the path

of supreme knowledge.
by jonathan francois douglas o’haly

part 1 - the setting
philosophy begins when one learns to doubt - particularly to doubt one's cherished beliefs, one's dogmas and one's axioms. will durant common sense is not so common. voltaire

nothing makes any sense anymore. nothings supposed to. people who think they know things about spirituality usually don’t. everybody has issues. what makes you tick? everybodys got something. you gotta. can someone really turn the light switch on and have it left there? probably not. you can’t be positive all the time. sooner or later someone’s going to piss you off. everything’s relative. someone may have had an experience that they read into too much thinking that they have somehow pierced through into some magical understanding that most others haven’t. for that particular person their special experience may have truly transformed them on one level or another propelling them to a higher state of being and thought. or at least one would like to think so. the human ego has an infinite capacity for fooling itself. we can all agree on that.

people can tell themselves almost anything. people can lie to themselves. most people probably do. because what is reality? everything is relative. i don’t live inside your head so maybe i can’t really say. what’s your interpretation of it all? we all know that life is infinitely diverse. what’s true for me may not mean anything for you. life is a journey. sometimes people obviously don’t know what they’re talking about. i saw this thing about a guru in india and they call him the ‘grumpy guru’. i can’t remember his name but he’s got thousands and thousands of followers because he’s probably part of a succession of enlightened master’s who have passed down the great secret of enlightenment to each other. but he’s always grumpy and yelling at people. i mean it’s pretty obvious to me that that’s not enlightenment. but to other people they are convinced that serving this man will be fruitful for them spiritually. sometimes people have fooled themselves to such a great degree that it is so painfully obvious to everyone else that they are dwelling completely under a dark cloud of their own choosing and no one can figure out how to reach that person. you can’t shake that person and wake them up, you can’t talk to them and if you do you will probably make them angry and just have them distance themselves off from you even further. somehow you have to hope that whatever knot they have gotten themselves into will just unravel itself. i believe in enlightenment. i believe that inside everyone is a great knot, that everyone in fact is a knot, or better yet a great series of knots totalling a huge knot, that people are totally defined on every level by their ignorance, by their opposition to god, by god as an energy force, not as a fable but by the cosmic energy that comprises everything in this universe.

and if you look at someone you can see and read their energy matrix and you can see the various knots combining to prevent that person from letting go and flowing with cosmic energy totally and freely. i believe that people who are so knotted up inside their own heads are unable to truly see reality. we shouldn’t think that we can somehow magically unwind someone else or even help them to unwind themselves. people have their own destiny and people forge their own paths through life and the universe. maybe you are helping the universe. by being positive. and that’s all you can really do.

part 2 - the art
what is the first business of one who studies... to part with self conceit. for it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows. epictetus (55-135) for man, the unexamined life is not worth living. socrates

what if you can accomplish more by doing nothing? what if god is trying to talk to you, trying to nudge you in the right direction constantly but you are just too loud to see the signs? what if you, as an individual, don’t have the necessary information available to you to make the correct choices all of the time? you can’t see the big picture. and you could be making wrong decisions because of it. the universe can see what you can’t. but you’re not listening.

you’re screaming loudly, “NO. THIS IS WHAT I WANT!” trying to drown out the constant background noise you can’t harmonize yourself with. what if you just laid down your arms and surrendered? thinking of doing this might make you become fearful. we have forged our own identities and we are scared of losing them. really it’s a form of dying. we need to peel off the outer layers of ourselves and see what remains. it’s not about what you have become but instead about who you are. we have an eternal identity that we really only ever run from.

part 3 - a higher destiny
happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness chuang tzu philosophy subverts man's satisfaction with himself, exposes custom as a questionable dream, and offers not so much solutions as a different life. walter kaufmann

so we are knotted up in our own selfish false ideas about ourselves and the world and we can’t therefore harmonize ourselves with universal energy and intelligence because of it. we are not thinking with the great mind letting the universe and fate guide us to true purpose, destiny, and contentment. even as spiritual beings we remain in disharmony not grasping a true understanding of things. we overexert ourselves and things by trying too hard still to accomplish things that either aren’t meant to be accomplished or else have absolutely

no reason to. the point being that there is a higher calling. there is a higher mind. one day you will have to surrender because there is no choice. some people have had to surrender themselves to the forces of fate and circumstance. some of us usually because of sickness and illness have lost ourselves so to speak only to find ourselves despite it all in a new and improved spiritual state of thinking and being. however with all experiences even transcendental ones the effects, the feelings, the understandings are not of an eternal nature. the experience of enlightenment may transform someone, may effect someone until they die, but the true secret of enlightenment is that it is a practice. the moment of enlightenment which is the eternal moment of union with all things is the moment that we should seek to always exist in. and we can enter this idea only by constantly surrendering to things, to the true current of life. many people have experienced enlightenment but few are actually experiencing it.

part 4 - the inclination
do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ralph waldo emerson if we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin. ivan turgenev

it all can get awfully complicated.

surrendering. obviously we can do nothing for awhile but sooner or later we must do something. one question is do we utilize our gifts and talents or do we seek to accomplish to things that we perhaps aren’t best suited to? what if we are all equally gifted and capable but only some have been fortunate enough to follow and grow into their own inherent ability? what if you have a natural inclination towards growing into your own capabilities? life is trying to pull you into that direction. doing nothing, practicing surrender then in this light is giving into your own destiny, is growing into your true self. most of us have been too busy throughout our lives to ever have really spent time listening. when we practice surrendering then we keep bringing ourselves back to the beginning point. we let things happen for us more than we try to force things to. it’s a completely different perspective. you will accomplish way more by surrendering and letting yourself flow with life. life’s current will gently nudge you downstream to heaven and true enlightenment. we wait for things and paths to open up for us. we know if one is right even if later on down the road we would think no it wasn’t. we learn through trial and error to correctly make the best and most enlightened choices in life. it’s like surfing or writing, sooner or later we can get ourselves into the groove where everything is just flowing on an almost super conscious level. connecting to your true self on a fundamental level is a practice and an art form. at first it sounds difficult if not impossible but sooner or later you will realize and see the true beauty of things.

part 5 - composure
it is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. ursula le guin talent is what you possess; genius is what possesses you. malcolm cowley

consider this, a life without expectation. imagine being happy with almost whatever happens in life. this is the path. since i have put more focus into following life instead of trying to push my way through it, trying to wish that things would happen how i thought i wanted them to, my life has improved a hundred fold. you may think that, “oh if i relax and try to experiment with this kind of thinking, everything in my life could fall apart, i could lose my job, my kids could be out on the street, etc., etc.” more likely life and the universe is trying to reveal something to you that may improve your life in a small way leading to more and more comfort and security for you and your family not the opposite. there is nothing that life wants more then to see children healthy, well taken care of, and ready (educated) to make their own way in the world. if you have no dependents, if you have an extremely stressful or unhealthy job or lifestyle then you may indeed feel the forces of life wanting to uproot you and plant you somewhere else. this is probably something you feel already even without considering the philosophy set out in this book. god, life, nature, the mighty universe, however you may picture the energy of creation that encompasses everything is a force of pure love and wishes that same thing upon you. if your thinking that making money means more then knowledge and contentment, more than knowledge which is the love of understanding what love has created and why, well?

you’re wrong. you don’t need to adhere to the principles that i have set forth. that most philosophy has set forth. but it’s still going to buzz around in your head and trying to force yourself to ignore it is just going to continue to make your life difficult. if we were had to hand over ownership of the world to someone who would we choose? most likely someone who not only had the ability to assume such a large responsibility with skill and compassion but also someone who could handle such a task un egotistically. someone who could remain humble and speak to and treat all people as equals. this is what the universe is telling you. it can hand over the keys to you, the powers of divinity, even of wealth, fame, and power, but you aren’t ready because you will probably crash the car. you need to follow life in all instances through joy and hardship knowing that life is tempering your soul and teaching you to finally attain to the humility and knowledge that will ultimately lead you to true inner peace. and maybe even wealth. when you have absolutely no desire for something you can be potentially on the verge of uncovering it for yourself. inner peace trumps everything else. because when you have gained inner peace then you realize that you would really be no happier whether you were living in a mansion or a tent trailer. and when you reach that point life may start bestowing things upon you.

part 6 - the transition point
know yourself and you will win all battles. sun tzu the greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. nelson mandela

sometimes we may feel like we already have a calling in life and we have spent so much time and put so much energy into our goals and aspirations that just giving up on those things would seem to be extremely sad, pointless and even insane. maybe you do have a calling to achieve to something? maybe, as well, you have allowed your ego to become completely intertwined and infused in your goals and aspirations. in the rewards, in the pride, in fear, in doubt, in short, in the imagination which is the domain of the ego. consider this as well, in any artform, and we’ll refer to almost anything in life as being an artform, one must eventually transition from becoming to being. people get so wrapped up in trying to achieve to some great skill or ability that they miss the jumping off point or they don’t see it off in the horizon in the first place. to truly be one with art is to do so effortlessly. the human ego will turn everything into an effort. it will make one over confident when one shouldn’t be and under confident when one conversely should be. the human ego is imagination. it is not reality. the human ego is such an amazing tool that it is no wonder that spirits who enter this world unknowing become so absolutely lost in it’s faculties for endless pondering and bewilderment. you will never truly achieve to true greatness without giving into life and the path it has laid out before you. many people obviously who do not walk this path become very successful. are any of these people inherently happier than most of us. no. because inner peace is ultimately more important than anything else and inner peace is not dependent on external conditions. if life is throwing you out on a roller coaster ride it is only trying to teach you

to be strong in this truth. if you find enjoyment in the skills and abilities that you have developed before walking this path after attaining to it then maybe you truly are called to it and are a true master. in short you can not become a master of an art, of a skill, of a set of skills, until you can completely forget about it all, until you can completely let those things go. it’s like if you were a seed and you are ready to germinate now on the great path of life. the time to ponder over and fantasize about what kind of tree you could become how tall you would grow to or how delightful your fruits would be is over. now you must just sprout and let life guide you without any expectation.

part 7 - being
if you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to... there is nothing you cannot achieve. lao tzu we must never cease from exploration. and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time t s eliot

in the last section we talked a bit about the difference between being and becoming. having true confidence in yourself is knowing. when you have mastered something you proceed to excel in that field of thought or being without doubt. there is not even a minute amount of under confidence or over confidence involved.

there is really just knowing and being one with your art. whether your art is one the outside world would notice or appreciate is besides the point. there is just balance. your art may progress, it may change, it may even evolve but it never really gets any better. it just is. you find joy knowing and watching others develop themselves to the same capacity. there is never jealousy. commercial success means absolutely nothing. it’s almost a bother really. you almost feel like you messed up and made something too accessible. this is being. becoming is different. when you are still blooming into something then you invariably still have doubts about yourself. you may measure yourself and your pursuit of excellence by the amount of success you have attained to. you may feel a bit jealous when confronted with others who are attaining to more notice then you are. unless you are becoming something from a state of being. which is slightly different but can still be challenging. becoming a master of an art takes effort. being a master means that there is none at all, at no time, de nada. someone wanting to become a master must train and study. this person must push themselves through everything against all odds especially past the public at large’s disbelief in their own and almost everyone else’s inherent genius. “you are not one of the greats! you are like us, average!” the world of man screams at all times. mediocrity assaults one from all angles.

it starts when we are first born and is drilled into our heads constantly. becoming a master is not where our ego tricks itself into being way too over confident about itself and it’s capabilities. it’s knowing. and it’s silence. mastery is a natural process that progresses from first becoming to overcoming becoming something. from first progressing upon a path to reaching the end of that path knowing that one has traversed the entirety. being meaning that one has mastered the human ego. the final roadblock that rests between you and truly mastering anything. the human ego is a tool, it is a reality, it is an amazing thing but it is not you at the most innermost level, you have a separate identity. you are simply awareness. imagine that the human ego is like your faithful companion maybe your horse. you’re unconscious, blindfolded, and tied to your horse. your horse is probably, well it is, just running around in circles feeding itself on grass wondering if you’re ok. not quite the same because you are the horse in a sense. your imagination is running you around in circles or what ifs and if onlys. and you may be totally lost inside of it. you must become the master of your imagination. and this is why in the pursuit of mastering any art mastering yourself becomes a necessary and most often the final step. being versus becoming in this light means surrender. mastering surrendering or remaining present. as a master. of your self. mastering an art which is admirable but means nothing next to mastering yourself.

and in the end we see that pursuing excellence in one field or another was simply just a metaphor preparing us for what we really must confront in life eventually. in the aftermath of it all we see art as a tool to reach people on one level or another. as a way to try to bring people up out of the doldrums of their own perceived paralyzed state and self removal from, stemming ultimately from fear, from their fear of, reality. “see this is what we are capable of.” when one has mastered the ego then almost anything is possible. one can begin to approach life from a state of being which is opposite to that which we have called, becoming. we begin to learn how to flow with life more and more effectively.

part 8 - here and there
what I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue. henri matisse treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be. jimmy johnson

mastering an art can be like the dress rehearsal before the big show. in the end it brings us face to face with the hugest obstacle involved in our long journey, ourselves. we now must master the forces that forge our own identity. we must fight to find a balance in life. between being and non being. between listening and talking. balance is essential in all areas of living.

people who can find balance can excel effortlessly through life almost coasting downhill with their hands waving in the air. people who can’t find balance. well we know how hard life is for some people. the question of balance enters every single human equation and is most often overlooked. whether between oneself and the inanimate world, between two individuals or large groups of people such as nation states there is always a balancing point, a meeting point, a point of equilibrium. the great scales of justice will be satisfied in the end. nature is the perfect example of balance in action. life and death. night and day. male and female. opposite things acting in unison create perfection. humans have trouble finding balance because they are selfish. being selfish in life will send you spinning out of equilibrium. in the end when you pass away and face yourself you will judge your life from a point of supreme balance. you will either choose to see your self, your mind and your memories burned out of your self back to a point of purity so you can enter life again or you will glide effortlessly across the great river of life to heaven itself. depending on the guilt you feel about being selfish in life and causing disharmony in the world. being balanced is everything. if we wish to be enlightened, if we seek to be one with life, nature, god, the great universe, etc. then we must first and foremost embrace balance. there is nothing worse in the world then not being able to find harmony in life. eventually imbalance causes disease. being balanced mentally means more to being healthy than any other single factor. you know that you are balanced when you are content and happy.

physically there are many things you can do to be healthy and they are all vital and important for yourself and the outside world. and all of those things can also weigh in on your mental health. however it does not matter how healthy you are physically, how much you exercise or how much organic food you eat, if you are not content spiritually then you are probably not really that healthy. contentment, balance, and the mental attitude of positivity that seeking balance produces are the true keys to a long and meaningful life.

part 9 - the current
our greatest battles are with our own minds. jameson frank right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it. william penn

inner peace, inner balance. enlightenment, self mastery. so far we have touched upon some pretty big concepts. we have talked about surrendering, letting go, letting ourselves be guided by life instead of trying to push our way through it selfishly. this means having trust in the forces of life and creation, in god. imagine that life is a river. imagine just floating downstream rather than wailing around trying to swim upstream until you get exhausted then losing ground downstream being angry that you did finding the journey difficult and tiring at almost all times. this is the perfect metaphor for the journey that we all are forced to participate in, life, being alive. life can be easy or hard and sometimes it is just a matter of perspective. sometimes obviously we know this but we get ourselves stuck in an emotional rut and we have a hard time climbing our way out of it.

for people who first begin upon the spiritual journey life can become hard. for most people emotional difficulty is externalized. maybe they shouldn’t of gotten mad or angry but someone or something caused them to be, it’s not really a big deal, it happens to everyone, yada, yada, yada. most people don’t really think about it all. people’s brains can circle around meaningless issues for hours causing them turmoil and that’s just the way it is. for the spiritual seeker however the emotional problems that can grip any of us so tightly start to become more and more internalized as they continue to embrace spirituality. the spiritual seeker confronts the great figures of the past. people like the buddha. the spiritual seeker confronts enlightenment. and ‘perfection’. as seekers we know that anger is always self defeating and unnecessary and the fact that we continue to get angry can cause us so much pain. as our time on the spiritual path lengthens we start to feel like we should of defeated some of these inner demons that continue to haunt us. we may feel like we’ve finally found something inside of ourselves because we’ve been peaceful for awhile and then something like an outburst of anger will make us feel like we’ve learned nothing, that we are incapable and unworthy, that things are pointless. often times i think that the confusion rests in philosophical misunderstanding. think about it this way. we are visitors to this planet. your physical body is nothing more than a vehicle. it is an animal. think of it as a horse. imagine that you r on a moody, very poorly trained horse that keeps trying to buck you off because it feels that you are a bit of a bother and you’ve never taken the time to introduce yourself properly. and on top of that you are always saying grumpy, hateful things to it.

sure your horse doesn’t speak english but it knows what you’re getting at by your tone of voice. your physical body wants you to be firm, patient, loving. it wants you to explain things to it. it wants you to take charge of things, it doesn’t want to be told to run off on it’s own and then berated because it didn’t know where it was going! or because it went where it felt at home, where it was used to going, where you asked it to go but then hate yourself later on because you went there again. the physical universe is one of rhythm, of seasons, of cycles. people are creatures of habit. if you are training an animal you must be patient, loving, and firm with it. you must gently bring it back over and over again until it has learned to develop new habits. when it cooperates then you reward it so it knows on an intuitive level what is expected of it. you must develop better habits. you must learn to communicate with yourself on a physical level. you must step forth and announce yourself to the planet. you physical self longs for you to take the reins of this situation. it is a creation created to fully facilitate this journey! when you understand this philosophical point then things start to become easier. and patience is obviously key.

part 10 - the mood
shoot for the moon. even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. les brown we need men who can dream of things that never were. john f kennedy

if we can train ourselves to develop better habits and cultivate healthy living. the thing that people fail to understand, the main stumbling block, is that we’re not stepping up to tell ourselves, to convincingly reassure ourselves that, ‘hey! everything is going to be alright.” sounds overly simplistic. but how much time do we spend stressing over things that we either know will sort themselves out, 90 percent of the time, or that we are completely powerless over anyways. as we all know the world can be a crazy place. the only logical step when confronted with the multitude of possible scenarios, with all of the variables of life is to stand up to it all. we must take the mass of unknowns, place it all before us, as one giant monster united, existing only to cause us fear and teach us strength and look directly into it’s eyes without quivering. “i don’t care anymore, i’m not going to keep being stressed out, i can handle whatever life is going to throw at me.” we must desire sanity. how do we seek it if we don’t believe it. people have told me, “how can i believe in that, how can i believe in enlightenment when i’ve never experienced it.” good question. who wants to spend the next ten, twenty years chasing something that may or may not exist? most people don’t believe in things that can’t be scientifically explained. (unless corporations tell them that things have been scientifically explained, even when they haven’t.) and when people do let their minds wander over to the spiritual side of things they usually go way overboard and embrace either something so incredibly out there or else something that has become so overly complicated making one wonder how they will benefit themselves in any measure. the method laid out in this writing is incredibly simple. spirituality is incredibly simple.

the processes of being, of becoming enlightened are ditto, not complicated at all. the main ingredient, bravery, is however, apparently, the hardest thing for people at large to consider. some people enjoy puzzling over things. everything in life is extremely complicated. especially the most simple things. ‘being healthy is complicated!” people like this who embrace spirituality like to think of it as it must be the most complicated thing in the world. higher consciousness is this huge rubiks cube that they will ‘figure out’. obviously some people do ‘figure it out’. usually it involves years of trying to figure it all out until finally your brain totally gives up on itself and you are left free to take that leap into the great ocean of all consciousness. some people seem to just ‘get’ spirituality. i’m not entirely sure. i was one of those i can figure anything out, i’m going to figure out enlightenment people. maybe everyone has to figure it out, in one way or another. we’re all born into physical thought and we all have to re pattern ourselves to think and exist on a different, higher level of functioning. spirituality in this light is like a chess game that the ego and the soul play with each other. and like any monumental game of strategy patience is key. and focus. we must come to seriously PLAY. we can’t make a half thought out move and then leave the game for a couple of weeks. eventually in the end the ego bows out gracefully, “congratulations you have won monsieur and are rightly crowned champion!” spiritual thinking in this light entails no pressure, no anguish, no frustration. the game will take as long as the game will take and any one who has seriously walked the path to higher consciousness would wholeheartedly

agree. like i said before you need to really play the game though. you must participate in it. it takes time and this is why many people wait until they have a good bit of free time in their lives before they start to fully dedicate themselves to the path.

part 11 - function
we cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away. zhuangzi the creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. ralph waldo emerson

spirituality of course is in the world often, like everything else, seriously misunderstood. spiritual terms as well, well name any, god, enlightenment, higher consciousness, being, ditto. the term ‘enlightenment’ causes so much confusion and many people seem to have a serious opinion about it all without even claiming to have experienced anything like it. most people of course equate the idea of enlightenment with being perfect. other people, unfamiliar with spiritual philosophy generally ie. buddhist, would equate it more with some form of social awakening. ‘i am not like the sheeple, i am enlightened, i can see through what confuses them.’ being enlightened does involve social awakening on a very fundamental level but i feel it goes deeper than what a lot of people would realize. because people don’t realize how deep the conditioning is. how deeply mortal thought covers us. enlightenment is a total revolution of thinking and thought on the very deepest level of your innermost self.

it is reconnecting to your eternal existence before you die. the enlightened are effectively reborn. enlightenment is so foreign to the average mind that there is absolutely no way, until you have experienced it, for you to form an opinion about it. people are herd animals. think about herd mentality. think about collective or shared consciousness. a lot of people can’t accept that the herd may be fundamentally headed in the wrong direction. many people have awakened to one degree or another and the insight they have gained because of it forms a large part of their social identity. basically there is a cloud that covers us all at all times and this can be called, ‘herd mentality.’ most people whether they like it or not are completely bound by the forces of time. it doesn’t matter what the herd thought before, who knows anyway? ‘the herd is headed in this direction and i am too.’ sure there are grumpy cattle running near the back of the herd thinking, ‘i’m depressed, none of this makes any sense, maybe i should be in charge, hey we’re going the wrong way!’ some people have doubts and may think of themselves as being smarter than most but for all intents and purposes they still fully exist within the framework of the herd. because ‘the herd’ doesn’t just encompass republicans, and democrats, but people who don’t vote, anarchists, commies, christians and muslims, africans, canadians, basically everyone. how do we escape from this all encompassing cloud? i mean it does exist and influence us on every level. people think the same things often at the same time. i will be thinking about ice cream and the guy i’m working with will be like, ‘hey i could use an ice cream.’ people don’t really see the big picture. you only see and converse with your own little pack of cows running along in the midst of the mass exodus of humanity. ‘we think these things, we’re unique, this is our little clique!’

many people when confronted with the spiritual journey will seek absolute removal from humanity and society so that they may pierce through the cloud that they have been formed under. to finally see clearly and escape from the madness that they see all around them. people are called to spirituality, they always have been. it is so easy to belittle something that you don’t understand. to put down people who are going through something you haven’t. other people who have not experienced the journey but still may harbour more of an open mind towards things, or else may know on some level that they are destined to take that journey someday, but just not yet. can we fully walk the path of spiritual insight and enlightenment while still performing our daily duties, still doing what is necessary, things like taking care of our dependents? obviously this is a question that many great spiritual thinkers, including the buddha himself have struggled with. most of the stories we have concerning the great spiritual minds makes it crystal clear that they involved themselves in a definite and definitive period of solitary existence. study shamanic lore and history and we are faced with the exact same thing. great spiritual minds are solitary creatures, maybe not always, but they were for long periods of time, and that fact defines them more than anything else. it’s almost as if we have to climb to the mountain top ourselves not quite being absolutely sure that any have really survived this climb. we need to sit for awhile and watch the herd, have time to think for ourselves for once, we need to remove ourselves completely from the opinions of the day and confront eternity. enlightenment is not perfection. perfection does not exist. being enlightened is not always easy. it has it’s own challenges. learning always continues.

trying to help people in the world when many would react with anger, even those closest to you, for even addressing the topic of enlightenment. people want to react like, ‘hey look at this guy he thinks he’s better than us let’s say bad things about him!’ i don’t think that i’m better than anyone. the thought has never crossed my mind. we each have our own journey in life. this is mine. i have been lucky but at the same time i dedicated my life to this wholeheartedly when others dedicated their lives to other things. the spiritual journey can be difficult. there is a lot of misinformation in the world. i, unfortunately for the haters, do know what i am talking about. i am not perfect and i don’t think you should worry too much about being perfect either. the worst thing that one can do is to pretend that they’re perfect when they’re not. thinking you’re perfect will bring you bad karma. maybe perfection is like jumping as high as you can. you can always jump higher. you can always train and continue to push the bar. of course we always need to do the best we can and become better and better people. in short enlightenment is about as different from normal thinking, from thinking defined by time and circumstance, by physical existence, by herd consciousness, as sleeping is from being awake. and that’s all you need to really understand.

part 12 - the mural
in the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true. buddha

all who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible. orison swett marden

there must be answers out there. of course it’s easier to think that there aren’t. or to place our faith in a person or a philosophy. ‘someone else has figured this all out, i’ll just do what they say.’ it’s almost like choosing which clothes to wear. what we believe when it comes to spirituality becomes an extension of ourselves and our chosen identities. almost like accessorising our personality. ‘i’m reading the torah, the bible is like so last year’ there’s probably some spiritual extension or other maybe floating around your social circle and that will probably be the one you hook onto. i’m not going to go to put down what you believe in or what you feel helps you sort through things. think about this though. when we think about creation, when we think about god, then we are thinking about something that is not finite. with rational things you can sort through them and make rational decisions about what you believe. with spiritual philosophy it’s much harder. for example you may find someone who is saying, what you feel is, the opposite of what i am saying. but what you might not realize is that we are saying the same thing. spirituality is like art, say like painting. there are millions of ways to paint a picture. art like spirituality is not finite. there’s no right way to paint a picture. you shouldn’t just be into only looking at picassos. it’s better to appreciate art in it’s never ending multitude of timeless

expression. religion, spiritual philosophy, the myriad forms of worship and thought that we find around the world should be seen in the exact same light. the great founder’s of the great spiritual disciplines thought this way. we seek to create an art form to try to explain and show people the divine principle that exists in all of us. (like every snowflake is completely different so is everyone’s spirituality.) consider this as well. to reach to higher consciousness, to enlightenment, then you too must become a painter, or an artist of spirituality. staring at what someone else did with the canvas of infinite possibility is only going to get you so far. you must seek to present your own version of it all. because we must teach people to paint not just stare at paintings.

part 13 - the background music
to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself and now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. sir isaac newton i never saw a pessimistic general win a battle e e cummings

we must learn to paint our own pictures, we must paint our own journey on the empty infinite canvasses of our own souls. who really knows who got what in the past. it doesn’t really matter. it doesn’t really matter what i get or don’t get. the intent is to make you think about these things. from your perspective the buddha wasn’t any more right than the christ.

because you must be right in your own heart. nothing means anything to you now. it’s all background music.

part 14 - the power
when you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself. wayne dyer a person does not have to be behind bars to be a prisoner. people can be prisoners of their own concepts and ideas. they can be slaves to their own selves. maharaji

how beautiful is life really? how do people get so absolutely confused by it all finding things difficult at almost all times? people become lost inside of illusions of their own design. people unable to tap into their own inherent force and finally find true solace look outside of themselves for comfort and purpose. people are always externalizing everything. ‘if i had this or that in my life.’ ‘if i didn’t have this or that in my life, then everything would be fine.’ sometimes life throws things at us that are so difficult to deal with that even the most enlightened amongst us would quiver at the force of it all. we may have someone that we are forced to deal with and no matter how hard we try to be harmonious with that person we finally begin to feel like harmony will never exist. let’s be honest sometimes it just isn’t possible to reach an agreement with someone. it doesn’t matter how spiritual, forgiving, loving and balanced we can become in many instances it will still be impossible for us to interact with some people as equals.

in fact unfortunately many times the exact opposite is more true. the more loving and forgiving we are with some people the more these people will think that they can take advantage of us and use us for their own selfish purposes. however vain, extremely insane, and simplistic those selfish purposes seem to us. often times just the simple act of becoming spiritual will set us up to be taken advantage of by more materialistic minded people. some people find spirituality extremely hilarious. people like this in your life may feel like you have just entered a saturday night live like scripted screenplay of life or something. ‘he’s doing what? meditating? hahahaha.’ obviously as we talked about earlier, in walking the spiritual path it is best to ultimately distance ourselves, if we can, from people who bring negativity into our lives. a little bit of humour or well meant criticism can be extremely useful to us as spiritual beings. however there is a line that people cross and we know when people are regularly crossing this line. people are habitual creatures and the people who occupy our lives whether they are negative or positive people can be just as hard for us to dismiss, or harder, as other habitual patterns that grip people like, drugs. we feel, correctly or incorrectly, maybe time will tell, that the wisdom and insight that is infusing our lives should be shared with the people who are closest to us. that they will benefit and want to elevate themselves as well. sometimes you can’t help somebody change because they are stuck in some sort of a rut and being in a rut, well it’s pretty dark in a rut, they can’t see that sad fact. obviously we must find inner peace and if there are people in our lives that we must deal with who aim, who really knows why, to bring forth disharmony then we must be at peace with that.

we must remain true to the ideals of spirituality and our true selves namely love and compassion. we must truly realize that inner peace comes from within and that no outside force should really be capable of disrupting that force if we are truly walking the path of higher thought and enlightenment. in short we must forgive people as well even if they don’t deserve it. we must find strength in being right and righteous and not worry whether other people are ever able to see that in ourselves.

part 15 - harmony
all living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible. george santayana soon the child's clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. the sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. after that day, we become seekers. peter matthiessen

we must find strength in ourselves. even when surrounded by doubt and suspicion we need to be strong about who we are. of course provided we have reason to be, sure of ourselves, righteous. true enlightenment is an impregnable fortress of inner peace.

you should truly be able to sit with someone who thinks that everything you think is completely delusional and you should be able to be completely peaceful and friendly to that person at all times. there must be understanding. people can’t really completely believe in what you’ve been through because they haven’t been through it themselves. there must be respect. people are limited in all ways by what they have been allowed to or, by the same token, allowed themselves to experience in life. you can not let yourself be affected, mentally and spiritually, by other people’s ignorance. sometimes speaking strongly to someone with great conviction might indeed help them open up a little and consider a point of view that they had hitherto been close off towards. however there is a huge difference between speaking with conviction and being angry. some people of course are very defensive and like to feel that you are virtually assaulting them if you speak to them in any manner, pointing out anything that they may choose to perceive as being different to how they think. we need to be firm with our children for example but never angry. some parents do not guide there children through life, to have good habits, but instead get angry at them continuously after the fact even though their children have only been demonstrating the habits that they have been led to develop, in essence by not being led. life is balance, the secret to being able to find balance constantly even after being thrown down is in the rhythm. ultimately people without rhythm aren’t our enemies unless we start treating them as such. yes people without rhythm can be very dangerous. being enlightened means being at peace with the world so first and foremost it is our job to harmonize our lives with our surroundings.

if your surroundings, if the person you are in a relationship with, if your family or friends are, you feel, making it nearly impossible for you to find harmony in the world, well then, what do you want me to say, you may need to move on. being alone, being in a new environment, being by yourself may be difficult at first but you will get used to it. later when you have found harmony in yourself by all means return to the places you have been and look at things from your new, more conscious perspective on life.

part 16 - confronting comfort (to find comfort)
the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. marcel proust behold the turtle. he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out. james conant

we must continue to look at life. the journey never really ends. we must continue to rise and rise again. life is good or bad, easy or difficult and it’s often times all just a matter of perspective. you may hate your job for instance but someone else would be like, wow, this job is awesome! sometimes things are fun because there new and you’re learning but then after a while the things you must do everyday start to become repetitive. and boring. maybe some people crave order more than others. they want their lives to be totally predictable.

other people need, at least a little, chaos in their lives. people may get sick of the constant uncertainty in their lives but they almost unconsciously keep creating it for themselves because it is the environment that they thrive in. some people need to be challenged and when life isn’t challenging enough for them then they start to begin to feel stifled and imprisoned by it all. people can lash out at the things in their life that they, fairly or often unfairly, feel to be holding them back. people can ruin their relationships, careers, families, their own lives in the process. sometimes we need order in our lives, sometimes we need the opposite. what is the purpose of social organization except to promote order? what if we feel for example that one of the apparatuses of social organization is essentially flawed in it’s design and implementation? when really looking at life it’s really hard to not feel this way. let’s face it: people are starving, the economy is collapsing, we can’t afford healthcare, children are killing each other, divorce rates continue to rise. is this the best that we can do as people? look at healthcare and how we are increasing just really slaves to corporate, pharmaceutical, propaganda. there’s a war going on out there that most are unaware of and almost all of us have lost loved ones in the struggle. look at people. the average person is overweight and unhealthy. look at relationships.

the number one way that human beings attempt to inject order into their lives. people have decided that ‘owning’ someone else while at the same time being ‘owned’ by someone else must be the most advantageous way to live their lives. when in rome do as the romans. and in that light maybe it is the best way to live. some people’s lives depend entirely on how society would view them. public image is everything. your promotion, getting elected into office, everything could depend on having a wife or husband. for most people however being in a relationship is just another way they seek to shield themselves from the all encompassing chaos and impending doom that keeps knocking on their doors. like in healthcare, people, even if it kills them, find comfort in believing that they can have complete faith in the medical system as is. you could tell them about something new that will soon be embraced by healthcare professionals, like the importance of vitamin d, and people will pretend to be mildly interested. they will invariably look up health canada’s vitamin d recommendations. and even though it is 1/20 th. of what scientists who are studying the effect of the sun on our skins say we need to maintain critical living systems they feel 100% secure in their suspicions of it all. health canada is actively promoting disease and cancer in canada and how many people bat an eye at it all? not many. essentially we’re getting back into thinking about herd mentality. we’re confronting the ‘sheeple’ once more. how absolutely blind are people? and all of it is tied to people’s true spiritual status.

progressing along the spiritual path involves always confronting the unknown. mentally people have become habituated with themselves and their thinking patterns, their ideas and illusions about who they are, how they fit in the grand framework of it all and they find comfort in thinking that everyone essentially is in the same boat. habituated not usually having much to do with how efficiently they are operating in life. the ego will justify it all, it has to just to keep the human being sane. at this level the ego is acting as a survival mechanism while the spirit sleeps. how will we truly find ourselves if we don’t make the commitment to truly challenge everything that we can? everything that we think, everything that we think we know about life on this planet. if you are not ready to start to begin to walk in a different direction than the masses of humanity would then by all means don’t. most people will just completely write off the spiritual path in their own minds as being a hoax and a product of delusional thinking in order to justify mediocrity. maybe find comfort in being on the cutting edge of thinking and living. this is true comfort.

part 17 - interlude 1
better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

chinese proverb some complain that roses have thorns others rejoice that thorns have roses! author unknown

what truly challenges us in life? the simple things? the difficult ones? growing can be hard. but is it better to grow or is it better instead to feel as if you’re almost wasting away so firmly locked up like you might be in the idea of not growing, in stagnating? none of us really want life to be too hard. it would be nice to not wonder whether you were going to be able to pay your rent or mortgage next month and have a place to live. we know that if you don’t use your muscles then they can start to waste away and you will be restless. people can think, that sounds like such hard work, i would rather do something more relaxing! but unless you work yourself then you won’t relax. you will be stressed out, your heart will almost be trying to exercise itself without your participation. one of the most vital questions in human activity of course is that of balance. and as in the above example, which is the perfect example, the balancing point is found in between work and rest. if we work hard we can really let go and relax. too much of one or the other and life becomes imbalanced and difficult.

just as vital to ourselves and our health as physical health is, is mental health. and really the brain is a physical instrument in the same way your legs are. if you don’t exercise your legs then as you get older especially they will become brittle, break easily, and not cooperate with you very well. keeping your brain in shape is maybe even more important. essentially you need to keep learning. if you don’t love learning, if you don’t love growing then you are essentially dying. many people reach a certain age and make the decision to retire, if they can. you’ve been doing the same thing maybe for a long time and who can blame you for wanting to do something else. sometimes however retirement can kill a person. work although maybe somewhat repetitive could be keeping a person mentally and physically active to a degree that they are unable to match in retirement. it’s not just the work you do, it’s all the other things combined as well like interacting with people, or co workers which can provide other challenges. even for some it’s just the simple fact that they actually had something that they needed to do. the inactivity creeps in and people are thrown so far off balance that many have neither the will or wisdom to realign themselves. don’t get me wrong not working can be awesome. the key though is to continue working. physically and mentally we must push ourselves to stay in shape.

part 18 - blowing in the wind

to be satisfied with a little, is the greatest wisdom; and he that increaseth his riches, increaseth his cares; but a contented mind is a hidden treasure, and trouble findeth it not. akhenaton when written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters. one represents danger and the other represents opportunity. john f. kennedy

happiness indeed stems from spiritual health. spiritual health isn’t referring to something abstract that most people have serious doubts as to whether it should be referred to at all because ‘spiritually we may not exist.” spiritual health encompasses the totality of ourselves physically and mentally. to think that you are ‘spiritual’ but at the same time you allow your physical vehicle to continue to be run into the ground would suggest that you are at least a little confused. things weigh in on other things when we’re considering the living totality of what the human being is. if we wish to be, by and large, happy and content, then there are a lot of things we must consider and think about and this book will obviously not be able to touch on all of them. also consider that unlocking higher consciousness in each of us is like assembling a huge jigsaw puzzle that will sometimes reset itself forcing you to try to quickly put a new puzzle together. each us has a different puzzle. i can’t even really see yours. i can’t be like move that piece over there! the first time is the hardest. after that it gets easier. remember the first time you reach towards higher being you are not completely 100% sure you are attempting to attain to something that even

exists. you must learn to be balanced in life so eventually you can help others. life will keep testing you and pushing you to keep you strong just like trees become stronger by being forced to withstand wind. we learn if we are willing to become stronger and stronger in our thoughts and abilities which serves to push ourselves to constantly become better representatives of the spiritual path. just like in the last chapter where we discussed using our muscles or losing them, essentially growing or doing the opposite, withering, here we present spiritual progress in the same light. being truly enlightened, being a spiritual master doesn’t entail being beyond this process. it simply means that one has become so unified with it, by practice and understanding, that the process itself has become essentially, though never guaranteed, one with them. first becoming enlightened is a singular point that some experience in their lives. the reality is that there is a journey to that point and then a journey from that point. and like in any journey you must actively participate in it or you will probably not be getting too far. like life, you must participate in it or you will start to feel yourself fading out of it all. sometimes the spiritual journey will entail not growing, or stagnating, essentially ‘not journeying’. remember we learn from our mistakes and sometimes if we’re not making mistakes we’re not learning much. or we are making mistakes but we don’t think we are.

part 19 - the final frontier
happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.

democritus health is the greatest possession. contentment is the greatest treasure. confidence is the greatest friend. non-being is the greatest joy. lao tzu ideas shape the course of history. john maynard keynes

from physical balance to having balance on the spiritual journey, on what we refer to as simply as the title of this book suggests, the path. there is only one path that we may travel on in life and when we speak of actively taking part in this journey we speak about consciously participating in it. imagine a giant road if you will with the entire race of human beings existing upon it. imagine people going here and there back and forth along this road believing like everyone else does, like the herd of humanity does that the road doesn't really go anywhere. some people have just plopped themselves down on the side of the road somewhere and said: this is where I am staying it's as good as where anyone else is, I'm tired of thinking about things, this is what I believe and I don't want to be bothered. maybe there's a group of people there already, maybe there's small towns here and there where people retire content to be around people who think as they do and don't challenge them. it's not a road that people travel along physically but mentally and to continue to walk down the road can be called evolving. the further you walk down the path the less populated it becomes, it becomes lonely, it can sound dangerous, you know that people who exist back where you come from think you're crazy and don't want much to do with you.

after awhile you haven't seen anyone for days, you're scared lonely hungry it's dark you can even reach the point where you don't even know if you could find your way back if you wanted. you thought someone was traveling with you but you don't know where they are and are hoping they are alright. there's no footsteps to follow at a certain point, there's old stories, fables, your journey is being fueled by myth. you are being led entirely by instinct. you are supposedly traveling to nirvana but rightfully you have your have serious doubts. becoming spiritual is supposed to lead you to happiness and you are definitely not experiencing that. most turn back at this point. if you were going the right way you would be feeling better about your journey not more afraid and unsure about it then you ever have before. this is the final mountain before one enters the promised land. spirituality is most often presented along with flowery terms making us believe that everything will be happy and joyous. it's all love baby. those of us who have walked this path are more like wild noble animals. we have thrown off the chains of domestication. we know true solitude, we have known what it is like to be naked against the full onslaught of nature. we have essentially found ourselves in nature not outside of it. the masses of humanity have not taken the path of life to it's logical conclusion, awakening. they are not brave enough too but they are also miseducated. they are supposedly secure in their comforts that are never truly comforting. some people don't allow themselves to truly be challenged and they

whither away from a young age never truly tasting life. people are herd animals and until the herd walks it's way towards the final gateway the mass of humanity will not either. when we speak about truth then we are doing our part however small it may be to influence that herd, to spread bigger thoughts and ideas out into the collective. by being balanced spiritually and growing into enlightenment once we discover it we increase the chances that others may search within themselves as we have. there is nothing more important than sharing our stories even when others would laugh at us or wish we would shut up. maybe the herd will make it to the promised land one day. maybe they will have to finally come face to face with the insanity of their own removal from and inherent attitude of opposition to, nature. maybe someday people will listen. maybe people are already starting to like some say. maybe it just is like it always is. maybe all this thinking and writing will only help one person ever push on and be brave and strong enough to make it over that final mountain. if only one person is helped, if no one is, it doesn't matter. the enlightened blow their horns from the promised land hoping that you hear them on the very hardest part of your journey so that you find the strength when you need it the most to finally find your way home. why should criticism silence them?

part 1 - back at the beginning
nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of god cicero the nature of God is a circle of which the centre is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere anonymous

where are we headed from here? straight into the promised land? let’s be optimistic. everyone has their own version of it all. nothing is the exact same for any two people. buddha for instance or any other spiritual or religious figure. if there are two of us searching for spiritual enlightenment we both would probably have at least a slightly different opinion on what exactly we’re looking for. likewise if we’re confronted with someone who has claimed to be enlightened we both would most likely use a different set of criteria when judging that person. obviously it’s important to remember that just like any journey into the unknown we don’t really know what to expect. spiritual progress is completely and entirely a personal experience and none of us can really sanely say one way or another. you don’t really know if anyone else truly knows what they’re really talking about. you don’t.

and you must fully face this reality to continue to progress into the all encompassing embrace of truth and supreme knowledge. you must. maybe you won’t find the strength to, or see the need to now but eventually you must as it is definitely such an integral part of the spiritual path. i’m not saying: stop reading, stop listening to lectures, don’t go to your meditation group meetings or church service, etc. i’m not really telling you to do ever stop doing these things. the point is that you must learn to completely think for yourself. the whole purpose of the spiritual path is to turn you into an empty vessel so that the light of the universe may start to fill your mind. like climbing that last mountain before entering nirvana. we must climb that high above the ideas and opinions of humanity to truly finally find ourselves. and when we have finally, exclamation mark, reached so high up above the clouds eventually, little by little, we stumble onto the very summit of it all, of thinking and thought. and then we are empty. and we are free. from there we journey on back down the other side of the mountain to the very gates of nirvana, the journey is one of thought and experience at all times. the purpose of this is to not just have experienced freedom but to learn how to master it so as to experience it always. mentally we are now home, in the mind of the all knowing, the great veil has been pierced and we now dwell on the same plane that the others who have travelled this far exist upon.

part 2 - karma and harmony
it is a fine thing to establish one's own religion in one's heart, not to be dependent on tradition and second-hand ideals. life will seem to you, later, not a lesser, but a greater thing. d. h. lawrence (1885 - 1930) the vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart, this you will build your life by, and this you will become. james allen

let us stand squarely in the face of the all encompassing totality of it all. look at the pressures we put upon each other by refusing to see how truly interconnected life is. if we all truly seek inner peace then we must realize that consciousness is something that we all share in. of course you may think, many things are conscious. this is not what i’m trying to get at. we all share consciousness. people try to shut their mind out of the larger field of thinking and thought and shelter themselves in individuality. this sad fact accounts for hardship in the world at all levels. yes you are an individual. an enlightened person is no more, or less of an individual then you are. and yes you have your own mind. but your mind is part of a greater mind and to find peace in this life then you must find peace within that larger framework.

people share thoughts and the totality of human thought i call collective consciousness. other life adds in to general consciousness as well. this is basically where the concept of karma comes in. good karma creates peace while building bad karma destroys it. people who think and do selfish things knowing that it will be to the detriment of others naturally create disturbances in their own field of thought making harmony impossible. the true root of all harmony and balance rests is in our ability to open our minds up to consciousness. yes we have separate physical vehicles but your thoughts, good or bad, are not exactly your own in the way that they are reflections of the energy that you create in this life by your actions. we must be aware of all of the energies that interplay within our own minds. our physical bodies as well are conscious, in their own way, and demand us to take care of them. you may have disharmony in your life because of many reasons. harmony in this way is something that none of us will ever own de facto. however those who have found harmony will probably seek to find more of it. realize this is not a concept that i am presenting as anything abstract. this is your reality totally and fully in each and every passing moment and you will never escape it even for an instant. how peaceful, how harmonious, how good you feel right now, how much you are enjoying life is all entirely dependent on your karma. karma is real and you exist within it’s almighty clutches at all times.

in all religions people are advised to perform good actions. there is an immediate, concrete reason for this. and if you think about it all a little more i am sure you will get what i am talking about we create our own unhappiness. and conversely we can find freedom. look at your self right now and think about how you are thinking. we may be separated by physical distance but on a mental plane we are all one.

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