The great illusion of the self - Part 1


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The great illusion of the self - Part 1
The one and only you
written by Jan Westerhoff, published by New Scientist


There are flaws in our intuitive beliefs about what makes us who we are. Who are we really?
THERE appear to be few things more certain to us than the existence of our selves. We might be sceptical about the existence of the world around us, but how could we be in doubt about the existence of us? Isn't doubt made impossible by the fact that there is somebody who is doubting something? Who, if not us, would this somebody be?

While it seems irrefutable that we must exist in some sense, things get a lot more puzzling once we try to get a better grip of what having a self actually amounts to.

Three beliefs about the self are absolutely fundamental for our belief of who we are. First, we regard ourselves as unchanging and continuous. This is not to say that we remain forever the same, but that among all this change there is something that remains constant and that makes the "me" today the same person I was five years ago and will be five years in the future.

Second, we see our self as the unifier that brings it all together. The world presents itself to us as a cacophony of sights, sounds, smells, mental images, recollections and so forth. In the self, these are all integrated and an image of a single, unified world emerges.

Finally, the self is an agent. It is the thinker of our thoughts and the doer of our deeds. It is where the representation of the world, unified into one coherent whole, is used so we can act on this world.

All of these beliefs appear to be blindingly obvious and as certain as can be. But as we look at them more closely, they become less and less self-evident.

It would seem obvious that we exist continuously from our first moments in our mother's womb up to our death. Yet during the time that our self exists, it undergoes substantial changes in beliefs, abilities, desires and moods. The happy self of yesterday cannot be exactly the same as the grief-stricken self of today, for example. But we surely still have the same self today that we had yesterday.

There are two different models of the self we can use to explore this issue: a string of pearls and a rope. According to the first model, our self is something constant that has all the changing properties but remains itself unchanged. Like a thread running through every pearl on a string, our self runs through every single moment of our lives, providing a core and a unity for them. The difficulty with this view of the self is that it cannot be most of the things we usually think define us. Being happy or sad, being able to speak Chinese, preferring cherries to strawberries, even being conscious – all these are changeable states, the disappearance of which should not affect the self, as a disappearance of individual pearls should not affect the thread. But it then becomes unclear why such a minimal self should have the central status in our lives that we usually accord to it.

The second model is based on the fact that a rope holds together even though there is no single fibre running through the entire rope, just a sequence of overlapping shorter fibres. Similarly, our self might just be the continuity of overlapping mental events. While this view has a certain plausibility, it has problems of its own. We usually assume that when we think of something or make a decision, it is the whole of us doing it, not just some specific part. Yet, according to the rope view, our self is never completely present at any point, just like a rope's threads do not run its entire length.

It seems then as if we are left with the unattractive choice between a continuous self so far removed from everything constituting us that its absence would scarcely be noticeable, and a self that actually consists of components of our mental life, but contains no constant part we could identify with. The empirical evidence we have so far points towards the rope view, but it is by no means settled.

Even more important, and just as troublesome, is our second core belief about the self: that it is where it all comes together.

It is easy to overlook the significance of this fact, but the brain accomplishes an extremely complex task in bringing about the appearance of a unified world. Consider, for example, that light travels much faster than sound yet visual stimuli take longer to process than noises. Putting together these different speeds means that sights and sounds from an event usually become available to our consciousness at different times (only sights and sounds from events about 10 metres away are available at the same time). That means the apparent simultaneity of hearing a voice and seeing the speaker's lips move, for example, has to be constructed by the brain.

Our intuitive view of the result of this process resembles a theatre. Like a spectator seated in front of a stage, the self perceives a unified world put together from a diverse range of sensory data. It would get confusing if these had not been unified in advance, just as a theatregoer would be confused if they heard an actor's lines before he was on stage. While this view is persuasive, it faces many difficulties.

Consider a simple case, the "beta phenomenon". If a bright spot is flashed onto the corner of a screen and is immediately followed by a similar spot in the opposite corner, it can appear as if there was a dot moving diagonally across the screen. This is easily explained: the brain often fills in elements of a scene using guesswork. But a tweak to this experiment produces a curious effect.

If the spots are different colours – for example a red spot followed by a green spot – observers see a moving spot that changes colour abruptly around the mid-point of the diagonal (see "Spotted trick"). This is very peculiar. If the brain is filling in the missing positions along the diagonal for the benefit of the self in the theatre, how does it know before the green spot has been observed that the colour will switch?

One way of explaining the beta phenomenon is by assuming that our experience is played out in the theatre with a small time delay. The brain doesn't pass on the information about the spots as soon as it can, but holds it back for a little while. Once the green spot has been processed, both spots are put together into a perceptual narrative that involves one moving spot changing colour. This edited version is then screened in the theatre of consciousness.

Unfortunately, this explanation does not fit in well with evidence of how perception works. Conscious responses to visual stimuli can occur at a speed very close to the minimum time physically possible. If we add up the time it takes for information to reach the brain and then be processed, there is not enough time left for a delay of sufficient length to explain the beta phenomenon.

Perhaps there is something wrong with the notion of a self perceiving a unified stream of sensory information. Perhaps there are just various neurological processes taking place in the brain and various mental processes taking place in our mind, without some central agency where it all comes together at a particular moment, the perceptual "now". It is much easier to make sense of the beta phenomenon if there is no specific time when perceptual content appears in the theatre of the self – because there is no such theatre.

The perception of a red spot turning green arises in the brain only after the perception of the green spot. Our mistaken perception of the real flow of events is akin to the way we interpret the following sentence: "The man ran out of the house, after he had kissed his wife". The sequence in which the information comes in on the page is "running–kissing", but the sequence of events you construct and understand is "kissing–running". For us to experience events as happening in a specific order, it is not necessary that information about these events enters our brain in that same order.

The final core belief is that the self is the locus of control. Yet cognitive science has shown in numerous cases that our mind can conjure, post hoc, an intention for an action that was not brought about by us.

In one experiment, a volunteer was asked to move a cursor slowly around a screen on which 50 small objects were displayed, and asked to stop the cursor on an object every 30 seconds or so.

Self-delusion

The computer mouse controlling the cursor was shared, ouija-board style, with another volunteer. Via headphones, the first volunteer would hear words, some of which related to the objects on screen. What this volunteer did not know was that their partner was one of the researchers who would occasionally force the cursor towards a picture without the volunteer noticing.

If the cursor was forced to the image of a rose, and the volunteer had heard the word "rose" a few seconds before, they reported feeling that they had intentionally moved the mouse there. The reasons why these cues combined to produce this effect is not what is interesting here: more important is that it reveals one way that the brain does not always display its actual operations to us. Instead, it produces a post-hoc "I did this" narrative despite lacking any factual basis for it (American Psychologist, vol 54, p 480).

So, many of our core beliefs about ourselves do not withstand scrutiny. This presents a tremendous challenge for our everyday view of ourselves, as it suggests that in a very fundamental sense we are not real. Instead, our self is comparable to an illusion – but without anybody there that experiences the illusion.

Yet we may have no choice but to endorse these mistaken beliefs. Our whole way of living relies on the notion that we are unchanging, coherent and autonomous individuals. The self is not only a useful illusion, it may also be a necessary one.

I am the one and only

Think back to your earliest memory. Now project forward to the day of your death. It is impossible to know when this will come, but it will.

What you have just surveyed might be called your "self-span", or the time when this entity you call your self exists. Either side of that, zilch.

Which is very mysterious, and a little unsettling. Modern humans have existed for perhaps 100,000 years, and more than 100 billion have already lived and died. We assume that they all experienced a sense of self similar to yours. None of these selves has made a comeback, and as far as we know, neither will you.

What is it about a mere arrangement of matter and energy that gives rise to a subjective sense of self? It must be a collective property of the neurons in your brain, which have mostly stayed with you throughout life, and which will cease to exist after you die. But why a given bundle of neurons can give rise to a given sense of selfhood, and whether that subjective sense can ever reside in a different bundle of neurons, may forever remain a mystery.

The great illusion of the self - Introduction


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The great illusion of the self - Introduction  
What are you?
published by New Scientist


As you wake up each morning, hazy and disoriented, you gradually become aware of the rustling of the sheets, sense their texture and squint at the light. One aspect of your self has reassembled: the first-person observer of reality, inhabiting a human body. 

As wakefulness grows, so does your sense of having a past, a personality and motivations. Your self is complete, as both witness of the world and bearer of your consciousness and identity. You. 

This intuitive sense of self is an effortless and fundamental human experience. But it is nothing more than an elaborate illusion. Under scrutiny, many common-sense beliefs about selfhood begin to unravel. Some thinkers even go as far as claiming that there is no such thing as the self. 

In these articles, discover why "you" aren't the person you thought you were.

5 Things Beginners Should Know About Yoga


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written by Wayne Silverman

Before you start your first class, there are questions.

Who do you ask? The first question you should ask is, How do I find a good teacher? At the minimum, a teacher should be certified. Certification means they have a minimum of 200 hours of yoga teacher training, and many have years of teaching experience on top of that. 

However, certification doesn't guarantee they are the right teacher for you. If you live in a large city, it is likely you have friends who go to a yoga school near you. Start by asking them questions.  

Second, learn classical yoga first, don’t start with hot yoga or athletic vinyasa. You can learn those later. Start by learning the postures (in Sanskrit, asanas) first.  Then learn how they are strung together into a flow (known as vinyasa).

1. Find a good teacher and stick with them for six months.

I’ll talk in a minute about teacher hopping, but in the beginning, find a teacher who likes teaching beginners. Almost every school has one. Learn the basics, and by that I mean classical yoga. Postures, maybe a short vinyasa flow. A few simple breathing exercises (known as pranayama) and show up to class once a week. If you need more, go twice a week, but start slow, especially if you haven’t done serious stretching and cardio for awhile, or ever!

For all the guys out there that think yoga must be easy and that it’s mostly for women: Danger Will Robinson!  If you've never done yoga before I warn you. It’s tougher than it seems from the outside. So, unless you were a gymnast in high school you've probably never had a workout quite like this before.

2. Be curious, ask questions, read about yoga, read about great yogis, and other yoga styles to expand your understanding.


And continue going to class. It takes the average person about six months until the body adapts and you start to see transformation. That’s the average, maybe for you it’ll happen sooner, or later. Patience is important. Continue going to class. If you are impatient and push yourself it’s likely you’ll injure something (besides your just your ego!) and have to recover from that, which will slow your progress.

Reading is good because there’s more to it than just going to class and if you think yoga is something you want in your life long-term, then reading is an important next step. There are many great resources and books to read. Internet yoga sites often blog about great yoga books. One that I loved in my early stages of learning was “Fundamentals of Yoga” by Rammurti Mishra.

You should also ask your teacher, they will likely know what books are a good fit for you personally. And continue going to class.


3. After 6 months of one or two in-studio classes per week, you will have learned enough to work on developing your home practice.

Words to the wise: Try not to push yourself in your home practice, at least not yet. Don’t work on postures you haven’t already done in class under the watchful eye of an experienced teacher. Do work on your weaknesses in a careful, calm and steady way always listening to your body and your breath and your thoughts.

And remember to relax…this is yoga!

Get used to being on your mat for a few minutes to half an hour at least once a week. It’s the discipline of being on your mat that makes the difference, in both your physical and spiritual progress. While it’s rarely talked about these days, yoga is about discipline. It’s about the discipline of bringing the body (using asana) and the mind (using the breath) under control.

You can and should practice that discipline at home, many teachers talk about taking the practice of asana into your life, and a regular home yoga practice is at the heart of that transformation. Remember, yoga is growth.

4. When you have a regular home practice at least once per week in addition to a weekly studio class, then try different studios or, at least, different teachers at your studio.



Step up into an intermediate class, take a specialized workshop, learn something new and get out of your comfort zone (in a safe way). If inversions scare you then take an inversion workshop and face your fears about being upside down! Ask your teachers for guidance, they won’t mind sharing, and they’ll likely know who in the area is qualified and capable to teach you based on your current level of practice. This dovetails into our last point.

5. Explore some of the great things yoga has to offer.

Besides the postures, there are many parts of yoga that speak to all aspects of life. Using your hatha yoga practice as a stepping off point (some would say a gateway drug!) explore other aspects of yogic living and thought.

There’s meditation, chant (one of my personal favorites), ayurveda (traditional east Indian medicine), and vegetarian cooking. Or if you’re into the more mystical aspects of yoga there are the Yoga Sutras, the Vedas, and Upanishads. Every aspect of life from cooking, reading, running, thinking and breathing have all been addressed by yogis at some point. If yoga really works for you and you chose to be a yogi you will want to open yourself up to some of the other practices.

A last word.


The most important thing in yoga is to focus on your own process.

The key to yoga is to develop your ability to listen deeply to your body. You want to feel each muscle, each breath, to feel the flow of the prana (life force) through your body. Know when you are tired, know when you are sick, know what is happening in your own mind, body and spirit. Learning yoga is a great gift, a gift you give to yourself. And remember, your yoga is for your growth.

A few more words


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Very nice weekend. I met my friends at Friday night, we had coffee at sturbacs and then we went for beer and wine at my place. We stayed all night. I laughed so much. We had a wonderful time. On Saturday I took a long walk around High Park. I went to sleep early and on Sunday I performed full primary yoga practice. I had a beautiful breakfast at Sunset Grill on Bloor street.


The post of work, fuck, and money is quite a big undertaking. I would like to put a few more words towards it. Usually people see these subjects as very private. Nevertheless, I have decided to discuss them in details. However, I am concerned not purely with work, fuck, and money but with my spiritual practice behind those things.

As a spiritual practitioner or practitioner of yoga and meditation, I am supposed to be immersed in the contemplative activities. 

Why would I mention work, fuck, and money? Since I am involved in spirituality, you may think I should transcend work, fuck, and money. Perhaps you think I should live the contemplative life, a life in which those things don't apply because I spend the whole day meditating.

On the other hand, in spite of my spiritual intentions, my life is involved with work, fuck, and money anyway. Maybe there is something to be said about those subjects after all. The question is, am I really working on spirituality or not? If so, there is something that I might not have thought about: that my spirituality isn't really "spirituality". Do you think spirituality is something purely transcendental? Hmmm, I don't think so. Spirituality might have something to do with ordinary life.

The elementary point of spiritual practice is to inspire me for better understanding that permits me to relate with my life in the fullest way. 

From that point of view, work, fuck and money are the highlights of the spiritual experience of everyday life. Daily living situation should be regarded as a main means of practicing spiritual discipline. And I should look into what I actually mean by spiritual practice.

A grand idea of spirituality is that the point is to surrender, give away, or renounce the world. According to such notion, spirituality provides a shelter where I can be happy and free. It is complete opposite of daily experience. Since my daily living situation expose me in any possible ways, I have to look for something higher or safer. The idea here is that spiritual practice should lead me to happiness.

This popular and, I might say, rather primitive notion of spirituality will suppose to lift me above misery, pain, and suffering. It is based on searching for happiness, a sense of security.  By doing spiritual practice I have found a final home to dwell in. The attitude of maintaining myself in happiness is actually the expression of my confused mind.

This kind of spirituality, call it happiness-spirituality, never work. In fact, there are constant failures, because maintaining the continual awareness of myself is such a big and awkward task.

Therefore, the meditation that have been recommended by great teachers should be accompanied by interaction with the world. 

Meditation could be described as training, and the actual implementation occurs in working with the situations of daily life. And here work, fuck, and money become my immediate concern. 

Spirituality is all about how to handle the situations of daily life.

Work - Fuck - Money


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My dear readers,

two days ago I received the text message from one of the readers and he asked me Am I awakened person. I just laughed and I messaged him back that I am working towards it. Later I was thinking about it. Why am I not awakened? That is the first, most difficult habit to overcome. 



But then I look at my daily life and I see my worries and anxieties. To be awake is to be fearless so clearly I am not awake. 

Every passing day, I deal with the challenges of my common, ordinary life, I gather useless experiences that could be summarized by the title of this post. I see that these aspects of my life are source of my fulfillment and pleasure, and they often are. YET, at the same time, these areas of my life are the source of my problems, and I search for the best possible way to solve these problems to find practical advice for the troubles.

There are millions of books, internet pages, articles, radio shows, and TV programs that provide advice or self-help on Work-Fuck-Money topic. 

What about work? Books and internet pages will give you advice and tell you how to succeed in your career , how to behave on job interview, how to dress for the workplace, deal with bully co-workers or bosses, ask for a raise, or be an effective manager.

TV has a plenty of news and reality shows showing you how to deal with work as it relates to everyday tasks in the home - how to cook, how to dress, and how to decorate your living room. TV also makes it highly entertaining, everything is painted in pink, from boardroom competitions judged by Donald Trump to solving kitchen nightmares or laughing through popular comedies like The Office.

Fuck and the related areas of relationships in general fascinate everyone of us, preoccupy us,
and cause us a great deal of trouble. Here, too, there is advice offered in the online dating sites and our obsession with fuck and relationships is celebrated by film, internet, tv, the news, whether we prefer it or not.

And again all is connected with the Money. Money has been promoted as glamorous, greed has been declared as virtue, and wealth has been seen as the key to happiness. Lately, however, with this global recession, money has become an increasing source of anxiety. How to save, how to spend wisely, how to make more money, how to do more with less, briefly we all have lots of issues with money.


On top of everything we do yoga and meditate and we consider ourselves to be spiritual persons. 

We associate spirituality with the challenges of everyday life and we are hoping for a magic cure that will solve our problems and relieve our anxieties. 

What are the chances for our success? What are chances for spirituality to solve our Work-Fuck-Money problems? Can spirituality give us happy-ever-after solution?

I don't think so! A nagging feeling tells me that I am stuck with my life and with myself. In fact, to cope with the anxieties and challenges of my life, what I need is not temporary escape called meditation on I AM sense, because eventually I find myself completely oblivious of I AM when I am back in the "real world."

The closest solution to worldly problems is a dose of reality and a dose of respect for myself and my world of work, fuck, and money. I have to develop fearlessness to overcome anxiety and panic. To approach my life sanely, I need to bring my intelligence or awareness to bear on every situation.

I also need a panoramic view, a way to see how the details fit into a larger pattern so that I can discover and organize order in this chaos. Also, I need to find the key to unlock an attitude of loving-kindness or acceptance toward myself and compassion for others, which is one of the most powerful thing that we can bring to ordinary life.

I need to find resources, the confidence and the will to help myself and others, the willingness to engage the tough stuff of life, and the ability to appreciate the raw and rugged qualities of life as things of beauty.

Crazy Wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa


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In crazy wisdom... we explore further and further and further without looking for an answer... We don't make a big point or an answer out of any one thing. For example, we might think that because we have discovered one particular thing that is wrong with us, that must be it, that must be the problem, that must be the answer. No. We don't fixate on that, we go further. "Why is that the case?" We look further and further. We ask: "Why is this so?" Why is there spirituality? Why is there awakening? Why is there this moment of relief? Why is there such a thing as discovering the pleasure of spirituality? Why, why, why?" We go on deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper, until we reach the point where there is no answer... At that point we tend to give up hope of an answer, or of anything whatsoever, for that matter... This hopelessness is the essence of crazy wisdom. It is hopeless, utterly hopeless.
- Chögyam Trungpa 

Crazy Wisdom: A Portrait of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche 

written by Johanna Demetrakas (filmmaker)

From the first seminar, called "The Battle of Ego" in Los Angeles, to filming his cremation on a cloudless but rainbow-filled day in Vermont, Chogyam Trungpa blew my mind. Being in his presence was like being suddenly aware of an oncoming truck - it put every cell in your brain SMACK! - into the present moment. And in that moment you could be outraged, moved to tears, or inspired ... usually all at once. It was 1971 and I had never met a Tibetan Buddhist high lama before (who had?).

He wore suits, spoke precise English and openly enjoyed women (in spite of being married). At the time, I was married with little kidlets and although I didn't practice it, open marriage wasn't such a shockingly big deal back in the 70s. To quote Pema Chodron, "Sexuality didn't bother people in those days, drinking didn't bother people, but put on a suit and tie? Forget about it." With Trungpa, nothing was hidden; it was up to each person to make their own judgments about the behavior of the teacher. So it took years of practice and study to understand that in Tibetan Buddhism, his outrageous "crazy wisdom teaching style" was just another tradition. Take it or leave it.

There was an urgency about him that was difficult to resist but exhausting to experience. In the film, I begin with phrases from a liturgy he wrote where he warned of the destructive power of the "... thick, black fog of materialism." This is set against a montage of images of contemporary wars, disease, pollution and economic frenzy. Trungpa's words from back in 1968 predicted the state of the world we're living in today. Yet he had complete confidence that humanity was basically good and could reverse the materialistic trend. He dedicated his life toward that goal. 

As soon as Trungpa landed in the U.S. in 1970, he began to magnetize some of the country's prominent spiritual teachers and intellectuals - including R.D. Laing, John Cage, Ram Dass, Anne Waldman, Gregory Bateson and Pema Chodron. Poet Allen Ginsberg considered Trungpa his guru; Catholic priest Thomas Merton wanted to write a book with him; music icon Joni Mitchell wrote a song about him called, "Refuge for the Road." Humor was always a vital part of his teaching -- "Enlightenment is better than Disneyland," he quipped, and he warned us of the dangers of the "Western spiritual supermarket." 

In the five years plus of active filmmaking it's taken to make this film, the greatest challenge has been to not be seduced by putting Trungpa into the simplistic categories of sinner or saint. What inspired me was the daunting possibility of creating an experience for the audience to catch a glimpse of the unconditional brilliance of an enlightened mind, Tibetan Buddhist style.

Step out of it


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Starbucks coffee on Bloor street... spring!!!




Enjoying Thursday's evening. Thinking about... 

Why do you bring in an outer doer? The world recreates itself out of itself. It is an endless process, the transitory begetting the transitory. It is your ego that makes you think that there must be a doer. You create a God to your own Image, however dismal the image. Through the film of your mind you project a world and also a God to give it cause and purpose. It is all imagination - step out of it.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj 

Listening... 


If you don't like it then you can listen this... 


Everything is the same :-)

The mastery of mysteries


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Finding the truth, seeing what is real, and leading a best possible life with the culmination of enlightenment is what the spiritual journey is all about. However, walking the spiritual path is not straightforward as we may wish.

I started my spiritual journey on January 2nd, 2002. 

I came from the New Years party earlier than I had planned so I was on the internet browsing some pages. I came to the Emerald Tablets of Thoth, the Atlantean. I read it and I was fascinated with the language. I had no clue what was I reading. It just sounded so nice. 


I , THOTH, the Atlantean, master of mysteries, 
keeper of records, mighty king, magician, 
living from generation to generation, 
being about to pass into the halls of Amenti, 
set down for the guidance of 
those that are to come after, 
these records of the mighty wisdom of Great Atlantis.

I printed the text and then I started to study it. I got books about esoteric philosophy and then other books and other books. I started with Theosophy, Carlos Castaneda, Osho,then Gurdjieff, and later Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj. No one directly told me about these teachers. I found them on my own.

To be quite honest, the journey toward self-realization is so simple, yet the process of understanding that simplicity is so complicated. For in order to understand the simplicity of what we are, we must see and understand our own mind. 

We should first understand that we don't need any teachings, instructions, and guidance from others. We don't need to look at someone who has traveled the path before because each path is unique and no one can give valid and confident advice about how others could travel this same path. 

People are naive about spirituality. 

They are unaware of the many pitfalls possible on this journey. Spiritual awakening is not a happy endeavor. It is a profound and so are the obstacles and possibilities for self-deception.

The spiritual path is the process of cutting through our beliefs, cutting through our paranoias. So it is not a matter of learning the ancient knowledge, the mastery of mysteries but rather of burning out the confusions which we so carefully take care off.  

High Park, Toronto


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Last Sunday I went for a walk in High Park. It was the first walk in this year. I was alone and what I discovered shocked me.... 

The more I think, the busier I am mentally and the more convinced I am of my existence. 

I feel that I am a minority and because of this spirituality that I am doing something very much extraordinary, that I am different from everyone else. This sort of attempt to prove my own uniqueness is just my pity attempt to validate my self-deception. 

Of course I experienced something extraordinary; OMG my mind has just stopped; of course I saw the miracle; wow!!! I just had the insight; ... I am going on and on...


My vast collections of spiritual knowledge and all kinds of experiences are just part of my ego's display, part of the spiritual Zee. I display them to the world and, in so doing, reassure myself that I exist, safe and secure, as "spiritual" person. 


By examination of my own thoughts and feelings and the other activities of mind such as lying, imagination etc. I have discovered that there is no need to do all this to prove my own existence. There is no need to struggle with mind to be free, the absence of struggle is in itself freedom.  


There is no need for all these. Just observe and listen to the nature. The spring is coming, slowly but certainly.

Exploring Dreamstate - 400th Post


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You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
- Albert Camus

My Dear Readers, 

this is my 400th post. I started this blog in December of 2012 and it’s now April of 2014. Seems like a good time for a little reflection, doesn’t it? 

So, how has my life changed in 400 posts?
  • I am not married anymore.
  • I don't live in the same place. Actually I moved twice. Now I am in my own condo.
  • I am single at 40-something. Which is like, totally OK!
  • I've been to St. Martin for Christmas and I had wonderful time.
  • I don't have land line phone anymore, I do have HTC cell.
  • I have a lot more friends now.
  • I closed Rogers cable account, I watch TV now via antenna. 

My first hundred posts were experimental, seeing if I could maintain the rigorous schedule of publishing daily while continue to do my spiritual practice. My second hundred caused me to realize that my blog had a “public” readers and that I have to take that in consideration. By my third hundred, you readers convinced me that this blog was here to stay. The third hundreds posts were all about my divorce. In my fourth hundreds posts, I expanded my blog and I gave a space to others.

The majority of readers don't like my blog. They come once or twice and they are gone forever.

I spoke with my friends who read my blog and they complain that this blog is an extremely gloomy because it emphasizes meaninglessness, suffering, falseness, dream and misery. Usually spiritual blogs speak of happiness, love, beauty, song, bliss. Well, what to say about it? We must thread spiritual path by seeing the experience of life as it is. We must see the truth of suffering, the reality of dissatisfaction. 

As long as we follow a spiritual path which promising liberation, miracles, expansion of consciousness, bliss then we are bound to failure. We expect that spiritual teaching can solve our worldly problems, raise us from depression, calm our aggression, solve our sexual hangups. However, this will never happen.

The attainment of enlightenment from only point of view we now have, ego's point of view, is extreme death, the death of self, the death of me and mine,, the death of watcher. It is ultimate and final disappointment.  

Walking on spiritual path is painful. It is constant unmasking of our own illusions, hopes and beliefs. We are willing to be lonely person, a desolate person who is working on losing its own shadow, our twenty four/seven commentator who follows us constantly, our watcher.

We have to give up the questions and the answers, the discursive mind, the checking mechanism. Quite possible there is no such thing as spiritual path after all except cutting down our own imagination, self deception. Giving up the imagination could be called spiritual practice. Other than that there is no spirituality.

The recent, most read posts... according to your clicks are:

Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series
Keep it simple
Why do people keep asking?
God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh
Interview with U.G Krishnamurti
New Career Ahead :-)
An impartial critique of my spirituality

I want to say one thing more. Aloneness became my companion, my spiritual consort, part of my being. Whenever I go, I am alone, whatever I do I am alone. Whether I am with friends or alone, at work surrounded with all kind of people, on the street or simply at my home.. I am always alone. That aloneness is freedom, fundamental freedom. 

I finally realized how irrational "happily ever after" is and yet ... yet, I secretly still hope for something to happen... I am still waiting for the miracle. Thank you for reading my blog.