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Alex

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  1. There is a healing group within the student group which isn't really accessible as a practice until you complete a few years of training. My experience with the tradition is that it's important to get the self-healing done before you start working on others. I'm not a teacher/faculty/advanced practitioner here, but I'm sure one of them will post in this board when they get the chance.
  2. Alex

    Sleep Changes

    Yeah, meditation can affect sleep greatly and there are Yogis who are capable of not sleeping, allegedly, but everything comes at cost in the sense that they have to live a lifestyle dedicated to it. My experience of manipulating myself into unnatural positions in a hacky kind of way where I'm trying to min/max my own self has been that it always creates unforeseen costs around my own motivations for doing so. It kind of expands the motivations in a way that can be pretty unhealthy. While I've done some really cool things TO myself, if I could go back I would pursue things more holistically, because I'm finding that the amount of work I'm having to do to take care of those unforeseen costs really piled up when I wasn't looking. Short answer, yeah it's possible, but why do you want to do it? What underlying intents are you carrying out by doing so? I've definitely extensively explored a lot of stuff around what people are capable of as human beings and have yet to find an end to it all. Nonetheless nothing I've done has been more meaningful than reclaiming my own energy that I've put into things across a number of domains, emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, psychological, etc. What allowed me to be wakeful so freely was not any specific exercise I've done, but the work I've done to reclaim my energy for myself. This, so much this! I don't really seek to affect my sleeping patterns in the sense of trying to sleep less or manipulate how awake I am during the day except just for short term experimentation. I find sleep to be vitally important in a number of ways physically (as Cammie mentioned), spiritually (as Karl mentioned), emotionally, and mentally. I was tempted by this idea of maximizing wakefulness way back when as well, but I've realized as time pass, as Karl eluded to, that there are other interesting things to play with using your time and energy.
  3. Alex

    Sleep Changes

    There are some practices that affected my sleep, especially the ones that work with dreaming energies. Aside from that learning how to bring my mind into an awake state while staying in a sleep state, this is not a practice from this tradition but something I explored before beginning on this tradition has been a very double edged sword for me. Before learning about the tradition it wasn't so bad, but after learning some of the practices my ability to be present with my mind while in a dreaming state has been really expanded. If I want to do some work where I can use my mind, but also have looser connections, similar to the brain processing information in the diffuse state, it's really benefited me being able to gain access to those looser connections and move my mind in ways that are more creative and novel. At the same time it's been very draining when I have some pervasive negative thoughts and I carry them into my dreams because I am able to maintain presence of mind. Sometimes I have breakthroughs in thought patterns in the dreaming realm and other times it's like having nightmares where you are half awake and half asleep. The woes of the day are added to my nightmare and they become something much more frightening. There are practices within this tradition that I've learned that I know that I could use to overcome this problem, but I haven't gotten around to reshaping the situation quite yet because there are also the benefits that I am getting which is allowing breakthroughs in being able to perceive things about myself that I was not aware of. On the note of being more of less wakeful during the day, what I've found is it depends on a lot of variables. Overall though, I've found my ability to choose whether I want to be in a wakeful state of being or a sleepy state of being is now more of a choice than it is a consequence. For example by stalking out the energetic state of being that caffeine has on your body you can choose to recreate that state or one that is similar with dulled consequences to be in a more wakeful state. I can remove/reshape/create beliefs freely that would influence my experience of how wakeful I am. Though it may not give me more sleep and my body may be just as tired, I am now capable of choosing how I react to the sensations of drowsiness and how much those sensations will play a role in my ability to be awake/present/etc. The number of hours I sleep at night hasn't really been affected except when I'm doing a lot of specific practices in the tradition. As for practicing techniques from other modalities, I'm a bit of a syncretist so I have combined a number of traditions including Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Yogic Traditions, Mindfulness, Etc into my day to day life, so it's hard to say which specific tradition is play which specific role in how I've arrived at what exactly I'm doing in a give moment. As for how long it takes to take effect it's totally dependent on which practices you are doing and how much of them you are doing in a given day as well as how sleep deprived you are from day to day. For example I've gone on 12 day meditation retreats where I've been meditating for over 10 hours in a day and what I found is for the first few days I still slept a lot, but after that I would just lie awake at night and meditate because I wasn't tired. If I just meditate for ten minutes every day the effects may feel negligible but can be pretty profound. Similarly if I do some of the practices in this tradition more heavily they will definitely affect my experience of natural sleep patterns, but it depends on which practices and how much of those practices I am doing.
  4. One time when I was in a deep meditative state I heard this voice say my name with tonality. Very strange because usually my thoughts are without tonality and this voice did not have my inflection or tonality. Still haven't figured out what to make of it, but I'm following some breadcrumbs which will I know will unravel into understanding it eventually. There have been very few other times after that one where I've got experiences almost approaching it, but only audible enough to hear sound without being audible enough to make meaning out of it. These other times were in lighter meditative states, so my guess is it has to do with a specific state of consciousness that I sometimes fall into where I let go in this extreme way where I almost fall out of traditional existence. I haven't quite figured out how to operate the controls to this altered state of consciousness, but I'll describe what it feels like and maybe you will find it useful or can make some sense out of it. Part of the feeling is not being grounded it my identity. Almost like the feeling of blackout that comes when I drank to that point in the past. I noticed this feeling because when I heard my name the first time it shocked me out of the deep meditative state. There was this absolute stillness that I was inseparable from. There was no separation that comes from experiencing the flesh. Like I know the boundaries on physical form through the sensations that tell me the boundaries. The hairs on my skin rustling in the air and the skins tensions, temperatures, and other sensations clearly defining those boundaries between me and not me. So none of these sensations were present, yet I also still felt my existence. It was not through my mind which is how I normally experience my existence. I normally experience myself through my mind's point of view. The sensations are felt then interpreted, acknowledged, and described through my mind most of the time. So aside from the lack of physical, mental, etc sensations there was also this experience of beforehand of the meditation technique starting to operate on it's own. The technique is called Vipassana and it works like this in it's most basic form, you start at the top of your head and do body scanning from that point down to your shoulders, each arm, torso, each leg, then back up in the opposite way you went down, like if you went down your left then right leg then go up your right leg then left leg then torso then right arm then left arm etc. So normally I do the technique by maintaining my awareness of the point of my body that I am currently scanning, eg top of the head, holding equanimity, allowing the sensation to come and go. It takes a lot of focus because I have to constantly bring my drifting attention back to the process of scanning through the technique. For some reason during this specific meditation after I was meditating for I don't know how long my attention was continuously focused on performing the body scanning technique. My awareness was not tethered to my attention though. This separation of attention and awareness I think is the state of consciousness that occurred when I experienced the phenomena that I was talking about earlier of hearing the voice with tonality. Anyways I did the technique and I noticed that my attention was "stuck" in doing it, not that I couldn't get out of it sense but in the autopilot kind of way. My awareness on the other hand was within the absolute stillness experiential place. The voice's emotional context was holding a space of wanting my attention, wanting to tell me something. Kind of that emotion you feel from people or feel in yourself when something just happened and you are rapidly trying to inform someone of something. Not to the extent that something really bad has happened, but to the point that the toilet is overflowing and you need some help figuring out how to resolve it to prevent the problem from getting worse. That kind of anxiousness, but not necessarily fear. At the time I had this experience I freaked out pretty hard because it didn't make a lick of sense. I didn't have anyone to talk about it either and I still haven't figured out what the hell happened, but writing a response to your post has brought a lot of clarity and there were a few other experiences that allowed me to build up my understanding of it. Regardless, I hope this helps in some way. Regards, Alex
  5. There are those that come into this live with an experiential certainty of gender. To the extent that they believe when they get to a certain age they will be shocked that their gender hasn't changed and won't change, in the case where that gender does not line up with their experience of themselves. In this case the poster is seeking out broader sources to solve a challenge in their life they aren't finding support in other parts of their lives. Essentially the feel they don't have the power to bring about meaningful change in their life. How might this person best be empowered to have the change they want instead of the change we think they need?
  6. I've been in a sleep paralysis state before. Kind of made my body feel super tingly all over. I just willed myself out of it by pushing myself into a more wakeful state. Kind of like that feeling when you are doing a push up where you feel some resistance to completing it. You will yourself to continue until you complete the push up. It was similar for me with sleep paralysis. My entire body felt that resistance towards any movement. I pushed through it to get past it.
  7. For me real change means becoming a different person whereas change is being in different circumstances. Real change empowers you to deal with difficult circumstances while change just puts you into different circumstances. My parents are not so nice, for example. Change is not being around my parents while real change is coming from a different way of being that I stick up for myself and care for myself no matter who or what is around me. Rather than moving to different circumstances I instead have the power to face whatever circumstances come my way. It's a way to be able to affect change in your life by creating your life rather than affect change by moving into circumstances you have no power to create. Simply put real change for me is about stepping into my personal power to create the life I want for myself instead of finding it or not having it.
  8. I know in the pagan community there are some individuals who get married to gods/archetypes. They do it with the purpose of developing a closer relationship the the entity for the same variety of reasons that people on Earth get married. It's just like another person kind of thing. Haven't encountered that here at the cave though.
  9. It's humorous pattern spotting. When I first came here I was in the process of a multi-year long episode of major depressive disorder (dysthymia). What helped me out of it was tracking down habits, patterns, and emotions that were creating and propagating it in my life. Then I took back the energy I was investing into those habits, those patterns, those emotions. Sometimes still I get triggered and I have a day that results in an episode, but now I have a toolkit to step out of it as well as deconstruct the trigger so I don't get triggered in that way again. I just recently had one of those trigger events, but since I've stepped into the power of my self expression I understood that my mood is my choice, so I cleared away the things that were in the way of me being present in the mood I sought. It was not instant, it took a day for me to get my feet again, but in the past it would have been something that would have sat with me for a few months where another trigger would have brought me further down, probably to the point of quitting my job or something in that order of magnitude as my habits would have dictated. So, I live in a space with a number of transgender people who come to events in the space. It seems to me that you feel you don't have the power to move your own life in the direction you wish it to go. One of the first things they teach here, recap, is how to take back your energy from old habits, patterns, emotional content, that is dominating your present life and moving you in disempowering ways. Being transgender doesn't have to take away your happiness, rather it is the perceptions of other people or even ourselves that we take on and internalize that dominate our lives and tell us that we are not okay as we are, that we should be another way or we are abnormal. In truth we are whole and complete. We are divine beings with the power to manifest the lives we want to live. The question then becomes, what is in the way of my power to live a fulfilling live the way I want to? What am I holding on to that doesn't fit in my life? In truth, you have the power to be happy at any moment, but that power is something you have stuff from other people that is getting in the way of you using it. Recap, for me, is a way of removing the constraining "should" and "shouldn'ts" that I've taken on as I've gone through my life. There are plenty of people in my life who have given me the best advice they could muster, but all it did for me was give me another way I "should" live my life. In truth, we know how to live the lives we want, but it is a lack of permission and holding onto the "shoulds" of others that stops us. From this point is merely becomes a process of letting go of the "shoulds" that other people have given us and we have internalized into habits, patterns, and emotional content. Give yourself permission to live the life you want to, a life where you are expressing yourself. No entity can step into your own power for you, some would guide you, but there is the cost that it becomes merely another "should" if they are not caring and careful. You have all the power you need, just step into using it. Here's what I refer to as recap:
  10. One of these things is not like the other.
  11. Sometimes when you intend for something interesting to happen while you sleep it does. Sometimes it makes more sense for it to play out in ways where it's not confronting your self doubt.
  12. There's lots you can do with your dreaming energy. Try bringing an intent into your dream. Try bringing an intent into your awake side from the dreaming side. Try poking through the wall between your dreaming and waking energy. Try using recap while in a dreaming state so that you might reach those hard to reach places, like an extendo for your duster.
  13. I've had plenty of expansive experiences in my time here. Perhaps you might too.
  14. I'll just drop this here since you are creating some nasty intents for yourself that you'll have to spend a lot of energy to fix up later. It's a post by Gary/Niteshad the one who brought the maker tradition online. Pay close attention to the title. HOW NOT TO BE A SHAMAN 1.) Take miserable care of your body, your relationships, your finances and everything in your life. Avoid anything that would make you happy - shamans have to suffer. 2.) Understand that you can only possibly practice when your mind is relaxed and untroubled by other concerns. So if there's anything else at all you 'should' be doing, do it instead. For greatest efficiency, just thrash around and worry about what you should be doing instead of actually doing anything - that way you can endlessly reuse the same things. 3.) You know it's impossible to make a living as a shaman or healer, so have a day job you hate that leaves you mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. After work, you'll be in no shape to practice, so have some ice cream and watch TV. You deserve it. 4.) Invent endless constraints regarding under what circumstances you could get shamanic work done. You need a special sacred space, a special set of objects, absolute quiet, a certain kind of music. Spend more time complaining about the lack of these circumstances than actually working. 5.) You'll be able to get plenty of shamanic work done when you're independently wealthy and have lots of free time. Just wait till then. 6.) There are thousands of books on shamanism. Better read them all before you start, one of them must have the secret. (Be sure to skip all the exercises.) 7.) Let's face it, you don't know enough to be a shaman. You've never even read [insert famous literary work here]. Better get to it, or no one will take you seriously. 8.) Surround yourself with people who are jealous of your time, disrespect your practices and beliefs and undermine you at every turn. If possible, marry one and have kids. 9.) If you fail at all of the above, and actually do manage to practice, make sure each movement, each act, is perfect before you move on - compare it to your favorite shamanic writer's published works (you don't think people with talent have to practice, do you?) and attack it with all the viciousness of your cruelest and most bitter high school teachers. 10.) Give up as soon as it seems hard or you feel uninspired. After all, if it were really possible, it would flow smoothly and be easy. 11.) Whatever you do, don't actually finish anything. Just keep starting new practices. (Any work prior to your latest sucks anyway.) Or endlessly torture your existing practices until you drain them of any vitality they might once have had. 12.) If you do accomplish something, immediately share it with someone who can be counted on to tear it apart, tell you you're wasting your time, and imply you're an idiot for ever imagining you could be a shaman. Believe this person - s/he wouldn't say it if it weren't true. 13.) Be sure you never actually work out in the world with other people. Take the decision of whether what you do works out of their hands: reject it for them. 14.) If an intent or practice seems to fail, don't ever try it again - obviously it was no good. In all likelihood, you aren't either: be sure not to pass up the opportunity to consider giving it all up. 15.) If, in an extreme case of failing at the above, you've actually done something, know that it was just a fluke. Never ever believe in yourself. Repeat as necessary.
  15. Sometimes when interacting with certain people they feel like they shift who they are. Their physical structure doesn't change but my perception of them does. Someone could describe to you what happened but it won't make sense unless you do energy work. Consider diving into some kind of energy work to be able to understand what's happening energetically rather than having someone explain something to you through the theatre of the mind. You can make your perception see anything you want it to, just like a crazy person sees things that aren't there. Won't really make sense unless you develop your familiarity with energy.
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