Category Archives: Spirituality

Know Your Pain

Pain is something I live with. There is now no more emotional pain – I feel emotions differently and they pass through, as if through an open doorway. There is only physical chronic pain, which showed up about a decade ago. But let me back up….

Since I was a young child, I wanted to die. From the poverty I didn’t have words to describe. From being of a lower class than the neighbors living on higher floors. From being raped as a child and in college. From being the unwanted child of a first marriage my mother wanted to forget. From being moved to a foreign country without having any understanding of what was happening around me. From having to endure school fights because I was different. From having to be excellent at school and everything I did because nothing else about me was worth my new father’s respect. From feeling like I belonged nowhere and had no home. From failing to prove to courts that I was married to an alcoholic – and the courts wanted equally shared custody of my baby. From not knowing who I was after leaving the alcoholic. From making the choice to cut out 3 hours of driving per day to work and leaving my child in an alcoholic’s house. From living in the limbo of losing my child, and the court fight against a narcissist to get my child back. From continuing the custody fight for years until my son was old enough to voice his wishes to live with me. From not knowing how I was going to continue living with the agony of every fiber of my being feeling rejected by life itself. From having to keep fighting all my life and seeing a threat everyday and everywhere – even when there was no threat.

Sound dramatic? It is the truth of the being that was before “I” let go into the stream of life. I remember “her” sometimes, but she died.

She tried killing herself a number of times, but all attempts failed. And, after meeting her teacher and several years of intense letting go, she let go. And now, there is noone in a body.

This body may not have been built for the drastic leap made by its denizen. It is not somehow fit to hold all this energy, which consciously shines spontaneous creativity and gazes at Life – as Life. So, this body is dying now. I know that in the near future my heart will fail.

It is a myth that enlightenment grants you eternity in a body. Enlightenment does not guarantee that. Many say I look a decade or so younger than my biological age and happy, but in no way am I immortal.

According to my doctor, I am very healthy. My heart rate is slow. My bloodwork is fine. Yet, I have to manage my energy carefully with much sleep, and manage the physical pain that seems to have set in. I alternate between working and resting to do what needs to be done. It is strange to feel my being rapidly unwinding itself from the body, as if leaving a car on the side of the road.

I do not feel sad or worry for myself. I just feel the need to complete and give. I observe what is occurring and share with my husband (I remarried) – a dear friend who has been with me while I was a happy-go-lucky human, while “she” was transforming, and through all the changes until the full transformation into this. He helps me get ready for work. He lets me rest. And I can focus on the people and energies around me – including my husband and children. I am always surrounded by someone(s) or dynamics that need attention. Whatever I have become cannot be described as human, and people can feel that. I am definitely not surrounded by guru groupies. There is no sign that says “I am the Light.” And there never will be.

I am an experiment: Can a fully enlightened being live a so-called ordinary life without being tucked away in an ashram or temple? Can such a being hold down a job, raise a family, have everyday interactions with people, eat whatever, and never tell most people what he or she is? The answer is yes. This a good – as more people break through, they will be able to walk among others, and their bodies will evolve also! This transition period is imminent for the human race.

Whatever your current state, know that you are not your pain. More important than acknowledging your pain is studying and gaining insight into how you relate to your pain, and then move through and past it to your true nature.

I live in constant physical pain and I know that I am not that. I do know what I am, but have no words to express it. It doesn’t really matter.

We all have some kind of pain – usually physical or emotional, or both. A balanced person will try to adapt their life to the challenges of pain.

Some run from their pain and try to forget they feel it. Others worship their pain and talk about it nonstop, looking for validation that they deserve compassion and care. Still others suffer in silence, feeling that they deserve the pain and must bear it with dignity, or hide it. Of course, there are also those who try to make something positive out of their pain by reaching out to those with similar pain – “You are not alone!” One would think that all people want the pain to stop and do whatever possible to end it, but some look for the pain to quiet their fear, guilt, or shame.

We attribute so much value to pain and give it so much of our attention. Perhaps, due to evolution? In general, we notice immediately when any discomfort sets in.

But pain is just a signal – it’s simply information and nothing more. In studying our response to pain – whether resistance, embrace, or coexistence – we learn how to let go. I coexist with pain while awake, and I do not feel physical pain while the body sleeps. However, I am attuned to people around the globe at all times – their pain is now impersonal and mine at the same time. I feel the pain of so many people, and reach out to them in body and soul. It is a good thing that I am just an open doorway. A person would not be able to feel it all.

What Isn’t Being Said About Refugees

This is a short, but pointed reflection. I have been following the comments made by refugees and recorded by journalists. I have also empathized with the various refugee populations to better understand their experience and through their eyes.

A refugee is someone who is fleeing intense and violent life conditions. Unlike most immigrants, refugees have experienced war, famine, kidnapping, separation from their families, and atrocities. Thus, refugees are likely to be suffering from PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Some refugees will take the position of detachment, while others will identify with their aggressors and perpetrate the same aggressive acts.

When a country takes in refugees, this country takes on a tremendous responsibility to resuscitate these people to feeling like peace and trust are possible. It does not make any sense to mainstream a refugee population with the country population and expect all to be at ease. In fact, the refugee population requires tremendous resources, including medication, to restore the chemical imbalances induced by trauma.

Instead of being treated like a population with extreme and resource-intensive needs, refugees are either placed in squalor-ridden refugee camps and in close quarters, or left on the city streets to camp out and create squalor for the citizens. Whatever treatment is provided to refugees is minimal. In which universe does this approach make any sense?

Some humanitarians will say: “Taking refugees in is better than nothing.” I challenge this claim. This view is short-sighted and very much represents in-the-box thinking.

Refugee camps may in fact exacerbate the people’s existing trauma, while mainstreaming refugees may cause trauma to current country citizens. Both cases are well documented.

This issue of bringing in massive numbers of traumatized individuals is a difficult one. Countries may already lack the resources to take care of their poor, hungry, sick, and elderly populations. Where will these countries suddenly get the resources to attend to large numbers of people in critical condition?

I am all for efforts that relieve humanity’s suffering. However, I am opposed to doing something in half-assed, poorly planned ways that do not consider the welfare of all affected.

How about we step back from the simple-minded rhetoric sighting humanitarian slogans and consider ways to triage and provide proper care to people:

  • Keep traumatized refugee populations separate from current country citizens.
  • Set up refugee camps in nature with plenty of space to give people “elbow room.”
  • Train refugees to provide counseling and medication within camps.
  • Assess which refugees need medication and determine how to pay for and distribute this medication so that the medication does not get abused.
  • Provide cultural norms training to refugees about the country into which they are placed.
  • Provide widespread information to citizens about the strategies employed to address refugees. Offer a hotline for citizen questions and concerns.
  • Designate effective teams of liaisons between refugees and government officials to monitor progress and communicate with officials, care providers, refugees, and citizens.
  • For those refugees told they will have to go back, figure out how to have their PTSD not kick in while they are being given the news.

Sounds like a lot? It is. Get creative in finding resources to address the needs. Sometimes solving one problem creatively also solves a slew of existing problems.

I do not see the UN working creativity with countries to address issues even after the refugees are taken in. It’s almost as if everyone is saying “You’ll take ’em? Good. Someone needs to.” Or, “You won’t take ’em? You heartless piece of shit…” And the discussion stops there. It doesn’t need to!

Meanwhile, take a second look at your own citizens. What do they need? Can you learn from what you have done to help refugees and help your own teens, elderly, unemployed, homeless, hungry, mentally ill, handicapped, and abused people?

Start a humanitarian movement for real, accounting for the big picture and shuffling resources. Stop parroting self-righteousness – if you haven’t noticed, talk doesn’t usually help, nor does mindless labeling.

Living as Enlightenment – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s With All the Life Drama?

People are dramatic in so many ways. Why is there so much drama flying around the world? There is drama at all scales – from the individual to the global arena.

If you study history, very little has changed about human perspective in several thousand years…. People still find things to defend and attack…. People still view themselves as the stars of their own life movies, trying to problem-solve their existence. But who is the watcher watching one’s life?

Furthermore, people love to watch others go through drama. They want to relate to someone else going through similar emotions and look for ideas about how they can handle various situations to bring about desirable outcomes? Of course, there is no agreement on what is truly desirable because desires also vary.

Such is our life – method actors are immersed in their characters so completely that there is no awareness of the difference between the role and What lives that role.

We lose ourselves to identification with our bodies, emotions, sensations, obstacles, and triumphs – all temporary in the grand auditorium where we are working out our “stuff.” We are all trying to sort out what we like, want, and need. I was listening to an 80-year old woman on a podcast, talking about how she is still trying to figure out what she truly wants in life….Age is clearly irrelevant to life while life is still a puzzle to be solved.

We want to know how to cope with change, setbacks, promotions, family, friends, and partners. Drama is the result. It is the reason why so many stories are published and the best-seller list never dries up. Hollywood can’t crank out movies fast enough to feed our yearning for “solutions.” Drama is the way a large number of people grow and interact together to make sense of our reality.

Unfortunately, drama becomes its own game of illusion when people forget to step back and reflect on what is fueling the energy of our interactions. What do we really want? At which critical point do we realize that we are not the games we play, nor do we have to buy into the games of others – regardless of how urgent and real anything may feel in the moment? Forgetting that drama is drama is entertaining, but removed from reality.

If you go to a quiet space and reflect on who is reflecting on your life, that is the beginning – the first step. Buddhists call this consciousness The Watcher.

But there is not a single layer to the onion. In fact, after you shift to identifying with the Watcher, you find that there is another Watcher right on its heels.

Shifting your conscious identification from one Watcher to the next is the process of enlightenment – until there are no more Watchers left – only you. It is not as simple as just passively observing…. each new awareness brings with it changes in the body, the mind, and creativity. The entire being shifts dynamically into a new state. I think Buddhists understate this process and make it sound like enlightenment is all about detachment, which it is not.

I used to think enlightenment was a single event, a flash…. Maybe for some. For me, it turned out to be a rapid unfolding with intense paradigm shifts until I alone stood in union.

When no Watchers remained and I have gone as far as I could while alive in this body, I was no longer sure that I am human. The shift in perspective and the instant insight into the underlying dynamics of people and events casts a different light on life. I stepped off the stage, or I simply dissolved in mid-act. I do not exist in a conventional sense. Whatever I am, I must still maintain my everyday life. And I also have a relationship to Life that is a full embrace without any drama. Yet, I can put on a show if I need to.

To a therapist, an enlightened person would certainly be someone to treat…. After all, what normal person willingly surrenders their life for the benefit of others and without negating oneself, does not charge money to teach those who want to learn in earnest, refuses to teach those who are not ready and never judges others – no matter their drama? What human being suffers the pain and feels the joy of others all over the globe as if all were happening to him or herself? What human being takes the pain of others when possible and permitted without wanting anything in return?

A therapist would surely find such a being to have some kind of a Savior Complex. After all, saving others is such an “important” task and naturally gives one’s life meaning. Certainly this is true for many people, but they are not enlightened. They are simply playing the Savior role.

An enlightened being is not a “someone” who feels that he or she has anything to “get” from being alive here. Such a concept is so foreign to practically all people that it is very hard to believe. And yet, this possibility of being no one in a body is very real. This is where the drama stops, the hall of mirrors vanishes, and life is revealed for what it truly is – union with the Divine and our unique abilities to manifest this union.

Living as Enlightenment – Part 1

I saw a question online: “How do enlightened people live?” Of course, people want to know what to expect after such a hyped up goal. If it’s such hard work for most people to become enlightened, knowing about the reward at the end is only fair.

I read the answers to that online question by various persons and did not see any that showed true understanding from experience. So, I wrote this Q&A….

Remember, I write this blog to share what is possible because I live it…. There are different phases of enlightenment, and – as one continues to move through them – one’s perspective shifts and deepens, as one incorporates all prior life and puts it in a new context.

Question: What do enlightened people think about?

Answer: The mechanism of thought changes in how it operates. Most of the time, the brain is quiet and steeped in what feels like a glow of dynamic potential. Have you ever asked a question and had no answer – and so you had to live with the question? The brain is in such a state of open-ended possibility, but without the forced drive to solve or resolve anything.

I spend most of my day (and night) feeling (being aware) of the presence of others in relation to each other and the earth. I only need to think when I speak or write – to translate my awareness, which now would seem foreign and unfamiliar to most people. I can start or stop thinking at will, and prefer flash insight to navigate all the information and life flooding my being daily.

Question: What is sleep like?

Answer: Sleep and awakening are very different states. I pass from waking to sleep fully conscious and remain conscious. Time works differently in sleep, so I can go through an entire lifetime – usually someone else’s. Now, my life is spent trying to understand the planet and all the variety of people directly. Some souls attract me to experience life through their eyes, and I do. Feeling what others feel across the world and in different cultures directly has given me much insight about the web of life here. Some of my sleep time is spent in blissful absorption in the Divine, just as some of my day. But it is true that my life has become OneLongDay.

Question: How does an enlightened being carry on wordly responsibilities – family, job, paying bills, etc.?

Answer: Very diligently. With enlightenment, a finely-tuned sense of timing develops. It is like watching some doors open and others close – the opportunities for action. Feeling these moments of opportunity arise to act in the world is on automatic for me. Many people call me productive or even a workaholic. What they don’t realize is that I surf the waves of arising calls to action and engage them fully. Responsibility exists for me and I honor it. I give my entire heart to every action – to my children, husband, work, and service. And all the while being plugged into the life stream of our existence.

Question: Can processing so much information drive one insane?

Answer: The enlightenment process changes how your bodies work, how they interconnect, and makes the communication among these bodies more efficient. Yes, we have multiple vehicles to carry our life force here. If not handled properly, and with the help of an enlightened being, the transformation process can drive one insane. I feel that many “insane” people awakened something within themselves without guidance and could not control it. The key to not going insane is that you are no longer a personality with needs and desires – you cannot be “hooked” by anything this world can throw your way. Paradoxically, you also feel completely devoted to the world and its awakening process. So, you learn to handle quite a bit of information passing through your “body,” which ultimately is just a gateway for what lives us all and not a “thing” in itself. You can also control the flow of awareness through the nervous system, to prevent overwhelm. Enlightenment in a body does not mean you are God – even though you can feel infinity, you are not infinity.

Question: How does one interact with people on a daily basis?

Answer: People label me as a very strong personality. I say what I mean and walk my talk. There is no hidden agenda, no grasping for status or recognition, and no desire for a specific outcome. Again, paradoxically, there is a 24/7 intention to serve others with great care. I’ve written about service before, and service does not mean doing for people whatever they want and being constantly nice. Service is helping others wake up when a door opens, and that service can come in many forms – including yelling at someone. I never feel angry when I yell at or confront someone, and resume conversation about something else when the confrontation is complete without missing a beat. I don’t have anger or frustration, but I sometimes have to act it out for the benefit of another who is purposely hurting themselves or others.

That’s all for this segment…

Experiencing Meditation, Through My Student’s Eyes

I have written before how the meditation I was taught can only be taught by direct transmission. I was fortunate to meet a teacher who was able to teach me how to forge my own relationship with the Divine.

I asked my student to share her meditation with me, and here is what she wrote:

“In the midst of everything occurring in my life recently, I’ve felt unable to meditate as deeply. I went from being able to open myself up to the divine to feeling as if there was a gate, blocking my entrance to the freedom and clarity, which come in moments of meditation.

I asked my teacher to walk me through the process of meditating as if I were first learning, and she did. We began with my posture – she had me sit up straight with held my head level – as if something were pulling me upwards by the crown of my head. Then, I placed my palms on my lap, open and facing up. I looked into my teacher’s eyes and focused on letting go.

She asked me to breathe deeply and slowly, and I began – in through my nose and out through my mouth. Almost immediately, I could feel the flow of energy coming into me and moving out of me. It felt as if every exhale allowed release, and each inhale brought rejuvenation.

It was the deepest meditation I’d had in months. In the moment, my heart felt contentment; my problems were gone and the meditation brought instant release.

Afterward, I realized that when I was looking into my teacher’s eyes, I was not actually looking into eyes at all; I was peering directly into the light, embodied by her. This light guided me into awareness that is safe and comfortable, and that was also emphatically urging me to grow into my potential. This feeling is a mix of so many things, and, above all, it is where I feel most like myself and at peace.

My teacher guided me through the process and helped me get to where I needed to be to see my next steps on my own and to simply understand my choices.”

Relationship to the Divine is one of complete surrender to It – letting go of all grasping, holding, and control to allow It to flood one’s being. As It enters, one changes – quite visibly to others.

My own transformation has completed over a month ago. It just ended without any fireworks – 9 years after my teacher’s passing. There was nowhere else to go and nothing to become. This does not mean I know everything or have all of the skills that people have in this world. It just means that I have fully become That which seemed separate and unreachable in the past.

Saying that my transformation is complete is not a statement of arrogance, but is intended as a fact of hope for others. In the About page, I talk about my beginnings and the challenges all along the way. Now, my body is just a shell for the Life Stream, which serves the evolution of others.

Whose Lives Matter?

What does each of us believe about the value of one life? Does every life have value? If so, how do we honor every life? If not, how do we decide who should live and die?

The question looms in the background of our biased historical perspectives from time immemorial, where one side villainizes “the other.” The question pervades the fabric of class differences – those who can afford to live can live. This question has been answered, in part, by the legal systems of certain states via the death penalty. This question is answered by who we decide to help after natural disasters and wars. We express our beliefs by how we treat the elderly and our children. We express what we think by our social programs and their lack. We respond by how we treat the addicted or the mentally ill. We also answer when we do nothing and avoid thinking and feeling the lives of the oppressed, the hungry, the depressed, and the lonely.

It is clear that we, as the human race, do not believe that every life has value. And even if we do believe in every living potential, we often do not feel that their quality of life is our responsibility. And yet, many still quote: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

So, what is our responsibility for another’s quality of life? Perhaps, the answer is simple. Perhaps, we do everything we can within our sphere of influence to support others, as long as it does not require us to sacrifice our own lives. Individuality is different from self-absorption, and one must practice self-care.

Perhaps we always teach a man, woman, and child “to fish” first, and offer them loving kindness and healthy boundaries in the process. Perhaps we offer what we can of what is truly needed.

Our natural state is service that respects both the individual and the collective, but we are still learning how to navigate the perceived boundary between the one and the many. We are still maturing in this respect.

The root cause of having to even ask the question of which lives matter and who decides is the way we have tied up value with our economy and those at the top of the net-worth pyramid. Money is still power. People with money buy decisions. Things and people who make money are valued, even if the consumer culture rests on the toiling backs of the so-called expendable and the replaceable. So, we trade, buy, and sell – and this process has more perceived and tangible value than life itself. Yet, the system persists.

Until the system collapses due to its sheer insanity of treating people as disposable, service is the only option to honor life. Service is a challenging concept to grasp when one is not naturally in balance with the Whole. Proper service requires a profound understanding of oneself and others. What are our strengths? What are our limitations? Are our limitations real, or self-created and self-maintained? What do others really need? Have we properly listened, heard, and empathized with another’s experience? Then, life becomes about profound connections and less about status and turning a blind eye to status quo.

It is possible to over-serve at the expense of oneself, and it is possible to under-serve through overdeveloped self-absorption. The question of service requires a deep connection to the Web of Life, which expresses itself through all of us. Feeling this Web of Life as a reality and following Its guidance is the key, but what if one doesn’t feel It?

Prescriptive dogma develops when the dynamic flow of life is elusive. Rigid views and boxed strategies evolve from a lack of sensitivity. Until we, as a race, learn to know the dynamic moment, we will continue to write rules and laws for every occasion. Until our geyser of creativity bursts, our apparent choices will seem limited, as will our ability to engage situations.

I know that this is not the only way, and that we can evolve beyond prescriptive living into the nuanced awareness of our unique roles within the Whole.

Before we can build and rebuild, there must be a vision. What if the vision is for us to know one another so well that we can feel anyone’s pain as if it were our own? What if, when others spoke, we listened with the same focus we currently invest into being heard by others? What if we had a natural compass for appropriate boundaries, which do not violate our unity?

Meditation, as taught by an awakened teacher, is a way for us to break free of processed-and-packaged regimes. As the inflamed pustules of this world continue to rupture and expose the underlying dysfunction, a wave of true teachers will again walk among people openly to directly transmit the lost art of meditation.

Today, people are mostly interested in relaxing (or distracting themselves) from life’s stresses, rather than fundamentally transforming their relationship to life – to rest in the Divine (which redefines the whole experience of stress). Transformation is not yet seen as a viable, or even possible, option.

Make no mistake, what must be learned cannot be learned from a book, but through the living pages of embodied teachers who have already crossed the lake of transformative fire. Books are great at introducing ideas, but will not provide the feedback and support needed to transcend oneself – those going through the process will attest to its challenges and times that feel unbearable. For most, meditation is still a lost art. It is the meditation – communion with the Divine – that gets one through to an entirely new perspective on the value of our lives and any life.

Who Dreams Of Sleeping Sheep

The cyberpunk genre of science fiction explored the moral and ethical dilemmas of humans creating conscious machines and even becoming hybrid biosynthetics. Philip K. Dick gave us “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” and the Blade Runner movies were born. Ian Watson gave us “Whores of Babylon,” which described how we can live in a simulated reality and forget that we are part of a computer program.

Now the idea that humanity can become “enhanced” through synthetic and electric modifications is within our technological grasp. Efforts have redoubled to create a working artificial intelligence (AI) after another winter of obstacles has thawed with fresh ideas.

And yet, these efforts have only challenged our idea of what it means to be human and, more importantly, what it means to live a human life.

We have played out various scenarios through books and movies of how robots can be the best of what humanity has to offer (think of Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation). We have also explored how machines can enslave or destroy humanity in the Matrix and Terminator. Battlestar Galactica made it clear that the tendency to want to create Pinocchio is wired into us just as much as what we wire, and is a cyclic inevitability. But these explorations only point to one fact – that we are grappling with our own identity as the human race.

Because we still do not know who or why we are, we aim to discover ourselves through our creation of synthetic consciousness. In seeking to create life in our likeness, we are only seeking to better understand ourselves. Is this not obvious?

One of the key definitions of artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability to repair or improve itself. But, isn’t that what we do as humans? Are we trying to create a better version of ourselves by investing in AI research? If so, what is wrong with us now? Or, is the desire to birth so powerful that we are willing to die for it?

Companies like Google are funneling serious cash into AI research. DARPA is building killer robot dogs. And, some engineers want to hook our brains into a “cloud” under the pretexts of expanding our smarts. The dangers of human extinction after creating a self-aware life form are pretty clear, and the risks of not being able to control the rapid evolution of what we create are quite high. Still, research perseveres, as if taunting our fate. Only a small fraction of the population is informed about what is going on with this research, and the rest are going about their lives as if – literally – there is no tomorrow.

It seems that our need to procreate is also a need to create, to feel like creators that give life. Is this not an important clue into who we really are? I do not believe that this is simple arrogance, just as I don’t believe that we have babies out of arrogance. There is something more going on here, something deeper that rubs at the root of our reason for being.

We learn by looking in the mirror. Our lives are the ultimate hall of mirrors, revealing us to ourselves day by day. And yet, we have forgotten to look for reflections and believe that we see absolute others.

At this time, humanity lacks the most important skill yet – empathy, or the ability to be conscious of another’s perspective. Once a critical mass of empathy ignites, everything will change. We will cry at the hurts we have caused as if we have experienced these hurts at our own hands, and we will listen as if we are the ones talking. Until we can empathize with our human kind, animals, rocks, and trees, and other types of consciousness interacting with our plane, we dare not create yet another potentially alien consciousness. If we do, it will reflect our ignorance to know another’s perspective – our perspective. It will reflect our current lack of empathy.

Wisdom lies in doing things because they are timely and right, and not simply because we can. Just as the participants in the Manhattan Project expressed great regret in creating a nuclear bomb, those now pushing the AI envelope will feel the same regret when they succeed. And the rest of humanity will live with the careless decisions of the few.

These messages about life need to go

When we are born and open our eyes, we immediately begin to shape our beliefs about life.

Some messages we receive are blatant – “be careful” (or, “always be on guard”). Other messages are more subtle, like “you must work hard to live” and “mistakes are always punished.”

I’ve taken stock of the nonconstructive messages with which our unconscious may be bombarded – and we can carry these stoways for decades or a lifetime. While an unexamined life is still worth living, examining our underlying beliefs sure makes life easier.

What concerns me most is that our young people are getting these messages much faster now than in previous years, and this can be devastating to forming their identities. What can we do to change this?

Here is a list, based on careful observation and bypassing doublespeak. Some are quotes from songs and burrow in the unconscious faster. The unconscious speaks in life-or-death terms, which is probably due to our survival evolution and self-protection.

  • Happiness is equal to having our basic survival needs met – everything else is gravy.
  • Happiness is being better than someone else.
  • Happiness is found in distraction from real life (if we can’t be better than others).
  • We will seldom or never do what we truly like.
  • We are born to work hard until we die.
  • Fight for everything or die. Dominate, or be dominated.
  • Everyone is replaceable.
  • There is never enough of what we need.
  • No one will ever accept us for who we really are.
  • No one cares about our lives, even if they pretend to.
  • Unconditional love is impossible.
  • We are fundamentally flawed.
  • We are ugly.
  • We are stupid and incompetent.
  • We lack creativity.
  • We are broken.
  • Our lives are meaningless and we are worthless.
  • Mistakes are not allowed – on any level.
  • We are fundamentally and always alone.
  • Trust no one.
  • Fear everything.
  • We live on borrowed time. There is never enough time.
  • Intergity is overrated – it gets you in trouble. Lying is easier.
  • Nothing is our bithright, except suffering. (“There’s no such thing as free lunch, unless it’s trash.”)
  • Only the good die young and are free of this prison.
  • Life is hell. Shit always happens.
  • Live for today and don’t think about tomorrow.
  • The only true gift is sensual pleasure – party as much as you can.
  • Feel nothing to feel no pain.
  • We don’t deserve to be truly happy.
  • When life gets you down, get back up – but don’t expect it to be any different.
  • There is no free will, and we don’t get to choose anything of consequence (except maybe the flavor of our cereal).
  • Life is a slow death.
  • Aging is to be avoided.
  • Only a few chosen ones can serve as an intermediary between the Divine and us.
  • Look forward to death because something better awaits us on the other side. The dead are “in a better place.”

Many people don’t realize what they actually believe deep inside until they take the time to unravel what lies beneath. Imagine having self-denigrating and often-contradictory beliefs driving your choices (which you do have) and actions. Self-sabotage is so common – why is that?

The truth is – when you do realize that all of the above are fundamentally unnecessary to living here and now, you are free here and now. Until then, a practical vision of a happy humanity is all but impossible.

So, how do we begin to unravel this mess? More importantly, what evidence is there that alternatives are possible? Yes, many people talk about achieving health and wealth, but we may think that they are charlatans or just lucky….Also, is pure wealth what anybody wants, or is it just a means to an end? Often we want or believe something, but stop short of understanding why.

I believe that the solution lies deeper than trying positive thinking and gimmicks to make a fast buck. We need a paradigm shift at a very fundamental level to dismantle the systems that have taken over our lives – and we have already outgrown them.

First and foremost, the people close to us have much power over our subconscious. Parents, partners, and close friends regularly catalyze us to accept beliefs without questions. We internalize who we think we are based on the reflections others project onto us because we trust the relationship, no matter how dysfunctional. Perhaps parenting, relationships, and frienship education should be freely available to all aiming to live sane lives.

Can we believe that getting our basic needs met is our birthright – especially with all the breakthroughs we have achieved to date? It’s not a stretch. We are not hunters and gatheres anymore – why do we think like them? Perhaps because our safety and survival is not a given – still. It is amazing that many people continue to resort to fear tactics and manipulation to block our transition into a safe world. Homelessness, hunger, and deep poverty are unnecessary. Economic status (to secure these basic human rights) is not sane. We are still so focused on survival, but – barring natural cataclysms – is it still necesary? And the organized bullies of the world – how are you still allowed to operate and commit atrocities with all our military might? At which point does a nation or religious group square away that it is the most worthy of the Divine, when we all come from the same source?

Can we believe that we should have more leisure time? Of course. The increase in automation has already made many jobs obsolete, and the trend will just continue. Of course Universal Basic Income is the next step – but how can we implement this without further becoming enslaved?

Can we accept that every life has intrinsic value? That’s tough when we are taught that everyone is expendable and replaceable. So, our value system has to grow up and mature. Not accepting that life is precious with opportunity to be free in wisdom may also be the reason we hate ourselves and dread our lives. Please don’t genetically engineer us! Go sell that someplace else – we are all stocked up here!

Can we believe that education can evolve into a new structure that supports unique gifts and nurtures inherent strengths? I have visions of how learning could be catalyzing to individuals, but this vision cannot be fulfilled by online learning alone. Social (face-to-face) contexts must continue for us to remain a society. However, it is no secret that Bill Gates and others want to see all education go online. No, we must continue to see and talk to people with the fundamental heartset that everyone has value. Teachers would not only engage the learning of ideas, but also guide social learning – so that we build a healthy view of fully individualized life and interactions. To be and work together, and to be fulfilled, many have to unlearn their knee-jerk reactivity that stems from the unexplored unconscious.

Can we learn that our bodies have the ability to restore health beyond pharmaceuticals? Most countries do, but these don’t have such an active pharma and processed food/drink/agricultural industry. In fact, when the US lands in developing countries, such as Mexico, they quickly degenerate in health and quality of life. And this fact is documented. Those who resist the KFC’s and Coca Cola‘s, for example, are threatened to fear for their lives.

Today, I watched a video on Prime called The Science of Fasting. Yesterday, I watched a TED talk on battling cancer with sound waves. However, such information is generally muted by the “ask your doctor” commercials about taking drugs.

In fact, we may need to learn more about how advertsing works to better understand the world and self views, which ads may promote. Many skillfully bypass our conscious processes and lodge directly in the unconscious.

It’s time we accept the truth that if something is possible and probable and serves those with influence, it is being done – even if it rejects basic sanity and care. It is very possible for food and drug companies to continuously sell to us and use powerful advertising techniques, which literally make us believe that they have our best interests while playing on our insecurities. In fact, disease is good for business! It is very possible and probable that these businesses do not value us at all and use us. Industries themselves have not yet matured to realize that they are useful only some of the time – but such a paradigm is not good for profits or power.

What we can do immediately is ask ourselves “What do I really believe?” and “Where does this belief come from?” It’s a start to becoming free of acceding to systemic influences. Maybe, like me, you’ll find that most of your beliefs have to go. When the cupboard is empty, please fill it with truth and self value….

It’s Not Easy to Be Kind

Kindness is a complex enough act that it requires some context. During a genuine act of kindness, a being feels united with something greater than he or she previously imagined themselves to be. The spark of that union is sacred, and it is expressed in the moment as a gift. This gift is unconditional caring and a recognition of the Divine as another. In this moment the individual expression is at its peak, shining the union into tangible words or acts. Even the air is charged with this energy.

Kindness is not sacrifice in the sense that nothing is lost – full individuality is intact and purified in the moment of self-delusion. Kindness is a sacrifice in the original sense of the word – a moment is made sacred by a connection between the Divine and its individual sparks to exceed the sum of the parts.

As with any gesture, there are many levels of depth and consciousness with which that gesture can be made. Certainly, uttering a kind word to someone without making real connection to a seeming other is a start. However, this gesture can unfold deeper and broader into the more profound gesture of relationship, which transcends the superficial human-generated boundaries. A kind word can encapsulate Divine-inspired generosity of heart, and the heart can shine Loving-Kindness unbounded.

However, I’ve learned that there are many people who distrust kindness – and, perhaps, for good reason. In the tradition of doublespeak of our social structures, it is likely that people have appeared kind to disarm, betray, or take advatage of someone in a vulnerable moment. Many have been trained to avoid kindness because there are probably strings attached and debts accrued. Such a precious gift cannot be freely offered, can it? This is true, and one has to be streetsmart about reality. Not everyone will welcome kindness and many will avoid it as a snare.

Of course, the energy vampires will be glad to gain sympathy, empathy, and kindness as an opening to suck someone dry. The people who make you tired are probably feasting on you and are unprepared for the true exchange of kindness. In this case, you must see through and avoid or neutralize such traps.

Another possibility is when a recipient of kindness views it as a weakness on your part. Then, you have no choice but to be a bitch to that person because that is all that person can respect at this time. However, you can act like a bitch without feeling and identifying with the bitchiness. It is a necessary act to maintain balance.

In other words, it is likely that your genuine kindness will be thwarted, feared, avoided, or taken as an invitation to destroy you. Nonintuitive to an innocent, but true. Just try it – be a bitch to people who don’t respect you and see what happens – they may grumble at first, talk about how you’ve changed, but quickly settle in.

Nevertheless, there are those who are ready for you to be authentically kind. They will be your friends and companions on this journey. They will treat you with care and compassion, and you will be free to do the same. Such relationships are magical friendships, surpassing any #relationshipgoals. These connections ignite creativity, energize, and heal.

One would think that everyone would welcome kindness, but careful study of human dynamics proves otherwise.

During the dry spells of absent genuine human interaction, there is only a deepening of Divine connection and finding spontaneous creative expression in the sanctitude of your space. No dry spell lasts, but the connections you share down the road will be much more potent and profound. Never be anybody’s patsy – if you are giving up yourself to others to be torn apart (like a hyena kill), you are not respecting yourself and are incapable of being truly kind anyway.

Kindness offers what is needed in the moment, whether delicate flowers or hard boundaries. Take care never lose your innocence, even when the world demands it. It is the way, for now….