Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thinking about death...

This morning I woke up thinking about death (a rarity for me these days) and it occurred to me that death is only experienced as a problem if you think about it. What do we really know about death, other than the second-hand ideas we've picked up from one source or another? When I was younger, there was a time when I was obsessed with dying so I read as much about near-death experiences as I could since I figured that they are the closest that we have to firsthand accounts of what it's like to die. I tried to wrap my head around these accounts and come up with a viable explanation for them but really, the more I read the less I could explain them. Now I find it more pleasing or at least, less dis-easing, to not have any preconceptions--I'll find out what death is when I get there (or not).

Looking back on my little stint as a non-duality enthusiast, I can see that often our ideas about being eternal awareness or any such concepts may simply be a coping mechanism for the underlying fear of death. Afraid of non-existence and the relentless river of change that is life, we imagine and cling to the belief in an absolute, unchanging "Self" (with a capitol "S," of course!) that is untouched by anything that happens to us. I can't say with any certainty whether there is such a thing or not but it smacks to me of denial--it denies the unceasing transformation that we experience life as.

The hungry ghost of the conceptual self wants a meal (intellectual Truth) but an imaginary self could only eat an imaginary meal. Truth isn't known, only lived. Learning about ourselves and life is a never-ending journey. It is a constant revelation. Any concepts we cling to only mask what is actually taking place in this moment. It takes a very open mind and heart to be with life without armor and boundaries, then there is only life and no "me" that is believed to be apart from it. This state of openness isn't achieved but is found to be effortlessly present when we quit mistaking thoughts for reality.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


When I look in my son's eyes, I see pure, undiluted wonder. As we grow older, it's hard for us to imagine being back at the beginning, looking at the universe with fresh, unjaundiced eyes but, for him, it is the only way to see. It seems we can access that same sense of wonder any time, no matter how old or young we are, by suspending our knowledge and beliefs about the nature of life.

"Ooh, it makes me wonder..." - Robert Plant

Ob La Di

Life goes on. Any conceptual footholds that I once might have taken refuge in are washed away by the flow. I am a father now. Indescribable seeing that little one born, the tiny chest heaving... life goes on.

After his birth, it struck me that many absolutist and transcendent philosophies (such as Advaita Vedanta and certain schools of Buddhism) are rooted in a fear of living. They call the world an illusion and tell the seeker of peace to control their passions and cultivate detachment. The approach could be summed up--"nothing touches." I like coming at it from the opposite angle. Instead of denying life and calling it "unreal,“ seeing that everything touches, living the reality of constant change and transformation. Detachment is a cowards way. Why seek some philosophical or physical opiate to dull one's feelings? Why not feel deeply? Is there actually a separate self that can withdraw safely into itself at all or is there only living, in it's fullness and completeness? The true path of transcendence is into the heart of life, not away from it.

This is an imperfect, linguistic representation my view at the moment, subject to change, of course!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spiritual Self-Reliance

I am now negotiating with Non-Duality press to publish "Myth of the Ego" and my latest book, "Spiritual Self-Reliance" together in one volume. Since I wrote "Blessed Disillusionment," there have been many changes in my personal life and the way I see things. I passed the manuscript for SSR to them a few days ago so it's very fresh material for me and illustrates where I'm at currently.

Here's something I posted on facebook last night about being in love with the mystery of life:

"Free from belief in limiting concepts, I live as unbounded life. No safety net. No tightrope. The wholeness of life in this moment lives itself as me. No position to be defended or forced. No shortfall or surplus. This, just as it is, enough. No description necessary to be. The mystery fills the horizon and circumference of space in even the quietest moments. The fact of existence itself, absolutely inexplicable. Nothing to buy or sell. It blows my mind how nothing I know. Eyes look outward again and again in wonderment. This is impossible. Entirely. Entirety. Eternity."


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Friends in Presence interview

My friend Jen Peer Rich and I recently talked on her interview series, "Friends in Presence." It was a very casual conversation about how our lives have changed since seeing through the narrow, thought-based sense of identity. The entire video can be seen here. Non Duality Press is currently editing "The Myth of the Ego" so it should be out in the not-too-distant future. Hope all is well for you.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Things have changed!

Since the last time I posted, my outlook has changed considerably. Over a couple of decades of seeking, I managed to internalize a lot of ideas. I find that clear seeing requires not being under the sway of ANY concepts, no matter how "spiritual" they are or good they make us feel. Though the philosophy of Advaita (non duality) is often seen as the "end of the road" I found myself even questioning that set of concepts and beliefs. At a certain point it struck me how little I actually know. It was very humbling because it was clear to me that, in that moment, I knew NOTHING yet I still WAS. It became clear to me that, for adherents of it, even non duality is a belief system. Admittedly, it can be a powerful pointer--the very notion that nothing is separate, but I find myself to be most clear when NO ideas are clung to.

I have shared this realization with some non duality folks on facebook and it has mostly gone over like a fart in church. We of course get invested in our identities, even when the identity is the idea that we don't have an identity!

Existence doesn't require any thoughts or descriptions, these mental formulations are secondary and this is where most if not all of the problems in our lives lay--that we mistake ideas for truth.When that quits happening life is experienced as wholeness. All divisions lie in thought. Of course there is no actual separation between consciousness and what appears within it: life.

It is easy to speak absolutely when one has learned how to. Nisargadatta did this very often. Though I have found much of what he said to be helpful, I have to question if he actually knew with absolute certainty everything he was saying... I doubt it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I love Samsara!

Blessed Disillusionment has gone multilingual. It has been translated into Dutch and printed by the publisher, Samsara. Thanks to Julian and Catherine at Non-Duality Press for arranging this. Though I can't read what the author is trying to say (!) it is a beautiful, hardcover edition.

In other news, my second ND book, The Myth of the Ego is done and should be published in early 2013 as long as the world doesn't end on 12/21 this year! Either way, not a problem!