Tag Archives: enlightenment

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.

What Is Healing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Initiation Into the Mysteries vs. Enlightenment

Someone asked me to talk about the process called initiation, often mentioned in various texts about accessing deeper knowledge of our reality, and how initiation compares to enlightenment.

I can’t cite all the books I’ve read about “the mysteries” and being “initiated” during my younger years. I read many and during a time when I didn’t understand most of what I was reading. I vaguely remember reading a page or two of a book and feeling absolutely exhausted afterwards, requiring lots of sleep to recover.

Reflecting back, I may have a better understanding of what happened. However, I don’t usually talk or even write about this – so this post is an experiment.

There is a very old saying (paraphrased) that we can only access information at the level of our consciousness. If the configuration of our system does not match the energy of the transmission, there will be rejection, only a partial reception, or even distortion. However, if one is close in configuration to what is being shared via any vehicle – like a piece of writing or music or contact with a person – one’s being will resonate and become imprinted by the transmission.

The process of reconfiguring a being to adopt a specific pattern is initiation. Some books were written to initiate.

In every culture, there are stories of spiritual beings “transmitting knowledge” to someone. These transmissions were actually imprinting the transmitter onto the receiver – much like a rubber stamp. If the transmitter held new knowledge, which may have been previously invisible and inaccessible to the recipient, this knowledge was shared. Darkness in occult literature does not always refer to “evil,” but neutrally references that which is currently outside our scope of understanding and applying (a.k.a. is unseen).

When someone interacts with a spiritually mature being, cycles of preparation and initiation are always occurring to varying degrees. To make initiation stick, many teachers emphasized devotion to facilitate the student’s process of accepting and holding an unfamiliar configuration. Without devotion, it was much harder to imprint the more advanced (or different) state onto someone. If a student wanted to transform and they could do so by adopting the teacher’s print, initiation seemed like an easier way to make progress. However, not unlike an organ transplant, someone else’s print can be completely rejected simply because of a mismatch.

My teacher had a different approach. To a degree, there was some initiation by demonstrating what the more advanced state looked like. However, the new element my teacher introduced was emphasizing one’s uniqueness through one’s own creative expression. Thus, any modeling of the deeper state was a jumping-off point to developing and evolving each student’s unique potential. Devotion was still important.

Unfortunately, initiation can also be done by beings who are charismatic and not spiritually advanced. Such beings tend to brainwash their targets to make them more susceptible to being imprinted. Inept or ill-intentioned people can greatly destabilize a person via such interference and cause issues, including distorted perception, twisted interpretation, and the loss of ability to ground in a specific plane of existence. A truly evolved being will always break the connection with anyone who is not “compatible” and may even be hurt by additional exposure.

During initiation by a teacher from a lineage, the teacher may also transfer most or all of the knowledge to the recepient from the preceding teachers. Thus, an initiate may come out of the process being ready to apply what the prior teachers had already mastered.

Looking back in time, true teachers were very careful who they initiated. The odds of a successful initiation were incredibly small. The “worthy” were simply just “compatible.” It’s too bad that the term “worthy” was used because it implies that some were better than others – evolving one’s consciousness is neither a contest nor a status symbol.

Not all initiation leads to enlightenment, and not all initiation even leads to a more advanced state of awareness.

The path to enlightenment still requires someone (preferably living) to model the advanced state. However, pure imprinting is very dangerous, can reach fewer people, and may be grossly misused by ego-bound individuals. It feels much more open to be in the company of an advanced being while having the freedom to evolve creatively according to one’s unique disposition.

In the meantime, life is the perfect teacher for all of us. Some can use an accelerant to whom they feel connected, while others have no need for such intervention at this time.

Nightmares of the Human Race Are Rebellion in Disguise

The entire human race is dreaming. We can see these dreams in the stories we tell. The movies and the books that entertain us are the ones that strike a chord. So, what is humanity collectively dreaming?

I watch many movies. It is my way of trying to understand the human race, as strange as that may sound. Because I haven’t felt fear in a long time, I have literally forgotten what fear is. While I still feel emotions pass and experience occasional knee-jerk responses that nest in my body cells as life’s residue, these move through me relatively quickly and leave me with little insight into the emotional landscape. So, I watch movies and study what people appear to feel…. I also observe people and ask them lots of questions about themselves to see how they see themselves. I’ve learned that the stength and light I see in people is often not something that they believe they have – this discord is jarring to me.

At this time, fear still appears to drive most of the activity I see. However, there is also a chord of anger that wishes to defy and face the fear. It’s as if humanity knows that each person has more strength than they believe they possess, and there is a movement brewing to reclaim that strength. Most people still need much support and convincing that they have value.

People are often shocked when they learn that I regularly watch horror movies. No matter how bad a movie is cinematically, it always provides me with some connection to the fear that burbles in humanity’s unconscious. The monsters, demons, and otherworldly creatures on the screen make the fears tangible targets for the viewers to “beat.”

Ironically, I do not enjoy the movies or find them interesting – they are more of a gateway into the consensus of those who made and watched the movies. This gateway helps me to connect, understand, and maybe even try to heal some of the trauma in the collective psyche.

Our lives can appear so unpredictable and chaotic, resulting in stress that literally manipulates our life force. Many cope by fortifying their ability to filter noise. Others cope by dulling their senses to feel less. Still others escape to visions of magical worlds even as they perform mundane and boring tasks.

I find it so interesting that people get all the information about our world from what their brains tell them. Because our nervous systems process stimuli so differently, it is highly likely that our views about the “same” world vary dramatically. And yet, we largely believe that we have a shared reality. All evidence points to the fact that very little of our reality is shared. While reality may provide us with consistent stimuli, we use our body instrument to process what we receive and draw our own conclusions.

Despite the variations in our interpretations, certain stimuli consistently trigger powerful responses. And then, it’s as if the triggered ones become immersed in a kind of dream while awake. They act as if their dream is real, and sometimes they react so strongly. I am not saying that poverty, pain, or hunger are not real – they are as real as our bodies. However, the collage we construct of our world does not lend itself to prescriptive interpretation.

Underneath the superficial languages we speak and the lightshow that is our visible world, there is something much more fundamental to which we respond and also use to communicate. In fact, much of the interaction between our nervous systems and the world occurs at this invisible level. But many of us haven’t practiced quieting our normal interaction routines to become immersed in this deeper level of communication that is always in play.

Here, at the level of the living web that comprises all of us, is the plane where we harbor fundamental views about our world – dating back thousands and thousands of years. Here is where we dream of heaven and hell. These are not places, and we do not need to die to “go” there. Our very life can go back and forth between states of agony and ecstacy within moments.

Our collective dreams and nightmares are felt by us in every moment, whether we acknowledge them consciously or not. While I see these clearly, I do need to study how others respond to these to better help people.

One thing that stands out is that people like to personify their interpretations of life and find demons and angels and ghosts. They like to differentiate between “light” and “darkness.” But I only see one whole reality, rich with consciousness. Philosophy and analysis disects this wholeness and may possibly even destroy some key elements in the process, reminding me of the four blind people trying to describe an elephant by feeling its different parts. Parts are useful, but so is the whole.

Humanity still suffers and suffers deeply. For some time now, there has also been a shift in consciousness that may be characterized as a mass rebellion against suffering. However, this movement is only in its nacency for the human race. Individuals also rebel and may go through a transformation that is characterized as “enlightenment,” which completely changes one’s view from the mass perception and projections of world views on a giant movie screen we call our world.

One thing that is certain is that the dynamic of fear response can be completely surrendered. To what or to who? That is what I know as the Divine or the Infinite – the invisible glue and the medium that binds us all into a single lifestream by literally living all of us – regardless of whether we interpret It as dreams or nightmares.

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 šŸ‘šŸ» šŸ˜€šŸ˜‚šŸ˜† or negative šŸ‘ŽšŸ» šŸ˜” šŸ¤®.

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.