From overwhelm to spirituality (part 1/4)

I was sitting on the sofa in my living room and staring at the incredibly messy shelf at the wall across from me. Amid the pile of toys on the floor, my two little children were engaged in one of their usual play fights. I was trying to relax, but my mind was as messy as the bookshelf and the floor.

My thoughts were constantly hovering between the need to clean up the mess, to discipline my children, or to get stuff done from my never ending four or five to-do lists. The stiffness, weakness, pain, and fatigue from the rheumatoid arthritis made it even worse.

Oh, how I craved an inner calm and relaxed feeling state of mind!

What hadn’t I tried during the last years in order to get a handle on this feeling of overwhelm. Getting organized better, like boxing up the toys from the floor and putting them away.

I had read through a pile of magazines about decorating the home, being sure that I would be able to feel calmer and more relaxed if only I managed to shape up my living room like in one of those beautiful pictures.

I had read Getting Things Done  by David Allen and also tried to apply the suggested process in order to get a handle on my to-do lists. Great book.

But somehow it all didn’t seem to work for me. All of it was only a superficial cure against the feeling of being overwhelmed by the excessive demands of life.

I was staring at the messy shelf when I suddenly realized,

‘Actually, I don’t want a nicer living room. What I really want is inner peace.’

Boooom! (Now imagine a stage with a lot of smoke and fireworks as the magician pulls a rabbit out of the hat).

“Here you are!“ said the universe the next day and led me to a website which had not only content about homeopathy (which was my passion at that time), but also articles about little children who started to talk spontaneously about their past life memories.

Past lives? Immediately, I was hooked.

In consider this the start of my spiritual journey around the end of 2006.

Urge to read

After that initial article on the internet, I wanted to know more and developed an urge to read.

The first spiritual book that I read was about reincarnation: Children’s Past Lives by Carol Bowman. That touched me deeply.

It shattered my worldview once again. I was lying in bed reading this book where little children of 3-4 years of age would tell out of the blue that they have lived another live before and who they were and how things were different back then.

I felt the floor shake under me, so dizzy did I feel. And initially, I became afraid as I realized that this world is not remotely what I thought it was.

We are not our body!

I always thought that the sense of ‘I’ and my thoughts were a result of the electrical signals in my brain. But, no!  It was the other way around.

If there was reincarnation, then that had to mean that I could exist independently of my body. And if neuroscience tried to find out how thoughts emerged from the brain, that was just as useless as trying to find out how the evening news were created by watching the electron streams in the TV. There was plenty of evidence, not only from investigation of reincarnation (e.g. by Ian Stevenson) but also from near-death experiences (NDE), that our consciousness existed independently of a brain.

In the following months, my interest in homeopathy suddenly dropped to zero and I read only books on spirituality. I devoured them. Even though my life was very busy with a job and my little kids, I found time to read many books. Early in the morning, in the bathroom even before breakfast, and late in the evening, I would find some time for reading.

The next subject on my reading list was channeled stuff:

Conversations with God by N. D. Walsch, The Seth Material by Jane Roberts, The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks, and A Course in Miracles  (ACIM).

That was my next aha moment:

There is a wise inner voice inside each of us.

And some are actually able to hear it! Wow, I wish I could hear that, too!

Actually, one day being able to hear the voice of inner guidance was a huge motivation for me on the spiritual path – besides the initial call for peace. I often felt that having to make an important decision was quite a burden, and I hoped that guidance of a wise inner voice would make life easier.

Later, I read The Enneagram by Rohr and Ebert which triggered another insight:

There is so much unconscious stuff in me of which I was not aware.

I found myself to be type 5 in the Enneagram (investigator, observer). That is someone who lives mainly in his head, likes theories, and in addition has an issue with loss of privacy. How the heck did they know that reading tons of non-fiction books is connected to a resistance of going public?  I had read various models of personality types, but by none of them did I feel as X-rayed as by the Enneagram.

Then in one of the books on esoteric knowledge and spirituality, I came upon the word ‘enlightenment’. What was that?

It sounded like the ultimate wisdom, the ultimate vantage point.

I asked myself and others how an enlightened one would deal with two fighting, disobedient children, a frequently occurring situation which was particularly stressful to me. Would this situation still stress me after enlightenment? Would I know better how to react?

I asked the question to some people on an email distribution list on the topic of spirituality. But nobody there could answer this question. So, I had to find out by myself.

I started to read anything about enlightenment that I could get my hands on. I wanted to find an answer to the following questions:

  • What is enlightenment?
  • What is the journey towards it like? What happens and what does it feel like?
  • What is life like for the enlightened one?

I devoured mainly autobiographies because I felt these would best answer my questions. Some of these books were my favorites. Among the ones that I read more than three times were the books by Jed McKenna, Bernadette Roberts, Suzanne Segal (Collision with the Infinite) Sally Bongers (Everyday Enlightenment), and books related to A Course in Miracles (ACIM) (by Gary Renard, and  Carrie Triffet).

In these books, I found many real life stories about the journey towards and after awakening and enlightenment.

The answers to my questions from reading these books were:

Enlightenment is the permanent shift of the self-perception from a separate body-mind to “all that is”. (This is not to be confused with mystical states of union with the divine that occur as a temporary peak experience   during meditation.)

The journey towards it is different for everyone, but there are some milestones and phases which are similar in most journeys.

There are many features that originate from that state where the separate self has fallen away, e.g. non-attachment, unconditional peace, acceptance, and knowing how to deal appropriately with each situation.

This was all theoretical book-knowledge just from reading, of course. However, the aha moment for me was:

If I assume that I am this body-mind with all its attributes and its history, then I am living in an illusion.

What fueled my search then from now on was not only the search for inner peace but also the search for truth.

If I am not this body-mind, then who or what am I?

Additionally, something else was a huge motivation for me: I wanted to avoid reincarnation at all costs.

After reading many texts on spirituality, my understanding was that we come into this world over and over again. Each time we forget that we are eternal spirit. We even forget our plans for this particular incarnation. The process of remembering our true nature usually involves getting through some difficult experiences which can be potentially traumatizing when they are not properly processed. That means lifetime after lifetime of forgetting and suffering. I wanted to know how do we get off the reincarnation wheel.

Having a body had been great for ballroom dancing. However, due to my painful rheumatic disease, I had come to conclude that incarnation sucks and that I should better avoid another life with a body in 3D space and time.

Where was the emergency exit from this illusion, dammit?

Even though this phase of discovery of another realm was mainly about reading material which shattered my former worldview, I did have the impression that the universe was sending me lessons. That means, things got down from the realm of mere book-knowledge to first-hand experience real fast.

At first, I had my doubts about it. Does life really conspire to send me learning experiences? But then these experiences became too frequent and too unlikely to ignore.

***

This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).

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Insights from the spiritual journey

My spiritual journey has turned my worldview inside-out and upside-down. Here are my key insights:

1. Consciousness can exist without a body.
Before becoming aware that there is something more behind the 3D visible world, I grew up with a scientific, materialistic worldview. I assumed that consciousness was just a by-product of the activity in the brain. (I use consciousness and awareness interchangeably here.)

But then I read a lot of near-death experiences (NDEs) and reincarnation stories. Later I had some meditation experiences which involved the void. And that shifted my worldview. I am consciousness with some content in it. Even after leaving this body, I will be consciousness with something in it.

2. Consciousness is a higher dimension.
What do I mean by that? When we think of  life in a two-dimensional plane, for example (like in the book Flatland), then the higher dimension would be the third dimension which is perpendicular to that 2D plane.

And what characteristics does the 3rd dimension have compared to the 2D plane? It is at the same time everywhere inside  the 2D plane and also surrounding  it. It is above and below and inside the flat sheet of paper, for example.

Yet, even though it is everywhere, it cannot be detected easily  when one is a being which is living in the 2D land because the 3rd dimension is not a 2D thing.

Only its effects  can be felt in 2D land. In the book Flatland, there is a scene where the 3D sphere tries to convince a 2D being that it (-the sphere-) is real. After several fruitless attempts, it does so by punching it in the middle of its 2D-shape, something which is painful but seems supernatural enough to convince the 2D being.

For our 3D world it cannot be visualized that well, but I think of it as analogous. Consciousness is that which embraces all and permeates all.

The witnessing awareness is not just a silent and watching witness. The void (which I call the void because it is not in the realm of things and therefore we have no words for it)  is the potential before manifestation.

3. Everything is connected via consciousness.
As illustrated in the following picture, one 2D being (red triangle) would be able to make a connection to another 2D being (red square)  even if they are separated by a wall. The connection could simply go upwards and then downwards again, passing through the 3rd dimension.

Flatland_connection_2

Again, here in 3D land it cannot be visualized that well. But it works analogously. Telepathy or remote viewing are possible for some people because they can connect via consciousness. I have experienced getting messages from others in my dreams and also feeling the physical pain from from someone else in my own body. These messages were passed via consciousness.

Consciousness is one. There are not many single consciousnesses floating around. The many expressions of consciousness are more like branches of a single tree or arms of a single octopus. Individuated but not separate.

4. Thoughts create.
Some may think, ‘Duh, obvious, we have to think before we create something.’

But that is not what I mean.

I mean that thoughts, especially if coupled with emotions, can manifest stuff, literally (for an example, see post Can thoughts influence the weather?).

After I came upon that insight, I understood why it is important to learn to watch and control my thoughts, especially when the interval between thinking them and receiving the effects became shorter.

5. Inner peace is inside – and can cause miracles.
This could also be phrased as ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within.’

I used to unconsciously search happiness by rearranging things ‘out-there’.

But now my focus has turned to finding the inner peace first. (by turning the focus of attention back on awareness itself, see post Describing the ineffable)

It does not mean that I have to put up with whatever disagreeable circumstances are apparently ‘out-there’. I am not a doormat. (see post The riddle of acceptance)

But finding the inner peace inside first  does two things. A) I can hear guidance more easily when I am at peace. And B) inner peace is the place from which miracles tend to happen. So, even though I do not necessarily change things on the outside by my action, circumstances still change for my benefit (see posts The power of forgiveness and  The magic wand of inner peace)

The insight that inner peace can cause miracles is nothing new. The teachings of The Work by Byron Katie, Ho’oponopono (The World’s Most Unusual Therapist), and A Course in Miracles (ACIM), for example,  all use different approaches for dealing with upsetting situations, but they have in common that they all aim for inner peace when shit hits the fan.

6. There is a guiding force behind the veil.
I was raised partially on spiritual texts that talk about ‘We are consciousness. Everything happens in consciousness. Stay as the witness. Watch your thoughts float by. Detach.‘ and so on. These are important and useful practices.

But I don’t recall any mention of spirit guides, synchronicities, and a force behind the veil which guides us (see post, Coming out of hiding). (Well, there are some mentions, like once we realize what is going on, our head is already in the tiger’s mouth and it is too late. But that didn’t prepare me for my experiences.)

So, I was very surprised when I got clear directions as to where I had to go. Even though I was familiar with the phenomenon of channeling and that there is an inner voice which can tell us wisdom, I was not prepared that this inner voice would give me directions. And not just in a polite way like a sat nav would give them,  but it sounded more like a drill sergeant. Apparently consciousness is not just a silent witness, but it has a direction and a will to it. Once I had done the plunge into the void (awareness looking back at itself), it was like a new boss took over.

And resistance was futile (- surrender is still work in progress).

***

These insights represent what I have come with up to this point in my spiritual journey.

I did not mention every point in my worldview that has shifted. There is certainly more, for example, what about time?, what about free will?, and much more. But the ones mentioned above are the foundation.

For me, these insights are a shift in my worldview that is comparable in order of magnitude to a Copernican Revolution. What seems ‘out there’ is not really ‘out there’ as everything happens in consciousness and therefore happens in me. And reality (i.e. the ever changing content of consciousness) is more pliable than I had assumed before.

(Related post: 15 insights from the spiritual path)

***

This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).

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A Selection of True Awakening Experiences Part II

I am grateful that I have been invited to Barbara Franken’s challenge to share our awakening experiences, Part II .
     Since I didn’t participate in the first part of the challenge, I start with a short description of my awakening journey.
      During a period of overwhelm, I realized that I wanted inner peace more than anything else and that all usual self-help methods had failed so far. This was the start of my journey in 2006.
      After that, the universe led me on a trail. I read a lot about NDEs and reincarnation stories, all of which was mind-blowing to me coming from a scientific background. Then I devoured channeled stuff about spiritual principles (we are consciousness; consciousness is one and creative), as well as A Course In Miracles (ACIM) which is a Jesus channeling about forgiveness. I also consumed many personal accounts of contemporary enlightened ones. I had become a hardcore spiritual seeker in the non-duality department, aiming for enlightenment.
      In 2009, I got my major ‘forgiveness opportunity’ where I could practice the principles of ACIM; I found myself in a situation where I felt exploited. This brought on the feeling of helplessness and huge anger attacks. For the coming years, it was my main challenge to deal with this anger.
      I never went to any spiritual meeting and never had a teacher (other than books and youtube videos). But the universe acted as my teacher, with stick and carrot. When I was off-path (i.e. angry), I got burned out light bulbs and all sorts of weird electrical behavior around me. When I was in inner peace, little wishes tended to be fulfilled in miraculous ways.
      Apart from this stick-versus-carrot-teaching, there were many experiences on the path which I interpreted as lessons. I started to realize that inner peace seems to be very much encouraged by the universe. It is not just another emotion, but it is Home. I found out by experience that thoughts coupled with emotion do manifest reality. Some dreams about the future  seemed to teach me that there is a timeless place in me which just knows the future. I was taught by experience that we are connected via consciousness.
      I went through a dark night of the soul and was forced to let go of the attachment to many parts of the former ‘me’.
      By focusing attention backwards at the ‘sense of I AM’, I found a place inside which is very peaceful. Staying in that peace inside granted access to a  new navigation mode. Wishing and allowing instead of striving and struggling. Learning to read the communication signs of the universe instead of relying on other people’s opinions and best-of-breed processes.
      I had some experiences that showed me  that I am consciousness and that the world is like painted on me.
      Access to the still small inner voice became clearer and offered me advice. I realized that divine guidance showed up in many different ways, via dreams, songs in the head, and patterns of events with literal or metaphorical meaning.
      Up to 2012, my path was characterized by the hunger for books about spiritual knowledge, the awe about all the formerly unseen realms, and also by the huge anger attacks (which lessened somewhat with the help of ACIM lessons).
      In 2012, something new happened. The inner voice asked me to share what I had experienced. But I did not feel ready for it nor entitled to do so. After all, I still have very much an ego and a self. How can I write when I am not enlightened yet? And I reacted with huge fear and panic to that request.
      Slowly and in baby steps, I went forward, sharing anonymously in a forum first. Then, end of 2014,  I started this WordPress blog (only upon request by the inner voice and only after much resistance and some health issues).
      2015 was about meeting fellow travelers on the spiritual journey. Oh, how many different paths there are! But I don’t seem to fit into any of them. Where do I turn when I have no clue about astrology, when I have a hard time appreciating poetry, when I am confused by lightworker lingo and Buddhist vocabulary as well? When I have no knowledge or desire to quote any of the philosophical ‘-isms’ out there. Can’t read auras. Can’t see ghosts. Haven’t had a spectacular Kundalini awakening. I am a mixed breed of everything and nothing.
      But in a dream I was encouraged to ‘just share my peanuts with fellow travelers’.
Where am I now?
      I find myself drawn to bloggers who share their spiritual journey, with all its ugly and beautiful aspects. I realized that despite all the differences of the various paths, the underlying subject is the desire to regain the lost paradise.
I have become more at ease with sharing on my blog and more spontaneous in commenting.  The community here with the large variety of spiritual bloggers is wonderful. Even though I don’t fit into any path or tradition in particular, I still can connect with many of you.
      Since I have decided to remove myself from the exploitative situation, the anger has lessened considerably. Anger and grief do still come up at times, but less frequently and less severely.
      Frequently, I wonder about the many different spiritual paths, their advantages and disadvantages. How come they eventually end up with the same insight, the falling away of the illusion of the separate self,  if they start out with  different belief systems? Are there common milestones for everyone on this spiritual journey? How to create a map for this uncharted terrain? How to use a common language?
       I am also wondering about my day job. Working in a corporate culture sometimes feels like a field study of the coping mechanisms for the illusion of separation. With detached amusement, I watch the rat race and sometimes wonder about the pointlessness of the human endeavors. I see the mechanisms of fear and all its ugly stepchildren. On the other hand, the universe does not make a distinction between private life and work, and therefore the dynamics of the single invisible hand of Source (e.g. synchronicities, miracles, ego-shredding dynamics) can be observed at my day job as well as in any other circumstances.
      After I had overcome this big hurdle of fear regarding blogging, I thought, ‘Now, I can relax.’ But I continue to get these little homework assignments from spirit (youtube video, maybe a Facebook page, prepare workshop about forms of divine guidance and more).  And I struggle with my resistance to each and every new request. Why isn’t blogging enough? I don’t want to have my lifestyle disrupted. Yes, I do like to talk about the spiritual journey one-on-one over lunch. But the thought of having to organize workshops, of traveling, and of marketing makes me cringe with fear. The inner discussion with my spirit guide about this topic would probably fill a book.
      I realize that this phase is about overcoming fear. Surrender is the way forward. And it is not a one time thing. It is a new surrender to every request from spirit.
      Sometimes I think that everything is perfect as it is and that my resistance is perfect, too. It is the only way I can get the full range of divine guidance, in dreams, signs, songs in the mind, etc.. Soft nudges as well as stern warnings and threats. Only this way I am well equipped enough to share about divine guidance.
      But often, the requests of the inner voice bother me. Then, I wonder whether Buddhists hear a still small voice of guidance, too. If not, maybe I should become Buddhist and tell the inner voice to shut up because it is just an illusion, hehe.
***
The next post in this blogging challenge is by Marga on http://lifeasimprov.com/ .

Describing the ineffable

It seems that everyone who has come upon the Source inside has to make an attempt, at least once, to describe the ineffable. Here is my attempt.

Disclaimer
Before I start, here is a disclaimer. The ineffable cannot be described with words because it is outside of the 3D realm for which language was invented.

The book ‘Flatland’ presents a metaphor for this kind of communication problem. It is a story of a three-dimensional sphere trying to communicate with beings who live on a two-dimensional flat plane. The sphere is trying to wake the two-dimensional beings up to the fact that there is more to life than what they can perceive with their senses. As you can imagine, much confusion and frustration follow from that attempt.

The same confusion and frustration happen whenever someone tries to describe the ineffable within us. Names are given. Consciousness, awareness, Source, void, emptiness, fullness, blackness, light. Piles of books have been written on it in an attempt to describe that which cannot be described with words. Those who have met the Source in themselves will nod their head and say, “I know what they mean.” But those who have not yet come upon the divine in themselves will think, “What are they talking about? What a hell a lot of gibberish! Doesn’t make any sense.”

Then, why try to talk about it at all if any attempt is doomed from the beginning?

Because Source insists on it.

Content of awareness
As I am typing this, I am aware of my surroundings, physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions. A blue computer screen, black keyboard, green plants in the room, the view through my window, white sky today. The physical sensation of my body weight sitting on the chair, fingers touching the keyboard. A feeling of coldness in the fingers. The thought that the coldness could be alleviated by eating a warm meal. A gnawing feeling in the stomach. Another thought, ’Is it lunch time yet?’ Impatience arising. A mental vision of my spirit guide. These are all things I can turn my focus towards. The focus of my attention is like a flashlight that I can turn towards anything I choose. Right now it is focused on the battling thoughts ‘Let’s have lunch’ and ‘No, let’s get this post done before lunch.’

Apart from all these things, sensations, thoughts, emotions arising, there is something else. The ineffable. I can choose to turn the focus of my attention away from all the things I have mentioned before. Away from everything out there, away from any thought and any emotion. That does not mean that thoughts and emotions will just vanish while I do this. It just means I can choose to put the focus of my attention on something else.

Where to look
I turn the focus of my attention 180 degrees away from all the things I have mentioned before, like in a U-turn, and look directly back at that which is looking. I turn my awareness back towards awareness itself. I am putting the focus of my attention directly on the sense of I AM.

It is looking at that which is always there in the background, which is always the same for all times (explained in the video on www.justonelook.org as looking at what it feels like to be me; looking at the sense of me). If you prefer to read a book about this method, it is described in The Most Direct Means to Eternal Bliss by Michael Langford as ‘Awareness Watching Awareness’ method.

[edit Feb 2020: How to find out what you should turn the focus of your attention to? Here is a short exercise:

Ask yourself what are you experiencing right now in this moment. Notice the sensations, thoughts, emotions.
Then in your mind go back to about a year ago. What did you experience back then?
Then go back to about ten years ago. Again, what was it like?
Then go back to a moment in your childhood. What was the experience like?

 

Pause and relax.

 

Now ask yourself: what was it that stayed the same throughout all these points in time?

That is the sense of ‘I AM’. That which is watching. Which is aware. This is always the same no matter how old we are. That is what I look back at in the 180 degree backwards looking meditation.]

I don’t need a special posture, a guided meditation with green meadows and a blue sky, or to count my breath, or to still my thoughts to find it. I turn my attention away from my body, away from my breath, away from my thoughts. Even away from any mental visions of my spirit guides.

Describing the ineffable
Ok, now the problems with describing the ineffable start. So, bear with me. What do we find when we turn awareness back on itself?

There is nothing there. Or rather, there is no thing there. What I am looking at is not something like my computer screen which one could look at with the eyes. It is not a physical sensation like the coldness in my fingers either. It is not a thought like ‘I am hungry. I want to go to lunch.’ Not an emotion like impatience or frustration as in ‘Why am I writing this? Probably just another useless attempt at describing the ineffable. Let’s have lunch…’ It is not a vision of an angel in my mind.

The eye does not see anything when the attention is turned 180 degrees backwards. Therefore, my mind labels it ‘blackness’ or ‘nothingness’ or ’void’.

That doesn’t sound very enticing, right? Why turn the attention inwards when there is nothing to be found?

Because this place is Home.

What it feels like
In the beginning of this practice, I experienced a lot of resistance for the first few weeks. This manifested as an itchy sensation over the whole body when I tried to look inwards. But I tried again and again. Eventually, staring back at the one who was looking gave rise to a sense of peace. Now, I have to resort to metaphors. In the beginning, it felt like the peace of a surface of a dark still lake. And when I rested there even longer, I got a sense of quiet joy streaming in. Like a small fountain in the heart area, always moving, flowing, inexhaustible.

I turn there in times of trouble and let myself be cradled in the peace and joy and the feeling that all will be okay.

During daily life, especially during routine activities, part of my attention is usually focused inwards. The peace, joy, and gratitude which come from resting in this looking-back-at-Source-place are unconditional. That means they are always there. Even if my fingers are cold and I am hungry. If there is a sudden shock or panic, I may lose the focus on this quiet background of peace, but I try to return to it as soon as possible.

The peace found inside has a magnetic pull to it. It pulls me inside because it feels so good to rest there.

There is a sense of completeness. Of needing nothing else to be happy. Nothing can reach this joy. No outer things like good food or enjoyable company or an expensive vacation.

The experience of this place is different for different people. Not everyone experiences peace and joy right away. For some, it may feel like a void, and not blissful at all, at first. Inner peace can feel weird. It can be experienced as boring. Or not feeling emotions if someone else suffers feels inhuman.
I have read a story by a woman who was in search of God. And then she was swallowed by this void at times and found it horrible. It took some time for her to realize that the void was answering her prayers, and eventually she was able to relax into it and feel the bliss.

What it is
Since this is so ridiculously easy to get there, I was tempted to think, “This can’t be it. No way. This was much too easy. Why should I be able to find it if others meditate their butt off for decades and still don’t find it?” It is easy to dismiss this place of inner peace and joy as ‘just another emotion’. But it is not. It is the connection to Source right inside of me. It is Home.

It is what we are. It is a higher dimension. Like what the 3D sphere is compared to the beings in 2D flatland, this space of awareness is for the content of awareness. It contains everything. It is not awareness arising from my brain, but it is the other way round. My brain is arising in awareness.

It is a place of singularity beyond duality. It embraces opposites. It is beyond the gnawing feeling of hunger in my stomach and beyond the pleasure of having a cup of creamy Belgian Chocolate ice cream.

This void or no-thing-ness is prior to thoughts. It is like pure potential from which thoughts can be born. It gives birth to thoughts and these turn into something solid.

It is the connection to the single guiding hand behind all the seemingly separate appearances. This is the force which orchestrates synchronicities.

The universe will put us to our knees just so that we can find this place of I AM. We are collectively suffering from a sense of mistaken identity. Looking for love in all the wrong places to fill the perceived hole inside of us. Trying to recreate the lost paradise by getting or rearranging things in the outer world. So, the usual path is that the sense of the wrong persona is stripped away, so that we may eventually come unto THAT which cannot be described with words but which is our true Home.

Turning the focus of attention back to awareness itself is remembering who I am. Or rather remembering what ‘I’ is.

Benefits
It is the place from which guidance and intuition come. And it is the place of the magic wand. Little wishes tend to be fulfilled promptly when I am in this place of unconditional peace. It is just that I don’t have many wishes (except for lunch, maybe) when I am there because everything is well.
It is my life jacket in times of turmoil.

Risks and side effects
It is the connection to Source. At first, I thought, ‘How cool! Can’t you tell me the winning lottery numbers?’ But, no, connection to Source means that Source moves me. In my case, that means I get little homework assignments like ‘Start a blog! Contact this person! Learn to speak up!’ all of which force the little ‘me’ to get out of its comfort zone. (This should be in the fine print to be considered before one embarks on the spiritual journey.)

It feels so good and so complete that there may be little motivation left to do anything else. Why animate this meat suit again if this is not who I am anyway? Why bother with worldly concerns if nothing in the 3D world can give me this peace and joy?

Other risks and side effects of this journey are the deconstruction of the former sense of self and the ego’s reaction to that (see my post about the Dark Night of the Soul). It is all fun and games until someone loses an ‘I’.

Oh, and yet another side effect of having found this place is writing a very long post with too many words about an ineffable topic which cannot be expressed with words in the first place.

But, waking up to this place of unconditional inner peace and joy inside is what we came here for, and that’s why it needs to be expressed even if though it is ineffable.

 

Divine communication devices: trucks

The universe uses whatever is available to communicate with us.  Here are three stories about truck inscriptions.

  1. When I was doing a lot of forgiveness work and reading a lot of ACIM (which is a Jesus channeling), I saw a truck saying, ‘Christ. Die erste Adresse für Umzüge’, which means ‘Christ. The first address when you are moving house‘. Moving my belief system from one set of beliefs to another also required Christ.
  2. In summer 2015, I had promised to write a draft for a course about many forms of divine guidance. When the deadline was approaching, I saw a truck with the inscription ‘www.nicht-bummeln.de’  
    (back then, this led to http://www.utke-transporte.de).
    ‘Nicht bummeln’ translates into ‘don’t dawdle’. I took the admonishment personally and wrote a large part of the draft on that same day.
    It is interesting to note that I never got this sort of push regarding my day job or household chores. Source seems to care more about waking up than about anything else.
  3. ‘I am so sad, I am really longing for someone to comfort me,’ I thought.
    The next day, I saw a truck  with the inscription ‘Trost Transport’ , which translates into ‘Solace Transport’. How nice! I can have a truck load of solace;-)

Behind the scences, there is an awesome orchestrating intelligence at work. It uses whatever it can get for communicating with us. And it definitely has a sense of humor.

Eventually, these synchronicities lead to the insight that we are not who we thought we were. But that we are consciousness which contains all. And that whatever is going on within the body-mind is mirrored in the seemingly outside world.

Phases of the journey

The spiritual journey consists of several phases.

Phase 1) Searching happiness ‘out there’.
Peace, joy, and fulfillment seem to be out there in the future, if we could just get that new job/car/partner/house/child. But the happiness found in the achievement of a new goal is fleeting at best.

Welcome to the human condition.

Phase 2) Searching and finding happiness ‘in here’.
This is an inward movement. Downsizing outer distractions like TV or social activities and withdrawing into the metaphorical cave for meditating.

This phase involves a painful stripping away of the attachment to the former personality (see my post about the Dark Night of the Soul).

Eventually, we find the unconditional Source of peace and joy inside of us. Job/car/partner/house/child may still be there, but they are no longer a requirement for happiness.

Phase 3) Returning to the marketplace
During this phase, the inner peace is tested while being active in the marketplace of life.

Walking through the rings of fear
For me, this phase is about sharing the insights of the spiritual journey. Getting out there and becoming visible, open, and vulnerable. It requires me to leave my comfort zone.

As of summer 2012, the usual chain of events in my experience goes like this:

At first, there is a call by the universe that I need to share in a particular format (anonymous in a forum, for starters, but with full name in a blog later). That call is delivered via the inner voice and is usually enforced by outer signs.

If I resist because of fear (which I usually do), I experience a strong sense of guilt and then there is a talk by my spirit guide. At first a gentle coaxing which turns into a stern lecture later.

If I still resist (which I usually do), there are dreams which tell me that I am procrastinating and which soon turn into warnings (“Share, or else…”).

And if I still resist (which I sometimes do), there are consequences like clogged drains mirroring my resistance, or even health problems.

Relief from the guilt and fear is found, once I yield and do what Source wants me to do.

Recently, I was told by my spirit guide to speak and share in a video format. After the usual battle of resistance (including health issues in the throat chakra region), I finally gave in and recorded this short video about the phases of the spiritual journey (1:30)
https://youtu.be/9z3O8flnm9s

When the universe says Boo!

“Oh no, not another one of these problems!” I exclaimed after my husband had told me that our trash can outside of the house had just vanished into thin air. It wasn’t our own container. In Germany, we usually rent them from the local waste management company.

My mind started racing. Would I have to inform the police and insurance company that it was stolen? What does a trash can cost? Where do we store the trash now?

I’ve had enough of these annoying issues already. From April 2015  through August 2015, they arose one after another. Threats to my time, plans, money, and even my health. Ranging from mildly annoying to frightening.

During one of these issues, I went into panic mode and made an unwise decision. When the train drivers announced their strike, I canceled my train tickets right away and decided to go by bus instead. But about two days later, the strike was called off temporarily and the train drivers agreed to enter mediation instead. Now, I was stuck with the bus tickets which meant a much longer travel time.

That was a lesson. Had I only been able to stay at peace and listen to the voice of intuition! During the next issues, I made sure that I didn’t let fear take over.

It was as if the universe said Boo! in a haunted house ride, trying to push me off center, and all I needed to do was stay at inner peace and say to myself, “I wonder what I feel guided to do now and how this issue will be solved.”

The answer from the wise inner voice was usually,
“Don’t worry, you’ll be okay.”

And then I watched how things worked out – with little or no action from my side.

What about the trash can?

“Oh, it can happen that the garbage truck swallows the trash can altogether. Don’t worry, we will provide you a new one next week”, the lady from the local waste management company assured me. “You can even have a larger one at no additional cost.”

How great! We could really use a larger trash can. With much relief and gratitude, I accepted the offer.

 

A Copernican shift in world view

It was a world view shattering insight for me that consciousness can exist independently of a functioning brain. This is becoming more widely accepted now.

“First hint of ‘life after death’ in biggest ever scientific study”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11144442/First-hint-of-life-after-death-in-biggest-ever-scientific-study.html

How can someone see and hear what is going on in the room when the brain doesn’t function anymore? Our current model does not account for this.

Whenever there is a discrepancy between the model and reality, it is always reality which wins. And it is the model which needs to be adjusted.

This leads to a Copernican shift in world view. Consciousness does not emerge from the brain. It must be the other way round. The brain emerges from consciousness.

Trying to understand how consciousness is created by the brain by studying the electric currents in the neurons is about as promising an endeavor as trying to figure out how the evening news is generated  by studying the flow of electrons in the TV.

10 ways to inner peace

  1. Know about the importance of inner peace
    Inner peace is not just another emotional state, but it is our real being. It is the place of power. Being there is like having a magic wand.
    Inner peace is the place from which knowing comes. Knowing how to act appropriately in a given situation.
  2. Desire peace
    As long as it feels good to succumb to anger, the desire for peace is not strong enough. But life will take care of this. Eventually, we will all have suffered enough, and then inner peace will become the highest priority.
  3. Clear the clutter and simplify your life
    Too much stuff, too many items on the to-do list, and too many responsibilities can feel overwhelming. A friend asked me how I can stay relatively relaxed. I replied that part of it is that I have a low maintenance life-style. I just don’t do a lot of things that women and mothers are supposed to do in our society. Of course, that raises some eyebrows every now and then. But, inner peace is more important to me than fulfilling norms of the society.
  4. Get enough sleep, exercise, walk in nature, breathe consciously
  5. Keep a journal
    Write down anything that is bothering you just to get it out of your system.
  6. Meditate
    My favorite method is turning the focus of attention 180 degrees backwards so that awareness looks at itself. No counting of breaths, no special posture, no visualization techniques. Can be done during sleepless nights lying in bed or during routine tasks like peeling carrots for dinner.
    (This method comes from the Dzogchen tradition, but the easiest explanation is here in this 4 min video http://www.justonelook.org)
  7. Forgive
    If shit hits the fan, my favorite method is ACIM style forgiveness.
    In case you get angry about a situation, turn within and ask for inner guidance. How can I see this differently?
    If I don’t hear any answer, I run through the following checklist:
    -) I don’t get upset because the me which is hurt is not the real me ( – like it would be stupid to get upset about losing in a board game of Parcheesi).
    -) I don’t get upset because the thought which leads to being upset is not true ( turn the thought around with The Work by Byron Katie)
    -) I don’t get upset because there is something good even in this seemingly bad situation ( – maybe the disturbing event or person is meant to mirror me in order to show me something? Maybe it is a reminder of lost peace? Or it has a metaphoric meaning?)
    -) I don’t get upset because I have created the upsetting event myself in the first place (via the power of my creative consciousness).
    -) I don’t get upset because I have planned this challenge before my incarnation and it serves the purpose that I shall remember who I am in truth. (See the great books  Your Soul’s Plan and Your Soul’s Gift by Robert Schwartz. I was surprised to find out why someone might plan to experience alcoholism for decades. I highly recommend these books in case you struggle with some major issue which makes you upset for several years.)
  8. Stop the thought spiral about past and future
    How to stop anger and regret about the past and worries about the future? Options are ACIM style forgiveness, meditation, or focussing the mind on the present or on some task (like mantras or a flow activity).
  9. Give up control
    Being a mother has taught me that I have no control over my children. I have no access to the switch in their head when it comes to whether they learn or whether they clean their room. I can’t turn a tulip into a rose and vice versa. I can only give them water and fertile soil. It’s useless to struggle and then beat myself up about my inability to control them.
  10. Wake up
    See that the separate personal self is an illusion in the first place.
    We are consciousness. Before birth, in the body, and after death, we are consciousness. There is always the ‘I Am’ with content. We are the ‘I Am’ with all its content: noise colors lights shadows sensations thoughts emotions (which are physical sensations in the body) memories (which are thoughts). But by putting the label on our body as ‘me’ and on the other person and the wall over there as ‘not me’, we have separated ourselves with the consequence of fear and guilt. The way back home is seeing through the illusion of these labels. ‘I’ is just a label for this particular body-mind appearing in consciousness and it is not more real than Santa Claus. (Book recommendation: Gateless Gatecrashers by I. Cuinaite and E. Nezhinsky)

15 insights from the spiritual path

  1. I thought all I needed to know about life would be taught to me in school.
    Now I know that most people know neither the goal nor the rules of life.
  2. I thought that consciousness was a by-product of the brain.
    Now I know that the brain is a consequence of consciousness’s thought
    (- the thought ‘I am separate’ taken seriously).
  3. I thought life was about learning facts and skills.
    Now I know that life is about remembering our true nature.
  4. I thought life was about money and success.
    Now I know that inner peace is more important than anything else.
  5. I thought life was about becoming someone special.
    Now I know that the journey is about losing the illusion of the separate self.
  6. I thought I would get the things I needed to be happy from outside.
    Now I know that happiness is an inside job.
  7. I thought I had to change the world out there.
    Now I know that the world ‘out there’ is merely a mirror of my state of mind.
  8. I thought it was important to be in control.
    Now I know that it is about letting go and letting God.
  9. I thought we had free will.
    Now I know that free will exists only as long as I assume to be separate from God.
  10. I thought people were moving around randomly, like molecules in a gas.
    Now I know that encounters are orchestrated with amazing precision.
  11. I thought struggling in life was inevitable.
    Now I know that there is another navigation mode: wishing and receiving.
  12. I thought I was the victim of circumstances.
    Now I know we may have planned our challenges prior to our incarnation.
  13. I assumed stillness was the absence of noise.
    Now I know that the stillness of our real being transcends noise and silence.
  14. I assumed eternity meant a really long duration.
    Now I know eternity is beyond the realm of time.
  15. I wasn’t sure whether God existed.
    Now I know that God is everywhere.