Inspiration Day

60
Moebius – from “40 days in the Desert”

It’s obviously Inspiration Day, at least where this body navigates 3D-space.

Humanity is addicted to violence, greed and ignorance, and refuses all treatment… so far. (Addiction is keeping on doing things, and actually putting lots of work, focus and money into maintaining it, when it’s obvious to you and everyone concerned that it’s eating your health, happiness and future away and destroys you at some point.)

My life has been a study in artful living; I am a senior practitioner of the art of life — my transformations are always entangled with beauty.

The ego/I is a token of ownership; when great and beautiful thoughts pass through the wetware that language insists on calling my brain, the process of ego-ing, the prime addiction of humanity since the Age of Enlightenment (at the very least), is trying to turn these thoughts into “my insights”. This addiction, like all addictions, will never satisfy the deep human hunger for true and immediate participation in reality. Rather, complying with the dominant cultures’ constant ego-ing leads to passive and active aggression over what’s mine and what’s yours, keeping scarcity and its concomitant fears intact as foundation of “civilization.”

What we call culture and civilization is really just automated behavior, thinking and feeling; automated because it’s obvious, and “only a fool would question it” because it’s common sense. Great artists find ways to show this to us, by comedy, tragedy, music, 2D and 3D artifacts, film and so on. To get out of behavior that you’ve automated simply find behavior you would prefer, and automate that (I’d rather use the bandwidth of my “reality interface and working memory” — what people call consciousness — for presencing instead of focussing; but hey, you can do whatever you like 🙂

What arrives in consciousness and the way it does is patterned and constellated by the “deep self.” If you’re lucky, like me this morning, you can participate knowingly in the configuring of what’s going to be “reality” on waking. What this participation showed me again, is how brilliant, beautiful and wise unconsciousness or deep self really is; this gives me all the more reason to forever deepen the trust I put in “her.” The deep self is female to me, maybe because she’s my real mother, or maybe because of why C.G. Jung said that man has an anima and woman an animus.

 

From the Trenches of Being my own Best Friend

Embedded in my flowery self

17 days ago I started the practice of Being my own Best Friend, and I’ve wanted to spill the beans of what has happened in life and my reflections on it since.

The picture on the left comes from Ecstatic Thursday, the day when being my own best friend was turning my soul into such sweetness that I had to run out of a work-related meeting, lie down amidst the flowers, and catch it on photo to share some of my felt delight with my friends.

But let me try to be a bit more chronological. One of the first obstacles I had to overcome in my contemplation on what it really means to be my own best friend was, “Do I really have a best friend?”
I mean, yes, sure, I do have a best friend, but is he going to cry when I die?
My own crying isn’t a good comparison in this matter: I already shed a tear or two when I see people hugging on TV. It took me a couple of days to figure out if my best friend, U., really is my best friend. When I visited him a week or so ago I found that, definitely, he is – and I told him so, which was an added pleasure. So yes, that obstacle has been overcome, but it illustrates what I feel to be a necessary part of these experiments. Seriously look at everything that comes up ― ruthlessly facing the reality of what my body-soul-mind-spirit-system offers, exploring the whole range of what friendship means to me.

I was amazed at what I found out after a few days when investigating the origins of the word “friend:” The Germanic root of friend is “vriunt, friunt”, which means “the loving one; the one that loves [der Liebende]”. Moreover, “friunt” is closely connected to “vri, fri”, meaning, yes you guessed right, “free”. Vri, fri means, “to belong to the loved ones, the tribe, the clan, and thereby to be protected”, and/or “beloved, wanted, wished for”. Contemplating this heritage of friendship was and is a delight, “To be free is to belong to loved ones, and to be a friend is to be a loving one.”

Being my own best friend is all about love ― which in Ancient Greece came in four different flavors: agape, eros, storge and philia, of which the last one is often used translated as friendship (philosophy, “friend of wisdom” from philia and sophia). Aristotle, which I read in the Wikipedia article about Philia says interesting things about friendship, somehow sums up why one actually should be one’s own best friend, “the good person must be a self-lover, since he will both help himself and benefit others by performing fine actions. But the vicious person must not love himself, since he will harm both himself and his neighbours by following his base feelings.”

Inner Landscape

The first 10 days of this self-bestfriending practice where very encouraging, easy, most of the time imbued with a deep sense of well-being enhanced with the contemplation that this is the foundation of being my own best friend, this sense of bringing well-being to myself.
And then it got challenging, all the ‘good feelings’ left me. My ordinary sense of self returned, a sense of slight skepticism ’bout everything; this may sound harsh – at times it actually is – but it’s founded on what I learnt through my parents, cultural history, growing up in opposition to the given order of matters and things, “You can’t take anything for granted;” “You have to question everything and everyone;” “You’ve got to continually prove you’re worthy of all that is good;” etc.

I didn’t wake up in the morning anymore, like in the first ten days, automatically remembering that “I’m my own best friend,” which meant a whole-bodily remembrance until that point. Rather, some mornings I entirely forgot and only remembered later on the day – to my dismay! “What’s happening,” I thought. “Why isn’t this happening all by itself now?” Maybe I’m mistaken about Neuroplasticity?

It took a couple of days before I realized that being my own best friend wasn’t about feelings. It’s about facts. The sweet ecstasies of self-friendship, and the feelings of friendship with people I interacted with, the deep feeling of connection I share with a very few people, and so on, these emotions can be mistaken for friendship, for love even.
Let me give an example; I have a son. If anyone would ask me at any moment, “Do you love your son?” I’d answer unequivocally, “Yes!” I wouldn’t go check my feelings first and then answer according to what I find. Rather, my feelings would follow my response – right after giving my answer my feelings would acknowledge what I just said. Please don’t misunderstand; often my feeling will be faster than my answers or even thoughts, but in the case of relationships it seems these feelings are there to anchor, acknowledge, affirm what I am already certain of. [An aside: You may not know that I know, in one glance, if a person is a real friend or not – it’s a soul2soul thing that I’ve learnt to recognize. That doesn’t mean that I know how it will develop, I just know the foundation.]

So, maybe losing the first rush of self-friending is a good thing; I’m deciding that it is so. Neuroplasticity is, once your brain has responded by building the proper neuro-infrastructure, all about automating the behavior and way of being that you install. So that it can run in the background with all the other functions and behaviors that we do not have the consciousness-bandwidth to run in clear awareness. (Here for a book I read ages ago on the bandwidth of consciousness.)
[An aside, as the above terminology can sound harsh. A metaphor I use to make this view clear ― consciousness is akin to water. Boundless consciousness is like the ocean; there isn’t a clear sense of self or anything else for that matter. Our character is like a huge delta of a river, all the little streams and rivulets are the way the water takes. Our personal character and our brain are pretty much the same; you damage your brain, your character changes dramatically. So our character is the form, the riverbed of the originally totally free flow of water/consciousness. Also: We can only focus on a very small area of the delta at any given time. What I call bandwidth of consciousness above I’d better call bandwidth for focused consciousness. Maybe more about this at some other time.]

Focus is always limited; no focus, no limits.

So now, after 17 days of practicing Being my own Best Friend I’ve come to understand and trust that apparently my whole body-soul-mind-spirit-system has already automated self-friending. I’ll still, in the spirit of completion, go for the full 21 days of conscious practice, but not out of need, or to be sure. I know that there’ll be moments to come when my awareness notices, “Hey, this happens because I’m my own best friend,” but there is no need to verify it any other way. Real friendship doesn’t need verification. You just know, you’re certain.

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.
― Rumi, translated by Colin Barks

 

Being my own Best Friend

The next couple of weeks, or maybe months, I’m going to return to changing my own brain — yes, that’s right, my brain. I’ll do so by embodied and lived inquiry, contemplation and open focus. And I know that it works because I trust the new science of Neuroplasticity, and because the first experiment of a week+ in which I looked at “love” along these lines have been very enlightening in practice. It was during the last day of the experiment I discovered a deeply hidden resentment of the world and most of all all the idiots that co-create and prolong suffering for others. I saw how this resentment informed and motivated most of my projects in life. And, at this point the newly formed pathways in my brain played a decisive role, where formerly I would have simply observed this ‘fact’ now I spontaneously forgave myself for this foundational resentment. [I know, to some of my readers love is situated in the heart, and I won’t deny that it may play a role, but it seems the brain plays a major role in all our emotions; and yet, inasmuch as love is not an emotion, but rather a natural force, like gravity, it may be the imaginal heart that is its major conduit.]

This week I’m going to experiment with “Being my own best friend.”
I’ve chosen to strengthen, enhance, grow this particular “brain-area” as it seems foundational to what I’m planning to embark upon. You see, one of the effects of loosing my resentment of the world and its huge population of idiots and ignorants and just plain bad guys and girls has been that I’ve lost quite some motivating energy which was caught in my rebellion. Part of my character is crumbling. The sense I made, These ignorants and suffer-makers are to be resented!, doesn’t make it anymore. So I want to re-build my character along other lines, that have yet to reveal themselves to me. Being my own best friend seems like a good place to start.

As the first day of doing this (sketching the way I go about this at present below) unfolds, and I’m writing this blog, I now see that, it may sound absurd, I resent myself somewhat. “I’m not good enough,” you may know the sentiment.
Exploring this feeling what pops up first is my utter imperfection: I’m too dreamy, I lack perseverance, mostly I’m not doing my best but settle for the mediocre,  I’m lazy, often act automatic, unaware, kind of scattered, and more.
Yet, when now I think about my friends, my few close friends, than surely they are not perfect, some of them are dreamy, settle often for less than doing their very best, etc. Does that effect my friendship? Do I therefor embrace them less? Really, these questions bring a smile to my face, Of course not! They are my friends just the way they are.

So how do I proceed for now, being my own best friend?

Every day - at the same time - cat waits for dog, and when he comes they go for a walk

When I wake up in the morning I remember whom I’m being with: My best friend! And I embody the feelings I have when I’m with a best friend; we hug and it feels good to be in his/her presence, enjoying the presence of the friend.
At any time during the day I remember to “be with me”, considering whatever I do as I would if my best friend would do this. How does the world look, how does my body feel, what spirit I’m in, when I regard my present moment – just now – with the eyes of the best friend?
When I contemplate and meditate, it’s a friendly exploration of whatever is the case – so when I’m aware of my breathing, it’s my friend’s breathing or, if I’m contemplating a matter than I’m as clear and honest as ever, only I’m contemplating before a friendly back-ground.
And before I go to sleep I’ll look at the days events and meetings and doings and non-doings as I would look at a friend’s day.