Just for fun and inspiration, I created a vision board.
When I do inquiries into reality, I try to recognize that I’m not separate from the rest of reality. I try to recognize that the thing that I think of as “me” is actually not separate from the rest of reality that I identify as “not me.” I can look in all my sensory fields and find evidence to this fact. I also remember back to my experiences of ego-transcendence where I truly felt as though I was both part and whole to reality as a whole. In this realization, I felt truly safe. All fear completely left me because I no longer needed to preserve the self that I had always fathomed myself to be. Reality was always perfect, no matter how ugly it got. There was a deep clarity there, that I no longer possess.
However, despite having had these realizations in the past, and being able to spot evidence of the fact that I am not some separate entity that is powerlessly subject to reality but that I am reality playing itself out, I still fall prey to feelings of powerlessness fairly often. Currently, I have been feeling this sense of powerlessness relative to various happenings within my society.
So, I haven’t spoken of this too much before in my blogs, but I come from a working class background in a small central Florida town. I was raised middle class during the 90s (when I was kid between birth and age 11) as the economy was very good. My father is a mechanic who has his own shop and made quite a bit of money back then. This enabled my mother to be able to stay at home with me. And we were able to afford all kinds of luxuries that many people could not.
But in 2001, when I was 12 years old, big changes happened. My family split up. The economy crashed, and I went to go live with my father shortly after my parents split up. And my bourgeois sheltered little life was shattered. It was a time of great turmoil and great discovery for me. I went to go live with my father in beat up small single-wide trailer in a small trailer park near his shop. My father could have afforded better at the time, but he is not one to care much for living conditions. He could truly live under a rock with only the clothes on his back, and still be okay.
Now, the place had its downsides. It was a slummy kind of place. There was a bad German cockroach infestation problem. There was one bedroom with a mattress in it that had fleas. So, no one slept there. So, my dad and I slept on a sectional couch. I slept on the smaller section and he slept on the longer section. But none of these things truly bothered me. There was a freedom there that I had never had before.
When I lived with both my parents, I wasn’t allowed to do too many social things. Both of my parents worked together to be sure that I wasn’t exposed to anything. There were no times where I was by myself, and there were things that other kids were exposed to that I knew absolutely nothing about. This always made me feel self-conscious.
But my father, by himself, is a very laid back kind of parent, to a fault. So, I was fully taking advantage of my newfound freedom, and this little trailer park was perfect for getting out of my social bubble. I was in a small trailer park with tons of other kids who weren’t sheltered at all and their parents who didn’t have the same pretenses that middle class people had. Many would call them rednecks or even white trash. But I was having a blast in the time that I lived there. They may not have been the most socially appropriate at times, but most people I met were really genuinely good people.
That said, there was a kind of ignorance in this little trailer park that I had never before experienced. Many people there had prejudices toward groups of minorities. This has always disagreed with my sensibilities in a big way. So, despite most people in the trailer park being genuinely decent people, they had a lot of backwards notions. I was incredibly shocked because I didn’t even think racism existed anymore. In my sheltered-ness, I had learned that racism was a relic of the sixties that was abolished by Martin Luther King Jr. So, for the first month or so, I would vocally oppose the prejudiced sentiments that this or that minority group did this or that. There were very few people who outright hated certain minority groups… though there were a few people like that too. But these were the outliers that most people disapproved of. It was mostly people who deeply believed in stereotypes, that had no idea that they were even racist.
But I grew acclimated to this type of casual racism, and saw that it was a product of ignorance more than evil. There was no sense in arguing with these people or even voicing disdain. They were just set on a mindset, and protesting is like talking to a brick wall. So, I would keep my opinion to myself, practice non-judgment, and continue to focus on the positives of the situation.
Now, to be clear, not everyone was like this in the trailer park… many were very against racism, but about 40% of people that I met there had some form of prejudice. But I always knew that most of these people were good people, who helped people, even if they happened to belong to a group that they held prejudices against. Many even had friends who belonged to these minority groups. And I was just glad that these sentiments were kept private, and that society kept these types of things in check. I was confident that anti-racist sensibilities ruled the day.
I spent the rest of my teen years living among this demographic of society despite moving several different times to different trailers. And armchair racism was quite common. But it was still kept quiet. And there was not much boldness or vitriol to it. It was a very passive sort of stereotyping, and never violent in nature.
But as of recently, there has been a marked shift. Even people that had no signs of prejudice before are now on the defensive against certain minority groups, and have become completely callous to the humanity of these groups. I have watched a passive subtle prejudice turn into an outright vitriol and a McCarthy-like witchhunt towards certain groups. So, I’ve been incredibly shocked, as my sheltered little ideas about the world have once again been blown apart.
I was always confident that the travesties of the past, were unlikely to be repeated due to living in modern America. I could never see people taken in by propaganda to the point that they would come to dehumanize certain groups completely. I had always wondered how exactly it was that Hitler came to power, and how it was to watch society slowly turn to a darker time. But now I see it clearly, in the good people of my society. There’s a lot of fear and discontent, and the propaganda they believe in blots out their common sense and natural sense of compassion toward others.
So, I’ve been feeling very pessimistic about humanity in seeing these age-old historical patterns repeated. Then, seeing people believe that they are the ones that are doing something of benefit for society, with a complete blind-spot to historical precedence. I’ve been thinking things like “If humanity isn’t over this by now, we never will be. So, what’s the point?” "Is humanity just a cancer to the Earth without possibility for redemption?" "And this is the species that I belong to?!?!" This shows me an attachment that I have to the idea of the linear progress of humanity. I have always hoped that we are moving toward a better future ruled more and more by compassion and understanding. But this is just a belief… a belief that I desperately want to believe. But perhaps it is not true. So, I've been feeling a lot of intense emotions and a loss of faith in humanity.
But underneath all this pessimism, I feel a deep feeling of powerlessness that stems from a lack of recognition of the oneness of all of reality. So, I feel subject to reality, when I know from firsthand experience that reality and I are not truly separate. So, a problem with society is a problem with myself reflected outward and I too am a reflection of society. So, I must focus toward my own divides within my own being to contribute to society’s ability to get over these great schisms. But it is very disheartening to watch these needless problems spring up time and again. I get angry for things being this way.
It is also evident that I forget the infinite nature of reality. So, all potentialities for reality exist within reality. And none of it is bound by the illusion of time. So, technically, it makes sense that this is just the reality that I'm coming into resonance with. Though I don't know if this is true, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it does jibe with my personal experiences. So, I must wonder what inside me, may be allowing this reality to come into focus.
So I'm trying to find the fine line between honoring my emotions and helping alleviate social issues in-so-far as I'm capable, and dis-identifying with desired ends. It's important to reduce suffering within society, and complacency would be a really negative thing... but awareness is necessary to do this, which requires detachment. So, these issues are confusing for me, in relation to my journey and in relation to my relationships with my friends and family. I want to create a better world, but how do I do this in a detached way that comes from a state of awareness and not a state of confusion.
The other day, a friend of mine posted on his Facebook (loosely translated from Hungarian) “Sometimes we go through life thinking we’re unhappy, but when we look back we realize that we were actually happy.” My husband and I were driving around thinking about this. How many times we’ve been struggling financially or having some kind of mini-crisis (or full-blown crisis) on our plates, simply wishing for life to be some other way. Pining for a better future that fits more with our desires for freedom, stability, and success. Then we always end up looking back with fond memories of the times that we were so eager to get past.
I always noticed this idealization phenomenon, looking back with positive feelings of nostalgia for even the most trying of times. I long attributed this to having a poor memory for the bad times and exaggerating the positive memories by focusing on the most positive feelings from that time. But my thought now is, “What if the positive emotion was there the whole time?” What if, even with all the struggling and suffering and wishing things could be some other way, underneath was always contentment. Maybe it was only the thoughts and the feelings that came up as a result of those thoughts that masked this contentment from me.
This is an important sticking point for me. Seven and a half years ago, when I had my experiences of ego-transcendence, one thing that became immediately evident to me was how much I was constantly struggling and suffering. I was never really at peace, and always had discontent, even when I thought that I was happy. I thought that I was happy because I lied to myself and told myself that I was happy. I chose to believe the lie. So, ever since then, I’ve been hyper-aware of my suffering, since I don’t want to fool myself into believing myself to be happy when I’m really not. The problem here is that I mistrust positive emotions. I believe myself to be self-deceiving when I think that I’m happy, even if it’s the case. So, I have little intellectual clarity as to whether my happiness is genuine or not.
So, there is a resistance there to feeling happiness, as clearly I must still be suffering if I have not transcended the ego. If I had transcended the ego, then I would actually feel positive. But since I have not, I must be unhappy and lying to myself every time a positive emotion comes up. The ego identified are always discontent… me-thinks. But this is shortsighted and reflects a distorted understanding of the memories of my experiences of ego-transcendence. What I realized then, was that everything is one thing and that one thing is inherently fulfilled, inherently valid, and unconditionally loving. And I am both part and whole to that one thing.
So, it is shortsighted for me to believe that people who have not transcended the ego can never truly be happy, despite my experiences seeming to imply this. This has been a false conclusion that I came to in my attempt to understand an experience that I had in a completely different state of understanding from how I am now. It makes no sense, in light of the fact that everyone’s true nature is infinite well-being, to believe that anyone is actually locked out from well-being due to having an ego. It may be the case that my mind has been telling me that I’m unhappy and that I’ve just been choosing to believe it due to my view that the ego-identified can’t be truly happy. So, the well-being and happiness is already there, it’s just my thoughts that obscure it from view.
So, in my attempts at self-honesty, I end up self-deceiving. And it is this very self-deception that perpetuates the identification with ego and all the suffering and struggling that come with it. Then comes more self-deception and the cycle perpetuates.
I get caught up with the idea of fairness/unfairness and the idea that the ego causes suffering. Since I had two experiences of ego-transcendence, I suspect that most people have never and will never experience this. This feel monumentally unfair, since living with ego is a life sentence of subtle and gross suffering. If you’ve never had the experience of ego transcendence, you may believe this to be an exaggeration. But if you have ever had the experience of freedom from ego, you will recognize right away how profound your suffering throughout life has been through contrast with that experience.
So, I’m very attached to getting back to that state of liberation from ego, because it was just superior and richer in every way to living the experience of identification with ego. So, it feels unfair to me that so few people have or will experience this. And it also feels unfair to me that I am not currently free from ego but that, in my past experience of this state, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m missing out in some way on something amazing that’s constantly at my fingertips but that escapes my grasp. This is a very unhelpful mindset that only puts me in a bad mood. It compounds my struggling with life.
For my job, I sometimes assist in self-contained classrooms with children/teens who have special needs. Self-contained means that these children spend most to all of their school day in an ESE (special education) classroom due to having needs that regular education classes can’t provide (bathroom assistance, one on one time, and other accommodations). So, the other day, I was in a self-contained class with students who were diagnosed on the more severe end of the Autism spectrum, and I found myself caught up in this unhelpful mindset. And I started thinking about the varieties of experience that are objectively more difficult than my own, including the experience of living with severe autism and other such disabilities.
I thought of the futility and selfishness of my desire to be free from ego. Objectively, my experience of the world is quite good compared to most. I live in a first-world country, I’m well-fed, I have no physical or intellectual disabilities, I have a family and a home, and the list goes one. And despite having some relative financial difficulties here and there, there are still luxuries that I get to partake in. Despite all this, I’m incredibly discontent. Nothing ever satisfies, even in the face of seeing or thinking about others with objectively more difficult experiences. And I just get to live in my little bubble and sulk about this or that.
Then I get to the point of thinking about the fact that all is one. Then, I consider that, at some point, I will be experiencing all experiences and how unequipped I feel (at present) to get anywhere near those experiences. So, I will experience a life as an autistic person. I will experience the life of a person who suffers under the weight of a physical or mental illness. I will experience the life of someone who is tortured to death. I will experience the life of an animal that is slaughtered. I will experience the life of an animal in the wild who is hunted as prey. And the list goes on and on. Then, I get mad at myself for being so discontent with my life that is objectively quite evenly keeled.
Now, I want to specify, that the students in this particular Autistic class all had different temperaments, and many seemed quite happy. It’s just my idea that, without transcendence of ego life equals suffering, that makes me project unhappiness onto most people’s experiences. But, as it stands, I would be absolutely terrified to live the Autistic perspective for even a few days. I have so many standards for how I want to be and be seen, and this would go in complete opposition to those standards for myself. So, I can’t imagine a life without normalcy or intelligence that could be a happy experience. Also, what if ego-transcendence is simply not possible for certain people. That seems totally unfair too. But all this is my own short-sightedness.
But I get into these mindsets from time to time, trying to reconcile all these ideas, only to come up empty-handed. I have a naïve desire that everyone could live free from ego and be happy and drive progress forward toward a happy and unconditionally loving society free of suffering. This is my agenda that I catch myself in, only to realize this is no acceptance of reality that is just as chaotic and dark as it is light and compassionate. Then, I think ‘Why should I be able to transcend the ego and be liberated when my experience is so much freer and less tumultuous and pain-filled than so many others.’ ‘Why should I be experiencing a reality where my only real pain is the suffering from identification with my self-concept?’
But these are all mindsets to drop as they are not reconcilable. They are just unhelpful mindsets.
So, I was listening to a video on YouTube of audio from Alan Watts, which was recommended to me by one of my subscribers. During the video, Watts was talking about how having an “enlightenment experience” is difficult to let go of. He likened it to being as difficult to let go of a drug addiction, because the experience is so profoundly good and it sets a person seeking to find that profound goodness once again. But the seeking is a barrier to enlightenment, in and of itself. So, there has to be a letting go. And a person who knows how good it is to transcend the ego, has an extra difficult time giving up the search or letting go of their notions of what enlightenment is. A person like this has experienced, and they feel like they know. But they do not, as memory is thought and thought can’t contain enlightenment. A person who’s had an enlightenment experience is no closer to enlightenment than someone who has not. This is exactly the thing I’m dealing with in my seeking, having had a couple experiences of ego-transcendence.
I’ve been aware of this attachment for a while, but until I listened to this audio, I never did anything to actively detach myself other than just to be aware of the fact that I have this attachment. So, I would notice that my desire for enlightenment and my memory and conception of what the experience of enlightenment is truly colors my experience of reality. If I’m in meditation, I catch myself checking to see if I’m “getting there” yet by looking for the signifiers of the experiences I had in years past.
Or worse yet, I would have some desire for self-improvement to come up. Then I would immediately invalidate it because of the fact that it will fortify my attachment to my identity. Or even if I didn’t outright invalidate it, I would pull my punches and water it down and lose the fire behind my motivation. Competition and identity concerns truly add so much fuel to the fire of productivity from the dualistic perspective, which is the perspective that I currently hold. But I’ve been dousing these drives in hopes of transcending the need for my identity to be more or less anything than anyone else.
So, I was in the shower yesterday, and a desire came up to learn about Quantum Physics by reading some books on the topic. But I immediately interrupted the desire and labeled it as ‘just me trying to add value to my identity’. And the desire went flat and I lost heart for it. Then I recognized this as ego repression, as I’ve spoken about before in my videos. Then I was bummed that I let my knee-jerk, misguided notions of how to transcend the ego crush my inspiration. On top of that, I was also still mistrustful of the desire to learn about Quantum Physics in and of itself, that I wasn’t sure that pursuing it was the solution to the issue or just another way to dig the rabbit hole deeper. So, this is just one example of this thought process. But it happens in various ways at least a few times a day.
But this time, I thought ‘What if I pretended that enlightenment wasn’t a real possibility?’ Since my past experiences color my reality so much, what if I pretended that they never happened and that I know nothing about enlightenment, self-deception, God, or ego. So, that way when the desire to learn something interesting comes up or even the desire to add value to myself and to my ego, I can give it an enthusiastic yes. So, I am going to ask myself in these situations “What if I knew nothing about enlightenment?” to bypass all of this mental chatter and struggle over what I should or should not pursue. I simply ask myself, “What feels best in the moment?” Then I pursue that thing, even if it’s likely to build up the ego identification. Then I bring my awareness into that activity and watch the ego process happen.
Then, earlier today, I was watching Actualized.org’s newest video about becoming a sage. If I had not gone through the line of reasoning that I had been through in the shower, I would have immediately balked at the thought of “becoming a sage.” I would have written it off because trying to become something else is often a crutch for dealing with self-hatred and a distraction from reality and putting happiness in the future. If it’s my goal to become a sage, then that’s a very egoic thing, indeed. But if I look with a complete beginner’s mind and truly get into a state of openness and receptivity, I find that I’m very inspired to pursue sagedom and self-mastery. I miss being able to buy into the idea that I can add value to myself and the inspiration and fire that comes from it. So, that inspiration is the reality. Having the desire to add value in that way to a separate self is the reality. Being identified with ego is the reality. The illusion is the thought “I should not be identified with ego, so I should resist all activities that could potentially strengthen that identification.”
So, despite knowing that I cannot add value to myself in any absolute sense, I’m going to consciously adopt the notion that I can indeed add value to myself. But I’m going to adopt the notion with full awareness of this notion’s falseness and lack of grounding in reality. So, I will put as my end goal, to become a sage and a master of my own life as opposed to having enlightenment as my end goal. Enlightenment will come, if it wants to. And I suspect it may, if I’m doing work toward becoming a sage. But that’s none of my concern because I have no direct control over it. So, I’m letting go of that goal and focusing on another goal that’s more to my ego’s taste. I’m tired of undercutting myself and my drives and work ethic with my remembered notion of the Truth. Also, if this doesn’t work, I can always make changes. But for now, this is truly what feels best to me.
So, it's been almost seven months since I wrote in my blog, and I've been promising to get back to doing it. So, I wrote up a new schedule for writing to go along with creating my videos. It's my hope that with my blog posts, I can cover more personally based topics about my experiences with seeking enlightenment throughout the week. So, this week, I've been struggling a bit with some uncomfortable emotions.
I've been feeling overwhelmed with existence itself... or at least the idea of existence as unending when I try to fathom it. Now in the past, I've had a lot of anxiety about knowing that death would come to me at some random point. And I had a lot of fear of not being there for my children or not reaching goals or other concerns. But this anxiety has diminished quite a bit, but given way to its opposite.
Currently, I feel very uncomfortable with life being as long as it is. Like, I'm 27 now, and if I live to be 87, that's 60 more years. That's a long time. For some reason, this is overwhelming to me recently, and it makes me feel a little trapped in the experience of being me. Like, when I think of all that is to come and go and the emotional ups and downs and the uncertainty, I feel very boxed into this experience. Then, I get thinking about how my true nature is infinite, and this intellectually sounds very daunting, because of my beliefs and assumptions about something unending and unchanging.
Now, I want to specify, that I'm not suicidal in this discomfort. I still very much want to live. But the thought of life as a non-directional thing, is very emotionally uncomfortable. Letting go of the idea that life has a purpose or point, is like setting down a security blanket I've been holding my entire life. I think my discomfort stems from the fact that I'm beginning to let go of my achiever/directional/purposeful mentality in moments throughout the day.
Achievement, subtle competition, and goal-setting have often narrowed my focus and given meaning to my life and validation to my sense of self. Now, I'm starting to notice in a very tangible way (not intellectually but experientially) how futile it is to engage in these types of competitor and "setting myself apart" mindsets. The point of life is not to be competent and it is not to be superior to others in some way. There is no point... but if there were a point it would simply be to live and experience life.
But this goal-setting, achievement, superiority-seeking nature has been a crutch for many insecurities of mine, so I don't have to face deep feelings of inadequacy. So, now that I'm beginning to let go I'm dealing with this uncomfortable feeling of emptiness and powerlessness. I know at this point that I can't DO anything that will make myself feel lastingly better. Even achievement and goal setting is no longer a viable hiding spot for me. I just have to be still and let reality happen. It's how I imagine it would be like to be trapped inside of a coffin. There is nowhere to move and nothing you can do and you know it, but your natural reaction is panic and to flail all over the place because the emotions are so intense. But you know that doing so would increase your panic because the fear will become more present and tangible, as your emotional reactions would meet the limitations of the space you're confined in. So, you just try to stay really still, to keep the panic at a simmer.
So, in these moments when life becomes overwhelming and feels like there is no escape from the constant flux of living moment to moment, I try to disengage from thoughts the best that I can. It's only my thoughts about the situation that make it unbearable. I simply have to allow myself to be still and these discomforts will naturally fall away as many other mindsets have. But it's very difficult when the emotions are so uncomfortable.
I'll keep you updated on my progress and my internal experience of being a seeker as the weeks progress.
So, over the weekend, I went to one of Teal Swan’s synchronization workshops in Orlando. It was my first time going to see her and it was a really awesome experience. If you get the chance, I highly recommend it.
In the past, I’ve had a bit of a resistance to New Age spirituality or anything too much on the metaphysical side. So, when I first saw her videos about two years ago, I had a strong attraction/aversion reaction. But I pushed through it and continued watching her videos (albeit with the lights out and the blinds shut. J/K), which mostly offer psychological and spiritual help through the metaphysical lens. It was SOOO helpful for me, that I truly credit her work for helping me get through one of toughest times in my life. I probably wouldn’t even be in a place to be bettering myself and making blogs and videos without the clarity that her videos have given me. She really helped me pick myself out of some deep psychological traps that I had been caught up in for years, due to a lack of deep understanding.
Despite this, to say that I don’t still have a lot of fear relative to New Age spirituality would be untrue. So, if I look at that under a microscope, what do I find? Am I actually averse to New Age spirituality itself… No. I’m afraid of the social stigma associated with being seen as ‘Woo Woo’ or gullible. The truth of the matter is that I really love the idea that there is more to this reality than what it appears at face value. I’ve always, since childhood, had an attraction to anything magical. It is only my social persona that I’m watching out for. I also have Out of Body Experiences, that I try to stay open minded and closed mouthed about in daily life.
So, when I met with Teal Swan in person after the workshop, I asked her a question about an Out of Body Experience that I had had with her in it about two months prior that I wrote about in an earlier blog. (It's my blog from January 18th if you want to check it out.) I asked her if it was really her that I was seeing or simply a thought projection that I internally projected upon my experience. She said that it was indeed her, and that we had met Out of Body about 25 times prior over the course of the past two years. She said that I had come here for a similar purpose to why she came here: to be a spiritual teacher. So, I felt intensely happy to be validated in that way, but then immediately deflated because I didn’t want to feel gullible and I certainly didn’t want other people to think that of ME. It’s all ego. My egoic fear sapped me of my joy once again. It’s a huge problem.
I like to pay a lot of lip service to being radically open minded, but I have a lot of issues with this when it comes to my reputation. I like to be able to think that I can hold space for contradictory opinions or different viewpoints on reality without clinging to beliefs in either direction. My policy is to neither believe nor disbelieve something, if I don’t have a firsthand experience of it in the present moment. But my ego gets in the way of this, and always wants me to fit and acquiesce to the social situation at hand, nullifying my unique perspective and connection to my wisdom. It’s hard to shake free of this tendency to try to sell myself to others.
So, the next day, I went to one of the local parks in Orlando to meet up with the volunteers who worked at the event as well as a few other attendees at the workshop. I was pleasantly surprised to see Teal there too. And I spent about two hours with her and about 15 other people... (and got a pretty gnarly sunburn on my arms). Everyone there was really nice and open minded. Normally, I feel that I have to keep myself to myself to fit in, but there was no such issue here.
But then a conversation came up where I was the odd man out: vaccines. I got both of my kids vaccinated. But it didn’t feel good given my older sister’s allergic reaction to the Pertussis in the DTP shot back in 1974. She had petite mal seizures which left her with many developmental delays. In many ways she has the personality and interests of an 8 year old and she has to live with my mother to this day.
So, I did a lot of research on vaccines from the establishment and from those against the establishment. Both explanations made sense to me logically and rationally. Ultimately, I decided that not getting them vaccinated would feel even worse to me. I’d rather my children risk being mentally challenged than risk them being sick with a fatal disease. My sister is at least happy. If I could have chosen to both vaccinate and not vaccinate at the same time, I would have. But of course, this isn’t possible. A decision had to be made. So, I decided to do all the vaccines except the Pertussis. This always to me felt like a game of Russian Roulette during that time. Both options felt like a huge risk, with my kids’ futures at stake. Plus, some of the nurses at the Health Department and at my regular doctor's office got super judgmental and invalidating, which was very painful to me. They were denying that my sisters seizures were caused by the vaccines, which is just untrue. They happened directly after the vaccines and it even says on the American Academy of Pediatrics website that this is a rare but possible side effect. But I digress...
Now, Teal Swan is a huge opponent of vaccines, and I was fangirling out so I wanted her to like me. I didn’t want to make a bad impression. So, I was tempted to do the same type of social survival that I would normally engage in with the more mainstream social group. I was tempted to keep myself to myself. But given Teal’s ideology on authenticity I decided to be honest, and ask a question to Teal that had been on my mind before many times in the past and to use the vaccine topic as an example and springboard for that.
I told her that I decided to vaccinate, but wanted to know how to discern between two binary options when both sides seem wrong to you emotionally but both sides seem right to you rationally. I would either have to exercise faith in the medical establishment or exercise faith in the anti-establishment. Neither of which do I have much faith in… I’m a bit of an iconoclast in that way. Both would certainly be biased by their own ideologies. So, it’s always going to be basing a decision on second-hand information. She recommended to me relative to vaccines to get the vaccines myself prior to giving my kids the vaccines, so that I could experience my personal physiological reactions to them. Then make my decision from there. I found this to be sound advice, although my kids have already gotten almost all of their vaccines that they will ever have to get. I don’t plan on having any more kids, but if I do, I’ll definitely consider this as an option.
But later she gave me the answer to let go of fear relative to the issue, whether it be vaccines or any other issues where I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. Essentially, both options for me involved huge amounts of fear… especially with my sister’s reaction. So, I think that for me, this has been a major issue throughout the course of my life. Fear is always in the background for me, subtly lurking there and blocking me off from my innate wisdom. It is the only thing that keeps me back from happiness, joy, love, and all the other positive emotions. It is the thing that makes me deny what is most natural to me and what really feels authentic to me. It’s like all the best food and drink is ruined by a subtle nasty after-taste that won’t go away.
The only time I ever got clarity was during my two ego-transcendence experiences where there was no separate me to actually protect. So, there was no fear and wisdom naturally came to me. There was no such thing as an unwise decision. I would imagine that I’d know which option truly felt right to me, if I could just get that clarity and drop away my fear. I’m sure that I would embrace whatever was of interest to me too, and I would never worry about what others would think because there really isn’t any value in that in the first place.
So, it is a “goal” of mine to reach enlightenment by changing my relationship to my self-concept and debunk all the falsely held beliefs and assumptions based upon concepts for making things easier to understand to the rational mind.
So, I’ve recently been looking into various processes for questioning and deconstructing my beliefs about reality to perceive what is truly there before any assumptions, labels, frameworks, or concepts are placed over top of reality. So, the idea is to perceive of reality before any thought story is created. To see reality as a newborn baby sees it, only with the developmental capabilities of an adult.
This deconstruction process reminds me of when I first learned to draw and paint realistically. When I was 15, I took an art class in high school where I learned to switch from thinking about the things that I was drawing non-symbolically to seeing objects as a collection of shapes imbued with colors. So, instead of drawing my idea of a chair or even thinking about drawing a chair at all, I would just draw/paint the actual shapes and colors that I saw in front of me.
Having seen through the illusion of the labels put upon visual phenomenon enabled me to make progress quickly, almost over night. It was like a mini-enlightenment for the visual sense.
The process of deconstruction of beliefs that I engaged in as a teenage art student, is the same one that I’m engaged in now, only with the goal of enlightenment.
So, I need to turn this deconstructive, non-symbolic awareness and questioning toward my ideas and concepts regarding myself and reality.
So, I have been using a process called “Spiritual Autolysis” from enlightened author Jed McKenna. In this process you attempt to write something true and then question it and rewrite it until it is true.
It is through this dissection process that we can have a real experience of our own being and be ripe for the breakthrough and paradigm shift called enlightenment. So, here is my most recent Spiritual Autolysis session, to explore my unconsciously held ideas and feelings regarding existence and non-existence.
Questions: What is existence? What is non-existence?
Write something true regarding these questions...
'Things in existence exist. Things that are not in existence don't exist.' or 'Things in existence are. Things not in existence are not.'
My definition of existence- Everything that is.
Are there things in existence or is there just existence? Not sure
Can there be any thing that is a 'not' thing? - Maybe empty space
Is empty space a thing or the absence of a thing? - Seemingly the absence of a thing. But I've never experienced this. Even emptiness from my experience contains air. So, empty space is a concept that I have in my mind, and not a thing that I'm experiencing in the now.
Does my concept of empty space mean empty space doesn't exist? No. But it means that I don't know
Am I experiencing anything right now that doesn't exist? Not sure
What is existence? When something is there
Where is there? In reality
Where is reality? In my subjective experience right now
Where is my experience? No particular place. Places exist only within the content of my experience. My experience isn't located anywhere, because anywhere is a concept within my subjective experience.
So, is place a 'not' thing? I'm not sure.
How do I perceive of place visually? Visually I experience a flat screen of shapes imbued with colors that I interpret based on my previous experiences in the world.
How do I perceive of place tactually? I feel sensations that seem to have length, width, and depth which seem to correspond to the sights that I see because of a lifetime of experiencing them in tandem with one another. Either way, I don't know if my sensations have any special relativity to one another. I could perhaps convince myself that some sensations are bigger, smaller, more left, more right than the others. I could also focus on my sensations to the point where they feel like a universe in themselves.
Do I perceive of place any other way? No. Only as a thought story
Does place have to have an up, down, left, and right? No. Directions are a concept to make space more understandable to the human mind.
Can existence happen in a "place" if none of these directions exist? Maybe.
Could I narrow down the location of 'my' experiences to a particular point? No.
Does this mean that place doesn't exist? Maybe.
Rewriting what's true:
Non-existence is. Existence has no particular place.
If there are no "things" inside of reality and there is no place for reality, does reality exist? Maybe not.
Are my perceptions themselves (not the content of perception) objects? No. Objects are content of the perception and not the perception itself.
Asked by jjer94 (a friend of mine on the forum I posted this on)- What is the substance of an object? Do objects even exist?
So, visually the substance of the object appears to be light. But light itself is just content within the perception. It's another assumption based upon what I "know" about how color is perceived. Tactually, an 'object' is just a sensation. But the sensation related to my experience of the object has nothing to do with my visual experience of the object nor any other sensory perception of the object.
What I have is a flat plane of shapes imbued with colors, perceived by no one that is seemingly floating in nothingness. It could just be a screen with seemingly corresponding sensations that are also floating in nothingness
So, the biggest ‘aha!’ moment for me was that place doesn’t exist separate from my thoughts regarding ‘place’. I had always known that space had no up, down, left, or right. This is all relational. So, are the concepts of big and small. An atom and a universe are both infinite.
But I had assumed that my reality was located someplace as a point within some empty dark field. That in that dark field at a point where my visual, audio, tactual, olfactory, gustatory, and thought perceptions floating there as things. But now it seems like these are sort of a non-point.
Sort of like you can’t really find a point on a mathematical graph because a single point has no height, width or depth. It doesn’t really exist even though it seems to have a location and is mathematically viable. But even this is just a metaphor.
Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve been writing because I’ve been dealing with some psychological dips in the road. My confidence got shaken a little bit by self-doubt, wondering if what I have to say is valuable or what qualifies me to even speak on the topic of spirituality.
‘Am I doing something irresponsible by sharing my insights?’
‘Am I presenting the information the right way?’
‘Maybe I should wait until I’m further down the spiritual path to share…’
Then I realized that I was taking myself too seriously again. I was identifying too much with my insights, thoughts, and identity. The ego is a sneaky devil that comes in many disguises. ;)
It occurs to me now that I should treat my videos and blogs in the same way that I’ve treated my artwork. When I was painting and creating art on a regular basis, I didn’t think “What qualifies me to make this painting?” or “Is this painting valuable to someone?’ I just made it because it was what I wanted to make and if people enjoyed it or didn’t enjoy it… there it was.
So, the fruit of my contemplation, insight seeking, and research wants to be expressed. Without an outlet to share, it’s almost unbearable to me. So, even if I’m not exactly Lao Tzu… I won’t fight what wants to come from me any longer.
So, I am committing myself to expressing whatever comes in the most transparent way that I can fathom. I will share things that have helped me as I’ve navigated my way through life and share more of my struggles via my blog and videos. I definitely need to do more of that. I consider myself a beginner on the path of spirituality, and I don’t know if my videos and blogs thus far have done a great job at expressing that.
So, on that note, here’s some dirt on my psychological state. J
So, ever since I was a child, I’ve perpetually held some form of a crush. It’s always on one person at a time, who is at a distance from me. In the past, I used to create entire romantic narrative around this individual. And they usually lasted anywhere from 6 months to a year.
So, in my spare moments and before going to sleep I would engage in romantic fantasies about this person (whoever it was at the time). When I was under age seven, my fantasies contained a lot of fairytale themes like getting married, dancing, and a true love’s kiss.
Then I learned about sex, and those fantasies went out the window. Possibly because sex is a lot biologically closer to becoming “one” with another person than marriage is. Marriage is an institution; sex is an instinct.
As I learned more about sex, my fantasies went from romantic to increasingly more graphic. Then a lot more social learning occurred through the media, pornography, my own experiences of sex, social ideas regarding gender and sexuality, and tons of other micro-influences. So, I ended up with some really unhealthy attitudes about what sex means, what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be a woman as a sexual being.
I often find myself battling with identifying with ideas that are disempowering to me as an individual. Worrying about my youth fading. Worrying that I’m not attractive. Worrying that I’m missing out on something. Worrying that I’ll never feel sexually satisfied. Worrying about losing social value or attention. So, lots of worrying and lots of ego identification.
So, several weeks ago, I was doing Spiritual Autolysis (a process for reaching enlightenment by Jed McKenna) and I had an insight regarding perception. I realized that I had been holding an unconscious Idea that perceptions were actually being detected by some sort of sense mechanism. When seeking enlightenment, you’re trying to become aware of all beliefs and assumptions no matter how true they may seem. So, I awoke in the middle of the night and decided to drop in on my perception.
So, I looked mindfully to the tactual sensations within my field of awareness and tried to remove them from the idea that they were being experienced by some nerve endings that are on “my” body. When I did this, it started to feel very strange like my sensations were collapsing in on one another in a field of emptiness. I felt myself “going away” almost like I would imagine death to be.
Then, all of a sudden, some thoughts sprung into the emptiness, telling me that my beauty is fading every day that passes. Worrying about losing attractiveness and significance in that way. Then emotions came: insecurity, resistance, anxiety, and a sick feeling. These thoughts pulled me back from the experience.
Then it hit me. All of my insecurities about my sexuality and attractiveness are an ego defense mechanism… And all of my fantasies too. They are two sides to the same coin that my ego has been using to keep me identified with my self concept. It has been my ego’s way of surviving.
I have always been introspective even when I was a child. I remember being 4 years old in my room thinking about how time works and trying to hone in on the “now.” I remember trying to stop my thoughts. I had always been doing ego deconstruction work. It’s come very naturally to me, even before I ever knew anything regarding spirituality, psychology, or personal development.
So, all the romantic fantasies, that I’ve been stealing away to using as a drug to self-medicate with, have been to continue weaving my self-concept. My romantic fantasies and sexual insecurities have been keeping me asleep and away from liberation.
The self-concept (ego) has to be constantly woven and rewoven to even exist. This is why meditation is so effective at wearing away at the ego, because when you divert your attention away from thought, it loses power and starts to fade from your memory. Since the self-concept is a thought, taking your attention away from it makes your mind lose memory of it fairly quickly. Kind of like trying to remember a number sequence, you have to constantly be thinking about your “self” to keep it in your memory. This is why you can’t stop your thoughts. It is the persistence of thoughts that keeps your self-concept alive. It is what gives you the illusion of separation from all other things in existence.
So, this whole time, I’ve been looking in the wrong spots for enlightenment.
So, my solution is starve out those thoughts. For the next 64 days, I will not allow myself to engage in any fantasies, insecurities, thought stories, etc. that relate back to romance or sexuality. When I become mindful of my mind going to thoughts like that, I will put my focus on my sensory perceptions. What I see, hear, feel, smell, or taste. These will be my anchors in reality that keep my ego from spinning these thought stories.
My most recent OBE
One thing that I’ve noticed about sleep paralysis, out of body experience, or even lucid dreaming is that the more I talk about it, the more I have it. So, sometimes I could go a few weeks to even a month without having it but if I talk about it or hear about it, I have one that night. I guess that this is the case now that I had recently been talking about it on my channel.
Several nights ago, I woke up with sleep paralysis and decided that I wanted to try to leave my body and explore. I wasn’t nervous as I often am. Many times I will just try to bypass the experience because I don’t want to risk seeing something disturbing. But this time was different. I approached it with genuine curiosity and unwavering confidence. Normally my attempts to explore go a bit like Harry Potter when he first tried Floo Powder to get to Diagon Alley. (For the Harry Potter fans out there ;))
So, I sat up from my bed quite easily and walked from the bedroom to the living room. The living room door was open and I walked one step outside and jumped into and merged with the door. Everything went gray. I set the intent of going somewhere. I decided on Paris and tried to conjure up thoughts of what Paris might look like as I’ve never been.
As I manifested an image in my mind, the grayness started to form into another scene very slowly. Outlines of people began to emerge from the grayness. I was standing in front of two people who were talking. They didn’t see me but I was so close to them that there was very little space between me and them. They were only hazy and clearly chatting with one another about something amusing. As the talking and image of them came more into focus I realized that they were two very young women, perhaps in their later teen years.
They faded from view and I was suddenly on a small road that went through a tunnel, which was carved out of the side of a small orange-red mountain. It reminded me of Georgia clay. There was a stream that also ran under the road and next to it. I looked out over the guard rails of the road and looked down at the water. Since I was out of body, I wanted to see how consistent everything stayed in the world and so I walked down the road for several minutes and walked back.
I wanted to see if the scene with the stream and road remained consistent. I was surprised that it did. There was no noticeable deviation from the scene that I had seen earlier.
I was approached by Teal Swan, a popular spiritual teacher on Youtube as well as several other people one of which was a slightly heavyset man in his early thirties and another taller thin man around the same age. I got the impression that the men were spiritual teachers too.
We were all conversing about something that seemed interesting and task oriented. This was very clear when I had the experience but now I can’t remember any specifics of our conversation. It makes me think in retrospect that maybe it was just a lucid dream. But I was very certain that I was having an OBE at the time. But something about this experience didn’t quite translate as well as my other experiences normally do.
That said, it was probably the most productive out of body experience that I’ve had. I can never control very much in OBE, and I had perfect control over myself this time.
I love the rare experience where I can see new landscapes or meet up with people. This is very rare for me. Most of the time, I never leave my bedroom. Either that or fear and excitement sabotage my experience. This one was very pleasant and I got to see a lot. Maybe I’m finally starting to get over my barriers to exploration. If that’s true, I’m very glad…. Not just because of a heightened ability to explore out of body but because of a potential removal to barriers, self-sabotage, and fears in my mundane life.