Unconditional Love

The Light And the Vastness

The Light And the Vastness

YUMA, AZ

Enlightenment is when the personal and the impersonal unite. When they unite, all boundaries are seen through and we experience a profound sense of Vastness.

For many, this Vastness feels alive. It feels like the source of Everything. It feels vibrant, like some undefinable Potential, vibrating with an irrepressible inner expectation. … Read more…

Your Identity Portfolio

Tree on a Hill

Tree on a Hill

ROCK SPRINGS, WY

August 26, 2015 4:22 PM

Though I hadn’t planned it, I woke up expecting to leave my cool and isolated camp today. Two hours later, a shepherd (as in herder of sheep) pulling his little vardo-like wagon and cargo trailer appeared on my mile long, dead end road and I greeted him and said, “Don’t worry, you’re not going to have to back up, I’ll be out of here in five minutes,” and (much to his delight for I don’t know how he could have gotten his dual trailers turned around with me parked there), I broke camp and drove away.

This blog goes through “theory phases” every so often, and I really don’t care too much for them, so I’ll finish off the “Map of Identity” (new Map) with something I realized while creating it: We don’t exist at any one place on the map.Read more…

Adya and Francis on BATGAP

WOLF CREEK PASS, CO

July 3, 2015 5:24 PM

I watched this BATGAP interview with Adyashanti and Francis Bennett this afternoon. I didn’t take notes, but I’d like to point out a couple cool things.

First, if you personally know anyone who is awake, Adya’s book, Resurrecting Jesus is a must read if you wish to understand them better (and what they’ve gone (or are going) through). … Read more…

What My Mind Can’t Grasp

The Easily Overlooked

The Easily Overlooked

WOLF CREEK PASS, CO

July 2, 2015 12:41 PM

With the long weekend coming up—and with Colorado-ians profound love of the outdoors in mind—I made a desperately needed supply run yesterday and hurried back to re-nail down my site. All morning, trucks and campers have been cruising by, jealously eye-balling my spot. I feel a little guilty… but not enough to move. … Read more…

The Dual Lives of Modern Enlightened Teachers

The Sun Sets on the Gateless Gate

The Sun Sets on the Gateless Gate

LA BARGE, WY—Years ago, I wrote a post, Why Don’t Enlightenment Teachers Blog?. In it, I (not so subtly) implied that the blissed-out state that most teachers present on stage is not abiding—they don’t take it into their day-to-day lives continuously.

The other day, I came across some evidence from 2008 (thanks Lori) that supports this—that the image that enlightenment teachers present on stage is different than their day-to-day life.

Of particular importance is Adyashanti’s phrase (emphasis mine), “…the underlying virus is still very active and gets activated by the energy that flows through me when I teach.”

In other words, while teaching, an extra energy (what I often call Her) flows through him, yet while not teaching, this energy flow is not consistent (though, as in my case, probably happens quite often).

This simple phrase, “the energy that flows through me when I teach,” and its implications, supports a few things I have been saying (and have often been criticized for) for years:

  • The stage presence of teachers is different than their day-to-day presence. On Stage: more TaoGodHer. Day-to-day life: less TaoGodHer.
  • That there is an “other” (intelligence/energy) operating within those who have dropped the personal self. Ie: the duplex personality—the less there is of you, the more there is of Her.
  • The experience of enlightenment/Oneness is a flowing experience. One’s “center” shifts between more contracted and less contracted states of identity (Mortal/Eternal/Radiance/Emptiness).

I see this as very good news. It makes enlightenment/Mystical Oneness far more practical, and more importantly, far easier for the mind to accept, for those who wish to seek it.

I only wish I had heard about it sooner.

Control, Free Will, and the Ego

Simple And Slow And Natural

Simple And Slow And Natural

JOHN DAY DAM, WA—A few years back I was discussing/arguing free will with my mother and brother. My opinion (though I stated it as a fact, not an opinion), is that if you could go back 10 minutes into the past, you would do everything exactly the same as you did the first time through. Why? Because everything else would be “reset” and with nothing changed (you wouldn’t remember what you did last time), you’d do the exact same thing. Free will was an illusion. QED.

Makes sense right? To bad it’s all BS. Pure mental fantasy. You can’t go back in time which nullifies the rest of the scenario… ie BS. See how the mind messes with you? Stupid minds. They are your own worst enemy.

Anyway here is what I believe now:

In Genesis—which I see as a parable—God gave Man free will to do as he wanted with the exception of eating from that one tree over there. Man of course couldn’t resist the temptation so he ate from the Tree of Knowledge and bazinga, instantly grew an ego (became self aware).

Man. Was. Screwed.

My interpretation of this story:

  • TaoGodHer won’t mess with your free will—do whatever the hell you want, She’s not going to interfere. That’s Her deal with you.
  • The “you” and “your” in the sentence above is the ego brought about by the Tree of Knowledge (self awareness).
  • The less there is of “you” the less there is of self will and the more there is of Divine will.

You see, free will is all about control, and control is the antithesis of surrender and surrender is the direct path to the Divine. The more free will you think you have, the more there is of “you.” The more you surrender, the less there is of “you” and the more there is of Her.

From Michelle’s post to me earlier today:

Had a nice experience this morning at work… Just of seeing myself as secondary, as not really in control, and walking and moving and talking from spirit… Controlled by spirit… Of course my ego self is scared to not be in control… But when I think about it, how could it be? If my ego actually controlled my world, all would go according to its plan. And that’s just not what happens. It spends a lot of its time on damage control from its own resistance, really.

That’s a perfect example of the way I live—of the way I’d love others to live. Who’s in control? That is just a mental game, based on a world of “Or’s.” It isn’t a choice between the Wayne-thing OR the Divine. It’s not a this OR that.

The Mystic doesn’t live exclusively in the world of Man or the world of the Divine. The Mystic lives in the Threshold. The Mystic lives between the two worlds.

For the Mystic, it’s not “my” free will or God’s free will.

It’s both.

The Other Side Of Emptiness

Looking Up Into The Leaves And The Light

Looking Up Into The Leaves And The Light

NEWPORT, OR—Though she hasn’t been “hit” yet with the Realization (“OMG, I’m just a bunch of thoughts!”), Michelle is definitely “tasting” Emptiness and is already running into the problem of “bringing it into everyday life.” This brings her to the point of how I largely function on a day-to-day basis: Radiance post Emptiness/enlightenment. I don’t have a word for this Radiance-after-Emptiness state, but its key difference from “practice” Radiance is that you no longer identify with the portal (think of yourself as the portal), but see it as a natural contraction needed to bring Emptiness into the world.

From our dialog:

Michelle:

More quiet time home thanks to a hurt wrist and personal time from work and I’m able to feel emptiness beneath the me thought cluster. The cluster I call me does have weight and form and familiarity, but it’s still a shadow. Just a heavier one. If I could bring that awareness into my everyday life… That would be amazing.

Wayne:

I’m not convinced that Emptiness can be brought into everyday life.

But, the integration of the levels definitely can. My point is to question the assumption: that Emptiness can be brought into everyday life. Can it? I don’t know of anyone who has done it. I’ve seen a lot of teachers on stage, or giving satsangs, but that isn’t everyday life.

Anyway, keep focusing on Emptiness, but now bring Radiance into play also. Feel the Love and Light arise and shine forth from the Emptiness. I don’t have a name for Radiance-after-Emptiness, but the difference from “regular” Radiance is that the portal/shell now feels like a contraction that is a part of the experience, but no longer you.

Pre-Emptiness, the portal/shell felt like Michelle, now, see if it doesn’t feel more like a bridge or opening that allows the Love/Light into the world… to shine the Love outward and provide it to others.

Try to start seeing the self-contraction as a bridge between the world of Man and the world of the Divine. Let me know how it goes.

END DIALOG

The Creepy Guy In The Van

The Van In The Wilderness

The Van In The Wilderness

BEND, OR—One of the reasons van dwelling isn’t more popular is because of the Creepy-Guy-In-The-Van syndrome.

Sitting in my van, typing away on the computer, I glanced up to catch a young mother looking over at me. She instinctively reached for her child’s hand and my mind said, “She thinks I’m the creepy guy in the van,” and I felt The Contraction as the me-thing hardened up. Yuck.

Self centered thoughts, what a pain in my ass.

The chipmunks and the cardinal-like bird taught me that all animals have a primitive sense of self—that evolution rewards self-preservation. Likewise, evolution rewards animals that don’t stand out from the herd—that aren’t too different from the other members of their species. What self-respecting seagull wants to mate with that nut case Jonathan who is always out perfecting his useless acrobatics skills while the rest of us are flocking around doing the-very-important-but-not-really-examined-seagull-stuff? Who’d mate with a weirdo like that?

Evolution rewards the herd. It rewards conformists. (Today’s contrary view: This morning’s post by Seth Godin. Today’s sad supporting evidence: This morning’s news of a crowd watching a murder in a McDonalds.)

Just like self preservation is hard-wired into our brains, I’m pretty sure that social conformity is too.

I’m pretty sure the question, “What do they think of me?” (in some instinctual primitive form), is physically wired into our brains and there’s not a damn thing we can do about our minds asking us this question (no matter how subtly) over and over and over whenever it sees we are around others.

Damn hard-wired mind, what a pain in my ass.

Maybe that’s why solitude is so attractive to the spiritual seeker. It makes their life easier. It makes the Emptiness—the Vastness that lies below all the noise of the ego—much more easily accessed.

Anti-social people seek to repress the instinctual query What do people think of me?, creating (I’m guessing here) an inner conflict which manifests as anger and cynicism toward their fellow man.

But the authentic spiritual seeker—in her quest to understand her true nature—can’t afford inner conflict or self deception. In the pursuit of spiritual truth, she can’t afford to repress or deny the question, What do people think of me?. So what is she to do?

The Frog Master knows:

You are not your thoughts. You are not in control of your thoughts. There is no need to take thoughts seriously. There is no need to feel responsible for them. Your thoughts are not you.

Put another way—and as ironic as it sounds—you could say that your thoughts are not your thoughts. Thoughts are just a bunch of instinctual noise in your head.

I still take thoughts too seriously sometimes. I still contract when my mind says that someone else’s mind is telling them that I am the creepy guy in the van. Damn hard-wired mind… pain in my ass. But I’m trying, Ringo, I’m trying real hard to be the Frog Master.

The Subtle Senses Of Self

The Many States of Being

The Many States of Being

SOMEWHERE IN THE SIERRAS, CA—Some thoughts I’m fleshing out. Hopefully this will be enough theory for awhile. Sorry for the long posts.

Instinctual self: Our genetically hardwired sense of self responsible for self/species preservation.

Ego: The imaginary self consisting of a persistent belief that we are our thoughts, past memories, and current roles.

Mortal self: The body, thoughts, emotions, and experience.

Soul self: Consciousness which transcends the body, but is still individualized.

Radiant Self: Consciousness still separate from the surroundings, but with a powerful sense of Love (TaoGodHer as other) flowing through you and into everything you see or experience.

Emptiness Self: The pure Witness when the sense of separation from the surroundings vanishes. Everything feels as one/you/consciousness.

Witness, Transcendent Self or just Self (capital S): When the ego is dropped, that which is experiencing events.

Personal self or just self (small s): Any combination of the above selves which you identify with.

No Self: When the Witness is no longer identified with. Clunky phrasing, but to say something like “when you no longer identify with the Witness,” is completely contrary to the experience. Everything is One Thing (nondual), and there is no “you.”

A couple key points:

  • Self is all about identity… who or what you believe yourself to be. Not rationally, but experientially.
  • Self seems to fall into one of three broad categories: Ego (me, me, me), Transcendent (I Am), No Self (???). Hat tip to Adyashanti.
  • Most people’s personal self is the ego.
  • Mortal and Soul selves are more individual based (solid self boundaries), and thus most egos identify with a combination of these.
  • Radiant and Emptiness selves are ethereal based (subtle self boundaries) and thus most people who have “woken up” tend to identify with a combination of these.
  • Though Emptiness and No Self seem to be the same, Emptiness still has a subtle sense of identity (the Witness).
  • The instinctual self has a great influence on pulling the “self center” temporarily lower (toward Mortal).
  • TaoGodHer (the nondual Intelligence), subtly pulls the “self center” higher (toward Her).
  • My experience of No Self is limited, but the instinctual self seems to affect the No Self too—it contracts the identity into one of the lower self stages because of having a physical body.
  • I have yet to identify with the ego (imaginary self) since “waking up” back in 2009. However, I often (inadvertently) contract (solidify/harden) to the Mortal and Soul levels. In other words, I no longer experience myself to be my thoughts or my history or the roles I participate in, yet I still sometimes take thoughts seriously (Mortal) or see myself as an immortal individual (Soul).
  • When I talk about the Wayne-thing (or the me-me-me), I’m talking about my Mortal self and/or instinctual self (thoughts and/or self-concerns). For most people, the Me-thing is their ego (imaginary self).

This all came about because of two “knots” I was contemplating on my birthday:

  • Knot 1: Why does my sense of self, which tends to be centered in Radiance, shift between the other levels (Mortal, Soul, Radiance Emptiness)? Insight/Whisper: The shifting of the me-center is influenced in an upward direction by a “Divine pull” (TaoGodHer) and a downward direction by the instinctual self. Not like a tug-of-war pull, but more like a unified, yin/yang, moon/ocean, tidal-like experience… a flowing.
  • Knot 2: Why do I need to identify with anything? Almost identical to the box technique mentioned here (“Right now, do I need the ego?”), but on the next level up (not ego to Witness, but Witness to No Self).

As I said, I’m still fleshing this stuff out so it’s all a bit rough, and quite honestly I’m about sick of it (I’m much happier just living it rather than explaining it), but I wanted to post it somewhere so you guys’ll have a better idea of what I’m talking about when I use that little four-letter word self.

Thanks for putting up with me (whoever that me is). 🙂

The Lie Of Abiding Nondual Awareness

A Stream In The Forest

A Stream In The Forest

SOMEWHERE HIGH IN THE SIERRAS, CA—I sat on a rock in a stream in a high mountain forest and—as is my birthday tradition—contemplated the knots in my life and what I was going to do about them.

On one of the banks, two chipmunks scurried about, darting in and out of the rocks, courting and playing and chasing each other. A bird, darker in color but similar in shape to a cardinal, flitted among the branches above, gathering twigs for a nest.

I raised my arms to stretch stiff muscles and instantly the chipmunks disappeared into a hole and the bird shot off into the air and in response She whispered, “Even animals have self-consciousness.”

I was surprised by this. Not Her whispers, but Her words: “Even animals have self-consciousness.”

I’ve occasionally mentioned something I call the self-contraction—how sometimes I get pulled out of the Vastness into my little me-me-me self. I’ve often said it is simply conditioning—like an old habit that is hard to break. Conditioning is what practically every spiritual teacher calls it.

But Her whispers indicate otherwise.

I’ve been wrong in calling it conditioning—like it is something that can be overcome with a little more practice. The self-contraction is not a conditioned habit that can be broken—it is a core and ancient part of our genetic code.

Chipmunks and cardinal-like birds flee when they sense danger. They have an instinctual sense of self-preservation—a very primitive sense of self… a sense of “me” separate from everything else. If they didn’t have this me-me-me instinct, they’d be eaten by the first predator that came along and their genes wouldn’t have gotten passed on.

Chipmunks and cardinal-like birds have a primitive sense of self. All animals do.

It’s not conditioning that causes the self-contraction. It’s instinct.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to identify with the self-contraction—that’s really what enlightenment is—but enlightened or not, the self-contraction never goes away. It’s a part of—literally—life.

Which leads me to one of the most common myths about enlightenment…

Some (enlightened) spiritual teachers say they live in “abiding nondual awareness.” I’ve always had doubts about claims like that. Now I know why.

Self-consciousness is instinctual. The self-contraction (self separate from other… ie: duality) is a part of the genetic nature of all sentient creatures. Abiding nondual awareness doesn’t exist.

Temporary nondual awareness exists (I refer to it as Emptiness).

Integrated dual/nondual awareness exists (the Unity/Separation Paradox).

But abiding nondual awareness doesn’t exist—it can’t as long as you have a physical body with its genetically encoded sense of a separate self.

The, dare I say, lie of abiding nondual awareness kind of explains why most nondual teachers don’t blog about their day-to-day lives—it would be evident that their nondual awareness isn’t abiding.

(Note: I will be happy to retract this, hell, I’d love to retract this, if someone can prove—not assert, but prove—otherwise.)