The Map of Identity (Revision 3)

Map 3


September 29, 2015 5:05 PM

Here’s an updated version of the Map of Identity. While I find maps useful, I’m not a cartographer. I’m not into sitting in a dark room, gathering a lot of data from a lot of explorers and consolidating it into the perfect, most useful map ever. My maps are what I sketch out by actually going out into the world and exploring. Not 100% accurate, but they’ll show me that if I head north up the coast, I’ll find a nice protected bay with fresh water springs and hot women, and if I turn south down the coast, I’ll find these sweet islands where the natives are friendly and the daiquiris are cool and refreshing. In other words, my maps aren’t about abstract terrain features as much as they are about the lived experience.

Here are the new features that became apparent when I was fleshing out the outline for the new book:

  • I, the Shadow: I forgot about this (Shadow’s are tricky that way). The Shadow is all about repressing any memories that it doesn’t think you can handle.
  • I, the Sage: The Sage is all about integrating paradoxes (the Absolute and the Relative, Unity and Separation, Witness and the witnessed). I kept trying to include this in I, the Mystic, but realized that integration is a completely separate issue than what the Mystic is all about (getting to know TaoGodHer).
  • The Three Realms: It turns out, there was a definite pattern to these levels/phases…
    • The Hell Realm: This is where all the suffering takes place.
    • The Limbo Realm: You’re done with suffering, but you’ve not yet discovered TaoGodHer.
    • The Divine Realm: TaoGodHer becomes an intimate part of your life.

Once again, don’t get too caught up in the Map—don’t be a cartographer (unless you want to be). Read your maps, get to know them, then pack them away and head out into the world without them. It’s in having-a-direction-but-stumbling-around-on-your-own (which is exactly what I did and still do) where all the beauty and wonder and magic occurs.

You’ll never meet a friendly giant in the cartography room, nor will you be guided to two brothers mourning a third by studying the contour lines and mileage scales. You’ll never meet your Frog Master inside your house. The simple fact is, you’ll never have these life altering experiences by pouring over the adventures of others. Study your maps—get to know them—then roll them up, put them away, and go out into the world and explore for yourself.

Because it is out there in the world where She awaits. She wants you out there with Her.

It’s out there in the real world where She patiently waits to guide you.

It's Time To Wake Up

Mystical Oneness and the Nine Aspects of BeingMystical Oneness and the Nine Aspects of Being is a step-by-step guide to enlightenment and beyond.

Available at:

Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes- Google Play - Kobo

It's Time To Be Happy

The Serentity TechniqueWe live in divisive times.

The Serenity Technique provides 7 simple steps for inner peace… whenever you need it.

Available now on Amazon

It's Time Let Go

My Dying WordsImagine I have only seven days left to live.
Now imagine I share my last thoughts with you.

Available now on Amazon

13 thoughts on “The Map of Identity (Revision 3)

  1. I try not to think too much about enlightenment. But I’ll share one of those magical moments. I work midnights in a grocery store. One night I was putting out tomatoes and thinking to myself “Gee, if everything is God, then it must be true that everyone is that same God living different lifetimes.”.
    At this point, Mark from the dairy department walked over to me and said, “You know, we’re really the same person.”
    To which I replied, “I know.”

  2. I like this map, Wayne.

    Here’s something to chew on …

    You’ve described the territory as seen passing through it on the way toward awakening and into fullness. There’s another version of the same territory that reveals itself as that fullness then seeps down and permeates the realms you’ve labeled “limbo” and “hell.”

    There are two strokes of awakening, which some refer to as “up and out,” and “down and in.”

    They are not different paths, nor are they different ways of talking about the same thing. They are a natural sequence as one awakens to the witness, then expands into unity, and then ripens and deepens as that unity more and more completely permeates every shadow and crevice of the entire territory.

    The process involves a re-integration of all the personal, even messy, components of individuality into the greater reality of God/Tao/Her.

    “The less there is of me, the more there is of Her” is true during the “up and out” phase of awakening, but that perspective eventually gives way to, “All of me is nothing but Her. To fully surrender myself to Her, I must bring all of myself to her and allow her to permeate even my darkest places, including my personal limbo and hell.”

    This is a big project that spans years and decades and truly never ends.

    It calls for a deep honesty with oneself, a willingness, even a ruthless intentionality, to gaze unblinkingly into, to see, accept and heal, whatever darkness one finds there. Many recoil from this work, rejecting parts of themselves as they try to excise anything they believe separates them from God/Tao/Her.

    Some refer to this self-denial as “spiritual bypassing.” It’s a natural reaction to the challenges of moving toward and awakening into God, but it can leave one inwardly divided, stranded halfway up the mountain, never fully connected and integrated with the divine.

    However, if one does undertake that often difficult work, eventually, no place will be found that is not divine, including the places that had once been experienced as “hell” and “limbo.”

    However challenging the project of integrating ALL of oneself into the wholeness of God/Tao/Her may be, the fruits of that labor are truly “the Kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

    • I agree with everything you said Jerry. Indeed, your key points have also been my experience: The ascending toward TaoGodHer (which to me seemed more mind-based) and—often concurrently—the descending of TaoGodHer (which felt like an opening of the heart).

      Ditto the re-integrating of the lower realms (Limbo, Hell)—and I’ll be the first to admit that I am still “working on” these (but it feels more like easing them open). Without the lower realms, there’s nothing for the higher levels to stand on. 🙂

  3. You wrote: “I am still “working on” these (but it feels more like easing them open).” I’m reminded of this …

    Cutting Up An Ox

    Prince Wen Hui’s cook
    Was cutting up an ox.
    Out went a hand,
    Down went a shoulder,
    He planted a foot,
    He pressed with a knee
    The ox fell apart
    With a whisper,
    The bright cleaver murmured
    Like a gentle wind.
    Rhythm! Timing!
    Like a sacred dance,
    Like “The Mulberry Grove”
    Like ancient harmonies!

    “Good work!” the Prince exclaimed,
    “Your method is faultless!”
    “Method?” said the cook
    Laying aside his cleaver,
    “What I follow is Tao
    Beyond all methods!

    “When I first began
    To cut up oxen
    I would see before me
    The whole ox
    All in one mass.
    “After three years
    I no longer saw this mass.
    I saw the distinctions.

    “But now, I see nothing
    With the eye. My whole being
    My senses are idle. The spirit
    Free to work without plan
    Follows its own instinct
    Guided by natural line,
    By the secret opening,
    The hidden space,
    My cleaver finds its own way.
    I cut through no joint, chop no bone.

    “A great cook needs a new chopper
    Once a year – he cuts.
    A poor cook needs a new one
    Every month – he hacks!

    “I have used this same cleaver
    Nineteen years.
    It has cut up
    A thousand oxen.
    Its edge is as keen
    As if newly sharpened.
    “There are spaces in the joints;
    The blade is thin and keen:
    When this thinness
    Finds that space
    There is all the room you need!
    It goes like a breeze!
    Hence I have this cleaver
    Nineteen years
    As if newly sharpened!

    “True, there are sometimes
    Tough joints. I feel them coming,
    I slow down, I watch closely,
    Hold back, barely move the blade,
    And whump! the part falls away
    Landing like a clod of earth.

    “Then I withdraw the blade,
    I stand still
    And let the joy of the work
    Sink in.
    I clean the blade
    And put it away.”

    Prince Wen Hui said,
    “This is it! My cook has shown me
    How I ought to live
    My own life!”

    ~ Zhuangzi (translated by Thomas Merton)

  4. I notice there’s a place where you say, “You’re done with suffering … .” There are different senses in which one could be done with suffering, and this bears looking into.

    Suffering and nectar …

    In much Eastern spiritual and popular nondual western culture, there’s a dogma that says all suffering ceases when one awakens to a deeper Reality. There are statements of this in Eastern scripture, and it is often repeated in nondual discussions.

    In fact, it is true for some, for whom all suffering does end upon awakening. However, it is not universally true, and the expectation that life will be entirely without suffering can create problems.

    When anyone attempts to evade genuine pain, believing such pain is incompatible with the awakening they seek, they can get sidetracked in aversion, often to the extent of unhealthy spiritual bypassing that denies the reality of whatever they are experiencing.

    In so doing, they suppress parts of themselves and prevent them from becoming fully integrated into their awakening. So they remain divided within themselves, even in the effort to become enlightened. That is exactly the opposite of enlightenment, which must be whole and fully integrated.

    Not all suffering is caused by delusion about Reality. Some is caused by organic forces that have nothing to do with one’s level of awakening or non-awakening.

    Especially, these may include patterns of brain chemistry or nerve signaling that cause intense psychic or physical pain. In the awakened person, these will fall in the category of “prarabhdha karma,” the flow of karmas, both bodily and circumstantial, that have already begun to bear fruit and will necessarily play out in their lives. This may be true even though the person has awakened to a higher level of consciousness that has “burned the seeds” of karmas that have not yet begun to bear fruit.

    Even though in the awakened person there is a dimension that is beyond whatever pain may be endured, in some instances, the pain may be sufficiently intense, it can only be honestly characterized as suffering.

    There is, nonetheless, a difference in the way a deeply awakened person experiences suffering. In the moment, that suffering may seem to contradict the sense that “all things are as they should be.” However, because the awakened person sees reality from a more expansive viewpoint, his/her relationship to the pain or suffering will be quite different, and as a result, the outcome will be different.

    “Without undue attachment or aversion to anything,” a mature awakening will naturally release any undue attachments or aversions to both pleasure and pain. Because all experiences are received with an evenness of attitude, suffering will not be compounded and prolonged because of one’s reactions to it. (And of course, there will still always remain a healthy attitude that naturally avoids unnecessary pain and gravitates to what is most joyful and fulfilling.)

    “The enlightened knower of Brahman drinks nectar from every particle of the universe,” whether the immediate taste of each particle is bitter or sweet.

    Whereas before, the bitter taste of pain was wounding and diminishing, in the wholeness of Brahman consciousness, “all things work for good.” Because the deeply awakened knower of Reality processes experience differently, that bitterness transmutes in some sense into healing medicine or the pangs of creative birth.

    The bitterness ultimately transforms to nectar when it has been fully assimilated and metabolized. So from time to time, there may be suffering in the moment, but in the greater scope of an awakened life, all experience, whether pleasurable or painful, is transformed to a deeper joyfulness that transcends relative joy and sorrow. In that respect, such an awakened person has indeed gone “beyond suffering.”

    So it’s true, as both scripture and popular spiritual culture teach, that awakening to a higher reality is the solution to suffering. However, in practical experience, that does not always mean suffering itself disappears entirely and forever.

    • 🙂 Funny our differences of… experience? perspective? Probably just definitions.

      What I mean by “suffering” is not about the alleviation of physical or emotional pain (as this blog so amply documents, I’ve experienced lots of that on both sides of the Gate), but in an attitude toward the inevitable pain:

      In the Hell realms, I took pain personally.

      In the Limbo and Divine realms, I took pain as a practice—an opportunity to grow. I didn’t like it, no more than I liked homework in school, but I always knew, even while experiencing the pain, that this was a rare opportunity to grow wiser (and the origins of my saying, “The smart have their books. The wise have their scars.”)

      Pain taken personally: suffering.

      Pain taken as practice: opportunity.

  5. I see what you’re saying, Wayne, but your tidy distinction between pain and suffering is a little too pat, too formulaic, for my liking. The fact is, no matter where one might be in one’s awakening, there may be pain intense enough, it can only honestly be called suffering, regardless of one’s attitude toward it.

    • What can I say Jerry, I’m just relating what I experience. Before I took pain personally and constantly suffered. No so anymore.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love what you wrote above, it is just I don’t equate painful experiences with suffering anymore whereas in the Hell realms, suffering (and the avoidance of it) dominates. That was my point of the offhand phrase, “You’re done with suffering.”

      Difference of perspectives maybe. I’m not a cartographer, I don’t take in and consolidate all the personal stories (so hard to find) from a wide variety awakened people… I just have my own experiences.

  6. People sometimes think they can generalize from their own experience and make sweeping statements.

    In some instances, such generalizations will be valid. However, there are also areas where there is legitimate variation among people, even at the same levels of awakening. Then, it may be better to speak in terms of general trends that allow for such variation, rather than tidy formulations.

    As regards suffering and awakening, I have observed (and lived through), a range of experience that includes all the elements I spoke of in the comment.

    You are presenting your map not merely as a description of your own experience, but as part of a systematic approach you are recommending. In that context, you have a responsibility as far as possible, not to create false expectations.

    It’s only a matter of a few words here and there. Although it may take some pondering to work out how best to do it, I think it will be simple enough, to refine your presentation so it better reflects the range of possibilities and better serves the people who might encounter your map.

Leave a Comment