Tag: love

What is “enlightenment” and how can we achieve it? Here’s one possible way

From my limited experience, my hypothesis of a way to become “enlightened” is to imagine that your chains will never be broken, you will never be free, and you will always be tormented. Then get ok with that. Once that striving part of you is dead, you will still strive, but not in a delusional “I’m going to finally be bigger than my enemies!” kinda way.

What is enlightenment? It is peace enough to be able to love everything and everyone. What is it not? Getting the magic answer to take your pain away, unless your pain is caused by neurotic striving, which it very well might be.

And achieving enlightenment is not imperative. It’s just a return to where you were before you convinced yourself that you are alone and separate. It’s an end to the game, and honestly, people like the game. God likes the game. It’s not inherently a bad thing to be in this game.

But inside of us is this crystallized voice that will say until death that this “IS NOT A GAME MOTHERFUCKER!!” You know that voice. It’s a game, and you can tell the voice that “we’ll always be chained, we’ll never be free, and we will always be tormented.”

The voice will work on convincing you for decades if you take that stance. And it’s a good fucking lawyer. Give up and die to this idea of “beating the game.” Then you’ll realize that your striving was the window blinds, and now the light can get in, and that the light was in your heart the whole time. Your mind just drew the shades because it was threatened.

The unadorned heart

The unadorned heart
illegal that it is
sits behind bars
with grace and joy
while
The adorning mind
dictator that it is
edits all the letters
the simple heart sends

WRONG! CRAZY!
COLOR IN THE LINES!
MORE OF THAT!
GARBAGE!
cries the mind to the smiling heart

a fool believes infinity
can be bound and sold
but oh the mind will not stop trying
to package love until the jailing mind
is old
and dies

and then the heart will pass through the bars
and disappear
because it was never chained
it was here because of eternal love
the insecure mind only deluded in its “ownership”
of the smiling, all-is-one,
unadorned heart

My separateness is now a broken water balloon, submerged in the infinite water it once tried to contain. Here is a false account of how that happened.

Some thoughts on acceptance that I’ve recently witnessed:

When someone speaks a sentence to us, such as, “the sky is blue,” we assume that our two response paths are to agree or to disagree. “No! The sky is indeed chartreuse!” OR “Yes, I agree, the sky is blue.” However, both disagreement and agreement are a form of domination and separation because they invoke the construct of “I” as in “I agree with what YOU are saying” or “I disagree with YOU.” We tend to think that agreement is a form of connection, but it is more of a treaty between parties, establishing a kind of parallel congruence of perspective. “We both separately have a similar perspective” is another way of phrasing it and better expresses the true nature of agreement.

There is always the third option, silence or receptivity. Not taking a stand either for or against what has been communicated to us is a response in itself, but the mind cannot “thing” it, so it tends to disregard it as useless and essentially avoidant of what the mind sees as its duty to respond. With receptivity, the heart invokes the infinite response: acceptance. Instead of trying to contain what the person has spoken to us, we just let what was expressed fly around, watching the words that have been spoken.

This is not a bear

But to the mind, neutrality is perceived as a kind of death because it cannot be held conceptually in the mind. It is too big for the mind, and in reality, it is infinite, beyond form. This is symbolized by the second hexagram in the Chinese Yi Jing: The Receptive, The Primordial Yin, The Great Mother. This is the obscured truth in sayings like “being reborn in the spirit” or “dying to the flesh in order to attain to eternal life.” If we can pause agreement or disagreement, the infinite is allowed to exist. When we decide to agree or disagree, we look at the metaphorical clouds in the sky and say “that cloud looks like a lion” or “that cloud looks like a bear.” A concept of a lion or bear is just an icon on your desktop; it is not the application itself. It is a crude reduction of a bear in the world to a stick figure abstraction in our heads.

This is also part of the truth of the Zen Koan: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” The Buddha nature is beyond form, beyond words; it is like a bird that has broken out of the egg (form or word) and is now free to fly around. You if you can contain a “Buddha” in your head as a concept, it is not the real Buddha, and you should throw away the concept. When it was contained within the metaphorical eggshell, it was finite.

When we break out of our finite shells, the mind goes nuts because it loses all of its power to contain and trap those bears and lions floating in the sky. But in reality, it never did trap those things. Words and forms are never static. The mind deludes itself into thinking that it can trap things in cages called words because it believes itself to be a contained thing, a separate “mind” which is predictably “better” than other minds if you ask its rank.

This is not my ego

Last night, I had a vision last night that I was in a giant pool, and then I was the water, all of the water, beyond measurement. And then I was actually with God or the Primordial Yang, the Creative. But I had to kill the idea of self. I can’t describe it in full because words are finite, and I experienced infinity. At first, I was a giant water balloon, stressed to enormous capacity. And then I was inverted, or I was unbounded. And so, from now on I want to use the word Unbound for God, because it is more appropriate.

I also had a vision of the infinite field of reality, and I saw faces on the field, and they were individuals that had submitted to the divine internal marriage between self and the divine. They merged with the field itself, not the image on top of the field. They had stopped being the human shaped cloud, and had become the infinite sky. In this way, by cracking the egg that contained them, they became beyond form. And in this way, they had attained to heaven and are now infinite and eternal. In this way, I am eternal. However, that sentence is wrong. Eternal is. I am the egg that was broken. I am the one who has gone, the tathāgata, of the Hindus and Buddhists. So, one does not attain to heaven or attain to eternal life. One unattains being bound, closed, to take flight as the Unbound and infinite.

Butterflies aren’t real

And yet, all humans are born infinite. They think themselves bound and contained, but this containment is a dictatorship of the mind and is a delusion. We are caterpillars who have forgotten their butterfly and moth nature. We are fully formed birds, who make ourselves in the shape of eggs to appease the demands of a gaslighting mind. We walk the Earth, bemoaning that we, like Pinocchio, are not real boys, when all along, we have always been fully real, merely deluded into believing ourselves as separate, compulsively trying to find others to manipulate into mirroring our delusion of separateness back to us.

May you first know of the Unbound in measure. Then may you be a fully empty vessel, a contained jar of the Unbound, which is formless and empty to the mind. And lastly, may you smash the shell of the jar in your mind, receive the Unbound as a lover, and become infinite and eternal. This is a journey like that of Frodo in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, who must return the ring of separateness to the fires of Mount Doom. The journey destroy’s his mind’s ability to maintain the delusion of separation, the trollish Gollum serving to illustrate the mind’s delusion at full force.

The mind will warn you vociferously that becoming infinite means being annihilated, but this is because the mind cannot see beyond the event horizon of the black hole of infinity. What is on the other side of the event horizon? Peace. The heart can see beyond the event horizon. May you follow it mindlessly to silence, receptivity, peace, and eternity, never to return.

Lastly, what you have just read is full of lies. The unbound is beyond verification. These words are a stick figure of truth, a crude imitation of the art of truth, purchased at the gift shop on the way out of the museum of the Unbound. May they point you toward truth as I have been so directed.

Deep lessons learned through loss, the Reader’s Digest version.

I think one of the best lessons I’ve learned while living in hardship is that you can always see the stars. You can always see the heavens, even when you are trapped in the mud or the gutter. You can feel real divinity and happiness and joy no matter how poor you are. You can feel peace no matter how many walls exist in front of you. Usually, we do that through our profession. We reach for the stars and find inner purpose in life through small tasks of seemingly benign averageness. I reach because I need to. I’ve survived so much deprivation. So, I have been broken down by grief. And now, I feel liberated. And so I reach. And I feel another hand reaching down.

You Can’t Cosplay Revolution

The United States has no revolutionary left because it has spent the last 100 years attacking the left and supporting right wing governments all over the world. The CIA and military seem to love violent overthrow of left-wing governments. And here in the US, the people are pacified with phony empowerment. The only empowerment you need is a true understanding that the government needs to be overthrown because we are de facto slaves with zero power and no hope of change. And if anyone says that’s treason, then just look at the money in your pocket. Almost all of those men were involved in the treasonous overthrow of their government.

If you can’t talk about revolution, you’re not empowered. If you are a slave but you get to drink and have sex in your off time, you’re still a slave. You can’t be empowered in a system that demeans, dehumanizes, and disempowers you on a daily basis. We are worse than slaves in the US because we think we are kings and queens. Kings and queens that live paycheck to paycheck and have to kiss the ring of your boss to get your scraps for the day. It is pure sadness. The next recession is going to be bad because the opiates of the masses are getting thin and the capital holders are moving their factories to Asia for cheaper wages. They will abandon the US soon.

Life in the US is a whole new kind of powerlessness. Trash media. Propaganda news. Flat wages. Obscene healthcare costs. Fake food. We have the “opioid epidemic” which is really just millions of people trying to deal with a system that eviscerates real communal bonds for a quick buck, leaving people traumatized and hopeless. People don’t just become junkies because Everything is Great! The problem is our system of labor exploitation and fascist police structure which keeps the people at bay.

They’ll say “capitalism is the best system, save all others,” but that is a lie. Socialism works in many places. In other places, it has been violently suppressed. We have to say “I support the overthrow of the United States government because it is beyond redemption, built on slavery, and intent on the wage enslavement of its citizens.”

I think this is the best approach. Of course I might be targeted just like so many martyrs before me. But being able to risk your life is a basic necessity of fighting for freedom. If you are still afraid of death, you cannot win against power this strong. To quote Robert Anton Wilson “the fear of death is the beginning of slavery.” The US is terrified of are unafraid of dying because it can’t throw all of its weapons of mass distraction at them.

Anyways, this is what I have to say. Fuck the god damned USA.

Truth! Love! Grace! Peace…

So many lies. Drowning in lies. Gaslight nation. The only way to live in this deluge of mendacity is to find your truth and walk that truth forward. Making enemies in the service of truth is honor. Just ask yourself: what would America be without slavery, without indigenous land theft, without Jim Crow, without mass incarceration, without a few million dead Iraqis, Vietnamese, Afghanis? Can we speak these truths that are self-evident to the highest power?

I think the house of cards crumbles if you remove that stolen fuel. And what are we doing with that stolen wealth? Squandering it with navel-gazing, hedonistic decadence. You can’t get high forever. Eventually the party is over. I’m lucky because I lost everything. This country made me into a pariah. I could not have my inner freedom without outer suffering. Through torture I have been saved. And not saved like Joel Osteen saying that I’m saved on national TV. That’s just cosplay saved.

Listen to the suffering of others and you will see the mother of all love, the goddess of all compassion. Then you will be saved because you have deep compassion for yourself. Laugh at the seriosity of America. This is not the only way to run a country. I know it gets beaten into our heads from age 2 that we are the most advanced form of government in the world. Do we even want to be advanced? Where is the love? Where is the community? Where is the outrage that our family members are sleeping in the freezing cold on concrete? Your heart will tell you the truth of that situation if you listen.

Truth requires love and love requires truth. I have every reason plus twenty to have hate in my heart, but I just wanted to destroy myself when I harbored hate in my heart. I just gave it up. What Christians call the holy spirit came down and said “you’ll never know if you’re going to survive, you’ll always feel pain, you’ll suffer, but I’ll be there with you.” And so something stopped in me. I believe in Christ but I’m not a Christian. Turn the other cheek on the inside. Let them win. For in losing, you gain a peace that surpasses all understanding. They gain some green paper. You gain your soul.

We Need to Stop Terrorizing our Trans Kids

The transgender experience is not really about gender. It is about the denial of normal socialization to children by adults with no empathy. These adults laugh and sneer at “queers, faggots, wussies, and girly men” and their children duplicate this behavior in the schoolyard. People born assigned as males who are too effeminate for the modern male society are excluded from community until they learn to leave themselves at the door. The modern male experience mirrors our warrior culture, and so males are taught to police their ranks for any semblance of the feminine. Trans kids become the sacrificial scapegoats for this directive, and they grow up lonely, confused, depressed, traumatized, and disconnected.

Those of us who have transitioned gender and know how much more whole we feel after the change can see through all of the claims that trans people are insane. Our definitions of male and female need to be expanded to include those outliers who exhibit traits contrary to their birth assigned gender. Yes, there are biological differences between males, females, and the rest. It’s not all socially constructed. However, the socially constructed part needs to change.

And the root of this problematic construction is in the church. Abrahamic faiths have been at the forefront of the oppression of LGBT individuals for millennia. I really don’t care if the church survives. We don’t need their help anymore. There is a reason that gay liberation arose alongside women’s liberation. Straight men have been the most antagonistic towards LGBT individuals, and as their power is diminishing, they are unable to stop the rise of others’ rights as they would have done in the past with a simple exercise of intimidation, terror, and denial of rights.

This problem is epidemic. We are surviving against the odds. But many if not most of us have some form of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I actually wouldn’t change my path, but I am really tired of the acceptance of the bullying and terrorizing of our helpless children before they know what transgender even means.

Transgender and Gender Atypical People Deserve the Simple Right to be Themselves

I knew that I was different from the boys around me when I was eight years old, and because of this difference, my childhood was filled with tremendous amounts of alienation and secrecy, as I tried mightily to be someone that I was not on the inside. This story is not atypical, and because of this shared struggle, many transgender people are victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and have one of the highest suicide attempt rates of any minority group at levels between 40% to 55% according to a recent in-depth inquiry into transgender peoples’ lives (Haas, Herman, & Rodgers, 2013).

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual version 5 (DSM-5), transgender people who are not yet being treated for their condition are suffering from Gender Dysphoria. Gender Dysphoria is defined as individuals “having a marked incongruence between the gender they have been assigned to (usually at birth, referred to as natal gender) and their experienced/expressed gender” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). There are many different expressions of this condition from individuals who were born with a sexual anomaly such as intersexuality to those who merely enjoy acting in accord with the opposite gender’s norms but lack the desire for treatment.

Those that are distressed by their condition to the point of desiring to live full-time as the opposite gender may seek treatment via various means. They might require the use of cross-sexual hormones (testosterone for those assigned female at birth and estrogen for those assigned male at birth). Also, various surgeries are available to assist in these individuals achieving a body that more closely matches their inner perception of gender. When transgender people who wish to transition are treated for their condition, they no longer qualify for a gender dysphoria condition. Whereas the older versions of the DSM labeled transgender people as possessing Gender Identity Disorder (GID) for life, the newer manual sees gender dysphoria as a treatable and therefore suppressible condition.

This topic is highly controversial, and there are numerous opinions and positions related to transgender people. Often, these opinions come from non-transgender people. I can say that my inner life has grown immeasurably better since I transitioned 8 years ago. I have a sense of peace about myself that I never had when I was living as a man. Also, I know that the transgender people that I’ve met on my journey tend to be some of the most authentic and strong people that I know. Hopefully, with continued advocacy, we transgender people can attain the simple status of just being normal people who are allowed to be themselves from birth.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.

Haas, A. P., Ph.D., Rodgers, P. L., Ph.D., & Herman, J. L., Ph.D. (2014). Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults. The Williams Institute.

The Wheel of Samsara

The people need their fix
gotta get up to the tower’s rent
the perfect people
that’s what I want!
take this pain, dissatisfaction
replace it with
a blissful reaction
I’ll sell my soul to pharma’s lore
that all my problems
will one day bore me
it’s the end
the judgment’s here!
A pill a day
will make me clear

But it’s just a fool’s parade
phony props and cellophane
smiling, photoshopped creations utter
on TV like horrid clutter
There is no left great white hope
there is only stolen makeup
plastered onto meth burnt bones
ya know
I never liked this show
please change it

Life will always burn
will always be too cold
or too blazing hot
the table’s always tilting
sending scrambling gentries galloping gaily
at some new white windmill in the sky
you’ll be back here when you die
you’ll be back here when you die

So I sit and stare
out the window with no glare
counting beads to win a dare
that a sloth could beat the hare

Love renewed from love unglued

Oh Babylon
the kingdom comes
upon my breast
of wakened stressful hues
imbued
with what you said
when Mars invaded
leaving lovers dry, unsated
crying at the circumstance
a comic dance where fumbling ruled
I’ll hold your tender love
unglued
inside my heart

my me is you
I’m here unclothed
climb high upon my thighs and shout
this thing called us is fate’s pure clout
achieved

but then you said you must be gone
with swords drawn strong
we swung and cut
Once heroines, now vaults sealed shut

but then a root or shoot or ray
went back to her with a simple “Hey…”

I love you like the sun, my queen
I bow to kiss your cloven toes
Come dance with me again my twin
Like lanterns, we will burn and glow

Convicted love

Someone seeming strong
yet coy
a girl I know
I can’t ignore

Like a candle with no matches
I’m cold and dark, alone

oh here how fate conspired
to grow us up apart
I see the angels spinning gold
but now my heart is left and sold
away

come back to me I cry against the bars
my prison of this sober solitude
is right
I know
but when against this slothful clock
will love resume
and bring her back

I love you are the words I write
against the walls within my cage
I’m stripped bereft like a fallen king
I’ll give my crown to turn the page

What I’ve Learned from Living with Chronic Illness

Antibiotics are chemotherapy. The word antibiotic means anti life. I have to take some antibiotics right now, and the side-effects are really heavy. I’m feeling very low and drained. But I think it’s the right decision, because I have prostatitis which is related to my fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). I usually just kind of live with it and focus on the positive to not lose my personal power, but right now, the bombs have to be dropped to see if it helps. It sucks, but I’ll get through it.

Honestly, I’ve been thinking pretty heavily about my chronic illness. When I first got sick in my early twenties, I got a lot of resistance from the medical establishment and loved ones. I learned to sort of put it in my private life and not really share it. It’s a very difficult psychological balance to live in a fast world with a “hidden” disability. Our medical tests at present are very poor with detecting what’s going on in lots of chronically ill people, so often the medical establishment just defaults to the “it’s all in your head, take an anti-depressant, and deal with it” approach.

I deal with a ton of symptoms including: cognitive impairment, confusion, deep muscle and joint pain, intense fatigue, depression, anxiety, sensitivity, insomnia, and others. They seem to follow a very irregular pattern and always pop up at the seemingly worst time. It’s something I’ve had to shoulder silently for decades now, and I did reach a point two years ago where I was completely overwhelmed with my health and various other difficulties. But I reached my bottom, and I gave up. I acknowledged my powerlessness, and said “OK, I don’t have control of this situation, but I’m going to keep climbing no matter what. I’m listening and open to learning.”

Dealing with chronic health issues is a very complicated thing because often the best drug is optimism. When you have a poor self-image, a victim mentality, and a “the world is all against me” thought process, it can make you sick. I honestly believe, and the data backs this up, that a lot of my chronic health issues are due to a childhood of trauma and disempowerment. That’s not to say that there are not real, material things at work in my body, but the two factors go together.

My diseases and queerness and losing my children and everything else really broke me, and now I’m happier or more at peace. I don’t care about small things. I’m human, and they bother me, but I soldier on with an understanding that life is pain. I feel disabled in some way, and I have to do a complex set of daily adaptations to handle my various disablements, but that’s ok.

So, I’ve decided that my five year plan is to go back to school to get a Masters in Counseling in some capacity with a focus on the Psychology of Chronic Illness and start working in that field. I think I can help others find balance in a very confusing and overwhelming circumstance, and I feel a real calling to do so. Ultimately, I want to work outside of the medical establishment and integrate my alternative beliefs like the power of ritual and empathic therapy into my practice. But I need the paper to be a “real therapist.” 

There are often not any easy solutions in situations like mine. There is just work and balance. Maybe providence will smile on me, but it’s ok if it doesn’t. I know what it’s like to feel crucified here on Earth, and there is transcendence in letting go and accepting our limitations. There is a tarot card that keeps popping up for me lately: The Hanged Man. In most decks it shows a man hanging upside down, completely suspended and powerless. He has lost all of his earthly power, but in so doing, he sees the world upside down, and he has total spiritual clarity. Life picks us up and turns our lives upside down, and although I’ve seen great loss, pain, and trauma, I’ve grown to see divinity and feel a joy that never dies, even in extreme darkness.