is a great human pastime. We all think. Whether it is about our next
meal, how to manage our present problem, or where to vacation, we
always seem to be thinking. Maybe we even pass all of our time thinking.
But how often do we think about thinking, a thing that comes so naturally
to us. How often do we consider where particular thoughts come from?
Where are the limits of our individual minds? Do we ever consider
that some of the contents of our minds originate outside of us?
thing is certain. There is a definite pattern to our thinking. By
paying close attention, we can see that our thoughts are always
expressing us, others, and our world
as separate things.
Society teaches us from a very early age to identify things. And
in this process of identifying, we make things separate. This is
red so it is not blue. This is a car so it is not a horse
so on. While this is all quite natural (and necessary), one can
see how we are trained to see separation in everything.
Furthermore, we always see an us inside of ourselves,
and others and the universe as out there. This is the
condition of duality, and the mind that creates it is called the
ego-mind. It is the general mode of consciousness at this point
of human evolution. But what is beyond this mode of thinking?
modern Western thought and the sages and mystics of past and present
agree that there is more. Much more! They also agree that the move
beyond the ego-mind level brings different understandings and different
ways of being. There also come different realizations of the human
mind within the universe.
strengths of science and mysticism bring us an important tool. It
allows an understanding past the ego-mind. A roadmap becomes available
showing us where we are and where we can go. It is a roadmap like
It reveals a lovely journey, details the scenery along the route,
brings one to a new home, vastly different than the one left behind,
and eventually brings us to the realization that we havent
left home at all. The journey will bring ecstatic new experience
of being, yet you do not have to set foot out the door.
where we are is always best. That is the present mode of consciousness
that dominates humanity. This present mode that we call reality.
It is seen as reality, because it truly does dominate. We fill this
particular slice of time and space that we inhabit with the ego-mind.
It is fair to say that the ego-mind dominates 99.9% of what we perceive
as reality. No wonder we experience so little of the transpersonal.
this ego-mind, what is it like? It is the seat of duality. It may
even be the source of duality as it seems that the rest of life
on earth does not know it. The ego-mind is intent on creating a
separate self. And once created, maintenance of that separate self
An I versus it mode is created. There is the self and
the rest of the universe with which it must contend. The evaluation
function of the human mind is perverted to create separate knowledge.
Everything gets assigned qualities, this or that, as if the whole
universe could ultimately be itemized, categorized, and filed away;
even in the face of its own acknowledgement that the universe has
Talk about job creation! The ego-mind creates a job that will keep
itself busy forever. So this ego-mind and this place of duality
would like to go on forever. It would like to go on finding and
solving problems forever. But in the big picture, is that what we
really want? Do we really want to live a life full of problems?
Eventually we get tired of problems. A need to move on arises. This
is where the true nature of human consciousness makes itself known.
sages and mystics all say that the true nature of human consciousness
is of bliss. It is of peace. It is of harmony with the universe.
They say it is intimately connected with the universe. It is part
of the universe. The true nature of human consciousness is creative,
it is peaceful, it is loving. It is of oneness.
Moreover, because it is the true nature, it must always be present.
But somewhere things are not adding up. We have heard of all these
things. We are doing the best we can. We want to experience the
best life has to offer. Why, when we live our lives to the best
of our abilities, are we still stuck in the muck of duality? Why
do we still experience life in the I versus it mode?
Where is that bliss and unending joy that the gurus so beautifully
describe? The reason is that all of the so-called truths carry a
very small, very subtle, different meaning in the realm of the transpersonal.
With these subtle understandings comes wisdom. They are also important
parts of the roadmap to higher consciousness.
the concept of knowledge for instance. It is commonly linked to
the word knowing. Indeed when we want knowledge, we set out to know
something. We might read a book, go to school, or ask questions.
The resulting answers give us knowledge.
It can even become a commodity as something to sell or something
to preach. Knowledge however, happens to be anchored right smack
in the middle of duality. All knowledge has its pros and cons. It
can be debated. It can be detailed, itemized, and categorized. Commonly,
knowledge is something that is written down and stored in a book.
Knowledge is also a product of the mind, the ego-mind.
After all, the ego-mind sent you out to get the knowledge in the
first place. But knowledge is cold and matter of fact. It has no
life of its own. It is very dead. Are we somehow more alive for
the knowledge that it takes four quarts to make a gallon? So it
is somewhat funny that we humans that seek, and are life, chase
after something dead to fulfill us. There must be some confusion
as to what real knowing is.
knowing is much different from knowledge. Authentic knowing cannot
really be owned as a possession. It can only be touched and experienced.
Real knowing is actually an act of the mind. Unlike knowledge which
is a product of the mind. Let us take for example a problem one
might be trying to solve.
We think, and struggle, and grovel in our own muck of not knowing.
Then finally there is a dawning and we have solved our problem.
Sometimes this type of knowing comes easily, often when we are close
and intimate with the subject. Take a gardener for example, Sally,
who loves watering and tending to her own special arrangement of
The Spring flowerings have run their course and there is a spot
vacant for a new planting. Standing back to ponder, gloved hand
grasping her chin, Sally suddenly just knows, blacked-eyed Susans,
and nothing else, will be the perfect complement. This is a type
of knowing where the right answer cannot be traced back through
learning and textbooks.
Rather it is a knowing that occurred when Sallys mind was
outside of herself; it was projected into her garden. It was mingling
with all the other living energies in her garden, energies that
themselves have something to say, and could never be found in a
example of getting answers through energy outside of us might happen
as we look to set-up furniture in our new home. We move in the furniture,
put it in some order, and then just stand back, look at the whole
room in a bigger context, and somehow know that the couch is better
here, the blue chair there, and grandmas old pine hutch against
We just sort of know in advance, what will be the best, although
we cannot explain it. The true act of knowing is just that moment
in time where we have made that connection. It is almost as if we
were not using our mind at that moment. There was a pause in our
thinking and something new came in. Our mind becomes a receptor
rather than a source. One of the ways we can identify this type
of knowing is through separation.
Note that when we think about four quarts to a gallon, there is
a sense of separation. Two things exist, that particular knowledge
and us. Now when we experience authentic knowing there is a loss
of that sense of separation. For a moment, our own sense of separateness
is suspended. We are somehow joined with the knowing we are experiencing.
the difference between having knowledge and knowing is very subtle.
The ego-mind is also very subtle and tries to blur the boundaries.
Constantly the ego-mind attempts to turn knowing into knowledge
so it can again be in control. As a lover of antique and classic
automobiles, I witness this process within myself.
Automobile designs are a funny thing. Most are a result of current
trends and fashions. Most models look great when new, but after
ten or fifteen years, they may seem awkward and out of proportion,
maybe even ugly. How could I have liked that car! However, a few
designs defy that process and are still attractive decades later.
These are the few where all the curves, lines, openings, and proportions
come together with perfect balance and natural harmony. They deliver
the true image the designer intended. These cars often become the
classics of yesteryear. Now here is where my ego-mind comes in.
There is a propensity for my own ego-mind to try to own the attraction,
as if it created it.
It says, Ha, I always knew that my attraction to the old mustang
or corvette was a correct one. My ego-mind tries to own the
recognition of a nice design instead of just acknowledging that
it saw a harmony of outside energies that in themselves were the
place where the harmony occurred.
So if we see the subtleness, and realize that the contact in knowing
is not of our ego-minds doing, we enhance the chances of making
more connections to the greater. We start to put our mind in a more
appropriate stance to the universal mind.
we partake in the act of knowing we go beyond the boundaries of
the personal consciousness. We immerse ourselves in the sea of oneness.
This, by the way, is where the mystics say true love, bliss, and
pure spirit are found.
On the other hand, having knowledge is the domain of the ego. It
is the domain of the separate self and dualism. Hence the ego strives
to protect itself with the fences and barriers knowledge creates.
is another word that gets redefined in the transpersonal realm.
Often we are moved to a goal or an endeavor by someone or something
we admire. Maybe we want better vacations so we look for a better
We might say someone inspired us in our youth, so we chose a particular
career. Sadly these things are a result of the ego-mind looking
for satisfaction. They involve effort and toil dragged tediously
through the indifferent material world of duality.
inspiration is slightly different. This is a type of transpersonal
knowing that touches us all. When inspired we actually experience
the state of oneness. When inspired we feel different, special,
and somehow more alive. Maybe we feel like we have a secret benefactor.
Or the first evening star winked at us, just us, specifically, and
told us that our wish would come true. Because inspiration is actually
a touching of the universe, expansiveness is felt. We feel it in
and through our bodies. Other feelings are love, revelation, connection
to a truth, acceptance, and trust.
the difference between the two types of inspiration. The one in
the ego-mind duality realm is tough, hard work. Payoff requires
lengthy efforts, full of tedium. Nothing free happens here. The
transpersonal realm is quite different.
Here, all seems to be a gift. There is no lengthy toil required
and the gifts take on otherworldly proportions. These gifts are
entirely free. There is not even a sense that there are strings
attached. Truly, we must seek these types of gifts more often.
experience is another powerful way of knowing the transpersonal.
It has the potential to create radical shifts in our belief systems.
Because these experiences are actually direct contacts with a higher
intelligence, they bring us closer to that source. Understanding
the workings of this contact helps us to engage and solidify the
growth that can occur.
in a more down to earth mode, let us consider this example of knowing.
We will use the example of learning to ride a motorcycle. Now let
us look at this as two separate lines of consciousness existing
in space. The first line represents our own consciousness.
The second line represents the skills needed to ride a motorcycle.
They include those of balance, coordination, rules of the road,
and knowledge of the actual machine. As we strive to learn to ride
that motorcycle, eventually those lines of consciousness will intersect,
like an x. At this point two things happen.
First, our own state of consciousness shifts, to now include motorcycle
riding. Secondly, our own experiences contribute to and shift the
total body of motorcycle riding experiences. Part of ourselves now
participates in that larger consciousness and part of that larger
consciousness now resides with us.
same meeting, growing, and melding, of consciousness has the same
workings with mystical experiences. There are many realms of consciousness.
Many of those cannot be understood by the limited logical mind.
Thus, they are called mystical.
They need to be understood on their own terms. By allowing, our
own consciousness to intersect with modes of experience in the mystical
realm, an exchange of awareness happens. By nurturing, allowing,
and accepting those types of awareness, we are brought closer to
its heart. We start to know its workings on its own terms.
It also deconstructs our previous belief systems and builds a new
one. We then start to include the reality of the spiritual realms
in our own consciousness. The engagement of spirit then is an intersection
between creator and created, bringing each, closer to the other.
is becoming clear that transpersonal experience works differently.
It is different from the normal mode of waking experience. The preceding
examples of knowing experience, inspiration, and mystical experience,
show characteristics of this realm that exist past the normal mode.
Moreover, it is these characteristics that can help us understand,
move into, and experience the transpersonal.
of these characteristics is subtleness. The subtleness is however
compensated by distinctness. When it is finally recognized, the
recognition is strong and powerful.
the mystics say, the modes of experience in the transpersonal are
already here. It is the ego-mind complex, which is preventing us
from seeing them, and there are several valid reasons for this.
The first is that the ego-mind does not want you to see them.
The ego-mind enjoys being king-of-the-hill and attempts any tactic
of avoidance possible. Its dominance will be threatened. Consider
how difficult it is to get rid of a Dictator in those places of
the world where they still exist. They demonstrate uncanny wits
and remarkable staying power.
They seem to be able to draw on an almost unending source to stay
in control. The second is that any new realizations are just that,
new, so that experience may be easily discounted. If you were in
the forest looking to spot a rare grey speckled Quail, you might
not recognize it if you have never seen one before.
You are even less likely to see it if it blends with the surroundings
and your attention is rapt by a troop of dancing monkeys. The third
is of course the subtlety or relative power. In the transpersonal,
the level of energy is much lower, while the level of energy created
by the ego-mind is huge, frantic, and disjointed.
you are in the midway of a local carnival. All about are sounds,
smells, and sensations jockeying for your attention. People bump
into you. Watch where you step. There a child fights for cotton
candy, fingers sticky pink.
Screams and shrieks of delight are overhead, spinning wildly from
dizzying rides. Neon lights flash hypnotically, and depending where
you turn your ear, there is the repetitious drone of the barkers
with their well-versed come-ons, or the pop-pop-pop ding-ding-ding
from the shooting arcade. Not too far from this raucous midway is
another type of energy unfolding.
In a tiny red boat for two bobbing in the tunnel of love are two
souls. These are special souls, twin souls. After lifetimes of separation
through time and space, they are together again. A single touch
creates surges through the other.
Just the nearness to each other sends volumes of unspoken energy
between them. They need not do anything to thrill from each others
company. However, all this high voltage connection passes virtually
unnoticed by all else at the carnival.
Such is the contrast between the energy of the ego-mind and the
energy of the oneness. The energies involved in the higher modes
of consciousness are barely a ripple compared to the crashing waves
of the ego-mind, but once properly attuned to, are unleashed as
vibrant, delicious, tantalizing energy.
real problem then, the real barrier to the joy and bliss of the
oneness is the ego-mind. This false self, this imposter of a being,
is robbing us of our true identity. We are being sealed off from
tasting the larger existence by the tactics of this self-worshipping
complex, the ego-mind.
Fortunately, not all that is hidden can remain so. Truth has a way
of eventually winning. While the ego-mind is busy defending its
home turf, it demonstrates weaknesses that we can exploit. The oneness
can be realized through careful tactics of our own.
is the most widely used tool for moving from duality to oneness.
The underlying strategy of meditation really just plays into the
differences between duality and oneness. Since duality exists in
and is maintained by the mind, the stilling of the mind is a must.
Once the mind is reasonably stilled, attention can then be directed
to the oneness. As we have seen with the carnival example, the oneness
is already here, but never realized through a noisy mind.
In addition, what happens when attention is placed in the oneness,
ones consciousness is in a realm where duality and hence the
ego-mind cannot exist. With continued and persistent practice, meditation
penetrates further and further into the oneness, and at the same
time weakens duality and the grip of the ego-mind.
many ways, the ego-mind is like a desperado trying to preserve himself,
and that desperation can be used against it. Since the ego-mind
thinks duality is the final reality, it can be fooled by asking
it questions where the answer does not lie in the mode of duality.
Paradoxes are great for this task.
Zen Buddhism is famous for this tactic with the use of koans. One
such would be What is the sound of one hand clapping?
By setting the mind to work to answer how two opposites can exist
in the same time and place, it can be caught off guard, and new
insights can slip past its censors. Sometimes just an unexpected
or bizarre question can produce the same results.
the work of past masters and gurus is another powerful vehicle for
transformation. All work is infused with the energy of its creator.
As work from a higher level of consciousness is studied, one is
drawn upwards to that higher level.
It is easily recognized after we read some especially inspired work.
Senses of calmness and peace are often felt which is the energy
we have absorbed while being drawn to that higher place. As well,
the terrain of the roadmap of higher consciousness becomes familiar.
Since one is venturing into new territory, it is helpful to recognize
a few landmarks along the way. One can spend more time on the journey
instead of wondering if they are lost.
they unfold, the higher levels of consciousness begin to take on
a momentum and character of their own. The preceding building blocks,
roadmaps, and tactics, are however aspects of the mind. While they
can be used to help transcend the mind, ultimately they too, must
fall away. The end goal of enlightenment is said to produce a state
of just being, no concepts needed.
the mode of oneness is where the rational of duality does not exist,
the grip of the ego-mind can also be loosened by cultivating the
non-rational. Dream work has always been a classic for this type
of endeavor. If we have a dream about a blue snowman rumba dancing
about a campfire, roasting fat marshmallows, we might want to dismiss
it as non-rational.
Snowmen do not rumba dance! Besides, he would melt from the heat
of the campfire. However, just because it is non-rational to the
normal waking mind does not mean it is not real. It did exist in
our dream, and then exist again in the telling of the dream. We
could actually picture it so it existed somewhere, a level outside
of the rational conscious mind.
Following, studying, and pondering on our dreams helps to draw that
energy out from the unconscious. Working with visions is similar.
It focuses our attention outside the immediate sphere of the rational
mind. Both these methods also serve to transcend normal time and
space, as often happens in dreams. Normal time and space are features
unique to the realm of duality.
any journey of discovery, the discovery is more than what is found.
The new frontiers transform us into new beings with different insights
and different attitudes. So if we are to have new attitudes, we
might as well strive for those that will facilitate the whole process.
is just such an attitude that can help. If we look at transpersonal
events as something that we participate in, a better balance between
the universe and us is more quickly realized. This approach also
helps cure what is called spiritual maladies.
example, imagine you are walking through nature. You are in a beautiful
forest with tall mature trees. A lush canopy full of animal life
surrounds, and bright sunlight nourishes all.
Bathed in the richness, harmony, and intelligence of raw nature,
you realize this is a special moment. Now instead of just standing
back in awe, imagine that you project your own consciousness into
the midst of all that you are seeing. Immediately your ability to
experience the ongoing events is enhanced.
Further enhancement comes when you try to reduce the separate Iness
of your consciousness being projected into the experience. This
participating in the event hugely opens one to vast new experience,
and the wisdom embodied within.
when we see spirituality as something only within our own consciousness,
it restricts it to an inner experience. We also miss much of the
wisdom the larger universe holds. We end up thinking that we created
The maladies that might arise can be ego-inflation, self-absorption,
and spiritual narcissism. The ego-based thinking that one is trying
to move past is actually being strengthened. In addition, the integration
of spirituality and transpersonal events is arrested.
approach of participation also has benefits with events we might
feel come from outside of us. It reduces the I versus it
way of thinking that keeps us as separate beings. With this approach,
it is easier to move our consciousness outside of us and into the
this slightly different way of holding our relationship to spiritual
events is helpful in two ways. At the first steps away from an ego-only
understanding, the ego is reduced rather than built up. As transpersonal
awareness proceeds, the outside is brought in, and the inside is
A sharing of the self and the universe occurs. Moreover, the great
paradox between oneness and separateness is solved as these two
opposites are allowed to both exist in the same place at the same
is another attitude that oneness redefines. Traditionally we are
taught to have empathy by realizing other people have problems and
issues, and that we are not the only person that matters. This however
maintains several distinctions, which are lovely nourishment for
the separate ego-mind structure.
Note all that is separate here. There are they, that have a problem
they wish to separate from, and we, who are happy to be separate
from the problem, and the part of them that has the problem. In
addition, our advice will usually come from our own separate mind,
held a safe distance from our hearts and the others problem.
All of this, a thorough and complete, subject versus object, I versus
it, dualism mode of being. Just think about it, we do it all the
time. Perhaps Joe comes to us with his problem. We mull it over,
imagine how we would react if it happened to us, and tell Joe how
to solve his problem. Note how this process is completely from our
minds. Furthermore, note how our own mind wants to spread its separate
logic to Joes mind.
empathy, which is found in the realm of oneness, works differently.
Setting aside fear, contact with the others world is allowed
and even necessary. By bringing the problem into our own hearts,
and even our whole bodies, the actual energy of the problem can
If the problem is viewed as one that humanity in general shares,
as all problems are, that greater body of energy can be touched.
The symbols and myths relating to that energy become available.
By allowing oneself to become a channel for the problem and its
solution, the state of oneness is encouraged.
All of the helper, the one with the problem, humanity in general,
and the wiser universe, share in the same energy. The problem brings
its own solution! Deep empathy then is the way one does service
in the realm of the transpersonal. No longer is it us
doing some quantifiable thing for them. No longer, do
we see the others problem as a festering sore that is better
they had and not us.
No longer do we allow fear to isolate us from those problems. Instead
we allow the love and wisdom of the universe to flow through us,
flow through the problem, provide healing to the problem, and a
bit of humanity and us at the same time.
as well, takes on new definition in the field of oneness, and the
carnival example plays especially well here. With sex being such
a potent energy within the human animal, it is no wonder there is
such a multitude and variety of opinions regarding this powerful
ideals about sex are vast. Much of Western culture and religions
seek to allow sexuality only in the bedrooms of married couples.
The extremes allow it only for procreation. Various Eastern spiritual
traditions expect seekers to abstain from sex.
Many regard sex as a barrier to enlightenment. Then there are the
Taoist and Tantric sources that work with sex as a path to higher
consciousness. All of this however is like the noisy mind at the
carnival, taking delight in the mesmerizing energies of sexuality.
the mind complex be stilled enough during sexual arousal and orgasm,
something else would be noticed. Something that is already here.
The bodys biochemical conditions become similar to those found
in transcendent experience.
Felt experience becomes magical and mystical. Deeper sharing becomes
possible, and the heart softens and opens. But again, these more
subtle energies are easily drowned out by the screaming energies
of the ego-mind.
progression into the depths of oneness continues, these subtle and
more beautiful energies of sexuality become dominant. Deep intimacy
and sharing bring us closer both physically and mentally. Oneness
with our lover becomes a real thing, and like the souls at the tunnel
of love, even a simple touch brings ecstasy.
There is participation in the actual energy of sexuality, which
is common to all humanity. An energy, which exists well before and
well beyond the ego-mind. An energy, which exists well beyond all
the opinions related to it.
journey from dualism to oneness is like no other. As night yields
to dawn, and on to the brilliance of the morning sun, all is totally
transformed. The difference between the two modes of consciousness,
however, is so complete, it cannot happen all at once.
The shock to our systems would be more than we could handle. We
would be left wandering, not knowing who, or what we were, and not
knowing where to start. Nothing would be familiar. Fortunately,
enlightenment unfolds through stages.
The challenges that growth presents are never greater than our ability
to handle them. With this growth, strategies and understandings
also grow and evolve. At the initial moves away from ego-only consciousness,
psychotherapy is the most helpful tool.
This tool, lodged in reason, works well for subject/object type
thinking. As growth continues, the mystical, magical, and non-rational
are gradually touched, encouraged, and understood. Eventually the
mind itself is transcended to know the oneness of the universal
the understanding of transpersonal consciousness is a huge and vast
affair. To try to achieve a concise understanding through one method
is impossible. The modes of cognition needed are just too contradictory.
It seems that each level of consciousness has its own unique laws
There is no guarantee that what works at one level will work at
the next. However, insight can come from one who broadened the scope
of understanding some five hundred years ago. The big debate of
the day was whether everything revolved around the Earth. This of
course was at the core of the religious doctrine that the Earth
was the centre of the universe.
To solve this, Galileo built a huge telescope and looked carefully
at only one small part. By being able to look at the moons of Jupiter
and determine that they did not revolve around the Earth, a small
but vital part of the bigger picture came into focus. The bigger
picture had to be redrawn to accommodate this new truth.
So is it with personal growth. We travel the journey only one-step
at a time. Each step changes our bigger picture in some small way.
But when those steps are all added together, our thinking, our understanding
of our place in the world, can be as night is to day.