‘The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds’ John Green
People don’t know what the dharma or awakening is anymore. And this is what this post is about. This message feels so important for the world right now. Get ready because I’m not holding back on this one.
Awakening is not a meditation technique you can master. It is giving your self to life as it really is. If you want full awakening, it will demand everything of you.
The biggest asset for awakening is a searingly painful level of self honesty. If you can answer the question how do I really feel about this, what is really happening in my experience right now, over and over again, you will wake up. It is as simple and as complicated as that.
People don’t believe that I have achieved full awakening or they assume that they know what I mean when I say that or they think that they know better or they believe that no-one in the modern world can possibly know what that means; however, when I start to talk about what I mean and what it entails, they find it hard to bear just hearing about what I went through, never mind experiencing it. People aren’t willing to understand or listen.
One part of awakening into a new paradigm is that you can’t communicate it to people who don’t want to understand. They will continue to project their fixed ideas onto you. Only people who are willing to have a conversation will be able to engage with it.
People have shut it out and projected their fixed ideas onto me because even the suggestion that I have gone through what I’ve gone through and ended up where I’ve ended up is so offensive to their sense of self that they are unwilling to face what I am saying. Often I feel as though this is turned back around on me as scorn or anger or being patronised. If there is one thing I have learned, it is how many people choose rejection over facing an uncomfortable truth in themselves.
One of the reasons people don’t believe me is because I haven’t studied all the traditions and read all the sutras or whatever the hell it is those monks and practitioners do with all their time. This is bullshit. You don’t need knowledge to be here in the present moment. Holding on to knowledge and fixed ideas is what stops us being in this moment. The fact that I don’t know or care about any of that shit is one of the reasons that I’ve been able to wake up as deeply as I have.
One of the reasons I went into this is because I have always been deeply lonely. I hoped that awakening would somehow solve this. What I have discovered is the reason that I am lonely is because I refuse to buy into to the patriarchal mindset that other people can dictate their truth on to me. I have no interest in building status and I create my own truth, and there is nothing that seems to make people more angry than people who they perceive as a lower status than them refusing to accept their truth.
So I hide my experience, sweeten the deal, bend it into what I feel people want it to be. But I am tired of doing that. So here is the truth.
My whole life has been dedicated to showing up wholeheartedly. This process intensified since 2015. Throughout 2019 – 2020, I went through a huge ordeal over several months.
I faced every worst part of myself and humanity. This wasn’t about feeling sorry for the ways in which I was sad. It was encountering and sitting through the reality of what systemic oppression does to people. It was being confronted with the parts of people where they want to destroy or torture each other. It was being willing to feel every human emotion that can be inspired in us, either as the victim or the perpetrator and taking it right to the bottom.
I’m not sure if this would happen to everyone who opens to experience as fully as I did or if it is because I am especially sensitive, but it felt like I opened so far to the collective experience that the Earth’s grief was being channelled through me and that the river of feminine repression since the beginning of time was being processed and understood through me experiencing every part of it. These things only make sense if you are willing to engage with them in your experience – you cannot understand them in your mind or from fixed perceptions, so if you are stuck looking at things this way you will not be able to understand what I’m communicating.
Opening yourself to an emotion and fully letting it in, destroys the wall that you had around that emotion. It lets it in to your experience and you are no longer separated off from it. Often times this process is disgustingly painful, but it can transmute into a much more pleasant emotion afterwards. Sometimes the emotion still sucks even when you’ve let it in, but once you have destroyed the wall, you are able to present with it, instead of reacting and pushing it away, projecting it onto others or trying to squirm out of it through feeling sorry for yourself. This is what wholeness is.
Anything that you see as an external conflict; blaming Trump, wishing something different was happening in your experience, rejecting things that people say as invalid; is a duality and an unresolved inner conflict. Mostly people don’t notice when they are projecting this back out on to others. You do all this time. Everyone does.
The confusion in spirituality and meditation arises because people think acceptance means that they have to feel good about these things. This is kind of what Buddhism is saying – if you accept everything you will feel good about it. Maybe this worked when you didn’t have to read the world news and were safely in a monastery surrounded by people who adore you but it doesn’t stand up to a modern reality test. In this context, it is bullshit.
These unpleasant emotions are all part of what needs to be accepted. You don’t get to escape this. You resolve the conflict by allowing the things you don’t like to impact you and to feel what that actually feels like. You keep feeling it until it is done, which may be for the rest of your life, depending on your circumstances. This is what Buddhism was talking about when it was saying that some people can’t get enlightened until they are reborn – in order to escape suffering in the Buddhist sense you basically have to have a really nice life in a monastery. Some people just don’t have the bodily capacity to be fully present with their experience in the circumstances that they live in.
Destroying the separation means letting go of our minds ideas of how things are and being with the felt-sense of the emotion – guilt, rage, anger, despair, hopelessness, confusion, distress, loneliness. You have to feel it viscerally, in your body and your emotions. As soon as you engage the mind’s idea of how things are or should be, you create separation.
Or you can completely accept the mind as the only reality. In which case there is no separation there, but you are buying into an illusion. Buddhism tells us that reality is an illusion. Reality isn’t actually an illusion, but if you buy into this belief you are relieved of your individual separation and suffering. Instead of buying in to this belief, I chose to show up in my reality and remove as much separation as I could in my physical sense of the world.
To remove your separation from the most difficult emotions you have to allow them to completely annihilate you. There is no other way. Every ego death or process of destroying these walls was hours of physical pain and the emotional equivalent of having a sharp metal fist reach down my throat into my guts, pulling my guts up, pulverising my heart on the way through and out through my mouth. There were points when I would go through this every day, day in, day out. I was on the brink of suicide for months.
This is how you wake up without the support of people around you. This is how you reach new levels of awakening that have never been reached before. This is how you go to the places that other people are too uncomfortable to even hear about.
The heart of liberation is this: you free yourself from separation either by facing it and going through it, or by buying into a belief system that allows you to avoid it.
I chose the former and during my process, I became a completely different person every 24 hours. There was so many layers of subtle control in our minds that I have completely annihilated and as a result I have liberated myself from the normal human experience. There is nothing left of it in me except the simplest heart-felt truth.
90% of what I went through was repeatedly facing up to the worst parts of myself and the world and opening my heart to them. There is no way to bypass this to awaken, you can do it gently over decades or really hard and fast.
Non-dualism or awakening is not an intellectual concept that you can tell someone. It is a practise of destroying the separation within us. If you want to remain believing in reality, you destroy the separation by meeting the part you have separated off whole heartedly.
The bits we separate off are the bits we are afraid of or dislike. Otherwise we wouldn’t have separated them. Any meditation technique that isn’t this at its core is just a coping mechanism – including the Buddhist enlightenment of perceiving all of reality as an illusion.
If you think that I am mistaken and all of reality is an illusion or does ‘arise in awareness’, I would like to see you stand by those beliefs when you are confronted with real world issues such as people starving to death, being gang raped or having limbs cut off. These are real things, happening to real people, every single day. Never mind if you had to go through those things yourself.
Our physical realities are real and both physical and emotional pain and trauma is often nothing to do with how we perceive things. We have physical limits to how much physical and emotional pain we can handle and the cells in our bodies will contract when we have overreached these, which is nothing to do with our awareness or the way we see things.
This is so starkly obvious to me in this modern world that I am baffled that anyone who hasn’t completely detached themselves from reality manages to believe in the idea that everything arises awareness.
There is obviously some truth in this. How we perceive things makes a huge difference to how we experience things, but it is not the whole truth and believing and teaching this is damaging to society.
People are so used to being told what to think by people above them in a hierarchy that they seem to struggle to see what I am saying for themselves. Their views are full of projections and they can’t see me or hear what I am saying. They aren’t interested in learning about how my awakening is different to this and what the implications of that are for them or spiritual practice as a whole.
You can’t control or influence how other people see you. This I have learned with absolute clarity. And you either fit in with how they perceive you, subtly influencing them, or you choose to speak out. I am tired of the first, so this is me speaking out.
This is not me just speaking out for myself. This is me speaking out about the absolute misunderstanding of what the dharma and awakening is.
This is me trying to destroy the structure that props up White old people in our culture, or Asian old people in Eastern cultures, having the power to dictate to people what their reality is. This is people assuming that things like guilt and despair and loneliness have no place in the process of awakening. All of this is counterproductive to the dharma and awakening at best and genuinely harmful to society and individuals at worst.
Where We Are
There are three levels to practice, which seem to go pretty commonly across psychotherapy, meditation, spiritual practice and any form of personal development and practice that humans use for showing up for their lives.
These have an internal aspect for us and an external aspect of the world around us:
- Spirit/ awareness/ mind – the things that we are aware of and understand in our experience
- Universal love/ heart – the things that we feel and know in our experience
- Soul/ karma/ intuition – what things mean to us in our experience, what we believe to be true
None of these are fixed in us, they are all malleable. They are an interplay between the outer world and our inner world. We have some ability to change what we see and understand, what we feel and know and what things mean to us by changing our selves or our environment. This is what practice is.
The different levels require us to practice in different ways. There is a fundamentally different way of practising for each of the different areas of experience. These are the three levels of practice:
- How can ‘I’ ‘get’ ‘enlightened’, how can I feel peace of mind etc. – Self help
- How can I be a better person – Awakening
- How can I be present with whatever is there – Dharma (or truth)
There is nothing wrong with practicing at any of these levels, I used them all extensively in my awakening. But there is a huge and unchecked problem in modern meditation practice: lots of people are teaching the first and posing it as the second or third.
This is the disease of people believing that things like the Mind Illuminated technique, the Science of Enlightenment theory, mindfulness books or techniques and vipassana meditation are talking about and revealing the truth to people. It is the false idea that increasing our awareness is the same as awakening.
Culadasa, author of the Mind Illuminated, boasted that when adopting his technique to enlightenment, people often didn’t have to face any painful experiences. This is literal advertisement for spiritual bypass. The revelation that he was cheating on and stealing from his wife with a range of prostitutes and refusing to tell the truth about it was hardly a surprise to me.
The irony is that the people who peddle awareness as being the core of awakening are the same people who are least aware of how destructive this is.
The self-help disguised as awakening gang are talking exclusively about ways in which you can bring the light into your mind. How you can become one with awareness. This just allows you to check out of your emotions and the truth and it requires you to buy into a belief that is fundamentally untrue.
Modern mindfulness often gets caught in this trap too – telling us to watch our emotions. Emotions can’t be watched. They can only be felt.
In order to move past this we need to take the other types of practice as seriously as the first. Opening to facing hard truths with courage needs to be seen as important as being able to meditate.
Part of this is being explicitly clear about the difference between the spirit, the heart and the soul. The heart is about being present in this moment and having the courage to meet it with dignity, honest and integrity. Awakening is increasing our capacity to do this.
In order to do this, we need to increase the parts of experience that our heart is willing to be present with. It needs to reach into the spirit and soul. Buddhism teaches us about the spirit but not the soul.
In order to move forward, first we need to understand the difference between the two. “Spirit looking up, soul looking down” is the best way I’ve heard it described.
The spirit is about going up and out of our minds. Spirit comes from the word to breathe. Getting in touch with it is about accessing the consciousness that joins us all together from the outside, like the air that we breathe. We go there by becoming more aware of our experience.
The soul is going down and in, to our cores. It’s the part of us where our darkness, our emotions and undying love for life and people sits. It is where our creative energy or eros emerges from. It is a deep well into the life force that joins us all from the inside. We go there by being willing to feel the feelings in our experience.
If we bring enough awareness into our minds, we reach unconditional acceptance. If we feel what is in our souls enough, we reach unconditional love.
If you do too much of the former, without the latter you end up spiritual bypassing. Spiritual leaders often cite ‘acceptance of how things are’ for everything from appalling behaviour to just plain laziness.
Unconditional love, by the way, means the willingness and ability to feel all the emotions, even the worst ones. It explicitly does not mean feeling good about ourselves and the world all the time. That is the definition of a very conditional love.
True Buddhists take this spiritual bypassing a step further, by saying that everything arises in awareness. At its core, this belief is what Buddhism is. Buddhist enlightenment is waking up to the ‘dream’ of life and seeing how all life is just a projection.
If you meditate enough to perceive all of reality like this, you get a pretty good capacity at checking out of reality and suffering. Good for you. This is the core of Buddhism, but it is not awakening to reality. It is checking out from it.
Apart from the fact that this belief system is patently false, what happens is that people who claim to be enlightened and completely aware then reject huge swathes of their experience that arise from their emotions, intuitions, heart’s desires and other parts of their experience that awareness doesn’t touch. They deny that they are happening because it doesn’t fit into their understanding of the world. But these things continue to arise and often sneak out in either overtly damaging ways or sneaky, hidden ways like subtle narcissism.
Our eros arises from what I call our soul, so if a spiritual leader or meditation teacher is essentially saying that this part of us doesn’t exist, then they will probably be repressing it. This is probably where a lot of abuse arises from. Our eros is one of the parts of our experience that is one of our biggest motivators and inspirations in life.
If you awaken your soul, alongside your mind or spirit, then you feel the impact of your actions. You get a felt sense of how your presence in the world makes a difference. You notice how eros is an amazing part of experience that gives us our life force and our sense of beautiful connection with the world. This embodied sense stops you from being an asshole.
Neither awakening nor the dharma can be reached by a meditation technique. Meditation can help increase our capacity to be present, but ultimately both come from a bravery to be present with what is really in our experience.
And what is really in our experience cannot be held fully by our minds or awareness. There are huge parts of our experience that don’t make sense to our minds. This is where we need to let go of our fixed ideas of what we think reality is. This is where a lot of pragmatic dharma falls down.
There is a lot more magic and a lot less science than most people are anywhere near comfortable with and a lot more pain, heartache and difficulty than most people can even bear to hear about, never mind experience. We are not already perfectly awake and nondual. There are parts of us that are separated off because we do not want or are not able to face them. Awakening, becoming nondual or removing separation involves meeting all of these parts of experience with an open heart.
Buddhism requires a belief in God. The all knowing God of Awareness that reality arises in. Pragmatic dharma requires a belief in God, too. The all knowing God of Science that dictates what is true in reality.
My perspective is different – that is our bodies physical felt experience that is our truest reflection of reality. That is the only place where we will find joy, presence, meaning or any place that we can abide in.
How Did We Forget?
How did we forget what the Dharma means? How did we get so lost?
I can’t say for certain but I can say for sure that society and humanity was incredibly different 2,500 years ago. I cannot stress this enough. When you shift paradigms it’s like becoming a completely different species of animal. Everything changes.
Back then, most people wouldn’t have even really had much of a sense of a separate self. Their existence relied on the success of the tribe or their family. Presence didn’t really need to be understood or stressed – people worked with their hands and bodies and weren’t stuck in their minds all day. They had no choice but to be in their bodies. Escaping into their minds was an innovative and strange thing to be doing.
As we all know, the Buddha grew up differently to this. He did have a separate self. He was a Prince who was given everything he could possibly desire. And what he realised was that even when he had all this, there was still suffering. So he set out on a mission to escape this suffering. He let go of everything and explored his consciousness to find release, which he did. Through a method that was based on how society was and what people knew and were willing to believe at the time.
We can only teach our own experience, there is no such thing as a fixed Universal truth. Our understanding changes over time. What the Buddha learned was that, based on his experiences, the way you escape suffering is by overcoming and resisting greed and lust and finding refuge in a mind that accepts everything completely as it is.
This didn’t work for me, so once I’d achieved this state of consciousness I kept looking.
I also grew up differently to most people in our society. Children these days are normally brought up as highly individualised. In nuclear families, they receive a lot of attention and fuss and there is also a lot of fear around them getting hurt or getting things wrong. This builds a strong sense of self into children from a young age and an innate respect for hierarchy and rules and a fear of getting hurt or rejected. When we are so reliant on just two care-givers, our lives rely on us fitting in with how they expect us to be, so children learn to do that very faithfully.
Just to provide contrast to this, even in the time of Shakespeare parents were not supposed to get attached to their children or put much effort into raising them before they reached the age of about 7 or 8 because child infanticide was so high. Children have mostly always been free range, now they are battery farmed.
I grew up in a family where I was pretty well neglected, but I was given a huge amount of belief in my natural ability to cope with life and do whatever I wanted. There were a few rules, but they were limited. There was high expectations of what I was going to achieve in life.
My parents were both pretty stressed and unhappy and struggled to cope with life to varying degrees. These days, in most parents there is at least one of them that is very self-sacrificing. They give up their sense of a self and give everything to make their child happy. Not so for me. My mum wanted to work and maintain some sense of a life. When I was a baby she went away for work and left me on my own with my alcoholic dad for 6 weeks. He would get so drunk he couldn’t hear me cry and he even dropped me one time.
My survival and happiness from a very young age was not about what I can get to make me happy. It was about almost entirely about managing and influencing the grown-ups around me. If they were relatively happy and stable, then I would have some shot at an ok day. I became a pro at making other people feel happy and loved in order to create a harmonious environment to exist in.
What is interesting is that in some ways this neglect was very damaging to me. But the other side of the coin, the belief and sometimes expectation that I could not only look after myself but also the other people around me, gave me a huge amount of confidence in life to stand up for what I believe in and make a difference in life. I felt empowered to do this and didn’t get the belief that grown ups know better drilled into me. Kids are incredibly resilient and able to cope with things if you believe in them.
Sometimes this went too far and all I could do was walk away. I moved out of the house for short periods of time as a teenager and cut my dad out of my life at times as a grown up. I have learnt that sometimes kindness and acceptance of how external things are doesn’t cut it. I have developed strong boundaries around what is acceptable behaviour and what is too far. Our understanding of reality needs to incorporate our own needs as humans.
My further realisation from this was that even when you are the best possible version of yourself, you can still get fucked by life. Especially if you’re not all in it together. The more people you have who are on board with showing up, the more likely you are able to build a happy and healthy environment that people can be present in. No amount of individual awakening is going to replace this.
It has been my life experience that even when you accept reality as it is, there is an insane amount of suffering. The Buddha was an ex-prince and respected spiritual practitioner by the time he reached the state of consciousness that released him from suffering. Part of the realisation that helped him wake up was that the Earth can take all the pain and will provide you everything you need. You just need to let go and trust. This may have been true then, not so much now. Our Earth is crying out from the stress we have put it through.
The Buddha fundamentally changed his perception of the world – he detached from the physical and emotional struggles where he resisted his experience. Once he had figured this out, he also figured out that this is actually quite straight forward to do if you are in a safe and happy environment. This is why the Buddha said it’s possible to get enlightened pretty quickly.
At the time I reached this state of consciousness, I was a lonely person who’d been through absolute tragedy. My heart and body was a wreck. I had a stressful job and was aware of the sad state of the wider world – the ecological disaster and the systemic oppression. Most painfully, I’d never really experienced a place that felt like home, a place where I felt any sense of peace. Accepting all this as it was was ok, it was an improvement, but it certainly wasn’t happiness. So I kept digging.
I diverged from Buddhist beliefs and practises and started digging all the way down into the depths of my soul. I’d done some deeply transformative shadow work where I had felt some of my worst feelings and transmuted them into something pleasant. I thought maybe if I went right to the bottom and felt every painful feeling that was possibly there, I would transmute it all and stop feeling the pain that dominated my every waking moment. This sounded like a true release from suffering to me.
I did it. There was a lot more than I expected. It required me to keep going beyond my personal suffering and right out into all collective suffering. It nearly killed me.
In some ways it has worked. My entire experience has been transformed by my ability to meet it with an open heart. Everything is joyful now. But that joy includes the bottomless pit of loneliness that comes from not being seen and loved for who you really are. I welcome it with open arms, but it’s not a very pleasant experience to be having a lot of the time.
What this process has given me, which Buddhist enlightenment does not give you, is an absolutely clarity on the nature of our souls. ‘Accepting things as they are’ is actually just checking out of our emotions so we can feel good as individuals. It needs to be balanced with feeling what is in our experience and facing up to the truth of the world that we live in.
Individualisation doesn’t work. It’s an option only for a small elite set of society and even then, it only works because they are sweeping stuff under the rug. That stuff doesn’t go away, it just gets pushed down to those lower in the formal or informal hierarchy. It comes out of us in ways that are invisible to our minds but painful to our hearts, bodies and souls.
Any spiritual leader who is saying that it is possible to escape your suffering by something that you can do as an individual is actively propping up the systems that oppression are built on. Blaming people for the suffering that is caused by systemic oppression is the best way to keep those people down.
In Ancient Buddhism they built physical walls and in-groups – the walls of the monastery and the monks. The people inside were kept safe enough to get enlightened, the people outside weren’t. Now we do it with emotional walls: spiritual leaders and meditation teachers can change how they perceive the truth of the world, bend it to a point where it is pleasant for them, create the environments that prop that up, ‘accept reality as it is’ and then tell other people that the reason they don’t feel peace and calm is because they are not good enough practitioners.
This is done in really obvious and stark ways and very subtle ways. I have experienced every part of my humanity, which allows me to see with absolute clarity the micro-aggressions and the subtle ways in which humans undermine each other to get power, when they do not feel safe and loved enough. This is as rife in spirituality and meditation as it is in politics, the education system and pretty much every other part of experience that involves groups of humans.
To free yourself from suffering, Buddhism required you to hand over your agency to an all knowing God called awareness and an all knowing being called the Buddha. It is said that these two things could reveal the truth of experience.
What has happened in our modern age is that this has been skewed and forgotten and distorted because it doesn’t really make sense to people any more. So they take the bits that suit them and leave the rest and you get a half-baked belief system that is based in individualisation that doesn’t really serve anyone. Buddhism is not a science or a way of life, at its core it is a religion that requires a faith in something you cannot prove and that doesn’t really have a positive impact on people.
My way of being has completely destroyed any capacity for religion to exist. I cannot and will not buy into a system that requires someone else to dictate the truth of their experience onto me and I refuse to ask others to do the same. I believe in showing up and being our own validators of our experience. Of taking responsibility for our actions. Of being honest about the fact that we want to feel seen and loved and have some space for being an authentic expression of who we are. Of acknowledging the necessity of this as a basic human right, if we want to live in a free society.
Freedom is not something you can achieve. It is something that you give. When you give people freedom to express themselves and impact you in whatever way they happen to be doing that in that moment, without needing them to be different, then you are truly free. You are no longer fighting things that are out of your control. You can move freely within the space that you are given.
This is also true of the world. We have such strict scientific beliefs about how the world should behave that we can’t be free. We have to be willing to let go of this and allow the world to move in mysterious ways, otherwise we aren’t free.
If we buy into the current cultural belief system of what our experience should be like, we are restricting ourselves immensely. There are large swathes of beautiful and magical experience that are considered unacceptable or unwelcome in our worldview that are deeply valuable and important for the wellbeing of humans. There is also a lot of pain that we do not have the structure or spaces for holding.
We have lost touch with these initiations, rituals and ways of seeing the world that support us to connect with our inner worlds, with nature and with each other in supportive and beautiful ways.
We don’t need to have fixed ideas about what this needs to look like but we need to be willing to explore our inner worlds, rediscover and reconnect with the parts that have been rejected. To find ways to express these in a healthy, fun and helpful way in our societies.
There has been lots of pressure and angst about how to respond to the current crises. Should people be posting on social media. Should you be ‘doing something’. We all feel pretty impotent.
This is because there is not much that you or I can do. This problem will not be solved or overcome by individuals. The individuality is the problem. The problem will be overcome by people coming together. Each person is only one piece of the puzzle. We can solve this. We can build a better world, but only if we do it as a collective – only if we sacrifice our individuality and sense of personal control and take responsibility for showing up as part of a whole. This is the call of our time.
We build resilient, powerful and helpful collectives by listening to each other. By validating each other’s desires and passions. By caring about each other. By approaching problems, opportunities and ideas with an optimistic and realistic curiosity about practical steps that can be taken to make a difference or move forwards. We don’t have to solve all the world’s problems, we don’t have to be perfect. We do have to learn to work together in ways that are genuinely empowering and helpful. In and of itself this is what the world needs.
There is a world in which I could take all the joy that I have found in myself and live out my days on a tropical surf beach in Ecuador with a sexy South American dude doing the occasional bit of freelance work.
There is a world where I could have stayed in my very nice house with my very nice (now ex) husband and found small ways to be a good person by doing my recycling and acting with kindness. It would have upset things less.
But that world is not this world. This is not what people want. This is not what I want. This is not what awakening is. When we wake up to our reality, as it really is, we realise that we want to contribute to the world. We want to love and be loved for our truest selves. That is actually all we really want. Our joy comes from genuine connection and engagement with the world. You won’t find joy anywhere else. Whether you are consciously aware of this or not, you know this in your heart. This is what we wake up to in the process of awakening. We let go and burn away anything that isn’t these two things.
Anything that doesn’t achieve this, is just self help and coping mechanisms. Non duality is not a way that I can look at the world. It is a way in which we experience ourselves as not separate to the process of life and humanity, which is unfolding into the unknown together at every moment.
The ways that we are being and the ways we behave is what creates our world. Our shared world. As a whole. The more true to ourselves that we behave, the less separate from the whole we feel. Some people get a choice about how true to themselves they can be. It is still not easy to take this choice, but it is the biggest gift you can be given. Take it or regret it.
Some people don’t get a choice. Systemic oppression is too much for them to be able to be their truest self, or the risk is too high due to lack of personal resources and support. They are stuck towing the line. The best they can hope for is a rebirth into a better life. Except that doesn’t exist.
In our hearts we want genuine connection with people. If we have this option and we start to show up like this, it will begin to filter out in society. It will inspire other people who also have this option to change their behaviour, too, and help people feel safer to be their true selves.
To feel genuine connection, we give people space to share their truth with us even if it is uncomfortable. We notice that needing people to placate us or lie to us gets in the way of genuine connection.
Love and joy cannot be hoarded. By showing up and going after our heart’s desires of genuine connection and being seen for our true selves, this starts to dismantle the systems of oppression that hold people down. We don’t want power over people, we want connection with people. We don’t want to be right, we want to be seen and to see people.
There is an element of trust and faith that is required. Not in anything in particular, just as an orientation. The faith that you don’t need to have a plan or a fixed idea of how things are going to play out. In fact that is counter productive as it comes from our fearing, controlling minds. We need to trust in ourselves and each other and have faith that if we show up, in the most authentic expression of ourselves that we can muster, things will work out.
One of the secrets to life is that believing this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you do what you feel to be the most true expression of who you are in each moment, even when you experience rejection or heartbreak or pain, you know that that was what you needed to feel in that moment. Your true path is the one you are your true self on and anything that does not come to you through this authentic expression is a distraction, no matter how much your heart or mind thinks it really wants or needs it.
Someone once said to me, ‘I didn’t know what courage was until I decided to…’ And it really stuck in my head. It made me wonder how many people don’t know what courage even feels like? So much of my life has demanded so much courage. It’s so often portrayed as some hero who knows exactly what they’re doing, but it’s actually the scariest and/or most uncertain things that require the most courage. It is when we are trembling with fear, either physically or emotionally, that courage is demanded of us. It is the moment where we realise we need to do the one thing we really don’t want to do.
Courage comes from the heart. Showing up is not the effort of the mind – that is control – it is the effort of finding the will to meet whatever we find in this moment and do what our hearts ask of us. It is going up through spirit and down into our souls, smashing through the boundaries, barriers and walls until there are none left and you can meet everything you find with your heart.
People brush off bad behaviour in spiritual leaders by saying that awakening doesn’t explicitly make you a better person and I say bullshit to that. Awakening doesn’t just make you a better person, true awakening demands that you sacrifice everything that is stopping you from being a whole-hearted person and whole-hearted people do not do actions that are harmful or ignorant or racist or sexually abuse people. Those spiritual leaders who do those things may have enlightened their minds, but they are not awake.
Equally, being whole-hearted doesn’t mean you are an angel. Whole-hearted means you can welcome all of it. The whole of your humanity including the ugly parts.
I was inspired to write this because I just listened to a Dharma talk that tore me open. It opened up my deepest pain and I was curled up in a ball crying and screaming that I can’t do it any more. Not on my own. I felt desperately sad and suicidal and pathetic and angry. This is all part of the human experience. I howled so loudly and with so much raw pain that I was worried the neighbours might call the police if they heard it. This is what giving yourself to your experience looks like sometimes. This is how you reach clarity. By loving and allowing whatever is there.
I have normalised the capacity to sit with this much pain in the same way that I have normalised the experience of pure uninterrupted, happy joy for hours at a time. This is what reality is for me and I can tell you without a single doubt in my mind that any level of awakening or self love does not meet the human need in us to be seen and loved.
The entire world is hurting. Nothing is perfect, it never will be. The point isn’t to solve the problem. The point is to realise that we are exactly where we need to be, we just need to show up to whatever is there and be willing to feel it and allow ourselves to respond in an authentic way. Even when it hurts or is terrifying.
I don’t believe that people need to take awakening as far as I have to show up to their lives and make a difference. It is up to you how far you want to go with it, but I am so tired of hearing people sell their version of meditation or half-baked awakening as if it is what the dharma is about. I am sick of seeing poorly behaved spiritual teachers poisoning people’s minds.
For sure, you can teach people meditation and mindfulness as a self help technique or a coping mechanism for life, but stop telling people that this is awakening.
Current events are unravelling spiritual belief systems at the seams. It is making it crystal clear that a lot of it is at best glorified self help and at its worst just a checking out from your emotions and the reality of the world. This is because real awakening is hard. And it is rewarding.
I would invite a conversation with anyone who can talk about the implications of what all this means for how we practice in a way that isn’t based on selling false dreams to people through over-hyped meditation techniques.
The outcome of my awakening is an absolute clarity and confidence in my experience and a continuous immediate joyful presence with no resistance, which all shows up on an EEG machine. I hear very clearly that most teachings are bullshit and I can speak with absolute clarity about matters that I rarely hear any other teachers even touching on, but I feel are deeply important for people to understand in order to wake up to their reality.
When people open to seeing me in this way, I can hold a space that facilitates incredibly fast and relatively easy awakening for people. I can help people to find confidence in their true path.
This is me offering my experience with an open hand. I ask that you pay attention to how it makes you feel and consider what projections you may be putting on to me.
The implications of what I’m saying are profound, I have reached a new level of awakening that I have not heard anyone else talk about before. Given that I feel so utterly compelled by the state of my being to share virulently and starkly honestly about everything that that entails, despite the fact that this sharing process has been a painful ride full of rejection and judgement, I would conclude that no-one has ever experienced this depth of awakening before.
I figured this out for myself, meaning I know exactly how to do it without relying on any kind of religious beliefs. I understand the energetic workings and while there is a need to let go of our fixed scientific western perceptions of how the body works, I do not need to rely on new age ideas or people buying into any beliefs about transmissions, chakras etc. You just need an open mind to see what you feel in your body.
The world and your body may feel a lot more like it feels while you are on psychedelics a lot more of the time than you are currently willing to be open to. But I don’t need you to believe in any fixed ideas or concepts. You just need to be able to open to your own experience again and again.
All you need is a strong will and conviction to show up for your body’s natural capacity to heal and awaken to your experience. I know how to guide people through it. I also don’t think that anyone else I’ve ever spoken to would be willing to go through it unless we can create a supportive environment that makes it easier and more acceptable for people. I also have some good ideas of how to go about doing this, but I can’t build it on my own.
This isn’t about me being special or believing that I have some answer. I want to work with other people who want to bring their own talents to the table. I want to learn and grow alongside people who are navigating their journeys. I want to weave a collective story. I want to help people wake up to their own realities, so that people can validate and take responsibility for their experiences and the ways in which they show up in our shared world.
This is what the world needs. Grown up humans who are able to feel the full range of their emotions so that we can process our collective trauma and step up to take care of each other and our planet and to counter all the hatred and fear that has taken hold in this society. This will not be defeated with aggression, hatred and fear. It will not be defeated by demanding the politicians fix it. This will be overcome by adults who can feel their feelings and communicate with fierce love, respect and clarity. Adults who have the capacity and energy to contribute to building a better society that is based in reality.
It will be created by people who know how to take care of themselves and avoid over-extension and burnout by standing up to the unrealistic demands of our culture. People who know their own limits and know intrinsically how to collaborate with others and empower them to take their responsibility for their part in the world. People who don’t give a shit about how much power and status they have, they care about how much they love and are loved. How much they see and are seen.
Adults who know without a doubt that humans need to be seen and loved and deserve to be treated with respect as a basic human right. Adults who know how to hold the boundary between being compassionate towards people and holding people accountable for their own actions and are willing to do that. Adults who give a shit about the world and feel passionate about building a better future that is shared with everyone.
You can sit on the margins, discussing the discussions. Hoping you may change a few people’s minds or your own mind. Or you can show up and we can build something new together. Something better.
I leave this blog post as an open invitation, if anyone has an ambition to help the world wake up and wake up fast, I would love to talk to you.
Now is the time for change. We are not going to get another chance. Show up to your life, take responsibility, do what you came here to do. If we want a better world, we are the people who need to start living it.