Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nim's Island

Alex Rover (Jodie Foster): It's beautiful.
Nim (Abigail Breslin): It's empty.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Empty Content

It’s interesting to hear the various reactions to the post Chance the Gardener & Rocket Travel. It was an experiment. While this entire blog is an experiment in writing about something that is impossible to write, for writing’s sake, that post was a very specific experiment. In certain terms, the structure and form of writing was a metaphor for what I was writing about. There were a lot of metaphors within the post, but the post itself was the ultimate metaphor; a contextual metaphor.

Am I boring you?

I was discussing in that article (which has been edited and greatly reduced) and post the fluid unfolding nature of existence and freedom. In the writing of Chance the Gardener & Rocket Travel I attempted to represent that fluid, rambling, rolling, turning, meandering-to-the-edge-of-pointlessness nature of free existence. Freedom is always unfolding, effortlessly. In the post, I wondered if I could represent this through a linguistic landscape. I wanted to use the writing style and geography of the work to point towards what freedom is. I am a context sort of guy, and with this blog I am ultimately pointing towards the context of all things – liberated freedom. The very reason that this is called Empty Content, is that I am pointing towards a context much greater than the content. I am pointing towards the freedom of always already present awareness – the context of all things.

I could never truly write or speak about awakening, freedom, and truth. It can’t be expressed. It’s too big and words are just too small. Further, there is no it, so that makes things even harder. Freedom is free to be whatever it is. If I was to type for the rest of my life, I could never get close. I can say what it’s like (until that doesn’t make sense anymore). I can say what it’s not (until that doesn’t make sense anymore). But I can never say what it is, so it’s all metaphor.

Someone emailed me this, and I thought it was good:

So I'm reading some McKenna, and a part made me think about you and what you mention earlier today (well, technically yesterday) about the desire to open up people to the fluidity and freedom of each moment, about how you're not trying to convey any concept, but rather create a meta sense both of metaphor and of confusion. McKenna says "the reason for all the excess is that there's no saying it directly because there's no it, so everything has to be communicated indirectly; what it's not, what it's like. Never what it is." I increasingly get it – the ineffable quality of what you are trying to share, how it necessarily and always-already evades language and description...

This makes things rather wonderful and simple. There is nothing for you to understand. When understanding is let go of, you know everything you need to know, in the ultimate sense. There is no need for this or any teaching, ultimately, because everything you need is already right here, now. When you look into your experience, through everything that rushes to the surface, there is empty alive space. Free, infinite, pregnant space. Context. The black space behind these words: context. The white letters: content. The content is empty.

In trying to understand what the content means, you are already missing the point. In trying to understand what Chance the Gardener & Rocket Travel you are already missing the point. The content is empty. The context is free.

You are free.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ali G on Acid Comment & Response

This was posted as a comment to the post Ali G on Acid (below):

WOW, Thank Tara for her comments. I know what she is talking exactly. I'm not so sure my non dualistic conceptually intellectual friend is enlightened, but he likes to talk from the nothing matters perspective, which gives him permission to rain on anyones parade at anytime without remorse. But when it comes to turning the table on him and repeating his very own words back to him when things on his to do list didn't go as planned, he doesn't respond in a nothing matters manner.

Tara is fabulous, isn't she? I can say for sure (I think, and we know how far that goes...) that without her I would not be as integrated as I am now (which isn't that integrated). Waking-up is wonderful, liberating, and amazing (but simple and always already present, so don't project any of your feel-better-in-the-future fantasies on awakening), but not necessarily conducive to relationships. Apparently, sitting on the couch drooling for three months, while staring of into space without talking, doesn't make for interesting companionship. Other things were and are great. Since waking-up Tara and I haven't been in one argument. How do you argue with someone that doesn't react, resist or have an opinion about anything? Doesn't work so well. Because of this, I thought things in our relationship were perfect. I think things everywhere are perfect, so my perspective might be a bit warped.

About three months into the awakening thing, Tara had a bit of a breakdown and asked for her boyfriend back. This was all very interesting to me, and it did elicit a response. A play of consciousness began to unfold: how does nothing/everything date something? It was fascinating. What began was a process of learning to relate from the freedom of ever-present liberation. I'm still not very good at it, to be honest, but every day learning unfolds. I am certainly free, but relationships are tricky and challenging aspects of the unfolding mystery of consciousness. I am free. I am free to be in relationship and I am free to be rather poor at it. I am free to practice it, and I learn every moment.

Since waking-up and loosing all ability to take anything personally (it's not a forced, obnoxious practice of non-attachment, but naturally takes no consideration - I couldn't take something personally if I wanted to), my experience of being in relationship has been amazing. Sitting before me is a mysterious and intoxicating being, offering and unfolding emotion after emotion with no apparent reason or cause. People are insanely beautiful. Even if she is raging mad at me and pulling out all the stops, the only thing I can truly feel is absolute wonder. Again, none of this is forced. It's a natural unfolding of my experience.

It's very interesting when people have experiences of Truth and awakening, and somehow manage to still hold on to attachments and resistances. Everyone likes the nice aspects of truth. Everyone likes the:


sense of being, but very few people follow the implications of that. Very few take it all the way through. Waking-up truly means that you get no stickiness, no resentment, no opinion, no fixed perspective (yes, I am aware that this seems like a fixed perspective), no reactions, no projections, no anything. If there is stickiness in your experience, you are not awake. There is not partially awake. It's awake or it's not. Stop fucking around with bullshit spiritual philosophies and wake-up. If you are sticky, resistant, opinionated, fixed in any perspective or attached or resistant to any emotion, you are not awake.

Stickiness and awake do not exist together. It's one or the other. If there is stickiness in a so-called awake experience, the experience of awakeness is just another delusion and should be immediately destroyed.

This isn't a pissing contest. Awakening is not a who-got-there-first game. I am talking about freedom. Ultimate freedom. I am talking about your freedom. Freedom is not another notch on the ego belt, it's the recognition that there is not truly a fixed ego, and this means, again: no stickiness, resistance, opinions, fixed in any perspective, or attached or resistant to any emotion.

If you are serious about waking-up, whenever you experience resistance, frustration, stickiness, or disagreement there is an opportunity for you to awaken fully to the always already liberated freedom of reality. Find out what's there and destroy it. Destroy it all. When it's done, it's done. You know when it's done, but if there is any resistance, it is not done, and the belief of awakening is just another delusion that must be destroyed.

Now, let this go. It means nothing. The next moment is unfolding.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ali G on Acid

Since I have so much time on my hands right now, I am doing lots of projects to help Tara out: taxes, organizing her files, downloading music to her computer, and typing all of her workshop notes from the last ten years. She mixes her note books with everything, so each book contains class notes, workshop notes, journaling, morning pages, and miscellaneous thoughts. I have to wade through all of this to find workshop notes. I was going through her India journal to get the notes she took from the teachers we visit there and I came across these few quotes about me. She seems upset, but reading these made me laugh very hard for a very long time. I mentioned all this to her and said I thought about blogging it. She laughed and said, "okay."

"But fucking non-dual enlightened guys like Adya, Jed, and now Kris are fucking with my bliss. So reality and this "fully human" experience, which seems to mean there are no aims, no preferences, no sides, only being - also means you can act however you want running the gambit from whack job to asshole. So having traveled over 6000 miles to the most so called "spiritual" place in the world is probably a strange choice to make with an allegedly awake guy who walks around in Channel sun glasses towering over Indians wearing more spiritual garb than Swami Muniji at the ashram - so much for no fucking preferences. What a fucking fraud."

Awesome. And then there's this:

"I'm in the purgatory of getting it and not wanting to get it. Get what? To look like K-Pax walking around the "half-human" human world seeming like Ali G on acid? To know that there is no quest, journey or goal? Fuck. I wake-up and turn into some fucking spiritual rapper? Kris wakes up and becomes half K-Pax and half Ali G depending on his mood. That's it? What's the point? But, otherwise, like Adya says, "It's all just rearranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic. What else am I going to do, but this?"

Wonderful. Why is this wonderful, you might ask? Because she's doing two beautiful things: 1) She's being damn funny and God knows we could all laugh more, and 2) she's killing me. She's taking apart her invention of me, awakeness, spirituality, destinations, goals. She's driving into her core belief that there are awake beings and non-awake beings. She's dismantling her awake projection, placed on someone else, and is turning it within. Perfect. This is how you wake-up - not chanting mantras, reading ancient texts, and pretending to give devotion to a "higher" being.

Like Tara, kill it all. If you'd like, start with me. The Ali G, K-pax, crazy wisdom on acid situation should make it pretty easy. I am a big fucking fraud. Get it.

Service Dog

I'm standing in line at Washington Mutual. It's not too busy, which makes everyone in line, including me, happy.

"Sir, is that a service dog?" the large black security guard, who could be chef from South Park, asks. I look down at Moxie, and she looks at me. I look up at the security guard, and he looks at me. We all stand there for a moment.

"Yes," I respond.

"Um... what's its function?" I look down at Moxie again. She looks at me and smiles. I look at the security guard and smile. He doesn't smile back. Her function seems pretty clear to me - what's the issue?

"Isn't that obvious?" I ask. He shakes his head indicating he doesn't like what's happening.

"You'll need to take her outside."


Sunday, March 16, 2008


Samsara is just one's thought;
With effort then he should cleanse it.
What is one's thought that he becomes;
This is the eternal mystery.

Maitri Upanishad

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chance the Gardener & Rocket Travel

My friend publishes a health and wellness journal in the State of Washington. She recently asked me to write something for the journal. Below is what I came up with. Enjoy.

* * *
Stacy Article Draft

When Stacy invited me to write this article, she mentioned that the theme would be spring emergence. Wonderful, I thought. The seasons have provided rich spiritual metaphor dating back well beyond Christ and Buddha. This will be fun. About a month into thinking about this article, I still had not experienced the flash of what I call the core concept – what will carry this article through the cascading flow of words, images, and ideas? I had no idea when I sat down this after to take a break from my already too leisurely day to watch a film that the core concept would emerge, but, wonderfully, it did.

About six months ago, my girlfriend, Tara, told me I was becoming like Chauncey the Gardener more and more everyday. “Who’s Chauncey?” I asked.

“You know, that guy from the movie Being There. Peter Sellers played Chauncey, I think.”

“Oh, cool.”

“I don’t remember a lot of the film, but Chauncey walks around, does particularly nothing, and mutters random things that people interpret as brilliant.”

“That does sound like me, except for the brilliant part.”

“Well, that’s the thing. You don’t know if he’s brilliant, autistic, retarded, or enlightened - until the end, at least. Ever since you woke-up, you’re like Chauncey the Gardener.”

“You’re not making a very good case for awaking.”

“Neither do you, babe.”

I forgot about the conversation for a long while (not surprising). It was true to a certain degree. I do spend a lot of time wondering around, doing nothing in particular, while saying random things. I like to be alone. If need be, I can lucidly interact in conversation. Other than my teaching work, or organization development projects, I like to meander directionless and stop to “Watch the plants and flowers grow,” just like Chauncey.

Just a few weeks ago, Tara was reading a book series by a Non-Dual enlightenment teacher I really like named Jed McKenna, and in these books he likens himself to Chauncey. It was a joke, but jokes are only funny because they are partially true. Again she insisted that I see the film. “It will be good research,” she said. I dutifully logged on to Netflix, found the film, and bumped it to the top of my waiting list.

The film came a few days later. Like most of my rented films, it sat on the table for about a week before I watched it. I liked this film. Its slow melodic quality, meandering insights, and deep subtle meaning reminded me a lot of the last year and a half. And, as I had been putting off this article for about a month, it gave me the content I needed to produce. I knew what I wanted to say, but how I was going to say it was not yet clear. Like all circumstances where there is not a clear choice, I waited for the content to present itself, knowing it would all perfectly unfold as it was suppose to – much like Chance’s experience in the film Being There.

In case you have not seen the film, I’ll give a quick synopsis:

Chance is a resident gardener in a large Washington D.C. estate – Chance the Gardener. It seems that the owner of the home, a women who is his caretaker, and Chance are the only people living there. The owner dies, the caretaker leaves, and the bank repossesses the home. Chance is now homeless. He packs and wonders out into the city, going nowhere in particular. No plan, no money, no destination – life unfolds. A limousine that chauffeurs the wife of a powerful and influential businessman hits Chance, and she brings him to their house.

At their home, Chance’s (who they misunderstand to be named Chauncey, which Chance does not object to being called) interest of gardening comes out in all conversations. Everyone thinks he is speaking metaphorical. The President of the United States comes by one afternoon and he too believes Chance is speaking metaphorically – on this occasion regarding the economy. This conversation changes the face of the national economic discourse. Appearing on talk shows and receiving requests for interviews, Chance becomes famous.

The most important and reoccurring theme in Chance’s conversations is the changing seasons. “Something’s have to die in order for other things to grow,” he says. This natural, simple truth applies to both development and spiritual transformation. Chauncey hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head.

When I speak about spirituality, I speak about it in two contexts: awakening spirituality and developmental spiritual. Almost all spirituality, at least 95% (I’m being generous, as it’s probably closer to 99%), is developmental spirituality. One of the unique circumstances we have been present to is that a great deal of developmental spirituality masquerades as awakening spirituality, and this leads to a lot of unnecessary confusion, leading to neither awakening or development.

Growth is a process of letting things wither and fall away, in order for new things to arise and blossom. We are in the spring now. Days are longer, and emergence is in the air. You might find that you have more energy, and there is a sense of excitement. Flowers begin to bloom and their sweet fragrance dances and mingles in the wind. However, none of this could happen without the withering and dying process of the empty chill and dark night of winter. Without the rest and hibernation of winter, the expansion of spring is impossible. Without the harvest of fell, and the death and removal of the excess and indulgence, there would not be the space and invitation for new growth.

Spiritual transformation, all growth really, requires the same cycle. Things have to be let go of. Old patterns, ideas, values, and perceptions that do not serve will have to be surrendered, so that there is space for new and spontaneous growth – growth that we could not have even imagined. Spiritual growth, like all growth, is wonderful. It is an intrinsic aspect of our natural world, our lives, and every moment of our experience (think of the cycle of a moment like the flow of seasons). However, we can exaggerate the process, and this, very simply, is where every spiritual tradition has come from. Spirituality is a natural human thing. Humans came first, and then came spiritual meaning making and cultivation.

From a very limited and simplistic, yet liberating, perspective, we can view spiritual paths and traditions as processes of letting go (the process of winter). “Not my will, but thy will be done,” are Christ’s words of salvation (think transformation) imprinted life. Each cycle brings us back to deeper and deeper layers of trust and surrender. “Something’s have to die in order for other things to grow,” says Chance Gardener.

I spent a good portion of my spiritual life asking the question, what needs to die today? I would begin and end each day with that simple yet powerful question. This question does not take faith, experience, training, tradition or anything of that nature – just ask the question. By the way, there is certainly nothing wrong with faith, experience, training, and tradition; however, when you add those simple five words to any of the above, you’re tossing gasoline in your own spiritual fire. You are inviting the winter of spiritual experience that will, always, inevitably usher in a new, expansive spring.

There is a huge misunderstanding in spiritual circles, and it goes something like: the more I develop, the closer I will be to enlightenment (or whatever this particular group of people has decided to call it). Development and evolution never stop. They never end, and this is the very reason they are called development and evolution. If there were an end game, it would be called a project or something like that. But, wonderfully, evolution and development never ends. The seasons will unfold until the earth ends. No one has, and no one will, ever develop himself or herself into awakening. Sorry to switch metaphors, but it’s a whole different ball game.

If development is like the flow and experience of the seasons, then awakening (enlightenment) is like leaving the planet and watching the whole thing from outer space. Think of my roll as NASA – I run a space travel program.

Imagine in the middle of winter, you wonder what the whole season thing looks like. What is it that is actually going through these birth and death cycles of transformation? You begin to ask. Some people tell you to do more season work. Some tell you to focus on winter more, or spring more, or the transition between the two. You find someone with an eastern perspective on seasons. You do that for a while. You find someone with a western perspective, and you do that for a while. You decide to make your environment cleaner, as this might help a bit, so you purify, fast, and detox. You invest in some super food to assist with growth. But through all this you never find out what it is that is actually changing. Then, one day, you walk into NASA’s apartment and you’re invited into a spaceship. Blast off, baby!

You fly hurling through the atmosphere and land in orbit. From way up above, you realize many things. Like when it is summer in the northern hemisphere, it is winter in the southern. You can see how seasons affect weather patterns, and how weather patterns in one part of the world will affect the patterns on the other side of the world. You realize that you are not any longer bound by the seasons, or weather, or anything happening on earth. You are no longer on earth. And because you are no longer on earth, you are no longer affected by earth. Earth is obviously a part of your sensory experience – you are looking at it. You are free to experience earth, but you are no longer subject to its cycles. “Life is just a state of mind,” rings loud as the last line of dialogue we hear in the film Being There. You recognize this fully.

You then realize something further. Because you are no longer affected by earth, you are free to experience it fully. You are not that season thing, but you are free to be that season thing. You also realize that as long as you are present to the season thing, it will continue to unfold. Chance’s experience in the film effortlessly unfolded. When I woke-up, I no longer experienced any identification to my thoughts, personality, or self-expression – my developing self. Being free from this self allowed me to fully be myself whenever and however I wanted.

It is often said that transformation, whether developmental or spiritual, is painful. My experience, post-awakening, is different. When there is no longer any identification to the person that is being expressed and experienced in the moment, then changes within this person are rather simple, easeful, and wonderful, just the way the seasons unfold. Most of my teaching is about awakening and assisting people with this. I ask people to make a clear choice – which way do you want to go? If it is a developmental path, be clear and committed to that. If it is an awakening path, be clear and committed to this. For a long time, I always said, ‘Awakening first, worry about development later.’ But I now see this as an error, as I find that most people do not have the rocket fuel capacity (back to the space travel metaphor) to see the awakening thing through all the way to orbit, even if they think they do. And though I spend most of my time talking about the awakening path, I encourage people to be fully and deeply committed to the development path.

Developmental spirituality is about moving through the cycle of seasons, with each new cycle producing more growth. There is no end game to growth, just as there is no end game to the flow of seasons. Growth always grows – wonderfully. Spiritual awakening is to step away from identifying with the process of growth (and everything else that happens on the planet, which is you), and is to recognize your self as the space that contains all things earth, which is what you believe yourself to be.

You are ultimately that space. Your true, undying, unborn nature is that space. Right here and right now, you are empty space. Within that space something is happening: thoughts, memories, perceptions, growth, and death. Within that space is a transforming and evolving spiritual being. However, you are not that being, you are the space that contains that being, and because you are the space that contains that being, you are free to be that being. Be that.

In this time of seasonal transition and the inevitable emergence of spring, become absolutely clear about what your path is. Is your path the process of moving through the season of growth and life skillfully and consciously, or is it the radical transformation of space travel? I spend most of my time talking people out of the space travel adventure – it’s a rough ride and you never know what is going to happen. But it is up to you. Like Microsoft asks, Where do you want to go today?

“I watched the film,” I mentioned to Tara while staring across the room at light streaming through the windows. It is not really about the light, but the way dust floats through it. Actually, it is not really about the dust either, but how sweet and soft light touches upon the surface of the dust – beautiful.

“What film?” she asked.

“I guess it’s been awhile. Being There.”

“Yeah, it’s been a few weeks. Did you like it? I told you, you’re like Chauncey, right?”

“I’m not retarded,” I say while laughing. She hits me in the arm.

“He wasn’t retarded. He was enlightened. Retarded people don’t walk on water.”

“I don’t walk on water.”

“It was a visual way of expressing his fluidity. You’re fluid. Just like that.”

“I suppose. But you know what’s most important?”


“The last line of the film. Remember?”


“Life is just a state of mind.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Free from Error

The Imperishable is the unseen seer,
the unheard hearer,
the unthought thinker,
the ununderstood understander

Yajnavalkya, Brhadaranyaka Upanisad

Thus, from analysis of the constituents of prakriti
arises the knowledge 'I am not, nothing is mine,
I do no exist. ' This knowledge is all-encompassing,
free from error, pure, and final.

Isvarakrishna, Samkhya Karika

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Last year Paris Hilton when asked about why she would not pose in Playboy said, "Because I'm Paris Hilton."

Brilliant. She may be enlightened after all.

You have to know who you are in every moment, and because you know who you are, what you do is very, very clear.

Know who you are, and do what you do. Life unfolds.

Crazy Wisdom: Transmission, Saktipat & Diksha (Redux)

Someone recently, after reading the post Transmission, Saktipat & Diksha, wrote me the below email, which stimulated several exchanges. I respect everyone’s confidentiality (sort of), however, important aspects of the path to awakening and living in delusion are illustrated in the exchange, and it seems like a good idea to share the initial email, my response, and the unfolding dialogue. I do not have permission to reproduce these emails. I did not ask. I know this seems rather rude, but I am not presenting a person through these emails. I am presenting energies, perspectives, and fixated ideas that are important to consider for every so-called person on the path. Though, I did remove the person’s name and all information leading to an identity.

I will talk about what needs to be talked about in relationship to where you are (nothing more, nothing less). This is not about the person that wrote me these anymore. We had our exchanges, and now that’s over, so this is not a medium for me to drive the point home further. The point, for this person, has driven as far as it’s going for now.

How did he know I was going to read this and how does he know where I am?, you might ask. I didn’t know you were going to read this and I don’t know where you are, but the universe has a funny way of working these things out. The all knowingness that comes with awakening is not an actual all knowingness. It’s the opposite: complete surrender to knowing anything and just doing, in certain terms, what you are told. The universe knew and that’s all that is important.

He’s first email:

Dear Kris-

I have been meaning to write for some time, and so before the impulse simply melts away, I wanted to add some comments and thoughts about your blog post questioning the role of a teacher's transmission, which seems, if I understand your perspective, to relate to your larger position that no single state, so single experience, is really the totality of a fluid, ongoing, open interchange between the world and the perceiver, whether in a state of apparent duality, or a state of apparent unity, or perhaps even up to and including real unitive states.

The idea that what Muktananda (and thus Siddha Yoga after him) was doing or offering was not anything more than a subtle energy manipulation has been voiced by various people through the years, some of whom knew Baba, like Da Free John (Da Love Ananda), and thus had the benefit of his grace. Then there were some who may never have experienced this form of spiritual blessing, and may have questioned whether it could exist, or if it were indicative of high state in the teacher, etc. One perspective on this which I can certainly entertain is that Muktananda was not completely free of ego, or ambition, and thus he was willing to use the extraordinary spiritual gifts he clearly had to build an "empire". As someone who has met many people somewhat like you and Tara over the years; for those with the real passion for the search, and a willingness to go to the ends of the earth, to India or Nepal or Japan or where-ever, they often seem to feel that Siddha Yoga was too easily available, and that only those willing and able to make it to the motherland were really serious. Often, as a part and parcel of this intensity, many of them find something like a traditional village Guru, frequently with no organization nor many students, and often the feeling I have gotten is that they often feel that any organization is suspect. I don't know where I stand on all of this, except to say that I do think organizations can have profound problems, but they can also make access to the teachings and practices open to large numbers of students, and I personally don't think I would have been able to make the shift towards a pathless path without having worked through a path and an organizational format. This is sort of like that ageless question of what brings the greatest openings: the years of sitting and practice, or the final letting go of it all?

Then there is the perspective that was quoted in Caplan's "Half Way Up the Mountain" that _____ had us read this summer after ______ that seems more profound to me; that clearly tons of people had amazing and very clearly profound experiences with the grace of a teacher, Muktananda in the case mentioned, but the author basically said, what have they been able to do with it? This to me gets at a theme that recurred all through Caplan's book; that very few students seem willing or perhaps able to really become disciples of a teacher in the first place, and even more importantly, how many are willing or able to become disciples of grace itself? If we assume, which I do at this stage, that the real teachers can offer profound blessings, and the blessings they offer are fundamentally the same to all, why do people experience them in such varied ways? I think this has to do with the state of preparation and openness of the student, what we might call student's grace, which is often overlooked, and does seem to be one of ______'s big insights in her practice and her teachings. I do feel that people who are gifted with real understanding and real grace, if they are open to it, will naturally be called to spread that grace themselves. I know this has been happening through me in a few cases over the last year, and like you, I don't really understand it, nor do I seem to have any role in "choosing" who or when or why to offer anything up. There was a moment this summer in Santa Fe, when I was in a state of unity, or as much of it as I have experienced, when something I had no understanding of came through me, the only understanding I had was that I had the intention to share my state with another one of the students. It was a purely selfless act of love as far as I could tell, although I sure there was more personal baggage due to our relationship. This sense of grace coming from students, and not all from a teacher was somewhat downplayed in modern Siddha Yoga, where the marketing forces seemed to compete with the teaching forces, and I can say that I certainly did not really incorporate this until I had a sense that my own role was as important in the process as the role of the teacher. And yet, with humility and experience around those who can and do open people to grace inside themselves, it is hard to downplay the role of the teacher. I had the clear sense at one particular point this summer that we were being initiated into the enlightened state, and that was what I experienced, although it may have been an interpretive overlay on an experience which was really formless. I do know that I feel that we all were given so much, and that we were giving ourselves so much, it is interesting that after the ________ retreat, the group more or less fell apart, which may have had something to do with some subtle intention or necessity that we take responsibility for our own states, even after we had been lent the state of a Siddha.

Why do so many of us prefer the idea of an idealized teacher, and not prefer to see the greatness in us? This has a great deal to do with the psychology of those drawn to the spiritual paths in my experience, and it seems that you simply have to go through that phase until you can drop the sense of shame or unworthiness which is the seed of this sort of self image problem. I know that this has been a long term process which grace has worked on in my being, and I can tell you that at times in my Sadhana, I found it ironic that what the Shakti seemed to working on in me was really nothing more or less than remedial ego development in a conventional western model, only being worked on in a subtle and largely unconscious process. Another quality that you commented on to some degree is the sense of "wanting more" which we often bring to even the most empowered transmissions, and this often takes the form of wanting an experience that your friend just had, instead of honoring your own experience and recognizing that it was perfect for who you are, and where you are, etc.

So, I don't know where I stand on some of the other positions you allude to in your writings, except to say that you are extremely gifted, and blessed with your openness and great trust in the universe, you will doubtlessly find that you do touch people deeply, whether you do it in the form a "spiritual teaching" or in the business world. Thanks for the dialogue!



After reading the above email three times, I sent it to Tara and asked her to explain it to me. Maybe I was missing something, but it really didn’t make much sense. Don’t misunderstand, I can understand the words, the syntax, the document as a whole, but it is convoluted and unclear. I understood mainly that he was trying to help me get something that he didn’t think I got, but was doing it in spiritual double-speak giving the affect of egoless consideration. This might work in the world of the deluded and bound (though not that well), but it doesn’t work for me. I can see right through that. This attitude, coupled with the fact that this person really has no idea what they believe, and desperately wants to be what he considers awake, makes the email as clear as the Mississippi.

It took me about a week to truly understand what was going on. I understood what was happening on meta-human conditional levels, but I needed to understand what the sentences meant too. Once I understood, I hesitated in responding. I only respond for two reasons, I really like the person I’m writing and enjoy dialoguing, or I know there is a possibility for awakening in the process and writing will assist with that. I wasn’t sure if writing would help this person in awakening. He’s a professional spiritualist, which isn’t great. He’s done all the work, knows all the answers and knows how to play the spiritual game. This generally works in delusional spiritual land where he is never challenged on it because everyone in delusional spiritual land is afraid of the entire thing falling apart.

It finally became clear: write. I sat down and the below is what unfolded.

My first response:

Hi X,

Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts. Sorry it took me a week to write you back. I am just exiting seven straight days of teaching, and I am on a flight home and am just getting to this now.

I've read your email a few times and I wonder what the point is. I am not entirely sure what it is you want from me or are interested in discussing, but I will respond to what I feel needs responding to.

You seem to be under the impression that I have a perspective and an opinion. I don't. I say what needs to be said when it needs saying. If someone, in that case Y, sent me a question like that today, I might answer entirely different. I answer to the level of destruction that is needed to create freedom in the moment for that person. Nothing more, and nothing less.

I don't, fundamentally, have a problem with Siddha Yoga, big time Gurus, or anything of that nature. They don't seem to be generating a lot of awake people, but that's their business (and their students’), not mine.

I make the assumption that if someone writes me they are inviting my perspective however it is. I'm offering you this email with that understanding. You can take it or leave it - that's up to you. However, truth is, I have no interest in discussing spiritual growth or spiritual ideas. I say what wants to be said and then I move on. I have no ideas about you or this beyond what you've wrote below, so I am simply responding to this as it appears now.

* * *

I'll address a few of your points individually now:

“As someone who has met many people somewhat like you and Tara over the years; for those with the real passion for the search, and a willingness to go to the ends of the earth, to India or Nepal or Japan or where-ever, they often seem to feel that Siddha Yoga was too easily available, and that only those willing and able to make it to the motherland were really serious. Often, as a part and parcel of this intensity, many of them find something like a traditional village Guru, frequently with no organization nor many students, and often the feeling I have gotten is that they often feel that any organization is suspect.”

I don’t feel Siddha yoga was too available. It just wasn’t obviously very effective. There were and have been millions of Siddha Yoga students over the years, and it doesn’t seem like most of them woke-up. It doesn’t seem like really any of them did. Can you point me to 20 liberated Siddha Yoga students? Out of the millions there must be 20, right? Most of the Siddha Yoga students I know act and behave like spiritual and human children. If the organization was producing awake people, I would be all for it. If the organization was, in the least, producing adult humans, I would be all for it. However, this doesn’t seem to be happening, so you should be clear about that. If they were advertising something different, then that might be okay, but they’re not, so maybe someone should start asking some serious questions.

To be clear, further, I didn’t go to India to experience anything enlightened. I went because it seemed fun, and I wanted to spend time with Tara. I carried with me there no illusion of the motherland. It was neat, but so is getting coffee in the morning, and that’s about as far as it goes.

“I don't know where I stand on all of this...”


“This is sort of like that ageless question of what brings the greatest openings: the years of sitting and practice, or the final letting go of it all?”

Who’s asking that question? You? Then own that. It’s not a question I’m asking. Consciousness wakes itself up however it wants to. Period. There is no prescription.

“Then there is the perspective that was quoted in Caplan's "Half Way Up the Mountain" that _____ had us read this summer after _____ that seems more profound to me ; that clearly tons of people had amazing and very clearly profound experiences with the grace of a teacher, Muktananda in the case mentioned, but the author basically said, what have they been able to do with it? This to me gets at a theme that recurred all through Caplan's book; that very few students seem willing or perhaps able to really become disciples of a teacher in the first place, and even more importantly, how many are willing or able to become disciples of grace itself?”

Grace doesn’t need studentship. Grace is free, and clearly bestows itself freely on whatever and whoever it chooses. Again, there is no prescription. Awakening happens however it wants. It may take the appearance or form of practice and studentship, but things are never as they appear.

“And yet, with humility and experience around those who can and do open people to grace inside themselves, it is hard to downplay the role of the teacher. I had the clear sense at one particular point this summer that we were being initiated into the enlightened state, and that was what I experienced, although it may have been an interpretive overlay on an experience which was really formless.”

May have been an interpretative overlay? Everything is an interpretative overlay (that statement is too). You’re still hanging out in separation land of teacher, student, individual, goal and destination. Where do all these ideas leave you? Have you ever stopped to consider, who gives a fuck what I think about anything? Really?

“Why do so many of us prefer the idea of an idealized teacher, and not prefer to see the greatness in us?”

Who are you speaking about here? Who’s the us? You? Stop projecting. Start owning. It’s the first step towards freedom and maturity.

* * *

It’s time to kill it all, X. Perhaps I’m being hard here – I don’t know. But the soft “Let X figure it out for himself” doesn’t seem to be working for you. You have to kill the guru, kill the practice, kill the tradition, kill your perspectives... Kill everything. The email below is such a mishmash of spiritual ideas and attachments, I have no idea what it says. Freedom is not grace, or sakti, or unity, or “the ultimate unitive state,” it’s right here, and right now, free to be you as you, as you are. Stop.

Love Always,


I have no problem being too hard if I know it’s going to be effective, but I just wasn’t sure this was going to be effective. I paused before I hit send, "I guess we’ll see," I thought.

As far as I was concerned there was only two really appropriate answers: 1) “Thank you” or 2) “Fuck off.” The “fuck off” would have been entertaining and expressive that he at least deeply considered what I wrote outside of filtering it through his already well-established “spiritual” swamp and it rubbed him in a way that pissed him off.

No such luck. Here’s his next response:


Thanks for your thoughts and comments below. I am sure you are seeing some things about me I appreciate the need to look at, both comfortable and some not so much. I agree with your main comments about Siddha Yoga, although I am not aware of any community that seems to be producing awakened people in large numbers. I really only am involved with ______'s students at this point, perhaps there are other groups with a higher rate of success, but it is very hard to judge other people's states in my experience. I am of the opinion that a community is much like a great college: they can only provide the context and environment for learning, not a guarantee without the student taking responsibility for their own progress, or letting go, etc.

To some degree you were also working around the vagueness in my initial comments as I had tried, and clearly didn't succeed in trying to say that you might want to look at adopting a more open minded posture, with more humility towards the process of a teacher influencing students. This recurs in virtually all of the stories around the Indian saints; Ramakrisha and Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Ramana Marhashi, and on down to the present. So, to reduce the venerable process of transmissive teachings down to a posture which says none of it is necessary for awakening may be true for you, but it may also be that you have enjoyed these blessings and are now in a place where you no longer need them, or perhaps no longer feel you need them. To reduce this whole tradition down to modern Siddha Yoga is also clearly a logical mistake that would seem to mimic the feeling in Siddha Yoga that only their tradition is a source of grace, which is to confuse marketing with the teachings in my view. Especially if, as seems to be the case, you are gifted as a teacher, and this mysterious process may be coming through you, it may be premature to say that these sorts of blessings have no value. I personally really like _________'s insistence that these gifts are not from the teacher, but from the universe, and maybe better thought of as coming through the teacher.

On your more personal and profound points of my moving beyond a dualistic world view and really dropping whatever keeps me tied to my limited identity, I greatly appreciate the reminder, however stern it may feel for you or me.

Be well.



As you can see, there wasn’t a lot of change or movement, and the same ideas are still spinning themselves out. Dreamstate existence is much like a broken record: spinning the same thing out over and over again. He did at least begin to be more clear and own what it is he wanted to accomplish. That was a step in the right direction, and reflects greater authenticity as a human being. I again hesitated, what’s the point? I decided to give it one last shot, and see if I can make myself clear.

There truly isn’t a path of perspective to the awakening thing - there is just the appearance of paths and perspectives. I don’t have an awakening philosophy. Whatever is necessary whenever it is necessary. I do ram against mainstream spirituality a lot in my talks, but that’s just because most of the people that come to me have spent time in this, or in the least has ideas about it. I don’t have a formal position about spiritual systems. I am not a nihilist when I say something like, “There is no meaning.” What I’m really saying is the meaning may not be what you think it is. I do not have a formal position on the idea of a “self.” When I say there is no self, I am saying that perhaps the self isn’t what you think it is.

Anyway, round two:


Perhaps I'm not being clear.

Again, X, I do not have a position, opinion, or perspective on teachers, traditions, or grace. I say what needs to be said when it needs to be said.. To mistake my words for my perspective is a mistake. To mistake my perspectives expressing my experience of humility, gratitude, or history is a mistake. To mistake my internal experience as a definition of who I am is a mistake. Y, and most certainly you, do not need to see me have a healthy, grateful, open, and humble perspective when it comes to teachers, grace, and traditions, as this is exactly what both of you have, and exactly what keeps both of you from freedom.

You're right, there aren't any communities producing large amounts of awake people. Ever wonder why that is? Or did you accept that it's simply because people don't work hard enough, will reach it in another life, or something like that? It's time to put mainstream spirituality and teaching on trial, X. You. Specifically you. Right now. Put mainstream spirituality on trial. Put all of your stories about spiritual teachers, studentship, humility, Saktipat, Siddhas, being open to other perspectives, Gurus, traditions, flows of grace, and stages of awakening on trial.

Make the choice, do you want to be open, humble, developed spiritual guy or do you want to be awake and free? They're different things - at least right now.

Above all else, enjoy yourself. This is just a bunch of bullshit anyway.


Was this more clear?

His last response:


The more that I read your comments, I think I am getting what you are trying to say, which seems to be that if you aren't working from your personality, the baggage of opinions, particularly fixed opinions, is simply nowhere near fluid enough to serve you, or those you try to reach, or reality itself. This is an area I have been working on, or have come up for me as when I am in open states, I don't tend to connect well with a sense of directed action. I am so comfortable in the witnessing part of those states, which often come with a sense of delight and even bliss, but I for reasons I haven't fully worked out, I seem to locate action and volition inside the personality, which means I am not connecting so well, if at all, to a sense of intuitive trust in my capabilities to act with the insights of the Self to guide me. This seems to revolve around the need to develop greater trust in both myself and the universe.
As for the rest of it, I do thank you for your unique version of the crazy wisdom tradition screaming into my ear, "Kill the Guru, kill the disciple, drop the crap, and fly free you idiot eagle".

Be well,


In the end, we got a little closer to him seeing himself clearly, but not all the way. He took what I did, tossed it in the Crazy Wisdom box, and went on with life. Perhaps he’ll do the work, but I doubt it.

Kill it all, and see what's left. I dare you.