My Way, No Way

I begin to observe that I never chose out of the box. In truth I can never choose out of the box. The “I” is the problem, not the choice. Each time there is an “I” attached to the choice, it will forever choose from the box. For the “I” only knows how to choose from duality. It doesn’t know how to choose otherwise as the operating system is limited by its own programming. Like what one meditation teacher puts it – the fan only does two things – either it turns or stop turning. It knows nothing other than that.

The mind works the same way. It never goes beyond duality. It is a lifeless machine, so to speak, conditioned by duality. It can never think out of the box. For it knows no other way other than black and white, good and bad, this and that, front and back, above and below, know and don’t know. That is all it is. Nothing new, nothing unique, except the same old game of choices from duality. When I go beyond the form, beyond materiality, what is left is the same old stuff – the mind choosing aimlessly, on a merry-go-round trip, swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other, never getting out of it. And that is what choice is to the “I”.

I may say my choices make me who I am today. But who I am is no different from anyone else except my interpretation or meaning of status, fame, role, possessions. But isn’t that what others have in them too? My ignorance only made me think that I am better than them. But how could I ever be better than anyone when the choices that “I” make leads me in the same kind of situation like anyone else – I still have to experience hunger, sickness, old age, and finally death. If I don’t get this true fact into my head I will always feel I am either better or worse off than others. I can never win this game – as this game is limitlessly limiting by nature – just the duality of existence, a tireless game that has no ending. It is like playing the broken record over and over again, oblivious to the fact that the recorder can be switch off. We let the recorder play, and play and replay again, over and over for meaningless time until we wake up from it.

If “I” can get out of the way, surrendering myself and allowing trust to fill in the gap, what could life be? Have you ever tried? Obviously many failed and gave up, as the ego is just too impatient to allow nature to take its course. It brings up fear in you and force you to imagine that this,* is a wrong way of living. And that is the worst thing we can ever give to ourselves for we don’t allow any opportunity at all for a paradigm shift of experiencing out of the box. We nail ourselves to doom again, falling back to the so called choices of life – which in reality is no longer a choice but simply a trap.

Invite yourself to take the leap of faith – go to the very edge of the ego and just… fall. Play this game and observe what could arise in your space. There is nothing to lose as either way you are back to doom anyway – the ego trap.

Whose Choice – Me, Who, or What?

It is about choice. Not the kind of choice of which to choose when I am being given something. Neither is it about which road to choose when I come to a crossroad. Nor is it about a dilemma situation which I am forced to choose. In truth, there are no choices in all this scenes, as my outcome of what I choose is derived from my past perceptions, and hence dictated by an idea. Many an occasion , the so called choices I made are fear based rather than love, or wisdom.

I sat on the couch this morning, simply being in the now, observing the landscape of the mind as the heavy traffic of thoughts and emotions wheezes past my attention. Whether or not I am there for the mind, whatever there is in it still passes, oblivious to my presence. And the scene is no different from resting at the window sill, watching the world pass by.

On a certain occasion an object will attract my attention and at that precise moment I will miss whatever that is passing by. I can’t change or reversed the scene again. It is gone. I would not know what is there or whether it was there. What I know is that I am totally immersed in my own imagination of what I was attracted to, oblivious to the reality of what has gone by. In other words I was unconsciously deluded by my inner, so called, delusional reality.

To avoid this from happening, I just need to stay cool, relax and learn not to be pulled into what comes my way. But do I have a choice in this? None at all. I can’t dictate what is already coming into my space. Neither can I dictate what will attract me. Both are beyond my choices. I don’t have a say in it. Only because I am so unconscious to how the mind works. Everything are all natural occurrences coming my way. In other words, they are all effects taking place in this so-called time and space. And they are merely defined as experiences in my own space – nothing more than that. I can’t hold on to it nor resist it – though many a times I thought I was able to do so, obviously out of delusion and ignorance.

So what is choice then? My choice is to choose again. To choose what has already just passed – my reaction to what is. To respond to what has already occurred in my space. If what has occurred is fear, I choose to surrender. If what has occurred is love, I choose to surrender too. My choice becomes obvious and clear as I don’t choose out of wanting or not wanting but simply in the state of being, of surrendering. And when this choice is being chosen again and again, being practiced over and over again, it takes on a new process in the operating system of the mind. It no longer clings or grasps but simply surrender. There is no longer the “me” to do or to choose but simply undoing. No one undoing.

And the meaning of surrender is not what we normally understood as giving up, but rather allowing or letting be from the level of trust. And even that, the trust is not blind but rather the work of wisdom and all its attributes. It is a trust that comes from the knowing that I do not know and there is a greater intelligence far more that this tiny speck of “my” knowing. As I choose this way, I choose to heal the mind from dysfunctional grasping.

I can’t choose right-mindedly unless and until I choose to be in the now and here, right precisely at this moment. And the only way not to forget to be in the present is my choice.

To come into greater Freedom, we take the choice to choose pathways that bring us little little freedom.

Book for the Soul (1)


News that Nobody Wishes to Hear

It doesn’t sound pleasant when we hear people telling us that whatever we do we are doing it for ourselves. It gives us a meaning of selfishness and ill-intent when such words are directed at us. I may even retaliate or defense myself if I am told that way. But the truth is… I am that.

If I react to a comment, I can be sure there is a part of me that attest to the reality of who I am. I hate that part of the statement that tells so bluntly about me. I am angry because you have exposed that part of me that I am so unwilling to deal with. That is who I am but I am so unwilling to address it and I carry that pain with me wherever I go.  I thought I have buried it deep into the abyss of the mind and expect it to decay and rot into disappearance and carry on with my day to day living.

But the truth is, I am carrying it day by day, moment to moment. I am not aware, obviously. My actions never lied. My actions tell me so. I am maneuvering a machine that is geared towards approval and support instead of entering into spaces that I could foresee conflict and disagreement. I thought that is normal and sometimes I also thought that is being timid. And those are the times where I will bulldoze myself into those spaces with trepidation, expecting courage to overcome my fear and yet, hidden at the edge of my mind, there is an overwhelming hope that the outcome will be to my favor. Isn’t that selfishness again?

There are moments where I am “in charge of a situation” – having the ability to articulate my answers to questions that seems complex and unanswerable to a lay person. I feel great and elate. I may also feel that at that moment I have the ability to “conquer” what is in front of me, to “slay” whatever that is directed at me. Do I hear myself at that moment? No I don’t. I am only following and believing what’s in my thoughts. I don’t questioned what comes up in me. I am drowned in my own obsession as I feed my own selfishness. Where I am standing tall, I am standing on the foundation of selfishness.

Where I am standing low, I am also standing from the space of selfishness as there is a payoff for me in that space. If I am in equal with someone, I can be sure somewhere in the abyss of the mind, there is also another hidden agenda. In reality, there is no difference between superiority, inferiority or equality – they are just façade of the same stuff – unworthiness infested into selfishness.

It is a disease of the mind, a cancer that spreads in different forms to attract attention to feed itself. Listen deeply, and you will understand what I mean. If unworthiness is my core and selfishness is my action, does selflessness matters anymore than selfishness? Does doing good any difference from doing bad? If doing good is motivated by the ill of the mind, what good is really there for me except to feed the hunger of the ego?

Or is there something that I did not see, something I have missed, something so profound that I have misinterpreted entirely of what the Masters have to say? Surely there is something greater than what I am seeing. Surely there is a potential of true wisdom and love emanating in me, only if I am truthful with what I am not, to see who I am. In that space I am sure to view selfishness and selflessness, with love. Until I truly come into that space, I can be sure I am constantly feeding the ego, at different levels and degrees. Aren’t we all self-centered?

A Trip of Certainty

Is the movement clockwise or counter-clockwise? Observe a little more longer and you will see how your perception changes. Are we choosing what we want to see, or the mind is conditioning us what to see? Do we really have a choice? What about the things we see around us – is it real? Or “real” only to our own perception, in other words, our own imagination? If that is true, can we really trust what we see?

The mind make us see things according to its own conditioning rather than what it is. Imagine the numerous uncountable ideas fed into our mind each day and in return the mind make conclusions for us to experience – be it see, hear, taste, touch, smell or think. And that colors us from what we experience. Not one moment of experience is genuinely new as they are all colored by our past perceptions. When we are not aware of this reality, we took what we experience as ultimate truth. Herein lies our righteousness. Or would I say “wrongeousness”, if ever there is such a word? How can we arrive to Truth when we are not aware of this False?

Until and unless we see the illusion of our perceived reality, we are on a merry-go-round trip, never left our seat of ignorance. It does not matter if we are not aware of our ignorance, but when we wake up to our misperception, the journey forward is a non-return trip. A long trip of undoing the entire entanglement of disillusion of the self.

What a Seemingly Hellish Unavoidable Game!

Whenever I am being triggered, compelling me to defense or attack, right at that deepest core of that mind is found the unworthiness experience. When I said “triggered” I am not only implying negative stimulus. It can be a loving experience resulted from a praise or an unpleasant experience arising from a statement – both have unworthiness as the base. In other words, any holding on to pleasant experience or resistance to unpleasant experience has unworthiness in it. Many a times I don’t see pleasant experience as something that is motivated by unworthiness, for I am so unwilling to go to that space that will spoil my nice present feeling – I prefer to chill myself in desire and “happiness” rather than facing the Truth.

And that is the whole problem of the journey – in my head there is this thought that says – I wont compromise on the Truth, nothing but the Truth, but yet again and again I am subjugated by the cankers. We all are yearning for enlightenment, whether we are aware of it or not. Not Buddhist’s enlightenment, Christian’s salvation or what sort – none of that at all. Enlightenment has no name, not even the word enlightenment. It is not a place or a situation or a condition – totally beyond what the mind can comprehend as it is beyond the mind.

It is like the analogy of being in heaven where there is zero suffering and you simply immersed in total enjoyment and yet enjoyment, non-stop, day in, day out. Nothing can make you bored and nothing can make you feel depressed – everything is so amazing joyful. Then one day, somehow, you found that you are actually in a huge prison. Imagine what could ever happen to you at that moment? All the glory of heaven becomes void at that instant – nothing matters anymore. Anything that brings you extreme happiness does not work on you from that moment onwards. You have this damned feeling that what is great here is actually a fake, a lie to make you stay stuck. And that is what I mean in all of us, at least those whom I met. There is this deep yearning feeling that make us sense intuitively that there is something missing here.

Let’s not look too far away in heaven. Let’s look at how this feeling of “unworthiness” that is making us running on tirelessly on the threadmill, to make life works, that make us forget that we are all in the prison of our own delusion . But we don’t see unworthiness. We only see the wanting and not wanting situation to continue living. Not much of a difference than in heaven before knowing the prison walls. Isn’t that crazy? We enjoy suffering! Life exist simply being motivated by this unbearable unworthiness – and that cost me to continuous seek; for money, for relationship, for knowledge, for happiness, for companionship, for betterment, for everything. Without unworthiness life no longer need to continue. Can you imagine that? And do you hear the little voice in your head that tells you how fearful it is not to exist? That the “I”, “me”, “mine” matters so much. All this fear is because you don’t yet know there is a prison wall. Like the angels, heaven is a great place until they come to realize the “wall”.

Life comes into being because of this unquestioned unworthiness. It is a perfect hiding spot the ego created to make us shun away from it. We will do anything, from holidaying to enjoyment, to extreme actions like backstabbing, murdering, suicidal – just to fill up this unworthiness. Unworthiness keep us seeking for the “best” – there is nothing wrong with that – but when will the “best” end? It is a game that has no ending and that is the whole setup of the ego. Would you imagine playing a game that has no ending and yet there is no way you can get out of the game, even though you are sick and exhausted about it? No one of a sane mind will ever participate in it but that is exactly what we are all doing – unconsciously subjugated to the game the mind plays.

But of course, the game is not that simple, more complex than you could ever imagined compared to any game in this world – courtless, rules that are arbitrary, interchangeable position of players, referee and spectators, non-specific time, non limited goals, no intervals and non stop playing, even in the dream! Crazy! Worst, when you get tired of the whole damned game, planning ways for the great escape; delusion, the ego itself, creates imitation spiritual journey for you to be trapped into. Many, without much wisdom, will opt for suicide which in truth is actually part of the game.

At the most “normal” sensible spiritual principle, you are being told to face what you are afraid of. So if the basis of everything is unworthiness, you take the dip and face it squarely. Then what? Anything you give attention to make it real. Or rather, because you think it is real that you look into it. Similarly, if you ignore it, it means you think it is there. So here comes the paradox – both are in contradiction. The more you think it is real, the more it will persist.

To feed it I make it real, to face it I also make it real. Either way, I loose. What am I supposed to do then? The answer lies not in what you are looking at, but rather in your response – how you are responding to it. Look carefully into the response and you may be shocked to see another unworthiness in it too!  Unworthiness proliferating in multi-dimensions! Arggh! How would I know there is unworthiness in it? Simple – by recognizing whether there is an identity of “I” responding. Each “I” is unworthy. It is close to impossible not to have an “I”, you may think. It is not about forgetting the “I”, neither is it about ignoring it. But it is about ending the “I”. the self. So it was said – “The mother of all fear is fear of no-self.”

The meaning of life has “I” in it and for that,  all existences are egoic by nature – from waking up and dream states – 24/7. And so long as there is an existence, there is delusion with unworthiness as its foundation. Isn’t that a perfect foolproof game?

Truth at any Price – Jed McKenna

Deep appreciation to my friend, James Lam, a non-compromising seeker,
for introducing me to Jed’s work.
You can find Jed McKenna’s writing at http://www.wisefoolpress.com/