Tag Archives: freedom

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.

Living Out of the Box

Our tendency is to take most of our life experiences for granted. We learn how to walk until we forget that we walk. We learn how to interpret what we see until we become blinded by the familiar. We weave our perception of life using our nervous systems and forget that our perspective is relative. Researchers call this phenomenon learning. I call it forgetting. Researchers say that the ability to perform basic tasks unconsciously frees us up to take on more challenging puzzles. I say that most people stop taking on more challenging, irregular, and innovative patterns of thinking after they get the basics and fall deeper into unconsciousness.

The mindfulness movement emerged as a way to help us remember the basics of how and what we experience. Paying attention to the breath and sensations helps one bring oneself into the moment and away from the traps of memories or future fantasies.

Mindfulness is not new – it has been fundamental to many meditation practices. Mindfulness is a repackaged version of old wisdom, reawakened to lure us out of autopilot. Living on automatic makes life pass by quickly and dims creativity until we are stuck in a box that looks like millions of other boxes. But we are more than this….

Living out of the box is a way of daring ourselves to remain awake. I like to feel awake. The feeling of being conscious liberates me to use my intuition, which moves in sparks and nonlinear flashes. For example, the other day I was reviewing a dream I had, where beings live on a planet that is close to both a bright blue star and a black hole. The light on the planet is a golden yellow that permeates and saturates the experience of these beings – everything is colored by this golden glow. Instead of treating this experience as background music to be filtered, the beings on this planet relate to the golden light as if it were a living presence – the glue between all. How often do we relish our liking of perceiving color? Maybe striking sunsets or sunrises catch our attention for brief moments, but we do not respond to all seeing this way.

Another lesson I learned from this dream is that the nervous systems of these beings are attuned to the strong gravity of both the star and the black hole. Their physiologies interpret gravity just like we hear sound! The black hole causes them to hear and feel a deep tone, droning through their existence. And the gravity of the star produces its own tone. They interpret gravity as sound – amazing! But no more magical than our ability to process light energy as color. The music to which these being are exposed is treated as something mystical and holy, and they are consciously listening to it.

You may say Who cares? Being aware of something as commonplace as light and sound that is always there doesn’t seem very interesting. And yet, as I feel what I see, and truly listen to the subtlety of what I hear, my entire life takes on a more nuanced texture.

Our lives have increasingly become about looking for the next rush. We crave something fresh, invigorating, and otherworldly. I watched some kids browsing YouTube…. They could only pay attention for a few seconds before jumping to the next video. They wanted the punchline without any buildup. They wanted a high on a continuous basis because their perception has become a giant callous. Even if they see something new and creative, they miss it. Their speediness through life is the walls of their box, holding them prisoner of dull emptiness.

If we unlock our ability to slow down and feel how we perceive, we dive deeper into existence and further from repetition. Life is literally countless frames per second, but we skim its surface like mosquitoes on a lake. We can only hear and see a minute fraction because our perception is out of sync with life – our need for speed disconnects us from reality, which gives us much more than we are now capable of receiving.

One last thought…. Have you ever caught yourself liking something and reflected on the feeling without the object that caused it? In my dream, I really liked the golden light and the low frequencies of the black hole. I could not peel away from how differently life consciousness worked on that planet. But then, I stepped away from the dream and just drowned in the feeling of liking. I was completely immersed in that while participating in my life.

We can never hit the bottom of existence because we have the ability to create it, and not to simply consume it. Our consumer culture is now about much more than the obsession to buy things. In fact, we have developed a taste for feeding on existence without creating anything ourselves. We are the vampires and the zombies, dead and hungry. We want to feel full infinity, but are stuck in insatiable hunger instead. We feed off relationships and stimuli to feel alive, but are dead only moments later and already planning the next heist. We are enraged that our hunger only grows. Those who do create cannot create fast enough.

We could stop the hunger completely and live fully, give back, and slow down until we feel the grains in a mirror and the subtle vibrations we call atoms. Wisdom and fullness lies in subtlety, which cannot be rushed. Wisdom cannot survive in a box. We cannot be alive in a box.

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.

These messages about life need to go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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