Tag Archives: enlightenment

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.

The Paradox of Awakened Beings

I learned a hard lesson a few years ago that, by simply being around people, I could either inspire great joy and laughter – or utter anger and disdain. I make many people uncomfortable.

I didn’t understand what was happening at first. Later, I learned that – in a way – I am “radioactive.” Not literally, of course. But there is something about my current configuration that acts as a mirror and an ignition switch. Because all people have the potential to awaken, they resonate with that thing, and those who don’t want to feel that possibility of awakening violently shut down. I wouldn’t say anything – just walk by, but the reactions are strong nonetheless.

People are dynamic processes – not objects – who must have a certain arrangement of their systems to receive whatever I (and others who woke up) “emit.”

As weird as it seems, most people didn’t come here to wake up at this time. They still need certain life experiences before they can move on. My teacher used to say that people need to love themselves and be able to surrender. Many need a strong identity before they can let it go. Surrender to what? To whatever is this mystery that lives us all. Surrender is expressed as care and devotion – and it is not a loss in some battle, or a giving up of oneself (like Westerners typically think). Neither is it worshipping another person, but expressing devotion to a living being who serves as a key. We cannot unlock the ego box by ourselves while inside the box!

Seekers often come to a fork in the road – they can either let go or cling to their identity. I remember my fork. I was riding a train home and felt myself shift into a new awareness. What matters is that I distinctly shut it off. I wasn’t ready – there were things I still needed to address in my life. It wasn’t until 12 years later that I finally transformed.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of people leave my meditation teacher angry, bitter, and disappointed. Why weren’t they transforming, but others were? Some students just lost interest and wanted a “normal life” again. Those who know, can quickly nod that a path to awakening with a real teacher is far from easy.

Over the centuries there were many teachers with different styles of relating to their students. If you read books about famous teachers, you may think some of them were downright abusive. However, you may need to understand the ego better to see the teacher-student relationship in perspective.

In the presence of an awakened being, something catalyzes everything deepseated in a person to rise up. The process is rhythmic, pulsing in intensity – like a wave beating against a rock wall. When a student’s ego goes on the defensive or aggressive, or hides (to protect the “I”), the teacher may get beligerent and downright scary. For the teacher, it is a kind of act – evoked by the egoic presence. My teacher used to call it “blasting” the ego.

The more evolved the teacher, the more intense the blasting. Those on the receiving end must literally fight to hear the insight, and also fight the intense tendency to collapse into despair. The few who can withstand such confrontation of their limited condition go further, while the rest give up.

Yes, on the surface this may look like verbal abuse to those who are not trying to transform. However, looking deeper, the teacher literally tsunami-waves the ego to break its hold on the student’s consciousness. It takes a great deal of energy for the teacher and the student to maintain this dynamic relationship. And, at some point, the student may say “I had enough.”

While some walk away quietly, others walk away vocally bitter and angry. They literally forget that, at one point, they asked for help to become enlightened. They may even start badmouthing the teacher, diagnose the teacher as a narcissist or sociopath (common), and direct all of their anger at the teacher. While not all teachers are awakened, those who are awakened may still take the risk of a violent “breakup” anyway. They know that a seed was planted and will sprout when the soil is ready. There is no drama on the teacher’s part about something so simple.

I remember times when my teacher would cast me aside and say I wasn’t ready. I remember how aweful and discarded I felt. But I tried harder to find my way back. I felt like there was no other way but through. And, I spent very little time in-person with my teacher…. Such a bond transcends space and time. I mostly knew he was there, I read his unpublished writings, and I studied myself in response to various life experiences in the context of surrendering my life to the Divine. Almost everything I clung to had dissolved since then, and – on the surface – it didn’t look like I was doing anything but living my life.

The whole situation was between me and the Divine, and I knew I could not stop what I started. That was my path, my devotion, and my surrender – guided by whatever my teacher “radiated.” Others took different paths. It didn’t matter because it was not a race. We all got what we needed and were prepared to hold.

Those who leave a real teacher with bitterness and have forgotten why they sought out the teacher in the first place – they may trash what they received and are in a tough spot. While they are no threat to the teacher, their anger will need to be let go – or it will turn inward and feed on them until they realize that they are hurting themselves.

I consciously avoid being a spiritual teacher in any shape or form. I am learning how to move in a way that does not activate those who don’t need it yet. However, there are people who come out of the blue and ask me to help them wake up. Some, I take in. I am simply their friend.

We will do the dance and go as far as the person is willing. There is no fee, no contract, and no requirements but to stand strong in oneself to move beyond oneself. Such beings are still few, but teachers have always walked the Earth just for them – without expectations. The mystery still lives us all.

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 ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜† or negative ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป ๐Ÿ˜ก ๐Ÿคฎ.

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.

Self-Esteem: Ego or Enlightenment?

Self-esteem, from an ego perspective, consists of three distinct processes: continuously forming an identity, evaluating an identity (comparing), and then maintaining and protecting one’s identity. These processes have operated in humanity for thousands of years and literally determine how alive or real a person feels:

  • “Who am I?”
  • “Do I have value?” (relative to others)
  • “When my identity is threatened, I must defend it at all costs.”

The stronger the identity, the more reinforcement it requires, and the more alive the person feels when the ego is well fed. It is fragile and delicate, but also vicious.

People who have developed a strong positive view of self have a very strong will to exercise their confidence in the world. They want to achieve things, have ambition, take risks to try new things, and are driven by failures as opportunities for growth. Such people are deemed successful by society, where success is measured by one’s potential to make life work out – productive career, enjoying work, accumulating wealth and status, being surrounded by those who love and even adore us, and being recognized for our achievements. Maybe these personas will project an image of not needing others to validate them, but they are constantly looking for the world to say “You’ve done good!” and, maybe, “I envy you.”

People with a strong negative self view define themselves to be limited, are unable to see their potential, and perceive setbacks as further validation that life does not work – perhaps, life can never work. Paradoxically, such people are constantly seeking positive recognition, but focus exclusively on what they consider their failures to reinforce the belief that they are doomed to fail. They live as if the deck is always stacked against them, develop a persona to mask their insecurities, and take action out of fear that they will be ultimately exposed as fake. Such people hide from life to avoid exposure, which is severely painful and embarrassing to them.

In reality, a person identifies with both positive and negative aspects. Interestingly, when the self is threatened or confronted by life situations, the ego will take over a seemingly nice person and they are transformed into a creature that is driven by pure fear. The person lashes out, behaves like a cornered animal, exercises tactics of dominance and manipulation, and wishes destruction upon anyone challenging or exposing their fragile self-view. There is also a high degree of paranoia that blindly projects one’s intentions onto anyone who opposes the egoic position.

During a confrontation or a heated situation, an ego loses the capacity to discern which part is itself vs. which part is owned by someone else. It equates love and support with those who reinforce its walls, and equates a threat with those who confront it. Ego wants to feel power and force, but these are fleeting and must be constantly fed.

From an ego-free perspective, the ruffled ego is self-absorbed, defensive, offensive, and an expression of fear. Enlightenment is difficult for ego to even imagine because the ego has such a strong compulsion to defend itself at all costs – it is a very strong and stable process, hardwired in humanity to do what it does. What is most striking is that ego has such a limiting effect on a being that it is painful to watch. It’s as if someone found a penny on the street and fights off others from taking it away using heavy artillery.

Ego creates karma, and egolessness unwinds karma and catalyzes healing.

There is a myth that an enlightened being must give everything away and give in to the wishes of others – if one is not attached, why have anything? However, while living on Earth and in a body, no life can continually give of itself and survive. In fact, acts of martyrdom are typically unnecessary because Life wants us to live and to express. An enlightened being will balance giving and receiving what is needed to sustain one’s life and ability to shine. In other words, such a being will sometimes be called to fight for his or her life (and the lives for whom this being is responsible) because life is a valued treasure. However, at the core, there is no attachment to the outcome – just complete surrender to that which lives the body.

This lack of passivity in enlightened beings is very difficult for egos to understand and can be misinterpreted to be just another ego. I think that most people expect enlightenment to be about giving away all of one’s possessions and walking around and begging for food. An enlightened being will do so only if necessary, but will also gladly accept a life of comfort. If there is no comfort and begging is a necessity, there are no tears about it.

While there is no attachment to any situation, the enlightened being will not just give everything away – there is none of “Take whatever you need and go.” That is a denegration of life: like the tree that bears fruit and all come and strip it bare without caring for it at all, taking the fruit and the tree for granted.

Fighting for life is appropriate and is not a sign of unenlightenment. Such a fight will look for ways to end a battle in a way where all are healed.

Conversely, fighting as ego – as an identity – is a limiting endeavor. Because an ego feels little to nothing beyond the things and people that sustain it or threaten it, the ego is like a rabid animal that bites and gnaws and relishes in pain – it could care less about all coming out of the battle healed. The flared ego has no empathy – no capacity to understand others or to take a big-picture view of a situation. The ego only sees itself in everything and everyone.

The ego will refuse to recognize a free being because that would be its certain death, and it must prevail. The free being must tango and tussle with egos, handle the attacks, but is fundamentally immersed in a state of peace, awe, and gratitude in Life.

Self-esteem that is based in ego is very different than the value an enlightened being acknowledges of one’s life.

What threatens your sense of self? As long as someone is there to be threatened, self-esteem is just a game of dominance for one’s world view.

A healed life esteem does not seek to harm others and, in fact – wishes to help others heal, but also takes no shit and often pops the fragile bubbles that hold hostage the light within us all.

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.

Dispositions for Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I Want My Kids to Learn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Resilient Can One Be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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