Enlightenment Is Not the Goal

Those who yearn and seek a full connection with the Universe start in a place of confusion. Bound by senses and filters, they begin to set goals, regiments, and prescribed practices. Of course, at this time the destination is unknown, but there is certainty that the destination must be better than the current state. It has to be, right?

There is a tendency of the seeker to become rigid about the pursuit for something new, and then a different confusion tends to sets in – how to properly pursue enlightenment so as to attain It. “Who is the right teacher? How and when can I expect results? Which are the right practices?”

I have gone through this – seeking with a truly Type-A personality, setting goals, and driving onward despite tremendous discomfort and at a rapid rate. I made enlightenment a goal that had to be achieved at all costs. Thankfully, I was blessed with a teacher that truly knew what binds the human spirit on Earth….

I discovered that there is not one “destination” but many – as many transformations as the body can take before one must leave the physical behind completely to move further. First, one realizes that one is not the illusions constructed by the ego and knows there is something akin to Light – physically and wholebodily. Then, one realizes that he or she is not the awareness watching the ego. Then another awareness emerges beyond that prior realization. The infinite is felt physically and is undeniable – that feeling continues to deepen. The transformations, once stable, are unmistakable because the world becomes ever more transparent. So, the entire concept of a goal becomes just a motivating force until it is no longer needed and cast aside. Enlightenment seems to be a process of letting go, and then letting go some more, and so on, while taking the time to integrate the new perspectives on the world and its process of life from new vantage points.

But, after you are no longer anyone and identify only with Infinity (at whatever level) – then what?

I learned that enlightenment is really only evolution, but not the whole picture. It is only change ever-changing to release all filters of one’s relationship to life. However, life must still be lived. And that is, perhaps, also another step in enlightenment – to reach to infinity while reaching back to the Earth in truth. I picture many tendrils of connection emanating from Infinity to discover Itself on Earth.

It is an interesting cross-road – what to do after enlightenment…. And the answer is not as simple as one would imagine. One could leave this dimension altogether, or stay and help from the vantage point of the physical.

I feel like my decision is already known to me, but “I” have not embraced it yet. Staying in the physical plane is just one way to help, but there are many ways to help. Service is on automatic – the commitment to “others” does not stop. But what is the best way to serve as my unique being?

What is next? It’s not yet clear. We are all given free will and that never goes away. There are no wrong turns, and the next turn remains as mysterious as enlightenment initially was.

I realized that, in itself, enlightenment is not a goal. It is more of a release of what binds us from being who we really are. There is only so much we can release while being in physical form because this body is also a bind.

My teacher always said that it is about “happiness and its expression.” The enlightened state demands expression – unconditional happiness is not enough. An unconditional really does mean happiness independent of life’s ups and downs rooted in something deeper, ancient, and true that pervades all.

So, what expression do I choose? This requires experimentation. I no longer have anything to lose or gain, so I experiment…. But, I know my expression is not yet full. What I currently offer could be aligned better with who I am.

Growth appears to be neverending. One can live as purpose in its purest form, and that purpose must shine our truth. That truth must be discovered by each of us independently because no two being are alike and have a unique contribution to make. There are many ways to help the world rise to the challenge of living, and there is also more understanding of when to stand aside and allow change to be what it is. I guess I’ll just take it day by day and learn all that I can about how to best serve a planet that I love dearly. That is all I can do….

Alive As Purpose

Purpose is like a gem that coruscates differently under the light in the eye of the beholder.

I have often thought of purpose as something you have – something you consciously possess and shape during the process of self discovery. But recently, I’ve recognized this definition matches more the concept of a goal that is powered by a drive. Goals, agendas, and drive are common occurrences, but it seems that purpose is less so.

Simply put, purpose is focused energy that sets the context for living. Purpose is one and the same as you. It is a life set in motion like an arrow, skillfully fired from a bow and flying ceaselessly toward a target that may very well be still forming.

I am not trying to speak in riddles. I am still searching for words and trying to describe something that has – up to this point – simply been my life. I’ve only now began to recognize and understand it after decades of observing recurring patterns.

Since a very young age, I felt that I was this flying arrow – already in motion. It was most apparent in my decision-making, where I moved only in response to opportunities and changes by intuition. I did very little strategizing or thinking about my choices. It is also something that made me feel like an outcast.

What made my decisions unusual is that I had no plan and no end-result in mind. I never thought of my choices as leading to success or happiness. Rather, the big changes I made were the only changes I could make – with no afterthought or regrets.

In hindsight, I was a paradox that appeared as an overachiver and a workaholic to others, but now I simply see myself as someone with a limited amount of time and still much to learn.

I am always working – not as a distraction from living, but because I am focused on living. When I get tired, I rest, and then resume where I left off. I am a student of the world, and my studies follow a thread that runs throughout the world and human knowledge. I just follow it, like one follows a scent.

I suppose it must sound like such a strange way to live – so intensely immersed in learning, practicing, and giving, without any thought of outcome or reward. I only know that I must keep going because my time is limited and I must not run out of it. The less I identified myself as someone, the more focused and free I became to live as purpose.

Purpose is living me and not the other way around, and it is not done with me yet. However, lately it has felt like I am closer to where I am being taken in life. 

Purpose is a force of nature with no personality. Of course I have an unmistakable personality, but the purpose that lives me does not – it is simply colored by my personality.

Typically, driven persons are always armed with a way to measure their proximity to the goal and are ready to adjust course. I noticed that I just don’t do that – the destination does not matter, and the journey is everything. I have not really achieved anything. In conventional terms, one may not conclude that I have arrived at financial success and stability  or fame. I lay no claim to have made any difference in the lives of others – I have no idea how I helped, only that I was available. But what is life if not a process of mystery?

Society has defined value and shaped a vision of a desirable life. So many people compare their lives against some set standard to decide if they measure up. What if we just lived life completely out of the box? What if we surrendered and trusted the flow of life itself, and ceased to judge life? My guess is that we would be handing ourselves over to purpose, and becoming that straight and narrow arrow in flight. We would move with direct confidence 24/7 – never questioning or regretting any life lesson.

Living this way stops time, even while – paradoxically – it feels like there is no time to waste.

Inviting Earth Into the Heart

I asked the Earth what she needs that I could humbly offer in her service.

I asked consciousness how it wishes to be expressed.

I bowed my head and offered all of myself – known and yet to be discovered – to the grace living all beings.

I walk about the planes of existence and create pillars of light to bind the darkness. Since childhood, I built energy structures in the invisible realms and played with them. But it was only play back then….

Now, I see the energy structures and gates as part of the labyrinth of healing – dynamic and evolving. The ancient art of placing unseen, yet potent constructions at key location on the planet is a service performed by many and over eons. I feel these humble beings working tirelessly.

The shapes arise by intention and are imbued with consciousness, forging connections on a sophisticated network  started by the Masters before time. All intention is sealed by love. Changes are made when necessary – which is often.

As I feel the Earth, my heart – a vortex with no beginning or end – burns ever more brightly. She enters my heart, and I invite her. Here, there is no concept of size as we know it, and it is possible to embrace an entire planet in a heart.

Every day is a renewed outpouring of tenderness and care in simple expressions. Life is a sacred ritual best served in the moment.

Silence Is Being

Behind voice, gesture, emotion, and thought, there is a deep and profound Silence – the who you are that cannot be distilled into words or confined into a static mold. This Silence is dynamic, ever changing, and is the authentic presence that underlies all expression. When touched by our awareness and integrated, there is power in this Silence, whether we choose to use it or not.

My exploration of this sacred Silence did not begin when I started to meditate. Even though I didn’t speak and tried not to move in meditation, the thoughts alone were loud enough. In the beginning, meditation was all about just being with the thoughts because it was impossible to just turn them off. I learned that “quiet” is relative, and did not even have an inkling of Silence.

I stumbled on Silence rather accidentally, when I was steeped in simply being. I was not in any traditional meditation posture, but I was meditating – pure awareness touching the essence of presence. This was the “It” that cannot really be described – just alluded to by art or poetry, hinting at the energy and texture of It. I was learning to navigate these currents and diving deeper into all. I realized that the answer to the age-old question of “Who am I?” can only be explored and – lived. A language that lacks the practice of awareness of being, has no concepts or words necessary to describe that. Hence, Silence.

When I am Silent, I feel a strong wave building and a change in the rate at which time flows, including the subtle gaps between what the senses can communicate. (Yes, there are gaps in our conventional perception of reality.)

This wave is steady and rolls freely without a set course, never crashing on any shore. It is unrestricted and unrestrained, and it is who I am before images, concepts, and perceptions give me form. As Silence, I do not need a form,  a name, or a vestment to be real. I am prior to all the coloring of my presentation – inside or outside the lines. We all are.

I was surprised to learn that being awake  is not a guarantee that I can navigate  everyday life with strength. In fact, I am not yet strong. While there is no need for me to sit in meditation anymore – it is everpresent, living as awareness does not guarantee that others will relate to me without overloading me with their projections. I often hear the same phrase now – that I have “too much presence” – even if I say or do nothing at all. Not all object to this “presence,” but some do.

Because I always look for genuine connection with others, I’ve spent the past six months trying to hone a veneer that would – maybe – make me seem less threatening, if that makes any sense. It is ironic how the one with no agenda could be a threat. But, pulling in my energy didn’t really make others more comfortable around me, and it felt completely unnatural to me. However, there is the dilemma of how being radiantly happy and creative often invites caustic attacks from those who live a different reality…. And I find “protection” a superficial missing of the point.

I could now better understand why some beings choose to live in monastic orders and communities, but I also knew that this was not my path. My path is among others, who are from all walks of life, and being smack in the middle of everyday Western way of life.

While talking to a woman who I had never met before, I was fascinated by her positive outlook on life, her description of friendships, and the way she faced hardships. I asked her if, being this way, had invited backlash for her from the world – people who wanted to squash her light. She didn’t answer directly, but told me a story about how she has to deal with all kinds of situations in standing up for others. And then she added: “You have to know when to be silent.” That phrase just caught fire in every cell of my body. Silence.

When she said that, I didn’t picture  stopping speaking. Instead, I caught a glimpse of stopping hiding who I was – prior to all expression – and not trying to hide. I saw the possibility of being able to create an open space for everyone to be who they are and at whatever level of evolution, which also allowed me to be who I am. Silence took on a new meaning as the power to make room from  authenticity. As unique beings, we need lots of “room” before we acknowledge the illusion of limitations. And we can have all that we need.

Space and time are pliant and freely available. Silence – the full presence – is the force that can bend time and space to invite others to be authentic. In a way, Silence is the unexpressed expression, the underlying truth, and the eternal moment – the unspoken outpouring of the divine imbued with powerful intention that anyone and everyone is welcome. All can arrive as they are without moving a single muscle. 

I didn’t know that I had to embrace the Silence, but now I do. I didn’t know that space and time can bend and stretch to embrace all our diversity, but now I do. Prior to the hustle and bustle, is the Silence, and its power is in its unadulterated Real.

I am this Silence and – it seems – so are you. We only need to feel who we are beyond the structures and appearances imposed by perception. Feeling the Real is power to be real in any job, town or country. 

Silence is life. What would happen if enough of us tapped this reality  for the unfolding of Global Peace, so that we can stop trying to merely survive in a “harsh world” and be free to fully Be? What is the root cause behind our world being so “harsh” anyway?

Transformation Is Not An Experience 

Transformation has not been a common occurrence through the ages, and not all who have transformed were or are well known. 

Transformation is easy to misunderstand. It is not about becoming kinder, nicer, more peaceful, more creative, or more powerful. Whereas one can train oneself to act kindly and project a calm demeanor, self-control is not transformation. Instead, to transform is to embody a completely new awareness of life – which is actually the very opposite of controlling anything. Self-control can be lost, while transformation is a stable shift. Another way to describe transformation is as ever increasing freedom.

Transformation is identifying less and less with the body, the mind, the emotions, and more with the awareness that lives and expresses these things. As it turns out, there are many layers to awareness – as you shift into a new awareness, another lies deeper and eventually makes itself known. 

Dr. Wilder Penfield, while mapping the brain, noticed that his patients referred to an “I” that was watching and commenting on the experiment while it was happening. This “I” could detach from the experience and observe. Dr. Penfield referred to this observer as “The Watcher.” It is fascinating that our body and mind – a collection of parts – has a way of coming together under a single identity. This Watcher is usually the Ego-I, identified with an experience.

Imagine now that what you identify with  evolves into a completely unpredicted state of awareness – even the idea of “I” may dissolve completely . You cannot predict what each transformation will bring because it is not based on any prior experience. You cannot choose the next level of your evolution because you have no reference point – you can only choose to let go.

Then, imagine that you break through to realizing that you are being lived by a profound consciouness that also lives everything and everyone, and your awareness shifts to That. What does that feel like? How does that change the way you relate to life? Without trying to act happy, you become the essence of happiness that is unconditional and independent of life experiences.

 Imagine further that your awareness shifts into what lives this universe and breaks beyond the “boundaries” of this reality. Who is living you then?

With each shift, the new awareness goes through an adjustment phase to relearn how to relate to the world – not unlike a newborn. Everything is unfamiliar because the one experiencing has changed. Old ways of connecting to life no longer work, expire, and are cast aside. Gradually, the filters are released and life is lived directly, in its raw glory of the divine exploring itself. 

The New Age movement often references the Higher Self as something that is separate. However, from the perspective of transformation, there is not one but a multitude of “Higher Selves”, waiting to be integrated and gradually dissolving the “Self.” Perhaps, even “higher” may be misleading and could be replaced by the word “authentic,” as one sheds skins of separation from reality.

So, who cares if transformation is our birthright? If we can’t even imagine what life becomes with each shift, why bother with the whole idea? Of course, most people will not bother because they have plenty to explore already. However, some will feel that something is missing from their lives – something they can’t quite name. This feeling is different from boredom or apathy. Rather, it is more like a hunger – a dynamic state of searching for what one knows not.

Spiritual seekers fall into two general categories: those who want to accumulate fantastic and extraordinary experiences and power, and those who are ready for the possibility that transformation is not an experience at all. To have an experience assumes that “you” are there to experience, but to be transformed leaves one wide open to freedom from experience, interpretation, and “knowing.”

Awareness transformation – a shedding of filters and illusion – can be an extremely raw and uncomfortable experience. Before you can shed the old ways of relating, you must be completely exposed and vulnerable. You must surrender the assumption that you know anything, or that you have become and achieved. Intellectually, this may sound pretty straightforward. However, in practice, there is much resistance to letting go of yourself. The process may even feel like dying. 

If you are one who will undergo multiple transformations in one lifetime, then just when you settle into a new rest-stop, you will need to move into the unknown again. Just when you feel there is nothing more to surrender, there is more. Here “surrender” is not about giving in to anything or anyone – it is a letting go of everything you believe you are to make room for something altogether different.

I suppose tramsformation can be viewed as evolution – not of the instrument, but of awareness itself. But as awareness changes, so does the body, and so does the way we relate to life – all of life. 

Some people believe that they can become transformed on their own – without a model that has already crossed thresholds. Only a few have done this successfully because it is too easy to become trapped in illusion without someone to snap you out of it. Resistance to transformation is exceedingly strong, complemented by denial, deflecting of feedback from the world, and the need to feel like one has “achieved realization.” Beings get stuck like this and are unlikely to know that they are stuck. 

If you believe that you know something or are someone, chances are that you are trapped in a hall of mirrors. Transformation increasingly takes one to a state of innocence, and not of the helpless variety. There is so much strength and inspiration in letting go – like a monk blowing away a painstakingly created mandala of sand without feeling any loss. In transforming, you always seem to need to let go of something deemed very beautiful. 

Crazy Wisdom or Crazymaking?

Many years ago, I discovered the writings of Chogyam Trungpa. Specifically, his phrase Crazy Wisdom was something that felt very familiar to me. When I read his books, I pictured wise men and women – usually in India – acting counter to social norms, laughing when laughter was not expected, giving someone a rock after a question was asked of them, and generally acting in counterintuitive and illogical ways. Although I had not met such beings, I felt that I had an inkling of intuition about this state.

I felt a freedom emanating from the idea of Crazy Wisdom – a letting go like no other. At the time, I wanted so much to be free of all of societal constraints, and imagined how I could navigate life as easily as a breeze, or a cloud, or an ocean wave. Since a very young age, I sought this freedom before I had any vocabulary or spiritual teachings to express my yearning. In silence, I held that feeling of freedom near and dear.

I’ve learned since then that people in the West often cannot recognize an enlightened being, and would not likely be able to tell if someone is wise or confused, or just another person walking by. That is no surprise because, at first glance, an enlightened being looks just like everyone else – and most don’t wish to be recognized. No white or saffron robes. No face paint. No prayer beads. Just presence.

It is so easy to project one’s own thoughts and ambitions and fears onto an awake  being without even sensing the  projections for what they are.  It can feel so natural to dismiss innocence as slow intellect, naivete, or a lack of understanding. And the awakened one cares not. He or she simply continues to be innocently present – even while all this drama is going on – steeped in bliss as pure awareness.

The Western world makes it challenging for such beings to be who they are. Unlike in India and Tibet, where wise men and women are respected and welcome, the West has a very fixed set of norms. If the awakened one wishes to have a job in the mainstream marketplace, he or she encounters much resistance and misunderstanding just by virtue of being there. There may be comments about that person’s unconventional approach and countless projections about what this being is thinking or feeling – but all are projections nonetheless. Regardless of endless criticism, circumstances do change toward the positive around such a being, but he or she is not cencerned with receiving appreciation and acknowledgement – he or she has no need for these.

So, how can we tell if a person is awake or crazy? Now, there is no clinical definition of crazy, and insanity has a very specific definition in legal settings. Psychologists  talk about perseveration, which is “compulsive, hopeless, helpless, automatic and unsatisfying” behavior. However, in my travels, I’ve encountered  crazymaking, which I describe as any acts that promote agendas and limit interconnection of ideas and people. I’ve observed that when people do not fully listen, ask few question, have little or no genuine interest in others, and push ahead with their own agendas, the atmosphere becomes toxic. Such people are rigid in their perceptions, but may even consider themselves awakened or wise. Awake beings have no agenda, but they are no patsies either – they know what’s up.

What fascinates me is that people who have an agenda to “be right,” “know it all,” “have the answers,” “get approval”, “be the best/smartest/most attractive/most talented,” or even to literally want to hurt others, may have no idea that they are driven by such agendas.   They interrupt others while pretending to listen, toot their own horn, put words in other people’s mouths, project emotions onto others, and spread negative comments in person or online. They leave toxicity in their wake – of course, there are degrees of toxicity. Is this not crazymaking? Does this have anything to do with an open, innocent being who moves in unconventional ways and, perhaps, uses unconventional words to simply express?

Awake beings come in all shapes and sizes, and behave in a myriad of ways. Some let go of this life’s norms completely. They are as compatible with illusion as oil and water, and always give freely of themselves to those in need – what else can love do?

Those who are connected to an awake being will recognize them for who they are and see an opportunity. Others will simply walk on by. And all is as it should be – as it is. There can be no crazymaking in Crazy Wisdom because, in full awakening, there is no ego to run the show – and it is such a show….

Fear of Being Real

The fear of being real is very real. Why bother being someone when you think that you are not good enough for others? Being fake is also scary – what if they eventually strip away the veneer and figure out that you may not be all that they’ve believed you were?

This fear goes deeper than reluctance to  reveal beliefs and ideologies, gender identity, sexual orientation, intelligence or education level to a critical audience. This fear is older – ancient – cutting at the core of whether or not you value who you are. And, who are you, anyway?

We often hear that if we love ourselves, we will attract people who love us for who we are. The reality is that we cross paths with all kinds of people, even if we love ourselves through and through.

It may be more accurate to say that if we love ourselves, we attract and keep relationships where we are loved, while appropriately distancing ourselves from those who hurt us. But even this feels incomplete…. I can name a number of people who loved and cared for me when I completely hated myself, and feel gratitude for these kind souls then and now. Some people come in and try to teach us that we are lovable and that love is possible. So, who does one really need to be to be loved?

We don’t really know who we are until other people come along and show us how we feel about ourselves through our relationships.  They mirror back to us all our antics and machinations, and reflect any and all heartfelt movements. We see, we react, and we boil inside when we know that we have allowed ourselves to be false.

At first, relationships mostly teach us who we are not. With every conflict and confrontation with another, we learn when we’ve had enough pretending. With every accolade for playing to an audience, we feel more and more exploited for forgetting our truth. Every time we are ignored or cast aside, we feel our insides twist and the temptation to be whatever we need to successfully pull in relationships – we begin to notice those moments when we feel the need to pose. We don’t like to be lonely, and many also don’t like feeling fake.

Not knowing who we are feels like we are  unpredictable,  uncontrollable –  and that is scary. There is so much uncertainty about doing the right thing to keep our relationships and avoid being lonely. Thus, many people are not interested in who they are – and only care to be the bare minimum to get what they want. And, if they don’t get what they want unless they behave a certain way, they change until they see results. They morph to match expectations rather than being real, and many are good with this setup. However, others will suffer under the industrial-scale pressures of moulding themselves to conform – what to do then?

Feeling that we fall short is not a new thing. While you may interpret this feeling as a negative, that is only an interpretation. What if, instead, you interpret every rejection, dismissal, or act of violenece as a question What am I not willing to do/be to get love? Then the beat changes…. Just asking the question can lead to new words and behaviors, which cast aside the things you are not. You can’t and don’t change who you really are. You just let go of the things you are not. This requires strength, courage, and the wilingness to explore. It is hard work in the beginning, but does get easier.

Perhaps the story of the Promethean gift of fire was passed down to us as a reminder that we are a kind of fire. Eventually, all that is false in us will burn to ashes, and the truth will rise out of these ashes to be seen. Old memories are healed when we allow ourselves to relive them consciously – as long as it takes to let them go, sitting in a pool of tears and tissues.  The fire of the heart burns away old, impacted pain and allows us to be fearless with regards to being who we are.

Ironically, we fear being truly loved because that would mean opening ourselves up. This is not emotional love that needs and clings and uses others for self-validation. If we search ourselves, we may learn that we don’t want more attachment games, and we want something more real. In its pure form, love is an embrace of yourself and the world as pure awareness. It is confidence and self-knowledge. It is vulnerability that can only be perceived as strength. To become this love, we must resist trying to protect ourselves from our own fire.

The journey to truth is a winding path – far from a straight line for most of us. Past hurts cling to the fibers of our being, and we get used to these thorns. They are pain, but we learn how to numb discomfort with overstimulating our days with social interactions, internet crawling, gaming, food, and even drugs of all sorts. Because we have lived, we carry much pain that is unfelt and unknown, but it must be known, released, and set ablaze.

Life is the ancient ritual that frees us, but only if we allow it. This process feels scary because it is a journey into the unknown. However, many have made this journey and live a life that is authentic. Do such people attract all kinds of people? Sure, and they handle situations by being true. Do such people have partners? Some do, and some don’t – it is a choice. Happy people are always beautiful and attractive to others. Are such people free of all pain? Not necessarily, but they know that they are not their pain. Are there risks in being real? Always – after all, we live in a world with so many different people. Being real does require some street-smarts 😀 But, feeling free requires absolutely nothing except just being.

***Please share your thoughts and feelings. I will try to respond.***

Creative Living

Do you believe that you are creative? Do you often find life repetitive and boring? Do you feel a yearning to express, but decide to judge and put down your creations? Do you wish to express, but then stop because you see someone doing it “better” and being praised?

Unfortunately, many confuse creativity with having a specific, well-honed skill. While creativity can build skills, creativity and skill are not the same.

Creativity is very basic to our existence – it is a way to express relationship to life through any and all actions. You feel a connection and you say or do something that brings out your unique perspective as a natural response – whether or not anyone else is looking. As your relationship to life deepens and you continue to express that, you build skill – perhaps a new skill. And you really couldn’t care less if anyone appreciates what you do.

That may sound like a pretty weird take on creativity. Isn’t creativity reserved only for those few who have been deemed by society as talented?

Society has turned creativity into a public act of showmanship. There can be so much arrogance about what is considered creative: fame, “likes,” money, and power. The sacred and intimate act of sketching, painting, dancing, singing, or writing is put on a stage in front of observers who convince us that what we create is at their pleasure. Because only a few rise up to the top of this accolade pyramid, the rest may shut down to creativity altogether and stop expressing. For so many, creativity has become about impressing others, amassing viewers and “followers”, boosting ratings, and – ultimately – money and status. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with having these things, the drive to create because of these possible outcomes misses the point of living a creative life.

Let’s go back to the beginning….One way to view life is as creating a relationship with the world and expressing this relationship. Everything we observe about what’s around us becomes a part of us. If we respond to this awareness and do something to express our take on life, then we are creating new connections and being creative. Life is the full palette available to us. Inspiration to be ourselves is the brush or instrument. Awareness is the vehicle that takes us deeper and deeper into reality, and weaves our unique perception directly into the fabric of life.  Everyone can do this at any time with – literally – any activity. Creativity is about our personal intention to connect.

A creative life is the opposite of a stuck, monotonous life. A creative life breaks the mould without trumpeting its accomplishments. There are no predetermined outcomes of a creative life because the journey is always presenting something new. That journey, unfettered by agenda, is the essence of creativity.

Every moment opens an opportunity to be creative even through the simplest of acts. Even washing dishes can be creative. But how? We do things over and over in life, and such acts can quickly  become boring to us. Where is the creativity in that?

Behind action are our attention and intention. If the intention originated from a heartfelt openness – a feeling of happy freedom in being, the attention begins to move awareness toward relationship with the world. And, even while washing dishes, we begin to notice more about the water and the plate than we did before. While holding and scrubbing a plate, cup, or fork, we explore and discover consciously. Our movements literally flow new tentrils of connection to reality in that moment that are unique because they come from a unique spark of the divine – each of us.

When a heart surrenders the fight to be the most creative and worthy of note – probably due to sheer exhaustion of having to be on stage and perform, there is literally nowhere to turn to except into the moment. The rules of engagement transform, what we value transforms, and we are free to just be – which is also creative. Simple presence, relating from moment to moment to whatever, can be the purest expression of creativity.

***Please let me know your thoughts. I will try to respond.***

The Power of Intention

Intention is the will behind thoughts, words, and actions. What we want, consciously or unconsciously, is clear to others who observe our body language and actions, and listen to how and what we say. Most of our communication is nonverbal, and most of what people remember about us is their perception of our intention – not really the details.

Some people advertise methods for controlling our intention to attract money, fame, love, and power – whatever we want. They say we need to combine visualization and our will to manifest or cocreate a more desirable reality. Does reality really work this way? If it did, how different would our world be now? 

Unfortunately, our intention is mostly unconscious and we cannot override it with visuals and positive phrases. Although these do help to temporarily boost how we feel, the unconscious eventually wins.

Intention is literally where we are coming from, which is often a jumbled and inconsistent set of beliefs about ourselves and life in general. These beliefs lie at the core of our being, forged over time by our life experiences and predispositions. Once our intentions set in, they are slow to change – regadless of how we try to manipulate our surface affect.

So, how do we discover our true intentions – unconsciousness and all? How do we make visible what is hidden? Which beliefs are really running our lives, as we walk about and interact with the world?

One way is to ask for a teacher – someone who can help to expose the you that is secret by reflecting to you your unconscious drivers. Another way is to simply listen to the recurring feedback from the world about how you present yourself. Are you kind or cruel, or both – depending on the situation? Are you gentle or agressive? Do you have a bias toward people of the same or opposite sex? Do you stereotype, condescend, or dominate? Are you open to truly appreciating the beauty of another?

Typically, the very people who irritate and annoy you in life hold the most lessons about your true intentions. These people feel no need to please you or enable you. They don’t play along. If you discard the caustic nature with which they may interact with you and truly see who they are reflecting to you, there is gold in their feedback. You may not like what you see, and that is probably because what you see hit a home run with your unconscious.

I often hear people talk about their “Higher Self”…. They may feel like they can access everything they need by themselves. There may be an air of overconfidence emanating from such people. My experience is that freedom is “No Self”, not a “Higher Self,” and that there are more evolved beings who are always needed to break a being out of their self absorption – possibly within a lifetime. Ironically, some individuals who claim enlightenment are simply a very strong ego, mesmerizing others with their overconfidence. While believing that they are enlightened, these souls are actually stuck. What are their intentions? How are they seeking self-affirmation from others?

An awake being who is completely free from self absorption is just there as “No Self,” with happiness and gifts simply going to anyone and everyone. Such a being sees directly through intentions, and their consciousness of a person helps that person to gain the courage to witness who they are not. Over time, that person prepares to see who they truly are. Regardless of how one chooses to transform simple attention to pure intention, the unconscious must be witnessed to unlock the clear stream of pure awareness that underlies all there is.

Engaging Crisis

My eight-year-old likes to say that life is not always cupcakes and roses. In fact, there are times when it seems like our lives simply collapse. Nothing feels right,  and the will to go on goes silent. We stand on a precipice – angry, sad, and isolated – and just want to give up completely. 

Any normal person will attempt to avoid crises at all costs, right? But life just keeps on moving and serving us up one experience after another. When that job or loved one is gone, when we hate who we are, and when our actions do not get the results we want, a crisis sets in. There it is…. And we don’t feel any more prepared for it than the last time. Of course, all we really want is to feel good because it truly sucks to feel bad. Of course….

However, suppose you are a person who deeply yearns for transformation. Perhaps you have glimpsed your true nature beyond the personality. Maybe you met someone who embodied freedom, and this freedom moved you. Maybe you have a nagging sense that there is more – something more – to what the world appears to offer. If you wish to lift the veil of existence, then your crises seem to come in regular waves – there is a rhythm to collapsing and rising out of your own ashes until you break free to live fully.

Anyone on a spiritual path knows crises well and dreads their depth and intensity. Each crisis feels like you are dying. However, if you truly wish to transform – undergo a fundamental change – is that not a kind of dying? When the old ways of relating to life no longer work, are these ways not dead to you? A part of you knows that what no longer works must die, and it is during such critical times that you have an opportunity to realize that the true you has nothing to do with your life situations, pain, and dysfunction.

Who is suffering during a crisis? You may say that I am suffering, but that is not quite true. If you choose to believe that you are your pain, then you will be pain. If you choose to accept that you failed, then you and your perceived failure are one and same. You identify with your pain. Thus, you are your pain. If you accept that life has no value or meaning, then you have no meaning. And this belief feels so real that you buy into it hook, line, and sinker. After all, what else is there?

An alternative way to experience a crisis is as a tool for transformation. You feel  your pain and know that you are not the pain. You feel fear and know that your are not this fear. You feel sadness and know that you are not your emotions or your thoughts. You are something else altogether, just having an experience.

A crisis is a special experience because it temporarily destabilized every belief you have held onto and demands that you break free from feeling like you are your beliefs. A crisis is a door opening to a new possibility of freedom. You are not dying, but your impacted beliefs are. And that is the transformation process in a nutshell.

As a spiritual practitioner matures, it becomes – paradoxically – easier to move through crises. There is, in fact, an expectation that crises will come, and come again. On the other side of a crisis, there is a deeper insight into what is really going on behind the veil. During these collapses, our awareness is free to operate unimpeded by illusion.

Crises are powerful catalysts for seeing life – and yourself – from a fresh perspective. After freedom from illusion, there is only life, and there is you. Regardless of the arising situations, you know that are not your situations or experiences. You are beyond this level of handling life. The closest word to describe you is happiness, permanent and unperturbed.

A Life of Transformation and Enlightenment