Tag Archives: mindfulness

The Only Possible Life

Is there a point to life? Having a point appears to be different from having an explanation about the point.

I used to think that the point of life was to get really good at living – having good relationships with people and being able to support oneself and family. I spent countless hours honing the right skills, looking for the right jobs, investing in my family, and sustaining friendships. Few things were easy, and the rest were hard. I persevered.

I also saw life as something very mysterious and I wanted to understand as much of it as I could grasp. The mystery was something that I couldn’t quite name or point out. Like most, I started with religion, metaphysics, and philosophy to learn what others have said. I imagined that the mystery could ultimately be explained if I just see the right words on a page, and I tirelessly searched for the “explanation” of life’s point and my part in it all.

Then, I looked at the world with more interest, and Life appeared to have no universal script for happy-making conditions. There are different cultures that define a “good” life in different ways. People experience extreme hardships and losses on mass scales that are beyond anyone’s control – many are just trying to make it from day to day. It is all too easy to get caught up in looking at life through the lens of one specific culture, language, and individual values – and then to assume that there is something universal about one’s perspective on what’s working or what’s wrong.

Life behaves as if she has all the time she could possibly want. Eon after eon, she freely explores every variation and adjusts her routes creatively. It seems that the only true point is to live our lives whether life makes any sense to us or not.

In my early teens, I wondered about a “utopian” life for all – where everyone has what they need to live happy, fulfilling lives. I thought our goal in life was to fix the things that were problematic so that everyone could finally be happy. People are hungry? Let’s make sure they have food. Thirsty? Let’s build wells. Jobless? Let’s make jobs. Uninformed? Let’s find ways to make knowledge acessible to everyone? Sick? Let’s help them be healthy. Lonely? Let’s create support systems and communities. Overwhelmed? Let’s help them to simplify. In fact, let’s do it on a mass scale – empower every single person.

However, it was a rude awakening for me to learn that the majority of people did not seem to think that an ideal life for all was possible. In other words, the Universal Book to Life’s Answers did not – and could not – exist. While we may learn a few things about what people learned before, all answers dry up as soon as it’s time to just be ourselves.

I was called “idealistic” and got frequently slapped with sarcasm. At the time, I hadn’t yet understood that idealism was synonymous with oversimplification and painting with strokes too broad for nuance. The message that kept coming up was that people wanted to live their lives their own way, whether that way fit the norm or not. Everyone had something that was extremely important to them, and – whether or not they had articulated it – they lived for that.

There was no point in debating about who lived in a way that was the most conducive to happiness – because there did not appear to be one or even several ways. In fact, we each do it slightly differently. When I interact with people now, I often find myself wondering- What is important to you right now? Seeing others is all that matters to me in our interaction, whether or not others can or wish to see me.

To make matters even more confusing for me, many people seemed to be happy while suffering. They even packaged suffering as “lessons” and life as a “school.” I could not help but think that these “students” were just finding a way to cope with an unpredictable existence by viewing every challenge as some significant and highly personal lesson. Doesn’t shit just happen sometimes? How often is a “cigar just a cigar”?

I look back at my journey of wanting to “fix” what’s broken for as many people as possible. When wiser people told me that fixing wasn’t the point, I frankly thought they were ignorant, jaded, and weak. I see now that life is not a problem to be “fixed” because I had a biased and a naive view on what may be broken! We do not have one way to define what seems to be the problem at any given time in history or at any specific place on the globe. I don’t even think that seeing life as a problem to be solved is all that helpful.

By reflecting on our lives and the lives around us, we unfold. But even then, that reflection is not going to be anything prescriptive or universal. Pop culture in any culture is engrossed in trends and moves along from one thing “viral” to another. We’ve wasted too much time, perhaps, trying to package ourselves for mass consumption. There is magic in being oneself – an individual – for oneself.

What seems to stand out as important to life is the difference between repetition and creativity. While most of what we do may be repetitive, there can be a few simple moments here and there to explore who we are in relationship to Life, which is a creative process. Instead of looking for an answer or an explanation, we can just immerse ourselves in being living awareness. Something like this cannot be explained. One cannot live another’s life for them.

While an individual’s lifetime is a fraction of a moment when compared to Life’s grand timescales, we do just like she does. We are the rivers that dance and bifurcate under gravity’s pull. We create “wisdom” and write it down in hopes of making sense of it all. We hope to move more gracefully because we have already tried everything we knew. We want to know the difference between what we don’t need and what is essential to us, and then we try let go of all that is unnecessary.

Once seen and recognized, the endless exploration that is Life looks like utter chaos in eternal flux. Perhaps the need to make “sense” of things is not as necessary as we always thought. What if we haven’t yet given life enough of our undivided attention to see what aware living has to offer?

The human race talks of an idyllic “happily ever after” in primary colors and straight lines, even as all shades in existence push against this illusory bubble. Surprisingly, being human offers us the potential to embrace even that which we consider to be outside the scope of the human experience. We have this incredible capacity to move into previously uncharted paths and color outside the lines. While our cultural norms and scientific laws are great for organizing closets, they are insufficiently detailed or flexible to allow us to love and be happy unconditionally. Have we been successful at taming what is wild, or have we simply misunderstood our freedom?

The societal pressures to aim for a certain coveted quality of life has bullied many of us into submission to nonstop thinking and doing, as well as into quiet rage and even depression. Perhaps we can just relax and be aware of our lives without worrying that we are missing something important. Perhaps we can welcome and let go of people and situations with openness. Instead of just showing up for our birthdays and funeral, why not be there for the rest of our lives too?

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.

Murky Kindness. Loving Kindness.

Kindness is very precious indeed. Because I feel no need for others to be kind to me, I appreciate it more deeply now when I see it.

Loving kindness feels like a soft breeze or a gentle touch – a gift that takes nothing in return and moves onward. When received at a time of great despair, such kindness has an almost otherworldly quality. But, this kindness is very much of this world and can be offered by any of us at the right moment.

Timing is one of the most important aspects of our lives. When I see situations unfolding, I feel a distinct difference between the right and wrong time to act. To me, this looks like countless doors against a dark backdrop – some are closed, and some open and remain open for a time. The open doors are opportunities to act and interact. So, I watch and listen for these opportunities. I’ve learned the pointlessness of going after the “closed doors.” Where do I “see” these doors? Not in space. They are an analogy to how I feel and connect to life.

Recently, I’ve watched a number of videos pop up on social media showing someone offering something to a homeless person. It is not too difficult to tell that most of these videos are of the “murky kindness” variety – someone seeking to get “Likes” by appearing generous and kind to others. Such displays are not really about making an offering to another life, but more about getting more popular and monetizing popularity.

We get into murky waters when we attach demands to what we give to others. Then, unmet demands bring on resentment, bitterness, and disappointment: I did such a good thing. How dare people not appreciate me for what I gave? Many of our demands are unconscious, which makes it difficult for us to even recognize that we really want as much or more than we are giving. In truth, appreciating someone is challenging when there were strings attached or the gift crushed a fragile sense of self.

We also step into murky waters when we offer something to someone who doesn’t need it. We may want to help someone because it makes us feel good. We make assumptions about what a being needs and act on these assumptions without verifying that the need is real.

It requires sensitivity to recognize who does and does not need help from us. Because most people are here to build their own strength and awareness, they will openly refuse help or a “handout” – they won’t stay in shelters or halfway houses. Of course, addiction is also a factor. Unfortunately, some helpers are more needy than the ones they are helping, and they end up missing the mark with what they think they are giving.

Of course, some people genuinely do need help, and then we can reach out with heart first – then hand. Interstingly, people do not need help or kindness all of the time, but only in certain moments. On some level, we know that it is not up to any single individual to take permanent responsibility for every life that appears to lack something. Instead, we know that we need to help most people to help themselves as much as they are able. And yet, there are those who appear to drown themselves in giving or wishing they could give, while dreaming of what they can take in return.

For millennia, human life has been about some people having more than others. The ones who have little still depend on a neighbor, community, or strangers every day to help them live one day at a time. These people live with constant uncertainty. They may even forget to think about the next day. Poverty is a challenging life – I know it.

Why does poverty exist? Why is there an imbalance built into life where some have more than others? Why do some people have much more than they need? What is the right thing to do about it?

This setup deserves further study and a better understanding of where we fit in. Kindness is much more than giving things: it is more about seeing – truly seeing – a person for who they are. Loving kindness is a living presence and an honoring of our interconnection. Murky kindness is when objects are exchanged or given without connection and devotion.

Most people mean well and look for the right things to do. Often, the right thing requires a change in how we, as a society, assign value to individual lives. And a life that does not value itself will see that reflected back. No single individual is responsible for poverty and need, and no single individual can be a “solution.”

Kind leaders must set a strong tone for valuing life without sending contradicting messages. All people must make the time to show interest in the lives of others without intrusion. At some point, there will be greater balance in society as a whole so that life is honored at all levels. For now, we can wait for those open doors and forget ourselves while giving. Then, we must forget that we gave. That looks like loving kindness. There are no demands and no strings attached. There is no fear of deeply feeling another’s presence because we are not as separate as we believe.

We know we can’t give everything away and live. We know we can’t keep taking and honor the lives of others. Eventually, we will learn that kindness goes beyond helping someone’s survival or emotional strife, way beyond.

Impression Vs. Expression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There Are No Absolutes In Real Life

I saw the quote below on social media. I see many quotes like this. I believe these kinds of quotes somewhat miss the mark about life.

Surround Yourself With…

We don’t and can’t always choose who surrounds us. The reality is, we wake up every day and some people just surround us.

We may have our families, friends, people who don’t understand or like us, people who do like us, coworkers, and passerbys. Everyday. The whole mix.

We can certainly cherrypick in who we invest most of our time. For those who live in small towns or villages, at some point we may run out of cherries. We’d still be surrounded by people – whether or not we choose to interact with them. We can also choose to be alone, but are we ever really alone?

Certainly, we can cut off dysfunctional relationships that drain us. However, we can also ask ourselves how we can relate to a wider group of people, without having to get personal or intimate. What if we just related to people without talking about our needs, expectations, and wants? What if relating to others became more about being open to differences and being ourselves?

Asking for people who push you to be better – or do anything else for you – is having an agenda. “If you don’t push me to be better, you are not worthy of being in my life.” Please. We’re all here together to work things out, and what we deem important changes often. Some people change faster, and others change more slowly. But, we all change.

It takes quiet attention, reflection, and the willingness to surrender our biases to relate to different people. We don’t have to sign contracts to see who can get what for their trouble. How can we learn to love if we can’t even see each other for who we are?

No Drama or Negativity

In which universe is that even possible? Not in this one…Not at this time…

What we call drama and negativity is really all of us working stuff out. When people are working out their understanding of life, there is likely to be friction, confusion, and the need to broaden our perspectives.

Reality is messy – the opposite of a clutter-free home with trifolded towels. We are not taught how to handle a mess. Do we walk away? Do we clean it up? Certainly, watching and learning from a mess is also an option. We often react to a mess with lots of emotion, but we can also reach a point when emotions are quiet in any situation. What do we do when we know we can neither walk away nor clean things up?

When a scientist, engineer, or mathematician is working on a problem, there’s writing everywhere – even on napkins. It takes multiple approaches to see our struggles more clearly, and to understand what it is within ourselves that is creating drama.

I think it would be good if people stopped judging drama and negativity because no one can ever say that they have themselves and life completely figured out.

We can practice handling and coping with tense situations in healthier ways. We can learn how to listen even when we don’t like what we hear. We can learn how to ask others to talk about their feedback, whatever it may be.

Over time, there is less and less confusion about oneself. That helps. There is less reaction to people’s viewpoints, and more interest and curiosity. Until then, we can study how to engage with life – beyond just fight or flight.

Higher Goals, Good Times, and No Hate

The highest “goals” I ever found was to learn to see others as they see themselves, and also to see others as if they were already awake. Why would these goals be “high” goals? In my case, I wanted to see beyond my own perspective (which I knew was biased), and I wanted to understand others and life better.

Until we learn more about who each other is, there will be hate.

I understand hate as a kind of intense disgust, rejection, and turning away from another life.

Often people hate what they don’t understand or what threatens them. Since we don’t really understand each other or ourselves, we won’t feel safe. Thus, hatred is not going away any time soon.

It’s better to come clean when we hate, rather than pretending to be beyond it. It’s better to see our anger and fear than to project a saintly glow, which is likely to be fake.

But, we don’t have to act on everything we feel. Just studying our life and what turns us off is interesting in itself. Our reactions reveal something to us about who we are in relation to our lives. Often, such revelations cause us to let go more into the truth that lies hidden beyond who we want to be.

Simply Bringing Out the Best

We’ll be kinder and gentler around some people more than others. We’ll drive some people crazy and put others at ease. People will trigger each other unconsciously toward whatever they already believe about themselves. Often, certain self views are easier to stomach than others.

There is nothing simple about seperlatives. We have no clue what is best or worst. All we can see is that some stimuli make us uncomfortable and others put us at ease. Are we here to just make each other comfortable? Well, that contradicts challenging each other to be our best. Even what is best is subject to interpretation. Best for whom or what? For how long? Do we aim to be mostly comfortable with just a smidge of discomfort? Or mostly uncomfortable with a smidge of comfort? Does it matter?

It’s Appropriate That the Meme Was in B&W

It’s our nature to look for patterns and draw well-bounded conclusions. However, it is not yet second-nature for the human race to be deliberate and slow in how we listen, observe, and study our view of reality.

There really isn’t a best way to live. We are different and we can only live our lives to see what we are made of. If we change, the change will be a natural progression for us.

During a vulnerable moment, I considered changing for someone to make them more comfortable around me. Soon, I saw that it was both impossible and undesirable.

I have and am already changing. I’ve moved away from being able to have 1-1 intimate relationships. So what? There isn’t one right way to live, and I have no reason to force myself to be someone I am not. I’m grateful this is clear to me now, and I am also grateful that my life lets me meet many different people where I practice being who I am. I am happy that life set me up to learn that I am never alone and that it is OK for all people to try and learn who they are.

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.

Living Out of the Box

Our tendency is to take most of our life experiences for granted. We learn how to walk until we forget that we walk. We learn how to interpret what we see until we become blinded by the familiar. We weave our perception of life using our nervous systems and forget that our perspective is relative. Researchers call this phenomenon learning. I call it forgetting. Researchers say that the ability to perform basic tasks unconsciously frees us up to take on more challenging puzzles. I say that most people stop taking on more challenging, irregular, and innovative patterns of thinking after they get the basics and fall deeper into unconsciousness.

The mindfulness movement emerged as a way to help us remember the basics of how and what we experience. Paying attention to the breath and sensations helps one bring oneself into the moment and away from the traps of memories or future fantasies.

Mindfulness is not new – it has been fundamental to many meditation practices. Mindfulness is a repackaged version of old wisdom, reawakened to lure us out of autopilot. Living on automatic makes life pass by quickly and dims creativity until we are stuck in a box that looks like millions of other boxes. But we are more than this….

Living out of the box is a way of daring ourselves to remain awake. I like to feel awake. The feeling of being conscious liberates me to use my intuition, which moves in sparks and nonlinear flashes. For example, the other day I was reviewing a dream I had, where beings live on a planet that is close to both a bright blue star and a black hole. The light on the planet is a golden yellow that permeates and saturates the experience of these beings – everything is colored by this golden glow. Instead of treating this experience as background music to be filtered, the beings on this planet relate to the golden light as if it were a living presence – the glue between all. How often do we relish our liking of perceiving color? Maybe striking sunsets or sunrises catch our attention for brief moments, but we do not respond to all seeing this way.

Another lesson I learned from this dream is that the nervous systems of these beings are attuned to the strong gravity of both the star and the black hole. Their physiologies interpret gravity just like we hear sound! The black hole causes them to hear and feel a deep tone, droning through their existence. And the gravity of the star produces its own tone. They interpret gravity as sound – amazing! But no more magical than our ability to process light energy as color. The music to which these being are exposed is treated as something mystical and holy, and they are consciously listening to it.

You may say Who cares? Being aware of something as commonplace as light and sound that is always there doesn’t seem very interesting. And yet, as I feel what I see, and truly listen to the subtlety of what I hear, my entire life takes on a more nuanced texture.

Our lives have increasingly become about looking for the next rush. We crave something fresh, invigorating, and otherworldly. I watched some kids browsing YouTube…. They could only pay attention for a few seconds before jumping to the next video. They wanted the punchline without any buildup. They wanted a high on a continuous basis because their perception has become a giant callous. Even if they see something new and creative, they miss it. Their speediness through life is the walls of their box, holding them prisoner of dull emptiness.

If we unlock our ability to slow down and feel how we perceive, we dive deeper into existence and further from repetition. Life is literally countless frames per second, but we skim its surface like mosquitoes on a lake. We can only hear and see a minute fraction because our perception is out of sync with life – our need for speed disconnects us from reality, which gives us much more than we are now capable of receiving.

One last thought…. Have you ever caught yourself liking something and reflected on the feeling without the object that caused it? In my dream, I really liked the golden light and the low frequencies of the black hole. I could not peel away from how differently life consciousness worked on that planet. But then, I stepped away from the dream and just drowned in the feeling of liking. I was completely immersed in that while participating in my life.

We can never hit the bottom of existence because we have the ability to create it, and not to simply consume it. Our consumer culture is now about much more than the obsession to buy things. In fact, we have developed a taste for feeding on existence without creating anything ourselves. We are the vampires and the zombies, dead and hungry. We want to feel full infinity, but are stuck in insatiable hunger instead. We feed off relationships and stimuli to feel alive, but are dead only moments later and already planning the next heist. We are enraged that our hunger only grows. Those who do create cannot create fast enough.

We could stop the hunger completely and live fully, give back, and slow down until we feel the grains in a mirror and the subtle vibrations we call atoms. Wisdom and fullness lies in subtlety, which cannot be rushed. Wisdom cannot survive in a box. We cannot be alive in a box.

Living as Enlightenment – Part 2

See Part 1 Q&A here…. We’ll pick up where we left off….

Question: What is the most important aspect of being human?

Answer: A human being is embodied potential to be both the finite and the infinite. It’s not quite clear to me how this came to be, but it seems to be the way it is.

When I see a person, I cannot focus on their superficial qualities or personality. I see something deeper that speaks to me directly – something I know and understand intimately.

I am still taken aback when I realize that the people I interact with don’t know who they are and what their awareness can grow into. Everyday life obsessions of “he said, she said” are so removed from my experience that I need to translate these dramas into something I can understand.

People want to be loved, and people mostly feel unworthy of love. There is fear. This seems to be the root of so much complexity and drama here. People define conditions and have expectations, which is diametrically opposed to embracing reality as it is. They spend a lot of time and energy trying to change life topography before they even find themselves on the map.

Nevertheless, everything the human race is going through is a stepping stone. No experience or realization is wasted – it is all raw material for the proverbial staircase to heaven.

When a human being glimpses that potential with the whole body and mind, no matter how short-lived, that is important. Then, this being knows that he or she is paradoxically becoming what one already is. Embracing this paradox is important and unique to the human nervous system, which is an exotic interface to the infinite.

Question: What does it feel like to observe people go through painful situations, even if some are self-created?

Answer: It depends. Over time, it is becoming more difficult for me to focus on individuals. Mostly, I feel the ebb and flow of the human race as a whole. Those individuals who recognize that I am noone in a body – they are easier to pinpoint because they must feel that they are the same as That on some level.

Some people – I feel like I know them, have known them, even if they are seeming strangers. I am already connected to them somehow and usually try to help them in some way. I will talk with them, give them attention, and sometimes take their pain. Of course, I never take money…. that is something I do not do. Maybe occasional food 🔆

Sometimes people say they don’t know why I care or help…. I see this dilemma as being separate from one’s true nature. If you know who you really are, you realize that there is nothing else to do but be available – you do what you are 24/7. There is no layer of planning or thinking about what I can get back. It just doesn’t work that way.

Most importantly, when I do not feel that draw to act, I don’t act. It is not my place, not my time. I trust and live that.

Question: If the enlightened being’s state is so different from the turmoil of this world, how can an enlightened being exist here?

Answer: At some point, the enlightened state will not be as rare as it is now. More and more people will break through the illusion of living as embodied shadows.

However, at this time, the difference in consciousness of the majority and the free beings is so dramatic that living here is not easy.

It is not easy to see people feel and act trapped, hearts break, and happiness be dependent on life’s conditions in a given moment.

I no longer cry except on rare occasions when there is united suffering of a group of people asking for help. I feel their pain as if it were my pain – vividly, viscerally, and running on all cylinders through my body.

But as the pain runs through me and has nothing to stick to. So, I put my attention on these people with a clear heart.

After enlightenment, attention does not wonder randomly, nor does it come with an intention for a specific outcome. Rather, the very act of such attention does what it can to alleviate pain and transmit a stable and unconditionally happy state of being automatically.

I have seen this act of attention bring healing to some. Bring clarity. It is a mystery to me how it works.

One thing is clear is that attending to people is an impersonal act – there is no agenda, just a pull to be there with all that is happening.

Does this tire me? Often. I need a lot of sleep to exist here and to allow my body to rebalance.

Question: Does an enlightened being look forward to being finally free of this world at death?

Answer: Every being feels a draw to the next level. However, in enlightenment, there is no urgency or need for a specific timeline.

In fact, the notion of time being something to grasp vanishes. There is only now, as cliche as that may sound. I am literally unaware of past memories or future anticipation. I am just here, and right now there is nowhere else to be.

One could say that I don’t think about my future, but that is not quite true. To function here, I need to address real-life situations, family and work responsibilities, and forge practical strategies for living with my family. I make an effort to plan living – physical life requires that. However, decision-making is fairly easy and quick. The compass always points north.

So, I do what needs to be done with the understanding that everything here – including my responsibilities, joys, and setbacks – all are temporary.

Living like this does not result in regrets or feelings of confusion. There are no looping thoughts and no unresolved dilemmas. The entire life is a simple, undirected unfolding – much like a flower greeting the Sun. And I am there with it all – both an observer and a participant.

I do not fear death, nor do I dwell on it. I just know when it’s not yet a good day to die.

Fighting the Self-Hatred Epidemic

***After I pulsed out the original version of this post, I got feedback. Thank you for the questions. It is important to get this right – I learn from you every day.***

There is an epidemic spreading and taking root in the West. It is subtle and nearly invisible in some cases, and more blatant in others. Most importantly, there is a cure, but this cure requires us to recognize the epidemic in the first place. If we are not afflicted, then we can try to help others as best we can.

When the New Age movement started, many fine authors talked about the importance of self-love. There was a stir in the Western world to become more gentle with oneself, to heal the inner child, and to learn to set boundaries with inappropriate behaviors and people. This was good. What is so important about self-love anyway, besides a better quality of life?

It turns out that self-love is not just an emotion or a feeling. Instead, it is an actual configuration of the physical and more subtle nervous systems to receive and be able to hold Spirit in form. Without self-love we literally reject uniting with Spirit and we block Its connection to, through, and as Us. Alternatively, even if we achieve Union, our nervous system can literally fry from this energy if it is unprepared to hold It. There are many pathways to Union with Spirit – there have to be – but the milestones of levels of freedom or degrees of Union appear to be similar. I am not just talking about Kundalini energy here – raising Kundalini energy is no guarantee of enlightenment.

Now the self-hatred epidemic is running rampant again. We had received doses of an antiobiotic, but then built immunity. There are forces at work in this world that have an interest in devolving the majority of the human race, and these forces have been working in new, different, and more conniving ways to manipulate people to accept self-hatred as the norm – and even believe that they feel self-love while engaging in self-loathing. This may not apply to you because you see through it, I understand, and yet there are many caught in this net at this time.

Who or what would wish to sabotage the human race in this way? Think about it…. An enlightened global community is very dangerous to those who believe the world population must be controlled – and enlightened beings are fundamentally free and happy (i.e., not controllable). The easiest way to keep developed populations down is by instilling hidden belief systems that one is fundamentally flawed and screwed up the core, unworthy, guilty, crazy, and just generally meaningless. There are entire theses in think tanks about how to manage world dynamics! Of course there are…. While people go about their daily lives, there are those who carefully deliberate how to generate stability and instability in various communities at various times to achieve control.

One would think that such a negative framework pervading social structures would drive mass majority to suicide, but that is not the case. Instead, it lulls the population into a kind of low- or mid-grade depression, inertia, and various autoimmune responses, OR the perversion of self-love as narcissism, racism, and other forms of “better-than-you”-isms. Both ends of the spectrum are breeding-grounds for separation at the Soul level, fueled by increased distractions that take one away from the simple core idea that one can achieve Union with Spirit and embody It uniquely with full consciousness of the Whole.

Thousands of years ago, yogis attained enlightenment in caves and on river edges, under trees and while sitting on wild grass. They discovered that the human nervous system was capable of a transformation that would ignite all form with Spirit to manifest a new kind of life that would emphasize our creative potential, making fear and the fight for survival obsolete. However, there are those who want to make enlightenment impossible for the human race by destabilizing the psyche, overwhelming people with work or the lack of work, monopolizing people’s attention with distractions, and ultimately damaging our nervous systems to make us permanently unable to feel the flow of Life. Yes, imagine that our nervous systems become so rigid to change and numbed by fear that we become trapped as fragmented consciousness in matter until the world simply winds down – which it will, some day. In other words, we will begin to forget more and more that we are fragments of One Spirit AND be completely convinced that we have achieved full potential at the same time! That is the worse case scenario – not knowing that we don’t know.

We must fight for our lives and sanity from a place of peace to be truly available to pure intention and attention, and resist the urge to fight from a place of anger and sadness. We must, once again, build reminders into our day to choose self-kindness and use these moments to invite Spirit in and embrace It. Once again, we must find good counselors to heal various traumas and let these go. When we are bombarded with messages to fear for our lives, we must flick a switch to choose relationship to every aspect of our lives, to forgive ourselves, and to let go into simple being. This is a moment-by-moment practice, relentless and filled with heart-felt yearning.

Another result of the lack of self-love is the desire to escape. The opiode epidemic is only one example. Besides drugs and alcohol, there are also emerging belief systems that we are shifting into a new Earth (and leaving the “unready” behind). But there is just this Earth – this one right now, and with this you and everything else on it. And if you think about it, is escaping and leaving others behind spiritual, even if it were possible?

The desire to escape suffering and pain is built into the manipulation and prepares masses to become lost in video games and, ultimately, “virtual fiction” reality – possibly removed many levels from this reality. We already see this behavior taking over many people because “it feels better than reality.” Sadly, this trend takes us deeper into the dark well of devolution. We must fight to feel the Sun on our faces, the grass and sand between our toes, and the touch of another’s hand in our hand to remain connected.

True freedom does not require any specific material or life conditions to be happy and awake. Life does not have to work out for you to become free and feel happy. How can it be freedom otherwise? It’s nice when things go well. But things don’t always go well. When stuff happens, does the enlightened state disappear or go on hold? No.

The yearning for enlightenment can die for us if we buy into unconscious self-rejection and escape. This would be tragic when we have the key to a revolution and an unhinged marriage of Spirit and Matter as individual expression. Enlightenment does not require props – only a consistent leap of faith that it is very possible for you, and the intense yearning to break through.

The great news is that the Light is always there and ready for you. It waits, poised for that instant when you accept yourself just long enough for It to get in and stay. You will literally feel a physical sensation of It pouring into the crown of your head and taking hold of the brain stem – and that is only the beginning. It has to stabilize.

There are endless opportunities all day long to yearn, release, and surrender to what lives you. Self-hatred and the Light are like oil and water, and the meditation must become a fight with the total fire of your will to burn through the thicket that falsely guards and separates you from the truth.

The new mantra is that “all the truth is within.” Sure, but we may not be able to understand it or even misinterpret it. Some say “we don’t need teachers – we can do it ourselves.” If it were that easy, we would have all done it by now and be living as a world community of free beings. But this is not the case, is it?

We have to be practical and streetsmart about spirituality for it to continue to be a force for good. For many, this means seeing through self-hatred, the desire to control and dominate, the need to be right, be powerful, be knowledgeable, be smarter, be “good-er.”

We are at a tipping point of falling into deeper illusion or waking up. There are enlightened beings. They just live – mostly incognito. Why are they still here, working hard amidst the dark tragedies, human hardships, and atrocities still going on? Why haven’t they just vanished into the rainbow of the “next level”? After they die, there will be others. But, at some point, the world may reject such beings altogether – it is not easy to be on the Earth plane in a free state, but this does not equate to suffering in human terms.

We can keep the candle of human potential burning by being practical and real with ourselves, questioning everything about our influences and our state, testing ourselves, and rejecting messages that we are flawed or better than others. This will be a fight that can only end in total transformation.

The test for enlightenment is simple – if you do not spend all of your time and during any activity feeling Life, being meditated by Life, and yearning for all to be free, then you are not yet enlightened. If you feel the need to defend or attack anything about yourself, you are not yet awake. If you take pride in what you are, you are not yet happy – because the little you is still there, needing a bigger I. If you need to escape – even as most cry out for help, you are not yet free – free beings tend Unity like a sacred garden. You can have “heaven” in any situation. If you are not living This, you are not yet free.

I often hear the question “Is enlightenment bullshit?” If the torch of true freedom is put out then yes, yes it is….

Creative Living

Do you believe that you are creative? Do you often find life repetitive and boring? Do you feel a yearning to express, but decide to judge and put down your creations? Do you wish to express, but then stop because you see someone doing it “better” and being praised?

Unfortunately, many confuse creativity with having a specific, well-honed skill. While creativity can build skills, creativity and skill are not the same.

Creativity is very basic to our existence – it is a way to express relationship to life through any and all actions. You feel a connection and you say or do something that brings out your unique perspective as a natural response – whether or not anyone else is looking. As your relationship to life deepens and you continue to express that, you build skill – perhaps a new skill. And you really couldn’t care less if anyone appreciates what you do.

That may sound like a pretty weird take on creativity. Isn’t creativity reserved only for those few who have been deemed by society as talented?

Society has turned creativity into a public act of showmanship. There can be so much arrogance about what is considered creative: fame, “likes,” money, and power. The sacred and intimate act of sketching, painting, dancing, singing, or writing is put on a stage in front of observers who convince us that what we create is at their pleasure. Because only a few rise up to the top of this accolade pyramid, the rest may shut down to creativity altogether and stop expressing. For so many, creativity has become about impressing others, amassing viewers and “followers”, boosting ratings, and – ultimately – money and status. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with having these things, the drive to create because of these possible outcomes misses the point of living a creative life.

Let’s go back to the beginning….One way to view life is as creating a relationship with the world and expressing this relationship. Everything we observe about what’s around us becomes a part of us. If we respond to this awareness and do something to express our take on life, then we are creating new connections and being creative. Life is the full palette available to us. Inspiration to be ourselves is the brush or instrument. Awareness is the vehicle that takes us deeper and deeper into reality, and weaves our unique perception directly into the fabric of life.  Everyone can do this at any time with – literally – any activity. Creativity is about our personal intention to connect.

A creative life is the opposite of a stuck, monotonous life. A creative life breaks the mould without trumpeting its accomplishments. There are no predetermined outcomes of a creative life because the journey is always presenting something new. That journey, unfettered by agenda, is the essence of creativity.

Every moment opens an opportunity to be creative even through the simplest of acts. Even washing dishes can be creative. But how? We do things over and over in life, and such acts can quickly  become boring to us. Where is the creativity in that?

Behind action are our attention and intention. If the intention originated from a heartfelt openness – a feeling of happy freedom in being, the attention begins to move awareness toward relationship with the world. And, even while washing dishes, we begin to notice more about the water and the plate than we did before. While holding and scrubbing a plate, cup, or fork, we explore and discover consciously. Our movements literally flow new tentrils of connection to reality in that moment that are unique because they come from a unique spark of the divine – each of us.

When a heart surrenders the fight to be the most creative and worthy of note – probably due to sheer exhaustion of having to be on stage and perform, there is literally nowhere to turn to except into the moment. The rules of engagement transform, what we value transforms, and we are free to just be – which is also creative. Simple presence, relating from moment to moment to whatever, can be the purest expression of creativity.

***Please let me know your thoughts. I will try to respond.***