Category Archives: All About Graham

Gnōthi Seauton (Know Thyself)

In all honesty, my spiritual journey has brought me further away from knowing my true self than I ever could have possibly imagined. Since discovering that this incredible dimension exists I have adapted so many more labels that simply hamper the entire process. Labels like:

I should be non-reactive

I should be calm

I should just be

I should be forgiving of everyone

I should be wise

I should not be superficial

I should not judge others

I should be accepting

I should allow others to be as they are

I should be deep

I should not be anxious

So when any feeling should arise that was on contrast to the “rules” above I would use spiritual techniques to try and defeat that feeling. I would struggle to be transparent to negativity, to ignore those anxious feelings and be present, to always look beneath the surface of the person who was annoying the shit out of me, and to be uncaring that my favourite sports team got eliminated from the playoffs.

The experience of being spiritual became another prison. I went all-in on a way of life that was supposed to lead to freedom but I was sadly mistaken.

I have found that any behaviour, or thought, that denies my true nature is as harmful as an act of hatred. It is a poison that seeps into every corner of my body. It is this image of the spiritual person that is the problem. Sitting cross legged, with their hands resting on their knees, holding a steady mood no matter what comes their way, repeating some mantra meant to clear the mind.

I want to foster a new attitude. An attitude that accepts everything about me. An attitude that says that I don’t ever need to change. Truthfully, the spiritual person is every person. As they are. It is not about denying your form. It is about knowing it, and honouring it.

Pay attention. Be aware. Get to know yourself.

But don’t you dare apply any self-knowledge as another means to create change! As if you need to improve? Upon whose authority will you deny the billions of years of evolution that led to who, and where, you are right now. The real spiritual life, as I see it, is to carry-on fully engaged in this world of form, but with an added intense awareness of the mind-body form.

The mind-body has likes, desires, skills, a sense of humour, fears, emotions, faults, loves. Really it has the entire spectrum of what it means to be alive.

In spiritual circles they often speak of transcendence. Transcendence is not the achievement of an enlightened state where this roller coaster of experience doesn’t happen anymore.

It is surrendering to the ride.

Love with all of your heart. Acknowledge your fears. Use your skills. Have a good laugh. Let this form run the show, because really you’re not in charge anyways.

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Facebook and the Spiritual Journey

There is something about the online spiritual community that doesn’t sit quite right with me. I am a member of a couple of different groups on Facebook; one about Thich Nhat Hanh and another about The Power of Now. And while I find the intentions of such groups are good-natured, and the vast majority of its members aim to be helpful, there is definitely some sort of mixed messaging at play simply due to the nature of spirituality and the medium itself.

On the path towards release from ego domination and the thinking mind, an online community such as the ones above can only be filled with the written thoughts of thinking minds. It is ego’s helping ego’s get rid of their ego’s. Everyone is doomed to failure!

A common trait is that every single member of these groups has likely experienced the power of the teachings from one of those respected spiritual masters. This experience has caused their ego to assign a label of specialness to these individuals. That’s why these groups pop up in the first place. To honor the person and the teaching.

But it’s like knowing just enough physics to be dangerous, and thinking you will finally create a perpetual motion machine. For there to be power and authenticity in the form of text you must be one of those few individuals who have transcended the world of form. The rest of us are simply following this path and continuously coming across false sign posts saying “Welcome to Enlightenment!” Only to find out we are not there yet.

We want to be there so badly that we can almost taste it. We harbor this hidden jealousy that Eckhart (or Thich) are there and we are not. So it’s within these groups that we get to pretend for a moment that we ARE him. That we truly understand his teachings, and that we can help you just like they helped us.

And I must confess that I have participated in such a way in those groups. And I have blogged for years about spirituality and ended many posts with a realization, or a lesson learned. The truth is that I really don’t know what I am talking about. I feel I understand it very well conceptually, but then another side of me feels like that is the very trap I am trying to avoid!

By far the greatest benefit I have received from the online spiritual community is the discovery of other spiritual masters and teachings that I had never heard of before. And honestly I never would have been exposed to them had it not been for social media.

So perhaps I should follow pretty much every teaching I have ever read and practice a little gratitude. Instead of nit picking the subtle side effects due to the modernization of the spiritual journey I should simply be thankful for the goodness I have received and shut the hell up!

Luckily, forgiveness is also primary theme in all spiritual teachings.

Random Thoughts on Existence – Part 2

The spiritual gurus have said that an enlightened life takes no effort. Can anyone teach me what is an effortless life? As far as I can tell it would be like floating in a river and not trying to swim in any direction. What is the equivalent of floating in life? I cannot just sit in this chair staring at my computer screen and answering the phone. That would just be another kind of swimming. It seems so natural and easy to align with the flow of the river. There’s no arguing with it, no judging the decisions of where it goes, and no resentment of paths missed. But what makes up the river of life? Is it my routine? My job? My favourite show? I have forgotten what it’s like to live an unstrategized life. I feel so tired, but not quite tired enough. Can I simply choose not to swim or must I wait until this helpless body can’t put up a fight anymore…

Random thoughts on Existence

Where does my certainty end and my variability begin? I am here, consciousness existing within the unknowably complex. With a mind that seeks to baseline my existence and create a self as a comparison against it. With such rudimentary understanding of the infinitely complex the egoic mind is like a bull in a china shop. A peaceful mind will never stray far from destiny. So what to make of life? To clumsily steer this vessel into unavoidable chaos? Like I’m stranded on Starship Graham and just pulling on all the levers to see what happens. Sounds like fun to me! How can I possibly choose wrongly?

Top 5 My Inner Medium Posts of All Time!

As I continue to develop the idea I call The Passionate Why the amount of time I am able to give to this blog is dwindling. So I thought I would do a quick list of the 5 most successful posts I have ever had (in terms of views) since I started this way back in 2013.

I have never been someone who got tons of views on my blog(with one exception just below) so this is hardly a way for me to boast. But it is fun to take a trip back in time and see which one’s were seen by the most readers.

Here we go!

1 – The 7 Best Online Resources for Spiritual Growth

With almost 6000 views to date this one really surprised me. It started out getting just a couple of views per day but all of a sudden it took off and I had no idea why. I was getting 10 views per day and it was still growing! Finally I checked out the search terms that people were using to find it and the top one was “Spiritual Videos”. So I plugged that into google and to my amazement I was a page 1 result on a pretty generic search term. I was excited and I have no idea how it happened. I have been as high as number 4 and if you do it right now I believe I will be 5th. It is simply a summary of all the places I visited online to learn more about spirituality and to help heal myself. I guess other people found them useful too.

2 – The Honest Guys – Guided Meditations

Number 2 is a distant second at 163 views 🙂 These two guys put together an amazing YouTube channel that I once visited much more than I do now. I guess that is a good sign. They are such a helpful duo and their channel never has any negativity in the comments. Very rare on YouTube!

3 – A Passionate 5 Minute Video on the Self by Eckhart Tolle

At 152 views this is probably my favourite video that I have ever posted. Eckhart covers so much ground in such a short period that it is awe inspiring. He covers Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and the Dalai Lama. There also seemed to be more energy behind his words here than is normal for Eckhart. If you haven’t already you should watch it, just wonderful!

4 – Simply This – A Must Read Transcript of a Satsang with Mooji

A somewhat surprising 113 views for a short post linking to another site. Mooji posts some of the transcripts of his Satsangs online but I rarely read through them. For some reason I gave this one a look and I found it very powerful so I shared it on my blog. Mooji has played such a huge role in my spiritual development I can’t even begin to describe. I even managed to get my wife to listen to him! His voice really helps her fall asleep 🙂

5 – When You Are Steadfast in Your Abstention of Thoughts of Harm

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I love quotes, posting my favourites of others and even making my own. At 99 views this is the only quote that cracked the top 5. It is a very nice quote by a spiritual teacher I don’t know very well named Patanjali. The idea that a simple quote has the power to convey centuries of spiritual teachings fascinates me. To me spirituality is not about content, or concepts, or knowledge. It is about what is the witness to all of those.

Well there you have it. I may still post on here occasionally but in the meantime I hope to see you over at my new home. Cheers and have a great weekend!

13 Thoughts From a Reluctant Seeker

I hate the idea of being labelled a spiritual ‘seeker’. It feels like the label itself would keep me from everything that I am looking for.

I don’t know how to obtain something that I can’t first imagine with my mind. I can’t become an enlightened or realized being because I can’t sufficiently imagine what it would be like first.

I love going for walks in the park at this time of year. It’s cold enough that there are very few people there, but not too cold that you can’t dress up and be comfortable. I treasure these times of solitude.

I mourn the fact that this false identity that I have spent my whole life cultivating (and unfortunately still cultivate to some degree) will never join me should I achieve enlightenment. That they will not reap the spoils of suffering is intensely sad.

I now know that anything I do in an effort to heal this identity will only keep me from the bliss I seek. I have to stop trying to save me as this only reinforces the idea of “I”.

I have an innate desire to be profound. It must be ego, but I wish to make discoveries about the nature of humanity that will ultimately lead us all to be happy and peaceful.

Saving humanity seems like a noble goal but also self serving, for such a person would likely be held in high regard. Do I need to discard it with the rest of the ego as I attempt to understand the true nature of the self?

I believe that when humans achieved self awareness there was a split in the universe. Along with the eternal natural evolution of existence, a separate path for the false “I” was born.

We are all much more concerned with ‘how long we live’ rather than ‘how we live’. We would gladly sacrifice enjoyment for longevity. I saw evidence this morning as a school in Toronto outlawed tag at recess because a few kids got hurt. Surely there were other measures that could have been implemented rather than this knee jerk reaction.

It’s not hard to explain Donald Trump. The policies he promotes indicate that he is very much afraid. The support he receives say much of America feels the exact same way. Conquering fear has never been more important.

I used to believe that corporations were the source of all evil. But now I believe that if we infuse them with a purpose that is aligned with core values of humanity they can be an invaluable vehicle for progress. The rise of purpose driven organizations has truly given me hope.

I had a beautiful moment a few weeks ago where the idea that some ‘person’ existed somewhere inside my body was absolutely preposterous. I went on to think “if there’s no person, then what the heck is going on here?!?” The hours that followed where I couldn’t rationalize my own existence felt very easy.

Mooji has many great quotes but this one in particular really touched me. After one person at his Satsang said he was exhausted he replied (and I’m paraphrasing) “Being a person takes a lot of energy. Being yourself takes no energy at all.” This is a great compass. if what I am doing takes effort, than it is wrong lol!