Apr 052016

When we were kids, we couldn’t wait until we’d be all grown up. First, as kids, we are second degree humans; we are important, but adults are more important. That’s why they keep telling us: Once you are grown up (fill in the empty space . . . ). Second, as kids, there seem to be something mysterious about being an adult; perhaps because it is something that we cannot attain at that moment.

As kids, we thought that once we become adults, we’ll have all the answers and we certainly had many questions. Curiously, it may have not occurred to us back in our childhood, that many of the adults that we approached with our questions were either unable to give us an answer, or that their answer made little sense. That alone, should have been a revealing hint, that the answers to that which we seek, may not be in adulthood.

Another thing that may not have occurred to us as curious and questioning kids, was the whole issue of “At what point did we actually begin to have these questions and problems”? Had we actually asked this question, it may have occurred to us that we weren’t in fact born with all these questions and seeking, and that it came later.
But why did it come later? Is it possible that the whole IDEA of having questions which are in need of answers, and the seeking for something that we believe we do not have, that this IDEA has simply been handed over to us by kind hearted people who are themselves as lost as lost gets?

And so, this insane restless search for God-knows-what, has started very early on in our lives, for reasons that are not clear, and has been escorting us on-and-off ever since. At times, we may just let it be as we allow ourselves to be absorbed with the busyness of life. But then at other times, these nagging feelings resurface.

What is it that we seek?

Surely, it must be something very special. Is it the same thing for all of us, or is it something different for each person? After all, there are those who honestly believe that they’re not looking for anything other than the next rung up in the ladder . . . at least that’s how they may feel for a while.

Here’s what I think.
As newly born babies, what we saw in the world was miraculous. We saw much more than we’ll ever know. Our sight, both the physical as well as the spiritual was clear and unobstructed. We saw many of the things that adults were seeing, but also much much more, with depth and understanding that goes way beyond the five senses, logic, concepts and language. But from very early on, our education/programming started. We were forced to see the world in a particular way. Concepts were introduced to us that were a completely unnatural separation of the oneness which IS everything, and each such concept was labeled by means of words. These concepts and words were then repeated to us again and again on end, until we started repeating them and later on, identifying with them. From that point on, what we’ve been seeing as the world, has nothing whatsoever to do with the world and with reality. We lost several most precious things:
– True understanding – concept-less.
– An actual connection with reality
– Awe
– Inner peace

Ever since that early programming took place, we are alone – an isolated and disconnected bunch of souls, living day-in-day-out, minute-chasing-minute like zombies in nowhere land, trying to make sense of our lives.

One may resent reading this and say that they have a VERY fulfilling life with a great job, a great spouse, children etc. And I have no doubt that they do. But that’s not the entire picture. The troubling truth is ever present. One may keep it hidden from the entire world, even those closest to them, but they know that in moments of silence, these thoughts haunt them. This is why so many of us cannot handle a single quiet moment, or meditation, and must constantly move from doing one thing to the other. And if we have nothing to do, we create them: checking Emails, texting, shopping, TV, calling someone, internet – we a have a room full of toys.

Think about AWE, for example. Although we don’t experience awe very often, we do get glimpses of awe every once in a while. It is always extraordinarily simple and very powerful. Just like being overtaken by a view of the moon, or a sunrise, or a flower, or a beautiful smile, or an amazing act of kindness . . . It is nothing short of magic. And in that moment, while we are in awe, time stops. Which to me suggests that Time is also just a concept that was programmed into us early on and isn’t real at all, (even if we found ways to justify its existence). When we’re in awe, time ceases to exist, along with our problems, pains, difficulties and everything else that’s part of our lives.
Imagine living in endless awe from now on.

Well – there’s good news and there’s bad news:
The good news is that there’s a way back to that which is lost, at least partially. The bad news is that to get there would be impossible as long as we wish to continue our way of life as it is now. It’s a tough choice. But it CAN be done.

A word of warning before you continue reading. Most of you are likely to feel very strongly against what’s to follow. Which is hardly surprising as it goes against every single thing that we were ever taught. There’s also likely to be a strong emotional element of profound objection and rejection of what’s to follow. Just be aware and as you read, be aware of yourself, of how you are reacting, and don’t be afraid to question those reactions, emotions, thoughts, and yes – fears – that may come as a torrent. Keep in mind that you are free to make whatever choice you wish. But also ask yourself this: Is it possible that we never made a choice to live our present life in the first place – that it was handed to us in terms of what life is all about and how we should fit in.

With that being said:
If we cannot see the world for what it truly is, and if it is manmade concepts that shatter the unity into incomprehensible bits and pieces that don’t fit together, and if these concepts themselves are not real – then by closely inspecting and questioning each of these concepts, they should disappear. In fact, much of the power that these concepts have for us, is through an unseen and unnoticeable power of assumption. There is much more assumption behind much of these concepts, than there is actual substance. Just like atoms – a nice concept accompanied by a nice picture, which doesn’t stand the reality test, and as we zoom in closer and closer, the actual substance that we expect to find blurs away until there’s nothing left.

For example; Let’s say that both you and I look at a painting of a red rectangle. I ASSUME, that you see exactly what I see. In reality, this cannot be proved or disproved. One may say that it CAN be proved true because if both you and I are given a box of crayons and a sheet of paper, we will reproduce a similar picture. And that’s true. However: by being given a box of crayons and a sheet of paper, we are forced to use these tools. We are forced to reduce our means of expression. But even prior to that, as we simply LOOK at the red rectangle, because of our conditioning, we are already forced to see it as a red rectangle in the first place.

Take this article as another example.
When I first wanted to write this article, it was nothing more than a feeling; no concepts, no thoughts, no words. Then, as I was trying to be able to convey this feeling to share it with others, I had to begin conceptualizing it. Each additional concept damaged the intensity of the initial wordless-truth, which was alive. It ended up as lines of text, which to me at least, are too far removed from what I was hoping to convey.

But how can we realistically question these concepts? You may be amazed at how simple it can be. We can ask simple basic questions. For example:
1) How can I be certain that there is in fact such a thing?
2) Is it possible that there isn’t such a thing?
3) Am I willing to be open to the possibility that, as much as I am convinced that I am right, that I may actually be wrong?

This is just a starting point, and we may add as many poking, provocative, offensive, ridiculous, stupid, irresponsible and dangerous questions, as we are able to conjure up.
We can do it with anything. ANY-THING.
Let’s take a few examples.

An argument.
1) How can I be certain that there is in fact such a thing as right and wrong?
2) Is it possible that there isn’t such a thing as right and wrong and that we are both right, depending on the perspective?
3) Do I have to prove the other person wrong to feel good about myself? Is that some mental need of mine?
4) Am I trying to prove something to myself? To the other person? To on lookers?

Feels weird?
It has to. This is something most of us hardly ever do and it feels unnatural, absurd and pointless.

Another example: Reality.
1) How can I be certain that there is in fact such a thing as reality?
2) Is it possible that there isn’t such a thing as reality, and that it is no different than a dream from which I haven’t awakened yet?
3) Is it possible that reality is a collective dream of millions of people, animals and plants?
4) Is there a way for me to know the truth?

Imagine a person – who’s unable to discern colors – looking at a peacock. All that they can see are shades of grey. They believe that they see the peacock for what it truly is. In fact, they are likely to become upset (at least earlier in their lives, before they learn to accept their disability) when it is suggested to them that their painting of a peacock, using a black Sharpie, is not truly what a peacock looks like.
Our concepts, likewise, are a form of disability. Language serves to both establish and perpetuate this disability.

Some of you may be thinking: “Dissolving concepts by asking questions, cannot possibly be this simple, otherwise, many of us would have already found it”. This again, brings in the power of assumption – we do it all the time. We do it in science, in medicine, in religion, in art, in relationships and in life. Assumption is the creation of something that’s not really there. And it’s easy enough to apply these questions to the possibility that we may be making assumptions.

If one is willing to seriously consider the possibility, that it is in fact possible to rediscover awe, and begin to live life in a way that has not been experienced since our first two years of life – one of several phenomena may be experienced:
1) We may feel foolish
2) If we persist, we may come across situations where we can easily see that a concept is not real, but at the same time realize that if we do not use this concept, society will reject us.
3) If we continue to persist, we may discover that hand in hand with an increasing awe, we are also experiencing paralyzing fear, as the world begins to change in front of our eyes, as we’re seeing things that are “not there” (at least according to what others may say), and also not seeing things that others say are there.

Do you think that’s unlikely?
Could that be an assumption you’re making?

Apr 202014

Did you ever find yourself being in the midst of a dream, totally absorbed in everything that was happening. Then suddenly, the following understanding came to you:
“This is just a dream!” ?
What if this exact same understanding came to you while you are wide awake?

Imagine sitting behind the steering wheel of a car. You have been behind this steering wheel for as long as you can remember yourself. Driving.
One day, you get the shock of your life; this car that you were driving all these years is mounted on top of a flatbed tow truck to which you were completely oblivious. All of the sudden you understand why sometimes, when you wish to go in a certain direction, you end up elsewhere.

Our life is just like that. We live with the illusion that we are behind the wheel and in control of our ride. We expect certain things to happen based on our actions, and many times experience a whole variety of painful emotions, when our expectations are not met.

Until we wake up.

Waking up, is the thought (or idea or understanding or knowing) that what we thought was reality, has actually been our own creation.
It is no wonder then, that so many of us would rather not wake up at all. The shock might just be too great for us to endure.

But here too, we are not behind the wheel; we don’t have a say on whether or not to awaken, just as we have no say on how, where, when and under what circumstances such an awakening is to occur.

Is life going the way you want it to?
Do you get unpleasant surprises along the way?
Is it possible that living your life is similar to driving a car that’s mounted on a flatbed?
Only once we realize that in fact, we have far less control than we may believe – and not before that – that we’ll be able to begin living differently – more connected to reality. Only then will we be able to get out of our car, sit behind the wheel of the tow truck, and perhaps for the first time in our life feel that life responds to us in a way that makes so much more sense.

But it doesn’t end here.

An awakening may not necessarily be a single, one-time-only event. Of course, some people don’t even experience a single awakening in their lifetime. But others could experience several awakenings.

How could that be? Isn’t an awakening simply the end of an unconscious state of living?

Not exactly.

An awakening is an opening up of our field of vision or understanding – of our bubble. Suddenly we can see (or realize or understand or know), that what we used to think was everything – the world, life, reality – was in fact just a fraction of something much larger. And yet our new view – our new reality – as much as it is larger than we may have previously known – is again, not truly “all that there is”. It is not complete. We can in fact, awaken again and again, to experience a continuously larger view and understanding of reality, both that which is inside as well as outside of us. Using the previous example, this would be akin to the flatbed being mounted on top of a freight train, the train being on top of a ship, and so on. Indefinitely. Which really means that we are never in full control, we never perceive reality for what it truly is and that there’s always more. ALWAYS.

Our limitation – that is, being a human being – will never allow us to see, perceive and understand reality for what it truly is. That’s because our senses, which are the tools that we are given for connecting with and understanding reality, are filters. These filters allow some information in, but leave much information out of our reach. Our vision allows us to see, but only in a limited range. The same is true for hearing, smelling, tasting and sensing. Even if our senses had the ability to detect the entire range (of vision, sound etc’), does that mean that there is nothing else in the universe? Just five channels?
I find it very hard to believe. Reality is infinite, and I believe that although we can detect five “channels”, that there is in fact an infinite number of channels.

But there’s more.

The way in which our bodies are built, we have separate receptors to detect sound, vision, smell etc’. Reality however, may not have separation of any kind. It may well be that smell, taste, vision, hearing and the tactile sense, are all part of a single unified expression of reality, along with an infinite number of other means of expression of which we have no reception capabilities.

From my own personal experience with two very different awakenings, I can say that there was no similarity at all between the two, and yet both were so powerful, that everything that I knew to be reality, changed completely afterwards. Both transformations were wonderful and I was left with awe and infinite gratitude and appreciation.

Being open to the idea that an awakening is truly possible, opens the door to its actual unfolding in ones own life. Expectations to have an awakening, stand in its way. An attitude of simplicity, gratitude, humility, acceptance and allowing, open an invisible door which bring us closer to the possibility of such an experience.

Mar 042014

Who are you?

You are not your body!
You are not your arms, legs, brain, muscles, face, heart, kidneys, fat or skinny, healthy or sick, fully functional or disabled. You are given a body as a means of interacting with the physical world. You are aware of your body but you are not your body. Like a pilot of an airplane, or a driver of a car – you are behind the controls. You control your body which allows both input and output. Input comes from the sense organs – hearing, seeing smelling, tasting and sensing – and output comes by talking, walking, using the hands etc’.

You are not your thoughts!
Your thoughts are yours, but they are not you. You are given the capacity to think, develop abstract ideas to benefit yourself, your society and your environment, but that’s not you. Here again, you are behind the controls, but you are not your brain or your mind.

You are not your emotions!
You can experience love, anger, sadness, jealousy and much more. Similar to thought, this is an ability that you are given and allowed to have. An ability doesn’t define who you are.

You are not a woman, not a man, not a son or daughter, not a father, mother, brother, sister uncle or aunt. Those are your circumstances and they do not define who or what you are.

You are not your history! Your history is your life’s story. It is a part of your circumstances but you are what you are beyond and regardless of any circumstances.

Your are not your ideas, opinions or beliefs. These are thoughts that you adopted and made yours, by your own choice. You made those yours, but what’s yours cannot be you.

You are not your occupation; scientist, politician, CEO, judge, banker, artist. This is again a choice you made to be directing your talents, time, curiosity and exploration for the purpose of earning money and (hopefully) grow spiritually.

You are not your family, society or any mutual interest group!
You are not African, American, German, Dutch, nor are you a member of any smaller group, such as a union, groups of mutual interests or any other group.

You are not your circumstances! You are not rich/poor, happy/unhappy, successful/unsuccessful, employed/unemployed, married/divorced/widowed, jailed/free, healthy/sick or any other circumstances.

Who are you?

YOU, are that which is left, after everything else has been removed.

When you completely stop everything – the doing, saying, listening, seeing, thinking, feeling, smelling, sensing etc’, even stop the attempt to stop – what’s left is you.
You are that which is aware! The silent observer.

This is very profound and it means a lot of different things, some of which can be put to words, but most cannot.
It is very important to understand that all of those things that we are not, do not define us, do not create gain or loss on the most fundamental level. We are a non physical entity. We are allowed to interact with the physical world and many confuse the interaction which is not us, with the awareness which IS. Many adopt their life’s story to be their definition of self. This opens the gate to much misery and suffering. We become like a leaf in the wind, tossed around, soaked, trampled and crushed; moving between highs and lows, becoming happy by a promotion, angered by criticism, saddened by loss etc’. We lose any sense of grounding and rootedness. We know no peace, are stuck in infinite closed-loop cycles of thought, behavior, habit and belief, looking at what other people do in order to know what directions are possible for us, and on and on and on.
But that’s not us.
And because it is not us, it is possible (as some people discover, usually following some trauma or catastrophe), possible to simply be aware – be the observer. The moment we realize that we are beyond our life’s story, circumstances and interactions – we become free. Free from “ourselves”.
This freedom is unlike any experience of physical-world freedom. We discover the non-physical entity that we are. When this happens, life ceases to be an endless struggle. In fact it becomes like the famous song:

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is just a dream

Life is suddenly seen as a dream – very realistic and convincing, yet just a dream. This is why people who are highly spiritually evolved, are said to be awakened.

Zhuangzi, a Chinese philosopher also known as Chuang Chou, once said:
Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.

This is directly related with personal growth. We cannot experience growth before we know who we are. And since everything is in constant motion, when we don’t grow we become less. We contract, decrease, recede, become reduced and diminished. We shrink. Our world seems smaller, some even experience claustrophobia. And let us be clear; Growth is not a job promotion or a raise, it’s not a change in occupation, it’s not moving to a new neighborhood or a new country, it’s not undergoing plastic surgery, changing our name or finding new relationships. In fact, these are all ways to run away from that inner feeling of emptiness, lack and inadequacy. We convince ourselves that these external changes in circumstances are growth. They are not!  just as our circumstances are not who we are. When growth is experienced, it is a completely non-physical experience.

I can understand if some of you find his post confusing. Describing non-physical and spiritual phenomena through physical tools such as language, are akin to seeing the shadow of a beautiful painting – all that is seen is a dark rectangle. The only way to truly discover what’s behind all these words, is to completely stop everything – the doing, saying, listening, seeing, thinking, feeling, smelling, sensing etc’, to even stop the attempt to stop. In the silence and stillness that emerges, bit by bit, we discover who we are.

The next time that you find yourself complaining, suffering, when you are in the grips of physical pain, anger, stress, losing control or anything else that feels anything but wonderful –
ask yourself one fundamental question:

Who am I?


Feb 102014

Here is a tool for getting unstuck. From going around in circles, not finding answers or solutions, to effortlessly having the answer fall in our lap.

We’re familiar with seeing a question mark following a series of words that are to be understood as a question. Interestingly, questions in writing don’t really need to be terminated with a question mark, since they most often contain words that are known to be questions, such as: why, what, where, when, how. Or constructed as a question, as in:
Is it happening today (?)

Contemplating the entity of the question, I realized that there is a inquiring energy that is beyond any particular question; As if we were to have a question mark stand alone, without any words preceding it – an inquiring attitude – and it may or may not be equated with curiosity.

When we are stuck with a problem, we try to think in terms of a specific question or group of questions: Why is this happening, what am I not seeing, etc. When we do this, we create a sphere that is made of existing knowledge, understanding, experience, attitude, opinion etc, all from our past. This sphere is static. The questions seem to be rotating constantly in the same space without going anywhere.
I found that when I go beyond any specific question and simply enter a questioning state of mind, which I can also call ‘openness’, ‘allowing’, ‘inquiring state’ etc’, that instead of creating a sphere, I create motion. This motion expands out in all directions to infinity. When I do, I have no sense of being stuck – quite the opposite – I get a sense of traveling into the unknown and unfamiliar as well as becoming connected with something vast of infinite intelligence. This leads to unexpected results; Sometimes I come back with an answer. Sometimes, I come back with a question which becomes the key to the answer. Sometimes nothing happens, but a few days later the problem no longer exist.

It is interesting to note the way we use our voice when questioning: It opens out through a rising pitch. Body language and facial expression also reflect this expansion. Seeking is a motion of expansion outwards. This allows us to grow in heart, mind and spirit.

The opposite of this is dogma. An exclamation mark at the end of some words, exclaims an attitude of ‘That’s it’, ‘I am right’, ‘You are wrong’, etc’, in a way stating a fact. This so-called ‘fact’ may or may not be what its exclaimer believes. Many times we get stuck because of our own misunderstanding or limited understanding. Getting stuck repeatedly affects us detrimentally in heart, mind and spirit and is the cause of much unhappiness, quarrel, relationship problems, illness etc.

The attitude delineated by the exclamation mark creates an inward motion. This inward motion acts to disconnect us from growth. It causes our world to shrink, causing us to feel trapped, become paranoid, have panic attacks, feel claustrophobic etc’. The voice used in conjunction with the exclamation attitude is with the pitch coming down, similar to the inward motion – a closing. The facial and body muscles tend to tighten, a furthering of the closing that’s in an inward motion.

It’s interesting to see how many people with an expanding inner motion, seem to be happy, healthy, successful and loved, while many people with a contracting inner motion seem to be unhappy, fearful, feared of and lonely. This is by no means a “rule” but it can be seen quite often.

I found that the simple act of sitting and visualizing a question mark, without an attempt to achieve anything, becomes a light beam that takes me out of difficult circumstances – where my mind may even be working against me – allowing me to discover freedom beyond my current sphere of understating. I visualize the question mark without thinking any specific question, along with an attitude of allowing and openness. This creates a wonderful opening – a doorway leading towards relief, personal growth, and peace, which is then followed by a clear mind, renewed energy and effective, positive action.

Dec 172013

Stillness, Silence, Emptiness; The Abyss.

This is a special meditation for those who tried meditating in the past with very little success. It is very simple and very powerful. This connecting with stillness can be done at any time, especially very stressful situations that lead many of us to lose control, clarity and grounding and which could then lead to a panic attack or depression.  This practice generates powerful results regardless of the length of time put into it.

Sit comfortably and allow your body to be loose, including facial muscles.

Become aware of your breath and accompany each inhalation and exhalation with your awareness.

Towards the end of each inhalation pause for a moment before the following exhalation.
Towards the end of each exhalation pause for a moment before the following inhalation.
This should feel simple and easy, not strenuous. If it does feel strenuous, make sure that:

  • The pause is not long
  • You are not clenching the back of your throat, as if about to pronounce a ‘K’ or a ‘G’ sound.

The pausing should be done using the lungs, to stop moving air, and not with the throat, to squeeze and prevent air from passing. It should be a floating pause rather than a jamming pause.
It’s fine if there’s a minuscule amount of air passing, as long as there’s a general sense of a pause, as opposed to an ongoing breath.

Do this for a little while . . . 

Notice the stillness you experience during the pauses. It is utter silence – perfect stillness.

Do this for a while . . .

Notice how each inhalation and each exhalation are born from the stillness and die into stillness.

Do this for a while . . .

Notice how, as inhalation/exhalation is happening, stillness is constantly in the background, behind/below/underneath the breathing – it is ever-present, infinite, eternal.

Do this for a while . . .

As you become aware of the constant presence of stillness, both during pauses and during breathing, you can now eliminate the pauses and just breath naturally in and out. Remain aware of the stillness moment by moment.

The moment you begin to think, the stillness is lost. Thought is movement and noise. Stillness is utter silence. Stillness is ever present and infinite, even during thought, however thought pulls our awareness away from stillness and we lose the stillness during thought.

Avoid the pitfall: Trying.
Trying is a concept that should be abandoned. It keeps stillness away from us and out of reach. Just like trying to sleep: the harder we try, the longer we remain awake. There should be no trying at all, and no doing at all.
Instead, there should be a Letting-go and an Allowing.

When we become aware of stillness, an infinite abyss will begin to open and expand.
Do not be afraid. Not only will you not be hurt – you will be protected and guided; guided away from the elements in your life that hurt you (whether or not you are aware of them) and guided towards inner peace, calm, happiness, wellbeing, grounding and knowing. Again; Do not be afraid.

Do not practice while driving, operating machinery or other types of work that may risk your safety.