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Less Than Half Isn't Nothing

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I often get questions about the contradictions in various spiritual teachings and even within a particular spiritual teaching, not to mention the contradictions in life itself! These seeming contradictions can be very confusing to the mind, as the mind has a hard time with opposite things both being true. However, life doesn’t limit itself to what the mind can understand, and so life is perfectly fine with two opposite things both having some truth.

Whenever anyone writes or speaks (even spiritual teachers), they are at best speaking half of the truth. This is due to the limitation inherent in words. Much of the time, what we say contains much less than half of the truth. So when you read words that seem contradictory from different spiritual teachers or even from the same spiritual teacher, this is because it’s often necessary to contradict yourself to fully express the truth. There are many levels, dimensions, and perspectives within consciousness, and they are all valid.

The real gift of any teaching is when it points out the part of the truth that hasn’t been seen or is being overlooked. When someone discovers the part of the truth that they hadn’t previously seen, they naturally want to hang onto it and even deny or reject the opposite truth. However, as challenging as this may be to accept, dualistic teachings are correct, teachings of pure nonduality are correct, and everything else is also correct to a greater or lesser degree. Just to be clear, some things are true, but not very true. So although very narrow, bigoted perspectives may have a tiny piece of truth, that doesn’t make them important or very helpful or worthwhile. An example of something that is true but not very true is a lottery ticket: It’s true that you can win if you buy a lottery ticket, but it’s not very true. In fact, it is a ridiculously small truth!

What really matters is whether someone’s words expand your own experience of the truth or not. Anything that adds to or expands your experience of truth opens and softens your Heart, quiets your mind, and expands your sense of yourself. So when words do this, you can savor them and ponder them to fully absorb what they are pointing to. If anyone’s words (even a spiritual teacher’s) have the opposite effect and contract your Heart, make your mind busy, and make you feel small or inadequate, then you know those words are not important for you. You don’t need to reject them or make them wrong, just let the idea be there and move onto something that is truer for you.

The Ego Is a Pimp

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Q: After destroying one’s ego how do we transact in this world? Can you please clear this up?

A: The ego has always been just a thought, so it has never really done anything. I sometimes say the ego is like a pimp: It stands around and takes a lot of credit for doing nothing. Something else called Being is living your life. Being is very good at living your life, whether egoic thoughts arise or not.

Being creates your experiences through the filter of the egoic thoughts when they are present, since Being itself has no preference for what happens or what it experiences. This filtering of Being’s actions makes it appear that the ego is doing something, since the ego’s thoughts are having an effect. But the creative force that is actually acting is still Being.

Once the egoic thoughts are dissolved or even just loosened, the same creative process generates lots of experiences and actions without those actions being filtered through the ego’s beliefs. Being has always been beating your heart, growing your hair, and getting you up in the morning and off to work or whatever you do. It can and will continue to breathe and work and play and love and all of the rest once the ego is out of the way.

Loneliness Calling You Home

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Please feel free to contact me with email questions or comments that I will address in this blog.

A friend on facebook shared the following about her experiences of loneliness:

I'm learning to look deeply at my loneliness now and sit with it. That's very helpful. Yet the loneliness comes up when I want to connect with others. Maybe because of a certain energy, because of karmas, or for any given reason, sometimes I feel there's a lack of connection with the other. Maybe due to lack of communication or even quite possibly, I "sense" energetically the other is judging me, or has an inccurate or negative or low perception of me, I feel it is difficult to connect with others.

And here is my reply:

Perhaps I can add a bit of insight into the last thing you mention which is the lack of a felt sense of connection. We are so deeply conditioned to look for connection (and everything else) on the outside. We want others to act or speak a certain way so that we will feel connected with them, when in fact the place where we are connected with others is deep within ourselves. That is where the connection lies, and that connection is here even when someone is judging or rejecting you.

Even when someone really does like us and responds positively to us, what happens is that we relax and just be ourselves around them, and in that naturalness of self is the connectedness we seek. Even then the sense of connection is actually arising within us. And so that is always where it comes from, even when it appears we are getting it from others.

The challenge arises when we feel a lack of connection inside. Then there is a strong tendency to look for it outside, and of course this even seems to "work" sometimes when again we get someone to like us and feel at least a little of the connectedness.

But there is another possibility, and that is to become very curious about the felt sense of a lack of connection. Where is the lack felt in your body? What is present in the empty space where connection is lacking? While there is no formula for what you can discover when you look within a sense of lack like this, one quite surprising discovery is how often you find the thing you were lacking in the emptiness of the lack itself! What a surprise, that the empty space inside you of something lacking or missing is itself connected to everyone and everything!