Integrating Emptiness

Veins of Color

Veins of Color

ANDERSON, SC—I just posted this to Michelle who’s working on the Emptiness Level. Thought you guys could use a little break from the van. Some minor edits…

A couple things to keep in mind:

Emptiness, from my experience, is something you slide in and out of—it is the realization of the no-borders state, but we can’t FUNCTION in that state. So don’t let fear hold you back as Oneness (not Emptiness) is the INTEGRATION of all the levels—NONE are permanent (Oneness is permanent, but it isn’t really a level or state).

I tend to operate from Radiance, and I use Emptiness as a sort of grounding when I get too caught up in mental noise.

Another thing to keep in mind, you will do so much more good when you operate from Radiance and use Emptiness (as I do) to keep your ego and fears in check—far more good than when you operate from the lower levels alone.

So don’t let Emptiness (what is left when you pull and drop the self away) frighten or discourage you. It is your Foundation, your Source, but not the Great End-All. 🙂

Note to Readers:

The reason you can’t function from the Emptiness level is because everything feels the same. You are nothing and at the same time, everything. The body you find yourself looking out of is exactly as meaningful to you as the chair you are sitting on. Nothing is important. Nothing needs fixing or doing or participating in (because all borders/boundaries are realized as only mind fluff).

At the Emptiness level, there is simply no self-interest so there is no need for action of any sort.

I differ from most nonduality teachers in that I consider Emptiness a level or state and that it must be integrated with all the other levels (Radiance, Soul, Mortal) to realize the Great Paradox (Emptiness AND Fullness). This integration of the Source (Emptiness) and the Stuff (Fullness) is what I call Oneness.

Hat tip to Ken Wilber for his integration ideas (though I disagree with a lot of his methodology).

Life Before Self. Life Before Mind.

Wood and Metal

Wood and Metal

WICKHAM CP, FL—Not to get too hung up on the camper project, some recent dialog with Michelle:


Sep 17, 2013

“At least I am seeing through the patterns of mentally berating myself.”

You are NOT berating yourself.

Your MIND is berating your MIND.

Radiance, the Light, shines through the Portal, but it also shines on the MIND.

The Frog Master knows this because the Frog Master isn’t troubled by the Mind or the Me or the Thoughts. 🙂


Sep 18, 2013

Point taken. 😉 I saw that at points today… The bright place was not responsible for the negative thoughts and deeds. My flaws are not me.


Sep 19, 2013

Keeping track of how the self helps or doesn’t help. Usually it doesn’t. Just sucks attention into a vortex. Forces thoughts to orbit around it. Unconsciously messes things up due to a false sense of security/self-preservation. Without it i relax and can love in the radiance around me. Centralizing around the self traps. Funny thing, when I can lapse into not self, the other layers (soul, radiance) naturally are optimized.


Sep 19, 2013

Listening to music: Joy upon feeling much more joy well up from the music when “I” fade into the background. Because the music isn’t serving my purposes conceptually, it just is sound I can hear and it’s more beautiful. If that makes sense…


Sep 21, 2013

It makes perfect sense, even if it is hard to express. As the self fades, as the judgements and conceptualizing stop being so important (Frog Master lesson), then Life/Her/God can be heard and seen unfiltered. The less there is of you, the more there is of Her.

And it is so very beautiful.


Life Is This Moment

Dew on the Leaves of a Vine

Dew on the Leaves of a Vine

Hi Wayne, I was doing dishes and a thought came out of the blue. Life is this moment, only this moment. It surprised me and I looked around and thought where did that come from. But I felt different after that realization, more appreciation for life. Could you elaborate on this please. Thanks Dave.

It’s interesting that this insight struck you while washing the dishes, as Zen often uses dish washing as a way of practicing mindfulness—and mindfulness is all about living in the Present.

“Life is this moment.” As I sat with my frog master, as I was wondering why I was going nuts and he wasn’t, it struck me that he wasn’t tormented by the mind. He was just living in the moment (a major advantage of having only a tiny frog brain).

We take our thoughts way too seriously. Indeed, you could say that taking thoughts seriously is the only impediment to enlightenment (what I call the Emptiness Level).

You, nor anyone, can hand me your Past, nor can you reach across the table and hand me your Future. Both Past and Future are only thoughts. They aren’t real.

Past and Future are thoughts that practically everyone takes too seriously.

Simply put, your Past and Future are all in your head.

“Life is this moment.” There is a reason that Tolle stresses the Now. There’s a reason that Zen teaches mindfulness and Buddhists focus on impermanence.

The reason is this: Right Now is all there is. Life is this Moment. The Present is Eternal.

Past and Future are not real. They are just a lot of mental noise.

As She whispered in your ear while you were washing the dishes:

Life is this moment, only this moment.

If you found these words of use, please follow tradition with a gift of alms (donation). If you found nothing of use, simply ignore this email and be at peace. (This text is placed at the end of all Wisdom for Alms emails)

The Contraction and the Light

Contracting out of the Light

Contracting out of the Light

WICKHAM CP, FL—From the Emptiness, I contract. My sense of self forms out of the Nothingness/Everythingness and I become a thin-but-solid frame through which the Light shines forth (Radiance).

I’ll hear a question and I’ll contract a bit more and my sense of being becomes more personal, but still eternal and my values become less compassionate and more centralized (Soul).

Then my mind kicks in with its conditioned sense of self awareness and it asks “What does this person think of me?” and I’ll contract further into this body and false self and now the world is me and revolves around me and everything in my life is about me (Mortal).

But the Mortal contraction—in comparison to the Light—feels so dark and ugly and hard and selfish and self-centered that I quickly grow disgusted with it.

And in this disgust—in seeing this darkness, this me-thing—something reacts and the self-contraction softens and loosens and unclenches and I feel my boundaries expand and become less substantial and the process of contraction reverses to one of expansion and the Light returns in all its shining glory and I fade and dwindle and disappear and She becomes the Everything.

Expansion to Contraction to Expansion. The Light to the Self to the Light. The cycle repeats over and over and over as it has done for countless millennium—sometimes taking seconds…

Sometimes taking lifetimes.

Radiance and Beyond

The Light Through The Clouds

The Light Through The Clouds

WICKHAM CP, FL—A follow up to the previous post.

Michelle is firmly established in the Radiant Level. Her sense of self (her identity) is but a thin outline of her former self.

Her focus is on the Light (the movement of God) through her, and on the surrender of control (trying, winning, making things happen).

Really, at this point all she needs to do to experience the Emptiness Level is to get a good ‘grip’ on that thin outline of her false self (I experience this as a mental ‘contraction’ and see it as a portal through which the Light flows) and drop it away. By ‘grip,’ I mean to see the portal/personal self as ‘other’ (not ‘me’) and visualize grasping it and pulling it out of the Light so that nothing remains but the Light shining out of and into Itself.

At that point (Emptiness), there is no ‘Michelle’ (sense of a personal self) and only God/Light moving through the Michelle-body-thing.

Once the ability to slide back and forth between Radiance and Emptiness is relatively effortless (the personal self is seen through yet even Emptiness/Enlightenment isn’t clung to), then integration of all the previous levels will allow the Michelle/Her-thing to function in the world: Mystical Oneness.

Important Note: Unlike the traditional “all-or-nothing” approach where the student jumps directly from the Mortal level to the Emptiness level (what they call ‘Enlightenment’), the student of the path of Mystical Oneness (Mortal to Soul to Radiance to Emptiness) needn’t be concerned when she slips out of Emptiness (as is to be expected) because she naturally slips back to Radiance since her conditioning has been firmly established there. From Radiance, it is quite easy (once Emptiness has been experienced) to slide back and forth between Emptiness and Radiance.

The “all-or-nothing” student—who has had no experience with the “softer” levels (Soul and Radiance) slips all the way back to the Mortal level from which they came. This results in the relatively common satori experience—a glimpse of Emptiness—but sadly and all too often, no ability to return to it. ‘Enlightenment’ for the all-or-nothing student becomes a matter of (odds-defying) luck.

Taking It Seriously

Flower in White

Flower in White

WICKHAM CP, FL—Eckhart Tolle once said that you have to want enlightenment as badly as a drowning man wants a breath of air… but at the same time, you can’t try for it.

He presents the spiritual seeker’s motivation (what one takes seriously) as a paradox, but I prefer to look at is as a perspective:

At the Mortal Level, you take Life seriously—because Life is all you’ve got.

At the Soul Level, you take your spiritual development seriously—because you want to return to Her/God farther along than where you started.

At the Radiant Level, you take surrender seriously—because surrender is the only way to join the Light.

At the Emptiness Level, you take attachment seriously—because attachment pulls you out of Emptiness.

From Mystical Oneness, you don’t take any of this seriously—even when caught up in lower levels.

The thing is, no matter where you’re at, you are going to get caught up in the noise. A lower level is going to shout and you’re going to listen.

The trick is to not take the “getting caught up in it” too seriously either.

The spiritual quest is all about the stillness at the center—not the swirling minutia.

Mystical Oneness: Ecstatic Unity



WICKHAM CP, FL—I was looking through a couple books that I had been reading just prior to the Illumination and came across Jenny Wade’s description of common “mystically altered states” experienced by the awakened.

First though, don’t expect to just “fall into” these states and never come back. As Wade states:

Noetically distinct states are at first attained for only a split second and under special circumstances, but gradually, the ability to access them comes under volitional control…

and eventually become integrated into day-to-day life. So don’t sweat it if you drop into these states, but can’t retain them. More stable states will come with time and practice.

She breaks these “mystical states” down into a few distinct qualities, so I’ll present them one at a time in this and future posts.

First up, Ecstatic Unity

Ecstatic unity with no separation between subject and object, self and other, inner and outer. This state is suffused with bliss, love, and joy.

My Experience: Your boundaries disappear and suddenly everything feels at once outside of you, inside of you, and as you.

Without self boundaries, you become paradoxically absolutely nothing (no ‘you’), while at the exact same time absolutely everything (no boundaries = no separation).

Just like you love yourself, you love everything in your perception (everything you physically experience) because it is felt as you. This is a beautiful state and what I call the Emptiness Level.

Here’s a practice I posted a few years back to help you experience this multiple-perspectives-at-once viewpoint.

Me and Jed McKenna

My Favorite Self Portrait

OUTSIDE MAGDALENA, NM—I recently finished Jed McKenna’s Theory of Everything, which ironically came out around the time I was re-releasing A Simple Explanation for Everything (two very different books though).

As I read it, I found myself in the odd place of being both in agreement with some of his conclusions, while at the same time in disagreement with most of his logic. … Read more…

Free Will

The Path

LEASBURG DAM SP, NM—Reader Lee sent the following email concerning free will:

For some time now (aprox 2 years) I’ve been grappling with the idea of free will. I can’t seem to arrive at a conclusion. The advaita point of view seems to hold that there is no such thing ~ and then just places emphasis on Consciousness. I can’t poke a hole through their logic (eg., Ramesh Balsekar). On the other hand, when ‘I’ arrive at a fork in the road, I can listen to my inner Self (using my spiritual equipment – my sense of truth, what I care about, my intuition) and make the choice to follow through or not. Or, I can make no effort to plumb the depths, the within, at all. If I choose to be or do something, it doesn’t feel mechanical. (Of course, if I’m experiencing a reactionary state it always feels mechanical.) Moreover, most spiritual masters that I’m aware of posit that there is a free will.

I seem to be able to accommodate both sides of the argument ~ even though they seem mutually exclusive. That is I find both credible.

Could you shed some light on this question. It would be greatly appreciated.

Read more…

Journal 1/11/13: A Koan, a Quest, and a Question

CITY OF ROCKS SP, NM–A Koan, a Quest, and a Question…

Date: January 11, 2013 7:23 AM 


Lots of great ideas again last night. Pushed a lot of them away, but I did get caught up in a few (dammit). Didn’t write any of them down or record them on my voice recorder, so that’s a small victory.

Which brings me to a little koan that came to me last night (See? I just can’t get away from these damn things! I’m addicted I tell you. Addicted. 🙂 ).

The Koan:

Why is “Better” important to you personally?

(Synchronistically, when I woke up, I see Seth Godin’s morning post in my news reader: Four reasons your version of BETTER might not be enough).

Now forget the synchronicity. Think about this:

Why is “Better” important to you?


Date: January 11, 2013 3:58 PM 


Since I needed to go into town for propane and supplies, I decided to do a little exploring in the truck to see if I could find any good boondocking spots in the area. I found the one that Boonie and Randy had found before. A beautiful spot but what a nightmare to tow a trailer all the way up there (eight miles up a single lane mountain road).

Just another example where a stealth camper van would have been perfect: Since I was already there, I could have just parked and stayed a week or two.

Still, I have pretty much decided to keep the trailer even if I do get and outfit a van for camping. I figure the trailer will come in handy back in FL when I’m either down there visiting or on an extended stay helping out with the family. If I did get the van, then I’d probably just put the trailer in storage when not in use.

Date: January 11, 2013 4:48 PM 

A Good Question about “Beyond Emptiness”

Reader Jeff asked a good question today about confusing “beyond Emptiness” with not really being there. Again synchronistically, one of those pull-me-away-from-Her thoughts last night was about the “Hero’s Journey” of the spiritual quest: the Ascent to Enlightenment (Emptiness) and the Descent of bringing it back into the world (Integration). And even though I’ve been ranting recently about explaining my theories, I felt the synchronicity was Her way of telling me to just shut up and do it. My reply here.