Filed under Notes on 23. June 2008 » 
It’s ironic that in the effort to seek and maintain your own comfort, you are never able to relax or be truly comfortable. You give up the inner peace that is your natural state in favor of trying to derive that sense of inner peace from some external situation. So instead of resting in the inherent comfort of your own being, you look for a comfortable situation out there.
When you realize this, it seems utterly insane that we keep falling into this trap. That we’re really that lost. But we are. From an early age we are taught to look outside for comfort, and almost everything in our culture encourages it.
At the root of this search for your own comfort is the illusion of self, the ego. It’s a self-serving pattern of thought that makes you look at everything in the world in terms of how it affects you and your state of comfort. And because it’s based in the illusion of self, it is loaded with fear and suffering.
The illusion is that you will become free of the fear and suffering by gaining external comfort, but the truth is that the suffering is inherent in the search itself and has nothing to do with your situation as such. If you are in suffering and then suddenly win lots of money in the lottery and feel better, your comfort is based in the illusion that it is derived from an external situation. And it is only a matter of time before the effects of that illusion start to fade.
In thinking that inner peace and comfort can be derived from an external situation, you’ve separated yourself from that peace. And you then believe yourself to live in a cruel and unfair world where true comfort is only available to a select few who make it; a world that can give you, and therefore deprive you of, inner peace.
The exercise of simply disregarding your own comfort can help you see through the conditioning, because the illusion of ego relies on constant self-interested mental activity to maintain momentum.
It is truly an amazing realization that in order to find true comfort and relaxation, you must give up concern for your own comfort.
Filed under Notes on 15. June 2008 » 
Reading an article on Steve Pavlina’s blog today got me thinking about what it is we are all looking for, and why we’re so confused about what it is and where to find it. In the article, Steve writes about how people get stuck in the socially conditioned thought pattern of thinking about what they want to avoid. It’s a fear-based survival tactic that gets you stuck in constantly needing to think about the future, desperately trying to secure your own comfort by having everything figured out beforehand.
Breaking this pattern of negativity by thinking about what you want can bring about incredible changes in your life. It’s that much hyped law of attraction at work. And it really does work, even if much of the literature on it uses the principle in the service of a slightly more subtle state of fear than the one it’s designed to overcome.
Usually when you read about this principle, that thinking about what you want brings about positive changes in your life, what you want is usually assumed to be some form of possession. It’s some sort of material end result, like 200 million dollars in the bank or a beautiful house.
But what is it that people want from having 200 million dollars in the bank or a beautiful home? Usually the fantasy ends there, with the possession. The thought is that when I have this or that, I’ll be able to relax. But if we keep going with it, what is it that you think you will get from having lots of money, or nice cars, or an exciting career etc.?
We want to feel good. Simple as that. And the reason we look for it in material possession and external situations is because that is where we’ve been told it can be found. We’ve been told that in order to feel good, we need to derive that feeling from something outside of ourselves. And even if we know that money can’t buy happiness, looking closer will reveal that there is still a deep seated belief that it will. That if you had lots of money, you’d be able to relax. You would feel good.
That socially conditioned pattern of thinking will probably not dissolve overnight, but the fog of illusion will begin to clear once you start questioning the validity of these beliefs.
One way of doing that is to simply focus on what you really want. Not the things that you really want, but what it is that you think they will do for you. Namely that you want to feel good. That is what you want, ultimately, and realizing this can short-circuit the whole mess of socially conditioned belief that what you want is some form of worldly attainment.
Keep bringing your attention back to the fact that all you want is to feel good. And don’t get trapped in thinking about this in terms of the future, of wanting to feel good in the future when some condition has been fulfilled, because that would contradict the whole thing. If you thought you had to arrive somewhere in the future in order to be able to feel good, you’re basically saying that you need to derive the feeling from something external.
The beauty is that nothing needs to change so that you can find what you’ve been looking for all along. In realizing that this is what you really want, you see that it’s always been present and available.
This is not to say that you stop wanting to have a nice house and the rest of it, but the difference is that you no longer expect it to make you feel good. Feeling good is already there, and then it flows into whatever it is you do on the external level. And only then will you be able to enjoy things, when you’re not looking to them for a sense of satisfaction and happiness.
Feel good first, and then go from there.
Filed under Notes on 7. September 2007 » 
We could say that every individual human being lives in a world of their own, so to speak. Some people live in a world where a tree is just unprocessed timber, others where a tree is a tree, and yet others where a tree is just some mysterious thing that grows out of the ground and comes alive in the wind. Some people live in a battlefield, others in a field of flowers; some live in rain and thunder, others in the sun.
Most people you will meet are to some degree lost in their own version of social conditioning and form identity; they see the world from the perspective of an ego. Some of these world views are nicer than others, but all have in common that they are built on a foundation of fear.
One reason why human communication is such a challenge, especially on the spiritual path, is that you tend to get drawn into other people’s worlds when interacting with them. If you live with someone who is intensely fearful, for example, someone who inhabits the ego’s world of war and terror, that fear will resonate with whatever remains of that fear in you. It may be years since you left that world, but it hasn’t quite left you yet. And so whenever you interact with someone who is basically quivering in the trenches, while you are in relative peace and quiet, it pulls you in and amplifies your own fear.
If you ever have the feeling that you are somehow scattered, as opposed to centered, if you know what I mean, this may be because you are in other people’s worlds. Playing a character in other people’s worlds. Either because they pull you in, or because you have an investment of some kind, like wanting to control or influence them. If you want to impress somebody for example, want someone to think highly of you, you’ve already entered into his or her world. If you have an attachment to the opinion of five different people, you’ve scattered yourself across six different worlds; yours and theirs.
Sounds strange? Probably does, but this is difficult to put into words. I recall Byron Katie talking about this as being in other people’s business; when you want to control what somebody thinks, which is to say when you want to impress someone, you are in their business. Your thoughts are your business, and other people’s thoughts are their business.
In this sense, you only need to be concerned with your own world. Inhabit a world of peace, and simply refuse to join others on the battlefield. This seems selfish at first glance, but in reality there is no greater service you can provide to another human being than to stay firmly put in your own world. Joining others in suffering may seem charitable and compassionate, but offering them the opportunity to join you in heaven is by far preferable to joining them in hell.
And although it helps to think of it as your own personal world of peace, for the sake of it being an effective pointer, there is nothing at all personal about it. We could say that there are two worlds, let’s call them heaven and hell, and most people are still experiencing some version of the latter. It is your purpose to reside in heaven, simple as that. Inhabiting a world of peace and beauty is the purpose of life, or at least that’s one way of putting it. And to this end, using the pointer of multiple personal worlds can be helpful, especially when you are interacting with other people to avoid being pulled out of your own world, so to speak.
Ultimately though, everyone is in heaven already. Only some are under the illusion that it is hell, and behave accordingly.
Filed under Notes on 26. August 2007 » 
What we are all looking for, in one way or another, is freedom from limitation. Freedom from the world; being able to do whatever you want, free from anything on the external level that could make you uncomfortable or limit your movement in any way.
The easy answer to this of course is money. And recognition perhaps, fame, celebrity, universal approval, but first and foremost we think that financial independence is the key to becoming free of the world. And in a way it’s true; with unlimited funds you could arrange your external situation in a way that is relatively limitless, on that level.
But this is the big misunderstanding. It is true that we want freedom from the world, but we make the mistake of looking for freedom exclusively on the external level. We think that freedom from the world of form can be achieved on the level of form, and that overcoming worldly limitations is to conquer them on the external level. And this is certainly what we are taught to believe, that one can achieve freedom from the world through external means.
What we are not told, however, is that freedom from the world has nothing to do with anything on the level of form at all. Being externally free of limitation can give the illusion of what we are seeking, for a little while, but the real salvation and what we are actually looking for is inner freedom from external limitations. Real freedom from the world is to be in a state of inner non-attachment to it, and this does not require anything in particular of your external situation. You don’t need to change anything on the level of form in order to become free of it.
And in fact, being faced with severe limitations on the level of form is for many people the key to freedom. Paradoxically, somebody who is completely free from limitations on the external level is much less likely to find real freedom from the world than someone who is neck-deep in worldly challenges. You are much more likely to find freedom in prison than a five star hotel.
When you realize this, you may even begin to feel grateful for the limitations in your life situation. They offer an opportunity for you to align yourself with what is, and keep you from getting pulled into the illusion that one can find fulfillment on the level of form. If all the worldly desires of the ego are met, it is very difficult not to get lost and completely identified with it. But when the ego is met with things not working out, the world not respecting its plans and ambitions, you are given an opportunity to go beyond the illusion of ego.
And what more could you want from the world? Indeed, we could see this as the only real purpose of the world of form; to present you with challenges and limitations so that you can overcome them. If you expect something other than that from the world, like fulfillment and salvation, you will suffer. But if you see the world of form for what it is, a teaching device of sorts, you become free of it without needing anything to be different from how it is right now, in the present moment.