Posts Tagged ‘awakening’


August 7, 2011 1 comment

I was listening to an Eckhart Tolle talk the other day (via an mp3 file deposited on a USB stick plugged into my new Subaru WRX audio system). He started talking about the key to inner peace.  In order to prepare his audience for the bombshell he was about to launch, he asked them to “please don’t be shocked“. Eckhart then said, in his characteristically slow, deliberate, and relaxed tone, that the key to awakening and inner peace is….. the renunciation of thought. D’oh, and WTF?

Years ago, when I was more lost than I am today, I would have thought that Mr. Tolle was a charlatan on the level of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. Today, knowing what I know, but can’t express in words, I think he is wise. How about you? What do you think?

Note: I usually use Microsft Visio to generate the dorky diagrams on this blog. The pic in this post is my first one using the freely downloadable Inkscape package.

Stuck In The Middle

December 9, 2009 8 comments

With the goal of bringing more peace into my life and the lives of others, I’ve studied the work of quite a few spiritual teachers over the years. Adyashanti is one of those sages whose teachings resonate with me. In this interview, Adya states:

“Simply because you’ve had an awakening, however, does not mean you stay awake. Enlightenment, in simple terms, is when you stay awake. If the awakening is abiding, that’s enlightenment. And most awakenings are not abiding — at least, not initially.”

Before those words, I always thought that enlightenment and awakening were the same concept, but Adya’s words make sense to me. I haven’t experienced either of those two states of being, but I hope to someday. The problem with this wishful thinking is that…. it’s wishful thinking:

“One of the best ways to avoid awakening is to let the idea of awakening be co-opted by the mind and then projected onto a future event: something that’s going to happen outside of this moment. This looking to the future isn’t really the fault of the spiritual practices themselves; it’s the attitude with which the mind engages in the practices — an attitude that is seeking a future end and seeing that end as somehow inherently different from what already exists here and now.”

Freakin’ Bummer. Since I’m a slave to my mind, I may be a lost cause. It’s time to change strategies, but wait, the mind devises strategies! According to Adya (and the vast majority of other teachers) using the mind to attain enlightenment is fruitless. Double bummer.

Many spiritual teachers profess that tragedy can be a doorway into awakening and Adya is no different:

Reality is not operating on any moral principle. It’s looking for a moment when the seeker is exhausted. It can be prompted by some tragic event: an illness, or the death of a loved one, or a divorce. Reality rushes into the crack and presents itself.

Triple bummer. I’ve experienced several deeply tragic events but reality hasn’t found any crack to infiltrate my being yet. The lead sarcophagus that encases me is still too impenetrable.

Oh well. With no clue on how to go about awakening out of the dream of separation and experiencing the reality of universal connectedness, I’m, as Stealers Wheel would sing, “Stuck In The Middle“.

Doing And Being

November 1, 2009 2 comments

Echkart Tolle has stated that every human being has an inner purpose and an outer purpose. According to Mr. Tolle, our inner purpose is “being” and our outer purpose is “doing”. Along similar lines, Mother Theresa once said something to the effect that “the west is materially rich (from doing) but spiritually poor (from not being)”. I’m on-board with these related insights because I’ve realized them through personal experience. How about you?

A problem that I see with western cultures is that most people have their self worth totally fused with “doing”, while “being” is often disdained, looked down upon, and interpreted as sloth/laziness. There is no balance, and I’m one of those unabalanced (lol!) people. Do I have “factual evidence” to back this up? Of course not. I’m not a world renowned expert and I only speak from personal experience. Plus, I like to make stuff up.

Doing Being

Oh Goody, A New Discovery

September 10, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s funny how virtually every person has the tendency to constantly seek out references that confirm and validate his/her “beliefs”, while at the same time ignoring evidence to the contrary – no matter how strong the disconfirming evidence is. As a member of this non-exclusive club myself, the latest self-medicating anti-hierarchy book that I’m reading is called “The Age Of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management“. The content on changing corporate governance is interesting, but the multiple references to spiritual teacher and mystic G. I. Gurdjieff are what really kindle my curiosity.

Over the past 10+ years, I’ve read the works of many well known spiritual teachers in an attempt to counter my tendency to rely solely on a logical and mechanistic engineering mindset to travel through life. Since Gurdjieff is new to me,  I’m gonna look into his work. Thus, the next book in my reading queue is titled Gurdjieff.


Thinking Your Way To Enlightenment

July 13, 2009 3 comments

Virtually every spiritual teacher that I know has stated that you can’t “think” your way to enlightenment. I consider myself a heavy thinkaholic and because of my personal experience I know that they’re right. I’ve tried to think my way into an enlightened and awakened state so hard, so many times, that the effort has led to the exact opposite result of what I intended. Reading, viewing, and listening to spiritual material can get you to the bus stop of awakening, but it doesn’t guarantee that the bus will arrive on time. It doesn’t even guarantee that the bus will arrive at all.

So, what’s a thinkaholic who wants to discover his/her true root of being supposed to do? You can’t stop thinking because, like flying is innate to birds, thinking is innate to the human condition. Thus, I’m stuck in an endless repetitive cycle of gathering more and more thought-based spiritual knowledge even though I know that it doesn’t work.

Gym Notes

May 10, 2009 1 comment

Gym Notes

I go to the gym everyday (before work) and exercise for an hour. While exercising, sometimes lots of ideas magically appear in my mind. I read somewhere that an average of 50000 thoughts manifest in a person’s head every single day. Depending on what your definition of a single thought is, that’s about 1 thought every 2 seconds.

About a year ago, out of the blue, the simple but idea of bringing a small notebook to the gym came to me, so I did. Ever since, then, I’ve captured lots of ideas from the ether, jotted them down on paper, and followed through on many of them later. On some days, the ideas would flow so freely that I would spend quite a bit of time writing them down. Often, it would take me an extra half hour to workout, or I’d often forget where I was in the workout and repeat some exercises. On the other hand, there would be many days where I’d leave the gym and my notebook would be empty. I’d write NADA on those pages.

Looking back on those days where nothing was/is written down, I’d realized that I was always using my internal mental energy to complain about, or criticize, something or someone in a seemingly endless loop. My ego mind was blocking my “conscious awareness” from shining through and revealing itself through productive and creative thinking. The clouds obscured the ever present sun.

I still bring a notebook with me every day to the gym and I still have (many) days where I leave with the word NADA written in the page du jour. That’s life.

Battle Of The Blahs

May 8, 2009 4 comments


Awareness, pure consciousness, egoless, no self, spirit, god, the peace that passeth all understanding, universal energy, eternal essence, eternal bliss, universal intelligence, mind, formless energy….. (add your own favorite word or phrase here).

All these words and phrases point to the same thing (or no-thing?) and attempt to describe what’s indescribable via words or thoughts. People argue endlessly over which is “right” or “correct” and miss the whole purpose of using them to communicate. It reminds me of the famous spiritual (Buddhist?) saying that goes something like this: “I’m pointing at the moon but you’re looking at my finger.”

As E. Tolle has said: “The analysis of pointers is pointless.”

What’s your favorite word or phrase that describes the indescribable?

A Shift In Perspective

May 5, 2009 5 comments

At birth, everyone is egoless. We are pure awareness, a manifestation of universal consciousness. We have no agenda and no desire to make ourselves look good at the expense of others. We don’t get into zero-sum games and our outer purpose is directly synchronized with our inner purpose. When we get labeled with a name, start accumulating “credentials” and “expertise”,  and we begin to internalize the human-made concepts of “I” and “me”, our heads expand in order to accommodate ego growth. As ego expands, consciousness contracts and we lose touch of the infinite source of energy that comprises our inner core. Our behaviors and actions become increasingly dominated by the artificial need to selfishly accumulate “things out there” and consume way more than we need. How do I know this? Because like you, I’m a perfect example of ego-domination. Give “me” more, “I” need more, it’s all about “me”, “I’m” smarter than “you”, “I’m” better looking than “you”, “I” have more and nicer things than “you”, “you” should want to be like “me”, to hell with “you” and to heaven with “me”. Duality and separation settle in.


As the lower graph in the above figure shows, some people may, by an unknown and humanly-uncontrollable act of grace, experience a shift in perspective at some point in their lives. The ego starts to deflate, consciousness starts rising, and the artificial mode of good/bad, dual thinking starts dissolving. For some people, the slope of the ego curve instantaneously flips to negative infinity at the point of transition and an “epiphany” occurs. Jill Bolte Taylor, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Sydney Banks, and the Buddha come to mind as examples of people who’ve experienced epiphanies.

Becoming aware that one is ego-dominated is not enough to trigger a transformation back to our true nature and a realignment of our outer purpose with our inner purpose. How do I know this? Because I’m aware of the fact that I’m dominated by the constraining, finite, and toxic force of the ego. The ego is brilliant in that it can argue with anything at any time and rationalize any action, no matter how horrendous the end result is.

So here “I” am, recognizing the fact that I’m a slave to “my” ego and hoping that an instantaneous shift in perspective will happen to “me”. Since I don’t have a clue on how to trigger the shift, I’m on a constant intellectual search for enlightenment. However, feverishly accumulating intellectual understanding is not the way to realize and experience “the peace that passeth ALL understanding”. Bummer.

Lost In Thought


March 28, 2009 3 comments

My Unshakeable Cognitive Burden

A few years ago, I first heard the phrase “Unshakeable Cognitive Burden”, or UCB. The UCB is a collection of deeply rooted beliefs, opinions, and values that color a person’s view of life. It serves as the foundation for his/her behavior. We all have a UCB, and we start unconsciously building it from the ground up as soon as we are born. If we remain unconscious and unaware of our UCB as we age, it starts to harden and stagnate.

The UCB is shaped like a pyramid where the lower layers become incredibly difficult to displace and replace over time as we innocently, but deliberately, filter out those circumstances and events and experiences that go against it. Since the top UCB layers are under less psychological pressure than the lower layers, they may be easy to displace and replace. However, depending on how unconscious and entrenched we are in our personal belief system, even the top layers can become immutable.


Trust me, it’s not good to have a UCB. I struggle with mine all the time. Rigid attachment to a UCB leads to a life of frustration, disappointment, and constant suffering. You get stuck in an arrogant, “I’m right and you’re wrong” binary mindset that can lead to violence or worse. Instead of living in the moment and enjoying life, you spend much of your time defending your UCB and attacking everyone else’s. It’s you against the big bad world. The Buddhists call this “the illusion of duality”.

The only way out of the UCB trap is to awaken to the fact that you’re living in a self-woven cocoon of lies based on “thoughts”. If you ever come to the realization that thoughts are just temporary formations of natural energy that arise out of nowhere in your consciousness, then your stance will soften and life will become lighter, breezier, and more peaceful. You will become more open and accommodating of others thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

So how do we awaken and become consciously aware? Is there a step by step procedure? I wish I knew. Do you?


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