Tag Archives: enlightenment

When People Talk, Who Are They Talking To?

If we consider that our view of the world is shaped by how our brains interpret reality, it’s amazing that we believe that we agree on so much. We have been able to create languages that capture some of our ideas, but there is so much that is absolutely unique to each of us and is never shared with anyone else. Thus, each of us is largely unknown to anyone else.

Our experiences do much more than imprint memories – they actually shape our nervous systems to select what is important, label what we perceive, and respond. It took me a long time to understand that people share much less than they think they do. When people listen, what they hear is passed through their filters. What people see and feel emotionally is also colored by their unique configurations. We all literally live in different worlds, and it is pretty amazing that we coexist despite such a great and invisible divide.

Social norms for behavior turn out to be critical for the human race. No matter how we work on the inside, we make a pact to – at least – present a predictable exterior to others and behave and talk in a certain way. Our norms help us to achieve basic interactions, and we end up hiding the rest of ourselves because there are literally no words. In fact, people pay no attention to the possibility that none of us perceive the same reality – same in ways that truly matter.

Often, when people talk, they are talking to their perceptions of a person in front of them – and not to the actual being. When the other person listens, they are not likely to hear the true intentions behind what is said because they are dealing with their own projection. We look each other in the eye, but fail to see anyone objectively. Why else would we spend so much of our time arguing, mincing words, studying nonverbal communication, and refining social norms?

Why do we marry people who most resemble our parents, or befriend those who are most like our best or worst beliefs about ourselves? Often, we are re-enacting our past. We see old dramas and traumas replaying, and we respond to them as if they are current and real – mostly unconsciously. Others are doing the same. We trigger one another’s fears and doubts, but very little of what we exchange is about the here and now.

We don’t see or hear the present – we are not wired to do so. During our formative years, we mould our perceiving pathways, and these stick into adulthood. Most of what we sense are impressions in a hall of mirrors.

Healing our old traumas helps us to move into the present. However, only enlightenment can break the mould we have constructed for ourselves, which prevents us from truly seeing and hearing others. Perhaps the most disconcerting realization is watching others interact with you while not really perceiving you at all. Then, you feel like a ghost.

The others – a part of them knows that something is amiss – that they too feel like ghosts. Just like in the movie The Others, both the dead and the living sense each other as ghosts. Everyone’s core loneliness is all too evident, and no one can put their finger on the reason why they feel alone among so many people.

There’s no quick fix to this dilemma of nearly every person living within a perception bubble of their own unconscious construction. There’s no clear-cut solution to attaining the much-sought-after trust.

People feel so happy when they make a new friend or fall in love – those initial days and months are all about playing into each other’s illusions. Eventually we all realize that we still feel alone and give way to the ingrained cycles of battling old enemies and reliving old crises. Most people are iTunes on single-repeat.

I’ve taken extreme measures to free myself from the prison of old wiring. I’ve been letting go of every crutch and prop I find, and I’m still not done. It’s incredible to see how much of my life was stuck in grooves. I was sleepwalking. And I sought out and found others who could readily trigger and reflect to me what I wanted to see.

My body has been purifying and aligning to seeing the world without a constructed self. It is not enough to awaken – the body must also rip apart old wiring, let go of everything that is not real, and create new pathways for relating to life.

I have been deconstructing my life piece by piece to eliminate what has nothing to do with who I am now. I no longer care if anyone sees me for who I am or understands me – the need for that is gone. Ironically, I do see clearly how they see me and why. There is acceptance that most people will not get me at all. However, I am the happiest I’ve ever been and dragging around less dead weight in my body. I’ve even lost weight after letting go of some people and situations.

The only reality is what lives me, and This is not locked into a repetitive pattern. I am more than OK that others find my methods strange and unwelcome. I feel the difference as my life becomes lighter, clearer, and uncluttered.

How do I know I am not still simply reliving the past in a blind stupor? Because I am dreaming new dreams and seeing the past as a projection on the present moment – I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I’ve stopped crafting tomorrow.

Self-Esteem: Ego or Enlightenment?

Self-esteem, from an ego perspective, consists of three distinct processes: continuously forming an identity, evaluating an identity (comparing), and then maintaining and protecting one’s identity. These processes have operated in humanity for thousands of years and literally determine how alive or real a person feels:

  • “Who am I?”
  • “Do I have value?” (relative to others)
  • “When my identity is threatened, I must defend it at all costs.”

The stronger the identity, the more reinforcement it requires, and the more alive the person feels when the ego is well fed. It is fragile and delicate, but also vicious.

People who have developed a strong positive view of self have a very strong will to exercise their confidence in the world. They want to achieve things, have ambition, take risks to try new things, and are driven by failures as opportunities for growth. Such people are deemed successful by society, where success is measured by one’s potential to make life work out – productive career, enjoying work, accumulating wealth and status, being surrounded by those who love and even adore us, and being recognized for our achievements. Maybe these personas will project an image of not needing others to validate them, but they are constantly looking for the world to say “You’ve done good!” and, maybe, “I envy you.”

People with a strong negative self view define themselves to be limited, are unable to see their potential, and perceive setbacks as further validation that life does not work – perhaps, life can never work. Paradoxically, such people are constantly seeking positive recognition, but focus exclusively on what they consider their failures to reinforce the belief that they are doomed to fail. They live as if the deck is always stacked against them, develop a persona to mask their insecurities, and take action out of fear that they will be ultimately exposed as fake. Such people hide from life to avoid exposure, which is severely painful and embarrassing to them.

In reality, a person identifies with both positive and negative aspects. Interestingly, when the self is threatened or confronted by life situations, the ego will take over a seemingly nice person and they are transformed into a creature that is driven by pure fear. The person lashes out, behaves like a cornered animal, exercises tactics of dominance and manipulation, and wishes destruction upon anyone challenging or exposing their fragile self-view. There is also a high degree of paranoia that blindly projects one’s intentions onto anyone who opposes the egoic position.

During a confrontation or a heated situation, an ego loses the capacity to discern which part is itself vs. which part is owned by someone else. It equates love and support with those who reinforce its walls, and equates a threat with those who confront it. Ego wants to feel power and force, but these are fleeting and must be constantly fed.

From an ego-free perspective, the ruffled ego is self-absorbed, defensive, offensive, and an expression of fear. Enlightenment is difficult for ego to even imagine because the ego has such a strong compulsion to defend itself at all costs – it is a very strong and stable process, hardwired in humanity to do what it does. What is most striking is that ego has such a limiting effect on a being that it is painful to watch. It’s as if someone found a penny on the street and fights off others from taking it away using heavy artillery.

Ego creates karma, and egolessness unwinds karma and catalyzes healing.

There is a myth that an enlightened being must give everything away and give in to the wishes of others – if one is not attached, why have anything? However, while living on Earth and in a body, no life can continually give of itself and survive. In fact, acts of martyrdom are typically unnecessary because Life wants us to live and to express. An enlightened being will balance giving and receiving what is needed to sustain one’s life and ability to shine. In other words, such a being will sometimes be called to fight for his or her life (and the lives for whom this being is responsible) because life is a valued treasure. However, at the core, there is no attachment to the outcome – just complete surrender to that which lives the body.

This lack of passivity in enlightened beings is very difficult for egos to understand and can be misinterpreted to be just another ego. I think that most people expect enlightenment to be about giving away all of one’s possessions and walking around and begging for food. An enlightened being will do so only if necessary, but will also gladly accept a life of comfort. If there is no comfort and begging is a necessity, there are no tears about it.

While there is no attachment to any situation, the enlightened being will not just give everything away – there is none of “Take whatever you need and go.” That is a denegration of life: like the tree that bears fruit and all come and strip it bare without caring for it at all, taking the fruit and the tree for granted.

Fighting for life is appropriate and is not a sign of unenlightenment. Such a fight will look for ways to end a battle in a way where all are healed.

Conversely, fighting as ego – as an identity – is a limiting endeavor. Because an ego feels little to nothing beyond the things and people that sustain it or threaten it, the ego is like a rabid animal that bites and gnaws and relishes in pain – it could care less about all coming out of the battle healed. The flared ego has no empathy – no capacity to understand others or to take a big-picture view of a situation. The ego only sees itself in everything and everyone.

The ego will refuse to recognize a free being because that would be its certain death, and it must prevail. The free being must tango and tussle with egos, handle the attacks, but is fundamentally immersed in a state of peace, awe, and gratitude in Life.

Self-esteem that is based in ego is very different than the value an enlightened being acknowledges of one’s life.

What threatens your sense of self? As long as someone is there to be threatened, self-esteem is just a game of dominance for one’s world view.

A healed life esteem does not seek to harm others and, in fact – wishes to help others heal, but also takes no shit and often pops the fragile bubbles that hold hostage the light within us all.

Confusing Enlightenment With Being A Better You

Most people market enlightenment as becoming the best one can be – a nice, calm person that says extremely wise things and is adept at living life to the max.

Self-help movements are packaging “basic-sanity” life skills under Growth Mindset, “Grit,” Habits of Mind, Social Emotional Competence (SEC), Emotional Intelligence (EQ), and Mindfulness. When properly engaged, everyone can benefit from greater self-awareness, self-management, resilience, perseverance, and empathy. The qualities of the hero are as relevant now as they were thousands of years ago. These qualities are excellent at helping us discover and build an identity that skillfully moves through our societal structures and experiences meaning in life. But, this is not enlightenment.

Enlightenment is the dissolution of the mechanism we use to build, refine, and maintain an identity – a sense of “I am this” or “I did that.” As long as there is still someone there, that consciousness is not free and remains limited by the boundaries that define the “I.” Unfortunately, the mechanism of the ego is impossible to understand while being an ego. At some later point in our evolution, the definition of enlightenment will change.

But, in the here and now, why would anyone want to get rid of the sense of self? Isn’t the whole point of being here to become a strong person that can successfully navigate life’s challenges, feel confident, and influence others? To most people at this time, that is the point. In most cases, there must be a strong identity before that identity can be dissolved.

However, some people are born feeling like they’ve been there and done that, so to speak. They usually have a number of natural talents and a strong personality from a very young age. But, they also feel like they are missing something critical in life no matter what activity they engage or what they try to accomplish. There is this constant tone of emptiness in nearly every experience, no matter how “peak.” The process of enlightenment can culminate for such people in this life. They are ready to let go because they have something to let go of.

Currently, the most certain way to transcend the entire dilemma of being an “I” is to be connected to a being who is free of ego. The reason this connection is necessary is because such a being serves as the bridge to help an ego-bound person see that which they need to let go. Without the bridge, ego perpetuates more ego. The connection happens rather mysteriously and beyond space and time – the “connected” being deepens and grows even while no in-person communication takes place.

When the path of self-dissolution is engaged prematurely, it can damage the delicate psyche that is still in the process of forming. In fact, most people are equipped with a natural protection that rejects the enlightened being. They find something wrong or suspect with such a “person,” project their fears and perceptions onto that “person,” and walk away.

Of course, an enlightened being never takes this defensiveness personally and feels no pain at the apparent rejection of the state of awareness he or she represents. The free being recognizes when a cookie needs more time in the oven and continues shining his or her presence as a beacon without any efforting. This being is there for all, but specifically and directly for those who are ready to release something that no longer serves them. For the rest, the enlightened character remains a blank screen onto which they project their doubts, fears, and beliefs – there is literally no one there.

What does life become after one is a no one? Well, something else kicks in. The enlightened consciousness is no longer looking for ways to fortify its value in life and, instead, engages in a deeper level of empathy – relationship – with existence. Information is continually pouring in, and pure awareness receives it and feels it in ways that are free of mental processing and emotional residue. There is never a feeling of boredom. There is constant creativity. Brain patterns are nonlinear and hyperlinked, rather than storyboarded.

The ability to be fully at rest and at peace is always available, regardless of whatever life presents. The brain is no longer bogged down by endless, looping thoughts. Furthermore, rather than trying to cultivate and control one’s presentation, there is a wild freedom to be whatever in any given moment. Perfection, poise, grace – these are the characteristics defined out of the need to control, but the enlightened being lives immersed in the uncontrollable in complete surrender.

To most people, an enlightened presence is irritating and confusing. You cannot really explain such a presence to others to sway them from their projections. The situation is what it is. In fact, most enlightened souls stay away from society because their very presence is a threat to what the majority need at this time. Living with an enlightened being is impossible for most adults whose consciousness has reached a certain level of rigidity.

Children are more open to the flexible nature of enlightenment – they are naturally available to humor, changing the rules of the game, or spontaneous decisions. But even then, not all kids.

Eventually, we will all be free. Right now, humanity must go through what it is going through. Advanced beings have always been available to those who needed them – existence is intelligent and interconnected. Such beings evolved over lifetimes because, at the right time, someone else was there for them.

Dispositions for Life

Doubt and gratitude. Avoidance and engagement. Giving and receiving. Fear and love. These are some of the ways we can relate to life, and our life disposition affects the dynamics of our life situations. Whether negative or constructive, our life disposition helps us to feel alive because, at our core, most of us feel that we are not really real. Feeling something intensely brings us a feeling of solidity, and we configure our lives for this rush – not necessarily for the truth.

It was eye-opening for me to learn the phrase “Form is Function” in Anatomy & Physiology. I imagined our body cells as having “hooks” of a certain shape (form) to hook and absorb molecules of a complementary shape (function). The cells that lacked receptors of a certain shape would not engage with certain molecules at all.

I imagined the microscopic world as puzzle pieces that either fit and interacted, or remained unaware of each other. Our life dispositions act as such hooks or filters for our life experiences. In a sense, we form our life view, and that determines how we move or function through life.

I see our bodies as vortices that either attract or repel other vortices. For example, there is a shape to the vortex of doubt. Doubt pulls in energy from others to fortify itself – and not to help a person feel less doubt. Such a person is continuously battling the sensation of losing cohesion and wants to achieve stability: Do they like me? Am I likable? Am I lovable? Does my life have value? Does anything I do have meaning? Maybe that person believes I am not someone others can like or  I can never succeed, and this belief becomes the way that person moves in and perceives the world.

If doubt feels like we will fall apart at any moment, we engage with life to fortify – usually requiring someone else to feed us that I am lovable, or that No one likes or loves me. The irony is that doubt seeks whatever reinforces itself using our beliefs, either positive or negative. Doubt perpetuates only more doubt and warps whatever may disrupt its flow to fit its needs.

We have a choice to see through our life dispositions and choose the ones that are most open-ended, and – thus – closest to clear perception. Love is open-ended and does not relate to life based on past or future fears. Love does not have memory or history. It is uncaused and unbased on prior events. This is confusing to most people – How can one love me after what I said or did? I don’t trust that. To most human beings, love is conditioned.

Post-enlightenment, love sees through temporary limitations to the eternal qualities of each person and begins fresh in each moment.

Imagine that you had a disagreement with someone and strong words were exchanged. Then, that person approaches you with a loving gesture. You recoil. You think it’s manipulation of some sort. So, you restore the conflict to keep your sense of continuity and linear time. You cling to your history, without realizing that love had already moved on.

People are more comfortable in a state of conflict. Even their so-called vulnerable moments are ploys to vampirically suck someone’s life force to fuel themselves. They mistake their cries of hunger for being vulnerable, whereas they are really playing dead to get something. If the food doesn’t come and they are left to starve, anger kicks in and resentment flies in all directions. There is a temporary sense of power. It feels real, but the whole thing is a sham. It would have been much simpler to start fresh in the moment where love is possible. But that requires giving up the need to control.

People cling desperately to what they interpret about life, which may be distorted and twisted. They will defend what they feel to the exclusion of how others fit into the bigger picture. In reality, what matters most is not their position, but their willingness and flexibility to flow towards love instead of continuing friction.

People fear being perceived as weak, and their fear is obvious and transparent. For most, love is an impossible choice unless there have been many gestures to fortify their ego. Love, for such beings, cannot start at any moment and be uncaused – it must be earned by countless gifts. Even if there were countless gifts, these must be recognized and valued by an ego – there is no guarantee that what you give is valued. That is a shadow of love and a sign of limit-clinging nature.

Friction sparks continue to fly as people feed on each other to try to feel whole. But the hole remains, and the hunger is unabated to become the only reality. Until we see through this dynamic, love is impossible. Love will be a diminished version of its full possibility, reduced to the mere stroking of a person’s sense of self. Then, anyone who refuses to play this game must be truly evil. But there is another possibility – the starved are simply stuck in a way of relating and will negate loving gestures because they don’t fit.

To accept such a view would mean certain death to self-absorbed living. Who would be stupid enough to sacrifice the self for love?

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.

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.

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.

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.