Tag Archives: consciousness

What Does It Mean to Be “Spiritually Advanced”

In spiritual networks, it is common to label someone as “advanced,” be it the teacher, another practitioner, or oneself. It is pretty common to see someone presenting themselves as spiritually advanced. But how many go further to clarify what being “advanced” really means?

“Spirituality” is a loaded term that is contextualized to philosophy and religion, and conjuring images of crystals, candles, 5 am meditation, yoga, tarot cards, organic foods, and chanting. Yet, it just so happens that true spirituality has no props and all the aforementioned objects and practices do not define spirituality.

A spiritual life is available to all and is independent of one’s background and belief systems. If this were not true, some of us would be somehow superior to others, and one life would be considered more valuable than another – how is that possible?

“Advanced” is a strange term to use with spirituality because it implies being above and even beyond. To the ego, which loves to compare everything and everyone using its meter stick, “advanced” means either “better than me” or “beneath me” (ego is fairly binary). Comparison for purposes of fortifying oneself is a game children play on the playground, picking teams consisting of those most like themselves.

Something more unified than the individual is living all of us and, like a light beaming through a prism, is refracting into a rainbow of colors as each of us. The reality is that we can transform our perception of and relationship to what lives us. We are a differentiation of the One living consciousness that is experiencing itself through its many facets. Do we know this? If so, to what degree?

Spiritual evolution is a matter of shifting one’s attention to identify more and more with the Life that lives us, rather that our bodies, emotions, minds, diseases, and other conditions. No one is faulty at the core. The shifts seem to follow a pattern with common milestones.

To identify with something means to know that you are That – not separate, not worshipping something outside of yourself (and not worshipping yourself either), and not striving toward or pulling in anything because you are That.

I understand an “advanced” state as being increasingly identified with the unifying principle while maintaining an individual expression of that principle. We can be unique without being separate.

Our bodies express our degree of identification with this unified Consciousness through verbal and nonverbal communication. Our bodies are also valuable instruments for accessing and integrating the countless aspects of the one consciousness by happily handing over any clinging to a separate self. The more we surrender ourselves to That, the less we believe we are something superior or extra special. Thus, one naturally becomes humbled by existence as one evolves, while simultaneously understanding more deeply the value of all life. This is not even close to the practice of comparing, labeling, or either celebrating our superiority or wallowing in our self-perceived low attainment.

People who don’t use “spiritual” terminology may very well have undergone a transformation where they have peeled off the layers of separation – perhaps even more so than those who deftly toss around Sanscrit terms. This fact is often overlooked by those looking for superficial markers of a spiritual life. Someone who did not read the Vedas may be closer to reconfiguring their perceptual mechanism.

Transformation, as the name implies, is a fundamental shift in how one experiences life and relates to its processes. Perception changes to the degree that one begins to invent words and imagery to describe what one lives because such concepts do not exist in spoken languages. True transformation is not imagination because the descriptions of the so-called sages (as far back as ancient times) actually match at various key milestones.

For example, I have read Buddhist texts about the Watcher after going through several transformations myself to identify with these successive layers of consciousness. The Watcher is a palpable presence that seems to be observing “you” thinking, speaking, and doing until you identify with that observer. Then, one finds yet another Watcher. Eventually, there are no more Watchers. How do I know? Because in the incomplete state, a Watcher is tangible – there is clearly someone watching and seems to be other than yourself. Mostly, people claiming to be aware of their “consciousness” are aware of one of such Watcher layers. Once you’ve felt one Watcher, the rest are more easily recognizable. Their absence is also very obvious, which happens as one goes futher in letting go into Life. The One Life lives us and breathes us, not the other way around.

Transformation is a fundamental change in the configuration of our multifaceted body, rather than a honing or refining of an existing configuration. To someone who has gone through the change, it is obvious who else has or has not.

An “advanced” being cannot prove to others anything – nor wants to. But such a being can easily see where others are in their evolution toward unification and reidentification. Most important, such a being will not casually make claims about his or her state, lightly choose to become a public figure, or even subtly put down anyone at whatever level of life.

I have run into a number of people claiming something about themselves when it is clear that they have not transformed but simply got their life on stable footing. Also, highly tuned intuition or access to certain nonphysical planes of existence are no indicators of how or whether that being identifies. If “advanced” means seeing auras or reading people’s minds, then we are talking about different types of evolution – many who have not freed themselves can develop these skills but still remain removed from absorption as the One Life.

I am not at all implying that any life stage is more valuable than another. We all have equally important parts to develop by living. We will all make different and valid contributions as our lives unfold.

Someone asked me once why bother evolving or transforming if we are all valuable. The answer is simple – those poised for change will do the work to change – this will feel like the whole point of their existence, while others will have no interest in doing so. In any case, change is just that – something different, and neither superior nor inferior.

If someone is poised for change – especially at the critical points of early transformations, a teacher may come and invite one to complete the process. The teacher is an accelerant for something that may take lifetimes to do by oneself. For someone who is on the cusp, why wait aeons when the opportunity presents to move faster? There may be good reasons.

A clear expression of oneself supercedes any transformed state. Many advanced beings were seen as faulty because they did not express themselves clearly. Maybe they presented themselves as greedy opportunists or just horny, and this detracted from their contribution to humanity.

“Advanced” beings, whether hidden or in public view, contribute many things most people will not recognize as contributions by a certain person – beyond their spiritual talks and pithy wisdom. As one transforms, certain acts of service go on automatic and cannot be not done. In simplest terms, such beings make a difference to multitudes simple by being. They do not care if anyone knows what they really do and who they are.

I am a regular Joe. A mom with a job and two kids. I will remain that until my death. Most people won’t see me as anything else and it doesn’t matter to me. While my intensity is evident, it will be just “intensity” to most observers, chalked up to my personality.

In the meantime, I work on healing and clarifying my own expression. I want no gaps between my authenticity and what I present in everyday life.

Be wary of those who put down the human race or talk about it like a plague – this is not “advanced” behavior. As one gets closer to unification of life, it is impossible to hate or resent it, even while regularly confronting any dysfunction in no uncertain terms. Asserting truth may be seen as anger, but it can be very different from anger – although the intensity may be easily confused with anger at first glance.

Unconditional love becomes not only fundamental, it is simply one’s natural state and has little to do with the sticky, clingy “love” in most couples. “Unconditional love,” despite being misunderstood, is a phrase that still brings hope to humanity and continues to function – for now.

Busyness vs. Life Immersion

Someone asks: “How have you been?” People like to respond: “Busy!”

From a 50-thousand-foot view, the human race looks like a giant ant colony, moving piles of dirt from one place to another.

As a child, I once asked my father why he worked so hard. In my ignorance, I said to him that he resembled an ant. At the time, I did not understand how much work was required when one was trying to rise out of poverty. Frankly, I did not understand why anyone would want to live at all, given that life looked like some kind of voluntary slavery. The instinct to cling to life at all costs was never a part of my composition.

People who were content with their situations didn’t inspire me either. They projected an image of having everything they needed and maybe even wanted. However, they lacked that spark of spontaneous and creative joy. I knew even back then that what most called happiness did not even come close to the real thing.

Contentment is a fragile state, heavily dependent on life circumstances. If things don’t go well, contentment shatters and is supplanted by tears, prayers for help, and suffering. If happiness were real, it had to be independent of life’s ups and downs. But how many can say that they are happy when their situations go south and find winter?

I was convinced, for awhile, that the answer to happiness was in detachment. I wanted to be immune to emotions completely, and fantasized about being like Mr. Spock on Star Trek. If I felt nothing, nothing could hurt me. And yet, I was highly emotional and mercurial, which frustrated me to no end.

Had I not met my last teacher, I may not have ever known what real happiness looks like. It is so much more than even-tempered contentment and detachment. And it requires nothing less than a full-being plunge into life – an immersion from which there is no return.

For nearly a decade, I have been naturally immersed in life. In every daily detail lies an immense opportunity. Every moment is so rich, and our natural state is to be in this “zone,” in this “flow,” and authentic. This state is truly limitless and unbridled by doubts.

At the end of the day, I reflect. Every moment was spent giving of myself spontaneously and fully, and receiving the kind and heartfelt gestures of others. I have no time for anything else. Am I busy, or am I inseparable from living by superficial task orientation?

How many use tasks to escape the moment? The day – and I – feel full. Nothing is amiss. Nothing is lacking. Although I am sleep-deprived, attending to many daily details, and constantly running around, there is an unshakable stillness and joy. In my household, my kids and I never miss an opportunity to laugh and celebrate connection.

It turns out that the journey is all the fun and there is no destination. The destination is an illusion – a temporary marker for some next step. After the illusion is stripped, it is obvious that evolution is endless, boundless and – paradoxically – uniquely customized to each of us.

In an awakened state, we are the Divine in motion. We coruscate and gleam an embodied life process that leaves no room for false niceties, tight-lipped smiles, tough fronts, or know-it-all rigidity. Our natural state is freedom. Thus, it becomes literally impossible to waste time or to view tasks as an end goal.

Every moment spent being fake or detached is a waste of time. Every moment that is steeped in fear, worry, delusions of grandeur, or false humility is lost forever. Authenticity removes us from time by weaving us deeply into the fabric of existence, and time itself is surrendered. The clock stops or becomes irrelevant, and One becomes lost in service and feels no need to be found. Simple tasks transform into continuous, conscious actions. We transform by letting go of all safety nets, which were really mechanism that bypass life using closed-loop self-absorption – busyness.

The majority of people need to be reminded quite often that their lives are unfolding instead of waiting for a “working” routine. It is easy to get into blind habit and lose awareness of what is fresh. Once one embraces their authentic nature, any worry about being ill-fitted for life disappears and only pure awareness and expression remain.

Expression is life. It is the dance of a unique soul realizing its relationship to the whole while embodying the whole. When a being is guarded about their expression, they are not free. When a being minces words and is easily embarrassed, they are holding on to something that isn’t real. In the full state, there is no concern with being understood or misunderstood because one knows where thoughts and words are born, and how to imbue them with intention.

More than a vehicle, the body is a mechanism for constructing conscious relationships. Life is truly all there is, even in the seemingly lifeless. Surrendered awareness knows that nothing is dead and that there is no death. Absolutely everything is life.

Busyness is dull. As a child, I wasn’t wrong to question task-orientation as a way of living. Neither did I miss the mark when I thought that humanity was sleepwalking and dreaming, but not living. People call death the point when the body gives out, but I see death as a continuum of the degree to which one is immersed and connected to life. One could be highly active but dead, or laying down to rest and vibrantly alive.

We all have miles to go before we sleep. But our lives are measured in how authentic we are while moving through the moment. Our busyness is irrelevant when it is an avoidance of life.

Life is not indifferent to whether we embrace it or avoid it – it will continue to communicate the truth until we are ready and able to “hear” it. We eventually see through empty acts and discover our natural yearning to let go completely into our unfolding process.

Why the Ego Is So Tough

The human ego is incredibly challenging to see in action. This mechanism has the ability to blind us to our behaviors and to mask the real intentions under what we project. The ego is so convincing because we think that it is who we are and that it is us who is deciding what to do. In fact, our true yearning remains something we can dismiss or rationalize away. Thus, it is incredibly difficult to transcend the ego.

Nearly every person has an ego whether the person accepts this or not. In fact, it is a rather pointless discussion to convince anyone of this fact. By its nature and function, the ego does not want to be seen – let alone dismantled as the primary driver. While it is more comfortable to believe that one’s ego is “gone,” premature claims just postpone further growth. A person who is ready to move into the work of dis-identifying with ego will know the truth of the situation on some level.

There is also a difference in transcending the ego and dissolving the ego. Transcending the ego relegates its status to a tool, rather than one’s identity-shaping mechanism on the lower planes of existence. Dissolving the ego invokes other processes to configure one’s relationship to life.

The ego is a lens through which we forge an identity that is separate from others. It can be a useful lens for developing oneself in the world. It is necessary to evolve one’s body and mind such that they integrate with the life day-to-day. Without a critical mass of this integration, one cannot feel the boundaries of one’s perception at all. Although our boundaries exist, these boundaries define who we are and we do not feel any calling to push through anything. The majority of the human race is at this stage of not recognizing that one’s entire perspective is custom-made to build a powerful identity.

People without a fully formed identity are seen as unsuccessful in the world – they don’t have good “luck” with earning an income, romantic relationships, and succumb to fear of real-world pressures. Ironically, one first needs to realize one’s ego to be prepared to transcend it. Enlightenment, even in the earliest stages, requires humility. If you think about it, one must be willing to be wrong to be capable of humility. The ego does not like to be wrong, to be “below,” or to be anything other than self-concerned and comparative.

Some common tactics of the ego include fear, hiding, making excuses, blindness to reality, defensive or offensive maneuvering, control of people or situations, and attempts to convince someone of something. These behaviors are so prevalent in humanity that it is easy to assume these behaviors to be “just human nature.” Only when the ego is close to being trascended can one see through it and engage with it on a different level. Then, the ego becomes truly obvious.

The ego is so custom tailored to each being that it must be “decoded” for each being individually. However, it cannot be “diagnosed” by the mind by matching specific behaviors to conclusions. An enlightened being may seem agressive, but the aggression is only the tip of the iceberg of what this being is doing in the moment. An enlightened being may counter a statement without being defensive. Only the intuition of a transcended being can see deep enough to understand the observable behavior, tone, or words. Even written words root down to the person’s core and the ego is visible.

What is a human being like beyond the ego? Open to what’s possible, comfortable with the unknown, both confident and self-questioning, strong, quiet or vivacious, creative without judgement that down-plays the creativity of others, or rational or intuitive. Just like with the egoic persona, it is hard to “see” an enlightened being. The difference is, an enlightened being isn’t bothered by this or any other projections on him or her.

Oddly, one does not need to dedicate hours to meditation, yoga, or chanting to let go of the ego. What happens is that attention becomes tuned to this device throughout the day – maybe on and off – until it is finally felt as something “other” and not oneself. This attention is incredibly difficult to sustain. Unless a teacher is helping to bring internal dynamics to the fore, people eventually convince themselves of a comfortable truth and move on. That is the dilemma.

The ego is not only localized to an individual consciousness, but operates on different scales. Groups have an ego. The human race has an ego. However, without seeing the personal ego, it can be difficult to imagine what is going on at these scales. Each person that is free can assist with global transformation in a way that can be described as one’s unique life, but without all the drama.

Mind vs. Enlightenment

I have a beautiful mind. It’s no longer an egotistical statement and just a fact, but this wasn’t always the case. The story may be more interesting when I talk about the relationship of mind to enlightenment.

I spoke early as a child. Standing in my crib, I babbled intensely – as if I were giving a passionate talk on my niche topic. As I grew up, I earned the nickname of “professor” in the hood. It was not a flattering name, but more of a putdown for knowing facts and reasoning logically – and not fitting in.

Because I grew up in an abusive environment, I frequently looked for ways to escape. My escape was learning new things and solving problems. To this day, I do puzzles or math and physics problems for fun, but the way I approach these puzzles is different than before.

My IQ was tested in my 20s and I scored very high. My mind was fluid and it felt fabulous to use it. But, my mind was useless for breaking through into enlightenment.

As with any go-to asset, I wrapped my ego around having my intelligence, and the result was a person who relied on intelligence to gain advantage and confirmation of being real. When I met my teacher, I had to face the true reality that I was unable to “think” into enlightenment. This frustrated me to no end.

My teacher was redirecting me to let go of using my ability to manipulate abstract concepts because enlightenment wasn’t a concept. Enlightenment wasn’t an experience, an induction, or a deduction. Whenever I thought that I had “figured it out,” I was inevitably wrong – and discouraged.

Mind is a poorly defined concept anyway. Is this a combination of our awareness and reasoning abilities? Even the latter is vague. When I view the various vehicles (or “bodies“) we use on multiple planes of existence, the mind can be viewed as one such vehicle, and the soul another – there are more. These vehicles are equipped with their own senses and processes and language, much like the physical body, and operate in parallel with the physical body.

However, no body is Spirit. In fact, all bodies are inseparable from Spirit and are its expressions. It amazes me when people talk about Spirit as something contained by and separate from any body when, in reality, Spirit is literally everything. Also, what people perceive as Spirit varies greatly from one person to the next. Currently, there is no way to calibrate what each of us is referring to. Nevertheless, we can say that there is something. This something is expressing through all forms but is itself formless and uncontained.

During the transformation process, I frequently confused perceptions by the various vehicles as enlightenment. For years, I had to go through the ups of feeling like I understood something to the downs of realizing that I was still incredibly confused. The struggle of wanting to quit at each down is real. The intense desire to have everything squared away and figured out is the reason why so many claim enlightenment without having actually broken through. Enlightenment must be tested. The tests are real. These test results are incontrovertible. Only someone who is enlightened can test enlightenment. Otherwise, an individual is biased by the interpretation of their own perceptions.

Letting go of everything that defines us is a lot trickier than we think. In fact, because the ego is the very process of defining ourselves, it won’t easily let go of the mechanisms that reinforce identity. Intelligent people will create an identity around intelligence, and similarly for any faculty or quality. The ego uses whatever is available and whatever we hold most dear. So, enlightenment is about letting go of whatever we feel we cannot let go, and the trap is set.

When we let go of something, there are typically more things to let go of underneath. Imagine letting go – surrendering – something you never thought you could, only to realize that there is yet more to surrender. The will required to continue is immense.

Again, the ego is a process – not a thing. As long as the process is running in the background, we are not free from it and we don’t know it, necessarily, until it gives itself away – it always does, eventually. The ego is obvious to those who no longer run this process, but is mostly hidden for those immersed in the trap. The ego is tricky – when we are identified with something, we cannot tell apart what is it versus our true nature. When ego is threatened, it will respond in less-than-obvious ways.

I feared that letting go of my mind would mean that I would become stupid, so I fought this tooth and nail. What did happen was that I stopped identifying with the mind and the mind became just a tool I use – or don’t use. It is possible to choose when the mind disengages, but this does not result in a lack of intelligence – counter to my previous concern. Interesting.

Popularized meditation techniques are explicit on allowing and observing thoughts without fighting to stop them. Well, imagine not having thoughts without any effort and still being intelligent. You want to reason logically? You can turn that switch on, and now you can allow thought to crank something out. I am amazed I used to think that the process of mind, which I could turn on or off, was me. The state of No Mind is the first level of enlightenment – a first real freedom. There are others.

No Mind is what Buddhist call Sunyata, or emptiness. I guess this is also nirvana. It is a nice, restful state, but it is not complete. After the honeymoon, the transformation process continues and there are more hidden processes to discover and unwind.

If we are not careful, we can get stuck in nirvana – a kind of detachment. This is not the end of the road. Paradoxically, further freedom requires diving into life even deeper and engaging in relationships with others during practice. Having quieter emotional reactivity certainly helps. Eventually, even the entire emotional body (process) morphs into something else. Each subsequent identity is dismantled, circuit by circuit. However, this is not done by the mind. So, what catalyst is responsible?

The catalysts are living beings who are running freedom processes and modeling them for others. Those who are ready will engage, others won’t. Many undervalue life as it is and believe all are here to “become enlightened.” This is simply not true. There is more to life than that. The enlightenment state is not applicable to all people because something else is needed in their lives at this time.

Enlightenment leads to being in the world but not of it. It is a letting go of a large degree of involvement in this plane of existence, which most are not here to do. Why scoff at that? The ego is helping people engage with this level. And why just mechanically scoff at ego? Only in the last possible stage of enlightenment here on earth is the ego dissolved, but not before – the ego transforms with us but remains until we go all the way.

What Is Healing?

The story of healing is as rich and complex as our existence. I went into writing this post to access the deeper meaning of this common term and its relationship to life.

What struck me when I asked the question is the intensity of the information I began to navigate experientially. It is amazing to me how intricately healing is tied into existence as an emergent force.

Healing includes the idea of “fixing” something to work differently. Typically, healing is seen as a highly personal process where we allow ourselves to be restored in some way. If a condition was accelerating the end of our life, healing slows down that process. If our body ceases to perform a function or was born without it, we try to get it to function. As magical as is the ability to repair our bodies and quiet our minds, this is not all there is to healing.

Healing is related to form and function, or relationship, as far as my “eye” could see. The form or pattern of energy determines how it relates to other patterns of energy. From this perspective, healing is about restoring the form of energy flow that leads to integration. Thus, healing also takes place in a dimension unseen by our physical eyes where such energy exists and operates among and as all forms. This unseen energy is what some call the Astral dimension and can see quite vividly.

Note, I use the term energy as just a label for interactions that occur a step beyond the physical realm and without intending to use it the way scientists define energy. Here, I mean the flow, which intuitives feels when they do body work, for example.

Astral energies are akin to a webwork of vortexes – moving, interlocking, letting go, merging, separating, and reforming into various configurations from individual to planetary to galactic scales. On some scales, the Astral plane appears quite dynamic, and on other scales (as we think of “size”) patterns remain static for millennia. Many occult symbols are formations in the Astral plane, and these do change eventually. This is similar to the way the storm on Jupiter has maintained its shape that is now seen to be diminishing.

When I practiced yoga with a teacher, she would often say to me that it looked like my body was “looking” for equipoise while I held a pose. Those words resonate with what I see now as individual bodies, our planets, and our star working their way toward equipoise. Although, the universe seems to be doing something different at other scales.

Energy reconfiguration is healing – different parts are looking to relate to each other and to the whole. On this Astral plane, I see my body much like a solar flare, and energy shoots through it from individuals, groups, nations, the planet, and so on. I feel the entire relationship shifting, balancing, and integrating. The Astral plane is highly interconnected with our physical relationships and, often, it may be hard to tell what’s going on where. People often react to Astral stimuli without knowing it.

Beyond Astral matter are completely different dimensions and processes that are not focused on “unwinding wound springs,” and instead jump to the creative unknown. This is healing too! On that level, the universe has no idea about “desired outcomes” and nothing is broken. And, yet there is impetus to creatively revisit relationships in ways previously not done. It is from these levels that we feel the ignition to learn to be aware and awaken to reality, and the yearning to be present with existence in a timeless moment. Occasional bridges form between our embodied consciousness and these rarefied realms. After enlightenment, an aspect of the body actually become a living, stable gateway spanning realms.

Although these are just words, they are intended to conjure a feeling of what is potential but not yet revealed. This process of revelation is healing on higher levels.

Taking this broader view, healing is beyond the personal. In my last post, I talked about “healing,” but I did not realize until later that what is occurring for me may not be typical. For example, my being is consciously tied into reality on different levels, and – when I say I am healing – I do not mean that I am realigning my body and mind to a more peaceful state so that I can be calm and at ease. I do mean that I am plugged in to those who may also need to “heal,” and they dance with me into new awareness. My healing, despite the word “my,” is not personal.

Masters have come here to serve as dynamoes for healing collectives and networks of consciousness at various levels of existence. Not all of this activity has resulted in seemingly peaceful, comfortable, and pleasant living for humanity. We forget the possibility that, at some point, a being may not be a person, but is facilitating universal processes – some of which may translate to everyday terms and experiences. Many have come to do this and now are gone – they do not need any godly status.

Even the most common is extraordinary when viewed from a deeper and interconnected perspective of our miltiple dimensions of consciousness.

Breaking Out of the Cocoon

What is the cocoon that we live in? Why break out of it?

Individual consciousness begins life by growing a cocoon. Group consciousness forms from connected individuals. Group cocoons are fluid and dynamic, constantly morphing and reforming. Each cocoon is like a womb after birth, which continues to nurture the process of growth and emergence into Life.

The true function of our cocoon is to help us integrate individual consciousness into physical existence, where we create and interact. What some call our “spirit” (and other names) actually births into physical existence and learns to “wire into it” throughout life progression.

However, while our integration is occurring, another process is at play. The consciousness that lives all of life, including each of us, is working to break through and trasform our cocoons of individual identities to plug our awareness into the Whole – while retaining individuality.

Within our cocoons, we have “experiences” – ephemeral stimuli that lead us to conclusions about our lives and all life. We formulate a worldview according to how well this view serves us, whether it fits into the bigger picture or not. What we do – our mannerisms, ways of engaging, and verbal constructs – gradually solidify with age. That which served us well – we kept, that which didn’t agree with us – we discarded. Note that we do not always keep the mannerisms that help us to become more relational, open, flexible, and resilient. Sometimes we keep that which reinforces the beliefs that life is cruel, unfair, boring, and generally filled with “idiots who surround us.” Such individuals typically use sarcasm, speak with an air of superiority, and have a fairly rigid perspective on existence.

Experiences are individual, relative, and fleeting. No matter how powerful the stimulus, the cocoon is like a mirror that reflects back to us our interpretation of life. Because the cocoon changes, how we view life through its lenses and filters also evolves.

We need this cocoon up to a point. However, a time comes when we recognize that there is something beyond it. I’ve met a number of people who hit this stage. They feel that something about their perspective on life is being distorted. It’s like a kind of an itch that tells us how what we have crystallized as our view of life is incomplete.

Those who tend to rely on the mind a lot (like I had a tendency to do) become entangled by reasoning about existence. Because my mind works so fluidly with logical constructs, I tended to rely on my mind exclusively. I also used my intuitive abilities to read people and situations to protect and position myself where I wanted to be. It took my teacher several years to get me to see beyond the mind and my need to feel “safe through superiority.” Now, the mind and flash intuition – which have both become even more honed – are just tools, and not my identity.

What lies beyond the mind? We all have a sense of what that is during moments when we feel at peace, connected, at ease, inspired, and creative. These times, even if they are brief, are bleedthroughs of the One Life reminding us of who we really are.

After a time, we begin to yearn for life beyond the cocoon. We crave a relationship with life that is authentic and creative in every moment, and not just during a few sporadic bursts. Then, the journey of breaking the cocoon begins.

This journey eventually leads us to people who challenge our world view and seem to live and model an altogether different way of relationship – to everything. Such people may irritate us, frustrate us, or even make us downright angry at a very fundamental level. However, some of us will keep coming back to these characters to take another look. Others will flat out reject their presence as crazy.

Those that do come back know that there is some connection. This connection is not just via words. In reality, there is a sharing of circuitry that is going on. Such a living model of an opened cocoon will introduce his or her guests to a direct feeling, which is palpable of life beyond the cocoon. The living model does this simply by being alive, and not through any maneuvering, manipulation, or psychoanalysis. It takes time to truly understand such a relationship, and it took me years even after breaking through my cocoon to understand what my teacher truly did for me.

What lies beyond the cocoon? What does it mean to break through it? Unfortunately, many people say that they have broken through, but I can clearly see when they have not – just by interacting with them for a moment. This is very obvious and even visible. Some become very adept at living and interpret that as a breakthrough. But, being fluid at handling people, influential, wealthy, and charismatic are not indicators of enlightenment. For most in possession of these faculties, it’s just a matter of making a very functional cocoon. Many people are caught in this way of thinking and delay true opening by enjoying the fruits of their accomplishments. It is a stage that eventually feels unfulfilling.

At first the cocoon weakens and opens only slightly. In Phases of Human Evolution As Awareness, I talk more about this. However, that post is a bit outdated and does not describe the later phases enough – at the time I didn’t believe I would go any further. Still, that post does provide some insight into the process of shifting one’s perspective from the individual to the Whole.

One thing that seems clear is that we must heal the cocoon before we can break through it. We don’t need to heal it completely, but just enough to become available to the opening process. Whatever we don’t heal prior to opening will need to be healed after.

Every seed must sprout by breaking through the earth to greet the rays of the Sun. When it is ready, nothing can stop it.

What Is the Body?

The body is not a thing. It is a process. It does not have sharp edges or a boundary – not even what we see as the skin.

Our science has not yet understood the body process enough to properly infer its sphere of influence or its capabilities. Until then, if we train our attention, we can use our consciousness to explore the body deeper.

I experience the body as an intricately woven concentration of events. Although we have invented multiple scientific fields to describe the body, the body itself is unified and coordinated – chemistry, biology, physics, and other disciplines (some yet undiscovered), are occurring simultaneously! It’s a multi-dimensional network, continuously forming and reforming….

The body is a nexus that serves as a bridge for consciousness to express itself. It is a circuit, of sorts, but incomplete. The wires are there, but many are not connected to each other or to the circuitry of the Divine (the Whole). My teacher used this analogy, and I understand it much better now…. I no longer perceive myself as arms, legs, head, and torso. Instead, I feel the interconnections of the fine pulsations that literally plug into existence.

I like to lay quietly before sleep and feel the body using my awareness. There are meditation techniques, where you “scan” the body parts to relax. I don’t do that. Instead, I bask in the wholeness of the body process and its extent. I don’t “breathe into my belly,” but know that breath is tied to awareness and can lead awareness to the body – to the belly and to everything else. I simultaneously feel the body via consciousness, and consciousness via the body. Prior, I was always a body trying to feel conscious. Now, it is possible to identify with the Whole and to also see the Whole through the body lens.

The body is tied into its surroundings, including other people – like a single bulb on a string of lights glowing in the dark. As we make more of our unconscious conscious, we broaden our connection to more of the web of life – we perceive the wiring between. Each of us is but a smaller process occurring within a larger process – an eddy in a vast stream of life. Of course, with such intricate interconnections, synchronicities make complete sense.

What New Age students call the Universe, to me, is the life process – It is “listening” to us because we are tied into It and are indistinguishable from It. We can perceive others’ feelings and even thoughts because we are interconnected. The boundaries we may sense now are temporary and fluid.

Increased awareness does not make one God – the full network of consciousness expanding and creating. But such awareness does make the Infinite have meaning via direct knowledge. And, none of what I shared explains why we are this way or the meaning of life. I know that I don’t know what It is. And yet, I feel life to be meaningful in itself – the why questions have lost their relevance somehow.

The whole thing begs another question: what is enlightenment, really? What is so interesting about having increasingly integrated awareness? Why not just live feeling as if you are the body – a purely physical and well-bounded being? No process of life negates life. Life is life, regardless of how we relate to it.

There is something interesting that happens after enlightenment – the relationship to life changes dramatically. There is greater flexibility in awareness itself, which can serve as a telephoto lens – zooming in and out to various scales. In addition, loosening attention from the strictly body-centered perspective makes the cohesion between apparent parts undeniable – and that knowing changes how much you laugh (much more) and how much you cry (rarely). The emotional and mental functioning are seen in a broader context and cease to be such strong drivers of our attention. There is more to life than what we think, feel, want, or avoid in any given moment.

I’ll conclude by adding that the perception of time also transforms from linear to something most cannot relate to at this point in our development. When you zoom in on something and look through filters, processes can look linear and sequential. Cause-effect reigns supreme. But reality turns out to be much more complex. While the idea of time is still relevant, our everyday experience of time does not scale beyond our typical range of awareness.

It has become increasingly challenging for me to function linearly and sequentially – there is too much information to think about every input, action, or decision. Fortunately, the intuition intelligence kicks in and handles information via flash insight – seeing snapshots of a greater whole all at once, and then translating it to the present moment. There is so much occurring, and one is forever changed after knowing that first-hand.

Some say that standing on top of a mountain puts everyday life into perspective and changes how one feels about existence. Similarly, enlightenment transforms not only how one perceives life – but our very wiring with life. Why? I have no idea…. I do know well that the body process is essential to enlightenment. While in this body, the opportunity exists.

Impression Vs. Expression

Many people are exclusively preoccupied with making an impression. They invest in cultivating a certain image to elicit as much response from others as possible – positive 👍🏻 😀😂😆 or negative 👎🏻 😡 🤮.

The driving forces behind one’s intent to attract external input vary, but appear to have a common denominator: people want to feel real because they do not believe that they are real.

Why wouldn’t people feel that they are real and require constant affirmation? Probably because we believe that we exist only if someone else sees us. Most want themselves reflected back to them and acknowledged. They desire to leave an impression on others and only the impression they want others to have.

The uncertainty surrounding death adds to the dilemma, igniting one’s wish for permanence of some sort: “What can I produce so that I am remembered? Who do I have to be to leave a lasting legacy? What is my legacy?”

Carrying the belief that our life must somehow sparkle and shine brighter (or brightest) only to be noticed is a heavy burden to bear and results in much drama. Instead of discovering oneself and allowing oneself to unfold, much time is spent on cultivating an image, a facade, a persona – an avatar. Ironically, the result may be as fake as the cherrypicked images posted in social media profiles, and as ephemeral as the brief flashes of photons from these images on our retinas.

We are all asked to paint a self-portrait at least once during our schooling. The goal of the assignment is typically to help us connect with how we see ourselves. We present an interpretation that passes through many filters of self-doubt, and then proceed to “Photoshop” ourselves into the reflection we wish others to see. We erase or camouflage what we want to hide, and we emphasize and enhance that which we feel we unfairly lack. The rest of the world is left confused by the resulting cardboard cutout, where we have actually reduced our lives to disposable cliches. We simplified and flattened ourselves into Bitmojis with a few generic lines and facial expressions. In doing so, we literally rejected the essence that makes us unique and – therefore – beautiful.

Imagine a house with no mirrors. You walk the halls and enter rooms with no idea of how you appear. But, you feel yourself strongly and undeniably – your presence. Every movement emerges from your awareness. Every gesture is you shining and giving something back to life. You are comfortable being undefined by reflections. You are a continuous creative process and any static definition is senseless.

We were built to live as flux. Yet, ironically, people want others to stay the same. However, we have the capacity to literally transform – and not just change up the foods we like to eat.

Dramatic changes frighten most people. I understand. It is even more frightening when the changes don’t stop. However, I did eventually embrace living as change and then my life became easier. It is freeing to live as this flux without feeling the need to be something very specific. Pleasing others just for the sake of connection becomes impossible, but the alternative is to constantly check my reflection – this no longer fits.

If we took just a few minutes a day to bask in our own presence, we would be more relaxed to letting go into a whole other dimension of seeing and living. Confidence, resilience, self-control, and joy would become naturally emergent in our lives. It is because we resist our natural state so much that we struggle with self-image.

When you become your own best friend, you realize the true value ofothers.

When People Talk, Who Are They Talking To?

If we consider that our view of the world is shaped by how our brains interpret reality, it’s amazing that we believe that we agree on so much. We have been able to create languages that capture some of our ideas, but there is so much that is absolutely unique to each of us and is never shared with anyone else. Thus, each of us is largely unknown to anyone else.

Our experiences do much more than imprint memories – they actually shape our nervous systems to select what is important, label what we perceive, and respond. It took me a long time to understand that people share much less than they think they do. When people listen, what they hear is passed through their filters. What people see and feel emotionally is also colored by their unique configurations. We all literally live in different worlds, and it is pretty amazing that we coexist despite such a great and invisible divide.

Social norms for behavior turn out to be critical for the human race. No matter how we work on the inside, we make a pact to – at least – present a predictable exterior to others and behave and talk in a certain way. Our norms help us to achieve basic interactions, and we end up hiding the rest of ourselves because there are literally no words. In fact, people pay no attention to the possibility that none of us perceive the same reality – same in ways that truly matter.

Often, when people talk, they are talking to their perceptions of a person in front of them – and not to the actual being. When the other person listens, they are not likely to hear the true intentions behind what is said because they are dealing with their own projection. We look each other in the eye, but fail to see anyone objectively. Why else would we spend so much of our time arguing, mincing words, studying nonverbal communication, and refining social norms?

Why do we marry people who most resemble our parents, or befriend those who are most like our best or worst beliefs about ourselves? Often, we are re-enacting our past. We see old dramas and traumas replaying, and we respond to them as if they are current and real – mostly unconsciously. Others are doing the same. We trigger one another’s fears and doubts, but very little of what we exchange is about the here and now.

We don’t see or hear the present – we are not wired to do so. During our formative years, we mould our perceiving pathways, and these stick into adulthood. Most of what we sense are impressions in a hall of mirrors.

Healing our old traumas helps us to move into the present. However, only enlightenment can break the mould we have constructed for ourselves, which prevents us from truly seeing and hearing others. Perhaps the most disconcerting realization is watching others interact with you while not really perceiving you at all. Then, you feel like a ghost.

The others – a part of them knows that something is amiss – that they too feel like ghosts. Just like in the movie The Others, both the dead and the living sense each other as ghosts. Everyone’s core loneliness is all too evident, and no one can put their finger on the reason why they feel alone among so many people.

There’s no quick fix to this dilemma of nearly every person living within a perception bubble of their own unconscious construction. There’s no clear-cut solution to attaining the much-sought-after trust.

People feel so happy when they make a new friend or fall in love – those initial days and months are all about playing into each other’s illusions. Eventually we all realize that we still feel alone and give way to the ingrained cycles of battling old enemies and reliving old crises. Most people are iTunes on single-repeat.

I’ve taken extreme measures to free myself from the prison of old wiring. I’ve been letting go of every crutch and prop I find, and I’m still not done. It’s incredible to see how much of my life was stuck in grooves. I was sleepwalking. And I sought out and found others who could readily trigger and reflect to me what I wanted to see.

My body has been purifying and aligning to seeing the world without a constructed self. It is not enough to awaken – the body must also rip apart old wiring, let go of everything that is not real, and create new pathways for relating to life.

I have been deconstructing my life piece by piece to eliminate what has nothing to do with who I am now. I no longer care if anyone sees me for who I am or understands me – the need for that is gone. Ironically, I do see clearly how they see me and why. There is acceptance that most people will not get me at all. However, I am the happiest I’ve ever been and dragging around less dead weight in my body. I’ve even lost weight after letting go of some people and situations.

The only reality is what lives me, and This is not locked into a repetitive pattern. I am more than OK that others find my methods strange and unwelcome. I feel the difference as my life becomes lighter, clearer, and uncluttered.

How do I know I am not still simply reliving the past in a blind stupor? Because I am dreaming new dreams and seeing the past as a projection on the present moment – I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I’ve stopped crafting tomorrow.

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.