ALL ROADS LEAD TO HOME

compass-roseA couple of years ago while strolling through the walled city of Old Jerusalem, I had a sudden realization:

“I” didn’t exist. I was not the busy person immersed in highly important doings, who I had always assumed myself to be. Surrounded by this noisy tourist throng, I suddenly experienced myself as a vast empty hole, an impartial and impersonal gap through which oceans of stunningly trivial stuff—past lives, present lives—poured forth.

It made me cry.

I’d been a seeker of enlightenment for a very long time. This shift in perception was exactly what I’d been aiming for, hoping for, all along. But the actual experience of sudden identity loss, coupled with the recognition that none of the things I cared about had any meaning at all…well it was more uncomfortable, more disturbing than I’d bargained for.

Part of me knew this realization would lead to the liberation I’d been craving—if I could only manage to hang onto it as a permanent state of awareness. But most of me wanted nothing to do with it. And so the recognition faded as quickly as it came.

I’ve really only ever dabbled in the Advaita Vedanta stream of enlightenment. I’ve watched videos and read books by a handful of excellent teachers, and tried to do as they suggested. Tried to look in the direction they pointed. Tried to figure out who was the “I” who was doing all that looking and trying. But in the end I really wasn’t particularly drawn by the promise of emptiness, or detachment: Too harsh. Too depressing. I wanted some other kind of peace.

And so life led me to the version of nonduality taught by the Everything-Is-One crowd: God Is. Nothing else is real.

It seemed, on the surface, to be an entirely different stream. A completely different road to freedom. It allowed for the existence of divine intelligence, and for unconditional love.

Sure, I would still have to render the world meaningless, and shed the personal identity—but I could do it in a way that seemed a little more happy-clappy. A bit more Kumbaya.

*          *          *

Over the past 10 years I’ve made my home in these more God-centric teachings, and they’ve been wonderful. They do indeed offer a slightly cozier and more comfortable place from which to pursue enlightenment. But I’ve also wandered freely onto other resonant paths, some related and some not. It’s been the combination of all these diverse teachings that seem to have collectively done the trick.

Case in point: In the weeks since divine love has taken up partial residence within (as described in the last post), the most amazing sort of full-circle Advaita-like thing has occurred: Suddenly I recognize the true eternal nature of everything. Without working at it. Without hunting for the “I” who is, or isn’t, busily searching for itself.

I seem to effortlessly see that everything in existence, including my own body-mind, is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Insubstantial puffs of steam—each looking unique and different and utterly believable on the surface—yet so obviously arising out of the one undifferentiated sea of existence from which everything springs.

Yep, that’s the same sea of existence that I previously identified as an empty gaping hole, devoid of identity or meaning. Which seemed so disturbingly freaky two years ago. Two years ago it had all seemed so…unloving.

Because I was so unloving in my witnessing of it. Funny how that works.

Back then, I experienced emptiness through a very startled and reluctant human mind. Yet seen through the gentle eyes of divine love instead, the experience of that empty hole is quite different now than it was the first time around. This time around I like it. The sea of existence, it turns out, is actually pretty cool.

That may sound kind of hard to believe. But trust me, it’s way more fun to bask in that, than to stew in the raggedy old identity I’d always previously thought of as me. I find it both comfortable and comforting now, to enjoy brief visits into my own pristine, limitless nature, where my only identity is that of the eternally holy now moment.

The antics of the personal identity are still here to be enjoyed (or endured) like a rambunctious puppy—but formless awareness is my undeniable home. I haven’t yet brought my overnight bag with me, but I have no doubt where my home lies. Even if I’m only currently staying in it for brief periods at a time. The truth is always true, even in extremely short snippets.

There’s plenty I don’t know. Tons I haven’t realized. Loads of misperceptions that have not yet been released and transformed into light. I certainly don’t claim any special state of being. And if you have any question at all in your mind about whether or not I’m wafting around in an abiding state of rainbow-unicorn-transcendent-awareness…talk to my husband. He’ll set you straight.

But there are some definite things I now know to be true. Beyond any doubt.

*          *          *

Advaita Vedanta is a wonderful path. So is Buddhism, which I practiced for 20 years before that.

And. Speaking only for my own highly subjective self, it wasn’t until I let divine love come and take up residence within, (an effect of following the Everything-Is-One path taught by A Course In Miracles and others) that I was somehow freed up to recognize formless emptiness as the one true underpinning of all existence. I have no opinion on the comparative merits of each of these teachings I mention. I’m not playing favorites here. I’m just pointing out that I haven’t really seemed able to get to those realizations by following any one single path or teaching. I seem to need that blend.

These differing streams have all worked for me in beautiful harmony, like the threads of a tapestry. Squiggly on the backside, but—surprise!—coming together into a cohesive picture on the front.

Maybe that’s just me.

But if my strange and wiggly path rings a bell for you too, then I would offer this advice:

Try not to be insistent about what your path is supposed to look like. Trust in the wisdom of your higher Self, which is always ultimately in charge of the journey.

No matter how random the roadtrip might seem at times…no doubt the universe—and your own experience of its divine perfection—is unfolding as it should.

(Hum uplifting Desiderata choir music here.)

Sooner or later every road leads home, is what I’m saying. Of that much I’m certain.

A Year without Fear: GOING STEADY WITH GOD

going steadyThere’s a scene in Private Benjamin where Goldie Hawn enters an army recruitment office and is shown a beautiful, slick brochure on the benefits of modern military life. She’s so impressed, she enlists right on the spot.

But when she arrives at bootcamp in Mississippi, she’s confused: Quonset huts. Latrines. What the hell? This is definitely not what she signed up for.

“I think there’s been a mistake,” she tells the drill sergeant. “I joined the other army. You know, the one with the condos, and the private rooms.”

•          •          •

Asking to know spiritual truth is a lot like that. The brochure looks great, and plenty of us sign up for it right there and then. But it’s never what we think it’s going to be. We imagine a perfected “spiritual self” who never gets upset, never has issues. A luminous, blissful peace-bunny spreading divine love and joy to a thankful world.

The truth, it turns out, seems so distastefully alien by comparison to our spiritual fantasies—so upside-down from everything we think we want—that it’s damn near impossible to stand still long enough to even consider it.

At least, that’s how it’s been for me. For years I’ve been patiently shown the truth over and over, and over again. I’ve seen it in videos, I’ve read it in books, I’ve witnessed it in visions. It shows up in my email inbox.

But each time I’ve brushed it away.

Because that’s not the truth I signed up for. I wanted the one with the condos.

•          •          •

I really want to know God. It’s been an unstoppable urge for a while now. In the last post I spoke of being in the goodnight-kiss-at-the front-door stage of my relationship with God—but the desire to go all the way, so to speak, is a craving that seems to emanate from the depths of my soul. It’s really my one great desire.

And that’s a fairly uncomfortable predicament to be in, when the only way to know God is to get with the program and agree to accept the irritatingly, disappointingly unacceptable truth of existence:

There’s nothing to fix. Nothing to teach. Nothing to learn, and nothing to heal.

Everything is perfect exactly as it is right now, because everything and everybody is composed entirely of God. Joined in perfect oneness with God. No matter what things look like, and no matter what disastrous effects those things may seem to be having on your life, or the world…innocence and safety, love, peace and joy are the only things going on in truth.

 There’s nothing to accomplish or do. You already have it, and ARE it. Stop striving to be better. Stop yearning to wake up. Stop trying to escape from your perfectly imperfect circumstances. Your job is just to be. Recognize you don’t know anything about anything. Refuse to judge anything you see. Have faith that it’s all innocent. Disbelieve everything your mind tells you, and instead walk through life snuggled deeply, blindly, trustingly in God.

 There is no “you,” no spiritual self who can heal the world. You can’t bring love into this world—bodies can’t bring love to other bodies. You can only see through the illusions this world of bodies presents to you, and find your one true love in God.

 

Needless to say, I had some wee issues with all that—particularly the business about there being nothing to heal or fix or teach. Also the bit about being just dandy, thank you very much, exactly as I am right now. Come to think of it, I’m not crazy about big chunks of the truth, to be honest. My mind is still spluttering its indignation.

But I got sick of seeing the truth gauntlet thrown down in front of me every time I turned around. And even sicker of stepping daintily over it, pretending it wasn’t there.

•          •          •

Last night, before falling asleep I finally agreed to drop my resistance to the truth (despite its distasteful appearances), and to try joining fully with All-That-Is.

But on one condition.

A prayer, of sorts: You know everything about me, my thoughts, my beliefs. You’re there when I fart. You’ve seen me have sex. But I know nothing, really, about you. Give me a hint. Show me how you see things. Help me know you better.

I slept as I normally would, dreaming about nothing in particular. But then I woke in the early morning with a strong sense that I was in the presence of a huge entity of some kind. It was vast, deep, powerful. It felt thoroughly benign. No…more than just benign: It was wholly suffused with God.

I felt I ought to recognize who or what this entity was. It seemed somehow familiar, yet I couldn’t quite place it. And then suddenly I realized:

Oh. My. God. This is the devil.

I was seeing Satan—as viewed through a completely sane mind.

•          •          •

Well, I asked for an example of God’s truth. That was a pretty good one.

Alrighty then.

A radiantly gentle, spotlessly innocent Satan is pretty clear testimony to the fact that I know abso-freaking-lutely nothing about anything. (Not to mention that my lifelong terror of the supernatural is a pointless joke.)

If the devil is perfectly, luminously innocent, you might ask…then what the hell isn’t?

That’s a very good question. Oops-a-daisy. I may have made a teensy mistake here, wasting my time judging and condemning everything and everybody, 24/7…

Because, apparently I’m entirely wrong about everything. I mean, like, ENTIRELY wrong. About EVERYTHING.

Which means my distaste for God’s truth is probably all wrong, too.

Probably. In all likelihood.

•          •          •

So it’s looking like God might be marriage material after all. Possibly it’s time for me to get serious, and stop playing hard to get.

I guess I’d better start picking up the phone whenever the truth calls, instead of letting it go to voicemail. Because I suspect we’ll probably be seeing a whole lot more of each other from now on.

 

Science or God?

Science or God?

Recently, as part of an article about atheism, I was asked the following question by Illuminata Magazine:

Q: How do you respond to Richard Dawkins’ brand of ‘informed’ atheism supported by scientific investigation? Or what would you tell somebody who’s confused by all these genetic theories that these gentlemen use to prove what they call the ‘God Delusion’?

Frankly, I had to look the guy up. These kinds of arguments hold little interest for me anymore, and this is why:

A: I don’t respond to Richard Dawkins’ brand (or indeed any other brand) of scientific argument around the existence of God. Richard Dawkins is a brilliantly intelligent man, and I understand why he has arrived at many of his scientific conclusions. And I also understand why his arguments would appeal to many. But intellectual brilliance and science are Stone Age tools, quite frankly, when engaged in a search for God; they’re hopelessly crude and thoroughly unequal to the task.

I too was once a cynic, by the way, and for many years it never even occurred to me God might actually exist. I just assumed God was a made-up concept designed to prevent me from sleeping in on weekend mornings. And then one day I had a spiritual experience. I wasn’t looking for it—it just happened.

And that’s the funny thing about all intellectual arguments for or against the existence of God. They don’t matter worth a damn, because God is not ever found through the intellect. Authentic spirituality is a felt experience that bypasses the intellect entirely, and permanently changes one’s perception. And when that experience occurs, mere intellectual understanding or opinion or argument is completely eclipsed by Knowing, and that’s knowing with a capital ‘K.’

I have experienced that which could be called God (or Divine Source, or any of a hundred different names) many times. Not only is it real, in my knowing God is the only thing that’s real. This world as we think we know it, is not real. All the great spiritual teachings of the world say the same thing. All is one, in truth.

As Einstein once said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a persistent one.” And my knowing concurs with this scientific statement. (Einstein was not speculating on the existence of God here, just making a general statement about our perception of the world versus its actual properties.)

To the naked eye, science and spirituality appear to be diametrically opposed, with opinions and “proof” flying on both sides. I’m not interested. I hew to a higher truth, a deeper knowing. I do not require theories or proof to back up the truth, because real truth, once experienced, blows everything else out of the water.

I have no investment in trying to persuade anyone of this. Until one experiences it for himself or herself, what I’ve just described makes no sense. Or perhaps it sounds (to an intellect) like I’m advocating a big frosty glass of happy juice, an abdication of rational thought in favor of unicorns and rainbows.

Actually I would suggest the opposite—that it’s exceedingly healthy to maintain a certain skepticism as one treads a spiritual path. Take no one’s word for anything. Have your own firsthand experience.

For anyone truly interested in a serious search for the existence of God (as opposed to intellectual brawling as ego entertainment) I would suggest this: Go someplace quiet, be still, and ask. Just ask, very sincerely and with a completely open mind, for evidence of the truth one way or the other. Evidence of God, or no God.

Call it a scientific experiment if you like. And see what happens.

 

 

THE BREATHWORK CHRONICLES

[pinit]
Have you noticed? There’s a bewildering cornucopia of seemingly contradictory forms of breathwork out there to choose from. Some kinds have you breathing through the nose only, others say to use just the mouth. Some want you to focus only on the inhale, others only on the exhale.

Some forms of breathwork super-oxygenate the brain and body; certain other forms of breathing do the opposite, consciously restricting the oxygen in the brain to create an altered state of spiritual readiness.

All agree that breathwork is very healing. Except, of course for when it’s very damaging.

It can be confusing as hell to know what to do.

And this is no small matter. Because (as Yong made abundantly clear to me) breathwork is extremely powerful. I’m told that in the wrong hands, it could have very undesirable effects.

So you’ll understand why I spent a few days doing the bunny-in-the-headlights thing. On the one hand, I’m being asked to do LOTS more breathwork as part of this much vaunted ‘legacy’ I’m supposed to leave. But on the other hand I received not one, but two very hard spankings in recent days (one from a Being, the other from a human being) over the potential dangers of breathwork.

And so I put my prayer, my confusion, my fright, my petulance about breathwork in a big old suitcase, and flung it off the cliff of trust and surrender. As in: I don’t have a fucking clue. You want me to step forward and do this thing? Show me.

(Fortunately, Spirit always pardons my French. And my bratty attitude.)

•          •          •

It took a few days to get my answer. It arrived in a huge download of information in the middle of the night – the kind that drags one’s ass up out of bed to write it all down, because the sheer volume just keeps flowing and flowing — and you know from experience it’ll be gone by morning if you don’t get up now and document it.

So this is what I got. This is my knowing:

What matters is the intention.

Powerful Spiritual beings that we are, our intention is the universal force that moves mountains. Our intention is what creates and destroys worlds. Literally.

So all forms of breathwork are nothing more than neutral tools, like everything else we toy with in our 3-D dream existence. It all boils down to how I INTEND to use those tools. And thanks to Yong and others, my intention about breathwork has become completely clear:

 I only want this tool to serve the highest good. Always.

And the details of how that intention comes to life are none of my business.

So all tools that flow through me must function for the highest good of all, or I don’t wanna play. (I’ll pack up my tools and go watch tv instead.)

So these are my conditions:

I ask that these tools be truly, authentically and deeply helpful for each individual who is drawn to them. And that the tools always be profoundly loving in nature.

Part of the scary unpredictability surrounding breathwork is the unregulated power with which it is able to drag up insights from the unconscious into the conscious mind, whether that mind is prepared for them or not.

So I also ask that each of these breathwork students receives only as much insight, only as much healing and light as is perfect for them to absorb in that moment. (These are things I can’t possibly know or control, left to my own devices, so I’ve handed my full intention over to Spirit permanently on this.)

And that’s how I know that whatever breathwork program I develop will be completely safe. {Which is not to say it will always be comfortable. My intention is to use the breath as a tool to help self and others wake up. And sometimes that process ain’t pretty.)

But because the great power of my intention has been surrendered to Spirit, I know without doubt that my breathwork programs will always function for the highest good, and could never be damaging or destructive to anyone.

But. Will I still make people read disclaimers anyway, stating all the benefits and potential dangers of breathwork, and then make them sign waivers before moving forward with it?

Yup. You betcha.

I’m going for broke with God, but there’s no reason to be stupid. This is the 3-D world I live in, and it’s chock full of lawyers.

•          •          •

So this is the nature of the program I’m currently developing — it’s a two-part process. (It’s not necessary to do both parts.)

1. A guided meditation/breathwork session whose purpose is to gently open us to the holy light of Presence, drinking that Divine light deeply into every cell of the body. (Those very cells are where deepest illusory pain and misperception are held.)

This exercise reveals areas of darkness and deep resistance almost by default – nobody can drink in holy light 100% unless already fully awakened.

So very naturally, our dark matter is revealed to us.

And that gives us the opportunity to gently observe those areas of dark misperception that arise, using nothing but our loving and nonjudgmental awareness. By just agreeing to be aware, and feel this thing we’ve suppressed and denied for so long — that’s where freedom lies.

(The power of our own loving awareness is right up there with the power of intention. There’s literally no limit to the healing it can bring.)

 

2. The second breathwork exercise, for those who wish to go the Indiana Jones route, and intentionally excavate the deepest caverns of their own unconscious misperception… (bullwhip optional…)

…for them, another guided meditation/breathwork session, this one designed to actively access and release the unconscious blocks to Love.

In both of these guided breathwork sessions, we intend to use a combination of music, sacred sounds, specific vibrations and tones that are precisely calculated to access these targeted areas of the unconscious mind and body where stuck pain and old frozen energies are stored. The intention is to facilitate as deep and thorough a healing result as possible.

But again, the vow remains the same for both exercises, even though the second one is designed to be much more proactively intense than the first. I only want to be an instrument of highest good. I’m not attached to any of these processes that we’re developing; if any of this breathwork falls short of that goal of being truly helpful, then I won’t use it. I’ll move on and wait to be shown what to do instead.

•          •          •

When I was first Guided to explore this breathing stuff (first through Michael Brown’s Presence Process, then Judith Kravitz’s Transformational Breathwork), I saw the immense value right away, in its ability to help us undo our ego thought system and release our unconscious blocks to Love.

On a 3-D physical level breathwork also has great healing benefit — because we, as a species, typically starve ourselves of oxygen. We shut down our breathing to almost nothing as a way of hiding from our trauma, and refusing to feel our own unconscious gunk. (That’s why relearning to breathe with full capacity unlocks the unconscious stuff we’ve been suppressing.)

All organs, all cells, need full oxygenation to be healthy. In addition to the emotional/spiritual healing that can take place through the release of unconscious trauma, many seemingly intractable illnesses of the body respond in dramatically healing fashion to the rich oxygenation that breathwork delivers.

But beyond those benefits, I noticed something else: Breathwork seems to facilitate a much easier, much deeper and more profound connection with Spirit. Judith Kravitz’s guided breathwork CD is about 45 minutes long, but each time I listened, by around the halfway mark I would spontaneously feel inspired to join deeply with Spirit in Divine Presence…instead of whatever Judith was instructing us to do.

I was working daily with this CD, roughly two weeks prior to the October Power of Power retreat workshop that Nouk, Stacy and I were to be teaching in Colorado. And I started to feel really inspired to share this breathing practice at that workshop, despite my near-total lack of experience with it.

So during one breathing session, while joined with Spirit in holy Presence, I asked if it would be appropriate for me to teach this at the workshop. And the answer, stated powerfully, was: THIS IS THE PATHWAY WITHIN.

And the unspoken feeling surrounding the words was: Yes, Yes definitely. Yes. Teach it.

So I did. At that retreat I led a couple of guided breathwork sessions, and just let the inspiration flow through me for how they should go. And I have to say, the results were amazing.

But that was beginner’s luck. (Or beginner’s Grace. Either way, it had nothing to do with me.) So I’ve been slowly studying, researching, developing it ever since. Just so that I have some kind of clue about what I should be teaching, here.

But it doesn’t really matter what form the breathing ultimately takes. Now I know my only real job is to keep my intention on the highest good. Eyes on the prize. After that, it really isn’t up to me.

 

 

 

 

 

If you ask, shall ye receive?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

As an author, I occasionally get requests for free books from folks who like my writings but can’t afford the luxury of buying them. Usually they ask for used or damaged copies – but of course I don’t have any of those. It’s not like bookstores mail their rejects back to me personally; that’s not how it works.

And authors don’t get free copies of their own books. (Even when the author also owns the publishing house, as is the case with my second book, The Enlightenment Project. My cost for that book, before shipping, is something like $4.80 apiece.)

With shipping factored in, it’s more like $9.00. Really, it would almost be easier for me to buy the book on Amazon and have it sent to the recipient instead.

So if I’m filled with love for humanity on the day the request comes in, I might decide to ship a book. Or I might not. I play it by ear.

• • •

So a few weeks back, I received a letter from a woman in India. A very sweet letter, asking for used or damaged copies of The Enlightenment Project. She said she and her community are hungry to learn about enlightenment, and eager to grow in wisdom. But they can’t afford to buy books.

I didn’t know what to make of the letter at first. All the people I know in India speak English better than I do; this letter was clearly from someone for whom English is a second language.

And so I wondered: Is this really a woman in India who wants to learn more about nonduality? Or is it some kid in a Nigerian internet café, who is testing out a peculiar new scam aimed at authors?

Not that the Nigerian angle made any sense, of course – let’s face it, it would take an awful lot of work to make a buck off a self-published spiritual author no one’s heard of. But this is where my mind went at first.

(Hey, it’s an enlightenment project. Clearly I still have a ways to go, in that department.)

I felt no immediate inspiration to ship books to the other side of the world, but didn’t want to reject the request either… just in case it was legitimate. So I handed over the question to Spirit: What would you have me do here?

At first I received no answer. But a few nights later, I was idly flipping channels and stumbled onto a charming documentary on HBO called The Sound of Mumbai, about a group of impoverished kids who perform a one-night-only concert of The Sound of Music at a world-famous Mumbai concert hall.

It was funny and sweet, and ultimately heartbreaking, as (spoiler alert!) nothing changes in the lives of those kids after the one glorious performance is over.

Afterward, as I was lying in bed, I felt a deep kinship with those kids. They were very real to me, they had all come very much alive. And their hopes and dreams mattered every bit as much to me as those of my nearby friends and neighbors.

And a sort of a whoosh of wordless realization struck me: This was my answer from Spirit. My sweet, gentle answer, set to Rogers & Hammerstein lyrics.

So I’ll be sending books to India. Possibly a whole bunch of books, because I’ve been inspired to ask for help from my FaceBook friends in this endeavor, and the generous response has been very heartwarming.

And special thanks in all of this, to my dearest Little Brother, Ananta Garg, for offering to cover import duties and handle distribution from the other end, once the books have been shipped.

I’m truly blessed. And, oddly enough, feeling like the richest lady in all the world. Funny how that works.

If you happen to feel inspired to join me in helping to start a very informal lending library someplace in Gujarat State, here’s what I’m looking for:

2 copies (new or used) of each of the following books:

The Disappearance of the Universe ~ by Gary Renard
Your Immortal Reality ~ by Gary Renard
The Power of Now ~ by Eckhart Tolle
A Course in Miracles
The End of Your World ~ by Adyashanti
Falling Into Grace ~ by Adyashanti
The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire ~ by Deepak Chopra
Take Me to Truth ~ by Nouk Sanchez & Tomas Vieira
The Universe is a Dream ~ by Alex Marchand

And any other clear, easy to read favorite books you may have, on the general topic of Oneness.

Contact me here and let me know if you’re inspired to send books. You can mail them to me (I’ll provide a PO box address for that) and I’ll send them on to India.

Thanks in advance, and much love to you!

Sincerely,
The richest lady in the whole damn world

The Truth Within the Truth

Recently I returned from the October 2011 retreat workshop taught in Pecos, New Mexico by Nouk Sanchez and Stacy Sully. I assumed this New Mexico workshop would be valuable, powerful, moving. I never dreamed it would change my life forever.

First off, I should tell you I only went as an observer. (Nouk and I will be teaching a 9-day retreat workshop in Germany in April of 2012, so it seemed like a good idea for me to attend this New Mexico version to start planning how to blend our teaching methods.)

Nobody else on Earth is teaching exactly this information in exactly this way. Sure, this would technically be considered an ACIM (A Course in Miracles, that is) workshop.  The curriculum definitely stems from ACIM, and at first glance may all seem very familiar if you’ve been studying the Course for awhile. (Incidentally, you don’t have to be any sort of ACIM expert to attend one of these workshops—but it will damn sure help to have at least a passing familiarity with it.)

But this ACIM-based information is being taught in a way that’s radically new. In the past year (after her partner Tomas Vieira’s passing), Nouk underwent a ton of personal transformation. Some real ‘dark night of the soul’ stuff, as you can imagine, in the aftermath of those events. And in answer to her fervent prayers, she began receiving direct transmissions from Spirit showing her how to much more deeply understand—and teach—the true message and meaning of the Course.

Combined with this astonishing new clarity of interpretation, is Nouk’s own personal experience—which came during that aforementioned ‘dark night’—of releasing all ego attachment in order to surrender total trust to Spirit.

(No, if you’re wondering, she doesn’t yet abide in this awakened, ego-free state permanently. It comes and goes.)

Anyway, the result of all this is phenomenal: Nouk is offering the deep, direct scoop on how to rapidly awaken from the dream, and it’s delivered straight from the Source. This info is absolutely accurately true to the Course, yet at the same time a radical reinterpretation that cuts straight through to the non-dual heart of the teaching.

As I listened to her teach this workshop, it felt as if a powerful, yet gentle surgeon’s scalpel was deftly slicing away all the areas of confusion; of fuzzy thinking; of mistaken ego interpretation that have commonly plagued our collective understanding of the Course until now.

And she teaches all this not merely as mental theory, but from direct experience and inner knowing. She has personally experienced each one of the releases, each of the healings, and all the miracles she’s teaching about.

And, and, as she delivers this information to us, Nouk is constantly listening to her inner Teacher. She pauses to receive added explanations or clearer wording so that any confusion among listeners can be reduced or eliminated. It’s a living process, in other words, a Partnership of teachings being delivered in ‘real time,’ flowing according to the needs and capacity of the listeners who are present.

So that’s a small description of Nouk’s contribution. What’s Stacy’s role, you ask? Why is this new person who isn’t Tomas up there sharing the stage? This is a brief recap, in Nouk’s own words, of how Stacy came to be a part of this teaching process:

“Tomas and I met Stacy Sully in early 2009. Tomas chose to leave physical form in December of 2010. During his final 10 months, Stacy (a powerfully intuitive energy healer) devoted herself to taking Tomas through a very deep and joyful process of releasing fear and undoing the remnants of ego. The outcome for Tomas was a monumental dropping away of fear, and a delivery into Joy and immense trust.

Stacy and I continue to be very close because we share the same goal. Our priority is the peace of God; now we wish to help others undo the one cause of suffering without delay.”

Stacy’s role in these workshops, while much more subtle than Nouk’s, is absolutely vital as well. Stacy’s verbal contributions are filled with quiet wisdom and are always valuable; but what’s absolutely unique and totally essential to the process, is the energy work she does silently, internally, to support the listeners throughout the workshop.

She lovingly ‘holds the space,’ as they say, working on an energetic level with the group as a whole, as well as individuals who need it. (Yes, she can see and read that invisible stuff going on in each of us. It’s ok; you can trust her.) Without speaking or engaging the conscious mind of anybody in the room, she gently helps participants to open their hearts and authentically absorb the very challenging info that Nouk is presenting.

There is a great flow transpiring between Nouk, Stacy and Spirit, in other words. Stacy silently assists each listener to release any blocks, resistance or fear that come up during the workshop. She also helps ground everybody present, so the information doesn’t get stuck in the mind as intellectual theory, but instead becomes integrated into the heart. Through establishing this ‘grounding channel,’ Stacy supports a deeply anchored experience of present awareness in each person’s heart—a direct embodied understanding.

(While in ‘Truth with a capital T’ our energy and our bodies are illusory, the human experience is that bodies and energy are where we hold our unconscious ego blocks rigidly in place, here in the dream world. Stacy’s gift is to help soften those blocks so they can be released if we’re ready. The fewer ego blocks we embrace, the more we can authentically know ourselves as the one True Self that is beyond all dreams of bodies and energy. Stacy’s work is used exclusively to help us accomplish this.)

Stacy’s work relies entirely on the willingness and readiness of the person involved. (Nothing would ever happen without your authentic permission, in other words.) Combined with Nouk’s uncompromising, paradigm-busting material and exercises, Stacy can help workshop attendees experience openings and healings right and left, if they’re genuinely ready.

For me, core stuff that has resisted healing my whole life has begun to fall away in huge chunks after hanging with Nouk and Stacy these few days. But even more than that, it’s like my whole orientation has been subtly turned to True North: It’s as if all my life, every cell in my being has unknowingly contained iron filings within it; and this workshop permanently magnetized all the iron filings, causing me to feel gently but firmly pulled toward a homecoming with God.

The best part is, Nouk and Stacy are just getting started in this paradigm shift. This workshop was only the beginning. There’s lots and lots more info to share—only so much could be squeezed into 2.5 working days.

Going forward (starting with the German workshop in April of 2012), we’ll be joining forces to present these workshops. Nouk and Stacy will be doing their Divinely inspired thing, and I will be providing the nitty-gritty ‘boots on the ground’ examples of how this stuff gets integrated into everyday life. The three of us working together will be an awesome joining, I can feel it.

*            *            *

So. Are these workshops right for you? To quote Anaïs Nin, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Translation: Are you ready and willing to face and accept your deepest unconscious ego crap, (whatever it may be) and allow it to be gently released? If so, then yes! This workshop series is definitely for you.

If you’re willing to face and accept just some of your unconscious stuff, these workshops may still be for you, although, understandably, you’ll probably get a bit less out of them. Still, great honking chunks of old personal baggage may fall away for you, too, as a result.

But between you and me, if you’re still happy to remain ‘tight in the bud,’ as Anaïs would say…then you’re probably better off staying home. At least for now. Participating in one of these workshops is an agreement to get on the bullet train of forgiveness. It could cause a fair amount of motion sickness if you’re not quite ready for it.

Having said all that…only you will know if you’re ready for this or not. Well, only you and Spirit. My advice? Ask for Guidance, see what feels right. If the answer is yes, then do whatever it takes to get yourself to one of these workshops ASAP.  Seriously.

*            *            *

Future workshop info: Along with the April 2012 Retreat in Germany, Nouk, Stacy and I will facilitate additional retreats at the beautiful Pecos Monastery in New Mexico. The first retreat is open to those who have previously attended a Power of Power – Know Thyself Retreat and will be held in the early summer of 2012. The second retreat is a Level One, 4-Day Power of PowerKnow Thyself Retreat in the later Summer of 2012 in New Mexico.  If you are interested in attending, please let us know in advance, as our guidance is to keep the groups small, around 20 participants only. Dates, prices and details will be released soon. Please email Sparo Vigil to let us know your interest:  sparo.arika@yahoo.com.

For more about Nouk, Stacy, workshops and whatnot, go to http://www.undoing-the-ego.org

To listen to this article, please use this audio player –

The Lois Lane Syndrome

I’ve often been asked to describe what happens when I “channel” Spirit. But channeling is not what I do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be able to nudge my ego mind aside and make room for Spirit to come through instead of me. But that’s a talent I don’t have.

I’m just a listener—and then afterward I report on what I hear. I would describe my role in this as being kind of like Lois Lane: Through no virtue of my own, I seem to have acquired an ongoing, daily relationship with a mysterious Friend much greater than myself.

A Friend who feeds me wonderfully accurate information to write about. A Friend who cares only for my happiness. (A Friend who also shows up to save the day, every time my foolish, impetuous ego mind gets me into a jam.)

Like Lois, my only “talent,” if indeed I have one, is that I’m a plucky, intrepid sleuth. Whenever my Friend gives me a hot tip to follow, I’ll track it all the way down to its source—and then I’ll share what I’ve learned with interested readers everywhere.

What can I say, the whole analogy makes me laugh: Carrie Triffet, Girl Reporter.

•            •            •

But Lois Lane makes for a useful analogy in another, more universal way.

Because really, we’re all a bit like Lois: Every single one of us has the same great Friend with us at all times. This Friend loves us all equally, and shows each of us infinite compassion and patience. It wants only our happiness, and wishes us to know its Friendship as it truly is.

But, like Lois, we never seem able to recognize the true identity of this most dear Friend.

Why? Because it’s wearing those ridiculous glasses.

Now, let’s be honest. We all willingly choose to be fooled by this laughably thin disguise. We could easily see through it if we really wanted to. But we don’t really want to. We love the fantasy that our super Friend is something entirely separate from poor old Clark Kent, and we don’t want to see they’re One and the same.

The truth is this: Every single one of us is that wonderful Friend. Just as every single one of us is also mild-mannered Clark Kent. And evil genius Lex Luthor, for that matter. Whatever flimsy disguises we may seem to be wearing on the surface, the truth is each one of us is infinitely loved and loving. Each is equally innocent of crime. We just don’t look like it at first glance.

See, our eyesight isn’t so good.

But if you squint very hard and ask for help from that wondrous Friend, you’ll begin to notice all those Clarks and Lexes and Loises are actually united in the same holy perfection. Which, not coincidentally, is all part of your holy perfection, and mine.

Working to see the holy perfection in the people around us strengthens our true vision. Maybe soon that’ll help us ditch those eyeglasses once and for all.

And then—who knows? We might develop some x-ray vision of our own, and finally see past all surface appearances to behold the shining, eternal truth of Oneness that lies beyond.

The quandary

You know how it is when you discover a band with a fresh, new sound – you love their catchy pop hooks, and you can’t wait for their second CD to come out. And then the CD finally arrives, and it’s filled with Chinese orphans reciting classical 12th Century poetry, all set to a backdrop of modern, atonal compositions for viola and flute.

And you think: What the hell?

It’s nice that you guys are following your muse…but couldn’t you do it while sounding the same as you did before?

•            •            •

If I treated writing as a career, I’d be sorely tempted to apply everything I know about product development and marketing. I’d look at what makes my first book connect with readers, and I’d give them more of that.

I’m well aware the first two thirds of Long Time No See appeals to a wide audience. That’s the part of the book that reads something like an older, wiser Eat/Pray/Love. And I could’ve stayed in that vein, and gotten mainstream success.

But in that final third of Long Time No See, instead of meeting a hunky stranger in a tropical paradise, my story dives into the single-minded search for non-dual truth of all existence.

Not really bestseller material. Yet it was by no means an accident; the story went exactly where it was guided to go.

And so Long Time No See is embraced by a much smaller (and much different) audience than it might have been. And that’s as it should be.

But now, as I prepare to release my second book – and yes, it’s chock full of Chinese orphans and atonal compositions – I’m pretty sure most of the small audience that loved all parts of Long Time No See will be disappointed by the dearth of catchy pop hooks.

Yes, it’s still funny. There’s still a healthy dose of pop-cultural snark. And I personally think it’s my best work to date. But The Enlightenment Project shines a steady, unblinking light on some areas usually left shrouded in shadows, and that’s not going to be a very comfortable sensation for many readers.

I think I might lose almost everybody who’s been with me so far.

And I do apologize for that. But here’s the thing. My writing is a chronicle of my spiritual life – and my spiritual life is a fluid, ongoing progression; it only flows in one direction. There’s no going back.

I write because I feel guided to share the things I’m experiencing right now. And if I didn’t feel that inner spiritual prompt to share these things, I’d keep them to myself. I wouldn’t be writing at all.

By the time a book comes out, I’ve already moved on. I’ve already grown and deepened my understanding beyond what’s shared in the book. This was true of Long Time No See, and it’s definitely true of The Enlightenment Project.

Who the hell knows what the book after The Enlightenment Project will be like. Just a bunch of blank pages, maybe. One atonal poem from the Chinese orphan within.

And in my mind’s eye, I semi-peacefully watch as my readership grows ever narrower, dwindling finally to one, and then none…

Or so it seems to me. But it’s in the hands of Spirit now, so I guess we’ll all find out together whether I’m wrong about that.

Love in the digital age

God bless the internet – it lets us connect in ways that were never possible before.

I’m not talking about dating sites (although they no doubt have their value). I mean the spiritual bonds we can form with anybody, anywhere in the world.

For the first time in history, we can find each other easily no matter how far away we live from one another – and once found we can make deep, heartfelt spiritual connections via digital signals. Ones and zeros.

It’s remarkable, really, when you think about it.

One of my dearest friends lives in a big green field somewhere in England.  The moment we met on Twitter, we both felt a nameless spiritual connection that spanned lifetimes and needed no explanation. We recognized each other. Profoundly.

I suppose there’s a chance we might have met at some other point in history. But a pen pal relationship would never have offered the same instant depth of friendship or shared spiritual experience.

Airmail letters every other month would never have allowed the complete evaporation of cultural barriers between us. I look at him (yes, he has visited here a number of times now) and see the shining essence of my own truest Self looking back at me. How could such a connection have ever been made without the internet?

Many other friends have since come to me in this same way, and I’ve grown to cherish these relationships. I haven’t met most of these people yet (and might not meet some of them at all) but the bond of spiritual friendship between us is rich and satisfying nonetheless.

One such connection was made recently through dear Nouk Sanchez. Nouk and I have spent only a little time face to face, but we feel quite close thanks to – what else – those blessed ones and zeros on our computer screens.

Anyway, through Nouk I was introduced to a woman named Eli Griffin, who, like us, writes spiritual books. Eli lives in Italy, a place I haven’t visited in at least ten years. The intro took place via email, and the connection between the three of us was such that we immediately acted on Guidance to start a project together.

We decided to collaborate on a series of long conversations about the spiritual principles underlying a practice of Oneness. All three of us share a passion to bring these spiritual principles down off their lofty intellectualized perches, and figure out how to use them as living, breathing motivators in everyday life.

So we built a blog site for this purpose. (Or rather Eli did. Nouk and I just contributed to the conversation that’s posted there.) Our dialogue – there’s only one so far, and the topic is RELATIONSHIPS – was rich and meaty, and also tons of fun to participate in! It went some unexpected places, seemingly with a mind of its own.

The response has been phenomenal and truly humbling. Me, I’m just grateful once again for all these human connections we make on the internet. Even the ones we don’t know about.

The blog, if you’re interested, is http://ourjoining.wordpress.com/ We intend to start another dialogue (Topic: COMMITMENT) in a month or so, and when that’s finished we hope to post it there as well.

In the meantime, take good care of yourself, dear friend in zeros and ones.

Love,

Carrie

Enlightenment: infinite joygasm – or just release from ego?

I like Adyashanti. He comes across as a perfectly normal guy who just happens to be enlightened. And when he talks about the true nature of enlightenment, his explanations are clear and simple firsthand reports.

But for students of A Course in Miracles, those explanations can be troubling, because Adya’s descriptions of enlightenment are markedly different from those offered by the Course.

Adya says enlightenment is nothing at all – it’s merely what you have left after the ego mind is dissolved. There’s no more distorted perception of the world; you just have the clear, ever-present truth of Oneness. It’s a state of awareness that’s neither happy nor sad – it merely is. And there’s nothing else beyond it.

(It’s not just Adya who says this, of course. Jed McKenna, various Zen masters and many other self-realized teachers throughout history have all described their enlightenment in similar terms.)

The Course, on the other hand, speaks of a fully enlightened state, which it describes as limitless joy, infinite fulfillment and completion. Perfect love and safety and freedom and peace – along with the certainty of being home at last, exactly where we belong. And this is said to be a permanent, changeless state, radiating with brilliant holy light, forever and ever amen.

So whose description should we believe?

The answer, as far as I can tell is: Both. But they’re describing two different states.

Adya’s explanation seems to be a description of non-dualism, which the Course says is the 3rd step of 4 on the road to full enlightenment. Non-dualism is just what it sounds like: It’s the realization of Oneness, waking up to the reality that we’re not separate.

(The first 2 steps of 4 would be: dualism, which is where we all start out – an unquestioned belief in separate bodies and separate minds; and semi-dualism, which would be sincere-ish belief in Oneness while mostly maintaining faith in the reality of separate 3-D existence at the same time. Trying to have cake and eat it, in other words.)

Adya and the aforementioned other guys are enlightened. I’m not. (I’m assuming the same can be said of you.) So it seems ridiculous to stand up in front of a self-realized guy and say: No, excuse me, you’re wrong, because the teaching I believe in describes enlightenment differently from what you say about it.

I mean, who am I to disagree with an enlightened guy, right? He’d probably just smile and tell me all beliefs are illusion, so get over it.

Well, as it happens, I did get within spitting distance of enlightenment once. And it left a sort of residue of truth behind – a lasting ability to see the big picture.

In the Dinnertable Awakening of 2005, I was presented with an invitation to accept enlightenment. (That’s what awakenings are – you’re awakened to the truth of all existence, but whether you embrace that truth or turn away from it is up to you.)

I didn’t embrace it. At the time I found the limitless freedom of enlightenment so disturbing, so uncomfortable that I willingly threw away the opportunity. I pulled myself back into my body and my 3-D world instead, choosing to turn away from Oneness.

(Could I kick myself now for making that choice? Uh…hell yeah. But I wasn’t ready; I just couldn’t stand to stay in that infinite state of awareness.)

But when people like Adya are presented with the option of enlightenment, they choose it as their permanent operating system. So I’m not about to claim they’re mistaken or misinformed about what that enlightenment looks like. How could they be? They’re clearly just reporting on their own authentic experience.

Yet I choose to believe that there’s more, as the Course says there is. Call it a strong intuition that there’s another chapter to the story – one that those enlightened guys just haven’t experienced yet.

That would be the 4th state of 4, the full awareness of union with God. The unending joy of knowing that all of us, together, are Heaven.

And that state is called pure non-dualism, a condition that’s so far beyond plain old non-dualism that the Course says there’s no point in even trying to describe the magnificence of it.

Pure non-dualism, that’s the one I want. I’m going for the gold. Could I be wrong about its existence? Absolutely.

But it’s still where I’m headed. And if I make it in this lifetime, I will promise you one hell of a blog post.