness everywhere, infinite, and centered in the heart. (The black pearls with the same quality as this luminous blackness, and revealing themselves as this infinite luminous blackness.)

The energetic hole in the lower spine, centered in tan tien.

The working on this energetic deficiency by innumerable specks of golden light (active, moving around) and the nurturing full blackness (nurturing.)

Noticing

I notice how the belly center darkness is vast, dark and nurturing, as crumbly soil. The heart center darkness is a luminous blackness, a void, infinite, combining the alive luminosity and the empty blackness. And what works on the spine is active golden specks of light (yang), along with a nurturing full blackness (yin).

The initial too hard quality of the pearls seems to be connected with a resistance to finding myself as the (luminous black) infinity. And this fear and resistance, taking the form of a hard armor, comes from being identified with this human form.

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Dark night as burning through remaining traces of a sense of I, and the effects of a sense of I Saturday, January 20, 2007 |

One of the functions of the dark night, which comes some time after a clear (or near-clear) and stable awakening to selflessness, seems to be to burn through and out (most of ) the remaining traces of a sense of separate I, and the effects of a sense of separate I on the personality...

The second part of it, burning through the effects of a sense of separate I on the personality, seems crucial here.

For most of us, our personality is formed within a sense of separate I. And although it does reorganize to a certain extent following an awakening, many traces of this sense of a separate I still remains.

And the dark night is one of the ways this is burnt through, allowing the personality (and the individual) to reorganize more fully within a context of realized selflessness. Maturing into it, becoming more seasoned.

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Maturing into the unremarkable |

I looked at some of Adi Da's book at a bookstore earlier today, and was again struck by the discrepancy between content and emotional tone. There seems to be nothing special or unique in the content, yet it has an emotional tone as if it is. This is the same discrepancy I have noticed with his student, Saniel Bonder (Waking Down in Mutuality)... Here too, nothing unique or different in the content, yet it is presented - and has an emotional tone - as if it is. Very odd.

And it seems somewhat immature.

One of the hallmarks of a mature and seasoned awakening seems to be a sense of it being unremarkable, nothing special whatsoever. There is no separate I there, just this one field arising in myriad ways, so how could it be remarkable? Any sense of specialness seems to come from a trace, or more, of a sense of separate I.

In Zen, they talk about the brilliant sun and the hazy moon of enlightenment. The brilliant sun is the immature and young awakening, where there is lots of flashy stuff and maybe even a sense of it being remarkable - to the person it is expressed through and others as well.

Later on, it matures and seasons into the hazy moon of enlightenment, which seems completely and utterly unremarkable, both to the person it is expressed through and others. It just seems very mature, whole, balanced, in a completely unremarkable way.

As a sidenote: I wonder if not a dark night phase following the brilliant sun is what helps season it. Burning through and out (most of) the remaining traces of a sense of I, and maybe more importantly, the effects of a sense of I on the personality... Including a sense of it being special. That is certainly how it has been for me. A brilliant sun phase where it did seem quite remarkable, then a plunge into a dark night where there is no consolation anywhere, and then a gradual emergence into a ground awakening that seems completely unremarkable in every way.

(Not that I am a good poster boy for any of this... the process is far too messy for that, and my human self far too messed up... but I guess that too is part of the process for many.)

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