Are you out of your mind?
Not yet; but I’m working on it.
The last online Dave Oshana event, Sunday’s “The Untriggering: Coming Alive As Consciousness Fully Enters the Body” (see also accompanying article, “Untriggered: From Zombified to Fully Alive”) was described by one long-time participant as “the most essential class I ever heard from Dave.” The event began with a question central not only to the concept of enlightenment but to understanding and resolving all human misery.
The question: Why isn’t our consciousness fully distributed throughout our bodies?
This led to a second question that was really more of a riddle: Can we employ our minds as a way to get our minds out of the way of our life force? This exercise requires will power, Dave said, even though will power is something Dave never talks about.
Employing the mind in this capacity, he joked, is like when a horny couple sends their kid on an errand to get him out of the way. It’s not that the mind is really up to the job; just that giving it something to do is the easiest way to get it out of the house.
If we have no conscious awareness of being fully in our bodies, apparently there is a resistance to the soul coming into the body. Can we change our awareness so that it is no longer located in the head but begins to move into the other, neglected areas of our corporeality?
In the lore of after-death Bardo realms, there are two sorts of light; one of them is a trap, the other leads to freedom. In a similar fashion, there is a right way and a wrong way to move awareness into the body.
Trauma in the body is like a wire mesh around the cork in a bottle that keeps the cork in. The end of the line in the body is the feet. When a person is afraid, their soul moves away from the soles of their feet.
In this way, much of our mental activity is orphaned, fragmented. It serves as a way to avoid difficult feelings and sensations. We try to solve things in our inner imaginary mind-world, in the place where rationalizations take place. A rationalization is a way we use our minds to avoid seeing the truth.
The other end of this awareness spectrum is the feet. The feet are essential to us, and the feet become lifeless—soulless—when we withdraw attention from them, like food without vitality.
In a similar way, our bodies have become barren wastelands. It is necessary to go into the body to resolve this problem, rather than off into flights of fantasy. We need to get the spirit back into the bottle, because currently it is almost all the way out of the top.
The mind cannot move into the abandoned areas of the body alone; something has to go ahead of the mind for the mind to even notice what is happening.
Being inside the mind is an addiction: it is toxic, it offers us certain things but also takes things from us. The cost of going into the mind is like the deal with the devil, like Hollywood movies: the mind makes an offer and promises us a payoff, but only if we break our covenant with God/the life force, turn away from our inner guidance, suspend our disbelief, and let a false narrative carry us away.
Getting the soul back into the body is the beginning of wisdom.
When the soul withdraws from the feet, our connection to the Earth is lost. It is a form of creeping death. To reverse this process, it is necessary to push our awareness into the legs, to look for two-way energy inside the legs, located between the calves and the feet.
To be aware of a consciousness that is sensing its way into the legs is to become aware of something that is fighting to prevent that awareness from coming in. There is a contraction within us that causes pain and discomfort. Awareness has to go into the pain, to push through that dead zone, where the zombies of internal triggers are constantly devouring our life force.
Untriggering is the release of triggers from the body, learning to move energy calmly through the body.
Since the creeping death sensation starts in the feet, that is where the life force awareness must go to reverse that deathly creep.
All of this echoes so closely my experience of my father that his life seems like a living embodiment of the principles Dave is describing. My father began to develop a crippling condition in his legs some time before I was born, though it didn’t become fully apparent until later. The condition was an extremely rare genetic one, inherited from both his parents; it began in his toes and was noticeable at first only as an odd way of walking. Over time, his toes began to curl up and he had difficulty placing his feet flat on the ground. (Dave mentioned “toe-curling sex” on the event, as a possible indication of life force withdrawal.)
The first thing the doctors attempted was to break all my father’s toes and stick metal pins through them to straighten them out. This caused my father immense agony but did nothing to improve his condition. In fact, there was no cure, not via modern medicine at least, and his walking degenerated over a period of several years after my mother left him (when I was six). By the time of my adolescence, he was walking with crutches and it took him a long time even to get up out of his seat, much less to make his way upstairs at night. He refused any help, and resisted using a wheelchair until his sixties. By the end of his life, his legs were little more than dead weight. This is what I wrote about him in Prisoner of Infinity:
The earliest memory I have of my father—the only one I have of him while he was still living with us—is when I was around six or seven: he was half naked and unconscious—dead drunk—on the bedroom floor. No doubt the shocking nature of the scene seared itself onto my consciousness, and forever after I associated my father with unconsciousness, powerlessness, and incapacitation (maybe even death, if I didn’t understand what had happened to him). My clearest impression of him, then, was as an absence. . . . I hardly saw him at all: when I spent the weekend with him, he would mostly hide behind a newspaper, and having a conversation with him was practically impossible. I do remember one time, probably when I was a teenager, asking him how he could stand to believe there was nothing after death. “If there’s nothing, I won’t know it,” he replied. “So why should I care?”
In the last years of his life, it would be hard to say what, if anything, my father believed in. . . . At some level, my father never grew past adolescence, presumably because his father didn’t hold the necessary space for him to step into his own authority, his own manhood, his own body. . . . He disliked technology, and it took him years to admit he needed a wheelchair. That stubbornness combined with stoicism was part and parcel with his inability to admit that he was, after all, a cripple. I suspect he felt abandoned, not only by God and by his own father, but by his body. He was—in the fullest sense that I have experienced directly—a lost soul.
When I think of my father as I knew him, it’s been hard for me to feel much. It’s as if he had already vacated the premises by the time I was old enough to have a conscious relationship with him. I have found it easier to connect to him emotionally when I imagine how he was before I was born, when he first met my mother: full of aspirations and a passionate belief in his own potential. I suspect that having children, the burden of that responsibility (which almost certainly led him to join his father’s business), broke his spirit, and that when he found he couldn’t carry the burden he’d assumed, his legs gave out and he gave up the ghost. He kept on living but no longer had anything substantial to live for, besides work and pleasure. There was no higher meaning he could believe in, not even the higher meaning of his own spirit. Especially not that.
I see my father’s life as a tragedy; but ironically, what makes it a tragedy in my eyes is that he was unable or unwilling to see it that way himself. He not only turned his back on his own spiritual potential (authenticity), he told himself that there was no such thing to turn away from, that it was just empty belief and social control. He turned his lack of faith into an intellectual position. I think that was what really crippled him. A spiritual potential that isn’t embodied becomes, by slow degrees, a spiritual disease, a soul sickness. It’s a fate that I have devoted my life to avoiding, and it’s probably what compelled me to write this account.
That was written around 2013. In 2001, while I was living in Guatemala, chaotically apprenticing to be a shaman-healer and doing way too many psychedelics, I began to notice that my toes were acting strange. They seemed numb a lot of the time (my circulation was poor) and the nerves seemed messed up: when I pressed on the top of my big toe bone, I would feel a weird electrical spasm at the end of the toe. Since I was roughly the age my father was when his condition grew serious, I started to fret that I had inherited it. I began to pay special attention to my feet. I massaged them regularly with Tiger Balm and did everything I could to bring life and awareness to them, stamping and shaking and stretching, praying and ritualizing.
There is a tradition that shamans are often lame and that their sickness is central to their calling—i.e. that they only develop their healing gifts when a mysterious sickness compels them to heal themselves. I was convinced my father’s condition related to loss of soul, to his inability to fulfill his destiny. I was determined not to suffer the same fate.
It’s curious for me to look back on this time now, in the light of Dave’s description of a “creeping death that begins in the feet.” It seems to me that so many of my physical afflictions were the result of my body’s wisdom, compelling me (my localized, mind-based awareness) to place attention on those areas that most needed the life force to enter into. In this light, the decades of physical anguish I suffered begins to seem like a blessing in disguise.
It pays to keep this in mind when suffering current afflictions, setbacks, or difficulties. Things look very different on the other side of wisdom-awakening.
Because I wanted to listen to the Sunday event lying in my hammock in the Sun, I had to put up with a crappy connection on my laptop that eventually made it impossible to keep my camera on. During a break, I decided to restart the laptop to see if the issue resolved itself. Big mistake: the restart took over twenty minutes, with interminable periods of nothing happening as I tried to open tabs and programs to get back into the meet. There are few things more maddening than an extremely slow, unresponsive computer when in a hurry, and like most people in similar circumstances, I was briefly triggered into a rage and yelled out my frustration.
When I finally got back to the meet, Dave was talking about overflow channels in the body, for charge to spill out and redistribute itself. If these channels are blocked, he said, the charge builds up in a single area of the body and a person explodes—just as I had a moment ago. Opening up these overflow channels allows charge to move out of the trigger-areas and into the rest of the body.
From the tips of our toenails to the ends of the hairs on our heads, he said, there is awareness in the body. To God, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered,” I thought. Did Christ’s awareness likewise enter into every atom of his body? Is this what enlightenment is?
Our entire internal world is largely geared towards having a body. The energy of the body is constantly in motion, Dave says, and that motion can effortlessly carry our attention out of the mind and into the body, where it is supposed to be.
If you feel lonely, that loneliness may come from your body. When attention doesn’t join with the body, attention feels lonely. To be lonely is to feel unnoticed.
Yet God notices every sparrow that falls.
Virtual reality quasi-existence, on the other hand—the dark side of the panopticon—turns awareness into a ghost, an image, a disembodied attention that is being fed only by technological simulations. There are only two alternatives for our awareness to dwell in: the mind, or the body. The mind is a supposed sanctum, a fortress from which we try to solve all our problems; but to date, it has not solved anything (at least not without creating worse problems).
The journey back into the body is a solitary journey. No one can hold our hand on our way there. Enlightenment is the path of no merit. No one will reward us for this. The only difference is our quality of life: that when we die and our bodies are placed into the earth, we will have fully known them. Our bodies will have received the kiss of life from our souls, and we will have truly lived.
My father did not receive this kiss of life, and he did not fully live his life. Nor did my brother, and nor did my mother.
The only remaining question is: Will I?
Next Dave event: “Necessary Dissolution,” Sunday 16 Aug 2020, 9 am PDT, 12 noon ET, 5 pm UK time. Price: 30 euros.
Note: there are a number of free online Affinity Group meetings each week (I host two and attend two more). All that’s required for attendance is to contact me via the contact page at this site. In most cases, attending at least one online Oshana event (preferably a recent one) is also required.