Category Archives: My Spiritual Journey

What would I do if I knew for 100% certain that I could never improve my life?

If I knew that I would never be given the opportunity to chase my dreams, that I would never make more money than I do now, that I would never experience any more success, that my relationship would never change, that I would always live in the same house, that I would never make any more friends, and that I would always drive the same car, how would that impact me?

I suppose for anyone that finds any of those aspects utterly intolerable they may contemplate suicide. However, the impact of really placing myself within this scenario was surprising. All of these things act as temptations, luring me away from the simple experience of being within myself. These are all things requiring chasing, and built upon the assumption that I am not good enough as I am. That I am not worthy.

Worthiness is concept that I have been paying special attention to lately. For the longest time, and for reasons I don’t yet completely understand, I have been living under the presumption that I am not worthy. It is this exact feeling that prevents me from simply resting within who I am, or what I am. The more unworthy I feel, the more I get in my head trying to figure out how to become worthy.

The antidote for this feeling was almost as equally surprising. It may be mistaken for selfishness but I prefer to label it as self-attention. I simply say to myself “There is nothing more important in the entire universe than what is happening inside of me right now.” This statement gives me permission right now to focus entirely on myself even as the entire external world is demanding that I establish my worthiness first.

This seems to be in contrast to one of the great ideals of most spiritual communities, of living a life in service to others. How can I be spiritual and then say that what is happening within me is the most important thing in the entire universe? Easy, because EVERYTHING is happening within me! I can know of no other universe than my internal universe.

I believe that a life of service is noble but it must be given with complete freedom and void of any sense of resentment, not matter how minuscule. I believe that to persuade someone into a life of service before they are ready can actually do more harm than good. Either outcome of such a scenario (1. I agree to help even though I don’t want to so I feel resentment; or 2. I decline to help but now feel guilty) both cause an increase in feelings of unworthiness. And this becomes an obstacle to their own realization.

A person’s first duty in life is self-inquiry. Look deep inside yourself for as long you need until you establish a deep and lasting peace with your own existence. Let nothing external tell you what you should be doing, let no judgment control your actions, and let no expectations guide your steps. Place yourself in the highest importance and rest there.

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The similarity between my Facebook news feed and the endless random thoughts of my mind is almost frightening.

The similarity between my Facebook news feed and the endless random thoughts of my mind is almost frightening.

  • You can scroll forever and ever…
  • Some produce intense emotional reactions and some just float by.
  • You tend to interact more with the ones that produce a reaction.
  • Facebook/Your Mind takes note and gives you more posts/thoughts like that!
  • Both are training your mind to always look for the next post/thought.
  • Reading posts makes you want to post, thoughts make you want to think.

Maybe giving up one is the key to giving up the other…

The Desire to Suffer

That title sounds incredibly odd, and likely insane, but most spiritual teachers will agree that suffering is a very necessary ingredient in self realization. So if I know this, and I have not yet truly realized my true nature, should I pursue suffering?

There are so many things that I can do to ‘feel better’. I can exercise, practice meditation, study cognitive therapy, get massages, play an instrument, or create art. But as these practices create a more pleasant life for myself, am I getting in my own way of realization.

Buddhism in simplest terms is the end of suffering, not the mitigation of suffering. Are these things mutually exclusive? If I pay proper attention does a pleasant life have as much to teach me as an unpleasant one?

I don’t believe I consciously choose to suffer but maybe subconsciously??? Seems I am asking many more questions in this post than I am answering. My ego feels quite like a rookie spiritual seeker here.

As an aside this thought process is coming on the heels of a night where I played hockey for 2 hours for the first time in almost a year and feel fantastic.

Anyways very interested in your thoughts on this! Have a great day!

Does Authentic Conversation Exist?

Part of the reason I prefer to spend so much of my time alone is that everything always feels so forced when I am in the company of others. Every single conversation people have with each other comes with an ego-based agenda of some sort.

Maybe they want to sound intelligent. Or come across as funny. Maybe there is something you have that they want. And maybe even someone wants to cultivate their spiritual identity. Perhaps if it happens at work you want to appear hardworking.

Work can be the worst with those superficial conversation staples: Are you keeping busy? Staying out of trouble? Pretty cold out there! We have to think outside the box!

And when I take part in these conversations it brings that side out within me as well. As I interact or converse with someone my ego is looking to express itself, improve itself, or impress someone else. It is so god damned exhausting.

I would much rather go somewhere and be in silence.

But does authentic conversation exist? Is there such thing as a direct verbal interaction between two souls?

Perhaps this is why I am drawn to spiritual texts. I don’t feel the undertone of any identity based agenda. It has a beautiful way of disarming me. And there is no interacting with a book!

So what is your recipe for surviving the day to day interaction of ego’s? Or perhaps you don’t mind it like I do. I hope the recognition of this complex dance of ego’s is a big step towards transcending it some day.

Is Your Permission The Only Obstacle To Bliss?

I had a thought on the weekend that they only thing in the way of the peace I desire is my own’permission’ to be at peace. Do I truly think I deserve to be at peace, or do I believe I need to overcome a pile of fictional obstacles that I have placed in my own way?

What if it was as simple as the recognition that I am allowed to be everything I’ve always wanted to be RIGHT NOW!

I am not talking about anything from the physical world like getting that new job, or being a scratch golfer, or even a successful blogger. But rather it is the feeling that I assumes comes with each of those. Those feelings of success, achievement, of being important, and of validation of my own existence. And after each of those feelings I believe inner peace will finally be realized as I can finally stop trying to prove that I deserve to be here.

There’s also a certain resistance I had to this idea because spiritual enlightenment seems to revolve almost entirely around transcending the mind, and this particular approach utilizes the mind, particularly the concept of permission.

But can the mind be a gateway to it’s own transcendence?

At the surface the concept of permission and acceptance seem quite similar. But the key difference in my interpretation is that acceptance is directed more at external conditions, whereas permission is related to my internal way of being, at my relationship with the world.

In my spiritual practice of acceptance my focus has never been on my inner feelings but rather an attempt at quiet observation of the physical world. When I add the idea of permission to the mix it is like adding a degree of freedom. That I am giving my inner world the freedom to be entirely separate from my external conditions.

A deeply held belief of mine was that if I was quiet enough, and saw the world rightly, all of the good feelings would come streaming in. But permission goes both ways, I must give myself permission to feel both the good and bad. Honestly though, we are pretty much all experts already at giving ourselves permission to feel crappy!

I guess in some ways it is a rebellion against the relationship between the inner and outer. Do I not still deserve to be at peace if I lose my job? Can I not still experience bliss if my pipes freeze and the basement floods? Can I still be calm if someone belittles and insults me? It feels like the answer could be yes.

Is that insanity, or is that enlightenment?

And when I give myself this permission to be at peace no matter what, I am not ‘trying’ to be happy, it just seems to come easily when I let it. Like it’s closer to my natural state.

 

 

Freedom From the Noise of Life

Everything in my world felt like noise.

Every day and every experience just seemed to be adding layers of noise. They were adding complexity to the already complex. Whether it is thoughts about money, relationships, my job, my purpose and even spirituality, it all still felt like noise distracting me from me real self. My problems were all layers, and even the solutions to those problems became a layer on top of that.

Peace was a layer.

Fulfillment was a layer.

Freedom was a layer.

Love was a layer.

Maybe not experientially, but as long as I only knew them conceptually they were layers. I was overflowing with content as I got more and more lost in this ever increasing pile of things. I was hidden beneath it all and the only way to access it was to become completely silent. And to listen. But actually, even the idea of listening became another layer. I was thus forced to surrender and let go. But I could only think about surrender conceptually and it became another ‘thing’ to let go of. Eventually I fell back in my chair and just stopped. Suddenly and mercifully.

My mind can not narrate this spiritual journey. I must go alone.

Leading up to this moment I had been desperately searching for my purpose. Digging deep into my past. Looking at all of the things that I love doing, things that I hate doing, things that seem to come naturally, and things I have to work to make happen. I have read Start With Why, The Secret, A New Earth, & Steve Jobs’ Biography to name a few. These are all books that deal with purpose to some extent. And after all of that, and hours of contemplation, I came to one stark realization:

Life has no purpose. We are simply here because we are here.

This is not a depressing revelation. It is only the ego that must have a reason for being. Purpose, as grand and wonderful as it seems is just another limitation. As is everything that you use to try and define yourself. My only freedom is to become purposeless.

I am here. That is all I know. That is all that matters.

What does it feel like to be me?

Honestly, I have no idea.

In examining this issue closely I wonder if the question itself is even valid. If I were to actually FEEL my own self, it would be implying a duality that negates the entire experience.

For example if I were to come to believe that it feels peaceful to be me, there are actually two things occurring. There is the peaceful feeling, and there is the noticing of that peaceful feeling. Which one is me? Now I could then move on and say that I am the noticer. But again there are two things happening. There is the noticing, and then there is the awareness of the noticer.So which one of those is me? On and on and on it goes.

Every experience requires a duality. In the quest for the true self our attention is always placed on the flavor of the experience. We want to EXPERIENCE our true selves. We want to somehow watch it from afar, see that it is beautiful, and then take solace in that beauty. We want that beauty to be eternal and never leave us. My spiritual journey is packed with attempts at searching for the perfect experience that is infinite and blissful.

But now knowing that no experience will ever show me my true self where does that leave me. It is pointless, or even insane, to keep searching for bliss, or joy, or peace. I know these only as different kinds of experiences. On the flip side it is also pointless to avoid those undesirable experiences such as fear, shame, and guilt. These must also be irrelevant and not indicative of WHO I am.

My true self is not something I can run toward or run away from. I can’t find it. I can’t avoid it. I can’t use words to describe it. It is not a song or a painting. It is not love or hate. It is not happiness or sadness. I am left with nothing but a blank space.

There is no next step. There is nothing to do to finally get it.

* I was about to write that I don’t need any time but i felt a huge panic attack sweep over me. On a deeper level I know this means I am on to something but the feeling is quite overwhelming. Like I am about to pass out at a moments notice and maybe not wake up again. Perhaps that is enough for one day 🙂