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 A 30 year spiritual search apparently "ended" in 2006; what continues is an abiding interest in serving truth as it presents itself moment to moment. This is most broadly evident in his blog He’s written several articles and eBooks and is the author of a free e-book REAL, WHOLE, HERE AND HAPPY as well as FADING IN THE LIGHT which will be published this year.


ILLUSIONEERING: Inventing our problems

We live in a kind of “underlife” in the shadows of what neuroscience recognizes as six basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, sadness,surprise. Oh yes, and joy! That’s the one that keeps the other five from totally overwhelming us! It makes for an occasionally agreeable deception, doesn’t it? But not often, and never for long. As Wendell Berry puts it in his “ The Unsettling of America”:

“ An American is probably the most unhappy citizen in the history of the world…he suspects that his love life is not as fulfilling as other people’s. He wishes that he’d been born sooner, or later. He does not know why his children are the way they are…he does not care much and does not know why he does not care. He does not know what his wife wants or what he wants. Certain advertisements and pictures in magazines make him suspect that he is basically unattractive. He feels that all his possessions are under threat of pillage…And for these anxieties, of course, he consults certified experts who, in turn,consult certified experts about their anxieties.”

Now here’s the rub: there is only happiness! What you are is nothing that you think you are, nothing that you feel is true. From early childhood, we are transfixed by our own mind, by our own opinions, by our own imagination, by our own knowledge of an agreed and interpreted reality. In short, “you” and “me” and all the individual and collective mind/culture/conditioning we experience and call our “own”, is the product of what we’ll label, to use a cool high tech term, Illusioneering.

The hook about illusioneering is that, one way or another, in some form or another, our concepts of our self (good or bad, right or wrong) seem to be real and they gain that reality from virtually everyone and everything that we accept as influences around us. We perceive only what we are programmed to perceive; we think exclusively from what our mind tells us is true and false. We laugh, cry, get angry or disgusted, afraid, saddened, surprised and even joyful because our conditioned emotions dictate what is funny and not so funny! The cause of it all – and the Cosmic Joke of it all – is that, from birth to death, all we want to do is be happy. By “happy” I do not mean anything other than simply “content”. Content like a child is. For truly, a child is contentment non-personified. There is no person who is content; there is purely “contentment with content” i.e. Selfness. So instead of a childs’ me-less state of awareness, there appears, as Stephen Jourdain puts it: “ our usual state of consciousness: me degrading into a thought of me”. And the thought of me is contained in what Eckhart Tolle calls “the pain body”, that limited, sensual and conceptual burden we call our self.

The hard – drive for all this illusioneering is Memory. It stores, sorts data in binary “this or that” files, and determines our personal “reality”. Of course, the thoughts about me don’t seem all that personal, but in truth, they are as much an image of what is real as these words are representations of what is real. All thought is virtual. Thought is a reflection of what appears true –not truth itself. So if some of all this rings true to you, if in fact, all you want really is to be happy, to be free, the question naturally arises: “ What should I do?” It ‘s not a question of doing, but seeing. I’m going to quote Jean Klein here, as one of the best summations of our human condition: “ We are in constant search for freedom…to transcend insecurity. This feeling of fear is itself the motive to go beyond it…Note that in attaining a desired object, there may be a momentary freedom from fear, but the desired object is not really the cause of this. The security experienced at such times has no place for an image of an object or a someone who obtains it. There is only happiness. “After you leave this happiness, the ego wants to attribute it to some cause. “I was happy because..I met this person…because I heard that music…etc.” When you investigate, you discover, in the end, you are this happiness. In reality, there is no cause and effect, for happiness is cause-less.”

So there’s nothing to do, but be. Allow. Allow that awareness that you are to see what is always true. That Awareness of the mind-dream state called “me” means awareness has something to be aware of. And that something is itself. From this Self, which is what you are, you will recognize, gradually or in a flash, all that you are not. And you will come to rest in the vastness of the unknown, unborn and undying “I am.”

I’m reminded here of one of my favorite songs by Neil Diamond: “Take your song out, it’s a newborn afternoon. And if you can’t recall the singer, can you still recall the tune? Come, dry your eyes.”

The comfort of Ideas.

The other day my friend quipped: “ I love an adventure, as long as I know where I’m going!” Ain’t that the truth? Well, the whole truth of the matter is that an adventure both repels us and attracts us. In either case- repulsion or attraction, there’s always this underlying reluctance –let’s call it what it is –fear. Fear is always about the future and the unknown. It’s something vague but definitely there. Something intangible but really...felt. We could call this apprehension the spirit of adventure, but it’s really the fear of it! How often have we said, or heard it said, that “life is an adventure?” Well, live long enough, and experience enough personal 9/11’s, and all our sense of adventure gets worn thin as our relationships. And one day we come to the crossroads.

Looking back, down the roads we think we’ve travelled, we see mostly pot holes, smoke and rubble, and ahead, we smell more of the same! All the ideas and ideals that we thought would bring us a kind of comfort, no longer please, no longer ease. And in those quiet, reflective moments, our knowledge, our core concepts, are seen for what they are: the pitted surface map of a scorched territory, but not the territory itself. Fortunately, (and we might add, gracefully) it dawns on us that nothing real is lost with that usually painful recognition that something really, intensely, important, has gone missing! In fact, we’ve finally found our built-in GPS!
Our navigation system is this inherent Truth. Not our concepts about it, but the thing itself. Beyond words – even those beautifully sacred four - letter words that ring “True” for us, like “Hope” and “Love”.Way, way beyond! To, and directly through, “Fear”. We step, fall and are pushed ( often with some kicking and screaming! ) into that clear, open space of Unknowing everything. There is then nothing to believe in, no road to take, or side to take; no person to be, no person to become.

Being now fearless and personless, we lose all our connections with the man or woman we thought we were. We’re rendered “I”less. How “I” feel, what “I” think about what’s happening, even what was revered as “Good”, is now seen and known to be simply irrelevant.
We discover that the only place we were ever comfortable, is in fidelity to the truth of this impersonal being. The personal fortress of our beliefs, begins to come down all around us. Those miles of perimeter fencing our ego erected to protect its territory, are breached by the cold hard wire cutting shears of Reality. And those impenetrable, towering inner walls surrounded by deep moats? They’re simply overflown by Love! And now we take comfort in being what we always are- fully, intimately, human and divine. Both are seen and recognized as One. It’s a kind of not-twoness that’s hard to describe, but plainly obvious. For instance, let’s take this old Indian saying Ramana Maharshi used in 1939: “Dog seen, stone is not seen.Stone seen, dog is not seen.”

This saying was commonly mis-understood and thought to mean: “whenever I see that mangy dog, I can’t find a stone to throw at it!” And vice versa! But what the saying really means relates to a story about two stone dogs guarding a doorway. They’re carved and painted so exceptionally well that they look like they are real dogs with sharp teeth; that is until you see the stone they’re made of – then the vicious “dogs” are no longer seen!

Well, it’s kinda like that with us! We’re both human and divine, and when we focus on one aspect only we lose sight of the other! Similarly, with our ideas; when we believe them and take them to be real and true, rather than representations of what is real and true, we lose sight of the actual reality. Our believed thoughts isolate and seemingly create a separate and distinct “Me” from “You”, when in truth, there is no such critter, stone or otherwise!

In reality, the stone dogs in our mind, have no bark and no bite. Or as they might say in the South: “ them dogs won’t hunt!” It’s our ideas about them that create the fear. All ideas that comfort are grounded in fear; they themselves have no foundation, no base, in reality, except to speculate, ruminate and recreate our false world-views. That which knows what is true is not this bundle of ideas that are strung together to produce this “I “called “me”. That which knows without knowing, is what we are – all one fearless Self. And that Self, ultimately, is an immense comfort –a wordless joy!