A Life Without Me

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I don’t exist. Neither do you. At least not in the way that we think.

Curious? Stay with me:

If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s easy to see just how much our thoughts can dictate our experience. I’d spent most of my life believing, with ferocious and ever-growing intensity, that “I” was somehow able to be located in the brain and in a thought.

Along with believing myself to be a thought came a natural sense of division (here’s “me” in here and there’s all else out there) which created defensive behaviors large and small. A general sense of “not okayness” was also part of this territory.

Identifying with thoughts was the root of my suffering. My mood could and often did change on the drop of a hat — a thought might arise, in the midst of an otherwise peaceful day, that said, ‘something is wrong’. The thoughts would often point to some (truly non-existent) character flaw, failing, or perceived problem.

Have you felt this?

This didn’t just happen sometimes. This happened constantly – thoughts arose all day, pointing out flaws, looking for trouble, replaying yesterday, and daydreaming tensely about the better things or more troublesome things that might come tomorrow. With many of the thoughts came an impending sense of doom and imaginary enemies and threats were perceived around every corner. I was anything but present with my experience.

A total self-obsession begins to grow as a result of indentifying with thought – there may be a need to constantly remedy, appease, satisfy, and pacify this thought-based self. Interestingly, this self-obsession can and often does create a self-disdain, as well; insecurities and a general feeling of unworthiness can be part of the territory. For me, I went to great lengths to cover up these insecurities by perfecting my physical appearance, squelching the feelings with various addictions and behaviors, and building an even more elaborate story of a “tough girl” to conceal the vulnerability.

I was a prisoner to the thought system.

I hadn’t ever entertained the possibility that I was not my thoughts, perceptions, or feelings, and the thought-based sense of self was so unreal that it took such a great deal of effort to maintain; hence, suffering and the need to prove and improve myself was perpetuated. Have you been there?

Have you entertained the possibility that suffering is so often connected with this faulty system?

Once the possibility had been entertained that I was not that which I had always taken myself to be (a thought-based self), it wasn’t long before the entire charade was seen through. Suddenly all the things in my life that I’d so strongly identified with were seen to be nothing more than stories. I’d built, in thought, a conceptual understanding of life and a conceptual idea of “me”.

All of the stories I’d attached and clung to began dissolving. What took their place was a profound sense of stillness and presence, one which is so captivating and illuminating that going back to the stories, beliefs, judgments, and small sense of “me” would be near impossible. Admittedly, I’d clung to that sense of self tightly, unwilling to let my stories go (no matter how weighty they’d truly become). I felt like these things defined me and I was very unsure about a life without them – who was I minus stories about my past and future and without the need for staunch opinions, beliefs, and perspectives? A life without those things seemed bleak, impossible, and colorless.

However, it’s quite the opposite.

What is a life without “me” like?

Presence and profound stillness is commonplace. A sense of being bound by the clock dissolves and time isn’t felt in the same way – rather, moments feel infinite and unbounded. Senses are heightened and all things appear magical, more alive, and infused with life. Divisions disappear (only thoughts can create a sense of “me” in here and “them” out there). Closeness is felt with all things, nothing barred. Defenses dissolve. Intuition is heightened. Circumstances that may have felt stressful or negative before are seen from a more neutral space – all movements of life are seen with equanimity, compassion, and openness. Emotions aren’t felt as “mine”, but are rather seen to be movements of life that aren’t unique to me — when an emotion, thought, or feeling arises that brings with it a sense of sadness, contraction, or darkness, there’s a desire to sit with it, explore it, and hold it lightly. Vulnerability, authenticity, and openness are natural and easy. A profound intimacy is felt with all experience. There is an overall sense of traveling lighter – suddenly that which may have once felt heavy or burdensome feels light and manageable. Life flows naturally and easily. Thoughts are seen to be just another movement of life, appearing, rising, and falling away, always changing and in flux. Thoughts slow down significantly.

So, how to slowly dissolve a sense of “me”?

Begin investigating the truth of it. When a thought arises, ask yourself who had the thought. Ask yourself what is aware of the thought. Can a thought be aware of itself? What is the nature of that which is aware of the thought and aware of this experience? If that seems confusing, weighty, or deep, stick with it — this type of self-inquiry is magic.

Similarly, when a thought, emotion, or feeling arises, before you claim it as your own, investigate its nature. Explore it. Find out what it’s made of. Where is it felt in the body? Without needing to analyze or interpret any of it, what is it felt like in its pure state? What is the noticer of these things?

Also, when you find that you’ve been engrossed in a long conversation in your head, remove that attention for even a second. Doing this creates a new possibility, one that might suggest that you are not, in fact, a thought.

 

Without referencing time, who are you?

Without referencing yourself in thought, who are you?

Without using words, concepts, or ideas, who are you?

Never stop exploring.

What you might find is brilliant beyond your wildest dreams (and it’s closer than you might imagine).

 

Peace, love, and no-thing-ness,

Karisa 

 

goodvibes

 

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Success and Failure are the Same

Success and failure are the same? How could that be? Let’s explore:

Failure and Success are polarities that depend on one another for survival — of course we couldn’t feel the feelings of “failure” had we not ever experienced feeling “success”, and vice versa. Both of these things also depend on queues from others; I like to imagine a scenario in which I’m (for whatever reason) the last remaining human being on earth 🌏.  As the last human on earth, what sort of successes would I yearn for (maybe just survival-esque or spiritual successes)? What sort of failures could bring me down (that wouldn’t be based on desiring social approval any longer)?

So, then, it is worth pondering with an open heart: how is my ego driving my behavior and feelings of success and feelings of being a failure? From what source do those feelings arise?

It’s easy to see how in moments that we are elated about succeeding that that very success was dependent on the possibility of failure. So, then, success and failure are two sides of a coin. In moments we’ve felt like failures it’s also easy to notice these things: our feelings of being a failure are often derived from social queues (not living up to the societal definition of success) or from feelings of deep unworthiness.

Also (consider this) if our “failures” lead to “successes”, were they ever truly failures? If our “successes” lead to “failures”, were they ever truly successes?

What’s also in need of examination is the very drive that often propels us to want to succeed: the feeling of being unworthy and needing to prove our worth. What I’m saying is a bit radical, but investigate this for yourself with an open heart 👉🏻  Many of us feel, at our core, incredibly insecure about who we are; we feel unworthy, uncool, unloved, unsure, and unsteady. These feelings manifest as the insatiable desire to be constantly achieving, succeeding, or wanting to be better-than. When we ride this wave of achievement, we’re likely to be stuck on an unsteady surfboard experiencing the the rise and fall of that which is unable to be maintained forever.

If it were comfortable (deeply and truly comfortable) to be in this sort of position, constantly hungry to achieve, we’d look around us and see a lot more smiling, content faces. Instead what I see is a society plagued by anxiety, depression, stress, and illness, all of which derive, in part, from the overall pressure to “be somebody”. Most of us are exhausted by this quest — what does that tell you? Possibly (quite possibly) all of this strife and strain is contrary to our being. Is it possible to ride the wave, cool and calm, and let life carry you? If we stop being constantly hungry for more, would we actually be granted more than we’ve ever dreamed possible? 🙏🏻

Let’s examine this: in aching to be a success, are we really just aching to feel at peace with who we are? That won’t be found in aiming for success — that peace is available right here, right now, with absolutely no requirement necessary.

Now, is there anything inherently wrong with desiring to succeed? Of course not! However, the feelings of inadequacy that often drive this quest so often make us suffer instead of bring us a deep feeling of contentment. Also, when have any of us ever achieved something we’ve longed for and then finally been granted with a long-lasting, unwavering, unmoving sense of peace? Hunger, as it goes, really only leads to more hunger.

Begin now. Examine the origin of your drive to achieve and succeed. Does it derive from a deep feeling of completion, or a deep feeling of not being enough or not being worthy?

We don’t need to prove ourselves. We’re already worthy, complete, and whole! Quite possibly, as Alan Watts had put it, the whole point of this life is just to be alive. When deep peace is felt, nothing is a success or failure any longer — all is wide open and free. That, my friends, is what you’re after. ✨

✌️Cheers,

Karisa

Popping the Ego Balloon

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Human beings have been caught up in a world of delusion for a long time. We’ve come to believe very much that we are separate entities that stand apart from all else, and we’ve created hardy egos as a result.

To hold up this tenuous illusion of being a separate entity, we have to live in duality and find an “other” to keep our egos alive. We can then only know these false ego identities in comparison to other things — I can only be a Christian if I know what it means to be not a Christian. I can only be a Republican if I know what it means to be a Liberal. I can only be moral if I know what it means to be immoral. I can only know what it means to be “happy” I know what it means to be “sad”. Do you see? It would be impossible to see one without the other. These dualities need their opposites to survive. The ego lives in this (imaginary) place of duality.

Our egos are formed through convention (such as language), thought, what and who we’ve been exposed to, by our cultures, by our societies, and by the accumulation of energies and emotions we’ve attached stories to.

(What is not a convention, label, thought, or idea?)

The ego can, in fact, only survive by being continuously upheld. It needs constant stoking, comparison, and propagandizing to help fuel it. We create elaborate stories about ourselves, want to impress others, and cling to religious, political, and moral beliefs to uphold our feelings of being an individual. We see this most often in social media –we portray ourselves as “happy”, put together, and we use our page to promote our personal beliefs (which also need to be stoked and promoted to be upheld). We promote our own personal propaganda to feed the ego.

Who are we trying to convince by doing so? Not others — ourselves.

On a deep level, our false ego identities make us deeply uncomfortable and insecure, hence the near constant battling of opposites (religious wars, divisions of all kinds, moral debates, political debates, etc.). We only defend or need justification for things that we aren’t so secure about — otherwise, our true peace and security would need no justification or defense.

(What is without perspective?)

Upon self-inquiry (looking into the truth of your being) one might quickly find that even the ego is easy to poke holes through — sure, your body-mind has its natural preferences, quirks, talents, and tendencies, but all of the layers of thought, belief, defenses, staunch and unforgiving principles and labels we accumulate are quickly seen to be nothing but superfluous appendages and based on our illusions of being nothing more than a soul encapsulates inside of a body, looking out onto a world that’s in relation to it.

In reality, all is connected. This is easy to see — everything is an incomprehensible web, constantly creating, recycling, and destroying itself. There is no unintelligent matter. You are this vast, intelligent, supreme, limitless whole; you aren’t simply an ego.

If you don’t see how this is so, I implore you to begin self-inquiry. Investigate the truth of who you take yourself to be in an open-hearted, truly authentic way. What you might find in this investigation is what human beings truly long for — an identity that needn’t be constantly upheld, but an ever-present, unchanging, limitless peace and freedom.

Xoxo,

Karisa

An Invitation to a Place-less Place From Which You’ve Never Left

I’d like to invite you to a place-less place.

Here there are no requirements,

no prerequisites,

and no agenda.

 

Simply

come as you are.

Simply

be as you are. 

 

I’d like to invite you to a place-less place —

dimensionless, timeless, boundless,

and free.

Here, there is no authority.

 

Here, there is no author

yet the story

is always being written.

 

Here we answer to the call of the wild,

Rising and falling like the ocean tide,

free to be.

just.

be.

 

Here, the greatest teacher is the wisdom of your life;

There is

only

life.

 

Here there is endless surrender —

You won’t need your story,

your biography,

or your to-do list.

 

Here, it’s already being done.

 

Here there is only

what is

and it is without want;

We rest.

We rest and

there isn’t anything left to find.

 

I invite you to this place-less place

From which you’ve never left  —

You are here.

You are it.

 

Here, there is no there,

but only this.

Only here.

 

Inhale,

exhale.

Just how far do you have to go to be who you’ve always been?

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Undressing: A Tale of Glorious Loss

Undressing: A Tale of Glorious Loss 

 

I spent the majority of my young life in an anxious quest to discover my true nature and the true nature of all things. This seemed like a noble quest, and I filled journals with my findings, documenting my ever-changing ideas, motivations, desires, and discoveries. I dabbled in various philosophies and wholeheartedly invested my interest and attention in law-of-attraction spirituality. I knew one thing was true: life is not what it appears to be on the surface.

 
In my youth I awkwardly attempted to play by the rules set by society, but typically I felt like a round peg in a square hole. I had a difficult time socializing and relating to others in my peer groups, so I inevitably spent a lot of time alone, contemplating all things and desperately hoping to find an answer that might satisfy the anxious longing I felt (but had no idea how to placate).

 
Truth be told I was anxious and irritable most of the time. I had an itch I couldn’t yet scratch. I then began seeking anything I could to help alleviate this discomfort — i sought solace in an endless string of boyfriends (all hopelessly wrong for me, of course), in exercise, in perfecting my body and looks, in books and philosophies, in meditation, in drug experimentation, and in many other distracting behaviors. I was lost. Totally, utterly lost — but not hopeless. Though I was painfully desperate for answers to my biggest, burning questions, I had an inextenguishable, fiery optimism that carried me onward. Though I was anxious for more than what I’d received, life was, at the end of the day, a delicious, magical mystery.

Then, everything changed.

They say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears; I must have been ready. Things changed radically when I turned 25 and stumbled synchronistically into my teacher, who I resonated with deeply. This teacher introduced me to non-duality (“not two”) which can be defined (though definitions fall painfully short) as a philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of non-separation and the intrinsic oneness of all things. I spent the next year fully immersed in this teaching.

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What I found, above all, was that immersing myself in these principles was like getting naked (yep, you read that right). Instead of feeling like I had gained something, I found that many (seeming) layers of delusion and mistaken identity began to fall away gradually. I liken it to having spent 25 years piling on layers and layers of unnecessary clothing — thousands of superfluous hats, socks, mittens, pants, t-shirts, sweaters, and shoes — and then all of those layers being burned in an instant, revealing an indescribable beauty that had been there all along but had been (seemingly) obscured.

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It was like coming home. It would be even more appropriate to say that it was like realizing that I’d never left home at all.

I felt lighter than I’d felt in years. Bad habits, chronic stresses, anxiety, worries, and needless suffering dropped away or lost the power they once seemed to have over me.

(Don’t get me wrong — this wasn’t all happiness and delight. While I studied with my teacher, I was inevitably confronted with all the layers of delusion I’d spent years believing. This is often excruciatingly painful. I could no longer run from painful, uncomfortable emotions or beliefs, and I had what some might like to call “a dark night of the soul”. I fiercely questioned my life in a way I hadn’t before, and this was both intoxicatingly liberating and powerfully confusing.)

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Then, it was over.

I’d exhausted talks with my teacher and, in fact, there was nothing left to learn.

I felt utterly transformed and yet completely unchanged. I’d peeled off many layers of clothing but there was nothing gained.

I’d lost many things, and in this loss there was magic — indescribable, ineffable magic.

I’m an all-together a different woman, yet I’m more “me” than I’ve ever been. By losing myself, I found myself. In the process, all illusions, delusions, and false beliefs I’d carried (like a heavy weight) had been gracefully set down. I travel lighter now –much, much lighter.

As I sit typing this now, I realize that all that I’ve just said is simply a story and an interpretation of what ultimately cannot be interpreted. All of my words about what I’ve learned and how life is now experienced will ultimately fall short, but I cannot help but share.

You who read this now, know that there is a grace, love, and innocence behind all that is seen, all that is felt, and all that is experienced.

Life cannot be defined and resists any definition (if one attempts to collect the river in a bucket, it ceases being the river), but it can be felt.

You can feel it — that magic.

It’s here, right now. Available to you all times, with no requirement necessary to meet it.

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Do you remember?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Un-Becoming

roadWe spend so much of our lives trying to become.

Of course we all, on some level, have the urge to grow and progress, but it’s important to consider the following: no matter what you acquire, achieve, or become, none of it brings lasting fulfillment. 

Haven’t you experienced this?

You’ve achieved something or reached a goal and you’re afterwards left with a feeling of ‘now what?’

We’re told from a very young age that achievement is the key to happiness and that we must earn our happiness and peace through achievement. We’re told we must become something (and yet we’re always feeling like we’ve never quite made it).

Graduating high school is simply a doorway to beginning college, which in turn is a doorway to finding a really great career. Then we’re supposed to climb our way up the ladder until we’re making more money and then finally able to buy a big house, a better car, and a “happier” life. We then work really hard to pay for these things and to save for retirement. Then, when we’re old and gray we’re finally able to relax and enjoy the fruits of all of this labor. We’re told that life is meant to be one achievement after the other and that we must always be in the process of becoming, and that is the road to happiness.

We’re also convinced that objects can bring us peace. Have you ever purchased something you thought might finally bring you a real sense contentment only to find yourself either losing interest in that thing or feeling the urge to continue to purchase more of it? Have you ever founbuyd yourself accumulating other material objects that promised you happiness?

It’s everywhere in our society – commercials, billboards, advertisements. All of these things promise to provide you with a lasting sense of peace, and they inadvertently promise to fill your void.

We’re told that achievement and the accumulation of material objects is the key to happiness and what makes us valuable citizens.

But here’s the thing: we’ve been duped.

There is no object that can bring us peace. There is no objective experience that can bring us peace. Seeking completion prevents you from knowing that you are complete.

We’re all searching endlessly for peace and happiness, restless and overworked. We’re bogged down by stress, exhaustion, worry, and anxiety. We’re all seeking for something which cannot be sought — do you see how this could make you suffer?

So here’s what’s true: that bigger house, that nicer car, that better body, that romantic partner, that material object, that career, that diploma, that outfit, or that achievement will never give you fulfillment. If you think any of these things have or might, know that the feeling of fulfillment will only be temporary – and wouldn’t that, then, negate the fulfillment?

So while we’ve invested so much time and energy into seeking outward peace, it can be difficult to aliberatedccept that all of that seeking has been for naught. However, allow this knowing to liberate you.

There isn’t anything you need.

You’re complete.

There’s nowhere to go.

There’s nothing to acquire.

This being said, there isn’t anything wrong with achievement, acquiring material objects, or desiring anything at all once you’ve come to the realization that nothing can possibly bring you lasting peace. A weight is then lifted. There is less pressure and these things are allowed to be seen as simply fun and experiential rather than crucial.

Rest easy knowing that the larger part of you rests in utter perfection and completion.

Rest easy knowing there’s nothing that the larger part of you wants or needs.

Rest easy.

What Have You Forgotten?

Let me ask you this:

What have you forgotten?

What are you not seeing?

Have you become so lost in this dream that you’ve forgotten who you really are?

I don’t mean the labels given to you by society.

I don’t mean the labels you’ve given yourself.

What I’m referring to is not a concept; it’s something that words cannot ever touch.

It’s so close you might miss it, but…

You’ve never left it.

(you may imagine that you have).

Have you become so lost in this dream?

We seek endlessly for what we’ve forgotten.

We seek pleasure (but when we seek pleasure, we also invite pain. There cannot be one without the other)

We seek fulfillment in objects.

We seek pleasure in substances.

We look for answers in ancient texts that are only concepts pointing to what is not conceptual.

Ideas, names, and labels—

These are concepts which can only be formulated in thought.

What is not a thought?

Let me ask you again…. What is here that is NOT a thought?

Ask this question then let it go.

Ask this question and don’t try to find the answer in thought.

Holdhold in lightly.

Have you gotten lost in this dream?

In this dream we become fixated on ourselves.

We become hypnotized by our thoughts and we take ourselves to be a thought (you are much more).

Don’t you remember?

In this dream we think we are separate from all else,

But this cannot ever be.

Don’t you remember?

Who are you?

You are not a thought.

You are not your name.

You are not a label.

You are not your past.

You are not your future.

Who are you in this moment?

Don’t answer this in thought.

Ask it and hold it lightly…

Then let it go.

Have you gotten so lost in this dream?

Remember…

The past is non-existent (can you touch it?)

The future is a concept (can you reach it?)

It’s only ever NOW.

Right now.

Don’t you remember?

Today I invite you to rest in this moment —

In this one Infinite now.

Remember that the boundaries between you and all else are only imagined.

On the surface there appears to be distance between you and all else,

But this is the greatest illusion.

There are no boundaries.

There are no borders.

There are no limits.

Don’t you remember?

Don’t you remember that you are the wave?

You are the wave that cannot ever possibly be separate from the ocean.

flyin

 

Have you gotten so lost in this dream?

Wake up.