Archive for July, 2010

Breaking Through the Trance of the Deficient Self


My latest video on finding who you are.

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The Revolution is Now. The Revolution is You



The same process that invokes depression, helplessness, dangerous anger, interpersonal violence, substance abuse, and endless spiritual seeking have the same root.

I’ve approached this issue primarily through an analysis that I would reluctantly call philosophic and I say reluctantly because I am not a philosopher. I am me.

What is the root of violence, substance abuse, depression, and all the rest? What aspect of our way of life nurtures these conditions?

It is this: the invalidation of babies! And more specifically, it’s your invalidation when you were very young.

Surprised? You should be, but this is the root of all of these conditions. This is something you really need to know. You really need to get acquainted with your own negation by your loving and well intended parents, for they too were negated when they were very young.

Why?

Because unless we wake up to our own invalidation, we will bequeath to all future generations the same insidious Wound that underlies all of these conditions. This is the disease of the spirit – this is the disease of industrial civilization at war with the world and at war with itself.

There is a cure.

There was a time when babies were not invalidated. We would need to return to the hunting and gathering days of our distant ancestors to witness, first-hand, the love of babies as they were and not as we would require them to be. All such cultures view babies as sacred beings complete and whole unto themselves. Each person is perceived as an expression of her/his own unique and distinct journey. This was a time when your own story was celebrated through laughter, tears, wonder, and connection.

This way of life had to come to an end with the development of industrial agriculture, towns, and hierarchies. Men and women needed to migrate away from the freedom to be themselves to become laborers and baby makers. We had to learn to not only negate our own children by believing that they are savages needing the graces of civilization through discipline and punishment (both unknown in hunting and gathering societies), but that the echo of this traumatic invalidation needed to pass through the generations. Without coerced obedience who would sacrifice their lives and their world for the grim life of the factory? Who would exchange love and connection for this world where fear is the common and universal denominator?

To create a universe of unquestioning workers, it was essential that people act against their own interests, to doubt themselves and, most importantly, to seek authorities to tell them what to do and how to do it. Thus we have the development of government and organized religion. The chosen few became empowered to make the iron clad rules for the many. This amazing transformation created two classes; the rulers and the ruled.

All of the energy that had been expressed by the uniqueness of a single life, now went into the monotonous drudgery of working for the ruler. A world that trusted absolutely in the abundance of nature (even in the Arctic and the deserts) could no longer be trusted. So a pantheon of gods emerged and these gods needed to be placated by the sacrifice of our endless labor, our adoring love, and more than anything else, our obedience!

Obedience to order and authority became the paramount requirement of organized industrial life. These institutions of order were replicated in the modern systems of education and work. Obedience is always the first rule. Creativity and being one’s authentic self are revolutionary actions taken by people who must occupy the fringes of society, for it is creativity and refusing to march in order that are the only real, substantive threats to this world of coercion and fear.

This world of order is finally running out of gas. But we will never form a different kind of world until we take the most authentic step that we can, which is to face our own invalidation. That is the first step in the revolution of the self. This is how you save yourself and your world.

The revolution is your revolution.

We see our invalidation in how lost our sense of who we are. We see it in all of our compulsive behaviors. And we see it most clearly in seeing our own False-Self. My book Liberation from the Lie, which you can purchase here or at Amazon, is the perfect manual guiding you to see your False-Selves in every conceivable dimension of your life. Until this being is seen on the most subtle levels, you will continue to just spin your wheels. You be a slave to your own unseen fears.

But when it is seen – when you see the manifestation of your own Wound in your life, then you are reborn. Then, and only then, do you become the true revolutionary. Then you will see with eyes wide open. You will see the desperate, agonizing sickness of this civilization. You will be able to separate with beautiful clarity the wheat from the chaff. And how you will laugh at your desperate seeking. You will be alive in every moment. You will fall in love with this life … your life. This I assure you.

We each bring a different gift to this dance of life. But your gift will be yours’ and yours’ alone. Once you see through the veils of your own invalidation, in that moment, the chains that ensnare you with our own false past will break. Your power will be real. Yes, you will face the seemingly implacable walls of this fear-based world, but you will stop recoiling in your fear and helplessness. Instead, your heart will be alive to the challenge. You will never need to depend on a teacher again, for now you can say, I am who I am and I love this energy – my only guide is life itself in this very moment – with all of its directness and challenge and that is a life enough.

Spread the Word! – This is the Beginning of Our Revolution.




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Awareness: It's More Than What Meets the Eye



It is commonplace in the neo-Advaita community to come upon the belief that what is seen is what is not real and that which sees is all that is real.

It’s a catchy phrase because it reverses in a perfect 180 degrees everyday common sense. But is it true? Is it more than a belief?

If our exclusive identity is awareness, then what happens in deep sleep? Where is that all-encompassing awareness prior to our birth or what happens to it after our physical deaths?

Enlightened one’s have claimed that they have seen into the heart of the issue and have said that we are neither born and nor do we die. Unfortunately, the only way we can explore their claims is to have exactly the same experience as they have claimed to have had and we know that such cathartic experiences happen to few.

It’s also possible that such experiences are just relatively brief mind-states that, over time, pass. One thing we do know as fact is that none of these people have provided the smallest shred of evidence to substantiate their claims, except that we poor unenlightened ones are expected to trust them and place them on the unique pedestal that their special status has earned them. They haven’t demanded our respect. It’s just a happenstance of their good fortune, work ethic, or innate spiritual superiority. Take your pick.

Are we just that which is aware?

If we are aware without any information, then we would be unable to identity differences between objects. On seeing a rock, we could only say that we are aware of ‘something’. We would not be able to say that it is a rock.

It is what we have learned that enables us to label this object as a rock. If we are trained in geology, there is probably much we could say about this object. From this simple example, we can see that we depend on our awake, physical mind to make it possible for us to see the rock as a rock. In deep, dreamless sleep, we cannot identify the rock as a rock and if we do depend on what we have learned about our world, I suspect that we cannot identify this rock prior to our birth or following our death.

Thus we are not just awareness. Those that make that claim are ignoring so much that contradicts their position, that, with a cool head, we can see that the claim is based on religious grounds and not reality.

Know this: the frequently desperate drive to transcend the pains and challenges of everyday living can create any dream and make it credible to the dreamer.

Now let’s take a look at the negation of the whole universe as unreal. Is this true? Has anyone lived this truth that is has not been institutionalized? If nothing is real, then we must be in a state of persistent hallucination. We would also be free to do as we might with everything we encounter. We could never realistically expect to experience guilt when we shove people out of our way to get to the front of a line. We could allow our dog to excrete non-existent shit all over the unreal house or we could just slit the dog’s non-existent throat with an unreal knife to break the monotony of a universe utterly empty of everything.

Enough!

Life and the self are much more subtle, complicated, and mysterious to be able to placed in any experiential category by anyone. Objects are both real and unreal simultaneously. The self cannot be clearly identified. The meaning and purpose of life cannot be known by any human being.

The various pathways that are described in any approach to life are, at best, just metaphors … our best shot at understanding from a vantage point that is constantly shifting and, ultimately, unknown. We can neither embrace what is or negate it. The next moment has qualities that are, to some extent predictable, but to some other extent, unknown.

And this is why I have consistently said that to live our lives in as fulfilled way as possible are must acknowledge that life invites us to do two things that most of us would prefer to avoid; to embrace paradox and to know at the very core of our beings that life is fundamentally mysterious. Everything reflects its opposite and nothing can be known by the mind.

The esoteric claims made by the religious can be easily be seen as convenient to their most powerful, innermost desire to transcend the complexity of the real. They are, in a word, cop-outs.

Our understanding of our self is a consequence of our genes, conditioning, and culture. To the extent we are open and able to connect with what apparently is, to that same extent we will tend to resonate with changing circumstances and to the extent we are closed and encased in belief and authority, to that same extent, we will encounter conflict and division. But there are no guarantees for any life or any outcome. Life does not come packaged with any rule that works all the time. If anything, we can see that it is the way of life to contradict the beliefs that we would like to be real. We want ways to control our feelings and thoughts and neo-Advaita comes charging in with their claims. They appeal because they offer us a way out of the messiness of life, of raising kids, of dealing with bills, of needing to see the dentist and all the rest.

This is how I understand the perceived world – it is integral to itself. This means that it cannot be known through awareness or the mind. That it will always possess qualities of mystery, as well as, qualities and attributes that can be known and addressed through perception and the mind. When I say that something is integral to itself, I mean that it has a life and existence exclusive to itself that we can never fathom. We cannot know what that crow is calling about. We can never access the thoughts and feelings of our cats and dogs. They are integral to themselves and they are connected to us directly. That is the paradox.

How we know and how we navigate through life is up to us and the unknowable universe. It is always a work in progress. There are times when openness would appear to work (although we can never know for sure) and there are times when resistance, or taking a stand against what is perceived would appear to be reasonable and right.

We do our best knowing that we will always need to address the consequences of our actions in whatever form they take.

There is a great beauty to all of this (as well as a compelling ugliness – for everything casts a shadow no matter how much we would prefer that it not). We are equal in our awkwardness and unknowingness. We share much in common, yet each of us is unique. Nature doesn’t make duplicates. Thus each is an expression of the whole as one and you are that one.

The message of Liberation from the Lie has always been to wake up to your uniqueness – to discover your connections with everything that is – to discover what makes you you – and to learn to love who you are. It is to carry on as who you truly are. To find your own truth amid the din of endless claims and talk. This is the invitation to the dance of Being. Your life is your invitation. It was made by the cosmos only for you!

If you enjoyed this post – then spread it around. Thank you.




Bookmark and Share

Leave a comment

Awareness: It’s More Than What Meets the Eye



It is commonplace in the neo-Advaita community to come upon the belief that what is seen is what is not real and that which sees is all that is real.

It’s a catchy phrase because it reverses in a perfect 180 degrees everyday common sense. But is it true? Is it more than a belief?

If our exclusive identity is awareness, then what happens in deep sleep? Where is that all-encompassing awareness prior to our birth or what happens to it after our physical deaths?

Enlightened one’s have claimed that they have seen into the heart of the issue and have said that we are neither born and nor do we die. Unfortunately, the only way we can explore their claims is to have exactly the same experience as they have claimed to have had and we know that such cathartic experiences happen to few.

It’s also possible that such experiences are just relatively brief mind-states that, over time, pass. One thing we do know as fact is that none of these people have provided the smallest shred of evidence to substantiate their claims, except that we poor unenlightened ones are expected to trust them and place them on the unique pedestal that their special status has earned them. They haven’t demanded our respect. It’s just a happenstance of their good fortune, work ethic, or innate spiritual superiority. Take your pick.

Are we just that which is aware?

If we are aware without any information, then we would be unable to identity differences between objects. On seeing a rock, we could only say that we are aware of ‘something’. We would not be able to say that it is a rock.

It is what we have learned that enables us to label this object as a rock. If we are trained in geology, there is probably much we could say about this object. From this simple example, we can see that we depend on our awake, physical mind to make it possible for us to see the rock as a rock. In deep, dreamless sleep, we cannot identify the rock as a rock and if we do depend on what we have learned about our world, I suspect that we cannot identify this rock prior to our birth or following our death.

Thus we are not just awareness. Those that make that claim are ignoring so much that contradicts their position, that, with a cool head, we can see that the claim is based on religious grounds and not reality.

Know this: the frequently desperate drive to transcend the pains and challenges of everyday living can create any dream and make it credible to the dreamer.

Now let’s take a look at the negation of the whole universe as unreal. Is this true? Has anyone lived this truth that is has not been institutionalized? If nothing is real, then we must be in a state of persistent hallucination. We would also be free to do as we might with everything we encounter. We could never realistically expect to experience guilt when we shove people out of our way to get to the front of a line. We could allow our dog to excrete non-existent shit all over the unreal house or we could just slit the dog’s non-existent throat with an unreal knife to break the monotony of a universe utterly empty of everything.

Enough!

Life and the self are much more subtle, complicated, and mysterious to be able to placed in any experiential category by anyone. Objects are both real and unreal simultaneously. The self cannot be clearly identified. The meaning and purpose of life cannot be known by any human being.

The various pathways that are described in any approach to life are, at best, just metaphors … our best shot at understanding from a vantage point that is constantly shifting and, ultimately, unknown. We can neither embrace what is or negate it. The next moment has qualities that are, to some extent predictable, but to some other extent, unknown.

And this is why I have consistently said that to live our lives in as fulfilled way as possible are must acknowledge that life invites us to do two things that most of us would prefer to avoid; to embrace paradox and to know at the very core of our beings that life is fundamentally mysterious. Everything reflects its opposite and nothing can be known by the mind.

The esoteric claims made by the religious can be easily be seen as convenient to their most powerful, innermost desire to transcend the complexity of the real. They are, in a word, cop-outs.

Our understanding of our self is a consequence of our genes, conditioning, and culture. To the extent we are open and able to connect with what apparently is, to that same extent we will tend to resonate with changing circumstances and to the extent we are closed and encased in belief and authority, to that same extent, we will encounter conflict and division. But there are no guarantees for any life or any outcome. Life does not come packaged with any rule that works all the time. If anything, we can see that it is the way of life to contradict the beliefs that we would like to be real. We want ways to control our feelings and thoughts and neo-Advaita comes charging in with their claims. They appeal because they offer us a way out of the messiness of life, of raising kids, of dealing with bills, of needing to see the dentist and all the rest.

This is how I understand the perceived world – it is integral to itself. This means that it cannot be known through awareness or the mind. That it will always possess qualities of mystery, as well as, qualities and attributes that can be known and addressed through perception and the mind. When I say that something is integral to itself, I mean that it has a life and existence exclusive to itself that we can never fathom. We cannot know what that crow is calling about. We can never access the thoughts and feelings of our cats and dogs. They are integral to themselves and they are connected to us directly. That is the paradox.

How we know and how we navigate through life is up to us and the unknowable universe. It is always a work in progress. There are times when openness would appear to work (although we can never know for sure) and there are times when resistance, or taking a stand against what is perceived would appear to be reasonable and right.

We do our best knowing that we will always need to address the consequences of our actions in whatever form they take.

There is a great beauty to all of this (as well as a compelling ugliness – for everything casts a shadow no matter how much we would prefer that it not). We are equal in our awkwardness and unknowingness. We share much in common, yet each of us is unique. Nature doesn’t make duplicates. Thus each is an expression of the whole as one and you are that one.

The message of Liberation from the Lie has always been to wake up to your uniqueness – to discover your connections with everything that is – to discover what makes you you – and to learn to love who you are. It is to carry on as who you truly are. To find your own truth amid the din of endless claims and talk. This is the invitation to the dance of Being. Your life is your invitation. It was made by the cosmos only for you!

If you enjoyed this post – then spread it around. Thank you.




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Free at Last



Who am I?

Who asks this question?

It could only be me. couldn’t it? Which brings us back to our original question, who is this me?

We are in a loop. Where does the loop begin? Where does it end?

It begins with a thought, doesn’t it? Isn’t that who this “I/me” is? A lonely thought is seeking a new thought. Confusion seeks order … completion.

Observe this sentence … The I or me I THINK I am can only be a thought. It MUST be a thought, after all, it is an inevitable outcome of thinking. I think, therefore I am.

“I think I’m me.” Isn’t that it?

Are you a thought? Are you a thought referring to other thoughts?

No matter how many thoughts the I/me may link to, they are all just thoughts. See this!

Let’s make this discussion a little simpler. Is the chair you’re sitting on a thought? Before reading another word, try answering that question.

Isn’t the chair something … an object.

Are you an object?

We seem to have a problem here. What we are witnessing is this:

Seeking is one thought seeking another thought. A thought can only recognize another thought. It is a whole universe of thoughts.

So where does that leave us?

We can say this, that one day it will dawn on us, that seeking, as we understand that word, is NOT the way. It is a hopeless, loopy diversion. It is the old, the time bound, the hopeless. It is a life on a treadmill made by thought itself.

We must know that we are not a thought (or are we?).

The seeking game is motivated by desire and desire is the root of endless suffering. It is craving, bare and vast. It is the limitless abyss of the lack sense seeking something … anything to fill it up.

What sees this? What understands this?

What is seeing enthused with understanding? What is understanding enthused with seeing?

It is who we are, when it is very clearly seen that we are not a thought/object.

Remember only a thought can crave a better thought. It is a game designed for only one purpose, to show us who we are not. If you take only one ‘idea’ from this post, please take this: that we sustain a life of quiet suffering when we are motivated to fulfill any desire to find the self. Seeking is this very suffering, you seek to escape. When you see every desire as just the flight from suffering, then in that instant the illusory ego is vanquished and the true way of enjoying this very moment opens up to you and the universe rejoices.

We are that which is objectless, unseen, and invisible. But it is not emptiness … it is fullness, always ready, unknowable, mysterious, unborn, without attributes. As it is said in the Tao Te Ching, mystery opening to mystery. Desireless, I see it all.




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Experiencing the Authentic Self: A Guided Meditation



First let’s get grounded.

Everything you believe and think you are is a concept. It is not your authentic self. Even the most intimate sense of yourself is based on concepts. See every thought and belief you have about yourself, especially those you take most seriously (like your inevitable death, your loves and attachments, your values) as products of culture and conditioning. They are not your intrinsic self.

Right now, get a sense of who you think you are. Try to obtain a sense of what this feels like as:

Thoughts
Emotions
Feelings
Bodily sensations (gross and subtle).

All of these thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations (especially the subtle ones) is just many years of repeated conditioning. All is concept.

Now the meditation.

Instead of identifying yourself as ANY concept or bodily sensation, get a sense of your being – what is already there without any thought whatsoever.

Don’t identify with the awareness. That is another object. Resist that temptation!

Just be.
Now just be without any belief or concept you have about yourself.
Continue just being.
Continue being through the next activity. As you experience whatever comes next, know that the thought that you are a doer is just the arising of the conceptual and false self into consciousness.

We tend to regress back to identification with our conceptual self and overlook the underlying being, which is our Authentic Self.

Continue just being as everything arises.

See how your personal sense of self will want to assert its dominance – its primacy! See that process as it happens as just another object, no different from the chair you’re sitting on. Just noise – the fake you – the false you – the habitual you.
Continue seeing the difference between the conditioned, cultural, and physical you with that just being.

Being has no conceptual qualities – it just is … birthless … deathless … intoxicating … wondrous.


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The Simplest Key to Happiness



The simplest key is this:

To see how the search for external security – power – control – happiness ONLY results in more seeking.

That’s it.

When we see that it is the search in the external world that is our exclusive source of pain, we are drawn back to being – our true home.

If there is a practice at all it is ONLY to see the pain created by seeking. The practice is NOT trying to be. That will happen all on its own. See only the frustration that always accompanies seeking. See the seeking in both its “material” (things – tangible – insights) and “temporal” sense (always looking to some future and/or moving away from some past). These are the dead ends.

Don’t try to stop seeking. That is another important error. It will continue until it doesn’t. Let it be.

The state of being let’s everything be!

Being is here and now free of any need or pull to seek. It will happen for you the more you directly experience the pain and hopelessness of seeking.

That is all.


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