Confusing Enlightenment With Being A Better You

Most people market enlightenment as becoming the best one can be – a nice, calm person that says extremely wise things and is adept at living life to the max.

Self-help movements are packaging “basic-sanity” life skills under Growth Mindset, “Grit,” Habits of Mind, Social Emotional Competence (SEC), Emotional Intelligence (EQ), and Mindfulness. When properly engaged, everyone can benefit from greater self-awareness, self-management, resilience, perseverance, and empathy. The qualities of the hero are as relevant now as they were thousands of years ago. These qualities are excellent at helping us discover and build an identity that skillfully moves through our societal structures and experiences meaning in life. But, this is not enlightenment.

Enlightenment is the dissolution of the mechanism we use to build, refine, and maintain an identity – a sense of “I am this” or “I did that.” As long as there is still someone there, that consciousness is not free and remains limited by the boundaries that define the “I.” Unfortunately, the mechanism of the ego is impossible to understand while being an ego. At some later point in our evolution, the definition of enlightenment will change.

But, in the here and now, why would anyone want to get rid of the sense of self? Isn’t the whole point of being here to become a strong person that can successfully navigate life’s challenges, feel confident, and influence others? To most people at this time, that is the point. In most cases, there must be a strong identity before that identity can be dissolved.

However, some people are born feeling like they’ve been there and done that, so to speak. They usually have a number of natural talents and a strong personality from a very young age. But, they also feel like they are missing something critical in life no matter what activity they engage or what they try to accomplish. There is this constant tone of emptiness in nearly every experience, no matter how “peak.” The process of enlightenment can culminate for such people in this life. They are ready to let go because they have something to let go of.

Currently, the most certain way to transcend the entire dilemma of being an “I” is to be connected to a being who is free of ego. The reason this connection is necessary is because such a being serves as the bridge to help an ego-bound person see that which they need to let go. Without the bridge, ego perpetuates more ego. The connection happens rather mysteriously and beyond space and time – the “connected” being deepens and grows even while no in-person communication takes place.

When the path of self-dissolution is engaged prematurely, it can damage the delicate psyche that is still in the process of forming. In fact, most people are equipped with a natural protection that rejects the enlightened being. They find something wrong or suspect with such a “person,” project their fears and perceptions onto that “person,” and walk away.

Of course, an enlightened being never takes this defensiveness personally and feels no pain at the apparent rejection of the state of awareness he or she represents. The free being recognizes when a cookie needs more time in the oven and continues shining his or her presence as a beacon without any efforting. This being is there for all, but specifically and directly for those who are ready to release something that no longer serves them. For the rest, the enlightened character remains a blank screen onto which they project their doubts, fears, and beliefs – there is literally no one there.

What does life become after one is a no one? Well, something else kicks in. The enlightened consciousness is no longer looking for ways to fortify its value in life and, instead, engages in a deeper level of empathy – relationship – with existence. Information is continually pouring in, and pure awareness receives it and feels it in ways that are free of mental processing and emotional residue. There is never a feeling of boredom. There is constant creativity. Brain patterns are nonlinear and hyperlinked, rather than storyboarded.

The ability to be fully at rest and at peace is always available, regardless of whatever life presents. The brain is no longer bogged down by endless, looping thoughts. Furthermore, rather than trying to cultivate and control one’s presentation, there is a wild freedom to be whatever in any given moment. Perfection, poise, grace – these are the characteristics defined out of the need to control, but the enlightened being lives immersed in the uncontrollable in complete surrender.

To most people, an enlightened presence is irritating and confusing. You cannot really explain such a presence to others to sway them from their projections. The situation is what it is. In fact, most enlightened souls stay away from society because their very presence is a threat to what the majority need at this time. Living with an enlightened being is impossible for most adults whose consciousness has reached a certain level of rigidity.

Children are more open to the flexible nature of enlightenment – they are naturally available to humor, changing the rules of the game, or spontaneous decisions. But even then, not all kids.

Eventually, we will all be free. Right now, humanity must go through what it is going through. Advanced beings have always been available to those who needed them – existence is intelligent and interconnected. Such beings evolved over lifetimes because, at the right time, someone else was there for them.

Relationships That Teach

Have you ever had a relationship where you were compelled to be and to act a certain way? You may have felt like you were living somewhere between awake and asleep. You made choices. You felt the pain you caused. And you also felt pain from others. Perhaps you had moments of peace, laughter, joy, and that magical feeling of sharing something.

Then, when the relationship was done, you stepped back and saw it from all angles. You saw yourself through the eyes of the other person, and you saw yourself through your awakened eyes. You felt grief for being the person that you were, you felt remorse, and then… you forgave yourself and let go.

Some relationships are just compressed springs in a mattress – they hold energy that must eventually be released to free us. We enter a relationship because we are trapped in a half-conscious slumber – acting out old habits and perpetuating fears. And yet, we click with that specific person to go through it all. If we don’t learn, we just rinse and repeat the same situations again and again. Each time, there is an opportunity to wake up and make different choices.

It is incredibly hard to forgive yourself. It is much easier to live with a feeling of self-hatred. If you knew better, you would have done different. If you let yourself see you through the eyes of others and allow all those feelings of disgust and shame to rise up, you can eventually let go. You must survive this storm of feeling separation from yourself and come out on the other side. Then, there is healing. You feel like you no longer need karmic relationships. You feel done with acting out life dramas. You let go of needing pain to wake you up.

We are certain when a relationship begins and are just as certain when it ends. There is no ambiguity and no wavering. When all the springs unwind, there is no longer any need to be right. There is only compassion for the actors on the stage who served each other through the growing pains, including yourself.

If you remain bitter after a relationship, then you are sure to repeat the experience again. If you hold on to who was right and who was wrong, then you miss the bigger picture that both were enslaved by illusion. If you forgive – a gentle and surrendered tone of existence – you open your eyes and the chains break.

After freedom, you no longer feel passion as an uncontrollable compulsion. Those movie scenes where people are munching on each other’s faces and ripping clothes off? That’s craziness. That’s hunger. However, you must experience this hunger until you see the emptiness of such a brute-force approach to living. Eventually, the craving for that kind of passion dissolves and there is peace.

All of us were hungry for something at one point or another. We all will or have gone through this. The pain wakes us up and we see its futility. Tragedy. Drama. Thrillers. Horror. All genres of life blend into a single controversy of what happens when you don’t know who you are. We all have to go through it to find out, and then we let go.

After you are purified by the fire of teaching relationships, you no longer have such relationships. Then, you have a different way of interacting with people. You are still learning, but as an awakened presence being Itself – not as a Shakesperian actor. You are no longer baited into fear or hunger.

If you are in crisis, ask yourself – what are you holding on to? It’s rarely something outside of yourself, and is typically a belief you are terrified of having about yourself.

You cannot hold on to people or things – there is nothing to own here. The harder you try, the faster everything slips your grasp. While people and things can be a part of your life one day, they can just as easily disappear the next day. The disposition of holding on and trying to freeze the moment must eventually unwind because it only generates that dreaded feeling of loss.

We are raised to covet wealth, couplehood, endless fun, and exotic experiences. But underneath all that, we just want to feel like we are OK. When we make peace with ourselves, a new vista opens before us. An unexplored dimension that assumes we have learned everything that emotion and passion have to offer.

I am neither the first nor the last to cross over into this dimension of life that rests on unconditional love of oneself – and therefore everyone else. I stopped grasping at branches along the shore, allowed the rapids to take me downstream, and became indistinguishable from the water flow.

Living Out of the Box

Our tendency is to take most of our life experiences for granted. We learn how to walk until we forget that we walk. We learn how to interpret what we see until we become blinded by the familiar. We weave our perception of life using our nervous systems and forget that our perspective is relative. Researchers call this phenomenon learning. I call it forgetting. Researchers say that the ability to perform basic tasks unconsciously frees us up to take on more challenging puzzles. I say that most people stop taking on more challenging, irregular, and innovative patterns of thinking after they get the basics and fall deeper into unconsciousness.

The mindfulness movement emerged as a way to help us remember the basics of how and what we experience. Paying attention to the breath and sensations helps one bring oneself into the moment and away from the traps of memories or future fantasies.

Mindfulness is not new – it has been fundamental to many meditation practices. Mindfulness is a repackaged version of old wisdom, reawakened to lure us out of autopilot. Living on automatic makes life pass by quickly and dims creativity until we are stuck in a box that looks like millions of other boxes. But we are more than this….

Living out of the box is a way of daring ourselves to remain awake. I like to feel awake. The feeling of being conscious liberates me to use my intuition, which moves in sparks and nonlinear flashes. For example, the other day I was reviewing a dream I had, where beings live on a planet that is close to both a bright blue star and a black hole. The light on the planet is a golden yellow that permeates and saturates the experience of these beings – everything is colored by this golden glow. Instead of treating this experience as background music to be filtered, the beings on this planet relate to the golden light as if it were a living presence – the glue between all. How often do we relish our liking of perceiving color? Maybe striking sunsets or sunrises catch our attention for brief moments, but we do not respond to all seeing this way.

Another lesson I learned from this dream is that the nervous systems of these beings are attuned to the strong gravity of both the star and the black hole. Their physiologies interpret gravity just like we hear sound! The black hole causes them to hear and feel a deep tone, droning through their existence. And the gravity of the star produces its own tone. They interpret gravity as sound – amazing! But no more magical than our ability to process light energy as color. The music to which these being are exposed is treated as something mystical and holy, and they are consciously listening to it.

You may say Who cares? Being aware of something as commonplace as light and sound that is always there doesn’t seem very interesting. And yet, as I feel what I see, and truly listen to the subtlety of what I hear, my entire life takes on a more nuanced texture.

Our lives have increasingly become about looking for the next rush. We crave something fresh, invigorating, and otherworldly. I watched some kids browsing YouTube…. They could only pay attention for a few seconds before jumping to the next video. They wanted the punchline without any buildup. They wanted a high on a continuous basis because their perception has become a giant callous. Even if they see something new and creative, they miss it. Their speediness through life is the walls of their box, holding them prisoner of dull emptiness.

If we unlock our ability to slow down and feel how we perceive, we dive deeper into existence and further from repetition. Life is literally countless frames per second, but we skim its surface like mosquitoes on a lake. We can only hear and see a minute fraction because our perception is out of sync with life – our need for speed disconnects us from reality, which gives us much more than we are now capable of receiving.

One last thought…. Have you ever caught yourself liking something and reflected on the feeling without the object that caused it? In my dream, I really liked the golden light and the low frequencies of the black hole. I could not peel away from how differently life consciousness worked on that planet. But then, I stepped away from the dream and just drowned in the feeling of liking. I was completely immersed in that while participating in my life.

We can never hit the bottom of existence because we have the ability to create it, and not to simply consume it. Our consumer culture is now about much more than the obsession to buy things. In fact, we have developed a taste for feeding on existence without creating anything ourselves. We are the vampires and the zombies, dead and hungry. We want to feel full infinity, but are stuck in insatiable hunger instead. We feed off relationships and stimuli to feel alive, but are dead only moments later and already planning the next heist. We are enraged that our hunger only grows. Those who do create cannot create fast enough.

We could stop the hunger completely and live fully, give back, and slow down until we feel the grains in a mirror and the subtle vibrations we call atoms. Wisdom and fullness lies in subtlety, which cannot be rushed. Wisdom cannot survive in a box. We cannot be alive in a box.

When Creativity Is On the Line

I was talking to a student today about choosing courses. The student was reluctant to take a more challenging course next year because he didn’t want to do a science research project. After more conversation, he decided that he was terrified that his research project would fail or that he would not have any creative ideas.

The fear he felt looked a lot like the fear of life: we make a committment without knowing the outcome, we are born to be unique without knowing what that looks like, and we are given raw material without the plans (bacause we are the dynamic, living plans). Life can be frightening because nothing guarantees that we will “succeed.”

I felt puzzled while listening to the student – how can one carry so much doubt about having creative ideas? I am always in creative mode: moving, adjusting, reevaluating, researching, asking “what if…”, and ceaselessly reconfiguring my understanding of the questions I want to ask next. But then I remembered that I had similar issues in the past: I worried that I would not have the right answer when I needed to have one ready, or I wouldn’t be able to complete something in time, or whatever I do would not be good enough. I don’t fully remember these feelings now, but I could see their essence through the eyes of this student.

We didn’t talk about life. We talked about ways to approach having creative ideas and allowing ideas to take shape. We talked about looking at work that was done previously, and then saying “What would happen if I changed this…? What would happen if I tried this…?”

Creativity is a billion-dollar subject. People can’t stop talking about innovation to create the “world we can’t even imagine yet” (an overused phrase). In terms of everyday living, such dreams are usually tied into money and profits, which translate to “I can do whatever I want after I make money.

In deeper life terms, spontaneity and creativity are tied into something much more profound than the means to gratify every desire instantly. Creativity is actually about accessing and expressing our true nature, which is flexible, flowing, adept at stitching together bits and pieces into complete creations, and ripping apart old monuments at the right time to make space for change. Creativity does not take any established ideas for granted, and always reevaluates them for how viable they remain.

What we create is a reflection of the art we feel ourselves to be. Both our desire and calling to be creative is a hint that we are more than laborers, or shoppers, or bill-payers. There is something much more magical that unites all of us in the stream of life.

If we believe ourselves to be plastic toy soldiers, popped out of a mould, it may feel safer. Or, we may get behind someone else who seems to know how to move without hesitation – just like when trucks drive behind one another to minimize air resistance. Maybe then we feel like something about life is tried and true and safe.

However, we buy this feeling of safety at a steep cost – our very uniqueness, our self worth, and drawing boundaries around our existence – which we dare never cross. This is what people call a normal life. It is no wonder that highly creative people often stood apart from the crowd, and sometimes stood apart from the mass majority. When these icebreakers owned up to the truth of their being, they no longer fit into the rank and file of society. Their lives were tragic when they cared too much about being out of place, and also made of legend.

To be creative, one has to learn how to play. The toys don’t matter, as long as they help one to express their true nature in new and evolving ways. However, boundless confidence to be creative is not enough without the recognition that we impact the lives of others. Without empathy and compassion, we are mere powertools. Just because we can create many things does not mean that everything should be created.

With power to create comes great responsibility. It is wonderful when our nature is hardwired with kindness. Until we are on automatic, we must take great care to cultivate sensitivity to the big picture of life. If everyone’s creativity spontaneously ignited without the complementary awakening of the heart, humanity would self destruct rather quickly – and in very creative ways!

After our conversation, the student felt hopeful about his ability to try and you could see his creativity begin to move. He has to put himself into action and see the project through to the end. We talked about building something that would benefit others.

He has to experience his ability to live with a situation that does not have a set outcome, and come through with a feeling of knowing himself just a bit more. With each experience, he will learn to recognize when and how to move in life to express his uniqueness within community.

Dispositions for Life

Doubt and gratitude. Avoidance and engagement. Giving and receiving. Fear and love. These are some of the ways we can relate to life, and our life disposition affects the dynamics of our life situations. Whether negative or constructive, our life disposition helps us to feel alive because, at our core, most of us feel that we are not really real. Feeling something intensely brings us a feeling of solidity, and we configure our lives for this rush – not necessarily for the truth.

It was eye-opening for me to learn the phrase “Form is Function” in Anatomy & Physiology. I imagined our body cells as having “hooks” of a certain shape (form) to hook and absorb molecules of a complementary shape (function). The cells that lacked receptors of a certain shape would not engage with certain molecules at all.

I imagined the microscopic world as puzzle pieces that either fit and interacted, or remained unaware of each other. Our life dispositions act as such hooks or filters for our life experiences. In a sense, we form our life view, and that determines how we move or function through life.

I see our bodies as vortices that either attract or repel other vortices. For example, there is a shape to the vortex of doubt. Doubt pulls in energy from others to fortify itself – and not to help a person feel less doubt. Such a person is continuously battling the sensation of losing cohesion and wants to achieve stability: Do they like me? Am I likable? Am I lovable? Does my life have value? Does anything I do have meaning? Maybe that person believes I am not someone others can like or  I can never succeed, and this belief becomes the way that person moves in and perceives the world.

If doubt feels like we will fall apart at any moment, we engage with life to fortify – usually requiring someone else to feed us that I am lovable, or that No one likes or loves me. The irony is that doubt seeks whatever reinforces itself using our beliefs, either positive or negative. Doubt perpetuates only more doubt and warps whatever may disrupt its flow to fit its needs.

We have a choice to see through our life dispositions and choose the ones that are most open-ended, and – thus – closest to clear perception. Love is open-ended and does not relate to life based on past or future fears. Love does not have memory or history. It is uncaused and unbased on prior events. This is confusing to most people – How can one love me after what I said or did? I don’t trust that. To most human beings, love is conditioned.

Post-enlightenment, love sees through temporary limitations to the eternal qualities of each person and begins fresh in each moment.

Imagine that you had a disagreement with someone and strong words were exchanged. Then, that person approaches you with a loving gesture. You recoil. You think it’s manipulation of some sort. So, you restore the conflict to keep your sense of continuity and linear time. You cling to your history, without realizing that love had already moved on.

People are more comfortable in a state of conflict. Even their so-called vulnerable moments are ploys to vampirically suck someone’s life force to fuel themselves. They mistake their cries of hunger for being vulnerable, whereas they are really playing dead to get something. If the food doesn’t come and they are left to starve, anger kicks in and resentment flies in all directions. There is a temporary sense of power. It feels real, but the whole thing is a sham. It would have been much simpler to start fresh in the moment where love is possible. But that requires giving up the need to control.

People cling desperately to what they interpret about life, which may be distorted and twisted. They will defend what they feel to the exclusion of how others fit into the bigger picture. In reality, what matters most is not their position, but their willingness and flexibility to flow towards love instead of continuing friction.

People fear being perceived as weak, and their fear is obvious and transparent. For most, love is an impossible choice unless there have been many gestures to fortify their ego. Love, for such beings, cannot start at any moment and be uncaused – it must be earned by countless gifts. Even if there were countless gifts, these must be recognized and valued by an ego – there is no guarantee that what you give is valued. That is a shadow of love and a sign of limit-clinging nature.

Friction sparks continue to fly as people feed on each other to try to feel whole. But the hole remains, and the hunger is unabated to become the only reality. Until we see through this dynamic, love is impossible. Love will be a diminished version of its full possibility, reduced to the mere stroking of a person’s sense of self. Then, anyone who refuses to play this game must be truly evil. But there is another possibility – the starved are simply stuck in a way of relating and will negate loving gestures because they don’t fit.

To accept such a view would mean certain death to self-absorbed living. Who would be stupid enough to sacrifice the self for love?

Solitude

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how much I enjoy solitude.

What a stark contrast to the time when I was a child and into most of my adult life, when I still felt that I could not be alone. It was an old habit to feel like I needed company. The belief that I could not be alone sat there, in the body, untested and unchallenged.

Now when I am alone, I enjoy being alone. I daily interact with a few good friends, colleagues, and many students, but I recharge and come alive when all is quiet around me. I relax. I do not feel lonely or lacking. I can create, be aware, feel, perceive – in solitude I can listen to life uninterrupted.

Sometimes the past is sticky and people become entangled in odd ways – even when they are ready to part ways. Such entanglements are much like illness, which sits in the body and must run its course.

One could say that illness is bad, sad, or painful. But if it is there – even after everything has been tried to heal it, then it is there. It is part of life. Another lens to see through or past.

Lingering relationships are not unlike an unavoidable illness, and it is easy to view these ties as irritants. But whatever cannot be controlled must be lived through. Even though I feel ready to be free of such relationships, a couple remain tethered. So, they must run their course and must be embraced.

I used to think that it was important for me to be understood. Today I learned that I no longer care about that. If someone caused me pain, it turned out not to matter to me if they get it. It is liberating to not want or wait for sincere apologies or accountability.

Why do some people irritate us? Hurt us? Hate us? Blame us? Why do we do the same? I challenge myself to see if I hold grudges. I challenge my beliefs about old ways of relating to people. I’ve found that there is no hatred or bitterness in me anymore. The fact that I choose to not spend time or exchange pleasantries with certain people is not a sign of hatred or bitterness – just a wish to be free of whatever wants to see me as someone other than I am. Such interactions feel needlessly draining.

When we have a talent, it is not always necessary for us to use it. When there are certain people near us, it is not always necessary to let them in.

It may seem cold and heartless – even strange – to cut off certain people. Isn’t all relationship welcome? Of course not. We are not all here to get along – at least, not in the way we imagine getting along. While neediness and insecurity persists, it is impossible to be oneself in the company of certain people. And, it is impossible for me to artificially stroke someone’s need for validation, which is a bottomless sinkhole.

I won’t sacrifice whatever time I have left here to false idols. I realized that I no longer care if I am liked because I know who I am. Perhaps that just comes with age. My understanding about friendship and family is evolving beyond the usual definitions that involve us getting something. I see relationships as being about giving without sacrificing who we are, which is not possible with all or most people at this time.

I feel an unwavering resolve to allow others to live their life as they must. People come here to do very specific things, but they get caught up in experiences and stay past their time in relationships that ended long ago. Then, it takes a lot of force to push them out of complacency and onto their rightful track. They see it as cruelty, but it is a gift that makes it easier for them to move on. If they cannot bring themselves to move forward, then what is left to do but to give them a strong push.

If you are in a dead-end relationship, consider how much of yourself you can pull back. Find out if solitude frightens you. If it does, that is a sign that you are clinging to the world for something that you don’t believe you already have.

Meanwhile, be mindful of your responsibilities. Most tend to feel that they owe people much less than they really do – especially at the end of a relationship.

My children come before everything else. They are the priority because I accepted that responsibility. If you have children, then your divorce is not a complete and final separation until your children have fully grown. You are tied to the situation, until it has run its course. So, buckle in and own as much of what is yours as possible.

I do not know whether I will be alive in a decade or what I will be doing. It surprises me that I do not dwell on it. So much change occurs in my life constantly as I follow Life’s lead. I’ve surrendered my life. This surrender has only made it more clear that I have outgrown most things I thought I needed or wanted. It is OK – whatever comes, I will see it through. Either in solitude or among good friends who can be themselves and allow me to be myself. Often, the price of company, companionship, and so-called love is too steep, as it masks the need to hide or to escape the moment that was meant for us alone.

What I Want My Kids to Learn

I hope my kids learn that they have the potential to be unique, that they can trust the process of life above all else, and that they are free to participate fully in their life.

Most people do not awaken to their uniqueness and do things that have been done countless times before. Most people try to control the uncontrollable – and fail. Most people are trapped in illusions, games, virtual realities, self-created worlds – and they enjoy these fragments over the full reality.

What is reality, anyway? I see it as that which results from an uninterrupted conscious connection to what lives all of us. Reality is the deep-dive into a fiery pit that burns up anything that is not It. What remains is a unique embrace of human and Divine that shines its own light – much like a star that reaches critical temperature for sustained nuclear fusion: the initial burst of light pushes gases out of the way, and then the star is free to beam into space and entwine its light with matter through all expanse.

Reality is unique for each of us because no two will embrace the Divine the same way. Paradoxically, It is also absolute. So, reality is not for the mind to understand but for Life itself to birth as It goes.

I am a pragmatist above all else. As someone who has lived through a wide spectrum of experiences and have overcome numerous hardships, I have come to understand that nothing in life is certain. Life broke me of the desire for certainty because certainty does not exist amidst flux. Then comes the question – how does one live in the face of constant change? Self-reliance, perseverance, and a life-wise telephoto lens that zooms in and out of detail – so that you can see the forest and the trees.

My pragmatism is not cold survivalism. While I identify possibilities and open doors for opportunities to grow, I also burn closed loops and dead pathways. Thus, I risk everything to be true to what I am and I trust That. My life is akin to grooming a Bonzai tree: I prune dead ends, and I cultivate potential channels for expression that is ever near and dear to the core of my being.

I prefer the sweet satisfaction of doing joy, happiness, and exploring new ways to move in our ever changing world. I teach in a school, but I am not a “teacher.” I write, but I am not a “writer.” I make jokes and laugh, but I am no “comedian.” I sing, but I am no “rock star.” Who we are cannot have a label. We can only be seen for all that we are by those who have the ability to see.

I hope my kids will see deeply into life and move with life – partner with life. I hope for them to see the limitations of video games and YouTube channels and movies and shallow conversation, and to be unsatisfied with anything shy of their depth.

Life leaves us breadcrumbs and constant signals to guide us into our fullness. Why not follow these? Why not surrender to truth that can only exist as we live it? While we have the potential to be alive, few have dared to tap it. Most seek safe nooks to hide in and live like hibernating bears. They eat, drink, seek pleasure, and dream. They suffer as the reality of life bleeds through their illusions and causes friction. I hope for my kids to see this root cause of suffering.

If there is no one to see a rainbow, does it exist? A rainbow is the effect of sunlight passing through water droplets and exiting the droplets at just the right angle. The observer must be at a certain location relative to the sun to see the rainbow! If there is no observer there, did the rainbow occur? Yes it did. The light went to that location to be received – whether or not it was received. The Universe recognizes all opportunities and possibilities, whether or not they were engaged. The secret to life is knowing that the truth is always available – to humanity and all else. Being human is not the only way to embrace the Divine, after all.

I hope for my kids to recognize the richness of life, and to see both their individuality and the Whole they represent. I hope for them to pierce the miasm of self-doubt that casts a shadow on the human race. Self-doubt is the leading cause of suicide, as I understand it, which the CDC reported today to be on the rise by 25% since 1999. When reality rubs against our limited perception, the result is disillusionment and unbearable pain. Few recognize this pain as an opportunity to see beyond our limited definition of life. What we think isn’t what it is. Anything to stop the pain, even die. I’ve been there, but I pulled up. It is extremely difficult to do in the moment of hitting bottom.

I hope for my kids to understand the intrinsic and uncaused value of life. They are more than the sum of their thoughts, actions, and words. They are a Big Bang poised to birth a universe. They are deeply loved. They lack nothing. They cannot be defined simplistically, and thus can never be judged for being.

I hope for my kids to choose wisely and to learn the map of how life works in its current state. They must navigate relationships with mostly self-absorbed people who are still asleep, shifting economic trends, and constant choices. Choices have consequences, and timing is everything. Learning to feel the clocks of life starting and stopping is key.

I know that no one can ruin my life because I am responsible for my choices. There is a huge difference between taking responsibility and casting blame. I hope for my kids to learn this difference so that they hold others – and themselves – accountable without blaming.

I hope for my kids to have the courage to be themselves, and the wisdom to not martyr themselves. Wisdom grows as you let go into the moment and allow yourself to be in whatever the moment is, taking appropriate action that expresses you. After all, you is all there is when you let go. Honing the craft of engaging the moment is to master life.

Timeless Splendor

Imagine laying down to rest. No thoughts. No worries. You have been engaged in something creative, and it was time to stop. So you stop.

Rest can be permeated with timeless splendor. Only the energy of your presence makes a distinct sound that is your being. Feeling this presence is relaxing and energizing. It is the feeling of freedom that is the core of what makes each of us unique.

I bask in this restful state. I draw upon it in times of pressure. I am inextricably connected to it at all times. This state of rest is everpresent. I completely let go into it when I lay my head down at the end of each day.

Perhaps it is meditation, only without props. A meditation that does not begin or end. Feeling the intersections of energy that create your unique pattern of being. Rather than a single note, you are a symphony that writes itself as your life.

Every one of your cells is a pattern that emerges from the surrounding space. That apparent emptiness surrounding the apparent you is more real than the object you perceive yourself to be. In acknowledging this negative space as reality, you know that you are never separate from anyone or anything. It becomes the living truth, vibrant and alive. There is a velvety richness in the palace of your being, replete with everything you could ever need or want.

This is Grace, alive in each heart. It does not require imagination or wishful thinking because Grace is real. We can access it by choosing it over and above everything else that may be going on. We make this choice repeatedly – against all odds – until it is automatic. We choose – pain or Grace.

The silence of a restful soul makes it obvious that life sings and sparkles. As the mind calms, another vista opens up and lets in that which our worries and thoughts block. All you need is a glimpse of being suspended in this timeless state – its fullness. You are complete. You are fulfilled. You are deeply loved as you are lived.

How Resilient Can One Be?

How many times in one lifetime can one completely start over? Can one just pick up and move forward with minimal support after each dramatic change – with little money, no caretakers, and no elder family? Can one start over – and over again – while still honing empathy, compassion, and care for all Life?

I’ve come to understand that I am such an experiment. After my transformation, I’ve noticed a gradual surrender of my life to the overall Life process – the invisible web of interconnections that is all of us. It became impossible to hold on to my life as someone who needed to get something to feel whole. I am already whole. Each time I am in a situation of significant change, I am forced to give up more comfort and more outside support. I am alive to show that complete resilience through surrender to Life is possible while still participating in everyday life.

I came to this country from the poverty of another – only to land in poverty again. I have survived rape as a child. I graduated high school two years earlier than my peers. I chose an extremely challenging technical major in college and went on to get a graduate degree in this field as a woman – when few women ventured into such fields. I’ve played classical piano competively. I’ve lived through 3 marriages, and lost almost everything in the first two. I know what it feels like to lose a child and to get him back – the instincts and love of a mother. I’ve had emotionally distant parents, with whom I’ve lost touch. I’ve had intense jobs, where I worked 60-80 hour weeks for sustained periods of time. I made and lost large sums of money. I’ve had challenges feeling like any place was home, that any group could be family, and that anything can feel “secure.” The few people with whom I shared my life think that I’ve lived many lives, did too many things – they get tired just imagining what I’ve pushed through.

When the transformation occurred about a decade ago, after a brief few months of bliss, there were still dramatic changes to my being. And then – relocation, change of career, challenges finding work, illness, challenges of putting my family on a stable financial track, and more transformation. I have often found myself feeling like living was unbearable.

Each time the rug was pulled from under my feet, I had a choice to give up or to get up again. And that became my life.

To say that I am an experiment sounds sterile and clinical, but it is not. I can feel and understand what Life is trying to discover through my existence. It wants to know if enlightenment can coexist with the nonenlightened beings so that more and more enlightened people can walk the world and spark transformation. We are entering an era when enlightened beings can no longer afford to hide in the mountains.

The only way for me to fail is to stop, but I cannot do that. It is no longer possible for me to even make that choice. I must complete this life to carve a path for others. Each of us does that – carves a path – when we embrace our unique experiment fully and surrender to living it completely.

When life situations are constantly unstable in basic human terms, it is a kind of trauma on the psyche. The challenge then becomes to adjust to being constant change without balking or breaking, without shutting down the ability to feel everything, and still continuing to love life.

The enlightened state turns up the volume on everything going on in the world. The stream of input of people’s experiences pouring in and through is neverending. However, the gift is that nothing “sticks” to drag one down to a place of no return. Laughter, humor, and joy are not only possible – they are prevalent. There is no cynicism or sarcasm. There is no making light of challenging situations. All of this is a flow that is endlessly surrendered to the Life Stream.

Am I perfect and flawless in my execution? Not at all. I stumble a lot, and fall even more. I learn from every interaction and untangle from life’s dysfunctional and impacted blueprints that have been established by countless generations. I suppose it helps that I am no longer capable of hating myself as I face obstacles.

Perhaps self-love and transformation are two sides of the same coin – one is not possible without the other. I am not talking about adoring oneself or artificially propping one’s self up to feel good. Instead, I am describing a fundamental care and the valuing of oneself that can only come from giving up a sense of investment in life to get something from it. Paradoxically, self-love comes by erasing the need to fulfill and fortify an identity, and instead reorienting the being to embrace the messy and dynamic life process as it is. Learning without judgement. Loving without neediness. Letting go without giving up.

Peace Amidst Uncertainty

I am resting – in peace. Peace is not just for death, but is here and now – for life. Everything in my life is uncertain right now, and I rest peacefully nonetheless.

I have traveled to the US from another country – from a life that would be considered difficult by most measures. I have my citizenship, but I have never felt what home feels like – not even at my country of origin. I have let go of needing a place or people to feel at home.

I’ve arrived at the end of my marriages. I had wanted marriage and friendship to be certainty, but nothing in life is certain. And yet, I feel peace.

My past is loosening from every fiber of my being – my memories, my dreams – everything is letting go. Perhaps, it is I who am letting go of everything.

On a long drive to and from a graduate class I am taking, I noticed that – despite wanting to feel regret – I do not feel regret. Everything was as it was, and now it is what it is.

Society drills into us certain ways of relating to life – that we must want, need, desire something to feel alive. If these dreams do not come true, then we must claw or cling. It was difficult for me to see through that. Now I see how, just as our brains decode light frequencies into color, we want to decode certain patterns in life. It is we who define the norms and what life should feel like when some need is not met.

Time either heals or makes things unworkable. So we adjust. On the other side, across the adjustment barrier, is something very simple. Something devoid of wanting, and yet something that cares deeply for oneself.

I feel a lack of tolerance for anything that binds me unnecessarily, or drains me. I feel care for myself. I know what I can and cannot do or give. I also know what I cannot take. Thus, it is even easier to feel care and compassion for others. I feel no need to validate my life, nor to be amidst tension and discomfort.

It’s not detachment to rest amidst complete uncertainty. Although I do not have any idea how the situations in my life will play out, I can still feel complete peace. I wait for insight – am I still responsible to someone? And, what are my choices? And, I continue, moment to moment. Of course, I still love.

I see a world filled with dreams and desires – people wanting things from the earth, from life, and from each other. Most of my life felt like a void that needed to be filled and completed. Now the void is free, and I am still here. No safety nets. No assurances. Just life. I could not know how this felt until I was in the situation to feel it. Now I know.

Knowing this is calming, soothing, and quiet. I feel quiet inside and out.

I am wondering how my life will feel day-to-day now that I know I have everything in nothing.

A Life of Transformation and Enlightenment