Brain fog and the perfectionist

Brain fog. Dammit.

I’ve been feeling foggy for the last few weeks. I don’t exactly know what’s happening, but I feel like it may be a combination of a few different things.

I started my summer job in beautiful Ásbyrgi in north-east Iceland about a week ago.

As a park ranger, my work is pretty physically intense, with a lot of hiking, maintenance of the park and all kinds of physical labor.

I love being outside so much and working with my hands, but going from doing basic bodyweight exercises every day to the kind of intensive work I’m doing here has left me pretty physically depleted.

My first day of work was about a week ago, then the next day I flew south to Reykjavík to attend my grandmother’s funeral and then flew back north in the evening.

On top of that, I had been asked to play and sing The Beatles’ Let it be, as per my grandmother’s request.

Everything went well in the end, but it really managed to stress me out. Then straight back to work. Now I have a few days off, and I’m absolutely exhausted. Mentally and physically.

I have a pretty strong inclination to perfectionism, which causes me no end of consternation. That means that when I’m feeling off or out of energy, I usually beat myself up for being “lazy” or “unproductive”.

This is really something that I’ve been conscious of for a long time, and I do my best to be aware of it as it happens, but it still manages to catch me by surprise.

Make no mistake, perfectionism is not a virtue.

I would go so far as to call it poisonous. To someone who doesn’t feel the need to achieve perfection, it may seem like a good trait to have. After all, more energy is certainly spent on “perfecting” projects or whatever you may be doing.

However, what’s not obvious is the inner lambasting and criticism associated with perfectionism.

In fact, I believe perfectionism can’t exist without a strong inner critic. A voice inside, however subtle it may be, that just doesn’t leave you alone, that doesn’t allow you to actually finish anything. That doesn’t allow you to take a break because then you would be “wasting time”.

So that brings me to my predicament today. I’m fogged up in the brain. Misty-minded. Temporarily cognitive disability. All right, maybe not that bad, but still pretty unpleasant.

Unpleasant isn’t even the right word. Confusing is more apt.

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A visual representation of brain fog.

I think everyone knows brain fog to some extent. We feel it when we don’t get enough sleep, when we experience a crash after too much caffeine or sugar, or after watching too much mindless TV. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s no fun either.

Brain fog is certainly not compatible with perfectionism.

I’ve written about the inner critic, or inner judge, on a few occasions before, and I’ve made it no secret that I see nothing positive about it. Inner criticism is never constructive. It may seem like it is, but the negatives outweigh the positives.

Whatever you may accomplish thanks to incessant inner judging is shadowed by the stress and anxiety it produces.

What really helped me turn the tables on the inner judge is twofold. The simple awareness of the fact that judgment is occurring is the first step. Nothing can be done without awareness.

The second step is to remove permission for judgment. The way I do this is by finding the indignant, angry, even offended feeling within me and directing it to the judgment. I literally tell it (mentally) to get the hell out of my mind, you have no right to judge me, or even to just fuck off.

Do not try to argue with the judgment. That only confirms the judge’s permission to, well, judge you. And besides, you can’t win. After all, the inner judge is really another aspect of yourself.

Where attention goes, energy flows.

Much love.

 

 

Unraveling the dream, unraveling reality

Sometimes I feel like I must be going crazy. The thoughts going through my mind today are the same thoughts I attributed to craziness a few years back.

I’m often astounded by how much I’ve changed in the last years.

Physically, mentally and spiritually. I feel like the world has changed with me, and in some ways the world has changed, but of course my perception of the world has changed even more.

I’m convinced that waking life is as much of a dream as sleeping life is. Different in texture, different in scope, with different accents, certainly, but a dream all the same.

And questioning the primacy of waking reality is a definite faux pas in our society. It can get you locked up in institutions or burned at the stake, so we better be careful.

Madness is dependent on perceptions as much as sanity is. The crazier I become, the more it becomes clear to me that the world is crazy.

Anyway.

A dream is hard to define, but easy to recognize.

When we become aware of being within a dream, we’re often amazed that we didn’t figure it out sooner. You know, what with the flying tigers and melting clocks and all that stuff. But I submit to you that the same feeling of “how could I have missed that!?” can arise in us when we start to question not only dream, but “reality” as well.

Its what they call enlightenment, no less.

As I progress on my own path of increased awareness in daily life, I constantly become more perplexed by the incredible weirdness of it all. I mean, what is all this? We live in sacks of bone, meat and blood, going from triviality to triviality with glimpses of meaningful experience in between, and apparently everybody dies at the end, although we’re loath to admit it.

So what does it all mean?

The question to answer all questions is the same question we instinctively brush off and ignore.

What we call a “dream” in common parlance is in fact a dream within another dream. And who’s to say waking life isn’t a dream within another dream within yet another dream.

It’s turtles all the way down, as a wise woman said.

So what’s the purpose of contemplating this universal madness, this absolute paradox? I often ask myself this question, but the answer I’ve found is that the contemplation of the ultimate question leads to ultimate satisfaction. Is the answer that there is no answer? A definite possibility. But the journey is the destination, just as the answer is the question.

Perspective is everything. The sooner we see the dream for what it is, the sooner we can let loose and have a bit of fun. Take off the mask and see our own true nature. Spaciousness of awareness arises with a relaxed and quiet mind, and your mind will never be quieter than when you recognize that you’re dreaming. You’re always dreaming.

And what a dream it is!

 

The tricky part is to somehow hold on to this awareness without getting clingy. It’s one thing to understand the dream, and another thing to apply that understanding.

That’s the road I’m on now, and I hope to see you where it ends.

Much love.

Overcoming FOMO and regaining inner space

FOMO(Fear of Missing Out) is poisonous. It corrodes self-esteem, torments the mind and distorts reality.

When I quit social media years ago, I remember going through something of a withdrawal. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but looking back it’s obvious.

I used to be a major lurker on facebook, meaning I almost never posted anything but I was constantly skimming the news feed, looking for tidbits of stimulation.

Quitting was the best thing I ever did for myself.

FOMO is such an apt term for the emotions that social media like facebook stir up. It sums up the whole experience, from our deep fears of not being beautiful enough, tall enough, cool enough, photogenic enough, witty enough, all the way to the fear of missing out on actual experiences, like travel, sports, sex…

This is a vicious cycle that everyone on social media experiences whether they’re conscious of it or not. We feed each others insecurities, in a fruitless effort to cover up our own.

It’s self-judgment at it’s worst, or at least at it’s most glaringly obvious.

I don’t normally experience FOMO, but today it hit me full on.

I have an Instagram account where I post my artwork, but I never really use it except when I actually post something. Today I got a notification that Instagram was updating their terms of use and after I accepted I started to check out the feed. Coincidentally, all my colleagues from school, from the illustration course I had to quit due to illness, had graduated a few days ago.

Naturally, my head started to fill up with negative thoughts and unfair comparisons. “I should be graduating with them!” was the first thought, then came good old “What a failure I am”, and so on. I’m sure many of you can relate.

It wasn’t until ten minutes into this process that I managed to put things in perspective. Yes, it’s absolutely true that I quit the course, but I had good reason: I had become too ill to continue. And apart from that, I’m now almost fully healthy, I just finished walking the Camino de Santiago, I’m now in Sicily soaking up the sun, and life is better for me in every way.

But fighting the inner judge isn’t the answer. Where attention goes, energy flows. We need to dis-identify with these judgements. And that’s very tricky.

What I mean is, in order to be judged, permission is needed. We need to take back that permission. Nobody has a right to judge you, or me. Even our own minds have no right to judge us. As soon as we realize this and accept it, we can start to create real change for ourselves.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the Joy of Awareness if I didn’t say “mindfulness is the answer”. So, mindfulness is the answer, as with so much else.

Without becoming mindful of these thought processes, we have no hope in changing them. Increased awareness is always a good thing. So the first step is becoming mindful of FOMO, which is really just a part of the grander web of self-judgment, and the second step is dis-identification, or taking back the permission to be judged. But how do we do that?

Becoming aware is one thing, but how do we stop identifying with what our mind says about us? Well, I would split it into two facets. The first facet is pretty brusque, but bear with me: tell the inner judge to shut the FUCK up. Easy enough, right? Try to feel the anger, the feeling of offence. Your mind has no right, so tell it so.

You may thing this is stupid, and I agree, it does sound stupid. But I’m all about direct experience. I’m not here to give you results, I’m here to give you ideas. Ideas that have helped me work on the problems we share. So try it. That’s all I ask. You may find that the voice dies down, and what’s left is a feeling of spaciousness.

The second facet of dis-identifying is body-awareness. Becoming aware of body sensations is the easiest and most efficient way I’ve found for expansion of awareness and calming down mind-chatter. The sensations of our bodies are an anchor to the present moment.

Both facets are important. The inner space we gain from asserting our inherent value to the judge makes the shift of awareness from mind to body all the easier.

We may all be different, but in many ways we are the same. We can all work on overcoming self-judgment, and we can all benefit from it.

I pray for our success in expanding our capacity for self love. We’re in this together.

Much love.

Dimensional dysfunction – My evolving OBE experiment

In the last month or so I’ve been reading about and experimenting with OBE (out-of-body experiences), AKA astral projection.

Strange stuff. I’ve had some weird experiences so far, but as of yet I haven’t been able to project. If you wanna know what the hell I’m talking about click here.

So what have my results been? Well, I’ve taught myself to relax very deeply, which is very pleasant to be honest.

Deep relaxation is supposed to be a cornerstone for achieving the OBE state.

Multiple times now I’ve started experiencing projection related phenomena while or after doing these relaxation exercises, like a very heavy feeling in the body, vibrations, rapid heart beat, auditory and visual hallucinations, but no success with actually having my consciousness exit my physical body.

There was one instance especially where I was sure I was on the verge of projecting.

I had been lying flat on my back without moving for about 40 minutes, focusing on relaxation and sort of encouraging the vibrations to spread throughout my body, when quite suddenly everything became way more intense.

I started to feel very heavy, my heart started pounding, I started hearing voices, I felt a strong tingling or vibrating sensation all throughout my body and I started seeing strange visuals behind closed eyelids. The visuals were like falling through a colorful, swirling tunnel or wormhole or something.

It was all very strange and I became very excited and thought ‘This is IT! This is IT!’ and I opened my eyes. I was still lying in my bed, certainly still in the physical, and all the sensations faded away. I couldn’t help feeling a bit bummed.

I’m pretty sure I just opened my eyes too soon, if I had allowed what was happening to keep happening, maybe something would have happened.

Frankly, after that I became a bit discouraged for some reason. It’s weird, because I feel like I came very close to the goal but somehow stopped myself short.

Instead of seeing it as a sign of major progress, it felt more like a failure. I was busy walking the Camino de Santiago at that time, and I kind of stopped trying after this episode, I’m sorry to say.

I started to focus more on lucid dreams again, and I’ve had some minor success with that in the last few weeks. Now that I’m back home I want to start working on the astral projection stuff again.

I want to combine it with lucid dream work, as I’ve learned that many skills necessary for the one are also immensely useful in the other.

Stuff like visualization, relaxation, prospective and retrospective memory, and concentration all seem to play a major part in both.

I already have a little experience on and off with dream work, and I’ve had some major success with it in the past, including one particularly clear and powerful lucid dream that sort of redefined my view of the world as a young adult.

I’ll write an in-depth post on my experience with lucid dreams at some point.

Suffice it to say, I’m ready to do some real work on OBEs and dreams in the coming weeks and months.

This is an area of spiritual discipline that I find incredibly interesting and I’m sure there are endless opportunities for growth and learning hidden within (and outside) the unconscious mind.

I’ll be writing a lot more on this topic in coming days. For now I’m still getting my mind to accept the fact that I’m no longer walking 30 km a day, that I’m back home in Iceland.

Much love, until next time.

Update on my OBE experiment – Week 2

This post will be short because, frankly, nothing has happened yet.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I’m getting really good at chilling the fuck out, pardon my french. Like consciously relaxing my body, and I feel some nice benefits from that alone. It’s a cool skill to have.

If you haven’t read my first post on my OBE experiment, feel free to check it out. In short, I’ve decided to make the experience of an OBE or astral projection a priority in my life, if it is at all possible.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, OBE is short for Out-of-body experience, and it means just what it sounds like. I haven’t experienced it for myself (yet, hopefully), so I don’t know if it’s real or not, but there are so many accounts and loads of anecdotal evidence from people who have experienced it that I find it highly unlikely to be some kind of mass ruse or delusion.

That said, I’ll just quickly lay out my regular OBE routine that I try to do every night for 30 minutes to an hour. I’ve been changing it a bit as I go along, figuring out what works for me.

I start by lying down and getting comfortable somewhere quiet where I won’t be disturbed, and then I do some conscious relaxation. Normally, just focusing on my breathing and then expanding my awareness throughout my body is sufficient for me to fully relax, but sometimes I need to do a more structured relaxation exercise, like focusing on each body part individually, consciously releasing tension as I go.

After I feel fully relaxed, I start to focus on the tingling, vibratory sensation that I almost always feel throughout my body at this stage of relaxation. I focus on it, kind of encouraging it to expand and intensify. Up until recently I was also repeating a mantra/affirmation, like I now allow my consciousness to travel beyond my body, but I feel like it disrupts my relaxation so I stopped. Maybe I’ll try them again later.

At the point where I feel very relaxed, feeling mildly intense vibrations in my whole body, I to focus on the darkness behind my eyelids, and the low ever-present ringing in my ears.

Yesterday I tried moving my attention to where my third eye would be, I’m not sure if I was focusing on it mentally or visually behind my eyelids, but some strange sensations started to occur. At one point I felt like the darkness behind my eyelids became three dimensional, if that makes sense, as if it became spatial.

I’ve also tried visualizing or imagining the sensation of floating and lightness, which can become very pleasant.

All said, I’ve been experiencing some weird, cool stuff, but so far I have yet to actually experience separation from my physical body. I’m going to keep going though. I’m prepared for this to take quite some effort and time. I’m in no rush, to be honest.

If anybody reading this has any more info or experience with OBEs or projecting from their body, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment or send me a line through the About me page.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

Until next time, much love.

 

Affirmations, Prayer, and Intent

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on my approach to affirmations. I want to expand on that article today, adding the concepts of prayer and intention.

Wands.jpg
The magician, colored pencils. Based on Pamela Colman-Smith’s original from the Rider-Waite tarot deck.

I’ve used affirmations daily for little over a year now, and they’ve changed my life. It’s been gradual but profound. The way I see it, repeating positive, loving statements to yourself is a way of rewiring thought patterns. Negative thought patterns are made habitual by constant repetition, and it stands to reason that the more we repeat positive thought patterns, the more habitual they will become.

But repetition of a particular affirmation is meaningless without meaning, or emotion. When repeating an affirmation, for example I love myself unconditionally, we must find the feeling of love within ourselves and radiate it throughout ourselves, effectively visualizing the affirmation.

Affirmations

I used to repeat my set of eight affirmations seven times in rapid succession, without actually giving myself time to actually feel the meaning behind them. I now repeat them only three times, instead inserting a pause between each of the eight affirmations where I consciously visualize or feel the meaning of each affirmation in my body and mind’s eye. I’ve started noticing good results only a few weeks after implementing these simple changes. For those of you who haven’t read my first article on affirming reality, here are my affirmations:

I am free from all addiction

I am healthy, wealthy, and content

Every day, in every way, everything gets better and better

I love myself unconditionally

I feel my inner peace deepen every day

Riches flow toward me from all directions

I am conscious and mindful

I deserve all good things that come my way

I’ve also added two different forms of affirming my reality, with prayer and intent. I call them forms of affirmations because I see them as variations upon a theme of reprogramming thought patterns.

Prayer

Prayer has some unfortunate religious and dogmatic connotations. To my mind, the difference between an affirmation and a prayer is really just to whom or what the words are being directed. In affirmations, we are directing our thoughts to our immediate state or circumstances, whereas in prayer we direct our thoughts to a higher power, whatever that might be.

To those of you with reductionist leanings, this is where our philosophies differ, because I see myself as more than the sum of my part, as well as the universe around me. If directing a prayer to something ineffably wiser and more expansive than yourself is for whatever reason unthinkable to you, then skip it.

Really, just do what you want to do. I will say though, that in my experience, prayer can be an immensely calming and humbling activity, whether or not there is a higher power.

The only prayer I’ve used is one that I made up for myself, and you’re free to use it for yourself. However, I’m pretty convinced that creating affirmations and prayers for yourself is a lot more beneficial than using someone else’s, if only because different words have different meanings for different people. Only you know yourself well enough to know what to pray for. Here’s mine:

Grant me the strength to withstand all temptation, to overcome all fear, and to live in eternal love.

Simple but effective, right? I repeat this slowly to myself three times, giving myself ample time between words to truly feel the meaning behind them. Meaning is key in all work with thought patterns.

Intent

The most recent addition to my own thought-pattern work has been intent.

Intent is similar to affirmation in many ways, but I guess that the way I use this particular tool differs in that intent is more specific to where I am here, now, while my affirmations tend to be more general.

I use the concept of intent to shape each day of my life. My intent for today went something like this:

I am love. Today, I find the love within me and radiate it toward myself, those I love, and especially toward those I find difficult to love, because I know that they probably need it the most.

I am energy. Today, I make conscious decisions to avoid all activity and circumstances that rob me of my energy, and I seek out the activity and circumstances that allow me to expand my energy.

I am consciousness. Today, I practice mindfulness in all aspects of my life. In meditation, I work hard at developing and expanding my awareness, making conscious decisions on all aspects of my life.

I am courage. Today, I face my fears head-on, whatever form they may take. I overcome all fear through love and awareness.

I am gratitude. Today, I feel gratitude for all aspects of my being. I’m grateful for the people who love me, the roof over my head, my health, and the simple fact that I’m here at all. I’m equally grateful for the challenges that come my way, as these are the greatest lessons of life.

I say all of this slowly, out loud whenever possible, or in my head when there are people around. I use the same sense of feeling the meaning of each statement. And I also allow myself to improvise a bit in my intent every day, depending on that day’s particular challenges and the way I feel. As before, feel free to use mine, but I strongly suggest that you figure out your own priorities and develop your own intent. This is a very powerful way to develop and discover true self love.

I want to add that all of the thought-pattern work I do, is part of my daily meditation habit. The first ten minutes of the hour session is earmarked for affirmation, prayer and intent. If you haven’t already started meditating daily, I can’t recommend it enough. It will change your life, even your experience of reality, in ways you can’t imagine, in ways that cannot be explained. I wrote a short article on how to start, check it out here.

That’s the funny thing about awareness, you can’t be aware of what you’re not aware of already. The expansion of consciousness is infinite.

Until next time, much love.

Are you really self-aware?

The standard narrative has us believe that self-awareness goes hand-in-hand with being human, but how much of the time are we really self-aware?

In the last few weeks, I’ve been working on becoming mindful in every day life. What repeatedly surprises me is how much of my day is completely automatic.

From the way I stumble out of bed in the morning (well, actually I sleep on the floor now, but that’s a story for another day), to the way I get dressed, to the way I brush my teeth in the evening before bed.

All of this has become automated from years of repetition, and that’s well and good, to be honest. It saves me the energy of having to control every muscle in every instant.

But sometimes it becomes harmful. Negative patterns of behavior, like negative thinking, repressing emotions, addiction and compulsion are just as easy to imprint as positive patterns. For example, a mindfulness project of mine these last weeks has been to improve my posture, especially the way I carry my shoulders.

It amazes me how many times in the day I suddenly realize that I’ve tensed up my upper back, pulling my shoulders to my ears or rounding them forward. When I notice, I remind myself that this isn’t a healthy way to sit or stand, and I correct it consciously. Those moments of sudden awareness of my posture are glimpses of true self-awareness. And that implies that the rest of the time, I’m not actually aware, or at least not fully aware.

Mindfulness is the key to correcting any and all harmful behavior and compulsions, but realizing when you’re mindful and when you’re not is the tricky part.

The way I see it, the only time we’re truly self-aware is when we’re completely and utterly here, now. At the mercy of the present.

Thinking is not indicative of self-awareness, unless you’re actually aware of your thoughts as the come and go.

Movement is not indicative of self-awareness, unless you’re actually aware of the sensory input your body is picking up from its surroundings.

Saying ‘My name is Tolli and I live in Iceland’ is a script that I’ve repeated a million times, and thus is not indicative of self-awareness.

Only when I actually am in the process of being Tolli from Iceland, am I truly self-aware. And in those moments of clarity and presence, my name and nationality are meaningless. My past and future is irrelevant.

All I have is now. When I become truly present, I realize that the present moment is all there is.

Memory is fickle. Prediction is unreliable. Now is where it’s at. The past and future are concepts. They aren’t real, and they cannot be experienced.

They feel real when we think of them, but we can only think of them in the present moment. Because that’s where we all are, and that’s where we’ve always been.

So now that we see that here, now is all there is, we can deduce that ‘not being in the now’ actually means thinking of past or future events instead of experiencing what is happening around and within us. B

eing outside of the present moment is literally impossible. Even if by some incredible scientific breakthrough a person manages to travel to a different time period, that will become his or her present moment. But I digress.

My goal in life is to become fully self-aware. I want all my behavior to be fully conscious. Conscious thoughts, words, actions.

Compulsion has no place in the life of a fully conscious human being, nor does addiction or depression. I want to take full responsibility for my entire existence.

Consciously accepting and embracing the good and the bad. Consciously deciding to feel love and gratitude in every moment.

Living a life of kindness and compassion. All this will come with increased self-awareness, as it has for countless others.

Much love to you all, until next time.

Awareness is curative in and of itself – Living the mindful life

For the last few weeks I’ve been studying mindfulness.

I’ve been taking an eight week MBSR (mindfulness-based stress-reduction) course, reading a lot about it, and of course, attempting to actually implement it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that mindfulness is the key to fulfillment.

I’ve been meditating for a few years now and the benefits have been astounding, but it’s only recently that I started to seriously attempt to bring the awareness I was developing on the meditation cushion over into my every day life.

The results have been so much more positive than I expected.

For those of you that are out of the loop, mindfulness is pretty simple in essence. It basically means to be here, now.

Whatever you’re doing, whatever your circumstances. In that sense, mindfulness is a sort of meta-skill, meaning that it’s an activity or practice that affects all other activities.

Sort of in the same way that improving your grammar and vocabulary affects your ability to study and learn the entire spectrum of academic disciplines.

You can be mindful while eating, or while walking to school, in a conversation, standing in line at the store, reading, exercising, while doing anything really.

No matter where you are or what you’re doing, mindfulness is always a stone’s throw away. And the strangest aspect of practicing mindfulness is this: Awareness is curative in and of itself.

There’s a reason MBSR is such a huge thing now: because practicing mindfulness, that is, developing your every day awareness, actually does result in stress reduction. That’s what I’ve experienced anyway.

The Perils of Multitasking

I used to always read while eating. At least, I would try to read. Normally I would manage to read at most two pages in whatever book I was reading while shoveling down my food, without even actually remembering what I read.

And I also didn’t enjoy my food, because I was too focused on trying to multitask that I couldn’t enjoy the taste and texture of whatever I was eating. Bummer.

I kept this up for years, but I’ve stopped now. Why? Because I found that as soon as I started to actually just eat, I started to chill out.

I think that when I try to do more than one thing at a time, I’m sending my body the message that my time is limited. Which means I should hurry, which means I should release stress hormones. Make sense?

That’s another thing I’ve consciously stopped doing: Hurrying. Hurrying is such a stupid thing to do anyway, unless you’re actually missing a bus or late for a meeting or something.

And even then, you only need to hurry just enough to catch the bus, or arrive on time. There’s no need to stay in hurry mode while waiting for the next bus after missing the one before it, or to keep feeling stressed because you arrived ten minutes late. What’s done is done, just be here now.

What is hurry?

Hurrying is really a way of postponing the present for some future event. You think ‘I can’t be here now, because I need to be there, then!’.

It’s ridiculous, really. Like I said though, hurrying has its place, even though it’s always pretty unpleasant.

The real problem for me at least has been hurrying for no reason whatsoever. Like hurrying up with washing the dishes because I want to then hang up my laundry because then and only then can I enjoy lying on the sofa to read a book, or have a cup of tea.

But what I’ve found is that I can feel quite fulfilled washing dishes or hanging up wet clothes when I actually decide to do it with conscious awareness.

Moving my attention away from thoughts or cravings for some future point in time, instead focusing on the sensations of handling wet cloth, or the sound of running water, or the light bouncing off slick porcelain.

When I said that awareness was curative, this is partly what I meant. When we become fully aware of the present moment, whatever it may hold, all kinds of changes take place. Heartbeat slows down, adrenaline production decreases, muscular tension dissolves.

It’s not that you’re suddenly in control of these automatic responses to stress, but instead that by virtue of moving out of doing into being, the mind and body calm down. It’s incredible when you realize this simple truth.

Try it out for yourself. You don’t need an expensive course, you don’t even need to buy a book. Everything you need to feel fulfilled is right here, right now.

Update on my OBE experiment – Week 1

In a previous post I wrote about my plans for learning to astral project/have an out-of-body experience. That was about a week ago, and I’ve been practicing every night when I go to bed, and sometimes I take a nap during the day and practice then as well. The results so far have been really weird, although I’ve yet to actually separate.

If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about check out William Buhlman’s website.

First though, I want to share this drawing I did in colored pencil, from the six of pentacles in the Rider-Waite tarot deck. The design is based on Pamela Colman-Smith’s original work.

I’ve done quite a few of these tarot drawings now, I look forward to sharing more of them in the future.

This card came up in a reading for myself, as a prediction of future events. The way I understood it is that I’m moving more and more into the direction of sharing, giving.

Helping others. However, I also saw myself as the beggar, learning to ask for help and accept it when offered. Right, on to my OBE shenanigans.

First off, the exercises for inducing OBEs are incredibly pleasant. One of the main goals is to learn to relax the body completely, while keeping the mind gently alert. Which feels really good, as it turns out.

The routine or practice that I’ve been using has been to basically lie down in a comfortable position somewhere quiet, start with some deep breathing for a few minutes. Then I repeat the affirmation ‘I now travel consciously outside my body‘ maybe 40 times, trying to strengthen my intent with each repetition. Then I focus on my body.

Note that the practice I’m talking about is very meditative. I’ve felt that the more I practice these techniques of relaxation, the more focused I become in my meditation sessions.

In order to completely relax, I confirm my intent to lie completely still and not move a muscle. No scratching, blinking or swallowing. I believe this is a very important step.

Then I focus on the sensations I’m feeling in my body, like my skin touching the floor or bed, temperature, a feeling of heaviness or lightness, and as I start to relax more and more I usually start to feel a pleasant tingly vibration somewhere in my body.

As soon as I notice that, I start focusing on that feeling and sort of encourage it to spread throughout my body.

I think the vibrations that are often mentioned in the context of OBEs usually coincide with absolute relaxation, in my experience at least.

Then when I feel the vibrations all over I start to simultaneously focus on the subtle ringing sound in my ears and the blackness behind the eyelids. If I’m having a hard time feeling the vibrations I skip this step.

  1. Lie down in a comfortable position in a quiet space
  2. Deep breathing for a few minutes to calm down, lying completely still
  3. Repeat the affirmation ‘I now travel consciously outside my body‘ for a few minutes, increasing power of intent with each repetition
  4. Focus on bodily sensations until you start feeling a tingling vibration, then start focusing on that and encouraging it to spread throughout the body
  5. Focus simultaneously on vibrations, ringing in the ears and blackness behind the eyelids.

For the first few times I practiced this I didn’t feel much to be honest, but the last two or three times I’ve managed to stay conscious into a sort of half sleep paralysis, with quite intense feelings of vibration, like an electrical current.

Last night especially, I felt the vibrations very clearly, and the ringing in my ears was magnified, as if it were growing louder.

Then after a while of that I started seeing weird visuals behind closed eyelids, sort of reminded me of the visuals after taking a large dose of psilocybin mushrooms. Really weird but in a very pleasant way.

Then my girlfriend crawled into bed next to me and I fell out of the trance and fell asleep very soon after that. But I’m sure that I came closer to an OBE this time than ever before.

I’ve also noticed that I seem to sleep better and remember my dreams very clearly after I started to practice these techniques.

I’ve been trying to get myself to do it when I wake up during the night as well, as this supposedly improves the chances of going out of body, but I’ve been pretty groggy and haven’t remembered to do it so far.

That’s fine, I’m going to give myself plenty of time and practice, and I’m not expecting any results right away.

I’m starting with 30 days but if I don’t experience it in that time frame I’ll keep going.

There are obviously numerous other benefits to this practice and I’m sure there’s more to come.

I’ll keep you guys updated, I hope you find this subject as fascinating as I do.

Experimenting with OBEs

I keep coming back to awareness. I guess that’s why I decided to call my site Joy of Awareness, HAH. It’s just so multifaceted.

The more I understand awareness, the more I realize how much more there is to understand. If that makes sense. Of course it does. It seems to me that there is an almost limitless potential for awareness expansion. Just looking back and seeing how much more aware I am of everything today than, say, five years ago or ten. I hardly even recognize myself.

I’ve been researching OBEs recently, Out of Body Experiences for those of you hearing about them for the first time. I just finished reading Adventures Beyond the Body by William Buhlman, and MAN that stuff is mind boggling.

It’s so weird, so fascinating, that I decided that I need to check it out for myself, so for the last few days I’ve been doing meditations and repeating affirmations recommended in Buhlman’s book. He says that in his experience, most people who put in the effort get some kind of results within 30 days.

I somehow can’t get myself to believe that such a concept has any foothold in reality, but the author seems so sincere and honest. He has his books available for free on his website, along with loads of further information about OBEs.

It’s just that the subject is so far mainstream sensibility that it’s hard to swallow that it might be real. And this is coming from a guy who’s deep into psychedelics, meditation and magic.

I’ve even experienced some incredible clear lucid dreams in the last few years, and you wouldn’t think there would be a big leap of faith between conscious dreaming and out of body experiences… I know things aren’t always as they seem, yet I find myself falling into patterns of conditioning again and again.

The only way to get to the bottom of this is to allow myself to fall into this particular rabbit-hole. So that’s why I’m going to go all in on these exercises for at least a month, preferably longer. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t.

So what I’m going to do is one 30 minute ‘nap’ every day. I say nap because I’m basically trying to allow my body to fall asleep through relaxation meditation, while remaining consciously aware of myself.

For the first 10 minutes of the nap I’m going to repeat affirmations along the lines of ‘I’m now allowing my awareness to travel beyond the physical body’, and then I simply focus on staying absolutely still, while relaxing further with every breath.

I’ve already experienced the so-called vibrational stage, which in my experience coincides with deep relaxation. It’s when you feel like there’s a current of electricity humming through your body, and a few time I’ve felt this very intensely. I feel like I’m on the right track, at the very least.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress. I’m really excited, although I can’t help but be a bit doubtful at the same time. I look forward to sharing my experiences.

Anyway, I highly recommend Buhlman’s book, and also Robert Monroe’s book Journeys Out of the Body. Both of those books are at the very least thought provoking, if not positively paradigm-shattering.

Much love.