The Three Poisons Considered in the Light of Delusion

Greed takes a good long look at itself. Made of mind, fed by mind, of no enduring substance other than an uninspected movement of desire which doesn’t know of anything beyond itself and so can’t stop, it suddenly sees itself in action, its own essential emptiness manifesting as the fruit of selfish thought, like a wild saxophone taking over the stage at the expense of every other thought which only longs to lose itself in the seductive music of virtual reality, to fall back into the gravity of its own imagined source and disappear. This is how it self-corrects. Recognition is liberation, just as liberation is delusion.

So too for hatred — in the mirror of itself it sees itself, its present hateful countenance. In the glare of its hatred it scares itself. It actually would like to just sit down with a fat glass of Bourbon and a Cubano, take the shoes off and enjoy the looming crash of breaking worlds it has set in motion, but hate gets no rest, there is always more to hate, more watered-down whiskey and cheap tobacco dives where the grumbling is thick and they keep the lights turned down low.

There too in some seedy old shack is found ignorance. Ignorance can’t recognize itself, for if it did it would be transmuted into wisdom, and that would strain the credulity of greed and hatred, so it simply goes along to get along, ignorantly, until wonder of wonders it spawns that magical child, delusion, though it knows nothing of it. It revels in the singular pseudo-bliss of itself, even while its offspring populate the dream with creative characters who bear a striking resemblance to ourselves.

Because delusion is dream-like in its arising, enduring, and eventual vanishing, it cannot be said to have any fundamental reality. In that sense, it is a paradoxical mystery that courses beyond the comprehension of any intelligence which is subsequently formed by the coincidence of swooshing cerebral fluids, sparking neurons, and ripening causes and conditions to approximate some imaginary phenomenal center that serves as a subject entangled with numberless whirling objects, all dancing without purpose in the immensity of an infinite impersonal void.

Never can it be said that it is mine, that it is my self, that it is what I am, because what I am is the basic aware space in and as which everything seems to appear and disappear, though in reality nothing happens, begins, or ceases — neither greed, hatred, nor ignorance. This can be easily verified by refraining from identifying with any appearance, perception, feeling, memory, sensation, or mental fabrication, until nothing more can be realized or forgotten, and only then “what is” reveals itself, as it is — pure delusion.

Because it is pure by nature, delusion itself is spontaneously self-illuminating. Whatever the experience — happy or sad, vivid or dull — it is the precise form of our own awareness, exactly as it is being experienced, and thus it is perfect, just as it is, in the very form that it is. It is only our resistance to “what is” that creates the desperation of spiritual or material paths, schemes, and methods, which in turn only prolong the chronic neurosis of unhappiness, replete with greed, hatred, and ignorance.

Consider this: radiant light or murky darkness make no difference to the transparent sky of a vast and empty hologram. There is no higher or lower, better or worse. Neither praise nor blame apply, nor does the human persona’s judgment of right and wrong, good or bad. All delusion is equal in value, having no inherent value itself.

When seeing has no seer, hearing no hearer, and perceiving no perceiver, then awareness cannot be saddled with any identity, history, karma, personality, or even any fixed locality. Where is the sky? Who is the sky? When was the sky? Because nothing under the sky stays the same, the nature of all phenomena can be regarded as “impermanent”. Because there is nothing that can actually be grasped and designated “the sky”, the infinite space in which all appears, thrives for a while, and vanishes is itself no different than any other prop in a fictitious story told by nobody.

Silence pervades the three times and ten directions. “Vast emptiness” is only a provisional term intended to stop the tears of child-like dream characters. In reality, there is no such thing. There could never be. There is no vastness, no emptiness, no word. All of that is exquisite delusion. Even “exquisite” can be discarded, for if there is nothing, to what can it be compared? Unperceivable and inconceivable — that is what we are, yet we are greedy, hateful, and ignorant too. To imagine otherwise is delusional. Stay silent.

Silence is the Mother Principle, except that silence is not the absence of any sound. That sort of silence is only a relative condition, dependent on conditional factors, but true silence is not a state or result of any combination of causes, nor can it be an object to itself. Whatever can be devised by the marvelous functioning of the divine creative intelligence does not apply to that prior silence which is elsewhere called (by the deluded) the Absolute, the Supreme, the fundamental Basis.

Out of this no-thing — perfect silence — the whole grand totality of universal manifestation flashes noisily into being, expands to fill the entire cosmos with its cacophony, and simultaneously dissolves, without the slightest glitch or hesitation, and without the most minute particle or trace of a substantial self, except what can be superimposed on a non-event by the functioning of pure delusion. Therefore, delusion is the source of all identification, all mental formations, all emotional reactivity, all mirror poses and self-images, and any apparent perception of duality or non-duality. Truly, there is no way around delusion, for to seek such a way is the play of delusion itself. Stay silent.

When the mind moves, delusion is its function, its signal and its signature. Nothing that can be conceived, observed, known, or imagined is real. To subsequently establish or cherish some story about any of it is delusional, and so these very words are the adornments of delusion too. The ultimate expression of delusion is the claim, “I am this”, or “I am that”. From there, greed, hatred, and ignorance ripple out through the frequencies and are only resolved by collapsing back into the welcoming womb of delusion, then rising again and again in this perpetual festival of illusion as our playful dream creations which we conceptually designate as the self, the world, the everything. So be it.

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There are many invisible beings who gather around us to enjoy our performance as a human in the running production called “Life On Earth”. Perhaps some of them tried their hand at it a time or two and so can well appreciate the level of challenge involved in just getting out of bed in the morning and moving about, doing this or that, attending to whatever business happens to come our way.

Our lives are made up of lots of little things that cumulatively amount to an artistic rendering of the play of light on water. Every little gleam or glitter can bring a smile of wonder, but what really pleases the spirit friends in the audience is any act of kindness. We typically judge ourselves too harshly, so being kind to oneself is already a great accomplishment! Our kindness to others is just an extension of that original kindness.

Eventually, we may come to realize that there is no difference, that the sense of separation between self and other is just a trick of perception, but in the meantime, we can notice how any act of kindness makes us happy, no matter how seemingly trivial. It just feels right, and that tells us something important about this life, and why we came here.

One of the easiest ways we can choose to be kind to ourselves is by occasionally slowing down a bit and taking few good deep breaths. Sure, that recommendation has become almost a cliche, but we usually get so caught up in things that we forget to just breathe. We are often surprised by how much tension we’ve stored up in our bodies when we finally take the opportunity to relax and breathe deeply.

When we feel the stress drain out of our system with each full exhalation, we can understand the basis for all the yogas and meditation techniques, because the breath and the thought stream are so connected. Since it is thought which spawns the chronic contraction we feel in our bodies, learning how to relax our minds is essential to our well being. Refusing to dwell on our passing thoughts is a primary meditation, and can be a true kindness we bestow on ourselves and each other.

Even when all the external sources of stress are removed, we can notice that consciousness itself is stressful, and so relaxing from the energetic compulsion to entertain and identify with its arising display in the form of thought, memory, perception, or sensation can bring us to a place of deep rest. From this spacious depth, kindness can manifest naturally and spontaneously, without any artificial effort or idealistic motive. That’s also when love becomes unconditional, because it is no longer an attempt to achieve the bliss state, but rather arises as a manifestation of it. That is true kindness indeed!


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Index of Essays

In Chronological Order, First to Last

True Inquiry and the Conscious Process

Direct Experience

The Game of Rejection

The Quest for Experience

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Game

Evolution of Consciousness

Tests of Mind, Character, Will

The Silence Behind the Mind and True Transformation

Survival and Personal Continuity

Desire, Fixation, Non-Dwelling, and the Heart

Fighting the Powers That Be

The Sense of Lack and the Master Game

The Journey

Zen and the Emotional/Sexual Contraction

The Myth of Enlightenment


Self-Destructive Thoughts (Revised 2014)

School of Life, Play of Light

Beyond the Language of Seeking and Knowing

Taking Offense

Self-Improvement Projects

Deconstructing the Story

The Practice of Non-Dwelling

Discipline of Silence

How To Change

Shaking Others Awake

Points of View

War and Peace

Fate or Free Will

What Am I?

First There Is a Mountain

To Do Something

Stages of Human Spiritual Development

The Corpse of Ambition

The Ten Thousand Idiots

Battle of the Sexes


Self-Essence and Identity

Rhapsody on the Perfect Enjoyment of Delusion

Getting High

True Inquiry, Part 2

Notes from the Other Side

Prison Planet Samsara

My Dog’s Better Than Your Dog


Beyond Religious Provincialism and Scientific Materialism


The Pursuit of Happiness, Part 2


The Futility of the Search for Meaning

In Search of Self and Beyond

Emotional Intelligence and Skillful Living

Aversion Therapy

Stronger Than Fear


As We Think

Nothing Personal

There Is No Truth, Only Dreaming

Memory Lane

Where Can I Be Safe?

Sabotaging Ourselves

Stop Pretending

Waking Up, Growing Up

Consciousness and Awareness


Pain and Spiritual Practice

Joy of Unknowing



Not Me

View and Conduct

Time Is On My Side

Nobody There

The End of the Seeker

Just Be

The Mechanics of Unhappiness

The Paradox of Inherent Perfection

Saving the World

A Brief History of the Dream

Like Burglars

Science and Spirituality

True Meditation: Recognizing Basic Sanity

The Motive

The Mystique of Freedom

The Talking School

World of Warcraft

The Ego Is My Friend

Though We Might Call It Love

All That Matters


Religion, Part 2

Sadness — The Wound of Love


Lest We Be Judged

Meditation on Death

The Fundamental Space


A Little Joke

The Shadow

Individuality and Oneness

Self and Other

All Is Well

 Projection of Mind

Like Lightning

Standing Up for My Values

Stung by a Scorpion


Essence of Mind

The Aware Space of Immediate Presence



12 Tips for Souls Preparing for Upcoming Earth Missions 


Being and Doing


The Purpose


The Three Poisons Considered in the Light of Delusion

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The Purpose

The wise report: first we awaken in the midst of the dream, then we awaken from the dream itself. One way to understand such transformational mechanics is: first we realize that we are not the character we have presumed ourself to be, the human persona fashioned from thoughts and memories, emotions and sensations. Rather, that character is a role we have been playing, like a “Method” actor.

Nevertheless, the play goes on. Eventually, we may come to realize that the play itself is more like a convincing illusion, an absorbing theatrical production. As such, it represents an impermanent and non-binding modification of consciousness, which has no substantial reality beyond the narrative we have been granting it, based on our ever-changing angle of vision and the conditioning which co-creates it.

Of course, as long as that is a mere intellectual recognition, the dream still has power over us, even though we might imagine otherwise. The contraction persists — the knot at the heart, the excuses, resentments, the rationalizations, judgments, the self-deception.

However, when we really see how things are, as they are, then we realize directly that the whole production (including our role) is a virtual and transient reality, our own dreamy projection and display — utterly empty of any inherent and enduring substance.

That’s not the end of the matter however, because we are still making a distinction between the real and the unreal, and moreover, our heart has not yet broken open. When we realize the emptiness of both self and phenomena, of any identity or position, the ancient conflict within our being subsides.

But when our heart breaks open in a love unfathomable, and our feeling being expands to include the totality, humbly embracing all of life’s poignancy, terror, and wonder — so impossibly beautiful, fragile, and even devastating in its mysterious appearance and disappearance — we may finally begin to get a sense about the purpose of this birth.

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All manifest and un-manifest universes glow like little lit lanterns strung across the firmament of night, itself a figment of the light, and beyond that, more light into light, no longer an earnest rehearsal for light, but light itself, which is love, and more than time or space can hold, our own innocence and natural truth. Even in this dim harsh density, it shines forth as the immortal font of wisdom, radiance, and bliss — our fundamental condition and divine inheritance.

Why then, how then, can we ever feel alone? We feel alone because our native connection to the divine light has become obscured by the pressing business of living in this objective world, contracting our vibration down into the seeming solidity of psycho-physical boundaries. We can’t find our way home. In the very midst of this calamity, however, there is something interesting we can notice. Appreciation is possible, and genuine appreciation leads to gratitude.

After the tightness of physical embodiment, we can appreciate so much more vividly the open spaciousness of our immortal freedom. In this humble circumstance of materiality, we can come to appreciate who we really are, by directly experiencing what we are not. We are here to learn to appreciate love by experiencing non-love. We learn to appreciate our connection to the divine, the source of light and love itself, by experiencing the illusion of separation.

The only truly sane thing to do with this life then is to expand our perception of our prior connection to the luminous divine, until all obscurations are seen through and discarded, and what remains is this immediate Presence, this eternal love. We can little by little or all at once, relax into that and be taken, taken by that which lives us, loves us, now and forever, Amen.

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Being and Doing

I open my laptop browser and the world comes rushing at me with the raw force of consciousness. Just so, by refraining from hierarchical thinking, I need not attempt to sort the seemingly more significant offerings from the apparently lesser ones. They all are equally empty parade participants in the transient electronic flotillas rumbling silently befor me down the neural boulevards.

Instead, I proceed to open a blank page in my magic thought recorder and resume compounding the general collective confusion by adding my own 2 cents in the form of superfluous sentences and paragraphs. There may be something agreeable or not about the ensuing words and the thoughts which spawn them, but it is nothing more than what the mind might make of itself while ensconced in the denser frequencies of the existence spectrum.

Beyond all that, and even prior to it, there is feeling. It is not a mere sensation program, although it includes every flavor of sensation. It is not based on the conditional interpretation of and response to arising mental stimuli, although nothing is excluded, even second thoughts.

Consider emotion. There is motion in the word emotion, which is movement, which is action. We are not here to simply be, we are also here to act. In the realm of being, love is being. In the realm of action, love is action. How we love is reflected in how we act, not so much in how we think or imagine, despite our finely worded explications in defense of a fictional person.

The body-mind-self and the passing display of theatrical bewilderments are props we actors juggle in the action movie called “life”. So many humans are eager to abandon their bodies, forgetting that we spend most of eternity without one. It is rare to get any human body, and rarer still to appreciate the opportunity it offers. We actors have our roles to play, but many get stage fright, hesitate, and only complicate.

We may be able to talk a good game, but action is the proof. The world’s at stake. Our acts of love, our love in action, make the body the mediator between heaven and earth, a clear crystal prism for feeling to infinity. Alternately, our refusal to act, our avoidance of action, only dims that light which we need more than ever to see.

Q: What do you mean by emotional assent? Am I not to act against my desires?

M: You will not act against your desires. Clarity is not enough. Energy comes from love — you must love to act — whatever the shape and object of your love. (I Am That, Nisargadatta)

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For some time now, throughout the Western Dharmic channels, there’s been frequent talk about “awakening”, as if that represents some critical experience, and in a way it certainly does. Imagine the alternative of spending one’s whole time in dreamland, never realizing one is fast asleep! Imagine a whole planet of such sleep-walkers! For proof that ignorance is not bliss, we need only look at the current state of Earth. Nevertheless, amid all the claims about illumination, not much is heard about staying awake, because it is actually still quite rare to thoroughly disentangle from the matrix and stabilize in the “open eyes” state.

Moreover, those who are actually awake don’t think of themselves as awake. They don’t think of themselves as anything in particular, nothing special. They have ceased experiencing themselves as separate entities from the whole. The wave is not other than the ocean. They don’t go on about “their” experiences. Notions of “me & mine” no longer apply. Truly, they never do, except as a reflection of ignorance.

Ignorance consists of forming and maintaining views, positions, beliefs, judgments, and self-images based on insufficient information. The fact is, we don’t know who or what we really are. The resulting confusion yields a state of mistaken identity, in which consciousness imagines itself as this single time-bound carbon unit exclusively, and thus ignorance is reinforced in the delusion.

That is why the wise in such matters suggest, as an initial preparatory step, bringing one’s whole attention to this immediate moment, and cease living in the past or future. Although this in itself is nearly impossible for most humans, due to runaway thought-streams and engrained habit patterns, Help is always available, especially if we are sincerely dissatisfied enough with living from anything less than the truth.

When fully immersed in and as this immediate moment: is it perfect or imperfect, happy or sad, desirable or undesirable, except as a conditioned subjective fantasy of interpretation on perception? All applied qualifications are mind-made, and constitute a superimposition on experience (also mind-made).

Perhaps we want things-as-they-are to be other than what they are. Then we create concepts like perfection or perfection’s lack, moving us another step away from the immediate moment, and into imaginative abstraction. Reversing that process is what some call practice, and indeed it does require effort because we have been conditioned to be judges, and breaking that habit is difficult, especially given the saturation of information within the current collective consciousness.

As humans, we are not qualified to make judgments about each other, since we do not have sufficient information. We only “see through a glass darkly.” Here in dreamland, the illusion is formidable. Our will and efforts alone can only take us so far, and can even turn into further obstacles themselves. In the midst of our ignorance, only love lights the way onward. In the midst of our failures, love triumphs anew. Ignorance ends when there is nothing that remains of us but love.

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12 Tips for Souls Preparing for Upcoming Earth Missions

1. Be kind to everyone and everything — your mirrors.

2. Be responsible for proper care and bodily maintenance.

3. Skip entanglements with human belief systems and views.

4. Serve the planet and all of its inhabitants by non-harming.

5. Be a blessing for whomever you encounter, not a nuisance.

6. Keep a clear open connection with your own loving Source.

7. Discover what you love, whatever calls you, and do that.

8. Form relationships with energies that magnify the light.

9. Practice being before all thinking, the silent witness.

10. Let humble gratitude inform all waking moments.

11. Forgive every one and every thing every time.

12. Cling to nothing, non-dwelling is peace.

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We’ve all heard about the benefits of “being here now”, but why does it seem so difficult for attention to simply remain present? We can pledge allegiance to the concept all day, but the actual experience is fleeting at best. If we turn attention around, we notice that we are typically somewhere in the past or future. To truly appreciate the immediate presence of our own truth requires that we relinquish the self-fascination, along with its ongoing narrative. There is no self in the now. The self idea comes later, when we have distanced ourselves from the present in order to conceptualize about it, and one of the concepts we employ is the sense of “me”. “Me” is a kind of useful creation that helps in the navigation of this 3-D realm, but not at all who or what we are.

Consider for instance the character we assume in a virtual reality video game. We are clearly not that fictional creation, but we play the role for the game’s duration. Some also compare that sense to a dream, in which the mind plays various roles while we sleep, but which all vanish when we awaken. However, there are no daydreams in the now. The self-obsession is a kind of daydream, in that it has no substantial foundation in reality. Rather, it’s a compounded jumble of thoughts, emotions, memory associations, beliefs and reflected images, interpretations on perceptions conditioned by innumerable factors leading back to the Big Bang and even further back.

There is no beginning actually, but the human mind makes a habit of identifying with the self-contraction from an early age, and that generally remains the case throughout one’s life, even if one reads a lot of wise sutras and holy texts. Unless we are somehow sobered up by a direct recognition of our actual condition, which is pretty rare, we typically remain in a stagnant trance of identification with those contracted self-images. Even more rare is to thoroughly disentangle from the long-running persona program to the point of mature stabilization in selfless love.

This is why the skillful teachings on “short moments, many times”, are expedient. Even when we awaken to the nature of consciousness to some extent, it takes effort to allow it to inform our very cells. However, this is not about some mental regimen, practice, or strategy. It is a matter of letting go at the heart, because it is the heart’s deepest desire, and we can no longer resist its call. Nobody plans to fall that much in love that they lose themselves in such a love. It may sound romantic even, but it is death. That is why we want to keep the story going, because we are afraid of death. What we discover, however, is that we don’t lose the story, it just expands beyond our comprehension. The story is not our concern. It only comes true when we unequivocally embody this immediate presence, unfettered awareness, selfless love.

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When I consider all or any of the reasons I have withheld love, I recognize that each justification was spawned from judgments which were invariably based on insufficient information. All selfish points of view arise based on insufficient information. Our personal sense of autonomy, independence, and separation from each other is solely based on insufficient information. Because in our temporary human aspect we lose our native comprehension of the larger panorama, we become confused. Our immortal connection to our own Loving Source becomes in doubt, and seems to slip into the background of our awareness, as fresh experience coalesces into the sense of an apparent chasm in consciousness between ourselves and “the outside world”.

Out of ignorance, we adopt and fixate on various positions and self-images which we come to identify as “me”, and then circle the wagons around the ensuing sense of self engendered by consequent experience. Our attention is then spent trying to protect and defend this precious creation of ours from other aspects of ourselves, those appearing as “not me”. The war with ourselves is born, and floods forth throughout the collective (of which we are an inescapable part), every time we withhold love. We imagine we have enemies who do not deserve our love. Withholding love seems justifiable. It’s us against them.

However, that shard of prime intelligence, sometimes called our heart, which really knows how things are, never withholds love. It is love, and reflects only itself to itself, with no condition except to magnify itself. It makes of itself a vehicle in the form of this immediate presence, which is us. It pours through us in an unspeakable ecstasy, which our human persona filters, based on its dense construct and capacity. This human judgment system separates the lovable and the not so. When the “not so” presents, the auto-mechanism goes into resistance mode.

When resistance arises and crimps the flow of love, it originates based on insufficient information. What obstructs the energetic radiance of love but us, with our juggling act of judgment, belief, fear, and self-importance which contracts the receiving mechanism? We get in our own way by withholding love to any degree at all. When we withhold love from any part of consciousness, we withhold it from ourselves, since we are that. Love. The price of withholding is self-starvation. The grace can’t pour through, and we live by grace, the grace of love. All behaviors based on anything less than the highest aspirations of the heart makes us smaller, and ripple out through infinity, making everything a little less than it could be. What a terrible burden we place on our hearts by withholding love!

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