Category Archives: Spirituality

Without Goals or Dreams

We are raised to have a dream. Something that we want to accomplish, participate in, and share. We are urged to pursue our dreams, to work hard, and to never settle down on a pile of laurels.

Recently, someone asked me what was my dream for myself – what did I want to accomplish?

I thought back to my youth, when I decided I wanted to be an astrophysicist. I wanted to attain the freedom of enlightenment. I wanted to teach physics. I wanted to have children. I guess my dreams came true to the degree that I dreamt them, but living them was so much more than I dreamt. My life has been full of experiences, questions, expectations, disappointments, and hope in ways I did not preconceive.

I realized that I have no more dreams or goals. Not in the way people do when they want to shape or mould themselves into their version of success. I have no need for “success.”

If you knew me in the past, you would think that it doesn’t sound like me at all. I was a living exemplar of ambition – from playing piano competitively to majoring in a difficult subject and, for a time, rapidly climbing the corporate ladder. What happened? Is it unhealthy or a sign of giving up to stop setting goals and dreaming?

In truth, I do not recognize myself anymore. I’ve changed so much. One of the things that’s gone is my ambition to be somebody important or special. Another thing that’s gone is the desire to be loved and understood.

So, what’s left of a person when they no longer dream of being someone or of being with someone? In my case, I just live now with no agendas or blueprints for the future. Life is unpredictable and full of surprises. I try to take it one moment at a time and do my best with that moment.

I’ve seen and dreamt so much that goals have been supplanted by visions, which cannot be put into words. I’ve turned my life over to God. This does mean that I no longer try to control my life. Thus, I do not suffer my life despite much pain that must still be cleared out. I know that I am not my pain.

I also don’t need complements or reassurances about my daily deeds and work. I see no point in receiving praise about a moment that’s already receded. The next moment is upon me, and then the next. I watch where I fell short of expressing what I am, and I pay more careful attention. I know that I will never be perfect in any way.

It’s easy to make life all about healing or all about enjoying everything. But life doesn’t care how we try to define it – it just happens. Whether we dream about the future or just take in one moment after another, life never judges. There is no prescribed template for living or dying. So, when my dreams left me at some point, I guess I just let that be what it is.

What’s left now is the continuous reflection of whether I express the Divine enough and where I hold back. I am nobody. The beauty of life is that even a nobody can marry the Divine and allow That to be one’s life – simple. The more I live, the more of a nobody I become. I do like peace. I do like the moments I have to meditate and commune with the Divine state. I love to be alone and I love teaching.

I suppose people will continue to have goals, plans, and dreams. I just don’t believe that such a life is the only kind of life worth living. Sometimes, it’s only about being in relationship with whatever comes, including receiving the unexpected. Sometimes the most sacred moment is the one you let go of most deeply.

When Going Through Stuff

I haven’t written much of late. Not because I’ve had nothing to say, but because I’ve had too much to say – incoherent, disorganized thoughts and feelings, bouncing around like fire flies in the dark. The light is relentless when it comes to healing. Once the light is in charge, it has the power to dislodge one completely from impacted existence and pave new roads at the same time as one walks.

I am at the part of my journey where a confluence of events with roots in trauma and drama have come to fruition. I’ve written many times that enlightenment is a beginning of putting together the unique puzzle that is our life and discarding useless ills and hurts barraging our subconscious. So much awareness building had already occurred.

For the past six months, I’ve been reliving childhood trauma that I mostly repressed. Officially, I have a diagnosis of CPTSD that has impacted my life even long after the trauma was over.

I thought I had a good handle on my past until I visited closely with my stuffed memories now coming to the surface daily. Last week, I cried for the first time in months – releasing and releasing pain, shame, images, and felling flashbacks. I forced myself to talk about what happened to me in detail. Something I never dared do. PTSD changes brain chemistry. CPTSD is more damaging as it is the result of prolongued trauma.

I used to think that isolating myself was undesirable. That’s what everyone says, anyway. Now I see the wisdom of distancing myself from everyone who can’t or won’t understand and, most importantly, accept. I’ve learned that only those in the same boat can row it in sync. Those who don’t know trauma can only intellectually grasp what it may mean.

Now, I see that isolation can be healing – a time to take care of myself and my children. I don’t have to explain anything to deaf ears or rationalize “why” to those who can’t grasp. But, I can give myself what I need to get through this at the pace I can handle.

For most of my life, I over-functioned. I did a lot of things. In some cases, made a lot of money. It’s only my 10th year after enlightenment, and I learned from my teacher that it takes about 10 years or so to clear the body-mind of debris. Well, here I am now, digging at the roots that bound me. It may take me longer given my beginnings.

It’s so obvious now how many moments I lived through the lens of flashbacks. It took me time to learn to distinguish flashbacks from in-the-moment responses. This was the most difficult breakthrough. After that, most events in my life fell into place. I understand myself better than ever. I understand why I have been gradually falling apart physically in the past 6 years – because I was trying to hold back the dam of trauma from engulfing my life, even as the pressure built.

During these months, dear friends reached out and extended help to me, which I never expected. It was an awakening for me that I was not really “on my own.” I do have people who love me sincerely. Even as my biological family is long gone, there are those who give of themselves and care.

I am grateful that the light cleared all people from my life who have and would continue to hold me back from moving forward. In some ways, it feels like starting from scratch. A new lens on life, free from cloudy vision, tends to turn everything on its head and signal a new beginning.

I’ve healed many things already – for me, there was a lot. I trust that I will heal this too, even if it does seem sometimes like the flashbacks – visual and emotional – will never go away. Once the brain chemistry kicks in, I can control reliving painful moments or watching them from the side (as if they were happening to someone else).

Enlightenment is just a reset button for identifying with only the Divine. The body-mind then has no choice but to align to that energy even it feels like being torn apart at the seams.

I keep being told that what happened to me was not my fault. I know it wasn’t. But it did leave me broken. When I was falling apart and reached out to the people closest to me, telling them that something was wrong and I was unraveling, they turned away from me.

I am OK with the fact that I was broken and damaged. It’s facts. I am OK that those closest to me didn’t hear my cries for help when I was drowning in the loops of reliving my experiences. But I think the worst is over. The purge that was needed is almost complete.

My teacher used to say that it’s important to heal before enlightenment, because after is very intense – the light just does what it does and not necessarily what we can handle. I drew the after straw. I am at the point where ecstacy and pain can coexist to eventually work themselves out.

I wrote this to say that perfection does not exist. Enlightenment is a process, just like the body-mind. Once the light is engaged, one must hand over life completely to it.

The Vulnerable Shall Inherit the Earth

When I was younger, I remember feeling a revulsion to the concept of “turning the other cheek” and “the meek shall inherit the Earth.” As usual, I reacted to something I didn’t understand. I think now I get it better.

When I felt oppressed, brutalized, demeaned, neglected, or objectified, I felt “weak.” When feeling weak, I thought that those who hurt me were “strong.” We were like two sides of a coin – the weak oppressed and the powerful oppressors. Both are necessary for the coin to exist.

But something magical happened over time – I grew tired. I was no longer interested in the moments of my life when I felt strong. Instead, I became fascinated with those moments when I felt the weakest and with nothing left – not even the desire to fight. I studied those moments and invited more of them in.

After going through the stages of feeling annihilated, I realized I still remained. And then I was just vulnerable and open. The attackers were like shadows lashing out, but their claws and fangs just passed right through me. I was no longer the other side of the coin – I wasn’t part of the coin at all.

Then, I began to study my weakest moments of having been beaten, shamed, abandoned, and crushed. I remembered deep sadness that was leading me to the bottom where I thought I would be erased. I stayed there. I had to find the lowest low, which was the opposite of how I typically wished to present myself in life.

I was traveling down the rabbit hole of my worst fears that held me captive, and visited closely with each one. We had tea and broke bread. Surely this would be my death, I thought.

But I remained.

I learned that surrendering to even one moment of absolute helplessness was more powerful than acting strong and feeling powerful – having nothing to “win” was freedom.

I searched my moments of triumph – highs, not lows. These were empty and hollow. I don’t even know why I tried to aim for a feeling of “strength” – there was nothing beneath it. But those moments of despair – they were rich with lessons. They were priceless in helping me to see how there was nothing to acquire, defend, hide, or run from.

Freedom is not power, but something other than the duality of strength and weakness. Existence as freedom means you can act in the interest of life without taking any side. You do the best that you can for yourself and for those you love, and… there is no “and.” That’s it. There is no loss, fear, grasping, hunting. There is nothing worth any of that hunger that fuels duality.

So many stories talk of the great ongoing war, which needs at least two agressors. If we are divided within, the war is within, and the world simply reflects what is already in motion in the unconscious.

I sit on the lowest rung of the ladder from which one falls into the abyss of the unknown. I let go and fall. As I fall, I see this ladder in the distance – war, blood, guts, betrayal, and stench. The seeming victors are gloating. The apparent victims are in despair. I also see the oppressors weeping, and victims assaulting whom they can. I recede.

The meek shall inherit the Earth because the realization that there is no war is inevitable. All are meek at the core – even the dragons who spit fire. Anyone will beg for mercy when encountering a stronger force. But the strongest force is clarity that sees through this dualistic dynamic and has no interest in participating. Nothing fuels defense or offense. Nothing is superior or inferior. Whatever it is that labels is dead.

Healing is being able to face one’s deepest shame and fear and withstanding the feeling that it is “the end.” After the illusion breaks, it is the beginning of a life of nothing to prove, no debts to accrue or collect, and no desire to be “strong.” Vulnerability diffuses all conflict.

Is Science Inferior to Spirituality

I was reading a book about spirituality, and the author went on a tangent about how science is inferior to spirituality. The arguments that followed in favor of this claim were written by someone who clearly has no training or understanding in science. To someone who has an advanced degree in physics, the book’s discussion was cringeworthy. Although most high-school textbooks discuss science that is over 200 years old, modern science has grown exponentially in its discoveries. There’s much more fact now, which previously was fiction.

All disciplines are based on the kinds of questions they ask and the limitations within which the questions can be answered. For example, chemistry, physics, biology, and philosophy ask somewhat different questions. A good question inspires the mind to extend beyond its understanding. A great question stirs something beyond the mind – a passion and curiousity that cannot be fulfilled by the mental, analytical circuit.

Science asks questions that can be answered objectively by anyone – independent of the person. However, answers to spiritual questions are very much dependent on the person answering them and there is currently no way to objectively verify whether that person has any understanding – here, the human bodymind, the nervous system, is the measuring instrument. Thus, spirituality is a description and study of human perception. Spirituality is currently personal for this reason – there is no way to “prove” anything except to feel it for oneself.

Spirituality becomes more interesting when different people document similar perceptions and understandings, which raises more questions than provides answers. I love studying the writings of sages and yogis and compare them.

In everyday language, a theory means a guess. In scientific language, a theory is a model of reality that is well supported by a body of experimental evidence. Scientists often try to reproduce experiments already done to see if they get the same or different results. The bar is high to becoming a “theory” in science. A mere guess in scientific circles is called a hypothesis.

I often see headlines like “Scientists now believe…”. Scientists don’t “believe” anything. Instead, they design careful experiments to measure and see. This is why scientists don’t ask questions that cannot be answered objectively, such as “Why did the universe come into being?” Or “Is there God?” Because these questions cannot be “measured,” they are not scientific. That’s not being inferior. That’s knowing one’s limitations.

The question is – Is there anything we can know beyond objective reality (that we can all agree on)? Here, we enter the realm of human perception. However, people have experiences and treat them as if they are truth. People use their experiences to claim some status without having any benchmarks for the validity of their claims. Others believe them at their word (or charisma) and don’t even want proof. “My gut tells me…” Your gut may not have the honed perception and discernment to tell…. Thus, spirituality is full of half-baked claims spoken as truths – and many don’t care because the claims make them feel good.

Feeling good and feeling God are not necessarily the same thing.

The subjective nature of spirituality will continue to prevail. People will continue to make claims. And many will continue to believe without trying to replicate these claims for themselves. It presents an interesting dilemma. But, science and spirituality were never incompatible.

Spiritual people talk about eliminating doubt. I think that’s poor judgement. If the doubt is based on genuine curiosity and not some deepseated insecurity, this doubt is valuable to being able to study and understand one’s state. Doubt of this kind makes introspection possible.

It would be useful to present objective proof for someone being enlightened vs. another person being unenlightened. Such proof could put many charlatans in their place.

Ancient yogis were very scientific about the observations of their states to try to better understand what they have become. I also study my state because I’m curious – it is not enough for me to live and be lost in it.

And after saying all this, I’ll make several hypotheses about being human (but definitely not stated in scientific terms):

  • There are advanced states of perception that make one feel happy and peaceful at the core of being.
  • The advanced state changes the nervous system in a consistent, predictable way.
  • The advanced state is common to (shared by) others in the same state.
  • Advanced states open gates to different modes of perception that are currently called “worlds” or “planes of existence.”
  • It will eventually be possible to objectively test for someone being in an advanced state.
  • An enlightened being can 100% of the time tell whether someone else is or is not enlightened.
  • The methods used and a person’s readiness to attain advanced states all have key things in common.

Should you believe my claims as fact? Of course not. But as more people become enlightened and the time becomes right, there will be a richer understanding of what it all means. I trust in people’s curiosity and interest to become more observant of our human potential and how to practically apply it in life.

I will continue to study, try, test, and retest to better understand what has occurred with me, but I won’t accept subservient acquiescence of others to half-assed claims. Nor will I quietly stand by when people misrepresent and denegrade the scientific method. Those who do should stop taking medications, cease seeing doctors, and throw away all their technologies – get rid of everything that science and engineering has given them by its meticulous studies. Perhaps they can also learn some actual science before arguing about it or distorting what it is.

As for spirituality, as long as the only instrument is one’s perception, it will remain a personal journey. One other snag is that spiritual questions go way beyond the limits of the mind.

Surrender

I wanted to write about what seems to me is the most important spiritual practice – surrender. Although the word is used to imply “giving up” or “giving in,” I use it differently in the context of the journey toward union with the Divine.

Surrender is the opposite of holding on to a lack of authenticity. It is the opposite of gripping tightly to personal, religious, and cultural biases. Surrender is a process of letting go into something greater than the one or the many, while retaining a sense of “I”-presence.

Muscles grip tightly in a stressed body – they ache and cause discomfort. Relaxing muscles surrenders the pain. It feels so good to let go into a more expansive feeling than to hold onto tension. Spiritual surrender is very similar.

One sage has termed the ego as “a constricted self.” People get used to discomfort and find new thresholds of tolerance. However, when the pain is relieved, there is a sense of “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” Or “I didn’t know such a feeling was possible!”

Letting go of tension and stress of being alive is a relief. The expanded awareness that is free of minutiae is a gift. Our presence becomes holy when we surrender to that holiness and release the chains that bind us.

Those who felt chronic pain know that this feeling changes your outlook on life. It is only in the past few years that I am finally free of this pain. Until that point, I needed to consciously practice moving my attention to release the physical tension that resulted from being in pain. Today I remembered that I had been surrendering that pain to the light – not to be “taken away,” but to be transformed.

There is no “taking away” in this life. Nothing really gets taken away, in the greater sense. Things just get rearranged, recirculated, and possibly elevated. When I leave this world, I want to leave it slightly better as a result of being here. “Better” means to me free-er from illusion, more awake, less bogged down in habitual patterns of relating to life.

My students at school often act unmotivated, uncurious, angry, and disinterested. I tell them that this behavior is not original. Most people are doing that. It’s basic and been done before – over and over. Something about being here – probably lack of development and fear – causes most to sleepwalk from one task to the next, from one distraction to another, from one satisfied craving to another craving. All of it has been endlessly repeated. There is no wish to surrender in such living, but hoarding of absolutely everything becomes the norm – including a negative outlook on life.

A woman told me about some events in her life and then added: “I just give it all up to God.” In truth, she was holding on to all of it and repeating a mantra – probably from her childhood. She looked angry and with tears just beneath the surface. That is not surrender. She said “If you want my advice…” I stopped her and responded that I didn’t want any advice and that I wished her well. This is true for most of us – advice is useless. We all want to discover for ourselves where our lives will lead us.

People say that older people come with “more baggage,” which is mostly true. However, it is possible to live life such that most baggage is unloaded with age – and way before being too frail to move about. Life challenges us to see beyond the things we grip tightly and to feel freedom in any situation – not because we are ignorant or naive, but because we choose to surrender our very being into our source.

The action of surrender is far from doing nothing. Perhaps, it is the most challenging spiritual act that is also hidden from public view. There is an internal battle that takes place, which requires utmost courage to see oneself with fresh eyes and examine one’s life from a new perspective. We can always choose to keep doing what we already do. Perhaps, we will flower and open to new ways to relate to what is already here.

When I am uncomfortable, I put my attention on the light and let go into That. I pay attention to what comes “with me,” and release what stays behind.

Fearless people are the most frightening of all to those prone to fear. The fearless go through life without clinging to what didn’t go their way. I guess that can seem pretty scary to many who bow to feeling afraid.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in my life has been learning to deal with uncertainty. I’ve been through a series of life-changing circumstances that left me feeling that there is nothing to hang onto. When life got pulled out from my feet over and over, I saw surrender as the only door open. I was lucky to be nudged in this direction. Although I’ve had intuition about the results of my key decisions, I made my decisions anyway. I know I am responsible for my life. Now I know that the past “me” was incapable of choosing differently, and that realizing this is growth I may not have had if I didn’t go through my experiences as I did. I surrender all of this too.

My ongoing meditation is my relationship to the light and all that is manifested here. When I leave, I hope to be completely innocent – free from undercurrent biases and deeply-ingrained patterns. This is my prayer – to surrender to the degree that I am innocent throughout my body and mind. Here innocent means free, and not the opposite of guilty.

My children will grow up, friends will come and go, and money will ebb and flow. Through it all, I will surrender. We transitioned from generation X to generation Z – it’s only fitting that the next one will restart the cycle at generation A. And through this too, I will surrender.

Surrender is ongoing for those who bring baggage into the enlightened state. It is a core practice that can be done anywhere and at any time – no candles or incense or crystals are required. It is a practice until it become automatic.

Surrender can be a natural part of daily rhythm to free us from the emotions, thoughts, and stuff we no longer need – no matter how deeply buried in the unconscious and bonded to our being. That of which we can let go is not who we are.

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.