Nobody is here!

Inside my bank the other day I was greeted with loud yellow signs featuring their new slogan, “Everybody has a there.” Haha, I thought, that’s so true. The only way to be a person… is to have a “there.”

Instead, in the present moment, there is only “here.” There’s a feeling of total freedom, timelessness, expansion… but without any future or past, without personal identity. Think of a child’s openness… or the sensation of “being in the zone.” This magic moment lasts only until the ego – a “Someone” – comes in and tries to understand the feeling, possess it, and carry it along, from “here” to some other place, an imagined future: a “there.”

This raises a few obvious questions… questions our egos never consider:

1) Can the fullness of the present really be extended in time? How can we carry that which never moves? Do we drag it along? Why not just walk alongside it… and save ourselves the trouble? After all, it is going in the same direction and speed as we are… there’s no way to escape it!!

2) Where would we carry it? Because we simply cannot carry the present moment out of the present moment… we can’t force it into time. In fact, the present moment is the opposite of time. It’s timeless. Time “starts” the moment we leave the present… and “ends” the moment we come back. “Now” is “here,” but we imagine a timeline that seems to offer a “there.” Is there a “there”? Have you ever seen it? Have you ever been “there”?

3) Why would we even want to extend the present moment? Maybe we believe that bringing it into time and making it last gives it a sort of validity, making it concrete, “greater” or “longer” than the present moment… as if the present moment was always lacking… never enough. Maybe we think that only time can make things “solid” and “continuous.” That’s a common illusion.

In reality, our “Someones” are afraid of the present, afraid of “now,” because in its “everythingness” it swallows up our identities as well… leaving us naked and alone… without our ego stories to protect us.

That’s why we keep trying to invent a “there”.” Because the only one who can stay “here” — in the infinite present — is…

Nobody!

PS. How long can you last “here”… as a “nobody”… before you get scared and run back to false comfort “there”… as a “somebody”?

Nobody Understands!

The word we use the most – “I” – is just a word, nothing more than a stick in a river. It divides the river into “upstream” and “downstream,” “my side” and “the other side.” Then one day, for a moment – or maybe forever! – the “I” simply disappears. No more stick, no more reference point, no more “here” and “there,” “good” and “bad”. All that’s left just “IS.”

Some magic part of us remains to notice this… some level of consciousness previously inaccessible. And without the personal identity of “I,” this level of awareness sees only a flowing river — with nothing left in relationship to anything else. No parts… no preferences… only wholeness.

Who can understand this?

Nobody!

You cannot “wake up” anyone else

You are not black. You are not white. You are not male, female, straight, gay or trans. You are not your sex, your race, or your orientation. You are way beyond that.

You are the Supreme Consciousness.

If you get caught up in the “woke” mentality, you will forget that. You will be forced once again by limited body-oriented thinking to believe that you are bound by superficial differences and micro-defined identity traits.

That’s the opposite of true. You’re already free, great soul. “They” didn’t put you in that box… you did! They just made it uncomfortable for you. Beware!

“Wokeness” is trying to make us see ugliness and enemies everywhere… to entangle us in concepts and slogans, to stoke our guilt, shame, anger, fear, and divisiveness. Let’s not give into the mob… rather let’s rise above it. We don’t need to rebel against others… only against these limited beliefs. Look how simple it is: the only “barriers” we need to break… the only ones we can break… are within our own hearts. We simply cannot “wake up” others… it’s not our job, anyway. We can only “wake up” ourselves.

In truth, there are no enemies. There is only Perfect Unity.

Friends, step clear of these miniscule self-definitions that confine and separate… rather than unite. You are much greater than you think… but only if you don’t buy into the hype.

“Wake up.” Remember your greatness. Lead the way!

Choosing Peace… for once

Don’t do it this time

Don’t throw yourself

Into that drama.

It’s not yours

It never was

Not today

Or so many years ago

When you first met it

And invented a story

That something was

Wrong

Your fault

Your problem.

You thought it would help

You taking the blame

You wanted to be helpful

You were so sweet.

You didn’t know

How so many

Years of your life

Would be sucked away

By your unheralded

Unappreciated

Gesture of solidarity.

Suddenly, you see clearly

It’s time to make a break

I’m choosing peace

You say to yourself

Blessed quietude

(even thought it feels boring).

You resist the temptation

The useless habit

Of needing to be needed.

Today

You let that ugly mess

Just float on by

See ya!

This is true Self-love

Self-respect

Self-preservation

Whew!

Suddenly you’re back

Resting softly in the

Beating heart of this

Blissful

Unentangled

Healthy

Emptiness

Just like it was

Back in the

Golden days.

Welcome Home!

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The self I can find is always incomplete… always dissatisfied.

But the Self that’s always complete — ugh! —I have no way of finding.

Hmm.

Well, I’ve waited and waited, and since it seems my little self will never find the courage to shift over to that unknown completeness, today I opt for something different… I abandon my stalled vehicle.

I choose blessed completeness instead… not because I received some sort of faith, mind you. The truth is, I simply couldn’t wait another day… to heck with knowing!

I take the chance… out of the greatest Self-love!

Please Like Me… or Not

I read the other day that more people than ever are single nowadays. That’s obviously thanks to Covid, but there’s another explanation I like as well. People enter into relationships mostly to get validation from a companion, but these days one can get their daily need for validation online. A like here, a retweet there.. our insatiable need for constant approval will get fed, one way or the other.

Or is there a way to live that takes us out of that endless cycle, that life of self-doubt, of wondering what others think, never knowing or trusting ourselves?

Indeed there is… and it comes down to which part of ourselves we identify with: the ego or the soul.

See, the ego is never quite sure about itself. It’s always needing approval and authentication from the outside world. Am I doing the right thing? What should I have done? What will I do? What do you think?

The soul, on the other hand, has no doubts. It knows that whatever it’s doing is the perfect thing at the exact right moment. It has already grasped its own inherent beauty and importance; it glows by its own light. And it certainly doesn’t need a million likes… heck, it doesn’t even need one. That’s because it feels as if the entire universe were applauding… that’s how self-sustained it is. Why, it doesn’t even need the world to exist to know how great it is. That’s self-esteem (and doesn’t even need a witness). Wouldn’t that be a great thing to feel?

So, on this my birthday — with all your wonderful well-wishes pouring in — I wonder which identity I’ll choose. 🙏

Releasing the Tension

As you awaken spiritually, you won’t enjoy being smothered behind the ego’s overprotecting walls any longer. You need to breathe, to feel again, and to heck with false pride. You’re finally ready to let those scary emotions come to you – loneliness, sadness, fear of abandonment – in their full force… the ones your ego convinced you that you couldn’t handle. Anything but this agony!

So when you say to yourself, “I can’t take it any longer,” what it really means is that you can’t resist the flood anymore. The emotions have built up to a point that they must run free. So sit down, get some tissues, and get ready for a really good cry. Your body might even start shaking, or howling. You can allow these powerful feelings to flood into you. You must!

All of us, I believe, are just one good cry away from feeling better. We need to rediscover these raw emotions, the ones that make us human… and reclaim them. Yes, they knock us down, but they also make us stronger. Occasionally you’ll meet someone on shaky ground, and you can tell they’re about to let loose. Without saying a word, put a hand on their back, let them know you’re near. All your body language has to say is “I understand. It’s perfectly ok to cry.” See, it was the idea that crying was “weakness” that held us back for so long. I’m here to say not only that it’s ok… but that it’s the only way we ever really heal ourselves.

In this spirit, I’d like to propose a new emoji: a yellow man crying and smiling at the same time. That’s because the release of tension that accompanies a good cry is one of such overwhelming relief – as if the heaviest burden has finally been put down – that we actually start laughing. We see how resistance actually compounded the pain, made it twice as heavy… and kept us constantly in terror of our own feelings. What total relief… from our own pent-up resistance!

So, friends… let it out, let it flow, and when it does… you might even want to take a picture of yourself afterwards, red-eyed and crazy-looking. You’ll feel so relieved that later, when you look at that photo, you’ll marvel at how relaxed your features are.

It’s as if you suddenly became more beautiful, more human, more yourself… and so much more alive!

Love Never Moves

It’s funny
We imagine that
Love comes
And goes
Here one day
Gone the next

We imagine that
“We” love
And that
Others “don’t”
That love can be
“Earned” or
“Lost” or
“Wasted”

We’ve got it
All wrong
It’s not
“Ours” to give
“We” cannot love
Nor can anyone else
Love cannot be
Possessed
It can’t be transferred
It can only be sat in
Allowed to
Waft freely
Through us
Among us

That’s the most
We can do

When we imagine
That it can somehow
Go somewhere
Or disappear for
Even a second
We make it
Seem real
Each time
Taking a beating
Not for
Lack of love
But for believing
An untruth

Love is not limited
In any way
It’s HERE and
Everywhere

Stop believing
You can
Throw away
Or lose
That which
Never leaves
Never moves
Stay away from
Those who would
Have you believe it
Especially your ego
Whose only job
Is to convince you
That someone else
Moved the cheese

No, friends
There’s absolutely
No escape
Love is
All there is
And when we
Stop withholding
Stop escaping

Oh how
Pleasantly
Aniihilated
We’ll be

The World is made of Fool’s Gold

This old world is full of fake promise. It appears to be able to provide us with what we are truly seeking:

A stable identity
A feeling of security
Lasting happiness

…but it cannot. It can only promise them to us in some non-existent future. We must all eventually discover this for ourselves: that the only value this world has for us is in offering us this illusion. Only insofar as we believe it can actually deliver on these promises do we give the world meaning; it has no intrinsic value on its own. The moment we come to realize that what we are seeking can never to be found out there, we simply stop expecting the world to give us what it cannot. Saddened by all our effort, our striving, and now completely exhausted… we must be honest with ourselves: we’ve been hoodwinked. Actually, it’s worse than that… we’ve hoodwinked ourselves!

“How strange when an illusion dies. It’s as though you’ve lost a child.” –Judy Garland

But there is some good news. All these things we’ve been asking the world to give us are suddenly found, here and now, hidden within ourselves! Why, they’ve always been a part of us, we just forgot. So why did we have to chase fool’s gold for so long?

Why, to remember! to rediscover for ourselves, one person at a time, our own intrinsic value. Seeing as how the whole world couldn’t give us what we longed for, we had to take back the importance we gave to it… and give it back to ourselves. Yes, it’s that simple. We go back to when we were children, didn’t know any better, and traded our own importance for a bright, shiny world of promise, of surprise, of possibilities. The world promised so much joy and happiness… who wouldn’t give it a shot? Yet after all our fruitless seeking, we discover that, wow! it is our own inner Self that is beautiful, authentic, and full of love… and not the world.

Thus, in truth, we are greater than the whole world.

Yes, once we find our identity, security and happiness within – the more we taste pure gold! – the more we discover that the only thing that was ever of any true value here in this world… was our inner Self.

“Listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world,” says Jack Kerouac, “and you will remember the lesson you forgot.”

Why Cancel Culture is Wrong

“It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance.” –Aldous Huxley

If I try to shut down one side of an argument without trying to understand it… or listen to it… or let it inform my opinion (as today’s cancel culture often does), it’s because I don’t understand the value of conflict. I think it’s dangerous. I think it leads to untruth. But conflict is dangerous only to my ego… never to the truth.

All the best conversations and products, ideas and inventions come from the contrast between two points of view. We need friction to cause a spark, so to speak, to create unexpected and miraculous outcomes. Flint or stone won’t do it, both are needed.

Take an oyster, for instance. Oysters only makes pearls in response to an irritant – such as a grain of sand – that somehow slipped inside its carefully guarded shell. In response, the creature produces nacre, a protective coating that helps reduce irritation. It is by trying to reduce the irritation that a pearl is bornnot by cancelling it or ignoring it, or pretending it isn’t there, or isn’t valid.

It took me a long time to understand the value of friction and contrast. I would argue that they are actually good for us… because they help us overcome our fear of conflict. Perhaps we were raised in a household where there was a lot of shouting. What happened? We became the Peacemaker in the family, trying to assuage both sides, thinking that if we can help everyone avoid conflict that we could restore harmony. This was certainly an honorable goal, but a fantasy nonetheless. It wasn’t our role to maintain harmony in the house, just like it’s not our role to maintain harmony in the world. We were too young to imagine that adults use disagreement to define and refine their points of view, to evolve, to arrive at compromise.

Unless there was a member of the family that absolutely wouldn’t compromise: a bully. It’s a mafia tactic to insist that only one way of “pure” thinking is permissible, that only allow one side is allowed to speak. Or that if we get rid of the holder of an opinion that we’ve rid ourselves of that point of view altogether. That’s such a naiive and bone-headed approach, I don’t know what to say.

“I don’t feel I have to wipe everybody out, Tom. Just my enemies, that’s all.” –Michael Corleone 

I think that’s what’s happening today. Why else would so many people think that harmony could be reached simply by cancelling the other side? Harmony can’t be enforced on others. It’s like imagining that fascism can be fought by silencing your opponents. In doing so, we become the very beast we set out to conquer!