Core Strategies For Spiritual Development: Theories Fade… Scars Last

Same Rock. A Different Day.

Same Rock. A Different Day.


May 1, 2016 9:01 AM

I awoke to snow.

The snow is the reason the Great Nomadic Horde encamps just south of here, down in a lower, warmer elevation. It is dusty down there. And windy. And crowded. That is the cost of the Horde’s fear—dust and winds and crowds.

I’ve been up here in the higher elevations for a month now. Each evening, I park the van facing northeast. Each morning, I open the van’s cargo door and the solar system’s largest radiant heater shines in and warms the interior. I slide the easy chair forward, into the sun and bask in the warmth, drinking my coffee while watching the elk and the birds and the squirrels enjoy the Spring.

I have the woods to myself. No dust, no winds, no crowds.

Four weeks of beauty and peace and serenity. The cost of all this Beauty? Two days of snow.

And even the snow is beautiful.

The mind has its fears—the heart has its pleasures.

Below, an excerpt from the book, same section as yesterday, but the next topic… … Read more…

Core Strategies For Spiritual Development: Open the Mind AND the Heart

Just A Rock in the Woods

Just A Rock in the Woods


April 30, 2016 1:17 PM

I’ve been working diligently on the book, so there hasn’t been much to say. Every morning I’ve been heading into town to write, then I’ll head back into the woods for a quiet afternoon and a peaceful camp to sleep in. While I’ve probably made camp in at least a dozen different sites since I’ve been here, I have two favorites that I frequent the most—one about eight miles southwest of town, and one about eight miles northwest. With the van, there’s no problem finding a site, and often I won’t know where I’m going to camp until I’m driving out of town.

Here’s an excerpt I wrote for the book the other day. From the chapter The Basics, subchapter Core Strategies. Standard first draft disclaimer… … Read more…

Making It Personal. “Who Am I?” Done Right.

Dissolving and becoming absorbed into the flower.

Dissolving and becoming absorbed into the flower.


April 23, 2016 3:49 PM

Just before I “woke up,” I was sitting in my camp chair on Mt. Hood, practicing what I would later learn was called samyama. I would look at a flower, and try to become one with it. I would sit there, staring at it intently while actively trying to dissolve the perceived boundaries between the flower and myself. I would try to dissolve myself (me-me-me-me-ME!) and become absorbed into the flower.

While I could kind of get a taste of the feeling of Oneness, I wasn’t getting it in the sense I could say, “I got it!” Still, I could feel the “me” softening. In that same week, while sitting on a rock overlooking a brook, I challenged a frog to a meditation contest—and lost. This pissed me off like you wouldn’t believe, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. How could a stupid frog be better at mediation that me(-me-me-me-ME)!

Soon after that, I “woke up” and the boundaries between “me” and “other” collapsed over the next three weeks. … Read more…

30 Years Wasted. How To Do Ramana Maharshi’s “Who Am I?” All Wrong.

When the Me-Story's Gone.

When the Me-Story’s Gone.


April 22, 2016 9:34 AM

Yesterday, for the book, I wrote:

I spent about 30 years of my life doing Ramana Maharshi’s “Who am I?” technique all wrong. The query is so simple that it’s hard to believe anyone could do it wrong, but spiritual techniques and theories are so notoriously vague and incomplete that assumptions—usually incorrect assumptions—are by necessity made by students.

Sad but true.

Here is what I was doing wrong by asking myself, “Who am I?” for thirty years… … Read more…

Discovering Your Life’s Purpose

Remember what you're fighting for. (Painting in the bathroom of Bookman's in Flagstaff, AZ)

Remember what you’re fighting for. (Painting in the bathroom of Bookman’s in Flagstaff, AZ)


April 19, 2016 1:52 PM

If you believe you are a Soul—and at this point, why wouldn’t you?—and if you believe you came back for a reason (and why wouldn’t you?), then how do you discover that reason? How do you discover your life’s purpose?

Over the last couple of days, I wrote the following for the book-in-progress under the chapter The Lessons of the Soul. Yeah, I know, earlier I had mentioned I was in “clean up the text” mode, but soon realized there was more to say. It’s a process.

Standard first-draft disclaimers apply… … Read more…

The ‘Me’ Vacuum

This is your brain on 'Me'

This is your brain on ‘Me’


April 17, 2016 10:41 AM

The other day, I asked Michelle how she accesses Emptiness. She responded (in part):

Usually I’ll be ruminating on something and then snap into a “wait, this is ridiculous to spend all of this mental energy on illusion” sort of realization and it will just happen like that.

When I get caught up in my me-me-me thoughts, I focus on the feel of the contraction/thoughts and visualize pulling them out of my head and dropping them to the ground beside me.

What happens next is what most people call “enlightenment.” The outside world fills the space that was left behind when the me-me-me thoughts were removed and the world and I become one. The Gateless Gate—the felt barrier between the inside world and the outside world—vanishes.

Notice what happened with both Michelle and I: We were focused on interior thoughts (the introspective section of the brain was activated), then we removed the contents of the interior. Because nature abhors a vacuum, the interior space automatically gets “filled” with the outside world. … Read more…

The Forest Sprites

I Awoke To Snow

I Awoke To Snow


April 16, 2016 8:16 AM

“Snow,” my mind said as I lay in bed, looking out the window just as clump fell from a branch. As the clump fell, it released a cloud, and—backlit by the morning sun—a forest sprite appeared and drifted briefly through the wood, lost, only to succumb to the hardness of the material world… collapsing and dying and fading into the ground.

“Snow,” my Mind said.

But my Heart saw a forest sprite.

Have you ever met someone who just “gets” you? Your Mind says they understand you, but your Heart feels/knows/experiences that they get you. … Read more…

A Tough Few Days — Part II: The LSD Study

An Illusion?

An Illusion?


April 15, 2016 10:15 AM

Yesterday I mentioned that a couple of things had thrown me for a loop: The “failure” of a theory I had, and an article I had read earlier that morning which made me question if spirituality was just a big mental illusion.

This morning, Rob resolved the first point (in the comments) by noting that my theory’s “failure” was due to a simple framing problem (physical needs confused with mental desires (a point worthy of a blog post all it’s own)), but the problem of “spirituality being all in your head” was still disturbing.  … Read more…

What You Focus On, You Become

The Mysteriously Missing Self

The Mysteriously Missing Self


April 10, 2016 10:42 AM

When I’m writing a blog post, the “me” disappears and I become the Post.

When I write computer code, the “me” disappears and I become the Code.

When I watch the horrors on the news, the “me” disappears and I become the Horror.

I suspect the same goes for yourself.

What we focus on, we become.Read more…