Latest Entries »


At TEDxMiddlebury 2013 Polly Young-Eisendrath discusses the idea that we can control and manage our lives as counter to our happiness. After considering the true meaning of happiness, Polly highlights several uniquely human emotions—shame, guilt, envy, and jealousy—that pose as obstacles to this happiness and offers solutions to overcome these emotions.

Polly Young-Eisendrath is a speaker, writer, Jungian analyst and mindfulness teacher. She is a long-time practitioner of Zen Buddhism and Vipassana in the tradition of Shinzen Young (in which she is a certified teacher). She has published many chapters and articles on Buddhism, psychotherapy, spirituality, resilience and Jung’s psychology. She is also Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont and in independent clinical practice in central Vermont. Her 14 published books have been translated into more than 20 languages, including “The Self-Esteem Trap,” “The Resilient Spirit,” “Women and Desire,” and “The Cambridge Companion to Jung.” Polly is working on a spiritual memoir called “Love Broken Open.”

Awareness ~ Gary van Warmerdam


What some people construe as Awareness is often times the ego and intellect creating a story. Perhaps even a story of self rejection and self judgment. That kind of awareness won’t help you be happy, but the real kind will.

One of the problems in explaining enlightenment is that we have to use words. Words are only symbols and don’t give the real understanding. The letters of a word are merely a code that the mind translates into meaning. Words only have meaning if you already have an experiential knowledge of what the words mean. If you were blind could you understand color through just words? Can you describe music to someone using only words? Can you describe the emotion of love only using the symbols of words? Words are only effective at communicating experience if the experience is already known. You know color, music, and emotion because you have perceived them directly. Enlightenment is not an experience that one already has a reference for and so a word description is not likely to be meaningful enough to convey an understanding.

Through years of schooling we are taught to believe that if we can describe something accurately with words then we “know” it. This is a very limited kind of knowing. It’s like reading someone’s experience of surfing and assuming you know what it is like. Or reading the flight manual for an airplane and assuming you “know” how to fly because you “know” what is in the book.

The best we can do in explaining enlightenment in everyday language is to accurately give words to the experience. Perhaps for some the description will inspire their imagination and give them the desire to experience it themselves. This is just like a good flying story that inspires others to reach for the sky.

If you’ve ever had an epiphany you have had a little awakening. In that moment of realization your mind stopped thinking and you knew and felt beyond an intellectual logic. You perceived something directly in a way that transcended word descriptions. It is the kind of knowing that makes you look at the world, or yourself in a brand new way. Those little awakening experiences are moments when our previous assumptions or belief paradigms burst. My high school science teacher would say “the light went on.” Enlightenment is the big light bulb. It is the direct perception of knowing the nature of the world in one great continuous epiphany.

The Divine Comedy

When you have the spiritual awakening of enlightenment it is like seeing the funniest joke ever played. It appears that you are at a costume party and everyone is role playing the character they dressed up as. Except their costume is the personality made up of all their beliefs about what they are, should be, shouldn’t be, should do, and shouldn’t do. Their personality mask is a big set of agreements about themselves. The most hysterical part is that behind the mask is actually a being of infinite consciousness that is wearing the personality.

The Infinite Consciousness is so powerful that their intent to play the personality role at the party of life keeps them in the role for years, sometimes even a whole life time. In this way they have completely thrown themselves into the role of their costumed personality. They are acting in a silly personality of pretend and are ignoring the consciousness and power of their Divine make up.

Seeing something all knowing and powerful pretending to be a human personality is a phenomenal performance of folly. One of the particularly funny aspects is how seriously the personality believes everything when another part of their consciousness knows it is just made up.

I went to see a hypnotist once. During one of the sessions he took a group of people and hypnotized them into believing they were in the first day of kindergarten. I was rolling off my chair laughing at adults really believing and acting like they were children. In another session he had a man acting like a chicken. You know these people are capable adults just temporarily believing they are something they are not. It is belly aching funny to watch. The difference with people in the world is that they hypnotized themselves by believing their thoughts or someone else’s suggestion.

Seeing with Enlightened Eyes is Funny

My explanation with words certainly isn’t that funny but direct perception is. That’s because you can’t explain what is funny. What makes us laugh is not logical. It’s like a Far Side cartoon that rocks you with laughter. When you try to explain it with words the direct perception is lost in the symbols. Humor can’t be explained with the logic of words. The symbols of words start engaging the mind and analytical thinking takes over. When the analytical program of the personality is engaged our opportunity for direct perception is lost to the mind.

When we are laughing at something funny our internal dialogue is generally turned off. We are not analyzing or being logical with our thinking mind. We directly perceive and we know something is funny. We may not be able to explain what is funny, but we know by direct experience. Having a quiet mind allows a person to perceive directly and is an attribute of an enlightened state.

If you are evaluating spiritual teachers take notice of their sense of humor and how much they laugh. The measure of their humor, happiness, and laughter can be a measure of how clearly they see the world as it is. No need to make this the only criteria but consider it with many others.

The Enlightened Mind is Quiet

What keeps us from seeing the beauty and humor of humanity dressed up in personality masks is that we interpret through our mind. The mind adds dialogue of descriptions and interpretations about what we see. Most come from the voices of the inner judge and victim. We then hypnotize ourselves by believing what we think about what we see. Our attention fixates on these descriptions and we perceive our descriptions instead of perceiving the world directly. Like explaining or interpreting a joke, these descriptions generally aren’t that funny.

Spiritual traditions will describe this paradigm as being steeped in illusions. Our eyes are closed and we are asleep in a dream of our own interpretations. Some will call these interpretations filters, lenses, stories, projections, or false beliefs.

Consider the woman who is anorexic. She doesn’t see her body as it is. Instead she sees what she believes her body looks like. To measure this distorting dialogue you might notice the opinions you have about this article, your body, or other people. Often this dialogue is most obvious when we sit to mediate quietly and find that we can’t turn it off.

When we dissolve the dialogue in the mind and start living in a realm of silence we open our eyes to see a different world. Rather than see a world made of descriptions and opinions, we see one that is orchestrated by a conscious intelligence that transcends words. For communication purposes I’ll use the symbol “Divine” to denote that intelligent force of Life. It is the force that makes plants and grass grow, the planet spin, and the sun and stars shine. It’s a pretty incredible force. And darn smart too.

How to become enlightened

If it is enlightenment that you seek you will need to engage in experiential practices. These are actions that will quiet your mind so that you can perceive directly. Spiritual traditions around the world each have their own methods. They quiet the internal dialogue by eliminating the false beliefs, dissolving personal importance, and they train you to focus your attention into a silent world. Meditation and prayer are practices that engage you towards direct experience.

I direct you to practices instead of reading books because symbols aren’t likely to lead you to the experience. The more you read the more you fill your head with concepts, descriptions, interpretations, and expectations that form the matrix that traps perception. Reading conceptual ideas makes our analytical mind more dominant instead of more silent.

There are wonderful books that can help you with small epiphanies, but do not expect them to take you to your final destination of direct perception. Use what you read to give you some guidance and new perspectives if you like but more importantly practice something directly.

Humility is the Path to Freedom

Much of the chatter in the mind is born out of the beliefs we have invested in. Some of the major beliefs to be eliminated have to do with our self importance. Self importance relates to believing that you personally are the cause or center of what happens. This kind of belief paradigm comes in two forms. One paradigm is that we have the solutions to the world’s problems. The other paradigm is that we are somehow the cause of the world’s problems. In one direction we are the greatest person in the world and in the other direction we are the worst person in the world. (I use to think that if everyone approached their life the way I did the world would be a better place. At the time I didn’t notice it as self importance. I just thought I was right.) In either case our mind focuses on us in the story. A clue to our self importance is the number of times we use the words “I” or “me” in a sentence or thought.

You might find the inner judge and victim use these references to our selves to do comparisons between us and other people. When you dissolve the beliefs relating to your self importance you will have dissolved many of the stories in the mind and gone a long way towards inner silence. Without these false beliefs filtering your perception you can more easily see the world as it is. You will also see yourself more clearly as you really are.

The result of dropping your self importance is humility. Many people misinterpret humility to mean that they are less than other people. They take it as the opposite of arrogance. Humility doesn’t mean believing you are less than anyone else. It means being aware that you aren’t more important than anyone else while at the same time being aware that no one is more important than you. You treat yourself with respect and you treat everyone else with respect also. You no longer compare yourself to others in any way because you know through direct perception that everyone is equal.

You will find that highly conscious people who have dropped their self importance don’t make much of an effort to be heard or seen. A humble person will more likely listen than speak. They may be quiet and inconspicuous to the point that they don’t make much of an impression on you. In this way you might be in the presence of a master and not even know it.

An enlightened person will not generally put their agenda ahead of yours, even if your agenda will lead you into illusion and emotional suffering. Their respect for you as an equal capable of making your own decisions and dealing with your own consequences relieves them of any need to direct your life or worry over it.

To Become Enlightened Practice Expressing Love

Being happy is the result of expressing love. As you dissolve self importance and other agreements in the mind we spend less time thinking and more time feeling our emotions. Without judgments we don’t have excuses to not express our love. We don’t have to be serious and important all the time. Instead we learn to be childlike which is what great masters taught. The seeking of pleasure and enjoyment is our natural way and results in expressing love in everything that we do. The result of expressing love is that we are happy like children.

All aspects of elevating consciousness produce greater happiness. It is not linear as we will have our momentary ups and downs during the journey. Over all, happiness in your life is one of the best barometers to use to determine if you are headed towards higher consciousness. Don’t measure progress weekly or even monthly. As you wrestle with your inner demons, give yourself time to get back on your feet before determining if you are going forwards or backwards in your overall happiness. I personally suggest referencing back at least six months to measure real progress.

A World of Non-Duality is an Intermediate Step

If you are fortunate enough to make the journey to dissolve your self importance, quiet your mind, and open to love unconditionally you have done the hard part. In this level of consciousness you no longer react or feel victimized. You can live your life without fear, and be at peace within. Quite a few make it to this point of quieting the internal dialogue, and expressing love. (Quite a few is a relative term meaning about 1 in one million people.) In this state one lives their life full of compassion with everyone in the world as their equal.

Some people refer to this level of consciousness as enlightenment; however in my experience there is still further one can go. The final step is to open your spiritual eyes and see directly the Infinite consciousness alive in everything. With these eyes open you are aware of the costume of personality that Consciousness is wearing.

From this level of awareness the dance of life becomes that Divine comedy I mentioned earlier. It is not a simple trick to shift your perception to this heightened state of awareness. It is usually a challenge to do something that you haven’t done before. And since it takes place in the field of the mind behind the eyes you can’t just model someone else’s movements. It is difficult to elevate ourselves to a level of consciousness when we don’t know where that level is. It is for this kind of leap in perspective that an experienced teacher is extremely helpful. They may be able to give you a boost that opens your eyes to a world you hadn’t imagined before.

Once attained it is not likely that you will hold this enlightened point of view. The first time it may only last a few minutes or a couple hours. But once you have experienced this viewpoint you can bookmark it so you know where to evolve your consciousness in the future if you desire. Like opening your heart or being consciously happy, it often happens only for moments in the beginning. As you consciously practice those moments become longer and with less time in between until it is your normal state of being.

If you never make this final step you won’t be disappointed or feel like the failure. You will still be walking around with a quiet peaceful mind and love and happiness flowing out of you. With a fully compassionate mind there is no failure, disappointment, or sense that your journey has been wasted. The benefit of a quiet mind and experiencing your love coming out of you is enough to satisfy you everyday of your life. Enlightenment or not.

In the Beginning was the Word, and Immediately Following was Misinterpretation
When I describe that an enlightened person laughs at people some people are confused. They may interpret that the laughter comes from laughing “at” someone. This type of interpretation usually comes from the mask of the victim or judge personality. There is laughter, but it is not without love and compassion. Most often the laughter is only expressed inward. Outward it may only appear as a calm smile.

It can be funny listening to children make up ridiculous things. You love the children but you know that they are not aware enough to know what they are doing. They make you laugh while you adore them and their stories of fantasy. You don’t believe their stories, but you love them.

When you see a dog chase its shadow you don’t think less of the dog. You love the dog and you laugh at its antics. Their antics might even make you love the dog more. You are aware that the dog doesn’t know the difference between its shadow and something real and therefore you don’t judge the dog or think less of it

When you see a human chasing stories and illusions in the mind it can also be funny. With awareness it is clear that believing in the illusions is ridiculously funny. You laugh at their antics. At the same time their illusions about relationship and a false self image may be causing them emotional suffering. The emotional suffering aspect is not funny. Awareness doesn’t mean that it is without compassion and understanding for their emotional pain. Enlightenment allows us to be compassionate while at the same time being aware that the end of suffering can be just a shift in perspective away.

Becoming Enlightened in Steps

If you desire to become enlightened I suggest that you break up your journey into some smaller steps. The first task is to practice love and become happy. Enlightened people are both happy and loving. A simple step towards being loving is to accept where you are on your journey of conscious evolution. It might seem counter productive to accept yourself just as you are when you are striving for consciousness. But this is usually the distorted logic of the mind that doesn’t know the way to enlightenment.

Enlightened people accept themselves just the way they are. This begins by being aware of any self critical thoughts and then deciding that they are not true. The second act of acceptance is to accept other people and the world as they are. Enlightened people love and accept others just the way they are too. This also begins with being aware of thoughts and opinions and deciding not to believe them. Do what enlightened people do and you will be headed in their direction. I said these were simple steps but I didn’t say they would come easy.

If you are finding it challenging to be completely accepting of yourself and the world it is likely that you are stumbling over self importance issues and agreements in the mind. These are likely to show up through the inner judge and victim that make up the voice in your head. To overcome these obstacles to happiness and love you will need to identify and change these stories of the personality.

Once you have taken care of this bit of business you will be happy in your life and love will be easy. After that enlightenment just becomes a matter of expanding your consciousness to the point of view of Infinite. Becoming enlightened isn’t a way to measure your spiritual progress or success. This is just something the inner judge does. The enlightened person doesn’t measure success because there is no failure.

Source: Pathways To Happiness

Gary van Warmerdam combines the wisdom spiritual traditions have in eliminating suffering with common sense in a way that is both practical and effective. Gary has studied with best selling author of The Four Agreements, Dr. Miguel Ruiz since 1994. His experiences include spiritual journeys worldwide and many trips exploring the teachings of ancient Mexico. He co-developed and taught the Four Agreements Facilitators training at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY and the Crossings in Austin Texas. His teachings are based in universal principles of common sense and unconditional love found in all spiritual traditions. Gary teaches workshops throughout the country, leads spiritual retreats to Mexico, and coaches individual clients. His book, MindWorks, is available in print and in digital formats in numerous places.

Gary has previous professional experience in sales and management in both small and large businesses. He served as a nuclear trained officer in the US Navy and as officer of the deck of an aircraft carrier. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Published on Aug 14, 2017

James Wood works with groups and individuals to discover the fundamental Reality of our essential nature. Having awakened in 2002 after years of study, he began to express a spontaneous teaching whose form continues to evolve. His message is that awakening is possible for anyone committed to finding Truth.

Originally, James studied philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin and transformational studies with Richard Moss, M.D. He has combined his education and experience to express a modern, integrated vehicle for others to use as a means of growth in consciousness leading to awakening. He is dedicated to communicating the essence of the true Teaching to those who are ready to receive it.

Book: Ten Paths to Freedom: Awakening Made Simple

Website: http://jameswoodteachings.com

Nothing is Personal

There is an ancient and well-kept secret to happiness which the Great Ones have known for centuries. They rarely speak of it, but they use it all the time, and it is fundamental to good mental health. This secret is called The Fine Art of Not Being Offended. In order to truly be a master of this art, one must be able to see that every statement, action and reaction of another human being is the sum result of their total life experience to date.

In other words, the majority of people in our world say and do what they do from their own set of fears, conclusions, defences and attempts to survive. Most of it, even when aimed directly at us, has nothing to do with us. Usually, it has more to do with all the other times, and in particular the first few times, that this person experienced a similar situation, usually when they were young.


Study of the Soul

Yes, this is psychodynamic. But let’s face it, we live in a world where psychodynamics are what make the world go around. An individual who wishes to live successfully in the world as a spiritual person really needs to understand that psychology is as spiritual as prayer. In fact, the word psychology literally means ‘the study of the soul’.

Every statement, action and reaction is the result of our total life experience to date.

All of that said, almost nothing is personal. Even with our closest loved ones, our beloved partners, our children and our friends. We are all swimming in the projections and filters of each other’s life experiences and often we are just the stand-ins, the chess pieces of life to which our loved ones have their own built-in reactions. This is not to dehumanize life or take away the intimacy from our relationships, but mainly for us to know that almost every time we get offended, we are actually just in a misunderstanding.

Are They Hurting?

A true embodiment of this idea actually allows for more intimacy and less suffering throughout all of our relationships. When we know that we are just the one who happens to be standing in the right place at the right psychodynamic time for someone to say or do what they are doing—we don’t have to take life personally. If it weren’t us, it would likely be someone else.

This frees us to be a little more detached from the reactions of people around us. How often do we react to a statement of another by being offended rather than seeing that the other might actually be hurting? In fact, every time we get offended, it is actually an opportunity to extend kindness to one who may be suffering—even if they themselves do not appear that way on the surface.

Getting offended is an opportunity to extend kindness to one who may be suffering.

All anger, all acting out, all harshness, all criticism, is in truth a form of suffering. When we provide no velcro for it to stick, something changes in the world. We do not even have to say a thing. In fact, it is usually better not to say a thing.

People who are suffering on the inside, but not showing it on the outside, are usually not keen on someone pointing out to them that they are suffering. We do not have to be our loved one’s therapist. We need only understand the situation and move on. In the least, we ourselves experience less suffering and at best, we have a chance to make the world a better place.

No Harm to Self

This is also not to be confused with allowing ourselves to be hurt, neglected or taken advantage of. True compassion does not allow harm to ourselves either. But when we know that nothing is personal, a magical thing happens. Many of the seeming abusers of the world start to leave our lives. Once we are conscious, so-called abuse can only happen if we believe what the other is saying.

We don’t feel abused because we know that what the other is saying is not about us.

When we know nothing is personal, we also do not end up feeling abused. We can say, “Thank you for sharing,” and move on. We are not hooked by what another does or says, since we know it is not about us. When we know that our inherent worth is not determined by what another says, does or believes, we can take the world a little less seriously. And if necessary, we can just walk away without creating more misery for ourselves or having to convince the other person that we are good and worthy people.

The great challenge of our world is to live a life of contentment regardless of what other people do, say, think or believe. The fine art of not being offended is one of the many skills for being a practical mystic. Though it may take a lifetime of practice, it is truly one of the best kept secrets for living a happy life.

“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” ~Dalai Lama

If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s that we want to feel happy; and on the other side of that coin, we want to avoid hurting. Yet we consistently put ourselves in situations that set us up for pain.

We pin our happiness to people, circumstances, and things and hold onto them for dear life. We stress about the possibility of losing them when something seems amiss. Then we melt into grief when something changes—a lay off, a breakup, or a transfer.

We attach to feelings as if they define us, and ironically, not just positive ones. If you’ve wallowed in regret or disappointment for years, it can seem safe and even comforting to suffer.

In trying to hold on to what’s familiar, we limit our ability to experience joy in the present. A moment can’t possibly radiate fully when you’re suffocating it in fear.

When you stop trying to grasp, own, and control the world around you, you give it the freedom to fulfill you without the power to destroy you. That’s why letting go is so important— letting go is letting happiness in.

It’s no simple undertaking to let go of attachment—not a one-time decision, like pulling off a band-aid. Instead, it’s a day-to-day, moment-to-moment commitment that involves changing the way you experience and interact with everything you instinctively want to grasp.

The best approach is to start simple, at the beginning, and work your way to Zen.

Experiencing Without Attachment

Accept the moment for what it is.

Don’t try to turn it into yesterday; that moment’s gone. Don’t plot about how you can make the moment last forever. Just seep into the moment and enjoy it, because it will eventually pass. Nothing is permanent. Fighting that reality will only cause you pain.

Believe now is enough.

It’s true—tomorrow may not look the same as today, no matter how much you try to control it. A relationship might end. You might have to move. You’ll deal with those moments when they come. All you need right now is to appreciate and enjoy what you have. It’s enough.
Call yourself out.

Learn what it looks like to grasp at people, things, or circumstances so you can redirect your thoughts when they veer toward attachment—when you dwell on keeping, controlling, manipulating, or losing something instead of simply experiencing it.

Define yourself in fluid terms
.

We are all constantly evolving and growing. Define yourself in terms that can withstand change. Defining yourself by possessions, roles, and relationships breeds attachment, because loss entails losing not just what you have, but also who you are.

Enjoy now fully.

No matter how much time you have in an experience or with someone you love, it will never feel like enough. So don’t think about it in terms of quantity; aim for quality instead. Attach to the idea of living well from moment to moment. That’s an attachment that can do you no harm.

Letting Go of Attachment to People

Friend yourself.

It will be harder to let people go when necessary if you depend on them for your sense of worth. Believe you’re worthy whether someone else tells you or not. This way, you relate to people, not just how they make you feel about yourself.

Go it alone sometimes.

Take time to foster your own interests, ones that nothing and no one can take away. Don’t let them hinge on anyone or anything other than your values and passion.

Hold lightly.

This one isn’t just about releasing attachments; it’s also about maintaining healthy relationships. Contrary to romantic notions, you are not someone’s other half. You’re separate and whole. You can still hold someone to close to your heart; just remember, if you squeeze too tightly, you’ll both be suffocated.

Interact with lots of people.

If you limit yourself to one or two relationships, they will seem like your lifelines. Everyone needs people, and there are billions on the planet. Stay open to new connections. Accept the possibility your future involves a lot of love whether you cling to a select few people or not.

Justify less.

I can’t let him go—I’ll be miserable without him. I’d die if I lost her—she’s all that I have. These thoughts reinforce beliefs that are not fact, even if they feel like it. The only way to let go and feel less pain is to believe you’re strong enough to carry on if and when things change.

Letting Go of Attachment to the Past

Know you can’t change the past.

Even if you think about over and over again. Even if you punish yourself. Even if you refuse to accept it. It’s done. The only way to relieve your pain about what happened is to give yourself relief. No one and nothing else can create peace in your head for you.

Love instead of fearing.

When you hold onto the past, it often has to do with fear—fear you messed up your chance at happiness, or fear you’ll never know such happiness again. Focus on what you love and you’ll create happiness instead of worrying about it.

Make now count.

Instead of thinking of what you did or didn’t do, the type of person you were or weren’t, do something worthwhile now. Be someone worthwhile now. Take a class. Join a group. Help someone who needs it. Make today so full and meaningful there’s no room to dwell on yesterday.

Narrate calmly.

How we experience the world is largely a result of how we internalize it. Instead of telling yourself dramatic stories about the past—how hurt you were or how hard it was—challenge your emotions and focus on lessons learned. That’s all you really need from yesterday.
Open your mind.

We often cling to things, situations, or people because we’re comfortable with them. We know how they’ll make us feel, whether it’s happy or safe. Consider that new things, situations, and people may affect you the same. The only way to find out is to let go of what’s come and gone.
Letting Go of Attachment to Outcomes

Practice letting things be.

That doesn’t mean you can’t actively work to create a different tomorrow. It just means you make peace with the moment as it is, without worrying that something’s wrong with you or your life, and then operate from a place of acceptance.
Question your attachment.

If you’re attached to a specific outcome—a dream job or the perfect relationship—you may be indulging an illusion about some day when everything will be lined up for happiness. No moment will ever be worthier of your joy than now because that’s all there ever is.

Release the need to know.

Life entails uncertainty, no matter how strong your intention. Obsessing about tomorrow wastes your life because there will always be a tomorrow on the horizon. There are no guarantees about how it will play out. Just know it hinges on how well you live today.

Serve your purpose now.

You don’t need to have x-amount of money in the bank to live a meaningful life right now. Figure out what matters to you, and fill pockets of time indulging it. Audition for community theater. Volunteer with animals. Whatever you love, do it. Don’t wait—do it now.

Teach others.

It’s human nature to hope for things in the future. Even the most enlightened people fall into the habit from time to time. Remind yourself to stay open to possibilities by sharing the idea with other people. Blog about it. Talk about it. Tweet about it. Opening up helps keep you open.

Letting Go of Attachment to Feelings

Understand that pain is unavoidable.

No matter how well you do everything on this list, or on your own short list for peace, you will lose things that matter and feel some level of pain. But it doesn’t have to be as bad as you think. As the saying goes, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Vocalize your feelings.

Feel them, acknowledge them, express them, and then let them naturally transform. Even if you want to dwell in anger, sadness, or frustration—especially if you feel like dwelling—save yourself the pain and commit to working through them.

Write it down.

Then toss it out. You won’t always have the opportunity to express your feelings to the people who inspired them. That doesn’t mean you need to swallow them. Write in a journal. Write a letter and burn it. Anything that helps you let go.

Xie Xie.

t means thank you in Chinese. Fully embrace your happy moments—love with abandon; be so passionate it’s contagious. If a darker moment follows, remember: It will teach you something, and soon enough you’ll be in another happy moment to appreciate. Everything is cyclical.

Yield to peace.

The ultimate desire is to feel happy and peaceful. Even if you think you want to stay angry, what you really want is to be at peace with what happened or will happen. It takes a conscious choice. Make it.

Zen your now.

Experience, appreciate, enjoy, and let go to welcome another experience.

It won’t always be easy. Sometimes you’ll feel compelled to attach yourself physically and mentally to people and ideas—as if it gives you some sense of control or security. You may even strongly believe you’ll be happy if you struggle to hold onto what you have. That’s okay. It’s human nature.

Just know you have the power to choose from moment to moment how you experience things you enjoy: with a sense of ownership, anxiety, and fear, or with a sense of freedom, peace, and love.

The most important question: What do you choose right now?


About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest book Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

Are spiritual experiences becoming more common?

What are spiritual experiences? I don’t think of them in religious terms. I see them as moments in which our awareness becomes more intense and more expansive than normal, so that the world around us becomes more real and alive, and we feel a strong sense of connection to nature and other human beings. We might feel a sense of joy or inner stillness, and feel that somehow the world around us is “in harmony” or has a meaning that we find difficult to express.

If a person from a religious background has such an experience, they may well interpret it in religious terms. They might see it as a gift from God, and believe that the aliveness and harmony they perceive is a glimpse of the divine, or of heaven. But if you’re not religious, there’s no reason to think in these terms. The experience is just a psychological one. It suggests that our normal vision of the world is limited and in some ways even aberrational. In awakening experiences, there is a strong sense of ‘seeing more,’ of expanding beyond limits and perceiving a more authentic reality.

My research shows that awakening experiences are connected to certain activities and situations. They are associated with contact with nature, spiritual practices such as meditation or prayer, sporting activities (such as running and swimming), and sex. They are also strongly associated with states of intense psychological turmoil. That is, paradoxically, they often occur in the midst of stress and depression, or in relation to traumatic life events such as illness, divorce or bereavement.

However, one of the most interesting things about these experiences is that they are apparently becoming more common. In a 1962 Gallup poll, just 22 percent of Americans reported that they had “ever had a religious or mystical experience.” In 1994, 33 percent of people answered yes to the same question, while by 2009, the figure had risen to 49 percent. Research by the Pew Research Center in the U.S. has shown a similar trend. In 2007, 52 percent of Americans reported that they regularly felt a “deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being.” In 2014, the figure stood at 59 percent. In 2007, 39 percent of Americans said that the regularly felt a “deep sense of wonder about the universe”—a figure which had increased to 46 percent in 2014. Perhaps significantly, these increases coincided closely with a decrease in interest in organized religion.

In the U.K., the surveys of the Spiritual Experience Research Centre have had similar findings. In a 1969 survey, the question “Have you ever experienced a presence or power, whether you call it God or not, which is different from your everyday self?” was answered affirmatively by 29 percent of people. In 1978, the figure had risen to 36 percent, and then to 48 percent in 1987. In 2000, there was a further steep rise to 75 percent—a 27 percent increase in 13 years (which was, coincidentally or not, exactly the same figure by which church attendance declined over the same period). (1)

A Collective Movement?

Why should spiritual experiences be more common now than they were a few decades ago? It could simply be that people are simply getting better at recognizing them, or are more open about discussing them. Now that there is more general awareness of spirituality in our culture, and concepts such as “spiritual peace and well-being” are a more common part of discourse, it could simply be that more people are describing their experiences in this way, when they might have described them in other terms in earlier decades.

Or perhaps it’s right to take the research at its face value. Perhaps spiritual experiences actually are becoming more common. This is the approach I take in my new book The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening. I suggest that spiritual experiences are glimpses of a new state of being that is slowly becoming more normal to human beings. This is a higher-functioning state that I call “wakefulness,” in which a person feels an enhanced sense of well-being, clarity, and connection. They have a more intense awareness of the world around them, a greater sense of appreciation of nature, a broad global outlook, and an all-embracing sense of empathy with the whole human race. In many ways, it is a permanent, ongoing variant of the ‘awakening experience.’

I have found many examples of people who shift into this higher-functioning state in the midst of intense psychological turmoil – for example, bereavement, serious illness, or alcoholism—I describe some of these examples in The Leap. This shift is quite common, and can be seen as a variation of “post-traumatic growth”—I sometimes refer to it as “post-traumatic transformation.” There are also hundreds of millions of people around the world who are gradually cultivating wakefulness by following spiritual practices such as meditation and service, or spiritual paths such as Buddhism, Yoga, or the Kabbalah. A constantly increasing interest in self-development, spiritual practices, and traditions is one of the most significant cultural trends of our time.

It seems to me that there is a collective moment towards awakening, which is manifesting itself in a variety of ways—one of which may be the increasing frequency of spiritual experiences.

(1) I am grateful to my fellow author Jules Evans for bringing my attention to this research.

Steve Taylor PhD is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University, UK. He is the author of The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening.
Source: Psychology Today

The most important key to awakening is to learn the art of being present. It is only from Presence that you can be unconditionally loving and accepting of yourself.

This includes all those things you would like to change about yourself. Jealousy, possessiveness, control, judgment, haplessness, inadequacy, blame, guilt, uncertainty, unworthiness, arrogance, expectation, resentment, anger, sadness, frustration, just to name a few. To want to change any of these qualities in you is a subtle rejection of them, which is not unconditional acceptance. The key is to identify, own, acknowledge and confess all of these qualities as they arise within you. Hide absolutely nothing from yourself. Own and acknowledge all of these things with love, acceptance and compassion. The more you own and accept whatever arises without judgment, the more you will relax and be released out of the past into deeper and deeper levels of Presence.

The second key to awakening is to come into right relationship with your feelings. This is only possible as you become present. There are many emotions from the past, which you repressed, for good reasons then. But now they want to be released, so it is necessary to find an opportunity to feel and express repressed emotions like anger, hurt, pain and sadness. Just be present with the feelings whenever they arise within you. Allow the authentic expression, but do not identify with the story woven into the feelings. The feelings are from the past, which you are projecting into the present. Do not try to get rid of these feelings. That would be a judgment of them. Simply allow them to complete their journey through you. Once released, they will be gone forever. It is important to take full responsibility for your emotional reactions. No one can make you angry unless you have anger repressed within you from your past. No one can hurt you unless you have hurt repressed within you from your past.

As these repressed emotions are liberated from you, you will begin to feel a level of love, peace and freedom that you did not know was possible.

The third key to awakening is to confess. This has nothing to do with the Catholic idea of confession. You have not committed any sin, which needs to be confessed in order for you to be absolved. If you confess these qualities to someone who is absolutely non-judgmental, and who is fully present with you, it will help you to own the quality of which you are confessing. In your confession, you are saying, “This is me. This is who I have become. I am possessive and controlling.” Or “I am blaming.” Or “I always get angry when I don’t get my own way.” Or “I will not allow myself to get too close to people because I am afraid I might be rejected.” By confessing and owning it with love, acceptance and compassion, it is released. And you are freed to the level of Presence where none of these qualities exist. They cannot exist because they are not a part of the true nature of Being. They exist only at the level of mind. If you cannot find someone who is present enough to receive your confession then confess to a tree or a flower, or God who exists at the very center of your Being.

The fourth key is to come into right relationship with the ego. The ego is not the enemy. It is your friend and protector in a painful world where no one is truly present. Once you know the ego’s true role in your life, you will come to appreciate it. You will befriend it, and gradually the ego will relax and it will allow you to be more present. And you become established in Presence, the ego will surrender and its role in your life will be transformed.

The fifth key is to bring conscious awareness to all the ways that you lose yourself in others. If you look to others for love, acceptance, or approval, you are losing yourself in them. If you fear judgment or rejection from others, then you are losing yourself and you are giving away your power and your freedom. To awaken is to come back to yourself, and release yourself from entanglement in others.

The fifth key to awakening is to accept full responsibility for yourself. This will release you form the world of expectation, resentment, blame and guilt. It will lead you into total freedom.

The sixth key to awakening is to let go. Dance. Celebrate. Lose control.

Excerpt from Words From Silence by Leonard Jacobson (ps. 128-131)

About Leonard:
Leonard Jacobson is an awakened spiritual teacher, mystic and author, who is deeply committed to helping others break through to the joyous experience of living in the NOW. For more than 35 years, Leonard has been teaching people how to become fundamentally present and arise in mastery of the mind and ego. Find more of Leonard’s work Here.
Source: AWAKEN

Published on Aug 12, 2017

Excerpts from the book Magical Mind, Magical Body. A Perfect Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit Is Your Birthright. The key lies in your mind — which has much more power than you ever realized possible. With Magical Mind, Magical Body, that power will be brought into your life.

Published on Jul 21, 2017

“Escape the prison of the mind and become free from suffering.” JV. 3 

Great Enlightened beings Sadhguru, Mooji and Eckhart Tolle tell us the way to end the suffering. (A must watch)


In most people, the Consciousness identifies socially conditioned Ego. At a number of people
this identification is so powerful that they are unaware that their life is governed by a socially conditioned mind. On our Journey we may ask ourselves the question, How can we get rid of the Ego?

Based on the book
„The Awakening of Consciousness”
by Frank M. Wanderer


Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness — that is a marvelous fact — but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self

%d bloggers like this: