What I Want My Kids to Learn

I hope my kids learn that they have the potential to be unique, that they can trust the process of life above all else, and that they are free to participate fully in their life.

Most people do not awaken to their uniqueness and do things that have been done countless times before. Most people try to control the uncontrollable – and fail. Most people are trapped in illusions, games, virtual realities, self-created worlds – and they enjoy these fragments over the full reality.

What is reality, anyway? I see it as that which results from an uninterrupted conscious connection to what lives all of us. Reality is the deep-dive into a fiery pit that burns up anything that is not It. What remains is a unique embrace of human and Divine that shines its own light – much like a star that reaches critical temperature for sustained nuclear fusion: the initial burst of light pushes gases out of the way, and then the star is free to beam into space and entwine its light with matter through all expanse.

Reality is unique for each of us because no two will embrace the Divine the same way. Paradoxically, It is also absolute. So, reality is not for the mind to understand but for Life itself to birth as It goes.

I am a pragmatist above all else. As someone who has lived through a wide spectrum of experiences and have overcome numerous hardships, I have come to understand that nothing in life is certain. Life broke me of the desire for certainty because certainty does not exist amidst flux. Then comes the question – how does one live in the face of constant change? Self-reliance, perseverance, and a life-wise telephoto lens that zooms in and out of detail – so that you can see the forest and the trees.

My pragmatism is not cold survivalism. While I identify possibilities and open doors for opportunities to grow, I also burn closed loops and dead pathways. Thus, I risk everything to be true to what I am and I trust That. My life is akin to grooming a Bonzai tree: I prune dead ends, and I cultivate potential channels for expression that is ever near and dear to the core of my being.

I prefer the sweet satisfaction of doing joy, happiness, and exploring new ways to move in our ever changing world. I teach in a school, but I am not a “teacher.” I write, but I am not a “writer.” I make jokes and laugh, but I am no “comedian.” I sing, but I am no “rock star.” Who we are cannot have a label. We can only be seen for all that we are by those who have the ability to see.

I hope my kids will see deeply into life and move with life – partner with life. I hope for them to see the limitations of video games and YouTube channels and movies and shallow conversation, and to be unsatisfied with anything shy of their depth.

Life leaves us breadcrumbs and constant signals to guide us into our fullness. Why not follow these? Why not surrender to truth that can only exist as we live it? While we have the potential to be alive, few have dared to tap it. Most seek safe nooks to hide in and live like hibernating bears. They eat, drink, seek pleasure, and dream. They suffer as the reality of life bleeds through their illusions and causes friction. I hope for my kids to see this root cause of suffering.

If there is no one to see a rainbow, does it exist? A rainbow is the effect of sunlight passing through water droplets and exiting the droplets at just the right angle. The observer must be at a certain location relative to the sun to see the rainbow! If there is no observer there, did the rainbow occur? Yes it did. The light went to that location to be received – whether or not it was received. The Universe recognizes all opportunities and possibilities, whether or not they were engaged. The secret to life is knowing that the truth is always available – to humanity and all else. Being human is not the only way to embrace the Divine, after all.

I hope for my kids to recognize the richness of life, and to see both their individuality and the Whole they represent. I hope for them to pierce the miasm of self-doubt that casts a shadow on the human race. Self-doubt is the leading cause of suicide, as I understand it, which the CDC reported today to be on the rise by 25% since 1999. When reality rubs against our limited perception, the result is disillusionment and unbearable pain. Few recognize this pain as an opportunity to see beyond our limited definition of life. What we think isn’t what it is. Anything to stop the pain, even die. I’ve been there, but I pulled up. It is extremely difficult to do in the moment of hitting bottom.

I hope for my kids to understand the intrinsic and uncaused value of life. They are more than the sum of their thoughts, actions, and words. They are a Big Bang poised to birth a universe. They are deeply loved. They lack nothing. They cannot be defined simplistically, and thus can never be judged for being.

I hope for my kids to choose wisely and to learn the map of how life works in its current state. They must navigate relationships with mostly self-absorbed people who are still asleep, shifting economic trends, and constant choices. Choices have consequences, and timing is everything. Learning to feel the clocks of life starting and stopping is key.

I know that no one can ruin my life because I am responsible for my choices. There is a huge difference between taking responsibility and casting blame. I hope for my kids to learn this difference so that they hold others – and themselves – accountable without blaming.

I hope for my kids to have the courage to be themselves, and the wisdom to not martyr themselves. Wisdom grows as you let go into the moment and allow yourself to be in whatever the moment is, taking appropriate action that expresses you. After all, you is all there is when you let go. Honing the craft of engaging the moment is to master life.

Timeless Splendor

Imagine laying down to rest. No thoughts. No worries. You have been engaged in something creative, and it was time to stop. So you stop.

Rest can be permeated with timeless splendor. Only the energy of your presence makes a distinct sound that is your being. Feeling this presence is relaxing and energizing. It is the feeling of freedom that is the core of what makes each of us unique.

I bask in this restful state. I draw upon it in times of pressure. I am inextricably connected to it at all times. This state of rest is everpresent. I completely let go into it when I lay my head down at the end of each day.

Perhaps it is meditation, only without props. A meditation that does not begin or end. Feeling the intersections of energy that create your unique pattern of being. Rather than a single note, you are a symphony that writes itself as your life.

Every one of your cells is a pattern that emerges from the surrounding space. That apparent emptiness surrounding the apparent you is more real than the object you perceive yourself to be. In acknowledging this negative space as reality, you know that you are never separate from anyone or anything. It becomes the living truth, vibrant and alive. There is a velvety richness in the palace of your being, replete with everything you could ever need or want.

This is Grace, alive in each heart. It does not require imagination or wishful thinking because Grace is real. We can access it by choosing it over and above everything else that may be going on. We make this choice repeatedly – against all odds – until it is automatic. We choose – pain or Grace.

The silence of a restful soul makes it obvious that life sings and sparkles. As the mind calms, another vista opens up and lets in that which our worries and thoughts block. All you need is a glimpse of being suspended in this timeless state – its fullness. You are complete. You are fulfilled. You are deeply loved as you are lived.

How Resilient Can One Be?

How many times in one lifetime can one completely start over? Can one just pick up and move forward with minimal support after each dramatic change – with little money, no caretakers, and no elder family? Can one start over – and over again – while still honing empathy, compassion, and care for all Life?

I’ve come to understand that I am such an experiment. After my transformation, I’ve noticed a gradual surrender of my life to the overall Life process – the invisible web of interconnections that is all of us. It became impossible to hold on to my life as someone who needed to get something to feel whole. I am already whole. Each time I am in a situation of significant change, I am forced to give up more comfort and more outside support. I am alive to show that complete resilience through surrender to Life is possible while still participating in everyday life.

I came to this country from the poverty of another – only to land in poverty again. I have survived rape as a child. I graduated high school two years earlier than my peers. I chose an extremely challenging technical major in college and went on to get a graduate degree in this field as a woman – when few women ventured into such fields. I’ve played classical piano competively. I’ve lived through 3 marriages, and lost almost everything in the first two. I know what it feels like to lose a child and to get him back – the instincts and love of a mother. I’ve had emotionally distant parents, with whom I’ve lost touch. I’ve had intense jobs, where I worked 60-80 hour weeks for sustained periods of time. I made and lost large sums of money. I’ve had challenges feeling like any place was home, that any group could be family, and that anything can feel “secure.” The few people with whom I shared my life think that I’ve lived many lives, did too many things – they get tired just imagining what I’ve pushed through.

When the transformation occurred about a decade ago, after a brief few months of bliss, there were still dramatic changes to my being. And then – relocation, change of career, challenges finding work, illness, challenges of putting my family on a stable financial track, and more transformation. I have often found myself feeling like living was unbearable.

Each time the rug was pulled from under my feet, I had a choice to give up or to get up again. And that became my life.

To say that I am an experiment sounds sterile and clinical, but it is not. I can feel and understand what Life is trying to discover through my existence. It wants to know if enlightenment can coexist with the nonenlightened beings so that more and more enlightened people can walk the world and spark transformation. We are entering an era when enlightened beings can no longer afford to hide in the mountains.

The only way for me to fail is to stop, but I cannot do that. It is no longer possible for me to even make that choice. I must complete this life to carve a path for others. Each of us does that – carves a path – when we embrace our unique experiment fully and surrender to living it completely.

When life situations are constantly unstable in basic human terms, it is a kind of trauma on the psyche. The challenge then becomes to adjust to being constant change without balking or breaking, without shutting down the ability to feel everything, and still continuing to love life.

The enlightened state turns up the volume on everything going on in the world. The stream of input of people’s experiences pouring in and through is neverending. However, the gift is that nothing “sticks” to drag one down to a place of no return. Laughter, humor, and joy are not only possible – they are prevalent. There is no cynicism or sarcasm. There is no making light of challenging situations. All of this is a flow that is endlessly surrendered to the Life Stream.

Am I perfect and flawless in my execution? Not at all. I stumble a lot, and fall even more. I learn from every interaction and untangle from life’s dysfunctional and impacted blueprints that have been established by countless generations. I suppose it helps that I am no longer capable of hating myself as I face obstacles.

Perhaps self-love and transformation are two sides of the same coin – one is not possible without the other. I am not talking about adoring oneself or artificially propping one’s self up to feel good. Instead, I am describing a fundamental care and the valuing of oneself that can only come from giving up a sense of investment in life to get something from it. Paradoxically, self-love comes by erasing the need to fulfill and fortify an identity, and instead reorienting the being to embrace the messy and dynamic life process as it is. Learning without judgement. Loving without neediness. Letting go without giving up.

Peace Amidst Uncertainty

I am resting – in peace. Peace is not just for death, but is here and now – for life. Everything in my life is uncertain right now, and I rest peacefully nonetheless.

I have traveled to the US from another country – from a life that would be considered difficult by most measures. I have my citizenship, but I have never felt what home feels like – not even at my country of origin. I have let go of needing a place or people to feel at home.

I’ve arrived at the end of my marriages. I had wanted marriage and friendship to be certainty, but nothing in life is certain. And yet, I feel peace.

My past is loosening from every fiber of my being – my memories, my dreams – everything is letting go. Perhaps, it is I who am letting go of everything.

On a long drive to and from a graduate class I am taking, I noticed that – despite wanting to feel regret – I do not feel regret. Everything was as it was, and now it is what it is.

Society drills into us certain ways of relating to life – that we must want, need, desire something to feel alive. If these dreams do not come true, then we must claw or cling. It was difficult for me to see through that. Now I see how, just as our brains decode light frequencies into color, we want to decode certain patterns in life. It is we who define the norms and what life should feel like when some need is not met.

Time either heals or makes things unworkable. So we adjust. On the other side, across the adjustment barrier, is something very simple. Something devoid of wanting, and yet something that cares deeply for oneself.

I feel a lack of tolerance for anything that binds me unnecessarily, or drains me. I feel care for myself. I know what I can and cannot do or give. I also know what I cannot take. Thus, it is even easier to feel care and compassion for others. I feel no need to validate my life, nor to be amidst tension and discomfort.

It’s not detachment to rest amidst complete uncertainty. Although I do not have any idea how the situations in my life will play out, I can still feel complete peace. I wait for insight – am I still responsible to someone? And, what are my choices? And, I continue, moment to moment. Of course, I still love.

I see a world filled with dreams and desires – people wanting things from the earth, from life, and from each other. Most of my life felt like a void that needed to be filled and completed. Now the void is free, and I am still here. No safety nets. No assurances. Just life. I could not know how this felt until I was in the situation to feel it. Now I know.

Knowing this is calming, soothing, and quiet. I feel quiet inside and out.

I am wondering how my life will feel day-to-day now that I know I have everything in nothing.

Choices and Responsibilities

Most of life is devoted to understanding our responsibilities and our choices. A responsibility is something we have promised to do – either explicitly or complicitly – within our sphere of influence. A choice is something that we make for ourselves. Each choice sets off ripple effects, ever-crossing the endless flow of what was previously set in motion.

Each choice is our opportunity to honor ourselves as part of One Life. Sometimes choosing the road less traveled is necessary, and – at other times – it’s good to go with the commercial tour.

Too many choices are made based on imagined dangers, false alarms, and fears of the unknown. Like an ill-timed machine, events will fire off and trigger jerks to broadcast chaos. As vortices emerge, their power and seeming stability makes some feel in control. But even the storms on Jupiter won’t last forever.

Life is explosive at a time when too few know how to be caretakers. We are clumsy in our movements, paint with strokes too broad for the canvas, and are constantly climbing out of the rockfalls we set in motion. We are not evolving biology, but evolving awareness expressing through matter and light.

We may be free to choose to participate or to avoid, but there is nothing absolute or permanent. It is clear that some situations and circumstances are unavoidable and must be ultimately engaged, while others will not budge no matter what you do until the seeds come to fruition. Although it is possible to do nothing at all, it quickly becomes apparent that inaction is just another form of action.

When an imbalance is set up, situations build until they break. Something eventually will give way in the face of mud and water racing down a mountain. Structures are bound to be destroyed and others made possible. At our core, we can feel that all this play cannot annihilate. There are only delays, but never ultimate destruction.

Wisdom is knowing what to allow and what to resist, when to speak and when to be silent, and when to participate as an individual or a member of a community. Growing plants and nurturing children gives much insight into when to prune and when to encourage. As with all life processes, we can hear more when we attune to the deeper things – the undertow. It takes skill to hear what is really being said, beyond the words and in the realm of energy. It takes patience to discern the shadows cast on a cave wall. It takes loving kindness to see that death and life breathe the same air.

Somewhere between peace and battle lies a steady stream of engaged living. We hone our blueprints to correspond with the buildings. We do not run and hide, nor do we attack and crush. Surfing this slipstream, we learn how to move so that we honor both ourselves and others until we understand the subtle difference.

We are caretakers in the making, emerging from the wild. More and more will learn how to move without disturbing the delicate. We will focus force where needed, and be gentle with the soft and the ephemeral. When less and less life slips through the cracks unnoticed, we’ll transform – again and again.

No one can see what will be because It creates in each moment. Right now may be a time to rest and listen. Then, when it is time to act, the vanishing boundary between choice and responsibility will be more clear.

Sand grains rushing through inverted clocks…. Timing – not time – is everything.

Spiritual Teacher Clothing Line

When people become interested in enlightenment, they don’t really know what they are looking for. Then come the books, the crystals, the candles, the gongs, the singing bowls, and the meditation cushions. Maybe they meditate or chant. Maybe they spend hours talking about all-things-deeply-spiritual with others.

Some decide that they are somehow advanced or enlightened because they accumulate some basic sanity about life, or some knowledge, or both. Others realize that they can’t do “it” alone and start shopping for a “spiritual teacher.”

Shopping for a spiritual teacher is a lot like shopping for an outfit. If you didn’t have a good mommy, you are looking for a dream mommy. If you didn’t have a good daddy, you are looking for a dream daddy. If you didn’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend, you hope to get one with a spiritual flair. If you don’t need any of that, maybe you hope for a therapist – a voice of reason that will counsel you through life’s ups-and-downs. And there are so many more ways to mix and match for that personalized, custom-tailored spiritual teacher – perfectly suited for the new identity you want to embody.

On the flip-side, some beings actually put themselves in the public view as spiritual teachers. There are very few who have actually transformed – and even fewer agreeing to meet a handful of seekers here and there. Most publicly available spiritual teachers are beings who got a grip on their “life-on-Earth” thing and serve as life coaches. The entrepreneurial spirit of the West has created many identities of “helpers,” “not helpers,” “catalysts,” “healers,” “mentors” – whatever. A shingle on the door, and the teacher…is…in. That being said, some people are excellent life coaches and do help others successfully navigate living.

Enlightened beings don’t go looking to be spiritual teachers. Confusion creates teachers. Those who are free do not need to teach anyone anything. Sometimes, people come by and they need something. Sometimes, it feels OK to support them. Most people who interact with me have no idea who I am. I don’t have a horse in the race and I understand free will. I also understand the value of a person seeing themselves in the mirror very clearly. Some do need to feel – even for a brief moment –  the loosening of the illusion that we can and do have so much control in life, and that this is actually alright.

I can also see through how people want to use the energy I carry for their own agendas. It’s an unconscious craving that people have – they can feel something “powerful” and they want it for themselves, without actually understanding either what they feel or what “it” really is. Nevertheless,  just by being there, I allow a person to see more clearly how they are tripping over themselves and others in life. And then, I watch what they do with that insight. I may end up giving energy to that person to help themselves heal and move forward, but how they use it is up to them. If they decide to use that energy to lash out at life because of their pent up frustration, I encourage them to not come back. I don’t give it or them another thought.

The problem with the “spiritual teacher” dynamic is that people usually just want to have lives that feel happier, better, good-er, and more meaningful. But that is not transformation. I know from experience that transformation is not something that I could imagine before it happened – and continued – for me.

Transformation is similar to the phase changes of matter – liquid to solid, for example. People studying phase changes make computer simulations to show how liquid water cools: liquid water molecules buzz around in a random state and then, suddenly, organize into clear hexagonal molecule arrangements. Similarly, the lives of a few individuals may birth certain trends and social movements: at first, only a few express something, and then many individuals suddenly organize around a cause or an idea or an experience.

Enlightenment is something that happens suddenly and irreversibly to completely reorganize how you – as a living process – relate to the energy that lives you and everything else. The process continues and there seem to be a number of distinct phases someone can pass through – until the body can no longer support the energy of that being’s life.

One cannot be taught into this different state of being. Yet, it does seem to be the next wave of evolution for humanity at some point in the future.

One can get glimpses of transformation by being exposed to a living being that is already in that state. Furthermore, one can try to study one’s life with the help and insight of a transformed being who can see you clearly. Always, you draw your own conclusions.

To most people, feeling such exposure and lack of control – where there is no game that could be played – is not a pleasant experience. In fact, those who do get to experience such exposure and obviousness of themselves, find it terrifying. Only a certain kind of soul can stare right into the stuff they don’t want to see or know about themselves, and then keep looking until things are healed…. Such tenacity requires great restraint that few have to the degree that is necessary to withstand the heat of profound embarrassment that comes with being seen, and then to move through that fire.

Any dream life is a dream, and people love dreams. They tell lots of stories, look at the stars, and pontificate deeply about whether reincarnation is fake or real, or what Christ and Buddha teachings really mean. This mind-driven analysis touches only a micro-atom of the universe that is unfolding. An enlightened being shows reality, stripped of every dream, every illusion, and turns everything that is held near-and-dear upside-down. How? By being in the room. Nothing special is done. Embodying that energy is all that happens. While I have compassion for pain, I do not engage in people’s games at all. Day-to-day, I engage people through real-world tasks or projects that need to be done – that’s mostly it.

A happy, put-together life, where all the ducks are in a row and quacking, the money is flowing in, and onlookers are dazzled – these are about mastering living on Earth. Even so, complete control and stability are impossible for many reasons. And, these things have nothing to do with becoming an open gateway for the energy that lives all – including all on the Earth. Neither kind of life is better or worse – these are just very different ways of relating to the life process.

So, if you are looking to get your life together, find a good life coach or a pastor or a therapist. Learn how to talk to people, get jobs, manage your finances, eat well, have healthy relationships, and express your talents. Let your life be your teacher and bond with people who can help you out.

If you feel that you have been-there-done-that and are trying a different way to relating to life, then a “teacher” will find you. One thing is certain – all beings who have broken through the first transformation barrier begin to serve as natural mirrors for others, and wherever you go there you are. Until then, you do you.

One thing seems true… You don’t actually stop being born until you die. You unfold your entire life. It is a myth that birthing stops upon exiting the womb.

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.

Breaking Free from Illusion to Nurture Relationship of Self and Planet