Thursday, July 31, 2008


I just finished reading a novel by Stephenie Meyer, Twilight. It was your average angsty vampire novel (which I like sometimes when I'm in the mood), and it contains tons of crunchy and delicious bits for an Inner Self to chomp on, so it was quite pleasurable in that sense. The novel generally deals with vampires from the point of view of a high school girl, which was a bit tiresome in a 90210 sort of way, but as I was reading through it, I was struck by a question on the mental level... This novel makes it seem cool to be a vampire, and this girl wants nothing more than to be like the vampires she meets in the story. All throughout the book, these beings are glorified and they act as the protagonists, and naturally kids today will eat that stuff up. Where are the novels that cast the awakened beings as protagonists?

What if you had an equivalent novel to that, where instead of vampires, there was this group of kids that was Conscious? Just like the vampires, people would sort of stay away from them, yet not hate them because they couldn't quite figure them out well enough to make a decision either way. The antagonists in the story could be kids that are the opposite and instead were enticed into egoic fantasies and began playing with black magic and all kinds of other stuff.

What if this book made it seem cool to awaken?

Potentially, I know the answer, or at least part of it. Thousands of kids might read the book, and most will probably ignore it, which is fine. You'll probably also wind up with a few assholes (to use Draja's term) who thought they got it, and then maybe, just maybe, you'll inspire three or four kids who needed to hear it. In the end, I think it would be a game of statistics, but don't you think that might be worth it?

I wonder where these novels are. This is a genre that needs to be born, IMO. Dan Millman's The Journey's of Socrates is one novel that already exists along these lines but there should be more. If I was a better writer (and had time), I'd take a crack at that.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Four Worlds

Before I go into this, one warning.... this is yet another tool. In terms of Reality, all this stuff below is wrong because it does not accurately describe what cannot be described in words. However, it is still useful information to be used as a pointer to the things that cannot be described. So read on.

Creation exists on four basic levels: the physical, the emotional, the mental, and the spiritual. All four of these things make up everything that we can interact with. In actuality, these four levels are the product and the basis of our interaction with Consciousness. (I'll clarify that another time.)

One way to think about these levels is to describe them as separate existences. Borrowing a term from Kaballah, I call them the Four Worlds.

The physical world, for example, is the one we are all familiar with. It has solid objects, laws of physics, finite boundaries and rules, etc. It can also be described by scientific experiments, although the actual number crunching and logic of science takes place in the mental world.

The emotional world is a step above that. By "above" I mean it is closer to Consciousness, and therefore it can be seen as holier or more real, however you like to define it. Picture the source of Consciousness pouring itself into the world of form. As this liquid trickles down, it gets further and further away from the source. As it does that, it changes and becomes less and less like the source. The final destination is the physical level, and thus that level is least like the source. The emotional level is just before that, so it's a tiny bit more like the source.

This emotional world contains, well, your emotions. Everything that is emotional has its roots there. As a level by itself in isolation, it contains other things you may have heard of, like the Astral, the Ethereal, and other stuff. This is because even though I'm describing only four worlds here, in fact, each one of the four has subsets. As you go up in levels, you don't just tick suddenly from one to the next. Each level gradually blends into the next, like the different layers of earth's atmosphere do as you go up in a space craft.

Probably about half the "nasties" that you've heard about in myth exist on the emotional level, i.e. ghosts, demons, egos, etc. Most of the other half exists on the mental level. Humans are special because they exist on all four levels simultaneously, and not many other beings do that. In fact, I can't think of any right now. Angels come close, but I don't think they can do all four simultaneously. I think they pick one at a time. However, suffice it to say, most of this crap exists in the imagination, except that the imagination exists on the emotional and mental levels and in some senses is therefore closer to the source than your physical parts.

In any case, the mental level is where you do all your number crunching, like I mentioned before. This is the realm of logic and reason. However, it is also a very creative realm because you can think of lots of things that certainly aren't logical or reasonable, can't you? Most of the things that exist here are called "thought forms", and they are entities in and of themselves, sometimes created by us, i.e. by our thoughts. Thought forms will usually dissipate quickly, but they can be fed and nurtured and take on life of their own if given enough energy. People fall prey to these all the time when their persistent obsessive thoughts move them to do irrational or violent things.

Then finally there is the spiritual level. If going up the levels is like changing channels on a TV set, flipping from the physical channel, to the emotional, to the mental, then when you get to the spiritual channel, the channel disappears. The TV disappears too. Everything goes silent and still and just is. This is the level that is closest to Consciousness. When things first emanate out of Consciousness, they go through here.

So if you think about it, this lays out the process of creating something. First, Consciousness conceives of the thing. Then that conception filters down to the spiritual level and inspires you. Then, you have an idea. The light bulb goes off and a mental picture forms in your head of what you want to make. Then you get excited about it. You become enthusiastic and driven emotionally to create this thing. Then you do it. That's creation.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Function in life

I've had a couple days of computer problems, but we should be back in business.

So let's ask some questions. What's your function in life? What are life functions anyway, especially in the grand scheme of things?

Eckhart Tolle has a good explanation for these questions. Essentially, you have two kinds of functions: ones that stem from whatever you are doing outwardly, and the other kind, which there is only one, i.e. to realize your Oneness with Being. Being aware of your connection to all that there is is your primary function, and it is common to all human beings. On the other hand, outward functions vary from person to person, and even from moment to moment.

For example, right now, you are reading this post. At this point in time, that is your outward function. Nothing else exists right now except you, the screen, and any noises or other activities going on in the background. When you get up to walk away from the computer, or you click to the next website, that walking or clicking now becomes your outward purpose.

Perhaps in your mind right now you are protesting what I just wrote? Listen in on the protests if they are there. What do they say?

"Clearly I have another function. I am a _______." (Insert your own answer there.)

"Surely looking at this screen is not my entire purpose. I have all these things that I've done and all these things I have to do next week."

"There is no way that MY purpose is that insignificant. I am going to be a somebody. I am going to get somewhere, and reading a screen is a means to that end, but it is not the purpose itself."

Are any of your own protests similar? The reason for this is that the ego desires to be separate from the whole. It believes that by being separate it can preserve itself. Giving in to the Present and allowing itself to be dissolved into existence equates with death for it. All of those pitfalls I posed above deal either with asserting separateness or escaping the Present by attaching to the past or future. Every one of these things inhibits awareness of Consciousness.

One day, years ago, I was walking by myself on Busch Campus at Rutgers University. Most people who know me have heard that I suffer a minor case of agoraphobia, i.e. fear of open spaces, the opposite of claustrophobia. Thus, walking in some areas on Busch Campus is a bit hard for me because they are open fields, but one day I decided to push myself and I took a stroll across a wide open field of grass heading away from the stadium.

As the usual panic started to grip me, I stepped back from it and observed. That didn't end the panic at all, but I was at least not associating with the panic. I was disidentifying from it and watching it like it was on a TV screen happening to someone else. As the fear and terror engulfed me even further, and the usual feelings of falling and dizziness swept by, I started to become even more aware of the silence and calmness behind all of the panic. Suddenly, I wasn't "me" anymore. In the middle of the field, I think I stopped walking. As I did that, I looked down at a single blade of grass in the wide open grassy expanse, and I realized that the blade of grass and I were one. I became the blade of grass.... small, insignificant.

Then the experience went further. Suddenly, I realized that that blade of grass was consciously connected to all of the blades of grass in the field. I expanded with that realization to include the whole field. I wasn't just one blade of grass anymore. I was all of them. Millions of them. There was a peace like none other when this feeling happened.

Then another realization came. That first blade of grass that I melded with seemed to point something out to me, wordlessly. It basically said, "How limiting is that? To think that you're just one blade of grass? When you could be ALL blades of grass in the field, or even the world?" I realized that this was a metaphor for me, as a human. How limiting is it to think that you are just this one individual? It all seemed comical in that instant, that I should cling to being a tiny blade of grass. I pictured a blade of grass waving around in the wind saying, "I am going to BE somebody! I am great! I have a bigger purpose!" I think I roared with laughter at that, and then the experience ended. For a few minutes after that, I was no longer scared of the open space and I was able to walk out of there fearlessly.

When you are conscious in the moment and not stressing about the future or regretting the past, you are whole. When you are Present, all those things become irrelevant and for that brief second, you are fulfilling your purpose. Doing everything in the Present to the best of your ability and to the highest quality is what we are here to do. The actual content of your work is not as important as whether you are doing it with awareness or not. When I was a child, before Draja had started to train me, another spiritual teacher once told me to prepare for what's coming by washing dishes. Naturally, I turned up my nose at that. What could washing dishes possibly have to do with spirituality or spiritual growth? However, now it is obvious. If you can wash dishes while being Present and accepting it as your purpose, you will go far. Anything you do to that effect is a spiritual exercise.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Can this stuff rub off on me?

A long time ago there were two students who were studying with a master. The only problem was that they never got to actually talk to the man. All the other students would get to sit in on these wonderful discussions and teaching sessions, and these two students were always left to do menial servile tasks. They would clean up after the master's dishes when he ate, and wash his clothes and linens before placing them out for him in the morning, etc.

One of the students really hoped that if he did enough he would eventually be allowed into the "inner circle" of students so he too could participate in all the cool discussions that were going on, and to actually LEARN something. The other student accepted his tasks and just did them.

This went on for a couple of years. Finally, the first student began to think that he would never be allowed to do the special stuff, so he left. The other student stayed.

20 years later, the first student returned from his journeys and found his old mate in charge of the whole place! He was astonished, and he asked, "What happened? How long did it take you to get into that inner circle of students and learn from the master directly?"

The new master answered, "I never got in there. One day, the master got ill and before he died he declared that I was now the teacher."

I always thought this was an interesting story because it demonstrates a principle. That is, Consciousness spreads a bit like fire going from one candle flame to another. The student who stayed with the teacher for 20 years and cleaned up his mess was able to develop more Presence than any of the other people in the school. Why? Because he was simply in the teacher's Presence. Simply by being there and doing his tasks he got somewhere. It really didn't matter what his tasks were, so long as he was there, and that he had the conscious intent to evolve.

This was a common occurrence in ancient schools, and it still works today.

When you are near someone who is Present, their Presence brings out your Presence. You are able to be more Present when you are in their Presence. That's what I mean by "Consciousness spreads a bit like fire." There really is no grand plan or schedule of things you must DO to become Present. You either do it or you don't, but being near others who are Present can accelerate it.

I think this is what Eckhart Tolle is getting at when he talks about people who are ready to awaken and people who are not. Let me explain.

Today is a little different than ancient times. There were relatively few awakened beings, so the process of spreading Consciousness by simply having awakened beings stand next to unawakened ones was extremely inefficient. It was done, but it was a slow process. Thus, maybe back then there were some things that people needed to do to push themselves towards the point where they would awaken without necessarily being around lots of other awakened individuals.

Nowadays, there are many individuals that are in touch with their true natures, and more every day. Therefore, it is much easier to enact this process today. Perhaps that is why Eckhart does not seem to advocate preparation for awakening via getting in touch with the emotions, i.e. that first method of training I explained. Perhaps most people don't need to do formal exercises anymore? Perhaps we've reached a critical mass where all they have to do is stick around on the planet and get there eventually on their own?

Whatever the case, one thing is clear. Awakened individuals have an obligation to be Present around others, so that Consciousness may continue to find itself.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sticks in the mud

It's got a light side and a dark side and it binds the galaxy together... no, not The Force... no, not duct tape.. love. Actually, there is so much confusion around this term that the human race has spent the better part of the last million years figuring it out. Over the years, some have shown insights and others have failed miserably, albeit spectacularly. So what's the deal here?

As usual, there is a conventional explanation and a conscious one. From the conventional side of things, there are a bizillion books about love (which I'm designating with a lower case "l" here.) The scientific side of it can also be found in those books, and it's actually quite interesting! The feelings we associate with love cause our bodies to release endorphins which activate the same receptors in the brain that addictive drugs like morphine and heroine activate! In fact, do you know how the word "endorphin" came to be? The person who discovered endorphins is Candace Pert, who is also now a spiritual teacher and an interesting read, and she came up with the term "endorphin" as a combination of two words: endogenous morphine. Basically, endorphins are the body's naturally made morphine. So hell yeah it feels good!!

When you fall for someone in this way, you are actually addicted to them just like a drug, because seeing them gives you that high in the same biological way that a drug like morphine or heroine would. Unfortunately, there are some side effects to all drugs, especially this one.

Eventually your body builds up a tolerance. Seeing that person will eventually produce less and less of a high, and this is totally natural. It doesn't mean that you don't "love" them anymore. Actually, from a biological standpoint, other hormones begin to get released after the endorphins go away, and these hormones are responsible for feelings of security and stability.

However, sometimes people get addicted to an image of a person, and not the person's true nature. Often this is the case. When you do that, you build up a mental image of the person and you associate with the mental image rather than the person. The mental image you have of the person is idealized, and when you are addicted to that image, you have no idea what the real substance behind it is. So the old scenario tends to play out: You move in with the person while addicted, or worse, you marry them. Then the addiction wears off. You still associate with the mental image of the person, but mysteriously that person does not live up to the image anymore, and you begin to get annoyed with them on a regular basis... you start to fight a lot, or worse. Violence erupts.

Keep in mind that the other person may also be going through the same thing. Their addiction is ending and they are associating with a mental image of you rather than the real you. That makes two egos fighting the battle.

Aw well that just SUCKS!! What's the point of love then?? *sarcasm there* (Right now everyone reading this is probably hating me, especially female readers!)

I've been though this, like most people. During one of the summers when I was training with Draja, I experienced a big breakup. I went through the regular stages of grief, but my habit of holding things inside and hiding feelings made my expression of grief incomplete. It wasn't until the NEXT summer, a year later that I had this conversation with Draja one night during our session:

"It's been a year and I'm still hurting. This really sucks. I'm so sick of it all. Not only is this happening, but my parents are also divorcing. It's all so dumb: love. What's the point? All it does is cause pain and suffering. What IS love, Draja? I don't get this."

Draja handed me a tissue because I was sobbing like a baby and began, "Love (as experienced by the ego) is the palest reflection of what a being feels for its creator. Your true self doesn't really desire anything except to realize its union with the Creator, with the One, with Consciousness. "

"So all these warm and fuzzy feelings are just that, bullshit?" I asked.

"Well it depends on what you mean by bullshit. Are they beyond the ego, meaning are they real? No. Conventional love is generated by the ego. Your ego doesn't really understand that even it is inexplicably pulled towards union with Consciousness, and it thinks that this love is the ultimate thing, when really it's just a poor substitute." he answered.

This made me a little angry, and I responded, "That's tough to believe. All these feelings and these wonderful things are really just our egos barking up the wrong tree? There's GOT to be something Real about all this. Love MUST have some purpose."

He smiled and countered with, "Josh, egos cling to things. Egos defend things, and they demand purposes. There IS such thing as True Love. You know what it is? True Love is acceptance of what Is Right Now In The Present Moment. When you enter the Present, and you accept everything and everyone just as it is, without letting your desires to change or control get in the way, then you experience Love. You experience the Love that Consciousness has for itself, for the Real You."

Take a while and think about all this.

Do a thought experiment. What is the logical or emotional conclusion to love? Union.

Males: What do you tend to want out of any love interest? A great round of sex, or ten. What is the end result of good sexual experiences? Orgasms. What do you feel after an orgasm? Ultimate release, complete stillness, even for only a few seconds. Union.

Females: What do you tend to want out of any love interest? A soul mate, and an emotional counterpart. What could be the physical conclusion of that? A fabulous dinner in a fantastically romantic location, where you wind up staring into his eyes or snuggling in his arms for eternity... maybe even sex too, but at the end of all that, what do you feel? Ultimate buildup to ultimate comfort and bliss, complete stillness, even for only a few seconds. Union.

So even our experiences of love in the world of form are trying to point us in the direction of Oneness. The problem is that we let our egos run them and this always leads to suffering.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Normal life

When awakening starts to occur, it's sort of a funny experience. You begin to pull away from your own emotions and become the observer, or the witness. The same goes for your thoughts. Depending on whether you are a male or a female, you may have more thoughts than emotions, on average, but many exceptions exist. Either way, you pull away.

You might find there are times when the world starts to look phony, like you are waking up from a dream. Ever see that move, The Matrix? That's a great analogy! In this movie, the world is really just a computer program created by robots who took over humanity long ago. The human beings are placed into incubators for their entire lives, so the robots can mine heat energy from them to power their gadgets. In order to keep the humans imprisoned, the humans' minds are put into the Matrix, which is a virtual reality copy of the world in the early 21st century. The premise of the movie is that some of these humans wake up from the Matrix and pull themselves out of it into the real world, and they then begin a mission to awaken everyone else.

In one particular scene in the movie, the main character, Neo, has been newly awakened and is going on his first mission back into the Matrix for some information. As he looks around at the streets where he used to "live", he is seeing them for the first time for the illusions that they are. Part of him is sad, and part of him is amazed. All of him is awake.

I call these "Matrix moments", and they happen frequently to those who are waking up, because that movie really is a perfect analogy for it. In the real case, the robots symbolize the collective Human ego, which is keeping all of us prisoner in its dreamlike state.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Drawing a blank...

One of the biggest barriers to realization of Consciousness is the chatter inside our heads. We all have it: that voice in your mind that never shuts up from the moment you wake until way after you fall asleep. The root of this voice is really one thing: fear. People's minds fear that if they shut up they will cease to exist. That is exactly what the ego does. It tries to preserve its existence by constantly reminding itself, "Hello, I'm here!"

Can this voice be stopped? Is there a point to stopping this voice? What can you really expect to do in the Present moment about this?

When I was living with Draja and training as his student, we would spend the days fixing up his house and running errands and the evenings doing exercises. Constant 24/7 training, basically. On one evening we went down into the classroom for our nightly session, and this time we were working on blanking that voice in our heads:

Draja opened up the discussion, "Josh, great power lies with those who can blank their minds for ten minutes. Can you do that?"

"Hellll no." I answered. "I think I can do it for maybe a second or two, and then it comes back no matter how hard I try to keep it away."

He nodded and smiled, "Ah, there's your problem. You are trying. By trying to blank your mind, you are guaranteed NOT to succeed."

I flashed him my usual confused look that I had been giving him for the last decade since that day when he sat me down at age 12.

"There's an old Zen saying. 'You cannot stop your own mind any more than you can look into your own eyes or bite your own teeth.' By trying to stop your mind, you are using your mind, and that takes thought. Therefore, your mind is not stopped. You may just simply be thinking, 'I'm not thinking right now. nyah nyah' To stop your thoughts, you have to observe them. Then after observing them for a while, you gradually realize that you are not the thoughts, but rather you are the thing that is witnessing the thoughts."

I nodded pensively and said, "Kinda like a silent witness, huh?"

He smiled and said, "Yes! That's exactly it. Very good."

Then I got a little bit worried, "But if my mind stops, won't I fall into a big black pit of nothingness or something? Could I cease to exist? Or die even?"

He laughed and shook his head. "No. That's what your ego wants you to think. It really believes that if it stops it will not be there, but actually when it stops you are more you than you usually are. But, talking about this is just more thought. You need to blank your mind, and I'm going to help. Take this..."

Draja then pulled out a small white box, like the kind used for rings or earrings, and he opened it. Inside was a nondescript looking stone. It could have been any stone that was picked up off the street, and was maybe three quarters of an inch long by half an inch wide. He handed me the stone and said, "Hold this in both hands and close your eyes."

Sitting down in a chair, I took the stone and did as he instructed.

Suddenly everything went black... because my eyes were shut! But seriously it was even blacker than that, and moreover, everything suddenly became ultimately quiet. I cannot describe how quiet it was... quieter than the quietest room I had ever been in. Not only was it black and quiet, but there was this feeling of enormous space. The space was more vast than anything I had known, yet I was not scared, and yet the space was also very small at the same time. Man, it was a relief, like taking off a tight shoe. All the crap that I had cared about was just not an issue. It did not exist any longer.

And in that vast blackness of ultimate peace, there came a teeny tiny voice that barely even had any echo, and it said, "Holy shit. I'm still here."

Suddenly again, everything came swarming back to "normal". I realized a few seconds later that it happened because Draja took the stone out of my hands. He smiled at me and asked, "So, how was it?"

I pointed at the stone, "What the hell was THAT??"

In a pedantic tone he responded, "This stone has an interesting ability to teach people how to meditate by blanking their minds. Someone found it and gave it to me a long time ago. I use it to teach people when they are in need. The great thing now is that all you have to do to blank your mind in the future is simply remember the stone and your experience, and your thoughts will zip away."

After thanking him, I asked him a lot of questions. The main one I asked was, "When I was blanked out, there was something STILL THERE. It was a huge presence, yet not so huge. It didn't do anything except watch and hang out there in the background like a big black expanse. What was that?"

He nodded knowingly, "That's the Real you."

More later!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Good. Evil, and Relativism

This is a favorite and highly charged subject for a lot of people. Pretty much everyone with an ego (which means everyone) bases a significant portion of their identity on their ideas of what is right and wrong, and they often use that basis as a means of strengthening their egos by condemning those who do not believe as they do. So, hey, why don't I light a few fires here?

Obviously, religions have the market cornered on definitions of right and wrong. Governments are a close second, and most governments are based on religion anyway.... In general, religions are about black and white takes on good and evil. They say, "THIS is good. THAT is evil. The end." The funny part is that when you look inside the religion at the people who practice it, they either don't all agree with the dogma or they have a completely different interpretation of it, yet all of them swear that there is a universal definition. Sufis call that hypocrisy.

Then you have a newer version of the definitions which is called relativism. Though relativism is probably a bit closer to Reality, it still doesn't quite hit the mark. It's missing some elements.

Relativism is a good start though, for showing where the logic of good and evil that religions talk about breaks down.

One night, Draja pulled me into a classroom he had in the basement of his house, and told me we'd be doing some inner self work that night. During this particular time, most of the IS work we were doing was based on contacting the IS's of other people and making them do things, and this night was more of the same.

"Ok, Josh, " he said. "Here is our target for tonight." He then held up a small scrap of paper with a name written on it. I studied the paper and began to contact the guy's IS as Draja lit two candles on a low table.

After I made contact, I said, "Ok, got 'im. What are we doing?"

He took a second to also make contact and then said, "We're going to make this guy impotent!"

"WHAT?! Oh come on!" I blurted. Draja just nodded in response, so I followed up, "What the fuck? Why would we want to do this? Hell, this guy must be about 60 years old. He probably doesn't get it up much at all, and we're going to take that away?"

Draja nodded. "Bad for him. True. But not bad for the lady he's raping periodically." Draja named the woman, and it was someone we knew.

Relativism is based on the thought that every action is both beneficial and harmful to someone. On a situational level, that's absolutely true, and even the most hard core religionist would have a hard time denying it. However, religionists like to explain that some higher power is directing everything and that there is some huge plan that we cannot understand, and that by doing "good", i.e. their definition of good, we can help that plan. Eh... like many things, that's another distortion.

So what's the deal?

The deal is there is no good or evil OR relativism.

Everything just is the way it is. Once you put a judgment onto it by saying it's good or bad, that judgment is a thought. Consciousness has no judgment, only acceptance of what is. The relativists and religionists both judge, albeit on different scales and with varying degrees of tolerance. But they are both judging rather than experiencing without naming.

When something happens in your life, you will eventually judge it, and that's fine. You will judge it according to your past conditioning. However, before you do that, try to take at least a second or two to just look at the thing as it is, with no words or thoughts. Taking a deep breath when you feel yourself starting to compulsively judge something will work to disrupt your thought flow for the second or two that it takes to just take a quick unobstructed view.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fundamental(ist) response to the Oprah/Eckhart Classes

I've been posting links and watching the Oprah Winfrey presentation of Eckhart Tolle and his materials, and I've also been combing the internet to look at the responses to the videos.

They are absolutely fascinating. There are those who agree and those who disagree. The response from the people who disagree goes something like this:

Plumbing Tool Expert: Oprah, I'm warning you. You are leading people astray and it is unacceptable. I am appalled at what you are promoting, and I want to give you some examples of where you are wrong:

1) You say, "The Golden Wrench is not any different than the rest of us, only that He realizes he is a tool being held by a Being that works through Him."

Nonsense! The Golden Wrench is a special wrench created directly by the Great Tool & Die Maker. Nobody can be like Him. I mean look at him, he's GOLD. You also say that he is held by some Being and that he is not actually a wrench? How can you believe that when it says clearly in the instruction manual that he is a wrench?? You are deluding people.

2) You say, "There are actually lots of different kinds of tools, and all of them can be used by people to build things, which ultimately serves a much larger entity called the Universe."

Sinner! There are only wrenches! Wrenches are the only tool! The Golden Wrench is the best of these tools and any true work that can be done can only be done with That Wrench! If these so-called Beings holding the wrenches actually do exist, which I doubt, you can bet that they are only able to use wrenches. Wrenches can build the Nice Clean Shelf that we will eventually all go to, and if I had my way, I would make everyone use wrenches and disallow any discussion of other tools.


Like I said in an earlier post, do not become enamored with the tools we are given. Realize that you are the Presence that is holding the tool, and not the tool itself.

One of the reasons why i find these responses interesting is because they allow us to examine our own behaviors. This chatter is similar to a type of teaching story used by the Sufis, like the famous tales of Nasrudin. The point of these stories is to jolt us out of our egos and make us pay attention to what is by making us step back and look at what we are doing.

Examining your own behavior and trying to see how you are doing the very things you scream against is a powerful tool.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Catching up on re-runs

I posted a link for a YouTube presentation on Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle talking about his book, A New Earth. However, that link leaves a little to be desired. There's actually ten chapters of the discusson and only the first two or three chapters are on YouTube.

So, I found a link with the whole thing:

Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey Discuss A New Earth.


One thing I can say: Eckhart has a lot more presence than I! On that first chapter, Oprah wouldn't shut up! LOL I kept thinking, "Let Eckhart speak, will ya??"

I hear that she does that because of her broadcaster training, which loathes dead air. However, it also really messes up some of the silence needed during transmission of teachings in certain cases.

I haven't watched the later chapters yet, but I hear she tones it down.

One thing that I haven't figured out yet is when to use the two different schools of thought I posed in an earlier post. Remember, one school talks about tackling your emotional hangups head on to clean up that window to the IS, and the school which Eckhart is from talks about acknowledging the dirt and allowing it to be, and while being that knowing, you realize the Consciousness behind it... and the dirt becomes irrelevant.

My problem is with people who have absolutely no training whatsoever.

Eckhart would see if they are capable of stepping back and observing their emotions, and if they aren't, he simply would say they aren't ready to awaken yet. He would tell them to go off and suffer a bit more and come back when they are ready. Someone who is ready would simply be able to step back and see the silence from reading his material.

In the way I learned, there are different amounts of unconsciousness. Most people aren't ready to do what Eckhart is suggesting, and in the way I was taught, there are things you can do to get ready. There are things that can facilitate your waking up. When I was learning this stuff, we did not even TRY to pay attention to our DS until years after starting IS work. By doing that, we prepped ourselves to be able to step back from the emotions. Although not anyone could do this training, (some people are just too unconscious) a decent number of people could work on it.

So, again, I'm not certain what the best scenario is. Do we train people in the preliminary stuff in the hopes that they might awaken in this lifetime? Do we leave them alone and let the momentum of others awakening carry them? Is the training process that I spoke of an outdated method that is no longer useful?

I can't answer these questions.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Uh, can you repeat that?

It is amazing how many times people can see/hear/read things and still not absorb them. I am talking about any kind of information, spiritual or not. I have been involved in many examples myself. I can't tell you how many times I have been in karate class during a training when one of my senseis would say something that would sound amazing, and I would go to them after class and say, "Hey! You never said that before! That was exactly what I needed to hear!" Invariably, the answer would be, "I've been telling you that for YEARS, dummy! You just finally HEARD me."

A lot of times, it is not the teaching or the student's inability to learn but it is often two other things:
1) The student was not ready to learn it before, and once the readiness arrives, the student learns.
2) The *way* in which the information was said was not the way in which the student needed to hear it.

Some people are better at giving information. Sometimes, people just need to hear things in a certain phrasing or tone and they get it. That is why you see a lot of different books on spirituality out there that say the same thing but say it in different ways. Everything that there is to say has already been said with regards to spiritual development! There is nothing I can say here that is new, and there is nothing that Dan Millman or Eckhart Tolle or any of those guys have written in the last few decades that is new. All that is different is the teachers, writing styles, phrasing, and accompanying anecdotes, really.

So my advice to anyone looking to read books on spirituality is to simply get guidance from someone who's been there before and ask them what books they like. Then try out a few different ones. Maybe you don't like the way Ken Wilber writes? Maybe Idries Shah is more your cup of tea? Who knows?

At the very least, I try to write things here in the way that I think of them. In a way, the things written here are a distillation of lots of other teachers. The intent is convenience.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trying something new

I learned an interesting lesson yesterday. I was watching a dialogue on Youtube between Oprah Winfrey and Eckart Tolle, and Eckart was talking about his experience with writing his first book, The Power of Now. He described how one day he was going about his business and all of a sudden he got this sense of something needing to arise out of Oneness, or as he calls it Consciousness. (I like that term.) He could not put his finger on it but he felt like something had to be born. As he sorted it out and wound up moving to the west coast of Canada and the US, he started to write the book.

The point here is that he didn't write the book. The book wrote him.

When he was in the process of writing, as time went on, he sometimes did not feel much like putting anything down. However, each day he cleared some time and space for the writing, whether he wrote or not. He said he respected the space for it to do what it needed. (I'm paraphrasing and taking liberties here.)

Interestingly, I felt similarly when deciding to start this blog. One day I got this huge feeling of things within me starting to bubble up to the surface, and I got this huge push to start bloggin' what I new about this stuff. So I started.

On some posts, however, I am writing about what *I* want to write, and I have figured out that this is probably not as useful as letting Consciousness write what it wants. So here I am. Before I started writing this today, I sat quiety at the same time I usually post here, and I asked Consciousness, "What do I write?"

The answer is this post, but also this video. Watch the whole series if you like:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Personal musings on development

In many ways, I think humanity is at a crossroads right now. Eckhart Tolle repeats some views about this. A long time ago, enlightened people, i.e. people who were able to step into the Present for prolonged periods of time, were extremely rare. Everyone was caught up in the swirl of chaos that was humanity, and they didn't know the chaos was their own doing, and that it was fake. Then you start having these enlightened people popping up in rare cases. Poof! There goes Jesus! Oops, no wait, they killed him soon after. Poof! There goes Buddha! Oops, nope, he didn't have an easy time with people either. Poof! There goes... You get the idea.

These rare people that popped up suffered greatly, which was part of their evolution, and ours. Then over the centuries, something started to slowly happen: the rate of enlightened people appearing began to increase. Thomas Aquinas... Shakespeare.. Meister Eckhart... The Baal Shem Tov... and more and more people. Still, you could make a list of them if you tried. There were only maybe a thousand.

Along with that phenomena, something else happened. The rate of insanity also started to increase. I'm using Tolle's definition of insanity here, to keep things consistent: insanity is identification with the ego instead of the Real You. In other words, insanity is getting wrapped up in past and future and not being Present.

Scarily, now we have a real case of both rates speeding up exponentially in today's world. There are now probably hundreds of thousands if not a few million enlightened people of varying degrees, but there are billions of insane ones. The more the world wakes up and disidentifies from the insanity, the more the insanity fights back. It seems like for every person that finally says, "I'm done with this idiocy." there are 10 fundamentalists that spring up ready to berate that person, or even kill them sometimes.

There really isn't anything you can DO about it except be here now, and know. Being aware of the insanity dispels it. The more people that are aware of it, the more it deflates those who aren't. There really isn't any other way to "fight" it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

For those just tuning in...

Unlike some other blogs, this blog is not really dependent on current events. In fact, if you just start out by reading the latest posts, you might be confused.

The best thing to do is not worry about the dates of the posts, but start reading from near the beginning. Think of it more like a book than a blog.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Toolbox: The Trilogy

So here it gets a bit tittilating, or interesting, so hang onto your mammary glands.

We laid out the anatomy of a single person. Now I'll open it up and say that your IS can talk to any other IS, and in fact, they do that all the time. Whenever you come into contact with someone, there is an emotional dialogue that takes place without words. This is the communication between IS's. You can think of your IS as a little busy body that is always chirping away with others of its kind. A lot of the "static" in your head actually isn't yours. Some of it is the bits and pieces that your IS throws up to your OS, which it got from elsewhere.

Now another piece of the model: distance.

Distance is the space between things. Duh! However, also you should realize that distance only exists physically, i.e. on the physical plane. On the emotional, mental, and spiritual levels distance is irrelevant. It does not exist. So, your IS can talk to another IS that is thousands of miles away just as easily as it could talk to one in the same room right in front of you.

Another piece: IS's are active while you are awake, and while you are sleeping. They chatter away with themselves and each other in both states.

All this stuff is basically involuntary for most people. They do it regardless of being aware of it or not. On the other hand, all of this can also be controlled. Once you know how to talk to your own IS, you can make it talk to other IS.... which can be fun sometimes....

One evening Draja took me to a bar. He often took me on outings to "field test" things, and on this particular occasion he was teaching about talking to other people's IS's.

"Josh, you see that lady in the corner over there, with the red blouse?", he asked while pointing discreetly.

"Yes, sure. She's pretty hot.", I answered lustily.

"Watch this..", he smiled.

A few seconds later, the woman casually reached up and absentmindedly undid the top button of her blouse! lol... Draja was GOOD, if a bit unethical.

However, the point was made. Communication between IS's can be mastered. BUT, any time you influence someone's IS to do something it normally wouldn't at the time, you are performing a type of black magic or mental influence. I am not saying it is bad, because I do not ascribe to the traditional senses of good and evil (more later.) However, you may want to weigh this yourself and think about it for a bit.

Personally, after spending months with Draja on that subject alone, and learning all the in's and out's of it, I found it to be a waste of time for mischievious uses, and more useful for learning how to deal with people and help them.

An ideal counselor would be able to talk to the patient's IS and relay that information back to them out loud so their OS can hear it. Good Tarot card readers should be able to do the same thing. However, if you know how to talk to other people's IS's, Tarot cards are also a waste of time because they are basically a crutch to put the reader in contact with the customer's IS.

People's DS's can talk to each other too. Really it's because there is only One, but for the purposes of this model, we'll say that on this level each person has their own.

A low level spiritual teacher is basically like a counselor. On the next higher level up, a spiritual teacher can make their own DS talk to the other person's DS. It goes like this:

Teacher's OS --> Teacher's IS --> Teacher's DS --> Student's DS --> Teacher's DS --> Teacher's IS --> Teacher's OS --> Student's OS.

That is one way for teaching to occur. Notice the Teacher is not giving the student his own crap to do. He's just relaying to the student what the student's own DS wants.

There are higher levels of teaching than that, but I'm not very familiar with them.

By the way, this seems to come out of Hawaian Kahuna tradition. You can read about it in Dan Millman's "Sacred Journey of The Peaceful Warrior". I thought it was hilarious when I first picked up that book because I never knew that it was Kahuna stuff, and I never knew that anyone else ever used this system. It was simply the system that Draja and my parents had taught me as a kid!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Toolbox, part 2

So, going forward here, and laying out some pieces of the illusion we think of as life...

The Outer Self (OS) is what relates to the "outside world", i.e. what "you" think of as the outside world. This is the mental voice in your head that thinks and speaks.

The OS is connected to the Inner Self (IS). The IS has been called the subconscious, and IS is really a broad term that encompasses your emotions, your ego, and other metaphysical anatomical structures, i.e. astral, etheric, id, etc. The IS and OS can talk to each other, but the problem is that most people's OS's don't listen to the IS. Their OS's ignore their IS's.

Ever see anyone who has no idea what they are feeling at any given moment? Are you able to answer that question yourself if someone asks you, "What emotions are you feeling right now?" An inability to do that is a symptom of blocked contact between the OS and IS, which is normal in all average people.

The IS is like the hub, so this is a shame. If your OS can talk to the IS, then it means your OS can indirectly talk to the Animal Self (AS) and the Divine Self (DS), which are both also connected to the IS.

Once again, the IS is conected to both the AS and the DS, and it talks to both of them readily (and it often ignores both of them readily.)

Notice something here. Your OS cannot talk to your DS. You can't "think to" God, so to speak. In order to get into contact with your DS, you need to have excellent contact between your IS and OS first. Once you do, then you can craft a message in your mind and send it to your IS and have the IS relay that message to the DS. This process is known by a few different names: prayer, meditation, and white magic.

In my experience, getting into contact with the DS can take years and years of work for the average person, because most people spend a long time simply trying to learn to get into contact with their IS's. Even more people just don't work on it at all.

That's it for today... next stop... the interrelation between IS's, OS's, and DS's among different individuals.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A bargain basement toolbox

"Truth has no form." is a quote from Idries Shah. This is a profound statement that is probably about as close as you can come to really describing your True Self, i.e. Oneness. Essentially, what it means that as soon as you try to put words to describing anything on that level, you are immediately wrong, just by virtue of using words. Anything that you can talk about in words is NOT the One. Even that last sentence is wrong. Do you feel a headache coming on?

However, Idries Sha went on to say that although Truth has no form, there are useful systems and tools for trying to describe Truth, or a part of it. Thus, you have the invention of many systems, like religions, mystical traditions, and practices. When used as tools, and remember the Plumber again, they can help someone realize Oneness. However, once you start to think the tool is Truth, you have become gripped by the ego.

I'd like to lay out a set of tools here, maybe more than one set. Over the years, I've gained proficiency with using a number of different toolboxes. Each one has a different vocabulary and approach, and all of them are artificial because they try to describe the layout of that which cannot be described. They are models.

The vocabulary is sometimes the most challenging part. About a year ago, I was at a conference, and I met a lady there who is a chiropractor. We got to talking and we soon "recognized" one another for our similar essences. The best way I can put this is that when we interacted with one another, it was very easy for us to detect the Oneness in each other almost effortlessly. Each of us was a natural at reflecting the other's divinity. (This stuff is hard to describe.)

However, the vocabulary was a big barrier to having some fun conversations! When we first called each other on the recognition, the first thing we did was sit down and trade toolboxes. We taught each other our vocabs and belief structures for that moment. Then after that, we were able to talk about things using one of our sets.

So this is the toolbox I showed her:

People have what I call "spiritual anatomy". Your being is divided into components: a physical, an emotional, a mental, and a spiritual piece. Each one of these has a corresponding term.

Physical: The Animal Self - This is the part of you that is alive in the biological sense. It doesn't think so much as it reacts. Primarily, it is concerned with physical survival. It wants four things: food, sleep, sex, and warmth/safety. When one of these things is lacking, you get physically uneasy, and everyone wants a different amount of each.

Emotional: The Inner Self - Everything about you that is emotional is part of this self. People's inner selves have the thinking capacity of a one or two year old toddler. They want things beyond what the animal self wants. The ego is also part of this self.

Mental: The Outer Self - This is your mind. This is the part of you that you probably think is you. This is the voice inside your head. If you have ever been in a crisis situation, and you've realized that part of you is totally collected and unmoved because it is coolly logical, that's your outer self. When you do a math problem, you use this.

Spiritual: The Divine Self - This is the part of you that is less an illusion than the other pieces. It is the piece that knows it is part of the One, and it has a great view up there of everything that is going on.

Now it gets more complicated than this because each of those four things can further subdivide, but we won't get into that.

In our next installment we'll talk about how these pieces connect to each other.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Grab a brush and start scrubbin'. Or not.

I love analogies! They all have their limits, but they can make things so easy to understand.

I've used an analogy containing a window before. Here's another one.

Picture a window. On one side are your mind and body, which most people identify with as being themselves. On the other side is the shiny presence of the Present moment, i.e. the Oneness of all things.

Now, this window has a problem. It's dirty. In fact, it is so dirty that your mind and body are unable to see any of that light on the other side. For the most part, many people do not even realize there IS any light on the other side. They do not question the dimness.

That dirt on the window is analogous to what we call our "emotional baggage." My own personal technical term for it is "crap."

So what is crap, exactly?

Two monks were once walking through a town. They came upon a woman who was unable to cross a mud puddle on the street. One of the monks saw this and picked up the lady and carried her across and put her down on the other side. Then the monks went on. Unfortunately, this action was against the philosophy of their Order, and the other monk who witnessed this became a bit upset. As they walked, he became more and more upset, until finally about 5 hours later he had to say something to his fellow monk.

"Why did you carry that woman back there? You know that is against our ways!"

The other monk replied, "Hey, I carried her back there, but you've been carrying her for the last 5 hours! "

That's crap. Whenever you have an emotional experience that you do not deal with in the Present, that emotion sticks around and scums up your window.

So, how do you get rid of this crap?

Well, there are two schools on this.

The first school (which is the one in which I did most of my training) says essentially that you need to go after that window with a scrub brush and a bucket of soap. By this I mean that you need to do things, like special exercises or counseling, that are designed to remove the grime. Most of these things involve looking deep down inside yourself, issue by issue, and reliving them to their fullest intensity until you are ready to burst... and then, basically, you do burst... the emotional bubble that is. Every time you build up that emotional bubble and then pop it, you remove some crap. If you spend a while doing this, you will eventually get little rays of light shining through the window from the other side. If you spend many years doing it, you can eventually get rid a lot of the crap, but there is always some left, no matter what you do. More is always forming every day, and there's always these annoying little specks of dirt that are tough to scrape off.

The other school is no easier, but no less interesting. This school says that you have crap. Accept it. The crap is there. It is what it is. What you REALLY need to do is realize that you exist on both sides of the window simultaneously. You are both the outside and the inside, so in Reality, what's the point to the window? There is none. You are the light on the other side, and really there are no sides either. All you have to do is be aware that you exist on both sides of the window. That's IT. The more you pay attention to the part of yourself that exists in the light, the more you will realize that the window is an illusion. When that happens, the crap becomes irrelevant, and it actually drops away on its own, about the same time the window does.

That second school makes it sound a lot easier than it is. Not many people are ready to do that. However, then again, not many people are ready to go the way of the first school either. In my experience, the first school is easier to start out. The only requirement is that you need to know how to talk to your own emotions and your subconscious self. Because of this, there is a lot of prep-work necessary, and the prep-work can take months to years depending on the person (since few people can already converse with their own subconscious.) By contrast, the second school doesn't have any prep work outside of life itself, but the route can sometimes be impossible to follow for people that are especially unconscious and not ready to step outside their illusions.