Tag Archives: enlightenment

Back to Basics

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

Ground control to Major Tom

Your radio ain’t working well at all

Been trying to let your know

That you’re floating into a black hole…

Can you hear me major Tom? 2x

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming to Terms with Authenticity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 23 – Reflection

Psalm 23, to me, is an example of inspired spiritual writing that speaks from beyond the physical earth plane of existence and reminds us of our root source.

On the surface, the Psalm is about a human being praying to a separate God somewhere in the distance. However, I hear it as the essential insight that we are fundamental expressions of the Divine and, thus, supercede any earthly occurrence – such as “enemies,” or forces opposing our physical survival.

We lack nothing when viewing our lives from the perspective of the whole.

From King James version…

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

I have completely surrendered my life to the Divine. Now, I lack nothing and feel complete.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

It is the Divine living me, and not the other way around. The Divine will guides my every thought, word, and action. I have surrendered to this completely and feel uninterrupted peace (peace is itself a higher-plane template). I rest beyond the turbulent waters of the lower planes.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

By surrendering to the Divine completely, I am restored to correctly seeing my physical life as Divine expression in all its forms.

The name of the Divine is unspoken because we cannot speak it – it does not exist here and has only approximations on our plane. This name, or “word,” is the essence of creation.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Physical life inevitably ends in death. I do not fear death because I know death does not really separate me from my source. Evil is only perceived separation from the perspective of my physical existence, but I have since shifted my perspective.

True comfort is the Divine root I feel supporting my very being, moved by the Divine as It lives.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Amidst all the ups and downs of life, I am an expression of love and enjoy this feeling. I celebrate life, no matter how dire my situation may appear here.

The initial reminder, enlightenment to the reality that we are Divine at the root, comes in as a palpable feeling of something pouring in through the crown of the head and taking hold of the brainstem.

Ultimately, we transform into a mode of continuously shining and giving (“my cup runneth over”), while receiving everything that we are from our source. I am consciously aware of the true exchange on the higher planes of existence.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Now that I know my true nature and feel the Divine living me, I cannot unfeel This. I can never forget again.

I will live my physical life from this vantage point with full knowledge of my true home.

Inspired writing is ultimately felt and not analyzed by the mind. Who is it, truly, that feels inspiration?

Why Spiritual Writing Is Both Futile and Priceless

Spiritual language does not use words that can be understood in terms of daily living, but speaks the myriad blueprints that construct and influence our evolution.

Human beings primarily adjust their attitudes and behaviors based on what they can get from life, no matter how outwardly altruistic their actions appear. Spiritual writing does not speak of or prescribe how to control such a life. Instead, spiritual writing speaks of the spiritual world that aims to give, rather than to take. Such a giving and radiant world is only attained after transformation, and remains invisible to the rest until then.

The language of spiritual writing does not aim to convey ideas that will help everyone take for themselves the most comfortable and pleasant life, which is what people want – including pleasant beliefs about themselves. Thus, in a way, spiritual writing may be seen as largely useless to the majority and is guaranteed to be misinterpreted through the lenses of the ego. You can certainly want what you want, but you’ll get what you’ll get. Can wisdom be discerned in what appears incomprehensible or even off-base to an untrained observer?

A true spiritual text will not teach people how to take a seemingly negative situation and turn it to their individual advantage. Spiritual forces, to be understood, must be seen clearly from the level at which they operate – and they do not make sense to ego-trapped perspectives. So, why bother writing about spiritual worlds at all, which are completely foreign to daily affairs?

Simply put, spiritual writing from the transformed level serves as a bridge that invites humanity to yearn for nothing short of transforming out of the self-absorbed, egoic state. Invitation is a term that is used loosely here because it is not necessarily the vision of a cozy and lit cottage on a snowy mountain! The essence of the spiritual will is transmuted to words that singe the mind, which only aims to negotiate for wealth, sex, appetite, and the full cornucopia of the physical realm. Spirituality, in its purest form, inspires the yearning of the heart to such despair that one is satisfied with nothing less than transformation and alignment with the ever-radiant and giving Divine, also known as the Light (which is not the same as what comes out of a light bulb). Then, one receives from the Divine and simultaneously gives back to the whole.

We need to become these forces that do not revolve around individual attainment but provide the corrected, impersonal view of daily and universal “events.” Note that the impersonal is not cold or heartless, as it could be interpreted in everyday terms, but is passion and creation itself. Whether we know this or not, it is this impersonal and whole-oriented creative passion that is wanting in egocentric life.

Spiritual writing may irritate, cajole, and taunt limited perspectives to challenge what people hold most dear, which is likely to also be false. When spiritual texts are read from the perspective of the limited mind, they seem frustratingly incomprehensible.

Spiritual beings who have moved beyond the operations of the ego will also appear irritating and, likely, crazy, to a consciousness that believes it is mainly on the Earth to experience a smooth and comfortable life. The sleeping hearts are, as yet, unaware that all experience that does not prioritize complete letting go and alignment with the force that lives us will be ultimately found empty. The lower realms based on getting something from life are designed to show humanity the futility of seeking to control life because that is impossible. Why? So that we would want to evolve out of that stay and not remain trapped.

Every single being will eventually come to the understanding of the reality that nothing is separate from the great force that lives all of us. Until that point, handfuls at a time will rise out of the feeling that they are islands and into the continent of true existence.

A spiritual being will never pray for situations to take a certain turn to produce a desired outcome. A spiritual being will not negotiate with blind dysfunction and the lust for pleasure spripped of the Divine spark. Rather, the spiritual being will growl and strike when, from the human perspective, it would seem that subtlety would manipulate more effectively the desirable earth-bound results. Certainly, a being that behaves contrary to quiet manipulation that achieves specific ends may seem crazy to most.

It makes no difference that there is an apparent war of perspectives of the spiritual and the ego-bound. All will eventually arrive at the same place – a potentially long long time, in earthbound terms. Yet, each awakened being shares that awakening with the entirety of humanity because we are all intricately interwoven into one fabric of being. With each awakened individual, all are brought closer to a truth that will continue to evade everyday, descriptive language.

Catalytic spiritual writing is never about the happenings on the physical planes, but about the template-like counterparts in the higher planes. The writing is not intended to be understood and compounded as knowledge, but to raise humanity out of the illusion that the ego can see and know.

Spirituality makes no sense to the ego. However, it is only until an individual exhausts his or her pleading with life and lets go that evolution can progress. Secret texts are only secret because people have not yet sufficiently changed to understand them.

One truth that will fly in the face of most belief systems is that we have truly limited free will. We believe that we can change or create our circumstances, when – in reality – we can only control where we place our attention. Hardships will be borne as “punishment” until one rises above this plane of existence to see the larger picture of the mass return to the Divine embrace.

One thing we can control is the rate at which we awaken via our yearning and accepting the help of those who have awakened – one lifetime or more? I laugh at those who feel they have attained spiritual awareness on their own because such statements imply that individuals can evolve in isolation of the myriad forces – internal and external – pressing upon us. Those who make such claims (except for the few, rare, personified droplets directly of the Divine who emerge here at times) have not really transformed, but learned to mimic transformation. They are only fooling themselves. My laugh will sound crazy to most in such situations.

I have let go into the Divine and it lives me, not the other way around. I now answer to no individual. I am destined to walk a fine line of endearing and/or pissing off those in contact with me because I appear like a person but have ceased to be that for nearly a decade now. I couldn’t give a good goddam about accumulating, wielding power, or explaining to an ego-trapped soul why I move through life the way I do – and people do demand explanations and even accountability.

Most people I meet will not speak the same language as me or understand me. Why would I care? A being is a spiritual text and more, eventually.

Surprisingly, I’ve noticed that I endear more often than piss off these days. This wasn’t always the trend and I’ve since learned to tame and channel the fire. On some level, authenticity is even more powerful a pull than my lack of apparent respect for people’s need for “perfect” lives, which meet all their wants.

A life that is unfulfilled is empty of that which it truly wants. It is when you cease to live for yourself that you begin to live for all, whether most “get it” or not.

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.

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.

The Oldest Story Ever Told

You are this…

Are you looking at the reflection, or is the reflection looking at you? It’s not obvious.

You are the Milky Way reflected in the myriad spiral galaxies all around…Does this seem different from watching the world from atop a mountain? From inside a living cell? What are atoms, really?

Perhaps you think enlightenment looks like this…

But, that’s too limited a view. Stereotypes are too easy. There is no archetype for freedom.

We start keeping a journal at about this point. There are endless seeds and we think it all belongs to us.

Here is another way of saying the same thing…

The next is just another Fool, perhaps further down the path. Many Fools camp here for a grand old time, reveling in their ability to manipulate the unseen…. It’s a common rest stop and a trap, stalling further evolution.

The campground has many of these too…

The next guy looks cute… Got most of the anger out and stopped trying to “save” himself by trying to save and fix the world, whatever that is….

We might as well be aliens when there is a shift in relating to reality, seeing things with unfettered eyes.

Beginning the Journey of Ego Transcendence

When making the decision to step onto a spiritual path, it is quite normal to not know what the outcome will be. A transformed state is challenging to articulate because most people will try to interpret it from the untransformed point of view. One thing is certain – the irritating aspects of life cease to be irritating and an individual can navigate situations with greater ease. This is not all that transformation brings about, but it does address frequent life complaints and fluctuating life situations no longer impact our happiness.

The ego is a process that causes us to interpret all stimuli in the context of ourselves. With repeated interactions, life literally becomes about our perspective on life and our view of ourselves. A feedback loop is created, where every occurrence is about and for us as individuals. We filter most of life that does not appear to impact us directly.

If we didn’t have the ego, how would we see life and ourselves? We would see life with greater flexibility of perspective. We would know that not everything is about us. We would have more room to be aware of others and events that have no immediate impact on our situation, even while we are going through our own stuff.

Ego is like flypaper that attracts and glues stuff into a cluge of our identity. No ego? No glue. No stickiness. No self-absorption. An ego-less persona is paradoxically there while no one is there.

To dismantle the ego operation, it is helpful to engage in self-reflection. This is a deeply personal activity that has nothing to do with educating the mind about philosophy or others’ discoveries. The teacher is a sounding board for one’s reflections. The root cause of why someone is struggling is obvious to the teacher but maybe completely hidden from the student. The teacher will provide insights about this root cause and tie a person’s patterns of relationship and life engagement to this root. Then, more and more reflection follows.

Nothing special is needed here except living one’s life. No ceremonies. No incantations. Perhaps journaling and occasional conversations with a transformed being about personal struggles, but that is all.

At some point, the teacher will introduce the student to meditation. Unlike popularized meditation of relaxing the body and observing thoughts, this meditation may be quite different. It may cause some to have a peak experience or a realization immediately. It may also result in release. I won’t say more about this meditation because it’s not about words, but the direct connection that occurs on invisible levels. The teacher is a vehicle for this energy and models its integration and shining, but people mistake the teacher for a person. This, too, is normal.

In short, the path of ego transcendence can occur completely within the context of one’s life. It’s challenging for me to imagine another way. After all, are we not here to live our lives?

Some choices we make will set us back in our evolution, while other choices will propel us forward. But each choice is ours to make.

The teacher works with students predominantly on other planes of existence. It still amazes me how many people think they know what a teacher does without having reached that point themselves. How many myopic conclusions are drawn without having even a glimpse of such a life and existence? It is so foreign to everyday conceptions of life that it often frightens others, while simultaneously appearing interesting and inviting. But this is all normal too. People define their own value by having to have answers – even when the answers have no direct experience or knowledge as a basis.

Every life has value, regardless of the level of awareness. In these words is a great mystery…. The mind will try to analyze the meaning of a valuable life, but will fail eventually. Only direct knowledge of this value can reveal a different way of seeing human beings and has no need to compare and judge.

People mostly want validation and mistake that for love. They don’t realize that their constant search for validation is the ego – the very mechanism they wish to trascend. These characters are irritated or collapse into despair when no validation is forthcoming. Unconditional love has no need to play this game to lure someone in. The egoless state is far from a casual exercise in loving kindness.

People who do not recognize such transformed beings when they arrive on the scene will carry on doing what they do. Because they live as their identity, it is unlikely they will break free – it is not their time. Those who are hungry for transformation will recognize the teacher immediately with no second thoughts. If a teacher has not sought you out, you do not need one at this time. Even if one reached out, you may decide to pass by.

The ego does not go quietly. Its dismantling will bring up resistance, doubt, frustration, aggression, defensiveness, justifications, emotional outbursts, and a slew of its other trademark activities. One will either withstand the fire and burn off these faux-human layers, or give up and walk away – justifying their choice throughout. This is normal too.

The ego is not surprising, but highly predictable. It’s been done over and over. It is not unique or inspiring. The true creativity and individual uniqueness runs on a completely different circuit. It is no wonder that engaging creativity is such a powerful catalyst for ego transcendence. But even there are pitfalls. If it were easy to transcend the ego on one’s own, most people would have done it already.

I Live You Too

A friend texted me. We had a brief exchange about our classrooms – I had recently tried incorporating a few minutes for reflection into my classes by students on Costa’s Habits of Mind. My colleague was going to try this too. She signed off with “You know I love you. Right?!” I typed “I live you too.

It was a typo. But then the light tugged at me. I live you too. The light lives all of us. When the Identity is the light, I live you too and you live me.

This phrase struck me as Being itself interacting with Itself through all of us. Conscious relationship at this level is an incredibly powerful synergy.

After the ego mechanism untangles from identity – and ego is just a mechanism or process – the expression runs crystal clear as the light expresses itself through form. Expression of the light is not clear right away – it takes about a decade to get to that after the initial, stable opening.

I live you too.

The light is not an idea. It is living. It enters through the crown of the head and one can feel the pressure of it pouring in. We open to it, and it can enter – poised at the gateway until we are ready.

As it pours in, there is blissful restfulness and the Mind goes empty in a dynamic stillness. The top of the head feels “blown off.” One no longer feels that “I” is the thoughts, emotions, and the body sensations. It may take years to integrate this throughout the entire body, when even the body dissolves in the light.

I am not describing a fleeting experience – it is a permanent change felt throughout the body. Even further transformation may occur – the entry is just the beginning.

When the circuitry is ready, it just plugs in. Getting ready means being aware of what circuitry is blocking the entry. It is unusual and rare for human beings to transform on their own.

The cost of transformation is usually a requirement to change one’s life ways – food, job, relationships, and activities – although much of this work is better done prior to transformation. Life should align with the natural flow of one’s being as much as possible. If life is not congruent with our yearning to express, things just won’t work and changes are necessary.

After the shift stabilizes, touching life is so very different. It’s like seeing the world for the first time and with a new “eye.” I still remember that feeling vividly – the initial entry, where I was and what I was doing. I was riding in a car and looking at treetops.

I fixed the “typo” and signed off with my friend. I love you too.

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.