Transformation Is Not An Experience 

Transformation has not been a common occurrence through the ages, and not all who have transformed were or are well known. 

Transformation is easy to misunderstand. It is not about becoming kinder, nicer, more peaceful, more creative, or more powerful. Whereas one can train oneself to act kindly and project a calm demeanor, self-control is not transformation. Instead, to transform is to embody a completely new awareness of life – which is actually the very opposite of controlling anything. Self-control can be lost, while transformation is a stable shift. Another way to describe transformation is as ever increasing freedom.

Transformation is identifying less and less with the body, the mind, the emotions, and more with the awareness that lives and expresses these things. As it turns out, there are many layers to awareness – as you shift into a new awareness, another lies deeper and eventually makes itself known. 

Dr. Wilder Penfield, while mapping the brain, noticed that his patients referred to an “I” that was watching and commenting on the experiment while it was happening. This “I” could detach from the experience and observe. Dr. Penfield referred to this observer as “The Watcher.” It is fascinating that our body and mind – a collection of parts – has a way of coming together under a single identity. This Watcher is usually the Ego-I, identified with an experience.

Imagine now that what you identify with  evolves into a completely unpredicted state of awareness – even the idea of “I” may dissolve completely . You cannot predict what each transformation will bring because it is not based on any prior experience. You cannot choose the next level of your evolution because you have no reference point – you can only choose to let go.

Then, imagine that you break through to realizing that you are being lived by a profound consciouness that also lives everything and everyone, and your awareness shifts to That. What does that feel like? How does that change the way you relate to life? Without trying to act happy, you become the essence of happiness that is unconditional and independent of life experiences.

 Imagine further that your awareness shifts into what lives this universe and breaks beyond the “boundaries” of this reality. Who is living you then?

With each shift, the new awareness goes through an adjustment phase to relearn how to relate to the world – not unlike a newborn. Everything is unfamiliar because the one experiencing has changed. Old ways of connecting to life no longer work, expire, and are cast aside. Gradually, the filters are released and life is lived directly, in its raw glory of the divine exploring itself. 

The New Age movement often references the Higher Self as something that is separate. However, from the perspective of transformation, there is not one but a multitude of “Higher Selves”, waiting to be integrated and gradually dissolving the “Self.” Perhaps, even “higher” may be misleading and could be replaced by the word “authentic,” as one sheds skins of separation from reality.

So, who cares if transformation is our birthright? If we can’t even imagine what life becomes with each shift, why bother with the whole idea? Of course, most people will not bother because they have plenty to explore already. However, some will feel that something is missing from their lives – something they can’t quite name. This feeling is different from boredom or apathy. Rather, it is more like a hunger – a dynamic state of searching for what one knows not.

Spiritual seekers fall into two general categories: those who want to accumulate fantastic and extraordinary experiences and power, and those who are ready for the possibility that transformation is not an experience at all. To have an experience assumes that “you” are there to experience, but to be transformed leaves one wide open to freedom from experience, interpretation, and “knowing.”

Awareness transformation – a shedding of filters and illusion – can be an extremely raw and uncomfortable experience. Before you can shed the old ways of relating, you must be completely exposed and vulnerable. You must surrender the assumption that you know anything, or that you have become and achieved. Intellectually, this may sound pretty straightforward. However, in practice, there is much resistance to letting go of yourself. The process may even feel like dying. 

If you are one who will undergo multiple transformations in one lifetime, then just when you settle into a new rest-stop, you will need to move into the unknown again. Just when you feel there is nothing more to surrender, there is more. Here “surrender” is not about giving in to anything or anyone – it is a letting go of everything you believe you are to make room for something altogether different.

I suppose tramsformation can be viewed as evolution – not of the instrument, but of awareness itself. But as awareness changes, so does the body, and so does the way we relate to life – all of life. 

Some people believe that they can become transformed on their own – without a model that has already crossed thresholds. Only a few have done this successfully because it is too easy to become trapped in illusion without someone to snap you out of it. Resistance to transformation is exceedingly strong, complemented by denial, deflecting of feedback from the world, and the need to feel like one has “achieved realization.” Beings get stuck like this and are unlikely to know that they are stuck. 

If you believe that you know something or are someone, chances are that you are trapped in a hall of mirrors. Transformation increasingly takes one to a state of innocence, and not of the helpless variety. There is so much strength and inspiration in letting go – like a monk blowing away a painstakingly created mandala of sand without feeling any loss. In transforming, you always seem to need to let go of something deemed very beautiful. 

Crazy Wisdom or Crazymaking?

Many years ago, I discovered the writings of Chogyam Trungpa. Specifically, his phrase Crazy Wisdom was something that felt very familiar to me. When I read his books, I pictured wise men and women – usually in India – acting counter to social norms, laughing when laughter was not expected, giving someone a rock after a question was asked of them, and generally acting in counterintuitive and illogical ways. Although I had not met such beings, I felt that I had an inkling of intuition about this state.

I felt a freedom emanating from the idea of Crazy Wisdom – a letting go like no other. At the time, I wanted so much to be free of all of societal constraints, and imagined how I could navigate life as easily as a breeze, or a cloud, or an ocean wave. Since a very young age, I sought this freedom before I had any vocabulary or spiritual teachings to express my yearning. In silence, I held that feeling of freedom near and dear.

I’ve learned since then that people in the West often cannot recognize an enlightened being, and would not likely be able to tell if someone is wise or confused, or just another person walking by. That is no surprise because, at first glance, an enlightened being looks just like everyone else – and most don’t wish to be recognized. No white or saffron robes. No face paint. No prayer beads. Just presence.

It is so easy to project one’s own thoughts and ambitions and fears onto an awake  being without even sensing the  projections for what they are.  It can feel so natural to dismiss innocence as slow intellect, naivete, or a lack of understanding. And the awakened one cares not. He or she simply continues to be innocently present – even while all this drama is going on – steeped in bliss as pure awareness.

The Western world makes it challenging for such beings to be who they are. Unlike in India and Tibet, where wise men and women are respected and welcome, the West has a very fixed set of norms. If the awakened one wishes to have a job in the mainstream marketplace, he or she encounters much resistance and misunderstanding just by virtue of being there. There may be comments about that person’s unconventional approach and countless projections about what this being is thinking or feeling – but all are projections nonetheless. Regardless of endless criticism, circumstances do change toward the positive around such a being, but he or she is not cencerned with receiving appreciation and acknowledgement – he or she has no need for these.

So, how can we tell if a person is awake or crazy? Now, there is no clinical definition of crazy, and insanity has a very specific definition in legal settings. Psychologists  talk about perseveration, which is “compulsive, hopeless, helpless, automatic and unsatisfying” behavior. However, in my travels, I’ve encountered  crazymaking, which I describe as any acts that promote agendas and limit interconnection of ideas and people. I’ve observed that when people do not fully listen, ask few question, have little or no genuine interest in others, and push ahead with their own agendas, the atmosphere becomes toxic. Such people are rigid in their perceptions, but may even consider themselves awakened or wise. Awake beings have no agenda, but they are no patsies either – they know what’s up.

What fascinates me is that people who have an agenda to “be right,” “know it all,” “have the answers,” “get approval”, “be the best/smartest/most attractive/most talented,” or even to literally want to hurt others, may have no idea that they are driven by such agendas.   They interrupt others while pretending to listen, toot their own horn, put words in other people’s mouths, project emotions onto others, and spread negative comments in person or online. They leave toxicity in their wake – of course, there are degrees of toxicity. Is this not crazymaking? Does this have anything to do with an open, innocent being who moves in unconventional ways and, perhaps, uses unconventional words to simply express?

Awake beings come in all shapes and sizes, and behave in a myriad of ways. Some let go of this life’s norms completely. They are as compatible with illusion as oil and water, and always give freely of themselves to those in need – what else can love do?

Those who are connected to an awake being will recognize them for who they are and see an opportunity. Others will simply walk on by. And all is as it should be – as it is. There can be no crazymaking in Crazy Wisdom because, in full awakening, there is no ego to run the show – and it is such a show….

Fear of Being Real

The fear of being real is very real. Why bother being someone when you think that you are not good enough for others? Being fake is also scary – what if they eventually strip away the veneer and figure out that you may not be all that they’ve believed you were?

This fear goes deeper than reluctance to  reveal beliefs and ideologies, gender identity, sexual orientation, intelligence or education level to a critical audience. This fear is older – ancient – cutting at the core of whether or not you value who you are. And, who are you, anyway?

We often hear that if we love ourselves, we will attract people who love us for who we are. The reality is that we cross paths with all kinds of people, even if we love ourselves through and through.

It may be more accurate to say that if we love ourselves, we attract and keep relationships where we are loved, while appropriately distancing ourselves from those who hurt us. But even this feels incomplete…. I can name a number of people who loved and cared for me when I completely hated myself, and feel gratitude for these kind souls then and now. Some people come in and try to teach us that we are lovable and that love is possible. So, who does one really need to be to be loved?

We don’t really know who we are until other people come along and show us how we feel about ourselves through our relationships.  They mirror back to us all our antics and machinations, and reflect any and all heartfelt movements. We see, we react, and we boil inside when we know that we have allowed ourselves to be false.

At first, relationships mostly teach us who we are not. With every conflict and confrontation with another, we learn when we’ve had enough pretending. With every accolade for playing to an audience, we feel more and more exploited for forgetting our truth. Every time we are ignored or cast aside, we feel our insides twist and the temptation to be whatever we need to successfully pull in relationships – we begin to notice those moments when we feel the need to pose. We don’t like to be lonely, and many also don’t like feeling fake.

Not knowing who we are feels like we are  unpredictable,  uncontrollable –  and that is scary. There is so much uncertainty about doing the right thing to keep our relationships and avoid being lonely. Thus, many people are not interested in who they are – and only care to be the bare minimum to get what they want. And, if they don’t get what they want unless they behave a certain way, they change until they see results. They morph to match expectations rather than being real, and many are good with this setup. However, others will suffer under the industrial-scale pressures of moulding themselves to conform – what to do then?

Feeling that we fall short is not a new thing. While you may interpret this feeling as a negative, that is only an interpretation. What if, instead, you interpret every rejection, dismissal, or act of violenece as a question What am I not willing to do/be to get love? Then the beat changes…. Just asking the question can lead to new words and behaviors, which cast aside the things you are not. You can’t and don’t change who you really are. You just let go of the things you are not. This requires strength, courage, and the wilingness to explore. It is hard work in the beginning, but does get easier.

Perhaps the story of the Promethean gift of fire was passed down to us as a reminder that we are a kind of fire. Eventually, all that is false in us will burn to ashes, and the truth will rise out of these ashes to be seen. Old memories are healed when we allow ourselves to relive them consciously – as long as it takes to let them go, sitting in a pool of tears and tissues.  The fire of the heart burns away old, impacted pain and allows us to be fearless with regards to being who we are.

Ironically, we fear being truly loved because that would mean opening ourselves up. This is not emotional love that needs and clings and uses others for self-validation. If we search ourselves, we may learn that we don’t want more attachment games, and we want something more real. In its pure form, love is an embrace of yourself and the world as pure awareness. It is confidence and self-knowledge. It is vulnerability that can only be perceived as strength. To become this love, we must resist trying to protect ourselves from our own fire.

The journey to truth is a winding path – far from a straight line for most of us. Past hurts cling to the fibers of our being, and we get used to these thorns. They are pain, but we learn how to numb discomfort with overstimulating our days with social interactions, internet crawling, gaming, food, and even drugs of all sorts. Because we have lived, we carry much pain that is unfelt and unknown, but it must be known, released, and set ablaze.

Life is the ancient ritual that frees us, but only if we allow it. This process feels scary because it is a journey into the unknown. However, many have made this journey and live a life that is authentic. Do such people attract all kinds of people? Sure, and they handle situations by being true. Do such people have partners? Some do, and some don’t – it is a choice. Happy people are always beautiful and attractive to others. Are such people free of all pain? Not necessarily, but they know that they are not their pain. Are there risks in being real? Always – after all, we live in a world with so many different people. Being real does require some street-smarts 😀 But, feeling free requires absolutely nothing except just being.

***Please share your thoughts and feelings. I will try to respond.***

Creative Living

Do you believe that you are creative? Do you often find life repetitive and boring? Do you feel a yearning to express, but decide to judge and put down your creations? Do you wish to express, but then stop because you see someone doing it “better” and being praised?

Unfortunately, many confuse creativity with having a specific, well-honed skill. While creativity can build skills, creativity and skill are not the same.

Creativity is very basic to our existence – it is a way to express relationship to life through any and all actions. You feel a connection and you say or do something that brings out your unique perspective as a natural response – whether or not anyone else is looking. As your relationship to life deepens and you continue to express that, you build skill – perhaps a new skill. And you really couldn’t care less if anyone appreciates what you do.

That may sound like a pretty weird take on creativity. Isn’t creativity reserved only for those few who have been deemed by society as talented?

Society has turned creativity into a public act of showmanship. There can be so much arrogance about what is considered creative: fame, “likes,” money, and power. The sacred and intimate act of sketching, painting, dancing, singing, or writing is put on a stage in front of observers who convince us that what we create is at their pleasure. Because only a few rise up to the top of this accolade pyramid, the rest may shut down to creativity altogether and stop expressing. For so many, creativity has become about impressing others, amassing viewers and “followers”, boosting ratings, and – ultimately – money and status. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with having these things, the drive to create because of these possible outcomes misses the point of living a creative life.

Let’s go back to the beginning….One way to view life is as creating a relationship with the world and expressing this relationship. Everything we observe about what’s around us becomes a part of us. If we respond to this awareness and do something to express our take on life, then we are creating new connections and being creative. Life is the full palette available to us. Inspiration to be ourselves is the brush or instrument. Awareness is the vehicle that takes us deeper and deeper into reality, and weaves our unique perception directly into the fabric of life.  Everyone can do this at any time with – literally – any activity. Creativity is about our personal intention to connect.

A creative life is the opposite of a stuck, monotonous life. A creative life breaks the mould without trumpeting its accomplishments. There are no predetermined outcomes of a creative life because the journey is always presenting something new. That journey, unfettered by agenda, is the essence of creativity.

Every moment opens an opportunity to be creative even through the simplest of acts. Even washing dishes can be creative. But how? We do things over and over in life, and such acts can quickly  become boring to us. Where is the creativity in that?

Behind action are our attention and intention. If the intention originated from a heartfelt openness – a feeling of happy freedom in being, the attention begins to move awareness toward relationship with the world. And, even while washing dishes, we begin to notice more about the water and the plate than we did before. While holding and scrubbing a plate, cup, or fork, we explore and discover consciously. Our movements literally flow new tentrils of connection to reality in that moment that are unique because they come from a unique spark of the divine – each of us.

When a heart surrenders the fight to be the most creative and worthy of note – probably due to sheer exhaustion of having to be on stage and perform, there is literally nowhere to turn to except into the moment. The rules of engagement transform, what we value transforms, and we are free to just be – which is also creative. Simple presence, relating from moment to moment to whatever, can be the purest expression of creativity.

***Please let me know your thoughts. I will try to respond.***

The Power of Intention

Intention is the will behind thoughts, words, and actions. What we want, consciously or unconsciously, is clear to others who observe our body language and actions, and listen to how and what we say. Most of our communication is nonverbal, and most of what people remember about us is their perception of our intention – not really the details.

Some people advertise methods for controlling our intention to attract money, fame, love, and power – whatever we want. They say we need to combine visualization and our will to manifest or cocreate a more desirable reality. Does reality really work this way? If it did, how different would our world be now? 

Unfortunately, our intention is mostly unconscious and we cannot override it with visuals and positive phrases. Although these do help to temporarily boost how we feel, the unconscious eventually wins.

Intention is literally where we are coming from, which is often a jumbled and inconsistent set of beliefs about ourselves and life in general. These beliefs lie at the core of our being, forged over time by our life experiences and predispositions. Once our intentions set in, they are slow to change – regadless of how we try to manipulate our surface affect.

So, how do we discover our true intentions – unconsciousness and all? How do we make visible what is hidden? Which beliefs are really running our lives, as we walk about and interact with the world?

One way is to ask for a teacher – someone who can help to expose the you that is secret by reflecting to you your unconscious drivers. Another way is to simply listen to the recurring feedback from the world about how you present yourself. Are you kind or cruel, or both – depending on the situation? Are you gentle or agressive? Do you have a bias toward people of the same or opposite sex? Do you stereotype, condescend, or dominate? Are you open to truly appreciating the beauty of another?

Typically, the very people who irritate and annoy you in life hold the most lessons about your true intentions. These people feel no need to please you or enable you. They don’t play along. If you discard the caustic nature with which they may interact with you and truly see who they are reflecting to you, there is gold in their feedback. You may not like what you see, and that is probably because what you see hit a home run with your unconscious.

I often hear people talk about their “Higher Self”…. They may feel like they can access everything they need by themselves. There may be an air of overconfidence emanating from such people. My experience is that freedom is “No Self”, not a “Higher Self,” and that there are more evolved beings who are always needed to break a being out of their self absorption – possibly within a lifetime. Ironically, some individuals who claim enlightenment are simply a very strong ego, mesmerizing others with their overconfidence. While believing that they are enlightened, these souls are actually stuck. What are their intentions? How are they seeking self-affirmation from others?

An awake being who is completely free from self absorption is just there as “No Self,” with happiness and gifts simply going to anyone and everyone. Such a being sees directly through intentions, and their consciousness of a person helps that person to gain the courage to witness who they are not. Over time, that person prepares to see who they truly are. Regardless of how one chooses to transform simple attention to pure intention, the unconscious must be witnessed to unlock the clear stream of pure awareness that underlies all there is.

Engaging Crisis

My eight-year-old likes to say that life is not always cupcakes and roses. In fact, there are times when it seems like our lives simply collapse. Nothing feels right,  and the will to go on goes silent. We stand on a precipice – angry, sad, and isolated – and just want to give up completely. 

Any normal person will attempt to avoid crises at all costs, right? But life just keeps on moving and serving us up one experience after another. When that job or loved one is gone, when we hate who we are, and when our actions do not get the results we want, a crisis sets in. There it is…. And we don’t feel any more prepared for it than the last time. Of course, all we really want is to feel good because it truly sucks to feel bad. Of course….

However, suppose you are a person who deeply yearns for transformation. Perhaps you have glimpsed your true nature beyond the personality. Maybe you met someone who embodied freedom, and this freedom moved you. Maybe you have a nagging sense that there is more – something more – to what the world appears to offer. If you wish to lift the veil of existence, then your crises seem to come in regular waves – there is a rhythm to collapsing and rising out of your own ashes until you break free to live fully.

Anyone on a spiritual path knows crises well and dreads their depth and intensity. Each crisis feels like you are dying. However, if you truly wish to transform – undergo a fundamental change – is that not a kind of dying? When the old ways of relating to life no longer work, are these ways not dead to you? A part of you knows that what no longer works must die, and it is during such critical times that you have an opportunity to realize that the true you has nothing to do with your life situations, pain, and dysfunction.

Who is suffering during a crisis? You may say that I am suffering, but that is not quite true. If you choose to believe that you are your pain, then you will be pain. If you choose to accept that you failed, then you and your perceived failure are one and same. You identify with your pain. Thus, you are your pain. If you accept that life has no value or meaning, then you have no meaning. And this belief feels so real that you buy into it hook, line, and sinker. After all, what else is there?

An alternative way to experience a crisis is as a tool for transformation. You feel  your pain and know that you are not the pain. You feel fear and know that your are not this fear. You feel sadness and know that you are not your emotions or your thoughts. You are something else altogether, just having an experience.

A crisis is a special experience because it temporarily destabilized every belief you have held onto and demands that you break free from feeling like you are your beliefs. A crisis is a door opening to a new possibility of freedom. You are not dying, but your impacted beliefs are. And that is the transformation process in a nutshell.

As a spiritual practitioner matures, it becomes – paradoxically – easier to move through crises. There is, in fact, an expectation that crises will come, and come again. On the other side of a crisis, there is a deeper insight into what is really going on behind the veil. During these collapses, our awareness is free to operate unimpeded by illusion.

Crises are powerful catalysts for seeing life – and yourself – from a fresh perspective. After freedom from illusion, there is only life, and there is you. Regardless of the arising situations, you know that are not your situations or experiences. You are beyond this level of handling life. The closest word to describe you is happiness, permanent and unperturbed.

Who Are You, Really?

What does it mean to know who you are? The process of discovery may have very humble beginnings….

At first, you may not really care who you are, and care more about what other people think of you. The world is your mirror and you check your reflection,  believing that the reflection is you. If you like what you see, you keep it up. If you hate what you see, you may still keep it up. You may also feel the need to change your behaviors and beliefs until your reflection meets your expectations. And all this time, you don’t distinguish between yourself and the reflection – while you look outward, you believe that this is you

Because the outside looks solid, you also feel solid and real. That is comforting – for awhile….

After looking outward for some time, you may begin to wonder why you occasionally feel bleedthroughs of thoughts and feelings that bear no resemblance to your accepted sense of self. You may start to wonder whether there is more to you than can be affirmed by other people. You may even decide that others may be perceiving you through their own filters, and you filter them as well. Eventually, you become temporarily confused about where to look for yourself and which feelings to trust. This confusion births a new space for exploration. So you ask Who am I?

You follow the threads of how you relate to the apparent outer world back to yourself, studying your childhood, your parents, your friends and partners. Rather than focusing on your reflection, you are following the rays to their origin. This is the beginning of taking responsibility for your identity, which is really a form of acknowledging that you are a unique presence.

You explore what you like and don’t like, who you spend time with, and what you believe. You may wonder what you value and what inspires you. As you explore, you also define and redefine yourself – like trying on different outfits. You keep the one that looks good to you, and change into another one later. You are creating your identity and experience through its eyes. Unlike other reflection, you engage in self reflection – but reflection nonetheless.

Eventually, you may decide that the ability to define yourself feels incomplete. You get the feeling that something or someone is watching you create – and that watcher is the real you. More and more, you identify with that anonymous observer, always looking through your eyes. Then, an amazing shift occurs and you let go of the need to define yourself altogether.

You revel in the direct experience of this nameless presence that is pure awareness and your awareness shifts to being that. Then, you rest as bliss.

But even that feels incomplete. After you realize yourself, you yearn to express and manifest from the vastness of that realization. Now you are but a newborn,  learning how to relate to the world as you. Everything is new and, unlike before, you do not assume to know or have the answers. You are innocent, but not naive. There is no fear, nor any hesitation. You move spontaneously, directly, and simply to build a new bridge to the world as pure awareness. And the world – well, it no longer feels separate from you.

So, who are you, really?

Peace Through Confrontation

Everyday human interactions often fall short of building strong relationships that are based on happiness, positivity, and mutual respect. Why is that?

The world is an ocean of dueling perspectives, as people take the actions that are most likely to assert their self image and world view. There is an overwhelming drive to feel real, and people will do, think, and feel whatever  brings them closer to experiencing their own flesh and blood, a sense of power or powerlessness, and a belief of having it all, something, or nothing. “Feeling real”  is the equivalent of having the world continuously affirm one’s self- and world view, while feeling “nothing” is a crisis to be avoided or battled at all costs. “Feeling real” is one and the same as feeling loved, but most people experience neither and look for their world to prove love to them.

One’s perception of how real one is forms the undertoe that churns and shapeshifts our dynamics. A person may feel real in being an agressor or a victim – the polarity of the worldview does not matter. So much effort is expended on this “feeling real loved” game that the true nature of existence is veiled. So, conflict is sure to arise among and within those whose self perception must be endlessly reinforced.

Agendas swirl around in eddies at all scales – from individual to intercontinental. Individuals, families, friends, communities, and countries interlock in intricate patterns of compatible world views – either allied or at war. Politics – at all levels – is the dance that takes place among those who feel like they are always lacking something vital. Dominance, manipulation, and inappropriate boundaries ebb and flow, generating reactions and further conflict. 

Beyond this chaotic soup of self-affirmation is a way of being where you feel connected and whole, nothing is missing, and it is unnecessary to use the world for self validation. Instead, the world becomes an extension of pure awareness exploring all possibilities. All games and machinations become transparent.

Now, how does someone who is firmly and unconditionally grounded in feeling and being real and loved relate to those who believe they are shadows? Sadly, it is difficult for an awake being to relate to illusion. The process of communicating with someone caught up in doubt is a work of compassion – confronting debilitating beliefs and supporting deeper insights and gestures. 

While many envision enlightened beings as softspoken and gentle individuals, this view is incomplete. One who is awake will adjust their energy output to whatever is coming in. Often, direct and strong confrontation arises naturally to neutralize illusion. Strong, precise words. Volume.  Fire to break up impacted delusions and soften receptivity to the fact that one is already complete and completely loved at the very core of one’s being. The person who receives this kind of confrontation will likely go into a temporary and powerful crisis, during which time they are available to new awareness.

An awakened being shouts or laughs with only the energy needed to shatter strong patterns of illusion without ever feeling any emotional drive. There is no anger and no malice. There is no retaliation or the need to control. The idea of manipulation is foreign. Such confrontation is just a simple response to restore peace and open a space for healing. 

Spontaneous and grounded in love, enlightened beings turn “complicated” into “simple.” Our core nature is simple, but self doubt creates a complex webwork of illusion that binds anyone who is susceptible to its pull. Awake confrontation is not conflict – it is peace and a gesture of love.

Enlightenment and Everyday Life

We may picture enlightened beings living in the mountains, sitting in lotus posture for days, or walking pilgrimages to holy lands. However, there are enlightened beings living in everyday world – both the East and the West. You may not recognize their state  if you see them on the street, in the grocery store, or in the restaurant. Unless they feel drawn to teaching others that unconditional happiness is possible, it is unlikely that they want others to know about their transformed awareness. 

It turns out that living a typical life is very challenging for an enlightened being – mostly for the other people. That presence has a strong effect on people, which can be either positive or negative. While such a being is grounded in surrender to the infinite, others can experience fear, discomfort, or  anger in their presence. Most people are unsure why they feel what they feel, and their reactions can be quite intense. Without saying a word, an enlightened being will either be adored or hated, crises and dysfunction will come out of hiding,  and people’s true colors will become clear and visible without any apparent overt triggers. 

So, an enlightened being who lives a life in society and works within societal structures may have a hard time “blending in,” as the surrounding people experience that energy. Many do not want to awaken yet, and that presence is an irritant to them – especially with long-term exposure. People may have strong resistance to the innocent being and want to hurt them – either physically, verbally, or on other levels. In the West, there is not much talk about the possibility of being around someone who has the ability to see right through them, and no talk about the change and instability such an energy may bring about as it naturally inspires deeper healing.

At this time, Western culture is not really set up for having enlightened beings work mainstream jobs. However, it is not necessarily the case that such beings should hide in secluded communities that are immersed in spiritual life. In fact, more are now being called to walk amidst everyday life on the frontlines, holding regular jobs and having families. However, it is often necessary for such beings to manage their own businesses, rather than work for someone else, and to have more flexibility to do what they feel is needed.

To the enlightened being, it is just a part of their life to continue to be who they are, do what creatively expresses who they are, and respond to events as they come. Such a life is interesting, for sure, and primarily in constant flux at this time in Earth’s history. These nomads are in this world but are no longer of it. They have no agenda and they don’t ask for recognition or gratitude. Being steeped in the infinite is all there is, and they are learning how to be in the world. There is always more to learn….

Transcending the Tension of Opposites

Many have said that it is the nature of this world to be in a state of continuous tension – polar opposites dance and tug and no utopia or dystopia is ever meant to be reached. However, it is one thing to read about this concept in a book and something altogether different to live as continuous change.

I began my life seeking “good” in the world and within myself. When I was about 13 years old, I briefly spent time with a spiritual teacher who never called himself that. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I quickly answered “Fix the world.” He then asked me, “What is broken?” There was something about the way he asked the question that made me pause for years to come. I knew life often felt uncomfortable and even painful – to me and to others – but the root cause was not obvious.

I wrestled with life scenarios that resulted in no pain or suffering of any kind for anyone. This problem held my interest because I was in pain and also was very sensitive to the pain of others – I wanted the discomfort to stop for everyone. At the time, I had defined the problem with my mind, in absence of real feeling or understanding, and also tried to solve the problem with the mind. But the mind was limited by the kinds of solutions it was capable of producing – logic could only lead to a conclusion that to stop feeling pain, one would need to stop feeling everything.

A number of years passed until I met someone who practiced acupuncture. I watched her work and saw that she helped many people feel better. I thought that, maybe, I could help others by taking away their pain through some healing modality. I studied yoga, Reiki, and even enrolled in acupuncture school for awhile. But it didn’t make sense to me why people would have suffering in the first place, only to make it necessary for someone else to try to heal it. If the goal was to heal all disease and end all dysfunction and destitute, then happiness is nothing more than the result of life working out. Such conditional happiness is destined to stop and go in this plane of existence where conditions are ever in flux. I gave up looking to “heal” or “fix” anything and turned toward the possibility that unconditional happiness was the only freedom in a world of conditions.

At first, the idea seemed rediculous – how could one be happy unless everything in  life was just right? Why would one choose to be happy when one is alone, poor, hungry, overworked, or sick? The breakthrough comes when life situations cease to define how you feel. While the mind has trouble grasping this possibility, the heart yearns for it naturally. Once the illusion of defining oneself through “life success” dissolves, a deeper realization about life takes hold – a freedom from the tension of opposites and an appreciation of its wisdom for our evolution. 

Suffering is there when there is either something to gain or lose. Freedom is the feeling of “having it all” in any situation because “I” am no longer defined by the situation.

So, this world moans in anguish and laughs with abandon, drinks and eats, and thirsts and starves. There is no permanent “fix” for the tension of opposites, but there appears to be a way to stop playing the game altogether that surprisingly ignites an ever deepening and unconditional appreciation of the life process. It is through the futility of trying to change the changing reality that we are free to simply revel in our true nature that is bliss. From this perspective, helping others takes on a meaning that is very different from “fixing.”

Breaking Free from Illusion to Nurture Relationship of Self and Planet