Religion, Part 2

“What is religion? A cloud in the sky. I live in the sky, not in the clouds, which are so many words held together. Remove the verbiage and what remains? Recorded religions are mere heaps of verbiage. Religions show their true face in action, in silent action. To know what man believes, watch how he acts. For most of the people service of their bodies and their minds is their religion. They may have religious ideas, but they do not act on them. They play with them, they are often very fond of them, but they will not act on them. Christianity is one way of putting words together and Hinduism is another. The real is, behind and beyond words, incommunicable, directly experienced, explosive in its effect on the mind. It is easily had when nothing else is wanted.”

~Nisargadatta Maharaj

Is there anything more subject to manipulation, modification, and misdirection in this realm than belief systems? In fact, nearly every person alive is ruled to some extent by conditioning programs based on manufactured beliefs. Reality descriptions are implanted as soon as one develops the cognitive capacity to be influenced, and that process never really ceases until the body-mind expires.

Moreover, people tend to be divided by their beliefs. Such is a convenient and often-employed tool for the controllers, the belief system engineers, who know all too well the power of fabricated beliefs. There is a very good reason for so much disinformation in this day and age. It is a sort of black magic based on a long-cultivated knowledge of how the human herd reacts to certain signals.

Currently, with the advent of media technologies that provide them with unprecedented control options, the powers of this realm have more ability and resources to fashion opinions and misdirect attention than at any other period in history, as well as marginalize any threat to their information control from the few voices that still speak out.

One of their favored modus operandi is setting up various competing religions, and using those beliefs to get people to attack, torture, and kill those who oppose the corrupted belief system. Various competing political and financial systems are also utilized for comparable purposes, but it is still hard to top religious belief as a prime vehicle for the manipulation of humans on this planet.

Religious belief in general is a mental and emotional superimposition on our felt experience of life and being. Borrowed fantasies of interpretation, based on cultural filters, are added to perception. These notions are then grasped onto as unchallenged and self-confirming propositions, for which we are even willing to sacrifice the lives of others, as well as our own, in their presumed defense.

Indeed, much of the violence perpetrated on humanity by humanity throughout history has religious belief structures at the root. Some might even argue that ethnic cleansing agendas went hand in hand with the inception of the Abrahamic religious cults that were eventually institutionalized into what are now considered “major world religions”, and that the monotheistic principle itself was in reality symptomatic of the human proclivity for totalitarian empire-building.

In any case, when the fundamentals of religious laws were initially implanted in human societies, it more than likely entailed a process similar in purpose and design to the various behavioral conditioning programs that are employed in the training of young children. In other words, religious concepts served as socialization vehicles and control structures aimed at achieving and then maintaining consensus views and corresponding standards of conduct in the fledgling societies springing up across the planet.

It was important for the evolution of these societies that individuals learned to distinguish appropriate versus inappropriate forms of relationship and activity, and considering the infantile level of developmental maturity of the species, certain fearful punishment consequences (i.e. hell realms) were strategically associated with failure to comply with the established rules.

These rules were eventually codified as religious dogmas requiring belief and allegiance, and many might argue that they are still necessary at our current level of global maturation, and so the overwhelming majority of humans are still kept in the dark. It’s never so dark as when we close our eyes, and yet most of us persist in keeping them shut and just going along with the herd.

In that regard, a large portion of humanity is still convinced that a male parental deity figure dreamed up by primitive nomadic peoples thousands of years ago is still worthy of worship and fear, and moreover relies on its followers to uphold its status by subduing and even exterminating unbelievers. To that end, a startling percentage of those deluded humans espousing such beliefs are willing to wage war with each other to confirm that their particular version of that deity figure is superior.

Just so, the alarming rise of violent Islamic extremism in the world today is not to be seen as an aberration, but simply business as usual when humans take their religious beliefs seriously (particularly within the Abrahamic sects, though certainly not exclusively). There is currently a surge of fundamentalism in the overall collective consciousness because humans who rely on conditioned belief to confirm their existence are deeply anxious about the future, and so wish to roll the clock back to a more comfortable time – a time when the earth was flat and the sun traveled around it, their favorite god ruled from his throne on high, women knew their subservient place, and there was plenty of enthusiasm about burning fellow humans at the stake or consigning them to the pits of hell if they dared to offend the consensus reality illusion.

The sage Nisargadatta Maharaj made a good point about belief itself in this regard when he noted: “We believe in so many things on hearsay. We believe in distant lands and people, in heavens and hells, in gods and goddesses, because we were told. Similarly, we were told about ourselves, our parents, name, position, duties and so on. We never cared to verify. The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false. To destroy the false, you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst. With the body comes the world, with the world — God, who is supposed to have created the world and thus it starts — fears, religions, prayers, sacrifices, all sorts of systems — all to protect and support the child-man, frightened out of his wits by monsters of his own making. Realise that what you are cannot be born nor die and with the fear gone all suffering ends.”

In any case, when we start to come clean of our fascination with and dependence on second-hand dogmas, and begin to shed our conditioned religious identities, we may find ourselves in a silence of mind that can at first seem extremely uncomfortable. After all, we are programmed and accustomed to having something there, something we can fall back on — “our” beliefs — and now they are either suspect, or have gone missing altogether.
We find ourselves cast into a vast and intimidating unknown, with no crutch or familiar landing place. Nevertheless, if we are able to resist the temptation of trying to fill the gap by replacing obsolete beliefs with newer and shinier versions, we will find ourselves opening into the transparent aware spaciousness of our own original innocence.

No frame of reference, no reference to frame — this transitional state of utter insecurity and not knowing is in fact the womb of real awakening. Many people tend to think that the “dark night of the soul” refers to a period of depression or psychological distress, but what is being pointed to here is not that. It is a state which pertains when all previous identity supports and anchors of belief are surrendered, and is thus a necessary stage prior to, and even coincident with, authentic awakening. It is often called a death, because it represents the end of clinging to old self-images.

By simply persisting there, while discarding the motive to add some further mental fabrication (i.e. belief) to our present aware spaciousness, what is is allowed to reveal itself, without artifice or force. It is the indescribable bliss of our own true nature, and it has never been elsewhere. It’s just that we have been too distracted by our beliefs and notions to see what has been present and radiant all along.

However, when we attempt to apply some conditional structure/meaning to it, so that the mind can wrap itself around it and plant its flag of identity in a staked-out position (belief), we’ve immediately separated ourselves from the essence of what is, even though it is only by directly experiencing the very essence of it that we will come to true peace.

Certainly, employing the intellect to inquire into the nature of any particular subject has its own value and utility. However, we often tend to over-complicate things by relying solely on reason and logic, and thus hold back from fully letting go and plunging all the way in to the heart of life and relations. Hence, another way to consider the matter might be like this:

There is an ocean. There are those who have heard that there is an ocean, have read many testaments about it being there, but have not actually seen it for themselves, much less plunged into it. These people might ponder the ocean in their minds, and derive various interpretations about its nature. Still, until they actually go to the ocean and get into it, their understanding will remain in the realm of belief and fantasies of interpretation.
Even those who do enter into the ocean are unable to fully appreciate its totality, since there are depths that are difficult to penetrate, but at least they have the direct experience as far as they go.

Just so, if one actually sees for themselves that the ocean is real, then there is no need to speculate about it, or even to doubt it. There is not even any need for faith, since one has found out on their own. Otherwise, one will constantly vacillate between faith and doubt, which is why religions and philosophies appear — to indulge people who do not have direct experience of the ocean.

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

~ Dalai Lama

See also: Religion, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments



There is a certain meme floating around in the collective, suggesting that guilt is a kind of positive influence, as opposed to shame, for example, which is portrayed as negative. The sense of taking personal responsibility for an offense, and the accompanying feelings of remorse, are considered to be the beneficial and desired outcome of the assumption of guilt. Judges in the penal system, for example, look to see if the criminal has accepted a sense of personal guilt for their crimes, and exhibits the necessary regret required to be returned to society after serving their sentence.

However, I would offer that there is a difference between recognizing unskillful behaviors, and granting reality to a self-image in the form of some self-imposed blame, which is my understanding of the concept of guilt. It may seem a matter of semantics, but no matter how we slice it, psychological guilt still amounts to a fixation of identity. In other words, a target must be present for guilt to land, but if there is no target, nothing can be attributed to it — positive, negative, or neutral.

A “guilty conscience” requires an owner. By projecting a sense of solid and enduring self, we then have a narrative story, the story of “me”. “I have sinned, I am guilty, I must change, I must improve my-self, I must become enlightened, redeemed, saved, blah blah blah . . .” A war with oneself is established, and moreover, it is a war which can never be won, despite the claims of the neurotic self-mortifiers down through the ages.

Alternately, if instead of perpetuating the ambivalent story of the “me project”, we begin to seriously question the whole premise of the story itself, then we may eventually find that it is fundamentally empty at the core — a bundle of thoughts and memories with no basis for the establishment of an actual guilty “person”. Indeed, we may discover that all of our fuss and bother, all of our self-concern and busy efforts to modify, blame, forgive, and perfect ourselves, has been based on a case of mistaken identity. The direct recognition of the emptiness of the personal self is a great relief, liberating us from the endless “me-project” that has so occupied our life and infected our relations with its insistent demands for confirmation and feeding, praise and blame.

Such a direct recognition will typically have a profound effect on behavior, by greatly loosening the contraction in the being centered around any identity fixation. If we stop and inspect the sensation that arises in the body with the experience of guilt, we can recognize immediately that its influence is contracting. Alternately, we can experience a sense of liberating expansion with the release of guilt — a genuine relief and even an immediate renewed availability to life and love.

Of course, the religionists may fear that such a recognition — the emptiness of the imagined self — would create an amoral personality, a sociopath in other words, and indeed there is the possibility of aberration if one stops and clings to just half of the equation: “Form is empty”. One may indeed fall into a kind of imbalance. It is rare, but it has happened. Witness, for example, the kinds of atrocities sanctioned by certain Japanese Zen Masters, as documented in the book “Zen At War”, by Brian Victoria.

However, for those who also are able to realize the other half of the equation — that “emptiness is also form” — a higher synthesis will then pertain in which spontaneous compassion is born, and “doing the right thing” is not a matter of fulfilling some man-made dictum, but simply a natural result of the liberation that comes with recognition. Whatever is in need of change in life and relations will happen spontaneously, without the superimposition of a make-believe doer to complicate life’s flowing functioning.

Indeed, it is only by seeing through and surrendering all of our previous identifications with the body-mind-self (as well as its need for validation, preservation, and perpetual enhancement) that we are finally able to relinquish the internal war with ourselves and be changed by the universal intelligence which is our true nature, love itself.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

All That Matters

“The person, the ‘I am this body, this mind, this chain of memories, this bundle of desires and fears’ disappears, but something you may call identity, remains. It enables me to become a person when required. Love creates its own necessities, even of becoming a person.”

~Nisargadatta Maharaj

These days, it appears that there are some nondual-type teachers who claim that the “self” is merely a thought creation, a dream illusion, unreal. However, that’s actually only a fraction of it — like standing in the parlor and imagining one is seeing the whole house. Stopping there and fixating in that position would be a most premature conclusion, a perceptual error in recognition and appreciation.

In reality, the “self-sense” is an expression of something much more than a mechanical assemblage of mental events transpiring in the brain, and those who tend to conceptually write it off as that are missing its real purpose. In that regard, let’s explore the issue a bit further (elaborating on the consideration begun in the essays “The Ego Is My Friend”, and “Self-Realization”).

There is an apparent tendency of many aspirants to get fixated in concepts about emptiness, without also recognizing that emptiness is form. For a number of reasons, clinging to the notion of the emptiness of the self or ego is even worse than clinging to its form, primarily because it paralyzes the natural functioning of the human-soul fusion. Seeing through the substantiality of the self is merely a preliminary recognition. If one follows through with the inquiry, the “self” then returns, or is revealed as, a skillful servant, rather than a tyrannical master, so to speak.

Essentially, the sense of self is a unique and ingenious “space suit” that Spirit employs to navigate and thus enjoy the human experience, and so is absolutely necessary for life and relationships. We came here specifically to enjoy the experience of manifest 3-D human existence, and all the lessons and recognitions about what we truly are (and are not) that come with the “package”, and so attempting to eliminate the very vehicle by which we would do so is functionally counter-productive.

Indeed, such efforts mainly serve to prolong an inner conflict, the war with oneself. The human-based religious fantasies of original sin, perpetual guilt, and body shaming which have plagued mankind for ages are always spawned from that false internal division, as are the sometimes bizarre lengths to which aspirants of those persuasions have gone to alleviate their own self-created dilemmas.

All that is really necessary is to understand that the “self” is not really who we are, any more than we are the automobile we drive to get from one geographical location to another. With that recognition, we are then free to create with it like a paint brush on the canvas of experience, appreciating it for what it is in the context of the play of consciousness itself.

It’s true that form is empty, but if one stops there, they miss the other half of the wisdom, and that is, emptiness is also form. As mentioned, there are numerous nondual teachers who focus on no-self, but the result of that emphasis often leads to an imbalanced view and conduct. It is not really comprehensive to claim that there is either absolutely no self, any more than it is to say that there is actually an independent and enduring self. It is far more nuanced than that, and additionally a lot more fun to experience the whole matter as part of the vast and glorious mystery of our appearance (as opposed to some dry and dusty dogma). The Two Truths Principle is helpful in this case. That is, on a relative level there IS a person, though on an absolute level, there IS NOT. Both are true on different levels, and being able to fully appreciate the paradox of that is what maturing in awakening is all about.

When we put on our clothes, for example, those clothes are not who we are, but they are not just a daydream either — they serve a very necessary purpose if we want to be able to get around in the world, and that is what needs to be recognized in regard to the self-sense — it is the vehicle by which Spirit operates and explores in the 3-D realm of materiality, and so it can’t just be brushed off as a delusion or daydream.

No-self-type teachings frequently become appealing intellectual positions, and consequently end up being impediments, rather than liberating, because there is not a direct experience of the reality itself, but merely the (distorted) experience of the concept. One reason for this error is that such teachings are typically encountered prematurely, without a prior foundation of spiritual practice having been established to anchor the aspirant in humility, wisdom, integrity, and compassion. In that regard, the Persian poet Rumi made an astute observation: “If you are eager to be nothing before you know who you are, you rob yourself of your true being.”

Traditionally, for example, the advanced principles of Advaita Vedanta were taught to initiates only after they completed some years of yogic endeavor, and were then deemed ripe enough, and prepared enough, to handle the implications of those teachings in an appropriate manner. For that reason, it was considered the crown jewel of the wisdom teachings — in other words, the final or ultimate teaching. The same might be said about Dzogchen, or Ati Yoga.

These days, people can find the “secret teachings” on the internet, or at a half-baked guru’s “satsang”, and end up confusing themselves for a long time as a result, especially if they are mixed in with other spiritual supermarket acquisitions. It can often be quite difficult to awaken such individuals from the smug trance of misplaced certainty which accompanies fixation at the conceptual level with emptiness and no-self positions.

Likewise, the materialist assertion that Spirit is some sort of brain epiphenomena would be tantamount to believing that the radio announcer is a little man inside the radio. Spirit is not a brain figment, but unless one has the liberating experience and consequent recognition granted via expanded consciousness, they may continue in the conceptual belief that it is so, short of the big surprise they get when the body (with its brain) drops away.

In any case, the Self, Source, Pure Presence, All That Is, the Divine — whatever name humans apply — is manifesting Itself as all beings, in order to experience Itself through an infinite number of eyes. This is the Great Delight of the Infinite, though incomprehensible to the limited human intellect’s processing capacity. All selves are shards or extensions of Source in that respect, and all return to Self.

There is a valid recognition that, at the ultimate level, nothing happens. That is not really our concern while we are here, appearing and engaged in this realm or vibrational frequency, however. Rather, our job here is to directly realize that love is all that matters, and then to embody the implications of that recognition in our conduct and relationships. In the end, none of our fine notions about emptiness, the self/no-self paradox, and the fate of our daydreams will survive. Only Love is real, and that is the “lesson” we must come to real-ize in this human incarnation. The rest will unfold naturally.

From that perspective, the “self” is merely a prop in Love’s Play, and not some delusion that must be vanquished or made to disappear, but only rightly understood. For the best theatrical production, the actor on the stage must play their role to the best of their ability, but also recognize that the role is not their true identity.

When we conflate the fictional role we play with who and what we truly are, we inevitably suffer the consequences that come with such poor judgment and discernment, and that is the value of intermediate teachings such as “annica”, or no-self, which are meant to free us from lingering in that case of mistaken identity.

Essentially, no teaching is going to fully liberate us, because we have never been bound to begin with. Again, that is Love’s Play — a game of Hide & Seek with Itself, pretending to be separate for the thrill of reunion. It is only in direct recognition of that which is and has always been the case that we can even speak of liberation, since it is liberation from the false notions of limitation and attachment to provisional identities that have obscured our native state of unconditional love.

The infinite forms and personas that Love employs to express Itself do not in any way detract from or lessen Spirit’s timeless perfection. There is only one Source, one Self, projecting Its infinite forms through the inconceivable holograms of luminosity that we call Spirit. Moreover, this magical realm we call “the world” is a wild wonder beyond human reckoning! The mere appearance of anything at all is a perpetual mystery of pure awe and ceaseless astonishment! Why retreat into frozen poses of abstruse dharma, when every molecule of light amazes itself at its own inexplicable appearance?

These ever-shifting props that provide the sense of time and change are nothing but batons we juggle in the mid-air of the here and now! How thrilling to suddenly realize that the synchronous majesty of our infinitely expansive being is the perfect expression of That which is living us now, dreaming us now as a miracle fashioned out of unimaginable Love. Yes, we are Love, and Love must love, for therein shines our perfect purpose beyond any need for ersatz redemption.

There is one Presence, one Power, of which we are all unique projections. All the myriad sentient personalities flash and frolic as dreamy thought forms dancing in the Heart/Mind of Source. Drawn deeper into this stunning recognition, all universal nature herself becomes transparent as the manifestation of the Living Womb of Light, delivering everyone and everything into pure light and more light still.

That clear light radiance of awake awareness has no before or after, nor parts that somehow come together or randomly divide. There is only This! Such recognition is not an acquisition of the mind, but rather a letting go and awakening at the Heart — our destiny and present condition — when all that would obstruct clear seeing is sacrificed at the altar of the Unconditional, for the selfless sake of Love alone.

May all beings awaken to the bliss of their own true nature, their own primordial brilliance — only Love!

Q: What is this big talk about elimination of the self? How can the self eliminate itself? What kind of metaphysical acrobatics can lead to the disappearance of the acrobat? In the end he will reappear, mightily proud of his disappearing. Nisargadatta

Maharaj: You need not chase the ‘I am’ to kill it. You cannot. All you need is a sincere longing for reality. We call it atma-bhakti, the love of the Supreme: or moksha-sankalpa, the determination to be free from the false. Without love, and will inspired by love, nothing can be done. Merely talking about Reality without doing anything about it is self-defeating. There must be love in the relation between the person who says ‘I am’ and the observer of that ‘I am’. As long as the observer, the inner self, the ‘higher’ self, considers himself apart from the observed, the ‘lower’ self, despises it and condemns it, the situation is hopeless. It is only when the observer (vyakta) accepts the person (vyakti) as a projection or manifestation of himself, and, so to say, takes the self into the Self, the duality of ‘I’ and ‘this’ goes and in the identity of the outer and the inner the Supreme Reality manifests itself.

This union of the seer and the seen happens when the seer becomes conscious of himself as the seer, he is not merely interested in the seen, which he is anyhow, but also interested in being interested, giving attention to attention, aware of being aware. Affectionate awareness is the crucial factor that brings Reality into focus.

baby universe

Posted in Uncategorized | 41 Comments

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 Powdered Sugar Structure of Illusion

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Though We Might Call It

“Perhaps everything that frightens us is,
in its deepest essence, something helpless
that wants our love.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

In recognizing that which we tend to construct or presume to be grounds for un-love and contraction, all is eventually or even suddenly revealed to be inherently without any limitation – the paradoxical but generous offerings of Love to itself.

In recognizing “that” from which we tend to recoil in fear and conditioned reactivity, all is revealed to be nothing but the selfless communication of Love to itself.

In recognizing the appearance of sensations, perceptions, and thought formations, all are revealed to be nothing but non-binding manifestations of our own indivisible totality, which is the boundless nature of Love itself.

In recognizing the vanishing of every formation, sensation, or thought object, the I-concept itself is revealed to be nothing but the transitory play of vast emptiness, which is simultaneously the unfathomable function of Love itself.

In recognizing the futility of belief in or identification with any form or concept, all seeming hindrances (including the presumption of a separate self-sense) are enjoyed as nothing but transparent modifications of Love itself, without any effort or motive to have them be anything other than what they are.

In recognizing that all seeking is merely the avoidance of “what is” — the breathtaking magnificence of the ordinary, the uncontrived rawness of it — Love reveals itself as the very home which the mind of preference is always fleeing in order to finally arrive home.

In recognizing the absurd predicament in which the mind of complication entangles itself through all of its efforts to confirm, enlighten, save, redeem, improve, liberate, or vanquish itself, a sense of humor is born, and it is that humble humor which heralds the beginning of true wisdom – the capacity to appreciate and incarnate Love itself.

In recognizing that consciousness itself is simply an engaging fiction, a fantasy creation of Love’s innocent dream-play, with no ultimate meaning or significance except to be That, our soul becomes still.

In such stillness, any pretense of knowing, along with the dualistic mind’s imaginative scenery, is dissolved in an infinite expanse – the sky-like spaciousness of Awareness itself.

The unparalleled beauty which shines forth from the heart of that dynamic silence is beyond any special name or poetic designation, though we might call it Love.

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

The Ego Is My Friend

“The world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is, and yet is not. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It just happens . . .  It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it, nor meaning. Only the onlooker is real. To the Self the world is but a colourful show, which he enjoys as long as it lasts and forgets when it is over. Whatever happens on the stage makes him shudder in terror or roll with laughter, yet all the time he is aware that it is but a show. Without desire or fear he enjoys it, as it happens.”

~Sri Nisargadatta

sufi dancing universe

One regular refrain of traditional spirituality consists of the admonition that the so-called ego must be methodically eliminated in order for the light of truth to dawn. In other words, it has been taught that it represents some nemesis, obstacle, impediment, or downright nasty evil entity that somehow attached itself to us, or that we acquired by virtue of wrong thinking, wrong living, or simply as a condition of appearing here at all — something akin to the Christian version of original sin.

On the other hand, some of the more sophisticated of the wisdom systems will explain that the ego is simply a persistent hallucination, an illusion which is not real, but rather a false assumption that we are currently plagued with because of karmic reasons related to bad seeds of ignorance and selfishness we planted in the course of previous incarnations. Alternately, some will expound that it represents the habitual activity of craving and aversion, and thus is not an entity, but nevertheless should still be eliminated, conquered, subdued, or somehow manipulated into non-existence (even if it is an illusion in the first place and so only exists as a conceptual designation).

Upon some inspection, however, and perhaps with the benefit of a little insight gleaned from expanded consciousness into the mechanics of incarnating into the dense vibrational frequency of this psycho-physical realm, we can recognize that the ego, or sense of self, is more like a necessary downloaded software program (in the same sense that the body/brain is the necessary hardware) required to function in life and relations. Just so, let’s consider how this works.

Our true nature is not human. We are immortal Spirit, a beloved extension, expression, and reflection of Source, the Universal Basis. As such, we act as a lens for Source to experience Itself in all of Its infinite manifestations. Spirit does this by infusing a portion of its light energy (Source Energy) into various sentient beings, including humans, in order to sample and share in their experience. In this way, we reflect Source back to Itself. Just as humans populate their dreams at night with all sorts of characters (who are nevertheless projections of their own minds), so too does Source project the whole universe into existence in an act of indescribable love, and then enjoy the multi-faceted experience of it through Its Spirit extensions.

Source Itself is not an entity, but more like an ineffable field of creative energy which expands its Self-awareness by employing shards of Its own Source Consciousness (Spirits) to explore Itself in the mirrored halls of infinity, which are ultimately Its own dream creation. There is in reality nothing but Source, playing all the roles. We are Source, manifesting as Spirit — the actor who inhabits all manner of bio-vehicles to both play the parts and also to enjoy the drama of sentience, human and otherwise. Indeed, the human carbon-based lifeform construct is actually only one possible incarnational option amidst innumerable universes and dimensions, with most of them utterly incomprehensible to the current human intellect.

Although our Spirit has its own unique identity, that ancient identity is not the same thing as the perishable human self-sense, which consists of a combination of survival instincts and various personality factors. This transient self-sense, or ego-program, is the tool Spirit employs to experience realms such as that of the human. Without it, we would not be able to maintain the necessary focus of energy required for physical manifestation. Indeed, in order to play the game of life on this stage, we need the personality roles and identity props which are programmed into each of us so that Spirit can create the virtual reality scenarios and storylines that we call our lives.

This so-called ego-program, or self-sense, naturally projects the necessary illusion of substantial reality needed to provide us with a human experience. Consequently, the prevalent concept that one needs to kill or eliminate the ego in order to become enlightened actually represents a compounded error in judgment and appreciation. In other words, it is a conceptual fantasy based on purely human suppositions and conditioned interpretations on perception. In reality, there is no substantial or enduring mental subject or ego-person that can be established, disposed of, or liberated, and so whatever may arise (such as thoughts, memories, sensations, and perceptions that seem to reify such an entity) can be compared to a thief in an empty house.

Regardless of our most idealistic human intent, we simply cannot become more of what we already are. To the point: as immortal Spirit, and extensions of Source consciousness, we have never been un-enlightened, and so there is nothing which we can do, no special practice or Guru, that is going to make us any more spiritually elevated than we already are. That dog is simply a tail-chaser!

Furthermore, since we incarnated here to experience the human adventure, it would be contradictory and counter-productive in the extreme to attempt to eliminate that which makes human existence possible in the first place. Such an attitude and intention would be tantamount to the old saying: “cutting off our nose to spite our face”.

Words themselves provide a good working example of the paradox of ego. Words are essentially audible vocalizations, or else little lines, dots, and squiggles on a page, with no inherent substance, which we nevertheless interpret as symbols, and to which we collectively assign a provisional reality, employing them in order to communicate with each other. We know that they are only sounds and scribbles, and not what they are intended to represent, but we agree to grant them a temporary significance for pragmatic purposes.

So too with the sense of self, otherwise known as the ego. Inherently, it is empty — a fictional creation — but we behave “as if” it is real, in order to accomplish our aims while playing in this virtual reality. This self-sense, or ego-program, is neither good nor bad by nature, any more than an operating system in a computer is good or bad. It is in fact essential for the life experience, and depending on our intent, it can be employed to serve many functions, some of which we could consider skillful, and of course some not so skillful. The results of such skillfulness or its lack are clearly evident in the world which the present collective self-sense has generated, mixed as it is with the inspiring as well as the regrettable.

Drilling down to the level of the apparent individual, all of the numerous emotional and psychological symptoms of dysfunction originate from an internal conflict between the survival aspect and the personality aspect of the ego-program, just as all of what is beautiful and desirable is birthed into manifestation when the various aspects of the ego-program are in harmony.

The chief complication in this process is the tendency of the conditioned mind to enthrone and then worship this basic operating system as if it were its true identity, projecting it as the master rather than the servant that it is intended to be. That delusion is simply based on a case of mistaken identity, but is nevertheless responsible for all the suffering which ensues, and which, in far too many respects, defines this realm, on both the micro as well as the macro level, as a kind of prison circumstance.

Omniscient Spirit consciousness contracts its pure vibrational frequency into the dense form of the human animal so that it can fully inhabit and experience the human adventure. Moreover, in order to achieve maximum impact from the experience, it also assumes a kind of temporary amnesia regarding its true nature and condition, at least for the life of the bio-vehicle, so that it can enjoy confronting the Unknown.

What is called “awakening” in various human wisdom systems is simply a matter of directly seeing through the self-imposed amnesia, realizing the empty quality of the projected self and its world, and simultaneously re-cognizing our original Spirit nature. If it happens in the course of one’s human adventure, great! If not, great! In other words, it is not an object that can or need be pursued, particularly since this life itself, from the point of view of the Spirit world and one’s immortal illumined nature, is simply another inhalation and exhalation within the grand panorama of infinite expansion.

In that regard, the human mind itself, no matter how brilliant it may be in the relative sphere, is quite ill-equipped to comprehend the bigger picture of that which precedes it, and in which it appears and disappears like a tiny bubble in a sea of champagne. Even the most profound human spiritual capacity is still very much like peeking through a keyhole into the parlor while trying to take in the immensity of an enormous mansion with infinite rooms.

In any case, since one of the functions of the ego-program is to handle survival issues, it automatically reacts to any presumed threats to its existence, including threats to its image of itself. Indeed, all we are ever trying to protect and defend is some image we have of ourselves, based on this false assumption of limited identity. Subsequently, since the current propaganda of this world is fear-based, the egoic survival mechanism responds by generating a corresponding contraction in the being, and hence the sense of unhappiness follows as night follows day.

Beliefs in threats, separation, conflict, and lack continually reinforce the ego-self survival program with a negative feedback loop, which in turn infects the collective environment, and subsequently is reflected in the various human religious and political clashes which have rendered this a war planet. This was not at all the original purpose of the program, but is simply what it has become in far too many cases, and also why there is the movement in human spiritual philosophies and systems to banish it.

As understandable as that motive may seem, it is utterly ineffective. Nobody can banish the ego and remain alive. The wiser course, on the other hand, is to simply switch from being controlled by it to taking charge and re-programing it to fulfill its original intent. In order to do that, it is necessary to first understand its mechanics – how it operates – and the best way to do that is through the process of True Inquiry (which has been elaborated in detail in previous essays here). As long as we remain ignorant of how we have allowed ourselves to be controlled by it, we will never be able to see through its defenses and discover the misdirected love at its core.

Certainly, a major part of True Inquiry involves inspecting the role of thought in the creation of our life and relations. Indeed, every thought is generated by the program. Consequently, if we can see directly how identifying with and fixating on thoughts keeps the contracted ego-mind in the driver’s seat, so to speak, than we can also turn the tables by bringing attention to the witness of thoughts – that awake aware space in which thoughts arise and dissolve — and thus undermining their power to drag us around by the nose.

Again, this does not mean that we go about trying to eliminate thoughts, but rather simply see them for what they are, and thus not be controlled by them. After all, the gifts of being able to think and feel, to create and form relationships, originate dependently with the self-sense. These are all wonderful capacities, and if properly understood and directed, provide the tools with which we can accomplish our creative purpose in coming here in the first place. For example, as a means of expression, every piece of music or art is created through the vehicle of the ego.

Even so, we need not take the transient self-sense to represent who and what we truly are, but we can instead simply appreciate it as the creative expedient that it is, like a space suit worn to navigate a particular environment. We are not the costume, we are not the program, but we do need it in order to provide Spirit the necessary access to the physical adventure it desires to immerse itself in, and so provide Source with eyes and hands and feet to discover and enjoy Itself in this shimmering corner of Its dream of living light.


“Those who teach enlightenment through the dissociation with the physical expression of Self walk a path of exclusion and separation, rather than inclusion and connection. Such are teachings in their expression that one thing has greater value than another, that one status of expression is more ascended and proud than another. If all are One, there is only one true value of every-thing. The body, the being, is the celebration and the fruit of the soul. It is the chalice that holds your sacred waters of life, and the temple through which the symbolism of harmony within diversity is expressed and embodied.

It is your human persona which perceives and pigeon holes the physical plane as a ‘lower’ dimension. There are actually many, many physical dimensions which coexist, yet which at times most, are never aware of each other. One is not ‘lower’ than another. That is a judgment you have placed upon its understanding in order for you to relate to it more conveniently. It is more accurate to say, they are simply different expressions of the same source, or, they are different potentials or canvases of creation. One potential is not ‘better’ or ‘higher’ than another, for all potentials come from, and lead to, the same One source.

Just in the way you taste a variety of ingredients when preparing food; one ingredient is not ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ than another, they simply provide different flavours, different experiences. The physical dimension to which you relate is simply one of many flavours, one of many sources of experience, which present you with an expanded insight into what can be created from the ingredients of that which you know as God. So, in a sense, you are like a child playing in the kitchen of the cosmos, or the cradle of creation. If such is your human experience that leaves, how to say, a bad taste in your mouth, then your beautiful divine Self will simply pursue other ‘ingredients’ within the cosmos to cook up and create new experiences of its Self.

So then, your ‘level of spirituality’, as you have called it, is simply your human brain, your ego, trying to fabricate challenges, obstacles and interactive pathways for you to somehow ‘achieve’ something which, in fact, you already are, always have been and always will be, regardless of anything and everything you do in physical state. So before you, or anybody who now reads these words lowers their own spiritual Self-value, know that regardless of what ‘spiritual’ progress you presume you have made through physical ‘learnings’, it does not and will not change who or what your spirit is. You are beautiful, you are perfect and divine, and you do not need to achieve, suffer or struggle for this to remain fact, in life or in death.”


Posted in Uncategorized | 30 Comments

World of Warcraft


“You fight others all the time for your survival as a separate body-mind, a particular name and form. To live you must destroy. From the moment you were conceived you started a war with your environment – a merciless war of mutual extermination, until death sets you free.”

~Nisargadatta Maharaj

Earth is a war planet, one of many. Most souls incarnate here to test themselves in situations of conflict, and it is conflict on one level or another that they will inevitably find. It is a process of discovery for the soul in that sense, dealing with qualities such as greed, envy, hatred, and selfishness in general.

Those who manage to create a life of integrity and compassionate service “graduate”. There are many other classrooms, or higher frequencies of vibration than this dense one. Not every soul even needs to go through this one, but if they choose to do so, it can be very useful, because it is such a daunting challenge, and some souls thrive on challenges.

Being a war planet, we can expect that there will be a lot of killing. The human species currently dominating this planet specializes in killing everything they encounter, not the least of which is each other.

Some say that things are going to change, and maybe that change will indeed come someday. We can certainly all work devotedly towards that end. In the meantime, this is still a war planet, so we can expect a lot of killing.

If we go into a jungle, we might find animals chasing and eating each other. We don’t judge them, for they are animals after all. Killing is their main source of nourishment. Only the “higher” primates have developed behavioral characteristics which exceed any mere survival instinct and constitute actual strategic warfare.

In terms of survival, humans do not need to kill to eat. The vast majority could get by perfectly fine on a vegetarian diet, but they kill other animals anyway because they like to eat them, regardless of whether or not the animals offended them.

When it comes to slaughtering each other, humans conceptualize many rationales to justify their blood lust, such as territorial politics, religion, economics, and philosophy. All of that is on the surface, however, because by nature they are still an immature and particularly dangerous predatory species, prone to resolving any conflict by resorting to violence.

When not involved in actual killing, people relax by vicariously watching others being killed in movies and on television. According to one recent study, the average child in America will watch 8,000 murders on TV before finishing elementary school. By age eighteen, the average American has seen 200,000 acts of violence on TV, including 40,000 murders.


Indeed, a big part of early socialization is accustoming the child to warfare. For young males, war toys are provided, enabling the child to imitate the killing viewed in the media (which includes video games, the most popular of which involve multiple killings).

Of course, there are those who argue that there is no evidence that violent media increase levels of violence, but in any case the preponderance of such fare is an undeniable reflection of the degree in which we are saturated in violence as a steady diet of mental imagery. There is a direct correlation between what we feed our subconscious and how we form our reality constructs, and that correlation manifests in the world we have created.

It doesn’t stop there of course. Recent statistics show that there are more firearms than people in America – a country which came into being based on a concerted campaign of genocide of millions of native Americans, and whose growth was fueled by the enslavement of millions of captured and subjugated fellow humans.

Upon entering the educational system, competition (which is a form of warfare) takes primacy, and sets the course for the rest of one’s life, which invariably involves competing for resources. It is called “business”, and extends into every facet of one’s existence.

As part of the societal programing, one is taught who to fear as the designated “bad guy”, and so the enemy can take the form of a competing romantic suitor, a competing sports team, a competing business, a competing ideology, or a competing nation.

The corporate media blare out an unending stream of fear regarding the latest designated enemy, and public opinion dutifully follows with implanted ideas of hatred and desire to violently punish and subdue the appointed villain.

Even human religions, which were ostensibly established to promote moral behavior, peace, and tolerance, frame the spiritual life as a battle perpetually being waged both inwardly and in the celestial realms between God and Satan, or devils (asuras) representing our “bad” thoughts and angels (devas) our “good” ones.

Few stop to realize that all such concepts are mere fantasies of interpretation, whose only reality is that which our conditioned minds have been taught to grant them. Just as when a thief sees a saint and only notices what he might steal from them, so too do humans conditioned to warfare tend to see life through the narrow lens of conflict, typically based on programed prejudices relating to gender, race, age, ideological affiliation, or nationality (to name some of the most common roots of bias).

In any case, war is the established and accepted agenda – the preferred business model — and consequently more time, energy, and resources are devoted to it than anything else. In America, for example, at least 60% of its national budget goes to the military, and yet there are many who are claiming that is not enough.

On any given “news day”, one can find a flood of “fear porn”, detailing the growing threat from this or that competing nation or ideology, and hence requiring even greater sacrifices from the taxpayers to fund the already bloated military-industrial complex.
On the micro, or individual level, most humans are also engaged in a relentless internal war, driven by alternating craving and aversion. This manifests as a prevailing sense of dissatisfaction with one’s thoughts, one’s body, and one’s life.

The alarming epidemic of psychological disorders and subsequent avalanche of pharmaceutical products intended to ameliorate them attest to the fact that this internal conflict exacts a ferocious toll, even to the point of rocketing self-murder statistics.

Indeed, as the wise among us have always counseled: If we wish to change the world, we must first change ourselves, because the war always has its roots within our own hearts and minds.

As immortal light being souls temporarily inhabiting these human animals, we have the chance to use our soul energy to guide them early on to behave properly, develop the desire to seek peaceful solutions to conflict, and most of all, to grow in empathy and compassion. However, some of us just sit back and let the animal run wild, to see what will result.

What has resulted is the world we see today, roiling in aggression, conflict, and blood lust on so many levels. Some say humans are on the verge of self-extinction, just as they have presided over the extinction of more than half of all animal life on the planet in the last 50 years. The mass self-destruction (prompted by greed, hatred, and ignorance) of entire civilizations has happened on other planets, and it could happen on this one too.

Right now, it appears that it could go either way. The group consciousness will decide. If we want to understand how that works, we have but to consider that our current reality has been determined by the group consciousness of the past, and so if we wish to know what will pertain in the future, we need look no further than what the group consciousness is projecting and energizing today.

For example, is the collective consciousness moving towards a mass recognition of our essential oneness, or is it dividing more and more into separate and antagonistic camps that can find no common ground? It’s been said that energy flows where attention goes, and so where is our attention going today, as both individuals and as a species? Is it still fixated in grooves of selfishness, control, and dominance, or can it rise to a new level of united awareness, wisdom, and love? The fate of humanity is about to be determined by such choices being made right now.

War Movie In Reverse

Holes close to smooth skin
when the shrapnel flashes out.

The shores of burns recede,
and flames leap with their hot metal
back into the bomb that rises,
whole and air-borne again,
with its gathered blast.

Leading the plane perfectly,
the bomb arcs back slowly
through the open gates
and disappears into the waiting belly.

The bombardier lifts
his peering eye from the sight.

Swallowing its wake,
the plane returns to base
with its countermand mission.

The pilot, irresolute now, faces
his commandant, who marches,
brisk and backward
to the general’s lair.

The general takes back the orders.

But into what deep and good and hidden
recess of the will
go his thoughts of not bombing?”

~ Mark Johnston

sticks and stones

See also:

Posted in Uncategorized | 42 Comments