Last fall I took a Mindfulness and the Brain course at the University of Virginia’s Mindfulness Center. It was a revelation; not in terms of the mind’s potential, or it’s power to change or its’ more esoteric capabilities. Nope. I learned those lessons from some twenty-five years of spiritual seeking and now teaching in the schoolhalls of new-age metaphysics, yoga, guru admiration, advaita vedanta, and zen mindfulness. Got it. What was revealing about this class was hearing about these same concepts sans the flowery-spiritual-new age speak. The clean vernacular in this class was culled straight from the departments of neuroscience, medicine, and biology. I was simply blown away. I had no idea neuroscience was that close, that broad, that courageous, and well, that spiritual. This jaded spiritual teacher was impressed.
It’s a new day Charlie Brown. As a spiritual teacher I cannot tell you how relieved I was to discover this. No more vibey, new age, lingo. It always felt inadequate to me. No more touchy-feely overly dramatic and long-winded explanations.
I have to admit, yesterday I was having one of those days when my faith in humanity was ebbing. The solemn, serious, controlling stench of ego-limitation seemed to be lurking around every corner. I was feeling bummed out. The nail was pounded into the coffin when last night I went out to a spiritual gathering. I felt like Jed McKenna or Ken Wilbur at a seance.
But Lo’! This morning I awoke to a brand new day and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a funny man named Dan and a relief from the drear (I know that’s a stretch)
At any rate- thank you , thank you , thank you Dan for getting me out of my funk. Your email placed light where there was dark, laughter where there was gloom, and self-deprecation where there was- well just self. Gaaawwwwwdamannnnn!!- spirituality and spiritual people (including myself) can be a moody bunch. It was a great relief to read such an email and even funner (I aren’t educated like you) to create a reply…Here’s Dan’s email and my touche’:
Close Encounters with Dan
In the fifteenth year of his current incarnation, Dan had a powerful spiritual awakening that opened up not only his third eye, but a third ear and nostril as well, utterly transforming his life into an orificial smorgasbord that thereafter made annual physicals and body cavity searches take twice as long.
While this initial awakening later proved to be acid reflux, it did initiate a spiritual journey that eventually led Dan to India, where he met his beloved master, Sri Gulab Jamun, or as he lovingly called him, “Donut Hole.” Sri Donut conferred upon Dan his highest blessing, and transmitted Shakti along with several non-communicable diseases. Thereafter, Dan began seeing spirits, floaters, and the occasional stripper. “It was as if blinders had fallen from my eyes at last, and everything I saw thenceforth was a student in need of my teachings.”
Don’t get me wrong. I love me some crystals. I dig tantric sex. There ain’t nothing wrong with Oprah. I love a great massage, new age book, and nag- champa incense. I own around five to six Buddhas. And- I just had an advaita vedanta potluck party at my house. (I will draw the line at the tarot cards and psychic readings. Haven’t seriously done either one of those in lifetimes. ) Got no issues with the new age or Sedona.
But let me tell you my friend, if you’re interested in awakening / blue collar enlightenment and these are the only types of things you’ve been greenlighting lately, you’re in deep doo-doo. You’re gunna need to give yourself PERMISSION to wake up- Give yourself permission to be happy- Give yourself permission to evolve, transcend and ARRIVE- here, now, today. Have you done this? Have you really said to yourself- YES! I want awakening- I give myself permission to awaken! I am worthy of Awakening! Yes? No? Maybe? Hmmm. We might wanna explore this together. Follow me through here… We need to fix your traffic light…
Hey Everybody. Chuck Hillig is a friend and nondual author who also lives in central VA. He came over the other day and we sat down and talked. I recorded it. It’s 30 minutes long. We debated whether or not to drink cheap beer while we were doing this, but figured most were not ready for that type of deep esoteric profound mystical (drunk) work. Click on above image, scroll down a little and watch. My cat Gypsy makes a special teacher guest appearance toward the end. You think your ZEN? Go watch a cat for any amount of time. Cats are ZEN! Enjoy….!
I am a shadow teacher. When I write, speak or teach about awakening you will see, hear, and feel my shadow sitting right next to me. I do not hide it. I am not ashamed of it. I do not attempt to scrub it clean. I welcome it into the room; with all it’s glorious faults, apparent contradictions, blemishes, and rough edges. I don’t do this for you. I don’t do this in the name of drama or entertainment. I don’t do this because I am in truth “perfect or pure” and am trying to relate to you. No. I do this because shadow is not separate from who I am.
But of course, there is more to it/me than this because we all have a shadow, and simply recognizing and embracing the shadow does not mean you will wake up. The trick then- to spiritual awakening- is to recognize and embrace both the shadow and that which casts the shadow: LIGHT. Are you with me?- Embrace both. Welcome them both into awakening. Some of my teachers were shadow teachers and I loved/love them dearly. They were the ones who truly inspired me, truly allowed me to be myself, truly empowered me to embrace my own unique awakening. And I did just that. I welcome you to do it as well. Let’s explore the shadow …
Let’s talk about resolve. Spiritual enlightenment resolve to be precise. You may have noticed a few changes to this website. Changes that are a call to action for both you and me; changes that invite you to participate in the awakening process beyond the armchair, the computer, the ipad or kindle. Personally, I’m feeling the need to unfurl my wings, to expand them . . . and to fly. I’m feeling the need to CHANGE. I hope you are too.
I want to be straight-forward, direct and blunt about these matters, because there is a great learning opportunity here for you: I have resolve. I have always had resolve. I will always have resolve. Resolve is what brought me to awakening. Resolve is what got me up out of the lazy seat and into the hot seat. Resolve saved my ass. Resolve to want happiness, peace, freedom, and wellbeing. Resolve not to settle. Resolve to apply myself. Resolve to be better. Resolve is the most important spiritual element you can bring to the awakening process.
Ya know what ya got when you don’t have resolve?- reluctance, avoidance & indecision. In other words, yep, ya got shit. Yeah, them’s fightin’ words.
I just finished Jed McKennas Theory of Everything. I’m a big Jed fan. Read all his books. Searched for him online (in vain of course) And dreamed many a time of having the anonymous-book selling-mythos-lifestyle that he has somehow conjured up. I even play Tomb Raider. (Just bought my very first Xbox and have been playing the shit out of it) The name of this blog/website is even partially inspired by the title of his second book, Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment. So yeah, I like Jed McKenna. Funny thing however, I don’t think Jed would like me. If we met we would probably bicker and fight over the nuances of explaining, teaching, and being enlightened. And that, in a nutshell is the perfect example of spiritual awakening teachers and their differences- Put them all in the same room and I guarantee a bloody, cursing, knock-down, brawl of a fist-fight in about five minutes. Wouldn’t you just love to see Eckhart Tolle with a black eye? ( Well, I would. )
Self Inquiry or the process of seeing ego is much like pushing a self destruct button. The self that gets destroyed of course (displaced is a better word but for this post we will stick with the apocalyptic analogy) is the little self of mind/ego and the SELF that takes it’s place is the true self of conscious self-awareness. In order for the self-destruct button to REALLY take effect you have to be pushing it during all moments of your waking life, until the wind has been completely taken out of the sails of ego. This process is no fun. You will not thank me while you are going through this process. When you arrive to the other side of this process you might thank me…or not. Much like the movie The Matrix, waking up is more about the truth than candy coated light infused bubbalicious bliss and happiness. Here’s how you self-destruct:
Hey Everybody. This is the cover and introduction to my 2nd book. I haven’t written a single chapter, but will be writing throughout the summer. I NEED-CRAVE-DESIRE-DEMAND-DICTATE- your help please. (Was that spiritually-politically incorrect enough?) I’d like to do a trade: I’ll provide free one-on-one phone/skype consultations in exchange for you finding agents/publishers to send PR packages to and emailing them out. I’m interested in a major publisher this time around. You: Gets Awakening help. Me: Gets published. Please contact me via contact form on this website or leave a comment!!! Enjoy…
There’s a dirty little secret that has been perpetually hidden in the teachings of enlightenment for millennia now. It’s this: There is no such thing as enlightenment. Enlightenment is what’s left after you’ve given up on the search for enlightenment. Enlightenment is what remains when you have stopped obsequiously believing and following that annoying spiritual seeking voice in your head. It’s what’s left when you stop identifying with the “you” that is always seeking and demanding (not just spiritually) for more or better or bigger. Actually enlightenment shouldn’t even be called enlightenment- it should be call en-human-ment. That’s closer to the truth. There are a few elements to en-human-ment that one could point to and say- aha, enlightenment, but for the most part what is realized is surprisingly simple, natural and normal. So simple, natural and normal in fact, that I prefer to call it blue collar. Blue Collar Enlightenment- ahhh, that’s better.