Ego-ā€œIā€ Confusion

Enlightenment means dissolving the egoic and personal sense of “I.” After enlightenment, someone is clearly still there to interact with the world and be aware. Who is that?

The “I” after enlightenment has a different root than the “I” before enlightenment. Whereas the ego personality is rooted in the vantage point bracketed by boundaries of the body and mind, the post-enlightened “I” is rooted in the Divine catalizing the body-mind. While both types of “I” are able to relate to the world, the quality of their awareness is very different.

The greatest distinction between the “I” of the self and the cosmic “I” is the lack of suffering in the latter. Because there is a source of connection throughout the web of life, there is no clinging to discomfort of situations. The cosmic “I” can smile and laugh through various life circumstances even when it has no control, but the personal “I” will collapse, cry, mope, and tend toward further separation from life.

After the opening occurs, the connection is made – a being is enlightened. However, there are degrees to how much of that light is integrated by the body-mind. My teacher taught me this and, recently, I found this idea experessed by SantanaGamana in Turiya: The God State. I had never heard of the author, but most of the book resonates with my own awakening – even though I did not practice Kriya Yoga. While the title of the book may sound quite grandiose, the contents are fairly simply and humbly stated.

My own integration and expression has been ongoing: post-enlightenment requires much clarification, releasing, and rewiring. Although it takes more time to heal impacted traumas, they do heal. It’s as if the entire being becomes engaged and involved in healing on an ongoing basis and has endless motivation to do so.

I vaguely recall days when I would be down on myself and others, wallowing and passive. Now, the healing process does not stop and is almost on autopilot. The only thing healing demands now is silence and solitude, when I am free to just let the body-mind be and attend to the Divine currents doing their work. Major life realignments have been in progress for years and I have stopped wondering when they will be complete. I think it is different for different people how long it takes to clarify the being enough for optimum expression of the Divine. Only enough is needed, and perfection is neither required nor possible. I haven’t encountered any books that go into detail about the work that must happen after enlightenment…. Perhaps they are not needed yet?

Despite sounding paradoxical, some personality quirks are retained after enlightenment because these enable us to uniquely express what we are integrating and sharing. There may be a misconception that enlightened beings are perfect, whatever that subjective concept means to any given individual. In reality, the purpose (if there is such a thing) of any being is to first strengthen the personal Ego, and then to allow it to die in the cosmic and Divine “I” – and be awake and functioning fully in life throughout.

While there are states where all sense of “I” dissolves completely, these are not ideal for expressing the Divine in the world and engaging our life’s work – we would just want to lay down and be blissed out all of the time. The cosmic “I” is the bridge between the formless and all form – and it is not the personal ego. Beyond the cosmic “I” is simply complete union.

Occasional “I” dissolution in the highest state only increases the quality and coherence of our immersion in life when we “return” to everyday living. Now, we have more to bring “back” to our daily expression – deeper understanding, greater inspiration, and a more beautiful display of surrender.

Since the beginning, my blog had been about diving deeper into life and not drifting to a distant mountain to meditate 24-7. Not only is isolated meditation unnecessary in these times, it runs counter to the very process of being alive – which requires our awake participation to help support the life process unfolding.

Enter the Void

I was trying to fall asleep after a tiring day and a thought materialized – a single and affirmative phrase: “Enter the Void.”

I began to approach the Void without having any understanding of where I was headed. But the Void is not a place. Rather, it is a state where “being” is negated.

I was annihilated. And within this reverie of neither life nor death was the path of no identity.

“I” was gone.

To sense anything, we must have the proper sensory organs and awakened connections to the web of life. The physical body has sensory abilities that only sense the material world.

To sense other planes of existence, we awaken our consciousness in our other bodies, corresponding to these other planes. Each body has its own sensory organs and connections to life.

The etheric body is so close to the physical vehicle, it is almost indistinguishable from the physical body. Also, the emotional and mental bodies are well integrated. I can no longer describe what each senses because integration diffuses my ability to differentiate between them. I remember that, at one point, I knew the difference, but it seems trivial now.

The awakening of the astral body begets new senses and abilities. So many are enamored with the astral body that they spend lifetimes flying around in it. The astral “eyes” do see an incredible vista.

But the astral body is just a stepping stone to the soul body, which looks to me like an orb connected by a cord that stems beyond the astral plane. It is clear around the soul body, when compared to the muddy waters of astral machinations that affirm human narcissism and seek ways to control the physical plane. This is the playground of all those practicing magick and flexing their will.

The soul body has sensory organs too and they bring awareness of the unity of all souls as a direct understanding.

Unless the consciousness can move freely from body to body, it is not possible to sense the information from the corresponding worlds. Thus, it is natural to think these worlds do not exist. The bodies appear to follow a specific progression of awakening, and new knowledge becomes accessible.

There is a body beyond the soul body. Another gateway, which I have only recently began to consciously use. As the awareness progresses through the vehicles, the identification – the sense of “I” – changes dramatically.

I wonder how many bodies I will integrate in my lifetime via my consciousness and what I will learn and manifest?

The Void is a place where one seems to be completely free of all bodies. It is a state of much energy. It has nothing to do with using the senses of the various bodies, but it does bring about renewal. In any case, it appears to be uncrossable, at least by me at this time. Maybe it’s what the Theisophists term the “ring-pass-not.”

When I entered the Void, I intuitively shot pulses of consciousness to my bodies. Thus manifestation and emptiness coexisted – another paradox.

The Void is where we do not look because no body has the eyes to see it. But it is possible to know it and enter it and, in some ways – never leave it again. This is probably because we all hold the potential of beholding our own dissolution or true roots.

The Void is not empty. It’s function is to allow us to perceive in perspective what we have constructed ourselves to be throughout lifetimes of arduous and diligent work.

I entered the Void and will not leave it again. Now, I must reconfigure myself and my life dramatically after this realization. New structures that are known as “me” must arise on the various planes of manifestation. That much is clear.

I have not turned on my mind to analyze and translate knowledge into what the physical and nearby bodies can understand because I don’t want to break the flow of directly feeling it all at play. Even as I write this, I have no idea how useful it is. But, I am certain it was important to try to express something, at least.

The Void lies prior to any manifestation – prior to concrete forms to lay the foundation for all the processes that we are. It is a realm of pure potential.

I wonder how my life will unfold now, as I make my transition into new forms and discard or integrate much of what “I” am. Integration is not just making pieces fit – it is an overhaul and a radical reconfiguration of being. The new perspective has changed everything and I cannot change that.

Life is mysterious beyond what I ever imagined. It is beyond our simplistic language to describe what is not part of common consciousness. So, we drop breadcrumbs and maybe that is why most spiritual writing is so cryptic and may even seems ridiculous.

The Roots of Living

There are cycles to our individual lives. Periodically, we find ourselves in similar situations and confronted with similar challenges. This is just one way the life process gives us feedback about ourselves.

For some people, life is Groundhog Day, where they relive similar scenarios over and over – they struggle through similar dysfunctional relationships, stumble across similar hardships, and make the same choices when a different choice would free them from the loop.

One explanation for repeating experiences is that life is a school and we are here to learn lessons. I don’t subscribe to the “Life is a lesson” paradigm because it results in people overthinking and overjustifying the “grand design” of their life without any real learning. Another possible explanation is that we simply gravitate to situations based on our nature and preferences – until these no longer work for us. Then, our world unravels. Unless we make fundamental changes from within, wherever we go – there we are.

As we flow along the spiral of experience, we take that occasional journey home. No matter how and where life has moved us about, situations come to a head and we return to our roots. Inevitably, something about us is so fundamental that it eludes change. Inevitably, our ability to see what was always there improves. Inevitably, we return home to take a closer look at what can only be described as love – even if we have no words to describe That.

My own journey started in darkness. I had no vision to see anything other than blurred shapes and movement. This is all I knew. My eyes were not blind, but my being was blind. My faculties were undeveloped. So, I imagined that life was just how I saw it. When I couldn’t see, I filled in images and colors that were to my liking. But, all along and despite my maneuvering, life was already beautiful.

One idea seems to permeate the entire world – life is better if we have wealth and the ability to influence others. Influence to do what? To like us and to convince us that we are likable and can control our lives. Some say that the global obsession with wealth and self-absorption is a sign of civilization ending, just like in Egypt or Rome. All around the world, children are dreaming of having lots of money and the power to “get.” Now this power of “getting” is also about escape from reality, which upon a shallow look is extremely boring and unpleasant to so many.

This obsession to overfill on stuff and escape is just a symptom of an underlying emptiness creeping about us – an emptiness that no person or thing seems to be able to fill. What else would there be if we constantly dream of owning what someone else created, waiting to consume as soon as something is produced? No one and no thing can “complete” us, but we continue to try to feed on the creativity of others. When we spiral away from our roots, we forget about the gifts of true relationship – with ourselves and with every thing and being surrounding us.

When we relate superficially and without feeling “presence,” we begin to starve. I listen sometimes to people carrying on about endless mundane details, which they would undoubtedly forget on their deathbeds. There is so much talk everywhere, but it is devoid of spark, creativity, or inspiration.

People endlessly digest “problems,” “bargains,” obsessions, gossip, and plans and events to which they pretend to relate. People market themselves, groom their images, and measure their worth based on one-upsmanship. Half-smiles, drama, and daily minutiae with unmistakable sadness lurking beneath. Words fill spaces and leave no room for connection, reflection, and celebration of life. There is not enough listening and feeling, and mostly our exchanges are lifeless “filling.” Talking is habitual: “How are you?” “Good to see you!” “I’m so busy!” “Look what I bought, and it was such a sale.” So, you bought it – are you still so unhappy that you need others to validate that you just “got” something? Most don’t really care how others are and don’t really even see anyone. We can let go of our programmed chirps and gahs, which we think we are supposed to express around company.

Beneath every facade, I see a person’s roots – their sparkling being. Perhaps they are veiled by their fear, but the shine is there nonetheless. As a person talks, I listen deeply to their being. This act of listening stumps most as unusual. They don’t know or remember that they could listen like this too. The conversation turns to something deeper and more awe-inspiring. If all listened with our being, we would know who we are while in the company of another. We could be at our roots of existence with every gesture, thought, and word.

We don’t have to return to ourselves only when situations fall apart and we have nowhere else to turn – only to reinvent the wheel that there is only love. We are our own home. Ironically, we don’t even ever leave it, despite forgetting and ignoring the tugs to reality’s depths.

Some look at life in terms of gains, losses, and more gains and losses. I don’t see life that way. Instead, I see that life cannot be a pithy quote, a well-crafted goal, or even a dream. Life is just us learning to see and feel ourselves at the root and beyond any fascade of pomp and circumstance. Interestingly, innocence ignites when our roots touch.

So many movies and books exist about people forgetting themselves and being forced to return to the basics of loving. But, what if we remained steady in our being and never left?

Regadless how we get there, it is a gift to return to the core of our being with more refined faculties to embrace ourselves. The more I entwine with uncertainty and not knowing, the more I love myself, my children, and my friends. All I have is my ability to be here and in this body – these are enough to love. And from here, an entirely different image of life replaces all others – there is only light reflecting off the waters and listening deeply to our every undulation. Being in love with being is all I can feel and express.

Myths About Enlightenment

(OK, since I was compelled to write, I am guessing my blog break is over.)

When I talk to spiritual seekers about enlightenment, which does not happen very often and only occasionally, I find that people have no idea what “it” is. When I first started on the path to awakening, I didn’t know what it was either. I am guessing this is normal.

One thing is certain: enlightenment is a process that is pretty well mapped out and is not different for everyone. There are distinct stages throughout one’s evolution that are common for all who go through them. There are different levels, so to speak. However, what we do with our state of enlightenment is unique because each of us is unique.

I vaguely recall that feeling of not having a clue of what I was searching for. However, I did have an intense yearning, which I felt fullbodily. In my early teens, I decided that life – as presented by the majority – made no sense to me at all. If I were to live, my life would be dedicated to finding whatever “it” was.

The feeling of yearning throughout my entire body was essential for me. It was a kind of driving force that drowned any doubt and fear. An intellectual idea of wanting to be enlightened, and without any connection to the body, has little power and even less use when the process gets challenging.

There are many myths about enlightenment. I see people forming different pictures of what “it” is in their heads that are simply incorrect. I went through the process and am still evolving. I also compared my milestones to the writings of sages and rishis and Westerners who have clearly gone through an awakening. The milestones along the way appear to be the same.

Let me first say what enlightenment isn’t:

  • It is not a psychodelic experience that comes occasionally, and then goes away. Unless the state is permanent, what occurred was simply a “peak” experience.
  • It is not an immediate cure-all for all physical ailments and emotional debris accumulated over the years. Although healing is dramatically accelerated.
  • It is not a detachment from life, where you become an un-feeling robot, observing everything from a distance. Instead, you go even deeper into life because you realize you are all of this.
  • All your uncomfortable everyday situations do not just go away overnight. However, you do have an intuition about how to move through these situations and ultimately rebalance. You live your life, but you do not define yourself by its ups and downs.
  • It is not dependent on religion, ethnicity, or culture. Anyone, when prepared and ready, can embark on the journey.
  • It does not require special ritual, incantations, mantras, or protections. Rather, one realizes permanently what one is and lives a life from that space of being – naturally.
  • It does not make one “perfect,” whatever that means to any individual. Perfection is a social, cultural, and individual construct that has no absolute reality. However, any imbalances and things requiring realignment are seen through with ease and can be addressed. It can take decades, perhaps, to fully clear out one’s life of clutter after the breakthrough has occurred.
  • It does not make one superhuman or a God, although some abilities may emerge naturally and depending on the person. Nevertheless, an enlightened person is not quite like most human beings and may wonder what it truly means to be human.
  • It has nothing to do with the Mind and runs on a completely different circuit. One cannot “think” and “analyze” one’s way to transformation – if we could, we would all be “there” already. Our Minds are mere tools compared to what “it” is.
  • It has nothing to do with never getting tired. Because of the honed desire to help others, an enlightened being may need more rest and solitude to be. Life in a physical body on this dense plane of existence is not “easy.” But after regenerating, it is much easier to continue giving back to life and to be engaged in one’s unique service.

It is “not” so many things, which people imagine without having actually gone through the process. Of course – we all construct answers that make sense to us at the time. And how would we know without walking the actual path?

What is “it”, then? Enlightenment is a permanent transformation, where the separation from what lives all of us (God, the Divine, whatever you call it) is gone.

The initial breakthrough is the most difficult because it feels like you have to give up all of your preconception and fears about life and reality, but we hold on to these dearly and resist the required surrender. Further breakthroughs do follow for some people. In actuality, the process of awakening to our intrinsic being does not appear to be something that ends.

Enlightenment makes living easier. Challenging situations “make sense” in an intuitive way. Thoughts become quiet. Being alone is never lonely. The desire to directly relate to life becomes much stronger than the tendency to analyze and dissect phenomena and experiences. One sees through the pedantic tendencies of vivisecting life into pieces and is not drawn to them at all because relationship and making connections is much more interesting. Living life directly and without any pretense becomes primary.

The role of the teacher is key to avoiding getting stuck at various points along the way. Before the breathrough, people get easily bogged down in useless patterns of relating to life and can’t move through them. I get a visual of people repeatedly and unconsciously banging their heads against a wall and expecting it to not hurt. The teacher would step in during such times and help the person see and shift the way they use their energy. The teacher serves as a living blueprint for the way energy can run through human form. Often, the student gets a “boost” and feels more open and creative after meeting a teacher (who may not call themselves that). Sometimes a person is “shaken up” after such an encounter without realizing that they are shaken up because of getting in touch with what lies within themselves. It is common to reject the enlightened being, which is a sure sign that one is more comfortable with where they currently are.

People typically tell an enlightened being everything. Although this doesn’t pose any real threat, revealing may still be scary because we are attached to our identities and feel that vulnerability is a weakness. The enlightened being is a powerful mirror that sheds light on one’s insecurities, doubts, and fears, as well as their creative potential. There is never judgement in the sense of how people tend to label and conclude their dispositions toward another. In other words, an enlightened soul has no need for quick finality about anyone.

Fundamentally, enlightenment is about living as happiness amidst whatever comes up. One acquires a fundamental joy that grows and grows as one develops the expression of one’s state. This expression must be actively cultivated and engaged to bring one closer to the “full” state.

Immersion in Kabbalah

In the early ’90, I somehow heard about the Kaballah. At the time, I was studying whatever I could find about every tradition I could find.

Unfortunately, there were no English translations of the texts that seemed appropriate for me, so I purchased a set of books in Aramaic. I scanned the pages and…that’s all I did. I was about 21 at the time.

Later, I stumbled upon an English translation of the Zohar. I read it and reread it without understanding anything. There were writings about how one had to be 41 to begin this study, but I ignored all guidelines at the time. I lacked the capacity to be aware.

This weekend I dedicated to a renewed immersion in the Kabbalah. Specifically, I accessed the Chabad.org site for the Kaballah. I also studied the descriptions of the Sephirot on Wikipedia. Sound impressively academic, doesn’t it?

While I was accessing this information in a highly informal but intensive way, I could feel an inpouring of understanding that was being triggered by what I was reading.

My understanding wasn’t academic – it was emerging in my being. I was astounded by how rich and abstract was the Kabbalah! I could intuitively sense that the books that popularize it do not do it justice.

For example, the Tree of Life consisting of the 10 Sephirot is a relationship diagram of complex interactions occurring among the various energy structures at countless scales. Every piece contains the Whole. The manifested world – a luminous emanation of the Creator, is gradually dimmed and obscured as it passes through the five worlds. In the most luminous world, the light and its vessels are nearly indistinguishable – and yet there are vessels there, perfectly attuned to receiving the Radiance.

Our physical vessels are largely lacking in the ability to grasp and align the flow of differentiated Divine energy, but aim to persevere nonetheless. The Kabbalah teaches how to understand and realign/heal ourselves.

Beholding the face of G-d is not standing and looking at something other. Instead, it is the synchronous awareness of the Divine unfolding as oneself.

After gaining insight of the whole, I began to explore the Sephirot themselves. Intuitively, the Tree of Life shifted a bit a aligned with various parts of my body in my mind’s eye. Later, I encountered descriptions of the correspondences of the Sephirot to the human body, and these descriptions outlined what I was seeing.

The Tree of Life was a map of the kinds of energies active or latent in our individual systems, and the paths among the Sephirot are the various ways we can align and attune our vehicles to the whole. Ultimately we would reach a resonance in the way we run our energy to attain an understanding of the Divine Splendor.

I put aside the reading because the information from my inner vision seemed more direct and readily accessible. I was astounded at the depth to which the sages who discovered this system of knowledge understood energy.

Even astrology and alchemy and magic fit in this system. Astrology, specifically, was always something weird for me. Being a scientist – an astrophysicist understanding that gravity is the only interaction between our planets and the sun – what do position of the planets have to do with our lives? At some point, I realized that planetary positions in the physical realm are mere pointers to energetic structures in the nonphysical realms. Thus, physical locations of planets are helpful. I could feel how movement of planetary energy on the nonphysical levels affected me, at least. I could also feel the “astrological charts” occurring for others and the Earth, as a whole.

By the way, planets are conscious and do not orbit the Sun on the other planes of existence like they do in the physical realm.

Why does any of this matter? My study this weekend affirmed for me that there is knowledge for us across the various traditions. There is help available to aid us in grasping our origins and relationship to life. The Kabbalah appears to be among the truer of truths out there – and very challenging to grasp.

Like all truths, it must be reflected by our being before it can be known. I was not foolish to seek the books in Aramaic and to avoid the watered-down New Age pamphlets on the bookshelves.

We are surrounded by the language of consciousness at all times, and resonance is imminent for establishing a willingness and ability to receive, communicate, and commune.

Back to Basics

As always, my weekend started with a theme. Weekends are my time to regroup and learn something new. This weekend began with me butchering lyrics to the song “Major Tom”:

Ground control to Major Tom

Your radio ain’t working well at all

Been trying to let your know

That you’re floating into a black hole…

Can you hear me major Tom? 2x

I always felt like Major Tom – floating in a tin can, far far away. But then, while grading papers, I decided to watch “The Magic of Solomon” on Amazon Prime. While I never got into ceremonial magic, I was curious to see real footage of ceremonies – what were these people actually trying to accomplish? That’s a whole other blog….

As I lay down for the night, I googled something about magic and stumbled on a blog by Sophie Reicher. I’d never heard of her before, but her blog was pretty interesting. I found myself nodding to most of what she wrote about students not understanding that they have to heal and transform themselves to transform. Most people don’t get that they need to be disciplined and solid in the basics before tackling advanced maneuvers. Otherwise, ignorance begets ignorance.

After reading Sophie’s blog, I bought her book and started reading that: “Spiritual Protection.” I had learned about grounding and centering before, but – while reading – it occurred to me that the “basics” seem very different after I had dipped into the more nuanced pools.

My body had reconfigured so much, but I had never gone back to revisit what grounding and centering means for me now. I have been feeling sick for so long that it never occurred to me to reconsider my connection to the Earth plane, to study how breathing (Pranayam) affects my energy flow, or to balance the distribution of my energy across the various planes of existence. Because the light anchors me in permanent happiness, I never “suffer” my condition. However, that doesn’t mean I necessarily need to be in a state of discomfort.

Much of what Sophie writes about does not apply to me specifically. For example, I cannot draw energy from the Earth because my current has reversed a decade ago – I can only receive the light as it breathes me, and otherwise I shine. Also, I don’t need to “ground” myself in various “worlds” by dropping cords there – she talked about planes of existence based on Nordic cosmology, but I got where she was going. It also makes no sense to “clean” my chakras – especially since my root chakra and the ones just above have merged into the heart several years ago – like the string of Christmas lights was pulled up and twirled into new knots.

So, what did I learn? A lot. Essentially, I need to intensify my study of what are my basics. So much had changed so quickly that I forgot to consciously revisit what it means for me to exist. I do need to ground, center, and balance my energy – even if the specifics are somewhat different than what people typically teach. I have to discover what that means for me now, at this point in my evolution.

There is a false assumption that enlightenment is like a “set it and forget it” switch – once you crack open, you are on automatic. Well, certainly you are on automatic, but relationship to everything else is still diligent, required work. That was my wake-up call to restore my own basic understanding of what it means for me to be alive and how I can do it in a more healthy way while existing across worlds simultaneously.

I have known that this is my life’s work. However, I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Now, without a teacher, it is a lot more challenging to figure stuff out and takes longer. I think people who knock having a respectable teacher just crave taking lifetimes to learn. I prefer to use my lifetime to its fullest. If a teacher came along for me, I would study with him or her in a heartbeat. Although, I do not see this happening.

Sometimes we are left on our own to go in an untraveled direction. I do not see what I have learned written down in books or discussed online. There are at least two people to whom I will pass on what I learned, and I know that their challenge would be to evolve that knowledge even further with only their creative inspiration as a guide.

These two people will also hit this wall – what will be “basics” to them as they morph beyond recognition?

Coming to Terms with Authenticity

Who we think we are is not always in alignment with how we present ourselves. The discord between our self-perception and the feedback we get can be jarring.

I don’t write to give advice. I just share my experience – that is really all any of us can do. For over 30 years of my life, I imagined myself as being different than what I really was.

I remember wanting to be someone kind and gentle who looked like a supermodel and spent every second of life “saving the world.” However, the feedback that I got from the world was that I was obsessive, blunt, and generally too intense to be around. I had the persona of someone who always wanted to be right and to have all the answers. I also had a self-righteous streak and couldn’t just let people be to do their thing – I wanted to “fix” them too.

I always joke with my students that we are all students at the “School of Hard Knocks” – with free tuition and universal enrollment. Life is constantly giving feedback about what any of us actually project despite our self-views.

After years of listening to life and letting go, it’s now easy to accept myself the way I am. That’s been a difficult journey, for sure. I am still pretty intense, but lost my obsessiveness somewhere. Rather, now I care about some things and couldn’t care less about others. Generally, I value people’s abilities to experience their lives the way they want to and don’t look to “fix” them or much of anything else.

While being sweet and nice sounds good in theory, it has never worked for me. As a high-school teacher, I deal with nearly 150 students daily – many of whom don’t want to learn anything. I also have kids at home, who occasionally throw attitude my way. To deal with people’s obstacles, I tend to throw flames in their direction. Despite the intensity, my classroom is always full of kids – even during my “off” periods. Students tell me that they are terrified of me and also feel that I am kind and “hilarious.” That’s feedback. Perhaps not how I imagined myself being, but that’s what I am.

It was hard for me to go through the time of incongruency between what I wanted to become and what I actually was. I no longer wrestle with myself. I do have a gauge for when I have less patience with people and their drama, and I isolate myself until my patience returns. It’s become obvious that I need a lot of time to myself and I take those signals seriously.

As a child, a psychic told me that I would have two blonde boys. This came to pass. That psychic also told me I would not have lasting marriages. I know it sounds odd that I talked to a psychic as a kid, but that’s not so abnormal for Russians.

My kids are a very important part of my life – I naturally want to make them strong and independent, but I am also sensitive to their emotionsl needs and help them deal with stuff as it comes up.

As for having a partner, I don’t even think about it now. In fact, my prior marriages feel like they happened to someone else and not to me. “I” was never married. Maybe I somehow traversed time lines into a different reality….

It may be interesting for some that we live in multiple realities simultaneously, and having somewhat different experiences in parallel. It’s not uncommon for our attention to refocus across these realities into another “version” of ourselves. Unfortunately, this idea is not well captured in movies – we don’t need physical portals to travel across timelines and only our “attention” shifts to a different possibility. Occasionally, our dreams can be bleedthroughs from other realities – especially recurring dreams.

I jumped timelines about a year ago into this one. It wasn’t a conscious jump. It was just life taking me here. This is where I will unify all my other existences and complete my karma. The wisdom of the jump is obvious.

Would it make sense to willfully jump across timelines? My sense is probably not. However, we can expand our awareness to heal ourselves in all our existences. It may be beneficial to meditate on the root of ourselves that sprouted into different realities – many very foreign to our current imaginations. There is something to be said for achieving congruency of who we are and merging all of ourselves into a unified consciousness.

Living simultaneously in different “realities” is another layer of complexity to rebirth and having had past lives. Knowing or living this is not necessary for our individual and collective evolution, and most will gloss over what I describe here as either a “cool idea” or just imagination.

It may sound like insanity to live with conscious awareness of past and parallel existences. One existence is challenging enough. However, enlightenment does pretty incredible things to broaden our awareness of reality and makes our brains capable of processing all this information without overwhelm. Enlightenment is more than just a figment of the mind and is quite physiological, changing and adapting our nervous systems.

I’ve written before about flash awareness that can take snapshots of fairly complex structures and instantly comprehend these. For me, this ability to process existence continues to open. Changes are still occurring and the transitions are so smooth, I barely notice. Growth is exponential after enlightenment.

In the meantime, here I am – describing an old habit of wanting to be different from what I actually was. It seems so odd now to even have that thought, let alone waking up – morning after morning – and trying to be something other than what I was. I don’t remember how that felt anymore, but I do recall how uncomfortable that was – what a way to live.

Artists talk about the vanishing point when they draw perspective drawings. Similarly, I see a possibility of convergence of all my lives – my expressions. Paradoxically, I will “vanish” when this occurs, remembered by some and completely forgotten by others.

Restorative Awake

Sleep is restorative, balancing our physiological processes and brain function. Until this day, I saw no way to restore my being to balance because even deep sleep does not serve the same purpose for me anymore. Because I had no answers for how to regain my health so that I could be fully here, I just resigned to the potential for the rest of my life to be one of great discomfort.

But, when I was talking to a friend today about the potential imbalances resulting from incorrect giving and receiving, she responded that Buddha spent half of his time in meditation to be able to participate in this world. Later in the evening, I realized that this is what I have been missing – the restorative “awake.”

I crave complete immersion in my state of wakefulness. However, most of my time – for years – has been spent taking care of situations that I have largely outgrown. Somehow, I had moved on but expected that how I function would remain the same. Maybe that’s typical.

My life has been set up such that 2019 is the year when I release my karmic obligations. My divorce will be complete. My legal case to get my son from a prior marriage his college tuition from his well-off father will also be put to rest. I will complete my second Masters degree and will not be pulling all-nighters to do homework. A few other loose ends will be tied up. I can feel the karma unwinding and releasing me to truly live. This is exciting!

If it were not for my friend talking about Buddha meditating, I don’t know how much longer it would have taken me to make the connection that I can be alive here and I need ample time in my nonphysical bodies.

I am no longer built to continuously attend to this world, stealing occasional hours to engage in what is now more natural for me. This is why I have been physically breaking down. I am so grateful for this understanding.

Illnesses are indicators of an imbalance and bring us to attention to opportunities we ignore. There is no manual for how to live an easy, carefree life – we all have different requirements for our existence. What I have been missing is time to be in my true form, which is barely physical. It is not deep sleep, but an awake state of complete immersion in being.

In the meantime, I will still be caring for my children and the students I teach. To be able to give what I can and wholeheartedly want to give here, I need to have the time to spend in a state of restful wakefulness – where every cell of my body is cradled by the sparks of creation and I am unhindered by physical form. It is so simple!

I am glad that my previous situations will stop running my life and, instead, I will be able to rightfully claim my existence in freedom while still in the body.

Years ago, a teacher told me that I should not be hiding in a monastery, and challenged me to be in the world. I also knew, in my heart of hearts, that I had to be among people and sharing myself with them. I just didn’t know how that would work, given that I daily felt like I was swimming in mercury. Yet, it was obvious that my customary way of engaging with reality was not going to work.

When our eyes close, sometimes something altogether new is being made ready to be seen…

Atlas Shrugged and Idiocracy

I watched Atlas Shrugged this weekend – a movie based on Ayn Rand’s book. I also watched the movie Idiocracy. As per usual and without conscious planning, there was a theme for me related to these movies – how much does any one being need to give society, or to the “greater good”?

Atlas Shrugged appeared to have a key message: Altruism and charity are OK, as long as these are neither guilted out of nor forced upon an individual. Here, the individual’s rights are primary and no person need feel obligated to society. Those who create or discover, including inventors, artists, philosophers, and scientists, need not feel pressured to offer up their creativity to the “greater good” unless they are fairly compensated in some way. What do you think about that?

Atlas represents the practical creators who prop up the world. If the world forces or manipulates Atlas to continue to support it, Atlas can simply shrug in response. Otherwise, the needy just get needier and the competent would just have to pick up more slack for everyone else. People do get lazy and complacent when they feel that someone else will take care of things. As a high-school teacher, I see this fact clearly with my students.

Idiocracy was about what would happen to the world if all intelligent, creative people were bred out of existence. It’s actually a known fact that cultures placing a high value on education also reproduce less! According to the movie, the world would literally degrade to garbage in this case. In the end, “average Joe” does not save humanity, but does give it a solid kick in the right direction – the “average Joe” is not so helpless after all!

I’ve often pondered how much I can give to others. My tendency was to give everything I had and expect nothing in return. If I had something that others wanted or needed, I would give it away with no consideration for myself.

Eventually, I realized that I would die if I kept that up – I was constantly tired, became ill, and generally started to fade from life. It was a wakeup call for me to realize that if I did die, the very people to whom I gave would not care much or at all. That didn’t feel right – was I really expendable?

In everyday-life terms, I always had a job and was able to solely support my family on my income for nearly a decade. Many assumed that I was built to do, accomplish, and ensure everyone was taken care of. In addition, I had this deepseated wish to help others in need and provided emotional strength and support to anyone who crossed my path.

It was my difficult lesson to begin to accept that, just because I could do something didn’t mean that I always need to do it. It even began to feel wrong to want to take away people’s suffering because, on a deeper level, I was taking away something they needed to grow.

I willingly took responsibility for anything and everything I could, incorrectly thinking that this was the right way to live my life. But, I was wrong. I chose too quickly to sacrifice myself until it became impossible for me to continue. I had to learn when to help and when to step aside and let others take responsibility.

The wisdom required to discern when it is correct to help is much more profound, as it turns out, than Ayn Rand’s thesis. After all, almost all of us have unresolved karma and obligations from this and other lives. At times, we are rightfully in the position to give more than we receive. However, when balance is achieved, it is utterly wrong to continue giving.

Similarly, wisdom is necessary to discern when to receive from someone. When someone may appear to be giving, they can actually be giving mostly resentment and guilt – which does not serve anyone. In fact, such giving is actually a form of further taking.

The intention behind giving is more important than the superficial act. I’ve had people in my life go through the motions of giving, but in reality just unloading their resentment onto me for whatever reasons their perception concocted. I had to learn when it was necessary to refuse such “gifts.”

There can be an entire teaching around the art and science of giving and receiving! This is the dynamic at the core of human relationships.

Unfortunately, it took me becoming completely drained and exhausted before I learned my lesson. Interestingly, I also became more attuned to situations where it was undoubtedly still OK to give to others and I would not be drained.

In my case, I often had to reach a point of great discomfort before I realized I needed to make a change. I guess I am a bit dense. Now, the pendulum has swung the other way and I enjoy my much-needed solitude. It is my time to recouperate and to undo some of the damage from overserving. My body is very tired and barely functions – I did that to myself and I take full responsibility for allowing this to happen. Fortunately, I may have caught this in time and now just wait for old karmic connections to be severed.

The Mahabharata talks about one’s duty – the kind we develop over lifetimes and for which we must take responsibility. If we do this, life is clean, free from imbalance, self-loving, and appropriately giving to others. It took waking up to the value of my own life to recognize the reality of the need for balance.

In practice, it is not necessarily good to serve everyone we meet. Also, the “greater good” is much more subtle than people having all their needs met. The bigger picture is much more nuanced, where telling someone off may very well be serving the greater good.

I had to learn this using my own life and body as sounding boards. It never ceases to amaze me how our bodies are such sophisticated devices for intuiting the correct response or actions. The more we listen to our intuition, the easier it becomes to hear.

I am OK shrugging now when there are cries for help. My life has as much value as I see in the lives of others, which is significant. It’s important to know, without any illusions, when we don’t owe someone a single thing.

A Life of Transformation and Enlightenment