Tag Archives: transformation

What Does It Mean to Be “Spiritually Advanced”

In spiritual networks, it is common to label someone as “advanced,” be it the teacher, another practitioner, or oneself. It is pretty common to see someone presenting themselves as spiritually advanced. But how many go further to clarify what being “advanced” really means?

“Spirituality” is a loaded term that is contextualized to philosophy and religion, and conjuring images of crystals, candles, 5 am meditation, yoga, tarot cards, organic foods, and chanting. Yet, it just so happens that true spirituality has no props and all the aforementioned objects and practices do not define spirituality.

A spiritual life is available to all and is independent of one’s background and belief systems. If this were not true, some of us would be somehow superior to others, and one life would be considered more valuable than another – how is that possible?

“Advanced” is a strange term to use with spirituality because it implies being above and even beyond. To the ego, which loves to compare everything and everyone using its meter stick, “advanced” means either “better than me” or “beneath me” (ego is fairly binary). Comparison for purposes of fortifying oneself is a game children play on the playground, picking teams consisting of those most like themselves.

Something more unified than the individual is living all of us and, like a light beaming through a prism, is refracting into a rainbow of colors as each of us. The reality is that we can transform our perception of and relationship to what lives us. We are a differentiation of the One living consciousness that is experiencing itself through its many facets. Do we know this? If so, to what degree?

Spiritual evolution is a matter of shifting one’s attention to identify more and more with the Life that lives us, rather that our bodies, emotions, minds, diseases, and other conditions. No one is faulty at the core. The shifts seem to follow a pattern with common milestones.

To identify with something means to know that you are That – not separate, not worshipping something outside of yourself (and not worshipping yourself either), and not striving toward or pulling in anything because you are That.

I understand an “advanced” state as being increasingly identified with the unifying principle while maintaining an individual expression of that principle. We can be unique without being separate.

Our bodies express our degree of identification with this unified Consciousness through verbal and nonverbal communication. Our bodies are also valuable instruments for accessing and integrating the countless aspects of the one consciousness by happily handing over any clinging to a separate self. The more we surrender ourselves to That, the less we believe we are something superior or extra special. Thus, one naturally becomes humbled by existence as one evolves, while simultaneously understanding more deeply the value of all life. This is not even close to the practice of comparing, labeling, or either celebrating our superiority or wallowing in our self-perceived low attainment.

People who don’t use “spiritual” terminology may very well have undergone a transformation where they have peeled off the layers of separation – perhaps even more so than those who deftly toss around Sanscrit terms. This fact is often overlooked by those looking for superficial markers of a spiritual life. Someone who did not read the Vedas may be closer to reconfiguring their perceptual mechanism.

Transformation, as the name implies, is a fundamental shift in how one experiences life and relates to its processes. Perception changes to the degree that one begins to invent words and imagery to describe what one lives because such concepts do not exist in spoken languages. True transformation is not imagination because the descriptions of the so-called sages (as far back as ancient times) actually match at various key milestones.

For example, I have read Buddhist texts about the Watcher after going through several transformations myself to identify with these successive layers of consciousness. The Watcher is a palpable presence that seems to be observing “you” thinking, speaking, and doing until you identify with that observer. Then, one finds yet another Watcher. Eventually, there are no more Watchers. How do I know? Because in the incomplete state, a Watcher is tangible – there is clearly someone watching and seems to be other than yourself. Mostly, people claiming to be aware of their “consciousness” are aware of one of such Watcher layers. Once you’ve felt one Watcher, the rest are more easily recognizable. Their absence is also very obvious, which happens as one goes futher in letting go into Life. The One Life lives us and breathes us, not the other way around.

Transformation is a fundamental change in the configuration of our multifaceted body, rather than a honing or refining of an existing configuration. To someone who has gone through the change, it is obvious who else has or has not.

An “advanced” being cannot prove to others anything – nor wants to. But such a being can easily see where others are in their evolution toward unification and reidentification. Most important, such a being will not casually make claims about his or her state, lightly choose to become a public figure, or even subtly put down anyone at whatever level of life.

I have run into a number of people claiming something about themselves when it is clear that they have not transformed but simply got their life on stable footing. Also, highly tuned intuition or access to certain nonphysical planes of existence are no indicators of how or whether that being identifies. If “advanced” means seeing auras or reading people’s minds, then we are talking about different types of evolution – many who have not freed themselves can develop these skills but still remain removed from absorption as the One Life.

I am not at all implying that any life stage is more valuable than another. We all have equally important parts to develop by living. We will all make different and valid contributions as our lives unfold.

Someone asked me once why bother evolving or transforming if we are all valuable. The answer is simple – those poised for change will do the work to change – this will feel like the whole point of their existence, while others will have no interest in doing so. In any case, change is just that – something different, and neither superior nor inferior.

If someone is poised for change – especially at the critical points of early transformations, a teacher may come and invite one to complete the process. The teacher is an accelerant for something that may take lifetimes to do by oneself. For someone who is on the cusp, why wait aeons when the opportunity presents to move faster? There may be good reasons.

A clear expression of oneself supercedes any transformed state. Many advanced beings were seen as faulty because they did not express themselves clearly. Maybe they presented themselves as greedy opportunists or just horny, and this detracted from their contribution to humanity.

“Advanced” beings, whether hidden or in public view, contribute many things most people will not recognize as contributions by a certain person – beyond their spiritual talks and pithy wisdom. As one transforms, certain acts of service go on automatic and cannot be not done. In simplest terms, such beings make a difference to multitudes simple by being. They do not care if anyone knows what they really do and who they are.

I am a regular Joe. A mom with a job and two kids. I will remain that until my death. Most people won’t see me as anything else and it doesn’t matter to me. While my intensity is evident, it will be just “intensity” to most observers, chalked up to my personality.

In the meantime, I work on healing and clarifying my own expression. I want no gaps between my authenticity and what I present in everyday life.

Be wary of those who put down the human race or talk about it like a plague – this is not “advanced” behavior. As one gets closer to unification of life, it is impossible to hate or resent it, even while regularly confronting any dysfunction in no uncertain terms. Asserting truth may be seen as anger, but it can be very different from anger – although the intensity may be easily confused with anger at first glance.

Unconditional love becomes not only fundamental, it is simply one’s natural state and has little to do with the sticky, clingy “love” in most couples. “Unconditional love,” despite being misunderstood, is a phrase that still brings hope to humanity and continues to function – for now.

Why the Ego Is So Tough

The human ego is incredibly challenging to see in action. This mechanism has the ability to blind us to our behaviors and to mask the real intentions under what we project. The ego is so convincing because we think that it is who we are and that it is us who is deciding what to do. In fact, our true yearning remains something we can dismiss or rationalize away. Thus, it is incredibly difficult to transcend the ego.

Nearly every person has an ego whether the person accepts this or not. In fact, it is a rather pointless discussion to convince anyone of this fact. By its nature and function, the ego does not want to be seen – let alone dismantled as the primary driver. While it is more comfortable to believe that one’s ego is “gone,” premature claims just postpone further growth. A person who is ready to move into the work of dis-identifying with ego will know the truth of the situation on some level.

There is also a difference in transcending the ego and dissolving the ego. Transcending the ego relegates its status to a tool, rather than one’s identity-shaping mechanism on the lower planes of existence. Dissolving the ego invokes other processes to configure one’s relationship to life.

The ego is a lens through which we forge an identity that is separate from others. It can be a useful lens for developing oneself in the world. It is necessary to evolve one’s body and mind such that they integrate with the life day-to-day. Without a critical mass of this integration, one cannot feel the boundaries of one’s perception at all. Although our boundaries exist, these boundaries define who we are and we do not feel any calling to push through anything. The majority of the human race is at this stage of not recognizing that one’s entire perspective is custom-made to build a powerful identity.

People without a fully formed identity are seen as unsuccessful in the world – they don’t have good “luck” with earning an income, romantic relationships, and succumb to fear of real-world pressures. Ironically, one first needs to realize one’s ego to be prepared to transcend it. Enlightenment, even in the earliest stages, requires humility. If you think about it, one must be willing to be wrong to be capable of humility. The ego does not like to be wrong, to be “below,” or to be anything other than self-concerned and comparative.

Some common tactics of the ego include fear, hiding, making excuses, blindness to reality, defensive or offensive maneuvering, control of people or situations, and attempts to convince someone of something. These behaviors are so prevalent in humanity that it is easy to assume these behaviors to be “just human nature.” Only when the ego is close to being trascended can one see through it and engage with it on a different level. Then, the ego becomes truly obvious.

The ego is so custom tailored to each being that it must be “decoded” for each being individually. However, it cannot be “diagnosed” by the mind by matching specific behaviors to conclusions. An enlightened being may seem agressive, but the aggression is only the tip of the iceberg of what this being is doing in the moment. An enlightened being may counter a statement without being defensive. Only the intuition of a transcended being can see deep enough to understand the observable behavior, tone, or words. Even written words root down to the person’s core and the ego is visible.

What is a human being like beyond the ego? Open to what’s possible, comfortable with the unknown, both confident and self-questioning, strong, quiet or vivacious, creative without judgement that down-plays the creativity of others, or rational or intuitive. Just like with the egoic persona, it is hard to “see” an enlightened being. The difference is, an enlightened being isn’t bothered by this or any other projections on him or her.

Oddly, one does not need to dedicate hours to meditation, yoga, or chanting to let go of the ego. What happens is that attention becomes tuned to this device throughout the day – maybe on and off – until it is finally felt as something “other” and not oneself. This attention is incredibly difficult to sustain. Unless a teacher is helping to bring internal dynamics to the fore, people eventually convince themselves of a comfortable truth and move on. That is the dilemma.

The ego is not only localized to an individual consciousness, but operates on different scales. Groups have an ego. The human race has an ego. However, without seeing the personal ego, it can be difficult to imagine what is going on at these scales. Each person that is free can assist with global transformation in a way that can be described as one’s unique life, but without all the drama.

Beginning the Journey of Ego Transcendence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Live You Too

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

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

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

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

I live you too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being Asexual

I am in my late 40s and, by most standards, not old. However, I have come to realize that I am no longer interested in sex.

Recently single, I feel no pressures from a partner to be sexual. As a result, there is no reason for me to try to be something I am not. I am comfortable being alone and also spending time with friends. I feel no longing of a sexual nature. Now, I can simply relax in this truth.

As I surrendered my being to the Life that lives me, I entered into an uninterrupted embrace. Paradoxically, it is me and also an exchange.

I wrote previously how my lower energy centers had merged into the heart center, which I was surprised to discover one morning. After this occurred, I began to be immersed in an altogether different kind of energy flow – making love without a partner as being.

I see nothing wrong with sex. But how many people see nothing wrong with no sex? As with anything, it was important for me to understand why. Was it something I held back, denied, or denigraded on some level? I explored and explored, but found nothing. Except that it was my truth.

It is a relief to just be good with this and not have to wonder anymore if I need to balance or heal anything.

The asexuality was not always true for me. I went through decades of being overly sexual. So, it was surprising to me when my sexuality began to dissipate – and suspicious. Was it because of my childhood? Was it because of who I was with? As it turned out, neither. I have simply changed. Being without a partner, I have had no interest in looking for someone and my state has remained consistent.

In yoga, there is the process of Brahmacharya. I’ve come to see that my body’s circuitry stepped into this flow on its own and without trying. It is what it is. It feels like I have always been a virgin, but not in the sense of some false deification.

Sometimes things are just simple.

Mind vs. Enlightenment

I have a beautiful mind. It’s no longer an egotistical statement and just a fact, but this wasn’t always the case. The story may be more interesting when I talk about the relationship of mind to enlightenment.

I spoke early as a child. Standing in my crib, I babbled intensely – as if I were giving a passionate talk on my niche topic. As I grew up, I earned the nickname of “professor” in the hood. It was not a flattering name, but more of a putdown for knowing facts and reasoning logically – and not fitting in.

Because I grew up in an abusive environment, I frequently looked for ways to escape. My escape was learning new things and solving problems. To this day, I do puzzles or math and physics problems for fun, but the way I approach these puzzles is different than before.

My IQ was tested in my 20s and I scored very high. My mind was fluid and it felt fabulous to use it. But, my mind was useless for breaking through into enlightenment.

As with any go-to asset, I wrapped my ego around having my intelligence, and the result was a person who relied on intelligence to gain advantage and confirmation of being real. When I met my teacher, I had to face the true reality that I was unable to “think” into enlightenment. This frustrated me to no end.

My teacher was redirecting me to let go of using my ability to manipulate abstract concepts because enlightenment wasn’t a concept. Enlightenment wasn’t an experience, an induction, or a deduction. Whenever I thought that I had “figured it out,” I was inevitably wrong – and discouraged.

Mind is a poorly defined concept anyway. Is this a combination of our awareness and reasoning abilities? Even the latter is vague. When I view the various vehicles (or “bodies“) we use on multiple planes of existence, the mind can be viewed as one such vehicle, and the soul another – there are more. These vehicles are equipped with their own senses and processes and language, much like the physical body, and operate in parallel with the physical body.

However, no body is Spirit. In fact, all bodies are inseparable from Spirit and are its expressions. It amazes me when people talk about Spirit as something contained by and separate from any body when, in reality, Spirit is literally everything. Also, what people perceive as Spirit varies greatly from one person to the next. Currently, there is no way to calibrate what each of us is referring to. Nevertheless, we can say that there is something. This something is expressing through all forms but is itself formless and uncontained.

During the transformation process, I frequently confused perceptions by the various vehicles as enlightenment. For years, I had to go through the ups of feeling like I understood something to the downs of realizing that I was still incredibly confused. The struggle of wanting to quit at each down is real. The intense desire to have everything squared away and figured out is the reason why so many claim enlightenment without having actually broken through. Enlightenment must be tested. The tests are real. These test results are incontrovertible. Only someone who is enlightened can test enlightenment. Otherwise, an individual is biased by the interpretation of their own perceptions.

Letting go of everything that defines us is a lot trickier than we think. In fact, because the ego is the very process of defining ourselves, it won’t easily let go of the mechanisms that reinforce identity. Intelligent people will create an identity around intelligence, and similarly for any faculty or quality. The ego uses whatever is available and whatever we hold most dear. So, enlightenment is about letting go of whatever we feel we cannot let go, and the trap is set.

When we let go of something, there are typically more things to let go of underneath. Imagine letting go – surrendering – something you never thought you could, only to realize that there is yet more to surrender. The will required to continue is immense.

Again, the ego is a process – not a thing. As long as the process is running in the background, we are not free from it and we don’t know it, necessarily, until it gives itself away – it always does, eventually. The ego is obvious to those who no longer run this process, but is mostly hidden for those immersed in the trap. The ego is tricky – when we are identified with something, we cannot tell apart what is it versus our true nature. When ego is threatened, it will respond in less-than-obvious ways.

I feared that letting go of my mind would mean that I would become stupid, so I fought this tooth and nail. What did happen was that I stopped identifying with the mind and the mind became just a tool I use – or don’t use. It is possible to choose when the mind disengages, but this does not result in a lack of intelligence – counter to my previous concern. Interesting.

Popularized meditation techniques are explicit on allowing and observing thoughts without fighting to stop them. Well, imagine not having thoughts without any effort and still being intelligent. You want to reason logically? You can turn that switch on, and now you can allow thought to crank something out. I am amazed I used to think that the process of mind, which I could turn on or off, was me. The state of No Mind is the first level of enlightenment – a first real freedom. There are others.

No Mind is what Buddhist call Sunyata, or emptiness. I guess this is also nirvana. It is a nice, restful state, but it is not complete. After the honeymoon, the transformation process continues and there are more hidden processes to discover and unwind.

If we are not careful, we can get stuck in nirvana – a kind of detachment. This is not the end of the road. Paradoxically, further freedom requires diving into life even deeper and engaging in relationships with others during practice. Having quieter emotional reactivity certainly helps. Eventually, even the entire emotional body (process) morphs into something else. Each subsequent identity is dismantled, circuit by circuit. However, this is not done by the mind. So, what catalyst is responsible?

The catalysts are living beings who are running freedom processes and modeling them for others. Those who are ready will engage, others won’t. Many undervalue life as it is and believe all are here to “become enlightened.” This is simply not true. There is more to life than that. The enlightenment state is not applicable to all people because something else is needed in their lives at this time.

Enlightenment leads to being in the world but not of it. It is a letting go of a large degree of involvement in this plane of existence, which most are not here to do. Why scoff at that? The ego is helping people engage with this level. And why just mechanically scoff at ego? Only in the last possible stage of enlightenment here on earth is the ego dissolved, but not before – the ego transforms with us but remains until we go all the way.

Initiation Into the Mysteries vs. Enlightenment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nightmares of the Human Race Are Rebellion in Disguise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breaking Out of the Cocoon

What is the cocoon that we live in? Why break out of it?

Individual consciousness begins life by growing a cocoon. Group consciousness forms from connected individuals. Group cocoons are fluid and dynamic, constantly morphing and reforming. Each cocoon is like a womb after birth, which continues to nurture the process of growth and emergence into Life.

The true function of our cocoon is to help us integrate individual consciousness into physical existence, where we create and interact. What some call our “spirit” (and other names) actually births into physical existence and learns to “wire into it” throughout life progression.

However, while our integration is occurring, another process is at play. The consciousness that lives all of life, including each of us, is working to break through and trasform our cocoons of individual identities to plug our awareness into the Whole – while retaining individuality.

Within our cocoons, we have “experiences” – ephemeral stimuli that lead us to conclusions about our lives and all life. We formulate a worldview according to how well this view serves us, whether it fits into the bigger picture or not. What we do – our mannerisms, ways of engaging, and verbal constructs – gradually solidify with age. That which served us well – we kept, that which didn’t agree with us – we discarded. Note that we do not always keep the mannerisms that help us to become more relational, open, flexible, and resilient. Sometimes we keep that which reinforces the beliefs that life is cruel, unfair, boring, and generally filled with “idiots who surround us.” Such individuals typically use sarcasm, speak with an air of superiority, and have a fairly rigid perspective on existence.

Experiences are individual, relative, and fleeting. No matter how powerful the stimulus, the cocoon is like a mirror that reflects back to us our interpretation of life. Because the cocoon changes, how we view life through its lenses and filters also evolves.

We need this cocoon up to a point. However, a time comes when we recognize that there is something beyond it. I’ve met a number of people who hit this stage. They feel that something about their perspective on life is being distorted. It’s like a kind of an itch that tells us how what we have crystallized as our view of life is incomplete.

Those who tend to rely on the mind a lot (like I had a tendency to do) become entangled by reasoning about existence. Because my mind works so fluidly with logical constructs, I tended to rely on my mind exclusively. I also used my intuitive abilities to read people and situations to protect and position myself where I wanted to be. It took my teacher several years to get me to see beyond the mind and my need to feel “safe through superiority.” Now, the mind and flash intuition – which have both become even more honed – are just tools, and not my identity.

What lies beyond the mind? We all have a sense of what that is during moments when we feel at peace, connected, at ease, inspired, and creative. These times, even if they are brief, are bleedthroughs of the One Life reminding us of who we really are.

After a time, we begin to yearn for life beyond the cocoon. We crave a relationship with life that is authentic and creative in every moment, and not just during a few sporadic bursts. Then, the journey of breaking the cocoon begins.

This journey eventually leads us to people who challenge our world view and seem to live and model an altogether different way of relationship – to everything. Such people may irritate us, frustrate us, or even make us downright angry at a very fundamental level. However, some of us will keep coming back to these characters to take another look. Others will flat out reject their presence as crazy.

Those that do come back know that there is some connection. This connection is not just via words. In reality, there is a sharing of circuitry that is going on. Such a living model of an opened cocoon will introduce his or her guests to a direct feeling, which is palpable of life beyond the cocoon. The living model does this simply by being alive, and not through any maneuvering, manipulation, or psychoanalysis. It takes time to truly understand such a relationship, and it took me years even after breaking through my cocoon to understand what my teacher truly did for me.

What lies beyond the cocoon? What does it mean to break through it? Unfortunately, many people say that they have broken through, but I can clearly see when they have not – just by interacting with them for a moment. This is very obvious and even visible. Some become very adept at living and interpret that as a breakthrough. But, being fluid at handling people, influential, wealthy, and charismatic are not indicators of enlightenment. For most in possession of these faculties, it’s just a matter of making a very functional cocoon. Many people are caught in this way of thinking and delay true opening by enjoying the fruits of their accomplishments. It is a stage that eventually feels unfulfilling.

At first the cocoon weakens and opens only slightly. In Phases of Human Evolution As Awareness, I talk more about this. However, that post is a bit outdated and does not describe the later phases enough – at the time I didn’t believe I would go any further. Still, that post does provide some insight into the process of shifting one’s perspective from the individual to the Whole.

One thing that seems clear is that we must heal the cocoon before we can break through it. We don’t need to heal it completely, but just enough to become available to the opening process. Whatever we don’t heal prior to opening will need to be healed after.

Every seed must sprout by breaking through the earth to greet the rays of the Sun. When it is ready, nothing can stop it.

What Is the Body?

The body is not a thing. It is a process. It does not have sharp edges or a boundary – not even what we see as the skin.

Our science has not yet understood the body process enough to properly infer its sphere of influence or its capabilities. Until then, if we train our attention, we can use our consciousness to explore the body deeper.

I experience the body as an intricately woven concentration of events. Although we have invented multiple scientific fields to describe the body, the body itself is unified and coordinated – chemistry, biology, physics, and other disciplines (some yet undiscovered), are occurring simultaneously! It’s a multi-dimensional network, continuously forming and reforming….

The body is a nexus that serves as a bridge for consciousness to express itself. It is a circuit, of sorts, but incomplete. The wires are there, but many are not connected to each other or to the circuitry of the Divine (the Whole). My teacher used this analogy, and I understand it much better now…. I no longer perceive myself as arms, legs, head, and torso. Instead, I feel the interconnections of the fine pulsations that literally plug into existence.

I like to lay quietly before sleep and feel the body using my awareness. There are meditation techniques, where you “scan” the body parts to relax. I don’t do that. Instead, I bask in the wholeness of the body process and its extent. I don’t “breathe into my belly,” but know that breath is tied to awareness and can lead awareness to the body – to the belly and to everything else. I simultaneously feel the body via consciousness, and consciousness via the body. Prior, I was always a body trying to feel conscious. Now, it is possible to identify with the Whole and to also see the Whole through the body lens.

The body is tied into its surroundings, including other people – like a single bulb on a string of lights glowing in the dark. As we make more of our unconscious conscious, we broaden our connection to more of the web of life – we perceive the wiring between. Each of us is but a smaller process occurring within a larger process – an eddy in a vast stream of life. Of course, with such intricate interconnections, synchronicities make complete sense.

What New Age students call the Universe, to me, is the life process – It is “listening” to us because we are tied into It and are indistinguishable from It. We can perceive others’ feelings and even thoughts because we are interconnected. The boundaries we may sense now are temporary and fluid.

Increased awareness does not make one God – the full network of consciousness expanding and creating. But such awareness does make the Infinite have meaning via direct knowledge. And, none of what I shared explains why we are this way or the meaning of life. I know that I don’t know what It is. And yet, I feel life to be meaningful in itself – the why questions have lost their relevance somehow.

The whole thing begs another question: what is enlightenment, really? What is so interesting about having increasingly integrated awareness? Why not just live feeling as if you are the body – a purely physical and well-bounded being? No process of life negates life. Life is life, regardless of how we relate to it.

There is something interesting that happens after enlightenment – the relationship to life changes dramatically. There is greater flexibility in awareness itself, which can serve as a telephoto lens – zooming in and out to various scales. In addition, loosening attention from the strictly body-centered perspective makes the cohesion between apparent parts undeniable – and that knowing changes how much you laugh (much more) and how much you cry (rarely). The emotional and mental functioning are seen in a broader context and cease to be such strong drivers of our attention. There is more to life than what we think, feel, want, or avoid in any given moment.

I’ll conclude by adding that the perception of time also transforms from linear to something most cannot relate to at this point in our development. When you zoom in on something and look through filters, processes can look linear and sequential. Cause-effect reigns supreme. But reality turns out to be much more complex. While the idea of time is still relevant, our everyday experience of time does not scale beyond our typical range of awareness.

It has become increasingly challenging for me to function linearly and sequentially – there is too much information to think about every input, action, or decision. Fortunately, the intuition intelligence kicks in and handles information via flash insight – seeing snapshots of a greater whole all at once, and then translating it to the present moment. There is so much occurring, and one is forever changed after knowing that first-hand.

Some say that standing on top of a mountain puts everyday life into perspective and changes how one feels about existence. Similarly, enlightenment transforms not only how one perceives life – but our very wiring with life. Why? I have no idea…. I do know well that the body process is essential to enlightenment. While in this body, the opportunity exists.