Tag Archives: enlightenment

Transformation Is Not An Experience 

Transformation has not been a common occurrence through the ages, and not all who have transformed were or are well known. 

Transformation is easy to misunderstand. It is not about becoming kinder, nicer, more peaceful, more creative, or more powerful. Whereas one can train oneself to act kindly and project a calm demeanor, self-control is not transformation. Instead, to transform is to embody a completely new awareness of life – which is actually the very opposite of controlling anything. Self-control can be lost, while transformation is a stable shift. Another way to describe transformation is as ever increasing freedom.

Transformation is identifying less and less with the body, the mind, the emotions, and more with the awareness that lives and expresses these things. As it turns out, there are many layers to awareness – as you shift into a new awareness, another lies deeper and eventually makes itself known. 

Dr. Wilder Penfield, while mapping the brain, noticed that his patients referred to an “I” that was watching and commenting on the experiment while it was happening. This “I” could detach from the experience and observe. Dr. Penfield referred to this observer as “The Watcher.” It is fascinating that our body and mind – a collection of parts – has a way of coming together under a single identity. This Watcher is usually the Ego-I, identified with an experience.

Imagine now that what you identify with  evolves into a completely unpredicted state of awareness – even the idea of “I” may dissolve completely . You cannot predict what each transformation will bring because it is not based on any prior experience. You cannot choose the next level of your evolution because you have no reference point – you can only choose to let go.

Then, imagine that you break through to realizing that you are being lived by a profound consciouness that also lives everything and everyone, and your awareness shifts to That. What does that feel like? How does that change the way you relate to life? Without trying to act happy, you become the essence of happiness that is unconditional and independent of life experiences.

 Imagine further that your awareness shifts into what lives this universe and breaks beyond the “boundaries” of this reality. Who is living you then?

With each shift, the new awareness goes through an adjustment phase to relearn how to relate to the world – not unlike a newborn. Everything is unfamiliar because the one experiencing has changed. Old ways of connecting to life no longer work, expire, and are cast aside. Gradually, the filters are released and life is lived directly, in its raw glory of the divine exploring itself. 

The New Age movement often references the Higher Self as something that is separate. However, from the perspective of transformation, there is not one but a multitude of “Higher Selves”, waiting to be integrated and gradually dissolving the “Self.” Perhaps, even “higher” may be misleading and could be replaced by the word “authentic,” as one sheds skins of separation from reality.

So, who cares if transformation is our birthright? If we can’t even imagine what life becomes with each shift, why bother with the whole idea? Of course, most people will not bother because they have plenty to explore already. However, some will feel that something is missing from their lives – something they can’t quite name. This feeling is different from boredom or apathy. Rather, it is more like a hunger – a dynamic state of searching for what one knows not.

Spiritual seekers fall into two general categories: those who want to accumulate fantastic and extraordinary experiences and power, and those who are ready for the possibility that transformation is not an experience at all. To have an experience assumes that “you” are there to experience, but to be transformed leaves one wide open to freedom from experience, interpretation, and “knowing.”

Awareness transformation – a shedding of filters and illusion – can be an extremely raw and uncomfortable experience. Before you can shed the old ways of relating, you must be completely exposed and vulnerable. You must surrender the assumption that you know anything, or that you have become and achieved. Intellectually, this may sound pretty straightforward. However, in practice, there is much resistance to letting go of yourself. The process may even feel like dying. 

If you are one who will undergo multiple transformations in one lifetime, then just when you settle into a new rest-stop, you will need to move into the unknown again. Just when you feel there is nothing more to surrender, there is more. Here “surrender” is not about giving in to anything or anyone – it is a letting go of everything you believe you are to make room for something altogether different.

I suppose tramsformation can be viewed as evolution – not of the instrument, but of awareness itself. But as awareness changes, so does the body, and so does the way we relate to life – all of life. 

Some people believe that they can become transformed on their own – without a model that has already crossed thresholds. Only a few have done this successfully because it is too easy to become trapped in illusion without someone to snap you out of it. Resistance to transformation is exceedingly strong, complemented by denial, deflecting of feedback from the world, and the need to feel like one has “achieved realization.” Beings get stuck like this and are unlikely to know that they are stuck. 

If you believe that you know something or are someone, chances are that you are trapped in a hall of mirrors. Transformation increasingly takes one to a state of innocence, and not of the helpless variety. There is so much strength and inspiration in letting go – like a monk blowing away a painstakingly created mandala of sand without feeling any loss. In transforming, you always seem to need to let go of something deemed very beautiful. 

Crazy Wisdom or Crazymaking?

Many years ago, I discovered the writings of Chogyam Trungpa. Specifically, his phrase Crazy Wisdom was something that felt very familiar to me. When I read his books, I pictured wise men and women – usually in India – acting counter to social norms, laughing when laughter was not expected, giving someone a rock after a question was asked of them, and generally acting in counterintuitive and illogical ways. Although I had not met such beings, I felt that I had an inkling of intuition about this state.

I felt a freedom emanating from the idea of Crazy Wisdom – a letting go like no other. At the time, I wanted so much to be free of all of societal constraints, and imagined how I could navigate life as easily as a breeze, or a cloud, or an ocean wave. Since a very young age, I sought this freedom before I had any vocabulary or spiritual teachings to express my yearning. In silence, I held that feeling of freedom near and dear.

I’ve learned since then that people in the West often cannot recognize an enlightened being, and would not likely be able to tell if someone is wise or confused, or just another person walking by. That is no surprise because, at first glance, an enlightened being looks just like everyone else – and most don’t wish to be recognized. No white or saffron robes. No face paint. No prayer beads. Just presence.

It is so easy to project one’s own thoughts and ambitions and fears onto an awake  being without even sensing the  projections for what they are.  It can feel so natural to dismiss innocence as slow intellect, naivete, or a lack of understanding. And the awakened one cares not. He or she simply continues to be innocently present – even while all this drama is going on – steeped in bliss as pure awareness.

The Western world makes it challenging for such beings to be who they are. Unlike in India and Tibet, where wise men and women are respected and welcome, the West has a very fixed set of norms. If the awakened one wishes to have a job in the mainstream marketplace, he or she encounters much resistance and misunderstanding just by virtue of being there. There may be comments about that person’s unconventional approach and countless projections about what this being is thinking or feeling – but all are projections nonetheless. Regardless of endless criticism, circumstances do change toward the positive around such a being, but he or she is not cencerned with receiving appreciation and acknowledgement – he or she has no need for these.

So, how can we tell if a person is awake or crazy? Now, there is no clinical definition of crazy, and insanity has a very specific definition in legal settings. Psychologists  talk about perseveration, which is “compulsive, hopeless, helpless, automatic and unsatisfying” behavior. However, in my travels, I’ve encountered  crazymaking, which I describe as any acts that promote agendas and limit interconnection of ideas and people. I’ve observed that when people do not fully listen, ask few question, have little or no genuine interest in others, and push ahead with their own agendas, the atmosphere becomes toxic. Such people are rigid in their perceptions, but may even consider themselves awakened or wise. Awake beings have no agenda, but they are no patsies either – they know what’s up.

What fascinates me is that people who have an agenda to “be right,” “know it all,” “have the answers,” “get approval”, “be the best/smartest/most attractive/most talented,” or even to literally want to hurt others, may have no idea that they are driven by such agendas.   They interrupt others while pretending to listen, toot their own horn, put words in other people’s mouths, project emotions onto others, and spread negative comments in person or online. They leave toxicity in their wake – of course, there are degrees of toxicity. Is this not crazymaking? Does this have anything to do with an open, innocent being who moves in unconventional ways and, perhaps, uses unconventional words to simply express?

Awake beings come in all shapes and sizes, and behave in a myriad of ways. Some let go of this life’s norms completely. They are as compatible with illusion as oil and water, and always give freely of themselves to those in need – what else can love do?

Those who are connected to an awake being will recognize them for who they are and see an opportunity. Others will simply walk on by. And all is as it should be – as it is. There can be no crazymaking in Crazy Wisdom because, in full awakening, there is no ego to run the show – and it is such a show….

Transcending the Tension of Opposites

Many have said that it is the nature of this world to be in a state of continuous tension – polar opposites dance and tug and no utopia or dystopia is ever meant to be reached. However, it is one thing to read about this concept in a book and something altogether different to live as continuous change.

I began my life seeking “good” in the world and within myself. When I was about 13 years old, I briefly spent time with a spiritual teacher who never called himself that. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I quickly answered “Fix the world.” He then asked me, “What is broken?” There was something about the way he asked the question that made me pause for years to come. I knew life often felt uncomfortable and even painful – to me and to others – but the root cause was not obvious.

I wrestled with life scenarios that resulted in no pain or suffering of any kind for anyone. This problem held my interest because I was in pain and also was very sensitive to the pain of others – I wanted the discomfort to stop for everyone. At the time, I had defined the problem with my mind, in absence of real feeling or understanding, and also tried to solve the problem with the mind. But the mind was limited by the kinds of solutions it was capable of producing – logic could only lead to a conclusion that to stop feeling pain, one would need to stop feeling everything.

A number of years passed until I met someone who practiced acupuncture. I watched her work and saw that she helped many people feel better. I thought that, maybe, I could help others by taking away their pain through some healing modality. I studied yoga, Reiki, and even enrolled in acupuncture school for awhile. But it didn’t make sense to me why people would have suffering in the first place, only to make it necessary for someone else to try to heal it. If the goal was to heal all disease and end all dysfunction and destitute, then happiness is nothing more than the result of life working out. Such conditional happiness is destined to stop and go in this plane of existence where conditions are ever in flux. I gave up looking to “heal” or “fix” anything and turned toward the possibility that unconditional happiness was the only freedom in a world of conditions.

At first, the idea seemed rediculous – how could one be happy unless everything in  life was just right? Why would one choose to be happy when one is alone, poor, hungry, overworked, or sick? The breakthrough comes when life situations cease to define how you feel. While the mind has trouble grasping this possibility, the heart yearns for it naturally. Once the illusion of defining oneself through “life success” dissolves, a deeper realization about life takes hold – a freedom from the tension of opposites and an appreciation of its wisdom for our evolution. 

Suffering is there when there is either something to gain or lose. Freedom is the feeling of “having it all” in any situation because “I” am no longer defined by the situation.

So, this world moans in anguish and laughs with abandon, drinks and eats, and thirsts and starves. There is no permanent “fix” for the tension of opposites, but there appears to be a way to stop playing the game altogether that surprisingly ignites an ever deepening and unconditional appreciation of the life process. It is through the futility of trying to change the changing reality that we are free to simply revel in our true nature that is bliss. From this perspective, helping others takes on a meaning that is very different from “fixing.”

Freedom from Repetition

When you reflect on your life, you may find that there are certain recurring themes…. You may identify situations that feel like déjà vu – “Haven’t I done this before?”.  You may notice yourself being drawn to certain types of people, but not others. You may see yourself replaying similar relationship dynamics, having the same conversations and internal dialogues, running the same thoughts, feeding the same desires, and nursing the same aches and pains.  You may engage your daily routines in a nearly robotic manner: “Time to make the donuts….”

Repetitive experiences seem so commonplace that we may not even question them. Is it possible to feel new and fresh in every moment, naturally and spontaneously expressing creativity and inspiration?

Not only is it possible to feel like every moment is unique, such a way of relating to life is our birthright. We have the capacity to engage life with innocence that does not presuppose specific intentions or outcomes and remains open to all possibilities.

Remember the times when you have received a present and you didn’t know what was inside the wrapping? Remember how it felt to open it and feel like it was exactly what you wanted? Imagine living every moment as if it were a present – the present – a happy surprise and an opportunity to feel completely and utterly loved….What would a lifetime of these moments be like for you?

Our lives are filled with natural rhythms.  We go to sleep to rest, and we awaken to participate in life. We eat to nourish our bodies. We wash the dishes and clean our homes. We pack our lunches, and we trek to work or to school. We return home and have dinner. How we choose to engage these rhythms makes all the difference in how we experience life. It is possible to sleepwalk through such moments and continuously retrace our steps. It is also possible to discover each moment as if it had never happened before. Which feels more alive? While it may be tempting to see life’s rhythms as an invitation for repetition, it is not the only way to engage.

In the awakened state, there are no repetitive thoughts, and no dwelling on the past or the future. Instead, attention is firmly rooted in the present and life feels like a continuous unfolding. You are surfing a wave that is literally arising out of every moment, and your soul is filled with joyful laughter throughout this  adventure of discovery. There is no need to assume, worry, fear, anticipate, brace yourself for impact, or protect yourself. Contrary to common belief, such vulnerability and openness is pure strength, and not naive weakness.

After years of being hurt by life situations and people, it may seem logical to pad ourselves with impenetrable protective layers: “Because I know I can feel hurt, I can prevent this feeling!” Makes sense, right? Well, being awake does not mean being naive or setting yourself up to be hurt.  Rather, engaging each moment with full presence invokes pure intuitive intelligence, which is flexible in its response to whatever may arise. This intelligence sees situations and intentions clearly, and meets whatever comes with what is needed. There is literally nothing between your awareness  and the moment because you are both the awareness and the moment. Ultimately, you feel utterly safe and loved – because you know that you are love.

Engaging life as innocent exploration requires surrender of all that we think we know and being comfortable with not having to know. This is a leap that requires great courage and diligent practice of letting go during every seemingly mundane task. This way of living requires trust that repetition does not necessarily assure safety. Practicing entering the flow or the zone through every action frees us to explore rather than relive.

Of course, the Ego stands ready to criticize every time we become forgetful. However, we can simply acknowledge this tendency and move back to consciousness as quickly as possible. Despite the knee-jerk reaction to engage in self-negation, we can surrender even that to the moment.

Waking up is a process that asks us, first and foremost, to love who we are. By cultivating love and care for ourselves, we gradually experience that love is the definition of being and feeling safe. Love cannot be harmed! By cultivating love and care for ourselves, we also cultivate love and care for all life. We happily trade in the need for perfection for the freedom to simply be. Ultimately, attention becomes the moment and infinite possibility is all there is.

What does the Ego have to do with awakening?

If someone asks you “Who are you?”, how would you describe yourself? How do you define yourself?

Are you your dreams, hopes, and aspirations? Your fears? Your likes and dislikes? Your life experiences? Your beliefs and non-beliefs? Your habits and obsessions? Your past and your future? All of the above? Are these enough to capture your uniqueness and all you are?

You may find that words can feel limiting in capturing your you-ness. But it still feels important to try to define yourself because you want to tell your story.  You want someone to know you and share a connection with you. You want reassurance that you are not alone. Ultimately, you want to feel loved, whether you believe that it is possible or not.

Most people may say that it is only natural to search for love outside of ourselves, and this is what they do throughout their lives. If they feel love coming from somewhere – a spouse, a friend, a child, or a pet – they feel like they have something. If love leaves, there is a devastating sense of loss. So, in this scenario, love is something that can be lost and found, given or denied, accepted or rejected, and valued or neglected.

As long as we are looking to be loved and reassured by someone or something outside of ourselves, it is unlikely that we know who we are. As long as we feel like we live on an island and are searching for connection among other islands, our sense of separation tells us that we are incomplete. And this is where we will begin the story of the Ego and its relationship to awakening….

The Ego, at its core, is a fundamental perception that we are isolated and incomplete. This perception shapes our view of ourselves, others, and how we experience life. When we look around, it may seem like most people are seeking to complete themselves – to be loved – and the drama of the world unfolds around all of the resulting fears, vulnerabilities, and insecurities. Most people are not OK with how they “see” themselves, and there is an underlying sadness, which they continuously mask through posturing and various distractions (including the very act of seeking).

By its nature, Ego-perception is self-absorbed. It continuously compares everything relative to “me” and “mine” vs. “not-me” and “not-mine.” The Ego compares us to others, and our possessions to the possessions of others. Based on these comparisons, we may feel like we have more or less value than someone else.

There is a link between Ego and emotional reactivity. We may find ourselves continuously reacting to  perceptions, and we may not even question if what we perceive is real; it all feels very real and personal. For example, someone may hear what someone says and perceive it as an attack – even if the other person had no such intention. That someone will promptly react to this perceived attack as if it were real, unaware and unconscious of the fact that he or she is battling illusory shadows. The drama does not exist, but that doesn’t stop an entire dynamic of conflict from arising. What’s interesting is that, after awakening and releasing old emotional debris, the distortive lens of the Ego ceases to operate. Instead of imagining reality, we just see it for what it is and ourselves as love itself. We no longer create drama where none exists.

The Ego is like a cocoon, wrapped tightly around the machinery that is intended to perceive reality clearly. Ego-based actions prioritize the individual – either in the positive or the negative. We may either base our identity on putting ourselves  down, or self-aggrandizing, or vacillating  between the two. We look outward to see something reflected back about ourselves, and we are constantly staring at our reflections. The world’s only purpose appears to be to reflect us to ourselves, and we may not truly see anything else. In fact, we live in a world full of people who are infatuated with their own reflections. Are they ever really seeing or relating to one another? What would motivate them to break free? How often do they truly exchange love, gratitude, respect, and service? It is easy to receive love when it affirms one’s identity, but anything else feels difficult and irritating, as it confronts one’s idea of self.

The Ego likes to play games that help us to feel more alive. It-You may play the victim or the aggressor, the smart one or the unintelligent, the superior one or the inferior one. Self-negativity, counter to our intuition, is an effective way to feel alive – the amount of emotional drama it generates can be addictive.

The Ego has fear at its root. Because we feel that the Ego is us, we may attack or defend against anything that appears to threaten our identity. When someone brings up certain qualities about ourselves, we are likely to defend and justify ourselves, or we may get angry and walk away, or we shut down. It is difficult for us to simply listen to how others perceive us because the threat to “me” feels too great. The Ego makes us feel like we have to protect our island at all costs!

The Ego constantly looks for attention. It needs continuous affirmation. Whether through sadness, despair, or social contact – it seeks reassurance. While under the Ego’s spell, we do not feel real unless we act out the games the Ego needs to play. While we are dismantling the Ego, it may feel like we are dying – and, in a sense, our perception of the self is dying.

The Ego is neither evil, nor good. It is just a lens through which we have gotten used to seeing the world. However, this limited perception is not who we are. There is so much more to us, and we may never know it if we continue to be trapped in the Ego’s version of our world. After we no longer identify with the Ego, we are free from the illusion. But while we are under the Ego’s spell, everything we perceive – no matter how distorted- feels very vivid and real.

Very few are aware that they are caught up in this illusion because they identify with the illusion. At some point, a person may sense that something is off, but he or she can’t quite pin it down. This individual may be ready to start dismantling the Egoic structure, which got him or her this far. This person is no longer fulfilled by seeking love outside and may start the journey of transforming the very mechanism that senses and interprets reality. And this is the beginning….The process of awakening, guided by a teacher, breaks the illusion and dissolves the perception of separation.

While working on dismantling the Ego, it is critical to stay in touch with the teacher, who may help you handle the intense energies that arise as you confront illusion. The teacher also helps you to become conscious of the illusion, which you may not even know is there. You won’t truly understand the Ego until it is confronted by an awakened being, and – for a brief moment – you realize that you are not that. After you have this experience of the Ego, you know what it means to live an illusory life and to be free from it – you get a glimpse of where we are all going.

While the basis of an Egoic identity is the fear of isolation, freedom from identifying with the Ego – awakening – is the state of love itself and knowing that we are already complete. An awakened being is only interested in sharing the love he or she already feels, and this love is not conditioned by any life circumstances. A free being no longer perceives the self in a way that can be hurt or elevated above others. And, there is no longer emotional reactivity to imagined shadows. Emotions pass through the nervous system and do not stick – they come and clear right out!

While it may be impossible to define yourself using words, you can learn to feel your true self as a state of love that is an integral part of all existence. Feeling this truth will allow you to express it with ever-increasing clarity, and celebrate your Light as the Light of all. The Ego is complicated, but the Light is simple.

What’s on a spiritual path?

A spiritual path awakens the sleep of illusion…

At some point, you may start to feel like life has lost its luster. You may feel yourself wondering why you are here, why everyone and everything is here, and what is the purpose of life. You may begin to yearn and long for the truth about existence, even if you are not sure how to go about looking for this truth. At this point, you have taken the first step toward a spiritual path….

A spiritual path begins with an intuition that there must be something more to life, and its practices aim to free us from prior conditioning and illusory perceptions. It is a path of awakening and stripping away the layers that block our awareness of existence. Over time, we become less reactive to life and more aware of who we really are. We identify less and less with our aches, pains, frustrations, and discomforts, and begin to see ourselves beyond our life experiences.

We begin to relax into life and relate to everything with greater ease. And, as this continues, we start to feel a living stream that pervades us all, as the fabric that is – literally – living all existence. With this awareness, we feel joy, freedom, happiness, and relationship in its true form. Our lives begin to reflect this awakening more and more. “Love” takes on a whole new meaning, transmuting from a conditional emotion to the living force that is reality.

Awakening to the fundamental relationship with and among all  becomes the basis of our existence. When we truly let go into this connection to reality, the Light in all becomes our identity, and This is what lives our life through the body and mind. Service to others, care, connection, and joy arise naturally and spontaneously.

A spiritual path moves us out of the endless chatter of the mind…

Although you may initially enter a spiritual path through the mind – by asking questions, analyzing spiritual writings, and thinking about your life –  this mind approach is ultimately limited and must be surrendered to the emerging faculty of the intuition of reality.

Our culture emphasizes the training and education of the mind. Thus, it is no surprise that intuition is not considered an intelligence at all. Furthermore, our intuition is frequently clouded by the lack of clarity of how we perceive reality. However, as our perception clears and our intuition is trained, intuition becomes a channel for transformation.

The mind is still useful, but it takes its proper place on the tool belt of experiencing reality, rather than being the primary way to make sense of reality.

 A spiritual path can be uncomfortable…

True transformation that unites with the living Light stream, when it occurs, is unmistakable and permanent. This transformation changes how you perceive the world around you and your relationship to it. You feel the living Light physically as your body.

Until you are transformed, the feeling of the infinite may come and go. At some point, It stays….You will know this, and others will feel it from you.

The path to transformation can be extremely uncomfortable because who you think you are is being dismantled. All of your attachments, insecurities, and hurts – regardless of how deeply buried in your unconscious, are brought into the Light – one by one – to be surrendered. Our spiritual teachers offer us the energy and inspiration we need to help us break free.

Practicing connection to ourselves and the world is a channel that leads to awakening. However, this heartfelt connection can also stir up what we want to block, forget, avoid, and run from. The process of becoming aware of the totality of ourselves can be very uncomfortable and even scary. When you deeply identify with a certain perception of yourself, it can be very challenging to let go.

I remember how I defended, fought, ignored, and denied insights about myself offered by my teacher and life situations. In many cases, an insight from my teacher felt like an attack. Now, I see those confrontations for what they were – a gift of force to help me break through my illusion. The closer the Light got to my core illusion, the more resistance I felt to letting it go. Eventually, the resistance itself dissolved.

Without proper preparation for the spiritual path and the help of an awakened teacher, you may become overwhelmed by the intense energies running through you. Preparation for this path is essential.

A spiritual path is easier with proper preparation…

Preparation for a spiritual journey is about cultivating a soft and gentle heart toward ourselves, others, and the planet.

I did not properly prepare for the spiritual path when I started. I entered with a hardened heart and fiery intensity. I pushed and pushed toward – what I considered – a “goal.” One of my teachers called me Agnibhakti – a devotee of fire. Regardless of how much my Ego was confronted, I stayed in the spiritual burning state and worked through it – always coming back for more. While perseverance and steadfast resolve to keep coming back to the practice is important, I could have tempered this fire with a loving and caring attitude toward myself.

Since a very young age, I did not like myself. I felt that, if transformed, I would become more lovable, more worthy, and so on….It is this dissatisfaction with myself that pushed and pushed me on the path. My intensity was good for getting a job done, but not for truly connecting with people.

In hindsight, this made my transformation process much more difficult and more painful than it could have been. Although the transformation softened me to some degree, I had to let go of much more for years thereafter to continue to soften. Perhaps this is the way it had to be for me – learning to balance intensity and softness. The more I soften, the more deeply my body entwines with the living Light stream, and the more focused is my intensity.

A spiritual path is easier with an awakened teacher…

A path to awakening usually involves the help of an awakened teacher. Forging a relationship with a teacher is probably unlike any other relationship you may have experienced in your life. Although, you always want to present your best side to your teacher – your sweetest, most “spiritual” self – you know that your teacher sees completely through you. You feel transparent, with all of your bullshit and beauty exposed. Curiously, the resistance you feel to seeing yourself as you truly are may cause you to feel like you are being attacked.

My teacher presented me with insights about myself through words, gestures, and looks. Although I did not talk to my teacher very often, I always felt the connection. Despite my best intentions, I felt uncomfortable. Later, I learned that this discomfort was really the discomfort I felt with myself, and the experience of being more aware of what I was really doing. I was not just experiencing my words and actions. I was also beginning to become aware of my intentions. In many cases, this discomfort felt like burning.

My teacher gradually listened to less and less of my bullshit and often gave me uncomfortable insights about my bullshit. Intellectually, I knew that my teacher was helping me, but I resisted the help because I thought I was my bullshit.

Even those who have been on the path for a long time often question their resolve when the spiritual heat is on: “I don’t need this shit.”, “What does this teacher know anyway.”, “I am sick of feeling like crap about myself.” Many abandon the path even after years of working diligently. It is difficult to not take things personally, but it is necessary – if you want to come out on the other side of this process….

This cycle of confrontation, burning, and coming through on the other side happened over and over and over….Coming back, over and over, is key and depends on your own intention and the level of your preparation to embrace all that you are – before you can let it go….