Acceptance is Without Blame

There is a common idea in spiritual circles that enlightenment is “the solution” and it will make all our problems go away. This isn’t necessarily even taught or conscious. It is the mind’s tendency to interpret this way. For example, when I say “life is bliss” or “awakening is becoming infinite peace,” we can naturally assume this will wash away our old life.

However, our stage of development is a stage in our humanity, not a step out of it. The person ceases to be the center of our being, but we remain in the field of karma and … Continue Reading…

The Great Shadows

While I’ve explored karma in several other posts, I thought it would be useful to take it another step into application.

As the saying goes, we come into this life with a suitcase of karma to work through. There will be lots of little bits plus a few big ones. We might call the biggies life lessons or life challenges.

They’ll show up in certain areas of our life and not in others. For example, we may have reasonable health and good work but relationship challenges and issues with money. These things seem to be ongoing or show up … Continue Reading…

On Spiritual Materialism

I wasn’t going to write on this until I saw a glaring example on-line. As we grow on the spiritual path and clear some of our shadows, what remains becomes more subtle and elusive. We may emulate seekers around us who are actually spiritual materialists. These are people using spirituality in service of the I-self or me. Kavitha Chinnaiyan‘s book Shakti Rising explores the issue.

“…we may take up yoga classes, change the way we behave and who we associate with, and learn to speak the language of spirituality. Although the original intent for liberation was genuine, the … Continue Reading…

How Many Brains?

In some ways, the whole body can be seen as a “brain” in the sense that the brain is an interface with mind and consciousness. However, there are certain centers that are more focused as a nerve plexus. We could say they’re more connected.

We usually think of the brain as being in the head between our ears but recent research has discovered other major centers of nerve concentration that have other specializations.

The brain between the ears is composed of about 100 billion neurons. It behaves as the central processor, the place where most of our sensing is … Continue Reading…

What is Destruction?

We tend to see change as a loss, partly because the ego likes to feel in control. It’s also disturbing tamas, our inertia.

And yet, the cycle of growth requires change: balance, disintegration, growth, integration, and repeat.

Without disintegration, there is no growth, no transformation. Life is inherently change. Our very life depends on the transformation of food, water, and breath.

And if we look around us we see that change is the order of the day. In fact, the world around us is being recreated in every moment. The only reason it doesn’t completely change every time is … Continue Reading…

The Challenges of Teaching

There is a common idea that awakened people automatically become teachers. But teaching is a skill, one that allows us to speak to the student at their level. Many don’t have this skill. They speak from their understanding and others hear from theirs. Mixed results ensue.

A traditional spiritual teacher also adopts their dedicated students, guiding their way home. This is a large, long-term responsibility not to be taken lightly.

Often what triggers the start of teaching is an inner call to share the revelations of a major experience or stage change. It feels so profound and important we want … Continue Reading…


A worthwhile read in the New York Times Sunday Review: Why 2017 Was the Best Year in Human History.

I’d change that to “known history” but he touches on some important points. Things are, for people the world over, getting better.

The news media focuses on the lowest common denominator – an identified ego that wants to know what’s wrong and who’s to blame. Then it can feel better about itself and confirm inner fears about the world.

However, the author says “That’s because most of the time, quite rightly, we focus on things going … Continue Reading…

Our Drivers

Becoming self-aware and learning to recognize where we have work to do can be a difficult process. But the difficulty is only in the complexity and the discomfort of seeing our shadows. It also requires a degree of letting go of control and protective stories.

The complexity arises partly because we’re built in layers so there’s layers to what moves us. And partly because many dynamics are layered in themselves. For example, we have unresolved trauma from a nasty experience in our childhood. We didn’t have good skills for healing so we learned to suppress it instead. When experiences … Continue Reading…

Types of Self

When people use the English word “self” or any of its variations (myself, himself, etc.), they may refer to one or several things. Most commonly, they’re talking about

the personal self or me. Yet if you ask them who they are, they’ll offer their name and profession: what I’m called and what I do – not what I am.

If you ask them who they experience themselves as being, they’ll probably think the question odd and be unable to answer it clearly. They may drop into stories to explain who they are. But if they explore the question, by default … Continue Reading…

Being Conscious

One of the defining factors of being human is our potential to reflect and embody consciousness to quite profound levels. This isn’t exclusive to humans but it might be called one of our greater potentials – to live reality right in form.

Many of the things we’ve often considered “human” can also be discovered in plants and animals, although the expression varies considerably. For example, some cats are very present, some live in their own world, and some are thick as a post. Trees have senses and emotions but experience very differently.

Our path isn’t about “getting enlightened.” It’s better to … Continue Reading…

The Last Surrenders

Just as we’re composed of body, emotions, mind, intellect and ego individually, so too are we structured this way cosmically. Some cultures refer to the cosmic aspects as gods.

The I-sense for an individual person arises from the trinity of mind, intellect and ego. Mind makes the stories of a me and the intellect distinguishes self from other, leading to the I-sense and idea of separate self. In the absence of anything else, we become identified with that I-sense and self-story.

The cosmic I-sense or Self (atman) is the same. In fact, the individual version reflects the cosmic. When we … Continue Reading…

Selfish Mindfulness

An interesting article in The Washington Post on how Mindfulness is being “diluted and distorted by the prevailing narcissism of our time.”

Mindfulness would be good for you. If it weren’t so selfish.

Similar things have happened to yoga and meditation. A watering down and a shift to making it about me. This is natural in an ego-centered culture. But it is useful to know so we’re not lead astray in our practice.

My perspective is that mindfulness arises naturally with culturing yoga. If there is sufficient presence, we can favour it here and … Continue Reading…