To Love or Not to Love

Out of Emptiness emerged something extraordinary, a sense of awareness of being.  Wise men, fools, dreamers, the religiously arrogant, philosophers, liars, poets, mystics and sages have written much between that (imaginary) first moment way outside time when the awareness said, “something is doing something.”  We shall let all beings have their story, leave them be and attempt to come into our present state of awareness.
An Uncluttered Present
This present, the supposed NOW that some people speak of is colored by the past. The experiencer has a history, deep in the subconscious and expressing on the screen of life as we know it is a story of who we are, concepts about the way the world works, the possibles and impossibles.  If we are clear that generally the NOW that many people talk about has baggage, there will be a slight shift in awareness, a deepening, we will be more inclined to stop for a brief moment and not just scroll past it like we do with social media posts.  If we robotically say Be Here Now and make assumptions and think that we have it sorted, it is possible that the flippant attitude that we apply to many of the other things in our lives will once again prevent us from digging in.  Constantly abandoning the past is something that can be done, it may be gradual, for some it may come as a quantum leap, there may be a light-bulb moment, it’s then that the work begins.
That Elixir
By nature or better I say by habit, we are continuously calling up what we know, all those things that have impacted on us emotionally and also our understandings / conjectures about the reality / the world space we move in.   As humans, due to the cultures we are born into we have subtle prejudices. These ‘knowns’ are what stand in the way of LOVE.
Love, that old word that has more definitions than a caterpillar has legs; love, that thing that people seek changing partners like an evening at a square dance in a country hall; love, that elixir that brings fierce looking grown men to their knees to weep buckets of tears; love, that wondrous misinterpreted something that is elusive as the quest for what God may or may not be.
About ten years ago in brief a moment of ecstatic-ness I wrote on a blog post:

“LOVE, has no boundaries or judgements. It embraces the totally of all things born and still unborn. It waits patiently for us to take her hand and follow her to our greatest potential, it forgives our shortcomings and speaks quietly to us when we need her most. Love creeps through our life often unnoticed but catches us as we fall. Love is our only true friend, our faithful companion that walks with us from age to age, beyond the graves.” 
Also the great sage Shams teacher of the Mystic poet Rumi tells us:
The chemistry of mind is different from the chemistry of love. The mind is careful, suspicious, he advances little by little. He advises “Be careful, protect yourself” Whereas love says “Let yourself, go!” The mind is strong, never falls down, while love hurts itself, falls into ruins. But isn’t it in ruins that we mostly find the treasures? A broken heart hides so many treasures.
In those words there is plenty to ponder.  Indulgent romantics will focus on the ‘broken heart’ always licking their wounds as if the world owes them something.  A Buddhist will remind us that attachment is our enemy.  Alan Watts, a great carrier of Zen to the West will echo the words ‘let yourself go’.  Shams wakes us up to the fact that the world of the mind and that of love are in contradiction.  Great men and woman know that we can only be a slave to one.  Take your pick, the mind or love.
The Unknowing Mind
The mind likes to think it knows everything, it prides itself on information.  Love knows nothing.  Love dives in boots and all, it takes chances, it always stands on the threshold, right on the edge of the precipice.  Some people say love and hate are opposites, it is not hate that is the opposite of love, it is fear.  Fear is the gateway to love.  Fear must fall, it has no place in the world of love apart from being that which dissolves itself when love ultimately flowers.
Love is Grand
When love becomes ‘personal’ it has a wondrous place but let’s move away from here, not because it has no value, self-indulgence only holds a small spot in the universe, we need to think big in the same way that the beings on this planet are only a dot compared to the other intelligent civilizations in the cosmos.   As confusing and as misconstrued as the word ‘God’, love has its interpreters and impostors.  The holier-than-thou religious babble nonsense about love, meantime looking down on their brothers and sisters, out-casting them with their hideous doom and gloom prophecies, and there are those New Agers who delight in ‘one day karma will get them back’, fully forgetting their own minds are filled with hatred and spiritual elitism.  Their version of love is poisonous, it has conditions, “be like me” and we can add to it “if you don’t, my God will get you you evil wretch”.  They fully forget the journey that got them to their present.
The Alchemy called Life
On the journey into and through love there is accountability but it is not revengeful, it is self-perpetuating.  The great Gods, the word God here translates as those Beings who have journeyed out of original consciousness ions ago and learnt through experience, climbed out of the states of slumber and forgetfulness and become wondrous creative Beings with understandings that are incomprehensible to human intelligence, these great Gods do not have judgement.  They have patience, the virtue of acceptance of the diversity, they know that to get to be the extraordinary Gods that they are is not instantaneous, it is a trial by fire, it is alchemy, removing the gross metal to reveal the gold.
Returning to Ourself
If we come back to ourselves and ask the right questions.  Who do I hate? What makes me feel better than others? What behaviors of others do I despise? Who do I look down upon? Why is my tribe, caste or social class better than others?  Why is my spirituality more pure and enlightened than others?  Do we see others as a lost cause and trailer trash? We will start to see how much love we have, when we hold the mirror up we will see our shadow and start to see that our love is selective. We can quote scriptures, speak in a manner that sounds pleasing to others, eat the ‘right’ foods, be part of animal liberation movements and do a lot of things that put us into the nice guy category but it’s an incomplete model of love.  Love is much deeper than this.
Love is there in tenderness with our beloved, sure; it is in our empathy when something wells up inside us and we go past our normal limitations to help others; yes we have it for our families and pets.  But it is more.  Love is in acceptance of what we don’t like, learning not to despise the wickedness of human nature, and that doesn’t mean to delight in it, it is in understanding that the consciousness that underlies the totality manifests in ways that are incomprehensible to us.  We are quick to judge, often forgetting the path that leads us to now, not remembering that we have a story, that we were at some point whether in this life or way back in time in some other place we expressed in ways that were not kind, we betrayed, we hurt, we put ourselves first, we have added to suffering of others.  Love allows other things to be and that does not mean we have no boundaries in our lives and have a form of idiot-compassion that makes us say yes when the best solution is no.  It’s not just in our actions, it’s about our thoughts, do we vilify others just because they are different, because their wisdom is a dormant seed in their consciousness, that due to the experiences in their lives closed themselves down which lead them to actions that reflect a lack of self care or anger and animosity to others.  Is our ‘I am better-ness’ arrogant?  Are we at times the thing that we hate?
Love arrives in a very strange way; it is common to hear the words “we cannot truly love until we love ourselves fully’; maybe not fully, that type of thinking leads to a feeling of worthlessness, never good enough, it creates an inverted ego.  Neither the ego or its upside down I-hate-me inverted twin have substance.  There is an open secret that we know but forget, every moment is new and this is an opportunity for new growth, the past season is over and although the winter may have been bitter, the autumn of our lives had a mix of joy and misfortune, the spring of new potential constantly remerges and there are new beginnings.  We can abandon our past and extract the wisdom of experience and wander with dignity into foreverness, touching everything on the way with kindness, creating a trail that brings joy to others where possible, being gentle on the world around us.
I awake to a new day
Although the unborn is unseen out of view
I trust in the benevolence of the Universe
I am gentle, in this is my strength
I can bend and adapt to the changing fortunes that emerge
I am an embodiment of everything I have ever dreamed to be
I walk with dignity into foreverness

Tilopa 2.0


What the Fudge isn’t Enlightenment

In the West we have been bombarded for more than a hundred years with information about various types of Utopian consciousness that will save us not only from the world around us, secure us a happy afterlife but also protect us from ourselves.  Some of those who arrived from the East to guide those seeking escape and the meaning of life have been very sincere and kind, others deluded and many with private agendas of proselytizing and spreading their brand and there have been those who have been corrupt, abusive and downright dangerous.  All these bods, whether they have been genuine in their quest to serve humanity, self centered or suffering from bizarre delusion, have added to the definition of the word ENLIGHTENMENT.  And from this word there has grown a mystique that this glorious fruit offered to humanity must be acquired at all costs.  Some would leave their families, others give up their life savings or even deprive themselves of basic nutrition and adhere to a diet suitable for a field rat or sparrow; then there have been those who felt it was appropriate to dress in the national costumes of other communities and use what could be described as a designer-language that only the initiated could make sense of, others are considered outsiders or ignorant. And there have been numerous ‘chosen ones’ who considered themselves privileged and saved beyond doubt because they hold to the true teachings.
So let’s look at this Enlightenment thing.  I will start by mentioning a few things most people desire and say quality of life, happiness, a peaceful mind, good health and a kind heart are core things that may be part of ‘Enlightenment’ but they are also sought by many who do or don’t have a religious or spiritual quest, mankind sees them as normal and healthy.  These for some may be the fruits of this mysterious Enlightenment thing but when we look at them it would be fair to say that there have been numerous people who did not seek any God or paradise who would have achieved those goals and when I glance towards one of my favorite Indian good guys, the sage Ramana Maharshi, I am reminded that he died of cancer, so maybe this shortlist of desirables does not equate to Enlightenment or isn’t associated with it; they may or may not be spin-offs.
Lighting Up
One common dictionary version of the word Enlightenment is “the action of enlightening or the state of being enlightened”, this doesn’t really say much it’s like saying there is a fishiness about fish; but we could surmise from its common usage that the word light or the concept ‘to throw light on’ would play a part. … Scene Change: Enter lots of people looking quite peaceful carrying candles and glowing.  This mind-picture has a lot of associated problems, all of us have met people who did dress-ups and looked all sparkly but turned out to be absolute shysters.  I like the idea of don’t believe what we see or hear, the senses can deceive us; in the same way that when people drink alcohol, their sense of judgement goes out, maybe we can consider that the senses can give us a false view.  So I will start by saying let’s forget what we are told.  My reasoning is based on the idea that we often hear interpreters of other peoples experiences telling us how something is, I consider this as absurd, commentators don’t necessarily know what the truth is, they assume and then create a logical story that is often very convincing.  Human nature is rather predictable, it’s like the lotteries, there are a few winners and everyone else talks about what they would do if they won. So what to do?
For starters, we have heard secondhand that there is some type of elixir, something to be sought; the evidence seems to be based in scriptures and every now and then we hear of people who say they have made contact with supposed holy men or women who had that special Enlightenment thing.  And then we meet people who probably in all honesty believe that they are enlightened, whether it be true or false at this point doesn’t really matter.  I do think we need to sort the masquerade and exhibitions of devotion from what I would call depth of experience.  From my perspective depth of experience seems to be an important issue; and this translates as to see or feel deeper than what is presented or assumed to be so.
The E Word
If there were such a thing as Enlightenment and won’t I buy in either way with a true or false argument, in an effort to make sense of it I think we would probably need to apply some basic attributes to this mysterious ‘E’ word, and yes I may be adding to the fiasco but we can be sensible about it; there also is the problem that in being sensible I am creating an assumption that the ‘E’ word must be sensible in some way, it is reasonable to say that it may not necessarily be so and an example that would challenge the ‘known sensible’ is the Zen Koan tradition.  A student is given a short text to contemplate that may seem nonsensical.  However, using analysis and critical thinking to get a number of issues sorted seems fair.  To be clear minded and create a foundation to work from is a good idea even if the end experience (or understanding it) disintegrates the foundation and common sense, we need to enter the subject in an orderly fashion.
The Restful Mind
When we look at the numerous techniques found in Eastern, some of the Western religious traditions and in indigenous cultures we see there is a focus of what I call Taming the Bull, I will translate this as ‘to bring about a clarity of mind.’  I will use the word ‘mind’ in a particular parlance; the mind in this case means the container of thought and belongs to an associative thinker; imagine a balloon full of floating jellybeans of various sizes, each bean has attributes/stories about it, some micro and the others long sagas.  A calm mind-space may not be the definition of enlightenment but the desire or experience of such would allow ones perception to be clear without having chaotic thought in the way. What I am implying here is experience may need to be untainted by stories, is this necessary? I will commit myself here and say yes, that’s a given. The stories we have about things is what colors our view and can get in the way of ‘seeing’ properly.
I will come back here and make it clear about what we are doing, we are looking at the word Enlightened, a word that has been dressed up and thrown around the spiritual circles, a word that has confused people, a word that has created a graveyard of casualties; we are trying to find a way to decide who may be the real deal and also if the E word exists.  Can we resolve the issue of enlightenment without others, can we either get rid of the idea, develop an approach to chase and secure the elixir or at minimum never be fooled again by wanna-be’s and shysters?
The Illusionists
Often when some supposed spiritual expert or religious people discuss Enlightenment, they give us examples of Utopian worlds outside our vision, things that are not accessible by our senses; this type of attitude is  downright dangerous and has the potential for an abuse of power.  Whether it is Viking boats paddling to Valhalla, glowing faced Buddhas or Vedic Gods, if it is not something tangible it is good to keep them out of the mix for now or maybe forever.  One person creates a story and because it is not measurable it allows them the expert/master/guru to keep a student or disciple within their scope with a promise of a goal.  Is there something beyond our normal senses?  Yes obviously, contemporary physics tells us this, we don’t have to dig too far, does the miraculous happen?  Sure, we see it every day in numerous ways, many things defy logic and we make up stories to normalise them.  The issue is not that there isn’t something extraordinary beyond, it’s about trust, naivety, bullying of the ignorant and buying into the stories of others, not all but some of the experts would be deluded and self-righteous, others who make it up as they go and jiggle it around a bit to suit their agenda and there are those who are indoctrinated who believe in a specific tradition but have no personal experience. So what to do, do we burn the lot, give up?
Getting Excited
We are also faced with another serious issue and it’s what I call spiritual euphoria, I have seen this many times.  An example is when I have been to events where due to overwhelming evidence I am confident that a ‘spiritual’ person/teacher is an absolute charlatan (or even criminal),  people in the gathering are having some type of temporary experience of some sort of bliss/ euphoria. When they leave the event they associate their experience with the guru or whoever; in a short period of time after a few visits they have acquired the beads, the book, the prayers, the candles and a ready made community who supports the belief that what is going on is deeply spiritual and the guru gets the enlightenment seal of approval by a naive to some degree semi-hypnotised community.  Contrary to popular opinion, there is a possibility that Enlightenment would probably not only be about feeling good 24/7 but it is fair to say that if there was such a thing as Enlightenment, feeling good may be an attribute….let’s continue.  The desire for or idea of 24/7 feeling blissful could easily be an obstacle or at least amisunderstanding.
Spiritual Spam
These days we are bombarded with what resembles wise sayings.  I like the word discrimination, when discrimination is used as a tool of analysis and not to marginalise people or communities, it is one of the best things in our toolbox.  It is easy for people to read some words and get a temporary feeling of warm-fuzzy and get the wisdom salivary glands going, from my experience I think it is important to carefully pull apart these words of wisdom, to give them life.  Often when we read words we make assumptions based on our own history and conditioning. Sometimes the creators of the supposedly wise words have committed heinous crimes against women and children, I don’t subscribe to the idea ‘they had a temporary lapse of virtue and didn’t live the teachings’, this may be true but I am not comfortable with delusory flowery sayings that create temporary euphoria and brain sparkles, it’s a bit like fake plants, they may look okay but have no substance and just take up space.
The Magicless Pill
And there are many people who have taken drugs and assume because the experience they have is outside the normal-known that they have opened up consciousness, I am quite comfortable to say that after forty years of meditation and explorations of consciousness, the drug experience has little to do with super-consciousness, if there were a benefit from them and I do say this with great hesitation and extreme caution, it would be a reminder that our normal way of seeing is not the only worldview but there are other ways of perception.  As the world’s mental health institutions are littered with casualties from drug experimentation, this idea is fraught with danger.  Of the great men and women I have met in my life, I haven’t met anybody who resembled a Buddha or someone similar who would encourage external substances to help awaken something inside, i have met wonderful people who are drug users and it would be unreasonable to say that drug users are not necessarily kind people, we are talking about consciousness not about integrity or character; there is now a culture of people hanging out with bods they refer as Shamans and potion-ing up;  most that I have met are a little unstable and I am yet to meet someone who has evidence of an ongoing type of spiritual experience that doesn’t seem like a type of psychosis, I have met a number who are semi-euphoric people.  We were talking about Enlightenment.
What Would Buddha Do?
So what is it?  We do know according to legend/history that Buddha experienced something.  At the core of his teaching is detachment, when we look at the reasoning behind this it seems clear it is because if someone is clinging to things, it will ultimately lead to suffering at its loss.  Gautama Buddha also aligns with Jesus Christ, without sounding like a sermon  which this is not, I am cross referencing something from another tradition; Jesus supposedly said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal”, both of these great men have had religions and cults built around their lives and teachings, both imply that what may be worthwhile pursuing is not in things and also point out that if you hang on too tight to things you may be heading for trouble.  So is this Enlightenment? In both cases we are given a method of how to relate to things, to keep them in their place but this would not be the goal would it?  If we look at it closely we are given a hint of something worth pursuing, we see a picture that the relationship between ourselves and ‘things’ are critical, it is implied that there needs to be a letting go, a non clinging to things.  If we are not cautious and are a zealot or extremist we could easily begin to despise the world around us, to treat it as the enemy and this is a tragedy to say the least.  Many people spend their lives running away, are scared of life, frightened of natural emotions; when you take an idea too far it can become poison.
Who’s the Boss?
If we look closely at detachment there is an implication that being obsessive about something makes us a slave to it.  So is Enlightenment about being a master instead of a slave?  The word Master (with a big m) comes up a lot among guru-speak, it’s a little challenging to someone from the West when they hear an adult calling someone in an Indian pajamas “Master”. Going back to the Jesus way of doing things I am reminded that the apostle Peter called Jesus Master and he said “I am not your master”, I would consider this to be a good yardstick to work from, assuming that Jesus was real, looking at his behavior it is clear he had a decent set of values and if any one was to be someones master, he would be in the running to get the top job.  In some traditions such as the Radha Soami and Ruhani Satsang groups in Northern India they imply that the Master is inside, it is light and sound, they also refer to someone alive as representing the Living Master, I won’t address this approach as either true or false, it is just one of many references I could have used. But there is an implication of ‘handing over’ to another, but some say, “no go”.
Looking Elsewhere
In some traditions like the one just mentioned we hear that the guru or God is inside, beyond any doubt these words have created many problems, there’s a lot of baggage associated with this approach. And the idea also presents some marvelous questions for the inquisitive seeker of life’s mysteries.  We have also heard people say ‘I am God’, some of these are people who would be described as having mental health issues and we have heard some great noble men and women also refer to themselves as God, and we can also read in some biblical translations that Jesus said something like, “Know that ye are Gods”.  Are these great personage Divine madmen?  I would apply a little commonsense here, the word God is a variable and means something  totally different to many people. When we hear people saying that God or guru is inside, this creates a series of complications, however it does if we follow this line of thought remove the idea of running down the street and looking for a savior or some dude in an Eastern outfit.  Some say the word guru means teacher, others say remover of darkness and there are those who will look starry eyed and start babbling a stream of indecipherable words that almost seem insane as they expound their love for who they are devoted to.
The idea of looking INSIDE may not be the solution but it is not a bad idea, if Buddha puts out a warning to not get attached to ‘things’ of the world, it would seem practical to look the other way, his attachment could also include people as they are in the world of form.  And as a back up confirmation we hear that Jesus said, “the kingdom of Heaven comes not by observation, the kingdom of Heaven is in you”.
Opening the Box and Looking In
When we look inside, what do we see?  Fears, joys, wandering thoughts, dreams of the future, memories, and sensations such as aches, tingles, anxiety, fleeting passing images, textures.  Are these the things that we are seeking, is this what they are talking about?  Some would say,”obviously not” and consider it to be a stupid question.  I personally am never in a hurry to dismiss and arrive at assumptions about things said by those I consider as wise.  It would seem reasonable to say that these things are not what we are looking for, however they may be a useful part of the tools required to get the result which is sought to understand this Enlightenment thing people speak of.  There is a form of meditation that some people do, it’s called Neti Neti, a simple translation would be “not this, not this”.  As anything presents itself in our thought field in meditation it gets the gentle tap of the conscious-ping-pong-bat, Neti Neti not this not this. When we look towards the sage Ramana Maharshi we will see he told those who inquired about God and the mystery of life that they need to meditate and ask the question ‘who am i’, he said that meditation without self-inquiry is not so good, and also implied that self-inquiry without meditation is fraught with danger.  Both Buddha and Ramana’s methods seem to be pointing to get under the bonnet of our thinking.
I Think I Thought
Thought can be troublesome, it breaks people, prevents them sleeping, leads to despair unless they can find a way to step away from it.  Trying to catch or stop thought in its tracks is like stretching out your fingers, putting them into a river and attempting to get reasonable handfuls of water, most of it slips through the fingers, it’s a futile quest.  If we think about it, the meditative process is in a way defined by Buddha when he reminded us that attachment is an issue, we can take that idea and apply it to our internal processes and not just what is going on outside.  When we try and stop thought we are attaching to it; thought has its own business, we assume that because its in our mind-space that it must be ours. Personally I am not fooled by this, I see thought the same as looking out the window.  If a van drives past it is obviously not my van; if thought is passing i see it as not my thought; however if I attach to it then the relationship deepens, if I follow it an action may follow, I do not need to follow it, it’s not my thought, it is only as solid as a cloud and I know clouds change shape, they move on and disintegrate. Thoughts also emerge from my inbuilt tendencies, there is an Indian word called samskaras that some people would be aware of, I am not an Indian so I will speak English instead because it’s easier to understand without adding a whole lot of spiritual jargon to the mix.  Our tendencies will relate to the world around us, we see an image, it is delightful, we want to posses it or have some type of experience with it, the hooks go in, we are attached.  From day dot, the first moment of our lives we have been creating a story on how the world is, developing beliefs that we think are truth, it may be political, social, religious or just natural preferences. Out of the stories created, thoughts stream from our subconscious; we believe we are something, someone, we have a vision of how the world is, we usually don’t doubt the stories, they are hardwired and make up our world.
Walking Through Space
When we plunge deeper, the world dissolves, there is no ‘ground’, there is no substance; we may choose to call our awareness ‘the perceiver’ and think that it has real substance but when start digging around it becomes clear there really is nothing to grab onto, it’s the same situation as trying to look out our own eyes. It may be simpler just to say, “ok there is conscious—ness, something is aware of the movement of forms of shape-sounds in space” but I am confident there is no need to get carried away with a definition.  The mind of man likes a sense of order, to categorise things, some forms of Zen are about undoing sense, I don’t mean to become nonsensical, I am saying that logic is the wrong tool, it’s like trying to catch a rainbow in a bottle, trying to answer or do the impossible.  The sage Jiddu Krishnamurthi used to say, “can we ever ask the right question?”, he was one of the great explorers of spirituality and religion, I would not be in a hurry to disregard this simple question.
Checking In
We are looking at what this Enlightenment thing might be and all the associated spiritual games played by many, all those experts, the seekers, the gurus, the religious addictions people have and the fanciful dreams of what it’s about. We have heard many times ‘look within’, those words have been said in great seriousness and also flippantly they are thrown around by many spiritual types of people. A question arises, so what about the outside, is it meaningless?  When we look with our eyes we see a world in motion, nothing is static, when we listen, sound is also in motion, it has a starting point and a decay, it is time-bound. When we taste, the cake is there and then it’s gone it barely touched the sides and internally in our thinking thoughts come and go at lightening speed, the one thing that is consistent is movement. And a reminder that we know from experience that stillness or emptiness is constant. Here we have the situation of EVERYTHING is in motion and there is an underlying stillness, we can almost conclude that attachment to anything that moves may not be practical because it is time-based, it has a shelf life, or we could view it from another perspective that it is permanent at each moment and may never be repeated, whichever way we choose to see it it does seem reasonable to say that anything that is time-based is probably not what we are pursuing. Understanding that attachable things, even the forms of Gods are things that at some point need to be disconnected from.
The more we look we find ourselves in the situation that the very point of awareness, what we call the experiencer of the vision is the critical element in the picture.  And this is no new revelation but it is critical that we get rid of a lot of other assumptions, if we don’t they will get in the way and shape our understanding.  We are faced with a dilemma and it is the very one that has been used by the charlatans to delude others and in many cases themselves, there is something slightly out of the ordinary doing something, however when we look towards the real Zen teachers we can see that ordinariness may be critical part of the process, and it is not that I am saying that ordinariness is the essence of Enlightenment, but if we look closely we will notice that things are only made ordinary by ‘thought’, when something is familiar it is shrunk down into the ‘known’ and is considered ordinary, when really what is going on is miraculous. The real Zen teachers and I am saying the word ‘real’ intentionally to separate them away from religious tradition with all its baggage, there are those outside of and also a few in the traditions who looked through a bigger window at the world, and I am not trying to be disrespectful to traditions.  If I don’t clarify things an assumption may arise that I am saying that Zen is a path to enlightenment, it may be but discrimination is important.  Although the Zen tradition is diverse and the Koan tradition may seem chaotic as well as nonsensical it clearly shows that the tool we are using ‘the thinking logical mind’ may not be suitable for the job to be completed and without getting over cerebral about it all, finding the extraordinary in nature around us seems to be closer to what one is seeking than philosophical discussions or treatises on what God, the meaning of life or Enlightenment might be.
I am comfortable saying :

  • Thought is an obstacle
  • Philosophy can be seriously flawed because it sends people down a track where they create a story that is interpreted a certain way and is not about personal experience
  • The perceiver of the experience is critical
  • The perceiver is not the same as the thoughts about what a person believes him or herself to be, people create a story based on temporary attributes
  • There is a witness but I say the W word with great caution because of assumptions people make
  • Gods and gurus may get in the way
  • External things are transitory and attachment to them has a use-by date
  • The logical mind is totally out of its depth but may be a useful tool to help eliminate what Enlightenment isnt
  • Confusing a type of euphoria with Enlightenment is common but erroneous
  • One’s personal experience is the yardstick for measuring
  • Thought divides things into categories where the familiar is not extraordinary whereas the new or unknown is

So where does this leave us?
When we look at the list above and apply the Neti Neti – Not This Not This approach, by elimination and that also means getting rid of our sh*t, we will find a type of space in our thinking.  If we enter into a quest with ideas of what something might be, everything will be colored by what we bring to it.  Suddenly I may sound like a Buddhist if I use the word Emptiness, as we know in Buddhism Emptiness is often mentioned.  Not being a Buddhist it is easier for me to break it out of the box, the conclusions or perspective may be the same as some who discuss Buddhism but any ism will have its assumptions and we don’t need them to color our thoughts even if the ism holds some truth.
Everything’s in Motion
We can conclude without a fuss that everything in the world is transitory,  we know that things are moving in, on or are in relation to space, they arise, stay a while and fall away into foreverness. It’s the relationship with the empty-still-backdrop that allows all things to come into form or have motion.  The more we look clearly and analyse we will begin to see that WE are in the way of the view, the ME that I think I am is blocking the view of not only how I see the world, experience and see things but it also is THE thing that prevents me from seeing who or what I am.  ME is at the centre of the totality of all the experiences I have had and based on the data I throw together, a picture emerges that I use to define me.  We could simplify it down and say ‘well I am the witness’, with that approach great caution is required and here’s why.
There is an assumption that we are at the centre, we are inside looking out at the world, people rarely question this.  We see life on a timeline going from birth to death , A to Z with life stuff in the middle.  Some people have a belief in reincarnation, this  ME we could define as other A’s to Z’s;  whether reincarnation is true or not doesn’t matter here, if somebody has an experience of their other lives then they could come to a reasonable conclusion about the existence of reincarnation, until then it’s just a concept, religious flippy floppy info that we have been indoctrinated with.  Our brain is a very sensitive machine, it translates data and sends it via pathways throughout the body.  We know that we don’t all see the same thing, we as a human community agree on certain aspects, a tree is a tree, there is an unspoken acknowledgement and orderliness, as well as rules and limitations that the community members say are possible, when someone says anything that doesn’t fit they, are defined as odd, a nutter or occasionally a Saint or miracle worker.  Let’s look at all this very closely.
A View Through the Lens
The world we move in has a giant filter over it, the filter is in the individual, everything is being translated through filters that shape each persons view,  I am hesitant to say ‘live in the Now’, it has so much baggage and when most people are in the NOW, the filters are blocking the present experience.  But there is a great benefit to constantly come back into the present by throwing a rope around the wayward wandering mind who is self obsessed with a story of who it believes itself to be.
I wouldn’t be foolish enough to say that there is or isn’t Enlightenment. However, it is critical to undo all the stories, myths and second hand versions of what it is; without removing the concepts of what it may be, the concepts will create a false goal and a person becomes a slave to an idea that is not based in the individuals experience.  If we need to DO anything, and I will say I prefer to NOT DO anything, it would be to come back to oneself, and the deeper we go we find that there is NOTHING, and in NOTHING is the potential of EVERYTHING.
Tilopa 2.0

The Selfie and Self Realisation

We live in a time where many of us freeze-frame ourselves wherever we go. This is me at the Opera House, I’m now standing in front of the Taj Mahal, behind me is 100 mile beach, me eating a gluten free sandwich with Tibetan parsley, me with a coffee cup in the back streets of Kathmandu, me standing next to Jim Morrison’s grave smoking a doobie.  So many opportunities for us to place ourselves in sacred spaces and hide the view, we trivialise life and turn the magnificent into something about ‘us’.
Feeding the Problem
I was walking down a trendy Melbourne street in my normal fashion of not being able to go forward in a straight line for more than two metres when I noticed a young mother with a child of about three or four years old. They were taking a selfie outside a shop, no big deal really, after the ‘shoot’ the mum showed the daughter the pic on her phone and the child smiled with natural excitement.  It’s normal to take photos of our kids, nice mementos for future dialogue when kids are older.  However it got me thinking.
Who the Fudge Am I?
When we look at the human dilemma of ‘who am i?’ and all the other questions about the mystery of life, it would be reasonable to start to question how we arrive at conclusions of who we are.  For starters, at birth when the stork drops us off at the hospital, natural birth centre or cabbage patch, we arrive and immediately there’s a lot of hoohah about the new kid on the block, it’s a boy, it’s got too much hair, it’s beautiful, it looks like a monkey, it’s a Buddha, it wont stop crying, what do I do with this thing? omg I’ve got a baby.  This little person thing gradually gets defined by those around it as it moves along the arrow of time; from the very beginning the flow of external data writes to the subconscious memory bank and the kid learns who and what it is.
I’m Not Just a Bunch of Banana Sundaes
I like to think  a little broader than the skin that holds all the bits in. For example I know the water running through my being has arrived from the outside, the clouds, the rain, glug glug down the hatch, what was once falling from the endless heavens is now in my being. The food that grew in Mother Earth transformed inside my body and is now reflected in the texture of my skin; the sun, the air, the whole of nature has allowed me to be here, wherever here may be, this body-being that I use as a vehicle to move through life’s experiences is not out on its own, it is part of a series of processes of living nature (not rocket science).
Not Sure Who I Am
Many people in my family have changed their names, this has always amused me; I guess it was only fitting that my parents would give me a name at birth but never use it, they called me something else from day dot, I have never used the name on my birth certificate apart from when I’m startled into an ‘oh that’s me’ when it gets called at the doctors;  and then by a weird series of events I ended up with yet another name ‘Tilopa 2.0’ that I use now.  For me, I think this name change thing is not by chance, it has been a critical aspect on my journey of understanding the mysteries of life. It got me thinking ‘who the fudge am I? We humans love to name things, the concern with naming is as soon as something is named it is filed away in the memory banks, we humans assume we know lots of things but often we just know the names and very little information about things, it’s not until we enter into something that we really know it, the rest is just a story. We are a panel of experts who know about things that we have never experienced.
Getting Out of the Way
Transformation comes about by undoing.  In education there is a filling up; and I am not knocking the gathering of information or the development of skills, I am a teacher and also love learning new things. The process of experiencing deeper Awareness works in reverse to education, a different set of rules applies; this is why academics and intellectuals have so much trouble with consciousness and out of the ordinary things, they don’t have a column in their database to include ‘other stuff’.  And this does not mean that a sharp intellect is a problem, personally I find it useful for analysis and discrimination; in my case a sharp intellect is extremely beneficial for me to compile the extraordinary into something that vaguely makes sense.  A bit like a cup full of sea water gives an example of the texture of the ocean, it won’t tell us much else but it hints that the salty water exists.
A Montage Called Me
As we move through selfie-moments and stream them live in real-time to the social cyber-world, a chorus of onlookers joins in to the story of ‘who we believe ourselves to be’. That sentence may seem a little odd or over the top but when we come back to the core principles of Buddhism or Jnana Yoga  or knowledge of Self, (a simple definition of Self =something more expansive than the body and its environs) we know that Emptiness is at our core, as we move through life, in our thoughts we are defining who we are such as ‘i am a doctor, an idiot, a genius, i’m fat, ugly, a nice guy’, all sorts of labels.  When we look very very closely and give it a lot of thought, we see there is nothing solid that defines us apart from the body we drag through the 3D space of the world, the ‘me’ is constantly in motion, the molecules are churning, dancing in space.  It is space, the ‘field’ of creation that is consistent and also our ‘intention’ that projects into space. A selfie temporarily defines us, when we give them too much focus and stream them endlessly to the world, we are falling deeper into the abyss of  mis-identification and move further away from what we are.
The Age of Not Me
The time we live in is an age of self-obsession and there needs to be a certain amount of awareness that we are ‘not what we imagine ourselves to be’, the image that we are creating and reinforcing plunges us further and further away from our core nature, the Emptiness.  This word Emptiness is not what it seems, it is living, it is at the heart of all creative potential, the blank canvas of life, the Silence that the Universe sits on or in and we need to get out of its way.


Tilopa 2.0 on his balcony

That Elusive Ego Thing – Yoga Thoughts

In New Age circles we get to see a lot of nonsense about ‘how to get rid of the ego’.  There also are numerous gurus who will for a fee (either monetary or your sovereignty) will sign you up to their club to save you from yourself.  The word ‘ego’ gets splashed around like color at a Holi Festival; therapists, philosophers, counselors and back yard rubber bodied yogis and yoginis all telling you that you need to fix this evil enemy; cut it down before it swallows you or you’ll wallow in delusion for many incarnations.  Whether it be via the sledgehammer method of austerity and abnegation or sitting in groups of peaceful looking meditators with noisy heads surrounded by the odors of sweet smelling incense made from cow poo, you will eventually realise there are a million and one remedies and forms of self punishment to fix the problem that someone has convinced you exists.
The Playfulness of Life
If for a moment we can agree there might be a God, (and a reminder that the G word has more baggage than an obsessive compulsive on their first trip overseas), I could comfortably say that God is a practical joker.  For example, I  remember going to the zoo years ago and a Tapir was lazing around on a sunny day minding its own business and a bevy of Otters were taking it in turns in swimming along a circular canal, hopping out of the water and slapping the Tapir on its behind region,  it was so bizarre, when the scenario first caught my eye, I asked the people with me to confirm what I was seeing. And to further my argument that the God thing has a sense of humor, just look at the Meerkats (“ok guys, eyes right”).  With the idea in mind that nature is hilarious, although life at times can be outrageously painful, and it may feel some days that we are in a suit that is two or three sizes too small and lined with prickles, the joke is also experienced by humanity first hand.
In Hinduism we find a concept that there is something called Lila, without getting into fine detail, it could rather loosely be described as play, the Divine pantomime where the underlying super-consciousness plays out experiences in the various worlds. I am not evangelizing for Hinduism here, it is just a useful perspective to bring together the ideas I wish to get across about God and the practical joke. According to some wise men and also the wannabe’s, there is a view that in the Great Pretence of God, the super-Consciousness intentionally forgets who it is and wanders through the maze of the Cosmos looking for itself.  The God Being plays tricks by breaking itself in multiple parts and looks out from each window, seeks the answer to what is life and jumps in and out of bodies through various wormholes acquiring wisdom.  Whether it is true, in the scheme of this article I wont attempt unpack the supposed truth of the matter. But I do know and will state beyond doubt that everything is just ‘thought manifesting experiences through the senses’ and there is a liquidness to the environments we find ourselves in.  And with this in mind we can take a challenge to the charlatans who fill the book shops, ashrams and monasteries with information about the ‘ego’ that they really know little about.  Their work seems to send people away from where they want to be and only strengthens the old arch enemy of ego.
The Invisible Enemy
Many people have seen the martial art of Aikido, there is a beauty in this approach.  To keep it simple, what is happening is the attacker ultimately defeats themselves, the one who is defending comes into harmony with the movements of the attacker and there is a type of invisibility or Emptiness that emerges in the defender, as there is no-one to attack, the confrontation dissolves without too much fuss.  If we take this approach or apply this type logic to this ‘ego thing’ that disturbs so many spiritual aspirants, we can quite comfortably dismantle the supposed problem and never suffer from the great lie again.
Nothing is Static
We can, if we also follow the line of thinking that everything is just thought, the ‘supposed’ ego begins to loses its solidity, it is on unsafe ground.  If we look at contemporary Physics we will see that some physicists are in agreement on certain issues, one such thing is the world around us is not overly solid, when we dig into it with Nanotechnology we see there are a lot of particles in constant motion. We can also conclude that change is inevitable, if we gaze at nature, we see that everything seems to be in a state of rising (birth and growth) or sinking (decay), some processes happen faster than others but there is an ever constant in and an out shoot.
Fooled by the Senses
An over identification with the body is at the core of the problem, by that I mean the five common senses of touch, hearing, smell, sight, and taste.  These are the ‘hooks’ that catches the human-fish most of the time.  There is a story built up in our thinking, we believe the information that the senses tell us; from this and the stories of others in the world around us, we build a profile of who we are. The impressions are deeply ingrained, we gather all the data and conclude ‘oh that’s me’, and those around us only enforce the idea with dialogue like ‘oh gee you are getting fat’, ‘what have you done to your hair?’, ‘you always loved donuts’, ‘i wish I had your brains’ ‘OMG you are such a dickhead’. Depending on our ability to accept or deflect the information we are bombarded with, we strengthen the idea of ‘me’ or the ‘inverted despondent me’.  There are also the numerous grayscale shades in-between that are neither positive or negative, they fill part of our mind-space with a mental picture of the ‘something identity’ who experiences the passing pantomime on the world stage.
Something Amiss
When we start digging in, and by that I mean self questioning and exploring our thoughts, we find that this supposed identity is a little frisky and elusive to grab. There’s an old Zen Koan (thought and thoughtless provoking Parable) that comes to mind. A Zen master asks, “Show me your Original Face, the face you had before your parents were born.”  I don’t want to go too far down the Zen questioning track which has been turned into a nonsensical witty circus by many but this type of puzzle hints at a number of things.
1) There is a possibly a false picture of who we are.
2) There is something that sits behind the experiencer and is aware in some way that the experiencer is either a charlatan or is caught in a maze.
3) Something is drastically amiss in the world of mice and men.
The real issue with this elusive thing called ego is it has no substance and we have placed its mental meanderings in the forefront of our consciousness.  The experiencer gathers together what it knows or believes to be true and runs a program in the subconscious and makes minor adjustments as it moves through life’s experiences.  The idea of ‘getting rid of the ego’ is nothing but a concept. If we go back to basics and we are clear that there is a false association with the body and an unquestioned social belief system that the ‘thinker’ part of us is trapped inside the body, when we address this basic understanding and see ourselves as something that inhabits a much broader space and the body is INSIDE us and is purely the meeting point that relates to and perceives through the five senses and is formed by all the elements of nature we move in, then the ‘loosening’, the dismantling process begins, and it is not the dismantling of the ego, but the thoughts that obscure the view.  When we also remind ourselves and deeply contemplate that the world is in constant flux and is reforming itself moment to moment based on the ‘story of the world’ and is a projection of our consciousness,  it becomes clear that the the ‘ego’ is nothing but the intertwined fabric of thought.
The Other Direction
The sage Krishnamurthi once stood in the Sydney Town Hall and during his discourse he said, ‘you are all going the wrong way’.  These words are a reminder that social consciousness is the prison-house and it is worthwhile to consider questioning everything that we believe to be true, have been told or assume is knowledge.   With the state of confusion and fear that runs rampant in the world, I am comfortable with going the other way.

Real Yoga and the End of Maya

In a way we have all been fooled.  If we think back to when people were in agreement that the world was flat and they imagined it went off in all directions further than anyone could walk and they might fall off, only the dreamers would have imagined anything else, some would have looked at the moon and noticed at a period of time there was something up there that would change shape and from the pondering there would be numerous wondrous stories.  Others would have kept silent their dreams for fear of not fitting in to the community and being ostracised for thinking differently.
A Kaleidoscopic of Tribes 
Anyone who has lived in isolation would have no idea what’s going on over the hill, each tribe in their own jungle has a special way of doing things, a specific language and what’s happening elsewhere would be incomprehensible.  Even today a percentage of the community does not realise that many of the concepts relating to classical physics have been replaced by the challenging and quirkiness of quantum physics, things have become a little more frisky, the familiar world is not so solid any more; things are named when we look at them, but everything quickly moves to another spot.  In one fast swoop and brush of the hand, this new perspective and understanding manages to disintegrate the world we knew, and unless someone is a dreamer it can make people feel a little uncomfortable, the ‘bird has flown’ when it comes to what we once knew or believed true.  Meanwhile religious dogmatists continue their rhetoric and stand their ground regardless.

It’s on the Internet, it Must Be True 🙂
With the emergence of technologies that have stemmed from quantum physics, we have a tsunami of information available that varies in quality, some life changing, other info may be trivial and ‘wannabe’, also there is monolith of material that is not even questionable but is straight out lies…or better I could say, “is from tribes from another jungle.”

When it comes to religion and spirituality, we also have quite a number of dishes at the smorgasbord, many of us are born into a familiar style of cuisine that is so normal to us that it seems so appetising, we feel satiated, so why eat elsewhere?

The World is Only Temporarily Solid
Contrary to popular opinion, the world is not what we think it is. ‘Thought’ plays a major part, and our inherited habit of ‘naming’ things is where we need to look if we want to make greater sense of what may be going on; we unknowingly have tricked ourselves, and everyone around us is part of the game, not intentionally; and not in a ‘paranoid’ sense, it’s the old story of actors in a play who get so carried way with the story, they forget their other normal daily existence.  A good point of reference to go to is Lao Tsu, he supposedly said, “The Nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth.  The Named is the Mother of myriad things.”  This may not seem overly important at first glance, it’s easy to flit past the endless feel good and philosophical thoughts that populate the cyber universe and bookshelves, but it’s critical to stop for a moment and ponder words by men and woman who are giants, they don’t speak flippantly, their dialogue is designed to destroy the known world, and to take us into new territory.  When wise men and women speak, what they say is something to dig into.  Lao Tsu said, “The named is the mother of all things.” If we go a fraction West to the Indian subcontinent and roll out the Vedic texts, we find the word ‘Maya’, a word often twisted by spiritual and religious zealots.  The relationship between Maya and the Named cannot be overstated.  Maya is interpreted in many ways and is often referred to as meaning ‘illusion’,  I will take the liberty of saying if you call it an ‘illusion’, it is misleading and is slightly incorrect.

Twisted Philosophy
The problem with defining the world we move in as ‘Maya’ is, if we follow that line of thought and our viewpoint or philosophy is in some way extreme, we will have a tendency to ‘run’ from life. Running will in some cases lead us away from obligations, things such as family, developing our skills, and if are not cautious we may minimise what requires our attention.  From my experience I have noticed some people who get caught up in the idea of Maya, are inclined to use phrases like “the world is material”, “it’s all God” as petty excuses to look away from life’s issues.  Many years later a person may find themselves in a situation where ‘regret’ kicks in, when the Maya philosophy bubble bursts, there are often casualties.

Maya, what it really is about is a ‘trick of the mind’, our thoughts have a natural tendency to create stories; this is inbuilt in human nature.  When we look at a tree, we name it, we don’t see the many facets of it, the colours, nor do we think about its relationship with the rest of the world, the eco system it is part of, and because it is ‘familiar’ in the sense that we KNOW what a tree is, it slips past us; we have a story of what a tree is, and don’t ‘second thought’ it.  But when we stop for a moment and look more closely and think it through, that tree that we see is just temporarily a ‘tree’, it will never be the same again, we subconsciously create parameters where the tree starts and stops.  What an awareness of Maya will tell us is we automatically ‘name’ everything, and with it comes a story, we miss what is underneath, we can be so distracted by the sparkle and glitter that emerges constantly in the world around us, we end up looking away from what is at the core of all things, and more importantly what is within ourselves.

Humanity’s Spiritual quest will have a series of milestones; I will simply of say there are markers at various points, and this is not something i would overthink or have as a rigid truth. I have often heard it said that there is a ‘different path for everyone’, this I see as a partial truth pointing to the individual having a unique experience as the kaleidoscope around changes, but at the core, ‘awareness’ hasn’t gone anywhere.  However, I am comfortable to say there is NO PATH.  What this means is there is a labyrinth, the labyrinth is constructed of thought, it goes in a circular motion; the parameters and boundaries are created by the limited view we have; the more way say “that’s not possible”, the tighter the restrictions will be. BUT if we are more detached from opinions about everything, the looser the chains will become.  Thought is the prison house and MAYA is nought but the relationship between the sparklies in the field of life and the way we lose ourselves in it.

So What on Earth Can We Do
From my experience I am comfortable in saying ‘Don’t do anything’; this is a difficult thing for many people because it requires an ‘undoing’ of the way we function.  We are generally goal driven.  The normal order of things is: do this, this and this and you will get ‘that’ at the end.  We are used to being ‘rated’ for what we do and often fall short, always ‘not good enough’,  forever we are away from the destination, or at the other extreme, there are those who are so self obsessed they consider their shower water is fine wine.

Coming Back to Me
By not doing anything we come back to our ‘awareness’, the experiencer, to something that is sensing the rise and fall of the play of life.  This way of doing things is hard for people, education is about striving, so there is habit and an assumption that this way of doing things would also be consistent in relation to the Spirit.  And in defense of the other way of doing things, there are numerous scriptures to quote; there are many words to reference that keep the world hypnotised.  Everyone is in a hurry to BE SOMETHING, but this is Maya at it’s best. NOTHING will always be at odds with Maya, they will never meet.

Maya has NO SUBSTANCE in the sense that EVERYTHING IS IN MOTION, but the centre, the ‘imaginary canvas’ is still, it is THOUGHT that is the SLAYER of the REAL.  And the REAL is the EMPTINESS, the AWARENESS at the centre of all.

A Prayer for Humanity
As the shadows and light move across the stage of life
May we always let them go when they must leave.
May we always treat others in the way we wish for ourselves
May our hearts soften to embrace diversity
May all Beings live in Harmony
May each new generation rise in love

Tilopa 2.0

The Day My God Died

Some of us do ‘broken’ better than others; some fracture from the inside out and they don’t recover, they find an uncomfortable peace in addictions, destructive distractions; others go about their business and leave it till later in life to deal with, they wear it in their skin, illness, even bitterness, a thud instead of a spring in their step, listlessness in place of a sparkle; some have a dependence on being ‘broken’ and prefer to loop it ’round and ’round, unknowingly recreating a set of experiences that give a similar ‘feeling’ to the previous one and live it out again and again in another scenario.
Softening Our Heart

It would seem sensible for us as a community to learn to ‘hold’ each better, to recognise frailty, to be sensitive in what seems to be an outrageously unkind self-indulgent world, to go that extra bit with ‘unnecessary acts of kindness’, to be that big bellied Buddha wandering with a bag of goodies, spreading joy because ‘that’s the way we roll’, to maybe drop some of our differences of opinions at times and let people feel comfortable with what they have arrived at, to ditch our ‘king of the castle attitude’ – ‘right at all costs’ approach, to allow others to be, and do it without splintering our boundaries, by that I mean by not allowing breaches and crossing the line of what is acceptable behavior, some people take more than their share.
I have never met anyone who hasn’t hit a crisis point, and by that i mean found themselves in a situation where everything seems bigger than them; the passing of a loved one, having to let go of something precious, dealing with abuse, or being in a situation of ‘impossible love’, where the heart says one thing but the stars don’t align, they shine and then bash into each other, the beloved’s course seems to be heading off into some other galaxy without them; there are numerous scenarios and situations that bring us to our knees.
Finding an Ally in Things
Sometimes it is not people who hold us, we can feel too vulnerable to let people in, exposed, we don’t want to seem-needy, or can’t take that step to say ‘ouch f*cking ooooch’ for whadever sane or absurd reason, there is often a tendency to remain silent. Having an emergency crew (of things) ready with their ladders, fire extinguishers, life-buoys and gaffer tape is a good idea, every now and then we can be caught off guard. I don’t mean being hyper-vigilant either and having a SWAT team racing in with all their protective gear every time we cut our pinky…….. Me, I like chocolate, goooood coffee, the feeling of the sun on my skin, the gentle movement of the leaves in the wind, the shades of green – those brush strokes of the hidden master artist, an hypnotic melody that brings to memory something beautiful from my past, an inquisitive mind, seeing and feeling the future before it happens, the mystic poets, a silly sense of humor and something newish to learn, dissolving myself into music, singing mantras or dancing in my bedroom in the dark – occasionally bumping into things.  Things can hold us, particularly if we are people who are used to doing things solo.
I think it is important to be able to live in a manner as if everything were taken from us, our loved ones, our dearest possessions (the RING, Lord of the Rings comes to mind, that type of obsession permeates the community in subtle ways, we don’t want to be like that do we? Being a slave to objects), maybe we need to be stripped bare of the lot to find ourselves, or should I say to detach from the ‘known us’; and even if we are at 180 degrees from EVERYBODY else, to still know how to dig for and experience joy.  And this does not mean giving up everything, it is about our attachment to them, the power of the control people and things have over us, dependencies that we are slaves to. Some people might say, “well why would I want to live if I lose the lot?”  I reckon that’s the right question, and a very fair one.
False Gods
When my son died, so did my false God. It took me a while to realise I had a number of ‘hidden’ Gods. I was born with the idea that God lived in everything, this in Indian culture-speak would be called Jnana Yoga, a non-dual approach, the One manifesting as many; when you break it down it’s not rocket science, don’t need to look too far, just join the dots… same water, same air, same species, same sun, same doughnuts, there are too many hints that it is quite astounding that we humans miss the obvious.  As I grew up, I was indoctrinated into false Gods, the supposed God of the Christians, and a Father God. A tradition had grown out of the life of an extraordinary being who lived two thousand years ago, in time the churches and men of low wisdom and in many cases men of minimal integrity who were seeking control and power, superimposed a God over everyone, this God was supposedly pulling the puppet strings of humanity, judging and dooming, sitting on the shoulders of every man, woman and child, like an annoying parrot who won’t shut up, monotonous information in the subconscious being fed into everyone that we all become immune to.  And I am NOT implying ‘there is no God’, but rethinking what God may be is the beginning of transformation.
The Shattered World
It’s quite normal that we go about our business in a a semi-conscious state not overly questioning anything until our world explodes.  Experiences can break us, in fact let’s be clear here, traumatic experiences WILL break us, it’s WHAT emerges out of the ‘seed-pod’ embedded in the experience that we need to look at, explore, play with, and if we are serious, turn it inside out.  If I may, I will make an assumption that ‘grief, loss, despair’, the whole gamut of emotions which emerge from it are similar for most people, there may be slight variables in the intensity but they would be the same categories; it is the WAY we respond that makes the difference. So what do we do? Our world is shattered, we are so broken that we can barely move, everything hurts, the feeling in our chest is a throb, our every particle stings…
Taking Control of Ourselves
I did something extraordinary when my so passed over, I asked everyone to go away, not to talk to me about it, I changed the language, I said ‘he passed over’, I avoided ‘he died’.  We all have moments of ingeniousness in our lives and this was probably mine.  My idea of Bonsai Gum trees for Japanese tourists would be way down my list from this spark of wisdom.   I’ve done some far-out things but this probably is the one wise thing that eclipsed everything else, I really have no idea what motivated me to tell everyone to ‘mind their own business’; I guess this was because I was on the precipice and something deep inside, the ‘future me’ spoke.  We are social creatures and in times of great trauma it seems natural to get the people close to us to gather around and ‘hold us’.  So what was it that was going on in the deeper part of me thinking?  I went 180 degrees… this for me is usually where the wisdom lies.
The Past, the Present and the Future Now
I have something that I have always done, it’s a type of time-travel, not the H G Well’s jump in a machine and arrive ahead or back in time version of time-travel, it’s more  related to  my thinking. For a number of years now, I have gone back through my life from the present moment and visited the younger me and also gone to the future unborn me; this may not seem overly important and slightly absurd, but I would say, of all the ‘hey, what’s your secrets?’, this would be the one thing that if someone could bottle it, financially they would instantly be in the top 1% of wealthy bods.  It’s not just in my thought I do this, I imagine my whole being travelling back and forwards and out into the cosmos.  There is a close relationship between my ‘unborn me’, with the ‘go away’ technique I used when my son passed over.  If I jump around a little in ‘who I am’, or to be more specific, what this means “if I consider myself to be more than, or to have OTHER points of awareness apart from the ‘known’ everyday nine to five , three score and ten (75 years life expectancy) “, what I would also describe as the ‘I am a body with five senses limited being’, other possibilities for solving complex problems emerge.  It was Einstein who said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them,” Einstein was known as a physicist, but when I look at him, to me he is a visionary; without the inquisitiveness to understand the nature of things, we may as well just measure objects and archive the info; but when we have a deep passion for understanding, a desire to expand human consciousness, whether it be through science or mysticism, the spin-offs and benefits will open new vistas and humanity evolves.   The enemy of the ‘elite’ is an evolving humanity.
Rethinking Death
Death was my problem, or better still ‘my reality’, my son passed over and I was at the cemetery standing next to his coffin all alone, how do we as ‘feeling’ people deal with this? This is not just MY problem, it is everybody’s issue, it’s going to slam everyone, our beloveds will leave here and eventually according to most logic, people say we must take this journey ourselves, we may have concepts of Gods, Saints or Holy Men/Women guiding us, but let’s keep it simple, we are going solo.  In life, we can have short term bliss, lovers, objects, sunsets, holidays, all sorts of passing moments, but when the pain is in our chest, when our heart is broken, what can we do?  We can’t run, even if we try, the shadow of death follows us, its sting seems to have no remedy, at this time when our dear ones pass over, we are on the edge of madness, some never recover.  So what do we do? Each of us has a ‘genius’ that casts a light over our world of shadows, at this time of despair my genii woke up, he said to everyone “f*ck off”, nothing personal, just “go way please, you are in my way”; I did not want other peoples half-assed stories of reality, either true or untrue.  Some may consider it to be one of those moments when we close down our emotions and become numb; in a way, in all honesty there was a hint of that, but at some other level beneath the surface, there was something different going on, something more powerful and sublime.  I will call it the future-me, my Future Yogi came into my present. This Yogi, Yoda-type lives outside the five senses, this is where the possibilities lie, this is where I went.
The Power of Contrast
When we are in a dark room, there will generally be a tiny gap of light that shines through somewhere, obviously it would be missed in daylight in the same way that when we go about our everyday business, everything is ‘leveled’ over and the subtleties are bypassed; the stark contrast of a few small glowing particles of light against the blackness gives a lot of power to the brightness; suddenly what may have seemed meaningless, missed or insignificant at other times becomes greater.  In the darkness of trauma, there are small glimmers of luminosity; it takes a bit of courage to stride across a dark room and peep into the source of the light, but that’s the thing with grief and despair, it’s almost ‘do or die’, not death of the body but death of our feeling for life; people can continue to live but are numb,they  run on automatic and then lose themselves inside the ‘layers’ of the world; these layers consist of the ‘things that keep us busy, preoccupied ‘ to avoid feeling and questioning.
The Future Now
The future is both unborn and already present,  that statement would resemble nonsense to some people and without clarification would almost sound a little ‘Zoolander’ (movie comedy about fashion models) the “essence of water is wetness.”  🙂  However, coming from someone who has risen above or should I say stepped outside, through or past trauma, I suggest that the statement ought not to be disregarded too quickly, it requires consideration. Some people wear trauma in a way that it ‘defines them’, this is understandable, but trauma can be approached in a way that it is trans-formative. We as a rule live in what most of us call the ‘present’; we could take a type of Buddhist stance and say ‘well our thoughts are over active and we are always off somewhere else, come back to the moment’ but keeping it simple, I will say the present means ‘look at clock > check time > that time is now’,  we will just try an easy definition without any new age interpretations.  But here’s where the brain explodes 🙂  and I could without too much trouble make this sound like a stoned rave, but as I am not a drug taker, it’s not.  ‘Now’ is constant along the timeline of life, we are always in ‘now’. this NOW, has an entrance and exit point EVERYWHERE.
The Meeting Point of the Rivers
So how does the death of God fit into this? How does it all come together? What is the connection between time, trauma and God that I have mentioned?  For me the glue is in the ‘experiencer’, the point of perception at the heart of these three things mentioned.  The experiencer in his or her thought is stuck in time because of an over-identification with the body, this body-thing that we lug around is a bit of a trickster; if there is too much focus on it, we live in fear, we become unnecessarily preoccupied with how we look and create a world of objects to lose ourselves in, this over-indulgence takes the attention away from the ‘perceiver’, although he/she always knows that it is more than the body, there is a type of forgetfulness that we naturally drop into.  With trauma, the focus goes on the experience that the experiencer has gone through, a story emerges that defines the world of the experiencer and the story usually  ALWAYS ‘gets in the way’ of new emerging life.  This ‘God thing’ (without sounding disrespectful) also diverts the attention of the perceiver/experiencer away from itself, it is looking outward, seeking, God is often in the distance, by this I mean at some time in the future there may be a meeting or coming together with God, or in a way ‘God is looking down’ or watching over.  This understanding of God, although it may feel nurturing  to us and creates a feeling of safety, may possibly only be conceptual, a hope a dream.
Coming Back
My God, my imaginary one died with my son Joshua.  For quite some time I had assumed God had betrayed me, and this was a serious dilemma, my life had always been about God since I was born.  However, as my beautiful life unfolded, I came to realise that this God was not real, it was a ‘learned God’, a false God.  The passing of my son led me back to something more sublime, something I had to find myself, something I was born with that was hidden from me for sometime by things that belonged to the world of men and false prophets. I am grateful for what I was given, and although it was at times a painful journey, I found my way home, back to myself.

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