Archive for category Philosophy

Trusting Yourself: The Final Hurdle


For nearly all of us, the final hurdle between conditioned being and that which is Awake is the problem of trust.

Why is this so?

The psychological being, the person we take ourselves to be, depends on mind.

  • Mind is the agent which sets priorities;
  • Mind is the evaluator;
  • Mind is the decider;
  • Mind is the carrier of culture;
  • Mind reflects our genetic heritage;
  • Mind tells us who we are, who we are not, and who you are; and
  • Mind is the holder of the ‘inadequacy belief’.

Mind depends on itself for being. It tells us, time and again, that we are our mind.

In other words, we place our inherent trust in our minds – even if we deny it.

This is even more true for people who are intellectual. The mind of the well educated has even greater importance because it has demonstrated how brilliant it is. It has the capacity to organize vast volumes of facts and it has the ability to perform complex forms of analysis on these many observations. Thus its power and voice are all but deafening.

We learn, a million times over, to trust this mind.

And this is precisely why awakening is so rare for nearly all of us. And this is why I say that Trust is the final hurdle.

We must see that even the great mind is seen and it is seen in every moment, if we are open to that seeing. The challenge of awakening inevitably boils down to this pivotal question: “Do I trust my mind or can I trust open awareness?” It’s very similar to Hamlet’s immortal question, “To be or not to be? That is the question.”

The issue is not can I negate the mind?

Is there a way we can bridge this terrifying gap? Can we find the place where mind seems to end and open awareness begins?

How do we learn? How do we see what is true? The only compelling answer to that question is this: we observe. Awareness is the source of our knowledge. And for forms of knowing that elude us (say, for example the computer programming that has made the internet possible), we learn from those who have observed truth on that level of experience (which we call computer science). Thus a vast web of knowing evolves and grows.

We learn through awareness. If we could not trust this awareness, what could we ever know? This, to me, is the bridge that connects the perceived world with living, open awareness. Our aliveness is a direct and immediate outcome of awareness with mind.

Our problems and our suffering begin when our identity migrates from open awareness to a mere thought of the mind. We have never been a thought and if you observe very carefully, you will see that every manifestation of identity is all wrapped up in thought.

If nothing else, the best thought can do is to inform us who we are not. That’s the best it can do.

Can you trust the clear shining of your open awareness? That is the decisive question. Can we trust what we see in this very moment without needlessly inserting the quest for a personal identity in that seeing? Because as soon as we renew our quest for a personal identity, in that very moment we have severed trust with our primal aware being and overlaid it with our conditioned, thought-based false self.

This is why I say that trust is the final hurdle. Trusting this open awareness is very scary. It’s a kind of courageous falling backwards into space. There is no place to stand here. We are just This.

But here is where and how we can regain our power in this moment – here is where we discover the balance that can never be taken away –

We don’t abandon the mind. We just stop seeking our identity within it. And here is the part that may “blow your mind”. When we awaken into the openness uncontaminated with personal identity, we observe something that is all but miraculous. We see that what we took for “our” mind, is really just another object that seems to float unseen everywhere in the universe. The knowing that we took to be personal and part of the self, is, really, another energy thing that happens here, there, and everywhere. It belongs to know one, but is available in the moment of its seeing. The cosmic narrative that binds all things into one is the mortar of the universe and it is yours’ right now, if you can only trust this open awareness that is before anything and everything else.

As long as we fight the mind, we will be at war against ourselves and our world. What we have taken to be ‘our’ mind is the world and the universe. It is the birds and the rivers and the stories. It is all of that and so much more. It lives to be seen.

Can you trust that? Can you trust your true self, that which does not come and go?

If you take away anything from this post let it be this:

The mind naturally loves itself. When identity is attached to mind, the mind is expressed as ego. It is a normal outcome of the personal inadequacy belief. But when mind is FREE to be mind AS mind, then it can love itself AS itself. So thoughts can love themselves AS themselves – that which is heard can love itself AS itself – that which is seen can love itself AS itself – that which is felt can love itself AS itself.

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Suffering is Our Choice


Yesterday’s post dealt with suffering as a personal choice. But suffering is also a choice made by a person on the level of the group. When we understand how suffering works on a group level, the pathway to planetary salvation is at hand.

We saw in yesterday’s post that suffering is a consequence of a belief in something that is not real. A belief is created by the false self to give it the substance it believes it lacks. It is a conceptual construct that belief appears to make real.

We need to understand why people are driven to believe anything.

If you have fully absorbed the content of yesterday’s post, you will will see that we and our family of origin work to create the false me. This is me as belief. While I described the process in very broad strokes yesterday, the process is really rather complex. The more clearly it is seen the better we can see the falseness of the underlying belief. This is why I strongly recommend readingLiberation from the Lie. It is the manual for understanding the insubstantial nature of the false self.

When our connection with Life is severed as a direct consequence of profound invalidation when we are most vulnerable (in the first year of life), the psychological self becomes our personal identity. In effect, the psychological self substitutes for life. What was immediate and real, becomes a story of which the psychological self is the primary character. The main character is the deficient self whose core thought is the belief in its own inadequacy. This is the cross we bear in this life – if we don’t wake up to its illusory and false nature. This is the only purpose for philosophy.

The psychological self is a belief. It is just a thought cluster. Because it is so deeply habitual, it becomes second nature. But this psychological self cannot be found. No matter how hard we look, no matter how long we have searched, we will never find this false me. It is, I repeat, only a belief.

The psychological self is a belief system and a big part of this system is attachments to external belief structures. These structures are like clothing. The psychological self assumes many outfits. Each outfit is a belief system.

Here is a very partial list of belief systems:

  • Gender
  • Country
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Class
  • Race

Thus:

  • The body may have the attributes of a male or female (or any combination), but the essential self has nothing to do with gender.
  • The body may have been in born in this or that country, but the essential self has nothing do with country.
  • The body may have been raised in this or that religion, but the essential self has nothing to do with religion.
  • The body may believe it is young or old, but the essential self has nothing to do with age.
  • The mind may believe that it is middle class or lower class or upper class, but the essential self has nothing to do with class.
  • The body may have the attributes of this or that race, but the essential self has nothing to do with race.

We will never wake up to our essential selves as long as BELIEVE that we are anything but the spontaneous expression life in this very moment – free of ALL belief.

Think of all of these beliefs as costumes, outfits, that the false psychological self is driven to put on to give it the substance it lacks.

Is it not remarkable to consider that gender, country, religion, age, class, and race are all just beliefs? Each is a powerful sleeping pill.

But here is the most important part of this post.

That which we are most attached, that which keeps us most deeply asleep is that which we are not aware of.

This is the part of the false self that is most resistant to our investigation. This is the condition that appears to give our belief-based self strength and substance. It comes in four flavors and as you read these flavors please visualize them not in their conceptual quality, but in their living quality – how they arise in this very moment to give your strength and substance.

Here is the list – we tend to one of these primary attachments.

Any variant of – I need to understand, get it, be right, in control, etc.
Any variant of – I am my body, my happiness and unhappiness resides in my body
Any variant of – I am nothing without someone else, I am incomplete, my well-being is expressed in my personal relationships, I am not safe in this world on my own, and
Any variant of – My identity is in how I express force, to get things to go “my” way I rely on the intimidation and the threat of force, (this is a variant of the body attachment).

If you are very sensitive or if you regularly meditate, you should be able to see these very subtle attachments are operating all the time depending on your type. They are like an undercurrent and they are the last refuge of the self.

Becoming free of the final refuge requires us to just see this mostly unseen persona in action (not necessarily as concept). Seeing it time and again is the quickest pathway to freedom and liberation.

People are killing the planet in the name of their phony gods, their gender prerogatives (men being men), the insane demands of their ugly patriotism, their greed (economic desperation), and their class excesses. If we are to truly save the planet and ourselves, we need to wake to all that is false – we must find the truth that shines brilliantly in every moment.

This means that we need to remove all of the false garments that keep us safe in our individual and collective delusions – it means to open ourselves to the vivid reality of life in this very moment. We are none of our attachments. We are life expressing itself in this very moment. We are what cannot be denied, chosen or rejected. We are that.

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Seeing the False as the False: The Wound of the World, the Wound of the Self


The pathway that leads to wisdom and truly is wisdom is seeing the false as the false. Conversely, the definition of ignorance is believing the false to be true.

The purpose of nearly all theology is not to liberate a person from the illusions of ignorance. Rather, it is console the human being thrust into a life of sacrifice, toil, and suffering. Thus, the real purpose of theology is to do exactly the opposite; it is to make bearable the trials and tribulations of this life by concocting absurd stories the seek to undermine direct experience and create hopeful fantasies of the world to come. And one of its “red” flags is it insistence on obedience by its followers. Any system that depends on obedience, with the threat of punishment (and even eternal damnation) to control its flock is just another manifestation of external authority and control on our lives. Religion is a source of profound personal disempowerment.

So much for what passes as spiritual philosophy and teaching is just wishful thinking created by an ego desperately clinging onto false beliefs. Even if such fools do not mention god, they imply a god who only loves and that love is all there is. Thus everything we experience as the absence of his love is just our error. Such philosophies loudly declare that all is perfect and all is love.

Nothing could be further from the truth. This is just mindless belief, no different from the mindlessness of any other orthodoxy. People love hearing about how loving and perfect the universe is, because, just like their mindless teachers, they are living from a place of underlying insufficiency and inadequacy. They need to believe in a loving and perfect universe in order to compensate for their own experience of pain and suffering, as well their feelings of self contempt.

Religious leaders have been spouting this kind of nonsense ever since the first people were divided into the singular ruler and the many who are ruled. The division of labor between master and slave began a time when “wishful” thinking became essential to quell the restless and oppressed soul. The agony of laboring through a life without meaning created the need to create an alternative universe governed by vastly different, but entirely imaginary rules.

This is exactly, the message and the truth that people would prefer not to hear. Rather, people, in pain, want to be consoled, they want to be soothed, they want to stay asleep. They need to have their fear-based feelings of insufficiency to be compensated through a psychological projection that is designed to keep them safe and at distance from the underlying connection with truth.

From the very start, we learn the very hard lesson that if we insist on being ourselves, we will pay the price of isolation and condemnation. In order to “earn” the love of our parents, we must do as we are told. We must tow the line. We cannot indulge in our own imagination, we cannot explore as we wish, we cannot express our true feelings, or if we are given some rope, that rope has very definite limits. If we are to “earn” the love of our parents we need to be as they wish and project us to be. Thus the false, fear-based life is given form. The same lessons are repeated in school. Do as you’re told and you will be rewarded. And then we finally enter the work force, where we must do as we are told or risk the terrible consequences.

Then religion steps in mirroring the same cruel blueprint. If you don’t tow the line, you will be punished and not just in the here and now, but for all of eternity! The capacity of civilization to punish, negate, and minimize knows no bounds.

All of these lessons are about obedience. We are deterred from every being ourselves through the threat of punishment and the removal of love and validation anytime we cross the line.

This is the very world of pain and suffering. So out of this crippled world of the Wound (see Liberation from the Lie) comes the theology of love and perfection. We cannot make any sense of this crazy world without such a theology. It comes in many forms. One of the popular ones with roots in India asserts that all of this complexity and madness is just illusion, that the suffering human being and her world is no different from a dream. Some religions promise that if you’re a very good boy or girl, then you will be rewarded by a life in heaven.

It’s always the same – if you believe, if you behave, then, and only then will you be rewarded. This world of pain and suffering must create this theology of goodness and false liberation. Without such a theology we can only resign ourselves to the unacceptable and cruel. Without this theology, we might even become revolutionaries of the truth. That would threaten all of the institutions (starting with the family) that negate the sacred, Authentic Being.

We are so indoctrinated, that we are blind to any alternative. We have lost touch with who and what we truly are. We don’t know where to turn. We don’t where to start. We don’t remember what it means to be ourselves.

So, when someone says, “just be yourself”, we have a very difficult time figuring out what that means.

Returning to our original theme, to truly see the false as the false, we must see the whole trajectory of the ideology designed to keep us obedient and orderly. We must see this wherever it can be seen, which is nearly everywhere. But that which sees, that which spreads its light onto this world, that very light is as pure as any light that exists in the universe. In fact, it is that very light. That which sees is the very return to the truth. Seeing the false as the false, and thus allowing the truth to arise effortlessly into this very light of being is liberation – freedom – awakening.

The slave finds freedom in first discovering his shackles. For if we are ever to break free of these shackles, the first step must be to see that they are real. Then, and only then, does the true pathway merge into consciousness in this very moment.

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Solving Who Am I and the Nature of Thought



If I am awareness, and I am aware of me, then I cannot be me!

It couldn’t be more simple. So, why isn’t this clear for everyone?

This reason is equally simple.

As Mooji and many others have said, we place special importance and belief on a small subset of our thoughts. This thought belongs to me, but this thought is not mine, it’s just a thought. That’s how the conditioned mind operates.

That is the answer – it could not be more simple. We place importance and belief on a small subsets of our thoughts and experience out of habit and our conditioning.

Now let’s take a little deeper look at thought.

The thought “I’m feeling alone today” is happening. Seeing that tree outside of my window is also a happening. And listening to the sounds around this office is also a happening.

But notice how we label only the thought as “mine”. The happenings of the tree and the sounds are experienced as fleeting, neutral events. There really is an important sensory difference between the two categories of event. The thought that is mine has weight. It’s important. It’s something I believe in as true – as a non-belief. But it is a belief, even if we don’t experience it that way.

We might label thoughts as ours’ because they seem to come out of us. But notice how the tree and the sounds also come out of us. They register on our brains as happenings. Without our brains registering these sense impressions, we wouldn’t be able to experience them. Each of these happenings manifest in exactly the same way. See so for yourself.

Thoughts work in exactly the same way. We say, “I see the tree.” “I hear the sounds” and “I notice the thought.”

The only difference between the thought and the tree, and it’s really not a difference at all, is that the brain projects the tree and the sounds as material, while it projects the thought as a thing without physical substance. But since the seeing of the tree and the hearing of the sounds are also mind events, they also lack physical substance. Even if we walk up to the tree and feel its hardness, that feeling of “hardness” is just another sense impression.

Thoughts and every conceivable sense impression fill the whole gamut of what the mind experiences as good, neutral, and bad. A thought we might experience as lovely, might be experienced as painful depending on our presenting mood, which is also a thought cluster. A tree we may experience as a thing of surpassing beauty at one time, may be experienced as terribly painful when it drops one of its branches onto our car.

Observe the thought/judgment “I don’t like carrots.” That is just another happening. The not liking of carrots is a consequence of how our bodies experience carrots and how we were raised. It has absolutely nothing to do with “I”, but has everything to do with “me”. The I is that which sees and the me is the happening – noted in the field of awareness.

Thoughts and sense impressions change and flow and assume every possible form.

The moment we see how we very selectively label certain thoughts and experiences with belief and importance, then they become ours’. They take on a weight they would never have were it not for our personal identification with them. The instant that link is seen for what it is, the whole experience is transformed.

Thus total liberation means seeing through the illusion of thought and sense object ownership and attachment.

It really couldn’t be more simple!

As awareness, everything I see and think cannot be me. Therefore, I cannot be me. Yet me lives.

So what am I?

First let’s get something very prickly out of the way. Whatever we are lives in a body. And that body experiences bliss and agony and everything in between. While my headaches may be no different from your headaches, I still feel my headaches and don’t feel your headaches. So this “me” we now know we are not, in essence, is nonetheless closer to my consciousness than is your “me”.

How do we explain this?

Nature loves diversity. So the universe produces an infinity of forms. And each form experiences the One differently. Together we produce a tapestry of the most vast proportions. And it’s ALL me! – but me from the singular perspective of this ME. Thus our separation and unity are immediate and simultaneous. Those religious zealots that rant against any expression of duality, are just the blind leading the blind. Those that argue for independence of manifestation are also the blind leading the blind.

Awareness is a tricky word. I would like to introduce another word – Fertility. The Authentic Being is infinitely fertile. It gives birth to the ten thousand things in every moment. The extent of our capacity to be fertile in this universe is beyond reckoning. When I see you, I cannot help but see myself. We are two and we are one and we produce each other.

The moment of liberation tells us that everything is me, but bereft from any grasping or ownership. We are freedom itself experiencing perfect freedom.

Thus when my fingers touch the keyboard and music happens, it is truly the one making the music and the one hearing the music and the one playing the music. And it is all me at the very same time! How do I know this is true? How can I be absolutely certain of this?

Because that which sees, that which hears is produced by the infinitely fertile nature of the Authentic Being. Remember everything that I see and experience cannot be my essential self. All of it is objective as me, but not as I!!!

When I look into the night sky, I see myself as me. The infinitely fertile field, plays me as the black night sky and the stars that register to my brain. And because none of it is mine or could ever be mine, then I am truly and utterly free of any of it, yet also free to experience it as me, in its ephemeral ever-changing self.

When I believe that I own thoughts and experiences, then I am a slave to them. When I experience any thought and experience as a manifestation of the me/One in that moment, as just happenings, then I am free – and even THIS I is a fleeting object of the not-“I”. Do you understand that decisive difference?

Before enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water.
After enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water.

But how different it is!

One Last Note

The notion that what is seen and experienced is unreal is, itself, unreal. It’s a bizarre thought that arose within a school of philosophy that occurred only in India 3 thousand years ago. It is not true. Rather, it is a uniquely political element to early religion that was designed to sustain the imperial power of the rulers that allowed them to maintain their rule over the multitudes of struggling laborers. By defining the endless toil of their lives as mere illusion, and thus negating the pain and suffering engendered by that labor, the religion provided a spiritual pathway through which political subjugation was made possible.

It is a lie.

That beautiful tree and that nagging headache are each real in the moment. And, thank god, for that.

Tomorrow: A Day in the Life of the EYE (I) – Aye-Aye


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Making Your Mark in the World


So much of what goes under the rubric of ‘enlightened wisdom’ is the most unequivocal nonsense. The worst of that nonsense is that the world is unreal – mere appearance. Such false spiritual writing asserts that the only thing that is real is the ‘nothingness’ that undergirds all experience, for it is this same ‘nothingness’ that never changes. Thus nothing is real.

Just because the mind cannot truly know anything – this is not the same as negating the reality of the universe.

The proposition that nothing is real represents a half understanding. Yes, at the center of experience is the mystery that seems like nothingness. That is a truth. And it is also true that what stands between the recognition of this truth and delusion is the belief in an independent self. The one belief that is most resistant to deconstruction through open awareness is the belief in this seemingly independent self that I refer to as myself. Much of the difficulty is a consequence of how we use every day language. There is just no escaping referring to this body mind as “I” or “me”. Thus the myth of ever present nothingness is founded on sound realization.

But when the “I/me” embraces the position of nothingness exclusively, which is, in itself, an ironic contradiction of the first order for how can what is nothing embrace that which is nothing (?), a new false-self arises; this is the false spiritual self. This is yet another Fear-Self, but now in the guise of alluring spirituality. It is one of the oldest purposes of religion to neutralize the complexities of daily living by transcending them through the handy process of negation. The moment we reject the sensed world as illusion, we have, effectively done away from the complexity and messiness of daily life. In this case, we assert the primacy of “nothingness” to negate the total “appearance” of reality as it is actually experienced by the person, bird, cockroach, shark, or plant. None of it exists because the spiritual Fear-Self, who has self anointed itself as enlightened says so! It is mere spiritual authority telling us and hwat to think. This is the purest form of spiritual crap. It is but a scrap of authentic realization desperately clung to by people fleeing the inherent difficulties of life.

My own teacher spoke and wrote at length about the fallacy of getting stuck at the Zero point. And I will go as far as to say that those who claim their own realization have probably not even experienced this Zero point in any prolonged way. Perhaps they have had a taste and from that taste, they make the most absurd and incorrect conclusions drawn from the ever-increasingly pop-spiritual literature of the day. Great teachers, like Eckhart Tolle, have made it easy for any “tom, dick, or harry” to make the same claims to the same level of realization. They are fooling themselves and providing enticing but false teachings to desperate followers.

But negation of the perceived world is just part of the continuing story of invalidation and negation projected outwards. It is, at best, a way-station on the journey – the journey that never ends.

The great spiritual challenge of our time is not negation of the real, but heartfelt connection with it. When we finally see through the false belief in the independent I, we don’t make the decisive error of negating the real, as so many do, but we move on to the far greater realization that everything we experience is who we truly are in this very moment. When this is lived as reality and not just as mere thought or projection, then we will have found our Authentic Being. The best metaphor that I can use to describe this Authentic Being is that it is the light that illuminates all things as itself.

We are able to make a loving mark in the world once our connection with all of it is fully integrated within the light that sees everything as itself and just as itself. This is the truth that cancels all false belief. Liberation means freedom from the enslavement to any and all belief. Liberation is unity and solidarity with this single truth.

How does one make one’s mark in the world?

First know that what we justifiably experience as the problems of the world, environmental destruction, violence, poverty, and want or all, without exception, a direct consequence of greed and greed is a direct consequence of personal and group invalidation, as I have discussed in many other posts. The healing of this invalidation is a matter of reversing its effects through seeing it, directly, in action in our own selves. I have addressed how this is done in great detail in my book and in many other posts.

We make our mark on the world in a way that is strikingly individual. For while the light of the Authentic Being is the same, how it manifests through our distinct and individual minds and bodies is always different. This is the diversity that the universe so greatly loves and nurtures. Some of us will express our connection with all through science – others through art – others through social/political action – others through raising children free of the self-negating beliefs that so profoundly effect our world.

But it is never our purpose to condemn greed. Rather, our purpose, is only to see its primal legacy in our own being. The immense challenges that we now face on our planet Earth may be a consequence of greed and faith-based beliefs, but all of it adds to the fun and challenge and tragedy of daily living. It’s all part of the mix that is real and vital in our own lives, now. Just as culture and society have changed through the many centuries, each generation faces new and different problems. Nature and the universe perfectly adapt to change and the nimbleness of our own capacities to meet these challenges is powerful and effective to the extent that we too can adjust to these changes. Everything is new all of the time – yet everything is also not new all of the time, for that which becomes new is forged from what has gone before. This is the very subtle and paradoxical nature of change – the engine of the universe itself.

And we are all parts of that ongoing engine of the universe. From the vantage point of the light of Authentic Being, the engine is complete within that light. And it is through the light that we change and make our mark on the world. We take the plunge into the vast river of the universe through the love we manifest in making our mark as we are and as it is seen by the light of the Authentic Self freed from its shackles of belief and fear.

This is how we each make our mark in the world.

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Tolle’s Pain/Body and Liberation’s Wound/Fear-Self: A Comparison


More and more I would like the content of this blog to consist of letters written by Liberation Blog and Liberation from the Lie readers who raise important questions about what I am trying to put forth in this venue. So, if you have any questions or comments, please send them my way and I will respond to them in as comprehensive a way as I can.

Today’s question focused on a comparison between Eckhart Tolle’s pain/body discussion and mine regarding the Wound and the corresponding Fear-Selves.

The Liberation from the Lie reader writes:

HI Eric, I have almost finished the first section….Is your wound/fear-selves model equivalent to Tolle’s pain-body/ego?

My response –

Tolle’s discussion of the pain/body is related to my discussion of the fear-selves, but there are important differences. I provided a cultural and historical context for the inevitable development of fear as the primary governing principle for a civilization addicted to ambition and consumption. Thus, the discussion in Liberation is much more political than that of Tolle. But, with all due respect to Tolle, I find my own findings to be more sweeping and explanatory. Nearly every event in our personal lives and in the world can be described and understood using the terms of Liberation from the Lie. For example: They explain 9/11 and how America responded to this event. If you read the book carefully, you will see that it explains nearly every form of interpersonal conflict and conflict involving individuals, groups, and even nations.

The concept of the fear-self identified with inadequacy was developed from ideas that I first encountered as they were discussed by Stephen Wolinsky, which he derived from Indian Advaita. I linked those ideas to the concept of invalidation, which I, in part, derived from my many years of work in Navajo peacemaking. Liberation marks the unification of those two psychological traditions.

On account of our primal Wound, the very young self begins to development a contextually specific array of Fear-Selves whose purpose it is to insulate the psychological self from the pain and chaos of its underlying Wound. The identification with inadequacy was essential for the development of civilization since it became necessary to convince people of their own innate insufficiency. In this way, socialization organized itself around obedience (self invalidation) and pleasing important others. Religion, education, and labor became the vital institutions dependent on self-negation through obedience.

The process of self-negation explains nearly every personality type that exists in this world, but the very process that produces the incredible “achievements” of this world, from the fantastic improvements in health to the horrors of the Holocaust, have acted to “cover-up” the light of our Authentic Being. Thus many Eastern traditions, as well as that advocated in Liberation from the Lie, seek to lay out journey of return to this source that is our essential nature prior to its contamination by the civilizing influences of the well-intended family, schools, and the demands of the work-place. Unfortunately, many of these same traditions replicate the self-negating constructs from which they themselves emerged.

Liberation is the seeing, just like in zen, that we are NOT that struggle to be someone or something. Isn’t it interesting that nearly all of us are in a compulsive struggle to be the enlightened me we psychologically project and, at the same time, flee from the self we believe ourselves to be! This is the ultimate self-crushing dilemma.

The organization of life into discrete independent objects, including you and me, is just a convenient story told by the mind. Rather, life is dynamic and ever-changing and our reflection is in everything and everyone. The mind will want to pin everything down into a neat order – and that is, as the tao te ching says, the universe of desire. There is no doing away with that universe. But it is not the exclusive universe. That which is never-changing sees all of this and is not effected by any of it.

This is not to say that we need to become this unchanging background to existence. That is already in place. We see this unchanging field in the light that fills every aspect and element of our sensed world. It’s really more about discovering the legacy of the invalidation trauma in our immediate life. And I think this is where Tolle’s concept and mine come together. Pain and suffering is an inevitable consequence when we both strive to be someone we believe we are not AND we strive not to be someone we believe we are!

I think all of this will become a lot clearer as you continue reading. But here is where Tolle is really helpful. The mind is always a projecting a future me that will benefit from all of this. That is, exactly, the class of thinking that sustains the inadequacy belief. You would never need to invest your beliefs in a future me if you were not still placing your primary faith in an adequate self you already believe yourself to be! Life is now – end of story. It is likely to change as your understanding changes. But right now notice how your future projecting is effecting the qualitative experience of this very moment! When you really SEE that, you will be free.

That is the seeing that untangles the know.

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Tolle's Pain/Body and Liberation's Wound/Fear-Self: A Comparison


More and more I would like the content of this blog to consist of letters written by Liberation Blog and Liberation from the Lie readers who raise important questions about what I am trying to put forth in this venue. So, if you have any questions or comments, please send them my way and I will respond to them in as comprehensive a way as I can.

Today’s question focused on a comparison between Eckhart Tolle’s pain/body discussion and mine regarding the Wound and the corresponding Fear-Selves.

The Liberation from the Lie reader writes:

HI Eric, I have almost finished the first section….Is your wound/fear-selves model equivalent to Tolle’s pain-body/ego?

My response –

Tolle’s discussion of the pain/body is related to my discussion of the fear-selves, but there are important differences. I provided a cultural and historical context for the inevitable development of fear as the primary governing principle for a civilization addicted to ambition and consumption. Thus, the discussion in Liberation is much more political than that of Tolle. But, with all due respect to Tolle, I find my own findings to be more sweeping and explanatory. Nearly every event in our personal lives and in the world can be described and understood using the terms of Liberation from the Lie. For example: They explain 9/11 and how America responded to this event. If you read the book carefully, you will see that it explains nearly every form of interpersonal conflict and conflict involving individuals, groups, and even nations.

The concept of the fear-self identified with inadequacy was developed from ideas that I first encountered as they were discussed by Stephen Wolinsky, which he derived from Indian Advaita. I linked those ideas to the concept of invalidation, which I, in part, derived from my many years of work in Navajo peacemaking. Liberation marks the unification of those two psychological traditions.

On account of our primal Wound, the very young self begins to development a contextually specific array of Fear-Selves whose purpose it is to insulate the psychological self from the pain and chaos of its underlying Wound. The identification with inadequacy was essential for the development of civilization since it became necessary to convince people of their own innate insufficiency. In this way, socialization organized itself around obedience (self invalidation) and pleasing important others. Religion, education, and labor became the vital institutions dependent on self-negation through obedience.

The process of self-negation explains nearly every personality type that exists in this world, but the very process that produces the incredible “achievements” of this world, from the fantastic improvements in health to the horrors of the Holocaust, have acted to “cover-up” the light of our Authentic Being. Thus many Eastern traditions, as well as that advocated in Liberation from the Lie, seek to lay out journey of return to this source that is our essential nature prior to its contamination by the civilizing influences of the well-intended family, schools, and the demands of the work-place. Unfortunately, many of these same traditions replicate the self-negating constructs from which they themselves emerged.

Liberation is the seeing, just like in zen, that we are NOT that struggle to be someone or something. Isn’t it interesting that nearly all of us are in a compulsive struggle to be the enlightened me we psychologically project and, at the same time, flee from the self we believe ourselves to be! This is the ultimate self-crushing dilemma.

The organization of life into discrete independent objects, including you and me, is just a convenient story told by the mind. Rather, life is dynamic and ever-changing and our reflection is in everything and everyone. The mind will want to pin everything down into a neat order – and that is, as the tao te ching says, the universe of desire. There is no doing away with that universe. But it is not the exclusive universe. That which is never-changing sees all of this and is not effected by any of it.

This is not to say that we need to become this unchanging background to existence. That is already in place. We see this unchanging field in the light that fills every aspect and element of our sensed world. It’s really more about discovering the legacy of the invalidation trauma in our immediate life. And I think this is where Tolle’s concept and mine come together. Pain and suffering is an inevitable consequence when we both strive to be someone we believe we are not AND we strive not to be someone we believe we are!

I think all of this will become a lot clearer as you continue reading. But here is where Tolle is really helpful. The mind is always a projecting a future me that will benefit from all of this. That is, exactly, the class of thinking that sustains the inadequacy belief. You would never need to invest your beliefs in a future me if you were not still placing your primary faith in an adequate self you already believe yourself to be! Life is now – end of story. It is likely to change as your understanding changes. But right now notice how your future projecting is effecting the qualitative experience of this very moment! When you really SEE that, you will be free.

That is the seeing that untangles the know.

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