Why the Problem of Consciousness Is so Hard
I just read a great article in The Guardian about the struggle of scientists and philosophers to understand consciousness (link at the end). The Guardian article covers the history of the quest to…
How to End Suffering
Many people seem to think that suffering is the same thing as pain. They ask, “If I didn’t have suffering, then wouldn’t I burn my hand on something hot?” In this case, pain is a sensation that the…
What If This Is What We Really Want?
What if what we’ve been searching for has been here all along, right in front of our eyes? What if it’s been the simplicity of what is happening, no matter what seems to be happening? What if we’ve…
My Struggle with Enlightenment
I think that my writing is at its best when I address, as directly as possible, what is alive in me, which includes where I struggle. My writing becomes a way of publicly reflecting on things…
My Quest to Not Exist
I remember, many years ago, learning about nirvana, the ending of the suffering self by the ending of the self. I wondered what the point of that was: nobody can be free from suffering. This was a…
What Happens When My Wife Says Woof
Many years ago, I was listening to an experienced meditation teacher counseling a student about her practice. The student complained that every time she sat to meditate an owl started to hoot outside…
I Will Never Be Enlightened
Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and looked out of the door of our bedroom. As I looked, I was not able to understand what I was looking at. It was like a mirror was looking into a…
A Conversation with God, Part One
In December of 2001, after meditating for only thirty minutes per day, every day, for four months, I came to know what I understand to be the fundamental nature of reality. I have written a little…
Time Is Not Real
Show me the past. Show me the future. The only thing that seems to be happening is the present. But without a past and future, the present is just what seems to be happening, without any context…
How Can I Know Anything Without Awareness?
A while back, a friend was attempting to persuade me that awareness is real. He told me that all the saints and sages have talked about Awareness or Consciousness as being primary. Until recently, I…
Am I Enlightened?
Maybe it crept up on me when I wasn’t looking. But there is nobody for it to creep up on. How can everything creep up on itself? Okay, but there is nothing special happening. Why would everything be…
Seeing Harmony as Disharmony
There is a way of perceiving the world in which everything is whole, complete, and perfect. This is what is sometimes called the non-dual perspective, or the enlightened perspective. This way of…
The Futility of Asking Why
In my training as a therapist, I had to learn to stop asking people “why?” Asking why tends to send a client into a spiral of thinking, taking their attention away from the immediacy of what is…
This Is How I Suffer
When I suffer, it is because I am not identifying with myself, apparently splitting myself in two. For example, when there is pain in my body, and I believe the thought that “I am in pain” or even “I…
Will Machines Ever Be Conscious?
This topic is of particular interest to me because I’m an engineer working in the field of artificial intelligence, I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and I have a lot of experience with…
A Conversation with God, Part Two
This is the continuation of an earlier conversation between two parts of myself. One part is my “normal” state of consciousness, while the other part is non-duality, what I consider to be God. To…
How I Objectify My Wife
Yesterday, I published a story called “All My Wife Needs Is Food and Cuddles” (link at the end). When I shared it on Facebook, one of my female friends, who read only the first two paragraphs…
Seeing Is Not What You Think
I sometimes find myself at work, sitting at a table, looking at the edge of it. I am engrossed. I reach out and start running my finger over the edge. I am engaged in a set of scientific experiments…
Relationships Work When You Don’t Take Them Personally
I used to take relationships very personally. If my partner said something that pushed my buttons, initiating a cascade of righteous indignation, then I would engage with it: “How dare she say that!”…
Luckily, My Wife Married No One
I’ve been worried about waking up from the dream of self (the dream of separation). I was worried not because I need to exist, to have a purpose, or to achieve anything. It’s understandable that…
Life is Effortless
I’m writing this on my phone in a small cafe called Abraço in New York City. They don’t allow the use of laptops, so this is my only way of communicating with you. This morning I woke up late, at…
What It’s like to Feel Responsible for Everything
Last night, I woke up at around two a.m. and looked around. It was very clear that all that was happening was what was apparently being witnessed: everything in my field of vision plus the thoughts…
Liberation Is Not an Escape
We tend to believe that liberation is freedom from being human. We think that when we get enlightened, or awake, we’ll no longer have all these unpleasant experiences. In reality, there is no escape…
Searching for Myself
Am I the sensation on my forearms? Am I the aching feeling in my toes as I move them? Am I the uncomfortable sensation in my stomach? Am I the tingling in my head? Am I these sensations? Am I these…
The Freedom of Uncertainty
In the last few weeks, maybe months, everything I thought I knew has been turned on its head. Actually, it’s worse than that; it’s become clear to me that I can’t truly know anything. All the…
What Is Unconditional Love?
To the individual self, unconditional love usually means that we will be loved no matter what. We’ll be loved even when we’re sick and poor. We’ll be loved even as we become old and useless. It may…
What Are We Searching For?
Today, Cindy and I went to Costco to buy supplies for Thanksgiving. I have always been amazed at the abundance and fullness of Costco, and I have often felt irritated by the throngs of people pushing…
Life Is Ever-Changing Flavors of Perfection
This morning, I woke up with a full bladder, as I often do. I walked to the bathroom feeling the fullness, and with what is often considered pain. As I walked, a thought appeared: “It’s always been…
Nobody Meditates
The bed is warm and comfortable, but this body and mind cannot, will not, drift back to sleep. They have been conditioned to awaken to this schedule, and they contentedly and effortlessly comply. The…
Awareness Is an Illusion
This is a very controversial statement in any circle, spiritual or not. We all assume that awareness is real. It seems like we’re looking out of our eyes at reality. It seems that we’re aware. The…
A Brief Glimpse of Reality
About seventeen years ago, I had a series of experiences that I called spiritual. These experiences went on for years, at least six years. Some of them seemed to involve the revelation of what I…
We Cannot Own Anything
We usually live our lives with the idea that we can touch things, hold things, and own things. There is some sense that we are able to acquire things, but when we take a close look, real ownership…
How I Finally Quit Smoking and How to Change Any Behavior
I was at university and I had been smoking cigarettes for years. I was exercising most days and I had begun to notice that my level of fitness seemed to be capped by the smoking. My body and…
Meditation Is All There Is
I recently wrote an article about awakening and one of my readers suggested that I “keep meditating.” I really appreciated the pointer because when I’m truthful about what is actually happening, it…
The Whole Thing is Always Beautiful
If you have a fully functional parietal lobe, then you’ll be able to recognize and appreciate faces. Facial recognition in humans functions differently than other forms of object recognition. We…
How to Be in the Now
Let’s assume that now is a thing, and let’s find try to find it. Here is an experiment you can do at home: take your finger and point to something, anything, and ask “is this now?” Point to something…
We Are Not All One
It has been said to me, “It’s easy for you to say that we are all one when you are a privileged white male. Try telling a person of color who has been treated unjustly that we are all one!” The…
The Illusion of Choice
I’ve been examining the concept of free-will and choice. When I pay attention to what’s happening, I notice that there is only reality (what is). On the other hand, what isn’t is just a concept…
This Has Nothing to Do with Religion
Advaita is a Sanskrit word that literally means “non-secondness.” Advaita is also apparently the name of a religion. According to Google, it is “a Vedantic doctrine that identifies the individual…
Consciousness with a Big C: The Spiritual Red-Herring
In certain spiritual circles, what you’re about to read is extremely controversial. It strikes at the heart of many people’s core beliefs. Whether you’re seeking Consciousness or Self, you’re never…