What Causes My Suffering?

This might well be something to chew on for a few minutes today.

From Michael Jeffrey’s blog:

What’s true is always what’s happening, not the story about what SHOULD be happening. ~Byron Katie

“Sally should call me more often.”

Q: Is the source of my suffering Sally not calling me, or is it believing the thought, “Sally SHOULD call me more often.”?

As Byron Katie says, when we believe our thoughts we suffer. Why? Because we are mistaking a mind manufactured belief, a temporary appearance, for the Truth. What’s the difference? One never changes because it’s what I AM, and the other never stops changing showing me that it’s what I AM not.

~Michael Jeffreys



Some Thoughts on Thoughts

U-are-not-ur-thoughtsI’ve been finding Michael Jeffreys helpful the last few weeks. You can find him generally on Facebook. He writes for Collective-Evolution now and then.

It’s not that he tells me anything particularly new, it’s more that he has a way of explaining that makes good sense and makes for clarity.

In matters of the Spirit, clarity is essential.

We know that our thoughts are now who we are. They are what we hold on to and ultimately they define “us” by our choice. But they are not us. Knowing that, we can do something about it.

I hope you find this article useful.

From Collective-Evolution:


My thoughts are driving me crazy!” “If only I could unplug my mind, I would be happy.” Because our thoughts often overwhelm, confuse, frustrate and even seem to torture us, there are times we wish the mind had an OFF button. That if we could somehow turn “the noise machine in the head” off, we would have peace.

However, what the great sages and mystics have repeatedly told us throughout history is that the solution lies NOT in trying to get rid of our thoughts, but rather in stopping our habitual and robotic tendency to identify with them. This alone, says the great Indian Advaita master Nisargadatta, is what is responsible for our suffering:

“To myself, I am neither perceivable nor conceivable; there is nothing I can point out and say: ‘this I am.’ You identify yourself with everything so easily; I find it impossible. The feeling ‘I am not this or that, nor is anything mine’ is so strong in me that as soon as a thing or a thought appears, there comes at once the sense ‘this I am not.’” – Nisargadatta Maharaj

So, it turns out that it’s not the thought itself that is the cause of our unhappiness, but that we IDENTIFY with it. To identify with something means that you are claiming that IT is YOU. For example, like your picture on your passport or drivers license.

“Our self image is not stable, not reliable because it’s always changing.” – Mooji

However, no matter how good (or bad) the picture is, is it ever actually YOU? Are you literally that photo? No, you are not.

Likewise, your THOUGHTS are never the real YOU. Why? Because thoughts come and go, but you are always present. YOU are aware of thoughts, thoughts are not aware of you, or as Mooji says, “Thoughts report to you, you don’t report to thoughts.”

This is why believing our thoughts leads to suffering; because we are putting our attention/identity on a temporary and fleeting mental appearance. Because thoughts are inherently unstable, we feel unstable when we identify with them.

Staying Home

So what’s the alternative? Here it is: Stay home. Don’t leave your center. Don’t move. Be still. Let your attention merge into the silence. Zero point. Note that since you already are pure Consciousness, there can be no talk of becoming it. And since you already are it, there can be no talk of going somewhere to get it. There can only be the clear seeing, clear recognition of the light of Consciousness that is effortlessly aware of these words, but is not dependent on them in order to exist.

Simply put, thoughts need YOU to exist, but you do not need them. Therefore in order for them to become a full blown belief, they need your cooperation. Or more specifically, your energy. Why? Because they get the energy to become a belief from the only power source available: your ATTENTION! Stop giving your thoughts power (via your attention/interest) and what happens? Like a fan that is unplugged, the blades start to slow down and will eventually stop.

The thing is you can’t fake it. If you are still believing your thoughts, and thus suffering, it’s because you are interested in them at some level. Remember, we have been believing them for decades, so be patient with yourself; it can take a while for thoughts to lose their allure, their stickiness.

“I am not an object in Consciousness but its source, its Witness, pure shapeless Awareness.” –Nisargadatta Maharaj

I know from my own experience, as well as from talking with the people that come to my Santa Monica Eckhart Tolle meetup twice a month, that it is not easy to let go of our “personal” identity. After all, it’s all we’ve ever known for our entire lives. However, that’s exactly the point: it’s what you know, but it’s not what you ARE.

Many people sincerely desire freedom, but a part of them is afraid to completely let the silence have them. They imagine life will be boring or they will just sit on the couch eating junk food and watching TV all day. However, this story is just the mind’s feeble attempt to keep itself employed. The truth is the mind has no idea what it’s like to awaken for the simple reason that the present moment is timeless and thoughts take time. Thus, a thought can never awaken.

In a way, you are teaching your mind that it is okay to rest and that you will call on it if you require its services. Again, the mind is useful for practical and survival issues, but it makes a lousy boss. As Eckhart says, “The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”

Why is it so hard to detach from our thoughts? Because we mistake them for who/what we are. It is how a parasite exists in nature. It tricks the host into thinking that it is part of itself, and so no alarm bells go off. If you think something is you than you simply accept it and the matter is closed.

But what we forget is that thoughts are made of language. And language must be learned—and learning takes time. And so, for the first few months of your existence, you had no awareness of thoughts and yet you existed perfectly well! This can mean only one thing:


However, simply agreeing with this statement doesn’t alleviate suffering. Why? Because the understanding is still intellectual, still conceptual. It must be seen directly, for oneself, in one’s own experience for the understanding to penetrate into one’s being and to be lived.

Final Thoughts

When we believe our thoughts we suffer. Peace happens spontaneously when the addiction to identifying with one’s thoughts is broken. When this happens, it can be discovered that Life does not need you to identify with thoughts in order for Life to function. In fact, the good news is that Existence functions even better without “you” in the way! In a way, the “I” is what blocks the natural flow and harmony of Life. In other words, the less “you” the more love.

Conscious Healing

consciousI tend to enter the realm of self-healing with a good dose of skepticism and yet with wonder. There is so much that we still do not know about the inner workings of space/time energy and mind.

I am also fraught with concern that desperate people will grab onto anything that promises hope instead of staying with recommended treatment. Yet, each human has the right, so I believe, to make these choices for themselves.

It is undeniable at this point that at the quantum level we affect the results by merely engaging in the experiment. This has been demonstrated again and again by the ” double slit” experiment whereby electrons are passed through a slit of metal and the “hits” are projected on-screen. Sometimes the electrons act like waves and sometimes like particles, and it seems to depend on whether someone is watching or not. The electrons respond to what is expected of them by the experimenter.

This leads to the conclusion, (by better minds than mine I assure you), that reality is something that we can effect. We can in a real sense control the actions of electrons which are just bits of things called atoms.

Some argue that the human body is but a projection of the mind; it is nothing more than what we think we are. If that is correct, then we have the power to change it, as needed.

The problem is, quite obviously, it’s not easy to do in our present condition, because we are so much a victim of the perception. It is hard to believe, to know that we have such power, and then to separate our conscious brains from the distractions of what appears real and focus on the true reality–our ability to control the energy fields that encompass all of us and all of the universe.

Deepak Chopra tells of such “healings” where mind affects the cure as do others. If you would care to read further, then continue:

From Waking Times:

In this article we will explore how your body is a holographic projection of your consciousness, and how you directly influence that hologram and thus have complete control over the physical health of your body. We will also specifically explore the exact mechanism behind this principle, and don’t worry, I will provide scientific evidence so let your rational mind be at ease. But first … how is this even possible?

Human Thought Determines Reality

One of the key principles of quantum physics is that our thoughts determine reality. Early in the 1900′s they proved this beyond a shadow of a doubt with an experiment called the double slit experiment. They found that the determining factor of the behavior of energy (‘particles’) at the quantum level is the awareness of the observer.

For example: electrons under the same conditions would sometimes act like particles, and then at other times they would switch to acting like waves (formless energy), because it was completely dependent on what the observer expected was going to happen. Whatever the observed believed would occur is what the quantum field did.

The quantum world is waiting for us to make a decision so that it knows how to behave. That is why quantum physicists have such difficulties in dealing with, explaining, and defining the quantum world. We are truly, in every sense of the word, masters of creation because we decide what manifests out of the field of all-possibility and into form.

The thing is, the quantum level of reality isn’t a local and insignificant aspect of creation. It is all around us, and it is the most fundamental level of creation aside from the unified field itself. The human energy field is interacting and influencing the quantum field all around us at all times and the energy of our beliefs and intentions are infused into our energy field because they are defined by the energy of our thoughts and emotions.

Thus the fusion of our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and intentions, which I will call the human energy field for simplicity’s sake, is perpetually informing the quantum reality within us and around us at each moment of our existence.

And because reality is flashing in and out of existence (hypothetically at Planck time – 1044 times per second – as explained by The Resonance Project biophysicist William Brown), every time our reality oscillates between form, and the pure energy state of the field, our awareness which is constant and doesn’t flash in and out of existence informs the field what to reappear as when it makes its transition back to form at the quantum level.

Therefore each time we oscillate into formlessness, we have complete and total control and responsibility over what we choose with our attention to manifest out of the field in the next moment, and our power and ability to do so relies entirely what we believe, and on how we are feeling.

A dramatic example of this is the case of Vittorio Michelli. In 1962 he was admitted to the Military Hospital of Verona, Italy with a large tumor on his left hip. The doctors knew that they could not help him, so his case was deemed hopeless and he was sent home without treatment, and after about 10 months his left hip bone had completely disintegrated. As a last resort, he traveled to Lourdes, France and bathed himself in the spring there (which is a Christian holy site famous for producing miracles).

Immediately he started feeling better, he regained his appetite, and bathed himself in the spring a few more times before he left. After a few months of being home he felt such a powerful sense of well-being that he urged the doctors to x-ray him again, and they were astonished to find that his tumor had shrunk. Over the next several months they kept a close watch on him, and his X-rays showed that his tumor kept on shrinking, until it was gone. And once his tumor disappeared, his hipbone started regenerating.

After two months he was walking again, and several years later his hip bone had completely regenerated. The Vatican’s Medical Commission, in their official report said:

“A remarkable reconstruction of the iliac bone and cavity has taken place. The X-rays made in 1964, 1965, 1968, and 1969 confirm categorically and without doubt that an unforeseen and even overwhelming bone reconstruction has taken place of a type unknown in the annals of world medicine.” (The Holographic Universe, p.107)

Ordinarily this would be deemed miraculous, and indeed it truly is. But I find this miraculous in the sense of the true power of human intention and belief that it displays. Moreover, this is powerful evidence that suggests that there is an energetic structure which our ‘material bodies’ align with, because that is one of the only logical explanations for how Vittorio Michelli’s hip bone knew exactly which shape to grow back into unless there was some sort of energetic blueprint which was instructing its growth, which as the Vatican’s Medical Commission clearly stated, was “unknown in the annals of world medicine.”

In medicine, maybe this was unknown, but the same cannot be said for physics. At the atomic level atoms bond with one another to form molecules which have specific geometric structures as if there is an energetic blueprint which they are adhering to which dictates the shapes they maintain together.

If our bodies are a projection of consciousness, then our consciousness would create an energetic blueprint which our atoms and molecules align with to create our bodies. There is highly suggestive evidence of the existence of this energetic blueprint (or human energy field) in the new research on DNA which proves that it transmits, receives, and thus reads energy directly from the field.

Michelli’s case is a perfect example of our human ability to re-organize that vacuum structure with our energy and intentions, and thus manifest what we desire directly out of the field for truly miraculous results. The fact that he started to feel better and started to believe that he was healed is, I suggest, the key to his healing.

Some may want to stick with the belief that God healed this man, and I would agree to you. But you and I would probably disagree on the nature of this God. For I contend that you are god, as are we all, because the force we call God is the energy and infinite consciousness behind creation, and thus when we tap into ourselves as pure consciousness, i.e. without thought through meditation, then we open ourselves to the infinitude of our own awareness because we inseparably are that infinite creative consciousness. We are it and it is us.

And when we open up to that energy, we allow ourselves to be flooded with a “powerful sense of well-being” and knowing which has astounding power to create reality, and directly affects our biology.

The Body as a Projection of Consciousness

I want you to really internalize the understanding that reality is flashing in and out of form. This is absolutely crucial in understanding our ability to heal, because if half of the time we are formless, then (1) Who are we really, because obviously our bodies and the material world is illusory to a degree; and (2) What is the blueprint which is guiding the rearrangement of our bodies each time we quite literally re-materialize?

The answer to both questions would be consciousness. Our bodies are a holographic projection of our consciousness, and they are the sum total of our beliefs about ourselves. If we can change our beliefs about ourselves, and thus if we can change the energy that defines our human energy field, then we can change the energetic blueprint which our body aligns with as it re-materializes back into form 1044 times per second.

(The exact structure and dynamics of our consciousness which make us both a fractal and holographic expression of this infinite God-consciousness can be found in Nassim Haramein’s Holofractographic Universe theory, and in his work Crossing the Event Horizon.)

Deepak Chopra told a story that illustrates this perfectly in his book, How to Know God. A friend of his injured his foot while working out in a gym because he was unaccustomed to using one of the machines and strained it. The pain in his foot increased over the next few days, and he found it increasingly difficult to walk, so upon “medical examination it was found that he had a common ailment known as planar fasciitis, in which the connecting tissue between the heel and the front of the foot had been stretched or torn.” (How to Know God, p.221)

His friend decided not to have surgery and instead to tough it out, but in time he found it so painful and difficult to walk that he sought out a Chinese Healer in desperation. This Chinese man was ordinary by appearance, and gave “no evidence of being mystical or spiritual, or in any way gifted in healing.” The injured friend of Deepak Chopra continues:

“After gently feeling my foot, he stood up and made a few signs in the air behind my spine. He never actually touched me, and when I asked what he was doing, he simply said he was turning some switches in my energy field. He did this for a minute or so and then asked me to stand up. I did, and there was no sensation of pain, not the slightest. You have to remember that I had limped in, barely able to walk.”

He continues:

“In complete amazement I asked him what he had done. He told me that the body was an image projected by the mind, and in a state of health the mind keeps this image intact and balanced. However, injury and pain can cause us to withdraw our attention from the affected spot. In that case, the body image starts to deteriorate; its energy patterns become impaired, unhealthy. So the healer restores the correct pattern – this is done instantly, on the spot – after which the patient’s own mind takes responsibility for maintaining it that way.” (How to Know God, p.222)

This story has fascinated and inspired me ever since I heard it. As we have seen, reality is flashing in and out of existence innumerable times every second, oscillating between form and formlessness, and quantum physics knows that our thoughts and beliefs influence the quantum reality which is the source of the material world. Therefore it is only natural to assume an energetic and formless source for all of creation, including our physicality.

I think it is absolutely clear that we must start to consider ourselves as more than a physical body. In truth it is much more coherent to think of ourselves as a luminous energy field organizing ourselves in a body, or as pure consciousness manifesting and temporarily experiencing this level of reality through our bodies. New evidence is clearly illustrating that our mind is non-local and is independent of the brain, which means it doesn’t need the brain, or the body for that matter, to exist.[1]

We are so much more than we think we are, and infinitely more than we have been lead to believe. The next step that we have to take, moreover, the next step in our human evolution now involves us learning how to use and hone this power we have to influence reality and literally manifest anything we want directly out of the field, from a new hip, to perhaps better eyesight, or a fit and healthy body, all the way to a new life.

But how is this done?

Healing Your Field, Healing Your Body

To heal, all that we need to do is purify our energy so that the energetic projection of our body is unobstructed. Then our atoms and molecules can align perfectly to this structure because there is no energetic interference to disrupt the image of our body as projected by our consciousness.

We do this by getting in the gap between our thoughts, where our beliefs no longer affect our reality, for, when we are not thinking, we are also free of beliefs and expectations. And by doing this we are aligning ourselves with universal principles, and matching our energy with the energies coming directly from the field of all-possibility – those high frequency energies of love, kindness, inspiration, passion, joy, and so on.

The first step is to consider the possibility that we are not only energy, but that there is infinite energy all around us which we can consciously tap into to promote healing in our body and mind, to become a more happy, healthy, vibrant and creative being. As soon as you start to connect to the infinite energy of creation and your own true nature as formless energy, then you start to become aware of these energies in your body which returns the projection of your body to its natural state.

The projection of your body can only be disrupted by a disturbance in your energy field – your consciousness – caused by unbalanced thoughts and emotions, and limiting beliefs. Our luminous energy field is naturally vibrant, and our energy naturally flows unhindered as a powerful stream of consciousness, but the lower levels of consciousness, which we have been conditioned to live in as part of our social indoctrination, disrupt this flow which if left unhindered would express its perfection everywhere.

Another key concept to understand is that your body is always regenerating. In a talk of Deepak Chopra’s that I listened to, he pointed out that atoms do not age. They do not die, and the same atoms that existed at the big bang around 14 billion years ago exist to this day, some of which are even within you.

Every year 98% of the atoms in your body are exchanged for ‘new’ atoms. You are constantly dying, and being reborn, and literally transforming at the atomic and molecular levels. Every three days you have a new stomach lining, every month you have new skin, every three months you have a new skeleton. And every year you have almost an entirely new body (Deepak Chopra from Living Beyond Miracles with Wayne Dyer).

Deepak Chopra described it beautifully by saying that our atoms “are like migrating birds”. They are not permanent, they are completely independent, and are drifting through space and time and merely being organized into structures such as our bodies by none other than our energy field which organizes them as a magnetic field organizes metal filings, only slightly more complex.

What more proof do we need in order to start looking at our bodies differently, and in general looking at the mechanism of health itself in a new light?

None of the raw materials that form your physical body age, moreover, they are constantly changing. Therefore I ask this of you. Is it really you that is changing? And what is the force that organizes these atoms and molecules back where they are supposed to be, and makes sure that they perfectly and harmoniously continue to do their jobs even while your cells and atoms are migrating by the billions?

Your body is not the real you. Your body is merely a projection of what you believe yourself to be. If you could discover that you are pure consciousness, and that who you really are is an infinite creative awareness that is manifesting reality and co-creating reality with other aspects of yourself (because every being is an expression of the infinite universal consciousness we have labelled as God), then you can start to take complete control over your body, your health, and your life.

Chronic pain, disease, illness, or the old injuries that you have in your body are not actually in your body, they are in your mind. More specifically, they are a function of your perception. Your atoms are always changing, and your molecules are too, but as new atoms come and as new molecules are formed, and as you flash in and out of existence, your energetic field is telling them where to go, what to do, and how to align with one another.

Therefore, you are holding disease, illness, pain, and injuries within your consciousness, and thus, they are imprinted in your energetic field, and only then do they proceed to manifest in your physiology.

If this is the case, then not only is our health completely under our willful control, but the rate at which we age may even be under our control as well. Now I am not suggesting that we can be immortal, because we already are as infinite beings of consciousness. What I am suggesting is that in a time long forgotten, and in the near future, human beings have had and will realize again the ability to live from this field, and live consciously from their nature as luminous beings of pure energy.

At that time human beings will realize that the body is a manifestation of our highest self, and we can not only consciously manifest anything in life, but anything in our bodies as well. And one day we will reach a point where we can continually regenerate our bodies at will because we live from the field of infinite energy, and thus our bodies simply operate at a higher frequency so that we can live in them until our work is completed and we choose to move on.

Fantastic? Yes. But these changes are noticeable within the human body and mind even after a little bit of practice and training, so decide to feel and experience it for yourself, and learn how to meditate. This is what evidence is clearly suggesting and my own experience also indicates to be true. The only hindrance to tapping into this nature of the universe is your own conscious awareness, your level of attention, and your beliefs.

Our ability to heal is directly related to our level of attention and our level of belief. For example we can heal ourselves of any affliction, illness, disease, or injury that is possible so long as we have absolute certainty, a knowing, that we will be healed. This is directly achieved by accessing the most fundamental level of reality through deep meditation.

This is because at the fundamental level of reality, anything is possible, and the restructuring of reality is dictated entirely by our beliefs and expectations. We are pure energy, and there is infinite potential in that energy. It is entirely up to us what we choose to manifest out of the field in our lives and in our bodies.

You have no limitations, and nothing is impossible. It is only your beliefs which dictate what you can and cannot do.

“Miracles happen, not in opposition to nature, but in opposition to what we know of nature.” – St. Augustine

How To Be More . . . .

C&HThere are many paths.

They all lead to the same place.

The journey is mostly the point.

We are all unique.

It stands to reason that our journeys are unique.

Nobody holds the key to your enlightenment, but nobody needs to reinvent the wheel again either.

You may find a short cut, a lovely detour to visit a dead-end, or just another name for what you already discovered.

It’s all good.

We add and add to our knapsack of what works and what doesn’t, what turns on light bulbs and what doesn’t, what makes the road easier to walk and what doesn’t.

This blog is an attempt to provide ideas, tools, reflections on other journeys, tips, hints, warnings. All to be taken with a massive grain of salt.

What remains in the end is discovering who you are, under the heaps of laundry piled upon you.

After discarding all the things others thing about you, want of you, demand of you, dislike about you. After all the compromises you’ve made to get along, get ahead. Somewhere in all that is you.

Some of these tips may be helpful.

From Waking Times:

“The only way to deal with an un-free world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” –Albert Camus

The current unsustainable system has made us overly comfortable and ridiculously complacent in our ways. We have every luxury, and yet, for the most part, we live hurried, hollowed, nine-to-five lives, having given into the hyperreal overindulgence of the consumerist lifestyle. We’re beginning to realize that we’ve grown spiritually stagnant. We’re in an existential rut. We’re stuck –mind, body, and soul. We want more out of life than just materialistic trash, but we’re tied into our consumerist preconditioning. It’s how we were raised, after all. But it’s time we reconditioned the precondition.

Here are four ways to do exactly that, while also turning the tables on the powers-that-be and leveraging some autonomy into our lives.

1.) Don’t be Afraid of Being Uncomfortable

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” –Neale Donald Walsch

Yes, it’s time to get uncomfortable. Suck it up and go be that starving artist you’re afraid to be. Volunteer. Travel the world. You were not born to be a slave to money; that’s just what you were born into. You were born to explore and create like only you can. Quit stalling. Vacillation does not become you. There’s an entire world out there just waiting for you to dive right in. Comfort is only temporary anyway. Don’t allow complacency and contentedness to steal your vitality. Security is more of a hindrance to adventurous hearts anyway. Like Jack Kerouac wrote, “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing the lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

So burn your couch. Toss your TV out the window. Defenestrate any and all things preventing you from being the most liberated version of yourself. True autonomy cannot be realized if you are not even aware that you’re unfree. Like Rumi said:

“Don’t listen too often to the comforting part of the self that gives you what you want. Pray instead for a tough instructor. Nothing less than the radical disassembling of what we’ve wanted and gotten, and what we still wish for, allows us to discover the value of true being that lies underneath.”

2.) Develop a Method for Determining Right From Wrong

“Time makes ancient good uncouth.” –James Russell Lowell

Before we ask what’s wrong with the world, let’s ask what’s right with it. This is a tough one. We first need to get a proper perspective. That is, a perspective based in actual reality. And “actual reality” dictates to us what is healthy and what is not. Balance is healthy. Moderation is healthy. Clean air is healthy. Clean water is healthy. If our notion of right and wrong is based upon the dictated reality of healthy (right) & unhealthy (wrong), then our perspective will be valid; but if our notion of right and wrong is based upon human opinion that happens to violate the healthy & unhealthy dictation, then our perspective will be invalid. There’s no wiggle-room here. It really is not a matter of opinion where healthy & unhealthy is concerned. So if we can somehow drag right & wrong out of the realm of human opinion and leverage it within the natural realm of healthy & unhealthy, then we’ll finally be heading in the “right” direction toward a healthy, sustainable world. Like Zeno said, “The goal of life is living in agreement with Nature.”

There comes a point at which the universe dictates to us the nature of right & wrong, good & evil, or as I prefer to call it: healthy & unhealthy. It speaks a language older than words. It’s in the body, resonating within an ancient muscle memory. You have to be still to hear it. You have to be silent to realize how loud it really is. It can be as simple as the body telling us when we’ve consumed too little water, or as complex as the cosmos pinpointing for us what is the healthy way for human beings to live in an interconnected world. In many ways we can tap into the natural order of things through common sense alone, like the feeling we get in our gut when faced with a decision between truth and deception (red pill/blue pill), or how we instinctively know that rape and pedophilia is wrong.

Wendell Berry said it best:

“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.” 

3.) Question Authority

“When just laws are used to uphold unjust behavior, our obligation to uphold the laws is diminished.” –Clive Hamilton

We are, as Guy Debord wrote, “a society of the spectacle.” But what do we do when we finally come to realize that we are the spectacle, or worse, that we are the butt-end of a terrible joke? What are we to do when we are, as T.S. Eliot wrote, “Distracted from distraction by distraction”?

The answer is not only to question authority, but to have fun doing it. Take insurgent pictures. Write rebel poems. Speak unspoken truths to power. Scare people out of their complacency. Shake things up. Become the change you wish to see in the world. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

At the end of the day, it is our responsibility as members of a would-be proactive citizenry to rise above the distractions –be they political, corporate, or plutocratic- and question authority, despite the smoke and mirrors, all while admitting that we could be wrong. After all, transparency goes both ways. Like Derrick Jensen wrote:

“We are the governors as well as the governed. This means that all of us who care about life need to force accountability onto those who do not.”

This is how we turn the tables on oppressive power: We realize that the oppressors are damaged human beings with an unhealthy view of the world. We realize that we have the power to liberate them from their own damaged souls. Through non-violence and love we can give them the opportunity to become fully human. By giving them this opportunity we flip the tables on power. By revealing to them a healthier way and acting as an example for a healthier way, their power is reduced to what it really is: a sickness. They are no longer allowed to be overpowering oppressors. We have revealed to them their cowardice. We have freed ourselves from their tyranny. Our liberty is our love. We welcome them with open arms, so that they can be healed and learn again what it means to love. We are social creatures, first and foremost. By liberating others we liberate ourselves, and only then is true autonomy possible.

4.) Embrace Change

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives… It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” –Charles Darwin

We have a tendency to put the cart before the horse when it comes to change. It is easier for us to change our own behavior than it is to change the world, and yet we tend to focus too much upon changing the world. If we instead focused more upon changing our behavior, we would find that a natural side-effect of doing so is that we change the world. The world is going to change with or without you anyway. You might as well be a part of that change by being proactive about what it means to change in a healthy way. Like James P. Carse wrote:

“This ceaseless change does not mean discontinuity as a person; rather change is itself the very basis of our continuity as a person. It is because I cannot see what you see that I can see at all.”

But cultural change is not a black and white issue. It’s not like we completely abandon the old way of doing things, full stop, and then immediately adopt the new way. Not at all, change is gradual. History has always proceeded dialectically. Cultural change will be a mixing of the old (x) with the new (y) to create the hybrid (xy) culture. And it will probably get worse before it gets better. There will be some growing pains, especially since it will require a lot of us embracing step #1 of this article, which is all the more reason why we should adopt a health-based way of distinguishing right from wrong (#2). The powers-that-be will fight tooth-and-nail to keep the current unsustainable system churning, because it has made them rich, fat, and (pseudo)-happy, after all. But that’s all the more reason to question them to the nth degree (#3). In the end, nothing remains the same. True autonomy comes from embracing the slings and arrows of vicissitude and adapting to the ever-changing aspects of time, space, and the self.

“If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.” –Liz Gilbert

Question Everything

We go through life accepting so much as given. Yet it is perhaps not at all.

We will never know unless we actually grapple with it.

In the end, what you believe must be what resonates in your soul as being truth.

The minute you start the phrase, “God works in mysterious ways,” you are heading down the road to lazy acceptance rather than adult thinking.

walt Whitman

Who Am I?

who-am-iYou probably think you know.

You probably start out with things like, gender, relationship, educational status, work definitions. Most people do.

Some, who think themselves a bit smarter, say the very New Age-y thing: “Why I’m a spiritual being having a human experience.” They always smile proudly when they say it. I used to, I know that.

Who is this I?

It is true that it is not the physical body I inhabit, or at least use for now.

There is a very zen sort of meme that goes something like, “if you can observe it, it ain’t you.” I see the tree, I’m therefore not the tree.

This sort of thing is most useful when trying to separate ourselves from our thoughts. I perceive the thought, therefore it is not me. I can perceive the “sadness” therefore I’m not sad, the thought is sad. Step away, observe, rise above.

Yet this gets us no closer to the core of “me” it seems.

What I am not is useful, but not particularly enlightening. Some suggest that when you rip away all that you are not, you get to non-self which is our true state of being. Others say, we cannot exist as non-self.

Who to believe?

Oh heck, how should I know?

Intelligence- Who Am I I know one thing.

Whoever I am as can be described is not me. Not by my choice that is. Not freely chosen at least.


Okay. Let’s start at the beginning.

You were born.

Whatever circumstances existed you reacted to. You cried, you nuzzled, you slept, you smiled, frowned, you made sucking noises.

People responded to that reaction in some fashion, either in ways that you liked or disliked. They responded to your response. And so on and so forth.

And through it all, you formed a “personality” which was the result of what they “liked” and therefore rewarded, or didn’t like and therefore punished. You had a certain configuration of genetic material that predisposed you to like some things a bit more than somebody else might, and to dislike other things a bit more than someone else might. You took a certain amount of punishment to maintain X, and retreated quickly and gave in on Y.

You lived in some circumstances wherein conformity was or wasn’t important, where being independent was or wasn’t important, where sharing was more or less necessary, where taking turns was or wasn’t essential. All this shit, countless examples and how strongly you needed or didn’t need to adapt based on how willing you were to “face the music” of disapproval shaped your personality.

It became the YOU you think of as you.

It became the YOU others think of as you.

Thousands of people and events impacted you and still do, and you react in slightly different ways than the person next to you.

By the way, the YOU you think of as you, and the YOU others think of as you, are rarely much alike. You know that. Nobody understands you. Your parents didn’t, your spouse doesn’t, your children don’t, nor does your best friend. They all do to a degree, and some more than others, but we, at some unhappy point, realized that nobody could get “inside our skin” and feel what we really feel.

Along the way of course we got to believe that we were the person so constructed. We began to believe our own “story” and sadly we believed all too often the story others developed of us. That’s why teens are so hell-bent on being “accepted” and fall into peer pressure as surely as rain falls down and not up.


The first hard part is not giving a shit what others think of “you”.

A man, whom I barely know, who is a staunch conservative is illustrative. We went to the mat on a host of public issues like climate change, minimum wage, health care. He took to being quite personal in his attacks, calling me stupid, and he told me that my style of arguing (he called it aggressive) was why people didn’t like me.

Now, such talk from a teen-aged boy I would understand, but from a 60+ aged man, I found amusing. He was shocked to learn I didn’t care whether people liked me, and quite frankly, given those he referred to as the one’s who didn’t were like him, I’d have been mighty upset if they had. I wouldn’t want “friends” like him.

Part of this, “who cares what you think” comes with age. Aging people should have much less time to waste on people whose opinions they don’t value anyhow.

But part is applicable to any age. Since nobody really knows us, why should their opinion (which is mostly wrong) matter at all?

That’s the first obstacle to overcome it seems to me.

The second is the hardest–letting go of this false facade of who we think of as our self and discovering who we really are.

That involves the hard work of as I said near the beginning of divorcing ME from all that baggage of thoughts and feelings that are wrapped around that created personality. They almost always involve past events and future worries. I am the one who directs traffic, or at least I should be doing that.

I am the watcher. I am the one who is silent witness to all these goings on.

I am the one who is eternal and connected to all things.

I am the one who seeks the patterns and flows with them with ease.

I seek the right choice at the right time in the right circumstances.

I am free, unconstrained by fear.


Sit with that for a while.




It seems that as we grow older we lose our sense of wonder. We learn, incorrectly I believe, that magic has no place in an adult world. We determine that there are reasons and explanations for everything, even those we have yet failed to fathom.

Well, maybe we are wrong.

Maybe the world is magical, more magical than we believe.

Some things should defy our explanation. Some things should mystify.

And we will be better off if at least here and there, we eschew the scientific, the philosophical, the common sense approach, and just revel in the magic.

A soulful life is one that is always ready and willing to be surprised, often is, and doesn’t try to pierce the veil of wonder at each encounter.