How We Are with Life

Much of our life experience is not about what is here, it’s about how we’re responding to it. Our relationship with ourselves and our life determines how we react. Are we accepting life as it is? If not, how are we fighting it?

Do we resist some of what arises, leaving unresolved impressions or samskaras? Or do we react and try to control events and others? Are we driven by unresolved desires or experiences (vasanas)? Does our life have a little too much drama?

We all have life experiences that becomes memories. And the play of action unfolds in our … Continue Reading…

Clearing Dark Beings

As science has discovered, our bodies are made of trillions of cells, each their own life form. We also carry an even greater number of other life forms. Some of the second type are very beneficial, like those in our gut biome that help with digestion. Others are less so and the body has a defense system to keep them under control.

When the body falls out of balance, less desirable things like bacteria and viruses can get the upper hand and we experience being sick. To help clear the problem, the body will do things like raise its temperature, … Continue Reading…

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

At several points in my life, I’ve studied the work of Abraham Maslow, particularly around self actualization. He was one of the few then to study psychological well-being rather than illness, creating what he called Positive Psychology. His “hierarchy of needs” (and thus motivation) is widely known although not as supported by science now. This is partly because the higher needs vary somewhat by culture and personality.

Nonetheless, it is useful for broad understanding. We can only pursue personal development effectively when our basic needs are being met. Inquiry means little if we don’t have enough to eat … Continue Reading…

Why is there a Dark Side?

It’s good to consider – why does a world expressed by the Divine have evil? The answer is all about balance.

In the Vedic perspective, there are 3 forces in creation: creation, maintenance, and destruction. Those 3 forces evolve into 3 qualities (gunas) which evolve into the 5 elements, 5 senses and so forth.

The 3 qualities or gunas are:
Sattva: creative, purity, clarity, smooth
Rajas: fire, action, energy, transformation
Tamas: inertia, rigidity, resistance

Without inertia, we would have no form. In fact, nothing would last. As Dharma is that which sustains, tamas is … Continue Reading…

The Irony of Seeking

At some point on our life journey we tend to become seekers. The desire for more, experiences, exposure to some teaching; something triggers a shift. We transition from a life focused on our individuality to something bigger and deeper.

Usually, a good part of the seeking process is framed as self-betterment or escape. In other words, we’re still very much personally oriented. The search is usually driven by aversion to pain or a grasping after more pleasure or both. As Yoga observes, both of these lead only to suffering.

At the same time, the seeking activity helps keep us … Continue Reading…

Models of Development

Over the years, I’ve seen many models of spiritual development. Most of them follow a subjective process that one or a few people experienced that doesn’t reflect how it will unfold for many others. Fundamentally it is shifts in being – in who we recognize ourselves to be – that reflect the underlying process. This is why I’ve focused on that.

Yet it can be instructive to see some of the other things that can shift that are reflected in other models. Categories like this can give you a sense of where they’re coming from. But there can be … Continue Reading…

Energetic Embodiment

In some teachings, the kundalini or energy process dominates. It is seen that awakening kundalini  opens and rises, leading to awakening. They may prescribe techniques to encourage or even push the energy along. This can be quite hazardous and can make the process much rougher.

However, the deeper problem with a kundalini emphasis is that kundalini is not causal. It is the energetic process that results from the process in consciousness and will unfold in the body naturally when it is ready.

I explored some of the variations in the energy process here.

In a similar way, some teachings … Continue Reading…

The Seeker

The Seeker can be described as a stage of development in a spiritual process. It arises when we shift from being focused on our personal life to a focus on development beyond ourselves, to our higher nature.

This can develop gradually, such as goals shifting to a spiritual orientation or inner development. Or it may come on suddenly, with the impact of a profound experience. The profound may arise through an unexpected opening or out of trauma.

The Seekers dominance can vary over time. Some people grow weary of seeking but not finding or of ever looking, for … Continue Reading…

Who Am I?

This comes out of an on-line discussion on the Falling Away of Self interview. Someone asks if Rick was referring to the individual soul. Rick responds “It seems to persist from life to life, some say forever. Is that the self?”

My response, edited slightly for this context:
That depends. What do we subjectively relate to as “who I am”?

I find the Vedic perspective useful. They describe layers to it. The ego-self (Ahamkara) or sense of being a separate self. It is identification with this that leads to the sense of a personal, separate me. It is … Continue Reading…

On the Falling Away of Self – Adyashanti and Susanne Marie

Adyashanti and Susanne Marie in conversation with Rick Archer. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation for some months.

Join Susanne Marie and Adyashanti in an exploration with Rick Archer about an often misunderstood subject. Beyond the traditional landing places that mind creates (commonly discussed in non-dual circles), lies an indescribable landscape of living as pure, direct experiencing. Prior to this opening, the habitual subjective filter creates a veil of separation of which one is not even aware. This is true even within expanded, unified states of consciousness. Once … Continue Reading…

Me or We?

Lori Ann Lothian recently wrote an article called What if Your Awakening is Not Just for You? The article is about people seeking enlightenment to get something when enlightenment is about giving, letting go, shifting from a me to a we.

Yet this dynamic can also be part of the shadow post-awakening, one that gets in the way of deeper progress. The key is to learn to recognize the dynamic and wind it down rather than investing in it or making it “mine” or projecting it onto others.

I’ve written about some … Continue Reading…

A Case Study

I’ve talked before about winding down the shadow, teaching prematurely, and having peer support. Issues with these are important to recognize in others and groups so we don’t get caught up in their junk (as much) or amplify our own. I’ve also touched on cultish teachers and some of the symptoms of problems.

I gave an example recently in Ken Wilber. He cofounded What is Enlightenment? magazine and the Integral Institute with Andrew Cohen. Cohen has become a useful case study in what can go wrong.

It’s not the purpose … Continue Reading…