You are THAT which you seek.

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In Hindu mythology and folklore there is a story abut a certain man whose whole life is centered around finding God. He becomes a devotee to the Brahmanic religion, scours through the Vedic scriptures, becomes an ascetic and gives away all his possessions and wealth accumulated through the years and lives a life of self-denial and contemplation. At the very end of his life, after spending years in isolation and a master of Yoga, he finally reaches a state of pure enlightenment at which point he finally realizes that he was indeed God ALL ALONG. He was THAT which he had been seeking. He laughs heartily and breathes a sigh, which wound up being his last. His bodily vehicle passes away with a smile and he resumes his true state of being as pure source.

Pantheism and most dominate schools of mystic thought preach the concept that ALL is SOURCE. If you were to take every single person, blade of grass, grain of sand, starry night and blue sky that there ever was and ever will be and roll all of that vibration and energy into a great big ball the resulting product would be God. Every state of individuality or matter is simply one of the manifold expressions of this infinite and eternal source from which all is created, nurtured and sustained. With that truth being realized it becomes apparent that YOU, the one reading this, as well as ME, the one typing this, are both manifestations of the same SOURCE playing out in a myriad of roles.

Philosophy has a similar concept called Solipsism. This is the conviction that the conscious mind, the rational observer, the one who can claim “I think therefore I am” is the ONLY thing that really exists and that all else is an illusion. Narcissistic as it may be, this echoes the very same sentiment of the gurus and yogis throughout time immemorial. When you look out at the world around you what you are seeing is Maya, an illusion; or another way of perceiving the external reality could be that what you are seeing is your TRUE BEING in some magnificently deceptive mask. There is no fundamental difference between you and the person in front of you in line as you’re purchasing your carmel machiatto at the local starbucks other than the illusion which society has instilled in you to accept as fact that they are a separate individual.

Alan Watts said it best many years ago that if we accept the concept of some “big bang” as the beginning of the known universe than that would mean you are not some curlique way way out on the fringe of this great explosion but rather you are the force behind the bang itself. When you walk up to me I am not seeing you as a separate individual but as the big bang walking up to greet me. You are the wind that blows through the trees, rustling the leaves. You are the waves cascading along the surface of the water. You are the heat that emanates from the sun. You are the electricity that permeates through wires and conductors that give power to the civilized world. You are THAT. All of THAT.

Nothing that I am saying is new. This is not some shocking revelation that is not already known by the many awakening souls on this planet right now. But what is lacking is the application of this truth. The praxis of which is what will serve as the greatest catalyst for change this realm has ever seen. When we can not just nod our heads and agree that this resonates and it fills us with warm fuzzies but begin to live out this truth, allowing it to affect our behavior and our interactions with others then we will experience this proverbial shift in the collective consciousness of humanity that so many speak of with eager and joyous expectation. Namaste needs to not just be a word that new age hippies toss around to give an air of enlightened superiority but a way of life. We need to step out of the comfort of our homes and turn our gaze upwards to the glorious sun, which is our mirror, greeting ourselves in its radiant blaze and then head out into the world and give honor to the same God that is in every other human being we encounter as the God that we truly are.

This, my brothers and sisters, is the truth behind becoming the change that you wish to see in the world.

When People Say “You Should Be A Writer” or Flagships That Never Set Sail

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“Wow, that’s really good! You should write a book!” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard these words from all different sorts of people. I’m told over and over again that I’m a natural, that I have a magnificent way with words and that I’ve been blessed with some proverbial “gift of writing”. Now, in regards to how true all that is remains to be decided. It calls to mind the old adage that we’re our own worst critics and at times I take that to the extreme. I still don’t see what other people see. I’d like to become a writer someday, get a piece or two published, receive some stipend to live off of while I work on a novel, indulge in certain vices and pick up drinking, you know, the whole vast spectrum of experiences that the agonized author archetype entails.

I don’t believe I’m very good at much of anything. I never have been. Yet, I can see it in the glimmering eyes of the select few who I’ve handed a notebook and said, “Read this. Let me know what you think,” as their eyes dart back and forth, smiles forming out of the corners of their lips, glancing over at me with a look of disbelief. It’s a sense of accomplishment that I rarely feel in any other arena of my life. Everyone has their gifts and unique abilities, generally ones which have been cultivated from a very early age. Mine, however, I feel is underdeveloped and malnourished. I don’t quite know where to begin or how to proceed but I know that if I just keep writing, as long as I don’t let that muscle atrophy, then I will do just fine. Maybe I’ll write a book one day. Heck, I’d be happy with just having my work featured on someone elses blog. That’s probably selling myself short and everyone else would encourage me to dream big but honestly I’m not much for dreaming. I don’t want to set my sights so high that I can no longer see the goal I’m striving to attain.

The million dollar question that I chew on all the time is what exactly constitutes ‘good writing’? It all seems so bizarre that all my vast array of thoughts could be recorded and documented in line upon line of symbol and code, and that someone might stumble across it and say “Hey, that’s really good! I like this guys stuff!” I’ve never had much of an imagination, not in the way that Tolken or Rowling can create whole vast worlds and histories and an entire cast of characters. I don’t want to write an entire universe filled with monsters, villains, a handsome protagonist and a slew of accomplices. I write because there is a certain power behind the act itself. I write because it is the only time that I actually feel alive. when I can look at a blank slate on a screen slowly but steadily begin to be filled up with strings of text, long-winded run-on sentences and seasoned with just enough big words that the average reader will stop and think, “Wow, surely this guy is one of those intellectual types,” that’s when you know that you’ve made it as a writer. I hope my cynical wit is not lost upon you, dear reader.

The other thing is that I don’t speak nearly half as eloquently as I can write and I feel this is misleading to people. I feel like many expect me to hold some verbose and profound conversation about anything, everything and nothing at all because they believe I’m a “good writer” but I continually let these people down with the stuttering, trite cliches that come out of my mouth in person. When I write, these words seem to come from another place entirely. In a trance-like state, I see my hands frantically moving around on the keyboard as words appear on the screen and something else comes over me, something that is greater than myself. When I write I can feel the same friction one might feel if they were turning a steering wheel while trying to park a car, consciously guiding and directing this sentence to it’s inevitable end. The majority of this is filler anyway but it doesn’t seem like filler, does it? It’s like a carbon-copy cookie-cutter cut-out version of something wonderful that you just can’t quite put your finger on but deep down inside you know it’s not really going to be as brilliant five minutes from now as you fancy it to be right now in this moment. It’s that tinge of raw, human emotion. It’s in between every line on the page.

My next act will be reconciling the fact that I can write at great length about nothing at all with the other even more pressing fact that if given a prompt or a deadline I freeze up and hit that nasty writers block where I can’t for the life of me manage to shit out one coherent and relevant sentence. What if I wrote a whole book about absolutely nothing? It’s been done before I’m sure. I could self-publish. I don’t quite know how I do what I do, or how to fine tune it into some kind of craft or something that might generate a tiny modicum of income. But it seems to me that what really locks a reader into a book is when they are able to connect so deeply with the author and are actually able to gaze inside of his or her mind. It’s kind of like going to the zoo and looking at all the wild animals in a safe and controlled environment. With a book you are actually peering into the inner depths of a persons soul without actually needing to develop some sort of pre-existing connection or relationship with them. I mean really contemplate that for a second! Somewhere along the fifteenth or sixteenth line of text our souls made some kind of lasting connection, you and me, and you continued reading up to the point that you are at right now because it is the only way to hang onto what you have just found. Or because you’re waiting for me to actually say something interesting. Either way, you could have stopped reading long ago and would not have wasted so much time and effort but alas here you are.

But I don’t believe it’s a waste. Knowing my words are being read by someone else, knowing that they put a smile on a strangers face, it makes it all worth while. So I’ll continue to write, as boring and meaningless and trite as it may be and though I find myself lacking any sort of depth or substance, I’ll carry on and know that one day I’ll write that one piece that will launch my future career as a writer. For now it seems my writing reflects my present state of mind – disjointed, aloof and yet strangely hopeful. Reading back over these words It seems as if they have cast an almost airy dream-like quality over the whole page. You know you’re a writer when wrapping up a particular piece is like getting off the phone with some high school sweetheart, where neither one of you wants to actually hang up the call. There’s an almost suction like pull that tries to squeeze one more line, one more thought, one more sentence out of me until it (whatever ‘it’ is) knows that I am completely drained and spent. When do you finally say when? Where do you draw the line? I could quit whenever I feel like it, says the addict who doesn’t know that he has a problem. A closing sentence of a piece is like closing time at a bar, someone yells out “last call” and you figure, “Goddamn, why the hell not? I better get one more in for the road.”

Know Thyself, So Thou Mayest Undo Thyself

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When I would hear the axiom, “Know thyself”, I took it as a call for self discovery or self actualization. Naturally, this is a critical element, becoming aware in an almost intimate sense of everything that makes up who I am – my beliefs, my hopes, my dreams, my preconceived notions, my worldview, my boundaries and expectations. Still, one thing that I’ve overlooked is that all of these things are NOT REAL. They exist solely as ideals or visions within my head. They can be empowering or liberating but more often than not they are instead restricting in the most severe sense.

I would instead say that first and foremost I must get to know myself but with the intention to undo myself afterwards. Anything that does not serve ME, anything that inhibits my blossoming, my growth and development, whatever limits the actualization of who I am and what I am capable of becoming must ultimately be eradicated. Yet before I can eliminate any of these chains that bind me I must first locate and understand what they are and what purpose they have served thus far. Whatever makes me truly happy, without conditions or prerequisites should be pursued with much zeal and enthusiasm.

I am not my hopes nor ideals, nor am I my own expectations. These are all a conglomeration or hodgepodge of what society deems acceptable, successful or necessary. Even my understandings of what “society”, “culture” or “lifestyles” are is still just that, my own understanding and perception and therefore fallible and subject to change at a moments notice. The reality is that there is no reality, at least that is my reality. The absolute truth is that there are no absolutes and what is truth to me is truth so long as I acknowledge it as such.

What I am becoming is a hedonist of sorts. I seek my own pleasure, my own joy, my own satisfaction above all else. Anything standing in the way of attaining this fulfillment is not worthy of investing my time, energy, emotion or finances in. Whatsoever serves me, whatsoever moves me to positive action, whatsoever brings out the best in me; only these things are worthy and acceptable and necessary. In the words of the infamous and notorious Great Beast, Aleister Crowley, “Do what thou wilt shall me the whole of the law. Love is the law, Love under Will.”