Nihilism

The Void

The Void

FLAGSTAFF, AZ—Every time I see the word, nihilism, I think of the movie, The Big Lebowski, and every time I think of The Big Lebowski I think of what a perfect movie it is for any serious student of any nondual teaching because The Big Lebowski is anything but serious.

The Big Lebowski is about the Dude, who just wants to abide (and bowl). The Dude is a simple man who keeps getting draw into the entirely mentally-based lives of everyone else around him: Walter, the war veteran, where everything is about Vietnam; Donny, the clueless guy, who is so trapped in his mind that he has to constantly ask what’s going on around him; the feminist who wants a baby; the gold digger who wants a sugar daddy; the broke sugar daddy trying to maintain a facade of wealth; and of course the nihilists.

“We believe in nothing, Lebowski!”

Every serious spiritual student must face the Void… the Emptiness, the Meaninglessness, the Hell of Eternal Darkness… the Nothing.

Every serious spiritual seeker—because as I’ve said before, it’s all about identity—must face their existential angst.

“We believe in nothing, Lebowski!”

The Dude, chatting up the gold digger, comments on a guy, passed out and floating on an inner tube in the pool (ironically in bright sunlight… a pool of Light) and the gold digger says, “Uli doesn’t care about anything. He’s a Nihilist.,” to which the Dude replies:

“Ah, that must be exhausting.”

In the movie, the nihilists are always excessively dramatic. They are so forcefully adamant. The nihilists, who believe in nothing, take their nothing very seriously.

How can Nothing be so exhausting?

The spiritual seeker when confronting Emptiness—because their very identity is collapsing and at risk—take Nothing very seriously.

How can the Void be so frightening? How can Emptiness be so full of foreboding. How can nothing be full of such… something, such dark energy?

Because when the spiritual seeker honestly looks deeply into the Void, they become a Nihilist, and just like every other character in the movie—everyone except the Dude of course—nihilists believe in a mental concept. Nihilist believe in Nothing, and Nothing (Emptiness, the Void) is a mental concept and mental concepts are exhausting.

It is called the Gateless Gate for a reason. You are stumbling around in the dark, but you’ll never find a wall that you can run your hand along to an opening. Nope, you’ll find nothing. Nor will you come across some giant iron door, that when opened reveals a glorious Light. Nope, not that either.

It’s called the Gateless Gate because there is no gate, there is no wall. It’s called the Gateless Gate because the Endless Darkness that you are stumbling around in, the Nothing that appears so real, is just another mental concept.

“We believe in nothing, Lebowski!”

“Ah, that must be exhausting.”

The Light doesn’t shine out of the Darkness—there is no Gate/Darkness. It is the exact opposite: the Darkness comes out of the Light of Awareness.

The “Nothing” is an object in the Light of Awareness. The “Nothing” is a concept of the mind.

The Tao is the source of the ten thousand things…

The Tao is the source of the Nothing/Emptiness/Void.

The Tao is the Light.

Posted in Best Of, Emptiness, Tao, The Light

Passion

Sunset over Ponderosa Pine

Sunset over Ponderosa Pine

FLAGSTAFF, AZTrying arises from the mind.

Passion arises from the heart.

Trying stems from fear and desires.

Passion stems from selfless love.

Fear and desires are opposite ends of the same thread.

Selfless love has no opposite.

I did the healing thing on a woman last night—a woman with a brain injury.

It gave me a massive headache.

Each time I do these healing things, I suspect it kills a part of me—it shortens this temporary life.

But selfless acts require a selfless Self.

And Passion requires a selfless Love.

Posted in Best Of, Day in the Life, Mystical Oneness, Passion

See What He Sees

Portrait of a Pine Cone

Portrait of a Pine Cone

FLAGSTAFF, AZ—When I got serious about taking photos, I did what a lot of serious photography students do: I found a photographer whose work I loved and blatantly tried to copy his style.

My hero was Harry Callahan (no, not that Harry Callahan).

But here’s the thing about photography—about any art form for that matter (I include spirituality here): Once you get the theory down—once you’ve learned the techniques—you need to learn how to see.

For a photographer, you need to learn how to see color and shape and texture and negative space. For a musician, you need to learn how to see tone and rhythm and pauses and flow. For the spiritual, you need to learn how to see Love and Light and Emptiness and the Divine.

When I started trying to copy Callahan, I wasn’t trying to copy his technique—I was already well versed in photography theory at that point—no, what I was trying to do was to learn to see how Callahan sees. I wanted to see what Callahan saw before he took those photos.

There’s a saying in Zen that goes something like this, “Don’t try to be like the sages of old, try to see what they saw.”

Once you get your spiritual technique down, try to see through all the mental boundaries. Try to see the music behind it all—the tempo and rhythm and pauses. Try to see the Archetype of Everything.

Once you get the theory down, pull away all self-contraction and open your eyes to the Love and the Light and the Emptiness and the Divine.

And in no time at all, you’ll become one with your art.

Posted in Best Of, Feel of, Photography, Techniques, The Light

Focusing On a Subject

Holding It Together

Holding It Together

FLAGSTAFF, AZ—In photography, before you even raise the camera to your eye, it’s important to recognize what will be the subject of the photo. What will you focus on—and just as importantly—what will you leave out of the shot.

In creating a new project, it is important to know what functionality to include and what to do without. What is the subject that you should focus on to bring your project to life?

In spirituality, there are a million people trying to sell you (get you to focus on) a million products and services (subjects), so it is crucial to weed these distractions out if you ever wish to achieve inner harmony.

The only subject that you need to focus on in order to find inner peace is this: Your identity.

Who or what exactly are you?

Note: If you have an answer to this question then I’m afraid you need to keep looking.

Posted in Emptiness, Mystical Oneness, Photography, Radiance, Soul

Looking For Abusive Behavior

My First Tarantula

My First Tarantula

FLAGSTAFF, AZ—Probably not the best title for a post, but it’s accurate.

I’ve just finished up the coding required for the initial version of the [REDACTED] project, and am now faced with adding the content. As you may know, this project is about abuse, and by abuse I mean:

Intentionally causing someone physical or psychological harm.

Part of that content is giving examples of abusive behavior, which is where I’m looking for a little help.

Here is what I have so far:

  • Striking
  • Restraining
  • Sexual Assault
  • Bullying
  • Deceiving
  • Taking advantage of someone
  • Intimidation
  • Coercion
  • Peer Pressure
  • Talking bad about someone behind their back
  • Honking your car horn in anger
  • Tailgating
  • Insulting someone

Now back to the title of this post, I’m looking for suggestions on any other abusive behaviors that I may have missed. Please keep in mind my definition above: Abuse is intentionally causing someone physical or psychological harm.

Maybe not the most pleasant thing to think about, but I really do appreciate your feedback.

Please post your thoughts/ideas in the comments below. Thanks!

Posted in Day in the Life

A Sign

The Office

The Office

FLAGSTAFF, AZ—The very first photo I saw in my news reader this morning was an image from LifeHacker and I took it as a sign I’m on the right track with the [REDACTED] project—the project I’ve been busting my hump on these last couple of weeks.

I will soon be making a very short video, probably no more than 20 seconds long, where I say less than 30 words. My hope is that when people see this video, they will have the same reaction that I had when I saw this photo this morning—after a couple of seconds of puzzlement, they’ll have a little ah-ha moment and immediately get what the [REDACTED] project is all about—and how it can benefit society.

Posted in Day in the Life, Synchronicity

24: The Burka

Standing In My Doorway Looking Down

Standing In My Doorway Looking Down

FLAGSTAFF, AZ—[Kiefer Sutherland voice over]: The following takes place between five AM and six AM on the morning of October 10th. Events happen in real time.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Darkness. Aliveness. Glimmer of Light. Swirling. Churning. Confusion… where am I, which direction am I facing, which direction will headlights (threats?) come from, wait a minute… it’s still dark out, yet dawn’s coming, I can feel it, sense it. Arizona? Yeah, Arizona… the woods outside Flagstaff…

Silence. Swirling. Coalescing. Contraction.

I’ve been letting everyone down, I’ve been so caught up in the [REDACTED] project that my readers surely must be bored, drifting off into the ether to find someone who fits a more spiritual ideal, but worse I’ve been letting Michelle down, but isn’t that odd how busy I’ve been on other things while at the same time she’s been busy with other things? Is her life a reflection of mine or mine a reflection of hers? Is reflection the right word? Co-mingling perhaps? but that sounds sexual and I’ve never even heard her voice let alone met her, so maybe she’s got this deep basso voice (is basso the right word? a deep bull-frog voice?), wouldn’t that be weird, but I think I understand the Rumi/Sham(?) connection now, how he called Sham(?), a guy, his beloved because maybe he was talking about that famed guru/student “co-mingling” of souls—separate but (sort of) one, and… and I am letting everyone down, I just haven’t had anything spiritual to talk about lately, but then there was something Michelle said last night that struck me… what was it again? Something about faith… something like she knows that She/God’s going to take care of her. Am I the teacher or is Michelle the teacher? You dumb-ass, you’re constantly admonishing your readers not to use OR’s but AND’s, so of course it’s both… teacher/student, co-mingling, separate but one. same thing you idiot, but I am letting everyone down… and faith, that’s it, faith is what (ironically) so many religions lack, faith is meaning and religions are rules, faith isn’t about following rules but following the Light. The Light is never going to tell you to cut off someone’s head, yet practically all religions talk about killing sinners or at least Divine retribution which is just a projection of wanting to kill those who don’t think or act like you. Fucking amazing… violently aggressive people—bullies—are the bane of the World… and particularly this whole ISIS movement with their we’re right your wrong so let’s kill you because God’s on our side attitude and let’s put all women in burkas and I’m really getting fat and maybe that’s not such a bad thing ’cause it kind of shows the world that I think of my body like a burka, like this burden I carry around while I’m this Light of Awareness that peeks out the little slot that those poor women peer out of, trapped in the damn things, and I wonder if that’s why I get those double-takes so often from strangers, the he’s just another old guy sitting there just like everyone else and I’ve got a million wait what was that, there’s something odd about him, oh crap he caught me peering at him, quick look down at your phone… I wonder if that’s it, a burka-thing, a Light peering out of this damn lump of flesh covering me up, but that sounds really pompous cause it sounds like I’m special, but everyone’s wearing a burka, they just don’t know it and I wonder if that was the intended meaning of the angel in It’s A Wonderful Life who was trying to get his wings, was he just trying to get rid of his burka? That in service to others you “earn” your wings, drop the burka? Dunno, probably stretching that one, but man, why is my mind so flooded with these spiritual ideas all of the sudden? Is it Michelle re-starting her practice? I like that she has faith, that she doesn’t do what I tell her, that would be kinda creepy cult-like, but takes my meaning and bends it to fit her life. I say “A” and she makes it into “A-prime”. It’s beautiful and cool, but whatever, at least I’ve finally got some material to blog about, maybe I’ll write about Faith this morning, yeah, kinda excited about that, but I need a photo and look at that, morning light, perfect for photography, time to get up and man, do I have to pee. Does standing up make you need to pee? Is it a gravity thing? There’s no one around camp, so I can pee outside and please don’t let the door be jammed and whooo it’s nippy out and look at my sandals sitting there on the ground, I can actually see the Light shining up out of the soil around them. Damn, I wish I could capture that in my photos, capture Her Light, but seriously now, maybe you should start censoring what you write about, if [REDACTED] ever takes off, they’ll be looking into your personal life and if they ever got inside your head they’d have you committed in a heartbeat…

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Posted in Best Of, Day in the Life, Mystical Oneness, VanDwelling

A Year In Serenity

The Stealth Camper

Serenity

FLAGSTAFF, AZA year ago today, on October 8th, 2013, I took Serenity out for her maiden voyage.

I’ve often asked myself, if I had to do it over again, would I do anything different? Would I get a different rig, or lay in insulation under the floor, or not tint the windows?

Would I do anything different?

The answer to all those questions is: No. She’s perfect just the way she is.

If I had to do it over again, I’d get the exact same van, and set her up in the exact same way…

Well, maybe not the ceiling.

Here is a photo gallery of Serenity’s first year.

Posted in VanDwelling

The Fleeting Nature of Practically Everything

My Office In The Woods

My Office In The Woods

FLAGSTAFF, AZ—With three clicks of the mouse, four hours of work disappeared. Sadly, this was not my intention.

Phase I of this idea I’m working on will generate income from the sales of some Zazzle items (along with donations), so I spent the morning designing the products I intend to sell (shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, and possibly charms/jewelry).

After finishing three products, I realized I had made a tiny mistake, so I deleted the products, which—unbeknownst to me—also deleted the designs that I was using for the products.

Poof! Four hours of work instantly vaporized into the ether.

I sat and looked at the screen, at all the white space where my designs used to be, closed the laptop, took a deep breath and gazed outside.

The Eternal quality tells us (contrary to the way it sounds) that practically everything is temporary. Every plant and tree and bird I was looking at outside would soon be gone. My rig would be gone, my possessions, my body.

The Eternal quality says, “You own nothing. There’s no use trying to hold onto anything. Everything, except you-as-Awareness, vanishes.”

I opened back up the laptop, and started clicking and dragging once again.

Posted in Soul

The Recurring Tasks In My Life

The Bench at the North Rim

The Bench at the North Rim

FLAGSTAFF, AZOn the last day of every month, I download all updates to my software programs, operating systems, and mobile apps. I do this on the last day of the month because Millenicom re-starts their usage meter on the first. If the updates bump me over the usage limitation, it won’t affect me more than 24 hours.

On the first of every month, I update the Favorite PhotosTestimonials, and Donation Totals on this blog, as well as clear the cache and optimize the database to keep it running as efficiently as possible.

I also transfer any income from book sales or donations from my PayPal account to my regular bank account.

Next, I ruthlessly prune photos I took two months ago but didn’t use or particularly like and dump the remaining to an external hard drive. I then delete these backed up photos from my computer to free up disk space. I keep two months of photos on my computer so I always have a cache of images to call upon if I don’t have a daily one for the blog posts.

Finally, I pull out the storage containers from under my bunk and unhook my third jerry can of water, swapping it out for one of the two jerry cans that I rotate between regularly during the month. This keeps all the water jugs in rotation.

Every Sunday I dump anything in my “idea collection boxes” (my phone’s voice recorder and OmniFocus’ Inbox) to either OneNote (if it’s an idea) or OmniFocus (if it’s a task), then review all my OmniFocus tasks and flag anything I want to work on this week.

I then click over to my “Weekly” email folder and answer any emails that I received during the week that I felt needed a deeper response than I was ready to give when I received it.

I then backup my hard drive using Apple’s built-in Time Machine.

Every evening, in bed, I do my personal Emptiness practice which entails releasing any mental contractions (me-me-me) and expanding into the Vastness until I fall asleep. This functions as my daily meditation and helps keep me grounded.

During the day, I mostly live in Radiance, with the Eternal quality always present to remind me not to take any of this too seriously.

And so it goes.

Posted in Day in the Life, VanDwelling

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Last month, September 2014, this website received 2 donations for a total of $45.

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- Wayne
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