Saturday, February 28, 2009

As the World Collapses Around You, Just Remember, It Doesn't Exist.

As the world begins to crumble around you, it might be a good time to consider that it’s not there.

However, your experience of the world is 'there' and if the world is nothing but pure direct experience, then you should have no difficulties altering that state of 'thereness.' However, if you continue to dissociate from your experience of 'world,' as the advocates of egolessness or ego-self abnegation would have you do, then you may find it difficult to reconstruct your experience of “world.” Therefore, unfortunately, you will force your 'self' to experience the suffering inherent in a collapse.

Once you apply external coordinates (time/space) to an experience, you essentially experience it as 'outside' consciousness. Yet, there is only conscious experience and you refer to this as your “world” and you continue to slice and dice your experience through concepts such as “body” "self" and “mind.”

There really is no such thing as “mind,” nor is there any such thing as “thought.” In fact, there is no “self” only an experience of self, mind and thought. We seem quite adept at dissociating from our experience, even though experience is all we have to go on. Martin Heidegger labeled experience as “Dasein” or Being-in-the-world. He hyphenated this phrase to denote a unity to experience and this is because without experience, or “world,” there is no Being at all. Being will devise all manner of experiences to know its Being and 'self' is merely one experience out of many.

Essentially there is NO 'world' only an experience you linguistically symbolize as 'world' and you further assign your experience to a 'mind' which divides up the wholeness or oneness. However, Being is always experiencing something, since not to experience is not to Be. But ‘what’ that experience is, or could be, is open to conjecture (or construction). In addition, there are no coordinates to experience, or 'place' that experience seems to happen, like mind, body, self or world, there is only experience as a whole.

The law of attraction folks got it wrong. You don’t attract physicality or cause objects to materialize through "intention." The only thing you intend is “experience.” Actually, the more operable phrase is “construct.” You seek to augment and embellish your experience of 'self' through experiences of 'world.'

Experiences are constructs and you do construct your experience, simply because YOU constructed your 'self' and you continue to do so everyday. Problem is, that you construct your ‘self’ from past experience, which is the building block of your experience of ego-self. Therefore, to reconstruct experience, you must first dissociate from the past, or deconstruct it.

But you could never fully dissociate from the past simply because to do so would deconstruct YOU and this is because “you” are entirely constructed from the past. But the past was constructed by you as well and this circularity is the paradox that never ends.

Each preceding day provides coordinates, or reference points, from which to experience another “day” and the self refers to this as “time.” Time is nothing more than experiencing the process of self-construction. You are nothing but an infinite process of conceptual addition and subtraction.

However, the paradoxical conundrum is that the more you subtract from your self-concept, the more you add and the more you add the more you subtract.

The game is infinite. So get comfortable with it, since there is NO END.

Yet, the self seeks for some strange finite conclusion, denying that any conclusion must end the 'self.' Fortunately your being knows that there is no end, so "no worry, be happy."

However, the degree of reconstruction you perform on your experience will be directly correlated with the degree of deconstruction you facilitate upon your ego-self-construct. You cannot just “intend” reality to materialize, because your self-construct will delay such reconstruction based on the numerous rigid concepts that make up your self-construct. Self essentially resists the actions or intentions of itself, due to past intentions. This resistance is referred to, by many ancient texts, as "fear." Overcoming fear is your only objective as a 'self' because self was constructed in response to fear.

Deconstruct the ‘self’ and you reconstruct the world, but you will never transcend or leave the 'self' that is YOU. But you will transform the experience of YOU, which deconstructs your experience of “world,” simply because your experience of “you” and the “world” is a unified experience and there can be no division and there is no "you" separate from 'world.'

To save the world requires you deconstruct your experience of 'self' in order to change your experience of world, simply because there is nothing but experience.


Good Luck With That!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Give Up Your Plans to "Awaken" (and "awaken")

To plan your “awakening” is to create defenses against "awakening."

The idea that YOU know the way is absurd, simply because your best thinking got you here and that’s because your best thinking is most likely somebody else’s.

Recycled thinking means that your plans of “awakening” are recycled plans and this is exactly what the world suffers from and it’s called “repetition compulsion.” The ego-self has a need to repeat the past simply because without a past to refer to, it (“you”) could not exist.

When you adopt another's plan you adopt their fear and your defensiveness proves this true. The world is nothing but centuries of recycled fear. Just look around you and notice how, with all the incessant planning and preparation, nothing ever really changes. Maybe we should just give up all our grand plans and see what happens. Just be prepared for a SURPRISE!

By Giving up your plans, you give up your defenses.

If there is nothing to defend against, then there is nothing to fear. This is because, once you plan, you will then seek to defend your plans from doubt. Yet, ironically, to defend your plan is to doubt that your plan is the way, otherwise, why defend it. If it was the way, it would need no defense from doubt.

Fear causes us to defend against doubt, because your plan is to “know” and doubt is not part of that plan. This is why doubt is considered negative, and defended against, while the planning goes on, ad nauseum.

I merely suggest the inverse, that doubt is the fuel that will take you "there," but only when you give up your notions of what "there" is.

However, the ego demands anchoring to a plan and that plan must come from the world, since where else would you get your schemes of "awakening." As if there is a plan to finding God and that plan is available in the world. Ha!

Adopt a spiritual ideology and you have adopted a plan and most likely it's someone else’s plan.

Obviously, we adopt the plans of others primarily because we fear we are much too weak and inadequate to devise our own plan. Of course, that’s part of the plan, because if you considered yourself powerful enough to know God, you would find your own way "there." To be fearless is to surrender their plans and make your own, but, of course that would assert your power by denying your weakness.

The plan you adopt from another was never theirs to begin with.

They adopted it from someone previously, who adopted it from another, who adopted it from another, on and on, through 'time.' So who constructed the first plan? Buddha, Jesus? Nope. Because history tends to show that most of those plans, or paradigms, existed, in some form or another, before the devout ones gave lip-service to them and this lends credence to the suggestion that Jesus and Buddha never really existed.

It’s just that we needed someone to give us the map, since the map could not have just materialized in our thinking, from absolutely nowhere. Yet, maybe it did. Nevertheless, the ego-self demands another ego-self, wiser and more superior, to provide direction.

There are many plans available to help you negotiate a difficult world and many are good plans. So feel free to use those plans. However, if you plan to transcend the world, or the ego-self which constructed it, then recognize that every plan found IN the world only reinforces your bondage to the world.

I would suggest that if you make your own plans, that you simply allow in your plans this clause: “all plans subject to change without prior notice.”

That way you won’t have to defend against your doubt and you can live joyously through it. Because, make no mistake, you will never be free of doubt. But that’s okay, since doubt has always been part of the plan. To be completely free of doubt means there’s nothing more to learn and all is known. But that would deny that we're all playing an infinite game.

I always find it interesting how the ego compromises with the infinite (or eternal) by determining a fixed point in time for which it can be known. I’m sure that those who are “awakened” clearly recognize this contradiction. However, the "unawakened" will probably continue to plan in preparation for what someone else predicted as “true.”

“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends!”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

CONVERSATIONS WITH EGO: Do You Want Fame or "Awakening"?

Mike: Let’s just forget about that whole “awakening” thing, shall we.

ego: But, Mike, I thought we agreed that we were “awakened”

Mike: Yea, I know…but I don’t really feel “awakened” so I guess I’m just fooling myself.

ego: How are we supposed to feel?

Mike: Um…'blissful,' I guess…at least that’s what Eckhart Tolle said on Oprah.

ego: So is Eckhart Tolle always blissful?

Mike: Hmmm…I dunno.... I suppose he would have to be in order to be “awakened.”

ego: Well, maybe he isn’t always blissful, but his ego informs him that, in order to be “awakened” he must always be blissful... and so he is.

Mike: But wouldn’t that be like pretending to be something that you’re not?

ego: Maybe you’re pretending that you’re NOT awakened?

Mike: But I’m not!

ego: How do you know? Maybe you’ve always been “awakened,” but pretend you’re not. Maybe your whole life has been pretending NOT to be “awakened.”

Mike: But pretending means you know your awakened, but act like you’re not. I don’t know I’m awakened.

ego: But I thought we agreed that we are “awakened”? If we agree on "awakening," shouldn’t that be enough?

Mike: Well… maybe for us, but I doubt anybody else will buy into it.

ego: "Anybody else"? Now I’m confused…do you want to be “awakened” or famous? Which game are we playing, Mike?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

AWAKENING: Before and After?

I used to participate in social forum threads discussing spiritual subjects. Unfortunately I tend to piss off the serious ones, so I no longer hang out there. However, I do continue to read the discussions and today I came across this quote regarding ‘awakening’ experiences:

“This really brings up the 'readiness' question, big time. How can we survive an encounter with something so profound and contrary to our ordinary experience that we can hardly remember it when we 'wake up' from 'the dream.' the profound experience of awakening or “being exposed to your truth.”
If you experience awakening as a “profound experience,” and contrary to "ordinary experience," how can you be "awakened"? Would an 'awakened' mind differentiate between a profound and an ordinary state of mind? If you discriminate between a time of ‘awakening’ and a time of ‘not awakened,’ then are you not simply making an egoic interpretation rooted in time?

How can there be a 'before' and an 'after' to absolute truth?

The ego makes dualistic contrasts, such as before and after or ordinary and profound, and this is commensurate with its capacity and need to judge. More likely your "profound experience" is simply egoic mind hoping that the neurochemical imbalances, experienced from hours of meditative trance, are the Big Shebang. We have learned that for this 'awakening' to occur we need to cook our soup with many years of sacrificial practice, mixed with the stock of spiritual-religious ideology. This is the usual paradigm of awakening and we expect to be removed from ‘ordinary’ consciousness to a realm of ‘profound’ consciousness as reward for all our hard work. If you expect it, be assured your experience will be 'profound' but it will most likely not be any ego-free, timeless truth.

Notice the blatant dualism in the interpretation. This seems to be the time-trap that many aspirants fall into. As if there were a dualistic interpretation to what is what is true in all situations at all times. “Who” is it that makes the contrast between ordinary and awakened? Can I know myself as awakened and still remember (memory-time) myself as ordinary? Or does my ordinary self disappear to become a new profound self? Is there an integration or a transcendence or merely just a transformation?

Can I slim down my obese ego through the right spiritual diet?


But for absolute truth to be true, it must be absolutely true all the time, since there can be no such thing as part-time truth to what is absolute. So how can there be a “time” when truth is not true? Can absolute truth be 'ordinary' one moment and 'profound' the next?

Many would contend that truth is always true, yet we just don’t know it... yet.

But how could that be? For truth to be true, it must always be known as true, otherwise it’s not truth. For absolute truth to be true it must be known always and immediately and there can never be a time when it is not known. To say that there is a time when truth is not known, or that we are unaware of truth, is to deny such a thing as absolute truth. You can’t deny it, otherwise how could it be true. Absolute truth is true all the time, no matter what you do to deny it, since it can't be denied.

Notice how the serious spirtualists apply the paradigm of relative truth to what is absolute. There are many relative truths I may not be aware of, but I can never NOT be aware of absolute truth, otherwise it could not exist as absolute, which means 'true' in all circumstances, at all times. Therefore, the Many is as much an absolute truth as the One. So why do you only seek only the One by denying the Many?

“I once was lost, but now am found.” Obviously, you were never lost and there is nothing to find. So then, what are you looking for and who is looking? Is it the ordinary “you” seeking the new, improved and more profound “you”? Nope, its just “you.” There is no 'ordinary' before or 'profound' after.

I recall the neurochemical whiz-bangs I got, many years ago, after several days of 6 hour zazen and some robed 'master' slapping a whisk broom across my shoulders. Wow! That was no ordinary experience. In fact, I thought it was pretty damn “profound”! All I needed was the right ideology through which to make sense and that was spoon fed to me from the start.

Many would argue that the concepts used are merely "fingers pointing to the moon." Subsequently, I too, point to the moon, but only to inform that there is nothing to point to, because there is no moon (“Good night, moon”).

Of course, most folks don’t like me tinkerin’ with their profound experiences. Wouldn’t want the awakened ones to ever doubt their “truth.” However, if you really want “awakening” then let doubt be your guide and fill your mind. Because doubt is the absolute truth and you will never know a more profound and infinite experience. It must be, because you know it NOW and you will know it always. Doubt is one thing you will never be without.

When you no longer seek to be surprised by profound moments of truth, you will be surprised by the ordinary ones. Ooops, HA! Just had one there…Ooops, there goes another. Ah, what the heck, might as well keep it going!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The "Incredible Lightness of Being" as Infinite Inconsistency

The egoic conceptualization (belief) that you will have some egoless experience outside time is most likely the cause of egoic suffering. Yet, it's a comfortable idea to a very uncomfortable ego seeking to learn how to achieve ever greater comfort in a world defined by suffering and sacrifice. Isn't that all you really want?

However, if the experience of ego-self was formulated in consciousness (since it’s really nothing more than that) then most likely enlightenment is process just as the ego-self is process. There is no static or solidified self-concept (even though we tend to 'live' as though there were) and the very nature of ego-self is composed of consistent change or infinite inconsistency.

The ego-mind has deluded itself into conceptualizing an "awakening," as some point in time, of pure, unadulterated consistency and this is how it defines "truth." This is because ego-self believes its suffering is a result of change or inconsistency. But that's what IT IS and therefore, in seeking a point of pure consistency it essentially seeks NOT to be itself, which it can never be. Therefore, for an ego-self that can never be anything but an ego-self, there is no such concept as timelessness, only infinite time.

Ego-self is time-oriented and for ego to be timeless means not to exist at all and who wants to not exist or Be? The ego-self is a time-based concept, since it requires “development” through which to be known to itself. Ego-self conceptualized being “born” and in time it knows itself as “existing” through change as ever more egoic or self-oriented. This is why I continue to contend that any attempts to pursue egolessness, or transcend ego, only builds a bigger ego.

Nevertheless, as the theory goes, following birth the ego then engages in concept accumulation (constructing a belief system) up to a point where it then realizes the psychological concepts it has collected actually hide something it needs to KNOW as that which provides a "final knowing." True, something is hidden, but it's not anything final. In fact, it's the experience of infinite inconsistency that you've been resisting all this time. There can be no final anything.

At this point the ego must then begin a sort of backward realizing of less and less concepts concerning itself, or engage in a process of conceptual stripping (dissociating from concepts of itself) which many equate with a return to the consciousness that existed at or before “birth.” The less concepts the egoic mind is attached to, the greater freedom it experiences.

This conceptual stripping is really what many consider as "awakening" episodes. This is because, as you realize that attachment to concepts, or beliefs, is a choice, you empty your baggage which becomes lighter by degrees. This experiencing has been referred to as "the incredible lightness of being" but most just call it "awakening."

Therefore, the process of egoic learning is actually an unlearning and "enlightenment," or "awakening," can only be within the process of learning-to-unlearn what ego has defined as itself. Yet, the process never ends and most likely goes on after-death. This is because it is the ego-self, or "you" that must define itself as dead. So if an ego-self defines itself as dead, clearly this opens the door to a new game we call "afterlife." Many might argue that an ego cannot define itself as "dead" the moment the body expires, since the go expires with it. can play by that rule if you so choose, however, I would suggest that this rule has resulted in a great deal of "before-death" suffering.

There is NEVER a point in time at which an ego-self can have learned everything needed to be egoless. This is because the chief defining factor of ego-self is learning-in-time. An end of time signifies an end of learning, which obviously means an end to self. “You” can never end because learning can never end. Learning is infinite.

The Truth (cap T) is that learning is infinite and there is no point at which ALL is known. Truth has no finite properties. Accumulative 'knowing,' or unlearning through stripping of concepts, just keeps going on and on, since Truth must be infinite and cannot be a finite point in time, because that means Truth would have a finite end point. Truth cannot stop or have an end for it to be Truth. Therefore, it cannot be suddenly known, all inclusivley, as some infinite 'understanding' at some point in time, since infinite understanding presupposes never knowing. It can only be infinitely learned but never fully known because the knowing is infinite or never ending. Thus, the incredible lightness of being is merely being infinitely inconsistent.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Finally, Instant Enlightenment Can Be Yours! (for the low, low price of $599)

Here it is! Finally what you’ve been seeking all these years: The Big Mind/Big Heart Workshop

“You'll have a real, tangible experience of being One with the entire universe — what Genpo Roshi calls Big Mind/Big Heart. I'm talking about the same experience a Zen master or other enlightened master has — something that usually takes decades of meditation and direct work with a spiritual master to achieve. I'm not kidding. You'll experience this amazing state (more than once) during these two days, and I promise it will change your life — forever...”
(Big Mind/Big heart Workshop)

YAAAY! (and he ain't "kidding"!)

Now we have a psychologist and a “Zen master” teaming up to deliver directly to you the best quality “enlightenment”that money can buy. And it will only take you two days, and $599 (early registration only), to experience what an “enlightened master” experiences after a lifetime of sacrifice and struggle. However, you better hurry and register NOW because:
“The event will be March 7 - 8 in Los Angeles, California and in order to make it more intimate we are limiting the number of attendees. So, if you're interested, please register right away. Since we're offering a special discount for early registration, it's very possible that early registrants alone will fill the event. So please don't wait if you want to be there.” (forget about “Be Here Now,” you need to be ‘there,' Los Angeles California, enlightenment capital of the world!)
Whoa, dang! Where do I sign, so that, in only 2 days, I can get my:
"Buddha Mind — the mind of clarity, transcendental wisdom, and unconditional compassion — and, the profound personal and psychological insights that go with it.”
The MC of this 2 day event is Bill Harris, who advertises himself as some sort of psychologist/guru. This guy seems to pop up with every awakening game that comes down the pike, even the Law of Attraction party invites Bill. He seems to be a promoter of the stars in the enlightenment show (no matter where that show's being performed) and I imagine ads like this tend to pull in a big audience.

But forget about the promoter and let’s look at who he promotes for this “workshop.” Genpo Roshi is an expert player in the game of enlightenment and here is a Wikipedia endorsement highlighting Roshi’s claim to fame:
"In 1973 he ordained as a Buddhist monk under the guidance of Taizan Maezumi, completing his koan studies in 1979. Before ordaining in 1973, he had spent a year in silent retreat in the mountains of California. In 1980 he became a Dharma Successor of Maezumi. Starting in 1982 Merzel began traveling to areas of Europe and established an international network of Zen groups. Genpo Merzel received inka from Bernard Glassman in October 1996 of the White Plum lineage. He has also served as President of White Plum Asanga."
Wow! This guy ain't no run-of-the-mill enlightened master. Notice the pedigree and credentials necessary to be considered an "enlightened master," which must include your own “awakening” and the confirmation of another “awakened master” needed to endorse the “truth” that you have, in fact, been awakened.

This is a very exclusive club and not just anyone gets in. In fact, you need to attain your "inka" which "denotes a high-level of certification, and literally means "the legitimate seal of clearly furnished proof." In other words, promotions, or titles, are limited to only a select few in this game. But, obviously, that must be true, since what kind of world would this be if we all were 'gurus.' HA! That's utterly ridiculous!

Notice, in addition, that you need to be credentialed (through "linneage") by an accepted institution in the field of awakening, such as the “White Plum Asanga” which is known for its notable membership, all of which can be distinguished by their names having some Tibetan (correct me if I'm wrong) derivative like genpo, daido, enkyo, chozen, etc, etc.

Without the name, your nobody in this game, pal!

These particular “awakening” games have very strict rules that must be followed if you desire membership and wish to be recognized as a player. Nevertheless, we are in tough economic times and this requires funding be sought through less traditional means. This is why the neo-masters and modern gurus need to be promoted to the general public rather than just those of us who have always longed to be enlightened or awakened.

John Q Public wants his awakening fact, he wants it, 'to go'!

They can no longer rely on the few who have read the sutras or practiced years of meditation. Difficult times call for drastic measures and even if you don’t know what ‘enlightenment’ is, never mind, because Bill and Genpo have defined it for you as the tangible experience of being One with the entire universe…” In addition, by “being One [cap ‘O’] with the entire universe [not just a portion, mind you, but the entire shebang] you will “have many huge ah-ha's about what your life is about, who you really are, what it means to be a human being. And You'll very likely experience permanent resolution regarding at least one — and probably several — dark places in your life” (but they only guarantee resolution of one “dark place,” more than that would require a longer "workshop" and, obviously, more $$$).

My friends, the best “awakening” you could achieve is to avoid these hucksters like the plague.

However, if you do decide to play this game, recognize that it has only two important requirements that you must adhere to in order to participate and not to follow these two rules automatically disqualifies you from the game.

You cannot be awakened before you come to the workshop! If you are already enlightened, then I assume they won't even let you in the door (so wear your best hangdog face!)

In addition, you must accept their definition of “awakening’ for it to be the authentic, real McCoy, of "awakening." If you do fail to achieve it as defined, then I imagine there will be future workshops.

So, enjoy your "workshop"!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Is "Be Here Now" Bullshit?

I have no problem with chemical 'states of consciousness,' since there really is no difference. You can interpret experiencing 'god,' on acid or meditating with your guru, it really doesn't matter, since it will be the ego that interprets it as an experience of 'god' based on whatever ideology the ego adopts as 'true.'

But is there an experience of something more than ego or even not ego involved in terms of making that interpretation? I believe there is a field of uninterpretable consciousness from which ego arises, but if I make such an interpretation from an experience, doesn't that assert ego ownership and therefore the interpretation will be tainted by ideological learning?

In fact, could we not say that all interpretations of a present moment are interpretations acquired from the past. For instance, you may have an experience that you interpret as "be here now" but if that experience is ego-self interpreted (and how could it not be), and all interpretations have an ideological viewpoint and must come from a 'self,' then it was learned from the past and therefore, IT IS the past that is applied to the experience. In other words, who or what from the past, taught you to interpret certain experiences as "be here now"?

This is why I take issue with all interpretive language, especially the sacrosanct, ideologically specialized concepts like "awakening," "enlightenment" "nirvana" "samadhi" "satori" etc, etc, etc.
Once I hear these ego-self interpretations of experience, I tend to figure that this was the paradigm going into the 'experience' and it's what's declared as 'truth,' coming out. The experience merely serves to further reinforce the ideology and bolster the ego-self.

Is there an "authentic awakening"? It seems there are numerous "awakenings" one could have, that do nothing but take an experience of normal "awakening" into a higher or more profound interpretation and if one achieves different states of consciousness (drugs or meditation) then clearly value will be applied to each episode of experience.

Much Hindu/Zen/Advaitist ideology revolves around 'awakening' levels and degrees. This seems to keep the enlightened fat-cats at the top, "yes, grasshopper, you may be awakened, but you are only first-level, novitiate awakened, not grand-awakened such as I" (a little Yoda humor).

The sacred ones tend to avoid me and I don't blame them, all this reductionism gets pretty tedious and discouraging. However, we all have egoic "frames of reference" and I think spiritual paths provide such 'frames.' They are very helpful in negotiating the world. However, I don't believe an ego-self can transcend itself employing the ideologies and practices currently advocated.

Yet, I don't totally disbelieve either. Nevertheless, if this is even possible, we'll need to really understand the underlying ego-self dynamics, that we spend our wholes lives ignoring, if we wish to find a way to go beyond the usual interpretations of 'enlightenment,' 'awakening' or 'god.'


Monday, February 9, 2009


Mike: WOW! Unbelievable! HaHa! I now finally realize what “Awakening” is!

ego: Oh? And what’s that, mike?

Mike: It means that I don’t need to seek “Awakening” anymore, because I am already Awakened!

Uh, Ok… that’s fine, but…we don’t seem to feel any different than we did a moment ago.

Mike: Achh! You don’t understand. It’s not about any state of mind it just IS!

ego: What just “IS”?

Mike: Awakening!

ego: I’m not sure I get it. What have we “awakened” to?

Mike: "We" no, no no, I've "awakened to my True Self.

ego: Your true self…does that include me?

Mike: Well, no…actually, I have to "transcend" you and you have to dissolve or be annihilated or something like that.

ego: Well, you better be clear on this mike, because…I’m still here…are you sure you’re awakened? Maybe I’m just supposed to hang around a little while longer.

Mike: Huh? …No! my awakening is supposed to be egoless. Don’t you get it?! You’re the whole damn problem…all your striving and desiring…you’re the cause of all my suffering and to be awakened is to be without YOU!

ego: But, Mike, who would you be… without me?

Mike: Free! Finally free of all my suffering. All the suffering that YOU caused.

ego: Uh, ok then… I’ll just step back here awhile, out of the way, and let you enjoy this “awakening.” But when you need me, just go ahead and give me a shout.

Mike: HA! Need you! You just don’t get it. Our relationship is over, kaput, no more!

ego: Ok then, but……oh yeah, I almost forgot, don’t forget to pay the electric bill cause you’re now 5 days late. Oh and don’t forget, you’re supposed to pick up your daughter after school today and make sure you stop and pickup your prescriptions on the way home. Hey, look at your hair! Aren’t you due for a haircut? By the way, shouldn’t you be thinking about getting something for your wife’s birthday and another thing……………

Mike: (sigh)

Dedicated to MonkMojo

Friday, February 6, 2009

Get High, Get God...It's All Up to Your Ego

I remember years ago reading about Richard Alpert, assistant 'acid master' under the tutelage of the real 'master' Timothy Leary at Harvard Univ. Alpert reported experiencing the same wild, flying through consciousness , world-love, experiences in India with his chosen guru, as when he was daily experimenting with LSD at Harvard U.

He came back from his Indian induction as Baba Ram Dass. In several books, most famous “Be Here Now,” Ram Dass asserted that through 'natural’ meditative practices he achieved the same ‘higher states of consciousness’ that he experienced through LSD and Psilocybin (mushrooms) while at Harvard.

I've had some profoundly interesting experiences many years ago while ingesting various chemicals. I have also had very similar experiences through my own past meditation practices (through the American Med. Society, which teaches a form of TM only with a personalized mantra provided by the guru or guruic representative). This is commensurate with the claims of Ram Dass, Terrence McKenna, and many others.

So what’s the difference between the drugged experiences and the reported "pure" experiences of meditation?

The difference seems most likely (speculation, open for questioning) in the paradigm through which the experiences are interpreted (of course, this is also Ken Wilbers claim). Ram Dass’s guru taught ‘service’ and Ram Dass returned to the states with that learned goal clearly reinforced by the intense "superconscious," or altered state, experiences he acquired. If the egoic paradigm supports God, nirvana, enlightenment, etc, then clearly the altered psychic state will be interpreted by the ego in just that way.

The egoic paradigm is paramount and serves to filter any profound psychic experiences. Thus, without the learned paradigm, the experiences, such that Alpert had at Harvard, were useless since the paradigm or model which made the interpretations, while on acid, was grounded in the world's value system.

The meditative psychic experience is filtered through what the ego-self considers as pure and unadulterated eastern paradigm. Although both may be the exact same states of consciousness, it is the egoic self which makes the determination as to value and worthiness in order to be accepted as 'awakening' or 'enlightenment.' The experience is real (whether through drugs or meditation) while the interpretation is purely ego-self, "wow, that was great! It must've been the enlightenment they told me about."

Ram Dass needed, in his opinion, the correct paradigm or teachings before he could adequately process the psychic states. The states then supported and reinforced the paradigm. (if you read Castenanda’s “Don Juan” you’ll see these same egoic interpretations of higher or altered states throughout the narrative, but note that psychedelics were used to attain the states).

My assertion is that through these states or neurochemical alterations, the ego constructs interpretations that it has learned from other teachers that simply serve to reinforce the ego from those interpretations. The interpretations will be formed from the paradigm that the ego-self has determined are worthy of adoption and this occurs long before the experience is encountered, otherwise the experience must be processed through whatever paradigm or model exists within the ego belief system.

Yet, the ego can even go back and re-evaluate past states and thus make a consideration of "awakening.'

The question is, does the fact that the states are interpreted and defined by the ego lessen or diminish the psychic states? Do we need to have neurochemical imbalances and alterations to reinforce ego-self belief systems? Recall that severe bipolar neurochemical imbalances also result in altered psychic states, but we tend to refer to this as mental illness.

If superconsciousness or awakening is nothing more than an egoic interpretation of "superconsciousness," what does this say about the whole awakening premise or paradigm which is based on ego transcendence?

If the mental state requires ego interpretation, how could it ever signify a state of egolessness?

This tends to stand the usual argument of "you can't understand unless you have the experience" on its head. It seems the real story is that you can't understand the experience until you have the correct paradigm through which to interpret the experience.

Possibly the real experience, or Truth of the matter (cap T) is that you will need to smash all paradigms through which your ego has been taught to interpret experiences.

Maybe by preparing yourself for SURPRISE, with no paradigm attached or associated, will you then have an experience unclassifiable by your ego. Until then you will simply interpret your supposed superconscious psychic states based on how you were taught to interpret them.

And because of this, we have the wonderful "awakening" industry....

But, how can this be Truth? (cap T)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The "Unconscious" Doesn't Exist

Is there really a nebulous lower domain or netherworld of impulses and drives outside conscious awareness that we refer to as the unconscious? If reality is nothing more than the flow of concepts within a ‘field’ of consciousness, where is this region of consciousness we call un-consciousness? (or subconscious) Seems to me it’s merely a perfect alibi for irresponsibility.

Psychology loves the unconscious, because it's used to make sense of absurd and irrational behaviors, while not making sense of anything at all. In fact, it may be this all-encompassing theory of the unconscious that perpetuates our collective mental illness and our failure to accept responsibility for our world.

The rule is that we can never really have full culpability with any of our actions due to unconscious impulses. The field of consciousness merely attaches coordinates to the objects of consciousness. The coordinates provide either personal ownership or locates some objects of consciousness as separate and external to you.

Yet, essentially, it’s ALL IN your consciousness and, hence, it’s all you, all the time.

Therefore, objects of consciousness, which includes all perceptions, conceptions, thoughts, feelings, emotions, images, everything you could consider as experience, are either allotted a personal coordinate in space/time (as belonging to you) or it's cut off and given to the world.

Yet these coordinates are delusional as nothing exists outside your consciousness.

The "evil" you repress is never really tucked away in some mental basement, it's merely projected outward and attached to objects or the people you see all around you everyday. However, since your ego has arranged that "evil-doers" be separate from a "you," now you can easily deflect responsibility for all the nasty stuff “out there," and easily ignore what you SEE as not your responsibility. Somebody else needs to take care of that. The entire science of psychology supports this basic premise of "personal responsibility" so how can I remedy what is not my fault?
The entire world seems to be crumbling before your very eyes, yet, of course, there's nothing you can do. It's "out there"! All you can do is take care of your own little world, or that within consciousness which your ego has allowed personal responsibility.
The ego determines what you own and what will be given to the world or, essentially, projected away from you while still in consciousness. Anything the ego does not wish to own, is merely given an external coordinate and thus, you perceive it as outside you, in the world. This becomes a 'knee-jerk' classification that merely requires acknowledgment in order to collapse. But who wants to acknowledge guilt for what the world has become? No, it's all become quite comfortable to let the ego do its magic.

Nothing is ever repressed into unawareness and no such unconscious, subconscious, preconscious, etc, levels of the mind exist. You are unconscious of nothing, since everything is in conscious awareness, but merely allocated 'external" coordinates. All your "primitive impulses" are available for full view. All your fears and nightmares are in consciousness and you view it daily in one form or another. War and destruction are in your mind. There is no need to forgive another, as you are both victim and victimizer.

The evil is NOT 'out-there,' it’s 'in-here.'

Why would ego desire some experiences of consciousness be externalized, while others be personally owned? Obviously, if hell is of your making, you would certainly seek to change it. Yet, extracting and externalizing parts of hell, as not your doing, works well in keeping the separation machine humming and keeping you apart from your own consciousness. Let's face it, if you were forced to take responsibility for the whole kit and Kaboodle, you’d fix it in a cosmic heartbeat since it really sucks. Unfortunately, this would fix your ego-self as well since, if there is no separation, then there could be no “you” to deny ownership, requiring full responsibility. But, if there's NO "you," what happens to the 'world'?

This poses a problem for many awakening programs, which rely on a “you” having an unconscious requiring you plumb your “unconscious” depths in order to finally realize the obstacles to "awakening." The exalted teachers claim it’s not the conscious mind that obstructs your progress but all the unconscious conditioning that you have repressed from consciousness. This Freudian perspective is really anathema to achieving a unified consciousness or that oneness we all tend to give lip-service.

Why would they seek to partition consciousness thereby allowing you to avoid your responsibility in saving the world? You can’t seek what is outside awareness. Therefore, to maintain the awakening game there must be some part of your mind inaccessible to you. Because if consciousness is all there is and you are not separate from any of it, how could you ever seek to realize this fact if there is a part of consciousness, or unconsciousness, that you have been taught is not available to you. It's time to deeply question the conventional wisdom of the "masters."

Nevertheless, we're all as guilty as "sin." So instead of spending everyday steeped in hours of meditative wandering with the intent of finally overcoming your unconscious impulses, just look outside your head and SEE it all in vivid technicolor. Once you take responsibility for what you see , then go back into your consciousness and change it.

It's as simple as that!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Control vs No Control in the Awakening Game

Does your spiritual path teach ‘doing’ or ‘not doing’? Control or no-control? Does your chosen spiritual path require you be an active participant or a passive observer? Do you seek to surrender control of your thinking or are you seeking to channel your thoughts through some form of intentionality?

Sometime ago, I engaged in just such a discussion through Tom Stines blog and his post “No Control, No Control, No Control.” Tom, and many of his readers, believe that the path to "awakening" requires a detachment from thought or ego. To quote Tom, “We like to think we have control, or we like to think that we have at least some control, but in point of fact, we’ve got none. Hell, we can’t even control the thoughts that flow through our minds, let alone the turning of the wheels of life. And, to get right down to it, there isn’t even a you who is or isn’t in control! How’s that grab you?! No you, no control.”
You'll notice by reading the comments attached to this post that there were a fair number of egos who agreed with Tom and many who did not (my comments are listed under Mike S).

When you closely examine the ingenuity of the ego in creating brilliantly designed "awakening games" that secretly serve (actually it's not very secret at all) to further accentuate itself, you must wonder why folks are so anxious to escape it or demand the ego surrender control. Why not tap the power of the ego to see how far it can take us, since obviously it must be fully utilized to play “awakening games.”

Alas, the ego does cause suffering, but of course, that's contingent on the ego’s choice of suffering games (similar to awakening games, except a different prize). Yet, that is exactly what the awakening games seek to alter. Your ego is what 'you' are, since it is a psychological package of beliefs you clearly designate as 'you.' The rule for the "no-control" player is that you passively identify with your belief package rather than firmly assert it. This is fine and I imagine it may help reduce anxiety/fear, that is until certain problems pop up demanding an assertive ego and then the game is seen as disingenuous.

In this game the ego recognizes that it is the cause of suffering, therefore, it needs to get out of its way so that suffering will cease. It sets up a game in which it attempts to redirect its experience of suffering by asserting a claim that it's no longer in control, hence, suffering should cease. The rules of the game are that we simply allow thoughts to come and go and don’t attach to the thoughts, but merely let them pass. Essentially, this means that the ego will continue to construct concepts (that's what egos do!) with the goal of not attaching to what it makes.

The problem is that this tends to deny the hierarchical thinking that the ego engages with, in which some concepts are more serious than others. This is because thinking is a serious game (why else would we seek to detach from it) in which some thoughts or concepts predominate over others.

The thought “I am hungry” is much more serious than the thought “I am bored,” since relieving boredom is certainly not as crucial as relieving hunger. The ego can easily detach from boredom because boredom is a concept having very little to do with survival of the body and the body is a major idea in the ego’s bundle of concepts making up a "you." Continuing to detach from hunger will exacerbate your suffering until you eventually die. Obviously, ego demands existence and so hunger must be attended to very assertively.

We may pretend this hypocritical contradiction does not exist, but eventually we will realize the rules are disingenuous simply because the ego makes up the rules it has determined will save it.

Now the argument seems to be, “there is no 'YOU' to be bored” and that makes sense in relation to the abstract nature of the concept of "you." But try “there is no 'YOU' with hunger and I imagine you won’t get very far. Although you may surrender control of your “boredom” you will inevitably seek to control your “hunger.” The game is stacked against you from the git-go, so why bother playing by those rules?

However, it's fine if you choose to play by those rules, I just wouldn't take it too seriously, that's all. You can feel free to play any game you choose (make no mistake, 'you' do choose), but it will be the degree of seriousness you attach to the chosen game that will determine your degree of suffering. The game of not taking ego seriously (detaching from thought) can be a very serious game. Once it becomes a 'serious game' then the rules take on grave significance and world history demonstrates what happens when we take "awakening games" (or God) seriously.