Awakening to Heat and Denial

It's supposed to reach 108 degrees today -- here in Oregon --I'm not in Las Vegas!It will be the hottest day on record here, and with this and the flooding issues as rivers rise in some parts of the country, and the drought in other parts, it is simply astonishing that anyone dares to deny the fact of global warming. It is an example of how the human mind is capable of denying what is right in its face -- one's own direct experience, and clinging to a thought that is not only false, but self-destructive. Why are we often so afraid to question our thoughts and beliefs, to challenge assumptions, to look objectively at the world around us?

It is easy to blame greed and self-serving goals for many of the stumblings in our political structures. But there is a broad base of people who vote for these people despite some of their statements that appear on the face of it anti-humanity, destructive to the very life of the planet. I have found that many spiritual people are pro-life in the sense they support whatever would improve and nurture the health of the planet, the cooperation of cultures, the alignment with a universal respect for nature and for one another. They may support a person's individual choice, but at a universal level they believe in supporting the lives that exist here and now. For many spiritual seekers a huge barrier to feeling free is all the agitation that arises in them when they observe what is happening in our political structures and to our planet and the people on it. How can one be free when turning on the evening news brings international horrors and national insanity, obvious inequalities, and a continual impulse to support killing in order to achieve national goals, and a political emphasis  valuing personal arsenals for "self" protection over innocent lives?

Although we are spirits living in human forms, our society is not spirit-driven, it is mind-driven. As soon as forms and thought emerged in the vastness of space, division emerged. The opposites came into being. Light and dark, day and night, inner and outer, space and form, sound and stillness, peace and violence, right and wrong -- everything has its opposite in thought. A great yogi, The Mother, who was the spiritual partner of Sri Aurobindo, once said of the experiences that arise in yoga (something like) "You can be sure that if there is a great darkness, there is a great light hidden beneath." This insight can offer us hope and direction in our human struggles with politics, weather, one another, and even within ourselves. Is there a light hidden beneath the denials of global warming, the migrating children upsetting our patterns and beliefs in immigration, the rapid accumulation of guns designed only to kill humans or many of the other issues that seem insane to someone who has awakened not only to spirit but to life? Take time to look for this light and see where it is functioning in the world. There may be kindness among your neighbors, charity, personal moments of great connection and even joy. Deep inside of you there will be light. But thoughts can keep you ever distracted from it.

Perhaps some political practices and beliefs have to become so obviously dysfunctional and unworkable that they collapse under the weight of their own confusion. There was a time when child labor was common, and women were not allowed to vote. Our "united" states once suffered with a civil war.  Perhaps political issues must become intense before they provoke a need for greater clarity and compassion, and old structures are recognized to be past any usefulness. Where will new possibilities emerge? Is it possible for thoughts to shift on a great enough scale that we can heal the divisions while still recognizing the inevitability of opposites, which are not likely to go away? Is an intuition and understanding greater than thought available within us?

I know on a personal level that division within me dissolves when all I want is to know what is true, free of any conditioned beliefs about how I want it to be. I know truth is found in silence, presence, and a willingness to be open and flexible and to consider another's needs as equal to my own. I know it is helpful to trust that within each human is the spacious open availability to love and beauty and truth, even though it is often immensely clouded by beliefs and positions that are self-destructive. Sometimes a mental illness, a desperate childhood, or a huge traumatic life event overwhelms the capacity to be free or see clearly who we are. But for those who have choice and who love life we will be soothed by taking a backward step into our own silence, opening our heart, trusting the core of human life is the spirit of universal life, and being willing to hold the dissonance that arises within the human condition we all share. Today we may all be sharing heat arising, and we need to find creative responses to it. Will the answers come from the divided mind or the loving heart that cares for all humanity?

Awakening Friendship

I just returned from a few days in Sacramento where I presented two programs about kundalini and awakening experiences based on my new books, ("The Kundalini Guide" and "The Awakening Guide") at the invitation of some close friends. Their gracious treatment and care for me has prompted some reflection on the deep value of friendship. All of us thrive in the warmth of a few intimate friends, and no matter how awake or how spiritual we are, this quality of friendship enhances our lives. We humans need to share and reflect upon our experiences, consider new ideas, express feelings, care and be taken care of, and take time to play. Sometimes family members are our closest friends, but more often your closest friends become family. In my many years of spiritual searching there have been times when I have been too introverted or preoccupied to fully appreciate friendship. But as I am aging it is more and more clear how crucial these connections are to mental, physical and spiritual well-being. I've noticed that older adults with meaningful friendships have vitality, enthusiasm, creativity and a sense of adventure that is lacking in those who are more isolated. Invitations, options, connections and affection make it more fun to be alive and give a reason to awaken and meet each new day.

The people I met through my good friends this week are all exploring life and contributing to others in many ways, such as teaching yoga, hospice work, healing practices, alternative medicine, centering prayer or meditation groups, facilitating radio programs, channeling, counseling, painting and in many other expressions of their passion and engagement in life. They are enthusiastic friends interested in giving to one another and being nourished in return. Many are in a spiritual awakening process.

Non-duality can seem like a dry teaching at times, stripping one of identifications and old patterns of thinking, or making a person feel disengaged from the ordinary preoccupations of the world and socially detached. Waking up to Oneness can make being alone restful and peaceful, but also somewhat empty. Many people who write to me have expressed the feeling they can no longer relate to old friends because their interests have changed and they no longer like listening to "stories" or problems. But underneath the surface of the non-dual realization is the recognition we are one consciousness playing these many roles in life, reflecting many facets of potential and each in our own unique dance. Compassion and love are stirring. So it is the case that even if we are illusions, we are still a reflection of the infinite and can enjoy the many other dancers around us. I've often thought how the source of life must love diversity as it seems one of the most consistent patterns on the planet. No two of us are exactly alike and we evolve consciously as we meet ourselves in this multiplicity of divine expression.

So we can enjoy friendships with those quite different from us, and find new depths in ourselves through those quite similar. We learn and grow through friendships. A good friend is someone who listens, shares their truth, laughs with us, explores possibilities with us, feeds us whatever we may need at the moment, and whose projections upon us make us feel wanted in their lives.

We do not awaken in a void. Although I am a person who spent many hours meditating in a darkened room it is through my connections with others that the barriers of separation often fell for me -- sometimes a chance encounter, at other times through classes, retreats, music, therapy and in a myriad of ways. The gifts of friendship and the openness to what another spirit had to offer opened the possibility of seeing Truth, or feeling the bliss of unitive moments through chanting, movement, or shared silence. Friendship encourages expression and contribution to the world around us.

If you wish a vital and spiritually full life find a friend or a few who are open to exploring life, Truth and potential with you, and treasure them.

Transformation and Awakening

Many of us spend a good part of our lives trying to "transform" ourselves, improve ourselves, or discover new ways to be present in the world. This is what keeps psychotherapists, body therapists, hypnotherapists, self-help writers, spiritual teachers and even academic institutions in business. There is a deep internal drive to learn and grow, create and improve, and find new ways to enjoy life. One of the great tragedies of war and poverty is the limitation it puts on the children and adults in societies that are burdened by them. There is not much time or vision for healing and expanding into a better life. Perhaps they offer through suffering another kind of transformation, one honed by suffering. Whether we are transforming through effort or through suffering, what is often overlooked as we search to transform our self is the deep potential of the inward passage, and the exploring of the nature of our awareness. Beneath all the introspection and searching in the average life is the subtle noticing of what we are. This noticing -- let's call it our present witness-- is the aspect of us that sees, senses, and feels what is happening before there is any labeling or judgment of it. We are spirits witnessing a life -- witnessing movement, opportunity, choice, beauty, tragedy, sensations, experiences, our selves and others. This present witness is an awareness that is so open and receptive that it is shocking to experience in its full power of presence. Like a flash it is all that exists in a moment of crisis or awe, great concentration or passion, and sometimes in a transcendent meditation. Purely there, available, awareness is never in need of transformation. It is the foundation of who we are, the pure consciousness, and if we turn deeply into it we will discover our source and the universal connection with all.

Spiritual awakening happens in those moments when awareness returns home to itself, triggering a flash of insight, connectedness, expansivemess, and sometimes radiant joy. It is a moment beyond thought when there is only being. Such moments are only truncated if the mind interferes or the personality tries to step up and claim them. Language may point to the moment but generally limits it. In the way a great feast cannot be tasted in words, so awakening cannot be translated. It is said not to be an "experience" because what happens is awareness awakens to itself, and awareness has always been present, only hidden behind the tendencies and interpretations of thought and language.

When awakeness happens it opens a person to the possibility of true transformation. How this will unfold is part of the mystery and always unknown and unpredictable. It is beyond any goal or fantasy of the mind. Those who live awakened lives have surrendered to the surprises of each moment. They may experience great shifts of energy, lifestyle changes, the uprushing of old stories that turn to ashes before their eyes, the releasing of much of who they thought they were and new capacities they never asked for. In time there will be peace and a sense that everything is okay just as it is, even if there could be improvements.

This is a passage into the heart and a softening mind, a willingness to live with the opposites of relative form without attachments to them, an opportunity for clarity, relaxation, and trust. If you are on this improbable journey you may have challenges but you probably know you are very blessed.

When Kundaini Energy Arises

Often people who are in the process of awakening are concerned about the phenomena that accompanies it. They are afraid they will be distracted or derailed by the uprising of energy, flashes of feeling outside of time, emotions that arise and even the bliss. Once there has been a taste of pure seeing, without all the commotion and interpretation of the restless mind, the sensation of being alive is so open and so radiantly present that a desire arises to maintain this place of simply being. But inevitably the time of distraction will follow. It may be the distractions of life -- a need to focus on work or raising children or health or lifestyle issues, a challenging issue or relationship to resolve, or a psychological or emotional reaction that is unexpected and unacceptable to the "new" me. It may be the internal distraction of physical and energetic change. When energy arises it can be blissful or uncomfortable, enlivening or depleting, welcome or disruptive. This is the energy of consciousness, that deep internal life force that arises and moves to release and open whatever is unneeded, stressful, or stuck in the body/mind system. It's true that it can be a great disruption and distraction in a life, but if it can be met with curiosity rather than fear, a letting go into it rather than contracting against it, and an appreciation that it is just part of the awakening of the whole of you then the process is much more smooth. This energy, known as kundalini in yoga systems, seems to bring the body to a higher energy frequency, and it demands paying attention to how you eat, how you live, and how you move in the world. It makes you pay attention to yourself, and the physical and emotional needs of your life. It is important to notice the reaction of your energy field when you eat or drink what is unhealthy for your body, overwork or overstress yourself, are not completely honest in your relationships, or get caught in toxic environments. Your subtle energy body is trying to align with the Truth you have glimpsed, and support the embodiment of peaceful presence, but it seems as if everything that is not in alignment must be deconstructed before this can happen. It some ways it is like being emptied out of yourself.
It may be that some people with deep awakenings do not go through this kundalini process, but those I have asked have always acknowledged it was part of their experience. By meeting it willingly, without drama or resistance, and appreciating the mystery of this "goddess" helping to awaken you fully, you will grow and unfold in remarkable new ways, and learn to live fully with what is. Kundalini activated for me following a Radiance Breathwork session many years ago, and as it cleared and opened my body it deepened my receptivity to meditation, opened the mind and heart, and eventually moved from being felt as rolling energy up my back that jerked involuntarily through the nights, to rivilets of bliss throughout the body, to a quiet internal hum. It redirected my life and the focus of my work, leading me into territory I had not know existed. It has been a great gift. If you are in this process you might learn more at or my new book "The Kundalini Guide".

Awakening to the Sun

            I awaken as the sun pours through my east-facing windows every morning and I am drenched in light. I return to my body and stretch, and feel gratitude for the beauty I enjoy as I look out the window over my small town ringed by mountains. I awaken with quietness and openness inside, wondering what the day will bring.

            Awakening spiritually is much the same -- coming into a sense of lightness, openness, spaciousness, where thoughts do not interfere with the simple beingness of life -- the I am is experienced as a felt sense rather than a belief, the entering of this moment.   As the mind lets go of expectations, desires, and the need to judge oneself and others, all the billions of neurons bouncing around in our head become calm, aware, responsive to the amazing experience of right now. Our senses brighten. As the heart awakens the body becomes soft and relaxed, melting sometimes into wonder at the beauty all around us, the miracle of existing at all. We know our self to be an expansive spirit in a body, using this form to dance and move in the play of life. As the gut awakens the knot in the belly that wants control unravels itself and we are available to change our fear to curiousity, and notice that life unfolds outside of our control, and we are capable of meeting it as it is.

            I am 72 now . When I was 20, 30 even 40 and 50 I could not imagine being happy at this age. Old people looked -- well, old. I thought it would be very depressing to give up feeling pretty, being part of the movement and adventure of life that absorbs us when we are young, having lots of energy and moving through the world as if I was "somebody". And it is true there are challenges in aging. Sometimes my feet are unstable. I fell flat on my face off a ledge a couple of week ago and looked for a few days as if I had been in a bar-room brawl. (Frankly, I felt mainly intense gratitude that nothing was broken or permanently damaged.) All of my family in the generations above mine have passed on and many friends as well. Nearly every week someone I care for is reported in a battle with cancer or a heart problem. There is always the knowing that at any time the axe will fall for myself or my husband. But somehow all of this is just absorbed into the weave of living, and in its tragedy there is a beauty, just as in the bright day there is a compensatory dark night with its stillness and solitude. I can be sorrowful for what is not here now or grateful that I am still here now. Which will bring me peace and happiness?

            So much of a life today is driven by the demands of an intense and commercial society. Energy is pulled in many directions and the longing to have not only what we need, but everything we want, consumes the majority of westerners, while the struggle in much of the world is simply to stay alive. Humans are in constant turmoil internally, trying to change things, acquire something, gain recognition or achieve goals. And then they are surprised to find they are not happy and the world is not at peace. This is the drivenness of thought, of the part of mind that fears to relax, to let go, to explore just being. We have lost the grace of simply being alive, the appreciation of the natural beauty and wonder in the world that can only be seen when we "Stop". Millions of us cannot even enter the stillness of sleep anymore because the mind will never stop.

            If you are seeking peace and beauty in your life create a way intuitively to heal yourself. Put something beautiful in every room to remind you to be present, or find a spot where you can sit in stillness or walk in beauty. Learn true meditation, a simple sitting without efforting and letting things be as they are. Play music that distracts and sooths your spirit. Do something you love each day. Let go of toxic situations in your life and then do not carry them around in your thoughts once they are gone. Create your own series of koans or inner questions that cannot be answered with mind but take you to a deeper place, a place of Truth, i..e "Isn't this only a thought -- a random neuron firing? Is it true?" "What is wholeness?" "Who am I without thought?" "Can I love without attachment?" "What do I know that no one ever taught me?" Find your own, because the portal to awakening is deeply within you. And along this path you will discover peace, joy and appreciation in the very simplicity of living itself.


New Spiritual Books

This note is to announce I have recently published on Amazon and Kindle two new books: The Awakening Guide and The Kundalini Guide.  Both are companions for people on a spiritual path or in the process of spiritual awakening, and are based on 30 years of consulting and mentoring those who have activations of kundalini energy or glimpses of spiritual realization.They are getting wonderful reviews. I am grateful to all who have passed through my life that have made these understandings possible.  They are practical but also inspirational, providing a context and a vision of the unfolding of this process. I am developing another blog that will feature essays and questions and answers for those in this process. I already have a websites: & but find I plan to move more to a blogging model with similar information.

Social networking has not been my forte but  it is always mentally stimulating to learn something new, and my heart is with getting my books into the hands of those who can benefit from them.  I have been so blessed in my work to meet many beautiful awakening people and find for the most part they only need to value themselves and believe in themselves in this process, and perhaps make a few life adjustments, in order to bring the blessings of a realized life.

In a world as stressed, and filled with negative energies as we are enduring today (although certainly not for the first time) it is a genuine calling to go deeply within and find Truth and the natural flow of life that is meant to be present, radiant, appreciative and loving.  This core is within each of us no matter the back-story and patterns of conditioning we have carried.  A true spiritual awakening is our own true nature longing to reveal itself and lead us into peace and a holistic perspective that has understanding and compassion for human confusion and frailty. Our true nature is ever expansive and vast, easily able to embrace the fullness of life that can cause our smaller conditioning minds to suffer.  To be free of the limitations of our history is to be relaxed in the face of world history, open and engaged in the present beauty available to us, and in this process to bring a bit of healing to the world.  What we release in awakening no longer has to be played forth in the mind-set of our species. What we recognize we are is the All and in this seeing we contribute what we can. It can take a long time to let everything be as it is, but as this possibility open we find a true understanding of life and service.

If you would like to order my books directly and do not use amazon, send me an email to and I will respond with ordering information.



What is Non-Duality?

Non-Duality is a way of experiencing life that is beyond the holding of any belief about it. It points toward a liberation of the attachment to a separate "me" and this brings psychological freedom and peace. When consciousness gives up duality as a way of looking at the world it feels alive by simply Being, as opposed to being caught in the complexity of "thinking". There is an intuitive recognition that underneath all appearances there is One spacious consciousness that contains all of life and that each of us at the core is that spacious consciousness. When consciousness awakens one sees directly that the human sense of separateness and uniqueness is an identification with the body and conditioning that limits understanding of what we truly are.

Most of us can understand upon reflection the inter-connectedness of all things.  We can see that without air, water, the trees and many other gifts of nature we could not exist as a species, and we can see that all of humanity shares the same needs and the same connectedness as part of nature.  Our bodies are natural expressions of life.  As Kahil Gibran once expressed poetically "Our children are life's longing for itself". So our existence is this expression of life as human, and our uniqueness is part of the unfolding of nature's many variant ways, greatly colored by our unique heritage, conditioning and energetic styles, intelligence, inclinations, talents, etc.  How natural it is for us to identify as "This".

But non-duality is not about an understanding of our position in the world, even of our interdependence.  It is an invitation to a direct intuitive remembrance of ourselves as this essence of life, before all the experiences and conditioning were attached and our thoughts became the apparent managers of our lives. It implies that as soon as thought and mind become active, all is divided, all appears to be dual -- birth and death, awake and asleep, myself and another, light and dark, like and dislike, good and evil -- all are the conclusions of the independent mind, which finds its way in life through division.  To be enlightened is to be undivided, while still living with the paradox of division.

The mind cannot understand non-division.  It assumes that the gathering and organizing of facts or memories or experiences is essential for navigation in the world.  And to some degree this is true -- the rules for the world of form require certain understandings of boundaries (e.g. I cannot physically fly off of a building, I cannot ingest poison if I want to stay embodied, I can learn to drive and operate machinery, I can set up time in days and months and years, etc.)  Non-dual teachings however, are not about the world of form.  They are about the wholeness inherent in the absolute, in that which precedes and follows form, and which is the essence itself that allows form to appear.  They point to Oneness, wholeness, awareness, presence, consciousness, beauty, love... all as the essential Truth of existence.  Our deepest source within, our own Awareness, already knows Itself to be This. But we are so distracted by the world of form, and the content of mind, that most people most of the time never feel or touch intimately what they really are.  Non-dual teachings, or in some cases the presence of an awakened teacher, exist in order to disturb or startle the thought patterns out of their complacency and delusion long enough for the true nature to be remembered.

Although many non-dual teachers appear to be saying that thought must stop or will stop if one is enlightened, this is not a fact to be feared or used to imply one becomes helpless and limited upon waking up to reality. What a waste of potential that would be!

These expressions are pointers beyond the limitations of thought, much as pointing to the moon does not mean the abandonment of the earth.  To reach outer space astronauts have to leap out of the environment of earth -- have to be willing to live in the vastness of open space and trust their survival.  To awaken to our true nature we have to similarly reach deeper than mind, into the empty-of-thought openness that is pure awareness, before thought-forms enter the stream.  So it is no-mind as we perceive beyond mind.  It has been called the dissolution of mind, but it is closer to a transparency, a seeing through the illusory, transient, conditioned  and generally irrational nature of thought. As we recognize our own impermanence, and how we have been attached to ourselves as a unique but transient character formed by belief and experience, we take ourselves and others less seriously, so we become less compulsive and ego-driven.  The ego has no power unless it believes all of its thoughts. The ego is the movement of attachment, and it gradually falls away when the Truth is seen and lived. When thoughts and even feelings are seen as energies moving through a system rather than "who I am", we cannot easily sustain a belief in the separate self.

Why should people invite themselves into a process leading to a lack of identification with the separate self?  At first glance this would seem psychologically and emotionally unhealthy.  During some stages of awakening it can certainly be frightening and disorienting, and one must persevere through the fear.  But many people feel driven to make this journey, and others fall into the realization spontaneously.  It is a longing to know our natural state of Being, a longing to know our "source" and end the sense of alienation in an ego-driven world.  It is sometimes felt as a longing to know if there is a god, and of what nature it is.  It is also the only way ultimately to feel at peace with life and death, and to end the inner turmoil that comes with division and the search to know what matters, what is real.   When we clearly see the separate self as a simply a dance of energies in a creative movement of nature, and we allow what we experience to flow through without struggle, our lives become more free and more immediate.  Living in the moment brings more joy than planning for the future or dwelling on the past. Life becomes more simple and more intimate and more relaxed.

If everything I write or other non-dual teachings offer are simply taken as beliefs, they are just as sticky as any other belief, just as liable to trap you in mind, just as lacking in Truth.  They are no more useful than a picture of ice cream is able to satisfy your craving for it.

In the end non-dual teachings, or sitting in silence with a teacher, are aimed at driving you inward to question and discover your own realization of Truth, beyond your mind and beliefs and assumptions and feelings, in the stillness there, discovering within yourself who you are.

Who Makes What We Are?

     It seems to me that our minds and thoughts are composed of every person and experience we have collected during our lifetime, all woven together in a kind of mosaic, that makes us feel "This is who I am". Our family and friends, and every stranger we meet, become our projected world.  People we rarely saw, or perhaps only met in passing, are not usually central in the mosaic, and exist mostly in the shadows, while members of our family, our teachers  and  friendships form larger parts of this structure, adding color, depth and variety to our world of thought.  Fragments of these people and events are like energetic molecules or flashes zipping through the brain at various points in time.  Even movie characters, actors and  other celebrities we have admired but never known, collect in some area of the mosaic we call "me" or "my life".  So do traumatic stories and scary dictators and other dark figures.  No experience is left out.  We seem to be what we have met along the way in our life.  Our thoughts and beliefs are made of this.

     So it is that when people die and pass out of our immediate range of interaction it is felt as a loss, even when we hardly knew them, or only knew them through hearsay, in movies or television, or read about them in the news. We can easily grieve for people we have never met.  Some people leave holes in the collective psyche because of who they were or how they died, like the children in Newtown, or the people of  the World Trade Center.  But especially when someone close to us dies there is a sudden hole in our mosaic, a blank space where it feels as if they should exist, and it hurts to remember they are not available, at least not in the form we were attached to. We grieve not only for the loss of them but for a loss in us, the tearing away of something they were holding for us.

     I have noticed these losses more clearly as I get older, because many people I have known have passed on, and some I was very close to have fallen away, taking with them chunks of my projected connectedness. So far this year three women I knew and loved have died, all from some form of cancer.  It leaves more emptiness inside, like little holes that will not be plugged.  Memories of their light and aliveness float in me but cannot get grounded. My connection to them feels like it is floating into space, like a wayward balloon I can never see again.  All of us are interlinked in some mysterious way, and as more family and friends fade into spaciousness and Oneness, less is left in form.  We have to adjust to a new mosaic, accepting the missing pieces.  If we are to be free, the emptiness has to become expansion and openness, rather than sorrow and rage.

     My mother had 11 siblings, and my father 3.  Together  with spouses and children there was a large sense of extended family as I was growing up. Over the years they have dropped, one by one, and even a few of the cousins have passed, one only a few weeks ago.  All of the elders are gone, leaving me and a couple of cousins as the oldest remaining.  How this happens so quickly one cannot imagine. It seems just yesterday I was only starting out as a young woman. Now I am an elder. Occasionally I have a vision of all of these people, most of whom were very kind to me, standing together, radiating love (if there is existence without form how can it be anything other than love?)

     Every year now it seems I lose a few friends.  Most recently it was a fairly new friend, Jennifer, who taught me a wondrous way to face death.  Shortly after her diagnosis of stage 4 cancer she simply accepted it was her time to leave. She stayed at home surrounded by her art (she learned to paint after her retirement and loved to paint flowers and portraits), and she spent hours simply being with the tall trees and extensive views of space and sky beyond her living room windows.  She surrendered so fully that instead of pain her body would slip into bliss and her consciousness into Oneness and she would laugh and say "I don't know why this is so funny but it is -- I feel so free."  (She was not on any medication until the last week or two). So we would sit in stillness and she would drift in spaciousness, and knew herself to be the consciousness at one with that.  She was grateful that I would allow her to be her "Self" but I am the one who should be grateful, to have shared this intimate and joyful journey.

      I have sat with other people I loved as they slipped away, and I have felt as I age the holes existing in my mosaic, as if their companionship was part of who I am. But Jennifer was a special gift who demonstrated the Oneness beyond any loss. We are all connected as consciousness, without boundary.  When we feel this consciousness while living, before and beyond mind and form, our body feels melted into love, and peace, and even sometimes joy. It is as if our very cells are made of spacious love, capable of expanding into all the cosmos.

     We may lose one another as forms, but we can't lose what they taught us or the love and wisdom we may have gathered.  Beyond the intangible gifts of sharing a life  we can never lose the  loving consciousness that we essentially are.  If we are fortunate to fall into surrender, we find we are eternally together.  This is the magic of the non-dual teaching to be willing to surrender to what is.  As my teacher, Adyashanti, has sometimes said, "Enlightenment is having no argument with reality."

Beyond Indifference

There is a certain violence in nature.  There is an underlying indifference to life that is paradoxically a movement that keeps life changing and evolving. It is the nature of all physical form to rise and fall, shift and die.  We see this in large movements like earthquakes and floods and fires caused by lightning and in smaller circumstances such as lifeforms that feed on other lifeforms or battle one another for the right to procreate.  Our planet and species were created through eruption and wild intense forces of nature.  As humans the roots of this indifference and fierceness to survive also lies in our shadow,underlies many of our darker patterns and is evident in the decline of our bodies as we age. As pure awareness  it is seen that all of these movements toward upheaval and destruction are just part of who we are.  When consciousness awakens itself and the stillness of our true nature is known we can see with equanimity the naturalness and inclusiveness of the world as it is. This part of what we are has limitless acceptance of what is. As Adyashanti often says, "It has no argument with reality." But this does not mean we then turn our back on the human condition and have no response to it.  We are source playing humans at the moment and when this source is awakened in us it moves through an open heart and generates compassion and love, creativity and responsiveness.  In knowing we are all of this world we may be moved to respond in ways the limited mind would not.  When our identification with personal suffering in our  past, and our emotional resistance and rage and grief is over, we are more free to bring something authentic, healing and useful into the world. We don't need to be indifferent and are free to move spontaneously.  From a non-dual perspective we can rationalize we are not our body/mind , and think "Why do anything?"  But if you look closely you can sense this must be a mental rationalization,  because the fully awakened being is not personal, and is moved by a recognition of being one with others.  Instead there is a movement that is impersonal, but inclined toward the healing of suffering, the feeding of the human, the nurturing of the planet, bringing harmony into the whole. Many call this movement love, but it is not the love that is looking for something in return. It is simply the complement to the destructive and painful forces. It moves through us and not from us.

Genuine acceptance of the fact that destruction and death are an aspect of living and being in form, frees one to bring more harmony and love into the mix rather than rage and resistance.  I can't speak for other life forms, but while we exist as humans we have a capacity for the wisdom to end our psychological self-destruction and the pain in our species that perpetuates it. It is our dream we are living and as we become more harmonious and awake as a species the dream can evolve more harmoniously.

Shanti River Events

I am back home in Ashland Oregon now, and although it's cold and damp it still warms my heart to be in this picturesque town with its charming theaters, parks and people. The pace is more nourishing here, with much to be involved in, yet a quieter pace of traffic and only a few thousand people, most of whom are happy just to be here. It is the best of small-town living. I've created a Spring schedule for the non-dual center here, and here are the events scheduled:

Meditations at 9 a.m. Saturday mornings;

Satsang on Sundays at 7 p.m on March 27, April 3 and 17, May 1, 15 and 29;

A workshop on "The Kundalini Process" on Sat. May 14 from 9 to 5;

A Meditation Intensive "Sudden and Gradual Awakening" from 9:30 to 4:30 Sat. April 30;

A Non-Dual Wisdom Discussion group at 7 p.m. for 9 weeks beginning April 14;

A Transpersonal Exploration group on Weds. for 7 weeks beginning April 13.

Contact me at if you need information or want to register.

On World Events:

What has been on my mind most often these past few weeks are world events. Every day I want to know just what is unfolding in Japan, Libya, Bahrain and all the other unsettled and chaotic places on our planet. I see that what I am includes all of these, even though I as a body/mind have the luxury of living free from harm in this particular or apparent moment in time.

One of the biggest challenges of seeking freedom or liberation is the recognition that so many people and places are suffering. It makes it seem one should not allow oneself to be free of suffering since we are all in this together. Guilt can arise in those who are not in pain along with everyone else. But freedom from suffering already exists in each of us and until we remove the patterns that block this freedom we are not capable of bringing any lasting freedom into the world. All of us as humans have our times to suffer --with losses, grief, illness--or because we are holding on to anger, self-rejection, jealousy or fear (psychological suffering). Isn't most of the horror caused by humans in the world the result of someone who suffers from a rage, or greed, or fear of "others" or desire for revenge? Isn't the need for power just a reaction to all these internal limitations we resent and reject? Some folks are simply obsessed with a greed for power. What fear and rejection of humanity must lie beneath this obsession? It is easy to see how a repressed people would want to gain control over their lives and would battle authority for it, would hunger to overcome the pressure of someone else's power drive. It is harder to see how someone could want so much power over others unless they felt a great lack and fear deep within themselves. Despite all of the horrors we witness on the world stage do we dare to remember our own internal freedom, our natural compassion and love, and the true nature that is empty of all conditions while paradoxically holding all conditions? If we who have the breathing space to wake up and to live as freedom do not invite it into our lives how will it ever penetrate the collective, or infuse the planet with wisdom and love? We cannot force freedom or love or wisdom but we can let go of ourselves deeply enough to remember that these qualities are reflected naturally from the light of what we truly are. We seldom see them in the world because most humans are so identified with the surface of their lives, and fearful of the inner shadows in their psyches, that they do not sit still long enough to penetrate the delusions of mind and heart that trap us. When someone begins a spiritual path it is usually for the purpose of ending suffering within themselves, at least on the surface of things. But perhaps it is really a drive imposed by the universal source or wisdom in order to release just one facet of the suffering in the world, to breathe into the universe a fraction more of freedom. If the repression of Truth and Love ends in you or me, something painful ends and something new and unexpected can emerge. If we are then moved in a way to help others who suffer we then can do so from freedom rather than pain,trusting the capacity for freedom in others, and we can see the obvious fact that anyone who truly lets go, lets go of suffering. Even in pain and loss there is a possibility to discover an endless and eternal freedom of spirit.

Some people believe the reason for suffering is to force someone to go deeper and to wake up. But why wait until you are suffering or struggling with great losses to go deeper? Why not move when there are less outer distractions, before loss, before chaos -- why not move inward to see through delusion and get released to be a force for freedom now? Then whatever happens on our vast and erupting planet can be embraced as part of the whole, with compassion and spontaneous wisdom, with love amidst the pain? All of it belongs to all of us but few are those who can bring harmony into the whole. And this harmony will never come from mind, whose nature is division, but must come from the awakened heart.

Ocean Views 1

I am sitting in a beautiful sunny spot overlooking the ocean in Newport Beach.  I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to escape the cold and return to California, and realize I am still a California girl at heart -- although many too many years along to carry this image. This coast in California has swelled with people over the years since I first lived in California as a girl.  Houses climb up every hill, hanging off cliffs, braced with stone walls and metal pilings.  What is it that so draws us to the ocean?  All ages drift along the beach and sit in the benches in the beach-front parks. There are kids dragging beach toys, toddlers digging holes in the sand, mothers with blankets and baskets, young lovers just strolling, old folks with tiny dogs,  surfers silhouetted in the distance waiting for a perfect wave, muscular young people playing volleyball, old men playing chess -- everyone likes to hang out at the beach.

Perhaps our senses draw us to the sand and sea, the warmth on the skin, the smell of the salt air, the unbounded horizon, the taste of salt and sunscreen, the soothing sounds of the steady surf and the calls of seabirds.    It is one place we take the time to simply be where we are, soaking it in through all the senses. In some ways it is home, representing the primal life that keeps the planet functioning -- without oceans could there be life on earth?  It is a place that draws us to reflect on ourselves, our lives, our destinies.


Every age has a different approach to the beach.  I remember the fun of digging in damp sand and building sandcastles with my dad when I was a young girl in San Diego.

A little older and it was more thrilling to run in and out of the waves and see how deep I could trust myself to go.  As a teenager I once swam out way too far and had to grab a rope attached to a buoy to pull myself back on the beach. It was the most frightened I have ever been in the water.

In high school the draw of the beach was for romantic nighttime beach parties, volley ball, flirting around a camp fire, getting nauseous on the rides at the boardwalk, and laying in the hot sun to get a tan.

As a young mother the beach was a place to let the kids run free, to see their excitement and enthusiasm for the sea and its creatures hidden in the crevices of the tide pools,  and to have picnics with family and friends. As about-to-be grandparents my husband and I spent a month at Venice and Santa Monica Beaches  in the college apartment of  a friend's daughter walking with our pregnant daughter everyday until her daughter was born. It felt like a time-out from our ordinary life, a time for intimacy and restoration and new beginnings, in the midst of the craziness of all the characters who inhabit the Venice Beach Boardwalk.

Today the beach is a place to walk and enjoy sunsets, and recall old memories, and seek out ocean front cafes.  There is no longer a pull to go into the water or a longing to lie half-naked on the sand.  Just being in the ocean air and scenery is satisfying enough.  Watching the children and seeing how universal and yet in some way impersonal all this pleasure is that arises in the sand and sea.

What can awakening be beyond simply being alive and present to what is?  there are so many magical assumptions about the nature of spiritual awakening.  As if our life is more enriched by magic, or yogic tricks like flying (bouncing), or manifesting something out of nothing, or sitting in caves completely closed off to the world.  As if we need to be healed from who or what we are.  I spent many years seeking "enlightenment" and now I cannot remember what it is I thought I would get.  I am not saying they were wasted years because it is really clear to me I am not the same person I was when I started -- I am more simple, less troubled, and there is not an ounce of seeking left in me.  It is enough to just be who I am and where I am. There is beauty to be found everywhere in this world if we only take time to look.  There is disappointment and suffering as well -- who can deny it? Tragedy is in the news every day, particularly the tragedy of lost lives always convinces us something is seriously wrong, and life is dangerous.

It seems to me now that awakening is simply the realization that what is living here is never lost, even when the body/mind return to their original states of dust and ethers, still what is our presence/essence/awareness must also return to source, and that source is never destroyed, never limited.  We can't understand this but we can sense it -- our consciousness knows itself, when all else is set aside for a few moments in time, and we see we are not bound by time and space.  But awakening is not about always feeling unbounded, as far as I can tell.  It invites a return into ordinary life, into the pleasures of the senses which can only be enjoyed in the body, into the pleasures of this world, this life, this beauty available here and now, which has made an appearance just for us. We are of this world in our bodies and senses and even our consciousness.  Whether we think of it as concrete form or illusion there is no need to reject it, and in fact rejecting is only another barrier the mind sets up, another game of hide and seek, rejection or acceptance.  If we can only take time to be with our life and environment, to enjoy it, to appreciate the miracle that it exists at all -- that we exist at all, then we can find wholeness in our spiritual life through our ordinary life.

Perhaps the part of us that intuitively knows this is what draws us to the ocean, or the


Winter, Nature and Flexibility

Hello to All, I am back home in Ashland after a month of moving around, and life is quiet and still here, cold and overcast, with snow sprinkled on the surrounding mountains like  powdered sugar on chocolate cupcakes. If you live here, I have scheduled two satsangs, Dec 23 and 30 here at Shanti River Center at 6 p.m. and a video night on Dec. 27 at 7.

I awoke this a.m feeling very open and spacious, and realizing I had not felt that quality of freedom in being for a while.   Awakening is like a falling away of everything that feels like resistance, leaving this open spacious presence-ing that has no goals or intentions or requirements. It just is.   Awakening into the day can feel like this, awakening out of the day and into sleep can feel like this, and moments of release into pure openness can happen unexpectedly at almost any time in our lives.

Where does all this resistance about life arise from? Ask yourself, within yourself, what is it that is so unwilling to live life as it is?

In me it feels like a shadow, accompanied by thoughts of preference, and then an emotional catch in the chest (Self-pity? Sorrow? Regret? Irritation? ) And that which is most true in this energy field called “I” is simply watching, and is free to fall into the pattern it is inviting, or to expand awareness to a larger field which cannot be defined beyond that word presence or being-ness or okay-ness.  Life is  happening, life is flowing – it can feel as free and open as the vastness of ocean or as constricted as water wiggling down a tube.  There is no division in the ocean – only the meeting of wind and rain and sun and wave and the life flowing within, warmth here, ice cold there, life in many forms below and above.   Our deepest wisdom is undivided, willing to be all that is asked of us, moment to moment.  But our minds and emotions pull us over and over into division and separation, wishing things to be better, more perfect, more comfortable or more exciting.  Human beingness is division, articulation of desire and demand, waves of emotional energies woven into passing thoughts and dead memories  and fantasies or fears of the future.  When it goes our way we call it good and when it doesn’t we call it bad. But this stuff of humanness is only a phase of what we are, like a storm on the ocean is only an aspect of what is happening out there.

Awakening is not really the changing of any of this human-beingness.  It is knowing ourselves to  be something unspeakable, a limitless consciousness which appears to be in this temporary holding pattern of experiences, a wave that will rise and fall through various forms and possibilities, and return again and again to its source.  We do not awaken, so much as something within awakens itself, remembers itself, and sees through the dance of energies it plays with and calls life.  This doesn’t really stop the energies or dances; it only allows them to flow past without any clinging or resistance by the little “me”.  When this happens it is freedom.  It is not just freedom to avoid getting entangled in old patterns and emotions; it is the freedom to respond more naturally and usefully to what is arising moment to moment.  It is not transcendence out of life but rather relaxing into life, knowing the transcendence is really a reflection of an underlying undivided Self  that is the ground of all.

Nature is a good model for this.  Look at the trees standing naked and tall with no attachment to the beauty of their leaves or appearances they enjoyed only a few weeks ago.  Look at the animals burrowing in for the winter or the birds flying south without having tantrums about it. Look at the sky shifting color and content, light and dark, cold and hot continually.  It seems that only the human mind and emotions get caught in resistance and clinging to having their own way, in greed and power and disappointment and argument.

Therapists would say these patterns are both genetic and conditioned.  Either way they are not the natural way of the source – not the way nature lives its life, meeting what arises without resistance.  Changing and flowing, adapting.

I wrote a chapter once for a book  that offered guidance for the future – the turn of the century in the year 2000, called "Voices on the Threshold of Tomorrow".  The only advice that came to mind for me was the need for flexibility.  Sometimes I am asked questions about relationship as I have been married nearly 50 years.  The answer that comes again is flexibility.  As humans we  are moving experiences, flowing from one scene to another in the play that is our life. We are flowing energies and we only need to learn how to swim.

Unless we meet each day as it is and see what  openness  we  can bring to it, what shifts might be called for, where we can accept and grow and release our contractions, we cannot be happy.  The external world will not give us everything we want.  But if we give up the one known as “the me” who is making demands, the internal world can be at peace.  And if we are flexible  and can move from the heart we will usually find what we need now.

Winter is a good time to move inward, to find stillness, and to recognize our natural alignment with nature.   The ancient stories of the arising of new life in the midst of winter remind us that a deep truth of human experience is that out of the changes, the losses, the stillness and the darkness of winter something new is conceived and birthed, and that it comes from a mysterious source that is both divine and human, pure and open, bringing change and new potential into the human condition.

This reaffirms itself every year, over and over.  Perhaps we can use this image to learn to trust life in all its elements and phases.


There is No Freedom From Experience

I used to think awakening meant a magic kind of beingness, a presence without any content, but with complete contentment in the world.  I could see it was not the same as mystical experience, which comes in many styles and intensities, and can be a flooding of love, a sense of falling into another dimension, a feeling of complete unity with everything, a vision, great ecstasy and many other things.  But mystical experiences, however powerful they impact us, move along and leave us with yet another experience, usually a more ordinary and sometimes a more depressing one, because the me is still there longing for more.  Life is a series of experiences, ordinary and extraordinary, gentle or harsh, exciting, loving, painful, full, empty -- many qualities can arise from the varieties of experiences both common and mystical.  Many people seek spiritual liberation in the hope it will mean the conclusion of or transcendence out of all these experiences. So I have known mystical experiences, and I have felt awakened, but today I cannot say that any of it has much impacted the nature of experiences that life continues to place at my doorstep.  The only thing these spiritual openings have left me with is quietness deep inside, and a very thin veil of personal identification with my life.  It is more and more clear from this vantage point that only now exists, this apparent "me" is one facet of a massive  multi-faceted universe ( or only a fraction of a facet, but one that is somehow mysteriously also a reflection of the whole), and that consciousness in the form of humanness exposes itself to numerous unpredictable, uncontrollable and inexplicable experiences

I attempt to do non-dual teaching or mentoring or something that I cannot really explain by simply being available and sharing what arises in the presence of those who feel they are seeking truth.  Non-duality cannot be clearly explained because it is a western concept for an ancient eastern perspective that only One exists and all else is illusion.  This is not a rational concept nor was it ever intended to be.  It is a mentally unsettling, emotionally disturbing and incomprehensible possibility given the huge expansive range  of diverse species and experiences, world views and planetary objects -- all of which appear to exist as separate and valid forms and events.   All of us live in a mental world that collects these phenomena and puts them into thoughts and words and struggles to cope with all they demand of us.  Sometimes this struggle is called suffering.

I have to confess that if awakening is here -- awakening to the non-dual or the direct knowing of Oneness or Nothingness or Stillness , it has had little impact on the experiences this body/mind encounters in daily life.  As a parent and grandmother, a wife of many years, a mother-in-law, a friend, and in many other roles this entity plays, there can be drama, compassion, sorrow, love, joy, feelings of being unseen, misunderstood -- all the range of encounters of any other long-lived life. There can be unexpected tasks put before me, and uncomfortable demands, and simple precious moments of meeting someone and being met. There can be a simple peace in just meeting someone where they are, and being connected.  It is just life meeting itself in all these forms and there is no way to awaken out of it; you can only awaken into it and move through each moment the way it is.

There is someone I care for greatly who is part of my extended family who has built a great delusional system in her mind about who I am, feeling I am some powerful being who is spying on her, trying to harm her life.  She believes God is telling her terrible things about me. None of her God's messages hold any truth, but the intensity of her thoughts impact many people I love.  I cannot say why these delusions torture her and make her so angry and unhappy -- perhaps they are connected to an early trauma and a deep distrust of life, or a need to avoid intimacy or connection with others. Perhaps she is using substances that distort her perceptions. Although I have experienced there is really no personal "me", just my own set of delusions about who or what I am as a separate being, waves of her energy of fear and distrust pound whatever it is I am at times and I have to meet them the way others may have to meet physical pain, wondering moment to moment where to go with it, how to be with it, even though one knows that at the core they are not the character suffering. Life is handing me this.  LIfe hands everyone various challenges -- some certainly much more painful than any I have faced. One needs only read the news to see this every day.

So how does one be awake no matter what is being handed to you. I guess you just recognize you cannot avoid being awake -- something is always right here right now in the midst of every experience that simply IS -- it is there, it is free, it is aware, it is open and it is loving.

It feels but is not attached to the feeling. Thoughts arise but it is not glued to the thoughts as if they were something significant because it can see the potential for delusion and self-deception in all thought.  It seems that freedom is not about being free from this, or even being free in this, or being a person who is free. Freedom is not at all what the mind has taken it to be. It is so much more subtle.  It is a pre-existing state that allows everything to happen just as it does and participates however it is meant to participate, but carries no residual, the way a wave fully participates in the ocean, rising and falling as the moon and the wind and the curve of the earth dictate, and leaves no trace. If one could live without the impact of the delusional mind that is how it would be.

When we think we are trapped we desire freedom. When we know we are all essentially free there is nothing to desire. When I desire for my suffering family member to be happy and content and free of her delusions, the personal "me" colludes with the compassionate heart to feel it would bring more love in the world if this dark energy would fade away. If I hold this desire I am holding a piece of the personal "me" who still believes all should be well, and even though I am free to hold this it is at the cost of my own freedom, for it is going to be as it will be and I must go in the flow of it.

All of this is simply to share that this life here has the same disheartening moments as any other life, and all of us share this whether awake, unawakened, on the journey or totally disinterested in the journey.  We also share the same inherent freedom if we just acknowledge it.  The freedom to be fully present with what is, the freedom of compassion and peace in the midst of our confusions and disappointments. The freedom to move from love.  People often do not open to these freedoms because they are too afraid of change, of being really free of their conditioning and familiar patterns. We humans have trained ourselves to live in fear, and we are free to live that way, but this grip of fear and attachment to our thoughts will never take us where we really want to be, which is content and whole.

It is possible to live with a sense of wonder and love and stay in the moment with what is, even in the midst of sorrow and pain.  This is what it means to end suffering.


Current Events

I have been traveling and hanging out with family for several days now, as most folks seem to do during the thanksgiving holidays. Following a 5-day retreat with Adyashanti, my further meanderings have included fixing thanksgiving  dinner for 9 in California, wandering in the Monterey cannery area with relatives, watching a grandson's soccer game in the rain, playing games with grandchildren, visiting friends in Sacramento, checking out the town  where a son will be moving with his family next week, shopping the Christmas sales, flying to Utah to help my son and his family move, seeing a granddaughter dance and sing in a large musical called Showstoppers, and next will be a 12 hour trip with a u- haul through the snow of the sierras back to California and then a return trip to Ashland Oregon. I have read hundreds of books and met many teachers involved in spiritual awakening and never have I seen one involved in the ordinary chaos of western living that I am in. I live a long-entrenched role as a mom and grandmother. This may suggest to some a lack of depth in my own process -- someone advised me the other day "You don't have to do any of this".  Or perhaps it suggests a complete indifference to my own further spiritual development. When I go with the flow of life there are many factors impacting the direction in which I go. They are all ages and sizes and perspectives. They can be fun, tiring, challenging, touching, interesting, boring -- they are the rhythm of the dharma of this character's dream.

I have another dharma too -- teaching or giving general guidance to people in spiritual emergence processes. Some email me and for these weeks I have had to put everyone in that dharma on hold, as there has not been the empty time and space to be available.

I enjoy this dharma, which just feels like something I am meant to do with some of my time, and I enjoy the family time as well.

I once felt divided -- as if the family events were preventing my real work from being done -- my spiritual search or meditation or time with "spiritual" people.  Now I see I divided myself, categorizing life's experiences into favorable and distracting. Today it is all the same -- a flow of meeting what is put on my plate.  There is freedom to do what is wanted but no serious wants to be pursued.  There is just being here and being there, and being this for awhile, and that for awhile, and nothing for awhile. I am more inclined to be spirit-full than spiritual these days.

It is as okay to be interested as it is to be tired or bored, okay to be busy as it is to be quiet, okay just to be with each day.  Some days I read the papers on my computer -- the NY times or LA paper or Huffington Post. I don't know why because they make me aware primarily of conflict -- at all levels in all parts of the world, and the conflict makes me feel tired, like being hit with all of your failings all at once and being too overwhelmed to do anything about them. Sometimes I have the thought of wanting to know what is going on in the world. But I do not want the emotions of knowing what is going on. I have to continually flush them out of my system, like toxins.  I used to think that if I were awake I would not care, that I would have no feelings about anything (even though Krishnamurti often expressed concern for the state of the world!)  I even thought (before the previous thought) that I could transcend it all and love it all the way it was. Now, even though it is fairly clear to me the world is but a dream, with billions of beings  performing roles they have no control over, I still feel compassion for the lost cause of human sanity, kindness and cooperation. I can't agree that it does not matter if people are harmed or murdered whether it be for greed or ideals. It is not possible to honestly see that we are not who we think we are and in fact do not exist in the separateness we think we are, then make this justify in any way the causing of harm to ourselves and others.  Even if our forms are emptiness only, and our essence is eternal, meaning there is really no death, it is still insane to heap abuse upon another being -- we are abusing ourselves, and promoting generational dysfunction for unknown future generations. We are destroying the potential expression of god in others, tearing up bodies and minds that are themselves the same divine essence we are.  From the non-dual perspective this is how the world is intended to be, since it is what's happening. Something bigger that drives all of the workings of the dream is unfolding itself in some way that is mysteriously perfect. From a mother's perspective -- we really need to clean up our act! We act like insane insecure self-destructive and self-centered children in a world which has supplied us generously with the means for every need we have.

Well I am diverging from a simple tale of my family holiday to fall into the world affairs. Perhaps they are linked within this psyche in some peculiar way -- our family is the world, or because of family we want the preservation of the world -- who knows? Minds like to find meaning in everything, even though thoughts and words seldom reflect genuine truth!

So this is where this being is at the moment. Just thought I would offer a report!


Reflection on 4 Aspects of Human Form

As a life form we are these aspects 1st Matter – form held together by energy and capable of movement and sensation. Born of matter from parent

2nd Energy

-- physical   (moves the body),

-- psychic (egoic mind—movement of identification, desire, preference, repulsion, attachment, --mine),

--  subtle (pranas –internal movements that cause us to feel like a separate “me” because they are attributed to one body – the flow upward, downward, and in a circular way connecting thoughts with sensation,  senses with thought, and managing the movement of internal organs such as heart beating, digestion , elimination, sexual activity, coughing, collecting sound into language, expressing thought as words and understanding, transmitting smell and taste.)

3rd Mind --  psychic energy collected and recirculated in the form of thoughts and  imaginings and dreams being generated from memories and impressions and beliefs, continual in flow

4th Spirit – awareness, consciousness, presence which entered matter and became identified with a particular form and story.  It likely enters at conception and triggers the growing process and at some point in the womb after the form acquires movement becomes aware of itself as beingness  As the senses and experiences develop after birth it begins to identify as an “I”.

It is through movement that life comes into form – life emerged through the movement of waters over land, repeatedly over millions of years and moved from ocean forms to land forms the same way.  A fetus grows into a child through movement and propels itself from the womb through repeated movements. Movement stimulates growth, expansion and life evolving.

As you walk  and do tasks and exercise notice how the body feels in movement as compared to how it feels in repose?  Can you sense internal energy changes?

It is through psychic movement that identity comes into form.  Notice a desire and how it feels to follow it. Notice restlessness until you decide to do something. Thoughts move forward and back like the tide, repeatedly. What is it that wants to be doing something?  Is it following a preference to be busy, to respond to a sense like hunger or touch, a need to move away from something, a need to have or create or  acquire something? Where are these movements coming from?

Subtle energy can be very quiet or very disruptive. When you are very still, not following any psychic or physical movements, you quiet the work of the senses and you can tune in to the subtle sensations behind them.  It is like a vibration just waiting for something to do.  It will follow attention so if you move attention to different arts of the hody you can feel it there.  Yoga, Tai Chi , Qigong, Aikido and other martial arts work with this vibration, strengthening awareness of it and the ability to direct it in specific ways. Healing practices work similarly but combine psychic energy with the subtle pranic energy in specific patterns.

Certain forms of repeated movement, breath patterns and/or concentration can trigger a deeper rising of energy, causing what could be called a quickening of the life force, and a deconstruction of familiar patterns of thought and sensation. This has been called the rising of kundalini energy, which is a word representing the coiled subtle energy at the base of the spine, which in most lives stays coiled until a person dies and the energy forms are ready to leave the body. When it arises during a lifetime, eventually  all the energies shift  so that  perspectives, belief systems, and identifications move out of the personal orientation and into the impersonal.  It causes a psychic return out of mental identifications and into the ground of being.   Another way of saying this is that instead of identifying with mind one identifies with consciousness. Both still function but consciousness is no longer confused about who it is. Sometimes the ranges and capacities of consciousness are expanded in this process as it knows itself to be unlimited and free. But the person as matter and form can become more naturally present in his or her own environment  as well, as the mind no longer resists the experience of being in a body.  This is wholeness, presence, being here now.   This development satisfies completely the spiritual urge to be connected to God, so it has been called a spiritual awakening or Self-realization.  In Buddhism it is called knowing your true nature.    In Zen it is called Waking Up. In Hinduism it is a form of samadhi













The Biographical Dream

There is some profound Truth at the heart of my story, but I have yet to define it.  It seems to me to be simply: I trusted God,

I lost God,

I found God.

I found there was no God.

I found there was nothing but God.

Perhaps I am living in parallel universes.  There is the rational and conventional world in which I find a body and mind and emotions, all of whom have acquired an identity, a family and a history, which most assuredly demonstrates a beginning , a middle and an impending end. This is my relative world. I look back on this story with gratitude, wonder and a few regrets, and I continue to live it forward – but it doesn’t say anything about who I really am, only who I appear to be to others.  And then, there is also the interior world I will call the mystery world, where anything that happens was never imagined before, and energy and consciousness shifts into new perspectives the way a kaliedescope shifts shape and color, because unexpected events keep turning it upside down.  At this point the interior mystery world is experienced as an awareness that is clear and content, quiet and curious.   I cannot say integration has taken place. Instead, the exterior and relative world has relaxed into the interior mysterious world, so there is no one left with whom to be in conflict about it.

I might tell you of the events, or the circumstances, that rattled and transformed the interior world, just as someone else could describe an accident, or an earthquake, or a war that forever changed their life, and through which they were never quite the same again. Plenty of people today have such traumatic and painful awakenings. Every time I see the lives mangled by war, floods, earthquakes and other upheavals, I am shocked that I have lived in this century and avoided the worst of them. What a grace! So, for the most part there is no proof  in my life that a certain event caused a certain response, or that I was growing or evolving or following a purpose to become someone different than I started out to be. There is only a string of exterior changes, and a string of interior shifts, and when they had passed I recognized I never was who I thought I was in the first place, even as I appear to be continuing along.

There were events in my life – events that impacted both worlds, apparently.

There was Catholicity, which for years effectively anesthesized my psyche with school, church, novenas, confessions, choir, and family events such as christenings, holy communion and confirmation celebrations.  There was a playful, loving and sometimes argumentative Scotch/Irish extended family that provided the illusion of security as a child, and laid a foundation that was called faith. There was Sister Agnes Claire who was the unwitting beginning of the end of Catholicism for me.

There was the death of my mother, which shattered illusion and security, and broke apart any feeling of a being to be depended upon, especially a god. It also left me contracted for almost 15 years, emotionally barren except for sudden bursts of tears which came occasionally, like a sporatic storm  in the sahara.

There was Amelia, a dynamic and inventive fireball of an older woman who provided my first experience with group encounter, and forced me to see that love could exist in the world, even without a mother, but that the hole is my heart was also about losing god.

There was a friend who handed me a book when I was 27 called “Autobiography of a Yogi”, written by a recently departed yogi called Yogananada, who had lived not far from my childhood home.  This little story completely de-framed any remaining concepts I had about spirituality. Here was a religion in which people saw beings who were 300 years old, or appeared from the dead, left their bodies and saw other worlds, encouraged the worship of unlimited forms of gods and goddesses, and used energy practices to connect with spirit. I didn’t believe any of it, but I was intrigued. This guy was far more interesting and modern than the Christian saints. I had no idea the adventures awaiting me would make mystical experiences ho-hum events.

Next came Muktananda, a small fiery being in a red cap who wielded a peacock feather amidst a crowd of cheering pilgrims singing “Baba, we adore you,” The crowds swarmed to his pink hotel ashram in Oakland, overflowing with vividly colored purple and red, gold and blue drapes, saris, shawls and carpets, all permeated with  a pungent sandelwood incense. I sat before him one Christmas eve to be whacked with a feather, but he scared me half to death. I avoided his eyes, afraid of what he might see or say if he really looked at me. I had no idea I would someday become an “expert” on the kundalini energy he was said to activate. Never had a clue at the time…

Through events that brought losses and gains, despair and bliss, I took on a role eventually as a therapist, and followed an interior calling toward meditation.  One day I heard of a school where I could merge the two, work on my body, meet spiritual teachers, and go through a personal transformation. I could even earn a Ph.D. for it. “How improbable”, I thought,”And how seductive.” By then I was longing to know who I was and where I was going, and trying to merge my two worlds – the exterior family along with work, and the interior mystery I was unraveling in my meditation practices. Before I entered this school I had a dream that it was run by ex-convicts and secret criminals. I dreamed  my children were kidnapped and I had no one who could help. With some trepidation I went ahead to the early days of class.  There  25 students from various stages of life gathered 4 days a week to sit in circles on the floor, spill their stories, explore their psyches, pummel and massage one another’s bodies, play with Tarot and the I-Ching, and do spiritual practices. In the midst of this we also studied psychology.

All of my life of conventional thinking went down the drain. I became open to any possibility, and every kind of spirit. Eventually I had an overwhelming activation of primal energy, of the life force, called kundalini in the yogic traditions.  For many years afterwards, this relationship with the goddess of energy and form carried my psyche, my work and my creativity in the world. Before I knew it I was traveling to India, organizing conferences, providing kundalini workshops, lecturing, and meeting similarly energized people all over the world.  It was often not the “me” doing this, but rather the force that carried this body/mind, the invisible awakeness moving within. It was another wonderful grace.

In case there was any naïvite left in me regarding the psychological variations in the kinds of life experiences humans might have, I was rapidly exposed to multiple layers of transpersonal experiences. I met clients who reported alien encounters, psychic openings, out-of-body-experiences, paranormal events, the channeling of light beings, the remembering of past or future lives, seeing spirits in native American rituals, and the ability to turn out street lamps by walking under them. I met dozens of gurus, Tibetan lamas,  Masters of Chi Gung or other energy practices, and eccentric physicists.  I  played with remote viewing,  machines that created changes in the brain, the I-Ching, and nakedness at Esalen.  I did  breathing practices that stimulated birthing and other-life memories, in a room with 100 people tossing, turning and moaning. It could have been a setting in  Dante’s inferno.  I sat for hours in damp ancient caves in India that felt electrically wired. I studied visionary events, UFO’s, esoteric Indian teachings , and near-death experiences. There was a rapid-fire education in all that transpires in the human mind beyond the personal – and how such encounters change the lives of those who experience them.

In the midst of a life full of creative work, counseling, organizing conferences, and seeing my children out of high school and on with their lives, I finally began to burn out. So I did something I had always longed to do. I went to Switzerland. Alone. I quit everything. There, in the library of the Jung Institute in Kusnacht, I discovered a great Indian sage, Ramana Maharshi.  In my tiny hotel room with its slanted dormer ceiling and child-sized Swiss kitchenette, along the edge of Lake Zurich, the rain pouring down the walkways outside, my body wanted only to withdraw and rest. I began to read Ramana’s writings and his letters. For the first time I began to question whether the self I had been individuating for so long really existed. It was a shocking perspective! It took a few days to even consider it.

I began to lose attachments to myself in those days, but this was only the first introduction to the world of non-duality. Non-duality is a term for seeing our selves and the world as One, without a second. It points to the substance we are, rather than the structure, just as gold is the substance of a bracelet and all gold if melted down is one. Or as the waves in the ocean are really just variations of the substance of water. The term is beyond spirituality, but in some way completes it. It refers to that which we are, our true nature.

It would be another few years before I would meet a young American man who called himself Adyashanti (it means primordial peace). He was only the age of my sons, and in fact went to their high school at the same time. He was 38 when we met. He pumped his bike up the hill where I lived hundreds of times throughout his adolescence, but I had never seen him there. He was a slight young man with a  timeless and penetrating presence, and the clarity of his teaching completely collapsed my world view. He demonstrated a way to live simply in the world, while not being of it.  When I looked into his radiant blue eyes I sometimes saw the planets, or the endlessness of deep space, and I recognized myself there. It was as if we could not be two, only One. In his presence I began to seek Truth within my heart and gut, with no more hunger for any experience.

So this is a journey of no one becoming someone and then becoming no one or every one. It is mysterious in that way. It is loving as well– for often in my life it seems I was carried by love rather than violence, in a world that is suffused with violence.  My neurotic, hysteric and depressive tendencies as a young mother were erased by the kindness of meditation and the passage of time. Chunks of old patterning fell away.  The events that supported my becoming no one, and brought me to a simple peace within, cannot really be said to be the cause of anything at all. Yet I am grateful for each of them because the journey was rarely a bore, and the energy in my body and my life was gentle on the whole. I asked it once, when it had awakened me in the middle of the night, “Is this really kundalini? I had thought it would be so difficult.   A voice spoke out in the darkness:“This is really kundalini, we’re just taking it easy on you.”

So now I have told you what I am about, instead of showing you as every good writer is advised to do. If you simply believe my story is real it cannot awaken you. If you understand it as a dream, your own dream may unravel itself so that this one that we are can become more free. You will not wake up in the same way I did, or anyone else has. Our journeys are as unique as our faces.  But at the core there is only one awakening, and it is available to all the many diverse variations of humans.









Seeing Through the Fog

I look out my windows and see that Ashland is blanketed in fog this morning. I’m reminded that this is often the condition of the human mind.

There is a cloudiness that causes confusion or blind reaction because so many experiences have happened over the years that leave impressions which dull the light of  clarity.

There is a way of seeing that is clear and immediate, open and responsive. How often do you see things that way?  Most of us have to wade through many hours of indecision, second guessing ourselves and others, reactivity, mood swings and other aspects of our dividing minds before we make a move.  We listen to a myriad of thoughts about ourselves and everyone else as if  a mere thought could be true and more significant than the moment in which we are living.  It is amazing we ever get anywhere.  I am not saying you should never  weigh an important decision, but wouldn’t it be easier if we knew ourselves well enough to have an immediate sense of what is right for us.  Then we would move with the flow of the river or the Tao as the Chinese philosophers described it. Our life would become more natural and integrated with the world around us.

All of us are part of an unfolding, a movement , of life itself.   Each of us is presented with the possibilities of the day every morning when consciousness arises out of sleep and into the world of form.  There is a natural and intuitive way to move into the day, in response to what is arising and in tune with our openness to it.  Sometimes a morning meditation puts us consciously in tune with this place and we can move on into the day without the fogginess of our cluttered minds.  Some people have rituals that help them orient to the day.  When I was a young mother I remember having such overwhelm just getting everyone fed and off to school along with myself on the way to college classes that it felt like I was just plowing through life, barely noticing what was going on around me.   The spirit is easily overwhelmed when the mind is running our lives like a business.

Today there is a natural rhythm in me that seems to come from the heart or the belly.  I have days that are very active and days that are quiet, but  this “I “ is no longer goal-oriented or task-oriented.  Generally there is a flow into the life, whether there be sun or fog.  The spirit is open to either and curious to see what it brings. Life is more peaceful this way.

How do we stop listening to our cluttered foggy minds and get in touch with a deeper  awareness within us?  For me it has been through the willingness to be still, to drop awareness into the heart, to notice awareness is what moves through the body/mind stirring sensation, looking through my eyes, listening, noticing emotion rising and falling, noticing thoughts rising and falling, noticing everything that arises and falls in life.  To be this awareness without attention on that which I am aware of, to get curious about what this internal presence really is, has opened a door  into  a place more deep and true and clear than I ever knew when I was living in the fog.


The Core is Good

I recently witnessed a disturbing scene of violence. A little girl about 5 was getting a drink from a fountain in a waiting room where I sat. She looked bright and curious. She told me she was not allowed to speak to strangers. She was examining a  blood pressure machine when her mother arrived and yelled “Who said you could touch that?”  She then took her into the bathroom and smacked her. She came out crying. I felt like crying too.  I tried to look sympathetically at the child, and said, “She is a good girl. Be kind” as the mother angrily left the room. I did not know what to do for the child, the mother, or my own sorrow. So I am writing this essay for us, for all of us. One of the causes of suffering in this world is that humans do not recognize that at their core they are good.  They do not know what they are. We do not recognize our children because we do not recognize ourselves.

This is because of the childhood experiencing of events and conditions that appear to be destructive, insensitive, critical and harsh.  Such events create a confused and defensive energy field within the body, and lead to a belief in the need to protect, defend, fight and judge others.  These events often begin very early, while a child  is naturally curious and open, seeking to find a welcoming world,  and instead  experiences neglect or fear, or a critical attack or a blow from a parent.  It continues on in the dynamics with other wounded children who have learned from adults to push, hit and bully one another, and on into the adult world. By a certain age each forms a position and image they hope will allow them to navigate in an unsafe world.

Because we have minds we all live in division, since one function of mind is to differentiate, divide, evaluate, select and explore the nature of opposites. One of our mental divisions is between the sense of being good or bad. This tendency to division has magnified to such an extent that even religion tells children they are born with original sin or have evil in them, making them inherently bad for no obvious reason except birth.  Even apparently good people who reject abortion can find it acceptable to hit this same life at age 4 or kill it at age 18 as long as the government asks it.  The belief in badness allows entire groups of people to be called enemies even though they are mothers, fathers and innocent children just like our own.

Badness as a concept is so ingrained that politicians refuse to cooperate in finding solutions for difficult problems, some corporate managers feel justified in cheating others, and some parents feel comfortable attacking their own children.  For some people violence is entertainment. For others it seems like the obvious condition of the world.  When our true nature moves into the play of the world it moves a long way from its home, which is peace and love.

This  situation of human suffering, exponentially expanding itself, calls for our deepest alignment with compassion and universal truth, which is rarely owned because of the human tendency to hold that one group of  concepts is more true than another.  These concepts, based on the unconscious attachment to self-defense and self-enhancement, are framed around the concept of a “me”  who ought to be able to have it’s own way in life and can’t because of the behavior of others, who are "bad."

The basic problem is not in the concept or belief about how things should be, it lies in the belief in this “me”.  The “me” would not be a problem itself if it had not witnessed such struggle and suffering and so many challenges in life.  But it has formed a whole set of patterns of defense that cause it pain and difficulty. It responds often from the confusion of its conditioning, instead of the essence of its true nature.  But this is the human experience. It is what is.

Until we begin to question our conditioned identifications and the concepts we grasp in order to feel safe in the world, we cannot know the true goodness of what we are.  It is the seeing through of the conditioned “me” that allows the pure essence of consciousness to be felt as a living and positive force in our bodies.  This consciousness links us all together and has a potential to express itself with the openness, wonder  and goodness inherent in the newborn. It is what loves unconditionally and finds the world a blessing.

The awakening to our true nature can look threatening  to some who have spent a lifetime creating ways to be safe in an ”unsafe” world.  This is why many people do not begin an inward search for truth until they are in so much pain they can think of no other alternative. But considering our true being to be goodness,  love, innocence and openness offers a passage into our true heart. Examining  this possibility, and especially cherishing it in our children, can free us to end the perpetuation of violence in our lives.





Everything Arises

Everything arises out of  consciousness/awareness/presence.  These are labels that cannot clearly describe what THIS is, but are as close as language can come. Consciousness morphs into various forms to have various experiences.

Consciousness can create and experience itself as energy.  We can experience ourselves as a subtle energy field.

Consciousness can experience itself as a field of sensation through our body – touching, hearing, making sound, seeing , smelling, tasting

Consciousness can project all the thoughts that are called mind, allowing itself the freedom to find them relevant and meaningful to the character it plays or irrelevant and understood as a bondage from which to release itself.

Consciousness can experience itself as if it were a dense form of molecules called the body and can give the sense “I am” to this body. Thus the character identifies with it form.

Consciousness can create imaginal forms in dreams and visions and allow us to see and remember these even though they happen within us.

Consciousness can see apparent others and produce labels and stories about them which causes itself to feel other than the wholeness it is – to feel a sense of separation.  The others are only consciousness also in varied forms.

Consciousness creates many collective images in all its forms so together we can call this a world and navigate it as a group or team or species.

When we allow ourselves to release all the varied projections of consciousness, as if turning off the film projector of life’s dream  consciousness remembers itself in its essence as a vast expanse of apparent stillness, holding the potential for unlimited projection.  In this recognition  or remembrance of itself it knows itself to be whole, good, loving and wise and to have a depth and breadth without boundary, so that it cannot be contained or labeled or identified by mind or thought alone, since mind and thought are its own projections.

Consciousness awakens itself out of the dream when the body/mind system is ready to abandon its position, concepts and attachments in order to see Truth.

Sometimes consciousness awakes itself spontaneously and the body/mind system created by consciousness reaffirms its position, concepts and attachments and must go through a period of  choosing continually between Truth and Freedom or identification with the mental and physical field it has embraced.  Although time does not exist in the absolute, with a body there is an experience of time and this choosing /struggling condition may take a short time or a long time.  It may feel like, or be labeled by mind, as a process

Once consciousness returns to being its source it may express itself through the apparent character in new ways,  and this movement feels like a flow into the apparent world that is natural,  and authentic.  It may have the feel of wisdom, love, openness or simply being in response to what is.



Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog. Shanti River is the name of the center I have started in Ashland Oregon as a gathering place for discussions on non-duality, spiritual awakening and the kundalini process. For 10 years I have had websites dedicated to these themes, and a kundalini blog at, but I hope to expand with this new invitation on wordpress to people who are seeking a deep discussion on the possibilities inherent in the awakening of consciousness, often called simply Waking Up, and in its fullest unfolding called enlightenment, meeting your True Nature, or Self-realization.  I have just returned from a conference on Science and Non-duality held in San Rafael CA and there I found several hundred people engaged in a search for the core Truth of our existence, many of whom have reported “awakening” and others who are dedicated to a search within themselves for the realization spoken of in scriptures of every tradition.

This is a major movement in the West.  Many eastern traditions begin teaching here in the U.S. from the 1930′s onward, but these teachings appeared esoteric and requiring a commitment and devotion to a teacher or system that seemed foreign and incapable of integration into the lives of most westerners.  These eastern schools had much to offer in terms of their emphasis on turning inward for the Truth, and learning to be at One with our inner silence.  Some, like Yoga, tantra and Qigong, offered energy practices that have initiated many people into subtle energy changes that impact their consciousness and their lives.

But the opening now — the emphasis on simply awakening, and the non-dual realization of Oneness with all things — is presented in a much more simple and direct way by many who have had a glimpse of what it is to know consciousness in its primal form, before it is entwined with the forms, thoughts, concepts, senses and emotions of the relative appearance of the world.  Through their insights we begin to see that awakening is not an experience available only to those with saintly lives, but seems to be possible to all humans who sincerely open to it, especially as it is only the realization of our own deep essence, which is shared by all.  So it can be remembered if one can only let go, even momentarily, of the identifications and attachments of the separate self.  In this letting go we discover the stillness and expansiveness of consciousness (without a me moderating it), and this is a life-changing event.

I have met about 2000 people in the years since I began this work who have had awakenings of energy or consciousness or both.  Some were in formal spiritual traditions, some had dived into many different practices and teachings, and some woke up spontaneously without any preparation at all.  Most were confused about what happened to them and no longer felt connected to their old identities and interests, but could find no one to talk to about the changes, either in psychology or religious groups.  There has been no clear understanding of the primacy and the nature of consciousness in either field, and no clarity about what it means to know you are not the character you have  been trained and conditioned to be.

From the moment of conception a spark of consciousness begins to develop a sense of separation, finding itself in a human body that is being formed with certain DNA, and then identified quickly enough as male or female, and soon afterwards in a family role, a nationality and race, a certain kind of education, and all along the way it develops a sense of who it must be to survive.  If it is blessed it learns the world is a friendly place; if not it learns to be protected on defended in many ways. All of this conditioning and training is considered healthy if one ends up with a good identity and a positive sense of separate self emerges out of it. But of course most children internalize a lot of beliefs about inadequacy, inherent “badness” and not fitting the status quo.

In this “becoming human” process the absolute source  from which we began, and the sense of  peace and wholeness that is our innate condition, is clouded and contracted.  Meditation is simply a process of remembering and returning to this, seeing through thoughts and sensations and perceptions as subtle forms created by experiences collected while consciousness inhabits a human body.It allows us to discover an inner silence that can open us to our true nature, and thus to insights about the nature of all.  Awakening happens in the dropping of all identifications and the pure explosion of consciousness itself.

There are many conditions that may precede or follow the awakening of consciousness, including the arising of kundalini energy, the energy of the subtle body field that carries all our inner experiences of senses, feelings, thoughts, etc. Many challenging and many blissful phenomena may follow a kundalini awakening, which is described in much detail on my website  I have spent many years offering guidance to people who have difficulties with this process.  But a shift in consciousness can bring its own difficulties and confusions, because it orients you differently in the world, and you no longer feel like your former self.  There can be non-ordinary experiences, mood swings, a kind of brain fogginess, and a shifting back and forth between feeling very clear and present to feeling like you have lost something wonderful when the clarity and presence shifts away.  It can take months and years for an awakening process to stabilize and a return to letting this awakening live through you as its own expression in life.  You, the character, do not become enlightened. The character of ” me”  becomes nearly irrelevant, although the flavor remains, and the sense is more of a presence or consciousness that is peaceful and open to life moving through you [or as you] and responds in a more natural way to whatever arises.

There are many kinds of “spiritual” experiences, openings, insights, visions, heart openings etc. All can be rich and good for the evolving of the “me” into a more compassionate, wise and capable person. But when all these events have happened, many people still wonder, is that all there is? Who am I really? Then there may follow a deeper questioning about who or what is having these experiences, and a discovery it is the same presence that has all experiences, good, bad, spiritual, profane. Ultimately one can not feel complete and at peace until they have  released all the phenomena and directly felt themselves to be the source.

It won’t make your life perfect or make you powerful.  It only makes you free to live in a natural way and with a natural connection to life as it is.

This blogspot is for those who are on this journey and would like to share their journey or ask questions related to the phenomena along the way.  I hope to include reviews of books and teachings by other non-dual teachers and to bring my experience of many years practice and listening to others to help readers feel more at home in this process. Although one can only use language to form concepts and mental positions, I hope this site will offer pointers beyond any concept and encourage you to fall within your own stillness to find what is true that cannot be said in words, what is real that cannot ever be lost or diminished, and what is eternal.